83 DaysUntil Election DayAugust 13, 2008MICHIGAN MORNING UPDATE:McCAIN BACKIN MICHIGAN…today, to earn your votes while Obama vacationsin Hawaii. Michigan is a battleground state and the commitment fromboth campaigns of staff and resources, as well as the polling thatshows the race in Michigan a virtual dead heat, makes your effortsso much more important! 17 Electoral Votes!

RUSSIA’SSLAUGHTER ON CEASE-FIRE IN GEORGIA…in an unprecedented showof aggression, Russian troops have indiscriminately bombed andkilled thousands of civilians in it’s attempt to wipe outU.S. ally Georgia. Russia said they had “punished”Georgia enough?!?! The world in shock could only stand by andwatch, as the old, ugly Russian bear emerged, with KGB ColonelPutin in charge.

GREAT ANALYSIS ABOUTRUSSSIA’S MOTIVES…by Robert Kagan. A must read forthose interested in understanding the current conflict. http://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/08/putin-makes-his.html

RUSSIA…HOW TORESPOND…let’s stop with the useless United Nationsresolutions and meetings. If we are unable or unwilling to helpdefend our allies…at least lets help them defendthemselves…train the armies, sell them arms…make the“cost” of attacking sovereign nations a considerationfor bullies like Russia. NATO, Taiwan, Ukraine and Isreal must befeeling really nervous these days.

WHICH OBAMA ISIT…I was able to provide a commentary on Michigan Mattersabout “Which Obama is it?”…willing to sayanything to get elected. View it here.http://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/08/which-obama-is.html

MICHIGAN GETSNATIONAL ATTENTION…for asking Speaker Pelosi to call backthe Democrat controlled Congress and vote on and energy packagethat would include domestic drilling…rather than take a 5week PAID vacation.

http://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/08/pelosi-protest.htmlhttp://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/08/before-the-rall.htmlhttp://migop.blogs.com/blog/2008/08/after-the-rally.html

REPUBLICAN JEWISHCOALITION EVENT IN MI…. Thursday, Aug. 14, the RJCgrassroots seminar we are having from 5:30pm to 7pm at CongregationBnai Moshe at 6800 Drake Road in West Bloomfield (the same venue asthe Oakland GOP convention).

WGVU TOWN HALLDEBATE…public TV in Grand Rapids has offered to host a60-minute debate between U.S. Senator Carl Levin and Republicanchallenger Jack Hoogendyk…Jack’s in…waiting tohear from Levin?

CHINA OLYMPICS KEEPFAKING IT…first it was the firework footprints in thesky…actually digitally pre-recorded…now the 9 yearold girl who stole the world’s heart…did it withsomeone else’s voice!?! Some things never change?

MICHIGAN GOP STATECONVENTION INFO…here is the information on our upcomingState Convention to take place Saturday, August 23rd. http://www.migop.org/inner.asp?z=108

MICHIGANPOLITICS…in case you missed it… every Tuesday from10am til noon on WWJ.com, Greg McNeilly, John Truscott, KerryEbersole and Todd Cook talk politics on Eye on Michigan Politics. Agreat show…check it out.************************************************************************

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

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

 

Russia calls halt to 5-day invasion ofGeorgia

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA and MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI

TBILISI,Georgia (AP) – Declaring "the aggressor has been punished," theKremlin ordered a halt Tuesday to Russia’s devastating assault onGeorgia – five days of air and ground attacks that left homes insmoldering ruins and uprooted 100,000 people.

Georgia saidthe bombs and shells were still coming hours after the cease-firewas declared, and its President Mikhail Saakashvili said Russia’saim all along was not to gain control of two disputed provinces butto "destroy" the smaller nation, a former Soviet state and currentU.S. ally.

RussianPresident Dmitry Medvedev, speaking in Moscow, said Georgia hadpaid enough for its attack on South Ossetia, a separatist regionalong the Russian border with close ties to Russia.

Russia May TurnFocus to Pro-U.S. Ukraine After Beating Georgia

By HenryMeyer Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) — Now that Russia has humiliated Georgiawith a punishing military offensive, it may shift its attention toreining in pro-Western Ukraine, another American ally in the formerSoviet Union.

RussianPresident Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s firstorder of business likely will be to try to thwart Ukraine’s bid tojoin the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“The Moscowauthorities will use this opportunity to remind Ukraine of thedamages of allying itself with NATO,” said Geoffrey Smith atRenaissance Capital investment bank in Kiev.

PutinMakes His Move

By RobertKagan

The detailsof who did what to precipitate Russia’s war against Georgia are notvery important. Do you recall the precise details of the SudetenCrisis that led to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia? Ofcourse not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightlyremembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.

The eventsof the past week will be remembered that way, too. This war did notbegin because of a miscalculation by Georgian President MikheilSaakashvili. It is a war that Moscow has been attempting to provokefor some time. The man who once called the collapse of the SovietUnion "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century"has reestablished a virtual czarist rule in Russia and is trying torestore the country to its once-dominant role in Eurasia and theworld. Armed with wealth from oil and gas; holding a near-monopolyover the energy supply to Europe; with a million soldiers,thousands of nuclear warheads and the world’s third-largestmilitary budget, Vladimir Putin believes that now is the time tomake his move.

Georgia’sunhappy fate is that it borders a new geopolitical fault line thatruns along the western and southwestern frontiers of Russia. Fromthe Baltics in the north through Central Europe and the Balkans tothe Caucasus and Central Asia, a geopolitical power struggle hasemerged between a resurgent and revanchist Russia on one side andthe European Union and the United States on the other.

