“For his friends, no explanation was ever necessary; for his enemies, none would ever have sufficed.”

Conrad Black receives A Full Presidential Pardon. I paid close attention to the case at the time, partly because we are almost contemporaries and even remember him – not personally – from my university days in Canada. Also because Mark Steyn was covering the story so closely. And if ever you have seen an example of injustice meted out by some leftist judge, that was it. This is from his article, up to the moment when the President comes on the line.

The two counts for which I have just received a presidential pardon, and of which I was “convicted” in 2011, after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated them, only to have a self-serving appellate judge reinstate them, were for wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

The alleged fraud was reception of $285,000 in my office in Toronto while I was in England, from our American company, which was approved by independent directors, referred to in public filings of the corporation, but which the company secretary had not completely formalized, in what the trial judge correctly regarded, in the secretary’s case, as a clerical error. The reinvention of this crime enabled the appellate panel—to whom the Supreme Court remanded the vacated counts “to assess the gravity of their own errors”—to resuscitate a count of obstruction of justice against me. This consisted of my removal of boxes of personal papers and material that already had been furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission—which I took out under security cameras I had had installed, with the approval of the acting president of the company and the principal member present of the court-appointed inspector—as I vacated my office of 27 years from a building I chiefly owned, on an unjust local court order of a publicity-seeking judge.

The local jurisdiction found no cause of action nor any violation of a document retention order. I was always presumptively innocent in the initial jurisdiction. It was nonsense, all of it; there was never a word of truth to any of it. And now it is over, after 16 years, including three years and two weeks in U.S. federal prisons.

Only once before, 18 years ago, had I received a telephone call from an incumbent president of the United States, prior to Monday of last week, and I had not spoken to the current president since he took office. When my assistant said there was a call from the White House, I picked up, said “Hello” and started to ask if this was a prank, (suspecting my friends in the British tabloid media), but the caller spoke politely over me: “Please hold for the president,” and two seconds later probably the best known voice in the world said “Is that the great Lord Black?” I said “Mr. President, you do me great honor telephoning me.”

Now do read on. And then this, unrelated in any way to the above other than it is the same person writing: Conrad Black on Democrats Start To Perceive Debacle They Face, being how almost impregnable PDT’s current election prospects are. But of particular interest are Black’s comments on China-US trade.

In the trade dispute with China, where even the Democratic Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, sides with the president, the United States cannot lose. China’s tremendous economic progress is based on debt-financed infrastructure, dumping cheap goods abroad, especially in the United States, and requiring industrial-intelligence disclosure from sophisticated foreign companies that seek access to Chinese markets.

Everyone agrees that China cheats and ignores World Trade Organization rulings, and practically every trading nation in the world applauds the U.S. president’s stance in this dispute. Eighty percent of the U.S. GDP is domestic commerce, and with a year to reorient itself, it could practically end all imports. China is a debt-ridden house of cards built on what is still a 40% command economy, rotten with official corruption in a country with few natural resources and 300 million people who still live as their ancestors did a thousand years ago.

One more example showing how centralised economies do not and cannot work. The kinds of things perhaps only those who have run large businesses can really understand.

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