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Conrad Black Still Loves FDR (In Spite of Amity Shlaes)

Lord Black's friendship with historian Amity Shlaes hasn't altered his conviction that FDR's New Deal saved America.

by
Kathy Shaidle

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June 25, 2013 - 7:00 am
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My husband calls her “Sideshow Sarah,” for reasons that will be clear to any Simpsons fans who’ve seen recent photos of Toronto gadfly Sarah Thomson.

Thomson is one of those familiar fixtures in cities large and small:

Publisher of a tiny, unread “newspaper;” perpetually spurned seeker of public office; promoter of myriad crunchy, goofy fads and schemes.

One of those “Isn’t she married to Whats-His-Name?”s.

A combination Flying Dutchman and Don Quixote, plus a dusting of second-tier Kardashian.

My husband and I once heard a tacky little rumor about Thomson and Conrad Black years back, so were startled when Lady Black, of all people, verified the tale in a recent Maclean’s magazine column:

Around 2002, publisher Thomson offered, using normal scatology, to “bed” my husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper. Though the proposition did not intrigue him, Conrad found it very enterprising and endorsed her for mayor in the last election.

Indeed, Black’s public endorsement was titled “Sarah Thomson: The Woman Toronto Needs” – even though he clearly did not.

(And was at the time, come to think of it, nowhere near Toronto, either…)

Alas, Lady Black — whose journalistic instincts are usually feline and feral, and whose sense of modesty is not exactly legendary — omitted the best part of the story, at least as it was related to me:

That Lord Black had (supposedly) responded gravely, “Thank you, Miss Thomson, but my wife sees to my needs admirably on that particular front.”

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Top Rated Comments   
My Dad who lived through the FDR era and studied economics at Columbia ('35) said some things that I think are relevant here. One is that he was genuinely afraid that either fascism or communism would prevail and American democracy was in danger of being lost. He credited FDR with managing to maneuver America between those extremes. He also said as an economist that the deficit spending of the 30s did not cure the depression and it was only WW2 that brought the economy back - something that many of today's liberals try to deny. I like Black's stout defense of FDR because I think it is good when people of one ideological persuasion think for themselves and give credit where they think it is due to their apparent opponents . I am not familiar with the details of the argument between Black and Shales and would read it with an open mind. My own view is that FDR ushered in Keynes' middle way - what I think of as regulated capitalism - and it worked until it blew up because of the corruption of Congress and the regulators in 2008. I don't think we can simply go back to pre '29 capitalism and I don't think we can go forward with the system as it is because the public sector and semi public sector (healthcare and education) have become a grotesque burden on the private sector. So I think this discussion of how we got to this point is very valuable.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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like Russell responded I'm taken by surprise that any one able to make $7070 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this site http://www.wep6.com
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know it is akin to heresy for any conservative/Republican to defend FDR, but FDR really did stop something very bad from happening in America. I don't know that there would have been the revolution that the communists wanted, and there were a lot of communists in America in 1932, but we would have had period of extreme civil unrest with a very uncertain outcome. America, like Germany, was going to go very far to the left or very far to the right because the perception was that the center had failed. FDR steered as close to a centrist path as the times would allow, though some of the things he did as sops to the left were very far to the left but few of the more extreme programs and practices have survived.

While hands-off conservative economics or the standard Republican bureaucratic tinkering, e.g., Hoover, might have ultimately broken the economic depression, the People weren't going to wait and the leftist and populist forces in the Country weren't going to accept anything but direct central government action.

