Today's Blogs

Smoke Signals

As the conflict between Israelis and Hezbollah escalates, bloggers consider exit strategies. They also pass judgment on a secretive left-wing fund-raising apparatus and a plan to turn elections into lotteries.

Smoke signals: Israeli forces continued crippling strikes across Lebanon in retaliation for Sunday’s deadly rocket attack, but the campaign failed to prevent another rocket from injuring six more Haifa residents today. This weekend G8 leaders called for military intervention and Bush offered a frank assessment of his own. Ehud Olmert rejected intervention, proposing his own conditions for cease-fire: the release of the two kidnapped soldiers and withdrawal of Hezbollah troops from the Israeli border. Fox News reports a similar gesture from Iran and Syria, the alleged sponsors of Hezbollah.

At Captains Quarter’s, Ed Morrissey doubts that Israel’s conditions can be met: “Armed terrorists do not willingly give up their weapons, especially not in a losing cause. The Lebanese Army does not have the muscle to disarm them. Therefore, the Israeli conditions cannot be met – and they are the bare minimum that Israel can accept for the sake of its own security.”

Steve Soto at Left Coaster questions Israel’s motives in proposing terms of cease-fire: “Olmert doesn’t want international peacekeepers to take over in southern Lebanon and get rid of Hezbollah militias. Instead, he wants Lebanon’s military to do it, which he knows full well is not capable of doing it. It calls into question whether Olmert wants Hezbollah expelled and the area made a safe zone, or whether he wants the ongoing pretext for invading and taking over southern Lebanon.”

At New Republic Online, Israeli historian Michael Oren argues that the ongoing military campaign fails to address the root of the problem and foresees a regional crisis akin to the Six-Day War. He advocates air strikes against 500 Syrian tanks positioned at the border with Lebanon.

At Townhall, conservative Hugh Hewitt celebrates Oren’s battle cry: “Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Hezbollah’s longer-range missile capabilities are what make this Middle east war different from the rest. If Israel stops short of forcing Syria and thus Hezbollah from Lebanon, it will confirm Tehran’s working assumption that there will never be successful opposition to its nuclear program, and Syria’s view that it need only pretend not to be in Lebanon. Postponing the confrontation with these two regimes does not equal containment, but rather a strategic victory for them on the order of Hitler’s triumph at Munich.”

But Michael Roston at Looking For Someone to Lie to Me does not follow Oren’s logic: “Deprived of a conventional military arsenal, won’t Syria need to rely more on things like Hezbollah (and its missiles and chemical weapons) to maintain a balance of terror?”

Read more about the crisis between Israel and Hezbollah.

Financing the far-left: Last year, George Soros and Tim McGill founded the Democracy Alliance to support liberal political causes. A new Washington Post article questions the group’s lack of financial transparency and far-left ideology, inciting much blogger commentary.

At A Voice of the New Media, Jeff Gannon ridicules the Democracy Alliance, arguing that the liberal mantra has always been ” ‘Follow the money.’ They repeated it during the Iran-Contra Affair and more recently during the Abramof scandal. However, this only applies to Republicans and Conservatives, as liberals don’t believe they should be bound to disclose their sources of funding for political activities.”

Liberal blogger Echidne of the Snakes shrugs off this critique: “I’d rather see a political system where money can’t buy influence, but until we get such a system it’s probably better to have at least some Democratic influence, too, however tainted. The conservatives have been doing all this crap for eons.”

While Democracy Alliance provides millions of dollars to far-left organizations such as the Center for American Progress and Media Matters, it snubs the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. The Gun Toting Liberal offers an explanation: “The strategy is quite simple: the far-right got President Bush elected, so the far left is going to try and get Democrats elected, but the difference is, the far left is going to try and do so by alienating the moderate left. This really comes as no shock at all when you look to the plight of Senator Joseph Lieberman who is literally fighting for his political life in Connecticut right now.”

Read more about Democracy Alliance.

Voting pays: In Arizona, the November ballot features a proposal to encourage turnout by offering one lucky voter a $1 million reward. Bloggers react to the proposal with near-universal disdain.

Libertarian Doug Mataconis at Below the Beltway refuses to equate better turnout with better outcome: “Bringing people who don’t care about politics and can’t identify their own Congressman out to vote isn’t going to do anything to fix the problems we’re facing.

Kid Various at The Idiom also distrusts financial incentives: This has the effect of dumbing down the political discourse (which the media so greatly laments while abetting it every step of the way) as candidates have to compete for the attention of more and more of those who are less inclined to give it.

Harjo wonders how low politics can go on his MySpace profile: “While we are at it, why not give out free tickets to a fish fry if you vote, Heck, lets set up voting booths at monster truck rallys, air shows, carnivals, fast food drive thru’s, firework stands, low priced buffets, any place politically ignorant people frequent. Maybe we should give out lolli-pops?”

Guest-blogging at Wonkette, Reason editor Nick Gillepsie reminds us that President Harrison doled out hard cider to get out the vote.

Read more about the proposed Arizona lottery.