The Spanish Sexenio

I upload the full text of a scientific publication:

Tools of individual evaluation and prestige recognition in Spain how sexenio mints the golden coin of authority



The rape in Florence and politicians’ discrimination aginast immigrants

If I had time, I’d like to propose in this blog some reflections about some movies I watch. A couple of examples are “La ragazza del lago” (2007) or “The reader” (2008). Something else imposes me to write.

What happened few days ago in my hometown Florence imposes me to discuss briefly the possible rape against to US young citizens by two police officials (Carabinieri). I spare the details, as they can be retrieved in many newspapers, following the updates. My point is that the English reader might be unaware of some Italian domestic politics and rhetoric about rapes and sexual harassments nowadays. Only few months ago an (almost) young prominent politician – Mrs Debora Serracchiani – pretended to maintain publicly that a rape done by an immigrant is worse than one done by a compatriot. The appalling and astonishing point is that supposedly she belongs to the moderate left party (Partito Democratico), while I can’t see that much about being liberal, progressive or decently human in her position upon the issue of rapes. Quite certainly she said so in order to chase some populisit and proto-fascist public opinion that is spreading in Italy in these times. Nevertheless, her point has no possible defence both legally and morally. By the way, her point was that we the Italians are so nice to welcome the immigrants that the latter should be even more respectful. This declaration dates back May the 12th 2017. This is the text: “La violenza sessuale è un atto odioso e schifoso sempre, ma più inaccettabile quando è compiuto da chi chiede e ottiene accoglienza”. “Sexual harrassment is always an unpleasant and disgusting act, but this is more intolerable when it is perpetrated by some who applied and obtained asylum”. If the rationale is that “the closer and the more you owe and shared, the more disgusting”, why shouldn’t be a former boyfriend or husband more disgusting than an immigrant? What is closer than kinship?! Let’s say what Serracchiani really meant: “let’s use immigrants as goat escapes if some occasion will come around (so guys, you may vote for the Left anyway, come on)”.

I remember a notable Berlusconi-side journalist (Mr. Sallusti) backing Serracchiani’s position affirming that it was about “our women”… He must have a proprietary understating of women and I avoid to comment further. After all one does not expect that much from a Berlusconi-side journalist and Serracchiani’s declaration was already enough. It was pretty enough too that a notable “independent” journalist – Lilli Gruber – backed herself too this position, probably because that was Matteo Renzi’s strategy and I suspect Gruber really appreciates him a lot (I can hear Italians laughing at this sentence; it is pretty clear Gruber likes Renzi). Yet, I remember that day also Paolo Mieli – a notable editorialist for the most read Italian newspaper, an intellectual with a background in history and a career started from extreme left positions in the 60s and 70s – was not contrary to this. This editorialist, who I might have appreciated in other occasions and whose style is that of moderating on behalf of the moderates, cause to me some regurgitation that night.

Today, we face the fact that quite certainly at least some abuses were done by officials. Whilst it is certain that this is an aggravated crime (a police officer shouldn’t “be nice” by means of offering himself as a taxi driver), I am afraid many people will struggle to see that this event is morally aggravated. I am afraid Serracchiani’s words are going to be re-debated and that she is not going to say she was wrong.


Donald Trump, Batman and the Colonel Gaddafi

I truly believe Donald Trump is Batman in person. They both base their charisma on the real very glue of America (USA only, but, you know, they don’t see the difference): money. It is also the real source of their superpowers. They are both dark, they both have only one trusted person to rely on (Robin and Mr. Pence respectively). They believe to be able to fight villains bypassing rules, regulations, civilized methods (aka police etc.). They dress both a mask in public, and Matt Groening is my source in this for the sparkling flamboyant blond one of the two; I assume batman has a mask, but I don’t have time to search for evidence. But this is not my point today.
My point is that I watched Donald Trump somewhere recently in a strange funny stance which reminded me somebody else who I couldn’t remember promptly. Below the pic.


