The Daily Brief Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:10)
"Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for all that we have been given, the freedoms we enjoy, and the loved ones who enrich our lives. We recognize that all of these blessings, and life itself, come not from the hand of man but from Almighty God. " - - President Bush, Thanksgiving Proclamation 2008
The Daily Brief
1. President Bush Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Olmert in Oval OfficeSays "We Strongly Believe That Israel Will Benefit By Having A Palestinian State" - Jerusalem Post
President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised each other's visions for peace between Israelis and Palestinians Monday as each leader prepares to leave office without seeing that dream fulfilled. "We strongly believe that Israel will benefit by having a Palestinian state, a democracy on her border that works for peace. And, Prime Minister, that vision is alive because of you. And I thank you for your steadfast support for peace," Bush told Olmert ahead of a meeting in the Oval Office Monday night, which was followed by a private dinner. In return, Olmert mentioned the Annapolis negotiating process, which Bush initiated a year ago, and stressed his commitment to it for as long as he remains in office.
· Lord we are dismayed at the continual efforts to break up and divide the land that You gave the Israeli people. So many years of war and suffering have produced a desperate lack of faith and knowledge of Your will for the land. We ask that Your Holy Spirit move over the region, bringing a fresh wind of the knowledge of You to every man, woman and child in Israel and the surrounding contested areas.
· "But I will reveal My name to My people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them." (Isaiah 52:6 NLT)
2. Russian Warships Arrive Off Venezuela's Coast - AP
Russian warships have arrived off Venezuela's coast for naval exercises meant to showcase deepening relations between President Hugo Chavez's government and Moscow. Two Russian ships appeared on the horizon Tuesday. Venezuelan sailors in the Caribbean port of La Guaira are waiting to greet them. The deployment of a Russian naval squadron including a destroyer and the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great is the first of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also is visiting Caracas this week.
· Father may our leaders be wise in the actions regarding this challenge, and may they recognize the danger of this move on Russia's part. May we be granted Your strength and power to avoid a disaster in the Western Hemisphere.
· "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." (Psalm 34:17)
3. U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit - BloombergThe U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.
· Father, how long can we sustain bailouts with money that does not exist? Lord we implore You to cover our leaders with wisdom and understanding rather than money printing and panic. We lay our economy before You, trusting in Your mercy and grace.
· "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." (Psalm 20:7)
4. Muslim Charity, Leaders Convicted on Charges of Funding Terror - Fox News
A jury on Monday determined that the Holy Land Foundation and five men who worked with the Muslim charity were guilty of three dozen counts related to the illegal funneling of at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The unanimous verdicts are a complete victory for the government, which streamlined its case and worked hard to carefully educate jurors on the complex, massive evidence presented in the trial. The prosecution's victory is also a major one for the lame duck administration of President George W. Bush, whose efforts at fighting terrorism financing in court have been troubled, even though the flow of funds seems to be effectively shut down.
· Thank You, Lord, for this huge victory in the fight against terror funding. We ask that more victories come, and that You will stand guard over America to reveal all plans of the enemy to fund terrorist plots against American interests.
· "Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies' sake." (Psalm 44:26)
-- More Comments on This Case:
a) Intercessors, This is a MAJOR, MAJOR victory! Be sure to follow this up with appropriate prayers that the verdict will stick and that the government will be successful in shutting down other such fund-raising "tricks" to support terrorism and against our troops in Iraq. Pray also for the safety of all the jury. Praise God also for this vindication of President Bush and his leadership in the war on terror! (RaJean V., Texas)
b) Praise God for the victory in this trial! It is so significant that this jury did what many counter- terrorism experts doubted they would do and I have no doubt that it is the prayers of the saints that brought home this verdict of all guilty on all counts! (Donna D., on-site observer, Dallas, Texas)
5. Diplomats: U.S., IAEA Chief Clash Over Syria -- NewsMax
The chief nuclear inspector on Monday said Syria had a right to his agency's help in planning a power- producing atomic reactor, in what diplomats described as a forthright rejection of U.S.-led requests that Damascus be denied the aid.Father we pray that You will block any and all attempts by Syria to build a nuclear arms facility. We pray that You will reveal hidden secrets and agendas by their leadership to destroy Israel and build nuclear weapons under the guise of "peaceful power."
· While we recognize that the Middle East needs power to run their societies, we pray that changes of heart in their leaderships will make it possible to one day have power without threat of annihilation to Your people.
· "But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation." (Joel 3:20)
The Middle East in Focus
The Middle East in Focus This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:
"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth." (Job 19:25)
1. Bush: Two-state vision still alive - Ynet News
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with United States President George Bush in what was likely the farewell meeting between the two leaders as their term in office draws to an end.
