September 29, 2010

Impactfully yours, Thomas Friedman.

He's here to tell you that the Tea Party movement you see out there is actually the Tea Kettle movement "because all it’s doing is letting off steam" — and the real Tea Party movement is... well, guys like him:
The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats, understands this at a gut level...
This = "our politics has become just another form of sports entertainment, our Congress a forum for legalized bribery and our main lawmaking institutions divided by toxic partisanship to the point of paralysis."
... and is looking for a leader with three characteristics. First, a patriot...
A patriot isn't a characteristic. It's a type of person.
Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger — to make America successful, thriving and respected again.
A leader isn't a characteristic.
And third, someone with the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are — a leader who believes his job is not to read the polls but to change the polls.
Someone isn't a characteristic.

Convert those 3 items to characteristics: patriotism, leadership, and... uh... leadership. That's what the real tea partiers know and the kettlefolk can't get through their steam-puffed noggins.
Democratic Pollster Stan Greenberg told me that when he does focus groups today this is what he hears: “People think the country is in trouble and that countries like China have a strategy for success and we don’t....”
Here it comes. The part of the Friedman column where we find out that China does it better. This time, a pollster is rolled out to mouth what I presume is the thesis of Friedman's new best seller.

And supposedly, Friedman has told us what the "real Tea Party" is. As for the Tea Party movement that he says is fake and would like to disparage as "Tea Kettle":
That is not to say that the energy behind it is not authentic (it clearly is) or that it won’t be electorally impactful (it clearly might be)....
Impactfully yours, Thomas Friedman.

101 comments:

Original Mike said...

My favorite part of the Friedman column was the last line.

Maureen Dowd is off today.

Ann Althouse said...

@Original Mike Yes, we were making jokes about that here at Meadhouse. It's been discussed before in the comments.

Tim said...

Thomas Friedman = self-important bloviator and pimp for the Chi-Com way.

WV: rearies - Thomas Friedman rearies himself...

Zach said...

Everyone's a genius at the height of the bubble.

And everyone's a genius on press junkets for gullible columnists.

We'll see how many geniuses China has when they get a recession and have to take a hard look at how much of that growth was just gigantism.

Original Mike said...

It's been discussed before in the comments.

Try as I might, I can't read all the comment threads.

Richard Dolan said...

Badly written = poorly thought out. An equation that Friedman and friends should try to solve rather than constantly prove.

wv: whornsin. Like bad writing, it's something else to avoid. I'm told its endemic in Whisconsin.

Zach said...

To me, that is a plan that starts by asking: what is America’s core competency and strategic advantage, and how do we nurture it? Answer: It is our ability to attract, develop and unleash creative talent. That means men and women who invent, build and sell more goods and services that make people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable, secure and entertained than any other country.

I'm thinking of the brainwashing in A Clockwork Orange, with business drivel replacing the violent images. Every time he hears Beethoven's Fifth, he tries to leverage his core synergies.

DADvocate said...

Appeals to patriotism mean nothing to me as do calling someone unAmerican. I care about the citizens of our country being served by our government and being able to freely exercise all the right guaranteed them by the Constitution.

I feel no particular loyalty or obligation to a country that doesn't do that or refuses to do that.

Calypso Facto said...

"it clearly might be"

Which is it? Clear, or might? Can't have both. Unless you're accustomed to spouting nonsensical drivel.

Oh, Thomas Friedman? Then never mind...just answered my own question there.

John said...

Friedman says "People think the country is in trouble and that countries like China have a strategy for success and we don’t."

They really don't have editors at the NYT. If they did, there is no way they would let him get away with the "people think ..." dodge. Who thinks that? All he is saying is "Tom Friedman thinks" but camouflaging his naked assertion with the vague term "people" to make it look like he is repeating common wisdom. It is just terrible writing and thinking.

If you tried that on Wikipedia, you'd get slapped with a "Weasel words" banner; yet in America's "newspaper of record" it's completely fine.

edutcher said...

According to Friedman, the Tea Party consists of RINOs and Demo centrists (they exist?). In other words defenders of the status quo.

He also doesn't seem to get the difference (grammatically or otherwise) between patriotism and a patriot.

But, most importantly, he seems to be (dare I say?) dissing The Zero. If Zero's lost Tom Friedman could MoDo and Bob Herbert be next?

Montaigne with less vitriol and more obfuscation.

bagoh20 said...

""countries like China have a strategy for success and we don’t....”"

