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Taibbi writes: "Thomas Friedman, master of metaphor, has a new set of fixations: walls, webs and the tacking of that presidentially-contending center-left sailboat, Hillary Clinton."

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has expressed fears that Hillary Clinton is leaning too far toward socialism. (photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has expressed fears that Hillary Clinton is leaning too far toward socialism. (photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)


Thomas Friedman Goes to the Wall

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

07 August 16

 

High priest of globalization lashes out against the enemies of progress

homas Friedman, master of metaphor, has a new set of fixations: walls, webs and the tacking of that presidentially-contending center-left sailboat, Hillary Clinton.

In a pair of recent articles, "Web People Versus Wall People" and "How Clinton Could Knock Trump Out," the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times expresses deep concern that Clinton’s primary-season "lean" toward the politics of Bernie Sanders isn't fake enough.

It's been a whole week since the convention, and Hillary still hasn't yet gone back to being the unabashed friend to big banks and staunch advocate for free trade and deregulation she just spent all of last year pretending she was not. This has Friedman freaked out.

He fears she is leaning in the direction of socialism, "the greatest system ever invented for making people equally poor," as opposed to staying true to the capitalist ethos of her husband, which would "grow our pie bigger and faster":

I get that she had to lean toward Sanders and his voters to win the nomination; their concerns with fairness and inequality are honorable. But those concerns can be addressed only with economic growth...

Friedman is conceding that inequality and unfairness are legitimate concerns. He's just saying that now that the people most concerned about these issues have been beaten at the polls, we can safely go back to ignoring them and letting the beneficiaries of inequality worry about how and when to fix it.

This "let's grow our pie bigger and faster" column (does this make more or less sense than George Bush's famous "we should make the pie higher" idea?) comes on the heels of last week's "Webs and Walls" column on the same theme.

This remarkable article divided the world into two groups of people. Roughly speaking, Friedman is talking about people who embrace globalization ("Web people") versus people who reject it ("Wall people").

This is already a confusing metaphor because the campaigns of the two candidates Friedman identifies as riling up the "Wall" people, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, were heavily reliant on Internet media, i.e. the Web.

Meanwhile, Friedman’s definition of "web people" describes individuals who:

Instinctively understand that Democrats and Republicans both built their platforms largely in response to the Industrial Revolution, the New Deal and the Cold War, but that today, a 21st-century party needs to build its platform in response to the accelerations in technology, globalization and climate change, which are the forces transforming the workplace, geopolitics and the very planet.

That seems like a very specific and weird belief system, probably unique to writers for the New York Times named Thomas Friedman. Also, Friedman never explains what any of this has to do with "webs" – is it an Internet thing? Do they have webbed hands?

But whatever, we get it, sort of. "Web people" embrace the future and "open systems," i.e. free trade, bringing us closer to the heart of what Friedman is talking about.

Friedman is right that this election, like the Brexit vote, has really been a referendum on globalization. What's infuriating is the cartoonish way he defines the critics of globalization.

"Wall people" in his mind are either xenophobic Trumpites who don't want a flood of dirty, rapey immigrants entering their towns, or they're Sanders socialists who don't want to compete with foreign workers and insist on government handouts.

With regard to the latter, what troubles Friedman the most is the way Hillary is cozying up to her critics on the left:

She is opposing things she helped to negotiate, like the Pacific trade deal, and offering more benefits from government but refraining from telling people the hardest truth: that to be in the middle class, just working hard and playing by the rules doesn't cut it anymore. To have a lifelong job, you need to be a lifelong learner, constantly raising your game.

Yes, to get by these days, working hard isn't enough to keep a job. You need to be "constantly raising your game." Either that, or you need to marry a shopping mall heiress and write books fawning over Fortune 500 companies.

Friedman's glib definition of globalization goes virtually unchallenged in the pundit-o-sphere, which by and large agrees with him that critics of globalism are either racists or afraid of capitalism.

But this issue is infinitely more complicated than that.

We never really had a referendum on globalization in America. It just sort of happened. People had jobs one day, then the next morning they were fired, replaced by 14-year-olds in Indonesia or sweatshop laborers in Bangladesh, working in unsafe hell-holes without overtime or health care, beaten when they don’t make quotas.

What exactly does "raising your game" mean in the context of that sort of competition?

Globalization in the snap of a finger essentially erased nearly two centuries of America's bloody labor history. It's as if the Thibodeaux Massacre, the hangings of the Molly McGuires, the Pullman Strike, the L.A. Times bombing, the Flint sit-in and thousands of other strikes and confrontations never took place.

In the new paradigm, all of those agonizing controversies and wars of political attrition, which collectively produced a vast set of rules and standards for dealing with workers, were simply wiped away.

Manufacturers just went abroad, to dictatorships and communist oligarchies, to make their products, forcing American workers to compete not just against foreign workers, but against their own history and legal systems.

People forget that when it comes to labor relations, America had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, in the direction of the civilized world. Attempts to ban child labor in this country failed repeatedly, and we didn't actually pass a federal child labor law that stuck until 1938. Airlines in America were still firing flight attendants for getting married through the mid-eighties.

