God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq-Congress, immigration, U.S. Muslims, Iraq-war policy, Iran, immigration, Falwell’s funeral, the Anglican Church, Mideast, and select Op-Eds.

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Iraq-Congress. Democrats capitulate on war funds – “Congressional Democrats backed down in the standoff with the White House over war funds, abandoning their veto-instigating effort to link deadlines for withdrawing troops from Iraq to President Bush’s request for more than $100 billion in emergency spending.” Democrats drop Iraq troop deadline – “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) characterized the compromise as progress in the Democratic drive to bring the U.S. combat role in Iraq to an end, saying the bill was not a “blank check.” Democrats Pull Troop Deadline From Iraq Bill– “The decision to back down was a wrenching reversal for leading Democrats, who saw their election triumph in November as a call to force an end to the war.” Democrats Relent On Pullout Timetable – “Democrats gave up their demand for troop-withdrawal deadlines in an Iraq war spending package, abandoning their top goal of bringing U.S. troops home and handing President Bush a victory in a debate that has roiled Congress for months.”

Iraq-war policy. New Strategy for War Stresses Iraqi Politics – “Top U.S. commanders and diplomats in Iraq are completing a far-reaching campaign plan for a new U.S. strategy, laying out military and political goals and endorsing the selective removal of hardened sectarian actors from Iraq’s security forces and government.” Bush turn to UN for Iraq solution – “The Bush administration is developing plans to “internationalise” the Iraq crisis, including an expanded role for the United Nations, as a way of reducing overall US responsibility for Iraq’s future and limiting domestic political fallout from the war as the 2008 election season approaches.” In Baghdad, fighting their ‘Alamo’ – “U.S. troops in the Iraq security push face daunting foes: snipers and bombs. A captain fears it may be ‘their surge, not ours.”

Iran. Nine U.S. warships in Gulf for show of force– “ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (Reuters) – The largest daytime assembly of U.S. warships in the Gulf since the 2003 Iraq war prepared on Wednesday to hold drills off Iran’s coast in a major U.S. show of force that unnerved oil markets. U.S. Navy officials said Iran was not notified of plans to sail nine ships, including two aircraft carriers, through the Straits of Hormuz,” Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran – “The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on”

Immigration. Guest worker program survives – “A controversial bill that would overhaul the nation’s immigration system survived its first major test when the Senate overwhelmingly defeated a bid by two Democratic senators to eliminate a key component: a program to allow foreign workers into the country temporarily.” Proposal For Guest Workers Survives – “Democrats vowed they would come back to the program again and again, with amendments to cut the guest-worker program’s size in half, to add an expiration date, to torpedo the program if workers do not comply with the rules, and to bolster worker protections for participants.” Senate Votes to Keep Temporary Worker Program – “If the guest worker program, part of the “grand bargain” negotiated with the Bush administration by a bipartisan group of 12 senators, had been stripped from the bill, the fragile deal could have collapsed.”

Falwell funeral. Farewell to Falwell – “Thousands of mourners, many arriving before dawn, yesterday bade farewell to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the Baptist evangelist who became a leader in winning souls to Christ, founder of Liberty Baptist University, and a moral force in national politics.” During His Funeral, Falwell Is Praised for Activist Style – “Before the doors opened for the 1 p.m. service, the line of students and the elderly, toddlers and parents had wrapped around the building and extended for blocks. The Bush administration sent a representative, Tim Goeglein, the deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison at the White House, and evangelical leaders active in Republican politics, including Par Robertson, streamed into the church.”

Anglican church. Gay and Dissident Bishops Excluded From ’08 Meeting– “The archbishop of Canterbury sent out more than 800 invitations to a once-a-decade global gathering of Anglican bishops. But he did not invite the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire and the bishop in Virginia who heads a conservative cluster of disaffected American churches affiliated with the archbishop of Nigeria.”

Mideast. Israel threatens Hamas – “The Israeli government said it would consider assassinating the Palestinian prime minister as the town of Sderot emptied following the first death from a Qassam rocket in six months.” Israelis Don’t Want Gaza to Be Their Next Lebanon – “For the governme
nt of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, badly battered by last summer’s inconclusive war against the rockets of Hezbollah, launched from Lebanon, the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip seems a similarly intractable problem with no easy, popular response.” Furious Street Battles Remind Lebanon of Its Past– “The stark reality of the three-day battle in this seaside refugee camp became apparent Tuesday on a drive through the area during a brief but dangerous lull in the fighting.”

U.S. Muslims. Survey: U.S. Muslims Assimilated, Opposed to Extremism – “Unlike Muslim minorities in many European countries, U.S. Muslims are highly assimilated, close to parity with other Americans in income and overwhelmingly opposed to Islamic extremism, according to the first major, nationwide random survey of Muslims.” American Muslims reject extremes – “The USA’s estimated 2.4 million Muslims hold more moderate political views than Muslims elsewhere in the world and are mostly middle class and willing to adopt the American way of life,” US Muslims more assimilated than British – “The detailed survey, conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre, found that American Muslims tended to have a better standard of living than their counterparts in Europe and were more comfortable with a society in which a majority believed in God compared with secular Europe.” The Pew Research Center survey is titled “Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream.”


Immigration’s Future (Tamar Jacoby, Washington Post) – “The immigration deal the Senate produced last week is far from perfect, and its critics, left and right, make many valid points. But much of the criticism misses the forest for the trees. Left out of the debate: the historic scope and significance of the deal — its ambition to deliver an immigration system that grapples with globalization and the choices it poses for America.”

Giuliani’s Abortion Muddle (Michael Gerson, Washington Post) – “Giuliani is now attempting a political vault with the highest degree of difficulty: winning the GOP presidential nomination as a pro-choice candidate. … There is, however, a question that comes before politics: Does Giuliani’s position on abortion actually make sense?”

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