“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tax evasion in Italy estimated to amount to 20% of gross domestic product.

Euro crisis: Italy at risk of insolvency, European finance ministers warned
Mario Monti must tackle Italian tax evasion to avoid other eurozone economies being damaged, says report

Ian Traynor, Brussels, Tuesday 29 November 2011 12.51 EST

European finance ministers were warned on Tuesday night that Italy's liquidity crisis could leave the eurozone's third biggest economy insolvent with devastating impact on the fate of the single currency and its big core economies, Germany and France.

Eurozone finance ministers met in Brussels in their latest attempt to plot a path out of the EU's worst crisis. With Mario Monti, the new Italian prime minister and finance minister, reporting to the session on his austerity package aimed at saving Italy and shoring up the euro, a confidential report from the European commission and the European Central Bank said Monti would need to do more than already promised.

The report, obtained by the Guardian, said Monti had to go further in his promises to combat rampant tax evasion in Italy, which is estimated to amount to 20% of gross domestic product.

"The sovereign debt crisis has now moved from the periphery to Italy and other core euro area countries. Pressure on Italian sovereign bond yields is particularly acute, reflecting investors' mounting concerns with the sustainability of Italy's large public debt" – almost €2tn, (£1.7tn) – the report said.

"The risks of a full-blown sovereign liquidity crisis can increase rapidly in the absence of a determined policy response … Persistently high interest rates increase the risk of a self-fulfilling 'run' from Italy's sovereign debt. A liquidity crisis could then turn into a solvency crisis, whose repercussions for other large euro area countries would be very acute given their exposure to the Italian economy."

Italy on Tuesday easily raised €7.5bn on the bond markets, but at exorbitant rates above the 7% sustainability threshold.

The European finance ministers were expected to agree to release €8bn in bailout funds to Greece, the latest tranche, after months of haggling over whether Athens had done enough to warrant the receipt and the fall of the Papandreou government. Klaus Regling, head of the European financial stability facility, the main bailout fund, was expected to disappoint the 17 governments by telling them there was little chance of leveraging the €250bn pot of money into a trillion-plus war chest by drawing in Asian investors and sovereign wealth funds.

The leveraging plan was drawn up by eurozone leaders at a summit a month ago. "It doesn't look like it will be [multiplied] 4-5 times," said a Brussels diplomat. "More like 2.5 times. That's probably not enough to restore confidence in Italy or Spain."

Tuesday night's meeting came ahead of another crucial summit of EU leaders next week at which Germany and France, while still at odds over central details, will launch a drive for a eurozone "fiscal union", with governments required to forfeit national powers over fiscal, budget, tax and spending policies to a eurozone body. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is the biggest obstacle to any prompt and radical action aimed at stabilising the bond markets and ring-fencing the euro. Others, led by France, want the European Central Bank to be given interventionist powers to defend the currency, print money, and act as lender of last resort as well as the pooling of eurozone debt through the issue of common euro bonds.

Merkel is fiercely opposed to both options, insisting instead on reopening the EU's Lisbon Treaty to entrench new disciplines and intrusive powers of scrutiny over eurozone national budgets. Rather than focus on solving the immediate crisis, Merkel's priority is to create a durable new system eliminating the chances of a recurrence. Launching eurobonds and empowering the ECB to intervene, said Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, would mean "no European country would retain its triple-A rating". "The Germans want treaty change without eurobonds. The others want eurobonds without treaty change," said the diplomat. "In the end the Germans are in control of this."


  1. Ten Things to wish for today:

    1. Herman Cain Disappears.
    2. The Euro Disappears.
    3. Pakistan Disappears.
    4. Afghanistan Disappears.
    5. Iran Disappears.
    6. All the Kardashian’s Disappear.
    7. Putin Disappears.
    8. Katie Couric Disappears.
    9. MSNBC Disappears.

    Please feel free to add and delete.

  2. Forgot number ten

    10. John Corzine Disappears.

  3. Things you didn’t know. Fascinating article from Robert Fisk at The Independent

    It's a weird irony that Iranians know the history of Anglo-Persian relations better than the Brits. When the newly installed Ministry of Islamic Guidance asked Harvey Morris, Reuters' man in post-revolutionary Iran, for a history of his news agency, he asked his London office to send him a biography of Baron von Reuter – and was appalled to discover the founder of the world's greatest news agency had built Persia's railways at an immense profit. "How can I show this to the ministry?" he shouted. "It turns out that the Baron was worse than the fucking Shah!" Of which, of course, the ministry was well aware.

    Britain staged a joint invasion of Iran with Soviet forces when the Shah's predecessor got a bit too close to the Nazis in World War Two and then helped the Americans overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 after he nationalised Britain's oil possessions in the country.

    This was not a myth but a real, down-to-earth conspiracy. The CIA called it Operation Ajax; the Brits wisely kept their ambitions in check by calling it Operation Boot. MI6's agent in Tehran was Colonel Monty Woodhouse, previously our Special Operations Executive man inside German-occupied Greece. I knew "Monty" well – we co-operated together when I investigated the grim wartime career of ex-UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim – and he was a ruthless man. Woodhouse brought weapons into Iran for a still non-existent "resistance" movement and he eagerly supported the CIA's project to fund the "bazaaris" of Tehran to stage demonstrations (in which, of course, hundreds, perhaps thousands, died) to overthrow Mossadegh….

  4. {…}

    They were successful. Mossadegh was arrested – by an officer assiduously done to death in the 1979 revolution – and the young Shah returned in triumph to impose his rule, reinforced by his faithful SAVAK secret police whose torture of women regime opponents was duly filmed and – according to the great Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal – circulated by CIA officers to America's allies around the world as a "teaching" manual. How dare the Iranians remember all this?

