Friday, November 16, 2007

The Daily Brief - Friday, November 16, 2007

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17)

Today's Daily Brief

1. Bush Frees Up Military Airspace For Thanksgiving - Washington Post

President Bush yesterday announced measures intended to curb airline delays during the Thanksgiving travel frenzy, including freeing up military airspace for commercial use.

· Offer praise for this creative solution to some of the challenges that travelers will face during this holiday week. Pray for journeying mercies for all.

· "Praise ye the Lord." (Psalm 150:6b)

2. Bush: Politics Sully Judicial Nominees - Washington Times

President Bush said yesterday the confirmation process for judicial nominees has been distorted by the politics of personal destruction as he sent Congress nominations for eight federal judgeships and five federal prosecutor positions. "Senate confirmation is part of the Constitution's system of checks and balances. But it was never intended to be a license to ruin the good name that a nominee has worked a lifetime to build," Mr. Bush said during a speech last night at the Federalist Society's 25th anniversary gala at Union Station. "Today, good men and women nominated to the federal bench are finding that inside the Beltway, too many interpret 'advise and consent' to mean "search and destroy."

· Please intercede that these political roadblocks will be removed permanently so that the Senate will deal with the nominees based on their qualifications as legal authorities and not on views that a number of the Senators, especially those on the Judiciary Committee, disagree with. Ask the Lord to convict those who deliberately hold up the "advise and consent" process for political aggrandizement.

· "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." (Isaiah 54:17a)

3. House GOP Sustains Bush Veto of Health Bill - AP
The Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, left, John B. Larson, Steny H. Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel after the House vote on Thursday.

House Republicans on Thursday night easily sustained President Bush's veto of a Democratic health and education spending bill. Democrats have written domestic spending bills adding more than $22 billion to Bush's budget, prompting a wave of veto threats from the White House. The Democratic-driven education and health bill contains $151 billion in discretionary appropriations under lawmakers' direct control. More than any other spending bill, it defines the differences between Bush and his Democratic rivals.

· Praise the Lord for this sustainment of the President's veto. The extra funds did not go for health but for earmarks and favorite appropriations. Pray that the American public begins to see a pattern here that is deceptive, socialistic, and often personally ambitious-driven.

· "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own quarter." (Isaiah 56:11)

4. Gates Jawbones Hill on War Spending - AP

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who met with members of Congress on Wednesday, said that he does not have the money or the flexibility to move funding around to adequately cover the costs of the continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, he said that he is faced with the undesirable task of preparing to cease operations at Army bases by mid-February, and lay off about 100,000 Defense Department employees and an equal number of civilian contractors.

· Here is another logjam created by Congress in the proper funding of our military. While many do not approve of the war being waged in the Middle East against terrorism, progress is being made, the war is not being fought in the USA, and Israel is being protected. Freedom does have its price, and the cost is sacrifice. Again, intercede for this political block to be broken in Congress so that our military does have the necessary funds required to fulfill its assignment for this administration.

· "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." (1 Peter 2:16)

5. Democrats' Plan to Tie War Funds to Withdrawal Fails - AP

Democrats failed to bring combat troops home from Iraq by December 2008 and place more restrictions on the administration's interrogation program through a $50 billion war-funding measure. The Senate also blocked a Republican countermeasure, but Democratic leaders in the Senate have left the door open to reconsidering the measures before the year is out. The Senate voted 53-45 on the main Democratic measure - 7 votes short of the 60 needed to close debate on the measure, effectively killing the bill.

· This whole "troop withdrawal timetable plan" has been a huge issue all year this year, and a major fight between the president and the Congress. Pray that, when Congress resumes its business next month, there will be a miracle on the floor of the Senate, and that statesmanship, and the good of our nation and our troops, will prevail over political divisiveness. Pray!

· "Is anything too hard for the LORD? " (Gen. 18:14)

6. Feds OK Drought Deal for Georgia - AP

Federal biologists signed off on a plan Friday to reduce the flow of water from Lake Lanier, the main water source for Atlanta and the focal point of a three- state water fight as the Southeast contends with a historic drought. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that federally protected mussels can live with less water from Lanier, which could allow drought- stricken Georgia to keep more water in the drying lake.

· Praise the Lord for this report; and praise the Lord, too, for answered prayer for the people of Georgia, where the rains have begun again. Praise God.

· "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord."(Psalm 150:6)

7. Prayers for Disaster Victims - CHPP

a. Cyclone Slams Bangladesh, Kills at Least 1,100 - CNN

A cyclone packing 150 mph (240 km/h) winds slammed Bangladesh's southeast coast late Thursday, killing at least 1,100 people and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes, officials told Associated Press.

b. Quake Leaves 15,000 Homeless in Chile - NY Sun

Strong aftershocks from a powerful earthquake hit northern Chile today as the government erected a working military hospital and promised hundreds of other portable dwellings for 15,000 left homeless by the quake.

· As these natural disasters continue to strike nation after nation around the world this year, offer prayer for the victims of these cataclysms, and for strength and equipping of all rescue workers.

· "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28)

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:

"The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." (Ps 33:10-11)

1. U.S. Licensing High-Tech Exports to Syria Under U.N. Development Program - Fox News

After years of harsh talk and escalating rounds of sanctions against Syria for supporting terror and seeking weapons of mass destruction, the United States is quietly supporting a United Nations program to supply the Syrian regime with sophisticated surveillance equipment and computers to monitor its borders.

2. U.S. Treasury's Levey Says Bankers Worldwide Are Shunning Iran - Bloomberg

U.S. Treasury Department measures targeting Iran, similar to those used against North Korea, are having a significant effect in financially isolating the country, Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in Tokyo. Financial institutions around the world have cut ties with Iran, leading to "a dramatic pullback in business," Levey said on a trip through East Asia to build support for the measures.