After a good while I realized who is (was..) it the mate: Mr. Colonel Gaddafi in his very last days. {Yep, I may admit that Gaddafi used this stance also during the Green Revolution, but don’t ruin my point, please}.

gheddafi pugni chiusi

I am not a psychologist, but I’d say that this pose means something like: “I know I am done, but I will never admit it, and I also will deny anything else that it a truism, especially if it is related to the point that the world is too hot or getting too hot: Libya on the contrary is so pretty cold indeed that my hands would freeze if I opened my palms. Both Miss Universe from Amazonia and Miss Amazon from the Universe agree”. The only problem here is that it is too long for twitter.

Is Donald Trump going to survive himself politically as Gaddafi was not able?

Italian San Remo Festival 2017: Occidentalis Karma

Since the 50s of last century, the new democratic Italian Republic had a new mantra: a competition for popular songs held in the tiny city of San Remo, Liguria. It is always organised in February around San Valentino and like any other Italian tradition, Italian people are unified in deep division. Like for Guelfi vs. Ghibellini, Fascists vs. anti-Fascists, Communists vs. Anti-Communists, Coppi vs. Bartali, pro vs. cons the current National Football Head Coach, Blonds vs. Brunettes etc. “Il Festival di San Remo”, aka “The Festival of the Italian Song” divides people. Italian widespread diffusion of television is due to this event mostly. In this case people are divided between those who love to watch it on television from one side, and those who can’t suffer it as it would poorly represent innovation or for whatever the reason. I belong to those who can’t watch it. It’s too slow for me, too much a gala event, too many VIPs. Although many believe winning songs have the malediction to be shortly forgotten and many not-winning singers affirm to don’t care it that much, at the end of the day all the Italian singers in their life want to participate and to win.

It is also reckoned that many original songs represent the spirit of the time. As a sociologist I believe this is quite true, but I don’t have time enough to develop by year all the songs . The winning song of 2017 “Occidentalis Karma” {Westerners’ Karma} is particularly fit with the current times and I really like it as it proposes an ironic critique against post-truth democracies and the vicious role Web2.0 has had to develop silly behaviours based on non-sense and intellectual ignorance.

The video posted below has the English subtitles (at the moment over youtube it has less than 10000 hits; Italian versions reach 30.000.000 hits).

My question for this post is the following. Post-truth driven by web2.0 false news and self-referring networks: cui prodest (apart from companies dealing the platforms)?