Now all that work spent to get even past those most basic problems is at risk. In the global economy, employers can look at their business models as one giant arbitrage.

You do your banking in the laissez-faire havens of the Caribbean, build factories in slave-labor capitals like China or Indonesia, buy swaps in less-regulated financial atmospheres in London, sell your products in America and Europe, etc.

You also arrange your corporate structures so that you pay the smallest amount of tax possible, often by threatening to move until you receive subsidies and exemptions. This leads to bizarre situations like Boeing making $26 billion in U.S. profits over a five-year period and receiving a U.S. federal tax refund of $401 million over the same time.

This whole situation has raised profound questions that nobody has ever bothered to try to answer for ordinary voters, as in: What are nation-states for, in a global economy?

What's the point of all of our labor laws, or voting-rights laws, the first amendment and a host of other American legal traditions if large pluralities of American manufacturers do their business in countries like China, where human rights abuses are rampant, political freedom is nonexistent and speech is tightly controlled?

Friedman's description of "Wall People" is probably somewhat true when it comes to Trump voters, many of whom do just want to be physically walled off from a confusing, racially diverse world.

But to dismiss the rest of globalization's critics as communists who hate freedom and just want to curl up in the lap of government and hide from change is absurd and insulting.

Most educated people accept and embrace the idea of an increasingly integrated world. The problem is how to go forward into the future in a way that's fair and doesn't increase oppression, pollution, child labor, even slavery and indenture, to say nothing of the disenfranchisement of the ex-middle class in places like America.

These are very difficult questions. They're ones that probably won't have positive solutions without the determined leadership of the world's bigger democratic powers, like the U.S. and the E.U.

The problem is that the major parties in the United States in particular seem almost totally disinterested in addressing the inequities of globalism. That’s because conventional wisdom is still stuck in the Friedman stage of telling people that if they’re troubled by the global economy, they’re just afraid of the future.

Because the Murphy's Law tendency of American politics demands that we draw every conceivable wrong lesson from an event before accidentally stumbling in the direction of progress, the twin revolts in the 2016 presidential race will surely be misinterpreted for a good long while by the Friedmans of the world.

They won't see the anti-establishment backlash as a reason to re-examine the impact of globalism on ordinary people. Instead, as Friedman puts it, they'll see an opportunity to build a single ruling coalition of "center-left Web People" (what a creepy image!) who will dominate the next generation of American politics:

My hope is that, for the good of the country, Republican Web People will, over time, join the Democratic Party and tilt it into a compassionate, center-left Web party for the 21st Century. That would be a party that is sensitive to the needs of working people ... but committed to capitalism, free markets and open trade as the vital engines of growth for a modern society.

Yes, let's be sensitive to the needs of working people, unless they have complaints about globalism, in which case we'll put our webbed hands over our ears and ignore them. Are you loving this political season yet?


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

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+105 # guomashi 2016-08-07 08:22
How did that Friedman guy get a Pulitzer prize?
He hasn't been right about anything yet.
He should be the biggest bad joke on the planet.
He is much more insulting than anything wiki leaks could publish.
All I can think is that someone is bribing the New York Times to publish that crap.
 
 
+58 # Helga Fellay 2016-08-07 09:03
My thoughts exactly. Makes me wonder about the people behind the Pulitzer prize. Who funds them?
 
 
-9 # lights 2016-08-07 15:53
BILLY BOB Good idea QUOTE from May, 2016

The Green Party IS "reinventing the wheel". We need to occupy the Democratic Party. Billy Bob

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/36646-focus-jane-sanders-qif-bernie-loses-well-form-a-new-organizationq
 
 
+14 # A_Har 2016-08-07 17:14
Quoting lights:
BILLY BOB Good idea QUOTE from May, 2016

The Green Party IS "reinventing the wheel". We need to occupy the Democratic Party. Billy Bob

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/36646-focus-jane-sanders-qif-bernie-loses-well-form-a-new-organizationq
What does this have to do with the article posted? We already know: absolutely NOTHING. Just shut up!
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2016-08-08 09:48
Quoting Helga Fellay:
My thoughts exactly. Makes me wonder about the people behind the Pulitzer prize. Who funds them?

Birds of a feather...
 
 
+14 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-07 10:31
How does anyone get the Pulitzer, but through access. But, you can be very deserving and have access to the jurors. But, no, the most important thing is access to the jurors.

It is that darn access thing. Pay to Play!
 
 
+28 # ReconFire 2016-08-07 09:02
Perfect reason NOT to vote Dem. or Repug. ever again.
 
 
+24 # Karlus58 2016-08-07 09:57
Yes, I agree with you. But unfortunately, so many ,many, more people happen to think otherwise. There's no rational explanation to it all. It seems there's been an insidious brainwashing of the "silent majority".
 
 
+28 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-07 10:25
Vote for Jill Stein.
Hillary rides on a horse of small print.
Trump rides on a horse of lies.

Go Jill Stein!
 
 
-7 # lights 2016-08-07 15:55
Billy Bob on Jill Stein and the Green Party!

"The Green Party IS "reinventing the wheel". We need to occupy the Democratic Party." Billy Bob

Was Billy Bob ahead of Sanders on this one? Wow, I'm impressed.
 
