On the road with Charlie Sheen, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi….after all it’s April

April kicked off by April fool’s Day in the US, “April in Paris” in France and the upcoming “bunga bunga” trial in Italy, appears to be the perfect month to snap us out of the winter doldrums.

In what almost seems like a bad April Fools Day joke, Charlie Sheen launched his “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option Tour” by being booed off the stage during his opening night show in Detroit. The critics have weighed in on Charlie’s stage debut Saturday night, and the reviews are far from favorable.

sheen of doom

Sheen of Doom

Most blasted the actor for failing to prepare for the show and unfairly taunting the audience, which prompted walk-outs and angry shouts of “Loser!” and “You suck!”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney called the evening a “meltdown in progress.” What Sheen delivered was the overwritten, faux-Biblical preaching of a self-anointed Messiah, who views himself as the most truthful person in the universe,” he wrote. “Maybe, but not this universe.”

Steve Johnson at The Chicago Tribune summed up the evening as a “messy disaster.”

“To the sold-out 4,700-seat, theater Sheen served amateurish video, undeveloped storytelling and much more of his trademark self-aggrandizement: “warlock” and “winning” and other empty buzzwords,” he said.

Charlie Sheen had a better time on stage the second time around. He apparently made it through his routine and received a standing ovation after his second stop in Chicago.  The star reportedly tweaked the format and gave audience members a chance to ask him a few questions, giving fans less to boo about.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the actor took shots at his old bosses at CBS stating: “I made $5 billion for those a–holes and then they fired me. If I made $10 billion, they would have killed me in front of my family.”

This sounds like pretty hilarious stuff to me and evidently to countless other Twitter freaks (twits) who seem to be following his every tweet with breathless anticipation. It appears his 20 city tour is sold out with tickets ranging from $100 to $750 (which gets you a meet and greet and maybe even a score) with Sheen.

Is there a recession in the US? An economic crisis in the Motor City? You couldn’t tell from here. Who the hell cares where Tripoli or Benghazi are anyway. In a recent survey only 20% of Americans questioned could identify Vice President Joe Biden.

Could it be that Sheen has political aspirations and could possibly replace “foot in mouth” Joe on the ticket? Stranger things have happened. Stay tuned and follow Charlie on Twitter and you’ll be the first to know.

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April in Paris brings out the tourists as well as the intellectuals who have been cooped up inside during the winter.  The cafes on the Boulevard St. Germain are packed as the French engage in their favorite sport of political discourse. This month there is much to debate, particularly the latest adventure of Nicolas Sarkozy in Libya while under the influence of the most famous French socialist philosopher and intellectual.

NIcolas Sarkozy

Had I not spent many years in France I would have found it odd that the French Prime minister would have led the charge against Libya and Muammar Gaddafi, given the French have no particular strategic interests there. With the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) imploding and massacres of civilians occurring daily, the former French colony imbued with French culture and still maintaining a French governmental infrastructure, would appear to be a far more likely candidate for humanitarian intervention.

Enter Bernard-Henri Levy, the ‘rock star’ leftist philosopher known to the French media simply as BHL. Known for his vanity, he has a history of involving himself in political affairs. This time, however, he seemed determined that his part will be more than that of a mere protester.

Bernard Henri Levy

BHL

Asked why Libya?  He replies while sipping a drink in his favorite Left Bank haunt Café de Flore: “It was an accident of history. I happened to be in Egypt when Gaddafi sent his planes to shoot at the pacifist demonstrations in Tripoli. It seemed to me such an enormous, unprecedented thing, and I felt the Egyptian democrats around me were so horrified by it that I decided on instinct to go to Libya straight away”.

Levy, 62, is married to the French actress Arielle Dombasle but has lived for the past four years with Daphne Guinness, the brewery heiress and style icon.  Interestingly, Mr. Levy has an extremely complicated relationship with Mr. Sarkozy going back to 1983.

While they were friends and once vacationed together, Mr. Levy openly supported Mr. Sarkozy’s socialist opponent in the 2007 presidential election. It turns out that Mr. Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni, had previously stolen the husband of BHL’s daughter Justine who wrote a book about it. Talk about incestuous relations among the French elite.

With his popularity at a record low and facing an election next year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in desperate need of a boost to his political stature. It didn’t take Sarkozy long to jump unto this bandwagon. The French leader once dubbed “Super Sarko” by the local press for his eagerness to take the reins in global crises, summoned leaders from four continents to an emergency war council at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris to agree on military action against strongman Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

Libya Action

Announcing The Libya Action

“With almost theatrical gravitas, Sarkozy said France had decided to assume its role before history in stopping Gaddafi’s killing spree against people whose only crime was to seek to liberate themselves from servitude.” His 20 guests (the US among them) had barely reached an agreement when Sarkozy announced that French planes were already in the air preparing to strike.

Barely more than three years ago, Sarkozy gave Gaddafi the red carpet treatment in Paris, welcoming him with open arms and allowing the Libyan leader to pitch a Bedouin tent near the Elysee. Now the French president was announcing that he was sending warplanes in to bomb him.

A clip doing the rounds of French websites shows Levy giving an interview in English to Al Jazeera in which he states: “It will be very difficult now to make the blow jobs to dictators in the Arab world. The world has changed. This is the first huge event of the 21st century.”

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Italy once ruled Libya with an iron fist. Now in April, it is facing tough questions about its handling of the current Libyan uprising, and its dealings with current strongman Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The defense minister said Italy did deplore the violence, but that it had “interests to defend” in Libya and the country needed to adopt a “prudent” stance.

Italy gets a quarter of its oil and about 10% of its gas from Libya. Italian business giants Fiat, Finmeccanica and UniCredit are among Libya’s beloved Italian investments, and are just part of the billons of dollars in Libyan loot circulating through the Italian economy. The love is mutual — Italy has fortunes invested in Libya.

Gaddafi and Berlusconi

As the initial violence took hold in Libya’s streets, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was condemned for saying that he did not want to bother the Libyan leader with a phone call. Mr. Berlusconi was slow to take a strong position on Gaddafi’s assault on the rebel forces, and he seemed happy to hand the coalition air raid file to France, Britain and the United States.

Small wonder, with three weeks to go before his “bunga bunga” trial, Silvio Berlusconi was signaling the launch of a vigorous counter-offensive against Italian prosecutors not Tripoli. Berlusconi has ridiculed the case against him on vice charges, saying that the number of women with whom he was alleged to have had relations defied belief.

“I am 75 years old”, he told the centre-left newspaper, La Repubblica. “And even if I am a rascal, 33 girls in two months seems to me to be too many, even for a 30-year-old. It’s too many for anyone.”

inside bunga bunga

bunga bunga

In fact, Italy’s prime minister is 74 years old, and the prosecutors do not claim he had sex with all the female guests who attended dinners at his mansion home outside Milan, some of whom stayed on for alleged, so-called “bunga bunga” parties. Berlusconi portrayed  them as “Carefree, elegant dinners”.

Whatever the outcome, it’s a better problem to have rather than wage some “nasty old war” Let the U.S. take care of that.

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So if you wonder how we got into this Libyan mess in the first place, you now know who the puppeteers are behind the scenes.This is what happens when you follow and don’t lead.

In the U.S. today President Barack Obama announced his intention to run for the Presidency once again in 2012.  Following on the heels of Charlie Sheen, he launched his campaign with: “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is not an Option Tour II”.

And that’s the way it is here: “a little left of right”

JT

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