Category: The Candid American

Summer Fun with the New York Times

Western opinion leaders continue to offer preposterous and dangerous “solutions” to world problems.

Pick a card—any card. Actually, pick a New York Times editorial, any editorial, and have some fun.

Here’s one by Mark Malloch-Brown who, the Times tells us, is president of the Open Society Foundations and a former U.N. deputy secretary general—so you know trouble’s on the way. The title of the column is “The World Needs More Than Crumbs From the G7’s Table,” which means the man has an idea of how to save the world.

Such men are dangerous.

He tells us that “the Group of 7 summit in Germany ended last week with leaders of the world’s richest countries pledging to support Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’” and that a call for a Marshall Plan for Ukraine is appropriate. But Malloch-Brown says G-7 leaders are “missing the bigger picture.”

Malloch-Brown is a big-picture man. And he says the big picture is “terrifying.” 

“Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he writes, “global food prices were near record highs. But the ripple effects of the war now threaten to cause hunger and suffering on an enormous scale.”

Well, yes: wars have a way of doing things like that. Actions have consequences. That may have been why some people opposed the war. In 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was overheard to ask at a meeting of G-7 foreign ministers, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” Listen carefully and you can still hear the cries of anguish.

“Besides food prices,” Malloch-Brown tells us, “crude oil breached $120 a barrel recently, fertilizer costs have soared, and interest rates have shot up. Add in extreme weather, unsustainable farming practices, high debt in many countries, lingering effects of the pandemic and other violent conflicts, and more than a billion people are at risk from what the United Nations has called a ‘perfect storm’ of hardship.”

How much of that is a surprise to “professionals” like Malloch-Brown who are paid to worry about precisely those things?

Malloch-Brown tells us that “the summit’s headline announcement was $4.5 billion for food security—a fraction of the $22.2 billion that the World Food Program needs now, and a minuscule pledge for a bloc that accounts for around 45 percent of global G.D.P.”

Then the Madison Avenue punchline: “The world needs a Marshall Plan. It got a Band-Aid.” Nice.

Malloch-Brown gets petty and complains about where the meeting was held: “a luxury resort and spa nestled in the Bavarian Alps.” Where did he expect the big-wigs to go? A Motel 6?

“The leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa were invited to discuss problems such as food, health and climate, but just 90 minutes of the three-day gathering were devoted to those concerns,” he laments.

“By treating the global food, energy and debt pressures as secondary to the war in Ukraine, the Group of 7 missed a golden opportunity to help the world’s hungry and disprove Vladimir Putin’s narrative of the liberal world order as a spent force that cares nothing for the poor,” Malloch-Brown writes. Do we know Putin thinks that? Does Putin think about anything other than how to make Russia great?

But why are all those people so poor, hungry, and sick? Whose fault is that, anyway? Ronald Reagan’s? Donald Trump’s? Donald Duck’s?

Maybe it’s Malloch-Brown’s fault. As a former high-ranking U.N. official, he’s an expert, presumably, at spending other people’s money to solve precisely these problems. Does he know how to do even that effectively? His only business experience seems to have been working at a public relations firm. Does he know anything about economics and production, markets and incentives? What was he doing all that time at the U.N.? Dining at fancy New York restaurants?

“Three months ago,” Malloch-Brown tells us, “the Western world mustered global support for a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with 141 countries voting in favor. But even then, China, India and half of Africa abstained. As the war has progressed, the West has found it more difficult to rally the world, with subsequent resolutions drawing fewer votes partly out of concern that further measures to punish Mr. Putin could add to the global economic volatility.”

Why is he so surprised? And could he really have wanted unanimity? Isn’t diversity our strength? Do we really want everyone saying the same thing? And isn’t it correct that “rallying the world” to punish Putin further will add to the global economic volatility, precisely the point Malloch-Brown is making in this piece?

Maybe the people in those countries who think Putin could and would make even more trouble than he has already are on to something. If Ukraine is destroyed—destroyed even more than it already has been—who’s going to pay for rebuilding it? The United States? The G-7? George Soros?

And then how much will be left over to feed the world’s poor, whose diverse economic systems seem, er, inadequate—as they have for decades.

Naturally, something has to be done about Russia’s exports of oil and gas that are funding their war effort. “The Ukraine war also has laid bare the security risks of fossil-fuel addiction, which gives leaders like Mr. Putin leverage.”

Malloch-Brown’s solution? You know what’s coming. “[T]he most critical long-term step regarding energy is the transition to renewable sources.” Oh, please! South Africa, he tells us, plans to do that, at a cost of about three percent of its GDP. Other countries must do it too, which means another Marshall Plan—which means, he says, the U.S. must contribute around two percent of its GDP toward the effort.

Surely the whole world shouldn’t go renewable. What about the diversity angle?

Besides, shouldn’t Americans—Malloch-Brown’s piece was published in an American newspaper—worry about crime in Chicago (where 68 people were shot and eight were killed in shootings over the July 4 holiday weekend) and about poverty in Detroit (which has the highest rate of people living below the poverty line of all U.S. cities) before worrying about crime and disease in places they couldn’t find on a color-coded map with coaching?

We’re going to sacrifice Chicago and Detroit for the world’s poor and their decrepit and utterly corrupt economic systems? The economist Lord Peter Bauer described foreign aid as poor people in rich countries sending money to rich people in poor countries. And Malloch-Brown wants more of it?

