Passaparola - The #NewTangentopoli, by Piercamillo Davigo

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Nicola Morra interviewed Judge Piercamillo Davigo on the topic of corruption and legality

Integrity test to unmask the corrupt

Morra: So Judge, 1992 saw the start of the clean hands inquiry. Since then you judges have done a sterling job and yet you have been unable to eradicate corruption, above all in the public services. What is the reason for all of this in your opinion? And what can be done to eradicate it completely?

Davigo: The main reason is what the politicians have been doing in recent years namely, instead of making it harder to get away with corruption, they have been making it more difficult to investigate corruption. The rules have been changed (to favour those that commit the crime!), the evidence gathered has been zeroed and various obstacles have been introduced. Clearly therefore, if you make it harder to suppress corruption, obviously the number of cases of corruption will increase and the number of convictions will decline and that is precisely what has happened here in Italy. These days the situation is at risk of getting out of control: the number of cases, the seriousness of the cases and the high number of people involved in these cases requires exceptional tools with which to combat the crime. I am convinced that the solution, or rather one of the solutions, may be to introduce what the Anglo-Saxons call an “integrity test, in other words, sting operations against corruption. In the United States I was asked this question: “But do you guys in Italy investigate corruption at all?”In answer to my affirmative response they said: “No way, that’s too difficult.”Surprised, I asked them: “But why, don’t you guys intervene? Do you just simply let them steal?” All they said in response was: “No, we do an integrity test. What it means is that immediately after the elections we send out undercover cops who offer money to those elected and those that accept the money get arrested. So, every time there is an election we clean out the political class. This is a solution that could be based on strong existing evidence, such as a disproportionately high lifestyle when compared to income, so as to be sure that we identify people that are already acting suspiciously.

Mose, Expo, MafiaCapitale: the new Tangentopoli

Morra: In other words, integrity tests and maximum possible transparency. The idea of a politician-meter may even work. For example, I am convinced that all public officials must be required to account for what they earn and what they spend. However, Judge, with the scandals of the 1990s that ravaged the party politicians of that time, there was a very fierce and indignant public reaction. I remember very well that at that time many Italians followed all the links with the Milan Public Prosecution on a daily basis because they wanted to know what was happening. These days, instead, it seems that the MOSE, EXPO and MafiaCapitale cases are being followed almost half-heartedly because we have come to the conclusion that these maladies are ineradicable by Italian custom. Does this analysis sound right to you? It’s almost as if we have become accustomed to it?

Davigo: I think that the public has become resigned to it rather than accustomed to it in the sense that since the hopes for an improvement in the situation have been thwarted, people feel that the things that are happening are inevitable. However, we must also remember that one of the main problems that discourage foreign investment and results in the malfunctioning of our public service is organised crime and corruption. If Italy doesn’t address these two serious problems the Country will never emerge from the difficulties it is currently facing, even in terms of our relations with other countries. We must never forget that, contrary to what has been said for some time, Italy is in no way an unsafe country but it has two very serious forms of criminality: the one is organised crime and the other is the deviance of the leadership classes, the extent of which is typical of Italy alone. We export organised crime to other countries that now have it because we took it there. However, whereas in other countries individuals are forced to resign for committing offences that are far less serious than those we learn about every night on the television news, here in Italy those individuals carry on in their jobs until the Carabinieri go and get them!

Anti-corruption regulations don’t exist

Morra: Judge, one final question. The so-called anti-corruption package has been languishing in the Senate for about the last nine months. Every now and then it gets hauled out and dusted off, only to be blocked once again and, as a result, expectations regarding the approval of new regulations that will vigorously fight corruption are once again dashed. What is needed, for example even at the Parliamentary level? How can we ensure that the Country equips itself with some definite rules? Especially since recent parliamentary and ministerial occurrences have revealed “little hands” introducing regulations that are questionableto say the least, euphemistically speaking...

Davigo: Here too I believe that if the parliamentarians were a little more open, above all to the pressure coming from the International community, which has for a long time been asking Italy to clean up its leadership class and is asking us to implement the International conventions that Italy has signed, starting with the OCSE convention on cross-border corruption, the UNO convention on corruption and the European Commission convention on corruption, to introducing a series of regulations that reduce this phenomenon to physiology, taking for granted that the Italian situation is not physiological at all. After all, in the perception indices, we are nearly bottom of the list in Europe.

