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MI Morning Update 8-15-2008

Continued Russian Occupation of Georgia, McCain in Michigan, What We've Learned from European crisis, Olympic Update

DaysUntil Election Day: 81

August 15, 2008

MORNING UPDATE:

McCAIN NATION HOUSE PARTIES…COUNTY CONVENTIONS…thousands of activists around the country last evening participated in “McCain Nation” conferences nationwide. NY Mayor Rudy Guliani was the special guest with Cindy McCain and top strategist Charlie Black.  It was very impressive and many county parties throughout Michigan participated.

As many county parties held McCain Nation events during their conventions…the county conventions were a rousing success with thousands of grassroots activists in Michigan took time out of a terrific summer evening to elect their delegates to the upcoming state convention. Republicans are energized and ready for the fall campaign.

McCAIN ON GEORGIAN CRISIS… ‘Georgia remains in line for alliance membership, and I hope NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine. At the same time, we must make clear to Russia’s leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world. … As I told President Saakashvili on the day the cease-fire was declared, today we are all Georgians.’

RUSSIA…NOW WHAT…We should accelerate the process for bringing free nations into the EU and NATO…and above all, train and arm our allies so the cost of aggression is high enough to act as a deterrent. There needs to be diplomatic moves to remove them from the G-8 and WTO.

LESSONS FROM GEORGIA…since there is NOT much the western world can/will do to stop the aggression by despots and bullies, we should at least help arm our allies so they can try and help themselves.  Who’s next…Taiwan, Israel, new NATO members or the Ukraine?

OLYMPICS…Lithuania 86 defeats Russia 79…it looks like Russia can’t conquer every small neighboring country at will…and yeh, my family emigrated from Lithuania!

http://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/08/olympicslithuan.html

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THE REST OF THESTORY:

John McCain writes about the crisis in Georgia in today’s Wall Street Journal
 
We should work toward the establishment of an independent, international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions, and stand ready to help our Georgian partners put their country back together. This will entail reviewing anew our relations with both Georgia and Russia. As the NATO secretary general has said, Georgia remains in line for alliance membership, and I hope NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine. At the same time, we must make clear to Russia’s leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world. The U.S. has cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Russia, an important step in this direction. The Georgian people have suffered before, and they suffer today. We must help them through this tragedy, and they should know that the thoughts, prayers and support of the American people are with them. This small democracy, far away from our shores, is an inspiration to all those who cherish our deepest ideals. As I told President Saakashvili on the day the cease-fire was declared, today we are all Georgians. We mustn’t forget it.

– John McCain

http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB121867081398238807.html


TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at myArticles of Interest online.

 

Russia: Poland risks attack because of US missiles

MOSCOW – A top Russian general said Friday that Poland’s agreement to accept a U.S. missile defense battery exposes ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.

The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.

Poland and the United States on Thursday signed a deal for Poland to accept a missile interceptor base as part of a system the United States says is aimed at blocking attacks by rogue nations. Moscow, however, feels it is aimed at Russia’s missile force.

Russia controls a third of Georgia

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

GORI, Georgia (AP) – Georgia’s president said Thursday that a column of Russian tanks and other vehicles was moving toward the country’s second-largest city, and that Russian forces already control a third of Georgian territory.

Mikhail Saakashvili, speaking to foreign reporters in the capital in an appeal for international help, said the convoy was about halfway between the western cities of Senaki and Kutaisi.

"We have no idea what they’re doing," Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze said of the Russian column. "One explanation could be they are trying to rattle the civilian population."

Staring Down the Russians

By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI

The end of the Cold War was supposed to usher in a new age in which the major powers would no longer dictate to their neighbors how to run their affairs. That is why Russia’s invasion of Georgia is so tragic and so potentially ominous. Russia is now on watch: Will it continue to rely on coercion to achieve its imperial aims or is it willing to work within the emerging international system that values cooperation and consensus?

Moscow’s ruthless attempt to suborn, subdue and subordinate this tiny, independent democracy is reminiscent of Stalin’s times. The assault on Georgia is similar to what Stalin’s Soviet Union did to Finland in 1939: in both cases, Moscow engaged in an arbitrary, brutal and irresponsible use of force to impose domination over a weaker, democratic neighbor. The question now is whether the global community can demonstrate to the Kremlin that there are costs for the blatant use of force on behalf of anachronistic imperialist goals.

This conflict has been brewing for years. Russia has deliberately instigated the breakup of Georgian territory. Moscow has promoted secessionist activities in several Georgian provinces: Abkhazia, Ajaria and, of course, South Ossetia. It has sponsored rebellious governments in these territories, armed their forces and even bestowed Russian citizenship on the secessionists. These efforts have intensified since the emergence in Georgia of a democratic, pro-Western government. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s resentment toward Georgia and its President, the U.S.-educated Mikheil Saakashvili, has seemingly become a personal obsession.

