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March 30, 2006

Give us back IRI


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.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 06:07 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (16)
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Blood suckers


I’m a simple person and I try to do simple reasoning. When they explain stuff to me, if I don’t understand I get suspicious. I don’t understand ENEL, ENI, Autostrade, and Telecom Italia. I don’t understand how in a situation of practical monopoly they manage to have monstrous profits with prices higher than the average in Europe and then they increase their tariffs.

From April 1 they’re increasing the electricity price by, +5.7%, and the price of methane gas by, +2.1%.
The Authority for electrical energy and gas has updated the tariffs with an electricity increase that’s the highest of the last 6 years. They say the increases are needed because of petrol prices and the crisis in the supply of methane.

I’m a simple person and I try to do simple reasoning. The main shareholder of both ENI and ENEL is the State, that is us. ENI and ENEL have declared net profits in 2005 of 8,788 million euro and 3,895 million euro respectively. We need fair prices for electricity and energy so that the companies can be competitive and so that families can get to the end of the month. I don’t understand.

It seems that these two companies are getting fat at the expense of the country.
Is it that their managers (guess who placed them there?) get results for themselves (stock options?) and for the big shareholders (guess who they are?) applying a business model for the country that is bomb-proof: the blood sucking model, of the monopolistic blood sucker of course.
If an entrepreneur moves from Genoa to Nice they have better primary services (energy, telephone, connectivity, electricity) at prices that are up to 30% lower. How can an Italian company compete? And then they’re talking of reviving the economy?

The Authority knows that we have prices among the highest in Europe, that these companies have enormous profits, that there’s no reason to increase prices, that they should instead be lowered and thus transfer the benefits to the people and to the companies.

But perhaps the Authority doesn’t know what blood suckers are. Well then I’ll explain:
”Blood suckers have a long body made up of 34 rings. At each end they have a sucker used to attach themselves to the animals. They have a mouth with three mandibles and lots of tiny sharp teeth to get into the skin of the host. While they are penetrating the skin of the host to which they are attached, they excrete an anaesthetic substance.”

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:55 AM in Economics | Comments (11)
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March 28, 2006

De profundis

copertina newsweek.jpg

Newsweek, the (communist) American weekly has devoted the cover story to the little elephant, with the title: "Why Silvio isn't smiling".
Whereas the little elephant is no longer smiling now, the Italian people have not been smiling for some time now. At least he has had a good time in the last 5 years.

"Over his tenure, Europe's fourth largest economy has become its weakest link. From an already anemic growth rate of 1.8 percent in 2001, Italy slowed to 0.0 last year. Niente!"

"Il Cavaliere has made almost no effort to introduce the sort of serious reforms that could reverse the slide. "In his five years there were neither big privatizations nor structural reforms," says Boeri. "His idea was just to raise public expenditure and cut taxes to revitalize demand." It didn't work. Many European businessmen now worry that, eventually, Italy's economy will deteriorate to such an extent that the country could be forced out of the euro zone.
Consider the situation Prodi finds himself in. Even if he wins by a substantial margin, he will have a hard time taking the economic steps he considers necessary. Reason: thanks to changes in the electoral law pushed through by Berlusconi, Italy has returned to the old system of proportional representation that created such unstable coalitions in the past. "The country will be much less governable," says John Harper at the Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University.
Italy's trade deficit for 2005 surpassed 10 billion, a result of both skyrocketing energy costs and rising labor expenses. European budget deficits are supposed to be held to 3 percent of GDP annually. Several countries have exceeded that, but Italy, at about 4 percent, is among the worst.”

"Compare Italy's zero growth with other nations of Europe: Spain at 3.4 percent, the U.K. at 1.8 percent, France at 1.4 percent. "

I can hear the noise of cooking pots, those that made a noise in Argentina.
In the last few years, certain groups, certain people, have got enormously rich, while the country got much poorer and is finding today that it has to face a possible leap into the darkness.
I believe that it would be correct for the next Government to set up a commission to verify the legality of these newfound riches. And if it finds them to be ill gotten to use them to reduce the deficit of the State.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 07:06 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (46)
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325,000 pups skinned


I'm a carnivore. I like meat, prosciutto crudo, salame, lardo, bacon, marrowbone, raw meat, zampone and cotechino with lentils. I enjoy bistecca alla fiorentina, the one that weighs 700 grams net and then has the bone as well. Perhaps I will delude the vegetarians, but I don't feel at all guilty.
Eating meat is part of my nature.

However what really annoys me is the cruelty, the total lack of feeling, the gratuitous killing of living beings simply for money, to increase the GDP. And if they are defenceless pups, aged 2 or 3 weeks (the time needed to grow a white fur covering), killed by beating with a stick and then skinned alive, that really disgusts me.
325,000 baby seals are currently being killed in the civilised country of Canada, whose Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has stated that his country is the victim of propaganda and that the massacre is necessary.

The “World Society for Protection of Animals” has declared that it is the “biggest and most cruel killing of marine animals ever recorded on the planet.”.

The young animals are clubbed to death to avoid damaging the skin.
Cod fishing is declining because of industrial fishing and the young seals are a resource for fishermen living in isolated areas.
This disgusting activity makes 8.3 million pounds sterling and the skins are sold to the fashion  industries in 3 countries: Russia, China and Norway.
For the Canadian economy. 8.3 million pounds sterling are little or nothing compared to the loss of public image on a world scale.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:30 AM in Ecology | Comments (28)
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March 27, 2006

Italian-style Einstein


Nature, the world’s most important scientific (communist) magazine, has published an article about the state of research in Italy after the five years of the psycho-dwarf in Government.
We don’t come out well.
We come out with broken bones, not like a country of bananas and prickly pears, those were good times. Let’s not be offensive to the fruit.
Now we are the country of the bowl, but the one you sit on, not the one used for soup.

Italy invests half the amount of other European nations on Research and Development and it now targets the investment towards applied research, of immediate use to companies.

Nature: “This industry-friendly philosophy included reorienting the CNR’s mission from fundamental to applied research. Despite its unpopularity among scientists, Fabio Pistella, appointed by the government as the CNR president in July 2004, says the focus on applications must continue. “Italian industry invests little in research and the CNR’s mission is now to fill this gap — scientific papers are not the only measure of success of a good research organization.” “

The results of this approach are evident, researchers are fleeing abroad or are subject to the logic of the market.
Nature looks briefly at Fabio Pistella’s qualifications: “The CNR president Fabio Pistella claims to have 150 scientific publications on his CV; this was submitted to the Italian parliament in support of his presidential nomination in 2004. But Le Scienze reported in January 2006 that ISI cites only three publications by him. Pistella told Nature that some of his publications are old and in Italian, “and the roles of the CNR president in any case require management skills””.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 06:21 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (6)
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March 26, 2006

A ray of sunshine from Kenya

Kenya Un raggio di sole Mar06 ING rid4.jpg

Comic strip by: Vilfred Moneta

I would like to thank the young people who sent me this letter from Kenya.
A ray of sunshine in this our life of every day.

“Dear Beppe,

We are a group of Italians engaged in a religious mission here in Kenya.  We have written a short article that it might be useful to let you know about. We are sure that you are aware, but here in the north of Kenya almost 3 million people are risking famine and maybe even the total loss of the animals if the next rains fail as previous ones have. It’s strange but it seems that information about Africa does not get through to people in Italy (at least not on the big screen).

Ciao bello”.
Daniele, Beppe e Andrea

“and night came straight away”. I believe this is a poem of Quasimodo. It has become the major motivation of my life here in Chaaria. I’m aware how true it is here in this place, right now when I steal a moment form the hospital routine to write to you.
I hadn’t noticed, but nearly two months have passed. One day at a time, a step at a time, I seem to have covered a great distance and yet at the same time to be in the same place.

From my bedroom I can see dawn breaking. Each morning I turn the alarm off, drat alarm clock – and while staying horizontal I open the curtain at 6:20 am. I even open the window. I like the freshness of the morning as it helps me to wake up. Everything is in shadow peacefully. The cows are asleep. The banana tree is still. Suddenly an orange disk swishes through the banana leaves.

 It seems that this enormous red ball, is there especially for me, to look me in the face and tell me that I’m alive. And that it would be best if I jump out of bed straight away. I can’t understand what is different in the sky, it’s as though it’s about to fall on your head, it’s as though it’s bent over to give you a hug. It’s probably because of the different curvature f the earth at the equator. I’m not bothered. I like to think that it is God who hugs his favourite children: the poor, the suffering who are living here. And that these are the ones He loves the most, not because they are better than the others but because they are poor.

Thus another day begins. First the Mass, to give energy, to find a reason for everything that surrounds us. Or at least it ought to be like that. In reality I confess that I’m so tired that very often I only wake up when the person next to me shakes me to give me the sign of peace.
From that moment on we need to start running. Mother Teresa said: “May everyone who comes to you go away better than they were when they came, happier.” This is what I set out to do every morning. I often don’t manage it.

It’s difficult to explain Chaaria. Because it’s difficult to explain feelings in words. And the feelings are strong and they are contrasting. They are eyes, shouts, smiles, and tears. They are faces, names, and smells.

Chaaria is Glory who doesn’t know why but at the age of 12 has a tumour. It costs too much to operate. – Terrible money! Always the same. It’s too late to find a solution. There’s an extra angel in Heaven now. She’s an angel who is too young to understand, too far away now from her father who cries for her.

Chaaria is Susan who did nothing wrong. She has AIDS. She’s not to blame. It’s just that she was born where she shouldn’t have been. Susan smiled; she always greeted me with her left hand. She even thanked me for taking out a tooth that hurt. She’s not a child but a flower, as sweet as a kiss. She even smiled in the evenings if I went by to touch her hand. But she’s fragile, Susan. The weight of suffering is too heavy on her fragile bones. Susan is a little flame that is getting further and further away. Susan is an angel with a broken wing. She came down to let us understand how marvellously precious is life.

This evening, just as I was about to run from the hospital to come and write to you, a radio was playing that song written by I don’t know who, but it said: “… but if God was one of us…” Exactly, if God were one of us, what would he say to her…?
 I would thank him for the dawn, the almond blossom, the banana trees, the mangos. For the laughter of Makena, Kanana’s legs, Beppe’s smile, and Lorenzo’s voice. Because I breathe. Perhaps I would argue. I would shout in His face, Just like Vecchioni “Now we’re going to do some calculations, me and You, Lord! Why don’t you do something?

In this wavering faith of mine, I’m always more convinced that if God exists, He is here with the poor, with those who suffer. He doesn’t do what I’d like Him to do . He’s not a God magician, who does little miracles just to show you that He can. He’s a God who stands by the last. In fact He stands right at the end of the line. He was there. With Glory. To hold her hand, in silence. I know that.