This man is batty.

But then you knew that when you opened the pages of the New York Times. And tomorrow there’ll be another piece just like this one.


July 7, 2022
American Greatness

May It Please the Kangaroo Court

What Cassidy Hutchinson said was certainly extraordinary. But was it really “testimony?”

Oh, the thrill of being a New York Times reporter and covering the January 6 committee hearings. In a triumphant piece “contributed to by Maggie Haberman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Chris Cameron, Carl Hulse and Peter Baker” we read that “former President Donald J. Trump, knowing his supporters were armed and threatening violence, urged them to march to the Capitol and sought to join them there, privately siding with them as they stormed the building and called for the hanging of the vice president.” Gosh, that sounds bad. Are there any details?

What the reporters describe as “the testimony” was given by 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson. Breathlessly (you can practically hear the reporters’ heavy breathing as they type furiously) the reporters wrote: “The testimony from the aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, was extraordinary even by the standards of Mr. Trump’s norm-busting presidency and the inquiry’s remarkable string of revelations this month. In fly-on-the-wall anecdotes delivered in a quiet voice, she described how frantic West Wing aides failed to stop Mr. Trump from encouraging the violence or persuade him to try to end it, and how the White House’s top lawyer feared that Mr. Trump might be committing crimes as he steered the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis.”

This is Woodward and Bernstein stuff—even though, of course, it’s happening in public. Will the reporters get to play themselves in the movie version? Think of . . . well, think of the money! They’ll be able to pay off their student loans—unless Joe Biden forgives all loans (except yours!) before they get the chance.

The reporters tell us that 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson “recalled being told of one particularly dramatic moment in which an irate Mr. Trump tried to grab the wheel of his vehicle from a Secret Service agent when he was told he could not go to the Capitol to join his supporters, an account that the former president quickly denied and that Secret Service officials said would be rebutted in forthcoming testimony.”

And then this: “Her testimony elicited praise for her willingness to speak out against Mr. Trump and was compared to some of the most consequential moments in presidential history. John W. Dean III, whose testimony during Watergate rocked the Nixon presidency, compared Ms. Hutchinson’s appearance to the stunning moment in 1973 when Alexander Butterfield, another Nixon aide, revealed in a Senate hearing the secret taping system that would lead to the president’s downfall.” Yup. This is Watergate II (bigger, really). Oh, the book. And the movie. And the money!

And they were the ones, Haberman, Kanno-Youngs, Cameron, Hulse, and Baker, to cover 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson’s extraordinary testimony.

Well, yes—for what that’s worth.       

What she said was certainly extraordinary. But was it really “testimony?” What is testimony? A dictionary definition is “a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official.” Yes . . . but usually there’s more. After the witness “testifies,” usually in answer to questions put by lawyer A, lawyer B gets up and asks an additional set of questions to probe the veracity of the answers the witness has just given in response to questions by lawyer A.        

So how did 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson hold up under questioning by lawyer B? Well, actually, the January 6 committee hearing, being a kangaroo court, presented no lawyer B to interrogate 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson. And almost as if to trumpet the nature of the proceeding, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), in her closing remarks, “read aloud from testimony given by two witnesses whom she declined to identify [my emphasis], in which they spoke about having been pressured by Mr. Trump’s allies to withhold information from investigators.” 

Exam question. Which is worse: “testimony” given without subsequent cross examination or “testimony” given by unidentified witnesses?

An ecstatic Bret Stephens would also write for the Times, “Maybe Hutchinson is lying, but she was under oath. Trump supporters may find it easy to dismiss Democrats like Adam Schiff or even anti-Trump conservatives like Judge J. Michael Luttig. But Hutchinson is a source from within the inner sanctum. On Tuesday, she was a picture of credibility.” Perhaps, but maybe only a cardboard cutout of credibility.

And then the unraveling began. Hutchinson had said about a note: “That’s a note that I wrote at the direction of the chief of staff on Jan. 6, likely around 3 o’clock.”

But, per the Western Journal, according to ABC News, Eric Herschmann, a former Trump White House lawyer, claims that he wrote the note and that all “sources with direct knowledge and law enforcement have and will confirm that it was written by” him. Uh oh. Things don’t look quite so bright for 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson, who had claimed the note’s handwriting was hers.

But there’s more: two people with good knowledge are, apparently, prepared to testify that Trump neither grabbed nor attempted to grab the steering wheel, as Hutchinson “testified.”

So much for kangaroo court testimony.

We can and should be outraged at Cheney, of course. But we should spare just a minute to feel sorry for 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson, a young kid who’s gotten herself into a perjury pickle. Why? We don’t know. But we can be reasonably sure that if there had been an opposing lawyer, he might have been able to dislodge her testimony and to persuade her to “alter” it (i.e., recant) before she fell into the perjury pit. Now it would seem she’s in trouble, which will grow if the Republicans take over the House of Representatives after the November election. 

But what’s the appropriate punishment for Liz Cheney who abetted this travesty? And will she ever suffer for it? In a just world, she should be given a fair trial—and then taken out and horsewhipped—as a lesson to future partisan hacks not to hold kangaroo courts.


July 3, 2022
American Greatness