Article 43


Monday, August 31, 2009

Will China Buy Bell Labs?

Alcatel shares surge on Chinese bid talk, upgrade

August 31, 2009

Alcatel-Lucent SA shares jumped 16 percent Wednesday as traders cited market talk of a possible bid from a Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications gear and a rating upgrade by Natixis.

A spokeswoman for the Franco-American company declined to comment on the share price move.

The company’s market capitalization is about 6.3 billion euros ($8.9 billion), based on its Aug. 26 share price of 2.727 euros. Based on the average 35 percent premium that technology deals have fetched in recent months, Alcatel-Lucent could fetch about 8.5 billion euros ($12 billion) if sold.

Alcatel-Lucent has been struggling to turn a profit since its creation in a merger in 2006, which was supposed to help it cut costs and better compete with the new generation of Chinese gear makers including Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, which have much lower cost structures.

Spokespeople for ZTE and Huawei said they had not heard of any bid for Alcatel-Lucent.

Alcatel-Lucent said Wednesday it signed a CONTRACT WITH CHINA TELECOM Corp Ltd to provide and maintain networks in 10 Chinese provinces. The contract is part of the $700 million agreement recently signed by the two companies.

A Chinese bid for Alcatel-Lucent could run into regulatory problems because of its role via Bell Labs AS A GOVERNMENT AND MILITARY CONTRACTOR in the United States, analysts said.

“I don’t believe that such a deal would really be possible,” said Eric Beaudet, an analyst at Natixis.

Alcatel-Lucent is also likely to be wary of another merger after the rough ride it had integrating its purchase of Lucent in 2006.

The company struggled to cut costs rapidly after the merger because it could not drop overlapping products for fear of losing customers, and cultural clashes among top FRENCH and American managers did not help.

Some analysts think the Franco-American company has turned a corner and might reach profitability soon.

Natixis analyst Beaudet upgraded Alcatel-Lucent on Wednesday to “buy” from “reduce” and increased its price target to 3 euros per share from 1.80 euros, citing improvements in its CDMA wireless business and the sense that the integration of Lucent was nearly complete.

Huawei and ZTE have been aggressively expanding overseas mostly through organic growth and have been taking share from rivals. Analysts said it was not clear whether they had any plans for acquisitions.

“Chinese firms including ZTE are very strong competitors, and have their own substantial R&D operations,” said Ren Wenjie, a telecommunications analyst with First Capital based in Shenzhen in southern China.

“They probably wouldn’t be looking at buying the whole of Alcatel-Lucent, but rather at specific business units that would fit into their long-term strategy.”

Reporting by Leila Abboud, Kirby Chien and Dominic Lau, with additional reporting by Anupreeta Das; Editing by James Regan/Will Waterman and Gerald E. McCormick


Posted by Elvis on 08/31/09 •
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Heath Care Redux 2

Why the Gang of Six Is Deciding Health Care for Three Hundred Million of Us

By Robert Reich
Huffington Post
August 21, 2009

Last night, the so-called “gang of six”—three Republican and three Democratic senators on the Senate Finance Committee—met by conference call and, according to Senator Max Baucus, the committee’s chair, reaffirmed their commitment “toward a bipartisan health-care reform bill” (read: less coverage and no public insurance option). The Washington Post reports that the senators shared tales from their home states, where some have been besieged by protesters angry about a potential government takeover of the nation’s health care system.

It’s come down to these six senators. The House has reported a bill as has another Senate committee, but all eyes are fixed on Senate Finance—and on these three Dems and three Republicans, in particular. But who, exactly, anointed these six to decide the fate of the nation’s health care?

I don’t get it. Of the three Republicans in the gang, the senior senator is Charles Grassley. In recent weeks, Grassley has refused to debunk the rumor that the House’s health-care bill will spawn “death panels,” empowered to decide whether the sick and old get to live or die. At an Iowa town meeting last Tuesday Grassley called the president and Speaker Nancy Pelosi “intellectually dishonest” for claiming the opposite. On Thursday Grassley told the Washington Post that Congress should scale back its efforts to overhaul health care in the wake of intense anger at town hall meetings. But—wait—the anger is largely about distortions such as the “death panels” that Grassley refuses to debunk.

This week on Fox News Grassley termed the House bill “the Pelosi Bill,” and called it “a government takeover of heath care, exploding the deficit because it’s not paid for and it’s got high taxes in it.”

I really don’t get it. We have a Democratic president in the White House. Democrats control sixty votes in the Senate, enough to overcome a filibuster. It is possible to pass health care legislation through the Senate with 51 votes (that’s what George W. Bush did with his tax cut plan). Democrats control the House. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is a tough lady. She has said there will be no health care reform bill without a public option.

So why does the fate of health care rest in Grassley’s hands?

It’s not even as if the gang represents America. The three Dems on the gang are from Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota—states that together account for just over 1 percent of Americans. The three Republicans are from Maine, Wyoming, and Iowa, which together account for 1.6 percent of the American population.

