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Post "Mission Accomplished" in Syria Strike: Trump
Created by John Eipper on 04/15/18 5:16 AM

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"Mission Accomplished" in Syria Strike: Trump (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 04/15/18 5:16 am)

Oh, my goodness. Good Old Trump has tweeted: "Mission accomplished." Does this mean another 15+ years of war in Syria?

JE comments: Bush II's "Mission Accomplished" boast for Iraq brought him 5 years of grief. Is Trump's Dumbest Tweet Ever the result of his hubris or complete tone-deafness?  My answer would be "yes."

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  • Trump's "Mission Accomplished" and Financial Shenanigans; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 04/15/18 2:13 PM)
    Ric Mauricio writes:

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The reports of Trump's successes are greatly exaggerated."

    In an earlier WAIS posting, I posted his investment underperformance relative to the passive S&P 500 and conservatively leveraged commercial real estate.

    Of course, this underperformance is really not surprising, given his "successes."

    The Trump Taj Mahal, which opened in 1990, went through 4 bankruptcies, 1991, 2004, 2009, and 2014 before being sold to Carl Icahn, closing in 2016. During the time that Trump owned it, the casino paid a $10 million fine for willful violations of the US Bank Secrecy Act (which targets money laundering) and admitted doing it on purpose. When an investment analyst issued a "sell" on the Taj Mahal stock, Trump was so angry that he had the analyst fired and destroyed his career.

    The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan, was abandoned in 2016 and remains empty. Side note: The project developers Elton and Anar Mammadov are known as the "Corleones of the Caspian." Duffel bags of cash were used to pay contractors. Hmmm. Money laundering, anyone?

    The Trump SOHO in New York was foreclosed upon in 2014 and was renamed the Dominick Hotel by CIM Group, a California real estate investor, in December 2017. Trump's partners were Feliz Sater, a Russian who had pled guilty of stock manipulation, and Tamir Sapir, a Russian mobster. Financing for that hotel came from an Icelandic bank with ties to Putin.

    The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, Canada was never owned by Trump but managed by the Trump Organization until June 2017 and the hotel renamed Adelaide Hotel Toronto. Side note: The developer, Alex Shnaider, sold a business to a Russian-controlled bank where Vladimir Putin was chairman of the board. He arranged for the project to be financed by another foreign bank, accused of acting as a conduit for Russian money laundering. Trump's first partner was Leib Waldman, who fled the US after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud and embezzlement.

    The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, British Columbia is not owned by Trump but managed by the Trump Organization. The FBI is investigating Ivanka Trump, who oversaw the hotel's interior design. Joo Kim Tiah, the hotel developer and son of tycoon Tony Tiah Thee Kian, is also under investigation. Kian pleaded guilty for Malaysian stock manipulation and barred from corporate boardrooms for five years.

    The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower opened in 2011 in Panama City. On March 5, 2018, the majority owner obtained a court order and physically removed Trump Organization personnel from the building. The project's lead broker, Alexandre Nogueira, admitted to money laundering and was arrested for fraud and forgery in other projects. He has fled the country, probably staying at the Trump Tower. All-cash deals for condos, a red flag for money laundering, were commonplace at Trump Panama. Convicted drug-money launderer Colombian David Guzman bought 10 condos. Russian money launderers Andrey Bogdanov and Ivan Kazanikov bought a dozen.

    And reports of Trump's failures are greatly exalted. Yes, he is so smart, outsmarting the IRS with a $19 million loss.

    As an aside, Mao's corpse in the mausoleum is a waxen figure. The story is that they tried to preserve his body for posterity, but the body continued to decompose, and finally, since they had already created the wax figure, they decided to utilize that instead. No one knows what happened to the real body. When I was in Beijing, my wife asked me if I was going to buy a souvenir with Mao's visage. Knowing his history, I refused to do so. The only thing I have with his visage is a picture of that huge picture of him at the entrance to Tiananmen Square and the few bits of paper currency.

    JE comments:  My mind is thoroughly boggled, Ric.  One thing has emerged from this weekend's missiles and tweets:  Trump and Putin are no longer BFFs.  Although wouldn't a healthy spike in oil prices be just what Vladimir Vladimirovich needs?

