Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Great Moderate-to-Progressive Blogger

I've managed to hang onto the Limb for ten months, now. My readership is very small -- mostly my own family, most of whom are appalled with my political views. On the other hand can it be only coincidence that the country, as a whole, has moved toward my positions during these months? (wink)

Somehow, however, the Limb has attracted the attention of a few excellent bloggers of a similar bent. One of my favorites, and my most frequent commenter, is S.W. Anderson of Oh!pinion. S.W. has very strong opinions, but always presents them in thoughtful, reasonable, terms. My thinking has been enriched by his often succinct comments on my blog. I thought I would pick a few to share, and , as I am wont to do, got carried away. If you’ve missed any of S.W.’s comments at the Limb, here are a bunch of them:

Amen! to this response to my post on warrentless surveillance:
In a very real and deeply disturbing sense, Bush's action in this matter reveals him as someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
On Tony Snow’s conclusion that OBL was “led” to the 2001 attacks by the perception of American weakness displayed when Bush Sr “walked away” in 1991.
I notice Snow doesn't mention conclusions bin Laden might've drawn from withdrawal of our troops in Lebanon following the Khobar Towers attack. Maybe that's because Ronald Reagan ordered that withwdrawal.

This is just another iteration of the White House-GOP false-choice propaganda line: anything that deviates from The Decider's definition of staying the course is cutting and running.

As for Poppy Bush, I think he's so tickled pink his boy is president and so annoyed that so many fail to appreciate his boy's sterling qualities that he's in complete denial about George W.'s execrable performance in office.
I love this one on a Neo-Con bragging in 2003: “This war is over”.
Perfect case of chickenhawks counting their eggs before they're through laying them.
When I reacted to Cruella Ann Coulter’s vile comments:
Ah, but saying shocking, incendiary, acid, insulting, shrewish, attention-getting things is Coulter's schtick. She thus generates buzz, sells books and gets booked on Fox and elsewhere, so she can perpetuate the cycle.

Red-meat vendors like Fox keep hold of the eyeballs of right-wing hard cases through her appearances. Supposedly middle-of-road vendors like CNN have her on, then tut-tut and say ooh, what she said in mock shock after having thus made a bid for the eyeballs of right-wing hard cases.

It's a racket all the way around.
I ran a wonderful RJ Matson cartoon that skewered the right-wing disdain for the courts:
That is a good cartoon.

I tend to think right wingers have it in for judges because, unlike officials who serve in other branches, judges are nearly impossible to influence or control. Few belong to or identify with a political party. They're not subject to lobbying and most don't have their hand out for campaign money.

Judges are also relatively hard to intimidate by having Limbaugh, Hannity, Boortz and the rest of the noise machine go after them.
On an essay by the Questing Parson about the “myth of redemptive violence”:
It behooves warmaking countries to frequently countentance calls to conscience from third parties and from people opposed to all wars. Not necessarily that countries at war can or should be immobilized or even shamed by what they hear from dissident voices. But they should maintain awareness that when hostilities end there will usually be an accounting and sometimes even a reckoning.

If nothing else, it's worth remembering war is so terrible it takes a toll on victors as well as the vanquished, whether or not the victors realize in the short run that this is so.
On the lowering of military standards that have resulted from Bush’s policies, S.W., an old military guy himself, said:
How ironic this is, because a big feature of our all-volunteer force has been higher-quality, better-motivated recruits.

If there's one kind of person our military never needs or has any business accepting, it's thugs.

Integrity, discipline, grit and a sense of purpose about something greater than self and "what I want now" are keys to successful soldiering. Thugs by definition lack those attributes. Consequently, they are huge liabilities to other troops and to the mission.
On a quote by Edmund Burke about the perils of empire:
Excellent advice, of course. Nevertheless, as Bush has told us, he hears the voices but he's the president, so he gets to decide.

Sort of like a kid telling his pals that since he bought the box of Cracker Jacks, he gets to play with the prize.

Heaven help us all.
On Al Gore’s movie: An Inconvenient Truth:
Plain old common sense should be enough to convince any thinking person that two or three centuries of massive, escalating alteration of the atmosphere is bound to have negative consequences.
Add to global warming the combination of burgeoning world demand for energy — mostly fossil fuels — and predictions about "peak oil," meaning the time when we've maxed out what's economically feasible to extact, and it's not hard to see there are really big crises up ahead. Not that far up ahead, at that.

Consider how many people now live in places that require vehicular transportation to get to and fro. Consider how many people live and work in places where high summer heat and humidity and/or bitter winter cold mean they inevitably require lots of energy just so their homes will be habitable and their workplaces will be bearable.

