Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Capitol Hill This Week, Vol. XIV, No. 13b


Six Good Reasons to Revisit Immigration Policy

After arresting six radical Muslims with plans to massacre soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey, FBI special agent J.P Weiss said it best when he told reporters, "We dodged a bullet. In fact... we may have dodged several bullets." Unfortunately, what few seem to realize is that without serious immigration reform, Americans may not be quite so blessed next time. Of those accused in the Fort Dix terror plot, three are in the United States illegally. While we applaud the government for intercepting these men, the reality is that at least half of them should have been intercepted much sooner through our regular system of safeguards. Will it take another massive loss of innocent human life before Congress wakes up and recognizes the threat posed by our porous policies?

As the House and Senate prioritize their issues for the coming month, this near-tragedy should put illegal immigration on the forefront of everyone's minds. We must confront radical Islam head-on, rather than pretending that it doesn't have an agenda. All too often Americans seem more fearful of offending people than they are of a devastating terrorist attack. Join us in urging Congress to promote true immigration reform that puts national security--not political correctness--first. (Family Research Council)

Commentary and prayer from the Intercessory Prayer Initiative:

We've been praying for some time that the Lord would uncover any hidden "cells" within our own borders that would pose a threat to the United States. This week the FBI uncovered one of those groups and averted an attack against our own troops on our own soil.

The reaction of friends and neighbors was one of disbelief. How can ordinary people living ordinary lives be part of a terrorist plot of this magnitude? American ideals are inconsistent with such destructive hatred. We tend to embrace all who enter our borders-even our enemies. Once again we are reminded that the war against terrorism can affect us in our own backyard.

Prayer Points:

Pray that our leaders would recognize the enemy living within our borders and continue to seek out "hidden cells" and plots.
Pray that our nation would become aware of those among us whose thinking is not ideologically consistent with our forefathers or those living in a free society.
Pray that our leaders would work toward fair, enforceable immigration laws, reinforce our historical foundations and preserve our godly heritage.
Pray that we would continue to bless and stand with Israel as those determined to destroy Israel also want to destroy our nation.
Pray for the security of our borders and the protection of our troops at home and abroad.

· "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." (Jer. 23:24)


Two reports in recent weeks clearly demonstrate the threat that the Iranian regime poses to peace in the Middle East and beyond. The first report, from the Associated Press, noted that Iranian-made weapons were recently captured by coalition forces in Afghanistan. We have known for some time that Iranian-made IEDs were being used in Iraq, but now it appears as though the mullahs in Tehran are expanding their sights and exporting weapons to aid Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan.

The second report from a British paper, The Sunday Times, is far more disturbing. According to a British intelligence report, Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq are planning a "large-scale" attack on Britain and other targets on "a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki." While it would be easy to dismiss this claim as little more than bravado on the part of the terrorists, no one disputes their desire to see not just thousands killed, as happened on September 11th, but tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands. And if given the means to carry out such an attack, no one should question the willingness of the jihadists to try.

Regardless of the means, intelligence experts are taking the threat seriously - if for no other reason than Al Qaeda may be feeling desperate to "do something soon that is radical" to avoid "losing credibility." Here's more from the British press: "The report appears to provide evidence that Al-Qaeda is active in Iran and has ambitions far beyond the improvised attacks it has been waging against British and American soldiers in Iraq. There is no evidence of a formal relationship between Al-Qaeda, a Sunni group, and the Shiite regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but experts suggest that Iran's leaders may be turning a blind eye to the terrorist organization's activities."

There are plenty of reasons to assume that is precisely what is going on. We have known for some time that senior Al Qaeda leaders are in fact operating in Iran. The Washington Post reported in February that Tehran is holding Osama bin Laden's son and several dozen Al Qaeda fighters "under house arrest." Given Al Qaeda's interest in harming the United States and Iran's interest in seeing us humiliated in the Middle East, it seems highly improbable that bin Laden's son is wasting his days playing Scrabble "under house arrest." (Gary Bauer)

· Oh Father, sometimes we long to float above the earth to see what You see, and know what You know. We wonder to the point of fear, what will come next. Reports such as this cause us to speculate at what "could" happen. But, we can't really know. What we DO know is that Your Word is true, and we ARE in the beginning of the birth pains. Oh Lord, prepare us for battle and strengthen us to endure to the end; let our minds be fixed on YOU.

· "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." (Matthew 24:6-8)


President Bush issued a formal national security directive Wednesday ordering agencies to prepare contingency plans for a surprise, "decapitating" attack on the federal government, and assigned responsibility for coordinating such plans to the White House. The prospect of a nuclear bomb being detonated in Washington without warning, whether smuggled in by terrorists or a foreign government, has been cited by many security analysts as a rising concern since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The order makes explicit that the focus of federal worst-case planning involves a covert nuclear attack against the capital, in contrast with Cold War beliefs that a long-range strike would be preceded by a notice of minutes or hours as missiles were fueled and launched. "As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received," states the 72- paragraph order. The statement added, "Emphasis will be placed upon geographic dispersion of leadership, staff, and infrastructure in order to increase survivability and maintain uninterrupted Government Functions."

