If It's Sunday, It's Moronic Statements by Tom Friedman on Meet The Press; Plus, Winning Afghan Hearts & Minds Via Shared Toilets


From Meet The Press yesterday, during a jabber session featuring Hot, Flat, and Stupid author Thomas Friedman and mindreader cum human tape recorder Bob Woodward:

[David Gregory:] …this week the war on Afghanistan, the war on unemployment came together.  Well, ultimately, what's more consequential for the this presidency?

MR. FRIEDMAN:  Well, I'll tell you how you bring them together into one policy, David.


MR. FRIEDMAN: It's called a gasoline tax of a dollar a gallon, OK? That you raise the money that we need to pay down the deficit, to pay for health care, and at the same time take away the very funding that's going to these people indirectly to draw a bull's-eye on our back. And the fact that our politics can't allow us to do the very thing we know is critical and important, shame on us.

Shame on us? Not so much. Shame on The New York Times for running Friedman, who recently claimed China is better governed than the U.S., for so long? Sure, I can get behind that. Exactly how taxing gas more in the U.S. is part of a war on unemployment is beyond me. And to be honest, it's not exactly clear that whoever we're fighting in Afghanistan now is getting rich off oil money from the Arab world. Opium poppies, maybe. I doubt that the last stand at Kandahar is going to be brought to you by the good folks at Chevron buying Saudi oil on the world market.

But how to best win the hearts and minds of those Afghans who don't hate us because we're beautiful, rich, decadent, or whatever? Bob Woodward has answers dammit. Unfortunately, most of the revolve around suggesting that Afghans are primitive cavemen who eat and shit in the same pot:

[Bob Woordward:] I think the lives of the average Afghan come into play here. How are they living?  What's going on with them?  And we are sending our military to protect them.  You know what, I mean, that—this isn't an abstraction, it is about our military forces going in, eating goat with them…

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

MR. WOODWARD:  …smoking bad cigarettes, using the same toilet.  And for them it's not a toilet, it's, it's a pot.

Mm-hmm, indeed!

Whole transcript, including Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Gates walking back withdrawal dates, here.


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  1. using the same toilet.

    Well hellfire! It worked down here. When we integrated the water fountains and such, the race war and all underlying hatred vanished.

  2. MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

    Never thought I’d say this…. I miss Russert!?

    1. At least Russert could make boring guests semi-interesting.

  3. Oh, and maybe if we showed some love by not killing em they would be more willing to share their shitters. (not to mention those attractive goats)

  4. All our problems stem from a lack of a gas tax, terrorism, unemployment, public debt, my acne…

  5. Friedman is a intellectual of the highest calliber. Just watch his explanation for the war in Iraq.

    Friedman Says Suck On This>

    If geniuses like this are for more taxes and CO2 rationing then who are we to argue? are you a PHD economist with expertise in foreign policy ? Are you a consuiltant for world leaders? how could you possibly challenge these god-men from your putrid cubicles?

  6. Please tell me this is a joke and not a conversation that occurred on national television between someone with their own tv show and someone with a national newspaper column.

  7. “You know what, I mean, that?this isn’t an abstraction, it is about our military forces going in, eating goat with them… ”

    That is a really disgusting and racist comment. Imgaine if you said that about another group.

    “Sir, how do we effectivley police urban neighborhoods?

    You know what, I mean, that?this isn’t an abstraction, it is about our police forces going in, eating chitlins and watermelon with them…”

    It just astounds me how stupid alleged “public intellectuals” like Friedman are. It is not about disagreeing with him. It is about them giving prfoundly stupid and uniformed reasons behind their opinions whatever those may be. +

    1. I’ve eaten goat, here in New York City, its not like something that savages eat, like snails or frogs legs.

      1. Some of the best Mexican food is made with goat. Further, chitins and watermelon are really good food. It is not that the food is for savages. it is the casual and stupid way that Friedman refers to the Afghan people and the situation. Yeah, we can solve the whole thing if we just go down and have some goat with them.