 
+6 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-08 06:31
I don't even understand this comment. Is lights a robotic social media account thing?
 
 
+23 # futhark 2016-08-07 11:06
Some people with whom I have spoken think that not voting for the person who will be the winner election somehow makes them a loser, too. That's the wrong way of thinking about the democratic process, and only applies to those who expect to receive some sort of patronage in return for their support. We should not allow our choices to be dictated by polls, which is so "high school", but by the candidates' principles, character, and program advocacy. That's why I think my vote for Jill Stein will make me a winner.
 
 
-11 # lights 2016-08-07 15:58
Can you explain to us how voting for Jill Stein will make you a "logical" winner?

Surely you are not saying that Jill Stein with a static 3-5% rating in the polls, representing the Green Party who has never done ANYTHING - means she is going to suddenly come forward with a BIG GUSTO and win this election because polls are often wrong?

And Billy Bob says getting 53 greens up:

The Green Party IS "reinventing the wheel". We need to occupy the Democratic Party. Billy Bob
 
 
+10 # Skyelav 2016-08-07 19:10
# lights 2016-08-07 15:58
Can you explain to us how voting for Jill Stein will make you a "logical" winner?

Yep, because I will be able to sleep at night...
 
 
+28 # Inspired Citizen 2016-08-07 09:02
Seeing neo-libs like Friedman sheepdog for Clinton is hardly surprising. No one on the left pays him any mind.

To see Chomsky sheepdog for Hillary is far more disappointing. I tried to explain to Professor Chomsky the superdelegates must unite behind Sanders or else Trump would be the next President, but they chose Trump over Sanders. This is our letter to them: https://citizensagainstplutocracy.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/dem-superdelegates-guilty-of-dereliction-of-duty/

This is Chomsky doing his level-best to fear-monger on behalf of a candidate (Clinton) and political philosophy (neoliberalism) he's been railing against for 40 years.

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/noam-chomskys-8-point-rationale-voting-lesser-evil-presidential-candidate

#SheepNoMore
 
 
-21 # ericlipps 2016-08-07 09:50
Quoting Inspired Citizen:
Seeing neo-libs like Friedman sheepdog for Clinton is hardly surprising. No one on the left pays him any mind.

To see Chomsky sheepdog for Hillary is far more disappointing. I tried to explain to Professor Chomsky the superdelegates must unite behind Sanders or else Trump would be the next President, but they chose Trump over Sanders. This is our letter to them: https://citizensagainstplutocracy.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/dem-superdelegates-guilty-of-dereliction-of-duty/

This is Chomsky doing his level-best to fear-monger on behalf of a candidate (Clinton) and political philosophy (neoliberalism) he's been railing against for 40 years.

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/noam-chomskys-8-point-rationale-voting-lesser-evil-presidential-candidate

#SheepNoMore

With the Donald currently sagging in the polls, the argument that the superdelegates must, for the first time in their history, unite to overturn the verdict of the primaries and anoint The World's Last Hope Bernie Sanders or guarantee a Trump presidency looks, in hindsight, a touch less than prescient.

Bernouts keep insisting that only ****BERNIE**** has a chance of beating Trump. But if they stay home and pout on Election Day because it's the Evil One, Hillary Clinton, who is the Democratic nominee, or if they cast wasted votes for Jill Stein, they'll be the ones ushering Donald Trump into the White House. Though of course they'll blame Hillary rather than themselves.
 
 
+23 # Inspired Citizen 2016-08-07 10:53
The ONLY people to blame for President Trump will be the superdelegates. They were warned.

#JillOrBust means just that: the next president will be Jill Stein or else Trump will be the next president.
 
 
+9 # brian1060ne 2016-08-07 16:07
I had the same feeling watching Robert Reich and Chris Hedges on democracy now. Two honorable people each with an honorable point of view, but those two points of view are not compatible. I believe they should recognize the situation and respect each other. Amartya Sen's "The Idea of Justice" puts forward the theory that it is possible to hold incompatible but reasonable views on what is just in a given circumstance.
 
 
+9 # lfeuille 2016-08-07 19:52
I won't accept that the views of the Hillary promoters are "reasonable" until they manage to work foreign and military policy into their arguments. They just pretend it doesn't exist. They don't consider all the available information so they cannot give an wholely informed opinion. These people are mostly intelligent so I have trouble believing that down deep they know this. They just don't want to face it.
 
 
+15 # Radscal 2016-08-07 17:57
Except that, were it not for the DNC rigging and corporate media collusion, Bernie would likely have gotten the 2,383 delegates before the Convention and the super delegates would have been moot.
 
 
+20 # goodsensecynic 2016-08-07 10:00
I don't think Chomsky needs to have these things explained to him. He probably understands them better than you do.

He is simply trying to deal rationally with a bit of a Hobson's choice.

People like Chomsky were criticized for criticizing Obama and Clinton by people who admonished him not to make the "good" the enemy of the "best" - i.e., to ruin moderate progress by insisting on an unattainable perfection.

An excellent example is "Obamacare" in which the president took the weak "public option" off the table before negotiations began and thereby alienated anyone who thought a Canadian/Europe an-style "medicare for all" system was both preferable and doable.

