October 30, 2013

Rome - the last stop - Professor Tamburrino

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Professor Tamburrino who specialises in transportation systems, has prepared the strategic plan for public transportation in Rome. Transport in Rome is a big problem. Transport resources have been consumed by the massive Metro C project, the symbol of the mess ups that, for too many years, have been carried out by both the right and the left, at the expense of the citizens. “The people of Rome don’t know anything about this. For example, they don’t know that building work at the Colosseum will go on for at least 7 years and for 7 years there’ll be major repercussions in relation to tourism.

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Improve transportation facilities
My name is Antonio Tamburrino. Greetings to all the friends of Beppe Grillo’s Blog. I specialise in transportation systems and I’ve prepared the strategic plan for public transportation in Rome. I believe that this topic is fundamental for the city’s present and future. As regards transportation systems, Rome is a century behind the other European capitals. When Paris, London, and New York were completing their metropolitan underground railway systems, Rome was having the inauguration of he horse-drawn trams. And from then on we have not made up the delay that has built up. If we don’t manage to sort out these issues we will continue to slide down towards underdevelopment.”
Today in most big cities, most of the journeys people make, take place on public transport networks. These are increasingly more efficient and more functional. People have no regrets at all that they aren’t using private vehicles. Transportation systems in Paris, London, Madrid and Barcelona have up to 75% of journeys taking place on fixed structures for light railways, trams, railways, and so on. So only 25% of journeys happen using private vehicles and these are what need more space and cause more pollution and more accidents. For Rome, the numbers are the opposite. Only 25% of journeys take place on public transport systems. So a good 50% of journeys have to be shifted from private vehicles to public transport. We have more than 700 cars per thousand inhabitants. The most advanced metropolitan cities have less than half that ratio. Rome normally has 2 million cars. We need to get rid of at least a million cars.

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What’s the problem? It’s that we’ve got a political class that is definitely not up to the task. They are closed in on themselves. They basically care about their election circuits and they have no vision for the future of this city. And this situation has come into being with the issue of the third metro line or “metro C”. We have not seen any sign of modernity in the planning phase, in gathering the ideas of the citizens, in attention to the financial and economic issues. We have seen nothing of all this. And it’s on this that we should have the turning point. This is why I believe that the Metro C is the fundamental issue. If we have no new vision for this, then there’s no hope for the reawakening of the city. Compared to the progress in the other capital cities, it’ll always be arriving late, always underdeveloped. If we are happy to accept this destiny, we can stay like this. Otherwise, let’s start to tell the public about thee issues. Let’s discuss this stuff. Let’s come up with alternative solutions. Let’s listen to the views of the people. Let’s also get involved in the political management of a modern city.
Professor Antonio Tamburrino, expert on transportation systems

You could find these posts interesting:

Story of a taxi-driver
Italy’s blind alley
The owner of the small and medium sized enterprise, man of the year

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 05:12 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 06, 2012

TAV - not now - not ever - Alberto Perino

tav_lione.jpg

“In the last few days, all the TV stations have been screening scenes showing that at Maddalena di Chiomonte work has started on the tunnel, the one that we have defined as the “hole with the mafia around it”. Well that building work is absolutely illegal!. It is unauthorised. It is in violation of Italian law. But it is defended by the Police, the Finance Police and the Carabinieri! The definitive project was approved by the Comitato Interministeriale per la Programmazione Economica {Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning} in November 2010. These people haven’t been able to present the detailed design in two years. The plan contained 137 obligatory regulations that should have been included in the detailed design. Now given that this has not been presented, the work going on is unauthorised. There are violations relating to the building regulations. This property should be sequestered. But the Turin magistracy is saying nothing about this and about the related illegality. This is the Europe of the bankers. They are limiting themselves to the sequestration of the “No TAV” encampments. This is Europe. This is the work of the world government of the banks that we must oppose with all our strength." Alberto Perino

Presentation by Alberto Perino, leader of Notav

The agreement that goes against the Constitution
“Greetings to the friends of Beppe Grillo’s blog. On 3 December in Lyons, the bigwigs of Italy and of France, a load of Ministers, the French President of the Republic, and the Italian Prime Minister, Monti signed a 16 page agreement that ended with a common declaration. It was the thirtieth Franco-Italian summit. OK. In that 16 page document there are three lines, just three lines talking about the Turin-Lyons train line. These lines are nothing. They say: France and Italy confirm the strategic interest in the project relating to the new Turin-Lyons train line.
It’s a matter of priority infrastructure, not just for the countries, but for the whole of the European Union. France and Italy have adopted a separate declaration on this topic, a declaration that no one has seen.



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A hole with the mafia around it
One detail says in article 10 point 1 letter D that anyone suffering a disadvantage while the work is carried out on Italian territory, should put in a claim to the French authorities. This is unconstitutional!
But what’s absurd is that this agreement that they signed on 30 January 2012 says at the third comma of article 1: " the present agreement, does not have the objective of allowing the start of the actual work in the common area of France and Italy as that will necessitate the approval of a separate additional protocol, taking into account that there is the definitive participation of the European Union in the project.”



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Prisoners in France
On 03 December 650 in 12 coaches made an attempt to go to Lyons for a peaceful demonstration. We asked for a square where we could demonstrate our dissent to the High Speed line. They agreed to this. They allocated us a square in front of the station, the old station of Des Broteaux. OK. They did everything to stop us getting there! They blocked the coaches earlier at the exit from the Frejus tunnel. Then they blocked them again at the first motorway service station. Then they blocked them again at the motorway toll point, at the barrier just before Lyons. So basically it took us 9 hours to get to Lyons.
When we got there they escorted us to a hen house. To this square that was closed in with metal barriers in all the surrounding roads. There was no toilet that we could use. They’d closed them all. They had asked for the only bar to be closed but thanks be to God, that stayed open and the owner said: "As long as there are customers, I’ll go on working. "
This is something that is not right!

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This is Europe. This is the Europe of governments acting as doormats to the bankers This is the work of the world government of the banks that we must oppose with all our strength.
Thanks and greetings to all.”

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 04:45 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

May 03, 2012

The violent seal of the law

Trial of Beppe Grillo and the “No Tav” people because of a seal
(03:03)
Torino_processo_No_Tav.jpg This morning I and a score of “NoTav” people were in Turin for a trial. I’m a defendant “in the dock” as the newspapers and the newsagents say, the ones who would like to see me “behind bars”. The event was even broadcast live on the web. I don’t remember the same attention being given even to the trials of Bassolino and Dell'Utri.
The charge is one of those hard ones, of having violated the seals on a wooden hut built in the area where the work for the TAV is due to happen. I admit that I entered the hut and that I ate polenta without insisting on getting a receipt. I even drank some wine. However I didn’t have any grappa. I turned that down. When I arrived there was no seal. The door was open. That’s confirmed by a news item from ANSA. "CHIOMONTE (Turin), 5 December - Beppe Grillo, leader of the “MoVimento 5 Stelle” {5 Star MoVement}, today went into the hut put up by the “No Tav” campaign group, violating the seals placed by the magistracy. In fact the seals had already been blown away by the wind. People are talking about cutting the costs of the State. But how much does it cost to have twenty people on trial for a broken seal? A justice of the peace was enough, a half hour of discussion and if a crime were found to have been committed, an administrative sanction, a fine. The TAV costs 22 billion to transport quantity of goods that has been constantly decreasing for a decade. It will be finished in fifteen years time. Work that will fatten up the red and white cooperatives, the lobbies, and through them, the parties, with future infiltration of the 'ndrangheta that in Piedmont is in third place after Calabria and Lombardy. This disgrace and colossal waste of public money, while Italy is at risk of default, is calling out to God for a vendetta. Where’s the Court of Accounts? Why is no one investigating the real reasons for the TAV? It’ll be tough!

PS: Follow the 2012 electoral tour. Participate using the hash tag #m5sTour on Twitter and on Youtube or using the tag "MoVimento Cinque Stelle” on your photos and Facebook posts.

Today 3 May, I’ll be in piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in Racconigi at 5:00 pm; in piazza Ellero in Mondovì at 7:30 pm; and finally at 9:30 pm in piazza Virginio in Cuneo.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 02:50 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

February 29, 2012

The TAV is a mountain of shit

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Why does the TAV have to be done? In the last few years I’ve thought long and hard, right from the first post published on the blog way back in the distant past in 2005 after the attack by the Police on the people of the Valley at Venaus.
The TAV is a useless bit of work and even an imbecile if he had the information would understand that. The startling cost of 22 billion to be paid almost completely by the tax payers (even the partial financing from the EU is derived from the contributions that we pay to Europe). A goods line in a valley where there is already in existence a train line with a maximum of 50% transported in relation to the effective capacity and in constant decline for ten years. A 52 kilometre tunnel that will be finished in 12 to 15 years having been planned 25 years before, inside a mountain that is rich in asbestos. This in a country where there is not enough money for health, for local transport, for education. A ragged-arsed country that squeezes us like lemons, is throwing 22 billion down the bog for a useless hole.
If the TAV is so useless it thus means that it is very useful for someone. If it’s not possible to turn back, it means that the System is not in the political or economic conditions, or in connections with organised crime, to do so. Perhaps they have already received kickbacks and they are not in a position to return them? One can ask a thousand questions about the waste of public money with no apparent reason. Why is Passera so openly in favour of the TAV? Perhaps IntesaSanpaolo has interests in the work? What role have the banks in this gigantic predation? Passera has not been elected by ANYONE and yet he is having a go at teaching the people of the Val di Susa about democracy while Rigor Montis acts as lookout. What is the role of organised crime in this custard pie created by the delirium of politics? Why did ‘ndrangheta people whose phones were tapped in Turin, say to vote for Fassino as mayor?
Against the people of the Val di Susa, the people of Power have lined up tightly packed, without shame, without imposing any limits of decency on themselves. From “Libero” to “La Repubblica”, from Belpietro to Scalfari, from the Lega to the PDL, from Bersani’s red cooperatives to Lunardi’s white cooperatives. If they lose, they'll go home and the public works that are of use only to the parties and the lobbies and the public debt will stop in the whole of Italy; works like “La Gronda” or the “Expo” in Milan. The parties will collapse. Perhaps someone will end up in prison. The TAV is a mountain of shit and anyone who wants it to happen is an Alpine Guide. After twenty years I feel the arrival of a new “Tangentopoli”. The wind is blowing and it’s the warm wind of Spring. They will never give up. Neither will we.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:28 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (5) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

October 27, 2011

High speed corruption - Ferdinando Imposimato

High speed corruption
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Ferdinando Imposimato is a magistrate who has always been opposed to the criminal management of the high speed network, starting with the stretch between Rome and Naples. For this reason, he has been marginalised in a bipartisan way by the parties and excluded from the Antimafia Committee. Judge Imposimato believes that the same risks of mafia infiltration can also be seen in the useless high speed TAV project in the Val di Susa. A project that is absolutely of no use unless to share out 22 billion at the expense of the citizens. In Italy, nothing functions. Monterosso no longer exists because of the lack of care on the part of the politicians. We’ll be retiring at age 67 and it’ll be possible to sack someone without good reasons, all this so as to pay the public debt created by profiteers who don’t stop, who never stop.

Interview with Ferdinando Imposimato, magistrate and former Senator,:

The hands of the mafia on high speed
Hi to the friends of Beppe Grillo. I am Ferdinando Imposimato, a former senator and a former member of the Antimafia Commission. Until 1992, I dealt with the “high speed” projects, because the “high speed” project in Campania was a factor that was destabilising and polluting democracy. From the moment that work started on the “high speed” projects, the mafia-type criminal organisations started planting bombs to discourage all the healthy companies in Campania and in other regions of Italy. When I was given the task of investigating criminality in Campania, I chose to concentrate on the “high speed” projects. I got the Police, the Carabinieri and the Finance Police to find out about the relationships between the “high speed” projects and the companies of organised crime and with the politicians that had relations with organised crime and after about a year starting from these questions that I asked the specialist teams within the State Police, the Carabinieri and the Finance Police, it turned out that this public work cost 100 times more than the cost to realise the works and not just that, but it was verified that many big companies did absolutely nothing, but they took the kickbacks of 30/40% and these companies that were the owners of the big daily papers, the big newspapers, like for example, Il Corriere della Sera, like Il Messaggero, like other newspapers, such as Il Mattino, and I realised that the State paid for this “high speed” that I considered to be absolutely useless given that for the journey between Rome and Naples it cut the journey time by 10 to 15 minutes while it was costing thousands of billions. I wrote a report that I presented to the Commission for discussion. Unfortunately, it turned out that not only the politicians on the Right and in the Centre were involved, but even the politicians of the Left were. I was greatly embarrassed, however I could do nothing other than denounce the facts as they were without making an exception for anyone, in that I could not, even though I had been elected in the ranks of the Left as an independent, I could absolutely not gloss over the participation in this activity of corruption and even of collusion with organised crime, of all the politicians that had been indicated to me by the Finance Police, by the Carabinieri and by the State Police. Thus it happened that I went to discuss this report and I found myself completely isolated. Because all the members of the Antimafia Commission didn’t take part in the sessions.

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The TAV in Val di Susa is a useless project
I tried to carry out an investigation in an objective way and so I turned to the State’s investigative bodies and I turned to the magistrates. I prepared 24 precise questions, without referring to anyone. I said: “Let the investigative sections of the Finance Police find out what are the results of the “high speed” projects, what are the advantages, what are the costs, the companies, any possible relationships between the companies involved in the “high speed” projects with organised crime and with politicians and what is the effective cost.”

What really struck me is that while “high speed” projects cost a lot, on the other hand there were labourers who were striking because they weren’t being paid and they were working unofficially, off the books. I’m talking about labourers working in Campania, in Lazio, on the stretch between Naples and Rome. Obviously this matter extended to other parts of Italy, because I also went to have a look in Florence, even with the support of Idra, this association that is fighting the “high speed” project in Florence. What were the results? There too there was the infiltration of the mafia and of the camorra and disproportionate expenses and above all there was destruction and the safety of people was put at risk because of tunnels that were harming environments that were the heritage of humanity. I am definitely against the “high speed” project in Val di Susa, because I believe that in that there would be a repeat of the same situation that I and so many other colleagues have uncovered in the Centre and in the South and in the north of Italy, that is enrichment, kickbacks, destruction of the environment with minimum advantages. Not just that, there would also be an increase in the public debt that would be then charged to the citizens.

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Era il mio paese

Era il mio paese {It was my country} - by Eugenio Benetazzo
Il futuro che attende l'Italia.{The future awaiting Italy}
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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 06:51 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (4) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

July 31, 2011

103.3 Travel news

Autostrada vuota
(02:28)
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This summer I’m often in my car for my short summer tour. I listen to the radio. The channel 103.3 Isoradio travel news. The broadcast that tells you why you have been in a queue for two hours or that in 20 kilometres there’s an accident. It’s useful and I’m not joking. At least you know why you are waiting while 40 degrees of heat are battering the bodywork. In fact, usually, when the traffic starts to flow again, you find no traces that explain why the road was blocked. You’ve still got that doubt. “Who on earth was that imbecile that overturned” “At least it must have been something serious to interrupt he motorway for hours.” If you know you feel better. You haven’t suffered in vain. It’s 103.3 that tells you!
At the weekend, something extraordinary happened. Listeners called in, in a state of exultation and wonder, between surprise and dismay. Empty motorways like bowling alleys. One who travels frequently on the Salerno - Reggio Calabria couldn’t believe his eyes! There was not even a dog moving around during the long weekend of the “black mark”. It was the same situation on the Rome – Naples, and on the “Adriatica”. A radio scenario of the “day after” or the announcement of something? Something that is still indistinct, but inexorable. Perhaps the end of a detestable era.
If one day I find myself thinking of the day when everything changed, perhaps I will remember a summer evening, the radio, the empty motorway in front of me and a strange sense of peace. No one with their headlights on or overtaking on the right like one possessed by the devil. I even took my foot off the accelerator, it almost seemed as though I was disturbing people. What’s happening? The Italians have a particular sensitivity. They know when their life will suddenly turn in a new direction. They’re getting ready in good time. They’re going "to the mattresses". It’s an instinct developed over thousands of years of History. Tourism has suddenly collapsed. Even the “short break” type at the weekends. People are falling back on the one-day holiday. You see them coming back to the city in the evening with the car overflowing with bags, bicycles, skateboards, and baby buggies. You ask:”Is that the end of the holidays?” They reply: “No, just a day out in the open air for a picnic.” 103.3, end of July 2011, a magic moment.

Soldi rubati - di Nunzia Penelope

Soldi rubati - by Nunzia Penelope
I cittadini sono poveri perché i delinquenti sono ricchi {The citizens are poor because the delinquents are rich}
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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:48 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

July 01, 2011

A useless 22 billion tunnel - Marco Ponti

A useless tunnel for 22 billion
(06:00)
valle-contro-potere
If there’s the tiniest doubt, there’s no doubt at all, as Robert De Niro said in one of his really famous films. So if there is not A SINGLE reason to create the TAV in Val di Susa. It’s not worth it economically- it will cost 22 billion compared to non-existent benefits. It’s not good for the environment – it will destroy a valley. It’s no good for commercial traffic – in continual decline in the last 10 years on the current track. SO what’s the use? Why are the prosecutors’ offices not carrying out investigations on the waste of public money? Is it acceptable that while we are in the abyss of default and Tremorti is launching a package worth 47 billion in cuts and taxes that 22 billion euro (OUR MONEY dear penny-paper hacks, not that of the EU)? This monstrous and improbable endeavour is due to finish in twenty years time. But what is it? You are taking us for a ride and do you even expect us to believe you?
Today, professor Marco Ponti, one of the few who are publicly supporting the people of the Val di Susa, explains to us why the TAV is useless. We are anxiously waiting for the voice of the totems of the country, from Mario Monti, to Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, to Mario Draghi, ever absent, ever silent.

