Volume XV, Number 6a
March 10 - 14, 2008
"With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27)
On Capitol Hill This Week; Vol. XV, No. 6a
1. UPDATE: PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES; CANDIDATES
Below please find a summary of this week's headlines as we continue to watch history unfold before our eyes in this year's presidential election. As you scan this news, join us in holding the following prayer requests before the Lord, sent in by the National Governmental Alliance.
- Pray that the truth regarding the candidates and their agendas would surface and that people would see beyond race, gender, age or rhetoric to choose the best.
- Pray that the spirits of delusion and deception would lose their ability to operate effectively in this election.
- Pray that the nation would unite to elect God's choice when hidden agendas that threaten our nation's security and freedoms are exposed.
And now, the headlines . . .
McCain Clinches GOP Nomination
Bush Endorses McCain for President
Huckabee Stands Down
Clinton Wins Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island
Clinton Success Changes Dynamic in Delegate Hunt
Florida, Michigan Dems Brainstorm on How to Seat Delegates
Obama Lassos Wyoming; Mississippi Primary Is Next
· "If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then shall I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
2. PRESIDENT BUSH SAYS IT'S TIME FOR CONGRESS TO PASS FISA
President Bush Says "House Leaders Declared They Needed 21 More Days To Work Out Their Differences" On The Foreign Surveillance Bill, And "The Deadline Arrives On Saturday."
"President Bush said Thursday that while it's been more than six years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the United State s must not become complacent about terrorism. Bush continued to pressure the House to act on Senate-passed legislation needed to renew an intelligence law that governs how the government can eavesdrop on suspected terrorists."To stop the attacks on America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they're saying, what they're planning," Bush said. "We cannot get this vital information without the cooperation of private companies. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had said it would take about 21 days to reconcile the two bills. "That time runs out this weekend," Bush said. "At the time, House leaders declared they needed 21 more days to work out their differences and get a bill to my desk," Bush said. "The deadline arrives on Saturday. If House leaders are serious about security, they will need to meet the deadline they set for themselves, pass the bipartisan Senate bill, and get it to my desk this Saturday.'" (AP)
· Pray for a breakthrough in tnis impasse. God CAN make a way, if we but ask, trust and obey!
· "Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"(Jer. 23:29)
3. SECRETARY RICE: FARC IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the United States wants to see a diplomatic solution to the tension surrounding Colombia after the U.S.-backed government staged a cross-border raid to attack a rebel camp. Tensions have risen in the region since Colombia launched the commando raid last weekend in neighboring Ecuador, killing a key rebel leader and 23 other guerrillas from Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group, also known as the FARC. "I do hope there will be a diplomatic outcome to this," Rice said, speaking at a news conference here following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. "The situation shows that everyone needs to be vigilant about the use of border areas by terrorist organizations like the FARC," she added. "The FARC is a terrorist organization. It's essential that they not be allowed to continue their operations." Rice noted that the Colombian foreign minister was imprisoned by the FARC for six years "so that should say something" about the group. (AP)
· Offer praise for this successful attack on a rebel camp inside Ecuador, but pray, too, in accordance with Secretary Rice's words that a diplomatic solution will be found to stop the activities of FARC in South America. Pray that no more lives would be lost; but that all involved would come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as his or her own Savior and Lord.
· "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live . . ." (Ezekiel 33:11)
4. NOTORIOUS AL QAEDA ARMS DEALER ARRESTED IN THAILAND
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Arrests Notorious Arms Dealer Suspected Of Supplying Weapons To Al Qaeda And The Taliban.
A Russian businessman regarded by the United States as one of the world's most notorious arms dealers was arrested in Thailand on Thursday as part of an American-led sting operation. He was promptly charged in the United States with conspiracy for trying to smuggle missiles and rocket launchers to rebels in Colombia. The businessman, Viktor Bout, 41, is suspected of supplying weapons to the Taliban and Al Qaeda and of pouring huge arms shipments into Africa's civil wars with his own private air fleet. He was arrested by the Thai authorities at a hotel in Bangkok in an operation in which undercover investigators posing as rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, sought to purchase millions of dollars in arms. The arrest was set in motion by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, which alerted the Thai authorities that Mr. Bout was traveling to Thailand, said Police Col. Petcharat Sengchai of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok, who led the arresting team. (The New York Times)
· Lord, we thank You for having this man arrested and removed from arms trafficking. We pray that you will find all others involved in this activity which feeds violence and remove them as well.
