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August 31, 2006

GMO Journalists: Riotta

Someone still remembers me. It’s Riotta in one of those not-to-be-missed editorials entitled: “The true danger for Italians: not being able to get out of the choir”. That he’s not a participant of. He writes: “Grillo… when he assures you that genetic research will kill you on the spot is a conformist of the purest kind. He is talking about things that he knows little about and he is harming those poor people that need that research.” Before reading my article repeat with me: “Riotta is not a conformist, Riotta is a journalist - Riotta is not a conformist, Riotta is a journalist.”

“What is a transgenic organism? It’s a new type of living being that is created from molecular engineering. By using a strong electric charge the genes (that is a few molecules) of one species are incorporated into the molecules of the genome of a reproductive cell of another species. In the rare cases that this transplant is successful, a transgenic organism is created. This technique is even used to transplant genes between species that are very different, for example between a cod and a tomato. If instead we want to mix the genes of animals that are very similar like a horse and a donkey, it’s not necessary to use genetic engineering, it’s enough to facilitate copulation between the two animals and nature does the rest.
However if I bring a cod and a tomato together, even very close, it’s difficult that nature will induce them to mate. But the molecular engineers can. They did it hoping to make the tomatoes resistant to frost with a substance that is present in the blood of the cod. In the USA, for instance, they have created a spider-sheep, a sheep that produces silk.
They took the gene that produces thread and they fixed it into the genome of a sheep. Perhaps with a tiny modification, one day it’ll be possible to make them lay eggs, perhaps even hard boiled. The silk thread from the spider-sheep is milked from its breasts: it’ll be used by the US military for their bullet-proof vests.
There are no limits to the fantasy of genetic engineers, apart from most of the transgenic organisms inability to survive. This is why it is more correct to talk about manipulation rather than genetic modification. They have fixed bacteria genes into plants, human genes into pigs and mice, fish genes into strawberries.
Years ago the marketing of the genetic multinationals thought up an advertising slogan that went: Man has always been creating new species: it has created the mule from the donkey and the horse; it has created today’s species of dogs, it has created today’s species of roses, it has created today’s species of maize. Genetic engineers are doing the same as agriculturists and animal breeders have done since long ago. They continue this work of improving nature, helping it create new species where it doesn’t manage to do it on its own.
This advertising argument by which a mule and a spider-sheep are equally “unnatural” has cast so much ridicule on the multinationals that for many of them, their shares have slumped.  According to surveys, most Europeans do not trust the transgenic foods of these companies and they tend to not believe them even when they are speaking the truth. 
In Great Britain, for example, the journalists have given a good explanation for the difference between a mule and a spider-sheep and the need to be circumspect in relation to commercial propaganda. However in Italy, many of the biggest daily newspapers are campaigning for acceptance of transgenics using arguments that the advertisers of the multinationals have already abandoned as being counter-productive.

The best example that I’ve found that hasn’t yet been bettered is an editorial in La Stampa a few years ago (Gianni Riotta, "Our daily bread", 17.7.2000) (the exclamation marks are mine):
“Our Alpine soldiers during the retreat from Russia were loathe to eat their beloved mules, those that had died of hunger. It was transgenic (!) meat, obtained artificially (!) by mating a donkey with a horse. The mule is an animal whose hybrid DNA is identical (!) to that created in the laboratory amidst great fear. No alpine soldier suffered from the transgenic food (!), it saved the lives of many.” (…) “ …. Dogs and cats that we love, the species of sheep, cows, pigs that we protect with care are not natural(!). They are hybrids, grafted, selected, by ancient genetic engineers (!) that were called farmers and shepherds.” One of the missions of a journalist is to make complex things clear. When instead they spread confusion we are faced with a mutant journalist. To define as “transgenic food” the meat of a mule and as “genetic engineers” farmers and shepherds of long ago is such stupidity that it would not save a scholar from a bad mark. To define as non-natural, sheep and pigs that have been created by causing the mating of different varieties is furthermore socially dangerous. In the same way it would be “not natural” for a mixed race child to be the issue of a man from Piemonte and a woman from Nigeria.
The mutant journalist attributes the diffidence towards transgenic foods to “fear” (3 times) to “irrationality” (twice) and to “phobia”. Perhaps he doesn’t realise that it is the confusion that favours irrationality.
The mutant journalist then defines transgenic foods as innocuous and assures us that they will reduce the use of pesticides and will remove starvation from the world. However, the multinationals admit that no one, not even them, can for now be sure that a transgenic plant or  food will be really innocuous in the medium and long term. But the mutant journalist seems to be the only one to know.
The two promises of genetic engineering “fewer pesticides” and “more food for the starving” have already been disproved by biologists and agronomists. Even the multinationals are now more prudent on these issues.
If a PR person of the genetic engineering multinationals were now to write in their press releases that a mule’s meat is “transgenic meat”, they would probably be sacked and cited for damages. But Riotta continues to be a journalist even though he is genetically modified.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:27 AM in Information | Comments (39)
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August 30, 2006

The new feminism

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Women have never been more desired. The male desire gives way to passion that then gives way to rape. It’s an animal thing. But that’s it. Nature takes its course. Abusive couplings happen all over.

In public baths, behind the bushes, in the carriages of trains that are in the station. There’s no longer any intimacy for those who want to have a stroll in peace. Women shouldn’t be surprised. They should cover up.
Religions are male-oriented, governments are male-oriented, companies are male-oriented, advertising is male-oriented. Why shouldn’t the male sex be male-oriented?

Even ladies of a certain age are pummelled in public. To resolve the problem of malign penetration, racial segregation should be introduced. Pink buses, schools, taxis, bars, restaurants. For women and managed by women. The burqa by law and the veil only after the age of 80. Odorous and nauseating for the most attractive. The self-mutilation of breasts is a good remedy. If we want to be sure, there’s the removal of the organ. Actions that must be taken however with the maximum reserve.
Without demonstrations protesting about possible rape to have their rights. Without demonstrations, petitions, collecting signatures. Exactly as the women do now. Perhaps because deep down, they are OK with it.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:32 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (322)
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August 29, 2006

Imagine a Middle East...

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I am publishing an appeal by father Alex Zanotelli and the Rete lilliput on the mission in Lebanon. I am signing up to this appeal that poses many questions and I hope that the government will want to reply to them.

“It seems that there is a general consensus about the opportunity and the necessity for Italy to participate in the International Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon.
It is beyond a shadow of doubt that in order to put a stop to the spiral of violence that makes the Middle East ever more bloody and that is extending dangerously to the rest of the world, it is more necessary than ever before to have an active commitment of the international community under the leadership of the United Nations.

However, the result of such a commitment depends decidedly on the conditions in which it is put into practice and carried out. More than ever before it seems necessary to draw the attention of the Government, of Parliament and of all citizens to certain points that are very delicate.
An initial necessary consideration is that the war in Lebanon has eclipsed the problem of Palestine. It does not seem acceptable, in particular, that the international community is completely ignoring the fact that Ministers and Parliamentarians of a country that should be sovereign have been kidnapped (the vice-premier, Nasser-as-Shaer, since 19 August), imprisoned and in at least one case tortured.

In no other country could a similar foreign action be tolerated. Why does no one react in the case of Israel? The silence of the Italian Government is unacceptable.
When considering the composition of an International Peacekeeping Force, it must correspond to certain fundamental and elementary conditions. It is evident that military forces of a country that is not rigorously equidistant from the two sides in the conflict cannot be part of it.

Last year, Italy agreed to commit to an Agreement of Military Cooperation with Israel, that is a substantial obstacle in a way that has no remedy to our being equidistant.

International Law would impose, as a minimum, the preventive suspension of this Agreement whose detailed terms must absolutely be made known to public opinion.
It’s relevant to bring to mind as well that Israel has participated in NATO military manoeuvres in Sardinia, in which without a doubt, Israeli pilots and other military personnel were training and who were subsequently engaged in the war in Lebanon.
This happening gives rise to a further condition: it is necessary to have an absolute guarantee that the command of this Peacekeeping Force remains strictly under the command of the United Nations and cannot ever be transferred to NATO.

Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary, that the costs of the mission should not be carried by the Italian State and in particular that it does not bring about a reduction in spending on social issues but that it is contained within the budget of the Ministry of Defence for Italian military missions abroad.

These seem to be fundamental and inevitable conditions for the participation of our country.
However other reserves remain. It seems unique and anything but neutral the fact that the International Peacekeeping Force should be deployed in the territory of one of the two countries in the conflict, namely the one that was attacked and not on the border.
Thus it must be clear that as long as this force operates in Lebanese territory, it must be subject to Lebanese sovereignty and that it cannot in any way be tasked with disarming nor in disbanding Hezbollah.
However, these operating conditions will expose the troops making up the Force to act if there are provocations that can be real or claimed. How can they oppose the force of the Israeli army that is still present on Lebanese soil?
We should have no illusions about the rules of engagement that will be decided by the organism that is leading the mission and not by our government. We consider that it is right to ask that the military contingent is accompanied by a relevant number of unarmed volunteers.
Finally it must be extremely clear that this Peacekeeping Force can never in any way be involved in a resumption or extension of the conflict.
Likewise what must be excluded is its use to protect Italian companies that will throw themselves into the lucrative business of reconstructing Lebanon.
It is necessary to banish with great clarity any illusion that military peacekeeping, even in the best conditions, can resolve the conflict in the Middle East, above all resolve the fundamental question of Palestine.
Who will put a stop to the destruction of houses, of cultivation, and of the infrastructure of the Palestinians and of the targeted homicides (in open violation of any judicial norms)?
Thus we ask that before sending an Italian contingent, our Government forcibly insists at an international level on the inescapable need to deploy an International Peacekeeping Force in Gaza and in Cisgiordania {West Bank}, to guarantee the security of Israel and as a condition for the creation of a Palestinian State.

We ask that on these fundamental questions clear, explicit and transparent decisions are officially taken and that the necessary guarantees are exacted at an international level.”

Ps: To join in this appeal, click here.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 12:03 PM in Politics | Comments (20)
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August 28, 2006

A family to look after

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photo: Walt Reuther Library

Each evening, before going to sleep the Italians think about their public employees. For each one there’s a little prayer each night. Like a good father of a family we worry about managing to guarantee that they get a lunch and a dinner. A thought, that for the most scrupulous among us, always fearful of not fulfilling our commitments, becomes a nightmare. We moan in our sleep and wake up our worried family members. In the morning, once we’ve opened our eyes, we rush off to work to provide for the upkeep of our THREE MILLION THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SEVEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN employees.

We don’t always manage it. That’s true. And when that happens, we get into a bit of debt. The public debt increases and the cost of our public employees does too. In a linear fashion. A population equal to almost the whole of Ireland weighs on our shoulders. We are practically providing for the upkeep of Ireland. In return we have services that are efficient, punctual and that make Sweden envious of us. We shouldn’t always complain. On the contrary.

The number of public employees should increase until we’ve got the entire active population of Italy. Let’s get us all taken on and let’s eliminate employers. We’ll become employers of ourselves.
Will GDP go down? Will we die of hunger? No because we can always work in outsourcing for the other countries, for some Ministry of the third world. And if that’s not enough, we can offload quotas of employees to the European Union. We will abolish the private and reward the public.

This hateful discrimination by which only certain citizens can become public employees must cease. The public must be public, belonging to everyone. No one will complain any more about inefficiency. Pay rises will be programmed for everyone. We’ll be all a great family to be looked after.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:31 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (38)
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August 27, 2006

Modern Slaves 5

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Comic strip by Emanuele Fucecchi

I’ve got the impression that politicians live in a separate world, far away from the citizens. And that their food is voting intentions, electoral tendencies, big chairs and little chairs. But even a rocking chair could be enough. The only reality that they know is their own and the citizen is always a subject. No one has asked for troops in the Lebanon, the pardon, an increase in clandestinity and gagging on intercepts. If Prodi had presented a programme like that the original would have got 90% of the votes. The Biagi law is a scandal. Why has the government not tackled it in the first 100 days? Are Italian young people worth less than delinquents? What a spectacle: we import slaves and at the same time we create them in-house.

I’m publishing an analysis of the effects of the Biagi law by Roberto Leombruni of LABOR and Mauro Gallegati of the Economics Faculty of Ancona.

Dear Grillo,
What happened at Atesia, demonstrates how urgent it is to re-examine the work contract “collaborazione coordinata e continuativa” {collaboration coordinated and continuing} that is so precarious that when you have finished pronouncing its name it’s already finished. Unless of course a judge intervenes. At Atesia, the Labour Inspectorate has set down that the 3200 people working “on project” (the quotes are necessary because the “project” was to answer the phone in a call centre) should be taken on as employees.

OK, given that Prodi has stated more than once that the fight against precariousness is a priority of his government, it would be a good idea to help the judges and radically reform a contract that in the last 10 years has kept millions of young people on the margins of the labour market. In this position it is much easier to exploit them.

How many collaborators are there? Yes, there are millions. For ten years we have been waiting for solid estimates.
It’s enough to say that ISTAT {government statistical office}, perhaps thinking that there were only a few, waited until 2004 before adding an ad hoc question on its surveys. And from the initial estimates it seemed that there weren’t that many (if 400,000 seems few).
However, a few days ago, INPS {Government Pensions Office} has finally published its report based on real data and now we know the truth: the collaborators, just in 2004, were almost three times that number, there were more than a million of them.

We are not talking only of collaborators, and thus excluding the free lance professionals, who are usually considered to be among the “saved” (but on this point see the paragraph below taking about “get your own IVA code or I will sack you” {IVA is the tax on the sale of goods and services}). And only considering those people for whom this collaboration is the only form of work, and they have a contract with only one organisation (this being the category that is usually identified as being in the weakest position), in 2004, there were 840,000 of these.

Why should this be changed?
For many reasons, that come from many stories that can be read on this blog. But the real problem is that they started off badly.
Before 1996, the only official way to engage a worker for a short period was to employ them with a fixed term contract, pay social contributions of about 33% and as in all the civilised world for the last century, paying holidays, thirteenth month and a contribution to a termination fund.
However there was the habit that was pretty close to working on the black market to offer a contract of occasional work and “then we will see”. In this way the contributions and all the other payments were avoided.
However 1996 saw the introduction of the famous formula “collaborazione coordinata e continuativa” that made a gift of 10% of contributions to those workers who were almost in the black market. In fact it just about legalised the habit of camouflaging the position of an employee under the much more innocent label of occasional worker.

In the absence of efficient controls it didn’t take long before the collaboration was used even in call centres. (the modern equivalent of the production line) and for work lasting years. Those who wanted to take advantage were guaranteed a form of labour at knockdown prices. Compared to taking on an employee, the saving was about 40%. That’s better than a “three for the price of two” at the supermarket. And a generation of workers found themselves working for years without being able to put away anything much for their own pension and with a level of protection like that in England in the industrial revolution. Just remember that it was only in 2000 that there was cover for accidents and work-related illnesses. The right to strike obviously is still not there.

Why the Biagi law made things worse.
In truth we’ve just had a reform called the Biagi law. But apart from changing the name to “cocoprò” that sounds slightly less stupid, it has been a reform that has made things worse in many ways.

The intention was to limit the improper use of collaboration. To do this the law required a written contract. (Before this was not necessary. It has taken us a bit to invent writing.) It’s also necessary to identify a specific project.
If it’s not possible to identify a project, the company can be obliged to take on the worker with an employment contract. This is the clause that was applied for Atesia. As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to believe that more than 3000 workers in a call centre have their own specific project to carry out.

It is a pity that this law states that the control of the judge (art. 69) “cannot be extended to the point of deciding the merit of the evaluation and the technical, organisational and production choices that are taken by the employer”.
It’s a pity that with the 1/2004 Maroni circular, further liberalisation arrived with the clarification that a cocoprò can be renewed as often as you want.