3. Hamas officers traveling for training in Iran by way of Sinai - World Tribune

Israeli officials said Egypt was facilitating the transit of large groups of Hamas fighters to train in Iran.

4. Rabbis to Ovadia Yosef: Shas must quit evil government - Ynet News

"The prime minister is deceiving the people of Israel and is gambling with the peace and security of millions of Jews," a group of prominent rabbis wrote in a letter to Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

5. Billionaire setting up political movement to challenge Fatah, Hamas - Jerusalem Post

Hundreds of Palestinian business people and professionals, led by an influential billionaire, launched a new political movement Thursday, reflecting growing disillusionment with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

6. Expelled Jews hold deeds on Arab lands - Jerusalem Post

The government needs to bring up the issue of hundreds of thousands of Jews who left their homes in Arab countries following the establishment of the State of Israel as part of any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, the president of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries said Thursday.

'Stop SPP' Marches Tomorrow

'Stop SPP' marches in 9 cities tomorrow
New York, Chicago, L.A. among sites for protest of 'North American Union'

Protest marches opposing the controversial Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America ("SPP") are scheduled tomorrow for nine cities across the nation. Opponents of the SPP will gather in Atlanta, Chicago; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New York City; Sacramento; Clearwater, Fla.; and Yakima, Wash., to bring attention to a U.S. agreement with Mexico and Canada they charge is part of an incremental move toward an EU-style continental merger.

Jonnie Crivello, national organizer for the March for America!, explained to WND in an e-mail that the goal of tomorrow's event is to demonstrate the country's opposition to the SPP and the establishment of a "North American Union." "In addition to letter writing and making phone calls to elected officials, Americans are now taking to the streets to show that there are real people behind the demands to halt North American integration and to keep the United States a sovereign nation," Crivello said. "March for America! is a vehicle to unite," she stressed. "Many Americans who otherwise might never have heard about the Security and Prosperity Partnership or the North American Union will learn about both through our marches."

President Bush first declared the establishment of the SPP at a summit meeting with Mexico's then- president, Vicente Fox, and Canada's then-prime minister, Paul Martin, in Waco, Texas, March 23, 2005. (WorldNetDaily)

· Pray that word would spread QUICKLY about this opportunity to march in the streets of nine cities in the nation tomorrow to let our voices be heard in oppostion to the development of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

· "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) "Thy people shall volunteer freely in the day of Thy power." (Psalms 110:3 NASB)

Update: Federal Hate Crimes Bill

Update: Federal Hate Crimes Bill

Earlier this week, CNN reported that a record number of Americans are unhappy with Congress. Fifty-three percent went so far as to say that most lawmakers "don't deserve reelection." Given the unnecessary drama over the Defense Authorization bill, it's easy to see why. After months of putting our military at increased risk--because Congress refuses to authorize the resources our troops need to do their job--liberals have delayed the bill even longer for the sake of political posturing.

While House and Senate members have come to some agreement on H.R. 1585, some Democrats are insisting on keeping a Senate-passed "hate crimes" amendment, dooming the progress the conference committee had made. By playing these games, the leadership has made it nearly impossible to reconcile the bill for President Bush's signature by Friday. With members so close to the Thanksgiving recess and no resolution in sight, Republicans are concerned that this stunt may postpone a full defense authorization indefinitely. It would impact spending for the war and national security programs--which include everything from pay raises for our troops to weapons acquisition.

President Bush, who has pushed as hard as anyone for the DOD's reauthorization, now faces the possibility of vetoing the authorization because the leadership is more interested in making political points than passing policy. In the end, it is painfully obvious that Democrats would prefer to make a statement to the homosexual lobby than focus on our men and women in harm's way. Considering the extraordinary progress our troops have made since the surge, this is no way to repay them. It's astonishing that two months deep into this fiscal year the Democratic Congress has sent President Bush only one completed appropriations bill. (Family Research Council)

· Continue to pray that the President will veto; that he will use the veto as a teaching moment, and that the American people will elect leaders who will preserve and protect religious liberty, marriage and Biblical human sexuality and not advance the radical homosexual, pan-sexual agenda!

· "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it . . ." (Dt. 12:32)

[Family Research Council Prayer Targets]

A Word of Apology

A Word of Apology to Our Partners

Last weekend, many of you were looking for our regular weekend edition of "the OCAP" (On Capitol Hill This Week), and probably wondered where we went!

Please accept our apologies for not alerting you that we would "stand down" to allow time for ministry business: our annual meeting of our Board of Directors.

In the future, we will try to let you know ahead of time of any changes in our publishing schedules.

Having said that, PLEASE NOTE our revised publishing schedule for the Thanksgiving Holiday:

-- First, Congress will go into recess over the next two weeks, so the OCAP will not be published again until Monday, December 10th.

-- Second, look for another edition of our Legislative Update this weekend . . . sometime!

-- Third, next week we will publish the Daily Brief on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; then take the four- day holiday weekend to enjoy time with our family, friends . . . and the Lord!

-- Finally, we anticipate issuing a Special Edition by the end of next week, focussing on prayer points related to the "peace talks" in Annapolis. Although some have stated that those talks will begin on Tuesday, November 27th, the Washington Times now reports that both State Department spokesman Sean McCormack and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt have declined to specify a date for the conference. However, this conference will take place "before the end of November" -- in other words, sometime during the week after Thanksgiving.

In closing, we wish to thank all of you for your continued support in prayer, and in offerings, so that this small "Gideon" team can continue to fulfill the commissioning we have been given by the Lord: to pray, on-site, whenever Congress IS in session; and to partner in prayer with you for our nation.

God bless you all and . . . Happy Thanksgiving!

Sara Ballenger, Founder and President
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
"Partners in Prayer for the Nation"