Now, he's trying to make the "bad" the enemy of the "worst" and is being criticized by you because he's trying to steer clear of utter catastrophe.

The poor duffer just can't seem to please (almost) anyone, a possible indication that he's right.
 
 
+24 # Inspired Citizen 2016-08-07 10:54
The utter catastrophe is coming from the blood-thirsty neo-con Hillary Clinton. The TPP is the name of the first knife she'll use to plunge into the back of her supporters.
 
 
+18 # librarian1984 2016-08-07 14:33
I'd say she's already plunged a knife into feminists and progressives by naming Kaine her VP.
 
 
+7 # CL38 2016-08-08 10:56
and ...before THAT....by cheating Sanders out of the nomination!
 
 
+3 # Skyelav 2016-08-07 19:18
- i.e., to ruin moderate progress by insisting on an unattainable perfection.

Isn't that what visionaries are all about?
 
 
+9 # lfeuille 2016-08-07 19:54
We weren't asking for perfection. We were asking for Bernie. He is not perfection but he is good enough to move us forward. Hillary isn't.
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-08-07 18:01
Noam Chomsky, who considers it unimportant if JFK was murdered as part of a coup. Noam Chomsky who belittles 9/11 truth seekers while refusing to look at the evidence. Noam Chomsky who never has word one to say about the supra-national financial interests.

Noam Chomsky: Sheep dog or gate keeper?
 
 
0 # Navigatio di Brendani 2016-08-08 06:49
I hear ya, Rad, but on the whole Chomskey is a strong force for good, IMHO. With 10,000 dragons to slay these days, we each have to pick our battles. The power elite sets out many traps, snares, false flag ops, white rabbit holes, whirlpools and fucking black holes for us; and even dealing with only a few of them can consume/devour a lifetime.

Search Noam's Wiki bio to see the astonishing number and range of papers and books he has written, considering he is a LINGUISTICS prof and maybe you will cut that 90-year-old dragon slayer a wee bit more slack.

Re never having a word to say about an issue, esp. one that is covered extensively for decades by others far more expert, I totally empathize. I swore to myself I would never write a fucking WORD about Trump since the elite created him as a distraction from real issues... Yet I just wrote a Godot article about his sorry ass! But that's IT... No more.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-08 17:32
I've been reading and learning from Chomsky since the early 1990s. He definitely provides much important information and critical analyses. I consider him a valuable resource, even though I've come to question some of his motives.

It was really only in the past couple of years that I put together the pieces of which topics on which he slams the gate shut.

As he's taught us so well, propaganda and the sciences of mind control are ubiquitous and very effective.

You mention false flags. If I were to design a false flag event on the scale of a Presidential assassination or 9/11, I'd know going in that critical thinkers would search for evidence that it was a false flag.

Therefore, I'd plant many levels of diversion within the event and its subsequent cover-up.

An obvious level would be evidence for absurd "conspiracy theories" that could be easily "debunked," and so would serve to marginalize and ridicule anyone or any evidence that is contrary to the official story.

Another "limited hangout" (to use the CIA term) would certainly be gate-keepers. To be effective, a gate-keeper MUST have credibility within the community of critical thinkers that gate-keeper is meant to suppress or divert.

Does that mean that such a gate-keeper is totally evil? No. Not at all. He/she may sincerely believe that diversion from some events is necessary. Or, there could be threats.

The important thing is not to ever put blind faith any public figure.
 
 
+1 # librarian1984 2016-08-08 19:11
Probably THE best X-Files episode is 'Jose Chung'. SO many great elements.

In one scene a guy encounters Men in Black, one of whom turns out to be Alex Trebeck of Jeopardy. The MIB know that as soon as the witness says Trebeck was one of them he'll be discounted!

****
There's also the bleeping detective, the alien autopsy and alien abductors getting abducted! Amazing episode.

Best line: Well I'd like to think all those years of playing Dungeons and Dragons taught me a little something about courage.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-08 17:39
If you want to look at some of the evidence that Chomsky does serve as a gate-keeper on certain topics, here are some links to explore:

http://educate-yourself.org/cn/noamchomskyindex.shtml

http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/2014/01/20/the-gatekeepers-of-the-so-called-left/

This one doesn't mention Noam, but does expose connections in "alternative media" few are aware of:

https://web.archive.org/web/20050407180059/http://www.questionsquestions.net/gatekeepers.html
 
 
+3 # Navigatio di Brendani 2016-08-09 11:07
Cool, and thanks. As much hell as we both raise, you and I have the luxury of being semi non-entities... Until martial law roundups occur, of course!

I am disappointed in Amy Goodman, who survived a firefight in West Timor, with dozens of folks around her being machine-gunned; yet she won't have 9/11 Truthers on her show.

Charlie Rose is a Bohemian Club shill, Bill Moyers is old, alone and bone tired...

"Where have all our heroes gone?

"Turned to gatekeepers , every one... "

But I agree that dire threats by Homeland Security thugs are very possibly at play.
 
 
# Guest 2016-08-07 19:12
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
-97 # JohnBoanerges 2016-08-07 09:09
"Socialism only works until you run out of other peoples money" - Iron Lady
 
 
+83 # guomashi 2016-08-07 09:34
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
"Socialism only works until you run out of other peoples money" - Iron Lady


capitalism only works so long as there are infinite natural resources to exploit and equal access to those resources. - me.
 