        1. Further, chitins and watermelon are really good food.

          Although many fine Americans would say this is racist hate speech,I will just say you’ve obviously never eaten chitterlings

          1. You obviously have never had properly prepared soul food. Considering that you are from Hawaii, that is not surprising.

            1. Chitlins are for poor people. NTTAWWT.

              1. I used to live in Atlanta. There is a whole row of soul food restaurants down on Auburn street. They served some good eats, including fried chitlins. The boiled ones are beyond even my palat.

                1. good taste in Mexican and Soul food… rare.

          2. Its not the eating, its the swallowing.

        2. The only time I ever ate chitlins was at a restaurant in Camden, TN after spending all day out in a boat drinking.

          The restaurant had an all chitlin buffet. Fried, boiled, breaded, basically any way you could think of them.

          Being a smart assed Yankee, I had to have them. I spent the whole evening weaving my way to the steam table, laughing and then doing my own Fear Factor show at the table.

          The locals should have kicked my ass, but as they say God looks out for fools and drunks so I was doubly protected.

          Actually, some of it was pretty good. But some (plain and boiled) still gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    2. What exactly is a chitlin?

        1. The thing about chitlins is if you don’t wash em real good, they taste like shit.

  8. Exactly how taxing gas more in the U.S. is part of a war on unemployment is beyond me.

    Now, as part of a war on the unemployed, I can see that.

  9. Sunday, December 06, 2009
    “I feel like we’re like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special needs baby.”

    “You know, I mean, that’s really kind of what we’re doing. And that’s like, whoa, y’know, that terrifies me.”

    More profund wisdom from Friedman. Seriously, how does anyone read this guy? What kind of a brain dead idiot buys his books? Doesn’t he embarass people on the Left?

    1. Friedman is nothing remotely resembling a member of the Left.

      1. The what is he then? He certainly isn’t a rightist. Your side owns his dumb ass, buys his books, and gives him a platform at the NYT, it is up to you to explain him.

        1. I love bashing the NYT as much as anyone, but I don’t think “lefty” captures Friedman. I say he is uniquely, unconventionally, in a realm, universe, and dimension beyond the kin of mortal man stupid…or we could just say super duper stupid

          1. He certainly lives in his own universe. But other than support the Iraq war for about a year, I can’t think of anything he has written that could be described as “rightest”. His book “Fat, Drunk and Stupid” or “Flat, Hot and Stoned” or whatever it was got a lot of good liberal press.

        2. The what is he then? He certainly isn’t a rightist. Your side owns his dumb ass, buys his books, and gives him a platform at the NYT, it is up to you to explain him

          He isn’t really right or left, John (although in your world those are the only two options). Maybe you can possibly allow for the possibility that he is neither?

          He’s a contrarian who thinks he is the smartest person in the room. He’s a hawk when it comes to foreign policy, he is very pro Israel but he tends to be socially and somewhat fiscally liberal.

          In short, he is a douche who thinks he has all the fucking answers (and those answers are terrible simplistic and not really useful usually based on his own flawed assumptions of the world). Neither a righty nor a lefty douche, just a straight up douche. One who isn’t very original either. During his most recent tour of talk shows he has been using the special needs baby line repeatedly (he has used the line on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Charlie Rose and now MTP — and those are just the ones I am personally aware of)

          1. I don’t know anyone who could rightfully be described as “right or conservative” who buys his books or thinks he is anything but embarassingly stupid.

            Yes, he is a hawk on foreign policy and is pro Israel. But a lot of liberals are. You can’t breakt down foreign policy strictly down a left right axis. Lots of right wingers and liberals are on both sides of any foreign policy debate.

            You can, however, breakdown domestic disputes along a left right axis. And on that score, he is as you admit, a liberal. Friedman is hardly unique in being a liberal who also happens to be pro Israel and hawkish on the war on terror. Indeed, our President could be described as such. Is he an all purpose doushbag?

