Afghanistan

Obama's Thomas L. Friedman Moment

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He has achieved Understanding

So, I'm 40 hours late to the subject, but the "Emailed" tab in that "Most Popular Stories" box over to the right reminds me of a bit of awfulness I wanted to point out after the president's Afghanistan-drawdown speech Wednesday night:

Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America's greatest resource –- our people. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.

America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.

Emphasis mine.

Like all vacuous Thomas L. Friedman metaphors, "nation building at home" dissolves long before contact with reality. After all, the president is not advocating "the use of armed force in the aftermath of a conflict to underpin an enduring transition to democracy." Whatever policy emanates from this soundbite will likely not be "characterised by massive investment, military occupation, transitional government, and the use of propaganda to communicate governmental policy." At least we hope.

More mine-sweeping for Minneapolis!

The phrase is even more inapt than inaccurate–we do not need, and in any case cannot afford, the federal government going on a militarized spending binge to magically rebuild our civil and public institutions.

As I pointed out in a post from last November 28, lousy New York Times sloganeer Thomas L. Friedman had invoked domestic "nation-building" 34 times across 14 columns since June 2008,

Approximately zero of which grapple with the great unmentionable buzz-harsher of National Greatness dreamers and infrastructure-cancellation lamenters everywhere: Just about everything government provides has gotten too damned expensive, because government is a definitionally corruptible monopoly, and as a result there is precious little money left over to pay for whatever shiny new government-monopoly gewgaw you brainfarted this morning on the links.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto notes that Friedman has only used the phrase once since then, and concludes:

How can anyone take seriously Barack Obama's status as the World's Greatest Orator when he uses Friedmanisms that have become so Friedmanistic that even Friedman avoids them?

If the rebuild-our-infrastructure vow sounds familiar, that's because Barack Obama has been demanding we do precisely that since campaigning for president, being elected president, pushing through a $787 billion stimulus package in early 2009, announcing a $50 billion infrastructure-building plan in September 2010, making his 2011 State of the Union address, and on and on. Why, it's almost as if his repeated promises to stimulate the economy by rebuilding infrastructure results in precisely neither of those things happening!

There are plenty of tangible ideas about how to better build, maintain, and improve the country's decaying infrastructure; see Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño for multiple examples. But if history is any guide, preference for vacuous political sloganeering is inversely proportional to the willingness to figure out the nuts and bolts of getting difficult things done.

Suck. On. This.

For a classic example of that pathology in action, look no further than Thomas L. Friedman's column from earlier this week:

The truth is, we need to do four things at once if we have any hope of maintaining American greatness: We need more stimulus to keep the economy from slipping back into recession. But we need to combine that stimulus with a credible, legislated, long-term plan for cutting spending and getting the deficit under control — e.g., the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan. And we need to raise new revenues in order to reinvest in the sources of our strength: education, infrastructure and government-funded research to push out the boundaries of knowledge.

That's right. We need to do four things at once: spend, cut, tax and invest.

Look for this dazzling proposal in an Obama speech near you.

NEXT: The Facts about American Prisons

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  1. Who is the imaginary friend that Friedman is a-hugging on in that photo?

    1. China.

    2. The “wingspan” implies Michael Moore.

    3. The world. Which is flat. But fat. But hot! Or something.

    4. He’s hugging one of the Top Men who will save us, that’s who.

      Top. Men.

      1. I’m a Bottom Man myself…

  2. Spend, cut,tax,invest. My money is on the first one being the only one that actually gets done.

    1. Well it is “shovel ready”.

      1. Before long, you’ll need a shovel full of money to by a loaf of bread.

      2. Nice one. Shovel ready like that which comes out of a bull’s ass. Okay. Your way was more supple.

    2. Aren’t two of those the same thing- I mean spending and investing- as far as the govt is concerned?

      1. I file government “investment” (kickbacks to campaign contributers and payouts to special interest and cronies)under spend not investment. Point taken though.

        1. Sorry, to clarify, that’s exactly what I meant as well.

      2. It’s actually good shorthand for “I want the gummint to mismanage and hamstring even more of the economy than it already does.”

    3. I would bet my bottom dollar that taxing will get done too, before anything else.

  3. We have a “Most Popular Stories” box?

    And is our infrastructure really all crumbs at this point? I mean, aside from a few bridge collapses, blackouts and levee breaks, things don’t seem that bad. Anyway, if we put all our eggs in the high speed rail basket, we don’t really need to invest in any other structures.