Certainly there’s so much anger. I don’t know whether the news got to Italy, but here the low rainfall season has brought famine. Of course people of good heart have been active in bringing help to a suffering population. Thus a gentle old lady from New Zealand, the Director of a multinational producing animal feed offered a gift of many hundred weight of dog food “to alleviate the hunger of the children of North Kenya”. That’s great! It’s thanks to constructive initiatives like this that Beppe Grillo can keep his Blog going.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has calculated that it would be enough to have 40,000,000,000 dollars, that is 0.1% of the world Gross Domestic Product to guarantee to everyone in the whole world, basic social services. Each year we spend about 1,000,000,000,000 dollars on armaments, almost half that on publicity, 50,000,000,000 on cigarettes and 11,000,000,000 on ice creams. And about 20,000,000,000 on food for animals. Looking at all this from down here, I don’t feel at all proud to be an inhabitant of this planet.

But I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m sad because of all this, nor discouraged. The only thing is that I’m tired. But I really believe what Frei Betto says is true: “In life all you need for happiness is a bit of bread, some good wine and a great love.” The simple life as Jesus says: Blessed, yes blessed are those with a pure heart. It is simplicity that lets us discover an inner freedom. And I believe that it is this freedom of the heart that we all thirst for. A great friend of mine once said that the poor are a great richness. I believe that is true.

 And then it’s not just about Glory and Susan. It’s just that often (does it happen to you as well?) I spend more time thinking of the shadows than about the bright moments.

I would like to tell you about William, who destroyed a hand while he was working. Gian and I reconstructed William’s hand and yesterday I saw that he can move his thumb again. How great! I could tell you about Kangai, who had a terrible operation and then gave birth to a little girl who will be a fashion model or at least a Nobel laureate. Last week she went home, she gave me a great horrendous beautiful toothless smile. Or about Isidoro, a 5 year old who doesn’t show his real age of 60 years. He jumps for joy when we take him in the car to have a coca cola in the city. He stops me to proudly show off his tortoise that he’s called Brother Moris. But time has run out. I’ll tell you about them another time. Now it’s late and I need to go back to the hospital. Then I’ll have a beer and I’ll go and sleep. Perhaps after singing a couple of songs with Andrea. Drinking songs, or love songs, with the guitar. Just as though we were on holiday.

In a film I heard a harsh phrase that struck me. It went something like this: They will show all these things on the TV News and people will say “how terrible” Then they will pick up their fork and go on eating dinner. Perhaps it’s really like that. But we mustn’t give up. We mustn’t get used to it. Things can change. “the sun arrived even in winter. Night doesn’t exist, just look at the moon.” According to that song of a few years ago. The world can change. We can change the world. We can together. One piece at a time.

I don’t know whether the Lord wanted me to be here to change my piece. I believe that I will try. Certainly, I know I am happy. A great big hug to all.”

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:44 PM in Information | Comments (3)
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There’s a strange smell in the air….


The "Diario" of Enrico Deaglio came out today with an edition devoted to possible election frauds due to electronic voting, to be used for the first time in Italy in national elections thanks to the decree dated 3 January 2006.
There are 4 Regions involved: Lazio, Liguria, Puglia, and Sardinia with a total of 12,680 sections and 11 million voters.

The electronic count means that an operator in each section has to enter the data into a computer, the data are then copied onto a USB device, the USB device is then inserted into a computer that then sends the data to the Ministry of the Interior.
This operation, which is not necessary and has not been requested by anyone, costs 34 Million Euro and was outsourced by private negotiations for reasons of urgency, “since the time interval available was very short” according to Stanca. The contracts were won by three companies: Accenture, EDS and Telecom Italia.
Deaglio points out that the son of the Minister of the Interior Pisanu is a partner in Accenture and that EDS is the company involved in the presumed electoral fraud in Florida for the election of Bush.

Deaglio adds that if there should be disputes, then it will take months to compare the paper vote with the electronic one.
Months o f absolute instability and with a President of the Republic on his way out.

The computer program used for the electronic voting is subject to a dispute by Ales, an Italian company claiming ownership that it says was stolen by EDS and I’m publishing a letter from their administrator sent to me a few days ago together with a document and an interview.

Dear Beppe Grillo,
My name is Antonio Puddu, the administrator of a small computing company called Ales s.r.l, based in Sardinia. In 2001 we created an innovative solution for “electronic voting”. In 2004 this was tested with our collaboration in 1500 electoral sections.
In 2005 the programme was snatched by EDS Italia S.p.A., a multinational to which we had sold 2,500 licences for testing in 2004.
A month ago we brought an action against EDS Italia at the tribunale di Roma,  and we are asking for the payment of damages for the harm to our company amounting to more than 9 million Euro, and we have given public warning to the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Innovation  not to use in the trials coming up, any more than the 2,500 licences that we have sold. In fact for the trials on the occasion of the national elections on 9 and 10 April 2006 they would need about 12,500 licences.

Yours sincerely”.
Antonio Puddu.

I don’t know about you, but I think there is a strange smell in the air. What could it be...

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:41 PM in Politics | Comments (14)
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March 23, 2006

We are all stable boys


The negation of the truth: the truth about “precarious” workers, about the unemployed, the loss of value of our money, of the factories that close, of the international press that derides us.

The denial of the public debt, of the numbers from ISTAT, from the Bank of Italy, of the collapse of exports, of the mafia.
The hilarious, clown-like impudent attack on the sanity of Italians where can this go, and what can it lead to?
In Parliament we find swarms of people who have been definitely convicted, of people who have had first or second degree trials. We even find those who have been in prison. And with them we also find their offspring, lovers, politicians’ wives.
This has been decided by a group of Party secretaries thanks to the new election law, a slap in the face of democracy, and in our faces.
The fracture between the real country and these people is getting deeper and it is being tolerated less.
I feel that there is a strange atmosphere around, like just before a thunderstorm, a nervousness, the search for a way out of an intolerable situation.

There are 16 days to the elections, two weeks in which anything can happen: election bombs, time bomb attacks, unexpected revolts of the people,  and political murders.

All politicians should be talking about programmes, of contents, of the future of our country. Of nothing else. Like responsible people. But I don’t believe they will.

Today I’m publishing the list of those parties that have no one in their list who has been definitely convicted. I indicate these parties as the ones to vote for, so that at least we have the hope of a Clean Parliament. I’ll put this list on the blog in a form that can be easily distributed across the Web.

There are lots of candidates and it’s possible that I’ve made an error, so if this is the case, please let me know.

- Italia dei Valori – List of Di Pietro :
- La Rosa nel Pugno :
- Partito dei Comunisti Italiani :
- Partito Rifondazione Comunista :
- Verdi :

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:11 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (18)
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March 22, 2006

Dario and Franca you are great

fo - rame.jpg

Dario Fo is 80 years old.

”To him and to Franca we say: you are great.
Great because at your age you still can cause annoyance to those on the right and on the left.
Because you have invented a theatre that is ancient and yet we didn’t have it before.
Because I have seen you at times a little bit poorly and suffering, but you got up onto the stage
and no one noticed.
Because you have taught theatre in more than a hundred schools.
Because you have never given up.
But you are not too big, in the sense of adults, you never look old,
not at all, but you keep the prodigious, young energy of naughty children.
You continue to argue and to be fond of each other like two young kids.
You have become modern and technological: Franca has organised her own site
an internet site with a million gigabyte, and Dario is putting his mind
to it so that by 2008 he will be able to send an email.
Thank you for the renal colic that you caused to Italian bigwigs when you got the Nobel.
Thank you for the help you have given to thousands and thousands of social realities.
Thank you for having made us love Italian TV once upon a time, many years ago.
Thank you because my son was born happy,
two days after his mum came to see you at the theatre and laughed her heart out.
Thank you for your tiny and massive triumphs,
but also for all that you have suffered, and that you never grumble about.
May you have a hundred evenings and days like this one, and loads of “encores”.

Stefano Benni (the wolf) and Beppe Grillo.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 07:37 PM in Information | Comments (14)
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Modern Slaves 3

senza futuro3.jpg

The "Modern Slaves" initiative continues with this letter from Mauro Gallegati of the Giorgio Fua' Faculty of Economics at the Universita' Politecnica delle Marche. He has taken the trouble to demonstrate with numbers and graphs what is under the eyes of all of us: that there is a reduction in the number of jobs and that precarious work is increasing, together with the new poor, those that in France are called “the low cost generation”. Write your own stories, the most interesting will be collected together into on online book that will be downloadable free from this Blog.

“Dear Grillo,

Help me. I spend the day gathering data and producing statistics about the economy, and during this election campaign, I don’t know whether to shoot myself in the foot or to ask him to shoot me. I know it’s not easy to trust a person who does numbers for a living, but I would just like to clear up two things on what has happened to workers and unemployed people over the last 10 years, from the time that Prodi led the Government and then the time that  Berlusconi took over up until now.

If on deficit and public debt, GDP, international competitiveness and domestic debts we are all unanimous in saying that the dynamics have been between pretty bad and disastrous, the statistics about unemployment are ones that the Centre Right carries with surety and displays as the product of their actions. At least up until now. Then a few days ago ISTAT {Istituto Nazionale di Statistica} said that last year the number of people in employment fell. Tremonti replied that that’s not true. He said “the only thing that counts is Eurostat” (forgetting that Eurostat gets its figures from ISTAT). Bankitalia said that the problem is that the job openings last a short time only, and that one in four young people have a “precarious” contract. And Maroni responded that limited life contracts are “statistical abstractions”. I have a good mind to show him, as I said, a few numbers to clear this up.

There are two ways to measure employment. You can count the number of people who are working, and how many units of “full time equivalents” there are. The latter method takes into account how many hours each person is working. If there are 2 plumbers working 60 hours a week, the number of employed people is 2, but since each one works the equivalent of one and a half times a normal full time (set at 40 hours a week), the units of work (of full time equivalents) are 3. If then work goes badly, and both work only 20 hours, the number of workers employed is  still 2, but the units of work are now just one. In practise, in one way you are counting heads, in the other way you are counting how much work there is.

In the attached graphs you can see what has happened to work and to workers in the ten years that opened with Prodi and closed with Berlusconi. The first thing to say is employment has grown during the time of the Centre Right. But the growth had already started with the Centre Left. The “small” difference is that during the time of the Centre Left, employment started slowly and then grew. During the time of the Centre Right it started off growing and then slowed down suddenly in the last two years. Looking at the units of work then the slow down is even more drastic and became a drop in the last year (this is what has been emphasised by both ISTAT and Bankitalia). Note that for the first time in the history of the Republic, there are more workers than there are units of work. Yes there are more people working, but there’s little work

Employed people and units of work.
Source: ISTAT, Statistical Series of national accounts 1970 – 2005. Published: 14-3-2006.

