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The Daily Brief Friday, August 17, 2012
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples." (I Chronicles 16:23,24)
The Daily Brief
1. Exclusive: White House studying potential oil reserve release - Reuters
The White House is "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of oil reserves to dampen prices and prevent high energy costs from undermining sanctions against Iran, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday.
- Father, we ask wisdom for those who make these decisions that affect all of us. We understand that our administration is seeking to make this a global decision. We ask that our government would do what is best for America, first and foremost. We ask that politics would not enter into this decision. We thank You for our oil reserves, and pray they will be used wisely. Amen.
- "For this is what the LORD says- He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited- He says: "I am the LORD, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:18)
2. Wall Street hits four-month high, boosted by Germany, Cisco - Reuters
The S&P 500 closed at its highest level since early April on Thursday after comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel that appeared to support the European Central Bank's efforts to fight the region's debt crisis, while Cisco Systems jumped after it raised its dividend.
- Abba, You are our Provider of both wisdom and resources. You are the One who gives us the power to get wealth. World events seem to impact Wall Street, as people try to anticipate the effect they will have on our economy. Lord, we ask that our hope and instruction, discernment and wisdom, will flow to us from You, as we desire to use our resources to spread the Gospel in these last days. We ask that these who have invested in Wall Street, will see and understand that You are the source of wisdom and riches, and that they will commit their ways to You alone.
- "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share." (I Timothy 6:17,18)
3. Jobless rates rise in NY, NJ and Connecticut in July - Reuters
Jobless rates for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey all climbed in July, with New Jersey seeing its highest unemployment rate since 1977, according to data from the three neighboring states on Thursday.
- Lord, we again come to You on behalf of those who are struggling in this poor economy. We especially ask provision for those who are trying to find gainful employment. We ask You to open doors before them, and instruct them, as they seek to provide for their families. We pray they will not grow weary in their search, nor lose their hope. We ask that they trust You to supply all their needs; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Amen.
- "Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm." (Psalm 20:6-8)
4. Army reports grim milestone in troop suicides - Politico
Army suicides hit a new single-month record in July, when 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers took their own lives, according to official figures released Thursday.
- Abba, we are so sad to hear this very somber news about these precious men and women who have served our country. Make Yourself known to all our military personnel and veterans, that they see and experience the great love You have for them. May they not feel hopeless, but put their trust in You as Savior and Lord. Amen.
-" I say this because I know what I am planning for you," says the Lord. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
5. No One Will Be Charged With a Crime for the MF Global Collapse - Atlantic Wire
Authorities are winding down their criminal investigation of the failed brokerage firm, MF Global, and despite the lack of oversight and the loss of more than $1 billion in customer funds, it now seems unlikely that anyone at the firm will face criminal charges.
- Father, only You know the true cause of this collapse, and the people involved in it. We ask for discernment and Your righteous judgment, tempered with mercy. We ask that You would reveal the secret things done in darkness, for darkness and light are alike to You. We pray, first and foremost, for the souls of those who perpetrated this disaster, that they will know what they did, and come to You in repentance. May they come to know You, and Your truth in their inward parts. We ask for Your forgiveness to be extended, as they come to You. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
- "Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; They grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth but far from their mind." (Jeremiah 12:1,2)
6. Only ABC Offers Full Story on Shooting at FRC; CBS, NBC Blow It Off With Tiny Reports - NewsBusters
ABC was the only broadcast network that offered a full story on the FRC office shooting on Wednesday night. They led with the story and gave it two and a half minutes. None of the network newscasts reported the breaking detail that shooter Floyd Corkins volunteered for six months at the D.C. Center for the "Lesbian,Gay,Bi-sexual, Transgender Community", adding depth to his political motivation.
b.) Family Research Council head puts blame on Law Center - Politico
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on Thursday said the shooting at the conservative Christian organization's Washington, D.C., headquarters was an act of terrorism and he accused the Southern Poverty Law Center of fostering the climate that allowed the crime to occur.
- Father, truly we are in those days where people "call good evil, and evil good". We pray for Floyd Corkins, the shooter, and ask that You reveal Yourself to Him, and Your mercy and grace. We thank You that You have promised to bring good out of all things to those whose trust is in You. We ask Lord, for revelation of the truth that Chick-fil-A, the FRC, and all the Christian organizations that support traditional marriage between one man and one woman, are not hate groups. We know You love them and died for them, and we pray they will come to know You. Amen.