Interview with Marco Ponti, professor at the Politecnico di Milano

Marco Ponti - I am Marco Ponti, ordinary professor in the economics of transport at Milan Polytechnic.
Blog - Is the TAV in Val di Susa necessary for transport between Italy and France? Marco Ponti -That line wouldn’t seem to be indispensable, it would certainly have a very low priority in relation to other interventions because the costs are really high and the traffic, always going with the official figures, is really low, among the lowest of all the Italian valleys through the Alps.
Blog -What are the costs and what are the benefits of this endeavour? Marco Ponti -The costs that are officially forecast are for the whole line, not just the basic tunnel. That is 22 billion euro, but usually these forecasts are lower than the real costs. The Italian high speed train cost three times the amount forecast; the benefits for passengers are significant; but in this case the forecast number of passengers is very low, the line should thus be essentially for the transport of goods, but the goods traffic right now is three million tons a year and it has been in decline in the last 10 years and this seems to have limited growth prospects, because in the future it will have competition from the new Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland that goes more or less in the same direction. It seems unlikely that the traffic will saturate the existing line that can carry up to 20 million tons without spending one euro, it’s unlikely to go over that threshold.
Blog -Why are the parties so persistent about this project that many people believe to be useless? Marco Ponti -There’s a strange story that everything to do with railways deserves a load of public money, while the road system that carries 90% of goods and passengers and even commuters, we have to remember, seems to be seen as the demon because of pollution but it doesn’t make technical sense, nor from the environmental point of view.
Blog -Is this enormous environmental impact justifiable? Marco Ponti -The environmental impact for any new construction project is pretty high, if the project is very useful then perhaps the benefits even the environmental ones can be more important than the emissions from the construction work, but in this case, given the really big doubts about the usefulness of the project, there’s also the risk that from the environmental point of view the shifting of traffic from road to rail is very low and thus the benefits in the reduction of the environmental impact are very low. They are forecasting 14 trains a day where the capacity is 250. Goods traffic on rail is in decline in the whole of Europe with very few exceptions. Even in France rail traffic is in decline because the things that we produce are not raw materials, bricks or wood or coal, those things that went by rail two centuries ago. Today we are producing Armani outfits and microchips that it’s more or less impossible to put on trains, if we want to increase the capacity of the rail system, but there’s no need. It’s much better to intervene with technologies that cost much less and can do quite a good job at dealing with any likely increases in demand, if the increases in demand happen, but up until now they have been like a flat encephalogram. I have to remember that the road system is overused in the whole of Europe, whereas the rail system is over subsidised and even still it’s the road system that wins out. Why’s that? Is it because people are stupid and wicked? No. It’s probably because there are structural reasons that explain this. We have lifestyles and types of production that no longer are in agreement with the rail system.

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Grillo e i 3 giorni che sconvolsero l'Italia

Grillo e i 3 giorni che sconvolsero l'Italia {Grillo and the 3 days that turned Italy upside down} (3 DVDs + Book)
A voice in the desert of Italian conformism.

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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:12 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 05, 2010

An aircraft carrier underneath Piazza Venezia

An aircraft carrier underneath Piazza Venezia
(17:00)
copertina-metroc.jpg
An iron metro without stops going 40 metres below the historical centre of Rome costing 5 billion. Not even a think tank made up of Caligula, Nero and Heliogabalus could have done worse. What imperial madness didn’t achieve, Rutelli and Berlusconi did. God makes them and then He messes them up.

Interview with Antonio Tamburrino, expert on transport systems
Rutelli’s great refusal
”Good day to you. I am Professor Tamburrino and I deal with the issues of transport in Rome. Rome is a very special situation, because it is a city that has been in the same location for at least 3 thousand years and it was the first city in the history of civilisation in which the issues of traffic were resolved in a novel and scientific way when the Roman Empire constructed 300 thousand kilometres of connecting roads and logistics that was the first effective transport network in the history of humanity. It was so efficient that Rome with only a few more than 50 legions, managed to control practically the whole of the known world, by moving its troops in less than 5 days. For that time, it was a fantastic solution.
In Rome there has been a progression of innovation 2 thousand years ago that has been an example for the whole world. Now we are living the contrary experience. The worst situation for mobility in all the capitals of Europe. Up until now, we have two lines, a really reduced network when compared to all the other capitals. It is clear that a third line is fundamental. Sixteen years ago in 1994, there was a decision to construct one. The government put aside vast sums to equip the city in preparation for the Jubilee in the year 2000. The ad hoc committees created, with an agreement among others with the Vatican City and the Italian State decided that the priority should be the third metro line. There was a good start. But then a massive problem was created because at that time the Mayor of Rome was Rutelli who decided as soon as he became Mayor in 1993, to tackle the issue of transport by signing an “iron pact” with the then administrator of the State Railways who was Lorenzo Necci. When the government basically made all the money available for the new metro C, the project was developed by Necci and thus by railway personnel. That was the fundamental error that unfortunately we are still living with, because the engineers of the railway were thinking of a railway rather than a metro.
Thus they developed a project based on these requirements: a heavy metro on iron, a train, with very high capacity, 30 – 40 thousand passengers, but with these basic parameters they immediately had a conflict with the reality and they realised that to create such a colossal project in the historical centre of Rome, with its archaeological finds, the most important in the world, was impossible because it involved destroying all the roads, the monuments, the ancient buildings and thus the Mayor who had done so much talking around the world in New York, Paris, London about the modernisation of the city with this great project, withdrew the metro project and thus lost the State financing. For example by taking the more modern metros that run on rubber, completely without drivers that were already in existence in Lille from 1982, another similar model was constructed in Turin, thus everyone can see it, much more limited and less costly, was a proposal that the government put to Rutelli, but Rutelli dropped the idea and preferred to renounce the 100% State financing rather than go for a technology that was not Italian technology, that eliminated the big construction companies from the scene. Thus in 1995, the Mayor knowingly renounced the creation of the third metro line in Rome.

The first metro in the world without stops
Then the circumstances for taking the project came about in 2001, because the government , at that time there was the Berlusconi government, and it promulgated the “Objective Law” for important public works, and the C line was inserted in the list. The scope of the project was drastically resized. Instead of 30-40 thousand passengers they decided on just 24 thousand passengers and they decided that it was no longer possible to put off having integrated automation. In fact all the basic parameters still had the character of a metro that was similar to a train. Thus a mammoth metro that was extremely costly and with a great impact. This work was put out to tender. It has gone ahead in some way as regards the suburbs thus the easiest part, from the outskirts to the East of Rome up to San Giovanni, to the Mure Aureliane {The Aurelian Walls} and from the moment that the construction work was about to start in the centre of the city, thus where the most serious problems are, all the limits have become apparent. In fact, now we have the situation that there is no more money and if there were to be a continuation of this metro, it would go across the whole of the historical centre of the city, thus the centre where there is the greatest need to transport people on the metro and no longer using automobiles, but it would go across with no stops or stations: an absolute world record in history to have a metro with no stops. It will start a new era in the technology of urban transport! The bad projects, the bad entrepreneurial interests, the political short-sightedness have acted in such a way as to carry out a project that is absolutely “anti-historic”.

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Berluscoma 2010

Berluscoma 2010 (DVD)
The sunset of the Second Republic as told by Marco Travaglio
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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:08 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (5) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

July 16, 2010

Man at kilometre zero

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"FIAT according to Gauguin"


The Earth viewed from space, from a handy crater on the moon, from one of Jupiter’s moons, as it has become in the last 100 years, one frame after another, would appear as a set of people possessed by the devil, in a state of acceleration. A nest of maddened ants rushing in every direction after the destruction of their ant hill. A fact that is incomprehensible to a being from Jupiter, but even for any old person with a modicum of common sense.
If once upon a time, the questions about our destiny were: “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” (*), now, at the time of Obligatory Transport of goods and human beings, the question has become the single one of: “Why are we on the move?” The time and the money spent for the transfers are the main investments, but also the riskiest ones, risking our lives. Driving a car is like going off to war with your wife waving a hanky at the door of your house. A million deaths every year in the world. 120,000 in Europe. We are like an aeroplane en route for God’s house with the automatic pilot set by petrol moguls, automobile manufacturers and bankers. You no longer live in order to work, but to transport. The WTO has created an infernal mechanism with goods that fly, go by sea, travel like obsessed things around the planet. The Chinese tomato, the Mexican basket, the Belgian pig, the Scottish shrimp will be the new astronauts when in the future we use immense cargo aircraft to transport them in the stratosphere.
There must be a profound reason, superior to the economic one, for this biblical self-destruction in movement, a furnace, a modern Moloch to which we sacrifice the Earth and our time. A problem more for Sigmund Freud than Adam Smith. We are investing in roads and not in connectivity. The industrial organisations have the same structure as in the nineteenth century. Teleworking via the internet has been possible for some time. But it’s always put off until tomorrow. Internet is work at kilometre zero. Companies should get incentives to decentralize. Tele-transport is no longer science fiction. You can create objects at a distance, directly in your living room at home. Internet is the new transport, of ideas, and not of merchandise. An alternative to movement exists. It’s called thought.

(*) quote comes from the painting of that name by Paul Gauguin

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:13 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

April 18, 2010

Viareggio: a disaster with no one to blame

Viareggio: a disaster with no one to blame
(9:58)
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The Ferrovie italiane {Italian Railways} have performed miracles. The 2009 accounts bear witness to that. In 4 years, the “rationalization of operating costs” have brought about a reduction of 1.1 billion euro. The net profits have grown by 175% and have arrived at 44 million euro. The people of Viareggio who died, would be happy if they knew that. The blog is publishing the denunciation made by a former technical verifier that should be taken into account by the relevant magistrates. Up until now, as far as I know, no one has been charged with the Viareggio disaster.

”I am a former worker and technical verifier of the railways. This witness statement is in support of the victims and the families of the Viareggio disaster that took place on 29.06.09. The goods wagon that caused the disaster, was derailed on 22.06.09 at Vaiano on the Florence-Bologna route. If that wagon had been checked on the spot or sent to the nearest “squadra rialzo” (workshop) by means of ultrasound laser, (a technology that was already in existence 40 years ago), they would have discovered that the axle had been damaged and it would have been substituted, involving 30 minutes’ work.
This was the procedure 40 years ago, today technology has taken giant steps forward, with high speed trains (Rome-Milan) in 3 hours. That is right for modern needs, even the reduction of the work force can be accepted, however not at the expense of railway safety; in fact the goods sector has almost been forgotten: obsolete wagons that are more than 40, 50 or 60 years old, not undergoing preventative checks, moreover, there are tanker wagons transporting really dangerous liquids that can explode. 32 people died at Viareggio, dozens of people with 60%, 70%, 80% and 95% burns all over their bodies. I started with the railways on 15.06.1970 as a skilled worker in the locomotive depot at Leghorn. Even at that time, an engineer from Florence came to check the axles. Every 1-2 years these planned checks were carried out, or if the locomotive or the wagon had been subject to even a tiny derailment, perhaps in the goods yard. Then I became a verifier, and if anything like that happened, I stopped the wagon and if there was no danger, I sent it to the nearest “squadra rialzo” (FS workshop) for a general check. My task was to check the trains that were arriving and above all those that were departing and to check the brakes, then I issued a document called a TV40 that I got the engine driver to sign in duplicate, one for me and one for him, then the station master gave the “permission to go”.
In the station, there was a station operations team, today called “formatore”, that together with the manoeuvres team, made up the train in accordance with the weight, length and destination, etc.; then the controller made a note of all the wagon identification numbers that are written on the sides of the wagons and in other places, then he issued an M18 document in duplicate that he got the engine driver or the train operator to sign. One copy stayed in the files of the departure station and one for the arrival station or the marshalling yard. Thus even if the wagon catches fire there’s a paper document or a computer document of the number of the wagons. When a train derails, at times, it takes kilometres before the train stops, thus especially if the wagon is loaded it is very very stressed and the axles are the first ones to suffer because the wheels hit on the cement sleepers. Some witnesses saw the train of the disaster giving out sparks at a distance of about 20 Km from Viareggio. Doubtless the wagon was braking and the overheating for so many kilometres, by induction acted in such a way that the axle which had already deteriorated from the torsion then broke (you can see this clearly in the photo). The almost certainty that the wagon of the disaster is the same one that was derailed in Vaiano and that in Viareggio it was the first one at the head of the train, while at Vaiano it was the last one at the tail. These types of trains have blocked composition. When they arrive at the arrival station they go to the unloading or loading point, then the locomotive goes to the depot and when it next departs, the head becomes the tail and vice versa.
I have personally many times seen wagons with braking in operation that were stopped in the station after the one where the anomaly was noted; today, unfortunately, the stations are deserted because of the reduction of staffing levels. It would have been enough to place heat detectors or video cameras connected to the ‘Dco’ {Central Operations Manager} and the train would have been stopped in time thus averting the disaster. I am making this denunciation now because just 15 days ago, photos of the derailed wagon at Vaiano came into my possession.” Menchini Marco

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:00 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

January 20, 2010

The big fat cake of the TAV in the Susa Valley

NO TAV - 19 January 2010
(0:49)
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Perhaps never before in Italian history has a public work been so useless in such an obvious way as the TAV in the Susa Valley. An engineering feat that will cost tens of billions of euro at the expense of the tax payer, on a stretch that is already served by railways and motorways, to get ready for an increase in goods traffic that will never happen, but that in fact will decrease. The TAV will end in twenty years time, when those responsible for this disastrous choice will no longer be with us. It will leave a shocking generational debt that we will pay for with our taxes and it will leave a valley turned upside down for ever. A tunnel that is 57 kilometres long that will modify the structure of the territory, including the sources of water. The funding from the EU that the politicians are talking about so much, will be useful just for a small gratuity for the companies and the mafia infiltrations that are sure to happen. In an Italy where the commuter trains are like cattle trucks and the stations are ever more dilapidated, this waste of public money, four times the amount for the Messina Bridge, is crying out for a vendetta. But if the TAV is no use, in fact it destroys, so what is the point? Only to those who will take the money and those that will let them have the money: politicians and construction companies! Tomorrow I will be in the Susa Valley to support the inhabitants. It will be difficult!
I’m publishing a letter from “Ambientevalsusa” and “Movimento No Tav” giving the reasoning of the people of the Susa Valley. Download and distribute the flier with the complete text. After reading this, no person of sane mind will want this havoc of the TAV anymore.

Dear Beppe,
We are writing to you from the Susa Valley, where at 3 o’clock in the morning on 19 January 2010, one thousand five hundred police officers in Susa have militarily taken over a private area inside the motorway link road to install one of the famous drills that should check out the terrain for the TAV line. Our elderly people in the valley say that only thieves and criminals move around at night; the people that want the TAV are evidently following the same criteria. On Sunday, the bipartisan party of the TAV, the Right, the Left, the construction companies and the various contractors will meet up at Lingotto in Turin for the famous “SI TAV” {yes to the TAV} that Chiamparino has been calling for for years. OK. Let them march. In the end they will enclose themselves in their own fortress, they will enter if invited, and it’ll be the usual well known people of politics and a few friends. The usual restricted family of business people accompanied by many people who are evidently not well informed about the damage connected to the TAV. All those of us who have been following the argument for years, feel morally obliged to tell people about the technical, economic and environmental information on this specific topic. We are inviting you to come to the valley and we are asking for your help to make known the information that follows about the infamous project of the Turin-Lyons line, information that the newspapers are obviously not giving.
The detailed information is all available on Internet websites. We are saying “thank you” to you in the name of everyone in the redaction of Ambientevalsusa and Movimento No Tav.”
Claudio Giorno

These are the main technical economic and environmental items of information that are unknown to most people:

Usefulness – The current international line between Turin and Modane is used at 30% of its actual capacity and the motorway is used at less than 50% capacity.
Traffic forecast – Up until now the traffic forecasts made by the project workers have turned out to be erroneous. They are based on the concept of infinite growth that says that for every extra point of GDP, there’ll be a growth in traffic of 1.4 points. According to the estimates, the current line should be saturated already by this year. This has not happened. Growth still does not exist and goods transport decreases constantly and consequently the need for transport.
According to LTF {Lyon Turin Ferroviaire} the future line would find stability on its balance sheet with 40 million tons of transported goods a year. The current line can transport at least 20 million. Today 4.8 million are carried. Even by transferring all the goods currently transported on the motorways to the railways that would get to the utilization of the current railway of about 50% of its capacity.

Costs - Mauro Moretti , the CEO of Trenitalia has declared that the estimated cost of the line is 120 million per kilometre, that’s 3 or 4 times more in relation to the average costs in France (see the article in “Il Sole 24 ore” on 13 January 2010). Furthermore, the estimated costs generally increase 2 to 3 times by the end of the work. Italy has also signed up to an economic agreement by which 65% of the international part would be charged to our country.

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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:07 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

November 03, 2009

FS Disaster

Blog interview: Claudio Gatti, evidence for the rail system disaster
(11:46)
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The railways in the time of Mussolini, arrived on time and were used to move around. In the time of the psycho-dwarf and his chums of the PDminusL they arrive late and they are used to hand out contracts. In Sicily there are still the fascist trains, with nine hours of train ride from Palermo to Ragusa. Italian commuters travel as though they were in cattle trucks. To make up for that we’ll have the TAV {high speed train} in the Susa Valley for the European corridor and the Messina Bridge. Great works for Great Contractors.

An abandoned collective national project


My name is Claudio Gatti. I am a special correspondent with “Il Sole 24 Ore” based in New York. I’ve been living in America for thirty years, and it’s here that I have learned the job of investigative journalist and I decided to write this book and have a go at the railways, because I believe that the railways represent the genetic code of a country, but above all that they are a litmus paper for everything that’s not right, that doesn’t work in Italy and perhaps for the Italians.
In August, Daniel Cohn Bendit, the leader of the German and French student movement, and the leader of the German ‘Greens’, gave an interview and said “Italy is a country that is sick and suffering from individualism and ‘I-couldn’t-care-less-ism’. It’s a country where a collective national project is missing”. I feel that the railways are an abandoned collective national project and they symbolize a way of doing, a managerial culture, a way of being that is typical of Italy. That’s why I feel that this book is interesting: just because with this journey on the inside, it tackles an experience that all Italians go through and a way of operating, a way of living, a way of relating to the public good, a way of managing the public good, a private management of the public good is the mirror of this country. As someone who resides abroad, I arrive in Italy, I disembark at Fiumicino or Malpensa and I get the train to take me into the city, and just as I do, so do all the foreigners that have just arrived: that train is for me, a litmus test for Italy. It’s the first approach that foreigners have with our country. It is an approach that is symbolic of our country, because the trains are not clean, because the trains are not on time. In Italy, in the last five years, they have invested about 6 billion Euro a year. Italian citizens, 22 million Italian families have paid a rail licence fee, without knowing it, of 273 Euro a year. With all that investment, Italy should have the right to have good quality, clean railways, with Swiss punctuality, but instead, unfortunately, after all these years, we continue to have Italian-style quality, punctuality and cleanliness. And this is not acceptable. I have tried to understand, however, what this is due to and I think that with the help of those that have guided me, of those who have given me access to documents, of those who have explained to me the significance of certain data, of email messages, it’s possible to have a better understanding why these problems are still unresolved. I have found extraordinary email messages,: there was one dated in the Spring of 2006 which talked about legionella, Legionnaires’ disease, and bacteria of this disease had been found, and in a few months a conductor, a railway worker in Rome died. Trenitalia discussed who should do the cleaning and there was a continuous passing of the buck.

