Things I saw that left my jaw swinging: Part 3

Things I saw that left my jaw swinging: Part 3

Among the milestones in the trial of Conrad Black, this one has about it an air of finality. The Globe and Mail reported this morning that Conrad Black has a prison registration number: 18330-424. He joins, among others, fellow corporate cons Jeffrey Skilling (25296-179), Bernie Ebbers (56022-054) and Andrew Fastow (14343-179) in adding the honour to his CV. This latest designation was revealed in light of what might, depending on your point of view, be the sweetest or bitterest irony of Black’s imbroglio to date:

“In what is effectively a bid to make Lord Black an honorary American, at least as far as where he is jailed, his lawyers have cited his admiration for the United States and his record of business there in a move to ease his prison conditions… Because he is not a U.S. citizen, Lord Black is ineligible to serve his time in a minimum-security facility, or prison camp.

“In a four-page letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, filed in court this week, Lord Black’s legal team asked officials to waive the regulation because of Lord Black’s many contributions to the United States.

“‘Mr. Black’s oral and written admiration for and support of the United States is well documented,’ the letter said. It added that Lord Black, who is a British citizen, ‘has been a very productive member of society, extensively investing in the American economy as a business owner over many years.’”

In short, Black argues that because he rose high enough in a society that afforded him just enough freedom to hang himself, he is deserving of proportionally more freedom as a result.

I came awfully close to flunking freshman logic, but even I can see this is a stretch. Still, when it comes to constructing his case for entitlement, there’s something magnificent about Black’s Nero-like unselfconsciousness. Take his column in last weekend’s National Post, in which he pilloried suburbanites for driving SUVs, therefore adding to the west’s dependence on Arab oil and consequently supporting terrorism.

“The status quo is intolerable. The U.S. has done nothing serious to reduce oil imports from those who bankroll terrorism and promote the overthrow of friendly Middle Eastern or southern Asian governments. American suburbia gambols about in its gas-guzzling SUVs, fattening the wallets of the promoters of terrorism.”

And yet wasn’t that an Escalade in which I saw him ferried to and from the courthouse most days? “Do as I say, not as I do,” Black extols from the heights.

Ain’t that the truth.

Lord Black: A Good American?: Source [The Globe and Mail]

Musharraf must be supported: Source [National Post]