God's Politics

The latest news on the presidential veto, Darfur, religion, Iraq war, immigration rallies, Israeli PM, Venezuela, and select commentaries.

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Presidential veto. Bush Keeps Vow to Veto War Funding Bill – “President Bush vetoed a $124 billion measure yesterday that would have funded overseas military operations but required him to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq as early as July, escalating the most serious confrontation between the White House and Congress over war policy in a generation.” Bush uses 2nd veto to kill Iraq war bill – “With President Bush’s veto Tuesday of a war spending bill that demanded timelines for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Democratic congressional leaders will be pressed to find a way to fund troops on the front line while keeping pressure on the administration to wind down an unpopular war.” Bush Vetoes Bill Tying Iraq Funds to Exit The veto added new punctuation to a major war powers clash between Democrats in Congress – buoyed what they regard as a mandate in last November’s elections and seeking to force an end to the fighting in Iraq – and a president working to defy what he regards as an incursion on his authority as commander in chief.”

Iraq war. Iraq’s civilian toll grows – “Police on Tuesday reported the deaths of dozens of people in sectarian violence across Iraq, including the massacre of 16 people attending a funeral in Khalis, north of Baghdad.” U.S. diplomats returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder – “U.S. diplomats are returning from Iraq with the same debilitating, stress-related symptoms that have afflicted many U.S. troops, prompting the State Department to order a mental health survey of 1,400 employees who have completed assignments there.” Key US Army ranks begin to thin – “Four years into the fight in Iraq, the Army continues to be successful in retaining enough soldiers overall – “a miracle” to some observers, because the war has lasted so long. But that success masks a growing problem within the ranks: Fewer mid-grade sergeants are opting to stay in the Army as many face yet another deployment to Iraq.”

Immigration rallies. Immigrant Rights Rallies Smaller Than Last Year– “Tens of thousands of people pressing for immigrants’ rights demonstrated on Tuesday in dozens of cities. But with advocates splintered over tactics, the crowds paled in comparison with the turnout last year.” Immigration Rallies Focus On Keeping Families Intact – “A year after a series of similar rallies, yesterday’s protests focused on keeping families intact. That focus appeared aimed at raids that could separate parents who are in the country illegally from children born here who are citizens.” ‘We’re proud of our lives’ – “The chants and drum beats were familiar, and so was the sight of an estimated 150,000 demonstrators marching shoulder to shoulder through Chicago’s Loop, a sweaty, tightly packed throng waving American flags and hoisting signs as downtown traffic stood still.” Small turnout, big questions – “Waving U.S. flags and demanding citizenship for undocumented immigrants, tens of thousands of jubilant protesters marched through the streets of Los Angeles during a mostly peaceful day that ended with clashes between police and demonstrators in MacArthur Park.”

Israeli PM. Top Party Official Calls for Olmert to Resign – “A senior official in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s own party openly called for him to resign today, adding to mounting pressure in the wake of a damning report about Mr. Olmert’s performance in last summer’s war against Hezbollah.” PM Olmert to tell deputy Livni: Stop undermining me, or resign – ” The battle between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni following the release of the Winograd Committee’s interim report is reaching a boiling point: Olmert is expected to warn Livni at a meeting between the two today that she cannot continue to undermine him and still hold her position as deputy premier.”

Darfur. ICC issues Darfur arrest warrants – “The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for a Sudanese minister and a militia leader suspected of war crimes in the Darfur region.” ICC issues Darfur arrest warrants – “The warrants, for Ahmed Haroun, secretary of state for humanitarian affairs and a former minister for Darfur, and Ali Kosheib, are the first to be issued by the ICC over the conflict.”

Venezuela. Venezuela seizes foreign oil fields – “Thousands of Venezualan workers took control of foreign-owned oil fields yesterday as Hugo Chávez stepped up his battle with Washington in a new wave of nationalisation and an announcement that the country was leaving the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”

Religion. Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus– “Across the country, on secular campuses as varied as Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remembe
r.” Episcopal bishop hits Anglican installation – “Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is confronting Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola head-on with a new demand that he not install Truro Church rector Martyn Minns as head of a parallel denomination this coming weekend.” Little Tokyo’s Pentecostal miracle – “For more than a decade, a group of Pentecostal and community leaders have worked to memorialize the site. Bill Watanabe, executive director of the Little Tokyo Service Center, knew nothing of Pentecostalism but became intrigued after being repeatedly asked by visitors for directions to Azusa Street – which he knew only as an unremarkable alley. After learning the story behind it, he helped launch the Azusa Street Memorial Committee in the 1990s.”

Commentary. The wise investment of insuring children (Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times) – “House and Senate Democrats have approved budgets providing up to $50 billion in increased CHIPs funding over the next five years. Before Democrats can commit those funds, they must find offsetting revenues or cuts in other programs, a formidable challenge. But if Democrats meet their $50-billion goal, they will provide CHIPs with enough money to cover not only the current caseload but as many as two-thirds of the nation’s remaining uninsured children.”

The gambling scam on America’s poor (Mark Lange, Christian Science Monitor) – “Some scandals don’t involve illegal activity – they’re just outrageous and unjust. Take gambling in America. Abetted by Congress, legislatures from 48 states now sponsor gambling operations and lottery monopolies to balance their budgets on the backs of their poorest and most vulnerable citizens – while basking in the virtue of fighting tax increases.”

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