Monday, October 15, 2018

Humanity Of Italian Courts Suddenly The Subject Of Worldwide News Stories

Posted by Peter Quennell

Gilberto Baschiera (above) was a bank manager in Forni di Sopra (below), a small town between the Dolomites and the Austrian Alps.

He was recently labeled an Italian Robin Hood and widely admired in Italy and elsewhere for assisting impoverished customers to get loans - by topping up their accounts provisionally from larger accounts.

Why he did this is that the bank-loans system itself was changed for the worse under former Prime Berlusconi’s exceptionally harsh and ineffective austerity measures. 

Over seven years, his total “borrowings” came to exceed the equivalent of $1 million as not all of the loans were paid back.

So he was charged and there was a trial. Now we have just seen a new wave of reporting.

Gilberto’s court sentence is announced as two years SUSPENDED.

This is routine under Italian law - he did not “dodge” a prison term as some reporting had it - but not a typical outcome in any other legal system.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/15/18 at 06:51 AM in


This same austerity was promoted from Brussels and especially Frankfurt (where the European Central Bank is) most harshly in Spain and Greece. The UK has long had its own version too.

Result? Little real growth, continued high levels of government debt, hard-line “populist” parties gaining ground in many countries, Italy included, and a chaotic Brexit likely in the UK and an Italexit possibly in the cards in Italy. 

Do your homework on how growth WORKS guys. The east Asian model was nothing like this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/16/18 at 01:53 PM | #

Ironically the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) is an Italian moderate who has swallowed the Kool-Aid too.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/16/18 at 01:58 PM | #

In our US justice-system series, should we be noting the political lurches (this time to the right) of the United States Supreme Court?

My own guess is that these lurches are mainly on paper and amount to nothing if national elections result in a lurch the other way.

The reason is that the Presidency and Congress both have strong powers to change the Supreme Court - they can add more judges to their liking, and limit the court’s scope - and so for many years the court has responded surprisingly a lot to what majority public opinion wants.

This legitimacy-seeking tendency, only recently documented and understood, is very well described here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/16/18 at 02:24 PM | #

Reuters is reporting some Seattle news, the death of MicroSoft’s co-founder and creator of its name.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/16/18 at 02:47 PM | #

Paul Allen gave away $1.5 billion or more to brain health charities. What a great giver he was. Condolences. I read that Bill Gates is heartbroken at his friend’s death.

Mr. Allen was a big catalyst to Gates’ Microsoft empire, and Allen made a fortune, too. Both mighty smart men, and Allen seems to have lived many adventures, collected art, loved music, had yacht named Octopus. RIP Paul Allen.

Posted by Hopeful on 10/18/18 at 02:36 AM | #

Re Saudi, Erdogan has timed his big reveal on poor Khashoggi’s fate to the Turkish parliament in Ankara for noon tomorrow their time.

That is the exact same time that bin Salman will be opening his investment conference in Ryadh. Nice touch.  We’ll wake up in NYC after this either to Saudi riding high or circling the drain.

You’d think Saudi has an earthshaking economy given how fraught this has become - in fact its size is LESS THAN HALF of Canada’s.

And Switzerland buys more arms from the US. Read about the mess the Saudi economy is in right now.

Go back only 30 years and the whole of the Middle East was fairly mild and calm and safe to visit and walk around any place. There was at least some international investment and growth.

Then Saudi ratcheted up its hard line right across the region and took to insisting that country after country become “dry” and women wear the hijab and shariah law be brought in. Bin Laden was different only in degree from its 500 princes (none of whom work).

No protest or pushback ever from the US. The weird groveling goes on.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/23/18 at 01:22 AM | #

The next post might make it up tomorrow, apologies, I was out in the wild and cut a hand. We see James Raper’s unarguable post on Knox’s lamp getting an exceptional number of reads so it joins our Smoking Guns at number 9.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/24/18 at 04:23 PM | #

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