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Prodi-Berlusconi: 6-0 in transparency August 29, 2008

Posted by dorigo in humor, news, politics.
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Silvio Berlusconi, the italian premier, has never made a mystery of his feelings towards judges who have investigated his businesses in the last twenty years. Judges have been called Communists, have been accused of being moved by personal interests and hatred toward him and his political movement, a fumus persecutionis has been claimed in several circumstances. I understand these reactions, although I do not approve their tone or their content. I however find obscene and disgusting, and also really damaging to my poor country, the fact that he has always tried to legiferate, from the position of power he acquired as a Prime Minister in 1994 and then in 2001-2006, to create escape routes from the judiciary actions he had been subjected to. And now, after May 2008 elections have given him more power than he ever had, he is on to cleaning the slate.

One source of worry for Berlusconi which has emerged more recently is the publication on newspapers of parts of phone conversations he had with other politicians, important managers, and even TV showgirls with which he probably had sexual encounters. This infuriated him, and caused his promise that he would by force of a new law deny judges of the possibility of taping phone conversations. Today, after a few phone calls made by his arch-enemy Romano Prodi were made public by his own magazine Panorama, Berlusconi tried to use the fact to accelerate the political convergence to a law restricting the use of phone taping in crime investigations. He thus issued a note where he expressed his sympathy with Prodi for the incident and his support of Prodi’s privacy, going on to claim that a law is direly needed to stop these invasions on people’s privacy.

The matter is not perceived as a real urgency by italians. The majority of them is not against the practice of taping phone calls. And in truth, italians have other emergencies, very different from those perceived by Berlusconi. But through a continuous use of his huge mediatic power, Berlusconi is trying to steer the public opinion in support of his attempts at limiting the investigative possibilities of judges.

Romano Prodi (right) has answered in the best possible way to Berlusconi’s demonstration of sympathy: Prodi rebutted Berlusconi’s offer of a handshake, as he said he has nothing against the publication of the phone calls, and he is against any change of the current law. In truth, the published conversations prove nothing about alleged illicit deals of Prodi. He is now out of the political arena, and he is not going to return to it. Prodi is the only man who could beat Berlusconi at political elections in Italy, and he did it twice. Thank you for that, Romano, and thank you for your demonstration of style today.

Comments

1. Luboš Motl - August 29, 2008

It’s probably not that hard to be transparent for a boring impotent sourball who has nothing to hide. On the other hand, for a guy like Berlusconi, transparency may be annoying and it must be unpleasant if random activist judges try to squeeze into your transparent condoms, among other places that are normally considered to be private ones.

2. goffredo - August 29, 2008

Prodi has the style of a stale prosciutto!

3. DB - August 29, 2008

And so the saga of Italian democracy continues. I admit to a guilty pleasure in following Silvio and the twists and turns of Italian politics. It’s better than most Hollywood films.

A country that knowingly votes for a kleptocrat like Silvio is either brainwashed via overwhelming media control, or believes that Silvio is a genuine patriot who will work hard to achieve real economic and social progress and so his obvious venality is a small price to pay for this.

I find the comparisons with his close buddy Vlad “The Impaler” Putin quite instructive: genuinely nationalistic and patriotic, fondness for beautiful young women, firm control of media, screwing around with the legal system when judged necessary, using the state to enrich themselves. It’s all a bit Louis XIV: “l’etat c’est moi”.

I think the voters in both states understand what is going on, and have made their choices based on a hard-headed trade-off.

4. goffredo - August 29, 2008

Hi DB
for Italy the likely explanation is a mix of brain-dumbing manipulation and simple down-to-earth hard-headed choices. But how one assigns the weights to these two components does shed light on where one stands. What really makes me chuckle is that in Italy those that think that Berlusconi’s success in politics is entirely explained by his success in brain-washing italians with his TVs are precisely those italians that were completely brain-washed by monolithic and authoritarian propaganda for decades. These intellectually dishonest bastards are unashamedly full of BS, but they are listened to and read and do infact brain-wash the not-small fraction of “biasable” people that populate the weak-minded tail in the distribution of human personality types.