In the second set of graphs which I’m attaching, you can see that even unemployment has fallen in the last 5 years. Once more, this is not a gift from the Centre Right, the fall has been happening (fortunately) for about 10 years. The number of people unemployed is not a figure to look at in isolation. There are situations in which things are going well, but unemployment is increasing: what happens is that many are fired up by an engine of optimism and they set about looking for work, and until they find it the number of unemployed people increases. And there are situations when the market is so depressed that many raise the white flag, give up looking for work, and the number of unemployed goes down. In the graph I’ve shown the number of the so-called “discouraged”, that is people without work who in reply to ISTAT’s question “Why are you not looking for work?” choose the answer “I don’t think I will manage to find work”. The number of discouraged people (600,000 towards the end of 2003) saw a sharp rise taking the number to 1,000,000 early in 2004 and then continuing to rise to about 1,250,000. It’s enough to convince another half million people that it’s useless looking for work and we can take the figures for unemployment to a comforting 5.5%. .
Unemployed and discouraged

And then the “precarious” workers. By looking at the data from Eurostat, it seems that Berlusconi gets his information about “precarious” work from the second quarter of 2001, where it’s at 9.5%: this was the percentage of workers with a short term contract in relation to the total number of employees. In the second quarter of 2005, we already had 12.5% (and that’s not counting the - Collaborazioni Coordinate e Continuative). Someone like Maroni could make out that the fact that a contract has an end date doesn’t change much. That you know that your job is solid unless you are told otherwise, or that it has an end-date unless you are told otherwise, doesn’t change anything. This is such a great heresy that I sacrificed a Saturday evening and I calculated a simple statistic starting from INPS {Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale} data: the correlation to be seen between the type of contract held by a female worker and the fact that this worker decides to have a child or not. OK, if she has a “precarious” job, the probability that a woman worker will have a child is reduced by a factor of 10.

Thank you for the attention.”

Mauro Gallegati

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:13 AM in Economics | Comments (11)
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March 20, 2006

Telecom in the pine grove

la pioggia nel pineto.jpg

Telecom Italia has paid the major Italian newspapers to publish a full page (paid for by its customers) entitled: “Regarding telephone tapping” and I’m publishing it here.

Talking about Phone Tapping
- For some time Telecom Italia has been the subject of bad information insinuating that the company conducts phone-tapping operations.
- Telecom Italia does not tap phones.
- Telecom Italia has neither people nor machines for tapping phones.
- If requested to do so by magistrates, Telecom Italia, like any other telecommunication company, is obliged to connect landlines or mobile phone lines bearing the name of one of their own clients to structures or companies indicated by the magistrates. These structures that may be in the public sector or the private sector have the personnel and the equipment appropriate for the task.
- Telecom Italia is completely separate from these structures or companies.
- Telecom Italia states that the estimated turnover for the companies carrying out this activity is about 300 million Euro per year. Telecom Italia invoices about 15 million Euro per year for the service of connecting the lines.
- Telecom Italia will take action according to the law against anyone insinuating or affirming any role for the company relating to phone tapping that is different from simple connection carried out for the Justice system.
- Telecom Italia will use the print medium to communicate any legal actions that are to be taken.

On Friday 10 March, Luca Fazzo wrote a full page article in la Repubblica, entitled “Amanda, the ex carabiniere and those dossiers for Telecom”. I’ve found no evidence that anyone has rebutted what’s been said in this article.
Fazzo writes:

“Tavaroli had the jurisdiction over Cnag (Centro nazionale autorità giudiziaria = National Centre of Judicial Authority), the structure in Telecom that when ordered to by the magistrates, puts telephone tapping into place. “
"After being told by the magistrates in May 2005, that he was under investigation, he moved to Pirelli Romania
“Tavaroli is the friend of a private investigator from Florence who has ended up in a series of messes: Emanuele Cipriani, head of the agency called Polis d’Istinto, under investigation for abusive investigations undertaken by corrupting police officers and finance people.

and he adds:
“It is well known that Marco Tronchetti Provera: has almost total trust in Tavaroli.”
The investigations of the prosecuting magistrates in Milan have in fact brought to light information about close business connections between Telecom and Emanuele Cipriani’s Polis d’Istinto”
“from a coded account that Cipriani has with Deutsche Bank in Luxemburg a mountain of money has come to light, originating from Telecom: 14 million Euro, more or less. Money paid by Telecom to an English account in Cipriani’s name and that has arrived in Luxemburg having come via Montecarlo and Switzerland.”
”The Telecom offices have been searched to find the documents justifying the payment of the money to Cipriani. And the pieces of paper have turned up: hundreds and hundreds of invoices for services that are almost always worded vaguely.
“At a certain point, Tavaroli and Cipriani are listed in the register of those under investigation and are accused of unjustified acquisition of funds to the detriment of Telecom”
“But Telecom does not press charges against the two under investigation as would be natural if millions of Euro had been sucked out of its coffers with no explanation why.”
”The question that today we need to ask about one of the biggest companies in the country is: why?” Why have hundreds of people been put on file, followed and X rayed by investigators paid for by Telecom?

With this post have I affirmed or insinuated? We’ll see….

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:42 PM in Information | Comments (6)
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New Labour must recognise that Berlusconi is the devil
Martin Jacques
The Guardian

“We should not be surprised that New Labour has become embroiled in a scandal that involves Silvio Berlusconi. There is something entirely predictable about it. Tony Blair was perfectly happy to embrace Berlusconi, together with the former Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar as an ally at the time of the breach between Europe and the US in the months prior to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. He has seen Berlusconi as a valuable ally in pursuit of his pro-Bush foreign policy. In fact, he has consistently been closer to Berlusconi than to centre-left leaders such as the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. This sense of affinity has even acquired a personal and family dimension, with the Blairs accepting Berlusconi's hospitality and taking their vacations with the Italian leader at his holiday home.

Blair clearly feels a political and personal rapport with Berlusconi. And this has set the tone for New Labour: Berlusconi is regarded as a man to do business with. This is deeply disturbing. How can New Labour regard Berlusconi in such a light? How can it fail to see and reflect upon the malign influence that he has had on Italian democracy? And what does the silence on such matters and warm embrace of the Italian leader tell us about New Labour itself?

Berlusconi is the most dangerous political phenomenon in Europe. He represents the most serious threat to democracy in western Europe since 1945. It might be argued that the far right as represented by such openly racist and xenophobic figures as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jörg Haider poses a more serious danger, but such figures remain relative outsiders in the European political scene. Berlusconi does not.

Democracy depends upon the separation of political, economic, cultural and judicial power. Berlusconi's ownership of the major television channels - and his control of the state-owned network, Rai, during his premiership - together with his willingness to use this media power for his own naked political ambitions, has undermined democracy. Further, he has changed the laws of the land at will - using his majority in parliament - to protect his personal interests and save himself from the courts.

The connection between Berlusconi and Italian fascism is not difficult to decipher. There has always been a predictable tendency to expect fascism to recur in its old forms; but that has never been the main danger. What we should fear is the reappearance of fascism in a new guise, reflecting the new global, economic and cultural conditions of the time, while at the same time drawing on national traditions. Berlusconi is precisely such a figure. He treats democracy with contempt: at each turn he seeks to undermine, distort and abuse it. He has no respect for the independent pillars of authority - prepared to accuse the judges of being stooges of the opposition and describe them as "communists".

By his indiscriminate assaults on anyone who stands in the way of his personal rule and enrichment, he has poisoned Italian public life. He lies in direct line of descent from Mussolini. The failure of New Labour to recognise this - worse, to befriend him, to regard him as some kind of ally, to accept his largesse and hospitality - cannot be dismissed as an oversight. It calls into question New Labour's - and the prime minister's - world-view and political judgment.

Tessa Jowell is not a political innocent. She is a leading member of the cabinet. She has been assiduously working her way up the New Labour ladder for many years. She has long been a Blairite, enjoying a relationship of trust with the prime minister. She has faithfully reflected his views in regarding Berlusconi as a politically sympathetic figure with whom New Labour, and its leading families, could do business. She may or may not have known the intimate details of her husband's financial affairs but she surely knew that he had acted for Berlusconi, helped him to avoid taxes, and assisted him in his efforts to resist the judiciary. And, no doubt, Jowell saw nothing wrong in this. After all, Berlusconi had the blessing of her prime minister - he was, broadly speaking, "on our side".

But Berlusconi is a dangerous man to become entrapped with. He deals in the dark sides of Italian political life. His party, Forza Italia, worked tirelessly to ensure that it inherited the mafia vote from the corpse of the Christian Democrats. His financial tentacles have abused and disfigured Italian political life. He regards the law to be malleable, negotiable and corruptible. He who sups with the devil should expect to reap the consequences. The problem is that Blair and New Labour have never recognised that Berlusconi is the devil. Instead they have seen him as a friend and ally. They have never recognised, or at least sufficiently cared about, the toxic threat he poses to Italian or European democracy.

There are two main reasons for this. First, he is seen as a global soulmate of Bush and Blair. Second, some of the values he represents - money, celebrity and power - are ones that Blair himself aspires to and admires. New Labour shares certain characteristics with Berlusconi, notably an indiscriminate worship of business and moneymaking, a belief in the power of the media, and a contempt for the left. We are witnessing a slow degradation of European democracy, of which Berlusconi is the most extreme and pernicious expression but of which New Labour, in a much milder form, is part-cause and part-consequence.

As the Italian legal process winds its way slowly through the evidence, no doubt more revelations will come to light. Whatever David Mills has done or not done cannot be regarded as the responsibility of Jowell, Blair or New Labour. But the fact that New Labour has been prepared to embrace such an insidious political influence undoubtedly helped to persuade Mills that Berlusconi was an acceptable client and Jowell that there was nothing untoward in her husband dealing with such a man and playing such an intimate role in his affairs. For that the prime minister must take the main responsibility. Just as with Iraq, Blair stands guilty of a monumental political error. What is at stake is no less than the democratic wellbeing of one of western Europe's largest countries and, as a consequence, the health of the European polity.”

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 12:23 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (5)
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Goodbye Computer Industry

adriano olivetti.jpg
Adriano Olivetti

Some employees of Getronics Italia have asked me to give visibility to their story.
This is an affair that is symbolic of the decline of the ICT sector in Italy over the last few years and the lack of action taken by the political and the industrial world.
What’s happened to that Olivetti that competed with the multinationals of the sector in the whole world? What’s happened to Telecom as an ICT company?
How have we managed in just ten years to not count a jot in terms of innovation?
Anyone wanting to give their personal testimony on the ending of the Italian ICT industry is invited to write a comment to this post.

“Our history:

In 1998, Getronics bought Olivetti (Wang Global) and in 1999 it bought Olivetti Ricerca and in this way it gathered together the inheritance of the Olivetti group in Italy and in the world. At the beginning of 2000, having bought Olivetti Ricerca, Getronics Italia employed more than 3000 people and a turnover of more than 500 M’. The years immediately following that saw a significant fall in the market for Information and Communication Technology in Italy and even Getronics suffered a fall in turnover and in margins.