            Friedman is a liberal. It is okay to be embarassed by him though.

            1. To answer your last question, yes, our President is an all purpose douchebag.

          2. He’s a Jew.

            1. Make that a self-hating Jew. Here’s his compound:


          3. He is bipartisian. He supports co2 legislation, just as Bush said he did at the end of his term. He supports all the entitlement programs that Bush and the democrats supported from No child left behind to Social Security and the prescription drug plan, the Paulson Plan, every bailout imaginable. None of this was possible without establishment the rockefeller republicans. He supports free trade agrements like NAFTA, but hates real free trade, just as any bipartisian hack does.

    2. My grandmother loves the guy. Every time there’s a family gathering, she asks if anyone has read his latest column. Seriously. My family gatherings suck.

    3. Friedman is an advocate of the Open Society with a strong preference for an expansive State. Since he’s not a dogmatic socialist, I suppose it’s not quite correct to classify him as being Left.

      Once again, we find the inadequacy of dividing the political spectrum in terms of Left and Right as used in the modern parlance. Real distinctions in political philosophy are best described by the spectrum of control from the individual (liberty) to the State (oppression). Friedman is much closer to the latter.

  10. Mm-hmm

    there was a girrrlll who
    wouldn’t change with the other girls in the changeroom

    Fuck you, Nick Gillespie. Fuck you very much for putting that in my head.

    1. Mm-hmm

      I read that in my best Zapp Brannigan voice in my head.

      “The Velour Fog.”

    2. I actually succumbed and bought that CD . . . . I’m older and smarter now.

  11. Doesn’t he embarass people on the Left?

    In what universe is Friedman a leftist?

    1. In what universe is he anything but? He is an absolute global warming believer and a total worshiper of big government sollutions to everything. Being a “leftist” means more than “he objects to foreign wars started by Republicans”.

      1. John, to the clueless, being lefty is the same as being in favor of legal drugs and gay marriage, in a sort of “live and let live” tone. The clueless simply ignore the fascistic undertones of the True Left, as embodied by the loathsome Friedman, Krugman or even Bill Ayers.

        1. Well, I am glad someone is in charge of defining what the True Left is.

          1. Zeb, we aim to please. If you need to know who your enemies are, just give us a call.

      2. I’ve never heard of a leftist that claimed Friedman for their own (though they don’t usually call him right-wing either). It’s possible for someone just to be a transpartisan jackass.

        1. I’ve never heard of a leftist that claimed Friedman for their own[…]

          Well, as with defeat, incarnated stupidity has few fathers.

    2. Well, he sure isn’t a libertarian.

      Look at that picture, notice how he is trying to hide the fact that he doesn’t have a lush, lustrous, libertarian lip rug (LLLR) like Stossel or Bob Barr.

      He knows that his bald lip marks him as an ideologue from one of the major parties and is trying to hide his shame.

      1. He also has to be the most overrated and enfuriating writter in all of history. He can make others’ fluff pieces look like the works of Milton. “He is clumsy as he is stupid.”

  12. They only put Friedmnan on that show because David Ickes turned them down.

    1. David Ickes only turned them down because he could see the producers’ true reptilian forms.

  13. take away the very funding that’s going to these people indirectly to draw a bull’s-eye on our back.

    I’m so sick of this argument it makes my blood boil. Here is the list of countries we get oil from.…..mport.html

    Canada first, followed by Mexico. Saudi Arabia is third. We import less than 10% of Saudi Arabia’s yearly output of oil. If we stopped buying our oil from Saudi Arabia, it would not affect them at all, as they could easily sell it to other markets.

    Unless Friedman and his ilk think that Canada and Mexico are drawing bulls-eyes he really just needs to shut the hell up already.

    1. Well, we are funding Canadian terrorists. I mean, Celine Dion has a show in Vegas and everything.

      1. “It’s a sleeper cell, eh.”

