"Che palle!" Welcome to the only newsletter that believes communism was meant as a practical joke, "Only In Italy!"
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Rome - December 23, 2008 - Gordon Brown saved the world, Angela Merkel saved her federal budget, Jose Manuel Barroso saved his job for a second term and Nicolas Sarkozy saved Europe. Now, as a horrible year splutters to a close amid ever more dire economic forecasts for the EU, step forward Silvio Berlusconi.
He saved David Beckham from LA obscurity by helping him get a 10-week loan at his football club, AC Milan guaranteeing him more lucrative sponsorship deals and appearances on several of the TV channels run by his Mediaset empire. Mission accomplished, he is hell-bent on saving Italy and, Gordon-like, the planet.
On 1 January, the day Sarkozy officially stops being EU president, the Italian "Presidente del Consiglio" takes over as chairman of the G8 and, with breathtaking delusions of grandeur, is already busy arranging a summit between Barack Obama and Russia's Dmitri Medvedev.
By March, when the European economy is likely to be in meltdown, he plans a G14 summit originally a Sarkozy idea to involve the emerging economies on the "human dimension" of the financial crisis.
Presumably, this is diplomatic language for growing personal debt, poverty, joblessness, hopelessness and all the usual accompaniments of mid-winter bleakness in, potentially, the worst recession since the second world war. Especially in his own country, which has been in recession for two quarters, and faces a steep rise in unemployment, sees car firm Fiat seek a partner to buy it out of its misery and, without the euro and the European Central Bank he despises, would be bankrupt.
Berlusconi, worth around $10 bn and a serial architect of judicial reforms to afford himself immunity from justice, is the political leader who called Obama "tanned" and likened a senior German MEP to a Nazi camp guard (Kapo).
His contribution to the EU's economic recovery program a 200 bn Euro stimulus package worth 1.5% of GDP appears to be tax cuts for his political supporters in small businesses and slashed penalties for tax evaders worth 1% of GDP, according to opposition politicians in Italy. The package is so derisory that most analysts believe it could even be a fiscal tightening.
Now the 72-year-old playboy of the western world wants to be president of Italy, succeeding ex-communist union leader Giorgio Napolitano, a man of great probity, after 2013. Presumably, Mugabe-style, for life and, Chirac-style, for perpetual immunity from prosecution.
This, in all seriousness, is the person who, by rotation, will chair the G8 next year, when there is likely to be an economic bloodbath around the globe.
It's time to end this stupid process and, as foreseen for the EU under the stalled Lisbon Treaty, choose a president or chairman of genuine stature and vision to head this body for the long haul. Especially as we all agree it, like the UN security council and the IMF/World Bank, should be permanently reformed to embrace China, India and the rest among the emerging economies.
It's bad enough that the eurotoxic Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, becomes titular head of the EU on 1 January (OK, his prime minister will chair the meetings). This column would rather see Sarkozy achieve his ambition of becoming long-term eurogroup president and de facto EU leader after his hyperactive success in running the EU for the past six months.
Perhaps he could take on the G8/G14 as well for the rest of his tenure of the Elysée certain to be extended after 2012 for a further five years on current form.
Or give it to Tony Blair. Anyone but the ill-suited Berlusconi, the undisputed president of Tangentopoli 2, or bribery city, that his native country has yet again become.All hail for the Prince of Pepperoni has entered the room!
The Prince will be leading the group of industrialized nations through one of the most difficult economic periods it's ever faced. However, with Italy already in its fourth recession in less than a decade (Oh si, four!) Europeans with half a brain are questioning the relevance of the Prince's farcical leadership.
No need to fear for the Prince is determined to make a difference during his leadership and he will start by bringing to the table a proposal for a "regulation of the internet". Of course, he did not clarify what he meant by "regulation of the internet", but the mere mention of it has induced, first constipation, and then diarrhea among the Italians. The playful Prince owns a large chunk of the Italian mass media excluding the Internet which he cannot force under his rule and is causing the hair plugs on his asphalt head to pack up and leave.
FACT: The kingdom of Italy now has the third highest public debt in the world, the equivalent of 105 percent of gross domestic product. "Sta' pippa!"
