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August 17, 2006

Nice Liberals: Argh

Matthew Yglesias:

So this war...all the Israelis killed...the even greater number of Arabs killed...Israel achieved, what, exactly?

Perhaps a better term than "the even greater number of Arabs killed" would be "the 7.5 times as many Arabs killed":

The conflict left about 1,200 Lebanese dead and 4,500 wounded, Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat said yesterday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Aug. 14 that 159 Israelis were killed, and 2,015 Israelis were injured according to Israeli police.

...and that's leaving out the question of the ratio of civilians killed on each side.

...and the question of whether the entire episode should be viewed from the perspective of what "Israel achieved."

I actually don't mean to slam young Mr. Yglesias, who is generally pretty cogent and shows an admirable capacity for personal growth. Moreover, I suffer from the same Nice Liberal disease he does. But it does give you a sense of why many in the Arab world might grit their teeth at America's Nice Liberals generally. It's a real problem that this kind of thing represents almost the outer limit of our acceptable discourse.

For a fun thought experiment, imagine the reaction in the U.S. if the situation were reversed: 1,200 Israelis were dead and 159 Lebanese. And the outer limit of acceptable discourse in the Arab world were to wonder what had been achieved in return for all the Lebanese killed (and "the even greater number of Israelis").

Previous episodes in the continuing "NL:A" series can be found here, here and here.

Posted at August 17, 2006 11:33 AM | TrackBack

Interesting the ratio of dead to injured: about 1 to 4 in Lebanon and about 1 to 14 in Israel.

I don't know if it's true, but according to As'ad AbuKhalil, the Israel's count of the injured includes those those who got, like, really scared.

Posted by: abb1 at August 17, 2006 12:58 PM

There's that--e.g. Israelis suffering from "shock" were classified as injured--and there's also the fact that many of the wounded Lebanese could have been saved if access to medical care had not been so war-criminally impeded. For example, there was Samira's story--posted at Angry Arab and re-posted at Jesus' General:

"Samira's story is so sad. She reached Tyre hospital today, but she was injured on Friday when Israeli strikes hit her house in Dhayreh in South Lebanon. She was taken on a donkey ( yes a donkey) to Nakkoura , and from there they had to hitch hike to Tyre. By the time they got there she had lost all her blood. She will not make it , the doctors say. she was wounded in the leg and had she been able to reach the hospital sooner , she would have been fine. But due to the fact she bleeded for so long, her brain was damaged and she is now considered clinically dead."

I am sure there were lots and lots of Samiras in this conflict.

May God/Allah/To Whom It May Concern save us from Nice Liberals.

Posted by: Jean at August 17, 2006 01:51 PM

god save us from ourselves. i just got an israeli talking points e-mail from my local isra- uh, american representative. he thanked me for contacting him with my concerns about the lebanon situation, said that the attacks "had to happen" and that the loss of life was "regrettable." it also contained the word "kidnapping" in reference to the two israeli soldiers, and it mentioned this as the starting point of the whole "regrettable" affair. and i live in south pasadena, CA and am represented by all democrats. why am i supposed to vote D again? these people don't represent me, that's for sure.

Posted by: joe_christmas at August 17, 2006 03:38 PM

To make your comparison even more apt, your hypothetical commentator would have to wonder out loud of those deaths were worth it if Nasrallah did not even manage to achieve his objectives.

Posted by: Rojo at August 17, 2006 04:00 PM

No offense to Mathew but who cares what he thinks?

I don't.

Not too long ago there was a discussion by the big swinging dicks of the blog world about what was the best solution to Iraq. Everyone who participated in it was well versed in proper blog etiquette and the discussion was ever so nuanced. In fact they nuanced me to death. My own nuanced thought was who the fuck cares what these people think?

No one really.

The whole thing struck me as ludicrous because here were these oh so nuanced and intelligent comment givers giving it there all with highly informed and nuanced rhetoric in an ever so polite manner with the expectation that readers would swoon with shock and awe at this display of enlightened discussion and behold all problems solved.

