God's Politics

The latest news on Sudan-Darfur, Iran, G8-climate change, immigration, Iraq, Iran, nuclear power, Presidential politics, Cindy Sheehan, Billy Graham, and select op-eds.

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Full news summary:

Immigration. Debate still surrounds ‘imperfect bill’ – “Immigration overhaul is a top priority of the U.S. business community, which faces a growing array of conflicting state and local laws that require businesses to police workers’ immigration status and that impose fines on firms that hire illegal workers.” Immigration screening could snag too many workers – “A system to verify the legality of every employee within 3 years — key to the Senate’s measure — is controversial.” Change on Immigration Turns Senator Kyl Into Lightning Rod – “Angry calls poured into Senator Jon Kyl’s office this week by the thousands, expressing outrage beyond anything he said he had witnessed in his 20-year political career. The callers were inflamed by Mr. Kyl’s role in shaping the bipartisan immigration compromise.” Bill Adds Fuel to Flames in a Divided Border State– “While cultural and economic ties to Mexico run deep in Arizona, the country’s fastest-growing state, it is also where more people cross illegally from Mexico than anywhere else along the 2,000-mile border.”

Iraq. Iraq likely to miss goals set by U.S. – “U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success.” Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq– “The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and tactics to neighboring countries and beyond.” As Allies Turn Foe, Disillusion Rises in Some G.I.’s– “in interviews with more than a dozen soldiers in this 83-man unit over a one-week period, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop.” Strife Foreseen in Iraq Exit, but Experts Split on Degree– “Would the pullback of American forces unleash an even bloodier round of civil conflict that would lead to the implosion of the Iraqi government? Or would it put pressure on Iraqi politicians to finally reconcile their differences? More bluntly: how bad would things get?” Analysts’ Warnings of Iraq Chaos Detailed – “Months before the invasion of Iraq, U.S. intelligence agencies predicted that it would be likely to spark violent sectarian divides and provide al-Qaeda with new opportunities in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Sudan-Darfur. Bush Looks To Intensify Pressure On Sudan – “President Bush has decided to implement a plan to pressure Sudan’s government into cooperating with international efforts to halt the violence in its troubled Darfur region, where his administration said almost three years ago that genocide was taking place.” Bush to Tighten Fiscal Penalties Against Sudan– “President Bush will announce Tuesday that he is imposing stiff economic sanctions against Sudan – including penalties against two senior government officials and a rebel leader – and that he will press the United Nations for additional actions to end the violence in Darfur” U.N. presses for peace in Darfur – “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has put his personal diplomatic clout on the line to end the bloodshed in Darfur, demanding a cease-fire and fresh peace talks in a letter to Sudan’s president,”

Iran U.S., Iran Open Dialogue On Iraq – “The United States and Iran held their first official high-level, face-to-face talks in almost 30 years Monday to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, and officials emerged generally upbeat about the renewed dialogue,” U.S. and Iranian Officials Meet in Baghdad, but Talks Yield No Breakthroughs– “The United States and Iran held rare face-to-face talks in Baghdad on Monday, adhering to an agenda that focused strictly on the war in Iraq and on ways the two bitter adversaries could help improve conditions here.” U.S., Iran reach Iraq consensus – “The U.S. ambassador met with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad on Monday in the first formal bilateral talks between the two nations in more than a quarter century, though the talks alone were characterized by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker as unlikely to lead to specific gains to reduce violence in Iraq.” US and Iran finally break the ice – “Against a background of renewed international tension, with the US conducting large-scale war games in the Gulf, the two sides met in Baghdad for discussions described by both as “positive”. Iran held out the prospect of a further meeting within the next month.”

Nuclear power. Arabs make plans for nuclear power – “As Iran races ahead with an illicit uranium enrichment effort, nearly a dozen other Middle East nations are moving forward on their own civilian nuclear programs.”

G8-Climate change. U.S. Rejects G-8 Climate Proposal – “U.S. officials have raised a second round of unusually bluntly worded objections to a proposed global-warming declaration that Germany prepared for next month’s Group of Eight summit,”

Presidential politics. Can GOP find leader to suit evangelicals? – “With President Bush, the evangelical-in-chief, leaving the White House in 19 months, conservative Christians are desperately searching for a new standard-bearer — and they’re not finding him among the three GOP poll leaders.” John Edwards’ populism is a risky bet – “In adopting poverty and low-wage work as his themes, Edwards has struck a far more combative, populist tone than in his 2004 presidential campaign….But Edwards’ 2008 strategy carries risks, in part because it speaks most directly to a slice of the electorate that has notably little political clout.”

Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan quits as face of US anti-war fight – “Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq three years ago, said yesterday she was stepping down from her role as the figurehead of the US campaign against the war. “This is my resignation letter as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” she wrote in a sometimes bitter diary entry on the website Daily Kos.”

Billy Graham. Billy Graham, tourist attraction – “The other day, Billy Graham toured the showy museum that will soon open here to honor his six decades of bringing God’s word to the high and the humble.”

Op-Ed. The Rise Of the Bottom Fifth (By Ron Haskins, The Washington Post) – “This increase in earnings and total income by low-income families is the biggest success in American social policy of recent decades.”

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