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Friday, March 23, 2007

Trading Places II

Kyle Sampson has resigned, yet he is still receiving a paycheck. How odd. What shall we call him ? "The former head of staff of Gonzales who is still around DOJ and getting paid US public money", "the USA's luckiest welfare recipient", or "the case load of TANCH (temporary assistance for needy criminal hacks" ? The English language clearly needs a new word.

The word is "dimissionario" which means "resigning". In Italy it is a common practice for a public official to resign or, more exactly, "porre il suo resignazione" (offer his or her resignation) without actually leaving office. This is followed by some negotiation and then the "resignazione" tends to "rientrare" that is be withdrawn. Roughly this is equivalent to the English "threatens to resign," except the threat is presented as an completed act. I snearingly described the status "dimissionario" a typically Italian bit of hypocricy (and I sneared to Italians who, with typical Italian upside down nationalism, were delighted by my observation). Now with the dimissionario Kyle Sampson, the US under Bush has imported another fine Italian tradition to go along with unpunished corruption and other public sector illegality.

I understand, however, that balsamic vinegar is now available in the USA, so the cultural exchange does have its good aspects.

Below I remark on the odd fact that illegal wiretaps lead to "mandati d'arresto" in Italy and a bogus debate in which the Republicans claim that Democrats do not want to wiretap terrorists in the USA. I also note that prosecutors in Italy are genuinely protected from political interference as they have the status of "magistrates" which means "prosecutors or judges" and can't be fired at will (well who can be fired at will in Italy other than the cabinet and it's undersecretaries). One becomes a magistrate by scoring high on a test on the law which is graded anonymously. What a country eh ? This post got 2 links and a thanks.

Today I noticed another way in which the US under Bush has imported something which I considered as typically Italian as unpunished public sector criminality. Hence the new post.

I think Trading Places will be a regular feature of this blog, at least until the US adopts universal health insurance, increases life expectency, reduces infant mortality and cuts health care spending in half (including an absolutely free actual house call which I really witnessed with my own eyes) and well lots of good Italian things which you can't tell Italians about, because praise of the Italian state makes Italians act like Americans who have just heard criticism of the USA from a foreigner.

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