Trouble is Iraq is still a slaughterhouse with over a hundred people dying every day.

I don’t know why people think that musicians have some deep insights that others don’t have. Having been a performing musician myself and having spent years around other musicians I can easily say there is nothing special about these people at all. In fact many are about as shallow and ignorant as can possibly be living in their own little world of music barely aware of anything else that is happening in the great wide world. True I was not a rock musician or any other type of popular music performer but after seeing how many musicians look down their noses at non musicians I came to the conclusion that opinions of musicians have little or no value.

Same thing goes for movie stars who generally irritate me to no end. Who cares what Mel Gibson says when being arrested for drunk driving? For some reason the news papers consider this news worthy while the fact that George Bush is a drunken, besotted, lying, thieving lunatic and is in charge of the most heavily armed nation in the world is not news worthy.

There simply is no logic to humanity.

Posted by: rob payne at August 17, 2006 06:45 PM

Hey, Rob? I know what you're saying. Jonathan speaks up over things like this in the hopes of getting at least a tiny bit of logic into discussions. He's got the stature to do it and takes that responsibility seriously, or humorously, depending.

Posted by: J. Alva Scruggs at August 17, 2006 07:28 PM

J. Alva Scruggs,

I have been to a lot of different blog sites but A Tiny Revolution is by far the most interesting one I have come across. At first I thought Jonathan wanted serious comments but then it seemed he wanted snarky humorous comments. I admit I have been confused at what Jonathan was looking for and tried my hand at both. I think maybe a mixture is good but I will try to add more of an element of logic and less snark though snark can sometimes have an element of logic.

Posted by: rob payne at August 17, 2006 08:07 PM

Discussion is good but only if it RESULTS in good actions. Aparently we're all blow and NO GO. (me included)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 17, 2006 08:18 PM

Not to brag(nothing to brag about)I worked in carnivals for 19 yrs-(games). As a result, I know a hook when I see one. Mr. Rubin thinks you or whomever is a lollypop(sucker). If you gave this GREEDY BASTARD every cent in your pocket, your credit card and bank account numbers, the equity in your mortgage, he would ask you to sell your kids and send him the cash. THERE IS ONLY ONE THING A THIEF CAN'T STEAL OR A POLITICIAN TAX---ENOUGH, NEVER ENOUGH.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 17, 2006 08:56 PM

Nice liberals finished second in the most recent presidential election, but REAL liberals finished last, as usual. And, as usual, there would have been no change at all in the status quo had those nice liberals won. Kerry may be a nice liberal, but he will never be an authentic one. He has that Bonesman ring to prove it. Lieberman lost to a nice liberal recently, but is that replacement really any different?

The wealthy families who rule the world point an accusatory finger at those who actually are liberal enough to expose the real source of that wealth. This has not been by hard, honest work and Horatio Alger-type diligence as they like to claim. Instead, this wealth has come by profiteering from wars, slavery, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, genocide; these are only a few examples of they type of 'work' they actually do. They have also established the MSM as their exclusive propaganda tool and it has surpassed the predicted expectations of George Orwell. Their form of capitalism is not a free market type, but an institution based on excessive cruelty and greed.

I am a socialist and, therefore, a nasty liberal. But at least I am an authentic liberal. It is fortunate to have this site to express such nasty liberal thoughts. Jonathan provides a last bastion for free speech. If things keep getting worse in this country, as well as in the rest of the world, then one of these days we're NOT going to finish last and it's definitely NOT going to be nice!

Posted by: americanintifada at August 18, 2006 01:58 AM

"imagine the reaction in the U.S. if the situation were reversed: 1,200 Israelis were dead and 159 Lebanese."

See, I've wondered about that for some time, from a couple of different angles:

1.Was Hezbollah capable of inflicting more damage but unwilling to do so for fear that Israel would actually wipe them out, as opposed to engaging in a theatrical war designed to shore up the Israeli political right while leaving a useful enemy at large should it be needed to whup on at some future date?

