"But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies." ( II Kings 17:39)
On Capitol Hill This Week; Vol. XV, No. 4a
1. HOUSE REFUSES TO PASS FISA BILL;
PRESIDENT ADDRESSES NATION
In his weekly radio address, President Bush said, "Members of Congress will soon be returning to Washington, as well, and they have urgent business to attend to. They left town on a 10-day recess without passing vital legislation giving our intelligence professionals the tools they need to quickly and effectively monitor foreign terrorist communications. Congress' failure to pass this legislation was irresponsible. It will leave our nation increasingly vulnerable to attack. And Congress must fix this damage to our national security immediately."
The way ahead is clear. The Senate has already passed a good bill by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. This bill has strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and would pass if given an up or down vote. But House leaders are blocking this legislation, and the reason can be summed up in three words: class action lawsuits.
The Senate bill would prevent plaintiffs' attorneys from suing companies believed to have helped defend America after the 9/11 attacks. More than 40 of these lawsuits have been filed, seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in damages from these companies. It is unfair and unjust to threaten these companies with financial ruin only because they are believed to have done the right thing and helped their country. . . the House's refusal to act is undermining our ability to get cooperation from private companies. And that undermines our efforts to protect us from terrorist attack.
When Congress reconvenes on Monday, Members of the House have a choice to make: They can empower the trial bar -- or they can empower the intelligence community. They can help class action trial lawyers sue for billions of dollars -- or they can help our intelligence officials protect millions of lives. They can put our national security in the hands of plaintiffs' lawyers -- or they can entrust it to the men and women of our government who work day and night to keep us safe. As they make their choice, Members of Congress must never forget: Somewhere in the world, at this very moment, terrorists are planning the next attack on America. And to protect America from such attacks, we must protect our telecommunications companies from abusive lawsuits. (www.whitehouse.gov)
· Continue to pray that conscience convicts the members of the House who have refused to pass the FISA bill, so needed for our national intelligence community. Protection, not politics, must be the key word. "Bush-hating" is no excuse for allowing the USA to be vulnerable to terrorism.
· "Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34:14)
2. PRESIDENT BUSH CELEBRATED IN AFRICA
President and Mrs. Bush were in Africa this past week to visit a handful of countries receiving U.S. aid through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a five-year, $15 billion relief program launched in 2003 to provide HIV treatment in lower- income countries with high rates of infection. Since its inception, PEPFAR has distributed antiretroviral (ARV) AIDS drugs to 1.5 million people, and, through its prevention efforts, has also contributed to a slowing of the spread of the disease.
The President was highly celebrated for his compassion and support for humanitarian aid everywhere he traveled in Africa. In Rwanda, the AP reported that the President was profoundly moved and "shaken" by his somber visit to the haunting Kigali Memorial Centre where exhibits tell the story of Rwanda's 1994 genocide and mass graves on nearby hilltop hold the remains of about 250,000 victims of genocide. "It's a moving place. It can't help but shake your emotions to their very foundation," said Bush. "There is evil in the world and evil must be confronted. I just can't imagine what it would have been like to be a citizen who lived in such horrors, and then had to, you know, gather themselves up and try to live a hopeful life."
From that location, President Bush made an appeal to all nations to end "once and for all" the continuing ethnic slaughter in Darfur and noted what he would tell his successor in the White House. (AP, Breaking Christian News 2/20/08. Reported by: Intercessors for America)
· Offer thanksgiving that the President's AIDS/HIV policies and funding have been successful in reaching and helping over a million Africans. Offer praise, too, that our president has been so warmly received by these nations, and that, once again, President George W. Bush is not afraid to confront and fight evil wherever it exists in the world.
· "Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." (Rom. 12:9)
3. ABSTINENCE EDUCATION SUPPORTERS TO LOBBY CAPITOL HILL
The debate over abstinence education rages on in Congress, not only over continued funding for domestic programs, but also whether the successful model of funding abstinence and faithfulness prevention programs should continue as part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in countries where the infection rates are highest. On Tuesday, February 26, FRC is teaming up with the National Abstinence Education Association to host a training session during the Abstinence Day on the Hill. Students and educators involved in abstinence education programs will be in Washington to educate congressmen and their staff about the positive impact such programs have had on the attitudes and behavior of young people. Proponents of condom- based sex education, who demand a monopoly on government funds and approaches, are hosting a briefing the same day.
