Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Democracy is a very broad term that can also include authoritarian rule. Democracy alone does not exclude despotism. That's why there are checks and balances by seperate powers- which are not necessarily elective.

If Berlusconi wins again the only effective seperate power left will by the judiciary branch- and some of the written press.

He will control the media, the legislative and executive branches, and have, as Mussolini, a strong ally in Ratzinger's Vatican. The only power beyond his control are the European institutions against which he fought throughout his past tenure. They are however very slow and the eventual costs would be defracted onto the state rather than on to his government.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Mar 29th, 2008 at 08:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what drives Berlusconi - he's already a Billionaire and doe not seem to be a religious nut.  Is it pure lust for power?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Mar 29th, 2008 at 09:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 1993 there were two urgent reasons: bankruptcy and beating the rap. The first was quickly taken care of. The second is a constant problem since he can't kick the habit of committing crime.

Now that he's developed a taste for politics, he wants glory. Apparently massive groveling by his fans isn't enough.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Mar 29th, 2008 at 04:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

the man is possessed of an overweening vanity, the degree of which has rarely been seen on any world stage in history.

thugs don't get oilier, iow-

makes blair look like a saint in comparison.

think bad frank sinatra clone coupled with messianic/patriotic streak and a horrible knack of understanding perfectly how to push the button marked 'soccer' and 'girls' till the drooling rats wear out their desire.

he embodies all that is most reprehensible in the italian national character, in spades, just as bush does for america.

he adores the sound of his own voice and has his pick of the channels to deliver his message, over and over, till the sheep buy the brand from subliminal programming, by dint of merciless amounts of repetition.

he appears everywhere, anywhere, they will host him, and talks a blue streak, rich with self-congratulatory hype and swatches of statistics that baffle the public into thinking he is a capable leader, when really he is a fascist gasbag.

starting his last term, he was already the 5th richest man in the world. after his regnum, he had tripled his fortune, so count him in as one who definitely knows a lot about buttering both sides of the bread.
his political power would be far greater, were he not afflicted with a severe case of gucci-in-mouth syndrome, which pops up regularly enough to occasionally stall his climb further up the greasy pole of italian politics.

fortunately, the much slyer and more dangerous fascist, gianfranco fini, has zero charisma and a lesser gift of gab. he does not act like a  buffoon, so cannot be so easily ridiculed.

berlusconi is a glamour god to millions of myopic women of 60+, who unfortunately vote.

berlusconi looks like he just climbed out of a vat of vaseline, and if italy revotes him in, it will reduces italy's image worldwide to a that of a banana republic enthralled by a cartoon villain.

....and a deeply masochistic country, morally torn apart by its own contradictions. when the nation's best political hope is represented by an over-the-top comedian, you know how deep the cacca can get.

 hey, no place is perfect, right?

looking forward to more insights, de gondi, please keep them coming!

mozzarella anyone?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 30th, 2008 at 05:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Oozing charm at every pore, he oiled his way around the floor--"

"My fair Lady"--Lerner and Loewe, lyrics for "Zoltan Karpathy"'- an oily Hungarian Grammarian who may be distantly related to Berlusconi, who was a great sleaze artist-  

My God, deGondi, melo-

I may have to revise my standards for editing out the impossible conspiracy theories--Italian politics proves that anything is possible.
In truth, One does not laugh. Though I live in France, if I were to tote up the places on earth that lift my heart and stir my soul, Italy has more than it's share. It's current state is sad.
I am struck by the P2 tactical position that sufficient penetration of the political system obviates the need for an overt coup--a position that I have maintained for a long time applies  as well to The US. My diary, "The Quiet Coup", seemed a bit extreme to some--then. They should read this diary and comments.

I think that Pelosi and Wright are deeply reluctant to push the Busheads very far, fearing to alter that same equation enough to require an overt, lead-based move.
I see a delicate wire act- too subservient, and they'll total the ship of state: Too overtly, successfully resistant, and it turns violent at home, as well as in the provinces.

Is there no force, political or social that effectively opposes--
Oh, yeah. Beppo.
Beats nothing.

As of late I feel I have had little to contribute to the discussion. Thanks, deGondi and melo.    

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Mar 30th, 2008 at 01:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series