Category Archives: Italy

Forgotten European Youth

Among the tragedies of Europe’s dance with austerity has been a dramatic rise in unemployment throughout the region. An estimated 50% of young Spaniards lack jobs and similar figures are evident in Greece or Italy or even Sweden. Hundreds of Swedish young boys and girls went on a rampage through the streets of Stockholm showing their anger at being ignored and having their lives put on hold. They set fire to over 300 cars, burned down a restaurant and threw stones through store windows. There are even reports of a police station being burned to the ground. The initial outbreak most probably arose from police killing a 69 year -old man who was wielding a machete. Young people felt the police over-reacted.

It is time for Europe to abandon the austerity tactic and go back to some old fashioned John Keynes stimulus to the economy. Sweden might borrow the Depression CCC which placed one million young Americans to work on infrastructure tasks. FDR even pushed through bills that paid artists to paint or musicians to play music of people to put on plays. Provide meaningful work and riots will cease and desist.

Silvio, We Love You

Silvio Berlusconi is a man whose only thought in life is bringing wealth to himself and to those who can benefit from his payments of good wealth. OK, so he is the wealthiest man in Italy. That means  he is different from other Italians and has the right to certain priviliges that come with wealth. It is now several years since government officials charged him with tax evasion. If one is Silvio, being charged with a crime is somewhat different than when an ordinary citizen faces tax fraud. Silvio was convicted but when Silvio is convicted it simply is Act I in the tale of keeping a case decision open to discussion. Of course, this  discussion will go on and on for a few more years.

Silvio is challenging the court decision. Silvio was told to stay out of politics. Telling Silvio to stay out of politics is akin to asking him to forgo women and wild parties. Naturally, Silvio understands that when he is convicted of any crime it is simply a ploy to  “elimnate a political adversary.”


There is no question when it comes to a collection of clowns and incompetents, we Americans are NUMBER ONE. But, lingering not far behind are the clowns who constitute political parties in Italy. One of its most powerful parties is led by a former clown-at least in Italy they are upfront when it comes to levity and nonsense. After weeks of talking and going to restaurants for good meals, Italians finally asked Enrico Letta to become the country’s president. I am still unclear why any president is needed in Italy, but I guess every nation is entitled  to one.

Now, comes the fun and games. Mr. Enrico Letta has been asked to form a government. Other names have surfaced but Mr. Letta is presently number one which means he has at least four weeks to lead the nation. After he departs, there is a man who runs concessions stands at a circus who is rumored to assume power in Italy.

Clown Time In Italy

I am an inhabitant of the United States of America in the year 2013 so I hestiate making any saracastic remarks concerning political leaders in other nations. I live in a nation in which the Republican party insists that if one reduces taxes it results in more jobs for all and enables the government to balance its budget. So, why is it suprising that Italians believe a skirt chasing incompetent like Silvio Berlusconi who led Italy into an economic disaster is now the man who will bring prosperity to the land? Latest polls show that his coalition would receive 30% of the vote if an election were held right now. Of course, his numbers just barely exceed those of the Five Star Movement which is headed by an ex-clown.

Perhaps, we can make a deal. We Americans will take one clown in exchange for a hundred clowns in the House of Representatives who belong to the clowns known as the Tea Party. Heck, we will even throw in a  guy who chops wood in Texas.

For The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has been around for a few thousand years and has endured one crisis after another. My interest as a Jew was working in a Catholic college for  many years during which time I witnessed wonderful nuns and priests attempt to introduce changes into the church. So, here are a few words for the church from an outside source. They are directed to Pope Francis.

1. Establish a council of nuns who would meet once a month and engage in an open honest dialogue with the Pope. Listen to the girls, they are interacting with Catholics every day.

2.  Establish a council of priests who encompass all backgrounds and views. Let them speak their minds.

3. Establish a lay council, again representing diverse views. Have a monthly dialogue.

More diverse views is what a Pope needs in these troubled times.