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    • Fooling Some of the People, All of the People... (John Heelan, UK 04/17/18 5:04 AM)
      Congratulations to Ric Mauricio for his superb analysis (15 April) of "SuperTrump."

      It seems to me that the President's boasts are acquiring the same reliability as street scene facades on Universal Studios film sets.  They look good but have no depth and could be blown away by a sudden squall.

      Perhaps Trump should remember the dictum on fooling people attributed to Lincoln but more likely first elucidated by the Frenchman Jacques Abbadie in 1684: "Ont pû tromper quelques hommes, ou les tromper tous dans certains lieux & en certains tems, mais non pas tous les hommes, dans tous les lieux & dans tous les siècles." "One can fool some men, or fool all men in some places and times, but one cannot fool all men in all places and ages.")

      See https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/12/11/cannot-fool/

      JE comments:  Proof of the polarized times we live in:  Trump has fooled some of the people all of the time, and the rest of the people none of the time.

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    • Andrei Bogdanov (Boris Volodarsky, Austria 04/19/18 5:06 AM)
      I have only one very unimportant question to the impressive post by Ric Mauricio of 15 April:

      Is Andrei Bogdanov, whom Ric mentions as a known money launderer, this same Bogdanov?


      Thank you, Ric.

      JE comments:  Ric?  The Bogdanov linked above wears several hats, including the Chairman of the Communist Party of Social Justice and Grand Master of the Russian Freemasons. 

      Freemasonry was always one of Professor Hilton's topics of interest.  In the "old days," the Masons were implicated in conspiracy theories of every stripe.  There was even a significant American political movement in the 1820s, the Anti-Masonic Party.

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      • Two Bogdanovs: Andrei V and Andrey I (from Ric Mauricio) (John Eipper, USA 04/20/18 3:57 AM)
        Ric Mauricio responds to Boris Volodarsky (19 April):

        No, actually the first name is spelled Andrey, not Andrei. The patronymic is Iurevici.

        From a news article in 2015:

        BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian prosecutors have indicted Russia's Petrotel Lukoil refinery in Romania and its director-general, who is a Russian citizen, in a 2 billion euro criminal probe, prosecutors said in a statement. "Prosecutors from the Ploiesti court of appeals completed the inquiry and indicted Andrey Iurevici Bogdanov, a Russian citizen ... for money laundering and for the use in bad faith of the company's capital," it said. Three other Petrotel officials were also indicted, as was the Netherlands-registered Lukoil Europe Holdings Bvatrium, the statement said. (Reporting by Radu Marinas; editing by Matthias Williams)

        JE comments:  Andrei/y are two transliterations of the same Russian name.  Iurevici must be a "Romanianization" of Yurevich, son of Yuri.

        Confused?  Here's Ric Mauricio's original post on Andrey Iurevici Bogdanov:


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      • Conspiracy Theories and the Freemasons; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 04/21/18 4:05 AM)

        Gary Moore writes:

        Re the Freemasons (see Boris Volodarsky, April 19, to Ric Mauricio), the great
        swarm of conspiracy theories surrounding the Masons, especially the
        Illuminati-hating sermons around 1800, were cock-eyed imaginings,
        but the mere fact that most conspiracy theories are crazed doesn't mean
        real conspiracies don't exist.

        In the early nineteenth century a group
        of irate Masons probably did kill the self-appointed tell-all writer Morgan
        in upstate New York (the body was never found), and, though Masonic rules
        have usually been successful in forbidding political intrigues, there are
        prestigious exceptions. The entire continent of South America flared
        with independence fever in the wake of the Lodge of the Americas,
        a radical Masonic group in London that nurtured Bolívar, San Martin, O'Higgins,
        and Miranda, while a floral nicety, the poinsettia. is named after the South
        Carolina-born ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, who John Adams called
        home for intriguing among warring Masonic lodges south of the border.

        But more famous and closer to home was the Green Dragon Tavern, in whose
        jolly upstairs lodge room the Boston Tea Party was hatched. The theories tend
        not to dwell on the fact that the freethinking, deistic Masons emphasize the value
        of free public education, down to the present day, so the theorists sometimes
        ignore an obscure-sounding but Masonic-linked group called Americans United
        For Separation of Church and State (Pope Clement XII followed the Inquisition in
        1738 in banning Masonry). The obscure-sounding group has taken a disputed degree
        of interest in American educational issues, perhaps extending to Brown v. Board
        of Education
        in 1954. The Masons are quick to point out that much of this history is public, so
        as far as dedicated conspiracy theories go, the CIA or the Trilaterals are more
        suited to non-falsifiable romance.

