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Post Reflections on Italy as US "Lackey"
Created by John Eipper on 06/08/18 10:40 AM

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Reflections on Italy as US "Lackey" (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 06/08/18 10:40 am)

I have to thank Istvan Simon, 7 June, for his extremely kind words about Italy.  Istvan must love Italy very much to have such a rosy general view.

Unfortunately the economic situation is not so nice, and Italy's burden of being a colony of the Empire and of the EU is very costly.

Let me stress that I make a distinction between the US and the "Empire," because the former with its citizens is a beautiful country, while the Empire is dominated by the worst of the powerful or hidden government, with the help of some partners.

No doubt, Italy is a colony of the Empire.  US occupation troops, at least 13,000 of them, have been stationed here for 75 years with their nukes, which is a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Officially, since WWII the US troops in Italy have been stationed according to a secret treaty dating from 1951. The Italian Parliament has asked for the publication of this treaty, but the US refused.

The cost to Italy is more than 400 million euros per year. A few years ago an old obsolete base, near my hometown, was closed and it was left in horrible condition. The cost to ecologically restore the area will be huge, and there is no hope of a refund from the Empire.

The US has meddled in this nation's internal affairs from the very beginning, importing the Mafia to conquer Sicily, and printing a huge amount of AM Lire, which started the national debt. After victory in the North, instead of immediately restoring order, the Empire gave the partisans a period in which vengeance, killings and plunder were permitted in violation of all international conventions.

Then it meddled in elections, using money, threats, etc. Generally the US Ambassador's attitude is that of a viceroy, despite attempts to preserve diplomatic formalities.

Being a colony, Italy has also had to supply cannon fodder for all the silly, self-defeating wars started by the Empire or by its best lackey (France). If at least the Empire could win a war...

Such wars are very costly to Italy in lives and money.

Another imposition on Italy are the sanctions against the alleged enemies of the Empire (not necessarily the US). Such sanctions cost Italy a great amount of money and exacerbate unemployment with the resultant loss of markets. Let me repeat: "Sanctions bring war; commerce brings peace."

As soon as Italy's newly arising political forces stressed the necessity of ending sanctions, the answer from the Empire was "Sanctions have to stay or there will be consequences." This is not the language of empire, but rather of the Mafia.

Not too long ago the Empire nixed the South Stream pipeline, with a great loss of Italian money. Now it has been replaced by the Turkish Stream, which has profited Turkey.

Within the EU, Italy has been subdued by Germany and to a lesser degree by France. Italy is more or less contributing 20 billion euros to the EU and receives 12 billion in return, for a total loss of 8 billions per year.

According to EU regulations all immigrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea will be debarked in Italy, regardless of the nationality of the vessel. (Formerly, ships were to disembark the migrants in ports corresponding to their flag). These regulations also apply to the rescue vessels of the various NGOs. These ships just welcome the immigrants as they cruise off the waters off Libya and Tunisia, waiting for a satellite phone call announcing the arrival of the "refugees." No European nation wants these immigrants (Germany got immigrants once from Syria, and Europe paid 6 billion to Turkey).

The only immigrants who get out of Italy are those who succeed in clandestinely crossing the Alps. But if they are caught by the police even deep inside the new country, they are taken back to Italy.

On top of it, please note that many nations, including some in Eastern Europe, try to get rid of their criminals or Roma, sending them or allowing them to go to Italy.

Additionally many multinational corporations, especially American ones, are moving their plants to Eastern Europe where the labor is cheaper. The FCA corporation of Marchionne is moving the old FIAT to Poland. Italy is left with the Jeep Renegade, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.

Finally, the Empire now is placing tariffs on the commerce with its colonies. This can be a good sign, as it means decadence and may be the end of it in the long run.

If Italy were independent, it would much happier and richer.

JE comments: Eugenio, I'm not clear on the FIAT move. Did you mean that Jeep, Maserati, Alfa and Ferrari will remain Italian? I certainly hope (and assume) so for the latter three, although real Jeeps are made in Toledo, Ohio. (Be that as it may, I came close to winning an Italian Renegade a few months back in a raffle for the Adrian College ladies' skating team. By "close," I mean I bought a ticket, but it was the wrong one.)

You speak of US meddling in Italian elections.  I know little on this subject, but the common assumption is that the communists would have taken over without a bit of "supervision."  Can you comment?