    1. I went to San Diego two weeks ago using Amtrak from LA.
      It was supposed to leave at 8:30am, it left at 8:30am. It was supposed to arrive at 11:20am, it arrived at 11:20am.
      I noticed not delipated tracks, on the contrary, when I did notice, the tracks looked new.
      The train was clean and the price was cheap, $36.00 one way.
      So when it comes to rails, between LA and SD, not crumbs.

      BTW: We made about 8 stops, so a high speed train between LA and SD would be de facto impossible.

      1. I went to L.A. on Tuesday using SkyWest from San Diego. It was supposed to leave at 9:10pm, and it left at 9:10pm. It was supposed to arrive at 10pm, and it arrived at 10pm. The plane was clean and the price was cheap, about $14.24[*].

        The difference is that I paid taxes on my fare whereas your fare was subsidised with someone else’s taxes.

        BTW: We made 0 stops.

        [*] Prorated mileage as part of a longer trip. Good luck finding a train to get you from L.A. to Cleveland for $274 or in 5 hours.

        1. And here I was thinking that the only manner of transportation qualified for the ideological purity award would be Iditarod-style snow sleds.

          Or is this just one of those “whose non-Tax-subsidy-using dicks is bigger” things that libertarian males engage in when competing for mates?

          1. And here I was thinking that the only manner of transportation qualified for the ideological purity award would be Iditarod-style snow sleds.

            Steampunk inspired dirigibles are also kosher.

      2. I rode that leg round-trip twice in the past month. The first trip north was late, and the last trip south was almost an hour late(which is a good thing for me, or I would’ve had to wait 2 hours for the next train, assuming it was on-time).

        Also… $5 beer? really? Here’s a tip – B.Y.O.B.

        Oh, and on the 1st ride back to S.D., the train was going about 70 through the Norwalk area and was shaking so bad people could barely stand up. Riding on rails? My ass…

      3. But…what about the tens of billions in annual subsidies taxpayers provide to make Amtrack solvent? When you take that into account, the true cost of your ticket was FAR more than $36.

        This is why socialism is so insidious; because it hides the true cost of services from the users. They think the service is “free” because they don’t pay for it at the point of service for example. Or in your case you blather about how cheap the ticket was…not realizing the true cost.

        1. This (from John). I take the train occasionally. If I am going to the bay area and have a lot of paperwork to do, I’ll often ride to get some work done. It’s pleasant for me.

          That said, I abhor the fact that the train is a net loser and make sure to point that out to everyone I can while on the train, especially the tourists who are across from Europe.

          Would I pay full-fare (not subsidized) for the same trip? Perhaps. The thing is, Americans need to know what that full fare is so they can make an informed decision on whether Amtrak is a wise investment of their tax dollars or not. (Hint: it isn’t.)

        2. @JohnR22 – Not promoting any form of socialism, however.. Do you believe that the the cost of any airline ticket reflects the ‘true’ end to end, sustainable, cost?

      4. Subsidized transportation is never late. It arrives precisely when it means to.

        1. Nice LOTR ref!

      5. The track looked new to you because it just caught fire a little bit before you rode and a large stretch had to be replaced. My daughter likes to ride that line pretty regularly. The train comes and goes on time most of the time +/- 15 minutes. I’d say they have an 75% regularity rate +/- 60 minutes. If that seems good to you, well then you’re easily pleased.

        What’s really cheap about it is that the conductors often forget to check and take her tickets, resulting in subsequent free rides because they’re good forever. When you’re a government subsidy, things like revenue from the customers aren’t really all that important.

  4. When is Puerto Rico gonna become an independent country or the 51st state?

    I don’t get this half-assed thing…

    1. I vaguely remember a push 20-30 years ago about Puerto Rico getting statehood.

      The wailing and lamentations bout extra brown colored peoples getting citizenship and the susequent costs would ruin America..

      A few years latter there was another push. I think it failed as the resident of Puerto Rico openly laughed at it.

      1. Uhhhh, Puerto Ricans have been US citizens since 1917.

        1. Yes indeed! Thats what made the objections even more hilarious.

        2. Yes, but they are citizens who live in a country that does not pay taxes. It’s the political equivalent of not buying the cow when the milk is free.

      2. Puerto Rico doesn’t have to pay federal taxes (besides SS and Medicare), and it would have to if it declared statehood. Unsurprisingly, most people would rather not pay taxes and forfeit a meaningless vote for President/Senators.

