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God's Politics

The latest news on immigration, the election, Iraq, Afghanistan, same-sex legal rights, homeless in L.A., oil profits the conscience of our country and selected op-eds.

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Immigration. Bush signs fence bill, pushes back Legislation authorizing 700 miles of fencing along the southern U.S. border was signed into law by President Bush in a ceremony that underscored Republican divisions over immigration policy and left unanswered whether the entire barrier would be built. Immigration galvanizes Latino voters Republicans made immigration a central issue for 2006, calling for tough enforcement and a 700-mile border fence. But that stance, meant to rouse the party’s conservatives, may backfire. Mexico fury at fence extension Relations between the US and Mexico today took a turn for the worse after George Bush signed legislation for a 700-mile border fence to counter illegal immigration into the US. The move was universally condemned by Mexican leaders.

Election. 2 presidents go stumping for their parties President Bush and his Oval Office predecessor, Bill Clinton, campaigned for congressional candidates across the nation’s Rust Belt, probing for issues that could spell the difference in determining control of the House and the Senate in the hotly contested midterm election. Problems with machines, ballots trouble officials – Eleven days before voters go to the polls, problems from delayed absentee ballots to names being chopped off on voting machines are hampering elections officials. The Year Of Playing Dirtier On the brink of what could be a power-shifting election, it is kitchen-sink time: Desperate candidates are throwing everything. While negative campaigning is a tradition in American politics, this year’s version in many races has an eccentric shade, filled with allegations of moral bankruptcy and sexual perversion. Democrats Fear Disillusionment in Black Voters – Despite a generally buoyant Democratic Party nationally, there are worries among Democratic strategists in some states that blacks may not turn up at the polls in big enough numbers because of disillusionment over past shenanigans.

Iraq. U.S. Deaths In Iraq Near Peak Months – Unrelenting daily attacks in Baghdad and the western province of Anbar have made October the deadliest month of the Iraq for U.S. troops in combat since the all-out American offensives on Fallujah in April and November of 2004, Rumsfeld Tells Iraq Critics to ‘Back Off’ – With his chorus of critics expanding deeper into Republican ranks, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told detractors yesterday to pull back as U.S. and Iraqi officials grapple with the uncertainties of laying out Iraqs course. “You ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it’s complicated, it’s difficult,” Rumsfeld said, Democrats Are Divided on a Solution for Iraq Democratic leaders and candidates are virtually unanimous in opposing the presidents conduct of the war, and most advocate American disengagement either quickly or slowly. But most are not calling for an immediate withdrawal of American forces or offering a vision of what postwar Iraq should look like. A deadly month for U.S. forces – “Elsewhere, gunmen attacked Iraqi security forces north of the capital in Baqubah and outlying villages in what appeared to be coordinated strikes against police. At least 34 police officers were killed and 10 wounded in a series of attacks and ambushes. As many as 50 officers are missing,”

Afghanistan. Nato confirms Afghan raid deaths Nato has confirmed that at least 12 civilians were killed in an air strike targeting Taleban militants in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday. Reports suggest at least 40 civilians died when a nomad camp was hit in Kandahar province’s Panjwayi district. Nato forces kill ‘up to 85’ civilians in Afghan attack Nato forces in Afghanistan have killed scores of civilians in a single operation, bombing them in their own homes as they celebrated the end of Ramadan. Afghans say NATO strike killed dozens of civilians Dozens of civilians were killed in a NATO military strike against suspected Taliban militants, Afghan officials. The civilian deaths–estimated by Afghan officials to be between 30 and 85, including many women and children–are among the highest in any foreign military action here since the fall of the Taliban.

Same-sex legal rights. Religious Conservatives Cheer Ruling on Gays as Wake-Up Call – conservative religious leaders predicted that the court’s 4 to 3 ruling, would boost turnout of social conservatives in the midterm elections, particularly in the eight states that have constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage on the Nov. 7 ballot. GOP seizes on N.J. ruling to rally religious conservatives President Bush and Republican Party activists yesterday seized on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of equal rights for same-sex couples as motivation for religious conservatives to vote for their candidat
es G.O.P. Moves Fast to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage The divisive debate over gay marriage, which played a prominent role in 2004 campaigns but this year largely faded from view, erupted anew as President Bush and Republicans across the country tried to use a court ruling in New Jersey to rally dispirited conservatives to the polls. Marriage by any other name (Chicago Tribune)- The court found that the equal protection clause of the state constitution provides broader rights than those now provided by law, but didn’t upend the law’s definition of marriage. As legal hairsplitting goes, the decision in New Jersey was pretty deft.

Homeless in L.A. Down and out in Skid Row Police and hospitals are dumping released offenders and patients on some of the worst streets of Los Angeles The recording looks like a typical police crime scene video. Ambulances and police cars pull over on a street in downtown Los Angeles. Patients are wheeled around on stretchers. But this is no normal crime, and no normal crime scene investigation. The patients aren’t being loaded into the ambulances. They are being unloaded.

Oil profits. Exxon Mobil earnings hit $10.5 billion Cashing in on higher prices and production, oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. surprised Wall Street on Thursday with $10.5 billion in third-quarter profit, putting it on pace to smash earnings records for the full year.

Church and election. Clergy warned on partisan preaching In the face of increased federal scrutiny of politics in the pulpit, religious denominations are warning clergy against overtly partisan preaching. Leader urges fellow Christians to keep voting for their values – Conservative Christians may be down, but theyre far from out on Election Day, valuesvoter guru David Barton said yesterday. “This is a really, really important election,” Barton said during a speech at Potters House Church of God on the West Side. “Take your Sunday school class to vote, and youve got to start breaking fingers if they dont,” he said.

The conscience of a country. Tutu–the conscience of South Africa In a nation where critics of government and of powerful people are often dismissed as disloyal, racist or misled, Tutu is a remarkable voice–a witty and kindly critic no one can dismiss or ignore.

Op-Eds.

Does the Code Still Work? (By Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post) The Republican Party built its “solid South” in part with an appeal to racism against African Americans and other minorities. Election results in Tennessee and Virginia will give us a benchmark, to use George W. Bush’s new favorite word, of how much the South has changed.

In Michigan, a Sale the GOP Can’t Close (By E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post) The problem for the GOP is that while voters in better-off states seem to be voting on Iraq and other issues, those thinking most about the economy live in lagging industrial states such as Michigan and Ohio, and they are blaming President Bush and national policies for their troubles.

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