The importance of culture

Morra: So, from this point of view, we must hope that Europe represents a way out for us rather than a cause of further aggravation. One last cultural-moral question if I may: as someone that has for many years dedicated his life to the justice system, what do you think we should do in terms of cultural investment in order to finally get this country of ours make this blessed“quantum leap? I ask because I see that, precisely in terms of the perceptions about corruption and also the effectiveness of the regulations, even in the small things we have now become resigned to the fact of seeing everyone break the rules all the time and those that do break the rules, getting away with it. This is indeed an extremely widespread behaviour.

Davigo: There is a very serious problem that also regards the educational institutions. I always tell the story that although I attended a primary school in a very small little municipal district in Pavia Province where I was born, in primary school I received a mafia-style cultural education because whenever the teacher left the class he ordered the class captain to write the names of those who were good and bad on the chalkboard. The class captain would go up to the board, draw a line and write the names of the good classmates and the bad classmates, underlined, based entirely on a business relationship, in other words who gave him something at that time, perhaps some chocolate or a balloon, things like that. He never actually wrote down the names of the naughty ones. If someone got too noisy, after having pulled them up several times he would begin to write the first few letters of the offenders’ surnames and, without fail, from the benches the students’ voices would shout out "SPY"! So when does one become a spy then? One can be a spy in the eyes of an invading enemy or in the eyes of a tyrant, but you cannot be a spy in the eyes of the legitimate authorities in your own country. None of you ever doubted that the teacher indeed had the legitimate authority or even that the class captain, while he may have been a bit of a stinker, had the legitimate authority delegated to him/her by the teacher. However, in that context, the cry of “spy” became an apology for “omertà” (see no evil, hear no evil…), which is one of the pillars of mafia culture. So it really doesn’t matter that the guy is actually really bad, you must not write him up. But there’s more, and even worse. I was obviously also a student and based on my memory I had to verify whether what the Honourable Andreatta was saying was indeed true, namely that Italian schools create terrible students who are used to ganging up against the teacher and will go on to become terrible citizens because the teacher-student relationship is a metaphor for the State-citizen relationship. When I was in the United States I was once told something that I found very difficult to believe, so they took me to a school in order to convince me that it was indeed true. The thing that I found very difficult to believe was that the teachers gave the students timed exercises to do at home. The children would go home, switch on a timer, stopped working on the exercise when the allocated time was up and returned to school the next day with the homework done as far as they had gotten when the time expired. Now, I went to that school and the first thing that struck me was the teachers and the pupils’ surprise at how shocked I was, in other words, they simply could not understand why I couldn’t believe something that was so obvious to them. Then they explained why things worked as they did, after I told them that it certainly didn’t work like that here. If we are given a project to do at home, parents and every relation, no matter how distant, are mobilised to ensure that the child puts together a good project. Then they explained to me that no one copies work over there. If someone doesn’t know something, he/she gets up and asks the teacher to explain it to them. To my surprise they told me that this happens firstly because educational qualifications do not have the same legal value that they do here in Italy so it what you are is not as important as what you know, but above all the important tests in life are not like here by us, in other words to complete a study cycle, but instead to start the next study cycle. These are exams that the students will sit before people that they have never met. In that context, the teacher is like a trainer that prepares the students for real tests that they will sit before someone else. Cheating makes no sense whatsoever. Now I don’t know whether their schooling is better than ours, perhaps not, but that’s not the issue. However, their schooling teaches them loyalty whereas ours teaches our children street smarts.

Morra: Here too there is still a lot to be done. Thank you very much, Judge.

