The Common Good

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How Congress Can Hinder a Presidential Campaign

From yesterday's New York Times

"There is nothing a presidential campaign likes less than to be forced to answer for someone else’s actions. And yet President Obama and Mitt Romney are likely to face that challenge repeatedly during this election season as their allies and adversaries in Congress pursue agendas that do not always make things easy on the campaign trail."

Read the full story here

 

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Why Religion Will Continue to Shape the 2012 Election

Dan Gilgoff and other religion reporters examine why social issues will continue to shape the narrative of the 2012 election:

"Everyone knows the 2012 presidential race is about jobs and the economy. As likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney said a couple weeks ago: “It’s still about the economy, and we’re not stupid.” But have you noticed how the culture wars keep intruding into this it’s-all-about-the-economy election?"
 

Learn more here

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China's problems stem from its poor human rights record

For The Atlantic, scholar Michael Fullilove on China's poor human rights record and why it matters:

"China's mixed human rights record is not just bad for its citizens. It is a strategic weakness that complicates its foreign relations and diminishes its soft power. The state's harsh treatment of individuals and minorities regularly disrupts its bilateral relationships. Evidence of internal repression disillusions China's friends and increases the wariness of its neighbors. The human rights issue is a pebble in China's shoe, and the country may never hit its full stride unless it is removed."

Read the full article here

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Bishops Assess Budget

The U.S. Catholic Bishops weighed in on the budget again yesterday. A letter signed by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and sent to Members of the House of Representatives repeated the “moral criteria” by which they assess the budget:

1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
2. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects the lives and dignity of “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
3. Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times
.

After specifically noting the Child Tax Credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), and the Social Services Block Grant; the bishops concluded,

“…the Catholic bishops join other faith leaders and people of good will urging you to protect the lives and dignity of poor and vulnerable families by putting a circle of protection around these essential programs and to refrain from cutting programs that serve them.”

+Leave a Comment | Economic Justice

Getting Values Back into the World Economy

For The Huffington PostMax Lux argues that more needs to be done to strengthen the 'moral fiber' of the economy:

"For countries to be successful, they need to have both the right long term economic policies, focused on building and expanding the middle class, and the moral fiber to understand that power and money are not all that matters. Part of the problem with Wall Street's power in this country is that the cut throat dog-eat-dog values of Wall Street have infected way too much of our society. We need to not only take back our economic fate from Wall Street, we need to cleanse our values system of their culture as well."

Read the full article here

 

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Congressman: Food Stamps 'Enslave' People

Over at Think ProgressScott Keys reports on Rep. Allen West's latest comments:

"West, speaking at the Broward County Lincoln Day Dinner this past Saturday, warned the crowd about the danger of food stamps for American society. “In the last 10 years,” West said, the “food stamp program that has gone from about $20.6 billion to over $75 billion.” The Florida congressmen saw this increase not as a society practicing compassion for its most needy, but as a more nefarious plot. “That’s not how you empower the American people,” West declared. “That’s how you enslave the American people.”

Read the full article here

 

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Fighting for Water

The Atlantic reports on 'The Coming Global Water Crisis':

"In the next twenty years, global demand for fresh water will vastly outstrip reliable supply in many parts of the world. Thanks to population growth and agricultural intensification, humanity is drawing more heavily than ever on shared river basins and underground aquifers. Meanwhile, global warming is projected to exacerbate shortages in already water-stressed regions, even as it accelerates the rapid melting of glaciers and snow cover upon which a billion people depend for their ultimate source of water."

Read more about the crisis here

+Leave a Comment | Creation Care

Congo: Will There Ever Be Peace?

In this week's edition of The Economist, an examination of the continuing tensions between government forces and rebel groups:

"Last month [DRC President] Mr Kabila, who was widely criticised for stuffing ballots in last year’s re-election campaign, came out of self-imposed seclusion on his farm on the other side of the country, 1,200km (746 miles) to the west, to say he had had enough of the general’s antics. Or so it seemed. Three weeks later, Mr Ntaganda is now welcoming a steady stream of defections from the regular army, though numbers are hard to come by. More recently his men have clashed with regular forces and have grabbed some old hunting grounds."
 
Learn more here

 

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Support For War In Afghanistan At All Time Low

From The Associated PressAnne Gearan:

"Support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a new low, with only 27 percent of Americans saying they back the effort and about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good, according to an AP-GfK poll.

In results released Wednesday, 66 percent opposed the war, with 40 percent saying they were "strongly" opposed. A year ago, 37 percent favored the war, and in the spring of 2010, support was at 46 percent. Eight percent strongly supported the war in the new poll."
 
Read more about this new poll here
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David Brooks on 'The Structural Revolution'

For the International Herald Tribune yesterday, David Brooks examines what he perceives as the coming 'structural revolution' in the global economy:

"The country is divided when different people take different sides in a debate. The country is really divided when different people are having entirely different debates. That’s what’s happening on economic policy....

Make no mistake, the old economic and welfare state model is unsustainable. The cyclicalists want to preserve the status quo, but structural change is coming."
Read his full analysis here
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