Equalize Now!
Equalize Now!

Secret Agent Thomas Friedman

Secret Agent Friedman


Thomas Friedman has long been one of our top secret agents. He travels the world to give credibility to his writing, which we admit is full of logical fallacies, inconsistencies, and contradictions. But that's by design. He cleverly confuses people so they think they're not smart enough to understand his brilliance. Then he gives them a conclusion that they feel compelled to accept.

 

Sometime this summer we've arranged for him to issue a series of columns supporting equalize now. We already wrote them. He's revising them to make them a little less conherent.


 

Agent Friedman's propaganda from Feb 11: We need a new party

Body of the article, with our comments in gold:

 

WATCHING the Republican Party struggling to agree on a presidential candidate, one wonders whether the G.O.P. shouldn’t just sit this election out — just give 2012 a pass. [We'd like nothing more, so this is just wishful thinking, but 4 years ago, who would have thought our #1 Secret Agent, Barak Obama, would be nominated--let alone elected! So we encouraged Agent Friedman to initiate this meme here.]

 

You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you’ve got only vowels that spell nothing? What do you do? You go back to the pile. [We tried to tell Agent Friedman that you actually look at the board when you play Scrabble, but he said no one plays that game any more and he thought the metaphor was perfect. We play Words with Friends on our phones and we still look at the board. But since this is in the body of his article, we figure no one will notice, anyway.] You throw your letters back and hope to pick up better ones to work with. That’s what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing. [This is really an awful metaphor, the more we think about it. Our apologies.]

 

There’s a reason for that: Their pile is out of date. [Ah, so vowels are now obsolete. He's alluding to Newspeak, one of our principal tactics we've explained elsewhere. We don't want Agent Friedman to get too explicit about this, though, so we had him follow up with a typically bizarre sentence.] The party has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases: [Okay, so we couldn't even think of a conflict among these, but we love the confusion Agent Friedmand sows here as readers try to figure out how any of these conflict.] anti-abortion advocates, anti-immigration activists, social conservatives worried about the sanctity of marriage [we've been incredibly successful at persuading the intelligensia that this is what Republicans are all about, despite the omission of most of this from their candidates' web pages and policy papers], libertarians who want to shrink government, and anti-tax advocates who want to drown government in a bathtub. [We asked Agent Friedmand what he meant by this and he laughed and said he was alluding to Whitney Houston. Not funny, in our opinion, but again, no one reads this stuff.]

 

Sorry, but you can’t address the great challenges America faces today with that incoherent mix [We came up with this phrase ourselves. You'll see it repeated throughout the NFM (non-Fox media) in upcoming weeks.] of hardened positions. I’ve argued that maybe we need a third party to break open our political system. But that’s a long shot. [This is to prevent Nader and Paul from moving in this direction. We realized a long time ago we needed to work through the existing parties, and obviously we co-opted the Democrats because they control the poor and weak-minded who will support our movement.] What we definitely and urgently need is a second party — a coherent Republican opposition that is offering constructive conservative proposals on the key issues and is ready for strategic compromises to advance its interests and those of the country. [Of course, we want exactly the opposite--the whole point of Agent Friedman's article.]

 

Without that, the best of the Democrats — who have been willing to compromise [We don't know of any Democrats willing to compromise, and there better not be any or we'll defeat them in the next election ourselves. Compromise will never get us to equalize-now.] — have no partners and the worst have a free pass for their own magical thinking. [At first, we were offended by this, but Agent Friedman explained that he's setting it up so the Democrats are so crazy--express so much magical thinking--that equalize now will itself appear to be a compromise. We loved the idea!] Since such a transformed Republican Party is highly unlikely, maybe the best thing would be for it to get crushed in this election and forced into a fundamental rethink — something the Democrats had to go through when they lost three in a row between 1980 and 1988. [He's almost giving us away here, but we let it slide. We saw what happened to McGovern and Carter and Mondale and Dukakis and realized we had to go even further left to "compromise" back to equalize now. That's why we're so elated that Agent Obama got elected.] We need a “Different Kind of Republican” the way Bill Clinton gave us a “Different Kind of Democrat.”

 

Because when I look at America’s three greatest challenges today, I don’t see the Republican candidates offering realistic answers to any of them. [This is so blatantly false we thought he'd gone to far, but Agent Friedman was correct; people are accepting this on its face.]

 

The first is responding to the challenges and opportunities of an era in which globalization and the information technology revolution have dramatically intensified, creating a hyperconnected world. This is a world in which education, innovation and talent will be rewarded more than ever. This is a world in which there will be no more “developed” and “developing countries,” but only HIEs (high-imagination-enabling countries) and LIEs (low-imagination-enabling countries). [We were worried because he's describing Mitt Romney's resume here, but then we remembered that he said none of the Republicans have answers. We hope readers remember that when they read this, because otherwise Agent Friedman is making the case for Romney here.]

