God's Politics

the latest news on the Iraq Study Group, the Iraq civil war, Iran, Israel-Palestine, abortion in Nicaragua, the NYC police shooting, the Pope in Turkey, religion and politics, the wealth gap, congress, and select opinion articles

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Full news summary:

Iraq Study Group. Iraq group seeks consensus – “As President Bush headed to an overseas summit on the Middle East, a federal commission searching for a bipartisan approach to the Iraq war met Monday in Washington to begin working on its final report.” How Iraq panel went from obscure to high profile – “How an obscure panel became a policy touchstone for Republicans and Democrats is a story in itself. More important, it illustrates those rare moments when a crisis reaches such a point that official Washington temporarily loosens hold of the reins. It’s in those moments that experienced outside voices – think the 9/11 and Warren commissions – can make themselves heard.”

Iraq–civil war. Civil War in Iraq Near, Annan Says – “In a sign of the growing global concern about Iraq’s fate, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan appealed for immediate steps to prevent the country from crumbling into all-out civil war.” Bucking White House, NBC says Iraq in ‘civil war’ – “NBC’s “Today Show” host Matt Lauer yesterday told millions of American television viewers, many sitting at their breakfast tables, that the network would buck the White House and from now on describe the Iraq war as a “civil war.”

Iraq & Iran. Iraq tells Iran: `We are desperately in need of help’ – “Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived Monday for two days of talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, admitting that Iraq was “desperately in need of help” to quell escalating insurgent attacks.” Iran Promises to Help Iraq in Ending Violence There – “Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pledged in a meeting with the Iraqi president that Iran would do all it could to stop the growing violence in Iraq.” Bush Asking Arab Friends for Iraq Help – “As President Bush and his top diplomats try to halt the downward spiral in Iraq and Lebanon, they seem intent on their strategy of talking only to Arab friends, despite increasing calls inside and outside the administration for them to reach out to Iran and Syria as well.”

Iraq-violence. Rising violence swells ranks of Iraq’s militias – “Retaliatory attacks sparked by last week’s massive bomb assault on a Shiite neighborhood are driving more Iraqis into the ranks of sectarian militias amid rising distrust of government security forces,” Hezbollah Said to Help Shiite Army in Iraq – “Between 1,000 and 2,000 fighters from the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias have been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon, a senior U.S. official said.”

Israel-Palestine. Israeli and Palestinian leaders committed to Gaza cease-fire – “After five months of fighting in the Gaza Strip, Israeli and Palestinian leaders moved to shore up a cease-fire that both sides had sought as relief from a politically costly conflict that has left more than 300 people dead.” Israeli Premier Makes an Offer to Palestinians – “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, trying to build on a shaky cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, on Monday offered Palestinians a series of incentives, including negotiations and a prisoner release, if they turned away from violence.” Abbas commends Olmert ‘peace offer’ – “Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has said that a peace initiative proposed by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, was a “positive” step toward peacemaking.” Abbas: Olmert initiative ‘positive’ step toward peace-making – “Abbas said if Olmert’s “intentions are good, then we can build on this [his initiative] in order to put forward a plan for future negotiations on all issues related to the Palestinian cause.”

Abortion-Nicaragua.Nicaragua’s Total Ban On Abortion Spurs Critics – “With the exception of Cuba, every nation in this predominantly Catholic region either totally prohibits abortion or limits it to extreme circumstances. And while the global trend over the past decade has been to liberalize abortion laws, efforts to do so in Latin America have been met by an equally determined campaign to strengthen them further.”

NYC police shooting. Mayor Calls 50 Shots by Police ‘Unacceptable´– “Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg convened an extraordinary meeting of black religious leaders and elected officials at City Hall yesterday to calm frayed tempers over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Queens, calling the circumstances “inexplicable” and “unacceptable.”

Religion-Pope in Turkey.Pope calls for religious exchange – “Pope Benedict XVI has called for an “authentic dialogue” between Christians and Muslims in a speech at Turkey’s directorate of religious affairs.”

& politics.
Pastor Chosen to Lead Christian Coalition Steps Down in Dispute Over Agenda – “The president-elect of the Christian Coalition of America, which has long served as a model for activism for the religious right, has stepped down, saying the group resisted his efforts to broaden its agenda to include reducing poverty and fighting global warming.”

Rich and very rich. Very Rich Are Leaving the Merely Rich Behind – “The opportunity to become abundantly rich is a recent phenomenon not only in medicine, but in a growing number of other professions and occupations. In each case, the great majority still earn fairly uniform six-figure incomes, usually less than $400,000 a year, government data show. But starting in the 1990s, a significant number began to earn much more, creating a two-tier income stratum within such occupations.”

Congress. New Congress Unlikely to Rush Toughest Issues – “Democratic lawmakers vow to come roaring out of the blocks when they assume control of the next Congress, passing several top-priority bills in the first 100 hours. Absent from that list, however, are the knottiest problems that bedeviled the outgoing Congress, including immigration, domestic surveillance and the war in Iraq.” Democrats to receive Bush budget warning – “President Bush will try to work out a deal on spending with the new Democratic majority on Capitol Hill, but will be prepared to veto bills that exceed his total budget or that slice away at defense needs,”

Editorial. Global Warming Goes to Court– “The Bush administration has been on a six-year campaign to expand its powers, often beyond what the Constitution allows. So it is odd to hear it claim that it lacks the power to slow global warming by limiting the emission of harmful gases. But that is just what it will argue to the Supreme Court tomorrow, in what may be the most important environmental case in many years.” (New York Times)

Op-Ed. Can the GOP Find Its Center? – “The center does not try to read anybody out of the party,” the experienced Republican politician declared. “But the farther you go in either direction, the greater the inclination to read others out.” He deplored party purges as “political cannibalism” and insisted: “The center must lead.” That was Richard M. Nixon, … This fall’s election defeat was inglorious for Republicans because it ratified Nixon’s original worries about the cost of chasing away the GOP’s moderates.” (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post)

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