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Parchment in the Fire: Income, Class and Austerity in Southern Europe

Data from Southern Europe indicates a trend of wealth distribution to the top 20% of income earners since the onset of austerity. At the outset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2007, the income share of the bottom 20% of income earners in Greece and Portugal increased, whereas the income share of the top 20%… More Income, Class and Austerity in Southern Europe . . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: Income, Class and Austerity in Southern Europe

The Disaffected Lib: Next Up, Spain

As events unfold over the next few weeks following today’s No victory in Greece there’ll be plenty of people watching in Spain.  That country’s Podemos movement promotes a similar sort of anti-austerity platform to that of Greece’s Syrzia.  It’s hard to imagine today’s defiant events in Greece not having a knock on effect in Spain and perhaps Italy also.

I’ve spent some time this afternoon prowling the web for online European newspapers, stopping to look at their photos of street celebrations across Greece. What struck me is how generational this seems.  Unlike the earlier protest marches where the crowds were (Read more…)

Things Are Good: From Mafia Home to Art Gallery

Italy is home to the oldest operating museum, the Uffizi, and the country is (probably) home to the oldest operating mafia. But it may come as a bit of a surprise to find out that an old mafia home is being converted to a new museum.

In an ongoing and complicated effort to stop the influence of the mafia on Italian society a former mafia mansion seized by the police is being converted to an art gallery. This is not the first time that old property belonging to mafia crime lords has been converted to something that benefits all people.

(Read more…) Ernie goes to Italy: Part I

I was going to blog about Italy today, but I didn’t get around to it. Here’s the thing: an Italy post needs pictures. I have a new camera (a real one, not a phone) and I’ve started learning Adobe Lightroom but I’m still figuring it out. So far I’ve imported our 1,987 Italy pictures, sorted them, keyworded most of them and fixed the color balance on some of them. But I haven’t yet finished editing or exporting any photographs. So I’m not quite ready to blog about all the wonderful things GC, Ernesto and I did and saw in Italy.

(Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The Eurozone’s ‘New Austerity Model’ » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The Eurozone’s ‘New Austerity Model’ » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

by Jack Rasmus

In the coming weeks and months, as the Eurozone economy weakens still further, it is likely that debates and splits within the Eurozone capitalist elites will continue to intensify.

The Eurozone economy has never really recovered from the 2008-09 financial crash and recession. Austerity policies—that played a major role in preventing a sustained Eurozone economic recovery for the past five years—are now evolving into still newer forms.

Events in the recent past in Spain, measures approved in just the past week by the newly (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Renzi seeks to avert labour battlefield – English –

Renzi seeks to avert labour battlefield – English –


Rome, November 7 – Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday reiterated a warning against letting labour-reform issues become a “terrain of conflict”. “I’ve made this appeal in the last few days and I’ll make it again,” he said at the opening of a Piaggio Aerospace plant at Villanova d’Albenga near the French border. Tension is high between Renzi’s executive and Italy’s biggest trade union confederation, the CGIL – especially its metalworkers’ arm FIOM – over the government’s Jobs Act labour reform. The reform features changes for new hires (Read more…) Ciao!

GC and I are off to Italy tomorrow, for two weeks of exploring, eating and drinking wine! We’re starting in Venice, then going to Florence, followed by a few days in the Tuscan countryside, and finishing up in Rome.

We’re going to the San Michelle’s cemetery in Venice, the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence, the Tuscan hill towns, the Catacombs, the Vatican! We’re going to geocache! We’re going to see the Sistine Chapel! We’re taking a 4-hour eating tour of Rome! We’re staying on an agriturismo farm in Pescina, Seggiano! We’re going to bathe in the hot springs of Saturnia! I’m (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Unions incensed after ‘surreal’ meeting – English –

Unions incensed after ‘surreal’ meeting – English –

(ANSA) – Rome, October 27 – The leaders of Italy’s four main labor union federations were incensed Monday after a meeting with government ministers, ostensibly to discuss the government’s proposed 2015 budget, turned out to be what they said was a one-sided exercise. The government sent its labor, economy, and civil service ministers to the table without a mandate to negotiate, respond, or even schedule further meetings, the union leaders said. “They had no mandate to debate anything with us,” said CGIL chief Susanna Camusso. “This government does not intend (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: CGIL rally: 1 million, plus 1,000 police, and PD MPs – English –

CGIL rally: 1 million, plus 1,000 police, and PD MPs – English –

(ANSA) – Rome, October 24 – As many as one million people, one thousand police officers, and a small number of dissident members of the governing Democratic Party (PD) are expected at a major rally called for Saturday by Italy’s largest trade-union federation CGIL against Premier Matteo Renzi’s Jobs Act. The rally has been planned for several weeks as the country’s most left-wing union takes aim at provisions in the Jobs Act, which is moving through Parliament and would reduce job protections for new employees. (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Renzi budget has business ‘dreaming’ and unions worried – English –

Renzi budget has business ‘dreaming’ and unions worried – English –

CGIL and FIOM metalworkers rally for jobs Redazione ANSA Rome

14 October 2014

(ANSA) – Rome, October 14 – Italy’s employers on Tuesday hailed Premier Matteo Renzi’s forthcoming 2015 budget bill as a dream come true while Italy’s largest CGIL labor federation slammed it as a recessive move that does not do enough for workers. The 30-billion-euro budget featuring 18 billion euros in tax cuts aims to kick-start the Italian economy, which is now its third recession in six years. It goes to the cabinet for ratification (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Why Italy’s stagnation could be the future for the entire eurozone | Riccardo Bellofiore | Comment is free |

Why Italy’s stagnation could be the future for the entire eurozone | Riccardo Bellofiore | Comment is free |

This summer Italy fell into a triple-dip recession. After the 2008/09 collapse, the economy stagnated, heading back into recession during 2011 and never really recovering. The philosophy of Giulio Tremonti, who was the economic minister at the time, was to wait and see, until speculation killed Berlusconi’s government. Prime ministers Mario Monti and Enrico Letta followed Brussels’ self-defeating diktat for fiscal rigour, but even with moderate deficits the public debt/GDP ratio soared.

