82 DaysUntil Election DayAugust 14, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY:“This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten its neighbors, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed.” Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State MORNING UPDATE:

McCAIN IN MICHIGAN…a very successful day raising money, motivating the troops and doing a series of press interviews throughout a very busy day. Joining Senator McCain throughout the day were his wife Cindy, Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Joe Lieberman (CT). McCain was strong, upbeat and clearly buoyed by the successful events and how the campaign was progressing…especially here in Michigan!

BI-PARTISAN CONDEMNATION OF RUSSIAN ATTACKS…was issued by the Democrat and Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. See their statement below.

PUTIN LIES TO BUSH IN BEIJING…RUSSIA LIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS ABOUT IT’S INTENTIONS…RUSSIA VIOLATES IT’S AGREED UPON CEASE FIRE…why would anyone in the world trust or believe Col. Putin and Russsia now???

HOW ALLIES RESPOND…The presidents of the three Baltic states and Poland — all European Union members — joined the president of Ukraine late Tuesday in a mission to Tbilisi to underscore their support for President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia. “New Europe” seems to understand the danger to freedom Russia’s actions could mean to all. EU and the United Nations…still on hold?!?

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT…Russia commits a brutal crime against it’s sovereign neighbor Georgia, who happens to be our ally. At the very least there needs to be diplomatic moves to remove them from the G-8 and WTO. 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.

HERITAGE FOUNDATION ON RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN WAR…a good analysis. http://www.heritage.org/Research/RussiaandEurasia/wm2017.cfm

REPUBLICAN JEWISH COALITION EVENT IN MI…TODAY…Thursday, Aug. 14, the RJC grassroots seminar we are having from 5:30pm to 7pm at Congregation Bnai Moshe at 6800 Drake Road in West Bloomfield (the same venue as the Oakland GOP convention). ************************************************************************

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 12, 2008

Contact: Pelosi: Brendan Daly: 202-226-7616 Hoyer: Stacey Farnen Bernards: 202-225-3130 Boehner: Kevin Smith: 202-225-4000 Blunt: Antonia Ferrier: 202-226-7022

Congressional Leaders Condemn Russian Invasion of Georgia, Call for Removal of Troops

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Republican Leader John Boehner, and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt released the following joint statement today on Russia’s invasion of Georgia:

"The bipartisan leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives stands united in condemning – in the strongest possible terms – the recent Russian invasion of the sovereign state of Georgia. The United States is committed to Georgia’s absolute sovereignty, and we reject the Russian Foreign Minister’s reported assertion that democratically-elected President Mikheil Saakashvili ‘must go.’ This morning Russian President Dmitri Medvedev stated that Russia will cease military action in Georgia, and now Moscow has a responsibility to follow through and remove Russian troops from the country. In the meantime, the international community must remain vigilant in ensuring that the nation’s territorial integrity is restored. This deplorable outbreak of violence should serve as an opportunity for the world community to re-engage in negotiations to end the conflict and restore stability in this region. We also need to strengthen our efforts to ensure that the needs of Georgia and the Georgian people are met."

"Russian military action in Georgia should be recognized for what it is – an effort to intimidate Georgia’s freely-elected government and the governments of other democratic states on Russia’s borders as well," said Pelosi. "It must be made clear to Russian leaders that this kind of conduct is unacceptable."

"As the former Chairman and a long-time member of the Helsinki Commission, I have spoken out for decades in support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, a crucial ally of the United States," said Hoyer. "Russia’s actions violate Georgian sovereignty and should be vigorously condemned by the international community. Russia must halt all military operations and withdraw their troops immediately."

"The United States Congress stands strongly with our Georgian allies and their democratically-elected government," said Boehner. "Russia’s aggression marks an important moment for the international community. For the sake of democracy in the region and free nations across the world, the international community must speak with one voice in condemning the actions of Moscow and calling for the removal of Russian troops from Georgia. Furthermore, we must remain committed to ongoing dialogue to promote peace, stability, and democracy in the former Soviet republics."

"Over the past week, Georgia’s long-term stability and territorial integrity have been challenged by Moscow. While I am encouraged that President Medvedev announced a halt in operations, his government must immediately remove its troops from Georgian soil and reassure the international community that his nation will respect its borders," said Blunt. "Furthermore, I want to make it abundantly clear that the U.S. Congress stands ready to assist the people of Georgia and protect our nations’ strategic alliance."

