Little Silvio Berlusconi -- Oligarch;
You need to understand: Berlusconi's return into Italian politics after being indicted on charges of bribery and misuse of office is the functional equivalent of squeezing Elliot Spitzer, Robin Williams and Richard Nixon together in one pint-sized package.
Load him up with hormone treatments, hair plugs and plastic surgery, and you have Silvio Berlusconi. Put Silvio!! in office as the Prime Minister of Italy and you get an EU Clown Show, coupled with the highest official in the nation treating Italy as an extension of his personal business empire.
At the moment, the election returns reported give Italy's Center-Left parties a five- or six-per-cent edge over Berlusconi's Rightist party -- so the Return Of The European Horndog may be postponed until his political allies in the Italian Parliament can provoke a new election cycle.
Here are a couple of items from the past to provide some context for the Freakshow we may have to witness:
Berlusconi Attacked By Cathedral
(December 13, 2009)
No; It's Not Simon Pegg In Star Trek (A Bit Old, For Simon)
-- It's The Capo d'Buffoono Capo! (UK Mirror, 11/13/09)
Earlier today (tonight, in Italy), Silvio Berlusconi, 73-year-old Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy and Chief Clown of the European Union, appeared at a political rally in Milan when he was struck by the Duomo Cathedral which borders the square where the rally took place.
Milan's Duomo Cathedral Of The Maria Bambina, Which Is Being
Held For Questioning By Italian Police After The Surprise Assault
Berlusconi, whose reign as Primo Penis L'Italia has been threatened by a series of sex scandals, alleged mafia connections and criminal charges of bribery and money laundering, had appeared at the rally in a local hotel, but was continually heckled by onlookers. Even though he was the only person in the room who happened to have a microphone and a really large public-address system, Silvio! had to spend some time shouting them down.
While exiting the building, Berlusconi had been slowed, walking through a crowd of people, shaking hands (for any other head of state, taking that kind of risk is unheard of), when he was attacked. Obviously bleeding, he was whisked to a local hospital, reportedly having suffered broken teeth, a fractured nose, and various contusions and cuts, but was otherwise still able to have sex (after a fashion) with women forty-five years younger than himself.
(Screencaptures: BBC Video Footage, December 13, 2009)
The 623-year-old Cathedral which struck the Prime Minister was thrown by Massimo Tartaglia, who had gotten close enough to the Capo de Tutti Frutti in the crowd as he left the rally. That Tartaglia (who reportedly "has a history of mental problems") was able to get so close to a major European political figure to carry out the assault is troubling to Italian authorities.
But, even more astounding is how Tartaglia was able to reduce a gigantic, Gothic-style building to the size of a paperweight, and throw it, striking Berlusconi in the snout (probably had been between the thighs of some-a young girl not long before, eh?).
How the huge stone building was then returned to its normal size and position without being seen by anyone is unknown, as Tartagliga was immediately seized -- which raises the spectre of a wide conspiracy.
Italian Authorities Consider A Connection Between The Cathedral,
And Another Architectural Feature With Time-Travel Capabilities
"We have not ruled out aliens from space, or time travelers, using futuristic technology to injure our beloved Silvio," an anonymous source in Berlusconi's security detail told the BBC.
It is also not known whether Massimo is related to the Tattaglias in the Godfather saga ("Sonny hit Bruno Tattaglia at three o'clock this morning"), and what this may mean for Diane Keaton, James Caan and Al Pacino.
Bruno Tattaglia: "Scotch? Pre-War -- Or, A Little Strangling?"
The Duomo was ordered by Italian police to remain in place in Milan and not to attempt to leave the city. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, the Duomo claimed it had never met Tartaglia before and that it had been quietly hosting an evening Mass when it was picked up and swung at the Prime Minister.
"I am innocent", the Cathedral told the BBC. "It's true -- I don't like the immoral and disgusting acts by which the Prime Minister has besmirched his office. But I have never, ever caused harm to anyone, except witches, and Protestants, and a whole bunch of Jews." The Duomo has asked for Papal lawyers from Rome to be present during further questioning.
Silvio's Own Television Network In Italy, Providing Unbiased
Coverage Of The Prime Minister's Glorious Reign Over What's Now
The Theater Capital Of Europe (Photo: UK Guardian 11/09)
[Okay; if you haven't figured it out, or don't follow the links I handed to you: Tartaglia allegedly struck Berlusconi in the face with a souvenir model of the Duomo cathedral. The symbolism is obvious and even amusing -- and no, I'm not going to explain it to you.]
While his popularity ratings remain above 50 per cent, Berlusconi's hold over his office may slip as the result of poor life choices and too much bouncy-bouncy. Dogged by rumors of connections with the mafia as a Billionaire oligarch; publicly romping with women (which led to a messy, continuing public divorce from his second wife); and after a law granting him immunity from prosecution as Prime Minister was overturned earlier this year, Silvio! may be the first leader of Italy in several generations to be convicted of criminal acts while in office.
