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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Absolute Power


While we watch  the fine folks in Egypt fight for their civil rights, there is still politicking occurring in the rest of the world. One great nation is Italy, home to fine cheeses and wines, but also home to a familiar type of democracy in which the person with the most money often wins the race.

  One man with wealth is their prime minister, media tycoon Silivio Berlusconi. The conservative leader, with policies that have permanently abolished certain taxes and given the human embryo personhood, has been elected 3 times in rather strong majorities. His party was of his design, with focus on maintaining Christian values and of enterprise freedom. But he is not without critics, and today he lashed out after prosecutors recommended he be charged after an incident of hiring an underaged prostitute and lying to get her out of jail. 

  In the incident in question, Berlusconi hired an underaged girl and paid her for sex. In Italy, it is illegal to pay for the sexual services of a girl under 18. It is also alleged that when the Moroccan nightclub dancer was arrested on theft allegations, Mr. Berlusconi pressured police for her release by claiming she was a relative of Egyptian honcho Hosni Mubarak.  Charges could go forward later this week and Silvio Berlusconi has vowed revenge to those prying into his personal life.

  This is certainly not the first scandal of Silvio Berlusconi's tenure. He has been tried for corruption and false accounding before, even hiring Nicolas Sarkozy as a lawyer at one point. After acquittals, he decriminalized false accounting, making it only punishable by fine. He also enacted a law granting the prime minister and cabinet members immunity from trial, which was constitutionally challenged.

  And he's been accused of paying for underaged girls before, in fact his wife divorced him complaining of his perversions quite publicly. Berlusconi has been accused of coming on to political opponents and of having affairs with underaged girls, simply replying that it is better to like pretty girls than be gay. He's also publicly joked about rape and Jews. And each time he's been questioned about his actions, he's foisted blame onto others instead of apologizing. 

  Silvio Berlusconi is an example of what can happen when people are able to buy their way into power. He's also an example of the kind of politician who refuses to stand account for his behaviours, a man who preaches  religion and behaves in terribly debauched ways. Silvio Berlusconi is a megalomaniac whose time has come, but there's no way he is going away quietly. 

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