God's Politics

the latest news on Burma, IRS-All Saints, Darfur, SCHIP, Budget, Iran, Iraq, Mideast, Non-violence, Immigration, Gingrich, Anglican Church, Living the gospel, and nuclear weapons.
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SCHIP. Bush: Kids’ Health Care Will Get Vetoed “President Bush again called Democrats “irresponsible” on Saturday for pushing an expansion he opposes to a children’s health insurance program.” Senate and House Reach Accord on Health Insurance for Children “Senate and House negotiators from both parties reached a final deal on an expansion of a health insurance program for the children of the working poor, just a day after President Bush vowed to veto it.” Bush to veto children’s healthcare bill “when senators of both parties reached a compromise this summer and then beat back efforts by House Democrats to triple the program’s budget, its many Republican backers thought they had a political victory that President Bush could embrace.”

Budget. Familiar Disagreements as Fiscal Deadline NearsWith the new fiscal year just a week away, President Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress are far from agreement on the proper level of spending for myriad federal programs, and the two sides have not even begun negotiations to resolve their differences.” Iraq war budget jumps for 2008 “After smothering efforts by war critics in Congress to drastically cut U.S. troop levels in Iraq, President Bush plans to ask lawmakers to approve another massive spending measure — totaling nearly $200 billion — to fund the war through next year,” War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says “The money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity,”

IRS-All Saints. Pasadena church wants apology from IRS “The Internal Revenue Service has told a prominent Pasadena church that it has ended its lengthy investigation into a 2004 antiwar sermon, church leaders said Sunday. But the agency wrote in its letter to All Saints Episcopal Church that officials still considered the sermon to have been illegal, prompting the church to seek clarification, a corrected record and an apology from the IRS,” Minister: IRS Has Dropped Investigation “A liberal church no longer faces the imminent loss of its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon delivered days before the 2004 presidential election, its minister said Sunday.”

Darfur . World Vision Convoy Ambushed in Darfur An aid convoy from Christian agency World VisionInternational was ambushed in Darfur and three humanitarian workers were wounded, the U.N. mission to Sudan said Saturday.” Darfur rebels warned of sanctions “Darfur’s rebel groups could face sanctions if they do not attend peace talks with Khartoum in Libya next month, delegates to a UN-sponsored meeting in New York have warned.” Nomads Describe Persecution in Chad “The Chadian government and its allied militias are indiscriminately targeting Arab nomads in eastern Chad, according to interviews with dozens of nomads, who described raids on their temporary villages, at least two aerial bombings, harassment and incidents of torture. As a result of the insecurity, an estimated 30,000 Chadian Arabs have migrated into the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan.”

Burma . Record numbers rally in Burma “As many as 100,000 demonstrators protesting against the Burmese military regime took to the streets of Rangoon in the biggest show of dissent in almost two decades.” Burma march ‘largest in 20 years’ “BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head says every day the protests are growing in size – the campaign the monks began just six days ago is now openly challenging the military, urging all citizens to join in.” Monks’ Protest Is Challenging Burmese JuntaThe link between the clergy and the leader of the country’s pro-democracy movement, the beginnings of large-scale public participation in the marches and a call by some monks for a wider protest raised the stakes for the government.”

Iran. Ahmadinejad a hero for Arabs “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a flinty populist in a zip-up jacket whose scathing rhetoric and defiance of Washington are often caricatured in the Western media, has transcended national and religious divides to become a folk hero across the Middle East.” Iran denies rush to war with US “Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said yesterday there was “no war in the offing” between his country and the United States. He told the CBS programme 60 Minutes: “It’s wrong to think that Iran and the US are walking toward war.” Iran doesn’t need bomb, leader says “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an American television interview that Iran was neither building a nuclear bomb nor headed to war with the United States.” U.S. Focus on Ahmadinejad Puzzles IraniansIn demonizing Mr. Ahmadinejad, the West has served him well, elevating his status at home and in the region at a time when he is increasingly isolated politically because of his go-it-alone style and ineffective economic policies, according to Iranian politicians, officials and political experts.”