We don't want to be China, and we don't need a government plan. We need freedom, period. We can make our own plans. Yes, us citizens who know our business, our neighbors our interests, better than a bunch of failed lawyers living a privileged, disconnected and dysfunctional lifestyle in a far away city that is itself dysfunctional.

The Chinese don't need a plan. They simply need to let our leaders perform that Chinese fire drill over here to guaranteed our failure.

The Chinese government can actually do what they want, much more than here, but even the Communists there know to stay out of the way of entrepreneurs. They are the fastest right moving economy in history and they call it Communist.

The American dream of enjoying the fruits of your labors has been replaced with a life as state workers who send half of their earning to the state after working according to volumes of Regulations, that Communists long ago abandoned or never adopted.

We have been watching this for decades, and the left still has the same failed prescription. There is no strategy that can beat freedom. Only totalitarianism has the power to even fight, but in the end it too dies from within. Which way are we heading?

David said...

We went through several years hearing from experts like Tom Friedman that Japan Does It Better.

I never bought that, and (oh wonderful me) I was right. Japan is a closed society in many aspects, lacking social and economic fluidity, over influenced by historical elites and more than a little racist. They also have a number of structural economic deficiencies (aging demographic, lack of agricultural innovation, gaps in natural resource base, high transportation costs. This all caught up with them.

The Chinese also have immense challenges and weaknesses, the first of which is lack of transparency politically and economically. Since a man like Friedman can see so little of what is actually happening, he can conclude that they are doing a bang up job.

They are not. They are subject to error, sometimes great error, as are all humans and human societies. We just can't see easily what the consequences of the Chinese errors will be.

Is American society any better off in ability to recognize, absorb and correct error? In the past we have been. Unfortunately that does not guarantee that the future will mirror our past.

Robert Cook said...

To use the Daily News Style Guide, Friedman has always been a "dooshbag."

John said...

"Countries like China have a strategy for success and we don’t."

Idiots like Friedman have been writing this sentence for nearly a century now.

1930s - Countries like Germany...
1950s-70s - Countries like the Soviet Union ...
1980s and 90s - Countries like Japan...
00s - Counties like China

They are never right. But they are always convinced America is doomed because geniuses like them don't get to control everything.

Big Mike said...

If Friedman thinks China is where it's at then he should buy a Rosetta Stone for Mandarin Chinese and move.

sonicfrog said...

Well Thom, you've really inspired me. You've inspired me to hope for MoDo's speedy return. At least she's readable!

HDHouse said...

..This reminds me of the secret plan to end the Viet Nam War....

Rialby said...

I'm shocked he didn't find a way to work in the "flatness" of the world. He usually manages to wrap all of his decades-old fish in that weak metaphor.

dave in boca said...

In the sense of "kilter" or "base" or even "key," both Dowd and Friedman are simply always "off." As soon as I saw that at 6AM, I thought "spared another zany silly bunch of outtakes while she gets her life back together..."

And Tom, he simply is a Midwestern beached whale on a shore of diversity.

Rialby said...

Even though there are many people on the right who fulfill his 3 characteristics, he would never point to one of those people as the leader we've been waiting for. That person would have to be on the Left.

Example: Chris Christie
1) Patriot
2) Has a plan to make his state (as a microcosm of the US) successful again.
3) Doesn't govern according to the polls.

Is he a paragon of Friedmanesque virtue? I can guess the answer to that question.

FloridaSteve said...

It's strange to hear a paragon of the left go on and on about those big bad scary Chinese and how we better watch out before they put us all out of business and under their boot.

Isn't this what grouchy old republicans are supposed to do? I had an uncle like that.

former law student said...

The professor reads Thomas Friedman so we don't have to, thatk goodness.

Does anyone actually read Friedman's best sellers? After I read a thorough skewering of his Lexus and the Olive Tree I've been unable to take him seriously.

The Drill SGT said...

Sounds like he wants Ronald Reagan back.

Friedman's hypocrisy on so many things, from the Chinese to Global warming is so bold it's disgusting :)

murgatroyd666 said...

Tom Friedman is so ... so ... impactfully banal.

They are never right. But they are always convinced America is doomed because geniuses like them don't get to control everything.

Unfortunately, this time they might be right because geniuses like them have been controlling everything.

FloridaSteve said...

Having a plan as a "rare" characteristic?? Jesus... every a-hole with a blue blazer and a red tie has a freaking plan. I have a plan. My dog has a plan whoopee freaking do!

