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Silvio, ImperatoreSilvio’s note to himself about 8 traitors and resigning

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s richest man, owner of a dominant sector of its mass media, bunga bunga aficionado, multiple indictee for charges from sex with a minor to corrupting bankers and lawyers, famed lothario, clown at numerous great international summits, and, last but not least, Premier of Italy for most of the last 13 years, has finally been forced from office.  No, not by the politicians of Italy, who tend to match Mr Berlusconi only in their capacity for folly, if not on such a gradiose scale.  Nor by the voters of Italy, who despite Silvio’s odious reputation magically secured the votes of a majority, or at least of a coalition’s majority, time and again.   Silvio is a classic embodiment of a certain Italian tendency to love to place heroes on a high pedestal – higher the better – so they can have a longer time to enjoy themselves as the feet turn to clay and at the end the baying crowd can have at the corpse.

Crowds outside the Premier’s palazzo in RomeMussolini and friends at the end

That Mr Berlusconi, who began life as a crooner on cruise ships, and moved mysteriously to the pinnacle of his country, fits the mold of Italian politicians cannot be doubted, nor can his wily capacity as a businessman.   He had, as is customary, friends in high places.  And low.

Silvio and his friends near the beginningSilvio and Bettino Craxi, former PM, sent to exile in  TunisiaSilvio and ex-wife Veronica Lario who dumped him for playing around with girlsSilvio, modeling for Rodin or perhaps thinking of NoemiBillboard of Noemi Letizia, friend of Silvio

Silvio is not alone in the current crisis.  A skip away, in another Mediterranean country, Greece, another Premier has been shoved aside, and by the same forces as that which pushed Mr Berlusconi out.  Yes, the Magical Mystery Market, was the gravitational black-matter force that took control and in a swift little shell game replaced the head of Greece’s government with a banker, and while the Premier designate for Italy is not directly a banker, he’s awfully close to one.

Goldman Sachs, back a while, worked with the at-the-time right-wing conservative of government of Greece to cook-the-national-books so that Greece would qualify to enter the EU and the Euro zone.   Much of the subsequent problems of the country derive from this bit of chicanery – off of which, of course, Goldman Sachs profited.   Another kind of “derivative.”

And now, as the so-called PIIGS are put through the economic hoops drawn up by “the market” and imposed by its front institutions of the IMF and World Bank, we find the rickety edifice of “democracy” subject to a little pin-striped flim-flam job, just as happened in the USA in 2008 when the bankers shrieked “the sky is falling” and the Fed (a private bank that prints up greenbacks at the behest of…. itself, though it usually requires some political cover to do so), and Uncle Sam ordered up 16 trillion pieces of digitalized money, much of which went via Wall Street into the supposed safety of “sovereign bonds” – to say loans to actual countries instead of businesses.    Along the way, to celebrate this heist, the barons of Wall Street gave themselves nice fat bonuses: they’d made amazing bad bets, and then they, the uber-capitalists of the world, had conned the public (in the form of President Bush and his friends), to crank out a mere 16 trillion, no questions asked, at then Treasury Secretary Paulson’s request, so as to “socialise” their massive losses.   Mr Paulson, of course, was previously the CEO of… ta ta… Goldman Sachs.  Cosy little company.   And then they went and invested a ton of this in the supposed “safe” place of European sovereign bonds.  And lost again.   And so now, as the Euro totters and they stand to take yet another massive loss they have turned the tables, and it is not the Greeks who are offering lovely Trojan Horses, but our dear friends the bankers.

Why is this man smiling?

Soon we will doubtless be told that “the sky is falling” once again, and that Germany and France and the Euro Zone must move rapidly to shore up their crumbling currency (of which American banks hold massive amounts), and that the path to do so is to sell off public properties, to slash social welfare programs, and….. and to give it all to the bankers.

Mussolini and his mistressSic transit gloria, hanging out in the cool catacombs of Palermo

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