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Tags: Israel | Readying | Strike

Israel Readying Iran Strike, German Ex-Foreign Minister Says

By    |   Sunday, 08 June 2008 09:04 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Former German Diplomat: Israel Readying Strike on Iran
2. Video Shows Obama Presidency Would Weaken U.S. Military
3. Critics Charge Pelosi 'Slandered,' 'Defamed' U.S. Troops
4. Author Tyrrell Accuses Vanity Fair of 'Lifting' Material
5. Obama Has Links to Another Controversial Pastor
6. GOP to Go Easy on Ailing Kennedy
7. Religious Leaders Pray 'Telephonically' for Obama
8. We Heard: GOP Convention, Google, McCain, Arpaio

1. Former German Diplomat: Israel Readying Strike on Iran

A prominent political observer is predicting that Israel is likely to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before President Bush leaves office.

"The threat of another military confrontation hangs like a dark cloud over the Middle East," declared Joschka Fischer, who was Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005.

Writing in the Beirut-based English-language newspaper The Daily Star, Fischer notes that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "Israel's worst security nightmare," and the Jewish state takes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threat to annihilate Israel very seriously.

He points to several factors that indicate Israel could be readying a strike on Iran:

  • When President Bush recently visited Israel as the country celebrated its 60th birthday, it was expected that Palestinian-Israeli relations would be the chief topic discussed. Instead, it was Iran.

    It has been speculated that during his visit, Bush gave Israel the green light for an attack on Iran.

  • Political pressure is mounting in Israel for action to halt the Iranian threat.
  • The outgoing commander of the Israeli air force has said that the air force is capable of any mission, no matter how difficult, to protect Israel's security.
  • With the Bush presidency approaching its end and uncertainty about his successor's policy toward Israel and Iran, the "window of opportunity" for an Israeli attack is potentially closing, and that window "is now, during the last months of Bush's presidency."

Fischer observes: "Although it is acknowledged in Israel that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would involve grave and hard-to-assess risks, the choice between acceptance of an Iranian bomb and an attempt at its military destruction, with all the attendant consequences, is clear. Israel won't stand by and wait for matters to take their course."

As Newsmax reported in December, Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and senior adviser to three presidents, said after talks with Israeli officials that the Jewish state would launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities on its own if the rest of the world does not take action.

Fischer concluded, "Iran must understand that without a diplomatic solution in the coming months, a dangerous military conflict is very likely to erupt. It is high time for serious negotiations to begin."

Editor's Note:

2. Video Shows Obama Presidency Would Weaken U.S. Military

A non-partisan organization has posted a video showing Barack Obama vowing to adopt military policies that the group asserts would "jeopardize our battlefield superiority."

The Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) said the video was first posted online in late 2007. It depicts the Democratic presidential candidate delivering a message to a group called Caucus4Priorities and promising to cut "tens of billions of dollars" in military spending.

The cuts would come at a time "when our armed forces are already stretched and in need of new weapon technologies and armor," CFIF said.

In the video, Obama declares:

"As president, I will end misguided defense policies and stand with Caucus4Priorities in fighting special interests in Washington.

"First, I'll stop spending $9 billion a month in Iraq. I'm the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning. And as president I will end it.

"Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space.

"I will slow our development of future combat systems."

About that last statement, CFIF says: "Think about the frightening implications of this pledge for a moment.

"Future combat systems are the cornerstone of American military modernization and superiority. As America fights the war on terror and deters potential military aggression by rogue nations, advanced combat systems provide us with better equipment, unmatched situational awareness, and communication systems that result in American battlefield domination . . .

"Despite this, Senator Obama bizarrely pledges to jeopardize our battlefield superiority."

In the video, Obama also states, "I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons, I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material, and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals."

CFIC concludes, "In what realm does Senator Obama's ideology dwell, that he would expect his promises to somehow endear him to American swing voters?

"What makes Senator Obama's statement most perplexing is the fact that he already faces an uphill battle to convince American voters that he won't be the second coming of Jimmy Carter in undermining our military forces."

Editor's Note:

3. Critics Charge Pelosi 'Slandered,' 'Defamed' U.S. Troops

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demeaned the recent success of American forces in Iraq and instead gave credit to the Iranians for halting the fighting in the city of Basra.

The California Democrat recently sat down with reporters and members of the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle and gave them an 80-minute interview.

"At the 62-minute mark, Pelosi slandered and demeaned the hard-won successes of our armed forces in Iraq," according to a press release from the Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative media watchdog group.

Pelosi said: "Whatever the military success and any progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal . . . And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians — they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities — the Iranians."

HumanEvents.com observed: "This is, from Pelosi, a clear and willful defamation of our soldiers in Iraq, and a diminution of the great and growing success we have seen there, paid for with their blood, toil, and tremendous sacrifice . . .