What's this clown get paid to come up with this drivel?

Gordon Freece said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

"Does anyone actually read Friedman's best sellers? After I read a thorough skewering of his Lexus and the Olive Tree I've been unable to take him seriously".

Yes sadly enough. Among a certain breed of suburban middle aged thoughtful faux intellectuals, Friedman is a God. I meet people all the time in my suburban Washington neighborhood who prominently display his books in their homes. They are generally well meaning and a little less crazy than the followers of Paul Krugman (the Kruginuts as I call them).

virgil xenophon said...

Lets see now: "I've seen the future and it works." And of course: "He made the trains run on time." Now we have "The China Way."
Not to mention "We are the ones we have been waiting for!" And the paeans made to Castro's Cuba--especially health-care (the latest being Micheal Moore's movie "SICKO") and education--are too numerous to list. Has there EVER been a leftist totalitarian regime that journalists don't have a TOTAL "slobberling love affair" with?

virgil xenophon said...

Oh, how could I leave out dear Uncle Ho: "The George Washington of his country!"

HDHouse said...

thank you mr. friedman...liberal observations 1, tea kettles 0

..This reminds me of the secret plan to end the Viet Nam War....

The Crack Emcee said...

A patriot, a leader, and someone.

Wow - I'm presidential timber!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Has Friedman cleared his plan to cut Social Security with those centrist Democrats he claims are part of his Party? Or is he counting on the Chairman to roll tanks over them when the time comes?

edutcher said...

HDHouse said...

thank you mr. friedman...liberal observations 1, tea kettles 0

..This reminds me of the secret plan to end the Viet Nam War....


Or The Zero's focus on jobs, jobs, jobs.

Unfortunately, the score is going to be kept as Tea Party vs. liberal observations.

Sofa King said...

Having a plan as a "rare" characteristic?? Jesus... every a-hole with a blue blazer and a red tie has a freaking plan. I have a plan. My dog has a plan whoopee freaking do!

Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan.

Alex said...

When we discuss the inevitability of China's dominance, why nobody mentions they're severe environmental degradation will bring them to their knees well before such a scenario can play out.

Robert Cook said...

Florida Steve said,

"It's strange to hear a paragon of the left...."

Do mean Friedman?

Hahahahahahaha!

Bruce Hayden said...

Friedman seems to be desperately trying to convince us that we just don't understand the problem. But what he doesn't seem to understand is that: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem".

Rialby said...

"hahaha...."

Umm, like it or not, anyone who stumps for an authoritarian government run by Communists is promoting a utopian vision from the Left not the moderate center.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I suppose all of our brains work differently. When someone says "fire", I immediately think "hot". When someone says "ice", I immediately think "cold".

And for some reason, any time I am forced to think about Tom Friedman, the thought immediately triggers my mind to associate with Tom Friedman thw word "banal".

Just as fire=hot and ice=cold, Tom Friedman=banal.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe I am a bit more gullible than most, but I have read some of his books, and he does have some decent premises and observations. But, I think that where goes adrift is when he starts to delve into the political.

He fails to look at the Chinese critically and doesn't realize that while their form of government may be advantageous over the short run, it has humongous problems.

One is that because it is top-down, when mistakes are made, they are gigantic. The Three Gorges Dam project is just one example of this.

China is doing reasonably well where the government is essentially turning a blind eye to capitalism. But when their central planning steps in, problems invariably ensue.

One thing that the country does not have is a relief valve. And, the divide between the haves and have-nots is increasing. Not necessarily at the top, as is the complaint here, but between the those who have joined the capitalistic movement and the rural peasants, who, in the end, have always been the power base since harnessed by Mao.

Michael said...

Westerners always attribute extra brain power to Asians. Guys like Friedman then go off on nonsensical theories about cultural attributes that are beyond our understanding but which contribute mightily to the success of the Asian. I am reminded of the middle 1980s when the Japanese were "buying up America" and had added Rockefeller Center to their trophy case. Only a few years later they had to give it back, sold for a fraction of what they had paid. The super rational, long term thinking Japanese, to use a technical word, fucked up.

Robert Cook said...

Bruce Hayden said,

(In China)"...the divide between the haves and have-nots is increasing. Not necessarily at the top, as is the complaint here...."

I'm glad you acknowledge this is happening here, but what do you mean "at the top"?

In our country the richest are become ever richer, and the poor and the middle class are becoming poorer. How you parse this divide as being "at the top"? Or perhaps I just don't understand your intended meaning.