2. Hizbullah paying Palestinian groups to avenge Mughniyeh - Jerusalem Post
Fearing a harsh military response if it attacks Israel directly, Hizbullah has paid Palestinian terrorist cells to avenge the assassination of the group's military commander, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
3. Olmert to Rice: West talking to Hamas - Ynet News
During his meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and senior National Security Council officials, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed his concern over what he said were contacts between Western elements and Hamas.
4. Iran arrests 'Israel-linked spy network' - AFP
Iran announced on Monday it had broken up a spy network linked to arch-enemy Israel's intelligence service Mossad, accusing it of gathering information on Iranian nuclear and military programmes.
5. Hizbullah pays Palestinian terrorist to attack Israel - ICEJ News
Lebanese terror militia now has 42,000 missiles The Lebanese Shi'ite terror militia Hizbullah has reportedly paid tens of thousands of dollars to Palestinian militants, directing them to carry out attacks on the Jewish state in retaliation for the February assassination of the group's terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyeh
6. Hamas split over future strategy in Gaza - ICEJ News
Internal Hamas correspondence intercepted by the Palestinian Authority and reported by Ha'aretz on Monday reveals a significant fissure has developed between the Hamas leadership in the West Bank and abroad, on the one hand, and its Gaza-based leadership on the other. The document provides a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of the terrorist organization and discloses that a division has emerged over future dealings with the Palestinian Authority since the bloody Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007.
In the intercepted paper, the Hamas governance abroad, headed by Khaled Mashaal, says it does not want "to control Gaza completely while losing the West Bank." They would like to see a settlement with the PA and blame the Gazan leadership for the failure of reconciliation talks with Fatah that had been slated for Cairo earlier this month. "In short, we want to go to dialogue [with the PA] and we want this dialogue to succeed," the Mashaal camp tells Hamas-Gaza. Meanwhile, the regime headquartered in Gaza, overseen by Halil al-Haya, and is more rigid in its approach to Fatah. The Hamas command in Damascus has even proposed allowing PA President Mahmoud Abbas to continue in his post past the end of his term on January 9, but the leadership in Gaza insists that he step down.
7. US urges Israeli restraint from attacking Iran, Gaza raid - ICEJ News
The US has requested that Israel refrain from embarking on any large-scale operations against Iran or Hamas-ruled Gaza during the last weeks of the Bush administration, Time magazine reported Monday. The publication quotes an unnamed Israeli source at the Defense Ministry as saying, "We have been warned off."
The appeal comes at a time when tensions between Israel and lran are reaching new highs. Last week the UN released a report that confirmed Iran's refusal to heed Security Council demands to freeze uranium enrichment. Many experts estimate that the Iranian regime will have its first atomic bomb within a year.
The US also reportedly called for Jerusalem to hold off on any incursion into the Gaza Strip. Recently, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have all said that a military thrust into Gaza may be needed to stop the constant barrage of Palestinian rocket fire emanating from the Strip, but Olmert and Barak held a secret meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II last week to reassure him a major Gaza incursion is not currently in the works. On Tuesday, Olmert also denied the reports of a US demand that Israel hold back on Iran for now.
The White House in Transition
1. Obama Signals Big Stimulus Plan - Wall Street Journal
President-elect Barack Obama suggested he would package much of his campaign spending proposals as economic stimulus and try to push them quickly through Congress to combat a deepening downturn.
· Lord, we humbly ask that You protect our nation from hastily conceived legislation that may not truly help with the current crisis. If the legislation be sound, let it pass; if it is not, then we ask that You block it.
· "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
2. Likely National Security Advisor Suggested NATO Forces for West Bank - CNS News
The man tipped to become President-elect Obama's national security advisor has reportedly proposed putting NATO forces in the West Bank in place of Israeli security forces -- an idea that makes some Israelis uncomfortable.
· Father as we know how ineffective NATO forces have been in the Lebanese-Israeli conflict, we ask that this plan be thwarted if it is not Your will. May You rise up in power for the nation of Israel and guard her borders with Your heavenly host.
· "And I will encamp about Mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth; and no oppressor shall pass through them any more; for now I have seen with Mine eyes." (Zechariah 9:8)
3. 'Office of President-Elect' Holds No Authority - Fox News
President-elect Barack Obama is looking very presidential these days. When he makes an announcement, he is ringed by American flags and stands behind a lectern that has a very presidential- looking placard announcing "The Office of the President-Elect." But the props are merely that. Under the Constitution, there is no such thing as the Office of the President- elect. Technically, Obama will not even become the president-elect until the Electoral College convenes after the second Wednesday in December and elects him based on the results of the Nov. 4 general election, as stated in the Constitution. But the "Office of the President-Elect," while critical in building the future government, has no official power -- which Obama himself acknowledged during his victory speech in Chicago on Election Night.