        1. Thanks for the reminder. They are getting benefits without the taxation. Some sort of storm damage and the costs to rebuild were not ever going to be recouped was one complaint I now remember.

  5. Am I the only one that gets all riled up when he sees Hillary and Chelsea in the same photo? That IS normal right?

    RIGHT?

    1. Mama demonstrating to her young how to interact with scary Armed Patriotic Men.

      I get nothing else from it.

    2. Where the fuck you been?

    3. “riled up” could mean different things. Like excited or angry. Which do you mean?

      1. It definately doesn’t make me angry. I’m not sure if excited is the right word either but it is in the right direction.

        1. You do know you’re only one click away from actual pornography don’t you?

          1. Showing a threesome of Hilary, Chelsa and who?
            Barack? Better yet Michelle.

            1. Nah, Barack and Bill Clinton are DPing Tom Friedman in the other room.

        2. Weak chins and frizzy hair do it for me too.

  6. You know what Obama should do: play a round of golf with Friedman.

    1. He could watch in awe as Freidman has another revelation. And then subsidize it. Or ban all revelations and give Freidman a waiver.

  7. I don’t mind reading stuff I disagree with but the NYT has such a thin gruel I rarely bother.

  8. I got pretty pissed when I heard the ‘nation building at home’ line. People who complain about all the spending during the Bush years, like they cared about deficit spending, but then would have used that money to ‘nation build’ in the US never actually cared about the spending, just where the money was spent. No, the money we we save from withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan should not be spent at all

    1. It will be easy to accomodate your “not spent at all”, since the money being spent is money the government doesn’t have in the first place. It won’t even need to lower taxes!

  9. “More Mine Sweeping for Minneapolis.

    It’s about fucking time.

  10. If by “Nation Building” he means toppling the governement ala Suddam and the Baathists, then I’m all for Nation building in America.

  11. Fuck you Friedman. The Country doesn’t need rebuilt. And if it did, the last thing that would help would be a bunch of smug idiots like you trying to “rebuild it”.

    1. It has seemed for the past decade, every time they push a new initiative, be it No Child, Sarbanes-Oxley, Medicare Part Zero, TARP, and all the bugfuckery under Obama, the term ‘dismantle’ our country seems far more appropriate than the word, ‘rebuild.’

  12. Every time I go to a fast food restaurant, I try to image a dumbass like Obama or Friedman as a district manager, a guy with, say 20 stores to manage. You know they’d fail miserably. Grand theories and a line of used-car-salesman bullshit isn’t going to cut it when the stores aren’t meeting standard. And yet, they think they are qualified to run the entire country. Man, I really am getting fed up with these morons.

    1. Don’t you know they would be the worst kind of boss too; totally incompetant but also completely arrogant blaming everyone below them for any failure

      1. Friedman isn’t fit to run the fry station at a Jack-in-the-Box in Duluth.

        1. Friedman isn’t fit to run the fry station wash the dirty trays with the other mognoloids at a Jack-in-the-Box in Duluth.

          1. No. It’s the ‘new leadership’ (think new math). Leaders now glom onto credit and shift blame. The ‘old leadership’? For suckas!

            1. you mean that’s not how leadership has always been?

  13. No blood for oil!

    Obama lied, Libyans died!

    Any other cliches from the early part of the decade we should all get out of our system?

  14. It’s only a matter of months before we hear the news that the director of China’s High Speed Rail system has been executed.

    1. We will never hear the news.

  15. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource ?- our people.

    President Obama: It’s time to turn off the war machine… and turn on our children.

    Audience: silence with a few coughs

    President Obama. Turn on our children.

    Enjoy your only term, sir.

  16. Hot Dudes with Kittens:

    http://www.funnyordie.com/vide…..th-kittens

  17. This is only slightly less egregious than the attempt the other day to smear a perfectly good article on Robert Nozick by randomly comparing its author to Ann Coulter.

    Friedman has said a lot of stuff, only half of it remotely coherent, so a politician’s call for infrastructure spending ought to be taken on its merits and not infected by reason’s disturbing recent tactic of guilt by very tenuous association.

    1. What half was remotely coherent? Inquiring minds, and all that…

    2. Tony, where is the money going to come from for all this infrastructure spending?

      1. Why will no one ever answer this type of question? It’s easy.

        Cut spending and raise taxes.* 400 billion from defense (not just DoD but all defense related), eliminate all business subsidies (including farm subsidies), eliminate corporate tax but make all income from any source subject to income tax (capital gains included), means test Social Security, end the drug war, etc., etc.

