Category Archives: Italy

Italian Town Offers 2k to Immigrants

From Italy’s Corriere della Sera:

The city council of Spresiano, under influence of La Lega Nord (the Northern League) proposed a bonus of two thousand dollars to legal immigrants who move away. Budget strapped towns are grappling with how to cope with the economic crisis; having to support out-of-work foreign workers, in addition to their own, has turned sentiment against immigrants, legal or otherwise.

Explained Assessor Manola Spolverato, “We are willing to give two thousand euros per family provided they go live elsewhere. It costs us less than guaranteeing support to families in difficulty. It is not possible that the municipality is forced to maintain at its own expense, immigrants who, despite having lost their jobs, continue to have a valid residence permit.” His proposal comes just after another initiative, which would have reserved support for families where both spouses speak Italian.

Wall St Invasion?

The distress over the global financial meltdown encompasses more than just frightening 401k statements and doomsday newscasts. We’ve now another impetus for headaches and acid stomachs. This week, Libya’s Qaddafi became a major shareholder in Unicredit, Italy’s largest bank, which might have prompted the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi’s warning. “I have news that oil producing countries with large funds are buying heavily into our markets.”

So beyond China helping the United States with its perpetually unbalanced budget, we’ve got Arabs trolling for bargains. Berlusconi elaborated: “Now there are great opportunities for those who have capital, and I think that certain sovereign funds, and ones you would oppose, are hostile.”

I take it that it isn’t just moderate Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bargain hunting in the major indices. I use the term ‘moderate’ because apart from his support for CAIR and his comments after 9/11 which elicited a rejection of his $10 million check, he’s been a revolutionary among his fellow Bedouins. He has supported women’s rights and hired the first female pilot in Saudi Arabia.

As gas prices have ballooned and the economy has slowed, “drill baby drill,” has become an increasingly popular refrain repeated at McCain rallies. More than just cheap gas, it’s our sovereignty at stake.

According to Rand, U.S. oil shale reserves represent three times that of Saudi Arabia. Yet, we would rather buy the oil from the Saudis, making them wealthy enough to buy large chunks of our corporations.

Only in America

Barclay’s Stock Plummets 13%: Party Time

Outrageous.

Last night on Italy’s Lake of Como, eighty Barclay’s bankers and clients gathered together in the storied Villa Erba to celebrate with their fiddles as Rome continued burning around them.  And while the paparazzi wary bankers spent two days and 700,000 Euros, the British Prime Minister traveled across Britain to sell his rescue package to hardworking British voters.

The bankers banned the paparazzi, but not the Greco di Tufo wine, ricotta stuffed ravioli, fillet of Brunello, apple pastry and chocolate mousse. Their sacrifice of the evening was to forgo a planned trip to La Scala, ostensibly due to the 13 percent of company value lost that day, but in reality, they wanted to avoid the aggressive paparazzi that would have been free to snap away in front of the legendary opera house.

It wasn’t just a once a year broker-client excursion. Just last week the oblivious bankers enjoyed a week in one of the Cote d’Azur’s finest hotels priced at around three thousand Euros per night.

The fury over the trips has little to do with class envy and everything to do with discretion. Hopefully, these Neros will be awakened to the reality of the global economic inferno, ignited by financial institutions like Barclay’s.

Clooney, Obama and Veltroni-The Communist Cupola

I just read an interview with George Clooney in Italy’s La Repubblica, a leading Italian newspaper, and about fell out of my chair. In it, he discusses his new movie and a commercial he filmed for an Italian politician, Veltroni, a former communist and foreword writer to the Italian version of Obama’s Audacity of Hope. When I read it, I was surprised, not because he filmed a commercial for a communist, but that he actually said something in Italian considering the fact that he still doesn’t speak it, despite calling Italy “casa mia,” or my home. I know. Amazing. He doesn’t speak the language, he spends less than half the year there, and yet he finds time to film a commercial advocating a candidate, a communist one at that. It’s funny, he advocates a “hands-off” approach when it comes to minding other countries’ affairs, yet he wastes no time violating his own rule.

I was relieved when I looked up the YouTube video of the commie ad. It simply showed his photo along with a quote that read in Italian, “I’m with Obama, I hope that after the many errors, my country will heal. And Italy, it’s my home, and Veltroni (the communist, sorry, reformed communist), he is a good friend.”

If only McCarthy were alive…He’d have a field day with Penn and his admiration for FARC backing Chavez. Oliver Stone, Spielberg, Danny Glover and all of the other thespians that I have neglected to mention who trip over themselves to praise Castro would merit special scrutiny as well.

Clooney? I’m not sure he’s as sinister as he is naïve. And I’m not sure what is more disturbing. Is it loony Clooney, or the fact that we might have the only U.S. Presidential nominee in history that has had a communist pen his introduction?

Clooney supports communist=Clooney is a communist.

Communist supports Obama=Obama is a communist.

Clooney supports Obama=Both are communists.

In my new book, The Absentee Ballot, I discuss how Hollywood affects Europeans’ opinions of the United States. It certainly doesn’t help enhance our image abroad when the most visible Americans are filming spots for communist politicians, while simultaneously indulging in a good dose of self-flagellation.