In the 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the next president must ensure a smooth transition by selecting political appointees to manage key agencies and offices within the Executive Branch, and by creating the policies that will define the new administration -- all while respecting the authority held by the current president. As president-elect, Obama is also given the same highly classified intelligence briefings that President Bush receives on a daily basis. And Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden get full Secret Service protection, which Obama also received during the Democratic primaries and general election campaign. (Read more)
· Ask our Lord to continue to grant His wisdom, one day at a time, to both the President and the President- Elect, during this delicate time of transition, so that all will flow smoothly throughout this period. Pray that all secrets that are classified REMAIN classified, in Jesus' Name, amen.
· "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye." (Psalm 32:8)
The More Things Change
As things progress it is becoming clear the so- called "middle ground" on abortion that we were told Barack Obama was pursuing in his campaign might elude him now that he is President-elect. Obama continues to fill key positions with politicians and activists who have radical pro-abortion records. The latest is Ellen Moran, the executive director of EMILY's List, a pro-abortion political action committee, who will be the face and voice of the new administration as the President's spokesperson. As the Washington Post put it, "A candidate must meet three qualifications to be considered for an EMILY's List endorsement: back abortion rights, including the right to late-term (or 'partial-birth') abortions; be a Democrat; and, in primary elections, be a woman." . . . It comes as no surprise to those who followed President-elect Obama's record that he is forming such a strongly pro- abortion team, but what do the Obama apologists like Doug Kmiec and Jim Wallis have to say now that the emperor they helped elect is shown to have no clothes? (Family Research Council)
More About Conscience Rules
Conscience Rules Protect Those with No Stomach for Abortions
Yesterday's Washington Post Magazine had a feature about a "pro-choice" medical student, Lesley Wojick, deciding whether to become a professional abortionist. Even with Roe v. Wade giving legal protection for "abortion rights," the number of doctors willing to perform the procedure has been declining. And no wonder. The article describes in graphic terms how the young student was introduced to abortion techniques-beginning with practice abortions on a papaya, a fruit roughly the size and shape of a woman's uterus.
When Wojick observed an actual abortion, "[t]he patient was in obvious pain. Her screams gave Lesley the chills, and she thought she might throw up." When one woman sought an abortion at 20 weeks, Wojick realized that on her neonatal rotation "she had tried to keep similar-sized babies alive." In the end, Wojick decides, "Vacuuming out a uterus and counting the parts of the fetus did not seem like a desirable way to spend her work days."
Pro-abortion groups would like to force medical schools to teach abortion and ob-gyn students to learn how to perform them. Fortunately, regulations that will soon be issued by the Bush administration should reinforce the freedom of conscience of medical students and doctors, even the pro-choice ones, like Lesley Wojick, who simply can't stomach performing abortions. (Family Research Council)
Bill Clinton's Third Term
Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama rarely missed an opportunity to tie Senator McCain to President Bush. He repeatedly suggested that a McCain presidency would essentially be George Bush's "third term," offering "more of the same." The charge was effective and worked well for Senator Obama. . . .
But there is an old saying in Washington: "Personnel is policy." And it seems from President-elect Obama's appointments that we are getting Bill Clinton's third term. As I mentioned in a previous report, an overwhelming percentage of Obama appointments have ties to the Clinton Administration, and he has continued to tap the "Clinton well" in the past few days.
His choice for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, served as under secretary for international affairs during the Clinton Administration. Larry Summers, a former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, may be brought into the White House as President-elect Obama's senior economic advisor. Vice President- elect Joe Biden chose as his chief of staff, Ron Klain, who was Vice President Al Gore's chief of staff for four years during the Clinton Administration. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who was the Energy Secretary and UN ambassador under Bill Clinton, reportedly will be Secretary of Commerce. And we're still waiting for the formal announcement that Hillary will get the plum post of Secretary of State.
In one way, Obama has succeeded in bringing people together. Many conservatives and progressives are furious that so many "Clintonistas," including Hillary herself, have been appointed to key positions. Leftists who voted for Obama hoping for "change" are feeling cheated because it appears as though we are going "back to the future" and getting Bill Clinton's "third term."
Conservatives who lived through those scandal ridden years, and those, like me, who had their FBI files pulled by hyper-partisan bureaucrats, aren't looking forward to reliving them. (Gary Bauer; End-of-Day; Nov. 25, 2008)
Better Health Linked to Church Attendance
Good News: Better Health Linked to Church Attendance
A new study, which followed the health of more than 90,000 older women over an average of more than seven years, found that those who attended church were one-fifth less likely to die during the study than those who did not, The New York Times reported. The study, which appears in Psychology & Health, looked at women 50 to 79 at 40 locations across the U.S.
"All things being equal, religious people need and use fewer health care services," said Dr. Harold G. Koenig, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, who did not participate in the study of women. "They are healthier, more likely to have intact families to care for them and have greater social support." Koenig will speak at the Dec. 3 Heritage Foundation conference "Religious Practice and Health: What the Research Says," which will feature a roster of top academics.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit the conference Web site.
(Source: Focus on the Family; CitizenLink)