Robert Cook said...

"Umm, like it or not, anyone who stumps for an authoritarian government run by Communists is promoting a utopian vision from the Left not the moderate center."

I suspect Friedman operates from the radical center.

HDHouse said...

@edutcher...

so we go through 8 years of bush with no net increase in jobs - just seekers and his last 2 years were a disaster. obama stops the bleeding and you blame the surgeon not the buy who knifed us.

jerryofva said...

Ladies and Gentleman:

Tom Friedman represents the class of intellectual taken in by political fads. This has been going on ever since progressives first fell in love with Benito Mussolini, Vladimir Ilych Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Friedman et al are advocates of H. G. Wells' "Liberal Fascism" which always turns out to be rather illiberal dictatorship.

President Elect Franklin Roosevelt wrote a little book called "Looking Forward." The book received rave reviews from the above mentioned Mussolini. Roosevelt took said review by Il Duce as a compliment.

jerryofva said...

HD:

You are a moron. Employment went up until the bubble induced by Fanny and Freddie burst. Now we learn from Barnie Frank that well it was the F-troop twins that was the root cause. I guess now that he isn't on the payroll he doesn't have to carry their water.

murgatroyd666 said...

To me, that is a plan that starts by asking: what is America’s core competency and strategic advantage, and how do we nurture it? Answer: It is our ability to attract, develop and unleash creative talent. That means men and women who invent, build and sell more goods and services that make people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable, secure and entertained than any other country.

My goodness, this si straight out of the Mission Statement Cargo Cult for clueless managers that afflicted organizations in the Nineties. You may remember the apotheosis of this fad:

"The New Ventures Mission is to scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter and communicate and evangelize the findings."

I wondered what had become of all the idiots who took that crap seriously, and this explains it: they're the people who buy Friedman's books.

edutcher said...

HDHouse said...

so we go through 8 years of bush with no net increase in jobs - just seekers and his last 2 years were a disaster. obama stops the bleeding and you blame the surgeon not the buy who knifed us.

Dubya had to deal with a War On Terror and the false prosperity of 8 years of Willie. The cause of the collapse was Willie's subprime mortgage scheme.

The Zero has seen U-3 unemployment go from below 8 to 9.7 and that's stopping the bleeding?

Michael said...

Stopping the bleeding for liberals is having the jobless rate go from 8 to 9.6. Only 1.6 percentage points, see? Sane people with math skills see that as a twenty percent (20%) increase in unemployment. Numeracy is not a strong suit for the left.

Henry said...

Sometimes you don't need any more than the headline. I passed that article up. Actually I haven't been interested in reading a Thom Friedman essay in about 10 years.

Really, most opinion pieces should be titled "Deadlines are a Bitch" or "What Shall I Recycle Today"

William said...

There are four thousand years of Chinese history. During most of that time, the Chinese people enjoyed a higher level of civilization and prosperity than the other populations of the world. The great leaps forward made by the west during the Renaissance came more from finding pragmatic uses for Chinese inventions than from translating Aristotle into the vernacular.....The flaw of Chinese civilization was in relying too much on the wisdom of the Mandarins and the authority of the Emperor's central government. Merchants and soldiers were despised by the Mandarins. The Mandarins had reached their positions by hard study and competitive exams. They regarded themselves as certifiably smarter than soldiers and merchants. This worked out fine so long as China did not have to defeat the Mongols or undersell the British.....China, after all the dust and smoke of Mao, still relies on the primacy of the central government and the wisdom of its academically trained bureaucrats. It's no wonder that a Mandarin like Friedman would find much to admire there. I too question his gullibility, but, based on history, I don't discount the possibility that the Chinese will find some way to make it work.

Robert Cook said...

"Dubya had to deal with a War On Terror...."

No...Dubya chose to invade two countries for no purpose and with no goals and thus eagerly began America's disastrous and financially ruinous Terror Wars...and he chose to cut taxes simultaneously, with result that the government's revenues began to drop just as he was ratcheting our expenses dramatically up. (Kind of like quitting your job and the next day starting a drunken spending spree. Eventually, those bills are going to come due.)

edutcher said...

No, Dubya chose to fight and destroy the 2 groups that were responsible for the 9/11 attacks, unlike Willie and The Zero, who think lobbing a few missles at a couple of camels for political cover counts as defending the American people.

muddimo said...