2. Did the Syrians and Iranians have more accurate and lethal weaponry that they could have given to Hezbollah, but feared doing this because they wanted Hezbollah to test and contain Israel, but not so aggravate and threaten the Israelis that Olmert and GWB might decide to escalate the war to include Syria and Iran?

3.Did Israel start the war, if you think they started it, to see if the US would use it as a pretext to invade Syria and Iran?

4.Did Hezbollah start the war, if you think they started it, to see if the US would use it as a pretext to invade Syria and Iran? Undoubtedly there are numerous other angles I'm missing.

as far as Yglesias goes, I've always thought there were 2 kinds of lefty bloggers-- the ones who aspire to be respectable careerists and someday end up on Cokie Roberts' rolodex(like, say, Yglesias, Ann Marie Cox and Kevin Drum), and the great unwashed rest of us.

Now that doesn't mean the "respectables" are useless and that their opinions are inherently suspect, but said opinions should probably be regarded through a prism of sorts. Maybe it would be helpful if they used little polished apple icons as emoticons or talking points bullets off to the side.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at August 18, 2006 02:51 AM

Only cultures that evolve monetary systems evolve class structures. This is a basic fact of life. Many of the Native American tribes that were located where we the U.S. now resides never developed monetary systems. The social structures were such that no one single person was more important than another. In fact, despite Hollywood, many tribes did not actually have a leader or chief as Hollywood portrays it. There was only one tribe in the south east that developed a monetary system and they were the only tribe to develop a class system that is to say there were groups within the tribe who had more status than other groups within the tribe.

The people who run the show in this country is the top ten percent which includes of course the owners of the oil companies and it is no coincidence that everyone in the present administration comes from an oil family such as Bush himself or are related to the oil industry in some way. Cheney an ex CEO of an energy company, Rice who has an oil tanker named after her etc.

Since the Republican Party is the party of the wealthy it is no surprise that most of the contributions by oil companies go to republican candidates the party of choice if you are wealthy in fact over 73 percent of the millions went to republican candidates and oranizations.

The Center found that the industry has spent more than $354 million* on lobbying activities since 1998, pushing hard on everything from a new national energy policy to obscure changes in the tax code.

The industry has given more than $67 million in campaign contributions in federal elections since the 1998 election cycle, about a fifth of the amount it has spent on lobbying.

Oil and gas companies overwhelmingly favored Republicans over Democrats in their campaign giving, the study found. Just over 73 percent of the industry's campaign contributions have gone to Republican candidates and organizations.

The industry exerts its influence in other, less obvious ways, including membership on the National Petroleum Council, a commission formed to advise the energy secretary. Koch Industries, the largest privately-held oil company in the United States, has financed a network of conservative nonprofit organizations designed to influence policy debate in this country.

U.S.-based oil and gas companies have nearly 900 subsidiaries located in tax haven countries, such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda
* * * * * *
Clearly the wealthy control just about everything in this country from the news media to the politicians now in office, they have developed the so called think tanks to mislead the public on just about everything creating an up is down scenario that benefits the wealthy and shrouds the actions of their puppet politicos now holding office in a cloak of confusion.

The majority of people in this country are conservative, ill educated, ignorant of politics in general and are easy fodder for scare tactics used by their republican leaders. As long as these people swim in an emotional sea of fanatical religion, lack of interest in politics, have enough to eat and a roof over their head they will continue to indulge in their backwoods goober fantasies. Only when things get abysmally worse than they are now will there be any kind of real change.

Posted by: rob payne at August 18, 2006 02:58 AM


The link provided by 'sk' showing George Galloway being shouted down during attempts to debate the issues exposes the MSM as a supreme propaganda tool, performing its utmost to prevent honest critical opinion and debate from being heard.

Dick Cheney and Orrin Hatch recently stated that a vote for Democrats is a vote for terrorism. Their numbers are low in the polls and they need an effective hook. This is true genius and down-home LBJ-style Texas politics. After Lyndon was told by his aides that he couldn't call his opponent a pig-fucker, he said "Make the bastard deny it!"

