This blog comments on Friedman's writings and provides examples of thoughtful editorials for him to emulate in the future.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grandfather clause

Thanks to James Taranto:

Grandfather Clause
  • "This is not your grandfather's NATO anymore."--Thomas Friedman, New York Times,March 30, 2003
  • "Friends, we are in the midst of an energy crisis--but this is not your grandfather's energy crisis."--Friedman, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2006
  • "Well, my general view is that this isn't your father's recession; it's your grandfather's recession."--former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, New York Times website, Feb. 13, 2009
  • "To appreciate the problem, you need to know that this isn't your father's recession. It's your grandfather's, or maybe even (as I'll explain) your great-great-grandfather's."--Krugman, New York Times, Feb. 20, 2009
  • "I've been saying for almost a decade now that what we have these days aren't your father's recessions, they're your grandfather's recessions."--Krugman, New York Times website,Jan. 17, 2011
  • "And this is the relevant history we should be looking at: this isn't your father's slump, it's your grandfather's slump."--Krugman, New York Times website, Sept. 19, 2011
  • "If Israelis want to escape that fate, it is very important that they understand that we're not your grandfather's America anymore."--Friedman, New York Times, Nov. 11, 2012
  • "This is not your grandfather's battlefield."--Friedman, New York Times, Feb. 2, 2014
  • "We're not dealing anymore with your grandfather's Israel, and they're not dealing anymore with your grandmother's America either."--Friedman, New York Times, April 16, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why Putin Doesn’t Respect Us - March 4, 2014

In this column, Friedman complains about "the Putin-body-slammed-Obama prattle" because "[t]his isn’t All-Star Wrestling." But then he insists that "we" must "expose" "our real strength," presumably without actually wrestling.

Does he mean we should don a luchador costume?

Pretty much, that's exactly what he proposes, if you read his goofy policy suggestion.

He does give us the new byline for this blog though: "There is much nonsense being written."

I'll start by agreeing with Friedman that the breakup of the Soviet Union was not the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. But I can see how it was from Putin's perspective. And I agree with Friedman about this:

"The Soviet Union died because Communism could not provide rising standards of living, and its collapse actually unleashed boundless human energy all across Eastern Europe and Russia. A wise Putin would have redesigned Russia so its vast human talent could take advantage of all that energy."

I don't agree with his next sentence, though. "He would be fighting today to get Russia into the European Union, not to keep Ukraine out." What country in its right mind would join the EU just as it's about to collapse? The combination of overly generous welfare programs, moral decay, overregulation, the Euro, and economic protectionism have doomed the EU.

But here's where Friedman, as usual, gets confused. "So spare me the Putin-body-slammed-Obama prattle. This isn’t All-Star Wrestling." This is followed by " it is time we expose his real weakness and our real strength." So apparently we're not talking about wrestling, but some other sport? Some other way to demonstrate our manhood?

Recall Friedman's opening paragraph: "Just as we’ve turned the coverage of politics into sports, we’re doing the same with geopolitics. There is much nonsense being written about how Vladimir Putin showed how he is “tougher” than Barack Obama and how Obama now needs to demonstrate his manhood."

So Friedman doesn't want people writing "nonsense" about how Putin is tougher; instead, he himself writes about how we need to "expose" "our real strength." This hilarious, hilarious prose.

Not only that, but Friedman wants to "frighten Putin." Maybe he means we should adopt a luchador costume and avoid the fight by looking tough?

Friedman thinks we can "frighten Putin" by doing three things: "raise our gasoline tax, put in place a carbon tax and a national renewable energy portfolio standard — all of which would also help lower the global oil price (and make us stronger, with cleaner air, less oil dependence and more innovation)." While I agree with the increase in gasoline tax for many reasons, not one of them is to "frighten Putin." But spending more billions on green dreams would only encourage Putin. It would constitute more economic waste, increase our energy costs, and make America less competitive on the world markets. We'd have the worst combination of high labor costs and high energy costs.

Maybe reading Friedman's columns is the real reason "why Putin holds us in contempt."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A health care lemon


Unlike Thomas Friedman, Ben Carson writes clearly and directly:

When you place misdeeds by the government beyond the reach of normal mechanisms of recourse, you establish a condition ripe for abuse. If a bill is passed under false pretenses, shouldn’t we question its legitimacy and. at the very least, reintroduce the bill after disclosing the aspects that were hidden previously? If the bill still passes after such disclosure, it would then become legitimate. We must remember that we are talking about one-sixth of the U.S. economy. We should not be playing fast and loose with the laws and details surrounding the most important possession we have: our health. 

As a nation, we need to decide how important honesty is. If dishonesty is employed to achieve a goal, do we just say, “OK, you put one over on us,” or do we address the solution legislatively, as we would in a civil case?

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/26/carson-a-health-care-lemon/#ixzz2lrg02Wi4
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