More war

 Posted by at 22:15  Politics
Jul 122006
 

As if we need it, it looks like we have another war on our hands. Well, maybe not our hands, but, you know, “our” hands. You know what I mean, don’t you?

From the Jerusalem Post

Atmosphere of war in cabinet meeting

The cabinet met in emergency session Wednesday night to approve military actions in the North, amid growing sentiment that the region was sliding toward war and that Hizbullah’s morning attack necessitated a dramatic, widespread and painful response.

The ministers approved plans to push Hizbullah back from the northern border and place pressure on the Lebanese government to dismantle the Islamist organization, as called for under UN Security Council Resolution 1559.

Following the meeting, the cabinet issued a statement saying, “A new, complicated situation has been created that Israel is obliged to deal with.” The statement said this new situation would include special preparations to deal with the possibility that “the enemy will try to cause damage to the home front.”

Head of the Home Front Command, Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Gershon, was instructed to prepare for a possibility of a major bombardment of Israeli communities.

According to estimates, Hizbullah has thousands of rockets aimed at Israel, including ‘hundreds’ of Fajar 5 rockets that can reach Haifa and Hadera.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at a press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi a few hours after learning of the attack that it was clear that as a result of this “act of war,” Israel would respond in “an unequivocal fashion that will cause those who started this act of war to bear a very painful and far-reaching responsibility for their actions.”

George W. said he wanted to be a “war president.” He sure is getting his wish. I hope he’s up to the task.

The Washington Post: “Options for U.S. Limited As Mideast Crises Spread.”

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Stealth disco

 Posted by at 17:27  General
Jul 122006
 

I have absolutely no idea where this video was made, but let’s let our imaginations run wild. If you had to choose, would you say it was made at the DNC or the RNC headquarters?

Be sure you have your speakers turned up. The music is fantastic!

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Love to hate

 Posted by at 14:30  Politics
Jul 122006
 

I am not feeling particulary magnanimous toward the right-wing blogworld today, so allow me to present you with a present…

rather_dan.jpg

Yep… Dan Rather. Another person the righties love to hate.

It seems, however, that their smear campaign against this man may not have been as effective as they might have hoped. According to a recent Gallup poll, 63% of Americans have a positive view of Mr. Rather, 26% unfavorable, 5% have never heard of him (what rock have they been hiding under?) and 7% have no opinion. I realize that all adds up to 101%, but whatever.

Compare that to George W. Bush’s favorable rating, currently hovering somewhere in the 30s (depending on which poll you look at).

Take that, you whacked-out righties. Question my genius, will ya?

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Getting along

 Posted by at 11:30  Politics
Jul 122006
 

We were downtown the other evening doing the whole Taste of Dallas thing at the West End. I spotted a young lady with a t-shirt that read “Warning: Does not get along well with others.”

We need to print up a few million of those t-shirts and ship them off to the Middle East. (After saving some for distribution here at home, of course.)

2 Israeli Soldiers Captured by Hezbollah

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – Hezbollah militants crossed into Israel on Wednesday and captured two Israeli soldiers. Israel responded in southern Lebanon with warplanes, tanks and gunboats, and said seven of its soldiers had been killed in the violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the soldiers’ capture “an act of war,” and his Cabinet prepared to approve more military action in Lebanon – a second front in the fight against Islamic militants by Israel, which already is waging an operation to free a captured soldier in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army said three soldiers were killed in the initial raid, and four others were killed when their tank went over a land mine in southern Lebanon.

Olmert said he held the Lebanese government responsible for the two soldiers’ safety, vowing that the Israeli response “will be restrained, but very, very, very painful.”

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said he will not release the captives except as part of a prisoner swap. He said the two soldiers were “in a safe and very far place.”

“No military operation will return them,” he told a news conference in Beirut. “The prisoners will not be returned except through one way: indirect negotiations and a trade.”

Israeli jets struck deep into southern Lebanon, blasting bridges and Hezbollah positions and killing two civilians, the Lebanese officials said.

The Israeli military planned to call up thousands of reservists, and residents of Israeli towns on the border with Lebanon were ordered to seek cover in underground bomb shelters.

