God's Politics

The latest news on immigration, Iraq, Iran, U.S. military, Presidential politics, Guantanamo, Sudan, Farmworkers, the church and sex offenders, and select Op-Eds.

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Immigration. Bush Makes Push To Resolve Status Of Illegal Workers – “President Bush outlined the latest version of his plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, renewing his support for a guest-worker program for those with low skills and issuing a vague call for a resolution of the legal status of the estimated 12 million undocumented workers in the country.” Bush unveils new immigration proposal – “He launched a similar initiative in a nationally televised speech 11 months ago but, despite support from most Democrats, was stymied by fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill. Bush Ties Drop in Illegal Immigration to His Policies – “President Bush said that tougher enforcement and a new fence at the Mexican border had sharply reduced the influx of illegal immigrants, and he pressed Congress to pass a sweeping revision of the nation’s immigration laws.” Looking the Other Way on Immigrants – “HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. — In the aftermath of a series of raids in 2004, the town council in this historic borough of 5,300 — transformed in recent years by an influx of at least 1,300 Latin Americans — unanimously approved a sort of immigrant bill of rights. Joining a growing list of cities enacting a no-questions-asked policy on immigration status, Hightstown now allows its undocumented residents to officially interact with local police and access city services without fear of being reported to federal authorities.”

Iraq. Shia demand troop withdrawal – “Wrapped in the Iraqi flag and chanting anti-American slogans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shia snaked into the holy city of Najaf yesterday for a protest rally to mark the fourth anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein and to demand the ejection from Iraq of US and British troops.” Huge Protest in Iraq Demands U.S. Withdraw– “Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, took to the streets of the holy city of Najaf in an extraordinarily disciplined rally to demand an end to the American military presence in Iraq, burning American flags and chanting “Death to America!” Sadr followers demand U.S. pullout – “Shiite Muslims flocked to the shrine city of Najaf in a peaceful show of solidarity with Sadr, whose grass-roots movement has been squeezed by U.S. and Iraqi forces since the start of the Baghdad security plan two months ago.” Learning to Live With the Mahdi Army – “No, there have been no problems, the police commander was telling the armor-laden American soldiers squeezed into his office in the vast Shiite enclave of Sadr City. Except, he said, for the text-messaged death threats he often received from militia members.”

US military. Pentagon strains to uphold troops levels in Iraq – “The Pentagon will send four National Guard brigades to Iraq and may extend the tours of five active-duty Army brigades by as much as four months as it strains to find troops to sustain the buildup in Baghdad through the end of the year.”

Iran. Iran claims nuclear advances – “Iran claimed to have made a dramatic leap forward in its nuclear programme by enriching uranium “on an industrial scale”, a move likely to accelerate a collision with the US and strengthen calls in Washington for military action.” Iran Says It Can Enrich Uranium on a Large Scale– “In a speech, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that if the West did not end its pressure against Iran to halt the production of uranium, Iran would review its policy of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear monitoring entity.” Iran’s nuclear claims raise fear, skepticism – “Independent experts largely portrayed the Iranian claim as a political statement designed to bolster both its international and domestic stature, rather than an indication that Tehran has reached a significant new milestone in its nuclear program.”

Presidential politics. Campaigning gets a new Web version – “Seven candidates for the 2008 Democratic Party nomination will take part tonight in a live “virtual town hall” forum about the Iraq war, in what is being billed as the largest and most ambitious experiment yet in harnessing the power of Internet technology to reshape participatory democracy.”

Guantanamo. Guantánamo Bay inmates in mass hunger strike – “Inmates at Guantánamo Bay have embarked on a mass hunger strike in protest at the isolation and harsh conditions of a new maximum security unit, detainee lawyers and military officials said yesterday.”

Sudan. Chad ‘attacked Sudan forces’– “Sudan says its armed forces have clashed with the Chadian army in the western region of Darfur, with 17 of its soldiers killed and 40 injured. Chad has denied crossing the border and says it only fought with Chadian rebels who launched an attack from Sudan.” Arab Nomads, ‘Not Pro-Anything,’ Also Suffer in Darfur – “The vast majority of the estimated 450,000 people killed and the 2.5 million displaced in Darfur since 2003 have been black African farmers targeted in a brutal
government-led campaign to crush a rebellion. But the conflict has also affected nomadic Arabs,” Sudan at War With Itself – map and graphic from Washington Post.

Farmworkers. Migrants harvest tiny raise, big win – “McDonald’s Corp. agreed on Monday to pay a penny per pound more to field hands who pick the restaurant chain’s tomatoes — a minuscule-sounding raise that still won plaudits for bringing attention to long-suffering agricultural workers. … McDonald’s sat down in Atlanta with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community-based farmworker organization that takes its name from Immokalee, Fla., which is in the heart of the Florida tomato-growing region.”

Church and sex offenders. Sex Offenders Test Churches’ Core Beliefs– “Mark Pliska, 53, told the congregation here that he had been in prison for molesting children but that he sought a place to worship and liked the atmosphere at Pilgrim. Mr. Pliska’s request has plunged the close-knit congregation into a painful discussion about applying faith in a difficult real-world situation. Congregants now wonder, are all truly welcome? If they are, how do you ensure the safety of children and the healing of adult survivors of sexual abuse? Can an offender who accepts Christ truly change?”


Guest workers: a worn-out labor idea (By John J. Sweeney and Pablo Alvarado, Los Angeles Times) – “Such a system will create a disenfranchised underclass of workers. That is not only morally indefensible, it is economically nonsensical. We’ve had plenty of bad experiences with such shortsighted answers to a complicated problem.”

Time for A Bargain On the War (By David S. Broder, The Washington Post) – “In the continuing battle between the Democratic Congress and the Bush administration over policy in Iraq, logic is on the Democrats’ side, but the crucial political leverage belongs to the president. It behooves the realists in both camps to recognize what the troops and the country have at stake — and negotiate a compromise.”

Now, two nuclear deadlines(Editorial, Chicago Tribune) – “For years now, the Iranians have ignored deadlines to stop their nuclear program. They’ve been masterful at playing for time, stringing along the Europeans, the Russians and the United Nations Security Council with negotiations that went nowhere, threats of retaliation about the country’s “right” to nuclear energy. The most recent example of Iranian misdirection: the British hostage crisis.”

Document. URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI, EASTER 2007 – “Dear Brothers and sisters, through the wounds of the Risen Christ we can see the evils which afflict humanity with the eyes of hope. In fact, by his rising the Lord has not taken away suffering and evil from the world but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace. He has countered the arrogance of evil with the supremacy of his love. He has left us the love that does not fear death, as the way to peace and joy.”

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