You know the level of analysis, and writing ability, in these comments so exceeds that of Mr. Friedman, it actually gives me hope. There are a lot of smart people out there, they just aren't journalists.

muddimo said...

With some exceptions, of course. Mr. Cook, you write, in part, "for no purpose and with no goals." You know this is not true. It is an idiotic assertion.

gk1 said...

Sheesh the lefties here are so tiresome. Can they go one thread, at least one FUCKING thread without blaming Bush?

Friedman's a hack who's authoritarian worship is odd in this day and age. No wonder the instincts of the tea party are a mystery to him

Big Mike said...

Robert Cook thinks Friedman is a centrist. I've had to revise my estimate -- Cook is at least five sigma left of the political center.

Bart DePalma said...

I suppose being called a Tea Kettler is better than a teabagger.

Whatever.

See ya in November, Tom.

LarsPorsena said...

@William: Your 1:44 excellent. Spot on for China and our current US Mandarins who have nothing but contempt for we peasants, soldiers, and merchants

Ben Calvin said...

There are actually two Tea Party movements in America today: the one that actually exits and one that is Friedman fantasy. A fantasy mass-movement that coincidentally espouses all of his trendy, shallow, visions.

Rialby said...

"No...Dubya chose to invade two countries for no purpose and with no goals and thus eagerly began America's disastrous and financially ruinous Terror Wars.."

Woah woah woah... wasn't the party line that Afghanistan was the "good war"? That's the cudgel they used to beat W over the head for 5 years anyway.

jerryofva said...

As usual Mr. Cook is wrong. According to the CBO the sum total of the GWOT bill is less then Porkulus.

Robert Cook said...

"No, Dubya chose to fight and destroy the 2 groups that were responsible for the 9/11 attacks...."

Who? Al Qaeda? They escaped Afghanistan and have not been destroyed. The Taliban? They had nothing to do with 9/11 and have not been destroyed. Saddam Hussein? He had nothing to do with 9/11 and he was destroyed, but so was his country, which is in a worse state now than under his rule.

"...unlike Willie and The Zero, who think lobbing a few missles at a couple of camels for political cover counts as defending the American people."

Obama seems to be continuing with Bush's war policies and practices, so if you want to denigrate his bloody escalation in Afghanistan as "lobbing a few missles at a couple of camels," (you forgot all the civilians who got in the way of those missles), I don't know how much you obviously must have scorned Bush's equally fruitless efforts there.

Bush did not have to start those wars--he should not have started those wars--for many reasons--and the claim that our economy under Bush was harmed because "Bush had to deal with a war on terror" is revisionist baloney. He could have responded to Al Qaeda without going to war, and he would probably have had as much or more success at capturing those behind the 9/11 attacks, without the dear cost in human lives and our national treasure.

Robert Cook said...

"Woah woah woah... wasn't the party line that Afghanistan was the 'good war'"?

It wasn't my line.

M. Simon said...

"An election is an advanced auction of stolen goods" H. L. Menken

wv: diefu Do I have to spell it out?

Bruce Hayden said...

In our country the richest are become ever richer, and the poor and the middle class are becoming poorer. How you parse this divide as being "at the top"? Or perhaps I just don't understand your intended meaning.

Actually, I think that you would have a hard time making the argument that our poor are getting poorer. Maybe by their cash income, but not if you include all the non-cash benefits they get.

The statistics on how many TVs, homes, cars, cell phones, air conditioning, etc. that they own is amazing, given the hype that we have heard about how they are suffering.

It is the middle class, right now, that is getting squeezed in the middle, paying to support the "poor" in a style that much of the middle class didn't enjoy a decade or two ago.

That said, my point is that we have a percent or two who are making a huge amount of money, but, contrary to the instigation by the left, there isn't nearly as much resentment there as they would like.

In China (the ChiComs, not Taiwan) there is a huge divide right now between the emerging middle class and city dwellers versus the rural peasants. And it is getting bigger fairly quickly.

And, one of the weaknesses that I see with the Red Chinese situation is that they have no real mechanism to release the stress. They have no meaningful elections, and many of their ruling class are geriatrics, and, to a great extent separated from both these classes.

HDHouse said...

Let's reset the stupid-meter.

Bruce Hayden said...
"The statistics on how many TVs, homes, cars, cell phones, air conditioning, etc. that they own is amazing, given the hype that we have heard about how they are suffering."

you really said this? you wrote this? hohohohhhohhoohohhoooohahhahahahhhahhahhhahha amazingly stupid...hohohohohohohohohoho

dft said...