Finally, France is a lackey of the US? It's been the most "independent" of US allies since the De Gaulle days.  Do I misread?

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  • Who Wants to Visit Italy? Ric Mauricio Does (John Eipper, USA 06/09/18 3:47 AM)
    Ric Mauricio writes:

    I am keeping the pressure on my wife for us to visit Italy. Second on my list of countries to visit is to revisit London and Paris. Fell in love with Paris. People had warned me how the French could be rude, especially to Americans, but I did not experience this at all. But I am sure I would fall in love with Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice and would love to visit Maranello. Maranello? Yes, the home of Ferrari. Every F1 driver would love to win a driver's championship with Ferrari.

    My American Italian expat clients are truly enjoying their move to Italy. So while there are those who may harbor a non-rosy view of Italy, there are those who just enjoy life in such a beautiful country. Actually, every country has its beauty; it's the governments that mess it up. That said, I read where Italy has had 64 governments in the last 4 decades. But despite this chaos, if you had invested in an Italian ETF (exchange traded fund) in American dollars, you would have more than doubled your money since 31 December 1997 (from $10k to $25k). However, keep in mind that this is only a 5% compounded rate of return, so there have been better places to invest. That is, unless you had bought Ferrari (symbol: RACE) at its IPO in October 15, 2015 at $50. It is around $136 now. Around an annual 55% return. Oh, not bad.

    Fiat moving its manufacturing to eastern Europe? That is nothing new. France's Peugeot-Citroen, Germany's Audi and Porsche, South Korea's Kia and Hyundai, and Jaguar Land Rover have done that because with the upscale manufacturing facilities, complete with Fanuc robots from Japan in Eastern Europe, it is more efficient and less costly than manufacturing in their home countries. The design and engineering stay in the home countries, just like our own Apple products are designed in the Silicon Valley, but the actual manufacturing is done in China.

    JE comments:  There is much love, molto amore, in your first paragraph, Ric!  I too have always dreamed of visiting the home of Ferrari, Maranello.  Its population is just 17,165, truly a big little city.  (Reno, Nevada claims to be the Biggest Little City in the World, but it's become just plain big:  245,000.)

    Maranello reminds (somewhat) of Auburn, Indiana, population 13,000, which in its day was the American epicenter of high-end performance automobiles (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg).

    Who on this planet doesn't recognize the prancing horse brand?

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  • On "Secret" Treaties and the Near-Disbanding of the Marine Corps (David Duggan, USA 06/09/18 4:03 AM)
    Eugenio Battaglia (8 June), spoke of a "secret" 1951 treaty between the US and Italy.

    Treaties are public documents, ratified by the Senate by two-thirds (US Const. Art. II, Sec. 2). There can be no such thing as a "secret treaty," although as we have seen lately with the Iran-non-treaty (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action--what a euphemism), there can be loads of side deals and deviations from that contained in the public record.

    And as to John Eipper's question about my father's take on the "survivability" of the US Marine Corps, he never mentioned it. At the time of Gen. Vandegrift's testimony, my father had been "mustered out" of active duty and was in the reserves (still owing not quite two years on his commitment: perhaps a topic of another post), finishing college, and hoping to go to law school on the GI bill. If asked, and with the benefit of hindsight, I suspect he would have preferred that the Marines had been disbanded, if for no other reason than then he might have been relieved of his additional commitment, and would not have been asked back to participate in the Korean conflict by Pres. Harry Truman.

    Given Gen. MacArthur's disdain of the Marines (as "Gy-rines"), I doubt that ol' corncob-smokin' Douglas would have lobbied strenuously for the Marines' reconstitution, notwithstanding MacArthur's exceeding Truman's orders as to how far to carry the battle up the Korean peninsula. But this is just speculation and my father was able to spend the remainder of his five-year commitment as an officer in the JAG corps, with a side-trip to witness the last above-ground atomic blast on this continent: in the Nevada desert, April 26, 1952, five months after I was born. I have previously supplied WAIS with his monograph recounting that experience.

    JE comments:  Yes--this is a WAIS classic, from 2014.  Click below and then click through as instructed.  "Operation Greenhouse" is one of the more disturbing euphemisms of the 20th century, and the 20th century was full of disturbing euphemisms.  (The 21st is promising to be just as bad or worse.)