This is like saying that you just have to bother to write an ad hoc project once a year and you can keep a lifelong employee as a collaborator.
In real life, the Biagi law provoked an almost schizophrenic reaction from the companies. In many cases, the old cococo were simply transformed into cocoprò. Others, fearing the clause mentioned above, reacted by using blackmail.

This is seen in a research project carried out by IRES who surveyed a sample of people who took out an IVA code between 2003 and 2004. They found that 50% of these had done this because their employer asked them to or their contract would not have been renewed.

It’s a shame that 40% of them had only one work-provider (this became 80% counting those with one major work-provider), and they continue to be counted in that category of “pure collaborators” that we were talking about.”

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 02:16 PM in Modern Slaves | Comments (38)
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State Sting

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A taxpayer can wait up to 24 years to be reimbursed by the tax office. To get our money back the average wait is 11.3 years. According to contribuenti.it, the State has 26,000,000,000 Euro that it should give back to the citizens. And in the last three years this debt has almost doubled.
Basically anyone paying tax, if they pay too much are cuckolded and beaten. It’ll be their heirs to get the reimbursement. Those who don’t pay don’t have this problem. At the first amnesty that comes by, they get sorted out.
The fight against tax evasion announced by this government is good and just. But to make it credible it’s necessary to FIRST sort out those who have overpaid and give them back their money. Otherwise next time they could get suspicious and get transformed into tax dodgers. But why can’t the taxpayer deduct the credit from their next declaration? Is it so difficult? If they made a mistake, the tax office could check and get the money back.
In August the index of trust of Italian taxpayers fell and the index of tax evasion increased by 8.45%. It’s an obvious result with the honest getting beaten up and the dishonest getting condoned or pardoned.

The citizen that makes a mistake in the tax declaration is threatened with expropriation, denunciation, surtaxes, and fines. If the State doesn’t pay, everything is OK. As a reciprocal arrangement I propose that the State gives 30% on top of the amount due for each year of delay.

When a company or a person does not honour a debt, I can take an action against them in the courts. Why can’t I do the same with the State? Then if it weren’t able to pay, the judge could impound the furniture and the pictures of the Ministries and arrange for the sacking of a few thousand State employees. Starting with those who are in charge of tax reimbursements.

P.S. Guess how many employees there are in the Ministry of the Economy

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 01:59 PM in Economics | Comments (8)
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August 25, 2006

Nazi publishing

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Ucoii, {l’Unione delle comunità islamiche in Italia = Union of Islamic Communities in Italy}, has paid for the publishing of a page in a few daily newspapers. It has compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

Bombing the Lebanon has been a serious error that has hit civilians and has created thousands of new terrorists from nothing. But Hitler was another thing.

The death comparisons made by Ucoii: Marzabotto massacre equals Gaza, Fosse Ardeatine {Ardeatine Massacre} equals the Lebanon cannot be proposed. Many Jews, from within and outside Israel have attacked Israel’s policy in the Lebanon. However no authoritative Islamic voice has expressed opposition to the declared wish of Hezbollah to eliminate the State of Israel.

Ucoii is not to blame. They have written what they think. But what they think is not publishable. The newspapers that have permitted this should be had up for receiving money to instigate racial hatred, the great alibi of multiculturalism.

No Italian newspaper wanted to publish the list of those in Parliament who had definitely been convicted.
I had to go abroad to the Herald Tribune. No Italian newspaper wanted to publish the list of the sponsors of the National football team with a boycott invitation.

If you don’t touch the politicians and economic interests, you can publish everything. It’s true, there have been a few exceptions with the wiretaps. These have shown that everyone’s OK for wrongdoing. Banks, political parties, companies, newspapers.
But the new government has sorted out this democratic anomaly with the law on wiretapping. A law that sets down severe penalties for publishers and journalists who publish intercepted conversations.

I’ve got a feeling that the previous government is still in power and that the dirty work (pardon, wiretapping) is being done by ghost writers. But perhaps the name is still the same: Letta the first {Gianni Letta} and Letta the second {Enrico Letta}. A dynasty.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:07 AM in Information | Comments (55)
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August 23, 2006

Response of Minister Paolo Ferrero on Immigration

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Minister Paolo Ferrero has sent a letter in response to the post “Immigration is Taboo”.

“Dear Grillo,
I’ve seen that you define me as irresponsible on your Blog. I think that this is a mistaken accusation. Each year, tens of thousands of people enter Italy illegally and dozens die in the Strait of Sicily.
I think that we need to understand how to avoid these deaths and this suffering and this is why we must take note that currently Italy, that has seen our grandparents leaving (almost 30 million emigrated) has now become a country of immigration. The sooner we recognises this the better we can face up to the problem in a way that is not demagogic.

In the 2000 keystrokes available I am keen to underline 3 priorities:

1) It is necessary to decidedly increase the help given by “developed” countries to poor countries, to construct serious cooperation – like Italy and Europe – to promote social and economic development starting with North Africa.

2) It’s necessary to go beyond the Bossi Fini law because this law essentially makes it impossible for immigrants to enter Italy legally and it obliges them to be clandestines and to become the prey of criminals who organise people trafficking. In fact today, to enter Italy legally it’s necessary that an Italian employer makes a named request for a person in that person’s country of origin. It never happens like that because the employers first want to know the people before taking them on.

3) It’s necessary to have a decisive battle with the criminals that organise people trafficking.
To act and to fight to remove the causes of inequality at a world level does not exempt us from trying to regularise what is now happening in secret. To treat migrants as people and not as merchandise and to guarantee that they have civil rights are conditions that will also prevent them from being used as low cost labour and so that they, too, can justly fight against the exploitation and injustice of this world. With unchanged esteem.

Paolo Ferrero Minister of Social Solidarity.


Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:00 PM in Politics | Comments (17)
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The freeway overpass is scary


photo: corriere.it

Adamo Bove and his flight from the freeway overpass have disappeared. He is mentioned only in a few articles in la Stampa that I invite you to read: 1, 2.
Adamo Bove knew he was in danger, as reported in la Stampa: “They are vilifying me. He added that he was very worried that the attack had come from inside his company, Telecom. That an investigation by Internal Auditing was targeting him without having informed him and that this report landed up in the newspaper the day after it was handed over.”Who ordered this internal investigation? Did Tronchetti know?
Why has NO POLITICIAN SHOWN ANY INTEREST IN THE CAUSE OF DEATH OF BOVE? Afraid of the Radar wiretapping?

A friend of Adamo Bove has written to the Blog. His letter is shown here.

“ Adamo Bove was one of my close friends. He was best man at my wedding and with his fiancée, then wife, has been close to me at times of difficulty. I have also celebrated birthdays with him as we were born on the same day.Unfortunately for different events in my life and his we had not seen each other for a few years, but I can bear witness to the fact that he was an exceptional man. He was honest, courageous and capable of facing up to complex situations calmly and lucidly. I could believe that anyone could commit suicide, but I can’t believe that he could.I ask how a man that has had the same woman from the time of High School (and I know how close they were) didn’t leave her a note… I ask how a man who is so precise could have not had his documents with him…. I ask how a man who was used to using arms (he was always armed when we went out together) kills himself by throwing himself from a bridge…. And not only that, I ask how a man who was so watchful for others could have thrown himself onto a road risking being the cause of an accident.I knew him to be an intelligent man, someone generous, extraordinarily attentive and courageous. A man like few others, I wished him well.
May he rest in peace.”

F. B.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:21 AM in Information | Comments (24)
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August 22, 2006

Football Truman Show

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What is football today? At its best it’s like wrestling. You know beforehand who is going to win and who is going to go down. Who’s going to participate in the European Cups. It’s as though Calciopoli {recent football scandal} never existed. The victory in the World Cup has obliterated it. In fact it seems like a story of the times of Meazza, of Piola.

A few interviews remain, almost embarrassing for their candour, in which Rossi wants to reform football. Poor man! No one has yet said anything to him. He truly believes that he is acting as a commissioner.

