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God's Politics

Ryan Rodrick Beiler: Daily News Digest

the latest news and opinion on the Republican debate, Zimbabwe, global warming, Iran, Israel-Palestine, Darfur, civil rights, Northern Ireland, and poverty

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Republican debate. ’08 Republicans Differ on Defining Party’s Future “The leading candidates offered sharply contrasting views of Mr. Bush himself. But they also differed on an array of social issues — abortion, stem cell research, immigration and evolution — in a debate that highlighted a party in flux as it struggles to figure out how to retain the White House for a third consecutive term.” GOP Field United On War, Divided On Social Issues “Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona were in the minority in expressing support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was pressed to explain why he has shifted from support to opposition of abortion rights as he prepared to campaign for the White House.”

Zimbabwe. Mugabe warns bishops of ‘danger’ “Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has told Roman Catholic bishops they are on a ‘dangerous path’ if they become too political, state media reports. He said they would be treated as politicians and not spiritual leaders.”

Global warming. Climate change ‘can be tackled’ “The growth in greenhouse gas emissions can be curbed at reasonable cost, experts at a major UN climate change conference in Bangkok have agreed. Boosting renewable energy, reducing deforestation and improving energy efficiency can all help, they said. This is the third report this year from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and aims to set out the costs and benefits of various policies. “

Iran. U.S. Officials Meet Briefly With Iranians “American and Iranian officials spoke briefly today at a regional conference here on the Iraq situation, in a rare direct conversation between representatives of the two antagonistic nations.” U.S. Official, Iranian Diplomat Discuss Stabilizing Iraq “The session, which U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker downplayed as a short discussion, came at the close of a three-day conference on Iraq’s future at which Iran continued to demand a withdrawal of American troops and U.S. officials said Iran, Syria and other Iraqi neighbors must avoid fomenting discord.”

Israel/Palestine. Israeli Protesters Demand That Prime Minister Resign “Tens of thousands of Israelis assembled Thursday in Rabin Square, the customary venue for this country’s public soul-searching, to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over his alleged mismanagement of the war in Lebanon last summer.” Israelis call on Olmert to resign “The report, issued after a six-month investigation led by retired judge Eliahu Winograd, accused Mr Olmert of ‘serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence.’ On Wednesday Mr Olmert’s own Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, called for the prime minister to resign, offering to stand as his replacement. Olmert vows to stay on despite mass rally calling on him to quit “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated his intention to remain in office Friday, Israel Radio reported, despite Thursday evening’s massive protest in Tel Aviv calling on him and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to resign.”

US sets targets for Israelis to lift restrictions and Palestinians to improve security “The United States has set deadlines for Israel to lift restrictions on the West Bank and Gaza, and for the Palestinians to prevent rocket fire at Israel, it emerged today. The deadlines are contained in a list of 33 “benchmarks” issued to both parties that set out goals and tasks for each side.” U.S. official: Demands not being imposed on anyone “Deputy U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Friday that the United States would not enforce the demands listed in a document presented to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, detailing actions for both sides to implement. He also said that there is no deadlines for taking the recommended actions.”

Darfur. Berkshire wealth clashes with Gates mission in Sudan “In Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have perished in what the United States calls a genocide, the killing has been supported by profits from companies helping the government of Sudan tap its vast reservoirs of oil, according to services that research corporate conduct for investors. The firms include China’s Sinopec Corp., Malaysia’s Petronas, and Schlumberger, based in the Netherlands Antilles — whose investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation’s most significant connection to the Sudanese oil industry, however, is through Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Bill Gates is a Berkshire director, and Berkshire’s chairman, Warren E. Buffett, is a trustee of the Gates Foundation. … Some of Berkshire’s wealth comes from PetroChina, whose parent company supplies a large part of the money that underwrites Sudan’s military — as well as the janjaweed, according to the United States and the United Nations. The infusion of Berkshire stock places the Gates Foundation in conflict with its own efforts to help victims of the Sudanese civil war.”

Civil rights. FBI May Probe Use of Force by L.A. Police at Immigration Rally “The FBI will open a civil rights inquiry into the Los Angeles Police Department’s actions at an immigration rally where officers cleared a city park by wielding batons and firing rubber bullets, the bureau said Thursday.” LAPD cut back forces at park rally “Police Chief William J. Bratton escalated his criticism of the officers’ tactics and said the department’s three investigations would focus on the actions not only of line officers but also of the top brass who gave the orders.”

House Backs Expanded Hate-Crime Law “Brushing aside a veto threat from President Bush, the House yesterday approved legislation that would extend federal hate-crime protection to gays and increase penalties against their attackers.” Hate crime bill veto is vowed “Under intense pressure from conservative religious organizations to derail the bill, the White House on Thursday called it “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable,” issuing the latest in a string of veto threats aimed at the congressional Democratic majority.”

