Conrad Black Book Club: A Matter of Principle, Chapter 8 (wherein nothing happens)
CONRAD BLACK BOOK CLUB Chapter 8
While reading this useless chapter, we started to wonder whether Conrad Black was being paid by the word. Or maybe he’s being paid by the letter since he’s such a supercilious blowhard—and nothing happens.
First, Black tries to get Hollinger back through an appeal to the OSC. (He also suffers through meetings with Catalyst chief Newton Glassman and his brigade of “podgy” women. Stay classy, Conrad.) When his appeal fails—and he once again defaults to being the real-life equivalent of the Brain from Pinky and the Brain—he realizes that he is “completely finished as an important businessman.” We realized that about five chapters and nine years ago.
The rest of the chapter is more of the same: name-dropping and shaming the media. He recalls the regal honour of attending Donald and Melania Trump’s 2005 wedding (once again: classy), where Donald, Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani all sing “Go Go Go Conrad” and urge him to stand his ground.
Later, the media clue into the fact that the Canada Revenue Agency has a lien on his Palm Beach house (Black insists that he arranged it voluntarily) and start teasing him for being poor. Our favourite: when the Guardian tells Barbara Amiel that she can save money on pantyhose by using a Sharpie to draw vertical lines up the backs of her legs. Come on, that’s funny. Eventually, it’s the London house that ends up going—and good riddance since, according to Barbara, it’s way too big for their humble livelihood.
In the words of the Lord:
• On re-enacting Bleak House at Christmas: “Barbara and I even managed modest gifts, accepted almost furtively by her, lest the boot in her sky notice we were having a good moment—something we had judged inappropriate in the hair-shirted, Dickensian bleakness of December 2003.”
• On Barbara’s spiritual side: “Though Barbara fights it, she is privately a person of faith who in bleak hours falls back on cantorial music and ritual, usually alone in a room out of sight.”
• On Barbara’s lyrical repertoire: “Barbara began humming “Little Things Mean a Lot,” which was part of her vast repertoire of Hit Parade songs from the 1950s.”
• On Richard Breeden not being up on his political manifestos: “It shortly became obvious that Breeden had made a classic mistake, one that Machiavelli in particular, had warned against: excessive reliance on mercenaries.”
7 thoughts on “Conrad Black Book Club: A Matter of Principle, Chapter 8 (wherein nothing happens)”
Modesty has never been a part of Black’s vocabulary.
Dear Sirs: I have no idea who writes the drivel referred to as a “blog” about Black’s book (it must be either Peter Newman or Tom Bower, both of whom Black is rightly suing for defamation!) but if this person could write anywhere near as well or as intelligently as Black, I might be inclined to take some of the venom seriously. Alas, this is definitely not the case as the anonymous “author” of this pathetic attempt to discredit Black carries on writing this nauseating,misinformed and hopelessly inarticulate rubbish. If you want to be taken even remotely serious as an objective magazine, please fire this moron and get someone to do a serious review of what is an extremely well written book about a serious abuse of justice that should be a concern for Canadians and Americans alike.
Love him or hate him, Conrad has accepted his fate with dignity, courage and sometime humour. He has made the most of a crummy situation and has bettered the lives of his fellow inmates. It’s the drivel spewed out by the folks at publications such as “Toronto Life” which feed the lowest common denominator in our country.
In a few months, Conrad will be over his incarceration as will that middle eastern murderer, Omar Khadr. Watch the leftist press in Canada hail the murderer’s return while piling derision on Conrad when he returns to his homeland.
Nice review. How could anyone find value from such excessively verbose prose written by a self-inflating unremoreseful prick. This silver spoon up the ass asshole might have been able to run a tiny newspaper in Sherbrooke, but he most excelled at a super Ponzi scheme known as Hollinger. His writing are crafted to elevate his own sick and limitless sense of self importance. Poor Conrad, Lord of Persecuted Nobility. Listen Brother, only insomniacs need buy this door stopper.