 
+47 # goodsensecynic 2016-08-07 09:54
... and an equal ability to exploit domestic or foreign labor and equal opportunity to purchase (or rent) the (democratic or dictatorial) government of your choice.
 
 
+22 # Karlus58 2016-08-07 10:03
See what I'm saying....the brainwashing runs deep. It's your money these people are taking and using it for their own interests. You are nothing to them.
 
 
+31 # DaveEwoldt 2016-08-07 12:22
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite." John Kenneth Galbraith

The problem is that the economic systems of Industrialism are founded on a couple of myths. One is that infinite growth on a finite planet is possible. Another is that the highest aspiration of the human race is to become better producers and consumers.

Perhaps the main problem, though, is that market fundamentalism is a form of mysticism. What else can you call a system based on an invisible hand?
 
 
+13 # A_Har 2016-08-07 17:19
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
"Socialism only works until you run out of other peoples money" - Iron Lady
Perhaps??? But there are NO LIMITS to the subsidies given to the big banks and corporations. Corporate welfare and "socialism" is such a big HIT with D.C. politicians who then get their campaign contributions from the same entities. It is a Win-Win as far as they are ALL concerned.
 
 
+6 # randrjwr 2016-08-07 21:19
Quoting A_Har:
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
"Socialism only works until you run out of other peoples money" - Iron Lady
Perhaps??? But there are NO LIMITS to the subsidies given to the big banks and corporations. Corporate welfare and "socialism" is such a big HIT with D.C. politicians who then get their campaign contributions from the same entities. It is a Win-Win as far as they are ALL concerned.


Yes!! Absolutely!! We already have Socialism for the rich and powerful. Why is it considered such a sin to give the working people a break, for example by insisting that everyone working 40 hours a week receive a LIVING WAGE!! And stop subsidizing the likes of Walmart that has all its new hires immediately apply for food stamps and medicaid. That's US providing Socialist benefits to the Walton family. Will we ever wake up?
 
 
+5 # CL38 2016-08-08 11:00
JohnBoanerges.. ..you mean 'our money' which was stolen by the 1% for distribution 'up', thanks to the GOP/DP!
 
 
-42 # Tigre1 2016-08-07 09:22
Don't you guys EVER get tired of yourselves? I'm certainly tired of you all.
 
 
+48 # goodsensecynic 2016-08-07 09:52
Then go away.
 
 
+40 # EternalTruth 2016-08-07 10:06
I got tired of fox "news" about 3 seconds after I first saw it. I've never been back. I'm so sorry you are forced to read these comments against your will. Must be tough life.
 
 
+3 # CL38 2016-08-08 11:02
Believe me, it's MUTUAL. Tired of the mind-numbing repetitious comments of lights etc.

This is a site for progressive articles and discussion, where people share facts and truth, you COULD GO elsewhere, if you object! ....don't think most would mind.
 
 
-7 # velobwoy 2016-08-07 10:17
Taibbi's always great with his dissection of the problem, until he gets to the reason why.

No Matt, major parties aren't totally disinterested in addressing the inequalities of globalism because "conventional wisdom is still stuck" or any other "aw shucks, if only people were just smarter" trope.

They are disinterested because they ARE NOT INTERESTED - their raison d'etre is to distract and defuse the masses, while their controllers do what they want.

I know such acknowledgement would be a bitter pill for Mr. Taibbi to swallow, having devoted his career to documenting the shenanigans of the major parties, which he does so well. Oh well, journalism is meant to be about following the truth, right Matt?
 
 
+10 # kundrol 2016-08-07 10:28
I'm very sad about Chomsky. Hard to believe he would go neoliberal. I do love Matt Taibbi though!
 
 
+37 # Jim Rocket 2016-08-07 10:42
Friedman, David Brooks and Ross Asshat are all perfect examples of "useful idiots". If you wonder how Friedman can write like this here's a quote from the Huff Post article Taibbi linked to "When the couple wed back in 1978, according to The Washingtonian article, Friedman became part of “one of the 100 richest families in the country.” That's right, the overpaid stooge married a billionaire.

It's incredible that the man can be so self-unaware. But that's what makes him useful to his masters.
 
 
+12 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-07 10:43
I don't know Matt. You are being critical of someone who is having a great deal of difficulty in labeling things in his narrative. The British Intellectual Class does this, the very Oxford thing, they will ponder and ponder, as the wealthy ruling class does when they are bored, about how to label the very people they choose to oppress and manipulate.

Like, "they are not the working class anymore", "what shall we call them", "perhaps we should call them the strugglers...", "no we shall call them the worklessers..." and on and on they label, on and on, endlessly defining the obvious turning it into an obfuscated mess of word salad.

And then, you either walk away from it, from which you are labeled a fool, because you look like you don't understand the slop, or you go to Oxford to become just like them, but, you have to have been born into the correct family, from which, there must be the correct labeling.
 
 
+19 # ywsf 2016-08-07 10:47
Friedman has been giving bad financial advice for decades. Why his voice is even allow to be heard as he has made such bad mistakes and projections his credibility is gone. He's a gnat in a room. just ignore him.
 