5. Fred Altieri - August 29, 2008

For those of us who aren’t keen to the current political events of Italy, which parts of the country give support to SB and from what organizations and factions does he derive his political power? If he is knowingly abusing or disfiguring the laws of the country why aren’t his adversaries able to capitalize on his actions? And further to the east, I was sad but not surprised to hear that Georgia has severed diplomatic ties with Russia and Russia happily responded that she will have to close her embassy in Georgia.

“Russia criticized the decision. “Breaking off diplomatic relations with Tbilisi is not Moscow’s choice, and the responsibility lies with Tbilisi,” the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko as saying.”

In this regard, Russia’s statement is totally on target. It shows the inability of the Nato-allied countries to responsibly offer sound recommendations to the fledgeling Georgian state. Moscow is winning this chess match so far. These are the names of the incompetent players so far: Bush, Berlusconi, Brown, Merkel, Sarkozy, etc.

6. DB - August 29, 2008

gofreddo,

Just so there’s no misunderstanding: “how one assigns the weights to these two components does shed light on where one stands” would not be a reliable guide to my personal views. I have no tolerance for politicians who exploit their position for personal profit, or who debase the rule of law to escape justice. But I would never impose those views on others, and I fully respect the Italian and Russian people’s choices. I’m always reluctant – and I suspect you are also – to take the easy route of believing voters to be easily manipulated fools. I think the evidence supports the idea that they vote to advance the perceived personal benefits for themselves and their immediate family.

7. changcho - August 29, 2008

Romano: 6; benito: 0 (oh oh, here come goffredo’s insults!!)

Have a good weekend!

8. goffredo - August 30, 2008

Changcho. You do save me time!

9. Arun - August 30, 2008
10. goffredo - August 31, 2008

In italian politics things are really bad. The content and vigor of the speeches in the US democratic convention are unthinkable of here in Italy. I watched all 4 days of it CNN and really did mess up my biological clock. Apart from speaches (just words), it is the people, with their stories, that are unthinkable of in Italy. Berlusconi does smell too much of “me first, then Italy”; Prodi is too much of the same (in the real sense of the expression); Veltroni did/does not have the balls of Obama nor the personal strory of a Obama, and… he is not black (*). Then there are the idiots on the extreme left with their authoritarian anti-democratic past, and the idiots on the extreme right with their authoritarian anti-democratic past. Italians should sit back and take notes, then think hard about what is all means, regardless of how ti ends up.

Jeff

(*) Too many italians say that they hope Obama be elected and then point out he would be the first black President. I then say: “I could care less he is black!”

11. dorigo - September 1, 2008

Interesting discussion, and I apologize for not having taken part to it.

First of all, Lubos: I would be surprised if MC used a condom for the kind of “presidential” act she allegedly entertained SB with.

DB, as always you make a good point. Indeed, most italians do understand that SB is there for his personal gain.

Goffredo, “hard-headed choices”, “weak-minded tail”. Your lexicon sometimes betrays your ideas more than your sentences.

Fred, SB owes his fortunes to the coming apart of Christian Democracy, the party which ruled Italy for four decades, with a strong ideal push in the post-war years toward a democratic country led by religious ideas on the moral organization of society, which corrupted itself gradually into a bunch of power-greedy little men with no shame, who would make ties with mafia to keep the helm. Most of the 40% of active italian voters who were left orphaned by the disappearance of DC were steered into Berlusconi’s new party by a combination of forces. The need for something “new”, the strong influence of italian media, the indications of the Vatican.

Cheers all,
T.

12. Randall - September 1, 2008

Well, this is why I get furious when I hear people saying “politicians are all the same”…

Nope, there are honest and dishonest politicians, and Mr. Prodi, with his behaviour, showed the difference.

Best

Randall


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