God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq, crime rise, billionaires, Iran, nuclear weapons, Bush in Brazil, FBI errors, children’s health insurance, and heating assistance.

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Iraq-Congress. Democrats shift iraq war debate to exit strategy – “Democratic leaders outlined plans Thursday to compel President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq as soon as this summer, marking the first time the majority in Congress had called for a deadline to end the unpopular war.” Bush Threatens to Veto Democrats’ Iraq Plan – “Bush administration officials escalated the fight over a new spending package for the Iraq war yesterday, saying for the first time that the president will veto a House Democratic plan because it includes a timetable to start bringing troops home within a year and would undermine military efforts.” Dems: Troops out by ’08 – “Laying out their toughest challenge for the Bush administration since taking control of Congress, Democrats in the House and Senate moved Thursday to set firm deadlines to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2008.” Democrats Rally Behind a Pullout From Iraq in ’08 – “Republicans vowed to block the new Democratic effort, which they said amounted to micromanaging the war, and the White House immediately signaled its opposition.”

Iraq. New U.S. Commander in Iraq Won’t Rule Out Need for Added Troops– “The new American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, warned that American troops here faced a long road ahead and left open the possibility of calling in even more soldiers as he described the difficult task of calming the country.” In Iraq, whispers of soft coup arise – “Secular former prime minister and U.S. favorite Ayad Allawi is leading a new push to replace the Shiite-led administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with a broad-based government that would focus on restoring order.”

Iran. U.S. and Iran have been talking, quietly – “The White House insists that the United States won’t talk directly with Iran until Tehran suspends its nuclear program. But U.S. officials have been discreetly meeting their Iranian counterparts one-on-one for more than a decade, often under the auspices of the United Nations.” U.S. Open to Talking About Iraq With Iran and Syria – “The Bush administration opened the door to one-on-one discussions with both Iran and Syria at this weekend’s Baghdad conference, as long as the talks are limited to the subject of peace and stability in Iraq.”

Nuclear weapons. A US plan for simpler, safer nuclear arms – “the nation’s nuclear bureaucracy believes the time has come to start replacing these complex weapons with simpler ones. Last week the Department of Energy announced the selection of a design for a new Reliable Replacement Warhead, meant to be safer, easier to manufacture, and more robust than current models.”

Bush in Brazil. Brazilians protest over Bush visit – “Violent clashes were taking place between police and masked protesters in the financial centre of Sao Paulo, the president’s first stop. Rioters threw rocks at police who answered with rubber bullets and tear gas bombs. Bystanders fled the smoke-filled streets outside the art museum as running battles erupted.” Visit by Bush Fires Up Latins’ Debate Over Socialism– “But in spite of administration attempts to minimize the shadow cast on the visit by Mr. Chávez – who has pushed an aggressively anti-American agenda throughout the region – the tour itself seems at least in part geared to counter his influence. Mr. Chávez has built that influence in part by showering poor communities with money for housing and health care and by freely dispensing oil at cut-rate prices.”

FBI errors. Frequent Errors In FBI’s Secret Records Requests – “A Justice Department investigation has found pervasive errors in the FBI’s use of its power to secretly demand telephone, e-mail and financial records in national security cases,”

Crime rise. Violent Crime in Cities Shows Sharp Surge Violent crime rose by double-digit percentages in cities across the country over the last two years, reversing the declines of the mid-to-late 1990s,”

Chidren’s health insurance. Kids face cutbacks in health coverage (Atlanta) – “A 10-year-old national program that has helped 6.6 million children get health insurance faces cutbacks here Sunday, and more states could follow unless Congress grants new funding.” Health coverage for kids tangled in debates over eligibility, funds – “Faced with 47 million uninsured people in the USA, including 9 million children, Congress is committed to saving CHIP.”

Health insurance. State OK’s 7 low-cost health plans for uninsured – “The move sets the stage for implementation of the most contentious feature of Massachusetts’ landmark effort to extend health insur
ance to every resident: a requirement that the uninsured buy insurance or face an escalating series of penalties.”

Heating assistance. US heating bills up, but federal aid down – “the number of people requiring energy-bill assistance has grown at the same time that Congress and the White House have cut funding by nearly $1 billion from last year. The combination has quickly rippled to the states, and at least seven are either completely out of money or will be shortly.”

Billionaires. Super-rich get richer – “The rich just keep getting richer. There are now a record 946 dollar billionaires around the globe, according to the latest Forbes ranking

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