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Thomas Friedman is an Idiot

Another day, another hit piece on America from the New York Times.

In Thomas Friedman's latest propaganda piece, "Time to Re-Boot America" (a phrase borrowed from Barack Obama, not surprisingly), he shreds America for lacking "modernized" infrastructure, like that of Hong Kong, China.

"It actually started well," he says, taking off from "Hong Kong's ultramodern airport after riding out there from downtown on a sleek high-speed train -- with wireless connectivity that was so good I was able to surf the Web the whole way on my laptop."

Wow. What a country. Good internet service. Nice trains. Of course, all you can get on the internet is state-filtered material, but, I guess that whole freedom of speech thing is over-rated.

He continues by berating Keneddy Airport, one of the world's busiest hubs, comparing it to that of Hong Kong's ultra modern airport:

"The ugly, low-ceilinged arrival hall was cramped, and using a luggage cart cost $3."

Perhaps if we didn't have to spend so much money on stupid things like airport security to keep our islamic friends from crashing planes into big buildings, we'd have more of a priority centered on sprucing the place up for you.

On he continues, degrading Penn Station, the Acela bullet train, complaining of some (gasp!) dropped calls along the way.

Mr. Friedman, how do you do it? How do you maintain your self-absorbed, elitist status in such a terrible country as America?

He then asks this strawman question: "All I could think to myself was: If we're so smart, why are other people living so much better than us?"

Who the hell is sitting around thinking that "we're so smart"? Did someone just proclaim there are no other smart people in this world besides us? And do the people of China really live "so much better"?

I bet this Mr. Friedman leads a pretty well-off life. One would have to, to ask a question like that.

In the narrowed eyes of this pampered, jaded individual, having an ultra-modern airport is a sign of "better living" for the people of China. And the fact that some of our infrastructure is less modern than others must of course mean that, well, we suck.

Wonderful China: Where you will be incarcerated for speaking "truth to power" (to borrow a line from the left), or told how many children you can have, or where your dog will be killed while walking it to "control" the animal population. How overjoyed they must all be with all that modernized infrastructure.

Let's, Mr. Friedman, run down some of the "better living" conditions of the People's Republic of China:

  • China has population saturation, with 1.3 billion people.
  • It is a Communist state.
  • 500 million people in the rural, agrarian regions are willfully neglected, malnutritioned, and without employment.
  • China emposes ruthless oppression of religion.
  • The government censors most every bit of information, filtering what is to be said and received.
  • It has instituted torturous treatment of the Tibetan people
  • It is one of the most polluted countries in the world.

Sounds like a great place.

Mr. Friedman goes on in the next half of his article to let us know more of what is wrong with America, and gives us a glimpse into how an elitist snob would try to fix it. Your normal leftist pablum.

No need to rebut any of it, though. The first half says it all.


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Comments (41)

What was your first clue! H... (Below threshold)
MPR:

What was your first clue! He is a New York liberal that loves to tell other people how to live. And don't they all?

Other than from North Korea... (Below threshold)
iurockhead:

Other than from North Korea, from where are the streams of people coming, trying to get into China to build a better life? Are North Americans sneaking into China in shipping containers, to be able to enjoy that wonderful infrastructure? I must have missed that news this week.

Here' some "normal leftist ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Here' some "normal leftist pablem" from Friedman's oped article (concenient how you forgot to mention this part):

"Generally, I'd like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be spent on pork, it will be the end of us."

Yup - good old leftist pablum. You also left out the part where he mentioned we shouldn't bail out GM. More "leftist pablum."


Good god almighty if idiots like Mallow think our infrastructure isn't falling apart you really have to stop watching all those Fox reality shows and O'Reilly/Hannity and pay some attention to the actual news. News like about 13% of all our bridges are structurally unsound similar to the Minneapolis bridge just to name one small example.

I went to college with Mr. ... (Below threshold)
Joe Miller:

I went to college with Mr. Friedman...at least he was supposed to be there the same time I was. I don't think I ever saw him, but then I was studying things like Economics and Political Science while he was studying Mediterranean Studies. He probably knows a lot more about what grows in that region than I do.

JFO - "Good god almight... (Below threshold)
Marc:

JFO - "Good god almighty if idiots like Mallow think our infrastructure isn't falling apart you really have to stop watching all those Fox reality shows and O'Reilly/Hannity and pay some attention to the actual news."

Where did the author Mallow state he believed that?

Can you give the exact Mallow quote saying "American infrastructure is in excellent shape" for example?

P.S. Was your Christmas present a copy of the book "101 Ways to Use a Informal Fallacy."