The 2016 #italianreferendum seen from abroad

For months Italian politics has been dominated massively by the mantra of “doing the Reforms”. One of the arguments is that all the world is looking at us, waiting for us to upgrade our system from a slow one, into a fast track decision making one, led substantially by the Government [it is already so, but… who cares about the truth in “post-truth” world?] instead of the perfect double Chambers Parliament (“bicameralismo perfetto”).
Matteo Renzi played this game as Prime Minister along these years in a such a way that he was happy that his Reform of the Constitution did not pass with 2/3 of the Parliament. He was eager in going therefore to a special Referendum to approve the proposal passed in the Parliament by a lower share of votes. Renzi was confident to win this in a plebiscite mode, whereas all polls now foresee a “plebishit” for him. Renzi made several mistakes, and I’d like to list some of them.
1) He pretended to adjunct a new – compulsory to be done – electoral law, claiming that even though an electoral law is not a constitutional reform, it has the same status (“rango costituzionale”). This was a deep mistake, as the Referendum campaign became soon an arena of political bargaining. Now they are screaming that the electoral law is no more (politically) in the package;
2) Renzi publicised the Reform as his Reform, bidding an “all in” move. At a certain point he also said that he would leave politics forever in case of defeat.
3) Although being for many months ahead in polls, his bold attitude has a twofold outcomes:
3.1) He has been able to group all the possible political spectrum, especially within his own Party, against him.
3.2) He behaved like a cyclist sprinter, but only a little too far from the finish line. Would you sprint 80km far from there as you were 1km far from glory? I would say it was quite foolish;
4) He left much of the Campaign to his Minister for Reforms, Mrs Boschi, who turned to be extremely inadequate in communicating.
5) He believed, like the Italian left in 2001, that an anti-system Party (in 2001 secessionist Lega Nord; today populist M5S) can be phased out and caught out guard proposing some of what they claim as revolutionary (and impossible). In 2001 the Constitutional Reform did not work that well, even though politically Lega Nord was actually disoriented by the move for a while. Today none is caring about the repeal of CNEL body (one of the examples of “cutting the costs of politics”; I may agree this as 99.9% of Italian public opinion, I may just add that I have been consultant there for two years and I also know why it should repealed). The reason is in the following point.
6) The heart of the Reform in my analysis is the downgrade of the Parliament in favour of the Government. The change of the Senate (despite my following point) simply kills the Chamber of the elder politicians, those who have few to ask in terms of career that they are the freer too. It is quite weird that if you claim to cut seats, you cut only some of them in the less crowded one. The reason in my opinion is the following. Renzi does not want to change the “Camera dei Deputati”, as there younger politicians go. That chamber remains with 600+ seats as all the Parties need obedient people and both more seats to compel people to obey.
7) The new text of the Constitution is written in such a way that really not an expert may understand it.
8) The pics I upload here even show that the English translation of the campaign is not always accurate, and probably if you look at this Reform from abroad the “Yes” campaigner will introduce it in such a way that is not “neutral”. This is a problem when Consulates are used to this regard (not here in UK by the way).
9) To “simplify the dynamic between Regions and Central State” is another mantra. This is a quite typical post-truth point, as at the same time Renzi pretends to solve a problem raised decades earlier when none was able to pass a Constitutional Reform, and at the same time wants to correct the Constitutional Reform of 2001. In my experience as teacher at Sapienza University, I would say that the Reform would only open a new complex and inefficient phase of implementation, resolving very few. On the contrary, I would foresee new forms of problems.
10) Campaigner of “YES” have been very disappointing and not respectful of public opinion, even though I must say that many of the “NO” as well have been the same.
11) Why the Reform then? Cui prodest? I bet money that at least in part the point for Renzi was to make things like TTIP and CETA pass in Italy without problems in the Parliament. The move is (was!) somehow rational, but now, with Donald Trump in the new Golden&Ivory House in Washington DC, is it still so urgent to modify the Constitution for this? I don’t really think so, even though I may appreciate that a “neutral” tv channel like La7 is continuing to have a substantially pro-yes stance. Very funny.
The Committee for the “YES” likes to explain the Reform in four points. This brief post lists more points. Do I win?
Attached you may find who a mail vote is and how was the PD contextual campaign (No easy Renzi’s letters in UK. The is a fax-simile of a “yes” by the way)

The Psychodrama goes on #Brexit

The Psychodrama of Brexit is going on. Spep by step. Today The Guardian (see link below) publishes an article stating that foreign experts will not be used regarding Brexit topic. This decision is totally legitimate. Could a Country of NATO receive a consultancy about one’s defense from a Russian citizen? I don’t think.

My point is: why UK is believing that foreign people would be hostile in this issue? My only answer is that UK in this moment is considering anyone who is not UK citizen as a person who cannot be trusted. I’d like to know if an Anglo-Saxon expert (an Australian, a US or a Canadian), or one from an Embassy nearby Trafalgar Square (usually they are Commonwealth Countries) would be trusted or not.

This simple post just to say that none of the politicians in Europe – at the best of my knowledge – has ever considered UK in a hostile way. This is a divorce claimed by UK, whereas the other Countries are in tears or at least worried. The (rest of) Europe is just sadly ackwnoledging this will and this stance.  EU is also waiting for the claim of Article 50 (the postponing of the date is part of the Psychodrama). If there is something you can be sure of, I would be happy (and not the only one) if this article will never be triggered.

p.s. The only funny news this week is the fight at the European Parliament between the two UKIP politicians. Hard to know why they were still there instead of in UK.