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

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

 

I See Four Key Battleground States

By KARL ROVE

With 17 electoral votes, Michigan is an attractive target. But it is also a complicated state. The Democratic machine is in near meltdown in Detroit, where the city’s mayor is fighting felony charges stemming from an alleged cover-up of a sex scandal (he recently spent a night in jail). The party is also hurt by adverse reactions to Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s $1.5 billion tax increase last year, which dampened economic growth.

Mr. McCain needs Reagan Democrats and independents in eastern Michigan. These working class, culturally conservative, mostly Catholic voters are how the GOP elected an attorney general, a secretary of state and a state Senate majority. These voters care about jobs and know manufacturing runs on affordable energy. They will respond to Mr. McCain’s call for domestic drilling and expanded nuclear power.

Mr. McCain also needs to focus on "soft" Republicans, particularly in the Detroit suburbs. His renegade reputation will help him with socially liberal independents and Republicans. But Mr. Obama’s change message will help him in western Michigan where the socially conscious, historically Republican Dutch voters have antiwar tendencies.

What Democrats have done to Motown

Brendan Miniter

Detroit’s Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is out of jail, for now. The mayor is facing eight felony counts of perjury from an alleged cover-up of a sex scandal. He also is fighting felony assault charges for allegedly shoving two police officers a few weeks ago. Last month, he ran afoul of the law again, violating terms of his bail by traveling to Canada. He was released from jail on Friday only after he agreed to stay in the Detroit metro area and wear a GPS tracking device.

These restrictions will at least be a relief to Democrats — the mayor won’t be visibly partying it up at their convention in Denver later this month. But Michigan, with all its troubles and scandals, is quickly turning into a key battleground state in the presidential race — a consideration that must be weighing heavily on Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm as she gets ready to preside over a hearing — requested by the Detroit city council — on whether to remove the mayor.

Judges say no conflict in hearing RMGN

Posted by Peter Luke | mlive.com

A Michigan appeals court judge who would lose his job under a proposed ballot issue has declined to recuse himself from hearing a legal challenge to it.

Judge William Whitbeck of the Michigan Court of Appeals is on a three-member panel that next week will hear arguments on whether the Reform Michigan Government Now proposal should be barred from the November ballot.

Attorneys for RMGN this week argued that Whitbeck should be disqualified because he is one of seven judges on the 28-member court who would be forced from office in December should RMGN be approved by voters. Judges Bill Schuette, Patrick Meter and Whitbeck ruled Wednesday that appeals court judges who would lose their jobs, and some $151,441 in annual salary, under the proposal are no more conflicted than other appeals court judges economically impacted by RMGN’s overall 15-percent cut in judicial pay.

State joblessness flat as workers, jobs leave Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Michigan’s unemployment rate in July remained up at 8.5 percent, the same rate as in June, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. The rate remained steady not because the state stopped losing jobs — a total of 29,000 positions were cut by employers — but because the number of people in the work force fell by 33,000.

"From 2007 to 2008, Michigan and the nation have shown similar labor market trends; increased unemployment and job cuts," said Rick Waclawek, director of the department’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

Since July 2007, the number of unemployed workers in the state has increased by 65,000, or 18.4 percent. National unemployment increased by 23.1 percent in the same period. The national jobless rate in July increased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.7 percent.

We Are All Georgians By JOHN MCCAIN

For anyone who thought that stark international aggression was a thing of the past, the last week must have come as a startling wake-up call. After clashes in the Georgian region of South Ossetia, Russia invaded its neighbor, launching attacks that threaten its very existence. Some Americans may wonder why events in this part of the world are any concern of ours. After all, Georgia is a small, remote and obscure place. But history is often made in remote, obscure places.

As Russian tanks and troops moved through the Roki Tunnel and across the internationally recognized border into Georgia, the Russian government stated that it was acting only to protect Ossetians. Yet regime change in Georgia appears to be the true Russian objective.

Two years ago, I traveled to South Ossetia. As soon as we arrived at its self-proclaimed capital — now occupied by Russian troops — I saw an enormous billboard that read, "Vladimir Putin, Our President." This was on sovereign Georgian territory.

U.S. Launches Airlift to Aid Georgians

By JOHN D. MCKINNON and NEIL KING JR. in Washington and MARC CHAMPION in Tbilisi, Georgia

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush dispatched Navy ships and Air Force planes to deliver aid to war-torn Georgia, bringing a dose of Cold War-style brinksmanship to the confrontation between the U.S. and Russia.