In the leftist fantasy world of the Robert Cooks, as long as they can say it, it must be possible.

"He could have responded to Al Qaeda without going to war, and he would probably have had as much or more success at capturing those behind the 9/11 attacks, without the dear cost in human lives and our national treasure."

Riiight. Because we all know that President Bush had the option to sprinkle pixie dust from the back of flying unicorns to end terrorism and defend America.

Nomennovum said...

"Impactful"???

Jeez. Trying to digest Friedman's prose is impactful to my colon.

Nomennovum

Nomennovum said...

Holy mother of f**k, Robert Cook, but ain't you a bore!

M. Simon said...

He could have responded to Al Qaeda without going to war,

He should have sent them a cake and told them yo have a nice day.

Or he could have asked the countries harboring them to turn them over. Oh? What? He did that and they refused. Well then. Never mind.

Nomennovum said...

HDHouse,

You are going to find it hard to drum up business at Opus One Media with that sort of mindless derision. Try again, sweetheart.

Im shore thay tawt u how 2 debait in skool.

Roger J. said...

Re ownership of property among the poor--Bruce Hayden's position is supported by census data--all one has to do is go to factfinder.census.gov and look at ownership of the items mentioned by the categories of income.

Or you can take the HD House approach and demonstrate your ignorance of data and inability to find it. Haden is correct, House is, as usual, wrong.

Robert Cook said...

dft said:

"Riiight. Because we all know that President Bush had the option to sprinkle pixie dust from the back of flying unicorns to end terrorism and defend America."

M. Simon said:

"He should have sent them a cake and told them yo have a nice day."

Apparently it doesn't occur to either of you that there are ways short of war in which nations deal with threat assessments and to actual violent acts inflicted on them. In fact, war is supposed to be the ultimate "last choice." Do you assume that invading countries should be the proper default response by America to any violent acts taken against us, (or, as in the case of Iraq, even where there are no violent acts taken against us)?

Why do we have intelligence networks and cooperative working relationships with international police agencies if we do not use them where appropriate?

M.Simon also said:

"Or he could have asked the countries (sic--you mean country, singular) harboring them to turn them over. Oh? What? He did that and they refused. Well then. Never mind."

That's popularly known as extradition. We don't have an extradition agreement with Afghanistan, but they expressed willingness to hand over bin Laden and company to an independent third country...all they requested--pro forma in formal extradition arrangements--was evidence supporting the allegations against bin Laden and company. Bush refused.

http://www.fff.org/comment/com0905c.asp

Our wars are wars not of necessity, but of choice--in fact, first choice--and aside from the terrible cost in human slaughter, to no productive end, nearly a decade later, we have squandered national treasure that could have been far better spent here at home. And the drain on our treasure is not ended, but will continue for years.

Roger J. said...

Mr Cook--you are, of course, correct in the strictess sense, when you say wars are of choice not necessity--but my thought is that there are some wars that are dictated by necessity.

Involving a non-state actor such as AQ makes the definition of war a bit more problematic. It's much easier when Japanese forces attack pearl harbor for example. But irrespective of the circumstances nations do have to respond.

Perhaps the difference is the nature of the response? I have no facile answers, but I believe a bit more (dare I say) nuance is required.

rhhardin said...

"297. Of course, if water boils in a pot, steam comes out of the pot and also pictured steam come out of the pictured pot. But what if one insisted on saying that there must also be something boiling in the picture of the pot?"

- Wittgenstein

I've given up trying to one-up parody the NYT editorial page. It's no longer possible.

Editorials just rotate must, should, and needs to.

rhhardin said...

Vicki Hearne:

Hannah Arendt's remark about the banality of evil is famous, and I have come to think that she may have had in mind the slipshod grammar, the motives neither high and noble nor interestingly debased, the indifference to accuracy about technical matters, the ...

The slipshod grammar. For instance, "These dogs are bred to kill, and their training is part of their genetics."


That's analogous to Friedman's carelessness with characteristics.

Bruce Hayden said...

One of the things that I took away from Econ 101 was that in certain situations, a totalitarian state might be advantageous for the short run economically. And, we may be seeing that right now with China.

The basic problem is that in a lot of the 3rd World back then (less today), birth rates exceeded GDP growth. And, as a result, the countries could not get to the point where they could take off economically.

So, I wasn't all that surprised when China instituted their One Child policy. It likely wasn't really aimed at limiting their huge population, per se, but rather, at this problem. And, yes, it seems to have succeeded.