    The mass of US secret documents found after the American embassy was sacked following the Iranian revolution proved to the Iranians not only Washington's attempts to subvert the new order of Ayatollah Khomeini but the continued partnership of the American and British intelligence services.

    The British ambassador, almost to the end, remained convinced that the Shah, though deeply flawed, would survive. And British governments have continued to rage about the supposedly terrorist nature of the Iranian government. Tony Blair – even at the official inquiry into the Iraq war – started raving about the necessity of standing up to Iranian aggression.

    Anyway, the Iranians trashed us yesterday and made off, we are told, with a clutch of UK embassy documents. I cannot wait to read their contents. For be sure, they will soon be revealed.

  5. Substitute 'the crapper disappears' for #8, Katie Couric disappears.



  6. with governments required to forfeit national powers over fiscal, budget, tax and spending policies to a eurozone body.



  7. 11.The position of the Pope disappears

  8. That ought to ruffle a few feathers :}

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Good news this ...

    Horses will not be left abandoned in County Parks and on our National Forests.

    They'll be sold and consumed.

    Like livestock should be.

    The market restored.

    A good reason to Vote Obama.
    If one loves horses.

  11. Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.

    Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

    It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts this year as Congress and the White House aim to trim federal spending.

    The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer questions beyond what was in the statement.

    The last U.S. slaughterhouse that butchered horses closed in 2007 in Illinois, and animal welfare activists warned of massive public outcry in any town where a slaughterhouse may open.

  12. While in LA the police cleared the Occupying Forces, arresting over 200 people, without resorting to violence or chemical weapons.

    Good job, there, at that.


  13. Central Banks Take Joint Action to Ease Debt Crisis

    WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve moved Wednesday with other major central banks to buttress the financial system by increasing the availability of dollars outside the United States, reflecting growing concern about the fallout of the European debt crisis.
    Enlarge This Image
    Yves Herman/Reuters

    Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy, left, spoke with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, center, as they waited with Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, right, for the start of a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

    The banks announced that they would slash by roughly half the cost of an existing program under which banks in foreign countries can borrow dollars from their own central banks, which in turn get those dollars from the Fed. The banks also said that loans will be available until February 2013

    Time to audit the Federal Reserve.

    Just imagine the depth of corruption that has been been amassed, in the shadows and darkness that has been allowed by the "Powers That Be" in DC.

    Men like Mr Timothy Giethner, our tax avoiding Treasury Secretary.
    Men to honorable to steal, or take a bribe. Especially when they know that no one is watching, and if they are, can be stonewalled.

    Even Senators and Presidents can do no more than "Jawbone" the Federal Reserve, the way it stands, today.

  14. GAO on Conflicts of Interest at the Federal Reserve

    The affiliations of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors with financial firms continue to pose “reputational risks” to the Federal Reserve System.

    The policy of the Federal Reserve to give members of the banking industry the power to both elect and serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of directors creates “an appearance of a conflict of interest.”

    The GAO identified 18 former and current members of the Federal Reserve’s board affiliated with banks and companies that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis including General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, and Lehman Brothers.

    There are no restrictions on directors of the Federal Reserve Board from communicating concerns about their respective banks to the staff of the Federal Reserve.

    Many of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors own stock or work directly for banks that are supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve. These board members oversee the Federal Reserve’s operations including salary and personnel decisions.

    Under current regulations, Fed directors who are employed by the banking industry or own stock in financial institutions can participate in decisions involving how much interest to charge to financial institutions receiving Fed loans; and the approval or disapproval of Federal Reserve credit to healthy banks and banks in “hazardous” condition.

    The Federal Reserve does not publicly disclose its conflict of interest regulations or when it grants waivers to its conflict of interest regulations.

    21 members of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors were involved in making personnel decisions in the division of supervision and regulation at the Fed.

  15. Rat, they are just minting coin as you urge.


  16. Stephen Friedman, the former chairman of the New York Fed's board of directors.

    During the end of 2008, the New York Fed approved an application from Goldman Sachs to become a bank holding company giving it access to cheap loans from the Federal Reserve.

    During this time period, Stephen Friedman, the Chairman of the New York Fed, sat on the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs, and owned shares in Goldman's stock, something that was prohibited by the Federal Reserve's conflict of interest regulations. Mr. Friedman received a waiver from the Fed's conflict of interest rules in late 2008. This waiver was not publically disclosed. After Mr. Friedman received this waiver, he continued to purchase stock in Goldman from November 2008 through January of 2009. According to the GAO, the Federal Reserve did not know that Mr. Friedman continued to purchases Goldman's stock after his waiver was granted.

  17. No, ash, they are hiding behind the doors of the Bank.

    Minting the coins, that'd take place in full view of the whirled.

    It is a political statement, minting those coins, not a economic one.

    The government not "Breaking the Cycle of Debt".

    But extending it.

    Further empowering the Boner elites, not gutting their game.

    Which is what taking the Federal government out of the debt markets, by publicly minting those coins would do.

  18. Put Ms. Ackerman On The Disappeared List

    Substitute Allen for #1 Herman Cain, he might be telling the truth.

    Put the Fed on the disappeared list as #11.



  19. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase and board director at the New York Federal Reserve

    Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the same time that his bank received emergency loans from the Fed and while his bank was used by the Fed as a clearinghouse for the Fed's emergency lending programs.

    In March of 2008, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with $29 billion in financing to acquire Bear Stearns. During this time period, Jamie Dimon was successful in getting the Fed to provide JP Morgan Chase with an 18-month exemption from risk-based leverage and capital requirements.

