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Letter from Italy

by melo Mon May 5th, 2014 at 10:43:05 PM EST

Beppe Grillo is the only 'politician' that I know of calling for a 'citizens' income', but not as a permanent unconditional human civil entitlement. He advocates E1000 a month (with some saying it's possible just to fork over E600 realistically), and the conditions are that you use the time granted of three years to re-educate yourself in a new skill, and that upon refusal of the third job offer you forfeit the payment. The chief reason Beppe touts in advocating this policy is to disempower the race to the bottom in value of labour, to remove the employment 'blackmail' that forces workers (and their unions) in heavily polluting steel factories for example to fight environmental rules that are shutting down plants (such as the most recent in Piombino, on the Tuscan coast). The ugliest town I have ever seen, especially seen from the sea on the ferry to Elba. They would rather keep their jobs and die at 55 from the toxins, a Sophie's choice nightmare.

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LQD Europe's two-faced approach to Energy Policy

by melo Mon Apr 28th, 2014 at 04:49:18 PM EST

Beppe Grillo's Blog

We have to be very careful to ensure that these funds are not handed out to the energy giants. If they mistakenly invested their money into fossil fuels, then that's their problem. Any small Italian businessman who makes a bad investment certainly cannot demand that the State reimburse his losses so we don't see why De Benedetti, Conti and Enel should be allowed to do so. Angelo Consoli, Director of Jeremy Rifkin's European Office

(more below...)

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LQD Italian banking power shift

by melo Tue Dec 10th, 2013 at 09:40:05 PM EST

It would be great to run these ploys (and numbers) through the ET scanner and unpack the meaning, if some experts in this arcane lore have the time, will and energy...

Beppe Grillo's Blog

"My name is Lucio Di Gaetano and I have always worked in the banking world. I worked for the Italian Central Bank for five years, plus another seven years in the private sector and now I am a company consultant.
I'm here today to tell you about the rip-off that the Letta Government has been perpetrating on all the Italians, all hush-hush while Berlusconi's impeachment was being announced, via the decree concerning the revaluation of the Italian Central Bank shares so as to get its hands on 900 million Euro without overshooting the three percent deficit level. 450 million of that will be gifted per annum to the Italian Central Bank shareholders, which as you know, are private parties.
But let's take a step back here. Why does the Italian Central Bank have private shareholders anyway, you ask?

why, yes I do!

More below...

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LQD Draghi and the ECB

by melo Sun Oct 27th, 2013 at 07:04:03 PM EST

This caught my eye and immediately made me want to run it by the resident ET BS-busters for a comb-through.

Happy untangling!

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LQD, USA Occupy activist comes to Italy, speaks out. W/poll-y goodness

by melo Mon Oct 7th, 2013 at 05:09:21 PM EST

Well well, looky here...

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The President meets the Clown

by melo Sat Jul 13th, 2013 at 05:33:11 PM EST

   Beppe Grillo asked for an interview with President Napolitano, and was received gracefully and swiftly. (A few days before Beppe refused a cozy dinner with the head of Confindustria, the alliance of business magnates that sit at the apex of Italy's dying industrial sector.)

   Beppe dressed up in a suit and tie, forsaking his usual rumpled look for the occasion, no bobble nose or platypus shoes. His shaggy web guru Casaleggio accompanied him. Hacking into gubmint is hard work!

  This is Grillo's letter of thanks to Napolitano after the two-hour meeting. It sounds a dire warning to all listening of what Italy has coming down the proverbial pike, and the growing list of things that need to be done immediately to avert a climactic consequence to the tragedy of years of austerity-as-practiced-by stupid, corruptly captured politicians, jerked on their puppet strings by a superannuated, scandal-ridden roué. The clown is not joking...or mincing his words either. His respect for the Presidency is genuine, his challenge that of any concerned citizen looking at his country's impending meltdown. His moVement has been voted into Parliament to bear witness, and as the old guard duopoly of C.Left and C. Right, now wedded in frankensteinian matrimony take up their unseemly habit of bickering over inanities in their insulated bubble while Rome figuratively burns, the 5*** moVement stands ready to step up into the vacuum of responsibility, to try to better govern this lovely land with many progressive ideas. Italian politics was a stitched-up logjam till you popped up, Signor' Clown.

             Good luck and thanks, Beppe!

                  A Casa La Casta!

                    Giubileo!

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Photo diary

by melo Sun Sep 16th, 2012 at 10:18:30 AM EST

It's been a while since I posted any pics at ET, and got me an urge to do so, so without further ado, come on down and post yours too.

Apologies to those who have already seen some of these, I hope there will be enough new ones to make it worth the visit!

   

               Lone Sandpiper, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Don't know much about history

by melo Sat Apr 14th, 2012 at 06:19:05 AM EST

Rhymes, without reason.

"If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency (instead of Congress), first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. The issuing power of money should be taken from the banks and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs."