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 05:10 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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Little hand of Italy, by Dario Fo #nottedellonestà

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Text - Dario Fo - The Night of Honesty

“I’ll be honest. I’m sorry, but I feel it’s no use turning language upside down to avoid excessive injury to our sense of patriotism and civic pride. Let us be very careful. Let’s take a deep breath. Let’s be blunt. We are a nation of thieves. Stop! Ooops - I’ve made a mistake in how I put that. According to the statistics, the number of thefts in Italy from shops, banks, charity boxes in the churches is at a level that is definitely acceptable. In fact, we are on average to be classed as a people of mediocre petty-thieves. But it’s theft from the public purse where we excel at levels that are unimaginable. For example, tax dodging amounts to 180 billion euro a year. Watch out! Who are the major players contributing to this figure? Almost exclusively just 10% of the population: owners of major industrial companies, top managers, bankers, etc.... Basically, the people who’ve got lots. The remaining 90% - it’s incredible – pay their taxes. They work and they pay their taxes. But then the scandals get added in.
In Venice, the city of people in love, a few months ago there was the “Moses” scandal. What happened? Well, there were 35 people arrested, - including the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni and an arrest warrant was issued for the former governor, Giancarlo Galan. One billion Euro disappeared in kickbacks and consultancy fees and the Finance Police confiscated goods whose value amounted to about 40 million Euro. Alberto Scaramuzza, the Venice judge investigating the affair declared that the people under investigation were thought to have “ made their public office (that they were duty bound to protect) subservient to the interests of the criminal business group and they took advantage of an impressive array of personal benefits”, and the Venice prosecutor, Nordio, said that the method of distributing the kickbacks was “more complex and more sophisticated than Tangentopoli”. What a great people we are! We are also able to do better than ourselves!
But let’s shift our gaze to Milan, where another great scandal, the scandal of Expo 2015, was defined by the Financial Times to be analogous to the scandal that brought down the world of Italian politics at the beginning of the 1990s. And in both Venice and Milan, the investigations discovered that people on the right and on the left were involved. Even in matters of corruption, the “par condicio” {principle of fair exposure for all political hues} has to be respected! There’s even been talk of a “ Mafia high command” sharing out the contracts for the construction of the site for the universal exhibition: Expo 2015. And do you want to know how many years in prison got handed out to the people convicted of this massive thieving from the State? Well, the maximum sentence was three years and four months! That meant they were freed immediately.


...

Get him! Arrest him! Call the police! Catch the thief! ”.
And so everything gets destroyed by the theatricals, by the play-acting, just like in the theatre. The situations pop up at such a rhythm that no one can keep up. Each bit of fraudulent behaviour gets absorbed, forgotten. And let’s not forget, behind these operations that are in fact publicity activities, there’s always the government. It uses various manoeuvres and under-the-counter activities and always manages to bring down a veil of silence over any situations that might embarrass them. In the text of a law a tiny little clause added at the last moment turns up unexpectedly, and strangely it seems to be there to resolve the problems of a certain person who has been sentenced to prison after a conviction for tax fraud - and in this way he could come back into politics. And immediately up jumps the President of the Council and shouts: “Never fear! Everything’s in order! I added that! It was my little hand that did that!”. “Ah well then! That’s quite another thing! We have a president with a little hand! Long live the little hand! Little hand of Italy, Italy has woken, Bound Scipio's helmet Upon her head. Where is Victory? Let her bow down, for God created her Slave of Silvio“.” Dario Fo


Posted on January 25, 2015 at 07:16 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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Quantitative Easing: money’s going to the banks and not to the companies

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“The fears relating to Quantitative Easing (QE) have turned out to be unfounded. Before Mario Draghi spoke, there were two thorny issues worrying the M5S.

THE CONSTRAINTS ON THE REAL ECONOMY
We are talking about a measure involving more than 1000 billion euro to be used for buying bonds to finance the public debt of European States. The problem is that, given that the ECB’s mandate prevents it from directly financing states, all this new wave of liquidity will once more go to the banks, that are already stuffed full of State bonds. The hope is that they will reuse the money to loan more to families and to companies, in such a way that there’ll be an increase in the level of inflation (- that has collapsed to a record low - far lower than the ECB’s aim of of 2%), that will in turn stimulate consumption and investment. It’s the same old story - and it has however, never worked. Because in spite of the billions received from the ECB, the banks have still not unblocked the loans to families and to companies.

HISTORY SHOWS US WHAT HAPPENS
As happened before with the previous manoeuvres and the various LTROs, the banks that are overwhelmed with unpaid debts amounting to 181 billion Euro, prefer to reinvest the liquidity in financial activity. And they are doing this also to meet the requirements relating to capital that is kept under observation by the ECB acting in its new role as a supervisory body, and paradoxically this helps to remove incentives relating to that very activity of providing credit that people are saying is to be encouraged.