Isn't is common with these ... (Below threshold)
Jvette:

Isn't is common with these oppressive regimes to make the places outsiders visit look so wonderful?
How many of the Chinese citizens actually use any of those great infrastructures that Thomas so admires?

With libs is really is all about appearances.

jfo,It is apparent... (Below threshold)
lowmal:

jfo,

It is apparent that my focus was on the first part of his column dealing with China.

And when he says" We've indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can't afford", I consider that to be leftist pablum.

And I don't believe I said anything regarding the condition of our infrastructure.

Calling someone an "idiot" is a fine forensic tactic, though.

As for Friedman, he can scr... (Below threshold)
Marc:

As for Friedman, he can screw himself with his own hoisted petard.

Industrial and road accidents killed 101,480 people in China last year (2007), a drop of about 10 percent compared to 2006, the state's safety watchdog said in a report seen Sunday.

Most fatalities occurred on China's dangerous roads, although there were fewer traffic deaths in 2007 than in 2006, Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said.

Hmmm, strange that. Fewer accidents than the previous year yet the fatalities went up. Sounds like an infrastructure problem to me.

Friedman in an idiot, but hey, maybe Kevin can get him a writing gig over at Wizbang Blue. He'd fit right in.

I see Tom took the $5 tour ... (Below threshold)

I see Tom took the $5 tour of Hong Kong. Tom must have missed the less desirable parts of Kowloon that I don't think anyone would have felt safe in.

Yes, the subway is wonderful. But when you have a postage stamp piece of land..... He could have taken the ferry to Shenzhen and a bus ride to Guangzhou pretty cheap as well. That would have opened his eyes to some interesting things.

Remember, Shenzhen is a "Special" town with "Special" people.....


lpwmalCalling some... (Below threshold)
JFO:

lpwmal

Calling someone an idiot as in the title of the post?

"...New York liberal that l... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"...New York liberal that loves to tell other people how to live."

Why is it a bad thing "to tell other people how to live?"

mracThe book I did... (Below threshold)
JFO:

mrac

The book I did get was titled: "Try To Find Empathy For Asshat Right Wingers - Some of Them Don't Know Any Better." It was dedicated to a guy who tries to act like a lawyer but doesn't have the smarts.

Cripes lowmal or Mallow or ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Cripes lowmal or Mallow or whoever the hell you are if you're going to author a post at least try to be a tad bit honest about it.

In the first place the theme of Friedman's column was about our infrastructure so don't be a weasel about it.

In the second place was your last paragraph and last sentence just a fart in the wind? To remind you these are your words:


"Mr. Friedman goes on in the next half of his article to let us know more of what is wrong with America, and gives us a glimpse into how an elitist snob would try to fix it. Your normal leftist pablum.

No need to rebut any of it, though. The first half says it all."

To coin your own word: "idiot'"


JFO - "The book I did g... (Below threshold)
Marc:

JFO - "The book I did get was titled: "Try To Find Empathy For Asshat Right Wingers - Some of Them Don't Know Any Better."

Then you obviously need to hook-up with your local First Grade teacher and have him or her read it to you because it's painfully obvious you haven't come close to understanding the "books" contents.

touchee, JFO.... (Below threshold)
lowlam:

touchee, JFO.

Too bad with all his educat... (Below threshold)
Meiji_man:

Too bad with all his education, Mr. Freidman was never introduced to the term "Potemkin village"

Not a bad response for a "... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Not a bad response for a "lawyer" marc - not great though . I am reading the part about not knowing any better. It has to do with lack of critical thinking skills. I'll get back to you when I finish.

"...New York liberal that l... (Below threshold)
MPR:

"...New York liberal that loves to tell other people how to live."

Why is it a bad thing "to tell other people how to live?"

11. Posted by daniel rotter | December 26, 2008 3:45 PM

You are joking, I hope.

Perhaps Mr. Friedman has ne... (Below threshold)
KB:

Perhaps Mr. Friedman has never flown into Denver, or Portland Int'l, or several other newer airports in the US that are modern and effecient.
Perhaps he expects wifi to be perfect and the 'free' product of government? Perhaps he is used to being pampered and takes most conveniences for granted, just like his freedoms.

Thomas Friedman Need a good... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Thomas Friedman Need a good swift kick to the moon where they can put up with this blballering liberal stupid idiot

I'm not sure what Mr Frie... (Below threshold)
corwin:

I'm not sure what Mr Friedman's academics entail.There are cetain degrees which mandate a superior intellect.I would think a BS in physics from Montana State is likely to be more intelligent than an Ivy educated lawyer-but that's only a supposition.Still,I'm polite but not impressed with certain doctorates.Also,I do remember half of the drs in the country finished in the bottom half of their class.