The beginning of 2003 was marked by the use of Cassa Integrazione Ordinaria (lay off) for about 500 employees. On 20 March 2003 Roberto Schisano became the new president of Getronics Italia They said he was “the right man in the right place”. However Schisano was already known to the workers of Getronics ex Olivetti, to the Trades Union, and to the magistrates for the tragic affair of Olivetti Personal Computer: the part of Olivetti dealing with personal computers of which Roberto Schisano was the Managing Director. The company failed in 1999 leaving a hole of 60,000,000,000 of old Lire that was then scooped up by the same Roberto Schisano into Eurocomputers S.p.A, which was a company created for this purpose. A few months later Eurocomputers S.p.A collapsed: and the magistrates of Ivrea are still investigating the affair and Schisano is accused of fraudulent bankruptcy. The most recent hearing was 31 January 2006.

The two-year period 2003-2004 saw great reconstruction. In 2003 there was an agreement with the Trades Union to make use of cassa integrazione straordinaria, solidarietà, mobilità breve and mobilità lunga {different ways of laying off staff}. Getronics was the only ICT company in Italy to make use of the long-term lay off scheme. In this period the company’s capital was halved from about 160m’ to about 72m’. In spite of continued pressure from the workers and the Trades Unions, the Industrial Plan presented to the Ministry of Production in June 2003 was completely ignored in the months that followed and hardly any industrial relaunch policy was put into action. At the end of this reconstruction phase the number of employees of Getronics went from 3000 to about 1950. The turnover fell progressively: in 2004 it was at 280m’.

In January 2005 it was announced that the branch of the company called Desktop On Site Services of Getronics would be sold off. This employed 250 staff and had a turnover of  70 m’. It was the original part that had been the Managed Services of Olivetti. The Trades Union opposed the measure, even during discussions with the Ministry, because it saw this as an indication of a wish to destroy the company. Furthermore it maintained that this was an illegitimate use of Art. 47 that regulates the selling off of a part of a company. Currently there are hundreds of actions brought by workers for having been forced to leave. These actions are coordinated nationally by Fim Fiom Uilm. The determining factor in these cases is the evident conflict of interests of Roberto Schisano.

In fact, Alchera Solution, one of the companies that bought part of the company and so taking on workers and turnover, is part of Gruppo Innotech whose President and Board member is Schisano.

This matter has been dealt with in Parliamentary question in both the Camera and Senato. The year 2005 saw a high level of conflict between the Trades Union, the workers and the company. However the Italian management is lavish and using all possible means of communication internal and external to the organisation it claims that the business in Italy is doing well and is growing.

On 30 November 2005 in institutional setting at the Ministero delle Attività Produttive (MAP) Schisano explicitly declared that Getronics Italia, in spite of the difficulties with a big public commission, is out of the tunnel. He declared that the 2005 results would be in line with the positive expectations and that the year 2006 would be a year of growth and not just of containment.

Having said this Schisano said it was no longer appropriate to have an institutional setting at MAP asking for discussion to be moved to within the company.

On 17 January 2006,Getronics NV announced that due to unexpected losses in Italian activity, they had decided to sell all Italian business activity and to leave Italy. Neither the Trades Unions nor the representatives of the workers were given any communication about this decision. 
A few days later, the Italian company formally told the Region of Puglia and the MAP that it was renouncing the programme called ABSC (Advanced Business Services Center). On 18 January 2006 the National Secretaries of Fim Fiom Uilm asked MAP, the president of Getronics in the Netherlands and the Directors of Getronics Italia to urgently arrange a meeting. Up till now there has been no response from MAP for whom it is evident that the problem does not exist. On 4 February 2006, the capital of the company went from 72 M’ to 8.2 M’ with no official explanation. It seems that, the reduction of the capital together with the recapitalisation of 55 m’ announced the day before, will be a way of sorting out the debt of the years 2004 and 2005.

Thursday 23 February the Getronics Headquarters told workers of all the companies that they control, they had decided to absorb the increases related to the renewal of the national contract and the related “una tantum” of the individual superminimum.

March 2006
The meeting at MAP planned for 2 March between the company and Trades Union organisations was postponed because at the last moment they guaranteed the presence (for the first time) of the Netherlands company management. Even the national demonstration is to be postponed to coincide with the meeting that will presumably be held in the week beginning 13 March. We don’t have much hope since Schisano having devalued Getronics by reducing the turnover and the workforce is interested in picking up the whole of Getronics Italia or at least a part of it. We believe that Schisano is planning the same route taken in relation to Olivetti Personal Computers (OPC) that he is currently on trial for.  Today Getronics Italia ex Olivetti has scarcely more than 1900 people including the colleagues of the Desktop On Site Services that we’ve never stopped considering to be our colleagues. Today it no longer has economic value in the market and it is ready for any type of operation that might be resulting from speculation or might simply be to split it up or it might be a mixture of both options.

Beppe, don’t abandon us!!!

Please, publish this, our memorial!

Our  blog is

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:16 AM in Economics | Comments (5)
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March 19, 2006

The Portal that disappeared


We all know that tourism is a great resource for Italy. Our country has a vocation for tourism. Another great resource available to us is Mister I, where I stands for Innovation and Internet. What better combination could there be?
Stanca, the ex-chief warehouseman of IBM, his true identity, has announced in a brochure sent to 16 million families, the launch of the tourism portal:
A portal on line costing 45 million Euro “created to promote the tourism we can offer via the Internet as well as to promote the cultural, environmental and whole food wealth of Italy” and as it says on page 16 of the brochure “uses an interactive program to organise and plan the journey”.
The project started in March 2004 and was led by Innovazione Italia that assigned parts of the contract to IBM, ITS and Tiscover.
Whoever connects to, moved by the contagious enthusiasm of Mister I, instead of the marvellous interactive delights of the Bel Paese  only finds a request to enter username and password.
Of the portal itself there’s no trace, not even a page explaining when the start date is. Perhaps because no one knows.
Falavolti, director of Innovazione Italia, made the following statement last year: “by January 2006 the first version of the site in two or three languages could be on line”.
World tourism is worth a third of all online commerce, with a value of about 650,000,000,000 Euro in 2005.
This is a massive business, but only for the other countries.
Just think of a Japanese person or a Russian looking for “the cultural, environmental and whole food wealth of Italy” using the government’s official portal without having being already briefed about who Stanca is. What will they think of us?

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 01:06 AM in Technology/Internet | Comments (16)
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March 17, 2006

Air Emissions

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They are modern wizards. Politicians have the power that we attribute to them. They take words and fill them with magical meaning. They use their arts to transform words into illusory realities. The dignity of work, the south of Italy, fight against crime, information, development, innovation, instruction are only coloured balloons full of air. They are floated into the sky to make us happy, light, participating. The names of these shamans are themselves weapons, magic tools given powers by the media and thus transformed from ectoplasm into hierarchical substances. Once the words have been pronounced, they require respect, fear and reverence.

A simple name. Green, Smith, Brown is just a name.
A media name, Mastella, Casini, D’Alema is an act of power.
As we are lost in this nightmare we don’t realise that we are adoring new golden calves, TV pharaohs, nullified emperors. Their consistency is that of a mirage, vanishing.
Their discussions, their actions are removed from our judgement. They are made sacred by repetition in the media, like the litanies of religious rites. Tonight in TV, tomorrow opening a newspaper, their faces, their names appear as in an enchantment, and it goes on the next day and the day after.

The media are their only amulets, their magic filters, true arms of mass destruction used for their survival.
Otherwise they would return to the nullity to which they belong.
Farts in deepest space.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:38 AM in Politics | Comments (14)
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March 16, 2006

I cannot, must not, will not…

The six-legged dog by Luigi Broggini

I’ve had numerous people getting in contact to tell me that is presumed to be blacked out inside ENI.

I cannot, must not, will not believe it.
If however it is true, I’d invite the employees of ENI to ask for an explanation from their Managing Director Paolo Scaroni:
When Enrico Mattei was at the helm, they would have set me as their home page.
I’m publishing a letter from ENI commenting this post.
There you go, I’m proud. They’ve put me on the same level as Rocco Siffredi.

" Dear Signor Grillo,

I’m writing directly to your email in response to your accusations of ENI blacking out your Blog.
You are right. From 13 March we have effectively prevented the navigation to any Blog on the Internet. But this is not an ideological “black out”.
ENI’s Internet system is extremely delicate for its activity and for the security of its own employees, especially those in offices abroad.

Daily, and especially recently we receive multiple attempts of computing “attack” to our system and to our information platforms actioned by all types of pirates and hackers.

In a special way, in recent weeks we have been subjected to an extremely unpleasant situation in which the relevant branch of the Postal Police of the Ministry of the Interior has intervened.
With this in mind, we have been obliged to block access to Internet sites that are not related to our work activity, including sites that relate to pornography, gambling, Blogs etc. We do this using software filters based on identifying “prohibited categories”.

There’s nothing particular for your Blog therefore and no censorship intention in relation to the opinions that you present.
Once this particularly delicate moment has passed, we will verify the possibility of reopening access, at least for the Blog category.

I hope to have clarified the situation adequately and I offer you my sincere greetings.”

Gianni Di Giovanni - ENI - Head of Media Relations

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 05:44 PM in Information | Comments (11)
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Citizen Primaries: Health. Marco Cappato

marco cappato.jpg

Marco Cappato, secretary of the Association Luca Coscioni(*), in the name of Rosa nel Pugno has sent me this letter for Citizen Primaries: Health.

"Dear Grillo,

I believe that in the case of health, for every discussion about efficiency and organisation we need to precede this with the objective of having more freedom and autonomy. It was the battle of Luca Coscioni and as I am the secretary of the association that bears his name that is “for the freedom of scientific research”, I want to tell you about the objectives of some of the most important Italian scientists and a few things about Rosa nel Pugno:

- with strict rules and limits following the model used in Great Britain , allow scientific research on embryonic stem cells with the aim of understanding and finding a cure for illnesses that afflict hundreds of millions of people in the world:

- allow access to artificial reproductive techniques and to the diagnosis before implantation for couples affected by genetic illnesses as well as artificial insemination with an embryo that is external to the couple,

- guarantee therapeutic freedom, entrusted to the relationship between the doctor and the patient, in the effective delivery of drugs that are amply tested and authorised for use in all civilised countries, but made difficult (and in some cases prohibited) in our country, such as: the abortifacient RU486, therapeutic cannabis, pharmacological treatments for people who are dependent on drugs and opiates for the treatment of pain.

- allow autonomy and individual responsibility in choices relating to the end of life, above all to put a stop to the phenomenon of clandestine euthanasia. Respect the will of the individual expressed freely and unequivocally, even through the recognition of a living will giving directions about treatment and ways of regulating euthanasia on the models developed in the Netherlands, in Belgium, and in Switzerland or according to the approach being taken by the British Parliament [….] The first to sign are  Elena Cattaneo, Gilberto Corbellini, Giulio Cossu, Elisabetta Dejana, Cesare Galli, Piergiorgio Strata, Antonino Forabosco, Demetrio Neri. These signatures are followed by those of 130 academics.