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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:27 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

October 21, 2009

Translorh, the rail that kills

Blog interviews: Gino De Pauli
(6:13)
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Translorh is Padua’s tram system that kills. The name of a horror film, on a par with the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and “The Wolf Man”. In Padua, where you could always move around on a bicycle with no risk whatsoever, now there’s Translorh, the killer monorail. Trams have been constructed in Italy for more than a century. They have even been exported to San Francisco. The Padua administration has gone beyond itself and has created war trams. Translorh is the “friendly tram” a bit like “friendly fire”. It captures the cyclist like a praying mantis and it slices off a limb or just kills him decisively. 250 injured and one death. The blog has interviewed Gino De Pauli, the president of the campaign group for the victims of Padua’s tram.

”Greetings friends of the blog, I am Gino De Pauli, the president of the campaign group for the victims of Padua’s tram. I am talking to you from Padua because here a really big problem has arisen that has brought about the need for 250 people to go to hospital and unfortunately the death of one person.
In 1992, the City of Padua started on the process of having a traditional tram. In the various stages that followed that decision, the Right wing did not want this tram, so once they got into power, they didn’t want it to happen. Thus what has been created is a hybrid, called the Translorh and it has not been approved: neither the rail, nor the vehicle.
The difference between this tram and the traditional tram can be seen by looking at these models of tracks that we have created.
The first model is for a traditional tram like the ones in Milan, Rome and other Italian cities. With a bicycle, you have to cross the track at 90 degrees. That’s true for a traditional track and for the new system in Padua. If inadvertently, because of the dynamics of the traffic, you happen to slide the wheel of the bicycle into the Milan tram track, the wheel would be able to keep moving and you would have the chance to put your feet to the ground and save yourself. On the other hand, what happens in the monorail of the new Translorh, Padua’s new system? The monorail is higher than the surface of the road by a centimetre or even two and what happens? That the wheel finds itself on top of this two centimetres iron and rubber, there’s no longer any friction. It happens that inadvertently, because of the dynamics of the traffic, the bicycle slips into the groove, and it gets trapped inside the groove that has been created by the two inclined planes. With the naked eye we can see that there is a substantial difference between the two tracks. The crux of the innovative system is formed by two tires and a central guiding mechanism that is hooked on to this rail that comes above the road surface by one or even two centimetres. Now I will show you with the set of wheels that we have created by hand to show how it works.
There are two small wheels that hook in and carry the vehicle with the lateral wheels that support the weight. All the guidance system is centred on this monorail. That’s why it has to come up higher than the road surface. But what happened? Since it experienced derailments, they thought to cut the resin with which the monorail is blocked so that the wheels themselves can be inserted, but with a slope that is much wider so that it is possible to have a greater area of contact. As they are wider, they can hook onto the monorail better and thus avoid derailments, in fact, for quite some time now, there have been no derailments. However, this creates problems as the motorcycles are still slipping on the rails, but whereas before the resin was cut, they could even get sorted in some way, now the wheel of the motorcycle slides into the rail and gets blocked: you have to think of the weight of the person plus the weight of the motorcycle and thus the air inside the tire tends to go down into this groove, to get blocked and then to catapult the person or to make them lose their balance and send them to hospital.
Up until now more than 250 people have been injured and one person died on 5 June 2008.

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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:10 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (6) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

September 08, 2009

Grillo168 - The car is dead

Grillo168 – The car is dead
(4:18)
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I am in Genoa’s Acquasola Park. I have never bothered a little bit about my city because I have to live here. But this is something that is sort of strange: all the greenery on the hillside around Genoa is burning and here, where there’s a park, a green lung inside the city, they want to restructure, to redo the park with underneath 400 car parking spaces and on top some blowholes, a little supermarket and then they want to restore the ancient park.
They are taking us for a ride. You don’t restore an ancient park: the ancient park exists now! There’s the odd plant that is sick, that can be cut down and that can be replaced, you don’t do a platform of cement with 400 car parking spaces.
They are all projects that are nonsenses, or the only purpose is that of getting future generations into debt to make money. These contracts done by politicians first, with penalty clauses that the citizens have to pay now, are crimes against humanity.
What should be done? Get all the companies and say: gentlemen, this thing must not be done because the citizens don’t want it to be done. Here people want to walk, to breathe, to play. Here let’s put back the little lake …. There was a little lake with swans. They have wrung the necks of the swans to put “Pandas” here. But do you realise what’s happening? Here restore it to how it was. Put in wifi, create a place to play “bocce”. People can come here and as they are connected to the world, they can work here. It’s something marvellous!
The issue is political: you start a discussion. You get the companies together. The ones that have already started work and that have been stopped with a guarantee from the citizens and you say to these companies: gentlemen, we will give you the same amount of money to do something different. Perhaps not a car park but the restoration of the “Carlini” – in Genoa they know what that is - it’s an athletics stadium. There are already plans. There are other things. There’s so much choice!
Let’s get together. Let’s ignore the Town Hall. If the Town hall doesn’t want to bother with this, I’m making this appeal: let’s get together with the entrepreneurs, we’ll sit down at the table, there’ll be entrepreneurs and together we’ll decide to substitute this thing because it is an emeritus fuck up.
The great architects, like Renzo Piano, all the great architects in the world are removing car parks from the cities. Los Angeles is taking down the car parks from the city centre. Renzo Piano is building skyscrapers in the centre of London without car parks. We are really the biggest suckers!
Those who created them, did them twenty years ago, planning something else: here we have to go back to making a city that people can live in. With these administrations, PD, PDL, PDminusL …. they are all the same thing. Over there, there’s Impregilo, on the other side there are the red co-operatives. It is GDP and continue doing GDP with cement.
We are the top producers of cement in the world. It’s time to say “enough”! To start reasoning in a different way. To put citizens into key positions and not the top bods in the political parties. We need to place the citizens with grassroots movements.
I implore you, please, don’t take this Park in Genoa lightly. Because they have also done this in Milan: Parco Gioia has disappeared. Ancient parks are disappearing under our very eyes. They put up the barriers. You can’t see anything with the climbing plants. They do the work. People go by and they say “What’s up? What’s up?” After they have understood “What’s up?” they find they’ve got horrendous things.
I implore the people of Genoa to keep looking at these facts, to put pressure on the administration not to give in on these issues and to start political negotiations. This is political: not jurisprudence, it’s political!
Good 168 to you all!

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:04 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 25, 2009

Grillo168 – The horse on the wrong side of the road

Grillo168 - Il cavallo contromano
(3:57)
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The new article 219-bis second comma of the Highway Code that is present in the law on the security package will come into force in August. It provides for severe penalties if the violation is committed while driving a vehicle for which a driving licence is not required.
Now, a cyclist that doesn’t respect the Highway Code can have points on their driving licence, always assuming that they have one. But not just a cyclist, because I had a look at the dictionary: for the word “vehicle” it says “any mechanical means of transport driven by man. Terrestrial vehicle, airplane, amphibian, with an engine, pulled by an animal, space craft or with an air cushion”.
Anyone who owns a horse, a mule, a skateboard, roller skates, carriages, 4-wheel drive wheelchairs risks a fine and can lose their driving licence.
The hang gliders. I want to understand this. The hang gliders, if they land in a “place that is not permitted”, how many points are involved? The law has penalties for car drivers that make a mistake, the incorrigible ones that prefer not to drive, that want clean air and want to get to their place of work under their own steam without polluting. They are boycotted.
Italy is a perfect country for fining cyclists, because there are no parking places for bicycles and the fine for parking in a forbidden place is inevitable unless they steal your bicycle. There are no cycle tracks. There are cycle tracks in the whole world. You have to go on the foot path. But if you are on the footpath they can fine you because it belongs to the pedestrian. The cyclists, where do they have to go?
The cycle tracks are occupied by cars and they are used like authorised parking spaces, like depots for the car demolition operators.
Have you ever seen a Police officer giving a fine to a car on a cycle track. I haven’t.
The vehicles that are differently polluting provide no advantage for the GDP, they are light, they are made from few materials,. They should invest in them. They are the future. I have seen Palo Alto in California, where half are Nobel prize winners and half have four degrees, they go around on bicycles: they each have three cars but they leave them at home and go to work by bike. The city with the highest number of bicycles in the world is Palo Alto in California, not in China.
If this has to be the means of transport of the future, the industries should invest in these , to be able to transport things, when it rains you cover up … the technology exists, by bike, to discover that they are marvellous things.
Instead, what do we do? We accept “il grano” from all sides.
Yesterday, for example, I was on a mountain road, and I saw a horse coming down the road on the wrong side. What would happen to its owner? Would they have punished him? Would they have sent him off to do a “re-education” course at Giovanardi’s house? Would they send the horse off to Arcore to “Accappatoio Selvaggio”? What will happen? A question that all cyclists will be asking: anyone who loses their licence for this reason, will they still be able to use a bicycle? And this is what is incredible!
In Naples they are already ahead! There’s the tandem with the “abusive one” that is driving: the tandem with the proletarian that has no driving licence and he takes you where you want in spite of all the Highways codes of The whole world.
We’ll always be ahead of you! Buon 168!

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:01 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (4) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 03, 2009

Letter to a car driver in a queue

Berlusconi and the Passante di Mestre
(4:37)
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Dear car driver waiting in the queue,
You are a person fleeing from the city. In the queue with your family on a motorway, a bypass, a connecting route. You are in good company. Millions in the queue like you are watching you. They overtake you by two metres. Then you get ahead of them by one metre. It’s a game that goes on for whole afternoons. What are you fleeing from? And why are you fleeing from your home? You have a short leash. You know you will go back and soon. You are fleeing from the cement city and from cars. Stendhal’s marvelous Italian cities that have become dormitories and car parks, open-air prisons. What are you fleeing from? And who is paying for your flight if you have no money left? You are fleeing from getting paid while you are laid off, from being a precarious worker, from doing unpaid overtime, from the mortgage payments that are falling due. You amuse yourself on the boiling tarmac to get somewhere a day early. Somewhere. Yours is not a holiday. It’s a removal from reality. A mid-summer dream lasting a couple of weeks. A poor dream that’s not even beautiful. A last dance to be danced at any cost. You are the alibi of affluence, the caricature of progress. Eight, ten, twenty million Italians travelling is the symbol of opulence, of the crisis that is moving away, in fact that has never existed. The justification for mad motorways with four, five and six lanes, with bypasses along which you can’t pass. To Bridges over Straits and to Corridors inside the mountains in the Val di Susa and at the Brenner Pass. You are the true “economic man”. The GDP detonator, with your unmoving car, your petrol, your tarmacked road that is getting ever wider. Be informed when you are travelling. The radio tells you about the 10 kilometre queue at the Brenner Pass if you happen to be stuck for hours without reason on the Salerno Reggio Calabria. For the unbearable sticky heat inside the car, there’s the little San Bertolaso bottle of water. Better than Lourdes holy water. The Civil Protection saves millions of car travellers from thirst, perhaps dropped from the sky with the Canadair. Listen to music and the latest figures on the inflation that no longer exists. It’s disappeared along with the value of money. If the cost of motorway travel has gone up by 10 or 20% in a year, it’s only because it is no longer in the “market basket”. You enjoyed playing the game of the “intelligent departure”. You’ve only got left the “SuperEnalotto” and the “stupid return home”. If the tarmac is burning, the autumn will be flambé. "Hit the road, Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.." Beppe Grillo

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:24 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

May 03, 2009

Just another crazy day


(7:47)
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May Day has now become motorist’s day. Once upon a time it was known as workers day, but there are now too few of them. The number of drivers sitting in motorway queues, instead, has increased. Yesterday, some 5.5 million motorcars took to the road. It may seem like a joke, but it isn’t. The prospect of crude oil running out, the global crisis and rising unemployment, which now exceeds 14%, are making us itch. So the Benetton group company Atlantia did well to increase “Autostrade per l’Italia” tariffs by 2.4%. Better still is the decision by “Autostrada Tirrenica” to increase theirs by +5.14%, “Tangenziale di Napoli” by +6.63% and “Autostrade meridionali” by +4.89%. Also excellent is the almost sensational increase of +9.30% announced by Asti-Cuneo. The motorway concession holders have been to good to us of late, perhaps even bordering on honest. They are raking in billions of Euro of toll fees on motorways already paid for by the Italian taxpayer’s money over the past fifty years. And rightly so too. Opportunity turns a man into a thief, so why should the concession holder be any different? Especially they who are so closely linked to the political parties that they can afford the luxury of funding them quite openly?
Even those left homeless by the earthquake must pay their share because everyone is equal before the toll. In fact, on the A24 and the A25 motorways, thousands of residents of Abruzzo going through to L'Aquila once again began paying toll fees yesterday, which had been suspended as a result of the quake. I wonder if the ministerial motor coaches arriving for the G8 will also be required to pay the toll fees?
There are hundreds of kilometres of tar between Turin and Venice. Yesterday they turned into a parking areas for slow moving used cars (at a complete standstill between Milan and Brescia). All queuing to pay their toll fees, listening to their music, using the air conditioning (the first warm spell of the year) and discussing the latest news reports on the swine flu. Meanwhile, a 700 square kilometre ice cap broke away in Antarctica, which is set to lose another 3,300 square kilometres within the next month. A piece of ice the size of Luxemburg. Our fuel is green and our roads are wild (have you ever seen an advert showing a car stuck in the traffic?), in the front passenger seat there is always a girl so beautiful that she takes your breath away (instead of a wife). The skies are blue and the landscape is uncontaminated. Let's face the catastrophe with optimism.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:07 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

February 09, 2009

There’s a car that needs moving!

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Fiat Duna advertising clip
There’s a car that needs moving! Scrapping cars needs incentives, not to buy another one, but to get rid of the old one forever. In exchange for a new bicycle, a tram, a train line for Milano-Voghera commuters that arrives on time and without cattle trucks for passengers. There’s a car that needs moving! No unemployed person will buy a Fiat thanks to the bonus from the State. No precarious worker, sacked person, “project worker”, will change their car for the psycho-dwarf’s discount. Instead, the car has to be eliminated, perhaps a bit at a time, to avoid the collateral affects of the addiction from advertising.
There’s a car that needs moving! There’s a need to change the priorities of public interventions. Incentives should be given to the companies of the future. To telecommunications, to the Internet, to photovoltaic panels, to tele-working (last in Europe). Moving around is robbing us of our life, our time. The only resource that is 100% perishable. Giving incentives to Fiat is a throwback to the past. There are millions of great used cars parked in Italian cities. If we are tired of our own, we could launch a car exchange. For what extraordinary motive should we change them? To relaunch Fiat? That same company that, when it has profits, keeps the profits and when it has losses, pays wages with the cash for “lay-offs”. Italy is invaded by cars and by car parks under construction for cars that will never go there. The crisis could be a turning point. State money, our money, has to be destined for renewable energy, connectivity, and broadband. Restarting the economy and giving incentives for cars are two incompatible things. It’s like treating a drug addict with an overdose.
There’s a car that needs moving! The priority for development is not the automobile. The social costs of atmospheric pollution and the occupation of every urban space, the pavements, the ramps for people with disabilities, the pedestrian crossings, in double or triple parking, to play parks for children. When I look at the streets of a city, it seems as though I am in a Matrix-style nightmare, surrounded by sheets of metal and exhaust pipes everywhere. With my senses requisitioned by cars. To see cars, breathe cars, touch cars, feel cars. The automobile is an enchantment, a habit that has been induced becomes an unsustainable bad habit. The incentives should be used to stay still not to move, tele-working not motorways. Work is not about staying in a queue all your life. The car was in crisis a lot earlier than the crisis. There’s a world rejection in relation to a former status symbol that has got transformed into an annoying and costly domestic appliance with four wheels. In the United States the age of an owned car has gone from 59 months to 77 months. And the sale of cars has collapsed since 2000, from 14.5 million to 8.5 million. There’s a car that needs moving!

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:49 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (7) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

January 13, 2009

Air France domine le ciel européen

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Le Figaro, 13-1-2009


Alitalia is French. Air France has 25% of the capital. It is the leading shareholder, the only one with competence in the sector, (and I’m accepting bets on this) the next majority shareholder. Berlusconi will have his “Legion d'Onore”. Panetta, CEO of Air France has saved a few billion euro compared to the offer made to Prodi and has 10,000 sacked employees fewer to cope with. And he has no competitor on the route Milan-Rome as there’s been the merging of Alitalia with Air One.
Who pays the bills? Les italiens cocus.

Air France prend Alitalia sous son aile. - from Le Figaro
This time it’s official … Air France-KLM has bought a stake in Alitalia... Air France-KLM will pay 323 million euro to become the top shareholder in Alitalia, with 25% of the capital and three Board members. Alongside are the main shareholders mobilised by Silvio Berlusconi... Thanks to this new stake, Air France-KLM is confirming its position as leader of the sky in terms of traffic.

Jean-Cyril Spinetta réussit son dernier grand coup à la tête de la compagnie. - from Le Figaro
…. the Alitalia Board made a statement for the first time in favour of the marriage with Air France-KLM in March. But the two partners could not conclude because of opposition from the Italian Trades Unions and above all, the opposition from Silvio Berlusconi, who at the time was in the midst of the election campaign. Once he got his seat as President of the Council, “il Cavaliere” did not fail to underline his preference for an Italian solution with Lufthansa as the foreign partner. ...

En service commandé pour Silvio Berlusconi - from Le Figaro
From today, CAI and Air France-KLM officially take command of Alitalia, and are liberating the Ministry of Finance from the obligation of being the reference shareholder.... For its 49.9% share, CAI will pay the State 1.052 billion euro. In fact only 390 million euro will be paid immediately and the rest will be paid within 24 months. Air France will pay 323 million euro for its 25% stake. With a right of pre-emption on the shares if anyone wants to pull out within the next four years... Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan, considered it “unacceptable” to sell off Alitalia for so little to Air France, which only wants “to buy the Italian market, when Lufthansa had a long-range industrial project.”

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:29 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (9) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

September 19, 2008

The masters of the highways

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Giorgio Ragazzi: "I signori delle autostrade"

We, our parents and our grandparents paid for the highways. The building costs were written off years ago. In England and in Germany, highway travel is free. In those Countries, the citizens use the highways, quite legally, without paying twice. They originally financed them and now the highways belong to them. In Italy, the highways were given away to concession holders such as Benetton, who now earn billions of Euros, with no risks and no invested capital. The millions of Euros in revenues are then invested in all sorts of businesses and are used to finance the political parties.
Highway toll fees should be scrapped. We certainly didn’t pay taxes for decades in order to make Benetton and partners wealthy. The situation is very different in the case of new highways, and he who holds the concession must put in his own money. As regards the existing highways, we must turn around and refuse to pay any more protection money to the concession holders. Within the next few days I will be launching a civil disobedience campaign, for which I will act as spokesman.
Just a small word of warning before you listen to the interview held with the author of the book entitled "I signori delle autostrade" (The masters of the highways), Professor Giorgio Ragazzi, drink a double camomile tea and make sure that you’re not wearing a Benetton jersey, because you may end up eating it.

