God's Politics

God's Politics

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)

the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds.
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Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green tips “Thousands of bloggers including a European Commissioner traded tips on Monday about how to confront climate change and other environmental problems in an Internet blitz. Organisers of the Oct. 15 U.N.-backed “Blog Action Day” said about 15,800 sites had signed up and were offering ideas to millions of people via blogs, or online diaries, ranging from planting more trees to how to recycle plastics.”

Turkey. Leaders in Ankara take steps to send in the troops “The Cabinet of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister, signed a motion calling for parliamentary authority to mount military action after a six-hour meeting, held amid intense public pressure, to retaliate against rebel Kurd attacks in Turkey and disgust at a US congressional vote accusing Ottoman Turkey of genocide against Armenians.” Iraqi Vice President in Turkey ” Iraq ‘s Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi arrived in Ankara on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to convince Turkey not to stage a cross-border offensive to fight separatist Kurdish rebels based in Iraq.” Iraq seeks talks on Turkey threat “Baghdad calls for urgent talks with Turkey after Ankara threatens a cross-border raid into northern Iraq.” Turkey threatens to attack Kurdish separatists in Iraq “The Turkish government said it would seek parliamentary approval this week to launch a major military operation into northern Iraq to attack Kurdish separatists based there, after days of cross-border shelling of suspected rebel positions.”

SCHIP. Bush urges Congress to negotiate on children’s healthcare bill “President Bush said he is ready to negotiate with congressional Democrats over a children’s health insurance program he vetoed, provided they make helping poor children the priority.” States May Reduce Number of Children In Insurance Plan “As political gridlock in Washington muddies the long-term funding outlook for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, some states are preparing contingency measures such as enrollment caps or cutting children from the rolls.”

Iran . Putin warning over force on Iran “Russian president says military intervention in Caspian Sea region would be unacceptable as he attends five-country regional summit in Tehran.” Putin in Iran for landmark visit “Russian President Vladimir Putin makes a landmark visit to Tehran for crucial talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

AIDS-Africa. HIV treatment ‘failing’ in Africa “More than a third of patients on HIV medication in sub-Saharan Africa die or discontinue their treatment within two years of starting it, a survey shows.”

India. India-US nuclear deal frozen “The controversial nuclear deal between India and the US has been put into “deep freeze” after the Indian prime minister told the US president, George Bush, “certain difficulties” had stalled the pact for the foreseeable future.” Nuclear Deal With India May Be Near Collapse “The main obstacle does not involve the specific terms of the agreement but rather India’s internal politics, including fears from leftist parties that India is moving too close to the United States,”

Mideast . US warns Israel and Palestinians “The US yesterday urged Israel and the Palestinians to work to overcome their differences before an international conference next month” Rice works to win support for fall Mideast summit “U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, engaging in one of her longest forays in Middle East diplomacy this year, said that she’s optimistic that Palestinian and Israeli leaders can reach a “serious and substantive” agreement that could be presented to a Middle East peace conference later this fall.” Rice Pushes Mideast Parties On Plan to Revive Peace Talks “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Israelis and Palestinians to compromise on a plan to jump-start peace negotiations, describing the ending of their long conflict as one of the top goals of President Bush in the 15 months he has left in office.” Abbas: Remove all West Bank settlements prior to permanent agreement “Israel should dismantle all settlements in the West Bank even before the completion of negotiations on the permanent agreement with the Palestinian Authority, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday in Ramallah.”

Budget. Bush Stands His Ground on Budget “The White House and Congress are heading for what President Bush predicts will be a “fiscal showdown” at a time when the nation’s financial health has actually improved for the moment.”

Romney-Religious right. Gingerly, Romney Seeks Ties to Christian Right “As Mitt Romney has had to grapple with suspicions about his Mormon religion during his presidential run, he has tried in various ways to signal his kinship with evangelical Christians, who represent a crucial constituency of the Republican base but consider his religious beliefs to be heretical.”