 
+7 # Radscal 2016-08-07 18:07
How could a Zionist NeoLiberal get published in the New York Times?

Oh. That's right.
 
 
+26 # lorenbliss 2016-08-07 11:11
Apropos Hillary's (alleged) shift to the Left, are we so brainwashed no one remembers how Obama the Orator -- following a script obviously written years in advance -- campaigned as the personification of "change we can believe in" but then literally days after his election shape-shifted into Barack the Betrayer? Has no one learned from this infinitely bitter lesson? Does no one realize Hillary will do likewise? With results infinitely more devastating to us, the 99 Percent, than even the Betrayer's treachery has been?
 
 
+17 # Jim Rocket 2016-08-07 11:22
Is the lesson that they're lying or that the people people who put Obama in office went back to sleep after he won? Bernie has no such illusions. He doesn't believe that because Hillary made a good speech the other night, touching all the correct talking points, that she is now committed to making it all happen. Bernie understands that the people who supported him need to keep up the pressure for... well, for the rest of time actually. It's not like Jill Stein is even likely to get into the debates.

Even if Bernie did get the nomination and won the presidency, if his supporters became complacent again he wouldn't achieve anything either
 
 
+7 # librarian1984 2016-08-07 14:37
DID HRC give a good speech? She needed to, certainly, but it was pretty lackluster I thought.
 
 
+9 # lorenbliss 2016-08-07 14:48
@Jim Rocket: Do you really believe "the people...went back to sleep?"

What do you suppose Occupy was all about? Or Black Lives Matter?

(It vexes me no end when someone attempts to make excuses for an obvious fascist who won election only by the biggest of Big Lies, cleverly disguising himself in his own dark skin and stealing progressive rhetoric to intensify his truly unprecedented falsehoods.)
 
 
+8 # Radscal 2016-08-07 18:10
That's a bull's eye, mate.
 
 
+2 # Phillybuster 2016-08-08 13:25
Hillary's got a new excuse - her brain "short circuits" and whoops - anything can happen. Just hope it doesn't happen if that 3:00 AM phone call comes.
 
 
+29 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-08-07 11:16
Friedman’s arguments are incoherent, undefined, historically unaware & morally poverty-stricke n. He is hardly the intellectual he presumes himself to be. Thanks, Mr. Taibbi, for again making this plain.
 
 
+15 # librarian1984 2016-08-07 14:40
Friedman, like Bill Kristol and others, is almost always wrong and never learns a thing from it. It is a testament to MSM shilling that he ever gets on tv.

The silver lining is that he really rubs Taibbi the wrong way -- and we benefit. I love seeing Matt rip him apart.

You know Friedman says he doesn't care but he secretly reads the articles and seethes. boo hoo
 
 
+3 # Jim Rocket 2016-08-08 06:48
He doesn't have to learn... He's rich.
 
 
+14 # tm7devils 2016-08-07 11:45
No matter which party wins...we lose! The problem is, for whatever reason, a lot of people think HRC(a proven war hawk - sociopath?/psyc hopath?) as a 'lesser evil' when compared to DT, who is egomaniacal, biased and a big blowhard. We can, with some hard work, work around the latter...but the former would have no problem pushing us into WWIII and putting the whole World in jeopardy.
Never have we needed a third party more than now, and, IMO, 2020 will be too late if HRC wins.
As they say...time will tell. Good luck on your pick!
 
 
+12 # Jim Rocket 2016-08-07 14:25
I think you're dreaming. Trump has no interest in actually doing the job. He'll hand it off to whatever weasels coalesce around him. Rick Santorum was vigorously carrying water for Trump on Bill Maher the other night. No one could talk any sense into him and I realize he knows it's all crap but it's the only way he'll ever get to be Secretary of State. Don't think for a second that Trump has a moral center that can be appealed to
 
 
+8 # librarian1984 2016-08-07 16:18
I loathe Santorum but I thought he was trying to make some decent points and got shouted down. For instance, he was trying to say that Trump was speaking to people who were genuinely angry and had legitimate concerns -- but no one would listen. They acted as if any defense of Trump was ridiculous. He tried to explain the hostility toward a PC culture too, if I remember correctly -- and was again laughed at.

Many Trump supporters, even the ones embarrassed to admit their support, are quite upset about what they perceive as judgmental PC thought police; it's a mistake to ignore them and bigger folly still to ridicule them.

It shows the same arrogance that preceded the DemExit vote.
 
 
+5 # BlueMorpho 2016-08-07 20:01
@librarian1984,
Re: Trump supporters. That came up in a meeting I attended recently. That there are who support Trump for the same reasons many support Sanders, i.e., they're utterly fed up with the very toxic status quo. Not all are bigots, etc. The question was how to communicate that we're on common ground.
 
 
+3 # Jim Rocket 2016-08-08 06:52
Santorum conveniently forgets that it was the policies of his party that created the mess that these people are upset about. He didn't say it what Trump was going to actually do to deal with inequality. The truth is not much - since his big platform plank is a huge tax cut for the rich. Santorum was vigorously applying lipstick to the pig with hopes for a payoff later.
 