In this situation having Juve in Serie A is a duty. It would be the only one to pay for the Football Truman Show that we have watched. However before that it must pay back down to the last cent all those who bought their shares. We have paid real money to RAI and to Sky to see pretend matches.

Tickets have been purchased to see staged performances. They should at least give us back our money. It’s much more than about season tickets for next season and renewing Sky. Why don’t RAI and Sky take out a court action against the football teams in the name of their viewers?

And the desk-calculated victory of Inter? A team without phone taps that had Tronchetti, the Telecom president as a shareholder. It’s a contradiction in terms.
Matarrese, as the head of the Lega Calcio has been nominated the Guarantor of the change. His first statement was: we’ll give football back to “those who know it”. Moggi phoned him straight away.

The teams are quoted on the Stock Exchange, the money of the sponsors, the TV income. It’s no longer young men that come out onto the football field but banknotes with legs. Fake banknotes. So, well, Long Live Italy, but above all it’s a shame for Ghana.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:17 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (11)
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August 21, 2006

Immigration is Taboo

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The word immigration is taboo. Something that you have to talk about in ‘politically correct’ ways to avoid being called a racist. By definition, the immigrant needs help and is trying to survive in Italy.

The Minister Ferrero has declared: ” … it’s necessary to propose an articulated strategy. First of all we must facilitate the legal entries to our country” and “in the continent of Africa there may be 30 million young people in the age group 18 to 25 who are ready to leave their homes and loved ones” and finally: “they are the ones who come to do the work that often the Italians no longer want to do .. today we have to understand that we have become a country of immigration”.

These declarations are irresponsible even though they are “electorally correct” for the party of the Minister Ferrero. Italy is still a country of emigration. At one time it was the farming community that emigrated, today it is the graduate community. Italy has a density of inhabitants in the territory among the highest in the world. In comparison, the United States is depopulated and Africa is a desert. It’s not true that Italians no longer want to do “certain jobs”. But what are these jobs?

The thousands of posts that I have received in the “modern slaves” section bear witness to the contrary. They describe a generation of Italians paid a few hundred Euro a month or unemployed. Young men and young women who would jump at the chance of doing “certain jobs” but in safe conditions and with a decent salary.

But the “certain jobs” are those of the tiny factories that import underpaid workers and then throw the social costs on to the community. That gives advantages to the small-time bosses, not to the Italian economy.
Ferrero talks about young men who want to emigrate to rich countries, not families.

But there are hundreds of millions of young people like that in the world. How many CPT {Centri di Permanenza Temporanea e Assistenza= Italy's detention centres for foreigners} are needed to house them? Is the house of the Minister big enough? This demagogy is dangerous.

The migration flows must be handled at the origin. The most developed nations should put aside a part of their GDP, at least as much as they spend on arms, better if its in places of arms, to help poor countries. Distributing wealth throughout the world so as to avoid importing slaves and social instability.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 03:15 PM in Information | Comments (52)
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August 20, 2006

ENI and the game of 3 cards

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The cost of oil is increasing all the time. The cost of petrol is increasing all the time. Heating oil is by now a luxury item. But there is a body that is watching out for us: ENI.

ENI is the company managed by Scaroni who has been definitely convicted for corruption. ENI’s controlling shareholder is The Treasury, that is us. Eni is making profits on profits.
5,000,000,000.28 Euro of net profits in the first six months, with an increase of 21.5% in relation to 2005.

But the increases that we’ve had to suffer, what have they been for? Didn’t we have an oil emergency? If oil costs more and we pay more, I’m stumped as to why ENI can gain more. It’s finance magic. It’s a joyous Mystery. A game of three cards.

Paolo Scaroni, ENI’s CEO. Has commented like this the results of the first six months:
“In the first six months, ENI has seen excellent results operating in a context of high oil prices, of a significant increase in our production of hydrocarbons and of a marked growth in the European demand for gas. I hope and trust that 2006 will be for ENI another positive year and this is why I intend to propose to the meeting of the Board of Directors on 21 September an anticipation of the 2006 dividend of 0.60 Euro per share”. This is obviously following on from the:
2006 interim dividend following the international best practice of reporting. On the basis of the examination of the results of the first six months of 2006 and in accordance with the international best practice of reporting, the Managing Director intends to propose to the meeting of the Board of Directors on 21 September which has been called to approve the 6-month report, the distribution to the shareholders of an anticipation of the 2006 dividend of 0.60 Euro per share (0.45 Euro in 2005, +33.3%) to be paid starting from 26 October 2006 by detaching the coupon dated 23 October 2006.”

A piece of advice to the Government: change everything at ENI. It’s one of your precise duties for the Italians. Those who manage monopolies of primary goods (and energy is exactly that) cannot first think of the dividends and then of the country. The profits should be reinvested in alternative energy to reduce the dependence on oil. Energy in Italy is not a market but a way of distributing Euros to ENI shareholders.


P.S. I’m asking Mincato, the previous Managing Director of ENI who was removed without reason, to telephone me to make me understand. Call me Mincato…

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:06 PM in Economics | Comments (7)
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August 19, 2006

Hezbollah-Pardon

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Prodi has declared that he will not disarm Hezbollah. Ms Rice has explained that the task is the responsibility of the Lebanese government. Chirac wanted to send Zidane as a buffer zone force, but he has fallen back to sending a contingent of 200 men. Germany will give only naval support in the sense that they will stay off shore.
Hezbollah is frightening. Israel has tried to disarm them, but then they stopped and no one has since stepped forward. Bush junior really wanted to do it. When there’s a war he doesn’t pull back.But Bush senior stepped in and nothing more has been done.
Hezbollah is a participant in the Lebanese Parliament with its own Parliamentarians. Its army is considered to be legitimate by almost all the Lebanese and by many Islamic countries.
So what will the United Nations and Italy do? Hezbollah’s not going to disarm spontaneously. There aren’t many solutions.
But the Italian genius always comes to help. We could ask Mastella da Ceppaloni to intervene at a high level in the United Nations. To introduce a pardon for Hezbollah as well. A Hezbollah-Pardon. The Hezbollah who’ve been fighting against Israel for the last three years can be pardoned and keep their arms. And for those who are anyway going to fight in the presence of the United Nations, why not set up a great war amnesty?
The Hezbollah-Pardon and the war amnesty, an Italian contribution to the United Nations, as a sign of our enviable judicial tradition.
PS. Who is selling arms to Hezbollah, to Iran, to Israel, and to all the nations involved in the unceasing war in the Middle East? Why don’t we disarm the arms industries before Hezbollah?

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:23 PM in Politics | Comments (21)
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August 18, 2006

Methuselah's Children

Right to vote from birth” is the title of a conference that was held in Berlin in June. It was organised by the Foundation For The Rights Of Future Generations.In the most recent elections in Germany a third of the electors were over sixty years old. In Europe the elderly are living longer and longer and the young are producing fewer and fewer children.The result is that older people have a greater and greater weight in choosing the destiny of future generations. The solution proposed is to give the right to vote from birth, exercised by the parents in the name of their children until they are 18 years old.
Perhaps it’s time we thought of this here too. Italy has the world record for ancientness in the population. The electoral power is more and more unbalanced in favour of the elderly. The future is decided by those who will never see it.
According to Regis Debray, a French sociologist, in his recent book: The Catastrophe of living a long time”, the lengthening of the average life is a catastrophe. The rate of growth of active elderly is half that of inactive elderly.In 2020, there’ll be more people over 65 than there will be in their twenties. The health costs grow with age. One third of the medical prescriptions relate to 10% of the elderly who consume on average 8 drugs a day.The pensioners are the true brake to recovery and are aggravating the public debt. Even inheritance is a big problem. Once upon a time you got your inheritance at age 30/40. Today you get it at age 60/65. (The only way of inheriting as a young person is to kill off your 80 year old father.)Years ago, the advert for a brand of mineral water said: “You are 40 years old and you look twice as old”. Today it would say: “You are 80 years old and you look twice as old”.Why do the anti-wrinkle creams cost more than those for acne? There’s a committee for education and youth but not a committee for loneliness and elderliness? When will we get a Minister of Old Age and Cemeteries?
We need to put forward courageous proposals. Create bio parks for those who are over 69. They could be thinned out every so often by hunts organised like those for the fawns, but giving people a handicap so that it’s really sporting. Every extra year an extra kilometre to get away in your wheel chair. One solution could be even to bring in the death date at birth. A definite death date that takes account of the demographic situation of the country. It could be increased after that only after lucky events like tsunami, bubonic plague, nuclear war that reduce the population numbers.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:59 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (16)
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August 17, 2006

Bertinotti calling Houston

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In 1969 Tito Stagno entered the history books. He confused the times of the moon landing. He became an example for our journalism that from that moment onwards gives information when it wants to. Stagno remains in the memory of Italians. On the other hand, the names of the astronauts are remembered by no one.

