The other day, replying to the inimitable Thomas Friedman, I wrote a response, which duly was not published – though there was no notice that it was unsuitable, etc., and it was sent within minutes of another, which landed in place 18 or so. So I suspected censorship, or at least was curious why sometimes my Friedman responses don’t get printed. I wrote the Times, which replied as follows.
Dear Jon Jost,Thank you for contacting NYTimes.com.The times that are posted next to comments reflect when the comment was actually approved to be viewable to other readers on NYTimes.com, and is listed in EST, not local time.Regards,NYTimes.comCustomer Service
Then yesterday there was another column by Friedman, for which my previous item still fit, so I sent it with a small addition. It too was not published, though sent at the same time as several others, which were put up, early in line. I conclude that indeed, as I have suspected before, that I am indeed censored by Mr Friedman or his lackey editor. I guess I should be flattered that my barbs have apparently hit home. Though I note that the general readership count in terms of replies sent in seem to continually diminish for Mr Friedman as he loops the same balderdash again and again, and his readers complain and then leave. Here’s the offending response of yesterday:
In a previous column on this same topic, Mr Friedman wrote:
\\\”America now imports about 11 million barrels a day, about 57 percent of our total oil needs — mostly from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.\\\”
And half that oil goes directly to the military, as does half the oil used by the United States. Slap a 10 buck a barrel tax on their slice and the already bloated 700+ billion per year military-industrial complex bill goes up another quantum leap.
Mr Friedman is ever full of pie-in-the-sky \\\”good\\\” ideas which always skip quickly by some elephants in the room: he never mentions that great military monster (instead he praises it when it barges into Iraq, killing and contaminating everything in sight); nor does he ever provide us with a detailed description of his \\\”green\\\” house in Bethesda – the satellite shots show a huge mansion, pool, gas guzzlers, and no solar panels, etc.
Perhaps Mr Friedman would gain a bit of credibility if there were any sign whatsoever that he practices what he preaches. But he doesn’t. He’s just maker of very costly ungreen hot air.
And this post wasn’t posted then. It applies equally as well to his present posting, though I would have to agree with him that if Obama went directly to the American public with ALL the information on our gas guzzling ways (including our military monster’s appetites), he would get public backing. He’d also probably collect a bullet.
The other day, the New York Times, in their opinion-editorial section, published an article by Linda Greenhouse, their legal-eagle writer, covering the recent Arizona State law on illegal immigration. Her article, Breathing While Undocumented, was a scathing one, saying Arizona had transformed itself into a police-state with its draconian sort-of-racist new law. Basically the law says the police can ask anyone they “Constitutionally” perceive to be doing something vaguely illegal, and in doing so can ask for documentation of legal US residency, and if the party doesn’t produce it, then the police are required to take the person, and off to jail you go to explain just why and how you are in the good old US of A. Needless to say the probable targets of these inquiries are likely to speak Spanish, be a bit darker complexioned than those (except the golf course groomers, maids, etc.) found in Sun City, and, well you get the drift. For Ms Greenhouse this smacks of internal passports, violation of our alleged American “freedoms” and leads to a police-state.
Her article begot a large response (560 – normally items get 2-300), mostly from persons living near the US-Mexican border, who informed her in no uncertain terms that Arizona was being over-run by folks from south of the border, and mostly it was Uncle Sam’s fault for failing to enforce existing laws, failing to successfully manage the border, for setting up NAFTA, and so on. Perhaps a third of the replies decried the police-state laws, suggested it was racism, or some from the region apologized and said they felt ashamed. But mostly it was a heated volley, virtually all of which glided over the most basic of aspects. For instance, that once, not so long ago (see above map) what is now America had been, well, Mexico. Anyone familiar with the area – from the missions of California, to the cuisine of Texas, should know the roots are, relative to America’s short history, rather deep. For example the earliest colonial settlement in America wasn’t over in New England, but was Sante Fe, by Spaniards, in 1598. Of course, the Pueblo Indians, who inhabited the site at the time, have much earlier claims.
And then more current, the most important element in this migratory pattern, was simply left unmentioned by both poles of the for/against spectrum of our political “conservative”/”bleeding-heart liberal” discourse. I wrote this, being a bit late in entering (#118):
The United States, as Europe, faces a severe problem with respect to immigration. The problem originates in the fact that in each case the disproportion in wealth of the US and of (western) Europe, next to its neighbors, acts as a very powerful gravitational force – whether to draw labor for the more menial or physical jobs (as in maids, agriculture, etc.) or as a place of dreams, or mere survival. These problems will not be resolved by building higher walls, writing more draconian laws, or other such palliatives. They will only be resolved by eliminating the disparity of wealth that exists now and making for a more egalitarian global world. Most people do not want to leave their native home cultures; they are forced by circumstances to do so.
While earlier posts, on both sides of the fence, got “recommended” clicks of 300 and 200, my post got a mere 4. Well, rack it up in part to being late, but most likely rack it up to our shared, left or right, unwillingness to deal with the reality of America, its disproportionate wealth, its ugly real historical record around the world (I am presently reading The Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano). Similarly other discussions in the so-called liberal Times, about the US economy or other such things usually skips by the matter of the US military, its 57% percent of the Federal budget, its 50% take of US oil consumption, its distortion of our politics and psyche – though there are a handful of people who regularly respond in the NYT, who do underline this along with myself.
One could carry on here with the origins of those very white older folks who all de-camped some colder climate for Phoenix, there to temporarily rise again in the desert heat, with water imported from far away to fill the artificial lakes and make the golf greens green. Solidly Republican, tea-party turf, usually calling for “smaller government” except when it comes to those with guns, be they police or military, they lay down a massive carbon footprint, sprawling across the sand in air-conditioned splendor, hiring those despised south-of-the-border sorts to do their gardens, tend the course, clean the pools, all for sub-standard wages, and then having set the precedent for “work” up north, they want to slam the door with a heavy-handed government policy. Why don’t these champions of the miracle of the free market just ask the corporations, the small business-owners and themselves simply to not hire cheap undocumented labor?
Don’t ask such embarrassing questions.