Mining Towns & The Lord Black of Crossharbour

The Lord Black of Crossharbour Whatever

Before you read this, you should know I kind of like Conrad Black. In spite of everything he has done and what he represents, he still manages to come across as not a total dick even though he is. Black is well spoken, has written books and he is a historian. He's not bad looking, seems tall.  He has erotic capital, if you will, because this is really what's important.

Lord Black was released from prison last week in Florida and in spite of not being a Canadian, he was allowed entry into Canada so he could be with his wife, Barbara. This is against our rules for entry into the country. If he were Canadian it would make sense but he willingly renounced his citizenship so he could become British and so he could buy a Lordship. This was something important to a man who had already achieved the ownership of a multi-billion dollar mining and print media empire.

Lord Black inherited his wealth and holdings, both from his father and from assimilating the retirement funds, some say, of employees of his companies. Which brings us to my connection. Yada yada one of these companies was Hollinger Mine in Timmins, Ontario. 

This is Shania Twain's home town also.  Pretty!

I happen to have been born in Northern Ontario were Hollinger Mine (gold) was the dominant employer in my town although many mines in the area came to be under the Hollinger umbrella. The above photo should give you an idea of the general landscape of a mining town although you cannot see the endless berms of mine tailings snaking around the northern part of the city like a giant dirt serpent intent on keeping out of our sight what little rugged Canadian Shield beauty existed beyond its ridge.

I tried to find images of the homes built for miners but nothing came up.  Block after block of indentical, cheaply made, ugly houses make up a large  part of the core of the city. These houses have been bought and fixed up here and there but the general ick is still there. Of course it's been years since I was there so many things could have changed.

Mining is not a pretty industry.  Examples of mine tailings:

This is a mine tailing in Thetford, Quebec.  A particularly ugly scar on the planet, Thetford hosts a massive open pit asbestos mine.

Open pit asbestos mine in Thetford, Quebec.  See those little yellow industrial machines?  They're not little.

About this big.  Just for some perspective

Mine tailings everywhere and a shaft to the right.

You would think with all the money these corporations make, they could beauty up the town a bit more than planting green stuff on tailings.

Tailings in Utah

The Black mansion in Palm Beach where he has not robbed widowed residents of their pensions and so he is loved.  Citzens there rankle at the accusations being thrown at Lord Black.

The Lady Black of Crossharbour Whatever AKA Barbara Amiel, socialite

Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel married in 1992 and lived their life together in a spree of pretension and lavish spending. Black was convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007. Spent some time in prison, semi-successfully appealed some of his convictions, redefined some legal parameters to his benefit and went back to jail for a lot less time than he was originally scheduled.

Wiki says: "Amiel stood by her husband throughout the lengthy trial and afterwards." And why wouldn't she? Amiel was a journalist and she might still have a byline in McLean's magazine, Canada's answer to USA's Time Magazine. I'd look that up for you but I don't care.

Barbara Amiel Black is 71 years old.

I don't like people who live lavishly off the backs of peasants. I really dislike it when they are unapologetic and flaunt this lavishness, have been made to account for a fraction of the theft for which they are probably guilty and still remain steadfastly resolute in their entitlement.  Taking their wealth to another country so they can play at nobility adds insult to insult. I hate pretentious, posturing people. I detest poseurs. We all do.

The Lord and Lady Black will land on their feet. I do not care that they have suffered because suffering for them would entail having to drive themselves around in a Honda Civic, live in a two bedroom house with very little yard, on a sleepy crescent in a small town with few amenities and NO good restaurants. Whereas I would live happily ever after and want for nothing if I owned that exact car and house free and clear.

If everyone gave some back, would there be a need for cosmetic surgery?
The definition of beauty really needs to be changed.

Don't get me wrong, I do not begrudge wealth.  I begrudge how it is used.  Or maybe I begrudge that it is used conspicuously. I don't understand what right thinking person would call themselves a "socialite" like that was something of which to be proud. Warren Buffett is a wealthy man. But after his name comes the word philanthropist. He doesn't brag about it, either. Could be he made his money off the backs of peasants too.  At least he's making the effort to give it back.


Tonya said...

Fuck people who get rich by making the poor poorer. I didn't even know who the fuck this was. I'm an ignorant American.

Angie said...

Mine tailings are a scourge. We are an old lead mining town and the tailings they left behind are toxic. We have a huge pile southeast of us that ended up washing across the road and polluting the well on the adjoining property. The EPA stepped in and cleaned it up as well as they could and attempted to stop the washout. Eventually, they will try to lay a bit of dirt over it and plant grass, but I'm not holding by breath. Oh and a sidenote? This pile is mere miles from the Mississippi and a few hundred yards from a stream that empties into it. Hmmm.

Frimmy said...

The following comment was marked as spam by blogger and was deleted by me by accident.

Douglas Scott Treado has left a new comment on your post "Mining Towns & The Lord Black of Crossharbour":

Presently, there is an invasion via Rio Tinto/Kennecott Mining in the Upper Peninsula of northern Michigan, with their first mine within about 10 miles of Lake Superior...not to mention the river watersheds from the "Eagle" mine site in the Yellow Dog Plains of Marquette County. Metallic sulfide mining, a more than questionable and untested method of extracting valuable minerals will be their scenario--and it most likely will be polluting the watershed over a short time, not to mention the roadsides as the ores are hauled about 30 miles by truck to be processed...And where will the nickel, copper and other valuable processed ore go? To China, to feed the dragon. So much for using our North American non-renewable resources such as minerals--amd destroying our watershed, add to air and soil pollution, throw more noise into the forestlands (some cleared, of course, to provide mining site "landscapes" and additional roads for trucking...).
Other companies, including Canadian ones, are also hard at it in northern Michigan to find uranium and other valuable ores and carry their pollution (like they've done--and continue to do-- in Canadian provinces, particularly Ontario and further west in Canada).
So goes the world. Conrad Black and his wife were bad enough, but it still goes on...It's called greed, not progress.


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