God's Politics

The latest news on immigration legislation, Iraq veterans, Darfur, Immigration-Bush in Guatemala, Iran, NAE Torture statement, federal prosecutors, Republican poll, and select Op-Eds.

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Immigration-Bush in Guatemala. In Guatemala, immigration tops Bush agenda – “President Bush promised to launch a new push to overhaul U.S. immigration laws and faced tough questions about deportation during a visit to Guatemala.” In Guatemala, Bush Vows to Push Immigration Changes – “President Bush defended a recent surge of deportations that have inflamed passions here in Latin America, but vowed to redouble efforts to overhaul immigration laws and called on the Senate to pass comprehensive legislation by summer.” Bush stresses immigration – “President Bush said he wants the House and Senate to pass immigration bills by August but said the U.S. will continue to send home illegal aliens caught in the meantime,” Mexico warns jobs key to halting illegals – “As President Bush prepares to meet today with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mr. Calderon and his government are increasingly making it clear the solution to the U.S. illegal immigration problem lies in Mexico.”

Immigration-legislation. Capitol Hill closes in on immigration reform – “After weeks of closed-door negotiations, lawmakers say they are close to unveiling a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. Unlike last year, when the House and Senate passed vastly different bills, comparable bills are likely to emerge on both sides of the Capitol, including a guest-worker program and a path to “earned citizenship” for some 12 million people in the US illegally.” Kennedy, Eager for Republican Support, Shifts Tactics on an Immigration Measure – “Facing a rebellion from some crucial Republicans, Senator Edward M. Kennedy has abandoned efforts to produce a new immigration bill and is proposing using legislation produced last March by the Senate Judiciary Committee, then controlled by Republicans, as the starting point for negotiations this year,” City’s Immigration Restrictions Go on Trial -“In a test case about the power of cities to crack down on illegal immigration, a federal trial opened here Monday in which municipal restrictions in Hazleton, Pa., are being challenged as discriminatory and overreaching.”

Iraq-Congress. Opposition Undercuts Troops, Cheney Says of Spending Bill – “Vice President Dick Cheney lashed out at Congressional opponents of the war in Iraq, saying that Democrats and others who would limit President Bush’s authority to spend money on the war were undermining the troops and “telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out.”

Iraq-veterans. Veterans fight the war within – “The physical risks of war may end when a soldier leaves the battlefield, but new research indicates the mental toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is continuing to build, creating a psychological health crisis with no end in sight.” SOLDIERS’ STORIES- Crystal Cason – “nearly 1 in 4 returning soldiers who sought medical care was diagnosed with a mental health problem, from depression to substance abuse. Some experts expect those numbers to rise and say the military has not devoted enough resources to treat such veterans. Ex-Army Sgt. Crystal Cason struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression and nightmares before she sought help. “I’m damaged,” she told the doctors at first. “You can’t fix me, so don’t even try.” Extended Iraq tours took a toll on soldiers’ families – “In September, soldiers with the 1st Combat Brigade, 1st Armored Division, learned that their tour of duty in Iraq would be extended about six weeks. Some of their families agreed to keep track of their experiences during the extension for USA TODAY. The scenes, thoughts and quotes in this story are based on those interviews and on diaries and blogs kept in recent months by the families.”

Iran. Russia losing patience with Iran over its nuclear stance – “Russia signaled sharp dissatisfaction with Iran’s defiant stance on nuclear issues, saying the start-up of a Russian-built nuclear reactor will be delayed and warning that Moscow will not join Tehran “in anti-American games.”

Darfur. U.N. mission urges charges in Darfur crisis – “A high-level U.N. mission to Darfur reported that the Sudanese government had orchestrated human rights crimes against its own people and urged that leaders of Sudan’s government and allied militias be charged with war crimes.” UN rights panel blasts Darfur inaction – “A UN human-rights team criticized the international community for failing to halt atrocities in Darfur, saying in a sharply worded report that the United Nations must act now to protect civilians from a violence campaign orchestrated by Sudan’s government.” Sudan accused of orchestrating Darfur abuses – “UN human rights investigators have accused the Sudanese government of orchestrating “gross and systematic” human rights abuses in Darfur and complained that the international response has been “inadequate and ineffective”. Rebels pose a new threat to Darfur’s displaced – “Until now, the bulk of the suffering in Darfur involved attacks by Arab nomad militias, known as janjaweed, allegedly backed by the Sudanese government. But the attacks against aid groups and the African Union soldiers came not from the janjaweed or government troops, officials say, but from factions of the Sudanese Liberation Army, or SLA, the rebel group formed in 2003 to defend Darfur’s tribes against assault.”

NAE torture statement. Evangelical Christians attack use of torture by US – “The uncoupling of American evangelism from the administration of George Bush gathered pace yesterday when one of the largest national umbrella groups of socially conservative Christians issued a statement critical of US policy towards detainees and repudiating torture as a tactic in the war on terror.”

Federal prosecutors. Firings Had Genesis in White House – “The White House suggested two years ago that the Justice Department fire all 93 U.S. attorneys, a proposal that eventually resulted in the dismissals of eight prosecutors last year, according to e-mails and internal documents that the administration will provide to Congress today.” White House Said to Prompt Firing of Prosecutors– “The White House was deeply involved in the decision late last year to dismiss federal prosecutors, including some who had been criticized by Republican lawmakers,”

Republican poll. G.O.P. Voters Voice Anxieties on Party’s Fate– “After years of political dominance, Republican voters now view their party as divided and say they are not satisfied with the choice of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.”

Op-Ed. Hagel’s Waiting Game (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post) – “For Republicans, 2008 promises to be a disconcerting if exciting year because for the first time since the 1964 Goldwater insurgency, the party is struggling over its philosophical direction. The old conservatism is in crisis, Bush Republicanism (of the son’s variety but not the father’s) is a tainted brand, and no candidate has emerged as the Next New Thing that the party wants or needs. That’s why Hagel, the Nebraska senator and Iraq war critic, suggested yesterday that he might seek the presidency.”

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