"The Italian highway network was built almost entirely in the 60’s and 70’s. It was financed almost entirely by means of loans. At the time, all the highways fell under the jurisdiction of either the Iri or local bodies, municipalities, provinces, etcetera and the loans were in many cases guaranteed by the State. By the end of the 1990’s, in other words twenty-five years later, these investments had been amortized and the loans repaid in full. The share capital invested in the highways was minimal and so, logic says that by the end of the 1990’s the toll fees should either have been abolished entirely, making highway travel free of charge, as it is in Germany and England, because the investment had been completely amortized using the toll fees, or the bulk of the concession-holders’ revenues should have been paid over to the State in the form of taxes or suchlike, as had been envisaged in the Legislation in force at that time.
But what happened? Iri needed money and had already decided to privatise the “Autostrade” company (Highway Company), which was the most important highway management company at the time and owned around 65% of the highway network. In order to facilitate the privatisation, a number of concessions were granted, or what I like to call enormous gifts handed out to these concession holders. Permission had already been granted previously for the values to be re-capitalised in the books of account, in other words to significantly increase the asset value reflected in the accounts, which could then be matched by higher toll fees. Then the concession fee payments were postponed, more or less free of charge, for an average period of 10 years. Highway users failed to realise what was going on. They didn’t realise because most people simply drive, pay the toll fee and are not particularly aware of what goes on behind the scenes, however, it is quite easy to work out the full extent of the gift handed out to the concession holder when a simple little law is promulgated and the payment of concession fees is postponed for ten years. The problem we face today is that these concession holders are making huge profits, but they are obviously not re-investing any money in the sector, because no more highways have been built. All they have done is to invest their money in financial operations and other diversification shareholdings in the real estate sector and they are now, inter alia, even investing money abroad, so we find ourselves paying very high toll fees for a highway network that is getting older by the day and is totally inadequate for the Country’s needs. All in all, a sad and strange situation.
The real problem is that once the amortization is complete, these toll fees are tantamount to taxes and, if we have to pay taxes, these should accrue to the State and not to concession holders that have never invested a single penny of their own money in the concession. It cannot really be said that, in general, that our highways are very expensive, in the sense that sometimes Italian toll fees are simply compared to those that are levied in France for example. Clearly, the toll fees levied should reflect the fact that the highways originally cost very little, that the costs have been amortized, the amount of traffic on the highways, etcetera and it is wrong, therefore, to look at the toll fees in isolation. What you should do is to relate the toll fee to the profitability of the concession holder because, in addition to covering the operating costs, the toll fee should also provide a reasonable return that is in line with the amount of capital invested. Therefore, when assessing the toll fee, it is important to consider how much capital was invested in the first place. Since 1999, Italy has applied the so-called price-cap system, in other words, a formula used to determine the maximum tariff increases from year to year.
In this regard, the system has two major flaws. The first flaw is the initial data utilised because, while tariff increases have been regulated, the tariffs applied at the time were used as a base, notwithstanding the fact that the investment made by the concession holders was extremely low and that, therefore, the concession holders already had an entirely unjustifiable profit margin. Tariffs are calculated on the basis of a financial plan, which means that part of the tariff is intended to cover inflation, and another part that takes into account a whole series of factors, including the forecast increase in the level of highway traffic. So what precisely has happened up to now? What has happened is that Anas has consistently made extremely prudent and very low forecasts of the increase in traffic, which have always been well below the actual rate of increase. All of the increase in traffic in excess of the forecast amount has turned into additional profit that has gone into the concession holders’ pockets. So, given an excellent relationship with Anas, I believe (with more than a little malice I might add) that it would have been an easy matter to draft a financial plan reflecting extremely low traffic volume forecasts and thereby ensure higher profits.
A third factor is the so-called quality remuneration, which is a rather fanciful concept because quality is measured not only as a ratio against a road surface condition index, but also in terms of the mortality rate on the road. So, if the mortality rate decreases, the fees increase. However, there is no relationship between the amount of money invested by the concession holders on improving quality, and the benefits they gain in terms of increased tariffs. Therefore, if the Government introduces stricter legislation, such as a points-based licence system, lower speed limits, etcetera, which then results in a drop in the mortality rate both on the highways and on the national roads, the concession holders obtain a totally unjustifiable tariff increase.
Certain things thus become patently clear. Firstly, we need to increase the level of investment in highway infrastructure, this because the Country has made no such investments for the past 30 years and we have therefore fallen very far behind. Secondly, building new highways now costs way more than it did in the past, for example, building a new highway currently costs somewhere between 25 and 50 million Euro per kilometre. The “Autostrade” company was privatised back in the year 2000, at a price equivalent to two million eight hundred thousand Euro per kilometre that, based on the number of kilometres managed and so, while they paid that price for the existing network at that time, to build new highways now would cost more than ten times as much. Clearly then, to build new highways on a project financing concession basis, the toll fees would have to be extremely high, while the toll fees on the existing highway network should be much lower than what they are at the moment. Therefore, what I have proposed in this book is to break the links between the toll fees paid by the users and the fees earned by the concession holder. Next is to implement a standard national tariff to be paid by all users. In the case of those highways where the concession holder is allowed a lower margin because the cost has long since been fully amortised, the excess revenues should be accumulated in a road fund, which would then be used to reduce the toll fees and finance the new initiatives." Giorgio Ragazzi

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 06:34 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (7) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 09, 2008

Public highways, private profits

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Mapuche vs Benetton
Clicca l'immagine

In recent days, the half-yearly financial results of some of the major companies have been made public. Companies must be divided into two categories, namely, market companies and State concessionaries. Those in the first category are often having a hard time while those in the latter, instead, have the constitution of an ox. These concessions are seen as a licence, issued by the Government, to exploit the citizens. The kind of concessions handed out may involve the provision of water, refuse collection, electricity and roads, in other words, the kind of primary services that people can no longer do without. Once upon a time, the kings would hand out duchies and counties to his feudal lords in exchange for favours, while these days instead, the parties hand out State concessions.
The only option open to the Italian in the light of this intensive exploitation of tariffs is to consume less. However, to his great surprise, he finds himself nevertheless paying more. As a matter of fact, the concession holders are driven by a very strong profit motive. In order to make this profit, if the market goes down, prices instead go up. It is a question of prestige, which allows these new private monopolies to publish excellent balance sheets and superlative six-monthly financial results, and to openly make electoral contributions to the parties.
The Benetton family’s holding company, Atlantia, controls Autostrade per l’Italia (Motorways for Italy). You can recognise them amongst many thousands of others that you may come across on your holiday trips: they are the ones where there are road works in progress. At this time of global recession, the Benettons are a perfect example of someone that is bucking the trend. Great industrialists in the business of government authorised highway extortion. Atlantia’s revenues have increased by 7,8% in just six months and now stand at 1.6 billion Euro. 1.3 Billion Euro of this comes from toll fees, notwithstanding the fact that motorway traffic levels have remained stable over the same period. As a matter of fact, toll fees have increased by some 3,6% since the first of January 2008.
“The Benetton family’s holding company, Atlantia”. How good these words sound, they grant a certain lineage to the concept of tolls. Atlantia, meanwhile, has posted profits amounting to 366 million Euro in a single six-month period (+7,4%).
When the highways were still controlled by the Government, these profits still belonged to the Italians. Now, instead, they are being shared out amongst the industrialists at Benetton and the political parties, while the Country becomes increasingly poorer.
“Travel by all means, but avoiding the toughest potholes …”

P.S.: Tomorrow, 9 August, at 21h30, in the courtyard of the Baronial Castle of Scanzano Jonico, an unveiling ceremony will be held for the book entitled "FRAGOLE E URANIO. Scanzano Jonico: storia di una rivolta" (STRAWBERRIES AND URANIUM. Scanzano Jonico: The story of a revolt).

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:10 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (4) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

April 01, 2008

Malpensa: politicians and disvalue




Galan, President of the Veneto Region:
”We won’t accept a second “hub” (*)1 in Italy. I don’t know any entrepreneur who has taken a plane from Malpensa to go abroad.”
Chiamparino, Mayor of Turin:
” Malpensa and Alitalia need a dose of the market. Their limits are because they have each grown with excessive protection and not with real competitive capacity.”
Cacciari, Mayor of Venice: “Venice is the third airport in Italy. It seems to me that 80% of the traffic is to Frankfurt or to Rome, not to Malpensa. Thus for me, Malpensa is a problem for Lombardy. Let them deal with Malpensa. It’s fine for me as a hub, but not because it is by decree from the Holy Spirit, but by the logic of the market.”
Formigoni, president of the region of Lombardy:
”Whether we want it or not, the air traffic is here.”
Letizia Moratti, Mayor of Milan:
”Yes to a three year moratorium for the Lombardy hub.”
Bonomi, president of SEA, the company that manages the airport: “In the short and medium term, the airport will be “point to point” (*)2.”

31 March 2008: Alitalia reduces the number of flights to Malpensa by 72% and thus saves about 200 million euro a year in costs.
31 March 2008: Malpensa is semi-deserted, 900 SEA employees are laid off, 400 seasonal workers will not have their contract renewed.
30 March 2008: The super-route Boffalora-Malpensa that connects up with the A4 Turin-Milan is opened. It’ll make it quicker to travel from Turin to Malpensa. 18.6Km, two lanes in each direction, 260 million euro spent. It relates to the administration of Lonate Pozzuolo, Castano, Buscate, Cuggiono and Inveruno. The super-route goes through the Ticino Park, one of the not-cementified zones of Lombardy.

Malpensa is a fictitious hub, the offspring of Craxi’s point to point ring roads. His successors didn’t feel like throwing away the airport together with the fugitive. The economy has had to do the dirty work. Malpensa is at most a “point to point”, a tiny regional airport. Those who live in Turin take off from Caselle. Those who live in Treviso take off from Venice. They fly towards the hubs of London, Frankfurt, or Paris. They’ve always done that. Not because Alitalia has collapsed.
Italy can afford just one hub. With Malpensa deserted, with tens of airports in the north of Italy, they open a new fast road, they cover a National Park with asphalt. The people of Turin will continue to take off from Caselle, the Venetians from Venice. For Italian politicians “nothing is created, everything is destroyed” with public money. Once upon a time, cathedrals in the desert provided an income in the form of bribes, these days they produce votes and armchairs. Marx invented surplus value, our politicians the theory of disvalue, the use of the work of the citizens to produce personal value and destroy the country.

(*)1: hub, airport used by airlines as a transit point to another destination.
(*)2: point to point, transport system in which a plane flies directly to its final destination.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:22 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (12) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend | TrackBack (0)

January 30, 2008

Majowiecki and the Rialto bridge

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YouTubeGoogle VideoQuickTime 56k3GPiPod VideoAudio Mp3


The Rialto bridge was completed in 1591. The work took 3 years. It’s a combination of beauty and functionality. The last bridge built in Venice should have cost two million Euro, but the expenditure has arrived at 14 million. To finish it they took 7 years, like for an average pyramid.
Construction is a business. It’s no longer a necessity. A speculation whose beneficiaries are the property groups, and the banks. On V Day, professor Majowiecki was present and is guiding us through a voyage round the horrors of modern urbanism. Half way between the kick backs and a picture by Salvador Dalì. The territory of Italy and its beautiful things are our most important heritage. I believe that the moment has arrived to interrupt every new construction if it is not necessary: the sheds, the sky-scrapers, the road overpasses. Let us deconstruct. Let us invest in the restoration of old buildings. Cement is the present. Let’s look forward and learn from our past.
Text:
Beppe Grillo: … they have the money, the subsidies from our taxes, and they talk about things that they don’t understand. They commission the best architects from around the world, they commission Spanish architects and Russian architects, in order to make as if they are creating heaven alone knows what. There are any number of good architects out there and we must get them to talk! One of these is Majowiecki, who has a few things to show you. Go Massimo.
Massimo Majowiecki: Well, I thank you very much for the invitation because it gives me the chance to say one or two things that cannot be said elsewhere. Normally I am limited to speaking to groups of around thirty people, mostly students. For me, this is something totally out of the ordinary. I feel a bit like a singer …
Beppe Grillo: Today you are a pop star!
Massimo Majowiecki: Yes, Yes!! I created these things. Simply to introduce myself: the stadium in Rome, the “Delle Alpi” stadium, the Braga in Portugal and several bridges. Just to say that there was something that I needed to criticise. My first criticism was against the Messina bridge. I wrote on Beppe’s blog so as to let everyone understand precisely what the actual situation is...
Read the whole speech


V2-day, 25 April, for freedom of information:
1. Put your photos on www.flickr.com with the tag V2-day
2. Put your videos on www.youtube.com with the tag V2-day
.
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Click to see the video

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 08:45 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (11) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend | TrackBack (0)

December 31, 2007

Alifrance

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“A girl came to see me, she works in IT for Alitalia and she told me something that I can quite believe. The truth lies at the bottom and not at the top. Alitalia is busy closing down, but they have already come to an agreement: it will become Air France’s low-cost carrier, and this because Berlusconi and Lunardi sold it off in exchange for financing for the Turin-Lyons high-speed train line. They sold it off. However, many things will change, irrespective of Berlusconi or whoever is in his place. They will change because change happens: no one will any longer be able to hop on an Alitalia plane to Rome for the princely sum of two hundred Euro. Why? In order to adopt an Alitalia pilot?"
Beppe Grillo during the show entitled beppegrillo.it in Roma held on 28/4/2005


In Italy, the journalists are always the last ones to know. They specialise in post-dated news. They spread the news only once they are allowed to do so. They can only spread the news once they receive an order to do so. If the truth were told, Alitalia has been going down the tubes for many years, at least ten. Our taxes have been used to pay the salaries of the hostesses and pilots, as well as the million-Euro golden handshake paid out to Cimoli (who must pay back!). And then, in addition to paying our taxes, we have also had to endure the joke of paying the same amount for a Rome/Milan flight as we would to go to New York. Alitalia is not a flagship airline; it is nothing more than a bipartisan political-trade union party. A winged cake to be cut up into many slices for distribution purposes.
Air France-KLM is not buying anything. How is it possible to buy debts? Alitalia is bankrupt. Prodi could have done more. He could have let Geronzi and Tanzi handle the negotiations. No one in the world is able to sell debts like those two can. They are two of Italy’s greatest paper merchants.
Bossi complains because the Managing Director of Air France-KLM wants to cut Alitalia’s unproductive ties with Malpensa. The Lega Nord Party, which was part of the country’s government for five years, sat back in stoic silence while Alitalia drained the taxes (inter alia) of the North. Penati requested a moratorium on Malpensa, which would make this the first global hub with a moratorium. Malpensa has never even taken off, and some people are asking why.
Malpensa should be sold off and removed from the political scenario and the party-game playing field. A buyer by the name of RyanAir had come forward at the time. Padoa Schioppa should contact them immediately. I have no desire whatsoever to continue paying taxes for another ten years in order to finance an airport as well.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 02:25 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (8) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend | TrackBack (0)

December 16, 2007

Empty trucks and CO2 lungs

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Bali dancers, photo courtesy of FriskoDude

The trucks have brought Italy to a standstill. This is nothing new; after all, they bring Italy to a halt every day. We are constantly brought to a standstill on the overpasses, the ring roads and inside the tunnels. Trucks don’t travel, what they do is moving parking. Half of them are empty. Once they reach their destination, they return home without any new load. This is the triumph of Governmental sloth. There are tens of thousands of small proprietary businesses, is this a logical thing? If this were a proper Country, with effect from tomorrow there would only be half of the current number of trucks travelling on our roads, in keeping with the amount of goods being transported.
The Italian peninsula is a natural seaside platform. The concept of maritime republics was born here, yet our harbours are in a state of decline. Integrated ship/train/truck transportation does not exist here. More trucks, more motorway toll fees, more diesel, who is profiting from all of this? The State, Fiat, motorway management companies and fuel companies.
The truckers find themselves competing with each other on the roads, with no rest breaks and no official working hours, and all for a fistful of Euros. What about a national transportation plan, to be implemented over a period of three years and controlled by the citizens?
The truckers’ strike did, however, have a positive spin off and, thanks to the reduction in carbon monoxide emissions; today every Italian has gained an extra few days of life. The cities became more peaceful and the bicycles came out in force. Those living out in the country once again purchased their milk and eggs directly from the farmer. The motorcar remained parked and we saved on fuel. After many years, we once again spoke to our neighbour, to ask for some salt.
At this time, we are in Bali, together with the other nations of the world. Partly to catch some sun, I think. I saw a beautifully suntanned Pecoraro appearing live on TV. Partly also to talk shit. In our cities, there are no such things as electric taxis and busses, nor are there any cycle paths. We have exceeded the Kyoto parameters for CO2. We continue to build incinerators and waffle on about safe nuclear energy. Yet we are not even able to ensure that the trucks travel fully loaded. Only one word comes to mind to describe the current situation: “Fools!”.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:36 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend | TrackBack (0)

July 29, 2007

The unsustainable slowness of the TAV

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YouTubeQuickTime 56k3GPAudio Mp3

There’s no agreement for the Tav in Val di Susa. The towns and villages are against it. They have even turned down the 5% “compensation”, almost a thousand million euro. They haven’t accepted to be bought, unlike many other towns and villages in this country.
When something has motivations that are obscure and incomprehensible, it means that there are other motivations that cannot be spoken. If, as explained by Ferrentino the president of the mountain Community of Val di Susa, there’s no reason to do a certain construction activity costing from 20 thousand million euro, and perhaps 30 thousand million euro, by making a hole in the mountain, then the only reason is to be found in the current accounts of those who are to put the work into effect and their political backers.
It’s a bipartisan gobble-gobble. A rightleftcentre infrastructure.
Ferrentino says that with the tunnel, the speed of the French TGV in the Valle would go from 160 km per hour currently to 120. That the quantity of goods traffic in transit has been going down for years. That with the current line it would be possible to treble the quantity of goods transported.
Ferrentino sets out simple concepts and facts, understandable even to Chiamparino, and they have already been explained by professor Ponti, one of the leading European experts on transport issues.
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The European contributions that the Government talks so much about would cover a small part of the costs. It’ll be you that pays the rest, you who is reading this post. Are you happy?