After the 2001 attacks, Bush assigned about 100 senior civilian managers to secretly rotate to locations outside of Washington for weeks or months at a time to ensure the nation's survival, a shadow government that evolved based on long-standing "continuity of operations plans." Since then, other agencies including the Pentagon, the office of the Director of National Intelligence and CIA have taken steps to relocate facilities or key functions outside of Washington, citing factors such as economics or the importance of avoiding Beltway "group-think." (Los Angeles Times; Washington Post)

· Father God, who are we to think that our only warning system available comes from the hand of man? Oh Lord God, we pray that our government would realize that we are in the palm of Your hand, and YOU will warn us - if we will only listen! We continue to pray to be protected from danger - today we pray for ears that hear, and eyes that see WARNINGS FROM YOU, ALMIGHTY GOD!

· "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me." (Ezekiel 3:17)


President Bush signed an agreement creating a "permanent body" that commits the U.S. to "deeper transatlantic economic integration," without ratification by the Senate as a treaty or passage by Congress as a law. The "Transatlantic Economic Integration" between the U.S. and the European Union was signed April 30 at the White House by Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel - the current president of the European Council - and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The document acknowledges "the transatlantic economy remains at the forefront of globalization," arguing that the U.S. and the European Union "seek to strengthen transatlantic economic integration." The agreement established a new Transatlantic Economic Council to be chaired on the U.S. side by a cabinet- level officer in the White House and on the EU side by a member of the European Commission. The current U.S. head of the new Transatlantic Economic Council is Allan Hubbard, assistant to the president for Economic Policy and director of the National Economic Council. The current EU head of the council is Günther Verheugen, vice-President of the European Commission in charge of enterprise and industry.

The Transatlantic Economic Council was tasked with creating regulatory convergence between the U.S. and the EU on some 40 different public policy areas, including intellectual property rights, developing security standards for international trade, getting U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) recognized in Europe, developing innovation and technology in health industries, implementing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies, developing a science-based plan on bio-based products and establishing a "regular dialogue" to address obstacles to investment. At a joint press conference, Bush commented that, "It [plan] is a recognition that the closer that the United States and the EU become, the better off our people will be." (WorldNetDaily)

· Pay attention, intercessors. This plan spells a stronger movement to the end of US sovereignty as a separate nation, but it is a plan that has been in the works for a long time. Probably President Bush is so positioned that he had to sign this agreement and push for its acceptance, even though the American people should oppose it. God did not give us this nation so that we could squander our sovereignty. Intercede for all those deceived. · "There is no wisdom, nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord." (Proverbs 21:30)


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has postponed her visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority due to the political turmoil in Israel, following the publication of the Winograd Report last Monday [April 30]. The US State Department confirmed that Rice had a "change in plans" and that it was unlikely she would make a stopover in the Middle East during her trip to Moscow next week.

Rice was expected to urge both Israelis and Palestinians to carry out a series of US-proposed benchmarks aimed at forwarding peace talks between the two sides. Spokesman for the State Department Sean McCormack cited the problems facing Israel's leadership. "The political situation in Israel has become a bit more complex in the near term," he said. "But we're working closely with the government of Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert as well as the partners on the Palestinian side."

Olmert and his Defense Minister Amir Peretz are facing mounting pressure from the Israeli public, from opposition parties, and from their own factions to step down from office after the damning report of the Winograd Commission criticized their functioning during the war with Hizbullah last summer.

(Reported by: Bridges for Peace) Rice's postponement of her visit is being construed in Jerusalem and Ramallah as an indication that Washington does not believe the peace process can move forward at this stage under the current political circumstances. McCormack insisted that Washington would continue its efforts to advance the Israeli- Palestinian peace process.

A senior government source in Jerusalem said the postponement was "unprecedented," according to Israel Radio. The source said the decision had taken the Israelis by surprise. An analyst from The Media Line said regardless of the political turmoil in Jerusalem, little progress had been made on the Israeli-Palestinian track over the past few months. Citing the political crisis for postponing Rice's trip is a "convenient pretext" for Washington, the analyst said. (The Media Line, May 8, 2007)

· Man's efforts to "make peace" are laughable. Pray that Israel will say, "God is my defense."

· "But You, O LORD, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision. I will wait for You, O You my Strength; for God is my defense" (Psalm 59:8-9)


Professor Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University Archaeology Department officially announced to the world yesterday [May 8] that his team of excavators digging at the Herodian fortress just outside Jerusalem had discovered the tomb of King Herod the Great, the last Jewish king to rule over Judea before the Roman Empire took direct control, making it a province. Herod ruled from 40 BC until his death in 4 BC, soon after the birth of Jesus.

Now, 2,011 years after his death, the tomb of Herod has finally been identified. Excavations began at Herodian in the 1970s when they unearthed a magnificent fortress that Herod had built into an artificial hill, as well as a lavish palace complex below the hill. However, one mystery remained: where was the tomb of Herod? The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records that Herod was buried at Herodian, but in 30 years of digging archaeologists could not find it.

. . . About three weeks ago, the team found hundreds of pieces of a sarcophagus as well as elaborate ornamentation, which they believe came from the building that the sarcophagus was in. Both the sarcophagus and the building appear to have been intentionally smashed to pieces, probably sometime during the First Jewish Revolt AD 67-73 against the Romans, according to Netzer.
(By Will King, Bridges for Peace, May 8, 2007)

· Praise the Lord for another discovery that He has allowed in these times, proving again the veracity of the Bible. Herod, everyone recalls, is the king that ordered the deaths of all boys under 2 years of age in his attempt to kill the baby King the Magi had told him about. Ask the Lord to continue to reveal more about the Bible in the physical land of Israel, especially in the areas not under Islamic supervision. · "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3)