Silvio's own television network and newspapers continue to broadcast a campaign of positive reports about him (he is reported to like dogs and enjoy life), but many Italians dismiss them as obvious propaganda. Basta!
Then, there is Berlusconi's former pay-for-play mistress, Patrizia D'Addario, who recently published a tell-all autobiography about the Buffoono's inner circle, and their sex life, entitled "What You Require, Mr. Prime Minister".
It seems that she saw her chance for opportunities, attention, money, and more money in her relationship with Silvio!; but even if some of her alleged details are incorrect, he is still the married head of the Italian government and was still committing adultery with (at least) D'Addario in a relatively public fashion -- not to mention whispers about the 18-year-old Silvio was seen hanging with after D'Addario smeared him in the press, which seemed one way to thumb his nose at the world (I don't give a rat's ass what you think!) -- ho ho ho; that Silvio!!.
Even his own handlers are stumped by what to say about the public backlash towards their Capo's antics. Asked about the assault, Berlusconi spokesman Paolo Buonaiuti told CNN, "There has been such a buildup of hatred toward the premier, and this is not good... This campaign of hatred has been building quite rapidly recently, and I am not surprised that what happened tonight took place."
Doctors at the hospital in Milan have indicated that CAT scans of Berlusconi's head show no abnormalities, but want to perform additional tests to be certain.
Silvio's! Physicians: Shocked by the assault -- except Dottore Tano
Carridi (At Right), CAT scan director, who wanted extra Pet Treats.
The physicians also agreed that he has Un Poco Pene, then showed scans to reporters and cleaning women on the night staff before blowing off the remainder of their shift to eat Pasta Pesto, or play with catnip bags in the shape of the Pope.
See Naples And Divorce(May 9, 2009)
And Silvio has become the country's Prime Minister. Three times. He's worth some $9 Billion US, and has his own Center-Right political party, "The People Of Freedom". Berlusconi pushed his way into Italy's political scene and was successful only because he's been able to create a Center-Right (mostly Right-wing) coalition to run the country. Italy is a Parliamentary system, with Silvio forming a majority coalition to run the nation from the fractious jumble of its political parties.
The country has had over 50 governments since 1945. It's hard for a Parliament to accomplish anything for The People when the central government goes into the food processor every six months or a year -- and anyone who can form a relatively stable governing coalition can be a very powerful figure. Silvio knows it. And, like any
Italy is also a nation which has included Mussolini's daughter and several Porn starlets as members of its Parliament (most famously, La Ciccolina, former wife of [con] artist Jeff Koons), and which has theme restaruants and unrepentant speakers trumpeting the good old days of fascism. But for Berlusconi, beyond government, Italy apparently exists to provide him with many personal financial opportunities, fine living, and babes. Oh, that Silvio!
Silvio's second wife, 43-year-old former actress Veronica Lario, has had enough and wants a divorce. They've been married 19 years, since Silvio divorced his first wife to marry Veronica after seeing her (then a 24-year-old performing on stage) for an hour one night.
"It was love at first sight," Silvio said. "[Veronica] has been a perfect wife. She's never embarrassed me."
La Fascisti Silvio! and Lil' Boots toast La Dolce Vita
Pity the reverse isn't true, but so what; who cares? He's Silvio! The past ten years have seen a number of pathetically typical scenes, where Berlusconi publicly parades and spends private bouncy-bouncy time with leggy supermodels. He even installed two of them as Cabinet ministers in his government. Ah, that Silvio!
After the last of these, Veronica demanded Berlusconi publicly apologize. He did -- and it was a stage-managed publicity event spun by the media he owns. Not bad, eh? Humiliate your wife, and turn it all to a political advantage! Ha ha ha -- Silvio!!!
What put Veronica over the top was Silvio's recent attendance at a girl's 18th birthday party in Naples -- the daughter of a friend; his attentions -- not altogether neutral or paternal -- gave some the impression that Mt. Vesuvius wasn't the only thing smoldering.
Italians shrug and wave a hand; it's what happens. Aah, so what? It's such good theatre; it's got everything -- operatic passions, greed, envy, the wealthy lusting after barely legal teenagers. Not like he can't afford to buy a few Indulgences, eh? The Pope is a bastard Tedeski, it's true, but those Germans are practical, and Silvio can charm fish from the ocean, that one.
But, let's not be so hard; he's Silvio!!. A buffoon with cash; one of the super-wealthy who happen to be the head of state -- and see nothing wrong with boffing a few young women, bending his country's laws (easier to do when you run the country) so he can wet his beak a little, eh? And a few bribes, some threats; hey, you can't make an empire without spilling a little red wine. Life's a banquet, and Silvio is right there, cutting in line and elbowing others out of the way to get a little more.