If you combine their recent remarks with that 'brilliance' of the majority you mentioned (who also happen to be re-populating those backwoods with plenty of future 'informed members of the electorate') it all leads to another Republican victory.

In the words of P.T. Barnum, "There's a sucker born every minute!" Unfortunately, they will end up as voters!

Posted by: americanintifada at August 18, 2006 03:47 AM


Not only that but Lieberman recently used the same line about terrorists but then Lieberman is a republican by any other odor.

Barnum understood the world and how it works because the rest of the quote is "and two to take him."

I tried to watch SK's link but you tube never seems to work on my computer so thanks for briefing me on what it was about.

You will get no arguments from me concerning the MSM and PBS is not much better. The vaunted News Hour should be renamed the Bush Enabler Hour. Of course any news show that hires David Brooks should be grounds for immediate skepticism.

Posted by: rob payne at August 18, 2006 04:32 AM


I have long passed skepticism and am now in the far reaches of cynicism regarding 'news'. I just read Mike Ruppert's farewell letter issued today on his website From the Wilderness and being the same age, raised in the same neighborhood, as well as having lived through those 'good old days of the 60's and 70s' as he painsstakingly put it, expatriation now seems imminent for me as well.

I am fortunate that I work at home and this enables me to live anywhere that has internet access. This is NOT the United States of America anymore. This has become the United Corporations of America and change can no longer come from within. Sad is the day when freedom can only be found outside of our borders. Venezuela, here I come! Hando buscando algien que habla Ingles!

Posted by: americanintifada at August 18, 2006 06:01 AM


I have had similar thoughts about leaving this loony bin. Bush has been useful in one respect in that he has removed the mask and revealed a redneck country full of ugly and violent people.

This is a terrible country to retire in just look at what will be happening. Bush will destroy all the safety nets like social security and his war spending and outsourcing will leave this country in poverty.

Sure there are worst places but there are also better places like New Zealand, Australia, France and Antarctica. There is no doubt in my mind that the majority of America is completely insane and well on its way to hell but not back again. I feel no connection with this place any longer.

The American dream is a nightmare and I long for something better, like being around people who are sane. Part of evolution is behavioral evolution and it can get to the point where behavior is no longer beneficial and the result is extinction. I think that is what is happening in this country with the rise of fanatical religious zealots talking in tongue and rolling on the ground in some kind of fever pitched frenzy. Today some ding-dong left a religious pamphlet on my doorstep talking about the devil and the rapture, down the street there is a church called the Assembly of God if you can believe that. I stopped in to ask them how they were coming with the assembly and I wanted to know how many parts they still had left to assemble.

I have a serious question for you, where do you go to find out about immigrating to another country? I would really like find out more about how to do it and what countries are good places to consider and that would accept Americans because not all countries accept immigrants. Any thoughts on the topic would be appreciated

Posted by: rob payne at August 18, 2006 08:03 AM

Rob, Amer...

Um why in god's name would you ever immigrate. Think about it. As an American living abroad or a citizen of another country you will have less enforcable rights.

You really think that America plays nicer with people that live outside it's borders than those inside it?

Running away prevents you from effectively participating in the US, which is where participation is desperately needed. Particularly now when the new medium of the internet is arising to actually become a true news and commentary media.

Mike Ruppert is an idiot. "Waah my servers were sacked. Waah I feel like parts of society don't like me." So then you run away? No you stick around and get to know more people and you get justice by forcing the government to enforce the legal rights you inherited as a citizen. As bad as things are now with executive overreach, the judicial branch is attempting to fix it.

The real question is why is the legislature not present? And the answer is my in my post above. The Robert Rubins and many other Clinton people have sold out. Is this a permanent sell out? I don't know. Can it be reversed? Sure.

I think it's alot easier to engage the Robert Rubins of the world in civil dialogue to change their minds, as Stirling Newberry has attempted, then to run to some other country. Let the Dems who want to be republicans become republicans, let them at least not pretend to be dems. In this way at least the Dems will return to being a true opposition party.