 
+2 # CL38 2016-08-08 11:13
I had the same thought while watching Maher last Friday. No ONE ever calls out Republicans for countless policies they pushed that resulted in where we are today.
 
 
+1 # librarian1984 2016-08-08 19:15
Maybe that's what separates the peons from the oligarchs: accountability.
 
 
+22 # davehaze 2016-08-07 11:57
Boeing lives off of the US War Machine yet refuses to pay any taxes toward its own upkeep. Nice.
 
 
+22 # desertprogressive 2016-08-07 12:06
Socialism for the rich and powerful, and capitalism for the rest.
 
 
+3 # CL38 2016-08-08 11:15
it's time for 'socialism' for the rest and huge tax increases for the rich, including legislation to tax hidden overseas money.
 
 
+14 # Maybe 2016-08-07 13:01
Wealthy celebrity writers like Thomas Friedman have no right to even lend an opinion to the struggles of the 99%. To those people, "wage inequality", "loss of jobs", the history of the long fought battles for unions and fairness, are just words, used to fill space. They don't deal with or understand what it's like to live through these "changes", to be forced to accept employment beneath one's abilities and education because someone half a world away is willing to do their work for twenty-five cents on the dollar. Yes, he's wrong, wrong, wrong. And it's only the first amendment that gives him the right to voice his opinion. He should live in a country that doesn't have free speech and see how he feels about conditions when he's not allowed to voice an opinion.
 
 
+11 # Elroys 2016-08-07 13:08
Friedman gets global warming and climate change - or at least he did.
How can anyone who truly understands the realities and catastrophic consequences of continued warming think or say that global economic growth is the way to income equality and jobs.

The world is a very complex and nuanced place now. Since many Americans have been dumbed down by de-funding education, by making college unaffordable for so many and funded by mercenaries called bankers charging immoral interest rates on our young and our future, we need deeper and more nuanced conversations about what's truly going in here. Matt Taibbi's piece is a very good start.

Shame on Friedman - he's capable of much better thinking than he's offered in these 2 recent pieces (I've read both am very disappointed).
Quite easy to be smug when you've got a billion $ or so to help out in a pinch.
 
 
+2 # MadKate 2016-08-07 23:03
..."Quite easy to be smug when you've got a billion $ or so to help out in a pinch."

Aye, and therein lies the rub!
 
 
+12 # Patriot 2016-08-07 13:19
Taibbi: ...she had to lean toward Sanders and his voters to win the nomination; their concerns with fairness and inequality are honorable. But those concerns can be addressed only with economic growth...

No, she didn't; the outcome was determined by the Dems before she ever declared herelf a candidate. Since she's dragged her feet so much over even sounding progressive, I think dhe probably doesn't need our votes in November, because I suspect that the outcome of that election already also has been determined.

And economic growth is at the base of all of our problems. Big business want to keep getting bgger, and too many (mostly US, so far) humans want to keep buying more and more, so business keping widening their markets (NAFTA, TPP), etc., while humans keep spending money they don't have for things they don't need. Progressives object to trade agreements that enable shipping jobs to countries where labor is cheap and unprotected, and that contain provisions allowing business to sue to override laws that might infringe on their profits. Growing the economy got us into this mess; it's not going to get us out. Changing the economy so that everyone who wants to work can have a job--and be paid a wage that will support both the person who works and hisorher family: Now that might grow the economy more, and for more people. What the WORK is would make a difference, too.
 
 
+17 # Patriot 2016-08-07 13:22
Work that only fuels consumerism will not enrich anyone but business; work that rebuilds infrastructure, protects the environment and climate, develops and builds sustainable energy-producer s is the kind that will grow the economy we ALL need, because it will produce ore than just money in the pockets of business.
 
 
+9 # Patriot 2016-08-07 13:38
By all means, use the links in Taibbi's article to read Friedman's two articles, which clearly indicate that Clinton helped to build the system that rewards only global business and stomps on the rest of humanity.

Taibbi's obtuseness about Friedman's wall people--those who want to protect themselves from the world of unrestrained "free" trade"--and web people--those who want an unrestricted right to control the entire world and milk it for profit--is rather silly. Friedman's terms are quite clear.

What is worth all the words Taibbi wasted in this article is the crystal-clear description of the two camps, and Clinton's place relative to them, which Friedman unabashedly described perfectly.

Naturally, since he's a web person, Friedman failed to understand what Sanders really fought for, and why the vast majority of American are NOT opposed to his platform.

However, if you had any doubt about whether to vote for Clinton--how anyone could consider Trump is beyond me--Friedman should have helped you to decide.

Since I oppose the current trade agreements (which Clinton helped to draft), unending US aggression, and the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels to produce energy, my choice is clear.

I'll be voting for Jll Stein for president, and for every progressive (and moderate, if there are any) on my ballot. No web people for me, thank you! But don't anyone shout that I'm a wall person, because I emphatically am not.
 
 
+7 # Greg Scott 2016-08-07 15:21
Friedman has been a glib apologist for money since forever.

Matt Taibbi, I will read anything you write but I'm not sure why you bothered with this fool.

It's like even bothering to listen to anything David Brooks says. Must have been a deadline...