-" How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad and bad things good, who think darkness is light and light is darkness, who think sour is sweet and sweet is sour. How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise and believe they are clever." (Isaiah 5:20,21)
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:
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! " (Isaiah 5:20-21)
1. Ambassador Oren: Diplomacy has failed to stop nuclear Iran - Debkafile
In an interview to Bloomberg, Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren said: Israel would be willing to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, even if doing so only delayed its ability to produce nuclear weapons for a few years.
"One, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East -- look what's happened in the last year," he said
2. Oren: Setting Iran back by only a few years still worth strike - Times of Israel
Israel's ambassador to the US said Wednesday that Israel would be willing to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, even if doing so only set their program back a few years.
3. Israel 'can't go it alone' against Iran, Peres says in rare moment of public dissent with PM - Times of Israel
Israel must not attack Iran alone, and should instead rely on the United States to assist it in preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, President Shimon Peres said on Thursday, in a rare moment of public dissent with the government's stance.
4. Barak: We must make Iran decision now - Ynet News
Defense Minister Ehud Barak continued to address speculation of a possible military attack against Iran on Thursday during the Knesset plenum, and explained why a decision on Iran must be made now.
Obama initiates Sept. mtg. with Netanyahu
Obama initiates September meeting with Netanyahu
The White House has urgently contacted Jerusalem to arrange for US President Barack Obama to get together with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the next UN General Assembly session opening in New York on Sept. 18, debkafile's Washington and Jerusalem sources report. Netanyahu is preparing a tough speech inveighing against Iran's nuclear aspirations, its calls to annihilate the state of Israel and widespread anti-Semitism. He plans to accuse Iranian leaders of assuming the role of contemporary Nazis and call for their expulsion from the world organization.
Sources close to Obama admit that the dialogue on Iran with Israeli leaders has run its course since neither side believes it can change its opposite number's mind. This communications cutoff is hurting the president's campaign for reelection.
Washington's media offensive to tie Israel's hands against attacking Iran before voting day on Nov. 6 climaxed with the news briefing given by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey at the Pentagon Tuesday, Aug. 14. They accentuated Israel's weaknesses and argued that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would gain very little time.
They wrote that by allowing Iran to use their platforms to disseminate anti-Semitic propaganda, the UN and IMF are complicit in aiding the development of the Iranian nuclear program.
Earlier that day, the opening shot of the counter-campaign landed in the influential Wall Street Journal in an article entitled Iran Doesn't Belong in the UN or IMF, under the bylines of former UN ambassador John Bolton and the heads of the United Against Nuclear Iran organization, Mark Wallace and Kristen Silverberg.
Even before that, damage was caused the Obama campaign by the widely-reported remarks by Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren on Wednesday, Aug. 15, asserting that Israel would be willing to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, even if doing so only delayed its ability to produce nuclear weapons for a few years.
"One, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East -- look what's happened in the last year" in terms of political change, Oren said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. "In our neighborhood, those are the rules of the game."
He went on to stress, "Diplomacy hasn't succeeded. We've come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made."
Even before Ambassador Oren's rejoinder, Washington insiders found the Panetta-Dempsey briefing unconvincing because it essentially covered well-trodden ground without new facts. Its timing was also unfortunate, said debkafile's Washington sources, because the White House had already set in motion arrangements for an Obama-Netanyahu meeting for putting their understandings on Iran back on course.
At the moment, they admitted, the US and Israel are no longer talking, because, "Both know that they have said all they have to say on the subject and remain divided." But, they say, "The president can't afford to let matters rest there. He will have to perform urgent repairs when he meets Netanyahu in September."
That too is not plain sailing. Our sources report that while the prime minister is perfectly willing to meet Obama, he says it would be only proper for him to meet his rival for the presidency, Governor Mitt Romney, as well. The president's emissaries object on the grounds that Romney recently visited Israel. Their Israeli interlocutors respond that the government would be happy to host Obama in Israel too, even before the presidential election. Both sides are acutely aware that he missed visiting Israel in the course of his presidency. (DEBKAFile) Read more.
On the Campaign Trail
Candidates Comment on the Shooting at FRC This Week
White House Takes Five Hours to Comment on FRC Shooting
The White House is coming under criticism from pro-life advocates for not issuing a condemnation of the shooting of a security guard at the offices of the Family Research Council, a pro-life group.