MARKET DOMINATION
If, however the banks are not passing on liquidity to the families and the SMEs there’ll be no way of stimulating consumption and investment, and above all, there’ll be no significant impact on inflation. In reality, the liquidity will be seen only in the financial markets, and will further increase the turnover of the banks and the financial institutions and thus will increase the risk of instability and speculative bubbles.



...

WHAT THE M5S IS PROPOSING
There is however something, simple, banal and immediate that can be done to make QE become a real opportunity for the citizens and for the economy, something that is different from the usual financial speculation. the ECB could bring in the condition that the banks must use the liquidity to buy five year state bonds at an interest rate of zero, and this would provide a different, innovative and ethical way of financing the public accounts. State bonds liberated from these interest rates that in these 4 years have cost us more than 300 billion euro and they represent the umpteenth tool for transferring wealth from the pockets of the citizens to the banks, to speculators and to the privileged few. This would make it possible to direct the liquidity into the only functioning channel when the transmission of the monetary policy has stopped working: into public spending that has been drastically cut in the last few years - thus eliminating essential services, with devastating consequences for the economy. With the 90 billion euro thus collected, the Italian State could implement something that would have an extraordinary impact: providing a citizen’s income for at least five years. This is our counter-proposal: let the ECB provide liquidity and therefore help to further reduce interest rates, and let the banks provide the finance for public spending without speculating, thus the State will save billions in interest payments and it will provide real support to consumption and to the real economy, - something that monetary policy has not managed to provide in the last 5 years.” Marco Valli, M5S spokesperson Europe

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 08:15 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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Renzie: out with their names #fuoriinomi

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We’ve got to the last few days before voting starts to elect a new President of the Republic and just one thing is certain: the names of the candidates will be decided by just two people that will have a discussion behind closed doors to think about the candidates and the (basically personal) advantage that each of the people making the decision will gain from each candidate. This is the negation of democracy. The two guys Berlusconi and Renzi are expecting to be officially forming the National Single Party (it already exists and has been voting as such in parliament ever since the first meeting in via del Nazareno a year ago - happy birthday!!!) and they will tell their people unconstitutionally appointed to sit in parliament the names of the people to vote for and this will result in the selection of the President of Nazareno, who will thus have been selected by a person who has been definitively convicted - and who in exchange will get pardoned by means of the new enabling law on the tax reform with the reassurance that his concessions for the national TV and radio frequencies will not be disrupted. The opposition entities have no part to play in this plan. It’s a done deal. It’s a stitch up. The magnificent pair of men only need to involve the opposition entities to get them to fight among themselves, to blackmail each other, if necessary, to come up with something, as happened for the voting on the electoral law. The names that the M5S might have put forward would all be thrown aside - as happened in 2013. This is why we are asking Renzie before voting begins, give us the names of the possible candidates as you have repeatedly said you will do in your role as president of the majority party. That way, we can display them on the Internet and let our signed up members express their preferences. Knock, knock! Renzie knock once for democracy. Beppe Grillo and Gianroberto Casaleggio

Find the “anti-Euro” signing table that’s nearest to where you live by clicking on this map
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PS: Your contribution to the exit-the-Euro-referendum is important:
- organise your own signing station and indicate the details on this map (constantly updated)
- download, print and hand out the fliers (1. Reasons for an exit from the Euro 2. Frequently Asked Questions about the Euro)
- tell all your friends and acquaintances about this new website dealing with the referendum http://www.beppegrillo.it/fuoridalleuro

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 06:30 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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One of these four will succeed #presidential