        Me, I wouldn’t waste the money on a train but it’s not too hard to come up with ideas if you’re willing to be bold.

        As for the ideas, you may modify them to suit your ideological taste.

        *Don’t get your panties in a knot. I just want the four percent of GDP back to get back to 19 percent. That four percent that somehow disappeared. (Must be because of all those bankers that lost their shirts in the crisis. I heard they’re selling apples on the street, the poor bastards.)

    3. Tony you might want to start ending your love affair with Obama now.

      Other wise 2012 is going to to be very very painful for you.

      I worry about you man. You should let go, there are other fish in the sea.

      1. App, the money would come from the tax increases liberals have had a stiffy for over the last, oh, then years at least.

        To liberals, tax hikes = the holy grail. And it’s a cure for cancer!

        1. If they raise taxes high enough, and get in charge of enought stuff, cancer WOULD be wiped out almost completely.*

          (*this would be, of course, due to everyone dying before they contracted cancer in the first place.)

    4. Actually, as the article pointed out, “nation building” in its standard definition is far more than “infrastructure spending” and far more upsetting.

  18. Actually that Mustache looks more like Joseph Farah’s.

    /Jay

  19. I don’t read Friedman normally, so does he think he’s clever when he says things like “spend, cut, tax and invest?” Like we all know that’s impossible but that’s what should be done anyway?

    Or is he just a buffoon preaching to the choir?

    1. It’s a trick all pols and political hacks use. They phrase their argument in vague terms nobody could disagree with, like…save the childrend…invest in our future, etc.

      Obama did this during the campaign with his pledge to “reform healthcare”. Well of course we want healthcare reformed. The problem is that once you look into the details behind their vague pledges you find that what they’re really after is failed 1970s era european style socialism.

  20. That’s right. We need to do four things at once: spend, cut, tax and invest.

    Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

  21. After all, the president is not advocating “the use of armed force in the aftermath of a conflict to underpin an enduring transition to democracy.”

    Having seen the presidential definitions of “conflict” and “democracy”, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

  22. “We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means.”

    Unleashing innovation that creates new jobs and industries won’t get done by confiscating the wealth in this country and then subsidizing favored interests. It means, government lets us keep our money and innovate and create and stays the F out of the way.

    1. No, no, no, no, we have to make sure it’s the right kind of innovation. Green innovation! By people who have proven their intelligence by donating money to Barack Obama!

    2. Capitalism relies on innovation…innovation by the private citizen. And the way you maximize this is to give the citizen the maximum amount of capital (i.e. cut his taxes) and to elminate govt regulation which is mostly red tape and pointless interference.

      But…when the Left talks about innovation they’re talking about top down govt innovation controlled by ivy league leftists. As for the common citizen, his job is to stfu and fork over his earnings.

    3. I wouldn’t trust any innovation, unless it comes from Barack himself.

  23. spend, cut, tax and invest.

    1.)Spend money we don’t have
    2.)Cut such a small amount of spending that one’s days interest payment erases any savings immediately
    3.)Tax the rich until everyone’s equally poor.
    4.)Can’t invest, everyone is poor now.
    5.)………..
    6.)PROFIT!!!

  24. I keep hearing on NPR about how the President wants lots of manufacturing jobs because they pay better wages/benefits than service sector jobs, and how 1 out 10 American jobs are in mfgring now but in the 1970s it was 1 out 4. (Going back to the 1970s is a good thing?)

    The fact that the Chinese have mastered low wage manufacturing and the Germans have mastered high wage manufacturing is completely lost on these guys. It’s like they don’t get comparative advantage at all. They just want to turn America back into what they think it was in 1950.

    1. (Going back to the 1970s is a good thing?)

      Considering President “Saved and/or Created” thinks that FUCKING ATM MACHINES are taking away jobs, I wouldn’t pust anything past them.

      I still can’t get over the ATM remark. It wouldn’t matter if it was Bush, Palin or Obama who said it. It’s just mind-numbingly stupid.

      1. ATMs haven’t eliminated bank tellers. Most banks still have them because their customers like them.

    2. I keep hearing on NPR about how the President wants lots of manufacturing jobs because they pay better wages/benefits than service sector jobs, and how 1 out 10 American jobs are in mfgring now but in the 1970s it was 1 out 4. (Going back to the 1970s is a good thing?)

