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God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq-Congress, war, resistance -, Iran, family policy, the budget, North Korea, Columbia, Libby trial, Sudan divestment, predatory lending, and select op-eds.

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Full news summary:

Iraq-war. Copter Crash Kills 7; Security Plan in Place – “On the day the U.S. military announced that American and Iraqi forces had begun implementing their long-awaited security plan, a U.S. Marine transport helicopter crashed northwest of Baghdad,” Copter Crashes Suggest Change in Iraqi Tactics– “With two more helicopter crashes near Baghdad, including a Marine transport crash on that killed seven people, the number of helicopters that have gone down in Iraq over the past three weeks rose to six. American officials say the streak strongly suggests that insurgents have adapted their tactics and are now putting more effort into shooting down the aircraft.” Tensions high as security operation begins – “Baghdad’s streets were electric with tension as US officials confirmed the new security operation was underway. US armor rushed through streets, and Iraqi armored personnel carriers guarded bridges and major intersections.”


Iraq-Congress. 7 GOP Senators Back War Debate – “Senate Republicans who earlier this week helped block deliberations on a resolution opposing President Bush’s new troop deployments in Iraq changed course and vowed to use every tactic at their disposal to ensure a full and open debate.” GOP senators push vote on troop buildup – “Seven Republican lawmakers threatened to tie up Senate business until a resolution opposing President Bush’s planned troop buildup gets a vote, saying they will try to attach the measure to future legislation.” House Sets Path for Iraq Vote, but Must Decide What to Say– “As the House prepares for three days of debate next week on Iraq, Democratic leaders sought to reconcile deep differences within the party in order to shape a symbolic resolution denouncing President Bush’s troop buildup plan.” Veterans Group Speaks Out on War – “When Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of “aiding the enemy,” the Democratic senators gathered around him yesterday did not wince. Nor did Democrats object when Soltz, the chairman of a group called VoteVets.org, called President Bush and Vice President Cheney “draft dodgers.” War foes will not hurt morale – “The Defense Department’s top civilian and its top military officer, undercutting the White House and other senior Republicans, said Congress doesn’t endanger troop morale by voting on nonbinding resolutions opposing President Bush’s Iraq reinforcement plan.”


Iraq-resistance. Mistrial for Officer Who Refused to Go to Iraq – “A military judge on declared a mistrial in the court-martial of the Army officer who called the war in Iraq illegal and refused to join his unit when it deployed there last June.” Mistrial declared for war objector – “1st Lt. Ehren Watada’s court-martial for refusing to go to Iraq falls apart after the military judge questions the case’s factual stipulations.”


Iran. Dissent grows in Iran – “Iran’s leadership is facing mounting public unease and the seeds of mutiny in parliament over the combative nature of its nuclear diplomacy.”


Budget. Weapons that aren’t ready dot Bush’s war budget – “President Bush’s proposed war budget includes many high-cost weapons that won’t be operational for years, using a funding request aimed at supporting the troops to seek money for some of the Pentagon’s favorite projects.”


North Korea. Nuclear Talks on North Korea Set to Resume in Beijing – “Negotiators on will resume the long-stalled talks aimed at North Korean nuclear disarmament amid tentative signs of a possible breakthrough in a diplomatic process that seemed shattered four months ago when Nporth Korea tested a nuclear device.”


Colombia. Killing haunts Colombia’s peace plan – “Yolanda Izquierdo received death threats, but her pleas for police protection went unanswered. When she was killed last week, it delivered a devastating blow to Colombia’s tortured peace process. … She was leading a group of 800 displaced families trying to regain possession of land seized a decade ago by right-wing paramilitary groups.”


Libby trial. Russert Testifies in Libby Case: Journalist Says He Learned Plame’s Role After Leak– “Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News, swiftly and firmly rejected I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s assertion that the journalist revealed the identity of an undercover CIA officer to him during a telephone call in the summer of 2003.” Russert tells jury he never told Libby of CIA agent – “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert testified that he never gave former vice presidential aide I.
Lewis “Scooter” Libby information about the wife of a Bush administration war critic, directly contradicting the premise of Libby’s defense of perjury charges.”


Sudan divestment. University stands pat; activists take aim – “When the anti-apartheid movement swept U.S. college campuses more than 20 years ago, the University of Chicago stood out. Unlike dozens of universities that quit investing in companies that operated in South Africa, U. of C. officials argued that if the administration took a political stand on apartheid, the discussion of controversial ideas would suffer. Now, the university faces a similar situation with Sudan.”


Religion & politics. Mormon Candidate Braces for Religion as Issue As he begins campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is facing a threshold issue: Will his religion – he is a Mormon – be a big obstacle to winning the White House?”


Family policy. US Family-Oriented Job Policies Weak – “The United States lags far behind virtually all wealthy countries with regard to family-oriented workplace policies such as maternity leave, paid sick days and support for breast-feeding, a new study by Harvard and McGill University researchers says.”


Predatory lending. Predatory mortgages labeled ‘crisis’ – “Loans called ‘greatest threat’ ever to minority wealth – Predatory mortgage lending, fueled by an explosion in high-cost, subprime loans, is creating a “crisis for millions of American homeowners” that requires action, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said Wednesday.”


Op-Eds.


How Not to Inflame Iraq(Javad Zarif, Iranian ambassador to the UN, NY Times) – “Now the United States administration is – unfortunately – reaping the expected bitter fruits of its ill-conceived adventurism, taking the region and the world with it to the brink of further hostility. But rather than face these unpleasant facts, the United States administration is trying to sell an escalated version of the same failed policy. It does this by trying to make Iran its scapegoat and fabricating evidence of Iranian activities in Iraq.”


Stand up against the surge in Iraq (Molly Ivins’ last column, Chicago Tribune) – “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush’s proposed surge. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, “Stop it, now!”


The Iran Option That Isn’t on the Table (By Vali Nasr and Ray Takeyh, Washington Post) – “U.S. policy has buttressed the Iranian regime, which has justified its monopoly of power as a means of fending off external enemies and managing an economy under international duress. More than sanctions or threats of military retribution, Iran’s integration into the global economy would impose standards and discipline on the recalcitrant theocracy.”


Global warming report: a call for all to care for God’s creation (Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, Christian Science Monitor) – “Every major religion has a moral mandate to take care of the Earth. For those who look to the Bible for instruction, it is the first responsibility given to man: “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep [protect] it” (Gen: 2:15, NASB). Our moral obligation, then, does not depend on the rate our planet is warming, or even whether the main cause is human activity. We are to refrain from harming God’s creation – period. Few Christians or persons of other faiths (or no faith) would disagree with that statement.”

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