As hard is it is to believe... (Below threshold)

As hard is it is to believe, the US may have to default on it's debt. Public debt has grown by more than 100% with all the bailouts. We currently have a debt level 3 times what the European Union allows it's members. We are financially in far worse debt as a percent of GDP than Italy. Unfortunately, our Social Security Trust Fund is financed almost entirely by special bonds. Our government loaned themselves the money in the Trust Fund and spent it like drunken sailors at a strip club. We are left holding what may be worthless pieces of paper to guarantee our Social Security checks.

ASIA - UNITED STATES U.S. debt approaches insolvency; Chinese currency reserves at risk by Maurizio d'Orlando In a few months, America's public debt has grown to more than 100% of GDP. Fear of a valuation crisis for the dollar, with tremendous consequences for Asian countries, major exporters to the United States.

Milan (AsiaNews) - In the United States, the danger of debt insolvency is growing, putting at risk the currency reserves of foreign countries, China chief among them. According to new figures published by Bloomberg in recent days (Nov. 25, 2008 [1]), the American government has employed a total of 8.549 trillion dollars to stop the financial crisis. This means a total of about 24-25.4 trillion dollars of direct or indirect public debt weighing on American taxpayers. The complete tally must also include the debt - about 5-6 trillion dollars - of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are now quasi-public companies, because 79.9% of their capital is controlled by a public entity, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which manages them as a public conservatorship.

In 2007, public debt in the United States was 10.6 trillion dollars, compared to a GDP (gross domestic product) of 13.811 trillion dollars. Public debt in 2007 was therefore 76.75% of GDP. In just one year, direct and indirect public debt have grown to more than 100% of GDP, reaching 176.9% to 184.2%. These percentages exclude the debt guaranteed by policies underwritten by AIG, also nationalized, and liabilities for health spending (Medicaid and Medicare) and pensions (Social Security)[2]. By way of comparison, the Maastricht accords require member states of the European Union (EU) to reduce their public debt to no more than 60% of GDP. Again by way of comparison, in one of the EU countries with the largest public debt, Italy, public debt in 2007 was equal to 104% of GDP.

In 2007, 61.82% [3] of America's public debt was held by foreign investors, most of them Asian. So the U.S. public debt held by nonresident foreigners is equal to about 109.39% (113.86%) of GDP. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, countries with more than 60% of their public debt held by nonresident foreigners run a high risk of currency crisis and insolvency, or debt default. On the historical level, there are no recent examples of countries with currencies valued at reserve status that have lapsed into public debt insolvency. There are also few or no precedents of such a vast and rapid expansion of public debt. Link here.

The United States of America is approaching bankruptcy

If I remember correctly, th... (Below threshold)
Joe:

If I remember correctly, the British were in charge of Hong Kong before the Chinese took it back? I wonder what Hong Kong would have been like without the capitalism influence?

"You are joking, I hope."</... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"You are joking, I hope."

No. Sorry to dash your hopes.

"Thomas Friedman Need a good swift kick to the moon where they can put up with this blballering liberal stupid idiot."

I hope this happens just as long as all the conservative stupid idiots are kicked along with him.

As a co-worker of mine who ... (Below threshold)

As a co-worker of mine who managed to escape from Iran many years ago told me, "If they like it so much, why are they here?"

If America sucks, go elsewhere. That is the beauty of America, we don't force you to stay. Do what you can to improve America if you like, if you don't like, leave. That is freedom.

Mr. Friedman -- PLEASE, PLE... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

Mr. Friedman -- PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!

If China is SO great and America is SO bad, will you take your laptop, and other electonic toys and move to CHINA!! Also take the rest of the ANTI-American whinebag liberals with you!!!!
Don't let Americas door hit you in the ass!!

"Also take the rest of the ... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"Also take the rest of the ANTI-American whinebag liberals with you!!!"

And, Tommy Boy, don't forget all of the Anti-American whinebag conservatives with you too!!!!!!

It does not take a genius t... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

It does not take a genius to know, that no matter what Mr. Fried-dork says, the quality of life in China is still very poor for the vast majority of people.

However, we do have things to learn from a country like Singapore. It is the cleanest, most well-organized country in the world. Taxes are low, and public restrooms abound and are probably cleaner than the bathrooms in the homes of most American liberals (if you don't flush or use it in a respectful manner, you can be fined which of course makes sense to protect a good system). Remember that it was the country that gave lashes to that one American dude that defaced properties, even though Bill Clinton begged them not to do it. In Singapore, drug dealing can be a capital offense. Actually makes good sense.