So, I repeat: Why has it come down to these six? Who anointed them? Apparently, the White House. At least that’s what I’m repeatedly being told by sources both on the Hill and in the administration. “The Finance Committee is where the action is. They’ll tee-up the final bill,” says someone who should know.

Robert Reich -Former Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley


Posted by Elvis on 08/23/09 •
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Summertime Blues

Unemployment Nears 11% In Orlando
State Numbers At Highest Level Since 1975

Florida’s unemployment rate crept up to 10.6 percent in June to stay at the highest level since 1975, and it’s even higher in metro Orlando.

The rate was .3 points higher than the revised May unemployment rate and is 4.6 percent higher than June 2008.

About 970,000 employable Floridians do not have jobs.

According to Workforce Central Florida, the unemployment rate for metro Orlando is 10.8 percent.

Florida’s unemployment rate is 1.1 percent higher than the national rate of 9.5 percent.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.



More Americans are poor and uninsured, Commerce Department official says

Kancis City Dot Com
August 19, 2009

The numbers of poor and uninsured Americans are up, with next months release of 2008 Census data likely to show more than 38.8 million in poverty. Rebecca Blank, the Commerce Department’s undersecretary of economic affairs, noted that figures were not yet final, but that a statistically significant increase in the poverty rate was expected, to at least 12.7 percent. That would represent a jump of more than 1.5 million poor people last year.

The number of uninsured also is expected to notably increase, largely because of rising unemployment and the erosion of private coverage paid for by employers and individuals, but Blank declined to say by how much. In 2007, the number of uninsured fell by more than 1 million, mostly because government programs such as Medicaid for the poor picked up the slack.


Posted by Elvis on 08/23/09 •
Section Dying America
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Monday, August 17, 2009

A Modest Medicare Proposal

Dear President Obama,

I understand you’re thinking of dumping your “public option” because of all the demagoguery by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich and their crowd on right-wing radio and Fox. Fine. Good idea, in fact.

Instead, let’s make it simple. Please let us buy into Medicare.

It would be so easy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with this so-called “public option” that’s a whole new program from the ground up. Medicare already exists. It works. Some people will like it, others won’t - just like the Post Office versus FedEx analogy you’re so comfortable with.

Just pass a simple bill - it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people - that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.

So it’s revenue neutral!

To make it available to people of low income, raise the rates slightly for all currently non-eligible people (like me - under 65) to cover the cost of below-200%-of-poverty people. Revenue neutral again.

Most of us will do damn near anything to get out from under the thumbs of the multi-millionaire CEOs who are running our current insurance programs. Sign me up!

This lets you blow up all the rumors about death panels and grandma and everything else: everybody knows what Medicare is. Those who scorn it can go with Blue Cross. Those who like it can buy into it. Simplicity itself.

Of course, we’d like a few fixes, like letting Medicare negotiate drug prices and filling some of the holes Republicans and AARP and the big insurance lobbyists have drilled into Medicare so people have to buy “supplemental” insurance, but that can wait for the second round. Let’s get this done first.

Simple stuff. Medicare for anybody who wants it. Private health insurance for those who don’t. Easy message. Even Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley can understand it. Sarah Palin can buy into it, or ignore it. No death panels, no granny plugs, nothing. Just a few sentences.

Replace the “you must be disabled or 65” with “here’s what it’ll cost if you want to buy in, and here’s the sliding scale of subsidies we’ll give you if you’re poor, paid for by everybody else who’s buying in.” (You could roll back the Reagan tax cuts and make it all free, but that’s another rant.)

We elected you because we expected you to have the courage of your convictions. Here’s how. Not the “single payer Medicare for all” that many of us would prefer, but a simple, “Medicare for anybody who wants to buy in.”


Thom Hartmann

Thom Hartmann (thom at is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program THE THOM HARTMANN SHOW. His most recent books are “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,” “Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights,” “We The People: A Call To Take Back America,” “What Would Jefferson Do?,” “Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It,” and “Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion.” His newest book is Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.


Posted by Elvis on 08/17/09 •
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marc Faber Slams Central Banks


In an August 12th CNBC interview, PhD economist Marc Faber slammed central banks:

· Asset markets will correct and the dollar will strengthen for a couple of months

· Central bankers are money printers who create bubbles

· Transparency is worse than before

· We’ve bailed out the financial system and derivatives. We should let derivatives players go bankrupt, and then the system will be clean

· The big crisis is ahead of us, in 4 or 5 years time, or 10 years time. We’ll have a total breakdown of the system, which will devastate the global economy.

· If the Fed hadn’t intervened, the system would be cleaned out, the system would be healthier because debt load and burden on taxpayers would be reduced

· For the central bankers of world, especially Greenspan and Bernanke, the market mechanism is allright as long as prices go up (except for crude oil)

· Today, employment in U.S. is lower than in 1999. In the meantime, the financial system has made billions of dollars and compensated useless financiers and dealers with huge rewards. The typical household is no better off than 10 years ago.



Posted by Elvis on 08/16/09 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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