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by Aldo Giannuli

“As we slowly get nearer to the starting line, the names of the most probable candidates for the position of President of the Republic start to line up. It’s easy to predict that the first stage will be to find a candidate in the area of the “Nazareno”, that is a person who is pleasing to both Renzi and Berlusconi. It can be taken for granted that this will have to be a man who is a member of the PD, or at least aligned with the PD as the PD electoral college accounts for about 440 votes. Il Cavaliere Berlusconi has said he is prepared to vote for a PD person, as long as that person was not formerly in the PCI (the communist party), (so that excludes D’Alema, Bersani, and Fassino; and the only probable exception is Veltroni who has retroactively declared himself to be a “Non communist” ). From this starting point, we can identify three possible candidates: Giuliano Amato, Sergio Mattarella and Pierluigi Castagnetti, and we could add the ”exception” - namely: Veltroni.
Let’s start off by having a look at each of these candidates and consider how many votes they might get. Let’s have a look at certain estimates involving 5 possible groupings relating to the PD-Forza Italia friendship referred to as “Nazareni”: Pure and strong Nazareni, soft Nazareni, soft Antinazareni, “strong” Antinazareni, and “land of conquest”:
strong” Nazareni 328 (pure and non-organised Renzi-followers, Franceschini-followers, Veltroni-followers; Berlusconi-followers; Scelta civica)
soft“ Nazareni 157 (Bersani-followers, “Young Turks” , Ncd, Gruppo per l’Italia)
soft“ Antinazareni 121 (various PD members, Sel, and former M5S)
strong“ Antinazareni 371 (cuperliani, civatiani, fittiani, Gal, M5S, Lega, FdI)
land of conquest” 31 (independents, mixed)
Obviously, these are rough estimates in a state of flux.

Giuliano AMATO: 77 years old, from Turin, university professor, political parties: Psi, CV worthy of a “heavy weight” (twice President of the Council, Deputy President of the Council, Minister of the Treasury and Minister of the Interior, President of the Competition Watchdog, parliamentarian from 1983 to 1994 and then in the XV legislature; Deputy Secretary of the Psi; currently a constitutional judge); undeniable reputation as a lawyer, also highly thought of as an economist.

...

Maximum 558 votes.
On average about 513 votes. Definitely on thin ice.

Sergio MATTARELLA: 72 years old, from Palermo, university professor, political parties: Dc-Ppi-Margherita, CV worthy of a “middleweight” (Deputy President of the Council and a Minister on many occasions, a parliamentarian non-stop for more than 25 years, creator of the first majoritarian electoral law (nick-named “Mattarellum”), currently a constitutional judge), a person of indisputable honesty, never involved in any scandals, – apart from the 1993 electoral law his name is not connected to anything memorable and he has a rather weak “cursus honorum” for someone aspiring to be the President of the Republic, but like Andreotti, he can always say: “I’m a middleweight but when I look around me, I can see no giants”.

...

Let’s say between 475 and 585 votes
Average: 530. Better than Amato but still on thin ice.

Pierluigi CASTAGNETTI: 70 years old, from Reggio Emilia, political parties: DC-PPI-Margherita, CV worthy of a “flyweight” (Secretary of PPI, Vice president of the Lower House, parliamentarian for nearly 30 years, Chair of Parliamentary Committee many times, MEP). On just one occasion he was involved in a scandal involving a small kickback but the trial finished in being out of time in accordance with the Statute of Limitations (that wouldn’t be the worst sin for a Head of State).

...


We could predict an average of about 510 votes - not many.
However, if there turns out to be an impasse, he could out to be a great candidate if at the end of the day many are willing to accept a “colourless president”.

Out of range, but still worth taking into consideration:
Walter VELTRONI: 60 years old, from Rome, political parties: PCI-PDS-DS-PD. CV worthy of a “heavy weight” (director of l’Unità, (Communist Party newspaper), Party Secretary first of the DS and then of the PD, Mayor of Rome, Deputy President of the Council, Minister). In spite of the numerous positions he’s held, he’s never had great success: as Secretary of the DS and of the PD he led his party into two electoral defeats: in 2001 the DS reached their lowest point in history and in 2008 the PD achieved 33% of the vote but the left wing coalition (that included the IdV) reached its lowest ever position. When he was Mayor of Rome, at the end of his term of office, the left wing lost the city.

...