-Thomas Jefferson, letter to then Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, 1802

 "The eyes of our citizens are not sufficiently open to the true cause of our distress. They ascribe them to everything but their true cause, the banking system"
- Thomas Jefferson

 "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in our Constitution; not from want of honour or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."
- President John Adams, 2nd U.S. President

 "The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or so dependent on its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of the people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system will bear its burdens without complaint and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests."

 John Sherman letter sent to New York bankers, Morton, and Gould, in support of the then proposed National Banking Act, 1863"

How can the present tragedy be written so our descendants avoid falling in the same trap?

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LQD Marco Travaglio writes regarding TAV

by melo Tue Jul 5th, 2011 at 09:18:47 PM EST

  There have been some comments in various salons about the TAV, by our notably well-informed ET train buffs, that I found enlightening, (Thanks DoDo!), but tonight I read this by Marco Travaglio, which goes quite deeply into the cons regarding this inflammatory social division rending the harmony of the Val di Susa, with tens of thousands including local mayors protesting the top-down, undemocratic way this decision to go ahead with the project was made.

  I understand too little to say anything original on this apparently very thorny subject, yet being struck by how violently local and state force has been used to subdue resistance, and even allowing for a somewhat hyped tone adopted by all sides in the matter, (a fault Italian media has in spades), there seems little middle ground between the two factions, the local peoples' will to be governed in ways they approve of and feel included in, and the heavy handed approach taken by the authorities.

  Therefor I decided to diary it, to see if others who may have not seen the references in the Salons, might have more links, information, or opinions/experiences to share regarding this project, or indeed the wider context of rail rollout and freight transport in Europe, and why this project may or may not be worthy, in terms of EROI, in terms of social upheaval, and the democratic rights of local citizens to determine their NIMBY-ness in the face of State-level decisions.

  Quotes from Marco Travaglio's essay below the fold...

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Two-Track Euro? LQD

by melo Sat Feb 20th, 2010 at 11:42:50 AM EST

Beppe Grillo's Blog

Yesterday, Francesco Giavazzi was talking about the crisis in Greece and debating the possibility of the crisis spreading to Italy. He soon found just the right knight on a white steed that will rush to this Country's aid. That's right, none other than the man himself, Berlusconi, the economist "who immediately understands such things" and who has plunged this Country into debt. "But if what makes the level of debt unsustainable is the lack of growth, I cannot see where Italy's strength lies: we are not growing either and our debt to GDP ratio is still the highest in the Euro zone. At last week's European summit, Silvio Berlusconi -- who immediately understands such things and has a healthy scepticism for the vanity of Brussels -- asked that the management of the crisis in southern Europe be delegated to the International Monetary Fund...Berlusconi must insist at all costs, because his intervention could be crucial in terms of saving the Euro." Can a two-track Europe (or even three-track) continue to support a one-track Euro? Or to have a single currency for that matter? I have some very serious reservations. Now over to Eugenio Benetazzo.

excerpt below...

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Liberals, lefties, and libertarians.

by melo Thu Jan 28th, 2010 at 07:13:03 AM EST

This is what set off the chain of thoughts,

melo:

ManfromMiddletown:
they can't seem to get that belonging to the cult of radical individualism that rejects any idea of social rules and order means that you aren't part of the Left.

 that started this off as a comment, then got too long...

interesting. 'radical individualism' is a bit of a dogwhistle here, i mean just think of its opposite!

the majority of politically active activists were born between 60 and 20 years ago, making them all postmodern, post ww2. the 'giant leap forward' that started post war and made america so industrious, prosperous, and social-geographically mobile came with the price of its uprooting from the land, with the demise of the family farm, and the formation of a strong middle class, at the same time fragmenting families and wiping many small communities off the map.

more heathen gibberish below

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Frank's New World

by melo Fri Aug 28th, 2009 at 05:01:34 AM EST

 Frank awoke slowly in his biobed, protected against nuclear fallout and chemical attacks by my Shield-of-JesusTM heavenly protection mantle ($899.99 money back if not delighted). The soothing hum of the machinery brought him gently into the day, as it scanned his body for programming snafus, adjusted his blood chemistry, and showed him his astrological day, week and month predictions, projected colourfully and conveniently on the ceiling for his perusal.

   Hmmm, nothing too dramatic, a Mars sextile his natal Saturn square Pluto to keep on radar for a day or two, but otherwise the coast was clear.

  Meds kicking in, Frank stretched luxuriously, then leapt from under the mantle and sauntered to the kitchen, snapping off a chunk of energy bar extruded overnight from the  dispenser, wondering what new combinations of recycled protein the government scientists had dreamed up since yesterday.

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LQD William Engdahl on the world economy

by melo Sun May 24th, 2009 at 04:45:11 AM EST

"Not even Jesus could reverse the decline in the US" | Politics from 2009-05-04 | RT

RT: So how long do you think it is going to take before we see the end of this recession?

W.E.: The point is we are at an epochal change. This is something that happens perhaps every four or five hundred years. This is not a once a decade recession we are living through. And I call it in my new book the `Decline of the American century'. This is a terminal decline as you had with the British Empire after WWI. It would not matter if Jesus Christ was the President of the US today. There would be nothing he could do to reverse that decline process. We would almost have to reorganize and start from scratch, because the cancer of this financial system has embedded so deeply that they've destroyed the industrial technology in the US.