    Returning to "secret" treaties, the most (in)famous of all has to be Molotov-Ribbentrop, 1939.  But as David Duggan points out, Americans aren't supposed to do dirty clandestine deals.  Can Eugenio Battaglia explain what he means by a "secret treaty"?

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    • US-Italy Treaties and Agreements (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 06/10/18 3:13 PM)
      With reference to David Duggan's post of 9 June, here below is a list of treaties between Italy and the US:

      Unconditional Surrender, 03 September 1943 (the Crooked Deal, according to Eisenhower)

      Peace Treaty (Diktat), 10 February 1947

      NATO Treaty, 04 April 1949

      NATO Troops Convention, 19 June 1951

      Bilateral Infrastructure, 20 October 1954

      Treaty Italy-NATO, 26 July 1961

      Bilateral Italy-USA, 16 September 1972

      Shell Agreement, 02 Febraury 1995

      Stone Ax started in the 1950s, 11 September 2001 (renewed).

      An interesting proviso in the Shell Agreement: If an American base is closed, Italy shall pay for subsequent "improvements" (sic).

      It is widely believed that each treaty has secret addenda, as David suggested with "there can be loads of side deals and deviations from that contained in the public record."

      For sure, the Treaty of 1949 is secret, because following the criminal acts of American pilots which caused the deaths of 20 people at the Cermis (Italy) on 3 February 1998, the Italian PM Massimo D'Alema stated in parliament on 10 March 1999: "The Italian Government will submit to the Judiciary System a test of the Accord of 20 October 1954, secret until now, regulating the US military bases."

      But this never happened due to the refusal of the US government.

      Of course Americans aren't supposed to make dirty clandestine deals, as the CIA is supposed to do nothing but offer delicious cookies to influence its adversaries.

      In response to Carmen Negrín (9 June) on Mussolini, Trump, Berlusconi, etc., my position is well known and I have nothing further to add.

      JE comments:  Treaties and wars have countless euphemisms:  Agreements, Joint Plans of Action, Police Actions, Peacekeeping Operations.  The list could go on.  Euphemisms make everything more palatable to the public, and also allow the sidestepping of the Constitution.

      Stone Ax?  It's the code name for the US-Italian nuclear agreement.  I found this in the Washington Post.  Toy chest?  Pine cone?  At least a Stone Ax is intimidating, if low-tech.

      Toolchest, the code name for the secret technical agreement between the United States and Germany regarding the deployment of nuclear weapons. Toy Chest is the name for the agreement with the Netherlands, Stone Ax for the one with Italy and Pine Cone for the one with Belgium.


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  • Ah, Italia! Ah, Venezia! (Tor Guimaraes, USA 06/09/18 3:36 PM)
    First I must congratulate Eugenio Battaglia (June 8) for his exemplary sense of diplomacy, seasoned mildly with a little sarcasm.

    Ah, Italia! I know that it is slowly falling apart just like the rest of the world. On the other hand, my forever favorite city in the world is there. Don't ask me why because I have a silly answer: must be magic. And if I don't go there once or twice a year, I miss it. Italy is not my favorite personal country and I have many of those. But Venezia gets the prize and if anything takes me within 200 miles from Venice, I go there for some coffee in a special place.

    Like I said, it has bewitched me, since the second or third visit. It has tremendous charm just like many other cities in Italy and the world, great history, a dime-a-dozen good restaurants, museums, monuments, etc. What no other city in the world has (at least in my heart and mind) is the Piazza San Marco. Normally I enjoy quiet places with at most a few loved ones. The Piazza at some times is like a great zoo of humanity: people from all over the world laughing and crying, hugging and kissing, and shooting photos.

    The first time the "magic" happened was just before sunset a long time ago. I was quietly having a coffee and mineral water at one of the crowded restaurants on the Piazza, and some people (families, newlyweds?) stated to hug, kiss, and cry in love. At first I found it weird, but then I understood what was going on and empathized. From that day on, every time I go to Venice with a loved one, I chose the time to go to the Piazza. I blindfold my partner about 20 yards before entering the Piazza, take him/her to the center and take the blindfold off, and then just watch the person's expression. It is priceless magic.

    JE comments:  Tor, I hope you and I will someday have a coffee at San Marco.  No need for the blindfold, though...

    How can I have made it this far without visiting Venice?

    Here's a question I've never asked on WAIS:  Name your favorite world city and why.  The only rule:  It cannot be where you were born or presently live.

