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The boy from Matamata

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, October 28th, 2020 - 43 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, greens, human rights, International, labour, national, trade, United Nations - Tags:

So the first post election media fascination has broken out and it involves Chris Liddell, a kiwi who serves in Donald Trump’s cabinet as deputy chief of staff.  He has been nominated by Donald Trump as a possible replacement head of the OECD.

His back story does not read too bad.  He has in the past been involved in a number of signficiant environmental projects and has shown some largesse to his old school Mount Albert Grammar and his old university Auckland University.

But he remains a member of one of the most dysfunctional and dystopian US administrations ever.

Being part of that administration ought to make you ineligible to work in a McDonald’s franchise but there is one particular decision he was apparently involved in that is being held up as a reason for his candidacy not to be supported.

He may have been in the room when the decision was made to forcibly separate children from the parents of immigrants entering the United States without a permit.  This was the policy driven by Stephen Miller, a replicant if ever I saw one.  It has caused intense suffering, in part because the Administration is that incompetent and that indifferent it did not keep track of which kid belonged to which parent.  Despite being ordered to reunite them, 545 children remain separated from their parents.

The Hill has this description of the decision:

Eleven of President Trump’s most senior advisers met in the White House Situation Room in early May 2018 and were asked to vote on family separations, two officials in attendance told NBC News. The meeting was led by senior advisor Stephen Miller, who reportedly expressed anger toward then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The meeting came about a month after the Trump administration instituted the “zero tolerance” policy, allowing it to prosecute any immigrant who crossed illegally, including those with small children. At the time of the vote, immigrant parents had not yet been separated from their children.

During the meeting, Nielsen reportedly said there weren’t enough resources to separate parents, prosecute them and reunite them with their children quickly, the two officials told the network. The Justice Department also said not all parents could be prosecuted in a timely manner, two officials involved in the planning of the zero tolerance policy told NBC News.

Miller alleged Nielsen was stalling before he called for the show-of-hands vote. Most voted in favor of family separations, though Nielsen did not, officials told NBC News.

No adviser argued in the meeting that the action would be immoral, as those claims “fell on deaf ears” in the White House, one official said.

Days after the meeting, Nielsen signed a memo instructing Homeland Security Department employees to prosecute all immigrants who crossed the border illegally, including parents with children.

In June 2018, the president signed an executive order stopping family separations after more than 2,800 children were separated from their parents.

A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited, but there was no plan to track the children or reunite the families, the two former officials said. As a result, it took months to reunite some families, and some parents were deported without their children.

Liddell was one of the people invited to the meeting but it is unclear if he was there or not.  It appears that a spokesperson for the White House took umbrage at the allegation that a show of hands was called for.  It seems they were indifferent to the total lack of humanity shown by the decision.

The Greens have publicly said that New Zealand should not support a Liddell candidacy.  From Henry Cooke at Stuff:

Green Party foreign affairs spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said Liddell’s work for Trump disqualified him for the role and that he should not get New Zealand’s support “solely based on his citizenship status”.

“New Zealand just overwhelmingly voted for governance by values that would be eroded if a guy like that was the head of a governance body like the OECD,” Ghahraman said.

“It starts to get a bit scary at a time of pandemic when you look at his role not only in eroding multilateral approaches to things like the Paris Agreement, but in terms of the pandemic response and the attack on the World Health Organisation.”

“We have a responsibility to speak out against that kind of value-set in international governance. It’s quite dangerous to have a person like that leading what should be a co-operative organisation.”

Golriz’s argument concerning multilateralism is reinforced by this perceptive comment from Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva:

New Zealand’s decision may be less about patriotism and more about politics, as it decides whether a Liddell-led OECD’s agenda would align with that of our Government.

The organisation has been leading a global initiative to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, but the US withdrew from talks in June and has threatened retaliatory tariffs against countries which unilaterally impose digital services taxes on the likes of Facebook.

The Labour Party has said it is committed to working with the OECD “to get an international agreement that will see a comprehensive regime for multilateral corporations to pay their fair share”, but is prepared to move on its own if agreement isn’t possible.

Act and National have, rather predictably, supported Liddell’s candidacy.  Anything to own the libs.

Act took the opportunity to engage in some Green bashing.  From Newstalk ZB:

The Act Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson Brooke Van Velden said the fact Liddell was “getting more support from Donald Trump than the Green Party is extraordinary”.

“New Zealanders should be united in supporting him. It’s further evidence the Greens should be nowhere near power,” said Van Velden.

And National did as National will do.

Holy false equivalence.  One was a distinguished former Prime Minister whose humanitarian credentials are outstanding.  The other is a rich businessman who is part of a cabinet that is anti multilateralism and that has made some appalling inhumane decisions.

The Government has not reached a position yet.  I trust this will not be too difficult a decision to make.

43 comments on “The boy from Matamata ”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    No adviser argued in the meeting that the action would be immoral, as those claims “fell on deaf ears” in the White House, one official said.

    That being so, NZ should not provide moral support for his candidacy – unless he has a policy offering that outweighs the stain that attaches to everything der Strumpenfurhrer touches.

  2. Andre 2

    Unless some awfully convincing evidence emerges that Liddell was a key player in some sort of previously hidden resistance within the White Supremacy House attempting to bring a little bit of humanity and decency to the maladministration, Liddell needs to be viewed as fully complicit in all the abominations that that kakistocracy has excreted.

  3. Ad 3

    Any person from that deep in the US government who supports multilateral dialogue and fact-based research should be supported as a candidate for head of the OECD, especially so if they also come from New Zealand.