      Wow, I thought this whole “manufacturing vs service” jobs thing got debunked in the late 80s or 90s.

      A software developer is in the ‘service’ industry.

      I remember when people went apeshit over the fact that CDs weren’t manufactuered in the US anymore.

      Great, the 2c CD isn’t made in the US, but by and large, the $50 of content on it is. Get it?

    3. “They just want to turn America back into what they think it was in 1950.”

      Funny how much the left and right start to sound alike. It seemed in the 1990s the Republicans wouldn’t shut up about wanting to go back to the 1950s.

    4. How ironic. For decades the Left sneered at conservatives for wanting to return to the good-old-days of the 1950s Leave-It-To-Beaver land.

      And now, the Left’s BIG IDEA is to return the US to the 1970s era european style socialism and/or the 1950s era of Big Union manufacturing. The Left has no new ideas at all. They have become the very thing they claim to despise…ignorant reactionaries trying to maintain a failed status quo.

  25. I’m pretty sure there’s something racist about that picture of Obama.

  26. And we need to raise new revenues in order to reinvest in the sources of our strength: education, infrastructure and government-funded research to push out the boundaries of knowledge.

    My inclination when I hear shit like this is to laugh. But then I realize there are a lot of people who read it and say, “Right on!”

    1. Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who thinks we could have beat the Russians to space if we had just privatized the space program, are you?

      1. Oh come on, even the most ardent Obama supporter would have to admit that that speech was basically a mad lib of Obama catchphrases.

      2. Private industry wouldn’t have beaten the Russians because they knew it wasn’t real necessary to be first in space.

        1. Yeah, the demonstrated ability to launch an ICBM and hit any point on Earth was totally unimportant in 1957.

          What?

          1. Maybe if we’d had the confidence in our own system to allow the Russians to fail on their own – failing to send them the grain they couldn’t grow would have helped – we wouldn’t have needed to produce 4 nukes a day in Amarillo.

          2. Hey dipshit: ICBM’s are built by private industry, paid for by the government.

            1. In the context of this here thread, that comment couldn’t possibly be stupider.

              Dipshit? Dipshit.

      3. Govt can and should be involved in some very important areas. I’ve often heard Leftists point out the space program, or the building of the interstate highway system.

        I’ve got a question for you:

        When was the last time govt effectivly ran a BIG program? Way back in the 60s, wasn’t it? I wonder why? Could it be that govt has grown exponentially and has its fingers in too many pies? That it’s not focused like a laser on important stuff? That for 40 years it became a minority hiring program focused on social justice instead of effectiveness?

  27. I’ve said for a while that one of the few good things about our government crusading abroad is that it expends at least some energy that would otherwise likely be expended on crusades at home – and at least partially discredits itself on boondoggle causes in the process.

    1. From what I’ve seen, the government just grows enough that it can do both at the same time.

    2. I’ve often suspected that sending pols to DC or the State Capitols, where they must contend with various constraints on their ambitions, is merely a way of distracting the human predators among us, so that they don’t cause worse damage or injury closer to home. A virtual prison, in other words. Ingenious, if true.

  28. Every time I hear some jackass moaning about how “We don’t make anything in this country anymore!” I want to punch him.

    “We” make lots of stuff, but it takes a lot fewer people to do it, now. And another thing those people either don’t know, or won’t admit, is a lot of manufacturing jobs suck.

    1. It takes fewer people to the same job, I would agree. But the things we seem to “make” well are things that have lots of “moving parts”, things like heavy machinery, clothes washers, etc. OMG we’re not making those plastic toys that shiver when you wind that little crank! WHO CARES. But we are making aircraft components, high end test equipment, semiconductors, and other cool stuff.

      1. But we’re not really making any electronics. We are leading the way in nano technology, but Obama seems to have caught on to that, and he’ll be putting a stop to it shortly because GE isn’t getting a cut.

        1. We’re making electronics here. Just not consumer electronics. But electronics for military, medical, aerospace, robotics and things like that.

          I thought GE had a tentacle in nano tech. I know HP does, that’s why I started investing in them.

      2. I’ve worked factory and warehouse jobs in my past. They do suck – bad. Screen-printing (at an industrial) scale was the worst. No air-conditioning and heaters to dry the ink running at the same time – all during a 95 degree day. Yay!

        I work in an office for a major plastic-injection molding company. The only time I’m on the floor is when I want something from the vending machine. I like it that way!