UPDATE: Not until after 6:30 p.m. ET did the White House respond. Obama finally commented, saying "this type of violence has no place in our society."
Romney commented on the shooting, saying: "I am appalled by the shooting today at the offices of the Family Research Council in our nation's capital. There is no place for such violence in our society. My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today's horrific events." (Source: LifeNews) Read more.
Israel Under the Shadow of War
Israel Under the Shadow of War
"Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war!" (Joel 3:9a)
Since additional sanctions have proven ineffective in stopping Iran's nuclear program, the Israeli government is preparing its citizens to survive what now seems an almost inevitable conflict with Iran. But there are gaps in several key areas, and we invite you to partner with Vision for Israel in providing life-saving aid to the Israeli people at this critical time.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said that "all the threats currently being directed against the Israeli home front are dwarfed . . . by Iran." Netanyahu added that Israel has been "investing billions into home front defense." Gas mask distribution has been stepped up nation-wide, a new text message based system to warn of rocket attacks is being rolled out, and the I.D.F. is running nation-wide military drills this week.
According to Israeli military sources, Iran has enough enriched uranium for four atomic bombs - more than what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he would need to "rid the world of the Zionist entity." And last week a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), created by the Obama administration, included a "last minute update" that Iran has progressed in the development of a nuclear warhead "far beyond the scope known" to U.N. inspectors.
Now Israel is struggling with whether to attempt to put off the threat of nuclear war a while longer by attacking the Iranian nuclear reactors. But any Israeli attack will surely be met by a hail of missiles from Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. Outgoing Home Front Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai, believes that will cause a complete breakdown in services, like fuel and electricity, as well as mass shortages in food and other necessities.
But, I thank God that together we have a chance to make a real difference. Vision for Israel has been invited to integrate our assistance and supplies into the national response for rapid distribution. In order to do so, we need to buy extra supplies in all departments and increase the pace of our activities.
Please send your best donation today, so VFI can help our neighbors throughout Israel as they prepare for war. We are racing against time. We cannot do it alone and need your help. Now is the moment to abide by Galatians 6:2 and "bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Messiah."
Serving from Jerusalem,
Barry and Batya Segal
Co-Founders of Vision for Israel
Vision For Israel | P. O. Box 7743 | Charlotte, NC 28241 USA | P: (704) 583-8445 | F: (704) 583-8308
FRC SHOOTING UPDATE
After the Shooting, We're Still Standing
On Wednesday, FRC was the target of what the FBI is calling an act of domestic terrorism. A gunman, identified as Floyd Corkins, invaded our headquarters in Washington, D.C. armed with a 9mm pistol, approximately 50 rounds of ammunition, and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. The gunman was confronted by an unarmed member of the FRC staff, Leo Johnson. When the gunman pulled the gun from his backpack and aimed the weapon at Leo, Leo moved toward the gunman to disarm him. Despite being shot in the process, Leo was able to subdue the shooter and call for others on the staff, who helped admirably. One of the investigators, based on their preliminary findings, told me Leo's actions saved a lot of lives.
I was with Leo around midnight Wednesday night in the recovery room when he came out of surgery. I told him he was a hero -- not just in the opinion of his FRC colleagues -- but in the opinion of people all across the nation. Still a bit groggy from the anesthesia, he said, "This hero business is hard work!" Obviously, Leo hasn't lost his sense of humor. It will take time and more surgeries, but he will be back with us soon, for which we are all grateful. In the meantime, let me say thank you on behalf of the FRC team for the outpouring of concern and support for our colleague and friend, as well as for the entire FRC team who have been affected by this attack.
This unfortunately changes the way FRC will do business, but not the business that we do. We'll enhance our security to ensure that each and every member of the FRC team, as well as our guests, are secure. What we will not do is allow the threats and actions of those who oppose us to intimidate or silence us.
After the shooting, I assembled most of our 80-member team, and we prayed together. We prayed for Leo, for each other, for our mission, and for the assailant. We also discussed the new level of hostility that we now face because of the inflammatory rhetoric that has been used against us. But I want you to know that these increased obstacles and challenges do not change our calling or our mission. You can continue to count on the FRC team to credibly represent you and the millions of other Americans who share our concerns for the family and for our country.