The original film of the Apollo 11 has disappeared. The NASA engineer Richard Nafzger who has been looking for it among 2000 containers has declared: “I am perhaps too sensitive to the word “lost”. I don’t believe that that the film has been lost.”

And: “We used very good procedures to classify the films”. In the end he added that with his team of 5 people he will need 6 months to find it again. He’s a reassuring person. Six NASA engineers who search for a film by opening cardboard boxes. It’s better than Gianni e Pinotto.

I feel uncomfortable. After bancopoli {banking scandals} and Calciopoli {football scandals}, we’ve now got allunopoli {moon-landing scandals}. Did someone really land on the moon on 21 July 1969? That night the images were transmitted form Houston using a video recording that was captured from a TV camera. The missing film is the only proof. It’s strange that it has never been converted to digital format and transmitted in the original version.

What have we come to? To have the certainty that man has been on the moon we need to trust in a film. When I reflect on what is true and what is false I get thousands of doubts. The Prodi that I met at Palazzo Chigi, was he a hologram? Is Mastella minister of Justice? Does the Letta-Letta duo really exist?

Was D’Alema in Beirut or in Cinecitta? Is there a film that proves that Bertinotti is a communist? These are questions that cannot be answered. “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...”

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:33 AM in Information | Comments (4)
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August 16, 2006

Idleness is revolutionary

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It’s Ferragosto {15 August). What gift is better than a book? And better than a book that teaches the art of idleness? The book “How to be idle” by Tom Hodgkinson. Quoting from the preface: “To be lazy means to be free, and not simply choosing between McDonald’s and Burger King or between a Volvo and a Saab. It means being free to live the life that we want to live, free of bosses, wages, commuting, consuming, debts. Being idle means having a good time, pleasure and joy. There’s a revolution that is brewing, and the wonderful thing is that you have to do absolutely nothing to take part.”

The one who lives only for work is a wretch; the one who is idle is a revolutionary.

In his book called “The Right To Be Lazy” Paul Lafargue, Karl Marx’s son-in-law wrote: “A strange madness possesses the working class of the nations where the capitalist class dominates. It’s a madness that brings with it individual and social miseries that have been torturing sad humanity for two centuries. This madness is the love of work, the existential passion for work, driven even to the exhaustion of the vital forces of the individual and of his progeny.”

Work ennobles the capitalist, the manager, the financier, and it makes miserable the employee, the precarious worker, the cococo {worker with a short term contract} who get to be more and more like a beast in a cage. A beast that has to develop enormous quantities of work to stay alive.

Take your hour of daily boredom, doing nothing, looking out of the window or up at the ceiling. It’s your hour of air, like the hour that is conceded to those in prison. Teach your children about it. Explain to them that doing nothing, not having anyone to tell you what to do is important.

Idleness is the father and mother of all the best ideas. It should be taught at school, like an hour of meditation. We are inside a mechanism that stops us from thinking. A moving walkway from the cradle to the grave.
Stop! Do it now: do nothing.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:55 AM in Information | Comments (11)
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August 15, 2006

Make love not war

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How many wars have been fought in the name of religions? Religion should bring peace, universal love, not hate. I’m thinking aloud at home. I’m not trying to substitute the great thinkers, the philosophers.
But I don’t understand this contradiction of the religions that want peace and for a series of unfortunate situations produce wars. I can’t manage to get to the bottom of it. Then, however, I look at the faces of the cardinals, of the Mullahs, of the rabbi and I think that they are all men, just men. The pink quota is not even considered.
And perhaps this is the key. The exclusion of women from the power structures of religions. Their subordination to men when possible. And together with this religious apartheid, there’s a terror of sex and the wish to control it. Among the believers themselves as well as in the religious organisations. Sex according to the rules and regulations.
It’s clear if you don’t f..k you get jumpy. Certainly moderation is good. But under the bed covers each person must feel free to behave as he or she sees fit. “It’s like staying calm whilst making love” as Jannacci sang.
Religious fanaticism is often sex-phobic. I’ve never seen a porn star trying to explain good and bad to others. A war is fought even by f..king well and more. It’s an antidote that produces collateral effects like relaxation, inner peace and respect for difference. Sex is good for you, your partner and also for international relations.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 08:02 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (31)
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August 14, 2006

Hands off the dwarf!

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The Italian law is inflexible when faced with those who steal or damage garden gnomes. Four young women, of whom two were under 18, all with unblemished records, were surprised during the theft of 14 gnomes at Olgiate Olona. The dwarf thieves were arrested by a patrol of Carabinieri who arrived immediately at 4:00 am after a neighbour had called 112. Next door neighbours never mind their own business.

The young women are being charged with collaborating to commit a theft with aggravating circumstances. The two who are adults were arrested and transferred to the prison in Monza and were released the following day.

The investigators are now at work. Officially they are trying to discover whether the young women are part of the Front for the Liberation of Garden Gnomes that has already liberated 7000 gnomes in France. In fact the investigation is trying to ascertain whether the theft happened with the intention of demonstrating. It’s a bit like the capture of the bell tower of St Mark’s by the supporters of the Lega on an outing. And they were later condemned to sentences from the Court Martial.

What’s the meaning of this action? What does it symbolise? Did the young women want to send a message? Today a plaster cast dwarf, tomorrow who knows. Today Olgiate Olona, tomorrow Arcore? And if a group of fanatics wanted to take a dwarf from the garden of the Arcore villa and set it free in a Spanish wood so that it was available to the judge Garzon?

To be on the safe side, they have bought 3000 little garden dwarfs at Arcore as a camouflage, about a hundred Snow Whites and three statues of Previti to terrorise the thieves.

The most surprising aspect of this affair is not the arrest of the young women. Well when all said and done they stole very little and they deserved it. But it’s the efficiency of the machinery of justice. At this rate, with this spirit (anything but justicealism) by Ferragosto (Feast on 15 August) those who‘ve been pardoned will be back inside. Apart from the corrupters and the financial delinquents who have never been there.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:40 AM in Wailing Wall | Comments (3)
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August 13, 2006

Do Italians dreams of electric sheep?