Now as for the media problems we have in this country; this blog is part of the solution. The goal with the media struggle is to change the playing field permanently using technical innovation and the powers of the networked overmind that are inherent in this innovation. This fight for a fair media playing field is winning more ground faster than any of the others.

The commenters here and other places are helping to build this replacement media, by their consistent aciton, their ideas and examples. And beautifully, this nlgn (read n multiplied by the logaritm of n) process can not be stopped by the linear processes which control established mass media. It is a mathematical certainty that the internet mind wins because it scales faster.

It's like the power of compound interest. At first it doesn't look like you are making much money. Then you are sort of holding your own. Before you know it you're a little ahead. And then you're way ahead and looking back.

Posted by: patience at August 18, 2006 09:47 AM

The compleyte saying IS "There's a Sucker born every minute AND TWO TO TAKE HIM." Now the question IS which one of the three am I?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 18, 2006 10:42 AM

Damnit Rob beat me to it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 18, 2006 10:44 AM

You gots commonsense. Soon, very soon, no matter where you go you will be up against the same brick wall. Even a Rat will fight when cornered and so will everyone soon as we are all being worked to the corners. Ben Franklin was right, if we don't hand together we will SURELY hang separately. No matter where we run to. (especially Canada)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 18, 2006 11:00 AM

Do you really believe that America has more enforceable rights than exist in other countries?

Europeans are not exactly living in the Stone Age you know and in fact one could make a very good argument that many European countries have a much better quality of life than we do.

I used to live in a nice liberal college town filled with nice progressive types who drove small cars, were concerned about the environment, human rights, the whole nine yards. Then it began to change, the rich started to move in, companies began to leave the area, all of sudden there were nothing but huge SRVs, BMWs, Merecedez Benz, giant pick up trucks and the cost of housing soared.

Eventually I could not afford to live in my nice liberal community and I sold my house and went in search of a place to live. I searched for another nice liberal community but you know what? They were far and few between, almost non-existent and where they existed only the very wealthy could afford to live there. What I found was redneck communities filled with thugs, flag wavers, crime and ignorant violent people living in a fantasy world filled with conspiracy theories, black helicopters and Rush Limbaugh and murderous Christians. I feel no connection to these people at all.

Nathan Newman is a brilliant fellow but there is more to this than curves and the price of oil. What has killed this country is the loss of manufacturing and the middle class. What we see now is an ever widening gap between the wealthy and the poor. The unions are depleted and working in Wal Mart or MacDonalds is not going to support a middle class. If you look closely at the DLC you will see they are actually republicans, Abb1 was correct when he or she said there was no difference between the two and I was wrong. Look at Hillary Clinton, she is a republican at heart, she supports the war in Iraq and the war Israel just waged and she is the most likely choice for the DLC to run for president.

The only real reason the war in Iraq has become unpopular is because it is a complete failure and should not be mistaken as sign that the country is becoming more liberal. If the war had been even somewhat successful you would see most Americans supporting it even though it is wrong to invade, murder, rape and pillage weaker nations.

America is way conservative and nothing is going to change that and I feel extremely uncomfortable living with conservatives, they in fact scare the hell out of me. And if you think that sitting at home punching away at a computer is going to change this I think you are in for a let down. I like bloggers and blogging because one can connect with other liberal thinkers but the real world is outside and that is where any real change will happen if it happens at all which I doubt.

Posted by: rob payne at August 18, 2006 09:02 PM

Republicrats, bless their empty heads, gotta love em. Because if you can't LOVE them how will you ever expect to change them? When you face some and you feel rage, fear, or hate in your heart, sooner or later they will feel what you feel. It's not a matter of changing your principles, (because that does NOT work)it'sa matter about how you feel about another HUMAN BEING standing in front of you face to face. If you cannot change your own heart then how will you ever get them to help you change the world. You CAN'T do it alone, believe me, I've tried. It WILL take a major majority of us to turn around what has happened to us in AMERICA. Think about it, the country is divided half and half. Just got to pull a large chunk off the conservative side, that's all.
( Say, in that fourth paragraph, you weren't talking about Sheridan, Wyo, were you?)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 19, 2006 12:08 AM


I don’t want to change the republicats so much as I want to vote them out of office which is what they deserve.