Don't worry, still love you Matt. "Vampire Squid.."?...oh yeah.

So...want a real life example of the effects of the "Web People"?

My band made 2 records around 1980 for a major label. Sold decently in the R & B market. Cost too much with then current technology to ever recoup our production costs from the record company, but if we had big hits, we would have done nicely.

Got back together recently. With new technology, we're recording new music that sounds great for 1/20 of what it cost the 1st time.

Thought maybe this time if we had some popularity we might do OK with the recording.

Guess I wasn't paying attention. Due to the web and digital piracy, NOBODY makes much from recorded music anymore...10,00 0 streams on Spotify makes you $20.

Got any help for that, Tommy?
 
 
+1 # Ralph 2016-08-07 18:46
Stop! You're making me cry in my beer. Rock musicians are struggling to make an honest living just like your average smoe who had his job outsourced? Who could imagine that casino capitalism is a sham even for rock musicians? Oh the humanity!
 
 
0 # MadKate 2016-08-07 23:01
Not unless you are a member, in good standing, of the 1%, Greg Scott~
 
 
+2 # PeacefulGarden 2016-08-08 06:41
Ha! Live what classical musicians have been going through for years. Welcome to the world of, "we don't really need you... ".

If you really love music, you will eventually figure out that no one owns music, it cannot be sold. You hit the stage, you start singing, and anyone can copy you there after. No one owns music. The "Music Industry" is a big fucking farce, a giant illusion of access and propaganda. The words music and industry coupled together should trigger a big question mark in your head.

It is like someone proclaiming that they own corn and wheat.

What those business men will do for you is nothing but access to the giant media repetition. But then you are Miley, nothing but a no talent ass jiggle being played over and over and over again.
 
 
+2 # Rob Hager 2016-08-07 15:51
"Web" is a euphemism for imperialism. "Left" is auphemism for divided and conquer identity politics. "Wall" is a way to avoid the concept of the nation state at the foundation of international law which the US imperialists have disregarded since it first formed the "anti-communist " empire. Imperialism is inherently opposed to democracy. US became a democracy by defeating an empire.
 
 
+6 # brian1060ne 2016-08-07 15:57
Dear Mr. Friedman

Your head is flat.
 
 
+3 # Texas Aggie 2016-08-07 16:55
"But those concerns can be addressed only with economic growth..."

We've had tremendous economic growth for the last thirty years barring Bush's Great Recession, but as growth increases, so does inequality. That is proof positive that growth will not remediate inequality (A beautiful theory shot down by an ugly fact.).

That Friedman is too stupid to realize that fact is a strong indication that anything else he may say needs to be closely scrutinized to see if it is equally fallacious. It would seem that between them, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks have almost enough neurons to make a synapse and neither can be given much credence.
 
 
+2 # Ralph 2016-08-07 18:39
Friedman should be publicly flogged. On Wall Street no less.
 
 
+2 # MadKate 2016-08-07 23:00
Just remember, please, Tommy Freedom is a longtime member (in good standing if the 1%!
 
 
0 # wrknight 2016-08-08 09:55
Matt writes - "This whole situation has raised profound questions that nobody has ever bothered to try to answer for ordinary voters, as in: What are nation-states for, in a global economy? What's the point of all of our labor laws, or voting-rights laws, the first amendment and a host of other American legal traditions if large pluralities of American manufacturers do their business in countries like China, where human rights abuses are rampant, political freedom is nonexistent and speech is tightly controlled?"

A global economy without global governance is like the Eurozone without a European government. It is an opportunity for bankers and global corporations to rule the world without interference from the people or nation-state governments.
 
 
+1 # dascher 2016-08-08 11:03
Does anybody still bother read Friedman? He has written so many columns that display his ignorance and his neo-lib biases that there is nothing to be gained by glancing at his stuff.
 
 
+2 # Phillybuster 2016-08-08 15:17
He leaves me flat.
 
 
0 # kyzipster 2016-08-08 14:08
I believe the Reagan Era ended with the crash of 2007 and Alan Greenspan finally discredited. He was an economic god to both parties, the Bill Clinton years were no exception. Interesting that nobody ever talks about it. It's one of the reasons Sanders did so well, it even accounts for Trump's populism, even if it is just hot air.

Bush Jr pulled off his historic tax cuts because Clinton left office with a surplus and a solid plan to pay down the debt by 2008. Trump is wanting $10 trillion in tax cuts and he might have a willing Congress but public opinion could prevent it. Republicans are also blaming Obama for a $20 trillion debt so it's a very different environment from 2000. Clinton's surplus helped to get Bush 'elected' because Bush promised to give money back to voters.

Establishment Democrats and Republicans may still be clinging to their Ayn Rand ideology but it's no longer endorsed by voters. I even think we've reached a point where the GOP base might see 'trickle down economics' as the punch line of a very bad joke. And it only took 35 years for the truth to emerge!
 
 
+3 # Phillybuster 2016-08-08 15:16
"I earn thousands of dollars a day sitting on my ass at home churning out blathering generalities and phony anecdotes about middle and lower class losers for the NYT. Find out my secret! (Hint: Marry a billionaire heiress)" @friedmanunit
 

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