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I have seen things that you Italian humans could not imagine … Clean beaches that are free all over Europe. And I have seen free showers on the beach in the blinding light of summer. And all these sensations will be lost for you. They’ll be lost in time because of speculation, because of concessions, because of privatisation. It’s the time of big private sun umbrellas, of private deck chairs, of private beaches. It’s time for paying for what is yours. “
Unità Meetup GRILLUS6 Roy Batty N6MAA10816EURO Ment.LEV A

The Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and the steel barrier of Padua are nothing compared to Italian beaches. They have been confiscated. To get access to a public beach you need to do horrifying treks through the woods or walk for miles along the main road. All to find an outlet sewer without filtering. A free beach. It’s the usual enchantment of words. The beach is a beach and that’s it. Without adjectives.
Why do beaches become private? Who is it that entrusts what belongs to everyone to private activities for their profit? Who authorises this? The local authorities? But the beach belongs to the citizens and not to the local authorities. The argument is always the same. Motorways, telephony, water, beaches. Our stuff, stuff of the State is privatised and our rights are ignored.
In Europe, the beaches are almost always free. In Italy there are half free. It’s a bit like everything in this country. I propose a movement for liberating the beaches. At least those. Free beaches in a half-free State.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 03:47 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (23)
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August 12, 2006

The Roundabout Economy

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Well then, if a Government, take any, take the Italian government, if it allows me to use debts to buy the motorway concession. And I’m called Benetton. What should I do? I accept straight away. I ask the bank for a loan. If there are profits, I distribute the dividends.
If, for no fault of my own, I am behind with the investments (there’s talk of 2,000,000,000 Euro) I merge with Abertis and get a windfall of 670,000,000 Euro of extraordinary dividends. Obviously the company still has the debt. Meanwhile I’ve constructed loads of Autogrill on the motorways: toll + cappuccino + cake + orange juice. All for me.
The government intervened in relation to the merger with Abertis. Padoa Schioppa and Di Pietro have not allowed the concession given to Autostrade to be transferred to Abertis-Autostrade. This is perhaps the first Government action of the last few years.
From that moment, for the press, Italy is protectionist, Bolshevik and against the market.
I’m a comic but they are stealing my job from me.
The Motorways belong to the State that can give them in concession and the market has nothing to do with it. If I have to go from Milan to Bologna how many motorways can I choose? One. Well then the market has nothing to do with it. Anyone who is managing the motorways should invest the profits to improve them. Full stop. That’s it. What’s the relevance of dividends?
What’s the use of the money resulting from the merger of Abertis with Benetton? This is a great question. Perhaps, and I only say perhaps, it’s to support its position in Olimpia that’s controlling Telecom Italia. And who is there in Olimpia? Tronchetti who needs new partners and liquidity after the decision of Unicredit and Banca Intesa to exit.
It seems like a roundabout: State-concession-industry-debts-merger-newspapers-concession. Ring a ring o roses, a pocket full of posies, atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down...

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 01:41 PM in Economics | Comments (6)
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August 11, 2006

Al Capone for President

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Matthew Godfrey, aged 27 from Ohio takes a photo of the Cappella di San Severo in Naples. His camera is snatched by a couple of robbers. He follows them and blocks them in Vico Maiorani. He shouts out “Aiuto polizia” {Help police}. Then he sees a dozen people running towards him. He breathes a sigh of relief.
I thought all these people wanted to help me, but that wasn’t it, I can’t believe it…” The people were running to help the thieves. They beat up Matthew who had to go to hospital for seven days. Rosa Russo Jervolino, the mayor of the city was amazed by the happening and declared that it was “ a badly understood sense of solidarity with the neighbourhood”
This is the new Italy that makes progress.
The one of the post-pardon where at last you can do injustice on your own. If justice cannot be applied, then why can’t injustice be allowed? “Injustice has been done” will become the slogan of all those who in a transparent way, in a crystal clear way, with ad hoc laws, amnesties, even with revolts in the streets, if necessary, will defend their illegitimate interests when faced with the rest of the community.
If a ticket inspector finds a passenger without a ticket, the other passengers will be able to throw the inspector off the train while it’s moving, if a politician ends up in prison we can let him out with a pardon, if someone collaborates with the magistrates we can throw him off an overpass.
We’ve had enough of ethics, with the hairy moralisms of Berlinguer. The Italians have their pockets full of what’s forbidden and of penalties. Justice is an abstract concept. It’s there and it’s not. It depends on the point of view. Today those who resist are some annoying bastards who really don’t want justice, but a horrible justicism. Let’s put them in prison.
The freedom to be a delinquent must be made Constitutional. The penal code must be depenalised.
The delinquents must no longer be criminalized and obliged to hide. I propose an 'Al Capone Pride Day' in which anyone can do outing: fraudsters, entrepreneurs, politicians, without having to be ashamed any more. Injustice is just and must be applied, with no discounts for the just.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 06:20 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (14)
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August 10, 2006

Marco Travaglio replies to Fassino

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Travaglio has decided to add his comments to yours in relation to Fassino’s words.
I just want to let the Centre Left know that its electors did not want this law. It was voted through anyway and they were ignored. I wondered why and I thought that maybe it depended on the judicial circumstances. Even at the cost of knowing that they were losing millions of votes and the next elections. Ubi maior (prosecutions) minor cessat (elections).

' Dear Beppe,
Unfortunately the reply by Fassino about the pardon has holes in the argument all over the place. I’m going to try and explain why by examining each point.
- ”Thus we said yes to the pardon, not so as to favour anyone, but because it was a necessary response, necessary and no longer to be put off because of the prison emergency”.
Why then, if it was proposed to empty the prisons, was there the exclusion from the pardon of many crimes for which there are many people detained while many crimes have been included and yet for these there are only a few dozen people in prison (like the crimes against the public administration, financial, company and tax crimes, culpable homicide for the “white deaths” due to accidents at work)?
- “On 31 December 2005, the number of prisoners was 59,523 in a prison system that was created to house 35,000. In 2001 there were 43,000.” So “A clemency measure was no longer to be put off when it is considered that the last one was 16 years ago.”
In truth the last pardon (known as the indultino {little pardon}) was two years ago. About 6,000 people left prison. The result was that after a few months the prison population was not only back to its initial level but it had actually increased. It’s proof of the fact that thinking of resolving the overcrowding of the prisons by sending delinquents home is pure folly.
It’s necessary to take action on the causes that “produce” prisoners: that is, above all, the high number of crimes that are committed and the high number of delinquents in circulation; and then certain laws that use prison as a punishment for behaviour that could be penalised in other ways.
- “In five years, the Centre Right – observed Fassino - have already produced a useless and damaging multiplication of the prison population. Consider the ex-Cirielli, the laws on drug dependency, the Bossi-Fini.”
Perfect! Then why didn’t they cancel the ex Cirielli and modify the Bossi- Fini rather than launch out with the pardon?
The ex Cirielli lengthens the sentence for recidivists. The Bossi-Fini imposes the arrest of clandestines who do not leave Italy after being expelled (even without committing any crime). The arrest never involves a long period of detention because the person arrested is immediately freed since the sentence laid down is minimal and does not justify cautionary custody. But these continual mass arrests, even though they have a “turn over” mechanism (5,500 a year) have an enormous incidence on the prison population.
- “The Constitution requires for a law of this type that two thirds of the members of both Houses of Parliament are in favour. This is an ample majority that can be brought about only with an understanding between a great number of political groups and with the search for a point of equilibrium.”
Here, dear Beppe is where the argument falls down. Or more accurately: the mask of the muddle falls of. Because there were various alternatives to the pardon of 3 years that was enlarged to cover the corrupt and the crafty. Alternatives that would have freed thousands of prisoners all the same but without having to have a majority of two thirds, that is without having to depend on the “blackmail” of Forza Italia (blackmail which the Centre Left very willingly accepted …). For example an ordinary law that removed the Bossi-Fini penalties (with a simple majority of 50% plus one), or to abolish the ex Cirielli, or to transfer to controlled health structures prisoners who are ill or transfer drug users guilty of small-time dealing to communities.
Or, really wanting to use the pardon with a two thirds majority, it would have been possible to “discount” one year of the sentence and not three years to all those who have been convicted. This is the proposal put forward by the former prosecutor Gerardo D’Ambrosio, an independent senator elected with the DS. This would have freed 11,500 people but it would have left Previti in house arrest for a further two years. And it would not have peacefully saved the various crafty folk of the neighbourhood from the risk of landing up in prison: Tanzi, Cragnotti, not to mention Berlusconi, Confalonieri and family (defendants for Mediaset rights).
In the latter case, if Forza Italia had objected, the Unione could have played their cards and explained to the electors that the Cavaliere {Berlusconi} kept the prisoners in prison, squashed in side by side in the nation’s prisons only to save himself, to save Previti and the great thieves of bonds and of Bancopoli.
- “Not just that, but for all the crimes to which the pardon applies, there is no throwing in the sponge. For financial crimes, for crimes of corruption and against the public administration, trials continue. There is no change to the responsibilities and the judgements. The crimes are not cancelled and above all the perpetual interdiction to hold public office stays. The additional penalties remain, even the temporary ones. As regards accidents at work and the white deaths {deaths resulting from accidents at work}, the rights of the victims to compensation remain in place.”
Since Fassino has been the Minister of Justice, he knows very well that the sentence for these crimes hardly ever exceeds 3 years in prison. Thanks to the pardon, anyone who starts off with “minus three” knows that if they are found guilty, the discounted sentence will be zero or less than zero.
To risk prison, it would be necessary to have a sentence of more than 6 years (for a sentence of less then 3 years in Italy you don’t go to prison). But this never happens. It’s true that the trials continue. But the sentences will be completely virtual. If a robber is sentenced to 10-12 years and 3 are discounted, he’ll do a few years in prison. If a white collar is sentenced to three years and 3 are discounted, he doesn’t even serve a day.Not only this: when he’s at risk of going to prison, the white collar is invited to engage in plea-bargaining to get a discount on the sentence. In this case the prosecutor can set conditions that involve compensation for the victims (that is for the State in the case of Tangentopoli, or for those who died or were injured through accidents at work, in the case of culpable homicide in the factory or on the construction site).
But when the white collar does not risk prison, he will take care not to compensate the victims during the criminal trial. He will prefer to oblige the victims to take civil proceedings that will take 10-15 years when they’ll all be dead. It has to be admitted it’s a great result!
- Fassino concludes by promising to revoke the Cirami and the Cirielli laws.
I would like to remind him that other existing laws are the Gasparri, and the Pecorella (abolition of the appeal for the prosecutor, but not for the defendant) and false accounting. I would respectfully like to point out that this is a question of promises. For the moment, the facts are called pardon-save-the-corrupt and soon the law against the prosecutors who do wire tapping and against the journalists who publish the results. Another discovery of Mastella using the words and music of Berlusconi. If it had been the Cavaliere carrying out these actions we would all have been out on the streets to protest. I hope we will manage it even though it’s the Centre left acting with Berlusconi. In fact, above all for this reason. We voted for them but they will pay us for it.’
Marco Travaglio.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 05:26 PM in Politics | Comments (11)
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The pardon according to Fassino