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    • My Favorite World City (John Heelan, UK 06/10/18 5:05 AM)
      JE asked us to name our favorite world city and why.

      Tough one! I would have to choose between those pearls of Andalucía: Sevilla, Córdoba and Granada.

      Why? Because I spent a lot of time in each in my research days, polishing my Castellano while enjoying the art and architecture of each, the street cafes, la gente simpá, Semana Santa: each has good memories for me.

      JE comments: Gente simpá:  the Andalusian transliteration of nice people (gente simpática).

      I'm still struggling to pick my absolute favorite world city, but Andalucía has some excellent candidates.  And though I teach this stuff, I've never understood why English uses an "s" (Andalusia), but Spanish spells it with a "c" (Andalucía). 

      Cursed Vandals!

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      • Tim Ashby's Favorite World City (Timothy Ashby, South Africa 06/11/18 12:31 AM)
        Until this year, my favorite world city would have been Edinburgh. However, since "discovering" Mallorca (where Rosemary and I now divide our time with London), Palma de Mallorca has displaced "Auld Reekie," the Scottish capital.

        Palma reminds me of Sevilla where I lived as a teenager. The city is small enough (just 400,000 people) to be manageable, has a history dating to the Bronze Age, is blessed with a mild climate, offers world-class restaurants and shopping, and is architecturally and culturally still "Spanish" despite the tourist hordes who are drawn to Mallorca (the Palma airport serves around 30 million passengers per year).

        Photos below include the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the wonderful 14th-century Bellver Castle.

        JE comments:  Magical, Tim!  As for me and this early hour, in 30 minutes we leave for Bogotá.  While this cold and overgrown capital is on few "favorite city" lists, the setting is breathtaking...Bellver?  I'll post some pics once I take them.

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      • Michael Sullivan's Favorite World City (Michael Sullivan, USA 06/12/18 4:45 AM)
        After visiting many fine and wonderful cities around the world both large and small, it has become too difficult to pick a favorite as there are so many fabulous, diverse places.  So I decided my pick a town I really like in the USA which is Beaufort, North Carolina, which is about 20 miles and one traffic signal from where I live and I get to enjoy it regularly!

        The reasons are:

        1. A great climate with the four seasons but usually has fairly mild winters. A few hurricanes now and then and humidity prevails in the summer, but beautiful sunny, breezy weather most of the time. Beaufort is a small town with population around 4,200. It's only a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and is separated by barrier islands or Outer Banks. Local people are very friendly, laid back and hospitable as their Beaufort roots go back a long way.

        2. Great seafood restaurants with several located right on the water (Intra Coastal Waterway or ICW) and, when in season, serving the biggest, meatiest softshell crab I've ever eaten. Specialties are shrimp, crab, flounder, oysters, tuna and "hush puppies"!

        3. Eating on the waterfront you can watch, along with all the passing boats, the wild horses frolic on the barrier islands that were originally brought here by settlers in the 1700s. They have a roundup periodically to thin the herd and it's possible to purchase some of these horses.

        4. The town has several historical sites including many homes built in the early 1700s that are kept immaculate by the people who live in them.  They all have plaques on them indicating their age and to whom it belonged originally. Most homes have a "widow's walk" above the top floor where the wives of the sea captains used to watch for the great ships returning and hoping their husband was aboard. There is a Maritime Museum with all sorts of past seafaring equipment and history, plus you can accompany your young lad/lass to its workshop where they have a kit to build a small 8 ft. wooden boat in one day.

        5. Beaufort has many artists and they sell their works in the various art galleries or upscale restaurants. They have a very popular duck hunting decoy festival on Harkers Island in December, and folks come from all over the world to participate. Many new residents now coming to Beaufort to retire have been successful in their prior life, so they buy or build upscale homes. Homes on or near the water are expensive as available, buildable waterfront properties are getting very scarce.

        6. Beaufort's picturesque boardwalk from Memorial Day till Labor Day bustles with tourists and the restaurants have outside bars where musical combos provide nightly entertainment for the predominantly nightlife crowd. There are many bed and breakfast accommodations in Beaufort and the surrounding area. Beaufort has no hotels.

        7. In June, Beaufort annually hosts the "Big Rock Blue Marlin" fishing tournament which is one of the biggest sport fishing tournaments in the US.  From this they donate $3 million to charity.