Basically, he’s a turbulent character who’s had to be rescued by his brother a few times. Now it seems that he’s been turfed out of his house because he didn’t make the annual payment of 19,000 Euro to the Region of Lazio. We can see that he’s he’s got problems once more. Walter Veltroni is considered to be Renzi’s precursor. And when you think about it, since he already collaborates with Mediaset (as a cinema critic) he would be perfect for the role of Nazareno producer.
Probability of getting elected? Pretty low, I’d say. I reckon he wouldn’t get more than 480-490 votes." Aldo Giannuli

Find the “anti-Euro” signing table that’s nearest to where you live by clicking on this map
banchettieuro_d.jpg

PS: Your contribution to the exit-the-Euro-referendum is important:
- organise your own signing station and indicate the details on this map (constantly updated)
- download, print and hand out the fliers (1. Reasons for an exit from the Euro 2. Frequently Asked Questions about the Euro)
- tell all your friends and acquaintances about this new website dealing with the referendum http://www.beppegrillo.it/fuoridalleuro

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Posted on January 21, 2015 at 04:59 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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#IndovinaChiVieneaCena - Guess who’s coming to dinner

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In the picture, from left to right: Marcello Dell'Utri, Matteo Salvini, Alessandra Moretti, and Raffaella Paita

Guess who’s coming to dinner. We’re not talking about the film starring Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier, but about Renzie’s chums - and a great big Rome-style eating frenzy.
Who sat down to dinner and shelled out at least 1,000 Euro to finance the PD? Renzie is hiding behind the veil of privacy, or one could say behind a veil of “omertà” for a number of reasons. A left wing party that gets money from Buzzi is not creating a good impression."There were five of us who enjoyed Renzi’s fundraising dinner and we paid 1000 Euro each", said Claudio Bolla, who’s not just anybody. He’s one of the members of the “29 June” cooperative led by Salvatore Buzzi and he is considered to be his right-hand-man in managing the cooperative. "There was myself, Buzzi, Guarany and another two people that don’t have positions of responsibility....." The list of the paying guests at the dinner that took place in the Palace of the Three Fountains has not yet been published on the PD’s website. And it’s being jealously guarded in the desk of the party treasurer, Francesco Bonifazi who’s a Renzi-follower and an MP. There’s no way of knowing who’s on the list. Perhaps they are even ashamed.
Renzie is losing so many PD party members (and also the money they pay to get an election “ticket”). And the new opportunity to allocate 0.2 per cent of the income tax you pay to a political party is just providing him with a few crumbs. The delinquents pay higher sums than the manual workers and the pensioners. By now, the typical PD-voter is a broker, a financier or a member of the criminal group called the ”banda della Magliana”. This is all speculation and it’s not doing Renzie’s reputation any good. Thus we’re saying “out with the names” in the name of transparency and in the name of the radiant sun of what’s to come. Guess who’s coming to dinner We’re inviting anyone with images of the dinner, perhaps even a selfie with CiccioBomba, to publish them on Twitter using the hashtag: #IndovinaChiVieneaCena {Guess who’s coming to dinner}. They will be published on the blog.

Find the “anti-Euro” signing table that’s nearest to where you live by clicking on this map
banchettieuro_d.jpg

PS: Your contribution to the exit-the-Euro-referendum is important:
- organise your own signing station and indicate the details on this map (constantly updated)
- download, print and hand out the fliers (1. Reasons for an exit from the Euro 2. Frequently Asked Questions about the Euro)
- tell all your friends and acquaintances about this new website dealing with the referendum http://www.beppegrillo.it/fuoridalleuro

cale_altavor.jpg

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 06:31 PM in | Post a comment | ListenListen
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List all the posts of January 2015

Beppe Grillo Meetups

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Groups 372 Members 76.596
Cities 281 Countries 10

Books and DVDs

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Check out the books and DVDs of Beppe Grillo (service in Italian)

Initiatives


Clean Up Parliament

Map of Power


Awards

Webby award
14th Annual Webby Awards Official Honoree Selections

Interviews


Tegenlicht - Beppe Grillo's Interview

"De toekomst van Europa volgens Beppe Grillo"

(Tegenlicht TV)

International Press Review

The New Yorker
"Beppe's Inferno"

Times
"The Comic Who Shook Italy"
(The video | Related post)

Forbes
"The Web Celeb 25"
(Related post)

BBC
"Meeting Italy's silenced satirist"

AlJazeera
People and power: "Beppe's Blog"

TIME magazine
TIME.com's First Annual Blog Index
(related post)