To these objectives I would like to add three campaigns promoted and sustained by Luca Coscioni:

- “freedom of speech”: investments and initiatives in accordance with regulations to make freely available equipment and technologies that help people with disabilities in communication, as well as in gaining access to and in producing information;

- “freedom to read”: guarantee the availability of books in digital versions for people who have disabilities and who are blind;

- “independent life”: strengthen the freedom of choice based on real need for people who are disabled or are ill and not on bureaucratic needs of the organisations providing the services, thus favouring a gradual de-medicalisation of the services so that they can be funded by insurance or bonus funds.

As a final point, I can definitely agree with the objective of promoting a health policy based on information. In all industrialised countries there has been a sharp increase in the amount of money spent on health, but with modest gains in terms of health improvement. Health expenditure varies between 7% and 15% of GDP (thus there’s 100% variation) without visible changes in terms of health in terms of life expectancy or mortality.

In this respect it is useful to remember that:

positive influences on health do not depend on health providers (hospitals, pharmacies etc.…) but also and above all on other factors (life style, economic conditions, environment, genetic makeup…); A famous model (Dever, at the end of the 1970’s) reckoned that the balance in the health system was worth 11% with respect to other factors!

Many studies have evidenced the distorted use of the part played by the health system; a famous study (Domenighetti, Canton Ticino) showed that doctors chose surgical interventions for themselves or their family members for half the times that they suggested these operations for their patients (unless the patients were lawyers and then they had the same frequency as the doctors!). Other studies showed that obtaining a second medical opinion led to a different therapeutic route in about half the cases.

All this leads many to believe that the true deficit is not in expenditure, but in the information that is available to the population. Up until now, information has been exclusively in the hands of the providers (doctors, professional and Trades Union bodies) who have sought the interests of the health system more than they have worked for the health of the people. Only recently, for example, are we seeing a discussion of the issues around health risks, that is damage and deaths due to errors of doctors or the health system. Certain studies suggest that in Italy there are between 15 thousand and 50 thousand deaths due to medical errors; and that hospital infections cause 7000 deaths a year (deaths from road traffic accidents are “only” 5000 a year).

Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

Marco Cappato -

(*) The Association Coscioni is together with Radicali italiani, the SDI and the FGS, one of the bodies making up the Rosa nel Pugno

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:06 PM in Citizen Primaries | Comments (5)
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March 15, 2006

Piero Fassino and the law on the conflict of interests

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I'm publishing a letter that I've received from the national secretary of the DS, Piero Fassino in relation to the post "The pied piper of the Mountains" about the law on the conflict of interests.

I also suggest that you look again at the video clip of his speech.
Every one can draw the conclusions they want.

"I was surprised to read on Beppe Grillo's site an item about myself that is completely without a basis in truth. I have never said, while in Turin, nor in other places, that the law about the conflict of interests is not a priority for the future government of the Centre Left. On the contrary, during my speech at the opening event for the electoral campaign for l’Ulivo, in Turin, in front of 2000 people I said that after years of ad personam laws created by the Centre right it is absolutely necessary to restore in our country the respect for the rule of law and that for this reason, it will be the duty of parliament in the new legislature to rapidly approve a new and really effective law on the conflict of interests.

I regret that the author of the false information, even though present at the Turin event, should continue to spread a completely tendentious and unfounded version.

Kind Regards”

Piero Fassino

Piero Ricca responds to Fassino’s letter.

Fassino regrets what happened, but the video is clear. As Beppe Grillo wrote each one can form their own opinion: about the words, the tone of voice, even the expressions. If Piero Fassino is referring to me when he talks about “the author of the false information”, I feel I need to clarify things:

I have not spread a version of the episode that is “tendentious and unfounded”: I asked a question, I got a reply and then I limited myself to telling what happened and to making the relevant video available online. That’s all.

- Some newspapers have reported the short dialogue; La Stampa di Torino, Monday 6 March, has a full article dealing with Fassino’s reply. The article is called "Fassino: the conflict of interests is not a priority". This is a free interpretation (or perhaps an exaggeration) by the author of the article. But what has that to do with me?

- It’s true that some of the bloggers of, were present at the teatro Colosseo. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to follow the whole of Fassino’s presentation, (including the declaration he made later about conflict of interests), since – after my question – we were taken outside by the party security”, who promptly called the Police for the ritual of identification. One of the “security” men threatened me repeatedly. If Fassino is interested in taking action in relation to this, to guarantee the full freedom to disagree, we can supply him with the photo of the energumen.

- Apart from the little episode, I think that it would be good for Fassino to reflect on the reasons why a few ordinary citizens (Grillo would say the employers of the politicians) are motivated to take the time to go one day to get Berlusconi to face up to his illegality, his lies and abusive actions, and the very next day to go to an event of L’Ulivo to ask simple questions about crucial issues.  Questions that perhaps “will not provide work” as Fassino says, but which are relevant to the delicate mechanisms of democracy. Apart from the question we asked out loud, I would remind Fassino that on our posters we had other questions, about the reform of the RAI, the abolition of the “shame laws”. Are these questions tendentious and unfounded as well?

To conclude, in the name of many other friends of Grillo’s Blog, who are passionately following politics and who are expecting to get from the next government a real alternative to the current degradation (a degradation that in the past the Left would probably have been able to present more solid restraints to) I would like to ask Piero Fassino for a public meeting, so that we can ask our precise questions, and I’m confident that we will receive similarly precise responses. A time, where and when he wants, before the elections. Without shouting, without throwers out. Do you accept?

Piero Ricca

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 07:54 PM in Politics | Comments (7)
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Bondi-Superchuck, following on from the famous poem dedicated to the little elephant for his birthday:

 “To Silvio
Tasty life
preceded life
followed life
loved life
lively life
life found again
shining life
life unveiled
new life”

which was published in Vanity Fair, has struck once more!
Thanks to an alcoholic delirium, he has sent a letter packed with pastoral significance to 25,000 Italian Parish Priests to mark the occasion of the elections.

”This is our way of dedicating ourselves to bear witness to our faith. Please accept this small gift, our simple brochure, as a way of sharing the difficult task to affirm Christian Truth in our society and in the time that we will be allowed to live. With these sentiments and thoughts please accept my most affectionate greetings. With great cordiality. Yours devotedly”.
Sandro Bondi

These are Superchuck’s words accompanying the leaflet: “The fruits and the tree. Five years of the Berlusconi Government read in the light of the social doctrine of the Church” sent to Parish priests. A brochure that lists the measures taken in favour of the Church in these years, like the law for putting teachers of religious education on a sound footing, the law about Sunday Schools, the abolition of the ICI tax for non profit Church bodies, the battle for reference to the Christian roots of Europe and the defence of the crucifix in schools.
And there’s also the law about assisted fertility, the new law against drugs, world peace missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, the exploratory investigation into law 194 on abortion.
A Parish Priest has replied in the name of the whole group by returning the brochure to the sender.

"Mister Bondi,
I’m used to giving words their weight and thus to call you “honourable” I would have to force my conscience.
I have received the impudent brochure that I imagine you have sent to all the Parishes in Italy.
I’m returning it to you without having even thumbed through it and I would like to remind you that the Parish houses are not refuse collection points nor are they brothels where it’s possible to use the services of whores.
We have our dignity, we priests, and we aren’t accustomed to selling off for a dish of beans, our religious, cultural and social patrimony that you have squandered in five years of bad government.

You have plundered everything. You have taken public finances and burdened them with debts. You have reduced local authorities to starvation, on the one hand and on the other you have subsidised Church bodies trying to buy our silence if not actually our complicity.

You have populated Parliament with rascals, thieves and tricksters. Of the 23 convicted Parliamentarians more than half (13 to be precise) are part of your group. You have fornicated with the racism of the Lega and with the fascism of Rauti. With you the rich have become richer and the poor poorer. Your “boss” has multiplied his wealth by a factor of 4., while the companies in the country have encountered crises. The electromechanical sector on its own has lost 7.1% of its turnover in the last quarter of 2005.

In a few years time, our pensioners, not only won’t be able to save a penny, but they will have already started to eat into their meagre savings.
You have spent energy and continuous sittings in Parliament to defend at all costs “your” liberty while the country has tumbled to 41st position in the classification for freedom of the press and pluralism of information, taking the position below Angola.
You have turned workers into merchandise and you have mortgaged the goods.
Please keep to yourself, signor Bondi, your presumption of coherence with the “Social doctrine of the Church”. We priests want to safeguard our freedom to fight and to contest the liberalist and populist waywardness of your coalition.”

Aldo Antonelli (parish priest) - Antrosano

PS Superchuck: he is famous throughout the world even known to those who do not follow comic strips. Superchuck is almost more famous than Alan Ford. He is the mythical Robin Hood the wrong way round. He robs from the poor and gives to the rich. His weapon is his alcoholic-terribly-smelling breath, which the hero feeds first on rotten quality Barbera red wine and then with a deadly mix of terrible onioned-tomatoes. Superchuck, the fat and masked vindictive man, in his ordinary life is a street cleaner, subject to the vexations of his companion. In Italian «chuck» sounds like «ciucco», i.e. "very drunk". (from Wikipedia)

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:53 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (11)
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March 13, 2006

Research Gagged

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They were too annoying and they were punished.  Discovering certain massive cooking pots where you find things boiling away like incinerators, steel works and electricity generating stations using heavy oil, and putting loud mouths and pseudo-scientists in a bad light is activity which does not attract sympathy.

And so, since they couldn’t be attacked on scientific grounds, it’s simpler to remove the equipment from Antonietta Gatti and Stefano Montanari who were causing too much trouble. This is an environmental scanning electronic microscope used by the two researchers to discover the mechanisms by which nano particles produced by combustion can kill, and how this causes the illnesses suffered by the survivors of the Gulf War and the War in the Balkans. They’ve discovered the scientific tricks behind the incinerators, and what is released into the environment from the 3 million tons of heavy oils that are burned each year by an electricity generating station and lots of other stuff that has opened up a completely new pathway in the field of medicine.

Their microscope has gone and we, who cannot allow ourselves to lose Antonietta and Stefano, will give them another microscope. We’ll do this very soon  and it’ll be more powerful than the previous one.

Today we are starting a fund to buy one on behalf of the Associazione Carlo Bortolani Onlus. I’ve already set a good example by donating the receipts of the 28 February show at Modena. The MeetUp young people are getting active and everyone can give up a pizza to avoid being full of polluting substances.