        JE comments:  Gary, do I understand correctly that Brown v Board may have been lost if not for the blessing (or intervention?) of the Freemasons?

        Linda Brown was the young plaintiff in the landmark Topeka case.  We didn't acknowledge her passing last month (March 25th), at the age of 75.

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      • Masons, Mozart, and Science (Istvan Simon, USA 05/05/18 9:05 AM)
        In response to Boris Volodarsky (21 April), I don't know much about Freemasons in recent times, but I do know that in the 18th century Freemasons included many distinguished and prominent men, including Mozart and many of his patrons.

        Masonry included from its very origins a respect for science and geometry, evident from the symbol for Freemasons.

        As usual Wikipedia has a very good introduction to the history of Freemasonry:


        JE comments:  I just learned I've been harboring a misunderstanding for the last thirty years:  the "Eye of Providence" on the US dollar bill (see below) is not directly inspired by the Masons.  (This from Wikipedia.)  The Masons did not use the eye symbol until 14 years after its adoption in the US, and among the creators of the US seal, only Benjamin Franklin was a Freemason.

        Regardless of its provenance, I still say the symbol is creepy.

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        • Masonry and Anti-Masonry in US History; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 05/06/18 4:31 AM)

          Gary Moore writes:

          On JE's comment to Istvan Simon about the Masons (May 5):
          the choosing of the pyramid and eye for the Great Seal of the
          United States was done, as a Government Printing Office
          document explains in our own time, by a post-revolutionary
          committee whose records have been lost.

          Ben Franklin,
          who once fondly presented a Masonic apron to an ailing Voltaire,
          was on the committee. This doesn't necessarily mean the Masons
          were rigging the show and tacitly boasting of controlling the
          new nation. But it does remind that the symbols were clearly
          chosen to reflect deist rationalism: There is a God, whose eye
          is on us, but we shouldn't kill each other over Whose He is
          (with apologies to the deists). Istvan is right that many prominent
          and respected men of that age (and later ages) were Masons,
          though in the US they hit rough water in the revivalism of the Second
          Great Awakening after 1800, and by the 1820s frantic preaching
          against the alleged devil-worshipers (with or without the Illuminati)
          was encouraging mobs to hound prominent Masons in the streets.
          This vitiated the ranks and influence of Masonry in the Northeast,
          and its power center moved more to the frontier--the South and West.

          It's interesting to go to the US Capitol and see, in one of the well-trodden
          basement corridors there, an elaborate mural painted on the ceiling, depicting
          George Washington in his Masonic apron, as he lays the cornerstone of the
          Capitol itself. That cornerstone, too, with its Masonic emblem, can still be
          seen outside. And, to move the lens just down the Mall, the subscription list
          for the financing of the Washington Monument in the early nineteenth century
          tends to confirm what the pseudo-pharaonic architecture of the monument
          makes pretty clear anyway: This American landmark was largely a Masonic project.
          Behind the delusional preachings about devil-worshipers, there were real patterns
          in society, staring at us cryptically, in plain sight.

          JE comments:  My favorite (perhaps that's not the best word--most compelling?) Masonic story concerns the execution of Mexico's Maximilian in 1867.  Shortly before facing the firing squad, the Emperor gave the secret Masonic distress signal.  His executioners included some Masons, but they shot him anyway.  (Benito Juárez, who ordered the execution, was also a Mason.)

          Google "Maximilian was a Mason" and your first hit is this posting from WAIS antiquity (2000):


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  • Syria Strike Did Not Go Far Enough (Istvan Simon, USA 04/16/18 3:43 AM)
    I am not surprised by Eugenio Battaglia's take on the US joint intervention with France and the UK to destroy Assad's chemical weapons laboratories and storage facilities.

    I am a huge opponent of President Trump, as anyone that reads these pages knows. But I support partially his strikes on Assad. My regret is that the President's rhetoric was sharply at odds with the military strikes that were actually ordered.

