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Comments

  1. DLC says

    Berlusconi needs to be away from young women for a time. Of course, at 76, he may well die before his appeals run out. Funny, isn’t it, how rich white men get to sit around and sip Chianti while poor non-white or non-men sit in a cell sipping water.

  2. laurentweppe says

    it speaks much more of the return of fascism to respectability

    Fascism never stopped being respectable for many among the Italian upper-class: they just hid it in public until they felt they could get away with it.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    I wouldn’t be the farm on him never making a comeback. It is astonishing how money and connections can turn the most corrupt, depraved monster into a “basically good person who just made some mistakes”. Witness Governor “Appalachian Trail” Sanford getting elected to Congress. Also, before he died there was serious talk of Richard Nixon returning as an “elder statesman. Just horribly depressing.

  4. OptimalCynic says

    Peter Mandelson is another example of repeated comebacks, I don’t think you can rule a powerful and unscrupulous politician like Berlusconi out until he’s actually dead.

    Just a minor point – she wasn’t under the age of consent for sex (she was 17 at the time) but she was under the age where you can be involved in sex work. Doesn’t make it any less creepy, of course, but as it stands your summary is inaccurate.

  5. erik333 says

    As I understand it, the major part of the sentence is due to “abuse of power” rather than for paying for sex from a 17-yo.

  6. laurentweppe says

    I don’t think you can rule a powerful and unscrupulous politician like Berlusconi out until he’s actually dead.

    Especially since the current “national union” coalition includes his party-mob and has been not so subtly threatened to sabotage the government if its capo is put in jail.

  7. markr1957 says

    Especially since the current “national union” coalition includes his party-mob and has been not so subtly threatened to sabotage the government if its capo is put in jail.

    If they do will anyone be able to tell the difference?

  8. timanthony says

    Italy is the seat of crazy politicians. And the Vatican… Co-incidence? I think not. Even craziness can be a meme.

  9. yazikus says

    @timanthony

    Italy is the seat of crazy politicians.

    Surely you could come up with a better descriptor for their politicians?

  10. Nick Gotts says

    It’s very unlikely Berlusconi will ever go to jail, and not at all unlikely that’s he’ll return to power: the Italian judicial system allows the powerful virtually unlimited opportunities to escape punishment, and recent polls indicate that Berlusconi would increase his vote if elections were held now. Maybe enough of the Italians think that if you’re going to be ruled by a turd, you might as well have one that really stinks of shit.

  11. says

    The way an Italian friend (who loathes Berlusconi) explained it to me is that Italians have a serious problem with valuing style over substance. Berlusconi keeps pulling crap like this, but he does it with style and a complete lack of shame, and that lets him get away with it. A lot of Italians think that a man who’s as bad as he wants to be makes for a strong leader, much better than some milksop who follows the rules.

    Of course, the way this friend explains Italian culture, it sounds a lot like The Godfather minus the murders, so she’s either very cynical about her homeland or Italy really is a much weirder place than is generally thought…

  12. Ichthyic says

    Nick has it right at #14.

    there are near endless appeals someone with money can file in Italy, and the law states that as long as an appeal is pending… no jail time.

    It’s easy to imagine he has sufficient funds to keep his appeals process going until well after he’s dead of old age.

  13. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    I’m confused by the sentence. From what I understand the girl has vehemently denied having sex with Berlusconi. So how exactly have they convicted him?

  14. says

    In this country, we love our rich and powerful, and Berlusconi is everyone’s secret hero. He is the incarnation of the Italian Dream, that is sneaking along one’s way to unaccountability. To many of us, indulging oneself with complete impunity is the true measure of happiness and success. The system rewards those who set to the goal with enough cunning or luck. It’s ingrained in the national identity. You should hear the excuses I hear being made on his behalf.
    Now, naturally, he is getting old, which is the only way you get out of power in Italy, and those who stood in awe are turning on him wolf-style now that he start to look a bit frail, and that is the only reason he is in the limelight now. He is still spewing the same crap by which he came to (political) power twenty years ago, acting the same way, smiling the same way, casting the same anathemas on the Commie Judge, apparently unable to realize that reality is biting everyone else in the rear, and the Bling & B*****s lose a lot of charm when your family goes to sleep hungry, and medical exams are a luxury.
    If you ask me, which am absolutely unqualified to say so, the man is a narcissistic sociopath. He is still not getting it.
    Berlusconi has been convicted because his star his waning, but he will not spend a second in jail.