· "the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness." (2 Samuel 3:39b)
5. BUSH ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES WORK ON "VIRTUAL" BORDER FENCE
U.S. Customs And Border Protection Says It Is On Track To Complete Hundreds Of Miles Of Border Fencing By The End Of The Year.
The Bush administration outlined plans Thursday to begin operating portions of a high-tech "virtual fence" along the Southwest border later this year and strongly disputed news reports that a 28-mile pilot project to test the technology was largely a failure. Top officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection also said they're on track to complete hundreds of miles of traditional fencing by the end of the year. Appearing before a congressional subcommittee, CBP Commissioner Ralph Basham and other agency officials sought to assure lawmakers that the projects were moving forward despite recent press disclosures that the pilot project in Arizona, known as Project 28, was riddled with flaws. Basham, saying the press accounts were wrong, acknowledged that the $20 million program had sustained early setbacks. But he said the project rebounded after the contractor, Boeing, spent its own money to correct most of the deficiencies. The program was certified by DHS in February and has surpassed original expectations, Basham said." (McClatchy News; White House Morning Update, 3/7/08)
· Lift up this entire project in prayer, for its potential for success is great. Come against our hidden enemy in the spirit that would desire to thwart this effort; and ask our Lord to visit all involved with His grace, wisdom, and strength to finish the task at hand.
· "Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started. . . "
(2 Corinthians 8:10 TLB)
6. THE TERROR NOBODY KNOWS: THWARTED ATTACKS ON THE U.S.
In July 2005, the Los Angeles Police Department caught a group of men robbing gas stations in the area. While investigating, police uncovered something far worse: The gas station hits were bankrolling a terrorist plot to attack National Guard facilities, synagogues, the Israeli consulate and Los Angeles International Airport. Deputy Chief of Police Michael Downing says the group was "closer to going operational at the time than anyone since 9/11."
This story is hardly unique: Since Sept. 11, authorities have disrupted more than 20 publicly known plots against domestic U.S. targets, involving dozens of arrests at home and abroad. Some of these plots are well-known, such as Richard Reid's failed "shoe bombing" in December 2001 and the liquid explosives plot of 2006, when British investigators uncovered a plan to carry bombs on airliners bound for the U.S. Each of those incidents permanently changed airport security protocols.
But others have passed by with little notice from the general public, as well as critics of government efforts to protect the U.S. from homegrown terror attacks. For example, Lyman Faris, of Columbus, Ohio, plotted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and was convicted of conspiracy and providing material support for Al Qaeda in 2003. Later that year 11 men with connections to Al Qaeda were discovered training for jihad in Virginia, using paintball games to simulate battlefield situations. In 2004, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj were convicted of planning to bomb New York's Penn Station during the Republican National Convention.
Andrew McCarthy, director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, credits much of the success in preventing terrorist attacks at home to the pursuit of enemies overseas. " Some days in Iraq and Afghanistan," he says, "we have killed or captured more terrorists than we did between 1993, when the World Trade Center was attacked, and 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed."
Successful prosecutions are key to tackling terrorism, but they are not an easy process. Investigators prefer to wait for overwhelming evidence of a terrorist plot, and the timing is difficult. Plots often are disrupted early and as a result, he says, "you don't often have well-developed cases." But there have been successes, and the courts have been very active since Sept. 11. According to Sean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department, 527 defendants have been charged in terrorism or terrorism-related cases arising from investigations primarily conducted after Sept. 11. Those cases have resulted in 319 convictions, with an additional 176 cases pending in court. (FOXNews.com)
· Father, we thank You and praise You for this good report. May we never grow weary in our prayers, and continue on "without ceasing" as You have instructed us. . .
· "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:12)
7. IN THE HOUSE: TEMPORARY INSANITY ON MENTAL HEALTH BILL
Yesterday (March 5), the House bill that would force businesses to provide health care for mental "conditions" like necrophilia, pedophilia, cross- dressing, and gender identity confusion passed by a comfortable 120-vote margin, 268-148. The legislation now heads to conference where the House and Senate will try to agree on some form of compromise before sending it to President Bush, who has already indicated that he would veto the House version. Although FRC doesn't fully support the Senate bill, it does not mandate (as the House version does) that employers offer coverage to people who need therapy because of their extreme sexual lifestyle. We will continue to fight for the inclusion of a conscience clause, which would exempt businesses who find the long list of mental "illnesses" morally objectionable. Without an exemption, there's a real danger that mental health treatment could be used as a loophole to provide coverage for abortion. For these reasons, FRC encourages you to contact your leaders and urge them to protect employers' rights. (Family Research Council)
· In these days of "political correctness," and "anything goes," one wonders why this bill even needs passage. FRC is right to question the use of loopholes for political purposes. There's also always the contention that believing in God is a mental illness. Please do contact your rpresentative and senator to protect employers' rights.