While the government funds comprehensive sex-ed programs well beyond what it funds abstinence education, liberal groups are desperately trying to eliminate the competition and abolish all government support for abstinence. FRC is working hard to ensure that Congress supports the President's request for $151 million in community-based abstinence grants, preserves the state abstinence grants in Title V, and guarantee that the 41 million people who participated in PEPFAR abstinence and faithfulness programs don't have the rug pulled out from under them. (Family Research Council)
· President Bush on Sunday (Feb. 17) said Congress should renew his global AIDS program and preserve a requirement that steers money into abstinence efforts. "We don't want people guessing on the continent of Africa whether the generosity of the American people will continue," Bush said in Tanzania, the second stop of his African trip. Pray in agreement with the President's request. Pray, too, that those who will lobby for abstinence education on the Hill on Tuesday will find favor, and that their voices will be heard and heeded.
· "A good man obtains favor from the Lord . . ." (Prov. 12:2a)
4. SENATORS INTRODUE SEMPER FI ACT OF 2008
Bill Stops Berkeley Earmarks and Transfers Funds to Marine Corps
Today, U.S. Senators James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R- Georgia), Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Oklahoma), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and David Vitter (R-Louisiana) introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008. The bill would rescind over $2 million in hidden earmarks for Berkeley , California in the 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, and transfer the funds to the Marine Corps. U.S. Congressman John Campbell (R- California) is introducing a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Last week, the City Council of Berkeley voted to oust Marine Corps recruiters from their downtown office, saying the Marines were "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." Berkeley officials also voted to give the radical protest group Code Pink space outside the recruitment office and urged them to "impede, passively or actively" the work of Marine Corps recruiters.
One earmark provides $243,000 in taxpayer dollars for the organization Chez Panisse to create gourmet organic school lunches in the Berkeley School District. Another earmark would spend $975,000 in taxpayer dollars for the University of California in Berkeley Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, to create a new endowment and cataloging the papers of Congressman Robert Matsui. U.C. Berkeley currently already has a $3.5 billion endowment.
Senator Inhofe: "Unfortunately, those on the Berkeley city council do not seem to understand the sacrifice of the brave men and women of the United States Marine Corps. By interfering with military recruiting, the city of Berkeley is hampering our ability to protect this nation. While the city of Berkeley and the protestors are free to say whatever they like, free speech is not a protection from consequence." (Office of Senator James Inhofe)
· Pray for the passage of this bill, sponsored by usually trustworthy senators. Praise the Lord for righteous watchmen in the Senate. Pray for the members of the Berkeley City Council who have lost any sense of patriotism and probably need salvation in Jesus Christ. Pray they know the counse of the Lord.
· "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength." (Prov. 8:14)
5. BATTLE BREWS OVER CHARITABLE CHOICE ACT
In December of 2002 President Bush issued an executive order which led to protections for faith-based groups that wish to participate in federal programs without sacrificing what many believe to be the key to the success of faith driven programs - a belief in God. Addressing this issue of "charitable choice" last month in his State of the Union speech President Bush called on Congress to "permanently extend Charitable Choice." Next Tuesday the Senate Health Committee is scheduled to take up reauthorization of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Act (SAMHSA). In 2000, Congress put Charitable Choice language into SAMHSA by means of two laws.
Now Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is seeking to weakenCharitable Choice on the argument that it permits "government-funded job discrimination." Charitable Choice exists in law in numerous programs and simply states that a faith-based organization does not lose its exemption permitting religious staffing merely by accepting government funds to provide social services. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes that exemption and U.S. courts have upheld the exemption. (Family Research Council)
· Pray that the Charitable Choice law will be permanently extended by Congress, and that voices that would dilute the law will be permanently silenced. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict Senator Reed of his underminig and to bring salvation through Jesus Christ to this senator.
