Thursday, March 22, 2007

Barbara Amiel No Libertarian

Columnist and author Barbara Amiel calls herself an extreme libertarian. Other journalists call her a provocateur. Critics call her the "Iron Lady of Wapping." Whatever you call her, there's no denying that Amiel has cut a broad swathe through the newspaper business (and gossip columns) in two countries.

Unless one considers Marie Antoinette a libertarian. Amiel's politics are not libertarian but neo-aristocratic. Amiel believes she should have her cake and eat it too just like Marie. As for the peasants they can eat cake too. As she reminds us in defense of Polish House Frau Inc.; Martha Stewart;

If Stewart had been living in ordinary times, it is unlikely so marginal a case would have involved the FBI and the Department of Justice. But Revolution has been sweeping the boardrooms of corporate America and the Terror is well under way. Last Friday night, Stewart's head was being held up high by its golden locks on television screens across the nation.

The neo-aristocratic airs of Amiel belie just another Conservative housefrau. In defending fascist revisionist David Irving she said;

" I would not hire Hitler to paint my house if there were other housepainters around, but if Hitler had simply written Mein Kampf and was an anti-semite, I would not ban him as a housepainter."

And her opinion of corporate malfeasance is clearly aristocratic; how dare the lowly peasants, the investors have any say. Let them eat their cake too. After all they are just ammunition in the revolt of the new bourgeois class against old money.

The revolution that Eisner and American business face comes from the once-silent partner of American public companies - the minority and institutional shareholder. After the huge bankruptcies and frauds of Enron and WorldCom, US business cried out for improved corporate governance but also became vulnerable to attack. A "Newly Emboldened Investor Class", as the New York Times calls it, rose up from their spreadsheets. The money managers for mutual funds, pension funds and insurance companies led by a handful of shareholder activists were in revolt: they were no longer content to remain confined to the dreary routine of analysts' reports and computations. The business world's atmosphere of shame and suspicion gave them a justification and an entry point into the companies in which they had invested. Now they had a chance to act like owners and have a say in operational decisions. Heady stuff.

Is it any wonder that the Queen Bitch of Cross Harbour, she of the Almeda Marcos school of self indulgence is so upset that hubby is facing racketeering and fraud charges in the U.S. Her gold digger demands on hubby are the reason for his criminal misuse of public company funds. And it is clear her outburst the other day was because like Marie Antoinette she is experiencing the revenge of the investors and the dreaded new bourgeois, the little people are clamoring for justice not cake.

CHICAGO -- From the moment Jeffrey Cramer, the 41-year-old prosecutor, stood up and began his opening argument in the trial by saying "Ladies and gentlemen, you see in the courtroom before you four men who stole $60-million," you knew he was going to make the whole thing simple.

And clear. There was no mistaking that. The four sleek, young U.S. prosecutors on the right side of courtroom 1241 in the federal courthouse in downtown Chicago, where Conrad Black and three co-defendants are on trial for fraud and related boo-boos, are the representatives not just of justice, but of a new moral order. They are the new gods of governance. The light of right seemed to shine off them.

She of aristocratic pretensions is no libertarian, she is a throw back like her husband to the neo-aristocratic conservatism of Edwardian Canada.

Chrétien in particular was contemptible in Black's eyes. Black saw in Chrétien only an ignorant peasant with no class at all who stood in the way of Black's lordship. Like Citizen Kane, Black used his newspapers to blacken his opponent's reputation at every twist and turn. It was Black's National Post that created the Shawinigate scandal. The Black press ridiculed Chrétien's defence that he was acting as an MP in aid of a constituent.

When exposed in public for the political harridan she is, Lord Black, true to form, sues.

The embattled former owner of the Telegraph, Conrad Black, is suing for almost £5m in libel damages over a critical biography that depicts the fallen press baron as an overweight teenager from a loveless home who grows up to be a "criminal sociopath".

Lord Black has taken particular exception to the book's treatment of his wife. His lawsuit says it portrays her as "grasping, hectoring, slatternly, extravagant, shrill and a harridan", and a "Nazi apologist".

An Ottawa-based legal analyst, Stanley Kershman of Perley-Roberts, Hill & McDougall, said the lawsuit was typical of Lord Black: "He has done this throughout his career - suing people to keep them from saying things he doesn't like."

And like many of the new right liberals of the Post War era she dabbled in Trotskyism before turning to the right. And like all anti-Stalinist liberals, she mistook State Capitalism for Socialism.
When Black met Barbara Amiel it was like the sky opened up for both of them. Now Black had added true love to his repertoire. It was a real meeting of minds and bodies. The beautiful Amiel was as conservative as Black, as Ayn Randish, as Zionist, as rugged an individualist. And even better, she was a convert to Black's conservatism before she ever knew him.

When I first met Barbara Amiel she was a funny, quirky Jewish lady of the Trotskyite persuasion hanging around University College at the University of Toronto. At the time, she had a well-off boyfriend reputed to have connections to organized crime. He bought her cashmere sweaters and skirts by the dozen.

Then, ever so slowly, right before our very eyes, Amiel began her Road to Damascus. Freidrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom replaced Trotsky's Permanent Revolution. Soon Barbara was University College's number 1 conservative. Her conversion was accompanied by a nose bob and chest lift, which really made her look special.

But the marriage has been extremely successful. Lord and Lady Black are among the world's leading couples. Lord Black and his retinue of neo-cons, Kissinger and Richard Perle, have the ears of Tony Blair and George Bush any time they want.


Conrad Black

Criminal Capitalism

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