  15. WharGarbl says

    @fabianocaccin
    #19
    … wait, so the dream of every Italian is to become a mafia boss?

  16. Rip Steakface says

    … wait, so the dream of every Italian is to become a mafia boss?

    I’m a mere ignorant American, but this passage:

    He is the incarnation of the Italian Dream, that is sneaking along one’s way to unaccountability. To many of us, indulging oneself with complete impunity is the true measure of happiness and success. The system rewards those who set to the goal with enough cunning or luck.

    …suggests that Italians really, really like that idea.

  17. says

    #20

    … wait, so the dream of every Italian is to become a mafia boss?

    I am not exactly an unbiased source, the way the sun is not exactly cold. The only reason this country still exist as a Nation is that most of us are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens trying to live our lives out of what we earn and go on holiday on Summer. Ten sheep for every wolf. What I believe is difficult to grasp for someone who has not direct experience of it is the collective mindset behind what figures in the news. There is a deep-ingrained feeling everywhere that any opposition to whatever may be considered as an established rule is deviant. The honest person does not oppose and does not see. Everyone knew what Berlusconi was doing since forever; the official version was/is that he wasn’t. And you don’t question the official version. Evidence was collected and dismissed. Laws were quietly rewritten in difficult-to-know-of places. The media praised the Savior while an 80-year old woman got three months in the slammer for stealing 30 Euros in bread and oil not to starve. Everyone’s retirement money is vanishing to help the banks. We all know, but those who are willing to speak up are constantly mired by a carefully adjusted, corporate-oriented legislation, of which the Man was champion.
    As usual, as the norm, as it -should- be. You would be hard-pressed to find an aspect of the whole social system who has not the effect, all things considered, of preserving things as they are. The ones who get to rise in a position of actual (which is not synonymous with “political”) power are those willing to operate under the radar, and that is a very good way to select the worst among us. Berlusconi is simply the perfect instance. The textbook case. He is not a mafia boss. The mafia cannot exist without a vast pool of honest people to prey upon. He is the natural ruler of a nation who looks more and more like a pre-industrial society given access to third-millennium technology. With all due respect, he is to us what a Romney president would have been to USA: the end result of an eternal, unofficial selection based on criteria unspoken but firmly in place. Only more low-brow, loud, “Wanna!”-type, devoid of any semblance of shame and considerably less intelligent. An one-trick man shielded from the consequences of his own ineptitude and greed by the same system who put him in place, and by the fact that too much people wish they could share the F*** Everyone Else And Do Whatever You Please podium.

    Forgive the not-so-lucid rant.

  18. David Marjanović says

    A lot of Italians think that a man who’s as bad as he wants to be makes for a strong leader, much better than some milksop who follows the rules.

    Berlusconi himself agrees. That why he was a member of P2, a conspiracy to turn Italy into a dictature.

    Of course, the way this friend explains Italian culture, it sounds a lot like The Godfather minus the murders, so she’s either very cynical about her homeland or Italy really is a much weirder place than is generally thought…

    At least the south is, and there’s plenty of weirdness in the north, too…

  19. says

    At least the south is, and there’s plenty of weirdness in the north, too…

    Roughly:

    Italy / Politics* = Japan / Sex

    *Or anything requiring organization, really

    PS: Apologies to the Japanese.

  20. Hammer of dog says

    For that matter, congratulations, Italy, for successfully prosecuting a criminal who held the nations top government office. Something we (US) seem unable to do despite several valid and well known crimes committed by our highest government officials.

  21. David Marjanović says

    Roughly:

    Italy / Politics* = Japan / Sex

    *Or anything requiring organization, really

    ROTFLMAO!!!

    Day saved!