Today’s news on: detainees, immigration, Iran, politics, Darfur, health insurance, Colombia, faith and politics, and selected op-eds

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Detainees. Senate Approves Broad New Rules to Try Detainees – “The Senate approved a measure on the interrogations and trials of terrorism suspects, establishing far-reaching rules to deal with what President Bush has called the most dangerous combatants in a different type of war.” Legal battle over detainee bill is likely – “Bush is expected to receive a bill he can sign into law in the next few days, but legal challenges almost assuredly will be pursued against the prosecution process, which the administration considers a key element in its war on terrorism.” Many Rights in U.S. Legal System Absent in New Bill – “The military trials bill approved by Congress lends legislative support for the first time to broad rules for the detention, interrogation, prosecution and trials of terrorism suspects far different from those in the familiar American criminal justice system.”

Immigration. Border bill takes a detour – “The Senate set the stage for a vote by week’s end on a bill to wall off 700 miles of the U.S. border from Mexico, but a last-minute push by senators concerned about the severe shortage of agricultural workers could derail the measure’s progress.”

Iran. House OKs sanctions for services, sales to Iran – “The House voted to impose mandatory sanctions on entities that provide goods or services for Iran’s weapons programs. The vote came as U.S diplomats continued to press the U.N. Security Council to penalize Tehran if it fails to end its uranium enrichment program.”

Politics. Bush Attacks ‘Party of Cut and Run’ – “In his sharpest partisan attack of this election campaign, President Bush denounced Democratic critics of his Iraq policy and said “the party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.” Bush Attacks Democrats Over Iraq and Terror – “President Bush took on the Democrats with some of his most pointed language yet this campaign year, telegraphing the start of the last, intensive phase of the election season for the White House.”

Darfur. UN ‘must drop’ Darfur peace force – “Top UN officials say the world body must abandon efforts to pressure Sudan to accept UN peacekeepers in Darfur. UN Sudan envoy Jan Pronk says the existing African Union force should instead be strengthened.” UN force ‘unlikely soon’ in Darfur – “The Sudanese government has rejected a call from the US secretary of state to accept United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur, as the head of the UN in the country admitted any deployment was unlikely in the near future.”

Health insurance. Most Uninsured Children Have a Parent Who Works – “A majority of the 9 million children in the United States who lack health insurance live in two-parent families in which at least one parent is working, according to a report released Thursday by a healthcare advocacy group. In many of these families, one parent or both either have jobs that do not offer insurance or do not make enough to afford the coverage offered by their employers, the report by Families USA found.”

Colombia. Doubts Aside, U.S. Set to Boost Colombia Aid – “Despite growing bipartisan concern over alleged corruption in the Colombian army, the U.S. Congress appears likely to approve increased funds for this country’s war on drugs. A final vote on Plan Colombia funding — the largest U.S. foreign aid program outside the Middle East and Afghanistan — probably won’t take place until after the November congressional elections. But staffers and analysts in Washington say Colombia will receive more than $750 million, exceeding the $728 million for the current fiscal year.”

Faith and politics. Religious-Right Voter Guides Facing Challenge From Left – “A new group called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good said yesterday that it will distribute at least 1 million voter guides before the Nov. 7 elections, emphasizing church teachings on war, poverty and social justice as well as on abortion, contraception and homosexuality. … In Protestant churches, the Christian Coalition’s guides will face competition this year from “Voting God’s Politics,” a brochure produced by the liberal evangelical magazine Sojourners and the anti-poverty group Call to Renewal. Like the Common Good guide, it discusses issues, not individual candidates.”


Where’s religious right’s outrage now? (Randall Balmer, Philadelphia Inquirer) “Where is the “moral majority” when we need it? … on the defining moral issues of our day, the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s use of torture against those it has designated as “enemy combatants,” these “voices of morality” are strangely silent.”Use brinkmanship on Iran (Robert D. Kaplan. LA Times) “For Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to snare an invitation to speak before the Council on Foreign Relations last week, after threatening several times to destroy Israel, is what’s known in military parlance as a successful “information op.” In a mass-media age, symbolism defeats substance. Thus, the harsh reception Ahmadinejad rec
eived at the council is less significant than the fact of the reception itself. The council’s august status attaches added symbolic value to its deeds.”

Bush’s Conception Conflict (Michael Kinsley, Wash Post) “…it is hard — indeed, I would say it is impossible — to reconcile Bush’s absolutism over allegedly human life when it is a clump of unknowing, unfeeling cells with his sophisticated, if not cavalier, attitude toward the loss of innocent human life when it is children and adults in Iraq.”

Why Bill Clinton Pushed Back (By E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post) “Bill Clinton’s eruption on “Fox News Sunday” last weekend over questions about his administration’s handling of terrorism was a long time coming and has political implications that go beyond this fall’s elections. By choosing to intervene in the terror debate in a way that no one could miss, Clinton forced an argument about the past that had up to now been largely a one-sided propaganda war waged by the right.”

Habeas Corpus, RIP (1215-2006) (Molly Ivins, Common Dreams) “With a smug stroke of his pen, President Bush is set to wipe out a safeguard against illegal imprisonment that has endured as a cornerstone of legal justice since the Magna Carta.”

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