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:31 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2007

Ghino di Tacco’s Motorways

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Ghino di Tacco

The Court of Cassation (third and last level of judgment in Italy) has sentenced a motorist to 8 months in prison and 1000 euro because he went through a pay station reserved for those who possess a Viacard without having subscribed to Viacard. At the first trial he was found not guilty, then, given the seriousness of the crime, it was considered necessary to go on and take the case to an appeal at the Court of Cassation. Both lost.
Hit out at one, implacably, with prison, to educate a hundred.
I’m asking the convicted gentleman to send me the judicial documents with the reasoning for the conviction. I would like to publish them.
No magistrate is intervening on Telepass that eliminates the costs of the cashier, and gets the money into the current account of the motorway concessionaire straight away.
And in the meantime the costs for the motorists increase, it is in fact a service that is paid for. If the Telepass reduces the costs to the concessionaires and increases those of the user, how are we to define the concessionaires? Is there an appropriate term in the civil code or in the criminal code? The industrial revolution, with the mass production of goods, lowered the costs of products. The Italian-style informatics revolution cuts the costs of labour and increases the prices of the services. The Telepass should be free, at least that.
Our motorways are a timeless building site, from January to December. How many fatal accidents have happened because of work being carried out? Has any concessionaire ever paid out? If a motorway has 3 lanes, why don’t they reduce the toll if it becomes just a single one because of maintenance work?
And why is there not a refund if because of the concessionaire you have to queue for 20 kilometres? The concessionaires have good lawyers and great lobbies. The citizen, if all goes well, his salary. That’s why it’s him that finishes up behind bars.

1 PS: Put your photos on www.flickr.com with the tag: Vaffa-day
2 PPS: Participate in V-day
3 PPPS: Download and distribute the V-day flyer

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June 01, 2007

The Costs of the TAV

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photo by Al-Pin

The Left that is in a struggle and in Government has understood why it lost. On its own it didn’t get there, but needed a whisper from Fini, the one who is misinformed about facts. Fini explained that the zeroing of the Left in the North is the fault of the No-TAV.
The TAV is progress, the mozzarella arrives half an hour earlier in Kiev and European financing rewards our economy.
The TAV is not happening because of the people of the valley, the environmentalists, the no-global people?
Nothing of all that. The Financial Times has an opinion that is different from Fini’s and the little DS/TAV chiamparinobressofassino train The TAV would cost us forty seven thousand million euro. The Community would reimburse just a part to the participating States with a fund that is eight thousand million euro.
A few thousand million would go to Italy. The Financial Times writes that Italy doesn’t have the money for the TAV.
That its public Debt, 107% of the Gross Domestic Product, almost double the European limit, doesn’t allow for investments. So basically, using more technical language, we have ragged arses.
We have the oldest railways in Europe.
Why don’t we do them up? Perhaps because they don’t provide money to the politicians and to the assisted economy? The cost of the single tunnel in Val di Susa is seven thousand million euro. The Community could reimburse up to 30%. Who puts up the rest of the money?
Italians are squeezed like lemons for taxes, they travel on local trains like animals and then they have to spend a sum equal to two/three budgets to make a tunnel and do corridors Lisbon-Kiev and Berlin-Palermo?
What’s the use of the TAV from Sicily to the Baltic Sea when you get there in a couple of hours with a low cost flight? And then we talk of the cost of politics? Costs? The TAV is a chasm, an abyss, the Marianas Trench.

Interview with Ponti

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April 26, 2007

I want you to….

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photo: AprilDreams

I want you who goes at 200 an hour on the motorway. You who double parks and the cyclist that’s avoiding you ends up dead under a car. You who with your juggernaut in the city knock down a woman on the pedestrian crossing.
You who, drunk, kill 4 young people with a truck on the wrong side of the road. You who don’t create protected cycle tracks in the city. You who do publicity about speeds that are beyond the allowed limits.
You who allow publicity about speeds that are beyond the allowed limits. You who are in the government, who hope and never lift a finger.
I want you, wherever you are, in Parliament, in the Town Hall, in the living room, to get closer to the screen for a second. And without turning your eyes away, to read this FxxK YOU, written just for you.
Eleonora Allevi, 19 years, Alex Luciani, 16 years, Danilo Traini 17 years and Davide Corradetti, 16 years, died yesterday on a road in Italy.
Did they have less value than Mastrogiacomo or any journalist that ends up as a hostage? Did they have less value than the vacuum-packed party conferences running currently?
Did they have less value than a game of football? And of the whole media circus that goes with it? We can say with absolute certainty: They had less value.
Whoever killed them risks losing their driving licence and 5 years in prison. I believe that the moment of zero tolerance has arrived for assassins behind the wheel. The car can be compared to a weapon. Whoever uses it to kill must do 30 years inside.
Those who should prevent and control: the traffic police, the local police, are hardly ever there. I don’t know why. Lack of staff.
Office work. It doesn’t matter to me. The result is that everyone does what they want on the road. In the fast lane on the motorway if you respect the speed limit you are risking your life. They are coming up behind you flashing at you at 200 an hour. Not just on Saturday night.
Hardly ever young people.
Let’s get respect for the rules by always denouncing those who break them on the roads. Let’s insist, even though it seems useless. Let’s stop the assassins on the road.

Two practical steps:
- don’t buy and don’t let others buy cars that are advertised to go at speeds above the legal speed limits
- insist that your mayors give you segregated cycle paths right through the city. Let the meet-ups, if they want to, help and promote the initiative. I’ll create a special section to gather the information.

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March 21, 2007

Disabled People in the Bicycle compartment

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Luca has written to me. He is differently able and has been a commuter for years. He is by now resigned to travelling in his wheelchair in the bicycle compartment. However even for Trenitalia things change. They get worse.
To get a train now, Luca has to sign a declaration that relieves them of responsibility. The disabled person must “be informed that the train is without an equipped carriage and toilets for disabled people” and “will not hold Trenitalia in the broadest sense to every criminal and civil responsibility…”
The disabled person signs the escape declaration and Trenitalia is free to not provide a service. Italy is the country of the libertarian freedom. In the sense that it’s always the ones that pay. I’m publishing here part of a post that Luca has published on his blog.

“For thirteen years I have used the railway service so that I could go to the High School at Castelfranco Veneto (TV) and then to The University in Padua. So that I could start to make use of the train with my mother we had a meeting with the head of the Venice sector, to decide what could be done to allow me to get on the train and to see what safety measures could be put in place to guarantee my safety during the journey.
For a short time during the outward journey, I was accompanied by the train inspector assisting the passengers to see that everything went well. The carriages were not and still today are not equipped to guarantee the safety of people who are differently able.
Most of the engines in use are fuelled by diesel (green engines). With the help of the baggage personnel I managed to get on the train and they positioned me in the space just above the steps so that I had my back to the direction of travel.
To block my wheel chair the only possibility was to use the brakes that every chair of this type has.
Sometimes it happened that because of sudden braking, the wheelchair shot to the other side of the carriage (to my great shock).
Some very kind and willing inspectors (whom I thank from the bottom of my heart) advised me to move to the compartment for carrying bicycles so that they could give assistance if something should happen.
In the bicycle compartment there are two small windows with horizontal bars that I can hold on to and I felt a bit more secure. After that, thanks to the help of a railway engineer I managed to get them to make modifications and to put in some doors instead of the shutters and to add a mechanism to keep the wheel chair fixed and a safety belt.
I only managed to get this in the bicycle compartment. It’s not quite enough!? I’m asking you a simple question: What do you think of all this?
Luca Faccio

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February 27, 2007

Encouraging suicide

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Advertising cars should be forbidden – just like advertising of tobacco products. In a tranquil weekend of death a chunk of our best youth has disappeared.
9 young people aged between 17 and 30. Not for a tragedy. Just for a fatality. For the sale of the myth of speed. Pushed out just as heroine is pushed. But in the light of day. With the complicity of the media. In the “Car” Section of the Corriere della Sera today:
“Class R Mercedes…. With innovative concepts that combine refined design, comfortable driving and the possibility to go anywhere… the Amg V-Max version is able to reach a speed, limited by the power of the car, of 275Km per hour.”
And in the article: “Tested by the author” there’s glorification of the “Principessa Mégane, power without inhibitions” that has the “maximum speed of 236 km/h from 0 to 100 km in 6.5 seconds”.
45% of advertising is for mobile phones, 45% for cars with big engine capacity. The remaining 10% is for finance products. You get into debt. Buy a car and a mobile phone. And you have a crash while you are talking on your phone at 200 Km an hour. The repayments are left for the heirs to pay back.
Minister Bianchi thunders about “points on the driving license for youngsters under 18 who drive motorcycles and minicars”. Why doesn’t he put the brakes on tricycles? The youngsters aren’t the issue. The over-18s need to be removed from the market, not the under-18s.
The adult producers of cars and their managers. The editors and those publicizing hallucinating speed.
What’s the speed limit in Italy? 110, 130? OK. If a car goes faster, it should be withdrawn from the market. Anyone giving it publicity is committing the crime of encouraging suicide. And they must go to prison.

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February 14, 2007

Assault on the train

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Today I’m writing about the TAV, but in reality I’m referring to something else. To the waste of the State’s money. About the fact that public employees are not reduced to misery when they throw away our money. And if they don’t pay it back, then it must be the parties that they belong to that pay back.
Those that speculate on the big engineering works, on the viaducts, on the doubling of the motorway lanes and the biggest prize of all: the TAV. The one with the fat flowing over. But if it’s flowing over, who is there to lick it up?
Professor Ponti, one of the most important European experts in the sector has been interviewed by Piera Ricca. His observations about the TAV are incredible. Someone must land up in prison or give back the money to the citizens. Perhaps with a 20 year mortgage with bank collateral from the parties. All have one or two or three.
The high velocity costs have trebled in relation to the estimate. It has cost three times as much. No one has done anything. Money that has been filched from our pockets. From research, from pensions, from play schools. It’s a question of tens of thousands of millions of Euro. It’s enough to relieve hunger in Africa. The TAV in Val di Susa is a symbol of this theft. Of this expropriation of our taxes. It costs 13,000,000,000 Euro.
One. Just one is to be given by the European Community. The rest has to come from us. And the extraordinary thing is that it’s of no use! The transport of goods has been in decline for years. The current section, the one that already exists could have three times the traffic on it. Without doing anything. They tell us that we have a public debt that is not governable, that we have to pay taxes, that there’s not the money for social services and then we throw down the lavatory tens of thousands of millions of Euro.
The next Finance Law let the parties and the administrators that have diddled us out of our money, let them pay for it.


YouTubeGoogle VideoQuickTime 56k3GPiPod VideoAudio Mp3

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January 19, 2007

Critical Mass

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There's a movement that should be helped to grow.
It's called Critical Mass. It was created in San Francisco in 1992. Then it spread to the whole world. It's has even taken off in Italy. Where the most beautiful cities in the world have been reduced to 4 wheel drive parks and deposits of fine dust. With buildings beautifully coloured lead black.
Critical Mass is simple: cyclists make a weekly appointment to meet in Italian cities to take them back by blocking the traffic. In Milan, Critical Mass meets every Thursday at 10:00pm in Piazza dei Mercanti just a stone's throw from the Duomo.
The other evening, Piero Ricca participated in their gathering.
"There were people of all ages. Many have become friends thanks to their common passion for the bicycle. There was a contagious joy, the desire to stay together in a simple way. A rarity in today's Milan. Not being a slave to the metal box makes you feel better mentally.
I interviewed some of these people. Then one of them invited me onto a sort of 4 wheeled drive with pedals. And we went round the city for a couple of hours.
The local police, very discreetly escorted us. Some people handed out flyers against the incivility on 4 wheels. Others played music that was heard via stereo speakers attached to the bicycle frame.
At the end there was even a picnic in the square, with a toast and an exchange of email addresses. Much more fun than a happy hour in a fashionable venue. It wasn't possible to miss out on a confrontation with the owner of a black motorized 4 wheel drive.
Visibly over-excited he got out of his machine, furious because of an issue of who gives way to whom.
He started off against one of the group and then he understood that he wasn't going to get any benefits and he retreated into his starship to shout expletives. But it wasn't his fault. It's the advertising that indoctrinates car drivers. The PM10 public administrations love them.
But they are the past. Our cities are to be returned to the people."
The joke, written large, of the cycle paths that don't exist or that suddenly stop or that are blocked by a mass of metal.
The joke, written large, of the tiny little traffic lights with tiny bicycles in green and red and queues of cars, the pavements for pedestrians full of cars, the slipways for people in wheelchairs, clogged with cars. Most of our Italian cities are made to measure for bicycles.
They are not Los Angeles. They are Florence, Verona, Parma. Let's give the right of way to cyclists and not to the oilies and the automobile constructors.
Let's invade the city with bicycles with Critical Mass in the city. Today in Milan, tomorrow in the whole of Italy. Employee mayors, go to the office on a bicycle. We want to see you on a bicycle. To give a good example.
The Critical Mass appointments.

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January 18, 2007

Asphalt Lomellina

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Leftloft

The State has no money. The Regions have no money. But they continue to spend. And that’s how the public debt is created. Cuts to the health service. Cuts to pensions.
But if there’s no money how is it possible to go on with useless public works? The useless Broni-Mortara motorway has cost 100 million Euro up until now just for the planning stage. The 22 mayors of the towns that it goes past, do not want it. To complete it 920 million Euro more are needed. Lega Ambiente has explained that it will cause irreversible damage to the area.
Why build the Broni Mortara motorway? Who gains?

From the website terradilomellina.it:
”A few million cubic metres of asphalt and cement for six lanes will carve up the countryside of the Lomellina for a length of 68,780 km, with an elevated development for 57,260 km, and in cuttings for 1,500 km and viaducts for 10 km.
The Lomellina motorway is definitely wanted by Infrastrutture Lombarde S.p.A., the Pirelli company for big construction projects, by Sabrom S.p.A., the company promoting the project, Province of Pavia and by Unione Industriali di Pavia, that commissioned the feasibility study.”

I would like to ask a few questions to two Ministers of the Republic and I’m hoping for a reply:
To Antonio Di Pietro, Minister of Infrastructure:
- Who has taken the 100 million Euro for the project evaluation? Is it a fair amount? Where are the outcomes?
To Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Minister of the Environment:
- Who has done the environmental impact assessment? Why can a project that is so blatantly useless be put into effect to devastate the Lomellina?

Links:
Campaign group against the motorway construction
Legambiente’s point of view

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December 09, 2006

The Unknown Cyclist

The cities of Milan and Nassirya are getting a twinning arrangement. Letizia Moratti will soon go to Iraq to visit Eni. She’ll be accompanied by her oil-business husband Gian Marco Moratti, her oil-business brother-in-law Massimo Moratti e and her green sister-in-law Milly Moratti.
The two cities have a common heritage of those who died for oil. In Iraq for defending the oil wells. In Italy for defending the profits of the oil magnates and the State. The civilians who have “fallen” are much more numerous than those who fell in war.
Just in Milan the count of cyclists from the beginning of the year is of 812 injured and 11 dead. For pedestrians it’s 290 injured and 26 dead. A total of 37 dead, but then that’s not including the Christmas period. In the last few days, a young woman was killed on the pedestrian crossing by an ATM bus.
A gentleman on a bicycle was squashed by an articulated vehicle right in the centre. A 13 year old boy was knocked over with his bicycle by a truck. But they are ordinary people. Those who love the risk. Anything but parachutists. And those who take the risk pay.
The city authorities should intervene. For example oblige all citizens to equip themselves with a car. Not for getting around but for protection. Seat belts, air bags, side-impact protection bars are made for that. Journey times would get longer but petrol would disappear like bread.
And many lives would be saved. There’d still be the danger for those who are obstinate enough to want to walk to the stop of the public transport. There’s a solution: underpasses. Directly from your front door to the bus stop or to the metro station.
The number of cyclists who have died in accidents has doubled in a year in Milan. The problem must be tackled straight away. Forbid bicycles. And, as a warning, erect a memorial to the unknown cyclist. Sponsored by Eni and Fiat.

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November 16, 2006

Pantalone’s Railway

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“Railways without substance and without resources: the disequilibrium is such that it’s no longer possible to go on in a state of financial indebtedness. … the buildings that were owned have all been sold off”, Mauro Moretti, amministratore delegato delle Ferrovie dello Stato. (CEO of Italian State Railways).

1,800,000,000 Euro is the hole in the balance sheet forecast for 2006.
6,100,000,000 Euro is necessary to avoid having to take the books to the tribunal.
RESET!
Who has administered the Railways in the last few years? Catania.
Who has been the Minister of Transport in the last few years? Lunardi.
Who was President of the Council in the last few years? Berlusconi.
And Moretti, where has he worked in the last 20 years?
Let them pay the 6,100,000,000 Euro.
They are not our debts. It’s their affair.
Romano Prodi has said that he will intervene. But how? In the usual way.
Taxes on the citizens. And the people responsible for the bankruptcy, golden handshakes of millions of Euro, handsomely paid jobs in Parliament, escorts paid for by the State.

RESET!
Prodi must put figures to the resulting damages and ensure that compensation is paid . These people should be ashamed to go out of their homes. With the trains in a Third World situation we have invested in high speed, with the delirium of the TAV in Val di Susa.
Someone has to pay, even though it’s a Euro, they have to pay.
Those voting for the Centre Left have been defined as coglioni (twit, lit.testicles). If the government doesn’t intervene it is surely true.
Let the one who has made a mistake be the one to pay. And let the politicized top brass of the Railways stay out of our hair.

Ps: Cimoli (Cimoletor) has contributed to the destruction of the railways, now he’s finishing up his work in Alitalia. In a few months we will be told that it has folded. In that case the people responsible have 2 names: Bianchi and Prodi.

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October 25, 2006

Poisons in the city

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To do RESET we have to start with something. Let’s start with what is round about us every day in our cities. From the poisons that we breathe.
For which we need to thank the media bosses. For their obsessive publicity for cars. The newspapers and the TV are in competition with Quattroruote {magazine dedicated to cars}.
Who dictates the petrol industry line to the media? The State that lives off the taxes on fuel, the oil companies and the car manufacturers. The politicians, as Mattei said, are only taxi drivers that pay themselves off with a tip after the journey. What’s to be done?
Let’s write a list of 12 commandments for the employee mayor. Let’s ask for (and insist on getting it) a meeting so that he can sign all or some of the proposed points or even none of them if he doesn’t agree. The meeting could be filmed and the reasoning of the employee could be heard on this blog.
I have listened to true experts about poisons in the city: two mothers with young babies. The ones that breathe in from their baby buggies the exhausts from the vehicles. Those that if all goes well get a chronic cough, and if it goes badly get leukaemia.

This is what they advise:
1 Entry tickets for cars
2 Cycle tracks for every route through the city
3 Step by step elimination of car parks in the city
4 Creation of green spaces where there are now car parks
5 Car sharing advertised and promoted by the local authorities
6 Electric buses and cars
7 Reduction of Ici {local tax on property} by 30% for those who don’t own a car
8 Set waiting time at traffic lights for vehicles to be double that for pedestrians
9 Loading and unloading from 5 to 7 in the morning
10 Free public transport
11 Tax for the occupation of the public space for parked vehicles
12 Newly constructed public offices definitely with no car parks

Our cities are automobile cemeteries and gas dumps. Let’s change them.

