The Italian Minister Renato Brunetta got married last weekend. He managed to trick protesters who wanted to contest him at his wedding because of an incident happened a few weeks earlier (when he shunned questions from precarious workers by replying “You represent the worst Italy”. See here). Brunetta changed suddenly the time and location of the ceremony, so to avoid any disorder – a display of those very strategic skills that led him to become a minister of the Republic.
Because of the aforementioned incident, Brunetta has been one of the most insulted politicians on the Web in the past 3 weeks. Attacks ranged from offences regarding his lack of civility, his rudeness, his ignorance, to his alleged detachment from the reality of Italy’s working class. Many also targeted, ignominously, his height – claiming he is just a baby of 41 years. He found refuge from these ungrounded offences in his beloved wife’s bosom, as showed in this picture celebrating the ministerial romance.
(Note: They are both standing on their feet)
This post is dedicated to a man who, some have suggested, should be awarded the title of “Man of 2010”. The man is Domenico Scilipoti. He is one of the three MPs who played a central role in the vote of confidence to Berlusconi’s Government, which took place on the 14th December 2010 and that, amidst the fears of many Italians, could have determined the end of Berlusconi’s leadership of the country. As we all know, Silvio eventually survived –once again- the threat that the evil Left had posed to him -yet he did so by a margin of just three votes in his favour. He still rules the country, though in his usual grumpy mood.
However, one fo the three savers of Italy’s Government has a particularly moving story, which the world should now. Enters Domenico Scilipoti:
A previous member of Italy of Values, he has recently left that group to form the Movement of National Responsibility. Useful information about this important figure in Italian politics are found on his own website.This is a very colourful conglomerate of self-celebratory remarks on Scilipoti’s amazing career as politician and, more importantly, as doctor. Scilipoti praises himself to be an expert in medicine, with several degrees gained from the well-know “A.B.P.S. Institute of Salvador De Baia, Brasil”, and from the Federal University of Parana’. A born-and -bred Sicilian, one can only wonder at his (already corageous) choice to go and study medicine in South America.
The website also works as the board where he can defend himself from vile accusations from his opponents. For example, he has been accused by some vile person that the manifesto of the MNR is, in many parts, the xact copy of the Fascist manifesto, written in 1925 by the Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile. On his website, Scilipoti proudly rejects the accusations, saying he is flattered by the fact that intellectuals in 1925 came to the same conclusions he did today.
Scilipoti is, in his own word, a gynaecologist and an acupuncturist: acupuncture, in particular, played a central role in some of his most meaningful political choices, as we will see shortly. The most courageous choice, and the one with the strongest impact on Italy’s destiny was the aforementioned decision to vote in support of Berlusconi’s Government on last December. The ‘courage’ is due to the fact that Scilipoti was not an ally of Silvio: on the contrary, he was a member of Italy of Values, a Party that centres its manifesto on fighting illegality in Italy and, above all, on blocking Berlusconi’s attempts to change the Constitution and the legal system. Given that illegality was one of the reasons why Berlusconi’s Government was under trial, it is surprising that Scilipoti voted in favour of Peoples’ Freedom, Berlusconi’s group. Together with Bruno Cesario and Massimo Caleario, two other members of the Left who, like him, had an epiphany on the eve of the confidence vote, Scilipoti decided to give his support to Berlusconi. He also suddenly realised that Italy of Values, the Party he had been a member of for years, was made up of “a bunch of imbeciles”, “enemies of democracy”, “mediocre individuals”. He has been appearing on many TV and Radio shows, to explain the motivation for his change of political position – famously using the third person (“Scilipoti does”, “Scilipoti will”, “the choice of Scilipoti”, etc.) “Scilipoti’s choice ” to leave Italy of Values, as he explains, was based on conscience: in its fight against illegality and impunity, against Mafia in the Italian Parliament, against corruption, the Party was failing in a key aspect of the political life of a democratic community – namely, it was not committed to holistic medicine and to acupuncture. Hence, Scilipoti’s choice.
Here is a picture of the Founding Fathers of the new MNR:
(Scilipoti isn’t standing on his knees.)