    Dimon also convinced the Fed to take risky mortgage-related assets off of Bear Stearns balance sheet before JP Morgan Chase acquired this troubled investment bank.

  20. The Federal Reserve's buying foreign debt, that is an attempt at managing the whirlled economy.

    Minting those coins, a piece of serious political theater.

    Which is why, if Mr Obama were what so many here have claimed. A Community Organizing, Marxist, Fascist, Islamic, Anti-American, Kenyan, he'd mint those coins in an instant.

    But the reality is that Mr Obama is a creature of Wall Street, the ideological spawn of our political and economic elites.

    He is protecting the Bankers and the Boners. No more a radical than Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich. All three cut from the same piece of political clothe.

  21. It appears as if many banks in the world are, again, going bust - they are having trouble raising money (primarily US dollars at the moment) to fund day to day operations so the Central Banks (5 of them) appear to have agreed to mint coin at half the Seigniorage as they were before.

  22. Show Trials Bring Cambodia Delayed Justice

    They finally get the henchmen on trial and no one really gives a damn.

    There is some deep sad meaning to this, but I'm not sure how to describe it.


  23. There is a huge, ongoing, liquidity crisis, at home and abroad.

    Inflation is far from the greatest risk to the System.

  24. Crapper is backtracking.

    Minting those coins, a piece of serious political theater.

    He was touting this as a serious proposal, and now, after a little induced reflection, it's down to serious political theater.


  25. It would be a boost to the Federal government, boobie, but not to the whirled economy.

    Excempt that ear of inflation would force dollars that had been sidelined in T-Bills into the global economy.

    That movement would be pushed by physiological and political motives, not economic ones.

    Go back and read, boobie.

    Minting those coins has always been advocated, by me, as a politically motivated move.

    One against the "Permanent Government" of Federal Socialism and the Boner elites.

  26. It is the only "major" move the President can make.

    He will not take that course, as he is but a foot soldier for the Bankers and the Boners.

    As I have always maintained.

    That, truth be known, he's been a "better" President than Mr McCain would have proved to have been.

    McCrazy, I believe, is your current appraisal of Mr "Maverick".

    Well, that diagnosis of Mr McCain's mental acumen was well known to those that cared about the United States, in 2008.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. The Federal Reserve is creating scrip out of thin air, and boobie finds no problem with that.

    But let the Treasury follow the Law, minting some coins, and he wails of Economic Armageddon.

    Minting those coins, a totally serious political move.

    One that would begin to restore the Constitutionally called for "checks and balances" upon the governance of the country's economy.

  29. The Obama 2012 campaign decided to give up on the white, working class vote.

    This will have no affect on Obama's cheerleaders here.

  30. Obama's toast. I'm almost starting to feel sorry for the guy.


  31. Police in biohazard suits clean out Occupy LA site.

    Stunk like son bitch there.


  32. A lousy economy that's not getting better in time, unemployment way too high, giving up on the white working class (you don't do that), people sick of him and feeling guiltless.....

    Obama's toast.


  33. riiiight boobie and you also think Palin is the cat's meow.

  34. Want to put some of your famous money where your smart ass mouth is, Ashlei?


  35. It would be like taking candy from a baby.

    Before you make any bets, Ashlei, you might read something like This


  36. from the article -

    Obama enjoys a low-to-mid-40s approval rating right now for one reason: He maintains an approval above 80 percent among African-Americans. Among whites, it is a mere 33 percent. At that level, there are almost by definition very, very few subgroups of whites who approve of the job the president is doing.

    And, nobody feels guilty anymore.


  37. She got that Basketball Jones,
    which is quite an itch.

  38. Many of those sub-groups, boobie, have no where else to go.

    Especially if the GOP trots out Mitt or Newt.

    Mr Wall Street and the Spawn of Fraudie Mac.

    He's polling 50/50 in PA, on deserving re-election, just saw on the NEWs.

    Has not even begun to campaign, while the GOP candidates have been flogging their remedies for nine months now.

    We are at Obama's nadir, and it is not that low, historically speaking.

  39. This time around, the perpetual candidate Ron Paul is in double digits, in some polls.

    Goes to show just how bad things really are and how desperate people are becoming.


  40. It is lower than Carter!

    How low does it have to go?


  41. from Rasmussen Reports -

    The Newt Gingrich surge has moved him to the top of the polls in Iowa, big gains in New Hampshire and now a two-point edge over President Obama in a hypothetical general election match-up.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds Gingrich attracting 45% of the vote while President Obama earns support from 43%. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    How many time have I read an incumbent has to be up around 50% going into an election to win, cause the undecideds usually turn against him?


  42. .

    How many time have I read an incumbent has to be up around 50% going into an election to win, cause the undecideds usually turn against him?

    There's a year to go before the election b.

    You delude yourself b. It will be a close election but the GOP certainly doesn't have a lock on it at this point.


  43. Carter was much lower than 50% polling that he deserved re-election.

    That Newt polls well before his negatives are pummeled by the Press. Just an indication of the weakness of the field.

    From a "conservative" point of view.

    That the two leaders of the GOP race are both "Big Government" men, telling, as to what the Republican Party is really all about.

    RomneyCare and Medicare Part D, the two shining samples of their past work, respectively.

    That and Newt cashed those Fraudie Mac checks, for his work as their on-call historian ;-(

  44. .

    It appears as if many banks in the world...appear to have agreed to mint coin at half the Seigniorage as they were before.

    The comparison to the US minting trillion dollar coins is obvious. What the Central Bank action is doing is providing a short-term sugar high, providing liquidity to replace the dollars being pulled out of the money markets.

    It attacks a symptom and does nothing to address the underlying problem of solvency in the EU.