Payments can be made to:
Current Account n. 513111
In the name of: "Associazione Carlo Bortolani Onlus"
Bank: Banca Etica (Sede centrale di Padova)
ABI: 05018
CAB: 12100

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:17 PM in Health/Medicine | Comments (13)
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March 12, 2006

The pied piper of the Mountains


Piero Ricca, the journalist who shouted "Puffone" to the little elephant in the Palace of Justice in Milan, and who was convicted for that, recently intervened at a conference with Fassino.
Piero Fassino was talking about work as a priority, of the centrality of work, of the importance of work in fact about work.

Ricca interrupted him and shouted his question about whether he intended to change the law about conflict of interests so that no one could be elected to govern thanks to the TV.

Fassino’s reply was “the law about conflict of interests will not provide work for anyone” and “we need to work out the priorities for those who want to govern this country.”
Ricca added: “It’s been five years and you haven’t done it (the law about the conflict of interests), Berlusconi is in the Government even thanks to you.

With a law about conflict of interests, without the TV ad personam, this government would not have lasted 6 months. Instead it has lasted 5 years.
But this is not a priority for the DS, as D’Alema once said. For them Mediaset is a resource for the country.
But whose interests are they working for?
For the electorate or for the small elephant?
Without free information, there’s no democracy. It’s not possible to put into action a Government programme and it’s not possible to establish true priorities.

Without free information however we have had Fazio, Consorte, and  the inconsiderate support for the TAV in Val di Susa.
Of course it’s in their nature, from the point at which they can’t turn back they go charging on straight ahead.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:19 PM in Politics | Comments (24)
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The price list of our privacy


Storace has resigned. Shame. It would have better if he’d been booted out in April. He hasn’t given us that satisfaction. He’s not been a good sportsman.
The Procura di Milano has arrested 16 people including 2 officials of the Finance Police, one policeman and two employees of Telecom. The group is believed to have been working, spying, and falsifying for months so as to favour the victory of Storace in the Region of Lazio.
Gaspare Gallo, one of the people arrested, in a telephone conversation that was recorded says: “Yes I’m already getting moving. This week I’m doing telephones and bankers for him”, referring to Marrazzo, a candidate of the centre left.
Telephone and bank information about a candidate?

No problem. You just have to pay. There’s an actual price list, pretty honest I’ll have to say. In a recorded telephone conversation, one of the people involved, Laura Danani, lists the prices for getting to know the name associated with ex-directory telephone numbers: “Omni 220 euro, Tim 150, Wind 200, Tre 200, landline 250”.

And she indicated the banks where she had managed to get information about clients: Antonveneta, Bnl, Commercio e Industria, Popolare di Milano, Popolare di Novara, San Paolo Imi: “a search to see whether a particular person has an account with a specific bank costs 250 Euro… to see the statement for a couple of months is roughly 600 Euro and a similar price to find out about shares.”

Spying for election reasons could even seem acceptable, but don’t use our bank and telephone details without giving us fair compensation.
The telephone companies and the banks should offer us a freedom on our data in exchange for half of the money raked in from the possible sale to secret services, marketing companies and private citizens.
That would be a true operation of transparency in full respect of privacy.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 05:55 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (4)
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March 11, 2006

The child from Minsk

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Minsk Cathedral

I've summarised a long letter from Alberto.
I'm publishing it to make the issue known, in the hope that his tiny "blond child" can join him in Italy very soon.

"Dear Beppe,

My name is Alberto, I’m 47 years old and I’m a journalist with the Gazzetta di Mantova. As you said on 13 September 2003 at Casalromano “people listen to comics, but not to engineers.” Given that I don’t consider you to be solely a comic, I’m going to try and explain why I’m writing this open letter.

My wife and I are one of the 600 families in Italy who have started the procedure to adopt a child from Bielorussia. I don’t need to tell you what happened in those parts just 20 years ago.

Italy is the main country in the world to play host to children from Chernobyl, about 30,000 each year. Since October 2004, the adoption processes have been blocked because of new rules imposed by the Bielorussian Government that is trying to reduce international adoptions to zero.

After long drawn out negotiations, on 12 December 2005 in Minsk, the Minister of Education Radkov, together with the Bielorussian Centre for Adoptions signed a protocol that announced that Bielorussia would evaluate the 150 applications sent from Italy before October 2004 so as to give priority of interest to the children and at least before 1 March 2006.”

Today is 7 March and thanks to the immobility of the government, only one adoption has been granted for a little girl with serious health problems needing constant care. Of the other 149 families who had completed the procedures, 13 have given up and 136 are still on the waiting list.

My wife and I are one of the other 445 inconsiderate couples who have decided to start the application procedure to adopt a child from Bielorussia.

Mine is a blond boy who will be 10 years old on Tuesday.
He calls me “papa” and my wife “mamma”. I’m sure you can imagine what it feels like to hear those words like that.

Until 24 months ago, the child had been with his natural mother who conceived him with a drunken man who like her lived on the streets. She drank and he was malnourished and got scabies. One evening in 1998 she decided to leave the child in front of the entrance to a boarding school. For him there had been inhuman doses of cold and a bit of "smetana"...Can you think of the sour cream that the Italian social milk vendors don’t keep even as a by-product of their work? Well that was his regular food.
I won’t bore you with personal stories. Now’s the time to tell you what we are asking for. That’s myself and the other families that are currently playing host or are hoping to adopt these children. There they have less food, less air, less love, and less future. In your shows and in your Blog please make known this real drama, please can you ask that someone in Rome or in Brussels does something.
In these last few moths only thanks to the National Coordination Group for the Families ( and thanks to the honourable Piero Ruzzante of the DS (who is not to be a candidate again as he has served 2 terms and must leave the space for Bassanini and others) has it been possible to keep in contact with Bielorussia, in spite of the silence from the leaders of the Adoption Committee.

In November, a thousand of us went to Rome to the “wall of sadness” in front of Palazzo Chigi. We went dressed as ghosts, because as parents we are ghosts. We are non-existant.

I hope that you will be able to say a word in our favour so that we don’t just feel like furious mad people and so that we can continue to hope, so that those who have the duty (Embassies, Ministries and various politicians) can get this process of adoption moving again.  Officers of our commission are still truly present in Minsk to be sure that the procedures are respected.

Otherwise perhaps it has all been a dream and we will have to continue to say “good night” to a photo?”

Alberto Fortunati - Porto Mantovano - Italy

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:06 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (5)
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March 10, 2006

Tipping Italy


We can't and we mustn't talk about the elephant.
But to listen to its trumpeting we can and we must.
What can be said after watching the video clip of his exhibition at the European Parliament? The one when he addressed a German member of the European Parliament as "kapò"and talked about the beautiful Italian sunshine?

Up until now we had seen only a piece of an extraordinary performance that has ridiculed us. That is not even like bokassaamindada.

I am gob-smacked, silent, no, I can’t even manage to write this post. I’m a bit ashamed and I think that I won’t show my face abroad until after the elections.

Either as a political refugee or as a holiday maker.

And Fini and Prodi were present and neither of them said anything, at least for decency, for respect towards Italians, for respect towards themselves.

It would have been enough to raise a finger and say “This person perhaps represents the Italians, but not me!”

To put all the blame on the elephant is not just however.

In the jungle of the Bel Paese (Italy) there are many animals and tiny animals that feed on the excrement of the elephant. How many are they? Millions? Scores of millions?

But is this possible? In another country not even his close family would follow him.

Italy is an open-air tip. The refuse collectors have occupied the companies as well as Parliament.

The servants of the elephant are spreading out to the newspapers and the Television channels.

Half are "bravacci" and half are "donabbondio" (characters in Manzoni’s “Promessi Sposi"), this is us today, in March 2006.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 12:54 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (53)
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March 08, 2006

Modern Slaves 2

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The Italian post "Modern Slaves" has so far got 3,227 comments (33 for the English language version). People in their twenties, thirties and forties from all over Italy have written comments. Situations are critical, desperate, involving mobbing (bullying), of incomes at charity level.

Reading the comments pulls at the heart strings, especially for young women and men with diplomas, degrees, Masters who find themselves working, if they can, in underpaid positions, without guarantees, for a few months at a time. Without anything.
The Biagi law must be abolished. It’s a law dreamed up by the left and approved by the right. It’s a bipartisan law. A law that externalises the risk from the entrepreneur to the employee, now transformed into a and
The company’s doing badly? The underemployedunderpaid stays at home.
The company’s going well? Another three months of underemployment.
In the comments, the main job available for the new graduates is in a Call Centre (at 3 to 5 Euro an hour) which translated into Italian,  (or English) means breaking the of someone by phone to sell them services they haven’t requested.
Is this the future we want? To become telephonesalespersonnel?
Enough telephone vending. Enough getting up noses.

What are we doing? We export industries to China and we keep the Call Centres? But let’s do the contrary.
Biagi has become a martyr, a saint of the left used by the right, but this on its own is not a good reason for keeping a terrible law with his name.
I invite whoever has not already done so to tell their story in this new post that will be permanent with a marker on the right hand of the Blog.
Apart from sending an extract to the Party Secretaries (Have you noticed that no-one wants to talk about this law?), I will choose the most important testimonies and will make them available free as an online book with the title: “Modern Slaves”. I hope it will become a best seller.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:59 PM in Economics | Comments (22)
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The Business of World Hunger

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image from:

On Thursday 9 March 2006, at the meeting of the European Community, Great Britain will propose to maintain the cultivation of seeds called Terminator GM, or even terminator technology.
It’ll make the same proposal in two weeks time at a world level meeting in Brazil.
Terminator GM is a technology that allows the seeds of the plants to be made sterile. The harvest can be done just once. Each year the farmer has to go back and buy more seed from the seed producer, usually a “yes global” multinational.

In 2000 this abomination, created with the intention of avoiding the contamination of non Genetically modified crops by GMO crops in nearby fields, was banned with an agreement promoted by the United Nations. However the agreement was opposed by Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and of course, the United States.

Today this group of nations, with the indifference of the agriculture ministers of the European Union, is trying to let the ban fall by using a technique of judging the use of GURT on a “case by case” basis.

The sterilisation of seeds or Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT) is applicable to common crops from rice to wheat and its effects are worse than the bubonic plague.
If this were to spread to the Third World, this would put at risk the survival of 1,500,000,000 people and in every case, the genetic contamination could have effects on ALL crops.

The shares and the profits of the biotech companies that are “yes global” would however be repeatable, clean and without contamination.

Hunger in the world would thus become a formidable business tool. The GURT seeds would promote it everywhere and thus would contribute to, together with famine, the certain growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and planetary control on primary food sources by the multinationals.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 12:38 AM in Ecology | Comments (14)
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March 07, 2006

Equal access to the media and Anti-doping

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The law “Arrangements for the parity of access to the media during election campaigns and during referendum campaigns and for political communication”, called “par condicio”, article 2, comma 1:
Television broadcasters must ensure that all political subjects with impartiality and equity have access to information and to political communication”.

