God's Politics

the latest news on the Farm Bill, children’s health insurance, falling wages, immigration, Iran, Iraq and al Qaeda, Pakistan, the Mideast, Africa poll, Darfur, faith and politics, D.C. vote, foreign policy, “theology on tap”, Evangelicals Against Torture, and select commentaries

Farm bill. Lines in the dirt drawn for farm bill “Pelosi and the Democratic-controlled committee that produced the bill are facing opposition from a bipartisan group of liberal Democrats and fiscally conservative Republicans who see the legislation as a boondoggle with misplaced priorities.”

Children’s health insurance. To fund children’s health plan, House would pay insurers less “House Democrats would rely less on tobacco taxes than the Senate would and more on cuts to Medicare insurers to pay for a proposed $50-billion expansion of a children’s health insurance program.” G.O.P. Leaders Fight Expansion of Children’s Health Insurance Republican leaders of the House and Senate attacked proposals that call for a major expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to be financed with higher tobacco taxes.”

Falling wages. As wages fall, workers slip from middle class “This is one of the painful, personal back stories of the dramatic demise of American heavy manufacturing, especially in the Midwest. In old industrial cities such as Dayton, home of the Wright brothers and creative spark for the electric ignition, shock absorbers and the automatic transmission, thousands of manufacturing workers who lost their jobs are absorbing the bitter reality that their new jobs almost always pay substantially less than their old ones did.”

Immigration. Emanuel sees immigration shelved until second term“Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, an architect of the Democratic campaign that regained control of the House last year, says his party will not attempt comprehensive immigration reform until at least the second term of a prospective Democratic president.” Two towns, two different immigration policies“New Haven [Ct.] and Hazleton, Pa., two Northeastern cities led by descendants of Italian immigrants, are just 200 miles from each other. But they are worlds apart when it comes to dealing with illegal immigration.”

Iran. U.S., Iran fault each other’s policies during meeting “U.S. and Iranian diplomats harshly criticized each other’s policies in “full and frank” talks but agreed to set up a security committee to carry on the discussions.” Iran raises stakes in US talks “Iran warned that it would consider taking “illegal” steps, including possible abrogation of the non-proliferation treaty, if further UN sanctions are imposed because of its nuclear programme.” Iran’s growing presence in Iraq “At the second round of talks between Iranian and US diplomats, one message American Ambassador Ryan Crocker delivered was that the US wants Tehran to play a positive role in Iraq. But ask many Iraqi Shiites, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and they say their neighbors are doing just that.”

Iraq al Qaeda. President Links Qaeda of Iraq to Qaeda of 9/11President Bush sought anew to draw connections between the Iraqi group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the terrorist network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, and he sharply criticized those who contend that the groups are independent of each other.” Bush ties Al Qaeda in Iraq to Sept. 11 “President Bush made provocative new assertions about Al Qaeda’s role in Iraq, using recently declassified information to make his case that the global battle with the terrorism network – and Americans’ safety at home – hinges on keeping U.S. troops there to fight.”

Pakistan. Experts question U.S. strategy in Pakistan “The Bush administration’s strategy for pursuing al-Qaida in Pakistan’s tribal region could stoke support for the Islamic militants who are protecting the terrorist network’s leaders and battling Pakistan’s U.S.-backed military regime, some U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and experts warn.”

Mideast. Blair sees ‘moment of opportunity’ for progress in Mideast “Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his first visit as an international envoy to the Middle East, met with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and said there was “a sense of possibility” in the region and “a moment of opportunity.” Blair sees hope after first talks with Middle East leaders “Israeli officials were reported as saying that Mr Blair talked with them about the regional conference proposed by the US president, George Bush, and expected to take place in September.” Arab ministers set for Israel talks “Foreign ministers from Egypt and Jordan are due to hold talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem to promote a Middle East peace plan adopted by the Arab League.”

Africa poll. Poll Shows Africans Wary, but Hopeful About FutureDespite a thicket of troubles, from deadly illnesses like AIDS and malaria to corrupt politicians and deep-seated poverty, a plurality of Africans say they are better off today than they were five years ago and are optimistic about their future and that of the next generation, according to a poll conducted in 10 sub-Saharan countries by The New York Times and the Pew Global Attitudes Project.”

Darfur. UN Darfur resolution watered down “A draft Security Council resolution to authorise deploying a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s Darfur region has been watered down.” Western nations tone down on Darfur “Britain, France and the US have weakened their stance on the Darfur conflict by dropping the threat of sanctions against Sudan in a latest UN Security Council draft.”

Politics. Thompson gains among social conservatives “Some of the nation’s most influential social conservatives say their movement is quickly coalescing around Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee, for the Republican presidential nomination, a decision that would bolster his expected campaign with money and grass-roots support.” Giuliani, the federalist candidate “Giuliani argues that the best way to reduce tension about social issues is to allow states, rather than the federal government, to take the lead in responding to them. That would allow socially conservative and liberal states to each set rules that reflect the prevailing values inside their borders.”

Faith and Poilitics. God ’08: Whose, and How Much, Will Voters Accept? “But could voters accept a president who believes in the Book of Mormon? What about one who believes in the Old Testament but not the New? Or one who venerates Muhammad, or Buddha? There does seem to be at least one bottom line for many voters: belief in God.”

D.C. vote. Backers of D.C. vote bill press for action “Activists supporting legislation to give residents of Washington, D.C., a seat in the House are lobbying Senate leaders to schedule a vote before Congress leaves next week for its summer recess.”

Foreign Follies. A new recipe for FOREIGN POLICY “The United States needs a new foreign policy that uses military force as a last measure, not as a way of exporting democracy to Iraq and other nondemocratic nations, Doug Bandow says.”

Faith. ‘Theology on Tap’ “Saying Hail Marys over a pint of Guinness has become a popular happy hour activity for some local Catholics. More than 200 people in their 20s and 30s packed into Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own pub in Alexandria to eat, drink and pray alongside friends Monday night.”

Evangelicals Against Torture. An Evangelical Call on Torture and the U.S. “Four months have passed since a group of 17 prominent evangelical leaders and scholars issued “An Evangelical Declaration Against Torture: Protecting Human Rights in an Age of Terror.” … Will everyone who has read this document, or even heard of it, please raise his hand? Well, you’re forgiven. There are reasons, unfortunate perhaps but understandable, that the declaration hasn’t received the attention it deserves.”

Commentary. Urban America’s Moment (David Broder, Washington Post) “The Democratic presidential race has developed a different and welcome dynamic — a sharp competition among the leading candidates to become champions of urban America.”

Editorial. Help Blair help us (Haaretz Editorial) “Israel must not miss the offered opportunity: the appointment of a friendly leader who has proven his support for Israel during difficult times, as the representative of the international community in the region. The mistakes made with Wolfensohn should not be repeated – mistakes that transformed him from a supporter and enthusiastic Zionist into a bitter critic of Israel after he experienced first-hand the evils of occupation and of oppressing the Palestinians.”

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus