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God's Politics

The latest news on Barack Obama, Iraq-war, Senate, military and Guf states,- Iran, Israel, Senate earmarks, Global AIDS, and select op-eds.

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Barack Obama. He sets his sights on the White House. Now the hard part. – “Sen. Barack Obama took an important formal step toward a Democratic presidential campaign that would make him the most formidable African-American candidate ever, offering a call to common purpose as a remedy to bitter partisan divisions and marking a potential turning point in the nation’s race relations.” Obama Jumps Into Presidential Fray – “Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, whose best-selling books and political travels generated huge pressure to run for the White House, joined a crowded Democratic field,” Obama raises stakes for Democrats – “Sen. Barack Obama’s decision to take the first formal step toward running for president marks an extraordinarily rapid rise in politics – and sets up a high-stakes competition for campaign money, staff and supporters with the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.” Race and Gender Make Democrats’ Field Historic – “Democrats moved a step closer to what shapes up as one of the most historic and compelling contests ever for their party’s presidential nomination, a study in contrasting styles and candidacies in which race and gender play central roles in the competition.”

Iraq war. Bombings Kill 60 at University In Baghdad – “The coordinated detonation of two bombs during the after-school rush at a Baghdad university killed at least 60 people Tuesday and wounded more than 140 in what university officials described as one of the deadliest attacks on academia since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.” Iraqi Death Toll Exceeded 34,000 in ’06, U.N. Says– “The United Nations reported that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed in violence last year, a figure that represents the first comprehensive annual count of civilian deaths and a vivid measure of the failure of the Iraqi government and American military to provide security.”

Iraq-Senate. Senators to Introduce Resolution Opposing Bush’s Iraq Policy – “Senate leaders will introduce a bipartisan resolution of opposition to President Bush’s new Iraq policy as early as today, taking the lead from House Democrats who are increasingly divided on how far to go to thwart additional troop deployments to Iraq.” Anti-Buildup Measure to Have Bipartisan Stamp – “Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, an outspoken Republican critic of the administration’s Iraq policy, will join two leading Democrats in introducing a resolution opposing President Bush’s buildup of troops in Iraq, putting a bipartisan stamp on the looming Congressional showdown over the war.” Democrats aim to exploit GOP split over war – “Congress is gearing up for a big vote next week to oppose President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq, beginning with a nonbinding resolution that could draw strong Republican support.”

Iraq-military. Military members make an antiwar plea on Capitol Hill – “President Bush’s plan to send additional troops to Iraq is facing public opposition from a slice of the American population that rarely speaks out: the military rank and file. A group of service members came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday armed with signatures from more than 1,000 military personnel who oppose the war.” Psychologist: Navy faces crisis – “An experienced Navy psychologist warns that the U.S. military does not have enough mental health professionals to meet the growing number of emotionally damaged war veterans. Moreover, Navy Cmdr. Mark Russell says, many of the mental health professionals on staff lack formal training in core therapies for post-traumatic stress syndrome.”

Iraq-Gulf states. 8 Mideast states back U.S. on Iraq – “A group of eight Middle Eastern countries joined the United States in warning against foreign interference in Iraq, marking a small step in U.S. efforts to win regional support for pacifying Iraq and resisting Iranian influence.” Gulf Allies Support Goals of New U.S. Strategy in Iraq – “But even one of Washington’s staunchest partners in the region, Saudi Arabia, indicated deep concerns about whether the Shiite-led government in Baghdad had the capacity and will to halt sectarian violence and protect Sunni Arabs.”

Iran. Russia confirms it has delivered missile systems to Iran – “Russia said yesterday it had delivered new anti aircraft missile systems to Iran and would consider more requests from Tehran for defensive weapons, immediately drawing criticism from the United States.”

Israel. Israeli General Who Led War Against Hezbollah Resigns – “The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, submitted his resignation after facing months of fierce criticism over the military’s performance in last summer’s war in Lebanon.” Lebanon war claims biggest scalp – “Although public protests about the handling of the w
ar have faded in Israel, opinion polls continue to show widespread disillusionment with the government and the senior military leadership as a result of the 34-day fight with Hizbullah.”

Senate-earmarks. Senate strengthens pet-project disclosure rules – “The Senate voted to shine more light on thousands of expensive pet projects buried in legislation every year after the new Democratic majority bowed to a push by Republicans to make new disclosure rules even tougher than originally planned.”

Global AIDS. U.N. Says Global AIDS Effort for Children Falls Far Short – “Some countries are making progress in treating children with AIDS and preventing others from becoming infected, but the overall global response is “tragically insufficient,” Uniced said yesterday.”

Op-Eds.

Page: Big test for us (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune) – “Yet as much as we wait to hear what a presidential run will tell us about Obama, I expect the run to tell us even more about America. Already the national conversation about Obama has been like that surrounding no other presidential candidate that I have seen or imagined.”

A New Consensus on Universal Health Care (Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post) – “There, at the National Press Club, stood the president of the Business Roundtable, representing the country’s largest corporations; the president of the Service Employees International Union, the country’s most vibrant union and one of its fastest-growing; and the president of AARP, the formidable seniors lobby. They put aside their usual differences to deliver a clear, simple message to President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties:We stand ready to give you the political cover you need for a centrist, bipartisan fix for a broken health-care system.”

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