"We now have an elected official, indeed the speaker of the House of Representatives, impugning the blood honor and accomplishments of our troops, and ascribing their success to our Iranian enemy, whom she also thanks for their 'goodwill' in lessening the pace at which they are murdering our brave men and women."

Interestingly, none of the Chronicle articles written about the interview made reference to the Pelosi quote cited by the MRC, which noted: "No one at the Chronicle reported the speaker's vicious slander."

Editor's Note:

4. Author Tyrrell Accuses Vanity Fair of 'Lifting' Material

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator magazine, charges that Todd Purdum took material without credit from Tyrrell's book in his recently published Vanity Fair article about Bill Clinton, "The Comeback Id."

According to Tyrrell, 17 anecdotes and "ideas" are "clearly lifted" from his 2007 book, "The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life After the White House."

"Mr. Purdum's article did not make reference to the book once," Tyrrell said in a statement.

He cites a number of instances where he says Purdum, Vanity Fair's national editor, "lifted" material from his book without citations:

  • Purdum writes that unlike Harry Truman, Bill Clinton "might be seen as capitalizing on the presidency." Tyrrell noted in his book that unlike Harry Truman, Bill Clinton has "commercialized the presidency."
  • Purdum states that Bill Clinton fell into depression after leaving the White House. In Tyrrell's book, he cited Terry McAuliffe referring to the "profound funk into which his friend had fallen upon leaving the White House."
  • Purdum calls Clinton the most expensive president, citing The Politico. "The Clinton Crack-Up" has an appendix on this topic and states that Clinton "has become the most costly ex-president ever."
  • The Vanity Fair article speaks of Clinton's "friendships" with several well-known women. Tyrrell named many, adding that "during Clinton's retirement there have been other ladies, though most . . . have been one-night stands" — and he described the venues.
  • Purdum writes that Clinton once told Monica Lewinsky he was worried that a foreign embassy might be listening to their calls. Tyrrell reported this information in his book.

"As a writer, I know my ideas and thoughts can be used by others, but when so many of them are used in one piece some citations should be given," states Tyrrell.

"I am particularly troubled that when a conservative journalist reports on a high-profile subject, it is either ignored by the mainstream media or characterized as 'dirty tricks,' but when a left-of-center publication shamelessly recycles the same material, it is greeted as blockbuster 'investigative reporting.'"

Bill Clinton created a controversy when he called Purdum "sleazy," "slimy," and "dishonest" in a Huffington Post interview.

Reminded that Purdum is married to Bill's former press secretary Dee Dee Myers, Clinton responded in part: "That's all right — he's still a scumbag."

A spokesman for Hillary Clinton's campaign said later that Bill's language was "inappropriate" and that he "wished he had not used it."

Editor's Note:

5. Obama Has Links to Another Controversial Pastor

Barack Obama has finally distanced himself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his Trinity United Church of Christ, but some observers are raising questions about his close relationship with another controversial Chicago pastor.

He is the Rev. James Meeks, head of the Salem Baptist Church, an Illinois state senator, and an Obama delegate to the Democratic Convention in Denver.

Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times that Meeks is one of three religious leaders, including Wright, whom he has sought out for spiritual counsel.

Obama has also said in an interview that "there has not been a stronger and more consistent advocate of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] issues than I have been."

But Meeks was named by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the "10 leading black religious voices in the anti-gay movement."

Despite Obama's attempts to reach out to the gay community, his close spiritual adviser and political ally Meeks has been consistently and stridently anti-gay, according to published reports.

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center in a spring 2007 newsletter cited Meeks as "a stalwart anti-gay activist" who has used his mega-church "to launch petition drives for the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), a major state-level 'family values' pressure group that lauded him last year for leading African-Americans in 'clearly understanding the threat of gay marriage.'"
  • Meeks and the IFI are allied with Americans for Truth, an Illinois group that said in a press release that "fighting AIDS without talking against homosexuality is like fighting lung cancer without talking against smoke."
  • The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Meeks "has said that the Bible says gays should not marry or have sex. He has spoken about not wanting sissies in his church and that women of his church should protect their men from sissies."
  • Meeks has complained from his pulpit about "Hollywood Jews for bringing us 'Brokeback Mountain,'" according to Gaywired.com.
  • In 2006, Meeks' church staged a "Night of Terror" event on Halloween, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The event "consigned to the flames of hell two mincing young men wearing body glitter who were supposed to be homosexuals."
  • As a state senator, Meeks actively campaigned to defeat an Illinois LGBT non-discrimination bill.

Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt, in response to questions about the candidate's relationship with Meeks, said in remarks reported by the Washington Blade that Obama "has made it clear that he strongly rejects and condemns offensive and divisive statements that stand in the way of his goal of bringing the country together."

Editor's Note:

6. GOP to Go Easy on Ailing Kennedy

Ted Kennedy has often been attacked from the right as the poster child for liberals, but some Republicans are softening their criticism of the longtime senator as he recovers from brain surgery for a malignant tumor.

