June 19, 2003


How hard does Silvio Berlusconi rock?

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told France on Tuesday it should ''shut up'' about his Middle East policy.

''They missed a good opportunity to shut up,'' Berlusconi told reporters in response to French criticism of his decision not to meet Palestinian leaders during a recent trip to Israel.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said this week that Berlusconi had ''not satisfied the European position'' by holding talks only with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during his June 9 visit to Jerusalem.

''I went (to Israel) as the prime minister of Italy. There's no way France can issue criticism over something that was the sole right and responsibility of the Italian prime minister,'' Berlusconi said, clearly bristling with irritation.

His choice of words in telling France to keep quiet precisely echoed comments made by French President Jacques Chirac earlier this year when he criticised east European leaders for their staunch backing of the U.S. position on Iraq.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 19, 2003 05:53 PM

Huzza for Berlusconi!

Posted by: Howard Owens at June 19, 2003 at 06:05 PM

Forza Italia!

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at June 19, 2003 at 06:14 PM

I love you, you peasant.

Tim Leary

Posted by: Timothy Leary at June 19, 2003 at 06:32 PM

How hard does tim pull himself?
He doesn't seem to know Berlusconi's up for bribery charges. Anyone intelligent (Tim excluded by definition) knows the Italian leader is corrupt. Though that's a quality Tim seems to admire in his bizarre prentence-at-privelege persona.

Don't you see - the boy's a dill.

Posted by: Jack O'Farrell at June 19, 2003 at 06:37 PM

Hey, Tim want me to ban this jack-off's IP? Just say the word.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 19, 2003 at 06:47 PM

They're only allegations O'Farrell.

Berlusconi has also made a very good Prime Minister, illunminated by comparing his predecessors.

Yes, Huzza Berlusconi, Forza Italia!

Posted by: d at June 19, 2003 at 06:50 PM

He was bagging the French you tool ofarrell. Who cares about coruption...well...he was still bagging the French!! Wouldn't everyone just love to be able to publically tell france to fuck off? I know I would...

Posted by: Jake D at June 19, 2003 at 07:05 PM

Leave Jack be, Andrea. He's lonely. Maybe one day he will find a friend here.

Posted by: tim at June 19, 2003 at 07:07 PM

To Jack O'Farrell -

Being 'corrupt' and making truthful observations about contemporary issues are not mutually exclusive.

At least Berlusconi is making strong attempts to prevent Italy from becoming a safe haven for Muslim fanatics, as France has allowed itself to become.

Posted by: dee at June 19, 2003 at 07:10 PM

Ahh...the ignorance and racism: "Wouldn't everyone just love to be able to publically tell france to fuck off?" Reminds me of the bogans and dropouts at primary school.

Posted by: Jack O'Farrell at June 19, 2003 at 07:22 PM

What school do you attend, Jack?

Posted by: tim at June 19, 2003 at 07:33 PM

And why hasn't it taught you that "French" isn't a race?

Posted by: tim at June 19, 2003 at 07:34 PM

I'm not as worldly and wise as our man Jack O'F., but doesn't Monsieur Chirac also have a few legal difficulties impending? Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Chirac is immune as long as he is le Presidente. Many speculated that this was part of his motivation for running again in last year's election. Tu quoque Jacques O'Farrell.

Again, if I am wrong, please pardon my knuckle-dragging ignorace Jack. We cannot all be as sophisticated and non-racist as you are. But good for you.

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at June 19, 2003 at 07:45 PM

Chirac is definitely sweating on problems from his Mayor of Paris days. Ol' Silvio is currently passing an immunity bill through the Italian parliament that will give him immunity whilst he's a member of parliament (to the best of my knowledge).

This, while interesting, doesn't take anything away from his comments regarding French criticism of Italian foreign policy.. so good on him for not allowing the Franco-German axis of weasels (oops I must be a racist/speciesist) to influence how he and his government conduct foreign policy.

Posted by: Hmmm at June 19, 2003 at 08:11 PM

Come on Jacky, there must be someone you want to tell to go and fuck themselves (me probably)? With me it's the French. I have serious problems with nuclear testing in my region among other things. So frenchy-loving Jaque Ofarrell - bring it on baby. I also like bogans, their fashion sense just keeps on keeping on, I love their tenacity in the face of good taste.

Posted by: Jake D at June 19, 2003 at 08:15 PM

Tokyo Taro is absolutely correct - in seeking to gain immunity from corruption charges Berlusconi is merely looking for the same protection as Chirac already enjoys. Without it, both are equally vulnerable to long-standing allegations of corruption.