Roosevelt accomplished what the Marxists would style the Historic Compromise; he gave the left enough to keep them sullen but not mutinous. The big problem with many New Deal programs is not that they were created but that they have never adapted. Social Security has become a sacred cow and simply cannot be touched even though everyone knows it should be. The Fair Labor Standards Act was, I believe, an excellent remedy to the appalling labor conditions in much of America, particularly in The South, but the workplace and workforce of 2013 doesn't resemble that of 1938, but the FLSA looks much the same as when enacted except for the provisions applying it to public employees and various changes in wage and salary rates. The National Labor Relations Act has been significantly modified by most notably the Taft-Hartley Amendment in '48 in response to union excesses during and immediately after the war and by the Landrum-Griffin Amendments in response to union corruption in the mid-'50s.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Want to read the next definitive exegesis on FDR? Read Diana West's AMERICAN BETRAYAL. Not only did he NOT do anything to turn around the depression, like Obama, his administration was studded with Marxists/useful idiot, fellow travelers who, like Obama, USED THE CRISIS to create Stalinist type policies where there were none before. No wonder Obama wants to be the next FDR. For FDR and his Stalinist brigade broke the back of the Old Republic and ushered in the groundwork for what they wanted; an American replica of Stalinist programs in the USSR which they admired. There is no gainsaying what many have long suspected about FDR. West lays it all out backed up by rigorous scholarship. It is a true history of what our GOVERNMENT was up to during those years while pretending otherwise. FDR, if history had any honesty left, would be highlighted as a traitor, un American, and at the very kindly least, a complete and utter incompetent who left our country, and its best interests to a brigade of quislings hell bent on breaking the back of traditional America. It was only when I read her book that I learned the Lend Lease program gave the Soviets first dibs on ALL of America's produced materials, be it food, or produced goods. Americans were forced to suffer food shortages and SHORTAGES IN MATERIALS NEEDED TO DEFEND OURSELVES. That directive came from FDR and his useful idiots. Read the book. You will come away thinking we were dragged into WWII to DEFEND Stalin against HITLER so STALIN could survive. If we fought WWII to slay a monster, then why did we hand over half of Europe to an even BIGGER monster? Makes you think, doesn't it.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
FDR wasn't born to be a Leftist, but he ended up as a classic type -- born to a Little Lord Fauntleroy life, he wakes up in the prime of his life as a pathetic cripple married to a Lesbian with a face like a mule. Not good, and he developed a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude. This is where Leftists come from -- people who can't live normal lives in the society that surrounds them. 'Black' is a perfectly fine name, but unusual personal vulgarity and a last-ditch defence of the indefensible FDR suggest the possiblilty that Lord(?) Black might be of the Jewish persuaion? Just wondering....
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"'Black' is a perfectly fine name, but unusual personal vulgarity and a last-ditch defence of the indefensible FDR suggest the possiblilty that Lord(?) Black might be of the Jewish persuaion?"

Good point. On the other hand, it's equally possible that he's failing to conceal long-buried African-American roots, and acting as a tool of of the Sub-Saharan Masonic gay lobby. Given the Byzantine complexity of Ms. West's historical vision, I'm surprise she hasn't addressed that branch of the conspiracy.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you overstate the case West makes against FDR personally. FDR was blind, far too blind, to the communist sympathizers, apparatchiks, and outright Soviet agents that worked their way into his government first through the New Deal programs and then through the war effort. It is no different from the blindness today's liberals exhibit in refusing to accept what sort of people Comrade Obama and his close associates are. Fifty years ago Obama would have been on the FBI's watch list, not heading the FBI. If you read Churchill's view of FDR, Churchill was always troubled by FDR's arrogance regarding dealing with Stalin. FDR either was convinced by Soviet sympathizers around him or had convinced himself that he could "handle" Stalin.

"If we fought WWII to slay a monster, then why did we hand over half of Europe to an even BIGGER monster?" The answer is that we and the British had nothing like the strength or will necessary to stop Stalin's designs on Eastern Europe. Granted, Soviet influence in FDR and early Truman's Administrations caused us to make it far too easy for Stalin to take over Eastern Europe, but the fact is we couldn't have stopped him. Probably the only thing a more agressive posture would have done is perhaps taken more of Germany and maybe, just maybe saved Czechoslavkia and some of Yugoslavia. That said, had a rupture come, say, January or February of 1945, we would have had very few options beyond a separate peace with the Germans and using the Wehrmacht as a bulwark against the Soviets. Americans never learn or quickly forget that ALL the Western Allies never faced more than about 15% of the Wehrmacht. The Red Army faced and defeated the other 85%, albeit with a lot of material aid from the US. As it turned out, that separate peace with the Germans is what we ultimately did post war as we invented the "Good German" helped restore Germany and decided it was better for German boys to plug the Fulda Gap than American boys.

And the final thing that we don't like to admit is that by '45 we were a very war-weary nation both on the homefront and on the fighting fronts. The move into Germany was an unduly long and cautious slog because it was obvious to everyone but the German command that Germany was defeated and no Allied soldier wanted to be the last man to die. After the German surrender, we were facing mutiny as we tried to move troops to the Pacific. The atomic bomb prevented us from having to find out if we had the National will to pursue Japan's defeat to the end. That would have been even more complex in the face of Soviet bellicosity. Right up until June 22, 1941, the entire international left was demanding that no country come to England's aid in its lone struggle against Germany, going so far as to sabotage war production in England and play a major part in the French failure to effectively fight the Germans. One June 23, 1941, the entire international left was screaming "Second Front Now!" If the Comintern had flipped the switch, the US would have been racked with civil unrest and anti-war protests as well as production sabotage and delay by the very communist influenced if no controlled US unions. There was a reason the Truman and then Eisenhower Administrations moved quickly and decisively against communist control of the unions. Anyway, there's a lot of good detail in West's book, but I don't think she really lays it all on FDR personall as you imply.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
just as Leroy replied I am stunned that a mom able to get paid $9939 in one month on the internet. have you seen this webpage http://www.wep6.com
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
A lot of FDR's measures were flops.