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October 17, 2006

The Italians' black hole

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Definition of priority: “to come first in relation to something else, the right to get precedence for urgency, importance, values or similar.” {translated from} Garzanti Dictionary 2006

Italy is founded on priorities. Priorities are its very foundations. Without the priority of the Mezzogiorno (South of Italy), of work, of young people, of the Mafia, and just recently of Clandestines, and of released prisoners, this country would not last 2 days. Of course a country without foundations cannot last.
Thus in Italy there are some priorities that have had priority to wait for a century. They are reverse priorities. The one that shines above the others is the SRC Salerno-Reggio Calabria.
For some time, in the Italy of high speed and Great Traffic Jams, when a motorway needs repairing or a clogged ring road needs improving, up pops the priority to be given to the Salerno-Reggio Calabria.
Already Andreotti said it when he was deputy Pharaoh. It’s been repeated by Ministers who were Christian Democrats, Socialists, Olive Party and even Emmenthal Lunardi. Even he admitted “The Salerno-Reggio Calabria is a priority especially if someone is in a hurry to get to Milan.”
Then Emmenthal got his friends to construct dozens of tunnels, while the Salerno-Reggio Calabria was still a bombed out ribbon, full of ghostly construction and abandoned work and above all with dozens of kilometers with a single lane, so much so that because of the traffic jams, it has been renamed the SRC, Strada Rottura di Coglioni {Road that Breaks Your Balls}
The SRC is 443 Kilometres long but on average it takes 8 hours to drive along it. It was due to be ready by 2008, but at the current rate it could be opened in 2036 by the new Minister of Transport Lapuccio Elkann junior.
Now the SRC has been indicated as having priority over the Bridge of Messina, otherwise known as the megalomaniacal delirium fruit of the wig of Berlusconi, the day that Dell’Utri made him a gift of a Golden Gate made from Lego.
The bridge over the Straits would be very very costly and the greatest Japanese engineer has said “yes it could hold up, if you take the sea from underneath it.”
Thus we are happy to give priority to the Salerno-Reggio Calabria. But, this time, let’s keep our eyes open.
We will check to see if there are building sites that are making no progress, if half of the motorway is one and a half lanes wide, if there are new ghostly contracts, abandoned big diggers, mountains of stones ten metres high and emergency parking places just for bicycles.
Basically if the Salerno-Reggio Calabria, amidst sections that are shut, redone or being redone seems to be a cocktail between Stalingrad and Simona Ventura, then the word “priority” will have been used to mislead us.
We will check that the SRC, Strada Rottura Coglioni {Road that Breaks Your Balls} becomes SRC, Strada Regolarmente Completata (Road Regularly Completed} with safety measures that will be above the breaking of any balls. But at least then Italy will be saved.

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July 02, 2006

The economics of death

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It’s mathematics: when a road is constructed, they start a new account for the dead who will subsequently be remembered with bunches of flowers, memorials, stones, photos. You can witness this anywhere. Tiny cemeteries on the road. About 7,000 people a year die on our roads, almost 20 a day. And a shocking figure of about 70,000 injured, many with permanent injuries. The provincial newspapers always start off with the accounts of deaths of motorcyclists who hit a pole or who have a full frontal crash on a state road. In the last 30 years, adding up a few figures means that more than 200,000 people have died.

Nobody says a word. The car companies have advertising that always emphasises the cars that are ever more powerful, that invite you to exceed the speed limits. Excess speed is one of the main causes of accidents. They make such a fuss for a couple of joints, and they don’t do any regulation of antisocial and murderous advertising.

We don’t insist that vehicle manufacturers make vehicles with speed limits. The media report this news with placid indifference. The institutions, instead of promoting decentralisation and tele-working, are developing centralisation and mobility. It’s the beauty of the economy. The economy of the car, of petrol with State taxes, of finance to buy a car. Economic deaths that are worth a lot less than war deaths.

Little is said about them. Just superficially. In a way they brought it on themselves. Quantity versus quality. Advertising for cars kills more than anti-personnel mines.

Well then I want the par condicio {equal access rule}. I too want to be able to talk about the national road networks (OUR national networks), with an advertising spot that lets people understand that speed is violence, that it is a myth of the past, of older people, finished, of those that find gratification with a spanner rather than with a vagina. Yes, I want to get back to the TV for 30 seconds, straight after every deadly advertisement, to remind people, especially the young ones that life is something else, somewhere else. Not in rubber tyres, in engine wheels, in 220 an hour, in four wheel drives.
The speed maniacs are poor things, but the real problem is that they don’t know that.

PS. “Speed is the major assassin on the roads and according to the European Union (EU) reducing the average driving speed by 3 km/h would save about 5,000-6,000 lives a year and would avoid about 120,000-140,000 accidents saving € 20,000,000,000 in costs. By increasing the speed in urban centres from 30 km/h to 50 km/h increases the risk of death for pedestrians 8 fold.” From Wikipedia.


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June 29, 2006

Corridor 5, the Scourge of God

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The barbarians passed through Italy and did loads of damage. Attila stopped the grass growing but he left in peace the trees, the water sources and all the rest. From then on, Italy has survived everything, the plague, wars, the Savoys, Bossi and Giovanardi. However it’s possible that it won’t survive Corridor 5 that will drill through the Alps, the Apennines and the Po Valley so that mozzarellas can be speedily transported from Kiev to Lisbon.

This’ll be in 20 years time when those responsible for this stupidity will probably be dead. We will see trains pass by fasterthanfast across the whole of the North while thousands of millions of Euro will have finished up at normal speeds into the pockets of the red co-operatives (Perhaps this is why the Ds chiamparinobressofassino have all joined forces?) and of lunardian companies (perhaps this is why the Centre Right agrees? Including the Lega of the valleys hard and pure?)

The Tav/Tac is not only Val di Susa, it’s also Liguria, Lombardy, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
A Friulan friend has written to me.



“Dear Beppe,

Thank goodness that you are lending us a hand with the TAV affair.
However I’d like to remind you that it’s not just Val Susa. Of course, Val Susa is extremely important as it is the first stage in a monstrous system. Corridor 5 will involve Lombardy, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia (but also your Liguria with the second pass, ask Lenzi of WWF Italy…) And then there’s Slovenia where we are trying to establish contacts.

For the North East and in particular Friuli Venezia Giulia I invite you to visit our site http://ccc5.altervista.org and in particular the sections "progetto" and "opinioni".

A preliminary project of RFI/Italferr between Ronchi dei Legionari (GO) and Trieste in 2004 was turned down by the Commissione Speciale di Valutazione d'Impatto Ambientale {Environmental Impact Committee} and by the Ministry of Cultural and Environmental Affairs (Minister Urbani, who was immediately substituted by Buttiglione, who knows why). More than 26 kilometres of double tunnels (in some cases triple tunnels) underneath il Carso di Gorizia and Trieste, in one of the territories that is the richest in caves in the world. An authentic folly!

It’s not yet come out publicly, but it’s said that another preliminary project is already ready for the stretch Portogruaro (VE)-Ronchi dei Legionari (GO) that goes through and massacres all the lower Friuli plain, an agricultural zone, a zone of many springs, rich in vineyards, many agritourism establishments and with ambitions to develop tourism as the hinterland of the beach resorts of Lignano Sabbiadoro, Grado and the archaeological site of Aquileia.

But if the Corridor 5 goes ahead, it’s good-bye to all that. Who would want to go to an agritourism establishment with the din of the super-train?

Beppe, keep thinking of your friends! Ciao".

Claudio


For the Campaign against Corridor 5
- Comitât Cuintra al Coridôr Sinc
- Odbor Proti Petemu Koridoju


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June 28, 2006

The Voice of the Susa Valley / 12

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A great letter from the Mayor of Condove in Valle di Susa about life at low speed.

“Dear Beppe,
Journalists and ministers talk on and on about topics that they know nothing or little about, using stock phrases or made up ones, by now over-used and squeezed of meaning (“the TAV in Valle di Susa cannot be renounced”, “it is for the development of the country”, “it is needed to stay connected to Europe” and bla bla bla). Meanwhile we mountain people headstrong-layabout-destructive-anarchist-revolutionaries (and more) continue our lives slowly, since we believe not only that another world is possible but that it is also accessible, just hidden there, round the corner.

An example? This evening with a number of no-TAV committees we are meeting here at my place in the town hall to try and work out new perspectives for the local economy in the Valle, to talk about organic agriculture and of a slow down in growth, of considered consumption, of ethical financing and of co-operatives…

Another example? Friday at 8:00am we will leave Venaus on foot.
”We’ll leave”? Who? “Us”. Those who want to move at the speed of a person and not at the speed of profit. Those who say “No” to the TAV, but “YES” to the train (and if possible clean, safe and on time).

Those who in recent months have made it to the front pages of the newspapers, because, even getting beaten up, they’ve had the bottle to “block the Progress of our Country”. That’s what they’ve said to us. Those who in the last 15 years, without getting to the front pages of the newspapers, have silently worked to save not only their own kitchen garden, their own backyard, but also the wallets of the Italians…

Let’s set off to go where? To Rome, obviously. To do what? To meet up with Prodi, after 15 years of journeying. But above all to meet up with other people in other backyards. To see other kitchen gardens.
To exchange ideas and to gather information. To sit down round a table, and eat bread and cheese with those who are happy to invite us along the way. I’d like to repeat what I wrote earlier: that another world is possible, it is accessible and I would add – it is our moral duty to search for it.

But to do all this we need a speed that matches our pace. Low speed, not high speed. The speed of a person, in fact. I’d already explained this to Prodi before he became President. At that time he was writing Programmes in his factory. I told him that no-one would want to live in a corridor, not even one called Corridor number 5. On Thursday, if the political round table really happens and if I am invited to be part of the delegation, I will try to explain the concept one more time…

I don’t know if “it’ll be hard”, but I will continue to believe that we can do it.
Good Bye and thanks for what you are doing.

Barbara Debernardi – mayor of Condove

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June 25, 2006

The Voice of the Susa Valley / 11

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I didn’t want to talk about it any more. I hoped that once the technical centre at Venaus had been removed that the TAV discussion was closed forever. But after today’s outpourings form the employee minister Bianchi I couldn’t keep quiet. It’s stronger than me.

After reading his words that have a slight Stalinist flavour talking to the people of the Val di Susa: “It is unacceptable that someone blocks this”, “I am perplexed that people are following these sparks of protest”, “Democracy is based on the principle of the majority”, “the right of veto is a decadent form of democracy”, I’ve decided to once more make the Blog available for the people of the Val di Susa to speak. Available to the mayors, the Parish priests, the country people, the manual labourers, the students, the grandmas and the children.

To open up to this dangerous spark of “no global” that is unacceptable to our employees on the right and on the left, to their “arrogance of the majority” to their indifference and above all to their interests.

The passwords for the TAV are the usual: “It is an opportunity for the country”, “We cannot stay outside the European Union”. To me it seems that the arguments in favour of the TAV are still the usual reasons of money. And that’s lots and lots and lots: between 14,000,000,000 to 15,000,000,000 Euro. And only a tiny part of this will be financed by the European Community, the rest by us, with our taxes. What’s the point? A tunnel to transport goods, thus it’s TAC (Treni ad Alta Capacità = Trains at High Capacity) and not TAV. A tunnel that’s 53 kilometres long that if it goes well will be ready in 15 years. But do we want to stop playing around?

If the politicians must lend an ear to the economic groups connected with the TAV why don’t they get elected directly by them without messing around with political elections? But haven’t our employee Prodi and his groom Padoa Schioppa already said that there’s no more money? That the country is nearly bankrupt? So where are they going to find these thousands of millions to cut a hole through the mountain? The railways and the roads in Italy need urgent interventions and their priority is a hole in the mountain that’s of no use? The employee Bianchi can talk to any commuter to find out, with any truck driver, with the motorists driving on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria.

To refresh the memories of our new employees I’m republishing the opinion of Marco Ponti, a professor at the Milan Polytechnic, one of the most important experts in the economy of transport in Europe and consultant to the World Bank, seen in a post last year:

"... the Italian system is largely under-utilised. On a normal line with double track, 240 trains a day can travel on it. And on a High-speed track (AV) up to 350 can. It doesn't make sense to add this enormous capacity on some of the segments, as there is not the demand for rail transport of this magnitude. Note that the AV lines are very costly.”

“At the beginning it was promised that the AV project would pay for 60% of its costs. Then this came down to 40% and finally it was established that 40% of the costs excluding the costs for the “nodes” near the cities, (really expensive). According to my simulations it would be around 20%; others estimate 23%. "

The system is destined for the default: the State pays. Many of these projects will get off the ground and then there won’t be the money to continue them and they will be restarted every time there is an election. The Turin-Lyon is a monument to dissipation: it will cost at least 13 thousand million, like 3 or 4 bridges over the Straits of Messina.“

I invite the inhabitants of the Susa Valley to write to me and to send me photos, information, and film clips that can be published on the Blog.
It’s not going to be easy!

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May 12, 2006

No TAV – 6 months on

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Silently, silently, the No TAV repression is arriving in Val di Susa. The Blog however wants to turn the spotlights back onto the No TAV movement to give it a voice. Today I’m publishing the letter of a person from the Val di Susa.

“Six months after the events, there are 8 people under investigation, because of having pacifically (perhaps with the odd vulgarity) confronted the military occupation of the territory. There were also European Union Parliamentarians from the Petitions Commission with us that day and they saw what was happening in person.

For the little that I understand, what is happening is nothing other than a new shower of shit. Anyway we know how to live in this element. We also are sure that if you spread it without understanding that it can splash on those who spread it, it is senseless…
To understand better, read the message that is going around on the internet…”

This is a serious situation and we are showing you a message received from one of the Val di Susa’s No TAV campaign group.

The politics of the carrot, adopted with the setting up of the "Virano" Observatory, in view of the failure of the mediation attempts, is giving way to the politics of the stick.
The first 8 notices of judicial action have arrived. They relate to the Resistance at Seghino on 30 October and for the blocks on the following day.

They are for 8 people from Val di Susa including the mayor of Bussoleno, Peppe Joannas, and one of the most well known no TAV campaigners, Alberto Perino. The accusations are believed to cover crimes of resistance and threats.

Added to that on 12 May there will be a hearing in the youth court in Turin (Corso Unione Sovietica 325) where the defendant is a no TAV campaigner who was under 18 at that time.

Finally on 17 May, at the Turin Tribunal (Corso Vittorio Emanuele 300) there will be a trial for Marco Martorana a no TAV campaigner from Turin, accused of injuring a police officer during a spontaneous demonstration on 6 December in Turin, after the police attacked the headquarters at Venaus.

Yesterday, during the day the notices of judicial action were arriving. That same day, in the evening at Bussoleno, the response arrived from the movement. A packed meeting renewed their fullest solidarity to the people being investigated and numerous actions were prepared. Furthermore, the seizure of the Venaus lands by the magistrates has been declared once more to be a political act to which we are opposed.

Once more we stated our strong opposition to the doubling of the Frejus motorway tunnel.

The next appointments in Turin:
- Friday 12 at the youth court in Turin for the No TAV youth trial
- Wednesday 17 May in front of the court for Marco Martorana’s trial
- Saturday 13 at Pianezza for the no TAV bicycle outing

It’ll be hard!” O.


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May 01, 2006

Motorway accounting

A few months ago Gilberto Benetton invited me to lunch. I did some research and refused. I didn’t want to find myself having to pay the bill. Usually I behave like a person from Genova. I prefer to let the other person pay.
I would have found myself sitting at table with one of the people with the biggest debts in Italy after Tronchetti with whom he shares debts and jumpers to be worn at a regatta.
I asked a couple of financial consultants how Benetton was doing and their hand gestures indicated bad things.
A few weeks ago to remove every doubt about the possibility of Gilberto being solvent in the restaurant, I had a glance at the balance sheet for the Autostrade {Motorways}. A balance sheet that showed alarming profits: about a thousand million Euro, and alarming debts: almost nine thousand million Euro, investments in the motorways: the figure was not available.
And at this point I need to recount a bit of history to arrive at the epilogue about the current news of the sale-merger and the Spanish Abertis. In the fabulous 90’s the regular government of the centre left did the regular privatisation cock up, called “centre left privatisation” that is using debts.
A modern way to hand over the property of the State in which the one who buys pays very little and asks the banks for the money as loans and thus buys a good that generations of Italians have constructed with their taxes.
Thus in 1999, Benetton and associates, including Unicredit, enter the motorway business. From that moment, according to the Saturday 29 April edition of the newspaper, la Repubblica, the money to be invested in the motorway network according to the agreement with the State should have been 7,500 million Euro. The effective investments have been 2,400 million Euro. That makes about 5,000 million Euro of missing investment. Of course any driver can vouch for that.  Where are these missing 5,000 million Euro?
The debt doesn’t get smaller, the investments, sooner or later have to be made. How can this happen? What would a friend of Tronchetti do?

Sell of course. Sell to the regular European partner that allows for synergy and the creation of a massive world organisation at the expense of Italians. He gets one thousand million Euro to share with the associates including Unicredit. And he does this at a moment of institutional emptiness, without a government in charge. But what’s the relevance of the government? It’s relevant. It’s relevant.
In fact the motorway tariffs are worked out with the government as they are part of the concession agreement. If the State wanted, the tariffs could be half or even a tenth of current levels. Or they could be frozen for one or more years.

This is a unique situation in Italy. The CEO of Autostrade, Vito Gamberale, has disassociated himself from the operation. He merits honour for this.
The operation should be blocked. (Get moving Prodi. Get moving. ) As a friendly gesture to Gilberto, considering the desperate situation that he finds himself in I will let him have two luncheon vouchers for a meal in a trattoria.

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March 30, 2006

Give us back IRI

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Board of Directors- Autostrade SpA

From the website of Autostrade SpA.:
“Società Autostrade Concessioni e Costruzioni Spa was set up by IRI in 1950 with the aim of participating, together with other great industrial groups in Italy’s post war reconstruction.”.

And a bit further on on the same page:
“In 1999 società Autostrade was privatised”.

The shareholders holding the majority of the società Autostrade shares hold 50.1% (grouped together as società Schemaventotto) they are:
- Edizione Holding, financiers of gruppo Benetton, 60%
- UniCredito 6.7%
- Abertis 13.3%
- Fondazione CRT 13.3%
- Assicurazioni Generali 6.7%

They’ve left 49.9% for the market...

Thus Benetton, through Edizione Holding present in the società Schemaventotto, in fact controls Società Autostrade. And there was I thinking it dealt with something completely different; jumpers and T shirts.

But so far, there’s nothing to say, well we should be pleased that private companies are keen to modernise our motorways, I call them “ours” because they were constructed from 1950 to 1999 with our taxes and our toll payments.

