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  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(November 17, 2013)
    Stormy seas lie ahead but for the moment Premier Enrico Letta is riding on the crest of a wave. With the now definitive splintering of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's highly personalized political party, his formally reborn Forza Italia passes into the minority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Thanks to Alfano's defection from Berlusconi, Letta hopes to remain in office until at least 2015. It is a victory for stability and, with luck, will postpone new national general elections even as economic problems continue to plague the country.
  • Bill De Blasio I believe has the best chance among real progressives to win the mayoralty and to take New York City in a different, more hopeful direction. It’s time for New Yorkers to take back THEIR city from those who have used it to enrich themselves at our expense. Bill de Blasio can help us put the Statue of Liberty back on its pedestal in New York politics. He also just happens to be Italian.
  • Saturday's five-hour powwow at Silvio Berlusconi's villa at Arcore, near Milan, was attended by his entire roster of backers. The aim: to decide what political moves remain open to him now that a high court has found him guilty of tax dodging. Should his supporters continue to press President Giorgio Napolitano for an amnesty, when his request would appear an admission of guilt? Since Napolitano gives no sign of being willing to grant such an amnesty, that is excluded. Meantime Premier Enrico Letta has also refused to give Berlusconi an out. The result is that new elections appear ever more likely.
  • Through careful mediation, President Giorgio Napolitano has succeeded in calming at least some of the troubled waters of political Italy. This is a victory for Italy, for justice, for Premier Enrico Letta's coalition government, but also for the moderates within former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's splintered Freedom Party (PdL), who have been counseling a cautious approach even as an obviously depressed Berlusconi himself launches a new party. "I'd like to grant an amnesty but can't," said Napolitano in essence, while guaranteeing that Berlusconi will not go to prison.
  • At 8:04 pm Silvio Berlusconi, 77-year-old former premier, learned from the TV set in his huge apartment within Palazzo Grazioli, just steps away from Palazzo Venezia in Rome, that the Italian high court, the Cassations, had come down on him, but softly enough that he can breathe a deep sigh of relief. And so can today's left-leaning premier, Enrico Letta, who heads a government in tandem with Berlusconi's Partito della Liberta' (PdL). Convicted to a four-year sentence which is unlikely to be served, he will be retried, however, on the question of his possible interdiction from public office.
  • Whereas Jesus Christ stopped at Eboli on his way elsewhere and has yet to make a confirmed appearance anywhere in the bailiwick of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, I am happy to report that the ironically Christ-like radical Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci, has finally made it to The Bronx; but only by way of Switzerland.
  • Facts & Stories
    Robyn Mass(July 05, 2013)
    In a recent collection of essays a group of scholars explore the Italian side of American politics. Starting from Andrew Cuomo’s election in New York
  • The news that former Premier Silvio Berlusconi had been convicted to seven years in prison and to lifetime interdiction from public office had Italians of every walk of life and every political persuasion excited today. But there are broader considerations. In past weeks a canny Silvio Berlusconi said again and again that, no matter what the courts decided in the case of the state vs his Bunga Bunga-ing with minors, it would have no effect upon the government. But can this be true? The answer is no.
  • New York City and Italy have a great deal in common, starting and ending with self-destructive electorates; voters who are intent on putting into office people who, in one way or another, hold them in contempt. In both electoral democracies, We The People are generally too ignorant and self-absorbed to notice that the pain we feel is self-inflicted. How does this happen? Again and again....