This still does not explain why Scilipoti chose to vote in favour of Berlusconi. Here, Scilipoti’s choice is not clear yet. Looking at Scilipoti’s recent past might help us find some hints.
In 2009, he was sentenced to a Euro 200,000 fine for failing to pay an architect he had employed for a job never realised. After various attempts to deny any responsibility, he had finally declared he would not pay the fine – but the sentence was still pending on him, making his hand shake during acupuncture sessions. Some mediocre people say that the money suddenly arrived from ‘somewhere’, and the fine was paid – and that Scilipoti voted for who did that.
Something else can be grasped by looking at Scilipoti’s past. In the 80s and 90s he had been the vice-major of Terme Vigilatore, a town in Sicily. The town council was dissolved in 2005 due to proven links with Mafia. At the end of the inquiry, the magistrates wrote in their report that one of these links was Scilipoti himself – that is, a mafioso. This is, of course, impossible. If it were true, it would also be true that there is Mafia in the Parliament, and that it strikes deals with the Prime Minister. Which is, once again, absurd: I mention it just for chit-chat.
After his epiphany, Scilipoti is now on a mission to support the Italian Government. When the Parliament was voting for Berlusconi’s reform of the legal system –briefly explained here – Scilipoti was seen running to his desk, waiving his arm as to say to someone ‘somewhere’ “I am here, I am voting!”:
His ex-Party mates from Italy of Values are still a bit upset with him. Corriere della Sera reports that, every time the name “Scilipoti” is mentioned during Parliament discussion, someone from the ranks of Italy of Values yells “Munnizza!”, which in Sicilian dialect means “Rubbish!” Yet, Scilipoti stands the challenge without dwindling: “[These people] are ignorant – he commented, when asked about the yelling against him. – They ignore that, today, rubbish is not a waste, it’s a resource”.
That’s a fact.
The Italian Government is always working hard to improve and polish the legal system, so to facilitate the pursuit of justice and to free citizens from the shackles of bureaucracy. This time, the Northern League, who prides itself of having, among its members, the Minister for Legislative Simplification, has come up with yet another valuable law to protect citizens’ interest.
The proposal, advanced for the second time after a first, failed attempt in 2009, aims to protect “the right to oblivion”. It comes from another fine politician in the Northern League, Miss. Carolina Lussana. This is Carolina Lussana:
The picture portrays her altruism at work. During a vote in the House of Chambers, she is pressing not only her own button, but also that of someone who does not participate in the vote. Some would say that what she is doing is illegal: however, as I explain below, the right to oblivion will guarantee that this picture will be removed shortly in the near future. So look at it until you can.
Carolina Lussana is concerned with a great anomaly of the Internet: when someone commits a crime, it is possible, years later, for people to find out about that. Hence, she is now fighting so to guarantee that, after a certain amount of time, the information (texts and images) about someone’s crimes will not be accessible anymore by the public.
The core of the argument is the following:
Some people, let’s face it, violate the law. Some, as it happens, pay for their crimes. After they’ve done so, if one keeps talking about those crimes, he or she violates their privacy. If, to give an absurd example, a man corrupts a politician to win a contract, and he is then condemned, then how could one justifiably look him up on the internet, years later, to find out about his past crime? We need to limit the access to this kind of information, so to limit the “suffering of the person who committed the crime, and of his family”.
Carolina Lussana highlights the dangers looming behind technical advancement: “Before the advent of the Internet, the echo of one’s judiciary happenings disappeared reasonably soon, as soon as the interest of the local and national press for that particular fact had gone down. Yet, nowadays, any fact can remain forever on the web, unless the webmaster intervenes to remove it.”
She argues that the left-over of one’s illegal deeds ought to be removed from the internet within a time that varies according to the crime committed. Thos who refuse to forget others’ crime, and keep information about them on their website, will incur a fine between 5,000 and 100,000 euros.
The story, in Italian, can be found here
Judges do not have an easy life in Italy. Italians do not like judges, because they are communists, hence they eat babies, they boil babies, they want to bring down the country, and probably they are gay. In the attempt to reestablish the feeling between people and the judiciary, the Italian channel Canale 5, owned by the Italian Prime Minister, has hosted for years a famous Tv programme called Forum.
