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We are going to start with a quiz. What do you have when you find Sam Bankman-Fried, Janet Yellen and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine all together in one room? A federal grand jury proceeding? That would be a good guess. Sam Bankman-Fried seems to have committed the biggest financial fraud in history. As the chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen bears direct responsibility for the destruction of the entire U.S. economy. President Zelenskyy, meanwhile, sits atop a money-laundering scheme so brazen that Democrats won’t even allow it to be audited.
So, yes, these are three people who could badly use a federal investigation, but they’re not getting one. Instead, they’re being celebrated, held up as uniquely fascinating people by The New York Times. In case you missed it, today was the annual DealBook Summit. That’s a money-making event the newspaper advertises as a symposium with “top business leaders.” Tickets went for $2,500 a piece. Sam Bankman-Fried, Janet Yellen and Volodymyr Zelenskyy were all there, apparently in their capacity as top business leaders.
“Thank you so very much!” exclaimed the moderator, Andrew Ross Sorkin, when Sam Bankman-Fried finished speaking. “Thank you, Sam Bankman-Fried, everybody,” and with that, the audience applauded heartily. New York Times readers were clearly impressed by the Democratic mega-donor Sam Bankman-Fried, who also happens to be one of the most prolific thieves of all time, but whatever. He seemed like a nice kid. It was a pretty amazing display, but what’s most interesting about an event like this is not what it tells us about the guests — at some point, history will render its judgment about them — but what it tells us about the people who invited the guests.
If it’s OK to treat Sam Bankman-Fried like just another naughty celebrity — “Sam Bankman-Fried, everybody, applause, applause!” — if you can do that, then who’s off limits? Who’s beyond the pale? Well, as it happens, The New York Times has spent the last few days telling us, delivering yet another hyperventilating lecture about who we’re allowed to associate with and who we must avoid at all costs, and it really depends on political loyalty.
Some people, The New York Times has explained, have views that are so reprehensible these people are physically off limits. You cannot be in the same room with people like that. You can’t talk to them. You can’t ask them questions. Their opinions are like smallpox: communicable and deadly. These are the thought criminals and thought crimes are the only crimes that matter. Other crimes? Not such a big deal. Murder and rape and carjacking? As The New York Times has often told us, people who do those things are the victims of your racism, so they deserve compassion.
So, by the way, do good liberals who stray outside the lines. Good liberals can always be forgiven, even when the things they’ve done are objectively very, very bad, like tanking the U.S. economy or stealing billions from investors and using it to buy Bahamian real estate or bringing the entire world to the brink of nuclear war and getting rich while you do it. Liberals can still do these things and you can still heartily applaud them because in the end, you know their hearts are in the right place. They believe the right things.
With that in mind, it probably is not a surprise that no one at The New York Times bothered to ask Zelenskyy today where exactly all the money has gone. No one demanded an accounting of the billions of your tax dollars that seem to have disappeared into the pockets of Ukrainian oligarchs in tracksuits because asking would have been rude. He was our guest. So instead, The New York Times gave Zelenskyy an opportunity to demand much more of your money, which of course, he promptly took.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: On Nov. 15, the Biden administration submitted a new aid request of $37.7 billion, which if passed, would bring the total amount that the U.S. has provided in assistance to $105.5 billion. We’re going to be speaking with former Vice President Mike Pence a little bit later, and there has been a sentiment among Republicans who now control the House in the United States from Kevin McCarthy, who said there should not be a blank check. What do you tell them?
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: We are absolutely open and we are thankful for the assistance. It’s not quite correct to speak about $100 billion as a value of the war for the United States. The value is lives of people. If Ukraine does not stand through this war, the war will spread into other territories and maybe even to other continents. For our people is the biggest value. Tell me how much our people cost. I don’t know.