"Up here in Massachusetts, everybody is very sad about the news about Ted, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican," Charles Manning, a Republican media consultant, told Roll Call.

"Nationally, Ted Kennedy has always been a lightning rod. He's been one of the best Republican fundraisers for years.

People would put on the outside of direct-mail letters, 'Ted Kennedy doesn't want you to open this envelope.' And of course good old Republicans couldn't wait to tear that envelop open and send a check to certain Republican candidates."

During the 2004 presidential race, President Bush suggested that opponent John Kerry's voting record was so liberal that it made Kennedy look like "the conservative senator from Massachusetts," and added: "That's a heck of a feat."

But now one Republican candidate, Jay Love — who is running for the House from Alabama — has even changed a campaign ad after news of Kennedy's cancer broke.

The ad originally depicted Kennedy and several other prominent Democrats and criticized their positions on taxes, abortion, and gay marriage. It was reshot to remove Kennedy "simply out of respect for Senator Kennedy and his family," said Love campaign manager Michael Lowry.

"Just like any other family that is going through cancer, our thoughts and prayers go out to them."

Longtime Kennedy critic Howie Carr, who hosts a radio show in New England, told Roll Call about disparaging Kennedy: "You don't want to be seen as piling on. It's just rather tasteless."

Besides, Carr added, "what everybody assumes is there will be another Kennedy to kick around."

Editor's Note:

7. Religious Leaders Pray 'Telephonically' for Obama

Every Friday morning as many as 100 religious leaders take part in a conference call and for 15 minutes, they pray together for Barack Obama.

"Typically, whoever is praying always prays for the senator and his wife," said Houston mega-pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, who presided over Jenna Bush's recent wedding and has counseled her father.

"For his safety, surety, soundness of mind, clarity of thought."

When the religious leaders gather "telephonically," as Caldwell puts it, they "pray that planes land safely and that Secret Service agents keep their eyes open," Newsweek magazine reports.

Caldwell has also prayed for Hillary Clinton and John McCain when he has done the blessing, said the Rev. Michael Battle, president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.

The Friday prayer session, which begins at 9:30 Eastern time, is usually led by Joshua DuBois, the Obama campaign's religious-affairs director, or his deputy Paul Monteiro, although a guest is occasionally invited to offer a blessing.

"They're not calling down fire and brimstone," Shaun Casey, a professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., told Newsweek.

"It's not a high school locker room prayer before the big football game."

Editor's Note:

8. We Heard: GOP Convention, Google, McCain, Arpaio

THAT Minnesota's legislature has approved a bill allowing municipalities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to let bars stay open to 4 a.m. when the Republican National Convention is held there in September.

The latest a bar can stay open now is 2 a.m.

The Insider Report disclosed in April that the Minnesota House, where Republicans hold a slight edge, had approved the bill, but the city council in St. Paul, whose members are all Democrats, had voted to oppose the bar hours extension.

One council member, David Thune, said at the time: "I got 8,000 people who live downtown who don't want a bunch of Republican lobbyists puking on the streets."

But Thune more recently said the council might go along with the bill because it allows bars to stay open later only during the Sept. 1-4 convention in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, according to The Hill newspaper. The earlier version approved by the House allowed extended hours during an 11-day period spanning the convention.

The Hill reported that Minneapolis will most likely also extend bar hours during the convention.

THAT Internet giant Google is far from non-partisan when it comes to political contributions — 93 percent of the $141,000 donated by the company's more than 19,000 employees has gone to Democrats this year, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The firm has also established a $90 million foundation to fund causes widely seen as liberal, the Los Angeles Times reported.

These include programs involving climate change and global public health.

THAT Phoenix-area crime fighter Joe Arpaio, known as "America's toughest sheriff," paints an unflattering portrait of a fellow Arizonan in his new book — John McCain.

Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, is known for cracking down on illegal immigrants and for his tough approach in dealing with prison inmates.

In his book "Joe's Law," Arpaio says McCain literally turned his back on the lawman after Arpaio endorsed George Bush for president in 2000 rather than McCain.

"The Senator did not take my position with good humor," he writes. "He has a reputation for holding a grudge (not to mention an angry, bitter temper that's regularly directed at staffers and others around him), and he quickly developed a world-class doozy against me."

He goes on to say: "On a presidential visit to Arizona . . . McCain consciously turned his back on both the president and myself when we shook hands."

Arpaio says McCain got his "revenge" by endorsing a candidate running against Arpaio in a Republican primary.

In any case, Arpaio won re-election. And despite the bad blood between the two, the sheriff told the Arizona Republic that he is supporting McCain for president.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Former German Diplomat: Israel Readying Strike on Iran 2. Video Shows Obama Presidency Would Weaken U.S. Military 3. Critics Charge Pelosi 'Slandered,' 'Defamed' U.S. Troops 4. Author Tyrrell Accuses Vanity Fair of 'Lifting'...
Sunday, 08 June 2008 09:04 PM
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