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Yesterday responding to a New York Times Op-Ed (Thomas Friedman lamenting mess in the middle-east while touting US intervention and planting of “democracy seeds” by violence), I was number four in replying; after 12 hours my response was listed as # 5 in the “approve” ratings.  Today I checked and my comment, up for the day, had been replaced with

April 13th, 2011
2:44 am
This comment has been removed. Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.
And needless to say the comment was no longer in the “approve” list.   I guess the “news fit to print” does not include making public the censorship policies practiced by The Gray Lady.
In the days to come we’ll see if this is an institution-wide ban, or only for the person taking care of Thomas Friedman’s column.  Evidently, at least for some there at America’s “paper of record,” the truth is too much to countenance.
Meantime I note that today’s reader’s responses to Obama’s speech shows what happens when you toss red-meat out to your constituency – it doesn’t matter if it is a right or left wing one, what matters is the right cluster of words.  Here it was “tax the rich” and the intended audience went into paroxysms of “he’s back” and other such swoons before The One.
He didn’t in the speech mention shaving the military-industrial complex by the 50% or more it could use; the taxes on the rich were in the 3% range, and other things seem to suggest the talk was a rhetorical reach-out to the supposed base.   Excuse my cynicism, but it all seems far too little and much too late.  Perhaps it’s all been a good bit of rope-a-dope electioneering, but it remains trapped inside the highly formalized limits of our Kabuki-theater political arena.
And here is the other item the Times chose not to print yesterday, which I only noted after posting the above:

President Obama is not a Democrat, nor a “leader.” He is some kind of Republican and his methodology is to not offend anyone, which got him a long way in his previous life. As a tactic it worked before, but now he is managing to offend almost everyone. He might in his coming talk hint at the need for taxes, or for prayer, or for something. He is not going to level with the American people and tell them the system is totally skewed to the rich, that the rich don’t want taxes, and those not rich can go take a hike. Obama is one of them, as is anyone who is allowed to reach into the new American politburo of the oligarchs.



  1. Hi Jon,
    Did you save a copy of your response to Tommy Freedom? I never got to read it. Just so you know, you are far from alone in being among the censored. I have stopped replying to FriedMan because my responses are never printed. My Brooks comments make it about 60 percent of the time and my responses to Krugman are often rejected or buried/suppressed as well. Sounds like you made the list of writers Who Must be Suppressed for speaking truth to power.


    • Unfortunately I didn’t save a copy. Basically I said, as did many others, that it was rather something for him to lament the perfectly expectable consequences of Western policies of the last 100 years of using tribalism as a political divide/conquer tool, concocting “nations” where there were none, etc., and then I said he seemed unable to let go of his Iraqi tar-baby and that verily the prior day on Gate’s announcement that US boots would be on the ground there for many years to come, the Moktada folks went to the streets to differ and suggested there would be instant tribal war if the US departed – so much for democracy-at-the-point-of-a-gun.

      It is really rather pathetic that our establishment, left or right wing sides, can’t find people more capable of thought than the likes of Brooks and Friedman, and even Krugman seems unable to say (perhaps because he knows it would result in being banished) that the taboo regarding the military-industrial complex must be broken. All this blather about we must cut the budget that never mentions the military tells all too much about who really runs the show. And now I must add the other thing which got censored yesterday. It would appear the Times runs a kind of black-list.
      best jon

  2. And still some believe it is all a friendly misunderstanding (see commenter on my blog today)–this is why our system continues–and I have long agreed with your treatise about why formal censorship is not needed in the U.S because of the “free market doesn’t want it” “logic” which leads to it not being covered, or people self-censoring.

    I can go batty looking at Recommends on comments and wanting to scream at people, if 1,000 of you voted, for example, “Yes, I hope the President’s speech doesn’t represent the left pole of this debate”—then why are only 100 voting for mention of The People’s Budget, or something to the left of the pres, as an alternative???

    I actually saw and enjoyed your Friedman comment, and was amazed they took it down after so long… And, another regular just complained to me in an email she has been shoved out….and, a very frequent regular has now not had his comments published for weeks…only to the blogs, nothing else…
    The new FAQ on commenting now says
    “11. What kind of comments are you looking for?
    Back to top

    We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments — either by the same reader or different readers.

    We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won’t tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence and SHOUTING.”

    But it is problematic that 99.9% of “debate” in this country is PAID speech–every politician, every tv person, every journalist/columnist is PAID BEAUCOUPS sums of money to say what they are saying. We tend to forget that. And here we are, truly free in our range of criticism of their everything but free speech, ousted by the paid.

    The Times pay wall censors out the poor and often retired as it is. Herbert is gone because he mentioned the poor too much. The poor don’t sell the paper, and they can’t afford to buy the paper.

    Viva the blogs! It is the last bastion of any hope of free speech. It is truly the peoples’ press!

  3. Sorry, I don’t get it. Is it YOU. Are your contributions automatically routed to a different in-box for closer inspection. I responded in a similar vein. I believe I said something along the lines of, “the only thing missing was a giant ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner”. Why would they censor your reply? Especially, why would they “print” it then withdraw it?

    I don’t get it. Help me understand.

    • I don’t really get it except I must suppose that the fledglings who guard the gates of communication each have their own tastes/ideologies, and they thumb up or down on that. And then I suppose the posting of the one that then later got yanked was because the fledgling said yes, someone saw and complained, either a higher up there, or a reader, and then flunky had to pull it. I dunno. It all seems rather arbitrary. Though as some other regulars have written me, they too get knocked out a bit systematically – basically on ideological grounds. I.e. Brooks and Friedman are the hardest to get on, they being the resident right-wingers (though they consistently get bashed to pieces by others). But then yesterday I got censored across the board. I’ll shortly post what go censored.

      A friend of mine is down there now, singer, Marianne Dissard. She’s having a great time. I always wanted to visit – since 1962! I was going to go to NZ to escape incineration in the Cuba missile crisis but it all blew over by the time I had things sorted to do it, so I bought a Bolex and became a filmmaker instead…

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