Posted by: Martin Adamson at June 19, 2003 at 08:34 PM

Berlusconi handled it like a master. While I suppose I could look it up, I wonder how you say bend over in Italian?

Posted by: puggs at June 19, 2003 at 08:52 PM

PS Jaque Offal,
I've got a BCom, work in finance for a multi-national and I don't like VB. Jam that up your clacker!

Posted by: Jake D at June 19, 2003 at 09:13 PM

Top man! We've nearly got the French surrounded.

Posted by: JohnJo at June 19, 2003 at 09:41 PM

Quite right. The only reason Chirac ran for office the last time was to keep his own corrupt arse out of prison (the Presidency of La France includes automatic immunity from prosecution--convenient, no?).

What a fine, fine example he is for the idiotarian Left...

Posted by: Will Collier at June 19, 2003 at 10:39 PM

hee-hee, good for you silvio.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 19, 2003 at 10:51 PM

That was Round 2; Round 1 went like this:

Posted by: Raymond at June 19, 2003 at 11:48 PM

I'm sure Saddam really took Chirac seriously- "I better do he asks me to or else he might ask me again"

Posted by: Random_Proser at June 20, 2003 at 12:20 AM

Viva Berlusconi - the man told the truth back in 2001 when he stated the obvious i.e. Western Civilization is superior to Islamic "civilization." How fitting that he shoved Ch'Iraq's own word right back at him. Berlusconi is inthe mold of Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.

Posted by: Joel at June 20, 2003 at 12:21 AM

Scrolling up a lot, to answer your question, Tim:

If I had to guess, I'd say our buddy Jack went to a "publical" school.

Posted by: Steve Gigl at June 20, 2003 at 01:39 AM

France is desperate. They know that without being in a catbird seat in a "federal" or "federalish" Europe, they're frelled. They need juice and cash from their topheavy economy and with bad boys like Berlusconi and the rest of Ersatz New Europe being "difficult" with the "True Holders of the European Conscience" (i.e., La France) it's gonna be that much harder to reach in to the pockets their more solvent neighbors.

Posted by: Kev at June 20, 2003 at 02:20 AM

Where has Jack O'Farrell been? Hasn't everyone who matters already told France to fuck off?

Posted by: ZsaZsa at June 20, 2003 at 02:25 AM

Golly-gee willikers! Corrupt Eyetye Pols?

Say it ain't so!

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

Posted by: mojo at June 20, 2003 at 02:56 AM

Jack O(fficer): Berlusconi has been charged, not convicted - if I remember correctly, Chiraq has been charged of some financial improrieties as well, but I suppose you still listen to him.

What a great reply by Berlusconi. It must really chafe de Villepan that Italy is about to take over the rotating EU presidency. This just shows how arrogant the terrorist-appeasing French are (as if anyone needed more proof).

Tim - sometime back I followed a link provided by your site to PM Howard's office to send him an e-mail of support (I think it might have been after Bali - I can't remember now). Last week I got a nice letter of thanks from you Prime Minister which strongly asserted Australian solidarity with the US and Bush.

It blew me away.

Thanks for all the great work.

Posted by: Rick at June 20, 2003 at 05:07 AM

Yes, Berlusconi has just been charged. But he took the witness seat the other day in an effort to delay the trial long enough for legislation making him immune to become law.

The guy's a crook, plain and simple.

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 20, 2003 at 10:23 AM

Senor Berlusconi owns, among other companies, the Italian powerhouse soccer team, AC Milan.

I'm not really a fan of Italian soccer but I bought and display an AC Milan pennant on my wall in honor of Berlusconi's committment to fighting terror.

Bravo, Silvio!

By the way, when we say corrupt, are we talking Ch'Iraq, Clinton, Chretien corrupt or George Galloway corrupt?

Posted by: JDB at June 20, 2003 at 10:48 AM

Bon Scott, if you want a breathing definition of corrupt, look at Chirac. He is, of the West ,exceeded in crookedness only by Clinton and Hilary, and Chirac takes some beating in the villain stakes.
Next to all else well Known about Clinton his is treachery, treason, well summarised by Peter Zhang, Clinton in the Shadow of Treason, 19/6/2003,it can be read on Brookes News.com.And, to treason, Hilary cannot plead neither ignorance nor innocence, nor many of the communards in the Dem.Party.