Northern Ireland. N. Ireland
loyalist paramilitary renounces violence
“The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), one of the most violent paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, has announced that the group is disarming and assuming a ‘non-military, civilianized role.” UVF must match words with actions “The words have been rewritten over and over again since then, but the general thrust did not change: having accepted that the IRA’s war is over, the UVF’s leadership could no longer offer any justification for the organisation to continue to exist.”

Poverty. If Democrats Want to Help the Poor . . . “Republicans once preached compassion, but then went off to war. Democrats waged a war on poverty, but then lost some elections. They decided the middle class is where it’s at.” A Powerhouse for the Poor “You often hear that the poor and working people don’t have a voice in Washington, that they invariably lose out to special interests that give big campaign contributions or can mobilize a vast membership.”

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posted May 7, 2007 at 9:40 pm

Jim Wallis is part of a new group to support a massive amnesty for illegal aliens. The reasons why they’re wrong and what they support will make the situation far worse at the link. I note also that Wallis et al are selectively quoting the Bible; anyone have any thoughts on that? I urge everyone to do research into this matter and then go to Wallis’ public appearances and point out exactly how he’s wrong.

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eileen fleming

posted May 7, 2007 at 11:13 pm

On January 5, 2006, while in Ramallah, this reporter interviewed Ala Jaradat, Coordinator ADAMEER [Arabic for conscience] http://WWW.ADDAMEER.ORG Ala Jaradat: The methods and photos from Abu Grahib and Guantanamo were no shock to any Palestinian who had been in prison between 1967 and the 80 s. All the methods used in Abu Grahib were normal procedures against Palestinians. “In 1999 Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis for human rights threatened a boycott against Israel and that is what forced the Supreme Court to address the torture issue. “They did not ban torture and the General Prosecutor can choose not to prosecute those who still use it. “Since 1967, 650,000 to 700,000 Palestinians have been arrested and detained. That totals 20% of the total population and 80% of all adult Palestinian males have been arrested. Most of these arrests occur after midnight when large numbers of IDF storm into neighborhoods or refugee camps, horrifying everyone and arresting anyone 14 years or older. Sometimes they storm into business offices and arrest the breadwinners of the families without any charges. “These arrests and detentions are based on military orders; we live under a kind of Marshall Law which rules every aspect of Palestinian life: where we live, our license plates that restrict our movement and limited voting rights. Under these military orders the Israeli government is free to hold anyone eight days without accusations or charges. They can hold anyone up to 180 days for interrogation and up to 60 days without benefit of a lawyer. The Israeli government never agreed to the Second Geneva Convention, the Knesset never ratified it, and when it comes to the Occupied Territories they totally ignore it. Israel is the only State that approved torture of detainees. I know there are dictators who use torture, but Israel is the only State that supported torture until 1999. That is when International, Israeli and Palestinian pressure groups forced the issue and Barack was confronted about it when he visited the United States. The IDF will round up and arrest family members and use threats against their relatives to force confessions. The interrogations lead to Military Trials which is theoretically like court with three Judges presiding but only one is required to have an education and a law degree is not at all necessary. The Military Commander appoints the translators, issues all orders, assigns the judges, and has total control. One appeal is allowed, but if the judges are settlers the Palestinian is in deep shit! Administrative Detentions are issued by the Military Commander for a period of six months and the reason is always labeled Security and the charges can be renewed indefinitely. One Palestinian spent eight years under Administrative detention and hundreds have endured four or more years. Today fifty are being held for the past four years. They may be released for a day or two and then they are rearrested because they are social or political activists but reasons are not given by the Israeli government. At any given moment 10% of those in prison are under Administrative Detention. There are currently 8,000 prisoners and 800 of them are under Administrative Detention. The government does not have to inform anyone about these arrests except the Red Cross and only if they are imprisoned over two weeks, but most arrests go unreported. Any Palestinian under the age of 16 is tried as an adult, but for an Israeli Jew it is 18 years of age. Under 12 years old the child can be arrested but not detained. Over 12 they can be arrested, detained, interrogated, prosecuted and sentenced for throwing stones. Most of the Israeli Jews that are imprisoned are in for violent crimes against society and they are mixed in with the Palestinian population. The guards encourage them to do what ever they want to do against the Palestinian population. This is an open invitation by the Israeli government to incite violence and terror in the prison system. We have sworn affidavits from Palestinians claiming it was the guards who encouraged the violence inflicted upon them. In August 2004 the Palestinians went on a hunger strike to raise awareness of this problem and the Minister of Health who is responsible for them stated publicly: Our hospitals are off limits to them They can all starve themselves to death. No human rights organizations are allowed access to the prisoners. Only lawyers and the Red Cross can visit them but have no access to the facilities where they are detained.” eileen fleming, author, reporter and editor