The move, which marked a sudden shift in the U.S. response to the crisis, put U.S. and Russian military forces in close proximity amid an ongoing conflict — a rare event even in the decades when the U.S. faced off against the Soviet Union around the world.

Despite a Tuesday cease-fire brokered by the French, Russian troops followed by irregular fighters pushed deep into Georgia, seizing the strategic city of Gori and cutting the main highway that crosses the country to the capital, Tbilisi.

Moscow’s Sinister Brilliance

By Victor Davis Hanson NRO Contributor

Lost amid all the controversies surrounding the Georgian tragedy is the sheer diabolic brilliance of the long-planned Russia invasion. Let us count the ways in which it is a win/win situation for Russia.

The Home Front

The long-suffering Russian people resent the loss of global influence and empire, but not necessarily the Soviet Union and its gulags that once ensured such stature. The invasion restores a sense of Russian nationalism and power to its populace without the stink of Stalinism, and is indeed cloaked as a sort of humanitarian intervention on behalf of beleaguered Ossetians.

There will be no Russian demonstrations about an "illegal war," much less nonsense about "blood for oil," but instead rejoicing at the payback of an uppity former province that felt its Western credentials somehow trumped Russian tanks. How ironic that the Western heartthrob, the old Marxist Mikhail Gorbachev, is now both lamenting Western encouragement of Georgian "aggression," while simultaneously gloating over the return of Russian military daring.

Bush Warns Russia to Honor Cease-Fire Agreement

By Dan Eggen and William BraniginWashington Post Staff Writers

President Bush today warned Russia to honor a cease-fire agreement in its conflict with Georgia, saying that reports of ongoing military actions by Moscow "raise serious questions about its intentions" and threaten its standing in the world.

In a brief statement in the Rose Garden at the White House, Bush said he is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Paris for negotiations over the conflict, and then to Tbilisi to "convey America’s unwavering support for Georgia’s democratic government." A massive humanitarian relief effort is also underway, using U.S. military planes and ships, Bush said.

"The United States stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia," Bush said. "We insist that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected."

EDITORIAL: Does American foreign policy have teeth?

The conflict in Georgia is raising troubling questions about American foreign policy in the region. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, America championed the transformation of the former nations within the Soviet Empire into independent, democratic republics. President Bush has gone further than any of his predecessors in seeking to overturn the long-held "spheres of influence" that had been established during the Cold War. The Bush administration has supported the integration of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and has promoted the establishment of a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. These measures have been rightly championed as a means of establishing a new world order in which the nations that have been historically subjugated by Russia could embark on a path of self-determination and could enter the Western orbit. But are American good intentions enough? Mr. Bush now faces the supreme test of his policy, as Russia throws down the gauntlet.

Russian leaders have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the West’s attempt to encroach on their sphere. The Kremlin has worked to undermine NATO expansion – and won a victory during the Bucharest summit in April when both Georgia’s and Ukraine’s efforts to begin the process of entry into NATO were rejected. Russian ire was fueled in July when the Bush administration signed an agreement with the Czech Republic to implement a missile defense system against rogue states. In retaliation, gas exports to the Czech Republic from Russia declined by 40 percent. Russia warned that this was a "big mistake." Moscow has also long been threatening Ukrainian leaders not to forge closer links to the West. The pro-Western Ukrainian president Victor Yushchenko accused Moscow of attempting to poison him with dioxin while he was in opposition in 2004; he now has a badly disfigured face. Since the early 1990s Russia has worked to undermine the territorial integrity of Georgia by supporting the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. By launching the recent military campaign in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and beyond, the Russians are sending their most forceful message to date: This is our backyard; stay out or else.

New House recess irks Republicans

BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF • FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU CHIEF

House Republicans chastised majority Democrats on Wednesday for taking a summer vacation from Lansing, saying the state must address taxes, jobs and college tuition rates during economic hard times.

The House convened briefly Wednesday before recessing again, as hopes for an agreement with the Republican-controlled Senate on new regulations for electric utilities remained stalled.

In dispute is how much energy from alternative sources, such as wind, that the state should require from all utilities in the next 10 to 15 years. Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to require a larger percentage of so-called renewable energy than Senate Republicans.

The legislation also contains provisions that would lead to higher consumer electric rates.