  45. The EU does not have a solvency challenge, Q.

    The EU has a sharing challenge.

    The Germans have the solvency to maintain the float.
    They just do not feel obligated to do so. Their idea of Union not on the same page as the Greeks, Italians, Spanish or French.

    The challenge, in Europe as political as it is economic.
    They have a Union that really isn't. Not politically.

  46. According to Laura Ingraham (sp?) that I'm listening to Gallup has Obama's approval at 30%!


    The People Are Awake


  47. In the United States, the poorer States, those without a solid economic base, are certainly subsidized by those States that do.

    States like Idaho and Arizona play the part of Greece and Spain. Living on the largess provided by the Union. While residents are bemoaning the economic mismanagement of "The System".

    While New York and California play the roles of Germany and France, paying the freight for most of the load.

  48. One can certainly understand why Germany doesn't want to guarantee the debts of her neighbors.

  49. Obama sycophants have to go negative on any challenger because there are no positive accomplishments to communicate.

  50. How are those States subsidized rat? In Canada we have formal agreements to transfer money from the Have provinces to the Have Not provinces.

  51. .


    As long as the EU has one currency, the countries in the EU have the same problem. Germany as a country doesn't have a solvency problem, but as long as the PIGS have a solvency problem and remain members of the EU, Germany, as one of the leaders of the EU shares their problem.

    Of course, the issues are political. Changes nothing given the current rules and regulations governing what the EU can legally do.

    As I said, the current move by the central banks provides a short-term sugar high on one of the symptoms of their problem but does nothing to address their real problems.


  52. Killing Osama is not a positive in your view?

  53. From Real Clear Politics, which is a more responsible source than Ms Laura.

    President Obama Job Approval:

    Approve 43, Disapprove 49
    Disapprove +6

    Rasmussen Reports
    Approve 43, Disapprove 56
    Disapprove +13

  54. well, well, well,

    Maybe Cain is able... to stay in the race anyway.

    "Cain Pledges to Stay in Race"

  55. Perhaps I'm reading THIS wrong, but it looks like California is way ahead of either Idaho or Arizona in money received v. taxes paid?


  56. It does look as if Gallup has Obama at around 43%.

    Maybe I heard her wrong. From 43 to 30 is way too much.


  57. Here, ash, welfare payments go to individuals, Medicare, Social Security, etc.

    Some States have made retirement living an industry. Arizona certainly has.

    Then there are Federal payroll payments to State residents. Some States have a higher percentage of Federal workers, than others. Both military and civilian.

    Then there are Federal purchases of from private contractors

    Arizona the site of factories building Apache helicopters, one after another.

    Then highway expenditures, the Federals funding highway construction at over $ tens of millions USD per mile.

    Now nearing 15 years in duration, the I-287 project has ballooned from $490 million to $568 million in construction costs alone, an overrun of about 16 percent. The work is also more than two years behind schedule and not due for completion until the end of next year.

    A subsequent report by the newspaper revealed that additional spending for design, inspection and land acquisition had pushed the overall price tag of the project to $743 million, or $86 million per mile.
    Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., also asked the Federal Highway Administration, which provided the bulk of the funding for I-287, to conduct a review.

  58. Referencing 2005, the latest year in your table, boobie.

    California received 78 cents for every dollar sent, to DC

  59. Art For The Elephant Bar

    Elephant hunt in S. Africa.

    No bounded form means pre-farming and pre-city.


  60. .

    Perhaps I'm reading THIS wrong, but it looks like California is way ahead of either Idaho or Arizona in money received v. taxes paid?

    There's a lot of ways to judge how a state is doing. Dollars received vs. taxes paid probably isn't the best, especially during a downturn of the magnitude we have now.

    Here's another from 24/7 Wall Street that shows CA is the worst run state. MI shows up at number three.


  61. It was not a reference to how well California was doing, Q.

    It was a comparison of California to France, and how both are subsidizing other parts of their respective Unions.

    How in the American Union those subsidies go almost unmentioned, in the Europeon model, it is at the crux of their current crisis.

  62. The American Union much older and experienced.

    The Europeons only a decade into their experiment at Unionization.

    Still at the Articles of Confederation stage of things, comparatively?

    With the Germans wanting to do a "rewrite" of the Union Treaty.
    As many did in the US, back in the day.

  63. After about a decade the inadequacies of the original American Union Treaty became obvious.

    Same seems true of the Europeon attempt.

  64. hhmmmm -

    That shit hole of Arizona is the fourth worst run state in the 57 states.

    Idaho didn't make the list at all.

    Cause we elect great Governors like Governor Butch Otter.


  65. Not mentioning Michigan was a courtesy.


  66. We have Jan Brewer and Russell Pearce, a predisposition to fight with the Federals about immigration policy.

    Though Russell was recently voted out.

  67. The State has been run by Republicans, in the legislature, for as long as I can remember.

  68. Admittedly you have special problems down there bordering on Mexico.


  69. Not all States can issue bonds can they? I am unclear on the means individual States have to go into debt.

    I've mentioned it before that it would be interesting to see how the rest of the US would react to bailing out California like Germany is asked re. Greece.

  70. Well the Californios have been bailing out the rest of the country, for decades, now.

    A little quid pro que would be to much to ask?

    Some States can float bonds, some cannot. Some can carry debt, some cannot.

    There is no uniform standard for the States. Each State decides on its policies, for itself.

  71. How is Jan's effort to recall the redistricting panel coming along, 'Rat?

    Butch Otter?
    How about the Tapper in the Crapper?

  72. Gingrich Gave Health Clients Access to Lawmakers

    Newt Gingrich is adamant that he is not a lobbyist, but his consultancy made millions while helping companies promote services.

