Tag: Thomas Friedman

tom friedman: what a Real President would do

Ta dah……… another stunning assessment of George W. Bush, his policies, and what a real president would do from Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Time’s column. Yeah, the inescapable Tom Friedman: a cheerleader of the war in Iraq. A public intellectual and New York Times Columnist… part of that liberal media about which we hear so much.

You do remember Thomas Friedman? The man who brought us such great catch-phrases as the Arab street and Generation Q? Yes. It’s the same one. The exact same one who made the Iraq war sound grand in a 2005 talk:

This is not about oil. This is about something really noble, crazy noble. It is the first attempt in the modern history of the Arab world for Arabs in their own country to forge their own social contract, their own constitution.

Not only would democracy become rampant in the Middle East, but “a successful Iraq is our Iran reform policy.” In his droning, self-assured, and utterly annoying manner, he  told his audience that “The Shi’ite Muslims who will assume the majority of Iraq’s government posts are the same Shi’ites who live in Iran.” According to the newspaper account of the speech, Friedman said if Iraq succeeds it will ratchet up the pressure for democratic reform in Iran.

Well, today’s column is really a gas. And what I really loved about it, Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave (besides the side-splittingly funny lede), is it’s real he-man muscular language. Here’s  a sample…

What they need now is a big U.S. market where lots of manufacturers have an incentive to install solar panels and wind turbines . . . without subsidies.

That seems to be exactly what the Republican Party is trying to block, since the Senate Republicans – sorry to say, with the help of John McCain – have now managed to defeat the renewal of these tax credits six different times.

Of course, we’re going to need oil for years to come. That being the case, I’d prefer – for geopolitical reasons – that we get as much as possible from domestic wells. But our future is not in oil, and a real president wouldn’t be hectoring Congress about offshore drilling today. He’d be telling the country a much larger truth:

“Oil is poisoning our climate and our geopolitics, and here is how we’re going to break our addiction: We’re going to set a floor price of $4.50 a gallon for gasoline and $100 a barrel for oil. And that floor price is going to trigger massive investments in renewable energy – particularly wind, solar panels and solar thermal. And we’re also going to go on a crash program to dramatically increase energy efficiency, to drive conservation to a whole new level and to build more nuclear power. And I want every Democrat and every Republican to join me in this endeavor.”

That’s what a real president would do. He’d give us a big strategic plan to end our addiction to oil and build a bipartisan coalition to deliver it. He certainly wouldn’t be using his last days in office to threaten Congressional Democrats that if they don’t approve offshore drilling by the Fourth of July recess, they will be blamed for $4-a-gallon gas. That is so lame. That is an energy policy so unworthy of our Independence Day.

I loved how he slipped in the for geopolitical reasons that we get as much as possible from domestic wells while encouraging Bush, if Bush wanted to be a real president, to tell the country larger truths.

From what fucking planet is Thomas Friedman? Talking about George Bush telling truth to anybody is ridiculous. To try to appear like you’re a cool environmentally friendly liberal columnist guy and set us up for drilling the arctic is going a tad too far. And oh my god, you’re sorry to say John McCain is leading Republicans in defeating incentives for renewable energy.

The Gray Lady

The NYT’s latest Kristol embarrassment

by Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Monday May 19, 2008 12:47 EDT

The NYT should be very proud of itself. Of course, Kristol was hired at the NYT because his dad, Irv, was really good friends with former NYT Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal, whose son, Andy, currently runs the NYT Op-Ed page. Andy and Bill followed in their dad’s footsteps by becoming good friends (and in every other sense), and Andy then hired his friend, Bill (son of his dad’s friend), as the new NYT Op-Ed writer. So this is typically what one gets — and deserves — when driven by nepotistic impulse.

Rosenthal actually claimed when he hired Kristol that he did so to achieve “balance” and to create diversity on the Op-Ed page. Indeed. Last Monday, Kristol’s column compared Americans who don’t want to fight for Israel to Neville Chamberlain appeasers. Then, on Wednesday, Tom Friedman declared a “cold war” whereby Israel and the U.S. fight together (along with Sunni Arab dictators) against Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Then, on Friday, David Brooks declared Obama suspect when it comes to hating Hezbollah enough, writing that Obama’s statements bear “the whiff of what President Bush described yesterday as appeasement” and that “if Obama believes all this, he’s not just a Jimmy Carter-style liberal. He’s off in Noam Chomskyland.” Obama then had to call Brooks, demonstrate his commitment to hating Hezbollah, and was cleared by Brooks (for now) of the charge of insufficient devotion to fighting Israel’s enemies.

Friedman Thinks Bahrain is a Heroin-Stuffed Teddy Bear

As a writer, Thomas Friedman is a goddamned miracle.

In the space of the first four paragraphs of today’s column in the New York Times, Friedman compares US-friendly Persian Gulf countries to carnival workers at a weight-guessing booth, and also to the stuffed animals that a lucky carnival-goer could win at that booth.  

The United States is — I think, having read this three times — like a carnival-goer trying to win a stuffed animal at the weight-guessing booth.  But Friedman’s point is not that the United States wants to win a US-friendly Persian Gulf country, which is what you’d think Friedman must mean, if those countries are stuffed-animal prizes at the weight-guessing booth; and his point is not that the United States wants to win something from a US-friendly Persian Gulf country, which is what you’d think he must mean if those countries are the carnies running the booth.

His point, which I confess I did not see coming, is that Iran is like a drug dealer.  Paragraph five:

The Gulf Arabs feel like they have this neighbor who has been a drug dealer for 18 years. Recently, this neighbor has been very visibly growing poppies for heroin in his backyard in violation of the law. He’s also been buying bigger and better trucks to deliver drugs. You can see them parked in his driveway.

Maybe a lot of carnies are drug dealers.  Maybe they use stuffed animals to smuggle heroin into the United States, with trucks.  I have no idea.  At various points over the next several paragraphs, the US is the police, and also holding a stuffed animal — but Friedman doesn’t mean that the US is holding a US-friendly Persian Gulf country stuffed with heroin that the US found in a truck.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that Friedman manages to insert a few paragraphs in the midst of that literary tsunami that are both wildly misleading and indicative of current misunderstandings in Washington punditry on the subject of Iranian nuclear enrichment.