Posted by: d at June 20, 2003 at 11:12 AM

He rocks pretty hard. He was kicked out of office as PM in 1994 after only 8 months becuase of bribery allegations. He has been accused by senior judges of trying to interfere with the courts to evade being sentenced in three cases of corruption. And he is believed to have mafia ties. Yeah, what a guy.
Tim's admiration of Berlusconi is not unlike Mike Carlton's praising of that Klansman Byrd.

Posted by: Rick Squane at June 20, 2003 at 12:21 PM

"The guy's a crook, plain and simple."

Yes, but he's a French-hating crook, and that's how we like 'em.

Posted by: The at June 20, 2003 at 12:28 PM

I'm with anyone who wants to take a swing at the cheese eating surrender monkeys. (Whoever came up with that name deserves a gong)

Posted by: Razor at June 20, 2003 at 12:42 PM

Berlusconi is way more corrupt than Clinton. In the end, they couldn't pin a damn thing on Clinton. Berlusconi, however, has been convicted three times - twice for corruption and once for false accounting.

He got the false accounting count overturned on appeal and the other two charges have expired under the Italian statute of limitations because appeals have dragged on for so long.

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 20, 2003 at 12:55 PM

Wrong, Bon Scott, the Scott inquiry has just done that , it is has pinned damning things to el presidente Clintonhilary.

Posted by: d at June 20, 2003 at 02:21 PM

Pass the crack pipe, d.

How many corruption convictions has Clinton racked up? Zero.

Hell, I don't even like Clinton. He's a rotten sax player, for a start.

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 20, 2003 at 04:01 PM

Bon Scot

You are a complete jerk for bringing up Berlusconi shady ethics. You are also correct, of course (where Berlusconi is concerned). Its a shame his comment wasn't uttered by a less impeachable European official.

Tell you what: I won't venerate Berlusconi further if you agree not to venerate Chirac (or Clinton), since all three politicians have engaged in shady business dealings and have used the power of their office to cover them up. Deal?

Posted by: Sean at June 22, 2003 at 07:17 AM

Ben Scott: er, nope, you're wrong. No convictions - that many of the trials brought against him expired should tell you something. The latest one has took 10 years to reach no conclusion because it didn't start with any evidence whatsoever, and it refers to something happened 20 years ago, the (attempted) privatisation of a state company then controlled by EU commission President Prodi, he was selling it out (like he sold out many other Italian state companies, most of all Telecom Italia) to his friend De Benedetti, who controls the biggest pravda-style publishing group in Italy, and who started the charges by denouncing bribings that never took place (no evidence, and the allegedly bribed judge issued sentenced contrary to Berlusconi's interests, and other 14 judges did the same and are not accused of bribing - in short, the case doesn't hold up) - just because Berlusconi stopped a very dodgy private deal between "friends" which would have lost the state - ie. taxpayers - millions. The company was privatised later and the state made more money.

The prosecutors say they "lost" or "damaged" what they claimed they had as "evidence" (recorded conversations on a CD rom that they ended up breaking "accidentally" by squeezing it between their knees... so no one knows what those conversations were supposed to contain that was so incriminating, but that doesn't stop the prosecution from waving that "we heard them say..."), are still concealing files, are basing the whole case on rhetorics that speaks so well to the guilty-til-proven-innocent lynch mobs, you know, a nice idea of justice like that you have - if some sentence is overturned in appeal, surely can't mean the appeal court saw the charge was unfounded and the trial biased, nah, it must mean the man is guilty.

That Italian magistrates and prosecutors (who incidentally in Italy have no separate careers) are largely from politicised background is no secret given the history of the country which had the biggest communist party in the west.

Just as a quick background.

I don't venerate Berlusconi - except for AC Milan :) and this sort of thing he comes out with - but he's the best leader Italy has had in many years. Italy is not the US, UK or Australia, Italian politics are a mess, institutions not as fully democratic from the start (lingering effecs of fascism and communism, you know, like, those little facts of history...) but he's not the one threatening Italian democracy or justice. It's the attempts at coup d'etat via the judiciary, and the hysterical propaganda associated with that.

Posted by: zaza at June 24, 2003 at 07:36 PM

Oh and of course given the contrast with Prodi and the fact he's the head of the commission, and on the same wavelength as the French EU burocrats, the French government and the left everywhere shows full solidarity to the Italian pravda-press and politicised magistrates, birds of a feather. The French also lost an important defense contract with an Italian firm which went for alliance with the UK-US instead, so, they got many reasons to be peeved...

Posted by: zaza at June 24, 2003 at 07:42 PM