· "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:11-13)
8. SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES BILL TO LIMIT DOWN SYNDROME 'GENOCIDE'
A Senate committee has passed legislation that could serve to reduce the killing of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome or other conditions. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, S. 1810, by unanimous consent Feb. 27. The measure seeks to address the lack of information and support reportedly given to parents whose unborn children are diagnosed with conditions such as Down syndrome.
It has been estimated about 90 percent of American children diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome are aborted. A similar abortion percentage exists for unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism, according to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Sam Brownback (R.-KA). Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-MA) is the lead cosponsor.The bill would require that parents whose children receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or another impairment be provided with the latest information on the condition and be informed of support services available. This would apply to a diagnosis on a child before birth or until a year after birth. The measure also would establish a registry of families willing to adopt special needs children.
"The effect of our abortion policy at this moment is that we are in the midst of a genocide of children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other in utero genetic conditions that medical analysis can detect," Brownback said in a commentary published in The Wichita Eagle in July, when he introduced the bill.
Brownback said in a written release after the committee's action. "This legislation will help parents receiving such news by supplying them with current and reliable information about the many options available for caring for children with disabilities." (Baptist Press) [Reported by: Intercessors for America]
· Again, we have to offer praise to the Lord for Sen. Brownback's work in the Senate and his heart for the hurting and the family. The Lord is so good in providing our needs. Pray for the passage of this bill - that it will be brought to the floor for a vote and that the House will follow suit. Never fail to pray for the protection and health of those politicians who stand boldly for the Lord.
· "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 89:1)
9. IN THE SENATE: SENATOR GRASSLEY'S COMMENTS CAUSE CONCERN
Grassley's comments re: ministry inquiries take a "disturbing turn"
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the Internal Revenue Service. Last fall, Grassley requested financial records from several famous televangelists, including Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland. The senator said last week he expects the ministries to cooperate, but that "if they don't, they'll be the first people since a fellow named Abramoff -- and he's in a jail cell."
That reference to corrupt former lobbyist Jack Abramoff concerns Gary McCaleb, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. "That's a little over the top. Senators do not have unbounded powers," says a concerned McCaleb. " [F]rom the very beginning, Senator Grassley has come into this acting like an IRS agent. It's not about policy, it's about what specific people have done -- and that's an enforcement action. That brings up serious constitutional concerns about the separation of powers.
McCaleb is also bothered that Grassley said the ministries he is investigating are "non-profits, like anybody else I looked into." According to McCaleb, the ministries are protected by the "First Amendment religion clause in a way that the other non-profits like the Red Cross are not ... they're tax-exempt because the Constitution says they have to be tax-exempt."
The attorney calls Grassley "an honorable man" and says he is not questioning the senator's motives. But he says, "It's very dangerous for a U.S. government official to come in and say, 'Why did you spend money on this, that, or the other thing?' If they can do that, they can do that to every church . . . in America . . ." (OneNewsNow)
· Pray for Sen. Grassley to realize the ramifications and implications of what he is saying and doing in this situation. Pray that there are no hidden agendas behind this investigation, either known or unknown to the senator. However, if there are, ask the Lord to expose them. Americans' right to freedom to worship must not be impeded.
· "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right." (Proverbs 20:11)
10. FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL LAUNCHES CHURCH FREEDOM INITIATIVE
FRC President Tony Perkins wrote to over 10,000 American pastors this week, asking their help on project that, if successful, could change the spiritual and cultural landscape of America. FRC and the Alliance Defense Fund believe that the federal government must give tax exempt status to churches because of clear protections in the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, we believe the IRS cannot constitutionally threaten to revoke the tax exempt status even of churches that speak out on political and social issues.
FRC is now looking for churches to work with FRC and the Alliance Defense Fund during this 2008 federal election cycle to challenge the IRS's ability to restrict churches from preaching Bible based messages on moral issues being debated in the "political" arena. ADF has a team of expert constitutional lawyers who are successfully defending our religious liberties in courts all across America. (FRC Prayer Targets)
· May God's people get behind this initiative with concerted prayer. May He guide FRC and ADF to those pastors whose cases will win the day for freedom in America. May He protect this initiative from the campaigns of deceptive interference, disinformation and confusion that the enemies of religious freedom are certain to wage. May the freedom that pastors, churches, and all Americans are guaranteed by our Constitution be restored!