· "The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom [saints] rules over all." (Ps. 103:19)
6. BROWNBACK CALLS FOR ACTION AGAINST "CONFLICT COLTAN"
Senator Sam Brownback on the Senate floor called for an end to conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Brownback specifically called for the United States and other nations to help ban the buying and use of conflict coltan. "There is a humanitarian crisis in Congo, where 1,500 people die each day," said Brownback. "The crisis is significantly fueled by conflict over natural resources, specifically conflict over the mineral coltan. [Coltan, or columbite-tantalite, is a mineral that when refined becomes tantalum. Tantalum is used in the production of tantalum of a wide variety of electronic equipment, including cell phones, gaming devices, DVD players, computers, flat-screen televisions, and advanced weapons systems.]
Brownback continued, "Coltan powers much of today's essential communications and technological advances. Almost every American owns at least one device in which coltan has been used. Unfortunately, the mining of Congo's coltan continues to fund the conflict which encompasses child-labor, human- trafficking, child soldiers, rape and sexual violence, and the general devastation of the Congolese people."
Brownback plans to introduce legislation requiring certification of the origin of coltan for all U.S.-based companies that use tantalum in manufacturing. It will further require manufacturers who use tantalum to have a certification of origin.
· Praise God for the alertness of Senator Brownback to the relationship of the sale of coltran to the violent conflict now taking place in the Congo. Pray for the passage of this bill when it is introduced in the Senate.
· "Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." (Rom. 12:9)
7. SCANDALS ALLEGED IN LIVES OF OBAMA/MCCAIN
In an article published by WorldNetDaily today, Joseph Farah discusses the latest Obama bombshell and analyzes the Obama and McCain scandals in the media.
Farah says that while Senator John McCain is accused, by unnamed sources, of having a romantic interest in a female lobbyist nine years ago, Senator Barack Obama is accused of having a risky homosexual dalliance with someone he picks up in a bar, while scoring powdered cocaine for his partner and crack cocaine for himself, about nine years ago.
In the McCain scandal, there are no specific allegations of sexual or drug-related incidents, notes Farah, and both McCain and the lobbyist deny this activity ever took place between them.
In the Obama scandal, however, Farah says the alleged partner makes his charges public, agrees to a polygraph and files a lawsuit reiterating the charges and accusing Obama of harassment and intimidation. Unlike McCain , Obama refuses to deny the allegations.
Farah says he is an independent journalist who supports neither Obama nor McCain, and says WND will continue to report both stories regardless of whether he supports either candidate. (Source: WND.com)
· Father, bring out into the open, ANYTHING hidden that would hinder Your purpose or plans. Guard and shield your righteous ones. In the Name of Jesus for Your glory, we pray.
· "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light." (Luke 8:17)
8. OFFICIALS: WIRE COULD HAVE DECAPITATED BORDER PATROL AGENTS This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . . How blessed I am to know that You are my Rock, and my fortress. You are the One who equips me to do Your work. Thank You that you equip the called - not call the equipped. Today, help me to realize that You have provided for my every need.- one step at a time. (Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)
U.S. border officers found a wire between two fences along the U.S.-Mexican border that, when stretched taut, could have seriously harmed or even decapitated Border Patrol agents, Congress was told Wednesday. "It was configured in a way so that, if it was pulled, it would take off the head of a Border Patrol agent riding in an open car," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at a House budget hearing.
The wire was discovered Saturday when authorities monitoring a surveillance camera saw two people on the north side of the border east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, in the San Diego sector. Border Patrol agents sent to the area found a thick metal wire tied to a secondary fence. The wire stretched across the border road and led into Mexico through a hole in the primary fence, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. When pulled tight, the wire would be about 4 feet high -- about neck level for an agent riding on an all-terrain vehicle, CBP said. Officials said they suspected that drug or illegal immigrant smugglers were involved.
No arrests were made on either side of the border. The wire was removed, and no injuries or damage took place, CBP said. (CNN)
· Praise God for discovery of plots to decapitate border agents with wire strung between fences. Pray for more secrets to be revealed.
· "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known." (Luke 12:2)
LORD, MY ROCK (Adoni Tsuree)
Praise be to the LORD, my Rock, who trains my hands for war. (Psalm 144::1)
This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .
How blessed I am to know that You are my Rock, and my fortress. You are the One who equips me to do Your work. Thank You that you equip the called - not call the equipped. Today, help me to realize that You have provided for my every need.- one step at a time.
(Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)