I agree that you will not change the course this country is on alone which is why I get so frustrated when democrats do not vote. If you think about the fact that in any given election less than half of the voting age population votes it makes your own vote of less value. I think this in part due to the republican strategy of discouraging people from voting by making them feel their vote does not count which is of course true if you do not vote.

In the last election Thomas Sowell a conservative, to put it mildly, columnist wrote a column aimed at black voters telling them if they do not have the correct view, that of Sowell of course, that they would be better off not voting. Sowell is a fellow of the Hoover Institute think tank which explains much.

I admire your optimism and I hope you are right and my skepticism is wrong but I am skeptical.

Posted by: rob payne at August 19, 2006 01:55 AM

If half the country is Red and half Blue, then the winning side MUST either take from the losing side or convince the losing side to participate less. (don't vote). You must have a CLEAR MAJORITY to win or else DIEBOLD will screw you, us, again.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 19, 2006 10:50 AM

"I have a serious question for you, where do you go to find out about immigrating to another country?"

Look for the immigration web site for each country you want to consider. e.g. Google search for "Canada immigration" leads to


New Zealand


I didn't have much luck finding information on immigration to France, but it boils down to the same thing as immigration to any EU state. This is easy if you have any connections, not so easy if you don't. As far as I know (which is not very far...)

The government sites will tell you what the requirements for immigration are. For example,

"To be accepted as a skilled worker, applicants must:

- meet the minimum work experience requirements;
- prove that they have the funds required for settlement; and
- earn enough points in the six selection factors to meet the pass mark."

You can take the test online. Just for kicks I took the test, assuming I had no family here, and passed. As long as you have a few years of work experience, some education (more is better) and are fluent in English (or, better, both English and French), I think you'd pass.

If you want to see what a particular climate is like, try See, e.g.

Another good source is Wikipedia, e.g.

I point out Victoria, BC not just because it's where I live, but to make it clear that not all of Canada is a frozen wasteland. Not all of the "Pacific Northwest" is rainy, either.

The other truly useful thing is Google Earth, with which you can get an idea of what the development of a particular area looks like. Sort of - coverage of TWOTUS (The World Outside The U.S.) can be quite limited.

There are plenty of "sane" places in the world. I certainly would welcome you to Victoria. My next door neighbour just moved from California, for what I think are similar reasons. I'm not sure what would become of the United States if all the sane USians left, but, well, can it really be much worse than what is going on right now?

Posted by: JustZisGuy at August 20, 2006 06:32 PM

High Everybody?

I sure will be when I move to 'smoke friendly' Canada, eh! I checked out Citizenship and Immigration sites when the bombs started dropping in Baghdad over three years ago in anticipation of a long, drawn-out war. Der Fuhrer has accomplished this and now I'm outta here! Canada has much cheaper rent than the US and Mrs. 'Fada won't have to work. We won't need a car. We can live there for 3 years in application for citizenship and since I have a job with an office in Canada, taxes and insurance won't be a problem. Mrs. 'Fada works for an electric car company that is being litigated out of existence by the major car company/oil company lobbyists, so she won't have a job too much longer anyway. Besides, the rent in BC is half of what we pay for the same thing in California. When our lease expires next year, I'll be singing "Oh, Canada!"

Posted by: americanintifada at August 21, 2006 02:21 AM

...and a PS to patience...

You may think he's an idiot, but you didn't mention all of the threats on Mike Ruppert's life which have been many, not just the vandalism. As an ex-cop he's not the most amiable person in the world, but he sure makes a lot more sense than all of you Democrats combined!

In the words of that great American philosopher, Eric Cartman: "Democrats piss me off!"

Posted by: americanintifada at August 21, 2006 03:12 AM