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Golden goose dies

 Posted by at 10:06  Politics
Jul 122006
 

Army to End Expansive, Exclusive Halliburton Deal

The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm’s dominance of government contracting in Iraq.

The choice comes after several years of attacks from critics who saw the contract as a symbol of politically connected corporations profiteering on the war.

Under the deal, Halliburton had exclusive rights to provide the military with a wide range of work that included keeping soldiers around the world fed, sheltered and in communication with friends and family back home. Government audits turned up more than $1 billion in questionable costs. Whistle-blowers told how the company charged $45 per case of soda, double-billed on meals and allowed troops to bathe in contaminated water.

Halliburton.jpg

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Joe’s problem

 Posted by at 09:13  Politics
Jul 122006
 

The wingnuts have been crowing quite a bit recently about the perceived problems that the Democrats are having with Joe Lieberman and vice versa. Personally, I haven’t cared much for Mr. Lieberman since he was such a drag on Al Gore’s campaign in 2000. But that’s beside the point. Harold Meyerson writes about Joe’s real problems in this morning’s Washington Post

Lieberman’s Real Problem

I am about to become a traitor to my class. Among my estimable colleagues in the Washington commentariat, the idea that Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is facing a serious challenge from a fellow Democrat over Lieberman’s support for the Iraq war seems to evoke incredulity and exasperation. On the op-ed pages of leading newspapers, we read that Lieberman is “the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men” (that’s from the New York Times’ David Brooks), a judgment that cannot credibly be disputed — though if ever a road to hell was paved with good intentions, it would start with the anti-Saddam Hussein interventionism of pro-democracy advocates and end in downtown Baghdad today.

My colleagues also finger those crazy lefty bloggers as the culprits behind the drive to purge Lieberman from Democratic ranks. (The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait recently wrote that in the Los Angeles Times.) They see a self-destructive urge for party purification sweeping over Democratic liberals, to the detriment of Democratic prospects.

Lieberman himself certainly does. My Post colleague Ruth Marcus recently spent some time on the campaign trail with Lieberman and reported on a talk he gave in Danbury. “Are the extremes going to dominate?” Lieberman asked. “Do you have to be 100 percent in agreement with an elected official or it’s not good enough?”

Well. I don’t blog; I columnize. But count me with the bloggers on this one. No great mystery enshrouds the challenge to Lieberman, nor is the campaign of his challenger, Ned Lamont, a jihad of crazed nit-pickers. Lieberman has simply and rightly been caught up in the fundamental dynamics of Politics 2006, in which Democrats are doing their damnedest to unseat all the president’s enablers in this year’s elections. As well, Lieberman’s broader politics are at odds with those of his fellow Northeastern Democrats. He is not being opposed because he doesn’t reflect the views of his Democratic constituents 100 percent of the time. He is being opposed because he leads causes many of them find repugnant.

As early as December 2001 Lieberman signed a letter to President Bush asking him to make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq our next stop in the war against terrorism. As recently as last month, he opposed two Democratic resolutions to scale back our involvement in the war. And just last week Lieberman characterized the progress of the war as “a lot better” than it was a year ago, adding, “They’re on the way to building a free and independent Iraq.”

So, why the surprise if Connecticut voters, listening to Lieberman and looking at his record, conclude that they cannot trust his judgment on the single most important issue of the day? That’s not mandating purity; it’s opting for a senator who pays more attention to the war on the ground than to the war in his head…

The issue here isn’t that Lieberman is not 100 percent. It’s that his positions — not just on foreign policy but on trade, Social Security and other key issues — are often out of sync with those of Democrats in his part of the country. To expect his region’s voters to dump the area’s moderate Republicans but back Lieberman is to expect that they will adopt a double standard in this year’s elections.

Lieberman’s ultimate problem isn’t fanatical bloggers, any more than Lyndon Johnson’s was crazy, antiwar Democrats. His problem is that Bush, and the war that both he and Bush have championed, is speeding the ongoing realignment of the Northeast. His problem, dear colleagues, is Connecticut.

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