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eileen fleming

posted May 7, 2007 at 11:17 pm

The above comment was posted in response to: Israel. Human rights groups: Shin Bet still uses torture “Human rights groups accuse the Shin Bet security forces of continuing to use ‘irregular’ interrogation techniques involving physical measures and torture against Palestinian prisoners …” Palestinians ‘routinely tortured’ in Israeli jails “The ill-treatment, which includes beatings, sensory deprivation, back-bending, back-stretching and other forms of physical abuse, contravenes international law and Israeli law, the report says.” Israel accused of prisoner abuse “[T]he human rights groups point to a more ambiguous ruling from the Israeli High Court. It decreed that members of the security service who abused detainees may be exempted from criminal liability, if they believed that the people they were interrogating had information about an imminent terrorist act. ”

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eileen fleming

posted May 9, 2007 at 6:17 pm

I have a question: Are your readers aware that on April 30, 2007 , in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Mordechai Vanunu was convicted on 14 -out of 21- counts of violating a court order prohibiting him from speaking to foreign journalists.Vanunu was also convicted for traveling the four miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem when he hoped to attend Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the Nativity, his first Christmas after being released from 18 years in jail [most of it in solitary] on April 21, 2004.Instead of Christmas Mass, Vanunu spent the night in jail and charged with attempting to flee Israel. Vanunu also has no passport and has been held under the draconian 1945 British Mandate State of Emergency Regulations, which forbids him from leaving Israel and speaking to media and foreigners, these last three years since his release. Following the verdict, Vanunu pointed out, “Perhaps I should turn to the Queen or Tony Blair for justice All that I want is to be free, to leave the country.” Israel’s statehood was contingent upon its upholding of the UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.Article 19 affirms: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.” – The Declaration of the establishment of Israel, May 14, 1948.Although ‘free’ for the last three years, “Vanunu has suffered a spate of verbal attacks and threats as a result of his activism from Zionists, both Jewish and Christian. However, given the fact that Israel’s nuclear capability is no longer a secret, he feels that the attacks are personal in nature and tied to the fact that he “abandoned the tribe” by converting to Christianity.” Vanunu informed American Free Press correspondent, Mark Glenn, “that this was something that was a common theme during his prison term, where he would receive regular visits from Shin Bet and Mossad agents who would dangle the bait of parole in front of him if he would just renounce his conversion and “return to the fold.” His comments concerning his conversion reveal why “interested parties” might engage in a program of vindictiveness against him:”In the same way that Jesus criticized Judaism 2,000 years ago, I was unwilling to accept what they teach. The Jews believe that there is only one Chosen People of God and preach their superiority. I decided that after 2,000 years these ideas were nonsense. There are 6 billion people around the world, all equal, all part of the human race. There is no such thing as a super race.”We should all respect and love each other, and that was the beginning of my rejecting Judaism and accepting the teachings of Jesus Christ and of accepting humanity. Those who teach Judaism control and ruin the lives of those under them, telling them what they must do every hour of every day, but at the same time they do not teach them to respect non-Jews as human beings. This is Judaism, a collection of primitive traditions thousands of years old that has not changed.”He added that “the Jews came to Palestine in the name of their god and took this land and expelled the people and gave them hard, cruel, barbaric lives for the last 60 years. This way of thinking, this faith, cannot exist within this new age, and it was this that also led me to expose Israel’s nuclear secrets.” During my June 2005 and March 2006 interviews with Vanunu, he informed this reporter, “The Shen Beet, you know like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA were watching me constantly. They tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for two years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety. They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me. They would deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night long.”The Israelis have 200 atomic weapons and they accuse the Palestinians and Muslims of terrorism,” Vanunu explained to this reporter and foreigner in March 2006, then added, “The Dimona is 46 years old; reactors last 25 to 30 years. The Dimona has never been inspected and Israel has never signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but all the Arab states have.””Twenty years ago when I worked there they only produced when the air was blowing towards Jordan ten miles away. No one knows what is happening now. The world needs to wake up and see the real terrorism is the occupation and the Palestinians have lived under that terror regime for 40 years.”It’s very sad that Hillary Clinton went to the Jewish Wailing Wall and forgot the real crying wall is the Palestinian wall; the apartheid wall, the wall is not for defense, but to keep this conflict permanent.”Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew.” Vanunu and the world will learn on May 18, 2007 how much more time he will spend behind bars for speaking his mind in a Mid East ‘Democracy’. “30 Minutes with Vanunu” freely streaming on

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