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This weekend, responding to the Opinion Page columns by Thomas “Ever Wrong”  Friedman and to Ross “Never Doubting” Douthat I found myself twice

Though other respondents raked both columnists over the coals no less kindly, somehow my words seem to have gotten under their flunky editor’s skins.

Ever Serious Thomas

To Mr Friedman:

For someone who is given to peering over the horizon to see the future, Mr Friedman has a lot of catching up to do:  many of us noted the wallow into corruption of America’s institutions quite some time ago. Decades ago. But here, suddenly, it dawns on Mr Friedman that our system is corrupt and if it doesn’t shape up things could get ugly. But they already are ugly with a Justice Department that doesn’t prosecute the real crooks, a Congress that is capital’s poodle, an Executive that is merely Bushism with more articulate words, and all the consequences of the long-term corruption (much of which under other names Mr Friedman championed – from smash-mouth talk about Iraq to “globalization” and all the other wrong steps he’s taken). It is ugly to be evicted from your home because your job got shipped to China and some robo-mortgage was sold to you with tiny nasty print. It is ugly to be conned into a costly student loan on the premise of a hot-shot job to find the economy got shipped to lower-labor cost lands like India.

I bet if I waded through past column I could find Mr Friedman waxing about his lunch with Mubarack and how hunky-dory things were down on the Nile, peace with Israel, etc.

Eat humble pie, Mr Friedman. Something is going on and you didn’t know what it was, did you, Mr. Jones?

[Update.] On Nov. 2, I replied to another Friedman Op-Ed item, and again was censored.  Here’s what I wrote.  I note that many others made the same points, so I guess it must be “getting personal.”

“Moreover, I am certain….” Every time Mr Friedman utters this phrase or some equivalent, I feel like ducking for cover. He is serially wrong, so when he assures us of something, one has to look under the hood. He still tries to make his Iraq frothing at the mouth look good, never mind the damaging real-world evidence. Now he equivocates on our Afghan follies. Given how wrong wrong wrong Thomas is on the not-so-great game of opining as a “pundit” one must take his advice on The Great Game with a boulder of saline material.

Do ever-wrong columnists ever retire (in shame)?

Ross “Doubtless” Douthat

To Mr. Douthat:

Mr Douthat, typically, doesn’t comprehend what is before his eyes, or he can only see it through the thick distorting prism of his prejudices.  OWS – which he finally acknowledges as something other than as an object of ridicule – isn’t about fiddling with a few financial factors in the existing equation. It is about a wholesale rethinking of our values and priorities; it is about, OMG, questioning capitalism itself (in Douthat’s eyes as radical as questioning the Catholic hierarchy). It is about our need to shift from a profit-oriented system to a humanistic one which perceives that we live on a finite planet and that constant growth, as required to generate the riches and imbalances of a capitalist system, isn’t possible. We need to shift to a self-sustaining system in which limited wealth is equitably shared, not only among ourselves, but globally. This is anathema to our capitalist priests.

So Mr Douthat can only sit on the side-lines wondering how to fiddle with the existing system to “make it work ” not having learned the actual lesson that it can’t work because of original contradictions and design flaws. He imagines his current favored would-be candidate, Romney, will somehow morph (which Mitt is good at) into a Republican wizard who will save the system with wise decisions. The reality is that Romney is more a Wizard of Oz sort, a pure all-American fraud.

The Times tipped its hand early in the Occupy Wall Street game when, in keeping with the rest of the corporate owned and controlled press, it consigned the events down on Zuccotti Park to a small notice and then ignored it.  A far cry from the prompt coverage which the Tea Party corporate zombie demonstrations received.  Then, grudgingly, with snide and contemptuous articles the NYT, along with other national press, admitted that the demonstration there actually existed.  And when it sprouted companions across the country, and then across the globe, it began to actually take it with a small dose of seriousness.  As have our authoritarians in government who are now applying police force.  It is merely a matter of time before some are killed.

As was quipped by a very serious person quite long ago, a “free press” is available to those that own them.

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5 Comments

  1. I never understood how Friedman could get away writting the most idiotic articles coming out of the New York Times. I remember when he thought that France was lucky for not getting bombed by the US for it’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq; and of course, we’ve all heard about his dumb book on globalization.

    • Mr Friedman is a perfect example of America’s intellectual, moral and doubtless also fiscal corruption. That he is able, after his track record, to remain pontificating from the NYT, and is automatically published, whatever the drivel, tells about the old boy network of America’s elite. He’s married to a real rich lady, he has a vast house in Bethesda next to a golf course. He hob nobs with “experts” and national leaders, but he is blind as a bat and lacks any sonar. But he gets to inflict his wisdoms on us never mind his dismal track record. Of course Thomas would never admit to being wrong on anything – it’d blow what he imagines is his mystique. And some people take him seriously. He certainly does – just look at the pompous fotos he uses showing us “the thinker.”

  2. I particularly “enjoyed” Friedman’s articles regarding the invasion of Iraq, which he was such a stout cheerleader for. As the occupation dragged on, ever more violently, he kept prognosticating about how “victory” could be achieved if we just apply a little more power, than a little more power, than a little more power… Always noting every 4 months how things were about to “turn a corner” in 4 months. But then, he would claim, if these changes didn’t start to take root, he would say there should be a change in policy, which took him about 5 years to actually begin to contemplate publicly. He eventually would write about what a tragic “error” (as opposed to “crime”) that the whole venture was, but who could have know, right? Saying all of this with a complete straight face, never once acknowledging his own dismal failure of observational judgment and understanding during that whole sordid episode. Now he’s even putting out essays which effectively question, if not repudiate, his whole ‘flat world’ thesis. Again, without the slightest trace of recognition as to his previous pontifications. He is a truly astounding “intellectual” phenomenon.

  3. When he showed up to the square briefly, we kicked his ass to the curb with questions. I wouldn’t limit culpability to Friedman himself though, I’d also say that all the academics who assigned his books as course materials, who gave his work good reviews, who enabled him essentially, are just as responsible.

    • How are things going there? Are there any plans afoot to deal with winter realities? Some stay and others move to indoors settings? Or? New York winters can get rather nasty as you know. So are, despite the likes of Mr Friedman and the mainstream media (at least Sarah Palin was right about “lamestream” media!), Occupy has managed to shift the national conversation rather drastically from neo-liberalism’s cut cut cut/austerity and globalized shock-therapy capitalism to income disparity and what the hell is wrong with wild-west capitalism. Even if it were to collapse (or be crushed with martial law/police-state iron fist stuff) it would have to rank as a major success. I anticipate a continued viral growth, following pattern of elsewhere – especially as our black-suited police show themselves to be the compliant arm of a police-state mentality which our rulers thus far have managed to mask from most. Say hi and pass along my full support from far away. Next “American Pastoral” up in day or so, will feature OWS too. Be well !


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