Kremlin dusts off Cold War lexicon to make US villain in Georgia

Charles Bremner in Moscow

Russians were told over breakfast yesterday what really happened in Georgia: the conflict in South Ossetia was part of a plot by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, to stop Barak Obama being elected president of the United States.

The line came on the main news of Vesti FM, a state radio station that — like the Government and much of Russia’s media — has reverted to the old habits of Soviet years, in which a sinister American hand was held to lie behind every conflict, especially those embarrassing to Moscow. Modern Russia may be plugged into the internet and the global marketplace but in the battle for world opinion the Kremlin is replaying the old black-and-white movie.

The Obama angle is getting wide play. It was aired on Wednesday by Sergei Markov, a senior political scientist who is close to Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister and power behind President Medvedev.

In Georgia, refugees overwhelm relief efforts

By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press Writer

TBILISI, Georgia – Tired, hungry and penniless, her dark and bloodshot eyes betraying stressful days and sleepless nights, Manana Karelidze banged her head over and over against a concrete ledge.

She was one of the first to arrive at the Department of Refugees in this Georgian capital, and for the first few days had camped out on the street awaiting registration and the daily supplies of dry pasta that came with it. Hundreds were doing the same.

"This is too much. It is all too much," said Karelidze, a 50-year-old retired accountant, raising her head to reveal bruises.

Musharraf Set to Resign in Days, Officials Assert

By JANE PERLEZ
Published: August 14, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Faced with desertions by his political supporters and the unsettling neutrality of the Pakistani military, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan is expected to resign in the next few days rather than face impeachment, Pakistani politicians and Western diplomats said Thursday.

His departure from office seems likely to unleash new instability in the country as the two main parties in the civilian government jockey for his share of power. It would also remove from the political stage the man who has served as the Bush administration’s main ally here for the last eight years.

The details of how Mr. Musharraf would exit, and whether he would be able to stay in Pakistan or would seek residency abroad, are now under discussion between representatives of Mr. Musharraf and the governing coalition, the politicians said.

A Tumultuous Day for Detroit’s Beleaguered Mayor

By NICK BUNKLEY

Just when it seemed as if the legal troubles surrounding Detroit’s embattled mayor, Kwame M. Kilpatrick, who is facing assault and perjury charges, could not grow any more bizarre, they did.

In the course of several hours Thursday, Mr. Kilpatrick, who has been confined to a three-county area and monitored by electronic tether for the past week, was told that he could attend the Democratic National Convention this month, then that he could not, and then that he would be a “distraction” to the candidate he planned to nominate there.

“The focus of our convention to people in Michigan should be on Barack Obama and how the party intends to get America back on track, not a distraction involving the troubles of one individual,” said Brent Colburn, a spokesman for Senator Obama’s Michigan campaign, in a statement.

Beatty could talk — if protected

BY BEN SCHMITT • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

The lawyer for former mayoral aide and paramour Christine Beatty said Thursday that if prosecutors want her to testify against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, they have the power to make that happen.

"All they have to do is give her immunity if they think she can help them," said Mayer Morganroth, Beatty’s lawyer. "You cannot turn down immunity. They know how to do it."

Thursday’s remarks are the strongest to date by Morganroth about his client’s willingness to testify against her former boss. They come in a week in which rumors are swirling about whether the mayor is seeking a deal to leave office in return for the resolution of his myriad legal problems.

Governor Will Not Pardon Mayor Kilpatrick

(WXYZ) Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says she will not pardon Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, or offer immunity to anyone testifying at her September 3 removal hearing.

The Governor revealed her decision to reporters this morning. She also told reporters that she had received a letter from Kilpatrick’s General Counsel Sharon McPhail asking if she would consider pardoning the mayor.

However, Granholm would not comment on if she has asked Kilpatrick to resign, saying "There is lots of stuff going on behind the scenes. Without getting into the rationale, I will not be pardoning or issuing immunity for anybody testifying at the hearing."

A Catholic Case Against Barack

Patrick J. Buchanan

n the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama rolled up more than 90 percent of the African-American vote. Among Catholics, he lost by 40 points. The cool liberal Harvard Law grad was not a good fit for the socially conservative ethnics of Altoona, Aliquippa and Johnstown.

But if Barack had a problem with Catholics then, he has a far higher hurdle to surmount in the fall, with those millions of Catholics who still take their faith and moral code seriously.

For not only is Barack the most pro-abortion member of the Senate, with his straight A+ report card from th e National Abortion Rights Action League and Planned Parenthood. He supports the late-term procedure known as partial-birth abortion, where the baby’s skull is stabbed with scissors in the birth canal and the brains are sucked out to end its life swiftly and ease passage of the corpse into the pan.

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