Because I do not want to jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation in any way, I will not go into great detail about the shooting. However, I will share with you what I said in front of the FRC headquarters yesterday afternoon to a crowd of reporters.
It is clear that the gunman is responsible for the shooting. But I believe it was the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has recklessly labeled groups like FRC that they disagree with as "hate groups," that created this hostile environment. The SPLC's listing of pro-family and Christian organizations alongside neo-Nazi and separatist groups gives radicals like FRC's attacker a reason to believe they have the license to come into our building to try to take the lives of our friends and coworkers. The SPLC has even labeled local parents' groups that oppose SPLC's pro-homosexual policies as "haters." The type of rhetoric that SPLC has engaged in is wrong, and, as we witnessed this week, it is dangerous.
I am grateful that over two dozen homosexual activist organizations released a joint statement expressing concern for Leo and condemning the attack, agreeing that such violence is unacceptable. I would ask them to take the next appropriate step and call on the SPLC to end the words and actions which foster the environment that breeds brutality like we saw on Wednesday morning. I also ask any who repeat SPLC's false "hate group" label to stop. Acts of aggression like we experienced this week are intended to intimidate and ultimately silence. Nothing could be more threatening to the future of our country.
Our First Freedoms of religion and speech are the cornerstone of our constitutional republic. If we lose or relinquish these liberties, we lose all others and our future. That's why we pursue our mission, advancing these foundational principles in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.
I want to close by saying how proud I am of the FRC team and the extended FRC family. Leo Johnson is a hero in every way-we now just refer to him as Leo the Hero. But we have more than one hero at FRC. Every man and woman who enters FRC each morning under the inscription "Faith, Family and Freedom" chiseled in the stone above the entrance is a hero. They are committed to standing for those core principles on which our nation rests. I also want to thank those of you who have made our work possible for the past 29 years.
Let me assure our supporters, as well as our opponents, we will not waver at all from our mission.
Amnesty by Executive Order Begins
Amnesty for illegal aliens begins today and Congress couldn't care less
Rejected by Congress, Amnesty by Executive Order Begins
August 15, 2012
This lazy August morning while many Americans are on vacation blissfully detached from current events, one of President's Obama's most radical transformations of the American landscape takes hold. A lawless, unlegislated illegal alien amnesty becomes reality today as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) begins to officially accept applications (no personal interview required) from almost 2 million illegal aliens seeking "deferred action."
"Americans won't like the amnesty and they won't like how it was done, but they're not to blame. Only Congress has the power to act against a president who throws the constitutional system into chaos by nullifying the laws Congress has enacted and governs by imperial edicts. Congress is out of town now, but frankly, even when they were in town they were out of touch and unwilling to challenge President Obama's usurpation of their exclusive plenary authority over immigration policy."
"Today's amnesty is the dénouement of the backdoor tactics this president has been peddling since taking office and should have been no surprise to Congress."
(Fox News) Read the rest here.
A Commentary from AlertsUSA Threat Journal
This is insulting on multiple levels and it is not just the President. Every individual that helped strategize the move, every individual who consciously advised the Executive Branch to usurp the Constitutional process, every member of Congress who decided to shut up and not move on the pending action in some manner, and each and every person that cheers them on and condones the action are all complicit. Both sides of the aisle.
The ramifications of this act are significant and will have far reaching national security implications.
Let's explore just two; one short term and one long term.
In the short term, consider what will happen a few months from now, if not sooner, when all of a sudden there are upwards of two million new teenage workers injected into the legal workforce nationwide. This, into an already dangerously depressed employment sector.
The net result is a lot more unemployed teens in worsening economic times. This leads to huge increases in crime and social unrest. Need proof? Spend a few minutes researching the problems Greece and Spain are having with youth unemployment (50%+) and dramatic spikes in violent crime, riots, etc..
In the long term, consider the implications of having several million foreign nationals, rewarded for breaking the law (even if not of their own direct doing), with a national allegiance OTHER THAN the U.S., 10-15-20 years down the line. Could some rise to sensitive positions in defense or other matters of State? Perhaps even be elected, err, President?
Also, make note of this tidbit of information:
Most Mexican immigrants in the U.S. passionately support the 'La Raza' movement.
Never heard of 'La Raza' ? Learn about it and fast. Start here and here.