“OK, so support me or Putin’s going to invade Atlanta and by the way, you have no choice, because if you object to sending billions more to the very people who gave a no-show job to Hunter Biden, you’re a bad person. You don’t care about Ukrainian lives. You are a moral monster.” Now moral blackmail this crude does not typically work because nobody with self-respect would stand for it. What? “Settle down, son. Get the Germans to pay for it. It’s their continent.” That’s what a normal person would say, someone who had self-respect. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas has no self-respect so he folded immediately and that matters because McCaul is the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Just in case that you imagine that throwing out Nancy Pelosi and electing a Republican Congress, a huge victory, would mean that somebody would push back against Joe Biden’s lunatic and completely anti-American foreign policy priorities, oh, you were mistaken, because Michael McCaul just informed us that because we’re good people and so is Zelenskyy, we’re going to be sending Mr. Zelenskyy and his pals in tracksuits billions more of your money.
MARTHA RADDATZ: And I want to pick up where Col. Millburn left off. He believes that there should be longer-range weapons sent to Ukraine. Would you approve of that?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL: 100%. He’s absolutely correct. I mean, my criticism of this administration was before the invasion, we wouldn’t put weapons in and since the invasion, we’ve slow-walked this process. We are going to provide more oversight, transparency and accountability. We’re not going to write a blank check. Does that diminish our will to help the Ukrainian people fight? No, but we’re going to do it in a responsible way and I think it’s very important that the American people understand what’s at stake here.
The U.S. Military — not Ukraine’s military, our military, the one that’s supposed to protect our country — is running out of equipment and manpower, but just so we’re all clear about what Michael McCaul’s priorities are, we’re sending advanced weapons systems, yet more of them to Ukraine, and that’s in addition to what we’ve already sent, which is bigger than the entire Russian military budget.
If that’s not insulting enough — and of course, the point of this is to insult you and to degrade you and to make you fully aware that your country’s interests come last because you come last on the list of priorities — they’re going farther than that. We’ve also decided to pay Ukraine’s energy bills. Now, it’s kind of odd that we’re doing that at a time when we have our first real energy crisis since the mid-1970s, a manufactured crisis, but a crisis nevertheless, a crisis that is causing Americans to freeze in their homes because they can’t afford heating oil. That means it’s a perfect time to send energy to our friends in Ukraine and the whole region. Here’s Tony Blinken.
ANTONY BLINKEN: I announced the United States will commit over $53 million to send equipment to help stabilize Ukraine’s energy grid and keep Ukraine’s power and electricity running. We’ve also submitted a request to Congress for $1.1 billion to secure Ukraine and Moldova’s energy sector and restore their energy supply.
Why is this continuing when, of course, Joe Biden could call Zelenskyy, who effectively works for him, I mean, a close family connection here, of course. His son worked in Ukraine. He could call Zelenskyy and say, you know, “No más, get the money from Europe or let’s wrap this thing up. People are dying. The rebuilding costs of this country are beyond what we can pay. This is really a dead end. Let’s come to a settlement.” And of course, that could happen in about a week if they wanted it to, but they don’t want that. They want the war to keep going. Why is that? Oh, because everyone’s getting rich.
The one thing you’re not allowed to say is that, “Hey, maybe we should stop this war,” because, of course, the cash spigot would stop flowing and that’s why at the DealBook Summit, the top business leader, Zelenskyy — in fact, he really is a top business leader if you want to be honest about it — went after Elon Musk because Elon Musk suggested maybe we should get a peace deal.
ZELENSKYY: It seems that Elon began to change his opinion and we began to hear all kinds of appeals. I don’t know if somebody is making an influence on him or he’s making those choices himself. I always say very openly, if you want to understand what Russia has done here, come to Ukraine and you will see this with your own eyes, without any extra words, and after that, you will tell us how to end this war, who started it and when we can end it.
Oh, all perfectly reasonable. “Can’t have peace, send more billions.” So, it’s interesting. These last few days have been like the few days before that. There’s been a lot of moral outrage in Washington about bad ideas and of course, some ideas are bad on both sides for sure, but ideas aren’t criminal. Actions are criminal and as always, the real criminals are getting away with it and getting richer in the process.