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In my recent “campaign” in the New York Times, as I’ve mentioned before I find their methods of censorship curious.  In their various on-line blogs, and sometimes (not always) on their Opinion Page items, they permit comments from readers.  I thought that in responding to those items that piqued my interests, and giving the URL of my blogs, I could perhaps up my readership.  The evidence is showing I was correct on that bet.

David Brooks, pundit, opinion-maker, nerd

Yesterday, I responded to two Opinion Page listings, one by David Brooks, one of their house conservatives who is a bit more reasoned and measured than Thomas Friedman, though he can be quite ridiculous in the blinders he seems to wear in his nice little balloon of upper-middle-class Washington-Beltway mindset.  His article was titled An Innovation Agenda, wherein he scrivened his magic-wand wishful thoughts about how America should extricate itself from the massive messes imposed on it -in great measure thanks to those political figures whom Brooks previously has supported.  He listed his cures, including education, opening up H-1B quotas, and cutting corporate taxes.  The responses on one hand took him to task for these, though in general the tone was supportive of many of his suggestions, leaning towards pointing out that David seems to be turning into a Centrist-Democrat of some kind, and many congratulated him for the reasonableness of his tone – a change from the strident Republican shrieking we’ve grown accustomed to.  But, overall his column was really kind of stupid, as his often are, whatever lingo they are couched in. I sent in the response below, which was not published, nor did the editors, as it seems the sometimes/usually(?) do, note that the item hadn’t been published for whatever reason.  Here’s what I wrote, commencing with a quote from his column:

“Or, as Proverbs 22:7 puts it in the Bible: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.””

This is as the American governing elite wish it to be, and they have, at least for the shorter term (a few decades) arranged things to secure this result.  That they in turn are in hock to China seems not to be their concern.

Your prescriptions for America are unlikely to be heeded until the communal collapse has gone far more into catastrophe, at which time the governing elite may need to flee to one of their other global homes.  One suspects they have already taken this into account.

While many things I have seen in these response pages are often far more abrasive than this, they get published.

Then I also replied to a column by Bob Herbert, one of the in-house liberals, who of late has been strong on the manner in which our underclass of the economically deprived is expanding exponentially with houseless, homeless, and jobless leaping inversely parallel with the bonuses dished out on Wall Street.  His item was titled A Fearful Price and had to do with just who is being asked to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan – less than one-percent of the populace, largely composed of the economically deprived classes – and what is happening to them and their families, while Bush and now Obama, declining to raise taxes to pay for these wars, basically said “keep on shopping, nothing to see here.”  Well, the folks have shopped ’til they dropped, and their grandkids are being put in hock to pay for these sprees by the military-industrial-media class.  I suppose it is no irony that the richest 1% who own and control 95% of the wealth have contrived to dump the fighting for them on the 1% at the bottom of the pile.   Herbert suggested instituting taxes and a draft to sort this out politically.   I wrote the following which was published, and cited by whoever oversees this thing as one of the Editor’s Choices and highlighted:

I spent two plus years in prison, 1965-7, for refusing to serve in the US military.  On exiting prison I was active in anti-draft activities, and sense that my work was a tiny bit of what helped draw the draft to a close.  But what really did it was that politicians, representing the governing elite, and perhaps guided by a “market economy” mentality, stopped the draft in order to side-step its political costs.  The privatized current army of “volunteers” (drawn primarily from the economic underclass, urban and rural) permits politicians to play at war with minimal social friction; likewise skipping taxes to pay for it similarly shifts the political burden to the future when children and their children who had no say in the policy making will have to pay for it.   Both were and are cynical acts by heartless politicians and their corporate masters.  In this Obama is now as culpable as Bush.

We should reinstate the draft, with NO exemptions for the rich, for the higher educated, for anyone.  No one should be allowed to claim they had “other priorities.”  And taxes should be levied to pay for the current so-called “war” (undeclared and unconstitutional) now.  This will not happen though, as to do so would see the overwhelming majority of Americans demonstrating, in one manner or another, that they decline to pay in any way – with their money or their bodies – for the wars now being thrust upon the nation by an elite acting not in the interests of the people, but in their own selfish and narrow-minded (and misguided) interests.

I would guess that those on the Brooks and Herbert editing decision list boards are not the same folks.

The less than 1% in Afghanistan

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not,
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Alfred Lord Tennyson

US soldier dead in Kabul bombing attack

Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, killed in Afghanistan

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,

and the women come out to cut up what remains,

jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

and go to your gawd like a soldier.

Rudyard Kipling

[Note: there’s a new posting up on]

One Comment

  1. The NYT appears to have a number quota, after which it won’t post comments, whether or not that disclaimer (“no longer accepting comments”) has already appeared on the site.

    The editors don’t appear to have a censorship policy, at least for comments free of abusive language. Unless you’re posting very early, say well before 8 a.m. on the day the column appear, failure to post your comments probably doesn’t mean anything.

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