Right now, it's as though we're all on an airliner with a brain-dead pilot. We had better start facing facts and developing ways to deal with these problems. We can't afford the luxury of electing dolts or people hellbent on enjoying the political rewards of denial.
On my prayer for the long life of Justice John Paul Stevens:

As for Stevens, I too am with The Man on the Limb. One or two more like Thomas and Scalia, and this country's in for some rough sledding — for very long time.
When I lamented that both sides in the fight over the separation of church and state often get it wrong:
I think much of what strikes you as efforts to pretend religion doesn't exist or to deny or ignore the importance of the Judeo-Christian tradition are manifestations of a natural, inevitable phenomenon in our democracy: countervailing pressure.

That is, when you have people going on cable squawk shows and people such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity insisting America was founded as a Christian nation, has been a Christian nation all along, is a Christian nation now, and you have people calling in to talk shows presenting those notions as a given, inevitably, people who aren't religious, aren't Christian and even Christians who have a clue, will push back.

The more pushy the Christian-nation folks get, the more push-back they're going to generate.

And of course, the resulting hubbub will encourage the hottest heads and meanest mouths on both sides to ratchet up the intensity from time to time, especially when lawyers and the media get involved in a flashpoint situation.

Times were better and the level of respect shown was greater when it was considered good form among people of faith to let their religious beliefs work at the level of conscience and character building, internally, when they were taking care of the people's business in various branches of government.

Nowadays, I suspect, even people who'd prefer to operate that way fear they'll lose ground politically, especially in red states, if they don't at least match those who engage in conspicuous Bible thumping and wear their faith on their shoulders, like a chip.
When Congress finally had a bit of debate on the War in Iraq:
Given that it didn't appear until an election year in which the public has turned sour on the war, this sudden appearance of dissension in the ranks of congressional Republicans rings hollow.

It's enough to make me wonder, if the November election turns into a landslide loss for the GOP, will we see neopacifist Republicans donning love beads and showing the peace sign in '08?

On a post about Coulter’s “Fair Game” comment:
Coulter and Hannity, together. Perfect match.

Add O'Reilly to this vacuum for truth and decency, and you'd have enough concentrated evil to fuel a sequel to "The Exorcist."
On another post about Coulter and my daughter’s suggestion that the Republicans “excommunicate her”:
Excommunicate her?

Not as long as she stokes their fires and money can be made off of her hatefulness.

Know their values not by what they say their values are, but by what they demonstrate their values are.
On the potential for another Gore candidacy:
Gore has maintained he would be amenable to a draft but doesn't plan to run.

If he does get drafted (unlikely) or decides to run, I hope he'll swear off political consultants, campaign wizards and anyone else who tries to shape the image he projects. If he wants advice on that, he should listen to Tipper and to his extremely bright and articulate daughter, period.

Gore is a good, capable, experienced man. He has a lot to offer. He doesn't need to come forth as a new Al Gore, just a steady, consistent Al Gore.
On our addiction to oil:
We most certainly could do plenty to improve our situation. What's needed is solid, sensible leadership. We need policy wonks who know a lot, care a lot, do their homework, then look and plan ahead. We need leaders who know what the people are capable of if summoned and challenged to do their best.

What we've got is cardboard cutouts labeled "leader."
On my lament that Republicans seem to rarely get beyond ad hominem attacks to any real discussion of the issues:
Your conclusion is dead on target. Just try it and see what right wingers and their noise machine do with thoughtful, intelligent attempts at discussion.

A favorite tactic I've run into is that they routinely reject out of hand any complaints or criticisms, saying "you're just a Bush hater, so what else could we expect?" That charge is supposed to invalidate the critic and criticism in one economical put down.

Then they feel the matter is settled, no further discussion needed.
On a group of quotes from unlikely sources critical of Bush’s policies:
That's an excellent and eye-opening set of quotes. I wish everyone could read them and then stop and think.
I'll toss in this additional food for thought.

It doesn't take a Z-big or Henry the K to figure out that a big reason Iranians elected Ahmedinejad and support his nuclear aspirations is because they feel threatened.

Iran has grudges against the U.S. that go back decades: our ousting of the country's democratically elected leader in the 1950s, our long support for the shah and our support of Saddam in the horrendous Iran-Iraq War. All that on top of the close U.S. alliance with Israel.

So, Bush brilliantly sends an army to invade the country next door, in an act of naked aggression.

Anyone who puts himself or herself in Iran's position would feel threatened and want nukes too.

Bush and his cronies are ignorant and extremely foolish. To paraphrase Rumsfeld, they don't even know what they don't know.

God help us all if their seemingly limitless willingness and ability to do the exactly wrong thing results in a war of aggression against Iran.

Well, S.W., thanks for dropping by the Limb so often. It was good to review your thoughtful comments. You and I share an intense anger at the boneheaded policies of our president. We both occasionally let him have it. But you are a patriot who does not let the vitriol smother reason. Thanks for helping to express, in reasonable and constructive terms, our righteous anger at this divisive administration. With the body count reaching new highs every day, the government using unwarranted surveillance, and the VP and Sec. of Defense comparing us to "Nazi appeasers" it is difficult to avoid the vitriol.

The Oh!pinion post today is another good one.

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