    If I were the president, I would have ordered not only the destruction of these chemical weapons facilities, but I would have destroyed every single airfield of Assad, and his entire air force. The advantages of that approach would have been that Assad's capabilities to murder his own people would have been severely degraded with or without chemical weapons. I would have also destroyed Assad's presidential palace, much like President Reagan, in my opinion correctly, targeted Colonel Gaddafi in Libya after the outrageous terrorist attacks on a civilian airliner over Lockerbie.

    On the negative side, the president says that our strikes are for humanitarian reasons. Indeed the attack on children and unarmed civilians with chemical agents is a war crime, and cannot be tolerated. But neither can the destruction of Aleppo which we tolerated without a peep from the then presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    Also, it is ridiculous to say that we are protecting civilians from Assad's murderous assaults, and at the same time we close our borders to war refugees. Under this disgraceful president, according to CNN, exactly 11 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the United States in 2018. More than 3,000 were admitted in 2017, and more than 15,000 in 2016. These policies of the Trump administration are disgraceful, inhuman, and at odds with our humanitarian values.

    JE comments:  Two questions:  Is there any way the Allies could have targeted Assad's air force without attacking Russian planes, too?  Wouldn't this be an unambiguous declaration of war?  The US thought so on December 7th, 1941. 

    Second, when you bombard a chemical-weapons depot, aren't the health and environmental risks potentially devastating?

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    • Strike on Syria; The Ghastly Olympics of Mass Murder: Mao, Stalin, Hitler (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/17/18 4:29 AM)
      Lately we have been discussing the topic of who murdered more people. For sure Mao gets the gold medal, the silver to Stalin and the bronze to Hitler for mass murder in the long term.

      However, the gold medal for mass murder on a single day, by far, goes to the US, on several occasions. The greatest was the bombing of Tokyo, 9 March 1943, with 100,000 to 200,000 civilians burnt alive. Other attacks on Germany and Japan were nearly as deadly--and of course there was Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  (In Italy we had "only" a total of 74,000 civilians killed in the bombings.)

      I will give the silver medal to the UK for Operation Gomorrah on Hamburg, 28 July 1943.

      Maybe we could give the bronze to the USSR for sinking the hospital ships carrying refugees from East Prussia.  The vessel Wilhelm Gustloff on 30 January 1945 had 10,000 civilians drowned (Italy had 5 hospital ships sunk by torpedoes, 3 by aerial bombing and another 5 damaged).

      Oh, returning to the missile attack on Syria, if the delegates of the OPCW have just arrived to investigate if there was a chemical weapons attack, by what proof and authority did the US, UK and France bomb Syria?

      JE comments:  Has anyone heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff museum in Hampton, Virginia?  I am not clear if there is a brick-and-mortar place to visit or not, but the website does feature plenty of swastikas:


      Unsurprisingly, officials from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have not been allowed full access to the Syrian sites.  Doesn't this mean the Russo-Syrian denials will be able to continue indefinitely?

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      • Sinking of "Wilhelm Gustloff": Kraft Durch Freude (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/19/18 5:36 AM)
        A small additional comment on the vessel Wilhelm Gustloff.

        The ship was known in Italy, thanks to a long article in the N° 39 4/II/1942 of La Svastika, the German cultural magazine for Italians. It is not to be confused with the international Signal, which was mostly dedicated to the war. La Svastika introduced and described the "Kraft Durch Freude," modeled on the Italian "Dopolavoro" (Afterwork) program, with a photo of the Wilhelm Gustloff.

        The fleet for people's vacations and trips consisted of 10 transoceanic vessels, of which the more luxurious were the Gustloff and the Robert Ley, the first named after the murdered Swiss Nazi leader and the second for the leader of the Kraft Durch Freude.

        The sinking of the vessel was a big trophy for the USSR, even if the poor captain of the submarine was somewhat in trouble for a brothel incident.  After all the great writer Ilya Ehrenburg said, "If you have not killed at least one German a day you have wasted the day."

        JE comments:  I knew that Hitler based his Autobahnen on Mussolini's Autostrade, but I was unaware of the Italian provenance of Strength through Joy.  Car nuts like myself of course remember Kraft Durch Freude through its automotive legacy, the Volkswagen Beetle.

        Tell us more about Dopolavoro, Eugenio.

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        • Mussolini's Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (National Recreation Club) (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/21/18 4:25 AM)
          In response to John E's request, here's a short history of the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (National Recreational Club).