When I’m on tour, I’m often obliged to travel by car, and I invariably find myself on a motorway. On a motorway that gets more expensive every year and with road works or some reason why there’s only one lane as on the Milano Torino
And then I think: is it that they are short of money these poor generous shareholders and Benetton, we can’t expect them to fish out their shekels for us motorists and improve the motorway network.

Then I read in the 2005 Autostrade Balance Sheet the results are 2,957 million euro of receipts with pre tax profits of 1,094 million euro.
In a year they have increased their profits by 110 million Euro. How can they have done that? Managerial ability? Intuitive investments? By analysing the competition?
The net debt of società Autostrade is 8.794 million euro, almost three times the annual receipts. How do you think they will finish up?

Well done Benetton, always on the crest of the wave.

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March 04, 2006

We’re all “no global”

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Labelling people, movements, and ideas in a negative way is an age-old way of annihilating them. The word becomes an insult. The person you’re talking about becomes “different”.
No global is an example. A “no global” is a terrorist, a revolting anarchist, a new brigadist, an unreasonable person, a mad person, a thug, a retrograde, an anti-modernist.
They’re not someone to be talked to, better to ignore them, isolate them, and when the circumstances allow, even beat them up.

In response to the protests for the privatisation of water, for the TAV in Val di Susa, for the closure of the sugar factories it’s enough to say “no global” and by some enchantment, the problems are theirs, only theirs, of the people protesting.
Those who are “no global” are on the increase. As well as farmers, valley dwellers, city dwellers and consumers, there are also studious people who write for the publication “Il Mulino” of Bologna: the dangerous “no global” Edmondo Berselli, Luigi Bobbio, Bruno Manghi, Giuseppe Berta, Andrea Boitani, Marco Ponti and Antonio Tamburrini.

Il Mulino uses its cover to provide an article about the TAV. Here are some of the views:
- “the structure of the TAV, built on incapacity and shadows, is showing obvious signs of cracking.”
- “with much that is questionable and yet not discussed: High Velocity to be tried by democracy.”
- “people sign up automatically and with limited reflection to the large scale projects that are big in cost and time.”
- “capacity on the stretch Turin-Lyons at the moment is sufficient and anyway, with limited adjustments it could be made abundantly sufficient.”
- “this Val di Susa situation is a symbolic  example of the empty position to which the arrogant and decisionist way of thinking is leading with the great public engineering works.”  

Now, bit by bit, everyone is beginning to understand that there’s no point in doing the TAV, and that to be “no global” is not an insult, but a compliment.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 11:01 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (4) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend | TrackBack (0)

January 06, 2006

The air is ours

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The crazy idea of having Sundays without cars is being repeated again this year. On a similar footing to an ancient pagan rite that is celebrated without being able to remember why, or like a modern way of invoking the rain to clean the air. Tomorrow the gas chamber called Milan will stop, while the employee administrators formigonialbertinipenati after destroying the Bosco di Gioia {Joyous Wood}, 180 trees, a tiny green lung, one of the few in Milan, they are now rushing to construct the new building for the Region, three massive skyscrapers in the area of the Fiera and carparkscarparkscarparkscarparks.

Are these employee administrators or property developers?
Are they stupid or just playing as if they were?

Carlo Monguzzi, the leader of the Green Party for the Lombardy Region, has declared that the 5 year plan for air has received a budget allocation of 2 million Euros for 2006. And only as a result of an amendment from the Greens. The plan was going to receive 600 Million Euro, but this money will go to finance the new skyscraper for the Region.

They tell us that the polluted air is the fault of the nice weather and because of central heating.
For us to be at peace, we have to hope that there will be rain, snow, or a tiny tsunami.
We have to choose whether to die of lung cancer or to die of cold or bad weather. Or an alternative choice: send these employees home, and claim back the air, our air.

In Milan, there are no cycle paths, or the few that exist, are occupied by parked cars.
The centre of Milan is a depot for four wheeled drives, trucks and buses.
In Milan the electric bus doesn’t exist, the buses use white petrol, cleanclean (they take us for a ride even with words). In Milan they construct car parks, but the car parks attract the cars.
In Milan the children have direct access to carbon monoxide in their baby carriers.

We need to do something and not just in Milan.
Let’s claim back the air.
Our air.

I propose a symbolic gesture to start off with. I’m asking for the help of the Meet Up groups.
Every first Saturday of the month, let’s invade the cities of Italy with bicycles.
Hundreds, millions of bicycles.

For our air.

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December 23, 2005

Trains fit for Museums

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From today it's possible!

Thanks to the high-speed trains, it's possible to save 11 minutes from Rome to Naples by train. Don't you believe it?

On 22/12/2005 (yesterday) the first high speed train left Rome and arrived in Naples in 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Such a different life when you think of the Eurostar which takes at least 1 hour 46 minutes for the same journey.

Certainly, investing in the high-speed trains means making sacrifices, and the money has to come from somewhere.
And the money has been found.
The 2006 tremontilunardi finance bill has planned a 92.6% cut in investments for the railway.

We’ve got trains that are older than the train drivers, who pass them down as an inheritance from father to son.
A great part of the railway system is not equipped with modern automatic systems for emergency braking.
Ticks, scorpions and bugs travel in both first and second class.

Every so often someone loses a life, like Antonio Vallillo, who dies in the rail accident at Roccasecca. He emigrated to England to work and came back to let his 3 children get to know Italy. The youngest of these, his 8-year-old daughter is in a coma.

Elio Catania, previously the vice warehouse person of IBM (his boss was Stanca) and now president of the Railways, stated after the accident that our railway system is the safest in Europe.
The Fit-Cisl Trades Union was slightly more forthright and spoke of a disaster waiting to happen.
Who is right?


Elio’s competence in terms of transport cannot be questioned, only because he has none.
He is the same character (Nostradamus of the railway sleepers) who came out with the following statement for the Val di Susa: “  from 2018 the Turin-Lyon line will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% with the transfer of 1 million trucks a year onto the trains of the railway motorway and to reduce poisonous polluting gases by about 360 tons a day.”

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December 17, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley/ 10

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The employee Pisanu started well in Parliament yesterday:
”I have no difficulty in apologising to the peaceful citizens of the Susa Valley who have suffered physical damage as a result of the clearing of the building site at Venaus”
After these Christmas words we feel more serene. If in the heart of the night we are bludgeoned by the forces of order we know that later the employee Pisanu will apologise.
And I must say, this is to his merit.


But unfortunately our employee has exposed his game and has made the following declarations, one after the other:


“The mixing of peaceful demonstrators and destructive groups took the protest beyond the predictable level of vehemence.


“The Val di Susa has not been militarised.”


“Today ideas of revenge are spreading especially in relation to those who have been willing to engage in dialogue and to carry on a loyal collaboration with the institutions.”


“The Violence in the Val di Susa needed to be confronted.”


In Venaus, during the night, without warning, women and elderly people were beaten up, there are filmstrips viewable on the internet, hundreds of people can bear witness.


And yet, the Valsusini (People of the Susa Valley) have not reacted with violence.


Tomorrow in Turin (I’m coming) there will be demonstrations.


Present there will be many young people who are state police, local police, and carabinieri.
They are young people who are paid too little; they often have to obey senseless orders.


Let’s treat them well. Every young female, give them a smile.


Let’s reserve the kicks in the behind for other employees.

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December 16, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley / 9

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The Susa Valley is not alone, and the Valsusini (the people of the Susa Valley) know that. The Susa Valley is a starting point for a country that wants to take back control of public affairs through the direct participation of the citizens.

"1, 100, 1000 Val di Susa".

Today I’m publishing a letter of solidarity to the Valsusini from the Vajont Valley.

“The inhabitants of the Vajont Valley join themselves in solidarity with the inhabitants of the Susa Valley and with the NOTAV campaign.

The reason is easy to say: living in the Vajont Valley, it’s impossible to forget the deep hurt that was felt following the realisation of the “Grande Vajont” project. This affair reminds us of one of the first “great works” carried out in Italy. Starting from the end of the 1950’s in fact, they constructed the highest dam in the world in our Valley, with the idea of making use of the rich water resources for hydroelectric power. Even on that occasion, the directors of the contracting company (SADE) and the State felt that this project was like a trampoline to launch development.

Similarly on that occasion, in the planning and realisation stages, they determined that: a definite push towards economic interests; an underestimate of the hydrological and environmental problems;
a strategic attempt to silence and placate any desire to protest and / or make use of correct information.

All this was in a valley affected by big issues relating to the instability of the hillsides.
One night in 1963 the people and this place were shaken by the sliding of 270 million cubic metres of rock falling off Monte Toc and crashing down without stopping into the artificial basin above the Vajont dam.

A wave of immense proportions devastated centres of habitation and the whole of the territory. This caused the death of about 2,000 people and the injured remained as an indelible witness among the people who survived.
Today all the scientific community maintain that it was a predictable disaster and above all, now, it is known that if it hadn’t been for the lake, the landslide would not have come away from the mountainside with that speed and with that mass. A preventative intervention could have avoided this tragedy and put in place an effective interaction between human beings and the environment instead of the interference that actually happened.

With this action of solidarity, we have the benefit of being able to remember the 40 years of history that have followed this disaster. In fact, this story has been permeated with injustice and bad business even in the reconstruction phases.

For these reasons, we cannot fail to stand alongside the civil non-violent protest of the inhabitants of the Susa Valley against the start of opening up building sites and creating the planned tunnel, whose route relates to rocks made up of the dangerous minerals asbestos and uranium which can open up serious scenarios of public health.

As well as that we protest about the militarisation of the territory in defence of the interests of the State now in Val di Susa.

The victims are always people but the problem remains: too often the faces and the stories are forgotten and the harmony of the locations freely offering themselves to the idols of economic interest and to the thirst for prestige. We rediscover together the possibility to act without party divisions and the generative willingness to express our own opinion and to require the just approach and the correct information to environmental themes.”


The following have made a personal contribution to this letter:

Dario Bossi (Combonian Missionary)
Guglielmo Cornaviera (President of the “Campaign for the defence of the rights of the survivors of Vajont”)
Italo Filippin (Vice-president of the “Association of Vajont Survivors”)
Giovaniemissione
Luciano Pezzin (Mayor of Erto and Casso)
Peacelink
Alex Zanotelli (Combonian Missionary)
and some citizens of Erto and Casso

PS: www.beppegrillo.it has won the Premio WWW 2005 del Sole 24 Ore (WWW 2005 Prize of the newspaper il Sole 24 Ore) as best Italian site for the category: news and information.
Citation: “for the interactivity with the public, the ample documentation on the internet and the commitment to tackle topics of use to citizens.”
It’s you who have won this prize, with your votes and your participation in the Blog. Thank you.

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December 15, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley / 8

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I'm publishing a letter from Barbara Debernardi, Mayor of Condove in Val di Susa, to the President of the Regione Piemonte, Mercedes Bresso.

Coming at an important moment, this letter is written to one of our employees, paid by us, with our money, so that she remembers to act in the interests of her employers: the citizens.

"Dear President Mercedes Bresso,

Please excuse the "tu" form of address (the familiar 'you' form used between friends), perhaps it is too intimate, due to the fact that, even though on a vastly different scale, we both find ourselves to be colleagues in the delicate task of administering public affairs.

This is the first time that I'm writing to you, even though it's not the first time that I feel deeply offended by your discourse in relation to the High Speed project.

Nevertheless, since I normally avoid expressing an opinion about things of which I don't have direct knowledge, up until today I have kept to myself my disappointment and my unease.

However on Tuesday, at the transmission “10 minuti” on RAI 2 unfortunately I was there. I was sitting there, together with other mayors who are my colleagues and I heard you in direct when you told the Italians that there is not a majority of people from the Susa Valley against the TAV. I heard you clearly when you told them that the opposition to the activity came from a lack of knowledge about the projects. And I jumped in my seat when you closed by chatting about the fast trains that will take skiers to our mountains. Trains that certainly could not be those destined to run on the new Turin-Lyon route, which as you know is at the moment planned for freight traffic only. But this is a detail that you knowingly kept quiet about.

I would like to tell you about the frustration of those ten minutes of broadcasting, when we were not given the right of reply and the chance to tell the rest of Italy that the majority of the Valley is opposed to the work and that we know projects very well, even down to the most sordid detail. Here on my desk, I have the latest piece of ingenuity from Ingerop. It came to us a month ago. Anyway, have you seen this project, with a transporter belt of 30km to take people out and about along the Valley, called the “smarino”? If you haven’t seen it, it’s a good idea to glance at it, before expressing hurried opinions on it. If however, you know as much about it as we do, then on Tuesday evening, knowing that you were lying, you lied to us and to the Italian people. And that offends your and our intelligence, your and our dignity.

To talk about frustrations for an evening of TV that turned sour doesn’t get us anywhere. OK I’ll make you a promise and a proposal.

The promise is that I won’t allow myself to be dragged into little theatres like that set up the other evening on RAI2, in which one tries to attribute to the pre-constituted  “truths” the appearance of a dignified confrontation between peers.

The proposal is to be able to finally meet up, you and me, round a table, without the handy TV filters. And on the table, the papers, the reports of studies that have accumulated over the years. You, with all your mature political experience, I with all my recent experience of someone who is still convinced that politics can be a high and clean thing.

I want to be able to discuss these projects with you and I want to be able to see you straight in your eyes, while you tell me that those high speed projects are for the good of Italy and also of my Valley, just as you said the other evening.

And do you know why I dream of this encounter? Because I still hope to see in the depth of your eyes, the saving shadow of uncertainty and the courage of doubt.

The courage to say that perhaps 80,000 people that walked with me yesterday between Bussoleno and Susa could be right.

The courage to say that perhaps you made a mistake about the high-speed projects in the Susa Valley.

I hope to meet you soon.”

Barbara Debernardi mayor of Condove

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December 13, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley/ 7

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photo: MediaMind_photoagency

In an interview with l'Espresso, Marco Ponti, a professor at the Milan Polytechnic , one of the most important experts in the economy of transport in Europe and consultant to the World Bank, has made these interesting statements:

"... The Italian system is largely under-utilised. On a normal line with double track, 240 trains a day can travel on it. And on a High-speed track (AV) up to 350 can. It doesn't make sense to add this enormous capacity on some of the segments, as there is not the demand for rail transport of this magnitude. Note that the AV lines are very costly.”


“ … the railways in Italy all  have to run along viaducts and go through tunnels. And the costs increase to stratospheric levels. At the same time, while the French AV is a “Light” AV, only for passengers, the model that we have chosen is mixed, passengers and freight, and is quite a lot more expensive.”.


“This model does not have any rational reason: the capacity of the existing network is far in excess of the demand and the goods that travel by train do not need to travel at 300 Kilometres per hour, 180 is more than enough. The cost of tunnels is proportional to the square of their radius: make them a bit wider and the cost doubles. If we need the trains to run fast, the tunnels need to be generous, otherwise an “ariete” effect is produced and it slows down the train. Conclusion: either we do like we did for the piece of AV track between Bologna and Florence, that was not finished because the costs rose to mad heights to create wide tunnels, or we do normal tunnels, as for the Frejus project, and have the trains running no faster than 120-150 kilometres per hour. So much for AV!”


An AV that costs nothing to the State already exists: the low cost flights. You can’t beat them above 500km. To go from Turin to Paris, is unlikely that you’ll take the Turin-Lyon. But it makes it even more improbable to square the accounts: AV needs enormous traffic flows to justify it. We are way off that. There are 30 long distance trains a day travelling between Milan and Turin and they are half empty: the number in the official estimates on the Frejus is about 12.”


“At the beginning it was promised that the AV project would pay for 60% of its costs. Then this came down to 40% and finally it was established that 40% of the costs excluding the costs for the “nodes” near the cities, (really expensive). According to my simulations it would be around 20%; others estimate 23%. The system is destined for the default: the State pays. Many of these projects will get off the ground and then there won’t be the money to continue them and they will be restarted every time there is an election. The Turin-Lyon is a monument to dissipation: it will cost at least 13 thousand million, like 3 or 4 bridges over the Straits of Messina. Werner Rothengatter, world president of transport experts, in his “Megaprojects” has calculated that by the end, the cost of these massive schemes increases on average by 30-40 per cent.”


“To develop innovation, we need to focus on technology rather than on cement. As far as employment is concerned, nowadays, the massive projects have a modest multiplier effect: manual labourers are not used as they were in the 1800’s. And then it is evident that our country has a great tourist value in the future. Thus there are more fruitful ways of spending money. Unless of course someone is promising themselves great business on the great works.”

Source: Espresso.


Is there any expert in Italy who wants to answer with some numbers to this?

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:01 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 12, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley / 6

strada-della-Val-di-Susa.jpg

I'm still waiting for the detailed reasons in favour of the construction of the tunnel in the Susa Valley. At the same time, the Internet is full of the other reasons - for no TAV.

I advise you to read the interview with Professor Angelo Tartaglia of the Politecnico di Torino {Turin Polytechnic}.

This sentence of Professor Tartaglia is illuminating: “the technical people understand that the sums don’t add up. They talk about this to the politicians who say they don’t understand technical data and in the mean time, the work is to be done.”

Some data from the interview:

The central problem is that the goods trains In Italy travel at an average speed of 19 Kilometres per hour since they are often stationary waiting for passenger trains which get precedence. This is the bit of data to be improved.. It’s not useful that goods arrive from France at 150 kilometres per hour if they then pass most of their time in the station when they arrive in Italy.”

It makes sense to talk of High speed when the journeys are longer than 250-300Km. In Italy, if we look closely at the figures, we can see that 80% of the demand for passenger transport is for short journeys, less than 100Km. It’s true that our trains are super-full on certain routes but only very few people go from one end of the country to the other. The routes that are most frequented are those where there is the greatest exchange of passengers.

“A study commissioned by the Mountain Community of the Lower Susa Valley carried out by the Società di ingegneria dei Trasporti Polinomia, {Transport Engineering Company}, shows that the line would be justified if in the next few years there was 40 million tons of goods traffic per year making a total of 350 trains a day, every 4 minutes at the speed of 150 km/h, alternating with passenger trains at 300 km/h.

The fact that the Government has put a stop to the work is an extraordinary result, and is already a precedent.

From now on, before starting any work, the real employers should be consulted: the citizens.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:05 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

The Voice of the Susa Valley / 5

Venausscontri.jpg
photo: MediaMind_photoagency

They continue to chatter on about fantastic goods traffic through the Susa Valley when, in 15 to 20 years the tunnel will be finished.

Everyone can forecast what will happen in 20 years time, even Elio Catania, president of the FS (State Railway system) and ex vice warehouse person of IBM (the chief warehouse person was Stanca).
And in a special way with our money, since this project will cost us between three or four times the cost of the Messina Bridge.