Having sent him my book Marking Time to read while he continued to mark time for his totally unjustified conviction and incarceration, having received a nice thank you note, I was about to buy his most recent book and compare his travail to mine when my daughter said, “hold off, I’m getting that for your birthday.” Today I got it, not yet my birthday but my daughter is in for Thanksgiving and she’s returning home on the East Coast soon. I had read excerpts on Amazon.com and knew his style was agreeable, and what I read engaging. Despite all the Toronto-Life vituperation, I look forward to reading it, knowing that it will be engaging, perhaps, enlightening. Conrad, I salute you, knowing that you are merely one of thos virtual convicts that US makes of many decent, honest men. Be well and prosper, as I know you will, despite the critics!
Whether you hate him or admire him is not really important to him or me and my kind. Please, only deal with the facts and leave his life style out of it…because most don’t qualify to judge on the way a rich person spends their money or runs a company. He was convicted of stealing only 1%($600,000)of all the $hundreds of millions the “they and them” said he stole. Yet, in my opinion, he didn’t really steal this money for he and his partners were going to get the $600,000 in question…anyways. He was trying to convert his management fee into a non compete fee. This meant nothing to any US shareholder as non compete fees are taxable in the United States but on or about the same time the Supreme Court of Canada was going to rule whether non compete fees were “outside” the Canadian tax code and therefore non taxable. The difference between the two situations meant $millions to Conrad Black in savings. As a result, he did the same thing to many of those other deals and his board of directors approved of those changes so when this was made clear those charges were dropped. He didn’t ask for more money in fees. He simply wanted to change that which he was entitled to from a management fee which was taxable in Canada for sure, to a non compete fee, which may not be taxable in Canada if the Supreme Court ruled against Revenue Canada. He was doing this just before the ruling was handed down. Worst case scenario was that he would have to pay the tax one way or the other but if they ruled against Revenue Canada then his fees now called non compete charges would be tax free. I think any normal person in the same position would try to do the same thing to save $millions of dollars in tax… which means anyone of us would have been convicted of that last charge because his board of Directors were not available to approve that one deal….the smallest of all the deals…and that’s why he was convicted. He did the change without their approval never suspecting that the possibility existed that they would not approve that change to this small deal. All the rest of the other deals his board approved of the change as Black was paid no extra money. However, some junior shareholder in the United States thought that he was asking for a management fee and an extra non compete fee. He complained and that started the investigation. He was convicted of that one charge because his board did not approve of that one change to that one deal. How small can the upper courts in the US be? He had to be convicted of atleast one charge for the “obstruction of justice” charge to stick. If no charges equaled convictions then how could moving boxes equal an obstruction of justice? Remember, no US court ordered him not to move those boxes. A Canadian judge ordered him not to move any boxes and no charge was laid against him by a Canadian court once they learned that all the files in those boxes were photo copied two weeks before and he was ordered out of his office and asked to clear all out. That still hasn’t been explained to me how something that happened in Canada can result in a conviction in the United States?. So,in my opinion, he did nothing wrong. Nothing that anyone of us wouldn’t do to try to save $millions in tax. Tax evasion is illegal but tax avoidance isn’t. What caused him all this trouble was that he was trying to avoid telling the world why he did what he did. That was none of their business how he dealt with the Canadian tax man regarding his income. I agree with that. The people brought in to run his company made it bankrupt. They took a well run company and turned it into a mess. Why is it that no one goes after them for their terrible mistakes? Isn’t it a crime to spend $100 million to investigate whether Lord Black was legally correct to charge his company 1/2 ($20,000) of the cost of a birthday party? The crime, if no one can see it, is agreeing to pay that kind of money to prove he was wrong. It shows that someone was trying to show wrong in his actions no matter what it cost. Lord Black would have easily put back the $20,000 if he knew it would save his company $100 million. For what it’s worth, that charge was eventually proven wrong and that he was within his rights to charge 1/2 to his company. So in the end he doesn’t care if you don’t like his use of the English language to its fullest. He doesn’t care if you like him or not. He only cares that justice is served and to this day he believes that it hasn’t been. He sees no wrong in his actions and I for one agree with that.
Geez, ridiculing this book and its author really brings out the arsecreepers, eh?
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