          Mario Missiroli (1886-1974) was a great writer, newsman and director of newspapers including the very important Il Corriere della Sera.  He started writing when only 15 years old, and was a close friend of Georges Sorel.

          He was an antifascist and on 13 May 1922 he faced Mussolini in a duel. Missiroli was injured so the duel was suspended, but there was no reconciliation: During the political crisis following the murder of Matteorri in 1924, Missiroli strongly attacked Mussolini.

          However in 1926 through the good offices of his friend Carpinati, member of the government, he entered the Fascist Party while continuing to write.

          In 1937 Missiroli published the book Cosa deve l'Italia a Mussolini (What Italy owes to Mussolini), where among many other topics, he explained the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro. The book is a very interesting read.

          Mussolini founded the OND on 1 May 1925: It was, in a very large sense, structured like the YMCA and was (originally) apolitical.

          According to Mussolini, the OND was charged with providing the founding, organization and direction of institutes to intellectually, morally and physically elevate all the workers in their leisure time (he had reduced the working hours to 40 per week). This included physical education with plays and sports, artistic education with amateur theater, musical performances, radio, films and the famous Carro di Tespi, a much-celebrated traveling theater. There were also cultural events on a general level. On top of this, there was insurance protection for injuries during OND activities, social assistance, seaside and mountain resorts, and inexpensive trains to visit all parts of Italy.

          Just one example in the cultural field: 1300 public libraries were created, which also operated evening schools and popular universities. There were 87 Cultural Societies in 1927, but 1800 already by 1928.

          By the way, please remember that for Mussolini workers were all producers, including manual workers, intellectuals, peasants and artists.

          The OND was a fabulous Mussolinian achievement, which with other fundamental achievements such as the GIL Gioventù Italiana del Littorin, the ONMI Opera Nazionale Maternità ed Infanzia, were providing complete assistance and satisfaction to the Italian people.  They are all gone now...

          A question with apparently no answer.  Why at that time was possible to achieve so much, including autostrade, industrialization, the restoration of agriculture, all while maintaining a national budget, and now these things are impossible?

          JE comments:  Eugenio Battaglia is often pilloried by WAISers for his Mussolini sympathies, but what Eugenio admires most are Il Duce's social programs.  I'm of the pedestrian view that Mussolini's cooperation with Hitler erases anything positive he may have achieved, and moreover he ultimately led his country to ruin in WWII.  But still, is there much difference between Fascist social programs and the New Deal programs developed under FDR?

          One paradox in politics:  the less democracy you have, the more concrete things you can do--if you are the one in power.  The rub:  what about "achievements" that come at your expense, and you have no recourse?  Democracy is messy, but when it works it gives everyone a voice.

          How many duels did Mussolini fight in?  I know of at least two.  Fisticuffs, swords, pistols:  Il Duce embraced 'em all.

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          • Dueling with Il Duce (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/26/18 8:21 AM)

            To answer John E's question of April 21st, Mussolini fought in five duels between 1915 and 1922. He of course won them all.

            His antagonists were the socialist leaders Claudio Treves and Francesco Ciccotti Scozzese, newsman Mario Missiroli, anarchist leader Libero Martino and Cristoforo Baseggio, a military officer.

            Officially, duels were illegal.

            JE comments:  Yikes.  Did Mussolini kill any of those guys?  A quick Googling says no, although Ciccotti was seriously wounded in a sword fight.

            Libero is the perfect name for an anarchist.  Name as destiny?

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            • Dueling in Italy (Roy Domenico, USA 04/26/18 1:51 PM)

              My friend, Steven Hughes, recently retired from U Loyola Maryland, has written on Italian dueling and discussed Mussolini's prowess. Of course when the Duce was a kid, he also stabbed his teacher.

              JE comments:  Dueling was "in" during Romantic times, but it must have lasted far longer in Italy.  Officers in the Prussian army continued dueling throughout the 19th century (gotta have that scar!); see this archived NYT piece from 1897:


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              • Did the Young Mussolini Stab His Teacher? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/28/18 5:08 AM)
                It seems to me that Stephen Hughes has given our good friend Roy Domenico (26 April) a politically correct version of Mussolini's childhood.