Georgiaand the American Cowboy

By ClaudiaRosett

WithRussia’s military blasting its way into neighboring Georgia,this sure seems like a moment when the world could use a democraticsuper-cop.

Good luck.Right now, we don’t have one.

Americaeffectively resigned from the much-reviled role of lone superpowerfive years ago, after toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2002,and defying the Oil-for-Food devotees at the United Nations tooverthrow the tyranny of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. Sincethen, President Bush, to his credit, has stuck with the fight inAfghanistan and Iraq — a display of determination andfirepower which goes far to explain why almost seven years havepassed since September 11 without another major attack on U.S.shores.

On Georgia Crisis,McCain’s Tone Grows Sharper

By MichaelD. Shear and Alec MacGillisWashington Post Staff Writers

Aides toRepublican Sen. John McCain were scrambling last Thursday morningeven as his plane was descending into Des Moines. Russia hadescalated its aggression in the bordering Republic of Georgia, theytold reporters, and McCain wanted to seize the moment.

On theground in Iowa, advance men raced to erect a podium on the tarmac,just feet from McCain’s plane. The Republican nominee strode to themicrophone for the first of several blistering statementscondemning Russia’s moves, delivering his comments well beforePresident Bush spoke publicly about the incident.

"Russiashould immediately and unconditionally cease its militaryoperations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgianterritory," he said, interrupted by the sound of jets takingoff.

Debunking three ‘truths’ about offshore drilling

THE NATURALResources Defense Council Action Fund has taken out full-page adsin this newspaper and others to decry offshore drilling for oil as"George W. Bush’s Gasoline Price Elixir" that is "100% Snake Oil."The environmental group calls on supporters "to stop the giveawayof our coasts." It is urging visitors to its Web site to send apre-written letter to their members of Congress that says, "I amnot buying the lie . . . that sacrificing the Arctic NationalWildlife Refuge and America’s coastal waters to oil drilling wouldmake a real difference in gas prices — either today or twentyyears from today!" And the missive adds, "With just three percentof the world’s oil reserves, our nation simply doesn’t have enoughoil to impact the global market or drill our way to lower prices atthe pump."

The NRDC’sarguments above neatly encapsulate the position taken byenvironmentalists and other opponents of offshore drilling. Andthey include a couple of good points. Contrary to the baldlypolitical suggestions regarding lower gasoline prices by PresidentBush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), drilling would make no impacton today’s pain at the pump because it would be years before anyoil flowed from the Outer Continental Shelf. We agree that theArctic National Wildlife Refuge, with its varied and sensitiveecosystems, should be preserved. In the quest for new sources ofenergy, there are trade-offs. That pristine area must remainoff-limits. But there are three "truths" masquerading as fact amongdrilling opponents that need to be challenged:

Pelosi says open toHouse vote on offshore drilling

By TomDoggettReuters

WASHINGTON(Reuters) – House Republican Leader John Boehner on Tuesday urgedHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call lawmakers back into session topass a bill expanding drilling in federal waters, now that she waswilling to permit a vote on such a measure.

Reversingher position, Pelosi said she was willing to schedule a vote in theHouse of Representatives on legislation to expand offshoredrilling, if the bill addressed other energy issues, such asextending tax credits for solar and wind energy and releasing oilfrom the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

"They(Republican lawmakers and President George W. Bush) have this thingthat says drill offshore in the protected areas," Pelosi saidMonday night in an interview on "Larry King Live."

Governor’s OfficeIssues Removal Plans

(WXYZ) TheDetroit City Council’s attorney William Goodman must providethe names of all witnesses he plans to call at the removal hearingof Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick by August 15, according to anorder Governor Jennifer Granholm issued today.

SharonMcPhail, Kilpatrick’s General Counsel, must submit their listof witnesses on August 25.

Both sidesalso must provide a list of exhibits they plan to introduce at thehearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3, at 9:00 AM.Granholm’s order says the hearings will continue “withextended evening and weekend hours if necessary.”

Mich. board weighs howto summarize ballot issues

By DAVIDEGGERTThe Associated Press

LANSING,Mich. (AP) — Supporters and opponents of a constitutionalamendment to reshape state government clashed before an electionsboard Tuesday over whether the measure can be explained to votersin 100 words.

A lawyer forReform Michigan Government Now, which wants to put the sweepingproposal to a statewide vote in November, read a draft summarywithin the 100-word limit and said there is no requirement thatevery detail be included in the explanation read by voters at thepolls.

The measurewould cut the number of lawmakers and appellate judges, reducetheir pay, alter how legislative seats are drawn and allowno-reason absentee voting. It would make other changes that wouldrewrite multiple parts of the state constitution, as well as addingnew sections.

Macomb residents mayface 25% tax hike

Jim Lynch /The Detroit News

MOUNTCLEMENS — Tax increases, large-scale layoffs and massive servicecuts are on the table as Macomb County commissioners try to preparefor a larger-than-expected spike in the county’sdeficits.

To offsetprojected operating deficits of $33 million in 2009 and $43 millionin 2010, commissioners on Tuesday weighed whether to increase thecounty’s property tax levy as much as 25 percent.

The countylevies 4.2 mills out of the maximum allowable 4.56 mills. Byincreasing the levy to the full amount, the county would increaserevenues by more than $11 million — only a third of what would beneeded in 2009.