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A young woman called Sabrina asked Piero Fassino to explain the pardon and he promptly replied.
I’m publishing Fassino’s letter here so that he can get encouragement, suggestions and even objections and I’m sure he will treasure these. Those who want to correspond directly with the Secretary of the DS can send him an email to p.fassino@dsonline.it

“I am pleased to respond to the email you sent me about the pardon.
Today to live in prison is to live in hell. The inhumanity of prison is relevant to the whole of society. It’s relevant to us. Because it denies the re-education mission that is assigned to detention by the Constitution. Because the level of civilisation of a society is even measured by its prison system.
No one of us “on the outside” can be disinterested about living “inside” about the actual conditions and the prospects for reintegration.
In five years, the Centre Right did nothing for prisons. On the contrary, it made laws that have already produced a useless and damaging multiplication of the prison population. Consider the ex-Cirielli, the laws on drug dependency, the Bossi-Fini. On 31 December 2005, the number of prisoners was 59,523 in a prison system that was created to house 35,000. In 2001 there were 43,000.
From the time the Bossi-Fini law came into effect, foreign prisoners have become 45% of the total. This is a figure that has never been reached before. Another significant fact relating to the entrants to prison is the contravention of laws relating to illegal substances: in 2005 there were 15,917 Italians who entered prison and 10,144 foreigners.
A clemency measure was no longer to be put off when it is considered that the least one was 16 years ago.
The Constitution requires for a law of this type that two thirds of the members of both Houses of Parliament are in favour. This is an ample majority that can be brought about only with an understanding between a great number of political groups and with the search for a point of equilibrium.
Thus we have worked on a text that is balanced and fair. In relation to pardons of the past, it includes the longest list of offences that are excluded from the application of the pardon: subversive association; all the crimes connected to terrorism; devastation, pillage and slaughter; kidnapping of a person with the intention to turn things upside down; armed band; association to commit a crime with the intention to commit crimes outlined in articles 600, 601 and 602 of the penal code; mafia-type association; reducing or keeping someone in slavery or in servitude; under-age pornography or prostitution; people trafficking; all forms of sexual violence; corruption of people under age; seizing a person with the intention to kidnap or bribe; recycling money or goods resulting from the kidnapping of a person for profit; production, trafficking and illegal detention of narcotic substances according to article 73 of the unified text of the law relating to the discipline of narcotic and psychotropic substances.
Not just that, but for all the crimes to which the pardon applies, there is no throwing in the sponge.
For financial crimes, for crimes of corruption and against the public administration, trials continue. There is no change to the responsibilities and the judgements. The crimes are not cancelled and above all the perpetual interdiction to hold public office stays. The additional penalties remain, even the temporary ones. As regards accidents at work and the white deaths {deaths resulting from accidents at work}, the rights of the victims to compensation remain in place. We would have been the first to say no to an amnesty that cancelled the crime. This is not the case.
Thus we said yes to the pardon, not so as to favour anyone, but because it was a necessary response, necessary and no longer to be put off because of the prison emergency.
Now it’s necessary to start a whole series of reforms to restore efficiency to the administration of justice and to cancel the really bad laws – shame inherited from the Centre Right, starting with the Cirami and the ex-Cirielli. And that is what we will do. Thank you for your attention.”
Piero Fassino

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 10:45 AM in Politics | Comments (20)
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August 08, 2006

No oil no war

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A fact in itself is only a fact. It’s difficult to understand the reason for it. However a collection of facts can be interpreted. And a mass of facts lasting decades is still more understandable. The wars in the Middle East continue without a break. Their fuel is called petrol. It’s a fuel that is not renewable. 50% of it has already gone. A part of the remaining 50% has very high extraction costs. When the demand increases, India and China, and the offer decreases, the price increases.

And when there’s not oil for everyone, the strongest, those who are more armed, want to have it for themselves. Oil is called Persian Gulf. The world war for oil is going on and it will finish when the oil supply has run out. How long will it take? Twenty, thirty years?

In the meantime, there will always be less available and the international tension will increase. The economies of industrialised nations are based on oil. Who controls the exporting countries guarantees the growth of their economy. Who doesn’t control them will implode. Who will this be? China, India, Europe?

Of those countries in the Persian Gulf who are not under the dominion of the United States, there’s Syria and Iran who has decided to sell its oil in Euro and petrol-euros frighten the Americans more then Bin Laden. Iraq is at war. The Lebanon is at war. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are under the protection of the Americans.
To get an end to the war, it’s necessary to fight the oil. The oil companies. Their interests that are fused with those of the arms manufacturers.

Alternative energies are now obligatory. This is the true emergency.
No oil, no war.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 09:49 AM in Energy | Comments (28)
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August 07, 2006

Chinese St Bernard’s

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The abandoning of dogs in the car parks of motorway service stations finally has a solution: Chinese restaurants.
Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed. Why let our trusted companions get sliced into bits by an HGV and throw away all that good stuff? Let’s say “no” to waste and take the dogs to the Chinese restaurants. We go into the restaurant, tie them up to a chair and then we disappear in silence.
Aidaa, www.aidaa.net, associazione in difesa degli animali e dell’ambiente {Association to Defend Animals and the Environment} has presented a declaration to the Procura di Milano {Milan prosecutors’ office} and to the ASL {Health authorities}. According to this declaration, super-exclusive clients chose live Saint Bernard puppies housed in the kitchens of Milan restaurants.
And after seeing the animals slaughtered in their presence (because it’s good to be trusting, but not to trust is better) and then they ate them with appetite.
In fact it seems that the saint Bernard is really good. Separately, the contents of their traditional little barrel was served to the clients after the meal.
The Saint Bernard doc {of controlled origin just like wine} could resolve our balance of payments deficit with China. A few tons of Saint Bernard steaks a month to the Far East and we are back in the black.
The animal welfare associations have little to get worked up about. The flesh is weak and the Saint Bernard puppies are very tender.
P.S.: Il Corriere della Sera 6/8/2006- Milano/Lombardy Insert page 5 - "Carne di cane offerta nei ristoranti cinesi" {Dog meat offered in Chinese restaurants} with the text: “Aidaa has presented a declaration to the Milan prosecutors’ office and to the Health Authorities to ask for controls”.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 07:08 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (18)
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Bums and variable interest rates

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Bersani has done a tiny wee bit of liberalisation. For the moment without touching strong powers. The banks have only been touched by pinpricks like the contextual adjustment, following monetary policy decisions about interest rates for borrowing and lending by a client.
This is a request that seems obvious. If the cost of money increases, it increases for the client as well as for the bank. And the bank cannot make pots of money from it. In fact, the banks should have aligned their rates without waiting for the State to impose that.
The new president of the Associazione Bancaria Italiana {ABI - Italian Banking Association} doesn’t accept this and has given an interview to il Corriere that needs interpreting.

