The latest news on Iraq-Congress, immigration, children’s health insurance, Iran, Israel, White House-congress and courts, immigration, faith and politics, faith and business, Live Earth- climate change, and a feature essay on ‘God and Country’, select editorials and commentaries.
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Iraq-Congress. Sensing a Shift, Reid Will Press for an Iraq Exit“Sensing momentum from the new Republican defections, Mr. Reid and other leading Democrats intend to force a series of votes over the next two weeks on proposals to withdraw troops and limit spending. Democrats are increasingly confident they can assemble majority opposition to administration policies.” White House Debate Rises on Iraq Pullback“White House officials fear that the last pillars of political support among Senate Republicans for President Bush’s Iraq strategy are collapsing around them, according to several administration officials and outsiders they are consulting.” Administration Shaving Yardstick for Iraq Gains “The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter.” Quietly, US strategy in Iraq shifting “With little fanfare, at least so far, the stage is being set for a post-”surge” Iraq strategy that reduces US ambitions for the Iraq project, even while keeping some US forces there for years to come.”
Iraq. Blasts kill dozens in Baghdad area “The unrelenting carnage across Iraq continued Sunday, with at least 49 people killed in explosions, shootings and other violence, a day after as many as 150 people died in the suicide bombing of a northern Iraqi marketplace.” Iraqis warn of consequences of U.S. troop drawdown “Iraqi officials warned on Monday that an early withdrawal of U.S. troops could tip the country into all-out civil war after the New York Times said debate was growing inside the White House over a gradual drawdown.”
Iran. Tunneling Near Iranian Nuclear Site Stirs Worry “The sudden flurry of digging seen in recent satellite photos of a mountainside in central Iran might have passed for ordinary road tunneling. But the site is the back yard of Iran’s most ambitious and controversial nuclear facility, leading U.S. officials and independent experts to reach another conclusion: It appears to be the start of a major tunnel complex inside the mountain.” ‘Media trying to oust president’ “The accusation, from the president’s allies, coincides with disclosures that Mr Ahmadinejad has authorised aides to establish a special team to counter “black propaganda against the government”.
Israel. Israel’s most powerful woman “She grew up in Zionist royalty, the pedigreed daughter of a “fighting family.” She was a spy with the Mossad, her purportedly daring field exploits still classified. Today, she is the face of the Israeli government, in a country where politics remain largely the purview of macho men, and where being tough often outranks being smart.”
White House-Congress & courts. White House Will Deny New Request In Attorneys Probe “The White House has decided to defy Congress’s latest demand for information regarding the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys, sources familiar with the decision said yesterday. Such an action would escalate the constitutional struggle and propel it closer to a court showdown.” Lawsuit Against Wiretaps Rejected “A federal appeals court removed a serious legal challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, overruling the only judge who held that a controversial surveillance effort by the National Security Agency was unconstitutional.”
Immigration. Illegal immigrants find refuge in holy places “the New Sanctuary Movement, a small but growing coalition of churches, synagogues and other houses of worship that is challenging the immigration system, despite legal risk, as the nation debates how to deal with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the USA.”
Faith & politics. Evangelicals See Dilemmas in G.O.P. Field“The calculus at this point for social conservative voters, who represent more than 60 percent of Republican caucus goers here in Iowa, is replete with tradeoffs over who best adheres to their values and who is ultimately electable next year.” For Clinton, Faith Intertwines With Political Life “Mrs. Clinton, the New York senator who is seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, has been alluding to her spiritual life with increasing regularity in recent years, language that has dovetailed with efforts by her party to reach out to churchgoers who have been voting overwhelmingly Republican.”
Faith & business. Do Business and Islam Mix? Ask Him “as he tries to present a less threatening face of Islam on the global business stage during a time of war, the Aga Khan – one of the world’s wealthiest Muslim investors – preaches the ethical acquisition and use of wealth and financial aid that promotes economic self-reliance among developing countries and their poorest people.” Morally sound stocks sought “The search for stocks and mutual funds known for religious virtue as well as financial vitality has shot up in recent years with a proliferation of evangelical Protestant, Catholic and Muslim investment companies.”
Faith. Children get holier than thou “Though Gallup polls dating to the ’50s say young adults are less likely to attend services or say religion is very important in their lives, clergy of all stripes say they are seeing a small wave of young adults who are more pious than their parents. And they’re getting an earful from boomer moms and dads who range from shocked to delighted.”
Children’s health insurance. A Battle Over Expansion of Children’s Insurance“The fight over a popular health insurance program for children is intensifying, with President Bush now leading efforts to block a major expansion of the program, which is a top priority for Congressional Democrats. The seemingly uncontroversial goal of insuring more children has become the focus of an ideological battle between the White House and Congress.”
Live Earth-climate change. Live Earth’s embrace circles the globe “Live Earth, the confederacy of musicians who performed Saturday on all seven continents to highlight the issues of global climate change, featured superstars such as Madonna and the Police entertaining crowds in packed stadiums, but also parka-wearing scientists at an Antarctic research station whose audience included wandering penguins.” Global Compact integrity pressed “The twin challenges of climate change and rapid globalization are driving more major companies to sign on to the United Nations Global Compact, a seven-year-old voluntary pact to promote responsible corporate practices, say international leaders, diplomats and observers.”
Feature. God and country | What it means to be a Christian after George W. Bush “These past six years have been transformative in the religious history of the United States. It is arguably the passing of the evangelical moment — if not the end of evangelicalism’s cultural and political relevance, then certainly the loss of its theological credibility. Conservative evangelical elites, in exchange for political access and power, have ransacked the faith and trivialized its convictions.” Charles Marsh is professor of religion and director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia. This essay is adapted from his new book, “Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity” (Oxford).
The Road Home(New York Times Editorial) “It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.”
Fight poverty with college (Boston Globe Editorial) “INSTEAD OF marching automatically from welfare to work, more poor women should have the chance to move from welfare to college. College graduates tend to earn more than those without college degrees, according to census figures, and those higher wages can keep a family off welfare for good.”
In Darfur, the genocide continues (Nat Hentoff, Washington Times) “Proclaimed as the start, at last, of a true solution to ending the genocide in Darfur, the June 17 agreement between the United Nations Security Council and the Sudanese government permits the sending of a joint force of more than 20,000 “peacekeepers” to Darfur. But they will not arrive until next spring; and without a cease-fire agreement, the governments’s janjaweed militia will keep on killing and raping, while the fighting among rebel groups also continues.”
‘Scouting’ the Hill on Iraq (Robert D. Novak, Washington Post) “National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley visited Capitol Hill just before Congress adjourned for the Fourth of July. Meetings with a half-dozen senior Republican senators were clearly intended to extinguish fires set by Sen. Richard Lugar’s unexpected break from President Bush’s Iraq policy. They failed.”
Inez Baskin, 91; broke barriers as she broke news on civil rights “In the 1950s when female news reporters were rare — and black female reporters rarer still — Inez J. Baskin made a place for herself in the pages of the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama. She covered cross burnings and sit-ins and the Montgomery bus boycott, which led to an end to segregation on city buses.”