Cattolicesimo Clericalismo Italia Italiano Papato Politica

Curiosi Avvenimenti Intorno A Porta Pia

Manca poco meno di un mese all’ennesimo anniversario riguardo Porta Pia (20 settembre 1870, per chi non se lo ricordasse). Un paio di curiosita’ in proposito:

  • In base a un resoconto dell’epoca (dal New York Times), il 14 settembre Pio IX avrebbe annunciato un Plebiscito sullo status delle aree ancora controllate dal Papa (in pratica, solo il Lazio) . Questo cambierebbe un po’ la storia “lineare” della vittoria del Regno d’Italia cui sarebbe poi seguito il classico “plebiscito” per l’annessione al Regno.
  • In una lettera a Pio IX (lettera il cui testo in italiano non ho ancora trovato), Vittorio Emanuele II dice di dover agire per difendere Roma e l’Italia “dalle forze cosmopolite” e “sovversive”. E quindi non esplicitamente per ripulire il Papato dal Potere Temporale. Non si tratta di una questione trascurabile, perche’ proprio quella lettera consenti’ per esempio al Primo MInistro britannico Gladstone di non dover intervenire militarmente in difesa di Pio IX, nonostante le pressioni ricevute dall’Irlanda (all’epoca, parte dell’Impero della Regina Vittoria)
  • Per “caso” cioe’ no, in quegli stessi mesi c’erano altri grandi cambiamenti: la Prussia vinceva la guerra contro la Francia di Napoleone III, il quale abdicava; la Germania veniva riunificata lasciando la Cattolicissima Austria fuori; e il Papa era appena riuscito a farsi dichiarare “infallibile” dal Concilio Vaticano I. Diventando quindi l’ultimo Papa Re, e il primo Papa moderno.
English Politics USA

Russia Bashing And The Game of Historical Equivalence

(Letter sent to the International Herald Tribune)

It is the international political game for August 2008 to find an equivalent for the situation between Russia and Georgia after the recent conflict. For example, William Kristol has referred to the 1924 Georgian uprising against the USSR (“Will Russia get away with it?“, IHT, Aug 11).

President Mikhail Saakashvili has not been the only one comparing Georgia with Czechoslovakia in 1938 (James Traub’s “Between Georgia and Russia, tinder is lit“, IHT, Aug 10) although he has gone as far as mentioning Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the Soviet crackdown in Prague in 1968 and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 (AP’s “Georgian President’s Russia claims raise eyebrows“, IHT, Aug 14).

Today, Gunnar Hökmark, European Parliamentarian, and Johnny Munkhammar, both of the European Enterprise Institute, suggest “the paralles with Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968” may be “not that far-fetched” (Letters, IHT, Aug 25), whilst Simon Sebag Montefiore makes some eery references to that greatest Russian of Georgian origin, Iosif Dzhugashvili (also known as Stalin) (“In the Shadow of the Red Czar“, Aug 25),


I am afraid most of these commentaries suffer from the tunnel vision that afflicts the victims of their own propaganda.

The root crisis in Georgia has been lasting since 1991, and it is about defining the borders of a newly-minted independent State irrespectfully of the ethnic composition of its regions.

The real parallel should therefore be with the Versailles conference of 1919, that literally re-drew the map of the world after World War I, nominally in the name of peoples’ self-determination but practically in light of narrow-minded goals mostly by France and the United Kingdom.

Far from being given the freedom and the new world order promised by US President Woodrow Wilson, many peoples found themselves the losers in the great game of the Powers, including the Chinese, what are now VietNam and Laos, the Kurds, the Palestinians, the vast majority of Africans. Others (such as the Albanians) were luckier, and got to get or keep their independence, again due to mere geopolitical calculations and not out of the liberal values purportedly championed by the West.

Once again, in 2008 in the democratic minds of US and European Union politicians some populations are “in” (eg the Kosovars, the Georgians) and others are “out” (the Ossetians, the Abkhazians).

If anybody can find any logic behind that, apart from political machinations between Powers, it would be nice to hear.

And by the way…Mr Sebag Montefiore sees Putin as the heir of Stalin, with the latter’s ghost almost trying “to get out” of his tomb. Why no mention of the real culprit then, the man that has done most to inspire Russia to become a World Power?

And not, I do not mean Czar Peter the Great, rather his enemy of 1709, that King Charles XII of Sweden that managed to lose his own Empire, against Peter, at the Battle of Poltava, thereby kick-starting almost overnight the dream of an Imperial Russia.

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Climate Models Are Correct (And Useless)

Climate models are correct indeed. Because, as Bill Clinton would love to say, it depends on what the definition of “correct” is.

In the real world, climate models cannot be falsified by a single observation (modelists say it’s “only weather”), or by a set of short-term observations (they call it “just a specific trajectory”).

In theory, one could wait a sufficient number of years in order to statistically check if the world has actually got warmer, but in practice models don’t include volcanoes, clouds, solar activity, etc: therefore, even if observations diverge from the models, all the modelists will do is find a “culprit” that can justify the discrepancy.

For the 1940-1970 cooling climate, they say “it was the aerosols”. Never mind that it could be a made-up story.

RealClimate’s own Gavin has said in the recent past, there is no interest in verifying if models are correct or not. Instead, the “right question” appears to be: “are there analyses that will be made over the next few years that will improve the evaluation of climate models?”

It should go without saying that in such a situations, models have no predictive capability beyond chance and they are for all intents and purposes useless.

Imagine modelling a human being as a heart pump with tubes coming in and out, and then when the patient dies of tuberculosis, having the superciliousness to state “the model is correct” instead of understanding that humans have a pulmonary system too (and a lot of other systems).