    2. Actually, it’s global warming that’s making your blood boil. The spread of Wahabbi ideology is largely being financed with oil revenue. If we move away from an oil-based economy we will reduce global warming AND deprive a twisted ideology of revenue.

      1. Only if oil wasn’t a fungable good or you could get the rest of the world to follow suit. Let’s say the US turned into green paradise. The price of oil would drop in the short term, but it wouldn’t go to zero and would eventually rise again while the rest of the world got rich off of cheap oil. The Saudis would do just fine and still have money to fund whahabism.

        1. Thank you John, for reiterating my point.

          Marcello, Saudia Arabia doesn’t depend on the US market to sell its oil. And we don’t buy any oil from Iran, who is far more invested in militant Islamic terrorism than any other nation. It’s a stupid argument to make.

      2. ya except our governmental elite fucking love saudi arabia. They french kiss the women stoners every chance they get, they give their kings and princes military support and training to help suppress their peasant class in exchange for huge contracts for our military industrial complex…Kissinger has worked fro these dicks his whole life and when it was shown that lots of saudi arabians were involved in the 9/11 plot the higher ups in our governemnt said “shut up, Iraq did it, don’t fuck with the bin laden’s they are our friends”.

        Our government funds boths sides of teh Wahabbi-Israeli feud. It is good for business and the israeli theocracy and Saudi royal house use the conflict to suprres their morons as well.

    3. The part that bugs me about this is:

      1) It is always made by really wealthy folks who won’t feel the extra pinch in their wallet.
      2) Live in the really dense population centers of the north east.

      I always feel sorry for the folks with so-so jobs out here on the prairie. They don’t make a lot and now Friedman wants them to pay an extra $1/gallon to drive 50 miles to work one way? Yeah, that will screw those rich shieks.

      How did Friedman get to his current position? Did he ever do something smart? At least Krugman is very smart when it comes to the economic theory of trade.

  14. “It’s called a gasoline tax of a dollar a gallon, OK? That you raise the money that we need to pay down the deficit, to pay for health care, and at the same time take away the very funding that’s going to these people indirectly to draw a bull’s-eye on our back. for PONIES! Ponies-ponies-ponies-ponies-magic unicorns-ponies-ponies…. “

  15. Buried in Woodward’s um, inartful phrasing is an important point, and one coalition forces are using called ’embedded partnering’

    The idea is that if you build separate Afghan and Coalition forward operating bases and command posts, you’re going to have a pretty wide divergence in standards. If however, the coalition and Afghan forces are all mixed together, the standards should rise to the minimum the coalition troops are willing to put up with.

    Which should in theory lead to a rise in both habitability standards and unit readiness and training.

    1. True. And the Afghans deserve indoor plumbing. Or at least Port-O-Johns.

      1. I wonder how much higher “indoor plumbing” ranked above “climate change” in the Copenhagen Consensus? Maybe the Afghans will settle for potable water, you know, for their pots.

      2. Next they’ll be demanding toilet paper.

  16. This excellent piece by William Lind sheds a lot of light on the military and logistical problems with “winning” the war in Afghanistan:

    The real choice Obama faced was not how many troops to send. We do not have enough troops to commit a militarily meaningful number. The real choice was to get out now or get out later. His duty as Chief Executive, the state of America’s treasury (empty), concern for the well-being of our troops and their families, and the hopelessness of the situation all dictated he get out now. By punting the decision, he showed America and the world what he is made of. December 1, 2009, was the date the Obama Presidency failed.

  17. I wonder how much higher “indoor plumbing” ranked above “climate change” in the Copenhagen Consensus?

    This is an excellent question.

  18. Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman – the NYT sure knows how to pick ’em.

    1. Well, they did have Walter Duranty, and stood by him for decades…

  19. SPECIAL PICTURE CAPTION: “I held my nose like this at the President Obama’s job summit extravaganza to make myself sound smarter… I think it worked”

  20. Tom Friedman Checks into Five Star Hotel, Gets Idea for New Book…..-new-book/

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