But it was important that the President be seen as doing *something* about the economy and unemployment.

Back then, laissez-faire economists kept waiting and waiting for the economy to recover on its own. It didn't. We now know how hard it is to get out of a deflationary spiral.

The U.S. had 20% unemployment with no social safety net. People were facing real hunger for themselves and their families.

The U.S. was heading for some kind of revolution. The Communist Party USA was growing rapidly. My parents--who lived through that era--told me that the CPUSA was the only recourse that poor people had. They would bring baskets of food for the kids, and they would fight with landlords trying to evict unemployed tenants for nonpayment of rent.

And there was the German-American Bund which pointed proudly to how Hitler had put Germans back to work. And we had our own native fascist, Huey Long, who was becoming more popular daily. Like Ross Perot but a lot more extreme and a lot more dangerous.

Democracy works only as long as people perceive it working for *them*. If you've got tens of millions of unemployed people, they're going to be desperate enough to try anything--and all that brave talk about freedom and liberty goes right out the window.

That's how the Weimar Republic ended.

Finally, FDR's military buildup which began in 1938 really did begin to put Americans back to work. Just like Reagan's military buildup in the 1980s.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
My Dad who lived through the FDR era and studied economics at Columbia ('35) said some things that I think are relevant here. One is that he was genuinely afraid that either fascism or communism would prevail and American democracy was in danger of being lost. He credited FDR with managing to maneuver America between those extremes. He also said as an economist that the deficit spending of the 30s did not cure the depression and it was only WW2 that brought the economy back - something that many of today's liberals try to deny. I like Black's stout defense of FDR because I think it is good when people of one ideological persuasion think for themselves and give credit where they think it is due to their apparent opponents . I am not familiar with the details of the argument between Black and Shales and would read it with an open mind. My own view is that FDR ushered in Keynes' middle way - what I think of as regulated capitalism - and it worked until it blew up because of the corruption of Congress and the regulators in 2008. I don't think we can simply go back to pre '29 capitalism and I don't think we can go forward with the system as it is because the public sector and semi public sector (healthcare and education) have become a grotesque burden on the private sector. So I think this discussion of how we got to this point is very valuable.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am sure that Shlae's analysis is correct. However, during the 1930s, there were major revolutions throughout Europe and Russia. FDR managed to give enough to the socialists so they couldn't complain too much (and have a revolution), and enough to the fascists to ensure that they never grew beyond a crowd of thugs. FDR was a great politician.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
FDR was better at politics than economics.

Take a look at the time line between the Munich Pact and the invasion of Poland. FDR arrived at the conclusion, sooner than Chamberlain, about the dangers of Hitler.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
He didn't just arrive at the conclusion. He acted on it.

He launched a military buildup over the objections of isolationist Congressmen.

For example, FDR intervened personally to save the B-17 Flying Fortress project from congressional cancellation. Isolationist Congressmen considered building the B-17 as warmongering.

But as we know, the B-17 came in handy after war broke out.

And FDR did one more thing.

He got this letter from a scientist named Albert Einstein, who said that atomic energy could become a weapon.

FDR agreed, and launched the Manhattan Project.

By that time, the Nazis had spent billions of dollars (in current dollars) on their own atomic bomb project, headed by the physicist Werner Heisenberg (yes, that Heisenberg).
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kathy, given what Lord Black wrote of Henry Kissinger in "A Matter of Principle", it shows that forgiveness of Mr. Kissinger by Lord Black was deep.

There is cause for concern, especially when it came to how Mr. Kissinger treated Senator Scoop Jackson regarding holding the Moscow Politburo accountable for its actions.

But, what I find interesting is ground for the US welfare state is old. When you have the colonies benefiting from France being expelled from its North American empire, and then not wanting to pay its share for the fighting - wanting something for nothing is as old as the hills.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The taxation was only a part though a very visible and readily "organizable" part of American opposition to post-war British policy. The dirty little secret, well it isn't really secret but isn't a part of the standard canon, is that many prominent Americans had holdings or designs on holdings west of the Appalachians. George Washington wasn't a surveyor for nothing. The British prohibited expansion into what became The Northwest Territory and took over all dealings with the Indians on the frontier and in the territories west of the Appalachians. The British established what became the model for the US Bureau of Indian Affairs for dealing with the Indians. The Colonials objected to British handling of Indian relations strenuously enough that it merits its own piece of the Declaration. I think you mischaracterize the Colonial position. They felt that they had participated in removing the French, weren't being allowed to benefit, were in fact being punished by being excluded from the former French territory, and were being assessed additional taxation as the result of the War, taxation in which they had no part in enacting.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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