        We actually have more office workers than factory workers. Why? Most of the processes are automated – the rest is sales, marketing, IS, and operations.

        1. Lord, thanks for the bad flashback. I did a stint of temp work for a summer at a screen printer and agreed that it was miserable beyond belief.

          It was second shift work and my “lunch break” was just as the liquor store across the street was closing. I would run across the street, buy a 40 and suck it down in plain sight of my employers. They never cared. They thought I was a rock star temp because I came back after lunch. I guess most temps left on their break and never went back.

    2. Jackasses never let facts get in the way of their argument:
      http://www.wisegeek.com/what-a…..ntries.htm

  29. “…We need to do four things at once if we have any hope of maintaining American greatness”

    THIS is the problem! What makes America great has always been the liberty that its people have enjoyed. That is what allows and inspires all the rest.

    Friedman seems to equate “greatness” with “muscle,” preferably demonstrated on the offensive. He has, for lack of a better term, an old-fashioned mercantile mindset. He and the other neocon-artist jingoists appeal to our vanity and insist that we can only be “great” if we flex our economic, military, and cultural muscles around the world, engaging in the most conspicuous of conspicuous consumption and kicking sand in the faces of all of those foreigners.

    Sorry, pal, but the thing that makes this country great is the opportunity for anyone to live the life he chooses, free of coercion to do otherwise, making the best of his talents and energies (as HE defines “best”). That’s what underlies “American exceptionalism,” making our nation unlike any other that now exists or ever has existed on the planet. What the Friedmans of the world seem to want us to do is give up what makes us special and become just like all other nations that are doomed to rise and fall in an endless parade of mediocrity and oppression.

    To a somewhat lesser extent, the same con has been pulled in my State of California. We were exhorted for years to support institutions and infrastructure of socialism, which, we were told, were the minimum necessities of a State as grand as ours. Too many bought that line of bullcrap and so here we are today, staggering under a huge load of debt and obligation, without the strong economic foundation we need to stand tall in the nation or the world.

    I reject Friedman’s definition of “greatness,” and I refuse to be lured from common-sense by its false glitter. We must learn to recognize our real enemies among those who play to our national vanity or our fears of imaginary or improbably menacing boogeymen. We must ignore those parasitic frauds and even expel them, if necessary. And we must consciously walk a humbler path that allows every American the opportunity to chart his own course in life, for better for for worse. THAT will make us truly great, and will perhaps allow us to survive and prosper, long after all the other nations have passed into history.

    1. The banks will never allow it.

  30. “I don’t always spend trillions of dollars on illegal wars and massive government entitlements. But when I do…I use YOUR taxpayer money.

    Stay in a recession, my friends.”
    -The Least Interesting Toolbag in the World

    Dos Cinco de Quatro

    1. In all 58 states!

  31. Better alt-text for the Hillary pic with the troops:

    “Talk about the Hurt Locker!”

  32. Better alt-text for the Friedman pic:

    “I fudge the facts by thiiiis much.”

    1. “See, my friend agrees with me! Don’t you, bud?”

      “No, Beyonce, I’m to your right, he’s the one to your left.”

      “The molded plastic grips and e-z tension rods give you a full chest workout experience that you can store under your bed!”

  33. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means.

    I would sooner believe that Obama squatted down on the White House lawn and shit out a live chicken than ever believe that he intends for America to “live within its means.”

  34. Can I ask a stupid question? What the fuck has Tom Friedman ever done but scribble books and columns? What makes anyone think he knows jack shit about anything but writing?

    1. I hope he doesn’t claim he knows anything about writing. Have you ever tried to read his crap?

      1. And then there’s that.

        Friedman is the Kim Kardashian of writers: Famous for being famous.

        1. Once in an Economics class a student confused Milton Friedman with Thomas Friedman. During the professor’s ensuing apoplectic rant the phrase “intellectual gnat” came up repeatedly.

          He certainly wasn’t talking about Milton.

    2. “After graduation, Friedman studied at the University of Minnesota for two years but later transferred to Brandeis University and graduated summa cum laude in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean studies. He then attended St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford on a Marshall scholarship, earning an M.Phil. in Middle Eastern studies.”

      1. I rest my case.

  35. Power worshipper. Consensus crank. Dorm room bullshitter. That goes for Friedman too.

    1. Haha good one!

  36. Something new: a five-year plan for a great leap forward!

  37. There are only two things the hoi polloi should be envious of Tommy: he married up and his fecal matter doesn’t stink.