Iraq. Iraq Probe of U.S. Security Firm Grows “Iraq’s probe into a deadly shooting by Blackwater USA in Baghdad last weekend has expanded to include allegations about the security firm’s involvement in six other violent episodes this year that left at least 10 Iraqis dead.” Iraqi Premier Says Blackwater Shootings Challenge His Nation’s Sovereignty “Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said that the shooting of Iraqi civilians last week by Blackwater USA, a private American security company, amounted to a challenge to the nation’s sovereignty,” U.S. Aims To Lure Insurgents With ‘Bait’ “A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of “bait,” such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items,”

UN hopes to broaden role on IraqThe UN is ready to broaden its role in support of Iraq, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says at key talks.”

Mideast. U.S. to invite Syria, Saudis to talks “The United States intends to invite Syria and Saudi Arabia to a Middle East peace conference it plans to hold this fall, a senior U.S. official said Sunday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reportedly informed top Arab officials before and after a meeting of the so-called quartet of world powers involved in the Middle East peace process,” US invites Syria to peace talks “The attendance of Syria and Saudi Arabia, neither of which has diplomatic relations with Israel, has been a big question mark of the conference.”

Non-violence. Nonviolent protest gains in West Bank “Inspired by the experience of other Palestinian villages, the Al Walajeh demonstrators are part of a small but growing core of protesters combining civil disobedience with legal petitions to fight Israeli policies.”

Immigration. Spitzer Grants Illegal Immigrants Easier Access to Driver’s Licenses “New York, home to more than 500,000 illegal immigrants, will issue driver’s licenses without regard to immigration status under a policy change announced yesterday by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.” Immigrants’ Emergency Care Is Limited by U.S. RuleThe federal government has told New York State that chemotherapy, which had been covered for illegal immigrants under a Medicaid provision, does not qualify for coverage.” Kansas analysis: Immigration issues will be revisited by lawmakers “Almost as certain as the sun rising in the east, Kansas legislators will deal with illegal immigration next year. People fed up with the federal government’s failure to plug the nation’s porous borders are looking to state legislators to do something.” Va. GOP Seizes on ‘Red-Hot’ Concern “Candidates across the state, particularly in the increasingly diverse Northern Virginia suburbs, are hearing multiple sides of the immigration issue during visits to neighborhoods, fairs and community meetings. How they respond could help determine the outcome of the Nov. 6 elections for all 140 House and Senate seats.”

Gingrich raising campaign funds. Gingrich seeks donors for GOP bid “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will begin to seek financial commitments from donors for a presidential-nomination bid, the Georgia Republican told The Washington Times.”

Anglican church. Anti-gay Anglican archbishop speaks in Wheaton “In an impassioned Sunday morning sermon to more than 2,000 worshipers at a Wheaton church, a leading critic of the Episcopal Church’s liberal stance on homosexuality spoke against sexual sin, saying unity must come from transformation and obedience to God.”

Living the gospel. The World Comes to Georgia, and an Old Church AdaptsWhen the Rev. Phil Kitchin steps into the pulpit of the Clarkston International Bible Church on Sunday mornings, he stands eye to eye with the changing face of America. In the pews before him, alongside white-haired Southern women in their Sunday best, sit immigrants from the Philippines and Togo, refugees from war-scarred Liberia, Ethiopia and Sudan, even a convert from Afghanistan. “Jesus said heaven is a place for people of all nations,” Mr. Kitchin likes to say. “So if you don’t like Clarkston, you won’t like heaven.”

Nuclear weapons. Missteps in the Bunker “Just after 9 a.m. on Aug. 29, a group of U.S. airmen entered a sod-covered bunker on North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base with orders to collect a set of unarmed cruise missiles bound for a weapons graveyard. They quickly pulled out a dozen cylinders, all of which appeared identical from a cursory glance, and hauled them along Bomber Boulevard to a waiting B-52 bomber. The airmen attached the gray missiles to the plane’s wings, six on each side. After eyeballing the missiles on the right side, a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles. The officer did not notice that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs.”

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