But, I think that we will, in the not too distant future, see the limits of their approach. Already, they are seeing their dominance in low-cost labor disappearing as some types of manufacturing move to lower cost countries like Vietnam. And, they can't expect to see the sort of off-shoring that India sees, due to a number of factors including language, courts, and business climate.

Whenever anyone tries to convince me that the Red Chinese have a winning strategy, I point out that we are finding that government intervention stifles economic growth. What about a country run by a self-appointed cadre of geriatrics? Rulers who advanced through their revolutionary fervor. The country that really invented civil service, civil servants, and mandarins?

Jess said...

To me, that is a plan that starts by asking: what is America’s core competency and strategic advantage, and how do we nurture it? Answer: It is our ability to attract, develop and unleash creative talent. That means men and women who invent, build and sell more goods and services that make people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable, secure and entertained than any other country.



Right! And you know what creative people like? Rules! Lots of rules and regulations, and forms to fill out and permissions to be sought! There's nothing that brightens their day like going down to City Hall or the State Capitol or DC to ask permission, or to fill out forms.


So we're doing all the right things.

mishu said...

(or, as in the case of Iraq, even where there are no violent acts taken against us)

Nice revisionist history. I guess the '93 bombing doesn't count because the bulding didn't fall.

Seven Machos said...

It's time to officially call Thomas Friedman the Sidney and Beatrice Webb of this era.

Congratulations, Tom.

Calypso Facto said...

"No...Dubya chose to invade two countries..."

Sigh. I'll post it again:
The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (Invasion of Afghanistan)passed the
House of Reps 420 to 1 and the Senate 98-0.
The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq passed the House of Representatives 297-133 and the Senate 77-23.

But it's all W's fault? And why are we still there now? Plenty of blame to go around, I think.

HDHouse said...

Roger J. said...
Re ownership of property among the poor...."

oh roger roger roger..there you go again. my my. TV ownership...a sign that the "poor" don't have it so bad. hell they've go TVs. you can eat TVs and you can pay the bills with TVs, feed your kid a TV, go to college on a TV...they, those miscrean poor folks...they got CARS ....some of them rascals even use them to go to jobs or look for one...can you imagine? the never. shit. sometime some peckerwood will want a cell phone...but that's ok as cell phones are cheaper than normal phones but if they want then can just call up that dirt poor neighbor and tell 'em they are getting in the car to come over and watch TV.

ya'betcha.

oh, and boys, your argument is so mindlessly banal as to make chickens shit bricks. but you knew that didn't you. all 50 IQ points of you knew that...you just wanted to have some fun with the poor..tell 'em how good they have it with all those TVs and all...see if they believe you....becha they don't. hell man, i'm a liberal and I don't believe your argument is worth the other side of the toilet paper.

Seven Machos said...

HD -- Please show us the poor people in this country who are starving.

HDHouse said...

Calypso Facto said...
"But it's all W's fault? And why are we still there now?"

Well. Little shit for brains came up with two questions.

1. yup it was.
2. because he screwed them up so bad we could be, as the commander said, there until our grandchildren are old in a manner of speaking...again because it is soooooo screwed up.

but you knew that didn't you? you were just funnin' with us..askin' questions you knew the answers too...ya'll did that din't ya?

ya'becha! Your a wise old buzzard...you advise Sarah on foreign policy? LOOOKIE ...there's ruskie land....

HDHouse said...

@7 nachos...

look around you fella. look around you. but i won't bite on such an obviously stupid question.

number living under the poverty line is higher now than ever. number of kids who lack proper ... oh the hell with you. you know it and you just have to be a shill.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

Calypso Facto,

You seem to want us to accept that Bush simply assented to the nearly unanimous demand by Congress that we go to war. No. The Bush Administration used the 9/11 tragedy to manipulate both Congress and the nation into rushing to judgement that war was necessary, right and just.

Were there many in Congress who didn't need much convincing? Sure...no doubt. They're complicit in Bush's war crimes as well. But had Bush not wanted to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, we never would have.

We're still involved in these wars now because Obama is carrying on with his predecessors' murderous policies. No President wants to be the one who brings our troops home without a victory, so Obama slogs on with our amorphous, doomed "mission" to avoid being labeled "the man who turned tail and ran."

Bush was an enthusiastic mass murderer, he wanted to go to war; Obama is a mass murderer because he has no character and is too cowardly to remove us from the devastation we have made.

