God's Politics

The latest news on Israel-Palestine, Iran, Anti-poverty efforts in Africa, Massachusetts heath insurance, immigration, Supreme Court analysis, poll of policiatl independents, President Bush, and select commentaries.
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UK attempted bombings. PM defiant over ‘al-Qaeda threat’ “Britain will not yield despite a sustained threat from people associated with al-Qaeda, Gordon Brown has said after the attempted car bombings.” Brown warns of a ‘long-term threat’ “Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s first days in office have been a baptism by fire, with three soldiers killed Thursday in Iraq, two car bombings foiled Friday in London and a fiery attack Saturday on Scotland’s Glasgow Airport.” Glasgow: two more arrested “Police in Scotland have arrested two more men over the car bombing at Glasgow airport. The news came as details of how officers urgently hunted suspects linked to the attack hours before it happened began to emerge.” In Hunt for Bomb Plotters, Britain Sees a Qaeda LinkWith their investigation moving at breakneck speed, the police expanded their hunt for the plotters of attempted car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow that the British government called the work of terrorists linked to Al Qaeda.”

Iraq civilian deaths down, Civilian death toll down in June, Iraqi government says “Monthly civilian deaths in Iraq dipped in June to the lowest level this year, according to the Iraqi government, but it was not immediately clear how accurate the statistics were or whether they were related to the increased presence of U.S. troops.” Iraq reports drop in civilian death toll “Iraqi officials attributed a sharp drop in civilian deaths to a US-led security crackdown that began in February.” Iraqi Civilian Casualties Declined in June, Officials SayAn American military spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, said there had been only “a slight decrease in the month of June.” He added that it was “a potential downward trend” and that the military would be closely watching the numbers in the coming weeks.”

Bush meets Putin. Bush, Putin hope to mend fences in Maine “With the U.S. and Russia at odds over American plans for missiles in Europe, the state of democracy in Russia and more, President Bush welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Bush family’s seaside summer resort for an overnight stay.” Putin and Bush hold rapid meeting to mend relations “Relations between the US and Russia are at their worst for a decade. Washington has been critical of creeping authoritarianism on the part of the Putin regime, while the Kremlin has been incensed by the Pentagon’s plan to site elements of its missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.” Bush to Press Putin on Iran SanctionsPresident Bush, seeking to change the tone of an increasingly caustic, fraught relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, will urge him to support a major escalation of pressure on Iran.”

Israel-Palestine. Israel releases Palestinian funds “Israel has begun releasing tens of millions of dollars in tax funds that it has withheld from the Palestinian Authority during a 17-month boycott.” Israel Resumes Transfer of Taxes to Palestinians “The decision ends an Israeli policy of fiscal isolation of the Palestinians that began with the installation of a Hamas-run government in March 2006, after Hamas won a legislative majority that January.”

Iran. Iran’s supreme leader affirms policies “Iran’s supreme leader gave a ringing endorsement to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy, suggesting that Iran’s top authority favors an ultraconservative, hard-line bloc over moderate elements seeking rapprochement with the West.”

Anti-poverty efforts in Africa. Anti-poverty targets in Africa will not be met, UN warns “The whole of sub-Saharan Africa – the poorest region of the world – will fail to meet the goals set seven years ago for eradicating global poverty by 2015 – the United Nations warned today. In a progress report at the halfway point to the target date for hitting the Milllennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN said the world was failing in the battle to combat hunger, cut infant mortality and put every child in school.”

Massachusetts health insurance. Massachusetts Universal Care Plan Faces HurdlesWith the mandate that everyone in Massachusetts have health insurance taking effect on Sunday, more than 130,000 people – about a third of those who were uninsured a year ago – now have coverage,” ‘Country is watching’ Massachusetts insurance plan “Little more than a year after it was passed by Massachusetts officials, the nation’s first law requiring people to have health insurance faces its biggest test: Will the remaining 375,000 or so uninsured buy policies?”

Immigration. Failure of Senate Immigration Bill Can Be Lesson for Congress, Experts SayCongress can learn important lessons from the demise of the Senate immigration bill, and those lessons should inform future efforts to tackle the issue, experts on immigration said. The Senate tried to do too much in one bill,” Immigration proved too hot to handle “the spectacular collapse of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration legislation last week demonstrated that the seemingly auspicious political environment was no match for an issue that was just too hot to handle.”

Supreme Court analysis. In Steps Big and Small, Supreme Court Moved RightBy the time the Roberts court ended its first full term on Thursday, the picture was clear. This was a more conservative court, sometimes muscularly so, sometimes more tentatively, its majority sometimes differing on methodology but agreeing on the outcome in cases big and small.” High court has entered a new era “In what may signal a generational shift in power, new Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. led a confident conservative majority at the Supreme Court this year and moved the law to the right on abortion, religion, campaign funding and racial diversity.”

Poll of political independents. A Political Force With Many Philosophies “five types of independents revealed in a new, in-depth study by The Washington Post in collaboration with the Henry J. Kaiser Famioy Foundation and Harvard University. The study is a comprehensive examination of a broad segment of the electorate — about three in 10 voters call themselves independents — that is poised to play the role of political power broker in 2008.”

President Bush. A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease “At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search.”


A high court favor to the Democrats (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune) “It may have been purely coincidental that the Supreme Court banned the use of race to achieve racial diversity in public schools only hours before the year’s first presidential debate to focus on minority issues. Coincidence or not, the Supremes could hardly have handed Democratic candidates a better issue with which to energize their liberal base.”

Faith shouldn’t be red, white and blue (Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today) “The Fourth of July is a time for Americans to honor our country and, for the many religious people among us, to honor God. But as the fireworks explode on Independence Day, let’s resist an all-too-common tendency these days to drape the American flag around the Christian cross. Let’s remember that religion is not patriotism, that patriotism is not religion – and that when we combine them both with a glorification of American military might, something has gone disturbingly askew.”

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