Forum showcases a series of charismatic individuals. For example, the sadly missed policeman Pasquale Africano. This is Pasquale:
After years acting as a policeman, Africano gave a twist to his career and acted as a model in a user-friendly edition of the Kamasutra:
Yes , that’s him.
Also very charismatic was His Honour Santi Licheri
and the blondie anchorwoman Maria Rita Dalla Chiesa, daughter of General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, killed by the Mafia in 1982.
This is the great team that Canale 5 has put together to bring back the glory of the trial and the judge. Every afternoon, the audience can see the exciting cases and have a closer look at how the trial works, or at least how it should work.
A clear example of how the trial should work was showed in the episode on last week. A dark-haired woman, Marina Villa, appeared at the trial to discuss with the judge the terms of her divorce from Gualtiero, her husband. As she explains, she makes and sells wedding dresses in L’Aquila, the city in central Italy which, exactly two years ago, was destroyed by a 6.0 degree earthquake.
When asked to talk, she explained that in L’Aquila, two years after the quake, everything was going great: “L’Aquila has been rebuilt” -she said, though no one had asked her, “there are houses with garden and garage”, “Life is back to normal”. And, she adds, as a key element in her divorce suit, “This is all thanks to the Prime Minister”. “And do not forget to thank Bertolaso as well” -echoed Rita DallaChiesa. The audience clapped hands in jubilation. Remember Bertolaso?
A few days later, the woman confessed she had been reciting a script given her by the authors of Forum, who paid her 300 euros to do that. She was not even from L’Aquila, and Gualtiero was not her real husband. He was acting too, and paid for that.
The Italian Newspaper La Repubblica points out an interesting fact about Google Translate. If you type in the sentence “Io ho votato Berlusconi”, Google translates correctly with “I did vote for Berlusconi”.
But if you write “Io non ho votato Berlusconi” (“I did not vote for Berlusconi”), Google gives you the same translation as before: “I did vote for Berlusconi”.
The same happens for translations from many other languages. However, if instead of Berlusconi, a different politician’s name is put in the sentence, Google does translate correctly. More details here.
Willing to improve my English, I just went on Google Translate, and tried myself: however, the mistake pointed out by La Repubblica does not seem to happen. What does happen is, nonetheless, that when you write ‘Berlusconi’, the translation is slightly awkward (“I do not have voted Berlusconi”), whereas it comes up correctly (“I did not vote for X”) with a different name.
Why does Google get things messed up when it comes to him? Who’s been fecking around with the translations of Berlusconi? According to unofficial sources, the Mafia has been hijacking Google Translate, so that people cannot get it right when they write about Berlusconi in other languages, thus undermining the Italian PM’s credibility abroad.
Don’t know what happens with the other languages.
Today, a building in the ancient area of the Pompeii Village, in Southern Italy collapsed. Pompeii has escaped the eruptions of the Vesuvium, it has managed to survive bombs during WWII (accidentally dropped by the Americans). However, it could not resist after years and years of water infiltration into its buildings, due to general carelessness and lack of proper maintenance works. More on this can be found here and here.
I find it symbolic that the building in question used to be the House of the Gladiators. That was the place where gladiators would train and prepare to fight. What happens when such place ‘collapses’? Is that a message that there might be no reason, or no hope, to fight any more?
Luckily, the Italian Minister of Culture, Sandro Bondi, who is in charge of the care of Italy’s heritage, has immediately stood up to comment: “If it was my fault, I would resign!” This is Bondi, in an image that captures his relentless effort to assist the Prime Minister in Parliament:
In addition to his achievements as Minister of Culture, Bondi is well-known for reprimanding Quentin Tarantino, a snobbish movie director, when he had commented on the quality of Italian cinema in a not very friendly way.
Unofficial sources have suggested that the Government is already planning an emergency strategy to deal with this very serious incident that, according to the same sources, is believed to be part of a large plan of the Mafia. As this post is going into (world)press, a meeting is taking place at the Prime Minister’s residence in Palazzo Grazioli, in Rome, where the leader is working hard, with some colleagues, to solve the country’s problems. There are consistent rumours that Berlusconi is about to appoint one of his best men to direct a rescue plan, which allegedly is going to be called “Operation Bunga-Bunga”.