                According to the monumental biography by Mino Caudana, Il Figlio del Fabbro (The Son of the Blacksmith), the nine-year-old Mussolini attended a school at Faeza run by the Salesian Fathers.

                The young students at this school were divided into three classes: the nobles/very rich, the middle class/bourgeoisie, and finally the third class comprising children from poor families. Young Benito was in this third group.

                The conditions were appalling. The third-class kids received poor treatment and inferior food at the far end of the dining hall. Not only that, but they were the victims of continuous abuse from the priests and the kids from the other superior classes.

                Mussolini with his already developing social conscience would fight back, and on one occasion he used a penknife against one of the other students. He was severely punished and in the summer of 1894, after the final examinations, he was expelled.

                Maybe the poor kid just wanted justice?

                JE comments:  The Salesian order was founded precisely to help poor children during the Industrial Revolution.  Setting up schools with three social classes doesn't sound very progressive.  The goal must have been to "uplift" the downtrodden while reminding them of their proper place in the pecking order.

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                • A Mussolini Tour (Nigel Jones, UK 04/28/18 10:21 AM)
                  I thought that Eugenio Battaglia and other WAISers might be interested in my reflections on a reconnaissance I carried out this month in Italy on a tour I am leading later this year titled "Duce! The rise and fall of Italian Fascism."  (Details on www.historical trips.com, though the 2018 tour has sold out.)

                  We visited Rome, the Gran Sasso high in the Appenine mountains (from which Mussolini was rescued in a daring commando operation by German airborne forces after he was deposed in 1943); Predappio, the Duce's home town and birth- and final resting place; Verona--where his son-in-law, Foreign Minister Count Ciano, and other Fascists who had voted for his deposition were tried and executed; Lake Garda, HQ of the radical Salo republic set up under Nazi auspices after Mussolini's rescue and restoration to power; and finally Lake Como and Milan, where the Duce, his mistress Clara Petacci and other leading loyal Fascists were caught, shot, and demeaningly strung up upside down.

                  My main surprising impression were the astonishing survival of Fascist artifacts from the era: not only the excellent modernist architecture of, for example, Rome's EUR quarter, but also the openly Fascist murals and statues of the Fora Italico sports complex, of which I reproduce an example below.

                  In stark contrast to Germany, where Nazi symbols such as the swastika are strictly banned, Italians appear quite nonchalant about remembering Mussolini, indeed many of them, including Eugenio, are proud of him!

                  This may be down to the relatively benign nature of the Fascist dictatorship in comparison to the Nazis. (Mussolini, with a few notorious exceptions such as Matteotti and the Roselli brothers, tended to jail his opponents--such as Gramsci--rather than murder them.) Unless you count the war dead among Mussolini's victims, Fascism had a far lower body count than Nazism, and infinitesimally fewer than Communism.

                  Even so, I was quite shocked that Predappio boasts no fewer than three thriving shops doing a roaring trade in Mussolini memorabilia:  Badges, t-shirts, fascist flags, Hitler and Mussolini mugs, and even Fascist coshes. (OK, in the cause of research I admit to buying a Mussolini futurist bust--but a very small one!)

                  The most fascinating contrast came with meeting the Mayor of Predappio, a charming left-winger who wants to turn the large and semi-derelict "House of Fascism" in the town into a proper museum documenting Fascism (but who was happy to show me round his office in the Town Hall, Mussolini's childhood home, which is replete with Fascist insignia), and the man who bought the Villa Carpena, the Mussolini family's country home, from the family a few years ago, and runs it today as a combined shrine and pro-Fascist museum, full of relics of the Duce, including his uniform, motor bike, bicycle, pistol and so on.

                  Relations between the pro- and anti-Fascist factions in the town reminded me of nothing so much as the novel Don Camillo, documenting relations between a Priest and the Communist mayor of just such a small Italian town.

                  I should add that the trip is far from a Duce! tribute tour, and we will strive to be objective--including visiting the site of the notorious Aredeantine Caves massacre carried out by the SS in reprisal for a bomb which killed German troops in March 1944.

                  JE comments:  Note the "V" in Dvce, an attempt to create a classical feel.  Maybe this is why the mosaics remain.

                  Thank you for your fascinating preview, and best of luck for a successful tour, Nigel.  if there should be a reprise in 2019, be sure to let WAIS know.

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