Interview: the new president of ABI, Corrado Faissola
Date: Saturday 5 August 2006
Newspaper: Il Corriere della Sera

“It was not felt that this measure was necessary.”
should be read:
”It’s legitimate to cream off money from people.”

“It has not created advantages for competitors. In fact it creates further reasons for conflict between banks and clients.”
should be read:
”Now the clients can get angry with the banks if they rip them off and this is justified by the law.”

"Individual banks will decide how to apply the new regulations. I want to say that it isn’t an obligatory law but a guiding law. It is subject to many interpretations, as happens for all laws.”
should be read:
”We will interpret the law, that is the guidance, and then we will do a bit of what pleases us.”

Faissola also talked about the increase in the interest rates of the European Central Bank and about the increase in mortgage costs.
The journalist asked him if the banks were responsible for having suggested the variable interest rates and increasing the risks for the clients if there is an increase in interest rates, he replied:
“The increase in costs of the mortgages will be automatic considering that the repayments refer to the market interest rates”
should be read:
”We’ll take no prisoners”
and
”It seems strange that anyone who has taken out a mortgage at 2% should think that interest rates would fall further and not – as is happening - that they would rise… The client asked for it (the variable interest rate). It was too tempting.”
should be read:
”We think of the interests of the bank, not of the client’s interest.”

The increases in mortgage repayments will be too much for many families. What will happen to their houses? Who will gain from this situation?
Italians with variable interest rates on your mortgages, tell us your stories. I’ll collect them to send them to the ABI.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:29 AM in Economics | Comments (6)
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August 04, 2006

Condoleezza Fantozzi

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Condoleezza Rice was born in Alabama already with two teeth in her mouth. Her father decided to call her “Con dolcezza” {gently} after she bit his hand. This gave her the name Condoleezza.

During a holiday in Italy with her parents she was noticed by Paolo Villaggio who flattered her and compared her to Cita Hayworth and launched her on to the silver screen with the stage name of Mariangela Fantozzi.
Despite her extraordinary success, Condoleeza suddenly decided to go back home and become a pianist before she saw George Bush in TV. She understood that at his side she could always be a great personality and become the most powerful woman in the United States.

In 2000 she created a political/musical group to support the presidential campaign and called it “The Vulcans". In 2004 she double crossed Colin Powell and became the Secretary of State.
Her diplomatic ability and her careful language make her popular abroad. She hopes for the end of the cruel dictatorship in Cuba and Castro defines her a “mad woman”. After accusing Russia of the political use of gas, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, advises her to stay in the company of a platoon of Russian soldiers.
Chavez does not want to meet her because he is not willing to make this sacrifice for his country. But the opinions of all the Heads of State where Condoleezza would like to export democracy are not known.

After the recent foreign policy successes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, Condoleezza is aiming at the presidency of the United States in 2008. Vanity Fair has elected her godmother of elegance for her black high-heeled boots.

However there’s one set back. Massimo D’Alema’s refusal to have a “singles “ dinner with her with the excuse of different images of Lebanon. Even our Foreign Secretaries every so often get cross in their own ways.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 08:41 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (58)
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Killing a fawn costs 40 Euro

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At last, good news. Italy is full of fawns. The last time I saw one was in the film Bambi. But now, however, things are different. Fawns and their mothers are everywhere. There are so many of them that they represent a problem for public order.

And so, even with a sad heart, you can’t but approve of the decision of the Regione Piemonte of the pro-TAV person Mercedes Bresso to kill 600 of them in the Province of Alessandria. The hunters have booked, while the Greens of Piemonte have let their disapproving bellows be heard loud and clear.

The hunters will pay 40 euro for a cub and 110 Euro for an adult. When you consider everything, it’s quite a moderate amount. To shoot at a fawn. You don’t get a chance like that every day. It’s better than a discount.

Governor Loiero has offered to give hospitality to some in Calabria. Sgarbi has publicly opposed this killing. Even the gentle Franco Frattini, vice president of the European Union, has spoken out and is exhorting “the environmental associations to rebel against this badly thought out decision”.

But are you asking about Pecoraro Scanio? As far as I know he’s not been seen. He’s too busy trying to forget of having voted for the pardon.

I hope that other governors will follow the example of Loiero and adopt the fawns. I hope that this killing will not start.
I still hope. Hope is the last to die. I hope that the Greens will start to do the work of Greens and that they will operate in favour of the environment, of health, of animals. This is the patrimony of all Italians and not just of a few. Pecoraro!!!!!

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 12:13 AM in Ecology | Comments (7)
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August 03, 2006

The odyssey of the companies

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Starting up a company in Italy is a real effort. You need a super-human will and a certain propensity to masochism. That’s explained in the report of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation called “Doing Business in 2006: Creating jobs”.

The report compares the different countries for starting up and closing down a company, getting licences, taking on personnel, paying taxes, registering ownership, access to credit, legal proceedings and protecting investors. In 2005, Italy was in 70th position. Before Italy there was Panama, the Solomon Islands, the Tonga islands, Colombia and Mongolia.

In these countries, life is easier than it is here for those who want to invest their own money in an activity and create jobs.
A legal action brought by a company to get its rights respected, in Italy takes on average 1,390 days. In the world the only country to beat that is Guatemala. But what will it have that’s less than us? To import goods you need an average of 16 documents, 10 signatures and 38 days.

But, even in these conditions of ”extreme entrepreneurship” the Italians manage to start up businesses and keep them open, but not always. Italians abroad have success because they just have to do the work, without thinking about the bureaucracy. They start off already hardened by years of handicap.

Recount your odysseys in this post. We can share together the vexations and the acts of heroism.


PS The report in English can be downloaded for free.

Postated by Beppe Grillo at 11:05 AM in Economics | Comments (21)
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August 01, 2006

Adolf Gibson

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Last Friday Mel Gibson was stopped by the police in Malibu in an inebriated state while driving his car. He said to the official: “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” And asked him if he was Jewish. Two days later he asked to be forgiven for having made that declaration.

The ABC network has cancelled a series with Mel Gibson about the Holocaust. Hollywood wants to ban him. Some American opinion-leaders say that it is not enough to say sorry. Mel Gibson has made a mistake and he must pay.

And the Hollywood producers of Jewish origin and even the others if there are any, must not give him a second chance. If he had said: “Israel is responsible for the war in Lebanon” or: “With this behaviour Israel could cause the outbreak of the third world war” perhaps they would have reopened Alcatraz just for him and then thrown away the keys.

Israel is frightening. Its behaviour is irresponsible. There! I’ve said it! And I’m not even drunk. I am only alarmed for my children. As all of us probably are. I know, Veltroni will ban me from Cinecittà. Behind Israel, there’s the United States or behind the United States, there’s Israel. Which is the cause and which the effect?

The newspapers of all the Islamic countries have got photos of burned children from Lebanon on their front pages. The Mediterranean is a sea of hate. In Italy we are full of nuclear weapons belonging to the United States. They say it’s to protect us better. But I don’t want to be protected by this people. And if NATO is the excuse, I say let’s get out of NATO. Cow boys go home.


Postated by Beppe Grillo at 08:32 PM in Wailing Wall | Comments (71)
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