And remember, South Korea, France, Japan all have bullet trains, and we are actually the country (due to our size and travel needs of Americans), that especially need it. Think about it, at an excess of 200 mph, New York to LA would be 15 to 20 hours.

Who is the Idiot? Hong Kong... (Below threshold)
mike:

Who is the Idiot? Hong Kong has conpletely different laws to mainland China. There is absolutely NO INTERNET FILTERING. There is full freedom of speech. Get your facts straight, you are looking like an idiot. I lived in Hong Kong for 8 years until recently and it is an exceptionally good place to live.

Yes Mike,Hong Kong... (Below threshold)
lowmal:

Yes Mike,

Hong Kong has a different system under the "One country, two systems" set up WITH China.

Hong Kong is STILL part of China.

It is allowed to prosper as it does because that is good for China as well, as it is it's largest exporter.

So, as the Chinese government allows Hong Kong to be one of it's "bright" spots, the rest of the country operates under the terms as listed in the article.

They may be different, but you can't separate the two.

-Shawn

My favorite things about th... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

My favorite things about the People's Republic of China are the one-child/forced-abortion policy and the fact they are bringing a new coal-fired power plant on-line every five days.

Environmentalists have dreamed about depopulating the Earth since Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb". So in one regard PRC is an environmentalist's wet dream.

But coal-fired power plants are an environmentalist's worst nightmare. And don't get them started on the Three Gorges Dam.

Does that make China an environmentalist's wet nightmare?

hey guys,how about... (Below threshold)
greg v:

hey guys,

how about we update our infrastucture AND keep our freedoms. People in this forum seem to think that the cost of high-speed internet and modern airports is surrendering to tyrannical communist rule. It's ignorant and misses Friedman's entire point which seems to be "How can a shitty country like China have it so much better than us in certain areas?".

Being totally fed up with t... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Being totally fed up with the current crop of America bashers, I'll gladly contribute the first $10 toward the apropriate exit mode for at least a few of you.
Having spent some time in Europe and Asia, I can asy the first thought on arriving back here was a short prayer of thanks for having been born in this country.
Like it or no, we ARE the beacon of hope, and the standard to aspire to throughout the world. There truly IS no limit beyond your talent and imagination as to how far you may rise here-something that doesn't exist in ANY other country.
It amuses me that all those who denigrate the country are only too happy do do so INSIDE our borders. Sort of deflates their argument, imho.
I'll remain firmly wrapped in the flag, doing my best to make my small area better for having been here,if only for the sake of my kids.
And if that gives anyone heartburn or amusement, why just DEAL with it.

irongrampa, that $10 is 4-5... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

irongrampa, that $10 is 4-5 .45 ACP rounds. Still have your 1911?

"...doing my best to make m... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"...doing my best to make my small area better for having been here, if only for the sake of my kids."
And if that gives anyone heartburn or amusement, why just DEAL with it".

You were doing so well until the confrontational and somewhat egocentric last sentence. Why would anyone care if you do your best to make your "small area better for having been here, if only for the sake" of your kids? Who are you that you doing your "best" in this area would possibly give anyone "heartburn?"

Last time I checked, we are... (Below threshold)
Steve Clemens:

Last time I checked, we are one of only a handful of nations with fences to keep people out. I wonder why that is ........?

Why Daniel, I'm just a si... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Why Daniel, I'm just a simple redneck, doin' the best he can. That certainly seems to have upset ya, tiger.

"why would anyone care if you do your best,etc"? Summed yourself up very succinctly there, Daniel.

Perhaps you may want to ponder the implications.

#34--yep, still got it, can... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

#34--yep, still got it, can't imagine parting with the old girl. My hands are too big for a lot of the weapons, it fits me well.

Screening passengers to ret... (Below threshold)

Screening passengers to retain high security at the airport works if the airport area itself is secure. This recent picture of Mumbai Airport shows that the airport landing strips are accessible to casual onlookers. This beats the whole purpose of passenger screenings at the gates.

"Why Daniel, I'm just a sim... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"Why Daniel, I'm just a simple redneck, doin' the best he can. That certainly seems to have upset ya, tiger."

No, it hasn't...but the very fact that you think it has confirms my characterization of the last sentence of your 33. post as "egocentric."

This guy Friedman is an idi... (Below threshold)
Mike:

This guy Friedman is an idiot for many reasons. The biggest reason is that he was a gung ho supporter of the Iraq debacle from the beginning. He was a regular cheerleader for that stupid damn war. He has been trying to justify it ever since.




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