The situation remained under control only (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Youth unemployment reaches record high – English –

Youth unemployment reaches record high – English –

(ANSA) – Rome, July 31 – Unemployment among young Italians climbed last month to 43.7%, a level not seen in 37 years, according to statistics Thursday that presented further evidence of the continuing weakness in the country’s lackluster economy.

The jobless rate among Italians aged 15 to 24 rose from a revised 43.1% in May, said national statistical agency Istat, adding that June’s level of 43.7% was the highest since it began keeping quarterly jobs statistics in 1977.

“The economic situation is less than favourable,” said Economy (Read more…)

cartoon life: My sister in Italy, again this year

My sister in Italy, again this year

My sister is travelling again through various places in Italy again this summer. Here is the blog posting pics and notes, most writing from her friend Karen. I enjoy reading about the places she gets off to, so I’m sharing this with all of you. Its fun, it’s personal. And the pictures are quite good.

Filed under: art Tagged: italy, travel

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Interchange a Highway

Atlanta isn’t known for being a walkable city. Florence, Italy has a better reputation.

This is kind of mind blowing, and should have people thinking about overpasses and cloverleaf highways in a different way. Auto-sprawl has many costs.

Florence Italy and a highway interchange in Atlanta at same scale. @stevemouzon— (@TreeHugger) June 12, 2014

Parchment in the Fire: Capital, Labour, and the Eurozone Crisis

Most of the coverage regarding the Eurozone crisis has understandably focused on the politics of austerity. Less attention, however, has been paid to the longer term trends in the industrial relations of those countries hardest hit by the crisis: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain; the so-called PIIGS countries.

Recent data from the European Industrial Relations Observatory reveals some interesting trends in the relationship between capital and labour in the context of the Eurozone crisis. More specifically, it reveals a trend towards declining labour costs and rising labour productivity, meaning that the so-called ‘recovery’ is being constructed by squeezing workers, (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Hookers to be part of Italy’s GDP

Italy’s National Institute of Statistics recently announced that next year it will start including activities such as prostitution and illegal drug sales in the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

And why not. After all, these activities create jobs and incomes and are therefore an integral part of a national economy. Estimating them will present a challenge, of course, as they are not usually

Parchment in the Fire: EU officials plotted IMF attack to bring rebellious Italy to its knees – Telegraph Blogs

EU officials plotted IMF attack to bring rebellious Italy to its knees – Telegraph Blogs.

The revelations about EMU skulduggery are coming thick and fast. Tim Geithner recounts in his book Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises just how far the EU elites are willing to go to save the euro, even if it means toppling elected leaders and eviscerating Europe’s sovereign parliaments.

Filed under: Austerity, Crisis, Democracy, Europe Tagged: Democracy, Eurozone Crisis, Italy, neoliberalism

Parchment in the Fire: Labour-reform decree gets final approval – English –

Labour-reform decree gets final approval – English –

The Lower House on Thursday gave final approval to the government’s decree to simplify Italy’s labour-market regulations. It passed with 279 votes in favour, 143 against and three abstentions. The decree has come under intense fire from trade unions, which say it will further weaken job security. Premier Matteo Renzi’s executive had to put the decree to three confidence votes to speed up its passage through parliament and quash dissent over the measure from within the ruling coalition.

The legislation is part of a drive to simplify Italy’s current myriad (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Would a Social Co-operative Work in the Cowichan Valley?

Robert Douglas-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

More than two hundred unionized workers at Duncan’s Sunridge Place were recently given pink slips.

This came after the owner of the seniors care facility reached an agreement to sell the operation to a Vancouver-based firm.

Layoffs are effective in early June, when the deal should be finalized.

The announcement caught many off guard. Caregivers, residents and their families are concerned about the disruption and what it could mean for those receiving care.

Sunridge employees also fear the new owner may contract out their jobs, or re-hire them through a sub-contractor at a lower wage.

There’s (Read more…)

cartoon life: Looking back on Vernazza 2

Filed under: art Tagged: Cinque Terre, italy, Popsicolor, procreate app

cartoon life: Looking back 1 v.2

I think I fixed the composition problems from the first version. Looking back on Vernazza in the Parco Nazionalle de Cinque Terre, Italy.

Filed under: art Tagged: art, Cinque Terre, good stuff, italy, landscape, light, mountains, seascape

cartoon life: S Basilio Harbour, Venice

Some interesting treatment in the buildings. The space isn’t too awful, but the surface of the piece itself is a mix of styles. There is that 3D space from the bottom edge to the horizon played against the flat abstract of the buildings. The sky is not too bad, it’s both flat and roomy. But the water spreads itself luxuriously out before you, stretching into space, rather than, like the sky, bluntly compressed and quite forward. Interesting problems.

Filed under: art Tagged: italy, venice

cartoon life: Looking back

Now, this… This is based on a photo grabbed in a glimpse of a second, looking back out of the car window. I tried working over the photo. But it was dead. Thankfully, deleted into oblivion. But redrawn fresh, and stretched into a memory, a quick remembrance of the Parco Nazionale della Cinque Terre, a promontory, looking back on Vernazza.

Filed under: art Tagged: Cinque Terre, italy

cartoon life: The Pantheon 2

The 1700 year old part.

Filed under: art Tagged: italy, Rome

cartoon life: The Pantheon

Raphael sleeps here.

Filed under: art Tagged: italy, Rome