But why don’t we talk instead of what is happening right now.

The number of heavy vehicles coming through the Frejus tunnel has been going down for many years:
-15.47% (including buses) in 2003, -7.61% in 2004, -12.85% in 2005 (projection based on the opening period, since the tunnel was closed for a few months). And if it’s going down, why should it increase in the future to such an extent to justify a high capacity line?

For the data, have a look at the website of SITAF – the company that manages the tunnel.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:28 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 11, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley /4

8 dicembre Val di Susa.JPG

8 dicembre Val di Susa 2.JPG
photo: demonstration 8 December 2005 Venaus

I’m listing a series of common sayings about the Susa Valley with comments from the No TAV campaign and 2 photos of the encounters on 8 December in which you can see the famous 1000 Black block and the anarchists mentioned by our employee Pisanu. The same man that said there was no (baton) charge at this location in Venaus.

If there exists a Pro-TAV campaign that wants to provide contrary information to these points, send me an email and I will publish it. If it is not possible to prove that these points are not correct, then we need a European Committee of Inquiry.

The nine common sayings

1 WITHOUT THE TURIN-LYON, PIEDMONT WOULD BE ISOLATED FROM THE REST OF EUROPE
In reality, Piedmont is already abundantly connected to Europe and above all through the Susa Valley. In this valley there are already 2 main roads a motorway and a dual track train line for passengers and freight. There is even the so-called motorway-train (transport of HGV by special shuttle trains). They are all connecting lines with France going through two natural passes (Monginevro and Moncenisio) and two artificial tunnels (Frejus for trains and for motorway). All this fits into a valley floor that is on average 1.5km wide! Even the river, the Dora Riparia has trouble squeezing in, and every so often it floods.

2. THE EXISTING TRAIN LINES ARE SATURATED
In fact the existing Turin-Modane train line is only used at 38% of its capacity. The HGV shuttle leaves every day desolately empty. (But they were rediscovered and pounced upon in the period when the Frejus tunnel was closed after the fire.) The direct train connection Turin-Lyon was suppressed because there weren’t enough passengers. And the flow of goods – forecast by those who want it the work in exponential growth – is in fact down by 9% in the last year!

3. THE TURIN-LYON IS INDISPENSABLE TO THE ECONOMIC REVIVAL OF PIEDMONT
In fact the opposite is true. By removing resources (it’s all public money) from research, innovation, the recovery of industry in deep crisis (Fiat and others) , the TAV will be the final blow to Piedmont’s economy.

4 THE TAV WILL REMOVE THE HGV FROM THE VALLEY
In fact just to kick off, the 10-15 years of work needed to construct the Turin-Lyon will bring to the roads of the Valley and to the area around Turin something like 500 lorries a day (and night) to transport the material from the excavation from the tunnel to stockpile sites, with a great increase in pollution and dust. Once the apocalyptic phase of building sites is over and the Great Work is realised, who says that the merchandise will pass from the motorway to the new railway? The opposite will happen. The promoters of this work and recent transport engineering studies tell us that only 1% of the current road traffic will transfer to rail.
Massive advantage.

5 THE PEOPLE OF THE SUSA VALLEY ARE EGOTISTS AND DON’T CONSIDER THE INTERESTS OF ITALY.
In fact, at the moment 35% of the goods crossing the Alps go through the Susa Valley! Along the Frejus Motorway 4,500 HGV pass every day. This can be compared to the 1,500 passing Mont Blanc in the Aosta Valley where the number of HGV is limited by law.

6. THE TURIN-LYON BRINGS WORK TO THE PEOPLE OF PIEDMONT.
In fact, as is already happening for all the structural work currently going on, this is short-term work carried out to a great extent by manual workers from outside the European Union. Also, the contracting firms bring in their own technical people and workers from their own Regions (there’s a saying that you get your wife and your cows from your own village – but here they’ll get their firms and their cows from their own village). For the towns and villages of the Susa Valley and the area round Turin, a great problem would arrive: the mafia. Turbulent tendering processes have already been identified in the phase of geological surveys on behalf of politicians from Piedmont and others. Who knows what we’d see for the actual construction work!

7. THE TRACK IS ALMOST ALL INSIDE THE TUNNEL. WHAT HARM WILL IT DO?
In fact it will do a great deal of harm. The route involves a 23 kilometre tunnel inside the Musinè, a mountain where there is much asbestos. The machine that perforates the rock will send into the air quite a lot of asbestos fibre. Invisible and lethal. The wind will carry it everywhere. The wind called the “foehn” will take it as far as the centre of Turin. Breathing in asbestos fibre causes a tumour of the lungs (mesotelioma pleurico), which doesn’t give you a chance. Asbestos is a material that has been outlawed since 1977. To excavate tunnels in a place like this is illegal and criminal. And what’s more: The 53Kilometre Italy -France tunnel excavated inside the Massiccio dell’Ambin (Ambin mountain) will encounter (apart from water sources and springs that will be destroyed) rock containing uranium. And what’s more: A railway in a tunnel needs loads of tiny tunnels, at right angles to the main tunnel. They are called service tunnels – or “windows”. There will be 12 of tem. These will need their own construction sites, all in areas where there are villages and houses. It will be a type of hell with noise and dust and lorries going back and forth on narrow village roads, day and night for at least 15 years.
And what’s more: the tunnelling of such long sections in the mountain near to densely populated towns and villages may dry out the water tables and the aqueducts, as has happened for the TAV tunnels of Mugello, for which trials are going on now concerning environmental disaster.
And what’s more: The road system will be turned upside-down. Over-passes will be constructed at each site of works. Perhaps these new roads will be calculated as compensation in regard to the environmental impact of the work? (To have a vague idea, go and tour round the Turin-Milan motorway and see the upset cause by the Turin-Novara TAV).

8 THIS WORK IS GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY BECAUSE IT RELEASES PRIVATE CAPITAL INTO THE MARKET.
In fact the estimated cost of 20 thousand million Euro is all charged to the public purse. All public money, but entrusted to private firms according to the diabolical invention of the general contractor. It is guaranteed by the Italian State. Nobody private will put in a Euro, especially after the experience of the tunnel under the English Channel. That sent into bankruptcy those that bought bonds. The incredible amounts of money that are needed by this work will be taken from the existing railway lines (already in a disastrous state), from hospitals, schools, and all public services, and from the development of renewable sources of energy to replace petrol.
And what’s more: It has already been forecast that the new Turin-Lyon railway line will have very high management costs and will be making a loss for scores of years.
And what’s more: Notwithstanding the fact that most of the route is in French territory, the Italian Government has accepted to cover the cost of two thirds of the International route (Borgone – St.-Jean-de-Maurienne). Anyway it’s us that pay.

9 WHOEVER IS AGAINST THE TURIN-LYON IS AGAINST PROGRESS.
In fact, the opposite is true. Progress must not be confused with infinite growth. The territory of Italy is small and is over-populated. Natural resources (water, agricultural land, forests, minerals) are limited. Pollution and refuse increase without limits. Petrol supplies are coming to an end. Progress means understanding that physical limits exist to our mania to construct and transform the face of the planet. Progress means optimising, making more efficient and durable that which already exists, cutting out what is superfluous and investing in intellectual and cultural growth more than material, using the mind more than muscles. The TAV represents the exact opposite of this idea; it is an old project that is now an anachronism. It foresees infinite growth in the volume of goods to be transported (that will then be the refuse of tomorrow). It privileges as values only speed and quantity. It ignores quality and whether and why we need to transport something.”

THE NO-TAV CAMPAIGN

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 01:48 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 10, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley/3

anarco-insurrezionalista-va.jpg
photo by Stefano Careglio

I’m publishing the letter of a Franciscan of the Susa Valley (Val di Susa), Beppe Giunti. It is long, but it’s worth taking the time to read it all.

“Many friends from our Community are asking me, and they are right to do so, why at the moment I am in the middle of this TAV (fast train) issue. They are asking why I marched from Bussoleno to Susa and why I positioned myself yesterday morning between a section of police returning from a night-time blitz and the crowd of ordinary people who were keen to give back truncheon attacks and insults.

The main reason is because the Christian faith is not an abstraction, a philosophy, but the consequence of a God who becomes man, in a precise context in time and culture. The incarnation is one of the principal mysteries of the faith and the central criteria of following Christ.

It follows from this that the believer cannot “call himself out” from any type of situation where values are at issue. Thus, faith cannot have a privatised dimension. In recent months, both the teachings of Pope Benedict as well as some interventions by the Italian Bishops Conference have reminded us about those who want the Christian Community to stay silent about important issues (marriage, usury, common law couples). There is no doubt for believers: every reality that involves human choices at various levels, there they must be present.

The second reason, the massive and important question of the train with high capacity to transport goods (in fact it is not mainly a high speed passenger train, TAV is only a slogan for both sides, (pro and contra). The game to play for is whether to keep the route for the exchange of goods to the South of the Alps through Genoa, Marseilles and Barcelona or leave those to the north through Rotterdam). Is this the situation?

I believe it is. The method (participatory democracy which involves the intermediate subjects according to the subsidiarity principle) has been turned upside down (decision by top-level economics and finance people then a signature by International politicians). At the centre, is the market, not people. The idea of “progress” that is developed in the “pro” documents does not talk about the quality of life but of the growth of wealth. There has been no preliminary study carried out by an independent research organisation to assess the environmental and economic consequences (of the type carried out for the tunnel under the English Channel – of the negative aspects of the project – and for how many years they may last). The financial dimension of the project does not require an investigation into whether equivalent results could be brought about by other means.

Results of technical analysis carried out at the request of the Mountain Communities in the valley have been available for ten years. Now the citizens have the feeling that they themselves count for nothing.

What’s more, I believed that my presence, like that of many other priests, mayors, High School teachers of the Valley, representatives of associations could have lessened clashes and kept the demonstration at a level of respect, listening and democracy. I participated in the march of the 50,000 because I belong to no Party, but I wanted to be together with the mayors, who I believe to be the closest ring of the nation. A priest cannot be a member of a political movement nor can he become a member of a political party. But here it’s simply a matter of being a citizen.

Unfortunately, last night’s events in Venaus, and before that the many declarations by people who are responsible for the public good (I believe this is the noble way of recognising politicians, such as, for example, Minister Lunardi), the 10-year silence on the part of most of the national information media and now their folkloric interest (the marching banners, the clubs, the bonfires, weariness of the police, the polenta at the garrisons of Venaus), the choice of the person responsible for the public good in relation to public order (Minister Pisanu) to militarise the Valley and to order the blitz (carried out using old-fashioned methods of the 1950’s, Scelba docet? – at night in silence – giving orders to the photographers to go away, with the implication and the justified pretence regarding the presence of anarchists infiltrated among the people or at least violent people, never seen in the Valley on this occasion but who turned up in Turin after the blitz), the emotional reaction of the whole population (yesterday morning in the car belonging to the local authority of Bussoleno, with a microphone we had great trouble - a mayor, a well-known partisan of the area and myself – we struggled to put an end to the physical violence) which stops us from reasoning about the facts about the data and not on the slogans; all this makes it difficult to stay with this campaign.

I believe that I have done and that I must continue to do this little thing because I am a monk, a Christian and a citizen.

A final reflection, this was not picked up by many people: the intensity of the coming together, the circulation of documents, the confrontation in tiny groups and in big assemblies, the mixing of cultural, political, and religious identities that took place on this occasion demonstrates something, whether or not this monstrous engineering feat goes ahead – that directs us to think again about the development model we want for future generations. In this, the Christian tradition has plenty to say (refer to the teaching in our continent of Pope John Paul II)
so that especially in Europe it’s not about markets but about people,
so that the waste of energy changes to the reasoned use of resources,
so that consumption does not become the new idol to which we burn incense.

While I’m writing, now that I have been out in the streets again to meet up with scores of ordinary people who are not terrorists, I can summarise the feeling of the people with the word “offended”, because we have not been listened to because we have been treated like violent delinquents, because we have not been understood.

I have been offended – at a fork in the road from Bussoleno to Mattie – by men in uniform – of my own Nation – and after I identified myself (I quote: “You are an animal, take this beast away, I am of the State…”) while I was attempting a limited mediation that actually protected a small group of police. But I’m reminded of the teaching of Saint Francis: an insult hurts the one who hurls it, not the one who is hit by it.
Many thanks if you make this known. Many thanks if you respond. Many thanks if you help us to think more on this topic even by providing documents that are pro and con relevant to all that is discussed here.

Brother Beppe Giunti, Guardian of the convent of San Francesco di Susa

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 01:14 AM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 08, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley /2

Venaus Polizia.jpg

Last night my friend Dario Fo told me that he was going to participate in Gad Lerner’s programme “L’infedele” dedicated to the Val di Susa (Susa Valley).
I followed the programme and I think that if anyone still had doubts about the uselessness of the TAV (fast Train) in Val di Susa, after that debate, they won’t have any more.
Apart from the mayors and the inhabitants of the Susa Valley there were also economists, politicians and ecologists.

No-one could doubt that there is asbestos in the mountains.
No-one managed to give figures indicating the economic benefits.

Someone from Rome said that the police did not carry out charges and then that person, offended by the contestations, removed themselves from the meeting.
Someone, an economist, said that the work will cost three or four times the cost of the bridge over the Straits of Messina.
Someone, an economist, said that this work (more than 50 Kilometres of tunnel) will pay for itself only for 10%, the rest will be charged to the tax-payer.

Everyone said that this work is only for merchandise.

Everyone said that the work will be finished in 15 to 20 years and that it’s not possible to forecast the flows and the type of merchandise that will be transported. At the end,

Lerner commented: “It seems as though you are talking for the first time.”

To me, it feels like living on the moon. Today, the ones who will surely gain from this work are those companies participating in the project and I’ve got doubts that they cut across all parties.

PS I ask all those from the Susa Valley and all the other in possession of relevant material, to email me at the Blog, documents, photos, film strips, that document the reasons for No TAV (no high speed train).

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:56 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

December 07, 2005

The Voice of the Susa Valley/1

Val di Susa.jpg

Up until 17 December, the date when there will be a demonstration in Turin against the TAV (high speed train) that I’m participating in, I’ve decided that as well as the regular daily post, I’ll publish a post a day dedicated to the Susa Valley.

Today I’m publishing the document written by a cancer specialist at the Hospital San Luigi di Orbassano about the risks of asbestos in the Susa Valley.

“To create the 23 Kilometre tunnels that are planned, the volume of material containing asbestos that first needs to be excavated, then moved and finally stored has been estimated to be more than one million cubic metres (1,151,000), although this value may have a significant increase. The possibility of resulting conditions that are a risk to health is absolutely relevant as regards the activities of excavation and movement of this earth….”

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 06:46 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (2) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

November 30, 2005

High Speed Train, No thanks!

No Tav Venaus Val di Susa.jpg
photo: Venaus, Val di Susa by www.legambientevalsusa.it


“We don’t want soldiers in the valleys” is the wording of posters written by the inhabitants of the militarised Val di Susa (the Susa valley) after the inhabitants protested in the tiny mountain villages against the High Speed Train project.
The thinking of these people counts for less than zero, in fact no-one asked them if they were in agreement before giving the go-ahead to the project.

It’s they that live there and their voice is important.
Responding by sending in the army is an error.
These citizens cannot just suffer the decisions of the State, because the idea is that they are the State, even though our employees in Parliament have not realised that.

Has anyone explained in a public debate BEFOREHAND the environmental impacts , the benefits and the costs of this project? And has anyone gathered and given value to their opinions?

We can’t continue to impose decisions as though they are dictated by higher interests.
People count.

And then are we really sure that the employees Pisanu and Lunardi are right and the people of the Valley wrong?

The secretaries and the provincial administration of the Fire Fighters in Turin said the following in an official document:

“the work, as it is planned and being put into practice, represents a serious danger for the population and for the environment.”

Is that a good enough reason to protest?

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 06:19 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (13) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

October 26, 2005

Fresh Chestnuts

maroni.jpg

Alitalia is not in a good state and not just today. Now that our employee Maroni (his name translates to “Chestnuts”) has highlighted the causes can we have greater trust for the future of our flag-carrying airline.

Our employee, Maroni says: Competition laws have been a contribution to the destruction of our capital assets. This has favoured the entrance of the low cost airlines. While Air France and Lufthansa have from 75% to 80% of their market internal to their countries, Alitalia has hardly 50% internal even though the State is the major shareholder.”

Maroni, you’re right! This is the problem: that the State is the shareholder. The same State that pays mind-boggling figures to the directors of Alitalia and that has put the brakes on development and the creation of alliances in recent years.

It’s our fate to have a Roman statist League now. One that doesn’t talk of the true problems of Alitalia, that protects Fazio and Fiorani, that allies itself with AN (but didn’t Bossi want to go and drag them out house by house?), that supports the construction of the bridge across to Sicily and votes against the judges.
But what story are you going to tell Pontida next time?

Coming back to Alitalia: long live low cost airlines! They allow us to travel at costs that are low and honest. Everyone knows that Alitalia has unbelievable prices on the Milan/Rome route, enough to take us to New York or Moscow.

I’m giving you (for Maroni too) Ryanair’s classification of the 2005 revenues and costs per seat (pax) and the net margins of some European airlines. Alitalia shows a loss, the others (low cost or not) have profits.

PS Thanks to you, I’m convinced of the validity of low cost.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 05:33 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (3) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

October 07, 2005

Petrol? Double the Price and Halve Consumption!

smile.jpg

Two TWINGOs:
- The blue one is normal
- The yellow one has been modified by ESORO engineers (commissioned by Greenpeace)

Modifications:
- 4 seats, 4 airbags, 5 gears
- performance: better than the original
- weight: 650 Kilograms (instead of 825 Kilograms)
- Engine: 358 cc with compressor (weighs 30 Kg instead of 80 Kg)
- Improvement of CX
- Tyres: low resistance
- Petrol consumption: 3 litres per 100 Kilometres instead of 6 litres.

These modifications could be applied to all cars, not just the TWINGO.
This is the car that I took along to the main entrance of FIAT to propose that they make these modifications to their regular production series.

Result: nothing

The SmILE (Small, Intelligent, Light, Efficient). is produced by a Swiss company called ESORO (http://www.esoro.ch/) which has avant-garde production of high tech innovative prototypes. This machine has satisfied the tests of the German TÜV, the most prestigious and strict certification body in Europe.

The project covering research and construction of the SmILE was financed by Greenpeace with 2,000,000 German Marks (about 2,000,000 Euro)

To find out more:
www.greenpeace.it/new/displaynews.php?id=307
www.esoro.ch/english/content/kernk/nhanst/smile/smile.htm
www.greenpeace.org/deutschland/?page=/deutschland/mm/projekte/video--smile


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