Berlusconi is what happens when people, cynical and disgusted with the antics of their politicians, lose any real interest in government. They're all corrupt; they're all inefficent; you can't fight Tammany Hall. Ultimately, someone like a Berlusconi appears -- flamboyant, voluble; tough-minded, who enjoys the pursuits of a man. Huey Long meets the Emperor Augustus.
The Leader both plays off the People's cynicism, and feeds it. They claim to be a fresh wind of change who speak for The Little People; at the same time they treat the country as a private feeding trough, which only reinforces the idea that Government is unreliable. Ideals? Just advertising slogans. They dye their hair in what (for a 73-year-old) is an impossibly dark shade and parade with women a quarter of their age to prove to anyone they are potent and powerful.
This formula of crony patronage and power is older than recorded history, a country kept in constant political turmoil while its assets are acquired, traded, sold or leased. And as the one at the top of that small crowd of oligarchs who benefit, the Leader, Capo tutti del Capo, enjoys his relatively brief time at the top of the pyramid. Because those persons almost exclusively focused on the acquisition of power and material possession are, of course, the highest expression of the human species.
Silvio !! Chapter MCMXXXXXXLVII: The State Is ME!(October 14, 2011)
|Silvio! Salutes -- Himself, Of Course|
To me -- and I don't think I'm alone -- one hallmark of These Days™ we're living through is the slow, steady erosion of things based on illusion, and lies.
The financial Bubble was spun out of caviar wishes and champagne dreams; it was a manipulation of each stage of the process from real estate sales to loan origination to the packaging of CDOs and pushing them on investors, by rentiers -- persons who
play no productive role in the economy themselves but who monopolize the access to physical assets, financial assets and technologies. They make money not from producing anything new themselves, but purely from [possession] of property (which provides a claim to a revenue stream)... (Wikipedia).
For the past three years, for some, this has become clearer. To other people, that same dawning clarity is threatening on a visceral level, an aberration.
This has been a global game, and in Europe, the results are the same -- political, corporate and financial illusions are beginning to come apart like the legendary cheap suit. And nowhere has the Illusory State been more pronounced than Italy, where a working Center-Right coalition in its Parliament has given the country its longest-lasting, most stable government in fifty years.
However, "stable" is a relative term. Silvio !'s government has been marred by accusations of corruption (expected in Italy, which has been a Kleptocracy on some level for centuries) and mismanagement, which Berlusconi's coalition was supposed to change.
Unfortunately, that coalition was brokered by a narcissistic Oligarch, pompous and vainglorious -- the Latin version of Sad Vlad The Putin: Silvio!
And unfortunately for Little Silvio, after besting his detractors and enemies and remaining the Prime Minister of that near-failed state, now the world's financial crisis is coming home -- to live with his people.
Not Silvio -- he's a bunga-bunga billionaire; personally, he'll be very comfortable. The Italian people? Not so much. And that could spell the end for Little Silvio's reign as the Clown Prince Of the European Union.
From today's New York Times:
In his narrowest escape yet, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote on Friday, saving his government from collapse but leaving it all but incapable of legislating effectively.
With 316 votes for and 301 votes against, Mr. Berlusconi’s center-right coalition won the vote. But it failed to secure a solid majority, making it increasingly difficult for him to pass legislation aimed at protecting Italy from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Had he lost, Mr. Berlusconi would have had to resign, marking the end of an 18-year political era in which the billionaire businessman shaped Italian politics in his own image, entwining the country’s fate with his own.
...the Berlusconi government was now hanging by a thread and could fall at the next bump in the road — when enough disgruntled lawmakers from within Mr. Berlusconi’s coalition calculate that they would be safer jumping off a sinking ship rather than staying aboard and risking drowning...
Since 2009, the European debt crisis has felled governments in Ireland, Portugal and Slovakia, led to early elections in Spain and a cabinet reshuffle in Greece. So far, Mr. Berlusconi has proven to be a tough outlier — not least because the European Central Bank in August agreed to buy Italian debt. But the bank did this in exchange for promised structural changes that the government has not yet carried out, a mix of tax increases and changes to the pension system...
This week, opposition leaders — and the president of Italy, in an unusually strong statement — told Mr. Berlusconi that surviving a confidence vote was not the same as governing... the center-left opposition has repeatedly called on Mr. Berlusconi to step down.. [and] repeatedly accused Mr. Berlusconi of buying the votes of would-be dissidents within his own center-right coalition.
On Friday, Mr. Berlusconi was saved by loyalists who prefer to have the government limp along rather than fall and potentially be replaced by a group of nonpolitical technocrats with a mandate to carry out the structural changes including tax increases, changes to the pension system and a growth stimulus bill now deadlocked in Parliament.
Foreign investors and many of Italy’s business leaders hope for such a technical government, but lawmakers have resisted out of fears of losing power.