    • Andre 3.1

      You got any reason to believe he supports multilateral dialogue and fact-based research? Because spending four years partying with the scum-sucking bottom-feeding noisome creatures exposed by draining the swamp strongly suggests he doesn't. Or at best, that support is extremely weak and easily overwhelmed by venal personal considerations.

    • Any person from that deep in the US government who supports multilateral dialogue and fact-based research should be supported as a candidate for head of the OECD…

      True, but this one occupies a senior position in an administration that's strongly opposed to multilateralism and evidence-based policy, so it's unlikely he supports those things.

      • greywarshark 3.2.1

        St Christopher – Venerated as one of the 14 Auxiliary Saints (Holy Helpers), he is the patron saint of travelers and, beginning in the 20th century, of motorists. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Christopher

        St Christopher appears to have been run over by a truck, after having been a revered saint of travellers. Now his name gets shortened, Chris, to be quicker off the mark.

        By all means let him have a go at whatever. That's what NZs do, follow after the USA sweeping up after the horses carrying a bucket and a list of hopes and dreams of good things for 'me'. Good and reliable little lickspittles behind manic capitalism evolving special secretions that dissolve society. And so anxious to 'get on' within the western materialistic cult. Mike Moore did it, Helen Clark did it, who's next – Chris?

    • Patricia Bremner 3.3

      Even if he voted for the separation of children from their parents at the Border Wall????

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    No kiwi pride angle here surely? The OECD is hardly an anticapitalist organisation, in fact it supports global capitalism “growth, business as usual”–which is the exact opposite of what is required by worlds people in this era of Climate Disaster and Pandemic disruption.

    NZ Labour should stand with the Greens on the matter of Mr Liddell. As far as I am concerned the company a person keeps is still a good indicator of where they are at personally, politically, and professionally.

    • McFlock 4.1

      Seems there's two angles to kiwi pride at stake here – there's the "oooo, look, a NZer is successful overseas". Then there's the "One of us possibly helped kidnap hundreds of children and we shouldn't support him for any office other than maybe a jail cell, for to do so would be to bring even more shame upon us".

      I think the second has greater weight.

  5. Dean Reynolds 5

    With all his money, you'd think that Lidell could afford a suit which fitted him

    • Andre 5.1

      Bastard! Ya made me look, and now I'm wondering if Liddell also stands in that totally normal not-weird-at-all posture that the genital-grabbing golem uses.

    • Phil 5.2

      I can forgive him for being a little bit fatter today than when he purchased the suit (who shall cast the first stone?) but I cannot forgive him for doing up the bottom button on said suit. It's a sartorial sin of the highest order.

      • Andre 5.2.1

        Is that why everybody looks at me weird on the very few occasions I wear a suit? I had always thought it was my tie.

        • Phil

          In 2020 you can take or leave the tie. A quality pocket square, on the other hand, will set you apart and above the rest of the rat race.

  6. RedBaronCV 6

    No way should we.

    Anyone who was in a senior position and has enabled Trump's ghastly, nasty regime – regardless of any personal involvement in any specific decisions – doesn't deserve the support of NZ.

    I don't care how efficient they were or what their backstory was I'm absolutely appalled that anyone could think it is a good idea. Efficiently promoting bad ideas is not a recommendation.

    And the Nats once again fail to read the room at any level. Support Trump at any level? When Trump is voted out how long before the nomination is killed by the incoming democrats? The Dems are going to kick Trump appointees to the kerb and a lot may struggle to find any job. Nor are they going to look kindly on the overseas supporters of his idiocy.

  7. Corey Humm 7

    New Zealanders including the majority of Nat voters, think Trumps a joke, the ammount of anti Trump memes my Nat friends / family share is actually more than my lefty mates because Trump style politics doesn't fly here so really opposing a Trump nominee isn't going to ruffle too many people.

    There is no comparison to Helen Clark, a distinguished former pm who nzers even whome loath her have respect for it'd be a travesty if national didn't support her at the un, likewise if it was John Key running for the oecd job it'd be a travesty if Labour didn't support him but we're not talking about an nz diplomat we're talking about a Trump staffer who having him in the top job will be of zero benifit to NZs interests so… Wait until we see the results of next weeks election till we make our decision

  8. woodart 8

    so act is supporting him solely for the fact he carries a kiwi passport. by inference, that means act supports quotas, doesnt believe in getting best person for job etc. one week into wearing big boy pants and act are phucking up.

  9. So he was fine till he became White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy?


    Given that this is a position appointed by The President, I presume we are claiming this was an outstanding and presumably entirely out of character appointment on the part of Trump.

    (Note to Mods, just in case..this is 'Siobhan' reappearing on TS..not Adrian T. sneaking in around his stand down)

  10. Andre 10

    Also, let's keep in mind it was the tangerine turdgoblin that nominated him. Not anyone with even a shred of credibility. When was the last time the decomposing jack'o'lantern nominated anyone even remotely fit for purpose? Was it Jim Mattis, almost four years ago? Since then, getting nominated by Hair Farce One is solid evidence that someone is in fact grossly unfit for the position.

  11. Patricia Bremner 11

    He chose USA and Trump without asking us, so why does he need our say so now?

    No nay never!! He could not leave his back story quickly enough!!

  12. Gabby 12

    Would he be doing our bidding or Prump's?

  13. Muttonbird 13

    Weird from van Velden. The corollary is that New Zealanders should be united in supporting Jacinda Ardern.

  14. dottie 14

    I agree with No nay never !

    He is not a kiwi I am proud of.

  15. greywarshark 15

    What if the replacement turns on the Orange Orator?

  16. Brian Tregaskin 16

    NO NO NO -dont support Chris

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