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Blog buzz: Assault and lithium batteries

The conservative blogosphere capitalized on Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC)'s caught-on-YouTube assault on a student to make the case for the Republican challenger to his seat, while both sides of the spectrum offered their takes on the New York Times' front-pager today about Afghanistan's rich mineral reserves, with many focusing more on the timing of the report than the news itself.

In his post on the assault, conservative blog Red State's Moe Lane simply gave the name of Etheridge's challenger: "The Republican challenger that you just decided to give money to is named Renee Ellmers," he wrote.

And Hot Air's Ed Morrissey had more on Ellmers: "His opponent is Renee Ellmers, who works in the health-care industry and is a staunch opponent of ObamaCare, opposes the bailouts and Obamanomics, is pro-life, wants to try terrorists in military courts, and demands immigration enforcement. It doesn’t appear that Ellmers is a big fan of assaulting students on the street, either. Perhaps this R+2 district might be ready to exchange their current Congressman for someone who understands the proper relationship between elected officials and their constituents — and the laws regarding assault and battery."

On Pentagon's new report that Afghanistan could become "the Saudi Arabia of lithium," Morrissey noted the timing of the announcement, giving voice to a theory making the rounds, especially among liberal voices, that rich minerals may provide the Obama administration a new justification for allocating troops and resources to the wartorn country: "We’ve spent over eight years in Afghanistan attempting to subdue the radicals and fight those across the border in Pakistan’s frontier provinces, and many people have questioned why we’re spending so much blood and treasure in a country known for its ability to bankrupt empires. We have plenty of good strategic reasons to attempt to salvage Afghanistan and keep it from becoming a failed state, but this find will definitely have those inclined towards conspiracy theories cranking up new plots and dark cabals as the real reason we’re attempting to salvage Afghanistan. A trillion dollars in new mineral deposits don’t come along very often, after all, and some of these minerals will be critical to energy and military applications."

Morrissey added, however, that the finding "is a blessing for the Afghan people. They will need a massive improvement in infrastructure in order to get the materials out for export, but that investment will come a lot faster with this find."

At the liberal MyDD, Jerome Armstrong did not buy the sincerity of this announcement: "I know its not nice to step out of the partisan shill range that would take this at face; but come on-- are there actually sheep that buy this planted crap?" he writes. "Are there actually people who feel better about this particular bipartisan invasion/occupation/war because the US military will be shielding for corporations to exploit the land of Afghanistan?"

On timing, he continued: "this piece of propaganda has been known for years. It wasn't until the Pentagon and President Obama needed some 'good news' to sell that they marketed up this dish for mass consumption."

"In an ideal world this could be great news for Afghanistan," wrote Chris in Paris at liberal blog AMERICAblog. "It could transform the country into a major player in the global economy, creating jobs throughout the country as well as cash to rebuild the troubled country following decades of conflict."

Chris continues, "In an imperfect world, this new discovery (which somehow is making waves now as the US public is turning against the war effort) has many obstacles. We don't need to look hard to locate environmental problems related to mining... If the US can't get BP and other oil companies to properly address the environmental risks, how can we expect mining companies to do the right thing in far away lands? Think about the Nigerian experience with Big Oil. And then there's the cash. Lots of cash. In a less structured economy such as Afghanistan, the risk for bribes and massive corruption are substantial."