Seven Machos said...

number living under the poverty line is higher now than ever

Poverty line is higher than ever. Waiting for you to show me a single undernourished poor person in the United States. I bet I can find an anorexic rich person first.

And hey! Robert Cook! I'm still waiting for that U.S. law that allows a foreign tribunal to try Americans for war crimes. What's taking so long? It's been years, dude.

furious_a said...

In fact, war is supposed to be the ultimate "last choice."

That approach certainly worked well
for Britain, France, Belgium, etc.
starting around 1939.

Seven Machos said...

war is supposed to be the ultimate "last choice"...

According to people who bitch and moan that war is terrible, solves nothing, etc., and would rather live with and even under vile misrule than have even a minor skirmish.

Robert Cook: show me that law you've been talking up all these years! I just can't seem to find it, despite my rather vast knowledge of international law. Strange, huh?

furious_a said...

the 9/11 tragedy

Gawd, but I hate that phrasing, the simple-minded moral equivalence
that generates it, and the tilt-head concern trolls who parrot it.

A school bus plunging off a bridge
into a river is a tragedy.

The deliberate killing of 3,000 people as they go peacefully about
their business is MASS MURDER.

Trust that clarifies.

Maguro said...

PACIFISM The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States...All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty.
.

George Orwell, describing the Robert Cooks of pre-WW II Britain.

Still as relevant as ever.

William said...

The line of succession among NYT Supreme High Pundits goes thus: Walter Lippmann, James Reston, and Thomas Friedman. After the Nationalists fled the mainland and occupied Taiwan, Lippmann recommended that the US fleet be withdrawn from the straits of Formosa. Chiang Kai Shek was a fascist and did not deserve our protection. Let us note that Taiwan is now a democracy--the first in China's four thousand year history--and has a living standard at least ten times higher than that of the mainland. Let us further note that this is not due to the wisdom of Walter Lippmann... Just recently I was spot reading James Reston's book, Memoirs. He visited China at the time of Nixon's first visit. He astutely noted that there were no overweight Chinese. Less astutely, he attributed this to the fact that the Chinese ate with chopsticks and that it is difficult to overeat with chopsticks. Mass starvation is another possible explanation. He had a respectful interview with Chou En Lai in which he passed along with tacit approval Chou's statement that China's involvement in the Korean War was due to our bellicosity.....At the time of Nixon's visit, China was going through the Cultural Revolution. The remarkable thing was not that China was descending into madness but that western journalists observed this madness and thought it was a noble experiment. A Chinese Red Brigade member later observed "We wanted to lie and you wanted to believe us". Funny how this type of credulity was not given to Nixon....Well, Friedman continues in the long tradition of NYT Pundits who get it wrong.

Eric said...

countries like China have a strategy for success and we don’t....

Yes, all we need to do is adopt a self-destructive style of government for forty years and then change back. We'll be so far behind everyone else the economy will boom as we catch up (in another thirty years or so).

We just need to go through that forty years of starvation and poverty.

Robert Cook said...

"The deliberate killing of 3,000 people...is MASS MURDER."

How astutely you perceive and state the obvious.

Do you not think, however, that a murder is a tragedy, and many murders even greater tragedy?

We have, in response to the murders on 9/11, murdered many many more people than were killed that day, most of whom had no connection with the 9/11 murderers or their killings...people mostly "going peacefully about their business," as you state in the portion of your quote I elided. Our murders are also a tragedy. (As are the related crimes we have undertaken: torture, the rendering of millions into homeless refugees, the destruction of a nation's civic infrastructure, the kidnapping and imprisonment of untold numbers on mostly unfounded suspicion of connections to terrorists or terrorism, etc.)

Here's one dictionary entry, if you remain unconvinced:

"Tra-ge-dy (noun)

An even causing great suffering, destruction and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe."

Robert Cook said...

"George Orwell, describing the Robert Cooks of pre-WW II Britain.

Still as relevant as ever."


Maguro, still as wrong as ever.

Moneyrunner said...

Did it occur to anyone that Robert Cook is really a clever parody of Liberalism? Occam's Razor: no one could actually be that dense and still breathe.

HDHouse said...

@ 7 nachos

http://www.frac.org/html/hunger_in_the_us/hunger_index.html

Republican said...

Just hilarious, considering the St. Louis Teaparty logo is a big ol' patriotic kettle:


http://stlouisteaparty.com/


(As designed by St. Louis's own Teaparty rawk stawr pundit's husband)