 

And this is a world that America is hard-wired to thrive in — provided we invest in better infrastructure, postsecondary education for all, more talented immigrants, regulations that incentivize risk-taking and prevent recklessness, and government-financed research to push out the boundaries of science and let our venture capitalists pluck the best flowers. [This is the most risky sentence we've ever let Agent Friedman write. This is right out of Mitt Romney's campaign material. It's what the man did for 25 years at Bain. We're still fearful that people will read this and realize the truth, but we allowed it because, as we've said, we think people will only read the conclusion. But this sentence is coherent, logical and accurate, and if people realize Agent Friedman lifted this from Romney's campaign material, we won't allow this type of writing in the future.] There is no way we can thrive in this era without this kind of public-private partnership. [We loved this one. It brings all the lingo about markets and efficiency back into the government context. IOW, we can have all this free market stuff AFTER we've gone through equalization. Nicely done, Agent Friedman!] We need strong government, but limited government, which enables our companies and individuals to compete globally. [Whew-we're back to emphasizing that government is central.] It’s the kind of public-private partnership that Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush embraced. [These two Republicans came closest to moving the country toward equalization, but they were followed by the traitors JFK and Bill Clinton.]

 

The second of our great long-term challenges are our huge debt and entitlement obligations. They can’t be fixed without raising and reforming taxes and trimming entitlements and defense. We absolutely cannot just cut entitlements and defense. That would imperil the personal security and national security of every American. We must also reform taxes to raise more revenues. [Needless to say, Mitt Romney is the only candidate of either party who has actually proposed reasonble and effective changes to taxes and entitlements. We were worried that readers might realize this, but Agent Friedman's next sentence saves the day.]

 

But when all the Republican candidates last year said they would not accept a deal with Democrats that involved even $1 in tax increases in return for $10 in spending cuts, the G.O.P. cut itself off from reality. It became a radical party, not a conservative one. [We've tested this through the NFM and in fact, people do fall for it. One dumb abstract question in a single debate and Agent Friedman is able to characterize Republicans as radical. Notice how he repeats the meme here. We told you!] And for the candidates to wrap themselves in a cartoon version of Ronald Reagan -- a real conservative who raised taxes, including the gasoline tax, when he discovered his own cuts had gone too far -- is fraudulent. [This is daring, but Agent Friedman told us he could get away with it. It's like the Washington DC accounting: a budget is "cut" if it isn't increased as much as "projected." So Reagan cut taxes drastically, then adjusted them a little, and we're able to claim he "raised taxes" even though net-net, he reduced them significantly.]

 

Our third great challenge is how we power our future -- without dangerously polluting and warming the earth [In the first draft, Agent Friedman omitted this phrase. We called him on it because global warming was once our greatest rationale for equalization, but the public is resisting it more and more. We had him add "dangerously" here as part of our effort to get the public worried about this issue again] -- as the global population grows from 7 billion to 9 billion people by 2050, and more and more of them want to drive, eat and live like Americans. [Our other themes are overpopulation and carbon footprint; to get them to demand equalization, we have to get Americans worried about both issues. These are more personal than "global warming" and they're continuing to prove effective at raising anxiety. Agent Friedman very effectively brings them into an argument about energy here.] Two billion more people who want to live like us? We can’t drill our way out of that challenge, which is why energy efficiency and clean power will be the next great global industry. [We encourage Agent Friedman to predict the next great global industry, just like he predicted Facebook and Google and Apple and Hyundai. He has no clue about the future, but this type of affirmative statement sounds authoritative and, astonishingly, people buy it. Of course, we want people to think there will be a new global industry that changes everything because it fits our objective: we need to equalize resources among the people to respond to the "next great global industry."] Real conservatives -- like Richard Nixon, the father of the Environmental Protection Agency, and George H.W. Bush, the author of the first cap-and-trade deal to curb acid rain -- believe in conserving. [We love this, too, because while all Republicans, and Mitt Romney more than most, advocate conservation, it's fun to point to two unpopular Republicans as the best examples. Subtle, but effective. Actually, we're very concerned about Mitt Romney because as a businessman, he knows better than any politician that conservation is the best way to save capital and resources. But we want the idea associated with Nixon and Bush so the Republican primary voters will advocate the opposite.] The current Republican candidates are so captured by the oil and coal lobbies that they can’t think seriously about this huge opportunity for energy innovation. [We told Agent Friedman this was so absurd no one would buy it, but as we've seen several times in this piece, the more absurd, the better. Sometimes we bow at his brilliance.]

 

Until the G.O.P. stops being radical [we've been saying this for so long now that most of the media has adopted the term, and Friedman does it better than most] and returns to being conservative, it won’t provide what the country needs most now — competition — competition with Democrats [even we find this hilarious: the idea that Democrats want to compromise] on the issues that will determine whether we thrive in the 21st century. [The only issue we care about is equality so the more Friedman and our other spies distract from that, the better] We need to hear conservative fiscal policies, energy policies, immigration policies and public-private partnership concepts — not radical ones. Would somebody please restore our second party? [We need people to think the Republicans don't matter, and Friedman is our best agent at accomplishing this.] The country is starved for a grown-up debate. [Actually, the country is starved for equalize-now, but Agent Friedman will get Americans there gradually over the next few months.]

Photo Gallery: the Prettiest Pictures from Agent Friedman's jaunts around the world