    From the moment he entered private life, Mr. Gingrich seemed determined to avoid being tagged as a lobbyist, which can be a kiss of death for anyone contemplating a presidential run. An early consulting contract, with a plastics company in 2001, contained language that would become standard: He “does not provide lobbying services of any kind.”

    “He made it very clear to us that he does not lobby, but that he could direct us to the right places in Washington and elsewhere,” said Paul Branagan, who was president of Millennium Plastics when it hired Mr. Gingrich for $7,500 a month plus stock options.

    As his policy interests increasingly focused on health care, Mr. Gingrich created the center, which he portrays as a think tank promoting innovative ways to improve health care delivery and save money. Companies and trade groups pay annual fees ranging from $20,000 to $200,000, with higher-paying members gaining more direct access to Mr. Gingrich.

    The center’s own records — kept in a restricted section of its Web site, but found by The New York Times in an unsecured archived version of the site — contain several previously unreported examples.

    Two years before the Florida “summit,” Mr. Gingrich made a presentation to Republican lawmakers in Georgia, promoting the work of his member companies by citing specific benefits if they were hired. For example: “VitalSpring could save the State Employee Program over $20 million a year.”

    Minutes of a members-only conference call from March 2004 said the center had “arranged joint meetings” for members to present their work on electronic health records to top federal officials, noting that Mr. Gingrich “reported very positive feedback overall from these meetings.”

    He also pressed for passage of a federal bill to increase the use of electronic health records, collaborating with one of its co-sponsors, Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, both Democrats. After appearing at a press briefing on the issue with Mrs. Clinton in 2005, he stated flatly on Fox News: “We’re launching a bill.”


    “We worked together because it usually got people’s attention,” Mr. Kennedy said in an interview. “When there was a Kennedy and a Gingrich, it got people to think, ‘Hey, if this is above partisanship, let me take another look at it.’ ”

    A Congressional staff member involved in the legislation, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Mr. Gingrich had frequently cited the work of companies he identified as “members” of his center. But the staff member said it was not initially clear to him that they were paying the former House speaker. “It was a year before I even realized that the Center for Health Transformation was even a for-profit company, because it didn’t sound like one,” he said.

  73. In Gingrich’s Words, Promoting His Clients

    The St. Petersburg Times has tracked down audio from the “health transformation summit’’ at the Florida State Capitol that Newt Gingrich and his for-profit Center for Health Transformation held in 2006, and which The New York Times wrote about today.

    At the event he promoted some of his private clients – paying members of the center — to state lawmakers.
    The paper’s online Buzz section highlights sections from his address at the summit, when he tells legislators in attendance,
    “We’ve worked with MedImpact to design a model that we think will take 40 percent out of the cost of buying drugs.”

    It notes that he later said he would “commend” his decision-making audience members to consider a diabetes project that another client/member, Novo Nordisk, was starting in Georgia.

    The site features the full audio of the speech.

  74. 'Rat:

    If they minted them coins and used them as tax rebates, those funds would be highly stimulative, right?

    Instead, we've given SEVEN TRILLION to Euro Bans since 2008!

    ...that we know of.

    Then there's the Trillions given to the worst actors in the Bubble-Burst Bonanza.

  75. Obama spreading the spoils to his rich buddies rather than the poor (other than small potatoe addictive drugs like food stamps and meals for kids) schleps not unlike his Marxist heros.

  76. pick on Newt day:

    Op-Ed Columnist
    My Man Newt

    In many ways, Newt is the perfect man.

    He knows how to buy good jewelry. He puts his wife ahead of his campaign. He’s so in touch with his feelings that he would rather close the entire federal government than keep his emotions bottled up. He’s confident enough to include a steamy sex scene in a novel. He understands that Paul Revere was warning about the British.

    Mitt Romney is a phony with gobs of hair gel. Newt Gingrich is a phony with gobs of historical grandiosity.

    The 68-year-old has compared himself to Charles de Gaulle. He has noted nonchalantly: “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz.” As speaker, he liked to tell reporters he was a World Historical Transformational Figure.

    What does it say about the cuckoo G.O.P. primary that Gingrich is the hot new thing? Still, his moment is now. And therein lies the rub.

    As one commentator astutely noted, Gingrich is a historian and a futurist who can’t seem to handle the present. He has more exploding cigars in his pocket than the president with whom he had the volatile bromance: Bill Clinton.

    But next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. Unlike the governor of Texas, he surely knows the voting age. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, Perry wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet.

    In presidential campaigns, it’s all relative.

    Franker than ever as he announced plans to retire from Congress, Barney Frank told Abby Goodnough in The Times that Gingrich was “the single biggest factor” in destroying a Washington culture where the two parties respected each other’s differing views yet still worked together.

    Newt is the progenitor of the modern politics of personal destruction.

    “He got to Congress in ’78 and said, ‘We the Republicans are not going to be able to take over unless we demonize the Democrats,’ ” Frank said.

    In the fiction he writes with William R. Forstchen, Gingrich specializes in alternative histories. What if America hadn’t gone to war with Germany in World War II? What if Gen. Robert E. Lee had won Gettysburg?

    The Republican also weaves an alternative history of his own life, where he is saving civilization rather than ripping up the fabric of Congress, where he improves the moral climate of America rather than pollutes it.

    Romney is a mundane opportunist who reverses himself on core issues. Gingrich is a megalomaniacal opportunist who brazenly indulges in the same sins that he rails about to tear down political rivals.

    Republicans have a far greater talent for hypocrisy than easily cowed Democrats do — and no doubt appreciate that in a leader.