My experience of Istanbul

In 2010 I went to Istanbul. As I got a regular not touristic bus from the Asian part of “the city”. I was blocked by a lefty manifestation about a referendum Erdogan wanted in order to make the Country closer to EU standards. Europe was looking at it with not so much attention. I had to reach the Karaköy, the line of the sea, guessing the way for a couple of kilometers. To stay sat down by the river-sea of the Bosporus and to see another continent so close and no not-reachable on foot was to me so frustrating! I decided to shop something to eat and go walking (with no maps at all, like often I still do, Viviana can witness) until a bridge I was able to see from there. “It’s not so far” I taught. It was indeed. The point is not this. The bridge we are watching these days on Tv is huge and it stretches much more beyond the shores, and even to follow carefully the two shores was an endeavor. As I found a way to climb the bridge to cross it with my baggage, I realized it was not for pedestrians at all. A young man, aged no more than 16-18 y.o., with a rifle almost longer than him (a regular soldier), told me in Turkish to go back and catch the bus (I think he said so…). I was trying politely to explain myself in English, and I understood that he was genuinely not understanding a single word.

During the first night in a not-to-be-suggested hostel I was schooled, as my passport told I was from Florence, that Constantinople had its Michelangelo, but Western historians were too biased to recognized it. I suddenly realized that my week over there would have been tough…

Along one week I searched in vain museums at the standard of a city like Istanbul, and I considered me disappointed. I fought to have real fun, but at least people don’t bother you if you sleep after the noon on a bench.

Likely and unexpectedly Istanbul was hosting just in those days the Basketball World Championship. What a luck! Yep, I spent many afternoons in watching games sat down in some of the many bars. One mint tea for a whole afternoon was not such a big affair for the Turkish bartenders who always looked at me in a very bad temper. I sincerely had few money to spend, I swear.

I remember during the finals of the Championship, USA team vs. … Turkey. Turkish things happened, such as a player shot some free throws replacing the player who was fouled (supposedly much less able to score). The most important game held each four years with international referees was subjected to what in Italy we call “Turkish things”. Not such a big detail to tell by the way, I think people are not anymore surprised by these things.

I also remember that while I was going to the international bus station I had to help an old woman who was trying to cross a massive street in high traffic. Other people were around but I was the only one helping. The woman said “thank you” and a lot of other things; she was also assuming I was understating all. As I spoke in English, a man confirmed she was saying thank you, but I would bet money she was saying something like “In this messy city there is still some good Muslim”. In Italy a woman would have said exactly the same, provided that “Christinian” would have replaced “Muslim”. What’s the difference?! I felt necessary to say to all the people around waiting for a cheap bus I was Italian. The woman made a very Mediterranean gesture with her hand that meant: “Italian? It’s 0k, we are not so different”. I agree sincerely still now.

I also went to Bulgaria, a trip I’m not going to tell in details, but for the splendid image to see the ancient Byzantium white and red walls at the sunrise coming for the deep European side. What surprised me was an enduring sense of superiority Turkish people had over Bulgarian. History gives some reasons to them, but currently the relations appear reversed: Turkey is the place from where many people (I can tell about Iranian people who get somehow Turkish passport) try to go away in order to access the real land: European Union!

Coming back to the Airport I found that the indication for the Formula1 Turkish Grand Prix were unreal: who were going to attend Formula 1 in Turkey? And in fact the Grand Prix lasted few years…

Once at the queue to embark, I had my last Turkish experience: a Turkish man purposely kicked my baggage because he felt walked by me (I was going a little on his side to be honest, but only to make the queue shorter). He also hit me with a very aggressive sight. I was happy to be Italian: a couple of guys aged like me with Roman accent were joking about  iconoclasm, miming a fight for this dispute. Irony is much better, although to know the real terms of iconoclasm satisfies better my nerdy life. They could have the same irony mode, I’m sure, but they are walking some reasons across the wrong path in this epoch, and they are getting step by step on the wrong side of History.

This Turkey will never enter the European Union, and billions of tons of water in the Bosporus have to pass until someone will have the possibility to cross the Istanbul bridge for tourism and in safety. That day Turkey will be free, really balanced between secularization and its identity, and ready to talk about the Armenian genocide.

It’s a pity, the tv advertisings related to the Basketball World Championship was great! This is an example.

