God's Politics

The latest news on Iraq, Darfur, Iran, US-Australia relations, immigration, Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran, Hurricane Felix, legal issues, Sen. Larry Craig, and select op-eds.
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Iraq. Report: Surge hasn’t cut attacks on Iraqi civilians “Citing data from the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies, the Government Accountability Office found that daily attacks against civilians in Iraq have remained “about the same” since February, when the United States began sending nearly 30,000 additional troops to improve security in Iraq.” GAO skeptical that Iraq security can last “As Congress opened a monthlong showdown with President Bush over Iraq, Senate war critics on demanded evidence that the security improvements claimed by the White House could be sustained once American forces hand off the task of maintaining order to Iraqi military units.” Military Officials in Iraq Fault GAO Report “A bleak portrait of the political and security situation in Iraq released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office sparked sharp protests from the top U.S. military command in Baghdad, whose officials described it as flawed and “factually incorrect.” Petraeus hints at Iraq rollback “America’s leading military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, signalled that the Bush administration may be ready to reverse its troop surge in Iraq and begin pulling soldiers out as early as next March.” Bush Shifts Terms for Measuring Progress in Iraq “With the Democratic-led Congress poised to measure progress in Iraq by focusing on the central government’s failure to perform, President Bush is proposing a new gauge, by focusing on new American alliances with the tribes and local groups that Washington once feared would tear the country apart.”

US-Australia. Howard, Bush show relationship remains strong “Prime Minister John Howard and US President George W Bush have spent the day demonstrating the strength of their relationship and have agreed to work towards making the military ties even closer.” In Australia, Bush Finds an Enthusiastic SupporterWhen President Bush met with John Howard, the prime minister of Australia, the topic quickly turned to Iraq.” Australian troops to stay in Iraq “Prime Minister John Howard pledged forcefully today not to reduce the number of Australian troops serving in Iraq despite growing calls in his country to withdraw.”

Darfur. UN Chief: Sudan Civil War Pact Is Model “A peace deal in Sudan’s Muslim government and Christian and animist rebels in the semiautonomous south can serve as a “blueprint for long-term peace” for the entire country — including Darfur, the U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday.” UN chief visits troubled Darfur “UN chief Ban Ki-moon visits Sudan’s Darfur region, where the world’s biggest peace force is to be deployed.” Ban appoints Iraq envoy to top Sudan post “The senior U.N. official in Iraq will play a key role in attempting to stop a civil war in another international hot spot – Sudan’s western region of Darfur.”

Immigration. Short on Labor, Farmers in U.S. Shift to MexicoSteve Scaroni, a farmer from California, looked across a luxuriant field of lettuce here in central Mexico and liked what he saw: full-strength crews of Mexican farm workers with no immigration problems.” Law enforcers struggle with illegal-immigrant crime “Sheriff Jim Pendergraph first noticed the changes in his jail population early in the decade, as illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries poured into Charlotte and elsewhere in Mecklenburg County, N.C., to find jobs in the robust North Carolina economy.”

Colombia. New Chapter in Drug Trade “in the latest evolution of Colombia’s unremitting drug trade, new criminal gangs led by former mid-level paramilitary commanders have surfaced in about half of Colombia’s 32 states.”

Ethiopia. Humanitarian crisis hits Ethiopia “A humanitarian crisis has developed in Ethiopia’s remote Ogaden region, where government forces are trying to quell a rebel insurgency,” Aid agency warns of possible starvation in eastern Ethiopia “A leading relief agency said that Ethiopian government forces had blocked relief efforts and food supplies in parts of the rebel Ogaden region, adding the threat of starvation to a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis.”

Iran. Rafsanjani election ups political stakes in Iran “One of Iran’s most illustrious politicians, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, dramatically increased his influence yesterday by winning control of a powerful clerical body in a development that could change the course of the country’s leadership.” Hard Times Help Leaders in Iran Tighten Their GripBut in a country whose leaders see national security, government stability and Islamic values as inextricably entwined, problems that usually would constitute threats to the leadership are instead viewed as an opportunity to secure its rule.”

Hurricane Felix. Hurricane Felix Hammers Nicaragua and Honduras “Even as Hurricane Felix smashed ashore in northern Nicaragua and began inundating the adjacent Honduran countryside, it was an earlier storm, the devastating Hur
ricane Mitch of 1998, that haunted Hondurans.”

Law. 50 years later, lamenting state of Civil Rights Division “Several former civil rights lawyers expressed fears that the Bush administration has tainted the division’s legacy by rolling back voting rights enforcement, bringing few employment discrimination lawsuits on behalf of African-Americans and diverting appellate lawyers to immigration cases.” Legal groups putting God on the docket “Whether they like it or loathe it, most Americans recognize the American Civil Liberties Union as a constitutional watchdog. Far fewer know of the American Center for Law and Justice, a leader in the flourishing field of Christian legal advocacy that may be less famous but is no less determined to see its views prevail in the nation’s courts and, ultimately, its culture.”

Craig. Craig may not be resigning after all “In a surprise twist, Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) has left open, albeit slightly, the possibility that he will not resign from the Senate if he succeeds in his fight to clear his name of allegations that he solicited sex in a Minnesota airport restroom in June.” Craig reconsiders resignation “Sen. Larry Craig says he may still fight for his Senate seat, a spokesman says – if the lawmaker can clear his name with the Senate Ethics Committee and a Minnesota court where he pleaded guilty after his arrest in an airport men’s room sex sting.”


The Torment of Teresa (Michael Gerson, Washington Post) “What are we to make of Mother Teresa’s letters, which reveal decades of spiritual depression, loneliness and doubt?”

Importing Poverty (Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post) “The government last week released its annual statistical report on poverty and household income. As usual, we — meaning the public, the media and politicians — missed a big part of the story. It is this: The stubborn persistence of poverty, at least as measured by the government, is increasingly a problem associated with immigration.


Poverty’s glass is not half-full (Boston Globe) “LAST WEEK, the US Census Bureau released seemingly good news. According to a new report that compares 2005 and 2006, poverty rates are down, and median household incomes are up. A pleased White House issued a statement from President Bush saying this “confirms that more of our citizens are doing better in this economy.” But a closer look at the report shows that poverty persists, and that only some people are doing better.”

The War on Poverty (Washington Post) “NEW YORK Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he is not running for president. Yet that didn’t stop him from coming to Washington last week to promote an expansion of the earned-income tax credit as the next phase in the war on poverty.”

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