    Gingrich led the putsch against Democratic Speaker Jim Wright in 1988, bludgeoning him for an ethically sketchy book deal. The following year, as he moved into the House Republican leadership, he himself got in trouble for an ethically sketchy book deal.

    Gingrich was part of the House Republican mob trying to impeach Bill Clinton for hiding his affair with a young government staffer, even as Newt himself was hiding his affair with a young government staffer.

  77. Gingrich has excoriated Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for dragging the country into a financial spiral and now demands that Freddie Mac be broken up. But it turns out that he was on contract with Freddie for six years and paid $1.6 million to $1.8 million (yacht trips and Tiffany’s bling for everyone!) to help the company strategize about how to soften up critical conservatives and stay alive.

    At a Republican debate in New Hampshire last month before this lucrative deal became public, Gingrich suggested that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd should be put in jail. “All I’m saying is, everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who were at the heart of the sickness that is weakening this country,” he said.

    Another transcendent moment in Gingrich hypocrisy. He risibly rationalized his deal, saying he was giving the mortgage company advice as a prestigious historian rather than a hired gun.

    Gingrich boasts that he’s full of fresh ideas, but it always seems to essentially be the same old one: Let’s turn the clock back to the ’50s. Just as Newt, who dodged service in Vietnam, once cast the Clintons as hippie “McGovernicks,” now he limns the Occupy Wall Street protesters as hippies who need to take a bath and get a job.

    Maybe the ideal man to fix Washington’s dysfunction is the one who made it dysfunctional. He broke it so he should own it. And Newt has the best reason to long for the presidency: He’d never be banished to the back of Air Force One again.

  78. The Tapper mentioned in one of those Newt articles.

    McCain got a large majority of the "white" vote in the last election, Bob.

    Didn't make him a Weiner.
    ...he already was.

  79. Maxine 2012 ! in line for Frank’s chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee, presuming the Democrats could win back the House, would be Maxine Waters (D-Bat Stuff Crazy), according to the Washington Post.

  80. "But next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. Unlike the governor of Texas, he surely knows the voting age. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, Perry wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet."

    Mo at her best, esp the Perrykeet quote!

    Missed that one, tho.

    Maybe I should apply to become her fluffer?

    Give me an excuse to unpack that old pink angora sweater worn by my girlfriend in the eighth grade.

  81. Ron Lyle, Who Met Ali for Title, Dies at 70

    Our peers be dyin like flies!

    WTF ?

    Why me? I had such great faith in my immortality back in the day!

  82. Why Gingrich May Be the Last Anti-Romney Standing

    He could have quit, as Mr. Pawlenty did, when his campaign hobbled pathetically out of the gate, when his longtime aides quit en masse and the money dried up and he was sleeping in guest rooms because it sure beat the rental car. He probably should have quit, really.

    But it turns out that what Mr. Gingrich lacks in glamour or novelty, he makes up for in his sheer imperviousness to humiliation. He didn’t mind getting in the race when even some of his friends thought it self-indulgent. He didn’t mind staying in when the polls showed him barely existing and the commentators mocked him or — worse yet — forgot him altogether. Prudence isn’t his thing.

    And don’t kid yourself: in a lot of the candidates whom we later come to think of as gifted and innately credible, this is the characteristic that gets overlooked.

    Before Bill Clinton became the greatest politician of his age, he was an unknown, upstart governor who was willing to take on an incumbent president — and to fight through the near-fatal airing of a tawdry personal life — when more obvious challengers stood down.

    Before Richard Nixon became an elder statesman, he was a punch line of a former politician who bided his time before deciding, as he himself had put it, that it was worth being publicly kicked around once or twice more if he had a shot at regaining power.

    That’s not to say that Mr. Gingrich is following anything like the same trajectory as a Clinton or a Nixon; his campaign still feels more like a protest than a cause. But he has that same unhealthy, irrational need to hurl himself higher onto the slopes of history, no matter what good sense would dictate, no matter what the damage to reputation or privacy.

    Determination and personal demons are worth more than you might think in presidential politics.

    We’re about to find out how much.

  83. They also followed London's unveiling last week of new economic sanctions against Iran and Iran's parliament voting over the weekend to expel the British ambassador.

    EU foreign ministers were set to unveil further sanctions at a meeting Thursday, AFP said.

    French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told L'Express weekly Paris wanted a freeze on Iranian central bank assets and an embargo on Iranian oil.

  84. Write in Rubio in Florida!

    ...Bill Crystal.

  85. desert rat said...

    "The government not "Breaking the Cycle of Debt".

    But extending it.

    Further empowering the Boner elites, not gutting their game.


    Some were so good at writing about all the bad things Japan Inc. was doing, years ago.

    Now we're doing it.
    ...expecting a different result.

  86. Poor Canada:

    No Fannie and Freddie to stabilize the housing market.

  87. Ash must be calling for more govt regulation of the market.

  88. Days after the Pakistanis closed their borders to the passage of fuel and supplies for the NATO-led war effort in Afghanistan, for very different reasons the Russians threatened to close the alternative Russia-controlled Northern Distribution Network (NDN). The dual threats are significant even if they don’t materialize.


    Some in Afghanistan have claimed that the United States has been defeated, but that is not the case. The United States may have failed to win the war, but it has not been defeated in the sense of being compelled to leave by superior force.


    This alternative depends on Russia. It transits Russian territory and airspace and much of the former Soviet sphere, stretching as far as the Baltic Sea — at great additional expense compared to the Pakistani supply route.

    Network for Afghanistan


  89. ISTANBUL - Turkey took steps Wednesday to freeze the Syrian government's financial assets, impose a travel ban on senior Syrian regime officials and cut off transactions with the country's central bank, ...