Brownback-slavery apology. Brownback to pitch proposal apologizing for slavery “Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican trying to inject new life into his beleaguered presidential campaign, plans to offer a resolution this week for Congress to apologize for slavery and segregation.”

Canada . Tory majority seen as a long shot “MPs convene in Ottawa for a Throne Speech tonight that will be followed by a confidence vote that could defeat the government and trigger an election, Mr. Harper must decide whether he will gamble that his recent momentum will continue through an election campaign.” Dion faces power of the Throne “Mr. Harper wants to get busy with a more sweeping and ambitious agenda. The speech is likely to be dominated by five themes — re-affirming Canadian sovereignty and leadership on the world stage; keeping the economy strong, through strong management and tax cuts; strengthening the federation; implementing the government’s justice agenda; and, delivering on the environment.”


A Duty to the Wounded (Bob Dole and Donna E. Shalala, Washington Post) “It is time to decide — do we reform the current military and veterans’ disability evaluation and compensation systems or limp along, placing Band-Aids over existing flaws?”

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eileen fleming

posted October 16, 2007 at 5:38 pm

In March of 2006, I was one of over 90 international ecumenical Christians on a Sabeel/Arabic for THE WAY, Reality Tour through the West Bank.
Sabeel, has become a global liberation theology movement, and was founded in Jerusalem by a 1948 refugee and Anglican priest, Rev. Naim Ateek.
We visited Anata and the neighboring refugee camp of Shuafat.
We viewed the thirty foot high concrete Wall erected next to the boy’s high school and walked around the ‘playground’ for the 780 adolescents, but the facts on the ground is that their playground is just a slab of cement about the square footage of a basket ball court.
A resident refugee informed me that on a daily basis, “The Israeli Occupation Forces show up when the children gather in the morning or after classes. They throw percussion bombs or gas bombs into the school nearly every day! The world is sleeping; the world is hibernating and is allowing this misery to continue.”
I wandered around taking photos and was warmly greeted by a teenage boy who asked me my name and where I was from. I cringed when I said America, for I was ashamed that over one hundred billion USA tax dollars since 1948 have gone to Israel and that over 1.2 million of our tax dollars are eaten up for every one mile of The Wall.
The Wall has been deemed illegal and must come down, by the International Court of Justice.
A few miles from Anata, one can enter into an Orwellian Disney Land of lush green grounds of the Pizgat Ze’ev settlement. All the settlements in the West Bank populated by over 400,000 Israeli’s are considered illegal under international law.
I was sick at heart and in my gut when I drove less than a mile into the colony for I counted three playgrounds and a swimming pool, and wondered how many USA tax dollars helped to build them, and why the same had not been done for the refugees; who are the indigenous people of that land.
Less than fifteen minutes after my group left Anata, and were praying next to a playground in Pizgat Ze’ev, a barrage of gunshots issued from the refugee camp. I was informed that the Israeli soldiers were showering the refugees with gun fire and terror; just a normal daily occurrence.
I lost it completely and sobbed uncontrollably, and felt like the Magdalena when she could not find her Lord. But then I thought of Jesus, and how he cried buckets of tears over Jerusalem. 2,000 years ago roving bands of politically radical and religious Jews rose up and violently resisted Roman rule in Palestine. They were called Zealots, and I imagine if I had lived back then, I might have been tempted to join them.
But, as I live in the 21st century and choose nonviolence, I ardently, fervently and zealously curse the empire that condones the terrorizing and murder of innocent people just because they are Palestinian.
But, the good news is that nonviolent Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals have united as a community to build a positive fact on the ground. Abir’s Garden will be more than a symbol of hope, it will be a safe place to grow and play as the struggle for justice and accountability continues.
You can help:
Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor
Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu.”

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eileen fleming

posted October 16, 2007 at 5:42 pm

MORE GOOD NEWS for positive change:
Friends of SABEEL North America is bringing together Rev. Ateek, Bishop Desmond Tutu and many other internationally known experts to address the topic of:
“The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel: Highlighting Issues of Justice and Equality”
At a Sabeel Conference in Boston Oct. 26 – 27, 2007

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