I propose a tiny change to article 2, comma 1. I would substitute “access” with “no access”. If you then reread the sentence after the change it fills your lungs with the air that is even more pure than that at the top of K2 free of the PM10 (particulate matter) of politicians.

The TV News broadcasts have become a series of double breasted nagging pains that have to appear every night with a set time and in rapid sequence for a whole 15 minutes to tell us their theme of the day.
Colonel Gaddafi asks us for money? Here you have pecoraroscaniofassinofiniprodimastelladilibertocasini pontificating about Libya and Islam.

France objects to Enel buying Suez? Here you have buttiglionegiovanardidipietrodalemaberlusconifinitremonti giving precise details about the EU norms and free competition.
How can they know everything and manage to tell us in 10 seconds?

The law on “par condicio” is an attack on human intelligence. You can’t apply a law like this only at the end of a legislature, after five years in which the one who controls TV broadcasting has done all that he wanted to.
Either you apply it all the time or you don’t apply it.
It’s as though you had the anti-doping law applied only to the last two games in a football championship.

Anyway the “par condicio” is an old concept, out of date already by the 1950s. It belongs to TV, to censorship.
On the Internet, the “par condicio” does not exist and each person gets information in ways they decide. Let’s take advantage of that.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:32 AM in Information | Comments (19)
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March 06, 2006

Citizen Primaries: Health. Antonio Di Pietro


The proposals about Health for the Citizen primaries have had many contributions both on this Blog and on the site

In the next few days I will publish the final document about health with all the comments integrated into it.
Antonio Di Pietro has been the only one to reply to the proposals on health and I am publishing his letter.
The next appointment for Citizen primaries is for the topic: Information.

"Dear Beppe,

I'm responding to your proposals about health.

Free access to the National Health Service. My aim and that of Italia dei Valori is the abolition of every form of direct contribution (in Italian referred to as a “ticket”) on the part of the citizens. This is the final result to be achieved but it’s clear that we need to balance this with the current empty coffers of the State. Thus I don’t know whether it will be possible to find the resources to make this a reality straight away, but it’s certain that in the mean time we’ll have to have some sort of contribution from the citizens based on their ability to pay.

Promotion of the use of generic drugs, prohibition on economic incentives on sales for “scientific” sales personnel and strengthening of checks aimed at preventing every possible form of corruption in the field of medicines: I am absolutely in agreement with this. In the field of health, the volume of business and interests has reached the heights of the stratosphere, it is thus obligatory to be vigilant in relation to the pharmaceutical lobbies.

Separate the careers of public doctors from private doctors. This question is not so easy to solve. The previous centre-left Government tried to tackle this problem by getting an intermediate solution: the regulation of private professional  activity within public structures.

And it is only in this way that the best professionals can continue to operate within public structures, thus available to all and not simply to the exclusive private clinics, which can be accessed by only a few. As well as this, with this system, the State can receive money from the private activity of the doctor.

Whatever a professional does whether a lawyer, or a doctor, should not matter to the State. But it’s certain that we must make sure that public and private activities do not come into conflict and that funds destined to public structures are not channelled into private activities. To understand the atrocious abuses that we are finding in this sector, it’s enough to watch Bianchi and  Nerazzini the documentary  film by Bianchi and  Nerazzini called “La mafia é bianca”(“The Mafia is White”) about the situation of the health service in Sicily.

Do systematic evaluation of waiting lists and make the results known to everyone on-line. We agree absolutely with this proposal. The technicalities for making it happen will have to be defined, but this problem has been adopted explicitly in the programme of the Unione, which talks of: “scandal of the two speed health system […] is one of the most odious” and of the current national health system where “today a person who is ill is not allowed to choose between the public and the private system, but is obliged (and I’m adding – “if they can afford it!”) to pay for the service privately […], because of the really long time delays associated with the waiting lists.

fight against pain I’m in complete agreement about the need, a need that can no longer be put off, to provide for all the necessary measures that will remove the bureaucratic and administrative obstacles preventing the use of those substances that are needed for pain control therapies. Unfortunately, our country is once more suffering from a cultural delay , bound up with a catholic tradition that has now been overcome which has conditioned the attitude of doctors with respect to the suffering of patients.
Every department, and especially those for children, should, I believe, have a doctor with exclusive  responsibility for pain therapy taking into account the quality of life of the patients, as happens in other European countries.

Put in place a national health policy that is cultural, support to research regarding the effects on health of social inequalities and environmental pollution, the evaluation of the impact on health of public policies, like the monitoring of the perverse effects of “devolution” on the fairness and the regional differences: all points which are tied up together and are basically contained in the programme of the Unione.

In fact, Italia dei Valori, together with the other parties of the centre left, has explicit proposals for promoting the objective of “evaluating the impact on health” and is using this as the starting point for a coherent set of policies concerning the political economy at national and European levels.”

Thank you for the hospitality!”

Antonio Di Pietro, president of Italia dei Valori

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:33 PM in Citizen Primaries | Comments (4)
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What’s the right? What’s the left?

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There's no longer any sense in talking about right and left, what we need to talk about are honest people and dishonest people. Antonio Amorosi, ex member of the Cabinet leading the City of Bologna, belongs to the tiny group of honest people.

"Dear Beppe,

For years in Bologna a committee of politicians, Councillors, members of the city Cabinet, on the right and on the left, assigned houses to citizens who were queue-jumping those on the waiting list (4000 to 5000 families) “for exceptional reasons”. The vast majority of those who request public housing have great economic and social difficulties: people with disabilities, people with all sorts of illnesses, elderly people with 100% invalidity, people who are really poor, lone women with tiny babies, large families with insufficient incomes and with elderly people who are dependent on them; it means that we find all sorts of humanity who have suffered disasters or who are currently in difficulty, who are living in terrible conditions.

While these common mortals put in their requests to the City of Bologna, in fact they simply became numbers on a waiting list for years (a wait of from 4 to 5 years), but on the other hand, the politicians, using the mechanism of “ exceptional emergency” assigned homes to others, not necessarily in any condition of emergency or exception, thus jumping the queue in front of thousands of families in difficulty so much so that 19 of them died while their names were on the waiting list for a home.

While people who were elderly and alone were dying, others, with substantial incomes obtained a home in a short time simply because they fought for it or made contact with a politician. The politicians started off the paper work for each family, they collected the documentation for individual cases, they decided to whom they should assign a home, they signed the decrees assigning a home and they contacted the relevant families directly.

Many of them did this regularly, as is documented in the archives.

I removed the committee of politicians and put in place a committee of technical people, in accordance with the regulations following a legal opinion from the legal department of the Council, but this took place against a harsh barrage of criticism.

As an administrator and as a citizen, it seemed to me less than ethical and of dubious propriety that in the Bologna public housing, City Councillors should be living there and especially since these are also members of the Committee that assigns the housing or in the case of an ex-Councillor who owned a house which he sold after obtaining a council house in an emergency., or others who have incomes that are too high to live in Council housing. And the list goes on.

But apart from the occasional article in the press and some fierce discussions, it’s not possible to bring this situation to the light of day, nor is it possible to speak the truth about hundreds of houses that have been assigned by these means for many years. To use other methods to correct and repair the impartiality and the injustice suffered by these citizens would mean admitting the existence of injustice.

And now that the Mayor has said that “the word of the City Council is sovereignthe whole discussion was closed with the solemn decision of 6 February: in fact a committee of politicians set up to judge the work of the politicians who assigned the houses, came to the conclusion that everything was in order but that I as the Councillor with responsibility for this sector, had done well to substitute the politicians with the technical people when I started my activity.

Right! But if nothing has happened and everything is in order, why did they all agree to do away with the old committee of politicians that assigned houses using their own signatures? But weren’t they good enough? Were they not following regulations? For this reason I presented a declaration to the State Prosecutor and on 8 February I resigned from my position as Councillor with responsibility for Housing in the Cofferati Cabinet because no-one wanted to shed light on the infinite series of serious irregularities which can be seen in the documentation regarding the assigning of Council housing in the City of Bologna.

A home is a primary good that can decide the life of a person, considering the costs and the precariousness experienced by many families.

Italian law establishes that politicians, Cabinet members, Councillors or similar persons cannot assign public housing. And the judgement of the Public Administration  must be impartial, transparent and verifiable. For me the rule of law is necessary to avoid social injustices and as a Councillor in the Cabinet I’ve applied the law, but if it then eliminates the problems, after that what work will the politicians do?

Is it for this reason that there are loads of problems waiting to be resolved and loads of fudges that are resolved? "

Antonio Amorosi ex member of the City of Bologna Cabinet.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:58 AM in Politics | Comments (11)
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March 04, 2006

Shock troops

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The Italian sector for the production of multimedia support material is disintegrating.
The biggest production unit in Europe for optical support media Computer Support Italcard (250 employees), is no longer operating in Italy.
The reason for the closure is the decree 68/2003 concerning author’s rights and private copies.
The decree of just reward, born of Urbani’s diabolic mind, establishes an a priori tax on the illicit use of CDs and DVDs on the assumption that pieces of music that are pirate copies will be recorded there.

It’s a tax at source on the basis of a presumed crime.
The tax on the crime to start off with is higher than the wholesale price and has brought about increases of 60%.

The Italians have had two answers to meet these Urbani law measures:
- companies have bought the blank support media abroad at half the price
- private individuals have bought only what they strictly required.

Urbani is a “yes global” and has helped foreign production allowing Italian production to collapse.
But where did they find him in a nightmare? He is  like Gasparri with the digital terrestrial, like Tremonti with the disaster of the public accounts, like Alemanno and the closure of the sugar factories (77,000 jobs), like Lunardi with the big engineering works.

Blimey, these are less like a Governing team than some maleficent genii. They are a lethal weapon capable of taking any country down to its knees. They are true shock troops.

P.S. The German, Swedish, English, and Swiss TVs are following me step by step during my tour of Italy. The only Italian organisation that wants to observe me is the DIGOS (Divisione Investigazioni Generali e Operazioni Speciali).

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:05 PM in Economics | Comments (9)
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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.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:01 PM in Transport/Getting About | Comments (4)
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March 03, 2006

Reggio Emilia’s Incinerator

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Reggio Emilia's Town Hall

Last Tuesday and Wednesday during the two shows at Modena's Palapanini, there was an appearance of Stefano Montanari, the researcher from Modena who together with his wife Antonietta Gatti has studied the effects on the organism of the inorganic particles produced by all types of combustion, from depleted Uranium to electricity power stations to heavy oils to so-called clean carbon, to car engines with anti-particle pseudo-filters to incinerators constructed in accordance with BAT (Best Available Technologies).

The discovery is that those particles are capable of entering with great ease into the organism right into the cell nucleus, and to provoke a whole series of illnesses, including some forms of cancer. And there are no biological mechanisms that can eliminate them. The tinier they are, the more they penetrate and the more damage they cause.