White Meets White

We humans living in the early years of the 21st century have been witness to an event that most probably never previously occurred in human history. A meeting of Popes happened which is a first in the history of the Catholic Church or at least a first in the past seven hundred years. Pope Francis will meet with Pope Benedict XVI in  order to produce the first Pope on Pope discussion. Pope Francis holds Benedict in high regard so we can assume this will certainly be a friendly conversation.

The over riding issue for Pope Francis is whether he can alter teachings that Pope Benedict firmly supported. There is scant doubt both Popes agree on most critical issues confronting the Catholic Church-abortion, birth control, marriage of priests and nuns, same sex marriage. The basic question is whether any of these issues is subject to change. That must be the gist of their conversation.

Another John Boehner –NO!

The ongoing mantra uttered on Fox News and by every conservative pundit is refusal  by President Obama to cooperate with Republican leadership. He is portrayed as a man with scant ability to reach out and compromise with those of the opposing party. OK, two years ago he gave them whatever they wanted, including maintaining the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and, in exchange he received continued unemployment pay for those desperately needing it. The president had to stand firm to get some reduction in  taxes for the wealthy.   So, what happens when President Obama offers a nice present to House Speaker, John Boehner?

The president asked Boehner to accompany Vice President Joe Biden to Rome to meet the new Pope. Mr. Boehner said, “no”because he was busy! Oh, he had to meet the new Irish ambassador to America. John will not agree to any request from  Obama because to do so makes him a traitor to the Tea Party. It is a hopeless mess in Washington when nut cases in the Tea Party control what transpires in the nation.

Hello El Papa

The arrival of a new Pope s always the time when great debates arise as to whether this man–always a man– will become a liberal or a conservative leader of the flock. Pope Francis is the first Pope Francis and hopefully will  not be the last. I am not a Catholic but have worked in Catholic higher education institutions when Catholics were seeking to pose fundamental questions concerning the meaning of their faith. There is scant doubt Catholicism is in the decline within the United States and in Europe. Catholicism is at a  point in time when either decisions are made to transform an old, old institution into one that confronts with intelligence modern life or it will continue its downward slide.

We foresee the inability of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Rome to transform the church into a modern institution sets in motion creation of an American Catholic Church in which priests will be of either sex and they will be able to marry. That is the only future for Catholics in America.

Ida The Red Aims At Silvio

Silvio Berlusconi has wormed his way back into the political limelight of Italy by proposing wild promises of money for the masses. OK, so he has been convicted of crimes against the state. OK, so he has been convicted of crimes against women. But, Ida Boccasini, a prosecutor is aiming at Silvio and promising to send him to prison. I assume she is angry at not being invited to those wonderful parties at the Berlusoni mansion where scantily clad women offered their bodies to one and all. Guess who got the most all?

Ida the Red has gone back thirty years to discover new examples of how Silvio manipulated the law in order to gain special favors. In Italy, Silvio knows every angle to secure escaping jail. Fortunately, Ida spends her days and nights, not at parties but at the library seeking evidence to convict the Romeo of Italy.

Silvio Behind Bars??

There is a land, far far away that is ruled by Mitt Romney, unfortunately Mitt does not go by Mitt in that land, but employs the name of Silvio. After all, Silvio does not deride the bottom 47% of loafers, from his perspective the figure is more like 97%. He robs from those below in order to profit those above drawing upon tax codes which ensure if you have money, that money will not be headed to Rome. Ordinarily, Silvio does not worry about judges or prosecutors or any government official, he is a law unto himself.

However, a Milan court convicted him of illegal publication of wiretapped conversations and sentenced him to one year in prison. His brother also was sentenced to jail. But, this is Italy. So, you were convicted of a crime, so what, please serve as prime  minister of the country. OK, you are charged with tax fraud, so what. We doubt Silvio  would spend a day in jail anymmore than Mitt would spend a day discussing the reality of American economics