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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Invasions and Indiscretions: The Berlusconi Affair

Things are not going well for the Italians these days.  In the wake of the successful chasing to Saudi Arabia of the former Tunisian despot, Ben Ali, and while the Tunisians are trying to sort out the big mess that he left behind, a number of them, seeing that his leaving didn't immediately create numerous job openings, have fled to a small spit of land in the Mediterranean called Lampedusa Island.   This island happens to be in the clutches these days of the Italians, and probably has been for a long time, and they are just as quickly screaming bloody murder, with warnings that this development, if not nipped in the bud instantly, will have dire consequences for all of Europe.   You would think that these several thousand young Tunisians were the first outriders of the Mongol Horde back in Genghis Khan days, when they are instead just job-seekers who see themselves as having been freed by the Revolution to try their luck in the much larger and more prosperous EU.

But at this "crucial" moment in history when not only Rome but all Italy and even far beyond is about to go under for good this time, at the hands of the latterday Carthaginians, the Italian leader, a man named Silvio Berlusconi, can't spend much time thinking about it.   He is badly distracted because in the meantime the women of Italy have decided that it's time he was put on the run, too, a la the golfball smacker, Tiger Woods, because of what they see as his sexual preferences for a long string of beautiful women younger even than Woods' picks, none of them Berlusconi's wife.    So now, just yesterday, a judge has finally ordered the premier to stand trial.

The main importance of this is that it should remind one of the moment when it became evident that the U.S. was going to experience the latest big unraveling of its inner sensibilities, a process that if anything, now almost 20 years later, has become accelerated with the recent successes of the country's prime unravelers, the Teapublicans.  That moment came when the Repubs tried to remove Bill Clinton from office on the grounds of sexual impropriety -- a moment of grand hyprocrisy that today is even more gigantic when one considers that nothing ever resulted from the suggestions of a few progressives that GW Bush should be impeached for the infinitely greater crime, actually a long series of crimes of many kinds, that he committed by ordering the invasion of Iraq, on the grounds that it had had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, when it was the easiest thing in the world to see that the Iraqis were absolutely blameless in the matter.

Not that what Bill Clinton did was a crime at all, not when you recall that a Republican U.S. president of the 1920's, W. Harding, was guilty of many more sexual indiscretions than Clinton was ever accused of committing, yet no attempt was made to prosecute or even accuse Harding.

I remember hearing how the more urbane Europeans, especially in France, were bemused that Clinton's fellow countrymen would have put him and the U.S. through all that nonsense with the Senate trial and the rest.   They couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.  Resisting the female temptations that political power can attract was well understood in Europe, and if someone occasionally stumbled, especially as lightly as Clinton did, what was the difference?   What was all the fuss about?

S. Berlusconi is sure to be thinking along those same lines today, and wondering what is happening to the sophisticated Europe that he used to know.

Oh, that's right.   Watch out!   The Carthaginians are coming!


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