Epitaph of Dave #Cameron #Brexit #BigBye

Go Little Dave

Go if you dislike to stay

Go, cause you can’t arrive to us

Go somewhere if you want to leave

Go if you can’t come into a pig’s ear

Go to European Union, for the last time

And Leave it soon

Then don’t go home, 10 D. street

It is not free from charge for you anymore

Pass perhaps via Panama,

Where the monies wait for you

Go, Dave the Scottish,

To the Highlands

To get the claps from independents

Who couldn’t get a better assist

To leave them the UK for real

Go, Little Dave,

Go to well and equally shared


Go and select well

I recommend the Country that sings

“Paix – Travail – Patrie”

Where for others and your safety

People won’t understand you

As they speak frog-French,

unless you got with you

Monsieur Farage too

Who’s leaving the EU stipend soon

Go, Dave, to Cameroon


p.s. Please people from Cameroon accept my apologizes if I used your Country as a term of joke. I truly respect the “Country of Lions”, at least since 1982, when Italy and Cameroon had a draw in Spain during World Championship. You also have a wonderful flag.

Brexit & Schengen. The costs of being already outside Europe.

If you are a European (Union) citizen and for some reasons you have to become mother/father abroad, but still in Europe, you have good chance to manage all as if you were in your own Country. This is true for the welfare state (hospital and medical issues), but even to travel. In our case, we have very few things to complain about the British NHS. Something quite weird we have to say about travelling. Now we got Rosa, an Italian citizen like us but born in London, UK. As she is Italian, she is a European Union citizen in a (so far!) European Union Country (UK). Why can’t we travel to Italy and come back? Because UK (and Republic of Ireland) are the only two Countries belonging to European Union that don’t share the Schengen treaty. It is quite strange if one consider for a while that proudly not European Union Countries like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (Liechtenstein as well) are however in Schengen.

What we have to do to enjoy my wife’s maternity leave in Italy and let relatives meet Rosa is to issue a passport. Rosa, in fact, is waiting for a special passport whose validity will last three years. This procedure implied the following costs:

  • £89: Cost of passport
  • £11: costs to pay the postal way to pay the 89£ (a mighty taxation over taxation)
  • 2 stamps (£7,25 to ship documents to Italian Consulate + £14,50 to make the passport come back to us as a special mail)
  • £30 (+ other 2 stamps, £1 each) to legalize the birth certificate (sic!)*
  • £4: a Birth certificate from Camden
  • £12,90: pictures for the baby

Gran total:

  • £171,40 (220€ approximately)

I’m happy Rosa is having her first passport so soon, and I hope we will be able one day to visit Cuba, the Republic of Togo, and many other places. Nevertheless, the most annoying fact is that all this has been a big loss of time and a variable in booking flights to travel. For instance: do you know how much time and patience you must have to have a suitable picture for passports for a just-born baby? A lot!

Another consideration is the following: if the “Brexit” is commanded by such urgent anti-immigration issues and should be sustained by hard-but-rational reasons, why do people want to leave the European Union if you are already out in the most important of the immigration related framework? To oblige Italian and other people to use a passport instead of a national ID card in airport frontiers is so important to the UK public opinion? A vignette can be told about this. In 2013 I landed in Bristol and I presented my Italian National Identity Card. The Officer at the frontier just told me: “I don’t like your document!” As I explained that she shouldn’t express any dislike and that I had the right to enter England with that document, she replied slightly better that “a passport is quicker to be processed”. Quite an impolite for an Officer, a British one.

Coming back to 2016, explanations from neighbors walking in the streets of Hampstead Heath with the “Leave!” pin are welcome. Who is exactly going to leave? And where? To achieve what, exactly and ultimately?


* The “legalization” of an already legal document, whose actual consistency is made up of a row little hard-cut rectangular piece of A4 glued on the rear of the Birth Certificate, is the utmost of meaninglessness: Italian Bureaucracy wants Italian citizens to have a document, that itself would be already legal, obliging to pay money to another State. It does not seem to me smart at all.