  38. The true interpretation of the four things this guy says we need to do:

    1) SPEND
    2) Invest (SPEND)
    3) TAX (so we can SPEND)
    4) and, oh, yeah, cut a few bucks

    The classical democrat mantra (note: we’ll never get to #4).

    1. As opposed to the “righty rant:”. Cut taxes on the rich and party like it’s 1999.

      1. Yeah 1999 sucked didn’t it….
        http://articles.latimes.com/20…..s/fi-14480

        1. No, it was great. Higher taxes on the rich, democrat president and huge economic growth. Thanks t Payne for making my point.

  39. I’m sorry, but, one does not have a Thomas L. Friedman “Moment”. One is ALWAYS WRONG. like he is, or one is not.
    Like Robert Reich.

  40. Thomas Freidman is with the New York Times and has written numerous award winning best sellars including “From Beriut to Jerusalem”.

    Who are you ?

    1. He’s got a purdy mouth.

    2. Sometimes I have a tuff time realizing today’s Friedman is the same as the author. I’m always wondering how such an obviously sharp guy can be so obtuse.

      Of course, Anon, you might be talking about the other Freidman and Beriut. The one I’ve heard of is Friedman and Beirut.

  41. The truth is, we need to do four things at once if we have any hope of maintaining American greatness: We need more stimulus to keep the economy from slipping back into recession. But we need to combine that stimulus with a credible, legislated, long-term plan for cutting spending and getting the deficit under control ? e.g., the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan. And we need to raise new revenues in order to reinvest in the sources of our strength: education, infrastructure and government-funded research to push out the boundaries of knowledge.*

    Somebody needs to get ahold of Bret Easton Ellis and let him know Friedman plagiarized one of Patrick Bateman’s rants from American Psycho. I swear, the only part he left our was Sri Lanka. Did you know about Sri Lanka?

    *Protip: read it in the Bateman voice from the movie. It adds something.

  42. Well if you could cut the government then there would be money to pay off the debt.

    There is no longer any Stimulus money to create and/ or preserve goverment jobs.

    Oh well let us just tax the people. That is a god answer.

    1. That is a god answer.

      It certainly is. Someone should tell him he isn’t.

  43. No need to wait to hear it in another Obama speech as the author suggests. I need only to look for a repeat Friedmanism as the concluding paragraph and overarching thesis of this classic right of center, idea free rant from the poster. What a bunch of vapid, solution free pap from the folks at not very Reasoned.

  44. “That’s right. We need to do four things at once: spend, cut, tax and invest.”

    Good god – so go 360 different directions at once and maybe something will work?

    Central planning killed the USSR and it’s got America in it’s cross hairs.

    Obama isn’t smarter than 330,000,000 Americans – yet that’s what he thinks he is.

    America can be out of the Obama Depression in a few days if Obama would push for a tax holiday – no federal income taxes for 1 year. That puts the decisions into 330,000,000 Americans instead of 1 man.

    But of course this won’t happen – we need QE3 then QE4 and so on – until America is flat busted broke. Only then will Liberals realize that they are insane.

    The insane are always the last to know they are insane…..

  45. With that photo, headline should be:

    Obama’s Dirty Sanchez Moment

  46. Obama is the temporary President, characterized by temporary supposedly beneficial initiatives, and permanently harmful ones.

    Let’s take stock of the things that he has tried to do to help:

    1) Cash for clunkers. Just moved demand from the future to the then present and had no long term impact.

    2) Agreeing to keep the Bush tax rates in place through 2012, but then promising to raise them in 2013. Do you really think anyone is going to invest based upon a temporary two year tax cut when the return period for an investment is 5 to 10 years?

    3) Cut the payroll tax for two years. This does nothing to help businesses invest in new initiatives.

    4) The Spendulus package. Borrow $860B. Spend $830B on a one year plan to help States not lay off government workers. Spend the other $30B on infrastructure projects that were “not as shovel ready as we thought”.

    Now lets look at the permanent harm that this socialist disaster is visiting upon our country:

    1) ObamaCare will raise the cost of hiring people, cause health care costs to rise in general, reduce the quality of health care, and worsen our overall fiscal situation. It is also a lie as you will NOT get to keep the insurance you are currently on even if you like it.

    2) Obama has already baked in permanent declines in domestic oil production due to shutting down exploration in the Gulf. This will have a 10 year impact on oil and gasoline prices.

