God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq, UN ambassador, Somalia, Venezuela, Darfur, minimum wage, health insurance, and the Catholic church in Poland.

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Iraq escalation. White House Gears Up to Sell Plan for Troop Increase in Iraq– “The White House is planning an aggressive effort to sell Congress and the American public on President Bush’s new strategy for Iraq,” Bush Works To Rally Support for Iraq ‘Surge’ – “President Bush yesterday began promoting his plan to send more troops to Iraq, bringing more than 30 Republican senators to the White House as part of a major campaign to rally the American people behind another effort to stabilize the country.” Democrats Split Over Their Approach to Iraq– “The new Democratic majority in Congress is divided over how to assert its power in opposing President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad, as leaders explore ways to block financing for a military expansion without being accused of abandoning American forces already in Iraq.” McCain may get caught up in Bush’s war plan – “President Bush has spent a lot of his political capital pursuing the Iraq war. But now that his account is almost empty, he may be getting ready to spend John McCain’s.”

Citizen soldiers may be the key to Iraq buildup – “The nation’s top military officials, expecting President Bush to order an increase in the size of the force in Iraq, have concluded that such a buildup would require them to reverse Pentagon policy and send the Army’s National Guard and Reserve units on lengthy second tours in Iraq,”

UN Ambassador. Khalilzad will be Bush’s pick as U.N. envoy – “Now Iraq ambassador, he is thought ‘smooth’ as Bolton was ‘prickly.’ President Bush intends to nominate Zalmay Khalilzad as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the White House announced Monday, signaling that Washington plans to work with the U.N. in a high-profile way, with a high-flying troubleshooter.”

Somalia. U.S. Strike in Somalia Targets Al-Qaeda Figure – “A U.S Air Force AC-130 gunship attacked suspected al-Qaeda members in southern Somalia on Sunday, and U.S sources said the operation may have hit a senior terrorist figure.” U.S. Strike In Somalia Aims At 3 Fugitives – “Under cover of the Ethiopian move into Somalia, U.S. officials launched an intensive effort to capture or kill three key suspects in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa more than eight years ago that killed 224 people.” US launches new Somalia raids – “US air strikes on sites in southern Somalia believed to be the hideouts of al-Qaida suspects have left “many” dead, it was reported today. Two helicopters were seen launching attacks today following two strikes by a heavily-armed gunship yesterday.”

Venezuela. Chávez Moves to Nationalize Two Industries– “President Hugo Chavez signaled a vigorous new effort to assert greater control over Venezuela’s economy by announcing plans to nationalize companies in the telecommunications and electricity industries.” Chavez speeds pace toward socialism – “Venezuelan leader says he will nationalize electricity, telephones and four major oil fields. The moves would accelerate the pace of Chavez’s pledged socialist transformation of Venezuela, the eighth largest exporter of crude oil worldwide and the fourth largest foreign supplier to the United States.”

Darfur. Progress is cited in Sudan peace bid – “Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico pressed Sudan’s president yesterday to open the war-torn Darfur region to UN troops, part of a global push for an elusive peace in the African nation. Richardson, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, met privately with President Omar al-Bashir for nearly an hour at his mint green residence and later said progress had been made.”

Minimum wage. Life at America’s bottom wage – “A glimpse into the lives of people who live at bottom-rung pay rates illustrates why, to supporters of the change, the minimum wage is long overdue for a raise. But it also reveals that such a boost isn’t a one-step solution for the challenges that face America’s poorest workers.”

Health insurance. Gov. Offers Bold Prescription – “Calling for massive changes throughout a healthcare system he called “broken,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a $12-billion plan that would require all Californians to obtain medical insurance while helping the poorest to afford it. The plan, which both critics and supporters called the most audacious in the country, would dramatically reshuffle the financial underpinnings of an already fragile industry.” Schwarzenegger Proposes Universal Health Coverage – “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) proposed a system of universal health insurance for Californians that would make the nation’s most populous state the third to guarantee medical coverage for all its residents.” California’s Governor Seeks Universal Care – “A total of 6.5 million people, one-fifth of the state’s population, do not have health insurance, far more than in any other state. At least one million of the uninsured are illegal immigrants,”

Catholic church in Poland. 2nd priest quits over alleged ties to Poland’s secret police – “A second prominent Catholic clergyman resigned Monday after allegations about his links to the communist-era secret police, and the prospect that more clerics may have been compromised threatened the church’s reputation as a beacon of freedom.” Second Church Official Resigns in Poland – “The Roman Catholic Church in Poland was in turmoil as a second prelate stepped down because of his Communist-era secret police ties, after Sunday’s resignation of this city’s archbishop over similar allegations. Questions spread about just how broad and deep a stain secret-police collaboration has left on a church long regarded as a beacon of faith and freedom during the Communist era.”

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