    Sanctions and Sabotage are Sufficient

  90. Much better than tens of thousands of troops at the end of an insecure logistic pipeline.

  91. Doug,

    In Canada it is called CHMC.

  92. Tap Three Times

    Craig made a great statement once, at a news conference when Butch was standing right behind him. Referring to his tapping scandal, he says, Butch is standing right behind me, where he has always been.

    Otter had a shit eating grin on his face.



  93. What the economist calls "symbolism", I referred to as "political".

    Berenberg economist Christian Schulz said the move was largely a symbolic gesture aimed at restoring calm.

    "With today's action, central banks signal that they are aware of the issue and prepared to act. As always in market panics with central bank action, ...

    ... the signal is more important than the actual size of the action," Mr. Schulz said.

  94. Listen to Newt for any length of time --you'll find he uses a lot of adverbs.


  95. heh, indeed.
    Sounds like Southpark!

    How's Jan's impeachment of the redistricters doing?

    Sposed to turn state bright blue if it stays in place.

  96. Hey look at it this way, if the Fed can increase its balance sheet with gobs and gobs of high interest Euro bonds and not inflate us into oblivion, they may generate enough interest from those bonds and other equities to amortize our existing obligations. Let’s assume we decide that $7 trillion taken off the top would put us in the debtor sweet spot, number one as our friend who lurks, Hu dat would say.

    $7T over 30 years is $233B annually. if the fed can get a 5% return on its assets, they only need
    $5.8T. Cake walk> Fucking genius.

  97. Somebody's got an Newt adverb post.

    I'll look for it later.

  98. If the inside pols and pundits hate Newt, he has my vote.

  99. 5%?? They cut the rate in half to approximately 0.5%

  100. So newt was paid 300,000 per year as a consultant for Freddie and Fannie. What's the point u are trying to make Ash?

  101. PHOENIX - Saying she won't be rushed into action, Gov. Jan Brewer said Tuesday that she will not call lawmakers back to the Capitol today to ask voters to modify or repeal the Independent Redistricting Commission.

    Brewer said she still believes the process of drawing lines for the state's 30 legislative and nine congressional districts has not been done openly and in compliance with constitutional mandates, which she said is why she tried to fire Colleen Mathis as chairwoman, an action voided by the state Supreme Court.

    But Brewer said she has seen "no evidence" voters are ready to scrap the commission they created in 2000.

    Because the commission was approved by Arizona voters, press aide Matthew Benson said, it would take another vote to eliminate it. But putting that question on the Feb. 28 ballot would require a special legislative session no later than today.

    That means no chance to have a reformed commission redraw new maps that Republicans believe are less biased toward Democrats in time for the 2012 race.

    Brewer said that isn't an important enough reason to act now.

    "We cannot act in haste - or in anger - when it comes to something as critical as the way in which Arizona draws its congressional and legislative districts," the governor said in her prepared statement. "Our action must be reasoned and rational, and there must be a defined path to victory with voters."

    Pierce said he expects legal challenges to be filed against the commission's new maps.

    The governor's decision came as the commission met for the first time since Brewer's ill-fated attempt to fire Mathis.

    Much of Tuesday's meeting focused on what has to happen now to create final maps that are ready to present to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.

    Read more:

  102. Isn't Newt for attacking Iran?


  103. I think they are simply loaning money short term. If the loans go bad I would be surprised if the capital appreciated. On fact I would expect the opposite

  104. I meant to write "collateral" instead of "capital".

  105. last time I checked, Ron Paul was the sole denier to the Second Copernican Revolution where it has been divined that Israel is the true center to the universe.

  106. "Much of Tuesday's meeting focused on what has to happen now to create final maps that are ready to present to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval."

    They'll have to mind their p's and q's to get past Holder's squeaky clean DOJ.

    Pubs get fucked in Court.
    As usual.

  107. Paul attended middle school with Copernicus.

  108. They shared an astronomy class.
    y mistake:
    Paul took Astrology.

  109. Rufus hasn't been around all the day.

    Must be undergoing postpartum depression.


  110. Impose austerity here first:

    NYTimes - The Affliction of Comfort

    "JUST when you thought that absolutely nothing could make you feel warm and fuzzy about the American political system, I bring tidings from Italy. Here there are 945 active members of Parliament, in contrast with 535 members of the United States Congress, though Italy’s population is less than a fifth of America’s.

    Once you add the members of Parliament’s salaries and an array of supplements — including travel allowances, even though lawmakers fly and take trains within the country free — all of them earn well above $100,000, while many make closer to $200,000. That’s not to mention handsome pensions and subsidized health care, which reportedly covers thermal baths."

  111. No wonder we get the presidents that we deserve.

    A leading religious conservative warned Newt Gingrich Wednesday that he risks losing the support of evangelical women voters if the Republican presidential hopeful refuses to publicly address his "turbulent martial history."

    "Mr. Speaker, if you want to get large numbers of evangelicals, particularly women, to vote for you, you must address the issue of your marital past in a way that allays the fears of evangelical women," Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in an open letter to the former House speaker. "You must address this issue of your marital past directly and transparently and ask folks to forgive you and give you their trust and their vote."

    Mr. Land urged the new GOP front-runner to take a page out of Arizona Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential playbook.

    and it filled President McCain with amazing grace.

  112. Deuce said... last time I checked, Ron Paul was the sole denier to the Second Copernican Revolution where it has been divined that Israel is the true center to the universe.

    That, of course, automatically makes him anti-Semitic.

    RON PAUL: Americans should mind their own business and not become the policeman of the world.

    BEN STEIN: No, we're not occupiers. That's the same anti-Semitic argument we've heard over and over again.