    3) Obama has borrowed more money than any other President and only in 4 years. This will permanently increase the amount of interest expense that we have to pay to China for the loans.

    4) Obama is at least currently promising ever more expensive regulations which promise to depress hiring for as long as this lunacy remains in place.

    So with Obama (and Reid) you get temporary benefits and permanent costs and disincentives to growth and investment. Now wonder our economy is messed up.

    1. So long as voters have short memories and don’t study the long term effects of legislation and executive behavior, that strategy is going to be the one that keeps politicians in power.

      Which is all 90% of them care about.

  47. Friedman is hover handing John Maynard Keynes

  48. I’m sorry, but, one does not have a Thomas L. Friedman “Moment”. One is ALWAYS WRONG. like he is, or one is not.
    Like Robert Reich.

  49. We need a new direction. This candidate is a common man, not well known yet but he will be. His ideas are based on common sense and logic, and he isn’t beholden to anybody. Read his writings and “about us,” and you’ll see, this is the guy: http://www.gradyforpresident.com.

  50. “Spend” and “invest” are one and the same. It’s washington speak for “we want to keep spending your money.”

    Government spending is always a boondoggle. We don’t need the government to “spend” or “invest” in anything. Because you and me and the rest of the nation has to keep paying for what bureaucrats decide to spend and invest on.

    Thus far – I’m not impressed. Unions, shrimps on treadmills, almost double the retail price of canned ham?

    No thanks. Shut it all down. Shut down Washington. Would anyone notice if the department of energy were shut down. Would anyone notice if the Dept of Education was liquidated and shut down?

    Would anyone in the nation even notice if the politicians were sent home for 2 years? Probably not.

    Washington is desperate to prove they’re still relevant. From out here in the nation – they look like the problem. I say – start shutting down entire sections of the government. Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, et al. . . .

    Start pressing criminal charges against the “employees” who waste tax dollars on stupid grants. Start holding people accountable for wasting our tax dollars. We need to stop laughing at “oh, that’s gov’t for you.” and start pressing charges against the brain dead washington employees who “approve” garbage funding and waste. They’re enabling it – so start charging them with taxpayer fraud. . . .

    Get rid of this monolithic parasite.

    Next time someone whines about “tax cuts for the rich”. . .point out to them, it’s not your money. You didn’t earn it. If you want more money, put yourself on the line, and start your own firm, and make your own profits. Until then – quit worrying about what someone else has. Its not your money.

    Start yelling this back to liberals who whine about wanting to take someone else’s money. Ask them outright, what have they done that makes them think they deserve someone else’s money?

    It’s time to tell Washington – enough is enough for you. You’ve caused this horrendous pain in our nation, you’re not going to keep spending and causing us more pain.

  51. I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff,BuzzSave. com

  52. A “Thomas Friedman moment” resembles a “senior moment,” but with even less control of mind and bowels.

  53. I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, BuzzSave.(c)om

  54. It’s time to tell Washington – enough is enough for you. You’ve caused this horrendous pain in our nation, you’re not going to keep spending and causing us more pain.

  55. Obama looks good with the Mustache Of Understanding. I think everyone in his administation needs one, including the women. Hillary Clinton will look really awesome with one. Obama also needs to use more Friedmanesque mixed metaphors. These are more like pureed metaphors: they are mixed at a molecular level into a thin goo of incoherence that sound logical for about one second after being uttered. Somnething like “We need to push the envelope outside the box.” Sounds great, but what happens next? The envelope just falls onto the ground. What if it is raining, and it gets wet? You can’t use it until it dries, and the lick seal may be used up, so you’ll have to scotch tape it shut if you want to mail something. Bottom line: don’t push the envelope outside the box.

  56. All situations in life can be dealt with and summarized using nothing but quotes from Mob movies. In that vein, the Obamanomics solution can be thought of thusly:

    “Now the guys got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, he can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guys got to come up with Paulies money every week. No matter what. Business bad? **** you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? **** you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning, huh? **** you, pay me. Also, Paulie could do anything. Especially run up bills on the joints credit. And why not? Nobodys gonna pay for it anyway. And as soon as the deliveries are made in the front door, you move the stuff out the back and sell it at a discount. You take a two hundred dollar case of booze and you sell it for a hundred. It doesnt matter. Its all profit. And then finally, when theres nothing left, when you cant borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out. You light a match.”

    Obamanomics, in the semi fictional words of Henry Hill

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