God's Politics

the latest reports on Iraq and Congress, nuclear weapons, sanctions, Virginia Tech, infant death rate, Congress and the budget, presidential politics, values-based investing, and select editorials and opinion pieces

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Iraq-Congress. Democrats brace for next vote on war funds – “Four years after the fall of Baghdad, as US forces see the highest casualty levels of the war, Congress faces votes this week over the terms under which it will continue to fund the Iraq campaign.” Democrats weigh options for Iraq after expected veto – “Democrats are considering their next step after President Bush’s inevitable veto of their war-spending proposal, including a possible short-term funding bill that would force Congress to revisit the issue this summer.”

Iraq-war. Top U.S. Officers See Mixed Results From Iraq ‘Surge’ – “Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said the ongoing increase of nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in the country has achieved “modest progress” but has also met with setbacks such as a rise in devastating suicide bombings” Maliki’s political survival tied to security effort – “Iraq’s first constitutionally elected government may rise or fall with the success of an ongoing U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in Baghdad.” ‘Gated Communities’ For the War-Ravaged – “The U.S. military is walling off at least 10 of Baghdad’s most violent neighborhoods and using biometric technology to track some of their residents, creating what officers call “gated communities” in an attempt to carve out oases of safety in this war-ravaged city.” Iraqi Premier Orders Work Stopped on Wall– “Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday that he was ordering a halt to construction of a controversial wall that would block a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad from other areas, saying it reminded people of “other walls.”

Sanctions. Treasury wields financial sanctions – “When it comes to diplomacy, the arm of the Treasury Department is getting longer. The use of financial tools to cut off cash to terrorist supporters and nuclear proliferators — from Iran and North Korea to Sudan and the Palestinian Authority — has become central to the administration’s strategy in getting regimes to change their behavior.”

Virginia Tech. ‘It Is Something That Affects All of Us’ – “From corporate conference rooms to churches and college campuses, Americans draped themselves in burnt orange and maroon and became a united Hokie Nation [Saturday], as a national day of mourning honored the 32 people massacred at Virginia Tech.” RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES’ RESPONSE: Clergy Speak of Evil and Suffering, Love and Strength – “As they gathered in prayer this weekend on the campus where the blood was shed and at houses of worship in the Washington area and across the nation, the evil that struck Virginia Tech a week ago was unavoidable.” Congress hesitant on legislation – “Despite calls for legislative action in the wake of last week’s massacre at Virginia Tech, Democratic congressional leaders have no plans to bring up major gun control bills for votes, and supporters of stricter gun laws concede that significant gun legislation is highly unlikely to get serious consideration this year.”

Infant death rate rising. In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South– “For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states.”

Congress-budget. ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ Threatens Dems’ Agenda “Other Democratic promises also are in peril because Democrats revived the pay-as-you-go _ or pay-go, for short _ rule that prevailed during Bill Clinton’s presidency and helped produce surpluses instead of deficits on the government’s books. Among them are boosting health care for poor children, reforming a hidden middle-class tax increase and easing scheduled cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.”

Nuclear weapons. Congress Skeptical of Warhead Plan– “Congressional hearings over the past several weeks have shown that the Bush administration’s plan to move ahead with a new generation of nuclear warheads faces strong opposition from House and Senate members concerned that the effort lacks any strategic underpinning and could lead to a new nuclear arms race.”India Debates Its Right to Nuclear Testing – “A nuclear accord hailed as the centerpiece of India’s deepening friendship with the United States appears to be in jeopardy, as Indian officials argue about whether its limitations on their nuclear activities offend the country’s sense of sovereignty.”

Presidential politics. Debates Losing a Bit of Luster in a Big Field – “A flood of invitations is besieging Republican and Democratic presidential candidates alike this year, thrusting them into a complicated political vortex as they struggle to balance their own needs with the demands of sensitive and powerful debate sponsors whom candidates are eager not to offend.” Abortion aside, conservative Christians like Giuliani for 2008 – “And therein lies a startling aspect of Giuliani’s candidacy: Nationwide, he is the No. 1 choice of white conservative Christians for the Republican nomination. A Times poll this month found 26% of them favor Giuliani – more than double the portion supporting either of his top rivals, John McCain or Mitt Romney.”

“Values-based” investing. Social conservatives rally an investor army – “Morally responsible” or “val­ues based” investing, they say, has been an underutilized tool in their quest to rid society of abortion, pornography, and domestic-partner benefits for homosexual couples. It’s a tool whose time has come.”


Health care for more kids (Chicago Tribune) – “Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), along with several of their House colleagues, have introduced a bill to reauthorize and significantly expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program through the Healthy Kids Act of 2007. The Bush administration has no intention of allowing such an expansion.”

The unending agony of Darfur (Boston Globe) – “Ban’s brief for diplomatic patience can only help Bashir play for more time. Instead, the international community should apply pressure on Sudan’s point of greatest vulnerability — the role of China as major stakeholder in Sudan’s oil industry, trade partner, arms supplier, and diplomatic defender.”


The two types of violence (James Carroll, Boston Globe) – “There is neither physical nor moral equivalence between the carnage at Virginia Tech and the latest explosions in the US-sparked Sunni-Shi’ite civil war, yet such outbreaks draw attention to an underlying force that has taken both nations hostage: violence. At a time like this, it is necessary to step back from politics and grief to think about violence as such.”

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