Oh no c’e’ Silvio di nuovo! (Oh no, it’s Silvio again!)


Oh no c’e’ Silvio di nuovo! (Oh no, it’s Silvio again!)

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Is there anyone who is not familiar with the name Silvio Berlusconi? He seems like a joke to us here in the states but is the longest serving Italian Prime Minister since the end of WWII and was elected 4 different times – truly dominating Italian national politics for 17 years. All of this despite his obvious conflicts of interest and behavior which seemed at best immoral and often illegal. He has a long list of legal issues. Wikipedia lists them under the headings of allegations (fraud, mafia association, bribery and corruption), false testimony (proven), soliciting minors for sex and abuse of office. It does make the head spin.

He is the 6th riches man in Italy with an estimated wealth of 6 billion dollars. He controls the the largest media company in Italy and when he was prime minister controlled an estimated 90% of all media since as prime minister he controlled the state media as well as his own. Does this sound like a conflict of interest to you? Apparently he knows how to use the media and is known to dominate the airwaves with constant personal appearances. Here is a campaign video from his 2008 election campaign. The video quality is not great but I chose this one because it has english subtitles.

So what is new with Silvio? LOTS. First of all, despite his forced resignation in November 2011 (people were dancing in the street and singing the Hallelujah Chorus – no joke) the old reprobate has decided to run again in next year’s elections for prime minister. The latest news is that he just became engaged to a 27 year old woman – 49 years his junior. Oh, that Silvio!

I don’t really understand Italian politics but I’m not alone. I don’t think that even the Italians understand Italian politics. My sense is that Silvio, while very charismatic and appealing to lots of Italians on many levels didn’t do the country any favors. I know that one of his campaign slogans was lower taxes and more benefits for all. It’s not hard to see how this adds up to ballooning national debt and perhaps the source of the huge financial crisis now rampant in Italy.

Still he’s a fascinating guy. During his university years studying law he was an upright base player and singer on cruise ships. He has two CDs of Neapolitan songs to his credit. Who knew? So while he may seem totally unsuitable to be a head of any state from my american perspective he is certainly one of the more entertaining players on the world stage. I’ve yet to meet an Italian who seemed to like him but then again I haven’t met an american who admits to having voted for George Bush. Maybe it’s just the crowd that I hang out with.

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2 Responses to “Oh no c’e’ Silvio di nuovo! (Oh no, it’s Silvio again!)”

  1. Peter Says:

    HI Joe,
    Maybe you should run for office.
    How is your recovery?? Lunch in the New Year.

  2. Joe Says:

    Hoo boy – I’m not a politician in my own language and country, much less Italy.

    Joe

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