Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 11, 2006

Congrats To Italy

The Ministry of the Interior in Italy has released the official election count.

The Prodi coalition did win on a shoestring. But because Berlusconi had changed the election laws, Prodi will have decent majority in the important lower house of parliament and a two vote majority in the upper house.

Berlusconi is demanding a recount but there may be no legal base for one. The voter turnout was 84%.

Prodi has been Prime Minister between 1996 and 1998. Then he missed to fix the media ownership law. Berlusconi and his clan own all private TV stations in Italy as well as several papers. This nearly has let Italy back to a fascist state.

Now restricting ownership in the media market to a certain percentage (25%) of that market should be the first priority.

Posted by b on April 11, 2006 at 18:03 UTC | Permalink


Serious questions- When does Berlusconi's immunity end? How many cases are waiting?

Posted by: biklett | Apr 11 2006 18:07 utc | 1

at least 20 & possibly as much as 30 but hannah or dan of steel will have - more exact information

b, we must follow the manouvering of this creature berlusconi with diligence

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 11 2006 19:01 utc | 2

we must follow the manouvering of this creature berlusconi with diligence

Yes - incidently(?) as of today there is a new manager position available. Berlusconi would fit that "inofficial" office. I bet he knows pretty much how that business is run.

Italian Mafia Boss Caught After 40 Years

Posted by: b | Apr 11 2006 19:27 utc | 3

For a while now, it has been apparent that there appears to be a number of similarities between the situation in Italy and the US.

A corrupt conservative leadership prepared to do anything to hold power and a 'democratic centre left' who have made so many climbdowns compromises and corrupt decisions themselves that what should have been 'walkover' is now an opportunity for the conservative forces to steal the election with only token resistance from leftish voters.

One can't even be sure that if successful Prodi and co would really be able sort out the media monopoly problems.

Those politicians of the centre and left owned by the media may run an argument that letting the justice system deal with Berlusconi will be sufficient to get rid of this Mussolini lookalike.

Of course one would have to hope that politician's sense of self preservation will outweigh their selfish greed but that cannot be taken for granted.

As long as monopolies like Berlusconi's are allowed to survive, democracy cannot. Prodi had ample opportunity to administer the coup de grace to Berlusconi in the 90's but failed to do so.

Now he may struggle to claim that opportunity back.

And that's even if he wins this election. Anything is possible in a 'Western Democracy' in 2006.

International recognition of a Berlusconi theft of power is down to the US. Europe has already congratulated Prodi so to get international recognition of any outright theft he must look to Bush.

The US administration must be totally conflicted on this.
Anyone in the right faction running for re election mustn't want US voters thinking about 2000.

But neither do they want a coalition member to become 'unwilling'.

Maybe it shows how close to the endgame we are. If Belusconi does steal this it says that the elites have decided to hurl out the pretence of people being self governing.

Posted by: | Apr 11 2006 19:42 utc | 4

Ouf! I didn’t get any news until now - didn’t turn on the teevee. I will later perhaps.

One can't even be sure that if successful Prodi and co would really be able sort out the media monopoly problems.

Yes that is a vital point.

What is very worrisome is that so many did vote for Berlusconi. They voted for a rich man, for a criminal, for a media star, for a man who has a sexy second wife, for a man who gets together with the Musso grandaughter, for a man who swears, insults, postures (you can bet that had a huge effect, any smart comunication cousellor would have told him to do exactly that), for a man who manages to escape justice, for a man who has plastic surgery to look good, for a man who makes empty promises but so what, for a man who appears on yachts in white bandannas holding the hand of Cherie Blair, for a man who likes to hint at sex stories, for a man who bounces back, for a man who wears designer suits and shoes (the same as Saddam and Bush, the shoes I mean, made in Italy...), for a man who defeats the criminal justice system and the courts, for a man who destroyed part of the State, for a man who illegitimatly and unscrupuously used the advantages he has garnered, and much more.

For a man, who finally, is less than nothing.

But who represents, in a large part, the values of Italian society. All the things I mentioned are much admired - I have heard endless chat about his bravado, his women, his clever repartee, his smart clothes, and his money money money, his maniplation of the judicial system, etc.

(There is a very large community of Italians here, most of them by now second or third generation successful people.)

Posted by: Noisette | Apr 11 2006 20:27 utc | 5

Can anyone review the damage he's done in his yrs. in office?

Posted by: jj | Apr 11 2006 23:19 utc | 6

Actually,the fall of the loathsome Berlusconi marks the departure from the stage of another friend of Bush. There was Aznar in Spain who was downed,now Berlusconi,and very soon ,I believe ,Blair in the UK. That only leaves Howard in Australia,who is emneshed in a major scandal about kick-backs to Saddam in exchange for his taking Australian wheat. Funny that an Iraq-linked scandal is putting Howard at rish...the Iraq war is certainly devouring Bush;s friends !

Posted by: deblonay | Apr 12 2006 5:31 utc | 7

Wikipedia has Italy's election results too. Obviously, from the right's pov, any election where the communists, reformed or otherwise, poll several million votes, is entirely suspect.

Meanwhile, in Peru Ollanta Humala, pro-Chavez ("heroic"), anti-US, has a narrow lead in the first round of polls, much to the displeasure of the US adminstration and its cartoon spokeperson of evilitude, Roger Noriega.

Go Peru!

Posted by: Dismal Science | Apr 12 2006 12:42 utc | 8

for a fairly good run down on the antics of Mr Berlusconi, here are two articles from the Economist. One written in 2001 another from ">"> 2003. There is more in The Economist print edition of Apr 6th 2006, just before the election (subscription required to read on-line). This paper has been particularly severe in its criticism. Might be sour grapes, I really don't know as he seems to be someone they would normally be all googly eyed about.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 12 2006 19:10 utc | 9

Mr Berlusconi is suing The Economist for defamation IIRC, a case that could take the magazine to the cleaners.

There have been problems over which court has jurisdiction to hear the case, not sure what stage it's at now.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Apr 13 2006 9:14 utc | 10

Article by The Observer's Nick Cohen that mentions Berlusconi court case vs Economist.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Apr 13 2006 9:17 utc | 11

Salient bit from Nick Cohen:

The chilling effect sets in. Just before the 2001 Italian election, the Economist printed details of all the allegations of corruption against Berlusconi and urged Italians not to support him. Berlusconi sued in the Italian courts. Now London wigs flutter when his name is mentioned. Bill Emmott, the editor of the Economist, explained that however sordid the record of the British libel courts has been in giving solace to the likes of Maxwell and Jeffrey Archer, at least British newspapers understand the system. They don't have to pay for foreign lawyers and translations. A libel action in a foreign jurisdiction is far more frightening because the risk is all but unquantifiable.

The chill has lasted for almost two years and shows no sign of thawing. Berlusconi sued the Economist in 2001 and no one knows when the facts of the case will have their first airing in a preliminary hearing.

I'm not saying that the British media has been scared into complete silence. The Observer and the Independent reported the latest allegations that Berlusconi had links to the Mafia. Jones's work has been widely noticed - it's reviewed on our book pages today. Rather there is an incentive to hold back from a full description of Berlusconi's shameless rule.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Apr 13 2006 9:20 utc | 12

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