U.S. Embassies Issue Eid Alert
US Embassy issues security alert for Eid, Aug 14
ISLAMABAD, (SANA): The United States Embassy in Islamabad has issued a security warning to all American citizens in Pakistan, alerting them to "the continued potential danger posed by the presence of al Qaeda, Taliban elements, and indigenous militant sectarian groups" in the country.
The message from the embassy advises US citizens to avoid crowds and public places, and "keep a low profile" during Pakistan's Independence Day celebrations (Aug 14) and Eid-ul-Fitr.
In the alert posted on its website, the embassy warns: "Terrorists may wish to take advantage of the upcoming Pakistan Independence Day celebrations (August 13 and 14) and Eid-ul-Fitr (approximately August 19, 20 and 21) to initiate attacks."
"It is especially important that US citizens and US Embassy personnel continue to maintain good situational awareness, avoid crowds and public places, and keep a low profile during this time," adds the security alert. [South Asian News Agency (SANA) ] Readmore.
Heightened Potential Threat to U.S. Citizens in Lebanon
August 10, 2012
The U.S. Embassy has received reports of an increased possibility of attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon. Possible threats include kidnapping, the potential for an upsurge in violence, the escalation of family or neighborhood disputes, as well as U.S. citizens being the target of terrorist attacks in Lebanon. U.S. Embassy personnel remain under strict travel restrictions, and all U.S. citizens are urged to take additional security precautions.
The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon is located at Awkar facing the Municipality, PO Box 70-840, Beirut. For further information, U.S. citizens may telephone the Embassy in Lebanon at (961) (4) 542600 or (961) (4) 543600.
The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. (Source: U.S. Embassy; Beirut, Lebanon) Read more.
A Commentary from AlertsUSA Threat Journal
August 16, 2012
The warning appears to have been issued following the kidnapping of members of a powerful Lebanese Shiite family located in Syria. The Embassy message was timely as within just a few days, Lebanese militia themselves kidnapped and detained 30+ Syrians.
Here is where things really go sideways: Late word is that 7 of the 11 hostages in Syria were injured and 4 remain missing after a Syrian fighter jet bombed the hospital where they were being held.
The latest result is that several more nations are ordering their citizens out of Lebanon or strongly recommending against travel to the country, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Canada
Why Is This important To You?:
Iran backs Syria in nearly all aspects of their conflict, including military forces, training and equipment. Spillover into neighboring countries will most certainly bring about outside intervention. Realistically, there is only one country with the might, ability and the necessary force proximity to quickly and effectively pound Assad into the history books; the U.S..
To which Syria has threatened to respond with chemical weapons. Given Syria's less than neighborly disposition with Israel, there is potential for spillover here as well. Spillover into Israel, particularly with chemical weapons, could bring about hellish consequences.
Russia and China might also have problems with Syrian intervention, as they have both indicated steadfast support for the Assad regime. The conflict could actually unite the two countries against the U.S.. Russia has even pledged to use it's military to defend Syria.
The Good News Corner
The Good News Corner
POCKETS OF STRENGTH IN U.S. ECONOMY
Several of America's Great Plains and Midwest states are rebounding from the recession faster than other areas of the nation. Private-sector workers in the Great Plains and Midwest have seen the most dramatic rise in income since the end of the recession in mid-2009, according to data from the Commerce Department.
Plains states such as North Dakota, Texas and Nebraska are reaping the rewards of the growing demand for oil and food in economies like China. Turnarounds by the U.S. auto sector and other manufacturers have revived America's industrial centers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
States that focus on energy and food production, manufacturing and technology have thrived, while others that depend on housing, construction, services and finance have had difficulty. North Dakota, which is second only to Texas in oil production, saw the biggest rise in personal income for private-sector workers between the end of the recession and the first quarter of 2012. With a 3 percent unemployment rate, North Dakota boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the country - well under the national rate of 8.2 percent.
(Wall Street Journal) Read more.
Give thanks for the benefits that states like North Dakota and Texas are experiencing. Pray that this new wealth and income would be used for good and not for evil. Pray for the neighborhoods undergoing change, and for the burdens and dangers that come with booming economies. Intercede for protection, blessing, order and guidance for towns, business owners, churches and government officials associated with these Great Plains and Midwest "pockets of strength."
- "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places." (Psalm 16:5-6)
[Reported by Intercessors for America]