They outsourced manufacturing over the past 25-30 years to Asia, to Eastern Europe, all over the world. The American elite have rotted itself from the inside out over the past 30-40 years since the early 1970s.

So Europe, very much including Russia or let's say Eurasia... Eurasia is a vast continent which has every resource man could imagine for everything we would want to build economically. It has the brainpower, it has the scientific talents, and we have not totally destroyed that as in the case of the US. And that is all we need. It has the raw materials, Russia has unlimited resources of natural gas and oil. The Russian geology is likely years ahead of American and Western geology, geophysics let's say, because it is based on real physics science and not on hocus-pocus to hide the fact of how much oil the world has. There is nothing that is lacking.

The decision in the Western Europe, the EU is, for many European elites, I know this from discussions here in Germany in the recent years - they have to make a choice, and they're schizophrenic about that choice right now: either strengthen the Atlantic alliance with Washington and go down with the sinking Titanic called the American century, or carefully try to reorient the supertanker called the EU and build bridges of cooperation with Russia above all, with China above all for economic markets and whatnot.

Interesting analysis, non? Nothing new we haven't already discussed here (possibly ad nauseam!), but tidily summarised and punchily put.

(more fire in the basement)

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Conscious Capitalism

by melo Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 07:21:42 PM EST

"I don't see Tom's as a company, I see it as a movement." Blake Mycoskie

  So spake the entrepreneur, as I started this diary, inspired by the story on the teevee,  as it shows a documentary on this visionary businessman. TOMS Shoes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More recently, Mycoskie was featured along with the owner of Frontera Foods, Rick Bayless in a CNBC segment titled "The Entrepreneurs".

(more downunder)

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Obama's tightrope

by melo Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:14:18 PM EST

 Obama's redefining centrism, walking a tightrope between the plangent wails (free health care for all, yesterday!) and brassy challenges (legalise weed!) of the extreme left, and the immense forces invested in the status quo, brittly unwilling to give up their perks under the old, dying system.
  So he throws bones to both sides so they quit yapping and snapping. No more missile defence, but bases, no more Iraq, (eventually), and more Afghanistan. Yes on FISA, yes on greening the grid. Close Gitmo, expand Baghram, etc.

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Photoblogging Costa Rica, pt 2. (image heavy)

by melo Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 09:19:05 AM EST

       

  Welcome to part 2, gentle readers, may your hearts be de-winterised by these tales and images from Costa Rica, a country that has become dear to my heart in a very short length of time.
               

More in the basement...

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Costa Rica Christmas

by melo Thu Dec 25th, 2008 at 10:46:11 PM EST

                 

What fun to check in with you all from so far away!

It's 24 hours since we arrived here now, and I thought I'd put up some pix, and share some first impressions.

Baby, won't you follow me down

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BioGas as Carbon Dioxide reducer

by melo Thu Oct 23rd, 2008 at 05:40:14 AM EST

Here's a multiply-able, low-cost piece in the CO2 reduction jigsaw puzzle.

Excerpts from The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. Part 4 - By Rose George - Slate Magazine

Biogas, as this energy is known, can be produced from the fermentation of any organic material, from wood to vegetables to human excreta. In an oxygen-free digester, which acts somewhat like a human stomach, micro-organisms break down the material into sugar and acids, which then become gas. Mostly methane, with carbon dioxide and a little hydrogen sulfide, biogas can be used as fuel for cooking hobs, lights, and, sometimes, showers. It can also be converted into electricity. The slurry that remains from the digestion process is good fertilizer and considerably safer than raw excrement.

more below

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The Eye sees back

by melo Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:31:18 PM EST

How is it in other European countries for open access to local government for public citizen journalists to observe and document?

Here's an interesting initiative from Beppe Grillo, the satirist and activist blogger-

(More below the fold)

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LQD Velvet Fascism, Italian Style

by melo Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 09:48:08 AM EST

It's a slippery road, and someone is afraid of how the Italian people, already squealing at rising food costs, energy prices, deaths in the workplace and worry over globalisation's ambiguous benefits, will react.

The anti-Rom gestures, while repulsive, were merely that, there are too many for such grandstanding sallies to make more than a small dent in, it's a dogwhistle to all thuggish types that their attitudes are in season,  primordial spasms of hatred given a target.

  Below this level of mediated hate-whipping, there is a concern Italian excitability may erupt into social unrest, specifically targeted against 'la Casta', those pampered courtiers to the status quo, whose machinations are being increasingly exposed by citizen journalism, and criticised by law'n'order types like Antonio di Pietro, whose magisterial career ripped the lid off many a shady set-up in the early 90's.

With the fearless French strikers showing the way to confront governments just to the north, it's possible that we may be nearing a flashpoint here, not in the Red Brigade sense, thankfully, but probably millions 'in piazza', bills in their hands, looking for change that will help them deal with the inflation that has held back economic growth predictions to 0% for the coming year.

Promoted by Colman

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