        8. Beaufort and the local area harbor some of the most expensive yachts and sailing ships on the East Coast. It also is a favorite RON spot for yachts and vessels heading north or south on the ICW so it's always a treat to see several new transient boats tied up to the city's docks and piers.

        9. Tours are offered to the barrier islands/Outer Banks and to the Cape Lookout lighthouse. If you visit Harkers Island which is close by, there wasn't a bridge to the island from the mainland till after WWII so it was isolated but still today many of the locals speak with an Elizabethan accent called "Down East." Harkers Island was known for building excellent wooden fishing boats. A 45-minute tour of the Beaufort's downtown waterfront is offered on a 97 HP London double-decker bus! The tour conductor is a charming southern belle with a deep Southern accent! She is known as the "Mouth of the South!" She's worth the tour all by itself!

        JE comments:  The Sullivans invited us to one of Beaufort's seafood places a few years back, and it was marvelous.  I remember Michael teaching us the crucial distinction between Beaufort, North Carolina (Bo-fort, as in Beauregard), and Beaufort, South Carolina, which is pronounced Byoofort, like beautiful.  (I had to double-check that.)

        I want to go back!  Of course, the best part of any visit to the Havelock-Beaufort-New Bern area is spending time with Michael and Nicole Sullivan.

        France has both a Beaufort and a Belfort.  I've been to the latter, with its splendid fort guarded by an enormous stone lion (symbol of the city).


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        • Picking Your Favorite City? Don't Try to be Rational (Tor Guimaraes, USA 06/13/18 5:12 AM)
          I am enjoying watching my WAIS friends squirming intellectually to declare their choice of "best" city.

          The best way is to use your left brain. Imagine how you picked your life partner, the love of your life. Is she or he prettiest? the smartest or most talented?  Or the most in any of a large collection of important attributes? That does not work, does it? You picked your lover because s/he looked attractive at first glance, when you kissed her/him you were kissed back, and it felt wonderful. S/he may have a few warts but they disappeared in comparison with the wonderful bouquet of nice things you receive when you share time together.

          Cities like San Francisco, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Kyoto, etc. are all wonderful and full of life. Selecting your city should be very similar. Someone may look at my favorite city (Venice) and say the damned town is sinking, it's old, and in some places stinks. Each city has a personality, perhaps not as clearly defined as a person, but much easier to define than a country. That is why I could pick Venice but have only been able to pick a few "best" countries: Portugal, Austria, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Japan, and Switzerland.

          I particularly enjoyed reading Michael Sullivan's post because for the last several years our family has rented a beach house in the summer. We seem to like North Carolina and over the years have rented from the northern tip of the Outer Banks all way to Sail Beach. My son and I have explored the area just south of the Outer Banks and stopped in Moorhead City which we enjoyed very much. We missed Beaufort up to now but after Michael's description I already asked my wife to target Beaufort for next summer. It seems really nice.

          JE comments:  Isn't the left brain the logical side, and the right side intuitive and emotional?  I never knew how they figured this out in any case.

          Few would place Bogotá on their list of "best" cities, but it has a bustling vibrancy and an intellectual vibe.  I have some pics to share (next).

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    • Ric Mauricio's Favorite World City (John Eipper, USA 06/10/18 7:40 AM)
      Ric Mauricio writes:

      Count me in with Tor G and John E; coffee on the Piazza San Marco!

      I live in the Silicon Valley, so I assume the city of San Francisco is out as my favorite.

      I have yet to visit Italy with its great cities.  In fact, now that I think of it, I am clearly lacking in my travel experiences. The cities I have visited are Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Luxembourg City, and Paris.

      Hands down amongst those, my favorite is Paris. Oo la la. I loved New York's Broadway, enjoyed London and liked Beijing, especially running up the Great Wall.  I was disappointed in Hong Kong (why travel to a place that looks much like ours, with high-end shopping centers?), and was bored with Brussels and Luxembourg. The Belgian countryside is much more appealing.

      JE comments:  I'm still undecided on my vote, but I need some guidelines.  How big is my hypothetical bankroll?  Paris is hard to beat when money's no object.  Ditto, San Francisco.  Give me a job and beautiful lodgings and I'll move to either in a heartbeat.  Otherwise, I'll elect a value-priced favorite city.  And do I want to go for a touristy place, like Venice, Toledo, San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), or somewhere "real"?  Finally, is beauty the only object, or friendliness, culture, cuisine, and comfort?

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