Italy's social security minister and court jester declared there was a real fear in government that it might become a bankrupt state. But the Prince slapped him over his cap 'n' bells with his abacus and insisted he look at the "bigger picture." As far as financial matters, economics goes, it decides nothing. It is important that the G8 summit concludes that Tuscan wine is better than French wine.
The Prince would like to improve relations between the US and Russia, something that might prove his highness difficulty in the wake of his comments about President Obama.
Prince of Pepperoni: "I said ("chuckle-chuckle") to Dmitry Medvedev that he and Obama should get along very well ("chuckle"). After all, ("chuckle-chuckle-chuckle") they are both young, they are both handsome and suntanned ("CHUCKLE-CAZZO!")."
Unsurprisingly, the gaffe sparked outrage around the world but is the kind of thing that people have come to expect from a rich merry buffoon, who recently:
Paris - January 8, 2008 - Dealing with the financial crisis of the past months has been like playing a video game, Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti said on Thursday.
"As soon as you slay one monster, and think you can catch your breath, another one pops up and challenges you. In this crisis I think I've battled at least seven monsters," the minister explained.
Tremonti made his remarks at a round-table discussion organized by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Nicolas Sarkozy dedicated to the topic "New World, New Capitalism".
Looking at the financial crisis which exploded in the latter half of 2008, Tremonti observed that this was the product of a "debt society" created over the past few years by an "access to debt produced by a finance technology which has degenerated the structure of capitalism".
Where is the hidden bribe? I can't find it!
Andate tutti a 'fanculo! I give up!
If the flustered economics minister wants to play it would help if he first figured out how to hold the game controller and then go read and learn the back story of the game instead of criticizing the other befuddled idiots who played before him.
Then if the player thinks he's ready for the real thing he will be given some basic weapons and will be able to adventure out into the world but the jackass must remember that he has a goal to achieve.
Soon he will realize that it's not as easy as it looked when other people were playing the game. So he must stop drooling and use his weapons more tactfully and wisely.
Afterwards, the player will face small and big bosses like the Prince of Pepperoni, Berlusconi, who will actually encourage him to use his cheat codes so that he can help get the prince out of the "cesso" he dug himself into and onto the next level of the game.
The next level suddenly changes the game. The player has a whole new perspective.
The prince thanks him for his loyalty and explains that it's okay to get ahead by manipulating the Italian system. Find ways to cut corners and get things the easy way."Don't worry. You're not cheating yourself but the Italians."
If things get out of hand, the player then just unplugs the machine again, inserts a coin and starts over with a brand new government.
Rome - January 9, 2009 - Many Italian mobsters still think they own their women and believe they should get away with murder if they are jilted, Italy's highest court said Friday.
Rejecting a plea of 'crime of passion,' the Cassation Court sentenced a Camorra boss to life for the 2000 murder of a factory worker the boss's girlfriend fell in love with. The court, whose rulings set precedents, said the toughest penalties should be applied in cases where mobsters "kill merely to punish someone they think belongs to them, not accepting a woman's right to live her own life".
The Mafia has been known to apply an outdated code of honor that extends to murdering people, especially women, who have 'brought shame' on their families. So-called honor killings are also part of Italy's legal history, where the idea was an admitted defense until 1981.
Prior to its reversal, an article existed in the Italian Criminal Code that provided a reduced penalty of imprisonment of only three to seven years for a man who killed his wife, sister or daughter to vindicate his or his family's honor. Such crimes were once a fairly widely accepted feature of highly traditional communities in southern Italy and even sparked an Oscar-winning 1961 comedy called Divorce, Italian Style, starring Marcello Mastroianni.
The Mafia, clinging to the past, has much more recently killed women who 'strayed' sexually or had children without being married.
"Rompicoglione", the Mafia is always prepared to "poop plenty" about their codes and regulations.
How do you get through to men who are limited in their capacity? Rational and reason has the chance of setting in only when they run out of bullets.
"Minchia", Some Italian guys have the ability to do whatever they want and women put up with it.
But wait! How could such medieval customs still exist?
Perhaps the simplest explanation is the overwhelmingly male majority in the Italian Parliament; the phenomenal congressmen who set low personal standards and then consistently fail to achieve them.
To the slogan, "No compromise on women and their bodies!"