· "And I will delilver thee out of the hand of the wicked and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible." (Jer. 15:21)
11. CALIFORNIA RULES TO BAN HOME SCHOOLING
A state appeals court has decided California parents without teaching credentials do not have a right to home-school their children.
The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruling could affect up to 200,000 home-schooled students in the state. "The court is guilty of an imperious assault on the rights of parents," said Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family. "How dare these judges have the audacity to label tens of thousands of parents criminals - the equivalent to drug dealers or pickpockets - because they want to raise and educate their children according to their deeply held values? "The case before them involved one couple - the ruling should have been confined to that one couple, not used to punish an entire class of people, the vast majority of them religious conservatives."
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, California is set to become the only state to deny the vast majority of home schooling parents their fundamental right to teach their children at home. The group will file an amicus brief in the case. Focus on the Family will do whatever it can to get the ruling overturned and to restore the basic rights of parents in California to determine how their children are educated.
"This takes away recourse from thousands of parents in California who want to escape the government- enforced indoctrination in public schools," said a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family. "The Legislature recently passed a law that basically ensures that students get a one-sided, positive portrayal of homosexuality and same-sex 'marriage.'
· In 1994 the federal government passed legislation that gave the right to every parent to homeschool their children. What is the California legislature thinking? In addition to the above curriculum, California also provides for the teaching of Islam in its public schools. Some one's money/power is behind this bill to ban home schooling! Pray fervently that this bill will be annulled immediately in California. Also, pray that no power in your state will jump on this idea to ban home schooling in your state. Ask the Lord to show you what you can do to stop this evil.
· "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
12. CONSERVATIVES PLACE HOLD ON OBAMA'S GLOBAL POVERTY BILL
Two conservative members of the U.S. Senate have anonymously placed a hold on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) global poverty bill, Cybercast News Service has learned. The effort is an attempt to slow down the progress of a bill (S. 2433) that conservative analysts say could eventually force the U.S. to increase its foreign aid by hundreds of billions of dollars. Officially, S. 2433 declares it to be U.S. policy to help reduce global poverty and eliminate extreme global poverty. It also commits the U.S. to achieving the United Nations' Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015 and directs the president to create a strategy to help reduce global poverty.
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog, said S. 2433 has been getting "a pass" from Congress. It received absolutely no scrutiny in the House last fall, when it was passed on a voice vote, and no scrutiny last week in the Senate, when the Foreign Relations Committee also passed it on a voice vote. "They never held any hearings on this bill in either body - none whatsoever," said Kincaid. "They never heard from people like me, who monitor the U.N. for a living, about what was in it and what it means. You can be sure that people in the foreign aid lobby completely understand what's in it." A congressional source on Capitol Hill told Cybercast News Service that the bill came attached to a mammoth 3,000-page piece of legislation at the end of the legislative session, meaning that congressmen barely had time to even read the overall legislation before voting on the bill -- and there was no way to target specific line items.
The legislation had been languishing in the Senate, but Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-Del.) placed it on a fast-track in recent weeks as Obama's presidential campaign started heating up. The Illinois Democrat praised Biden and the committee's ranking Republican, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, for "moving so quickly." Obama is the chief Senate sponsor of the bill. "For years, America has committed to improving the lives of the world's poorest people," Obama said in a statement. "In 2000, the U.S. joined more than 180 countries at the United Nations Millennium Summit and vowed to reduce global poverty by 2015. We are halfway towards this deadline, and it is time the United States makes it a priority of our foreign policy to meet this goal and help those who are struggling day to day," he added. (CNSNews.com)
· Offer up a chorus of PRAISE for this direct answer to our prayers!! Yes, Lord, let the Senate now stop and consider carefully what this bill entails, before voting to pass it. We thank You, Lord, that two members of the United States Senate have quietly placed a hold on this action. Praise God.
· It is clear from reading this report that the members Congress, who passed S. 2433 by a voice vote last fall, had little time to examine its text. They were in a hurry to finish up business before a major recess period; and there was much on their agenda. At the end of this week, Congress will recess for two weeks for its annual Spring District Work Period . . . and they will most likely be in a rush to finish up pending business now, too. Pray that the Congress be given the wisdom to go slowly with every vote they cast.
· "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but he who is hasty comes surely to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5)