    RON PAUL: That is a vicious attack.

    BEN STEIN: That is not a vicious attack.

    RON PAUL: Osama bin Laden said that he has a plan for America. First, he wants to bog us down in the Middle East in a no-win war. He wants to bankrupt this country, demoralize us, as well as have us do things that motivate people to join his radical movement. It seems like we have fallen into his trap.

    BEN STEIN: Look, if these terrorists are trying to kill the government of Yemen, we've got to help defend them. They are our friends.

  113. Who is Jamelle Bouie at the Nation?

  114. John Hinckley, Jr. out on 20 days leave, or whatever, LIED about his whereabouts, went to a bookstore instead of the Movies, was looking through books on assassination, Reagan, etc. then snuck in the movie lobby to wait for mommy.

    Naturally, this deserves full release.

    If so, and if he takes out BHO, Alexander Haig assures us all will be well under his watch.

  115. I agree with Land:

    Newt outta drop his Catholic wife and Marry a Beer Heiress with an appetite for drugs.

    Land is the one that gave publicity to the idiot preacher that called LDS a cult.

    He left out that it's a cult that routinely spits out model citizens.

  116. Egypt's Christian population has already diminished by 95,000 since the Arab Spring uprisings began in February, according to the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights.

    Egyptian Christians Have Big Turnout In Elections (except for the 95,000 diminished)

    News is Muslim Brotherhood and an even more fundy group have done really well.


  117. The latest person to accuse former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse also claims that Sandusky threatened to hurt the boy’s family if he ever told anyone about the abuse.

    There is a special vat of boiling hyena vomit set aside in hell for Sandusky.

  118. hhmmm --

    Let's see here, is it Land and his folks now doing the forgiving? And here I though it was supposed to be the Lord, not Land.

    "You must address this issue of your marital past directly and transparently and ask folks to forgive you and give you their trust and their vote."

    ah, shit


  119. :):)

    The Swagg's cousin is Jerry Lee Lewis!



  120. The Swagg no longer has access to international communications.

    But he can still get through to the other world.


  121. That stupid church is one of Baton Rouge's biggest employers.

    I'd have trouble living on less than $500,000 a day.


  122. Cain strongly denied having a romantic relationship with White and explained that he had given her money just as he had helped other friends in need of financial assistance.

    "Over the years, because I have been successful, I have helped many people financially," he said.

    He also noted that he was battling cancer in 2006 and said he could not have possibly had an affair with someone while he was fighting the disease.

  123. He also noted that he was battling cancer in 2006 and said he could not have possibly had an affair with someone while he was fighting the disease.

    That sounds logical enough.


  124. The move got a tepid stamp of approval from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which said it had always been worried about the way Congress went about its initial ban. PETA said it predicted that horses would be shipped to foreign slaughterhouses.

    “A law doesn’t change what’s in people’s hearts, and if business people view horses as commodities, ignoring their sensitive natures in favor of the few dollars that their flesh might bring, the horses were sunk from the start,” said David Perle, a spokesman for the group. “To reduce suffering, there should be a ban on the export of live horses, even if that means opening slaughterhouses in the U.S. again. But the better option is to ban slaughter in the U.S. and ban the export of live horses so that no one is slaughtering America’s horses.”

    Good for PETA. The noble horses, symbols of wisdom, have been our good friends on our way up from the digging stick and the camus fields.

    We owe them.



  125. The stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant came a lot closer to a full "China Syndrome" meltdown than previous company analyses had indicated, though there is no danger of further damage now, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said Wednesday.


    TEPCO said the damage in units No. 2 and No. 3 was less severe than in No. 1, although some fuel did burn through their surrounding vessels to the concrete base of their containment vessels. In all three units, the fuel has now cooled to below the critical temperature of 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), and thus poses no further threat, officials said.


  126. He also noted that he was battling cancer in 2006 and said he could not have possibly had an affair with someone while he was fighting the disease.

    The man is a liar. I had cancer twice, the last time twelve years ago, the first time 18 years ago. It was probably service related, but I never bothered to make that claim . I took the most aggressive treatment the first time and endured six months of a very nasty chemo and radiation. I dodged the bullet for the third time in my life and repeated it the second time with a repeat of chemo, radiation and that time surgery. I was one lucky bastard and have been on reprieve for the last twelve years.

    Both times, I was very sick, the second was probably worse The disease was no big deal, the treatment was awful probably because I was older and knew what to expect. While in the hospital the first time, I realized that being weakened with the treatment made you vulnerable and for round two and three of the chemo stayed home and walked around at home for three or four days with a portable chemo pump. Now when a very attractive female asked me if there is anything that she could do to help, I made a couple of suggestions. Sex is both possible and refreshingly reassuring.

    Cain is a serial liar and like all of us a creature of habit. He has his own MO. He used the same variation of the same lie twice. When the first babes surfaced, he dragged his wife in front of the press, belittled the charges and attested he was incapable of such behavior. With the latest babe, he assures us cancer treatment made it impossible.

    The man likes pussy on the side, a fairly common trait of many hound dogs, recognizable by most honest people. Of course he lied about it, but he did not have to so so. He is running with the big dogs and got nailed. He could have told people to mind their own business, instead he made the woman out to be liars. He is an ignoble shit, not because of his hobbies, but because he decided to trash the girls.

    //////////fuck him ///////////

    I can no longer stand the sight of him and no longer wish to listen to his crap.

  127. Sorry, Victims need not apply.

    The Republican presidential candidate ( Herman “poonedog” Herman) lashed out at his critics, saying he's the victim of a "direct character assassination" and that he doesn't understand where the latest allegations are coming from.

    Read more:

  128. Now I'm conflicted, again.