The incinerators produce immense quantities of this stuff, transforming rough, smelly rubbish that is not dangerous into tiny killer particles. The trick is in raising the operating temperature of the plant so as to produce particles that are so tiny that they are not checked by the control mechanisms (these can check particles of 10 microns and modern incinerators create dust that is much finer than this) and make it seem that the air is clean when in fact it is full of filth that is much more aggressive for health than the old PM10.

In Reggio Emilia, the local authorities have decided to construct another incinerator as well as the existing one and in spite of the requests of the citizens, they refused to listen to the researchers from Modena (who work, among other places in New York with the survivors of the collapse of the towers on September 11, as well as in Bosnia and Iraq with military personnel suffering from Gulf and Balkan War Syndromes, and have been to talk about the results of their research to the House of Lords in London).

Thus 800 signatures have been collected, more than sufficient by Statute to allow Montanari to talk in the Council meeting, and at midday on Wednesday we went to the Town Hall to hand them over to the Mayor who was a little embarrassed, and  in front of a big crowd of people he listened to the explanation because among all the ways to get free of rubbish, incineration is the one that does not stand up from the scientific point of view.

By Statute the local authorities have 30 days to invite Montanari to speak to the Council.

All the studies have been done using a special microscope that is really expensive and the two researchers might see it being taken from them once the results of their analysis have been published.

And so we must give them another one. For now, the takings of one of the two evenings have gone entirely into an account to buy this equipment. Then, we’ll see.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:22 AM in Health/Medicine | Comments (15)
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Bitter Sugar/2


After the publication of the “Bitter Sugar” Post I’ve received many communications about Casei Gerola and about other sugar factories that have closed or that are in the process of closing down all over Italy. From today I’m publishing some communications with the aim of understanding, through your comments, the motivation for dismantling the sugar factories and to have a look to see if there are alternative activities.

Below I’m publishing an extract from a document which is attached, received from Ivan Nardone.

“I’m sending a note about sugar which could help to understand the folly concerning the closure of 13 out of 19 plants in Italy, a country which does not produce enough for its own needs.

Please continue the good work and expressing esteem and affection.”

Ivan Nardone. Rifondazione Comunista Party - European Left - Agriculture Commission

“We have always considered it inevitable that the sugar sector reform will come, This  sector has been unchanged since 1968 and by having minimum guaranteed prices, restrictions on imports and support to exports has allowed the EU price of sugar to be a third higher than the world price. It has meant that the EU has become one of the biggest exporters of sugar so provoking dumping on other countries.

We have always supported the reduction of EU sugar quotas but obviously starting from the countries with over production by assigning to each country in the community that can produce sugar a quota that is in relation to internal consumption, reduced by a proportional quota designed to equalise expected preferential imports, fixing contingents of imports to be agreed with the relevant countries (EBA, ACP, Balkans), recognising minimum purchase prices so as to give support to those countries with weak economies and to realise a harmonious opening to the whole of the European market, as well as cancelling every form of export subsidies from within the Community.

With this position we have seen strikes and we have pushed many local entities to speak out. We’ve also encouraged the European Parliament to speak out and the previous legislature did this on 10 March when it took the position to ask for the respect of all European treaties which in the field of agriculture never support the areas with the loudest voice but claim a principle of solidarity between the different agricultural regions because of the social and environmental functions carried out through agriculture.

The last proposal of Fischer Boel to cut the price by 36% was totally unacceptable to a country like ours, which for some time now has not produced enough sugar to meet internal demand. Here the principles of the countries that are economically and politically strong set against the Community norms that for a long time have been based on the principle of solidarity, for our country it’s been a Caporetto {a complete disastrous collapse} and the Government is responsible for this in a series of ways. This is a Government that is more and more isolated in Europe and in the world and that instead claims without any shame, that the loss of 50% of the quotas, and the closure of 13 out of the 19 factories is a victory for Italian mediation.

This is a reform opposed by many but not by everyone, and that has nothing to do with helping poor starving countries that are starving because of the egotism of rich countries:

- against this reform food-agriculture Italian Trades Unions have spoken out, with repeated strikes, and noting that Trades Unions do not defend the egotism of the rich.

- against this reform small and medium sized beet producers all over Europe have spoken out, countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific who have privileged relations with the EU and who are penalised by this reform,

- The EBA countries (the 50 poorest countries in the world)  are against this reform. They reject it totally.

- this reform is totally rejected by the social movements of Brazil, India and Australia, since the big corporations will find it ever more economical to produce sugar for export using the monoculture of sugar cane with serious social and  environmental impact without regard to productive diversification and food sovereignty.

- The European Parliament has completely rejected this reform thus claiming a role that has not been used by the Commission. They have put forward intelligent proposals like the abolition by the year 2010 of export subsidies and a reduction of the price of sugar by 30% in 4 years.

Those who have said they agree with the reform have been the strong agricultural Governments of the South and the North of the world, like Brazil, France, Germany, Australia, and India and the big companies of the North who receive 730 Euro for every ton not produced and the multinationals that have delocalised to the South from where they can export more of their production.

In Italy the further cut by 10% suggested by the European Commission and the carry back of the excess of past years, the new beet campaign will have difficulty in getting more than 30% production over the previous campaign leading to further confusion even in relation to inter-professional agreements.”

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 12:10 AM in Economics | Comments (3)
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March 02, 2006

Truth hurts

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In Italy no one is a repository of truth, but many are of lies. Good propaganda that was done some years ago, that said and yet didn’t say, and that magnified the virtues of this person or that thing has been substituted by the normal explicit, bare-faced, applauded lie.

To lie is no longer an art, something to be concealed or hidden, on the contrary, the more in your face, the better it is.

The lie is an explicit Government act. It is repeated to give body and substance with the use of all viewing spaces: walls, newspapers, TV.
The only possible space missing is toilet paper to read while you are sitting on the bog, but we will get there soon.

The lie is used as a way of subverting the evidence, the statistics, the mathematics.

As an affirmation and a way of getting the upper hand used by loud-mouths, politicians, financiers, and journalists in relation to every day reality. That gets submerged and annulled by a great nothing.

The lie is by now an integral part of good politics, that to which the Italians, targeted by such a great impudence, give their votes. Even for their own survival, because they could not support the truth in the scurrilous reality in which they live.

But let’s listen and look at some examples:

The ex-employee Giovanardi (he resigned while in a discussion with this Blog, appealing to his electors in Lecco) made this objective declaration about the thumpers in uniform of a man from Morocco in Sassuolo: “They fought with their bare hands for ten minutes to immobilise a dangerous person. It is an incredible lynching.”

Have a good look who is actually lynched.

The psycho-dwarf (I know that I shouldn’t talk about him, but I always fall for it) talked to Santoro some time ago and gave an impassioned declaration about tax evasion. This has been magnificently put together by the Turin MeetUp group.

Listen to it.

The lie has transformed us into a virtual country, by now vaccinated against the truth.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:16 AM in Information | Comments (9)
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March 01, 2006

Bitter sugar

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cultivation at Casei Gerola

I'm publishing part of a letter from Laura, chosen from lots that I received about the closure of the historical sugar factory of Casei Gerola near Pavia.
Another disaster resulting from European policy giving incentives to transport as opposed to helping local production.
Factories are being closed without giving prior notice to the local people, in this case the inhabitants of the Province of Pavia.
Without asking for the consent and proposing alternative solutions.
Here there are thousands of families without work and the reasons are technical, bureaucratic, correct, Europe-oriented, but above all they are incomprehensible. The Val di Susa has taught us that we can’t take decisions without involving people, without listening to them.
Last year, this Blog made a small contribution to the campaign for the brewery (great beer!) at Pedaveno and it did not close.
Let’s see what we can do for the sugar factory of Casei Gerola, one of the best in the country.
Write to me at and  send me information.
In the next few days I’ll go and visit Casei Gerola.


My name is Laura. I’m 20 years old and I live in Voghera (province of Pavia). I’d like to ask you if you could take an interest in the closure of the sugar factories in Italy and in particular I would like to point out the absurdity of the entrepreneurial logic. In my zone there’s (or in fact there was) the sugar factory at Casei Gerola. You must have heard about it recently because the farmers and the employees blocked the Milano-Genova motorway for about 30 hours. It’s one of the most productive sugar factories in Italy, the most technologically advanced and it supplies important multinationals, as well as pharmaceutical companies requiring high quality sugar. It appears to have everything needed to stay open and yet no. After yet another big story from the Minister Alemanno, it’s closing down. The European Union gives 730 Euro for every ton of sugar not produced, so that it’s economic to close a factory with good productivity and keep others open even though they are in grave difficulty and will then close the following year!!

There are 103 employees, cooperatives that collaborate, 192 seasonal employees (I’m one of these and at least 100 are young people in the age range 18 to 24 who work the season so that they can pay for the university without having to ask their families for help), 5000 farmers, encouraged by the company to invest and who now find that they have to pay for machinery up to a value of 1,000,000,000 old lire. They bought this on credit and the debt should have gone down each time they delivered beetroot for processing. It’s the only processing plant for beetroot in Piedmont and Lombardy and thus by closing down it will see the collapse of a whole geographic area! Do you think this is fair? I don’t think so. Is this how the Government is thinking of creating new jobs? Firing people, laying off and removing prospects from the young? How can a young person think of carrying on the work of their parents cultivating the land if their prospects are like this?

Thank you for your attention.”
Laura B.

P.S. The cities of the tour that used to appear on the right hand bar have now been substituted by links to the Meet Up cities.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:22 AM in Economics | Comments (5)
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Those who don’t see

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The sight of Italian people is getting worse. Those who could see a long distance no longer exist and those who see close up (who are they?) are few and far between.
The Italian sees and doesn't see and if possible he doesn’t see.
He’s a blind person with eyes open, with the retina intact, with the pupils dilated.
A social degeneration, an object of study for the oculists.
The last ten years in Italy  will be remembered by historians as the decade of thieves and of blind people. The Italian blind person is educated not to see from when he is young, as a matter of survival.
It’s also politeness.
To see Tanzi, Cragnotti, Fazio, the little elephant (I know I’m not meant to use his name, but it just came out), Tronchetti, Previti, Dell’Utri, Geronzi, Calderoli, Giovanardi, Fiorani, Casini is not a pretty sight.

It’s better to be partially sighted, to have selective blindness.

The same as the information that is post-dated that sees scandals only after they have become public.
Italian blindness is designed to make do and mend. It’s an obtuse blindness closed in on itself, barely willing to see something that disturbs it.
Italian blindness is the basis and the necessity for having a career, in public service, in the big banks and in the political parties.

It’s a gift, an ability. Who hasn’t got it adapts and becomes blind.

And the one who doesn’t adapt is the one who is different, unreasonable, intolerant.
How dare he? How can you contradict the poor blind people?
There you are, the blind person is him, the one who can see.
A disturber of the peace.
After all it’s best not to see and make progress with optimism towards the catastrophe.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:11 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (4)
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