On learning something once and for all, bankers wouldn’t make it as bricklayers, Madoff’s $50bn lesson to the mortals of the world

Hobbes, in June last year we bumped into one of my girlfriend’s friend and her husband.

Me, an amateur entrepreneur (if that is possible) trying to make ends meet.
Him, a successful London-NYC currency trader friends with movie stars, up and coming successful Spanish tennis players, and hooked on luxury hotels, cars and vacations.

Continue reading

On the leaders we deserve and the end of the Alitalia saga

Back in June, right when il corrotto Berlusconi won the now seemingly annual Italian elections on a cocktail of populism and general amnesia, I warned of one of his very electoral promises (keeping Alitalia Italian and afloat) was nothing but cheap talk.

Well, as we are used to by now, the electoral promises of the politician of the day were stupid at the time, useless and scared off the few potential investors who could have saved the airline. Continue reading

On smart timing, Ireland says No to the Lisbon treaty and Berlusconi uses the turmoil to score a goal to every decent Italian

It is a sad day Hobbes.

The EU seems to be in turmoil because the Irish just rejected the Lisbon Treaty or the EU Constitution with a different name. Well, I guess that was one of the two plausible results, so I don’t yet get why words as strong words crop up, since from the very beginning there was a 50/50 chance of Ireland turning its back against the treaty.

However, I commented last Tuesday about Berlusconi, the new Italian Prime Minister, trying to outlaw wire-tapping. I pointed out that the law he was trying to pass had retrospective effect, so he is personally much, much better from today. Continue reading

On Berlusconi illegalising phone bugging for personal benefit

Oh dear, no sooner Mr Berlusconi took over the Italian government, when he started using the country as his own personal playground. Who the hell came out with il Cavalieri as his nickname? Il Corrotto would have been better.

It reads like a “Dictatorship for Dummies” book. First of all, secure the elections by supporting an imaginary rescue of the ill-managed and debt-ridden Alitalia.

To tip the balance on your side, deal with immigration as an Apartheid theorist and criminalise those who come in search of a better life. Continue reading

On everlasting bad news on the air industry

Well, well, well, it seems that our friends at Delta and Northwest airlines finally got it right and their pilots decided to drop their selfishness –don’t ask a NWA pilot, still not convinced- and agree on who will be who within the new married airline (apparently forming the world’s largest airline in terms of traffic).

The merged carrier will keep the name Delta and control some 390 routes, along with 75,000 employees and 800 airplanes.

Alitalia is in the ICU (now another Berlusconi’s toy), and just last week Frontier filed for bankruptcy joining ATA, Aloha and Skybus. And that’s only including US carriers, if we go east, Oasis, the Hong Kong based Continue reading

On Alitalia’s trade union lack of realism and long-term vision

Hobbes,

I don’t know if I am the only one seeing a pattern here, but it seems that Italy, and the air and banking industries keep topping up the ranking of self-interested/head-buried-in-the sand headlines.

Combining a few of them together, and after over a year on the papers, we’ve got the Alitalia saga. Reportedly, a grotesquely malfunctioning and grossly inefficient national flag carrier.

For some bizarre reason –namely landing slots- Air France-KLM has been on and off interested in the company, but our trade union friends keep seeing leaving the ill firm in public health while the government Continue reading

On public trust and Italian public relations

Hobbes, I guess that continuing on my cheese series of late, I cannot but comment on the similarities between Bear Stearns management and the Italian government (and I am not talking here about Alitalia, or Fiat, or Autostrada, or Banca Antonveneta or… c’mon! what’s wrong with these people!).

As you may know by now, my obvious concern is buffalo mozzarella. South Korea, Japan and now France have already banned imports of mozzarella cheese from 66 herds of buffalo around Naples. After much naysaying, Paolo De Castro, Italy’s farming minister, blamed the media for a food scare. But he confirmed that 83 of 1,900 buffalo dairy farms had been affected by the findings. Continue reading