Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Daily Brief - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." (Psalm 24:1)

Today's Daily Brief
1. Two World Leaders Visit Washington on the Same Day -

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Pope Benedict XVI Given Rapturous Welcome; England's Prime Minister in Town, too

Gordon Brown flew into the US last night hours after Pope Benedict XVI arrived for his first visit. Although Brown's three-day trip has been billed by Downing Street as one of the most important of his premiership, it is being swamped in the US by the coverage of the Pope's visit. British officials disclosed yesterday that they had been unaware of the Pope's plans to visit the US when a date for meeting George Bush was fixed. It was days before they discovered that it would coincide with a papal visit, but by then it was too late. An official said: "We knew early on that the visit clashed with the Pope. There was no suggestion of moving it."

The biggest diary clash will be on Friday, when Brown is to make a speech on foreign policy, calling for the reshaping of international institutions such as the UN. But the prime minister's speech in Boston is in danger of being largely overlooked as the Pope, in an unfortunate piece of timing, is addressing the UN general assembly on the same day.

· Whenever world leaders move from nation to nation, it is time to pray. Intercede in the spirit over this report, for the timing of the visits of these two dignitaries is truly of interest. Pray for "fair and balanced" media coverage of both visits; and if there be any meetings happening "behind the scenes," that they unfold according to the will of God. Only JESUS is Lord!

· "Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 2:10-12)

2. President Bush Announces Major New Climate Change Initiative - The White House

Today, President Bush announced a new national goal to stop the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. This new goal marks a major step forward in America's ongoing efforts to address climate change. If we fully implement our strong new laws, adhere to the principles the President outlined, and adopt appropriate incentives, we will put the United States on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions. The President's announcement . . . urges decisions on regulating greenhouse gases to be debated openly and made by the elected representatives of the people they affect, rather than unelected regulators and judges.

· Begin praying now over this new impact statement. Pray that Congress be granted great and unusual wisdom in weighing the recommendations being made by the White House regarding global climate change. Pray!

· "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." (James 1:5 NLT)

3. GOP Strikes Possible Deal on Judicial Confirmations - and Roll Call

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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he has a "good faith commitment" from Sen. Harry Reid to confirm three more federal appeals court nominees by Memorial Day. That would bring the total number of judicial confirmations to 10 for the 110th Congress, McConnell said -- "a good step" toward reaching the historical average of 15-17 confirmations, McConnell said in a statement on Tuesday.

The move to advance three more of President Bush's judicial nominees is part of a deal McConnell struck with Reid Tuesday night: Roll Call reported that McConnell used a popular highway funding bill as leverage to prod Democrat action on the judges. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R- UT) noted this month that "The [Democratic] majority has stalled judicial confirmation votes longer this year than in any presidential election year since 1848."

· How much longer, Lord, will America languish in judicial limbo because of Congressional self- interest? Please break down the turf war in our Congress and champion Your agenda in the members' hearts. May they do the right thing and protect America by giving her the justices she needs and please remove those who do not honor You. In Your Name we pray, Jesus. Amen.

· "Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37: 1, 2 &4 NKJV)

4. Euro Hits All-Time High Against U.S. Dollar - CNN

The dollar sank to an all-time low against the euro Wednesday with U.S. inflation coming in three times as high as expected in March, on top of escalating food and energy prices. The euro has climbed to record highs against the U.S. dollar after worse than expected inflation data.

The Federal Reserve has been cutting interest rates in an effort to combat the economic slowdown. If inflation keeps increasing, the Fed might be forced to stop cutting interest rates for fear that it would make inflation worse, but the slowing U.S. economy could ease those pressures.

· Father Of All Currencies, You allowed America to be born over two hundred years ago as a country that was founded upon Your precepts. You knew then, that we would experience economic distress in the year 2008. We freely admit that we have wounded Your heart as we have sought to divide Your land, Israel; and we see the curse that is now unfolding as a result. We implore You, Lord God of mercy, to help stabilize the American dollar against the Euro and other currencies; and that the Federal Reserve Board, the American People and all throughout the world, would know that only You could have done this magnificent thing! And, may this economic increase bring many more souls to salvation in Your Son, Jesus. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

· "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." (1 Timothy 6: 6-8 NKJV)

5. Oil Hits New Record As Investors Flee The Falling Dollar - ABC News

Oil prices surged to record highs Wednesday as the weakening U.S. dollar drove up investments into commodities. Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose as high as $114.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange before retreating to $114.46 by midday in Europe, up 67 cents.

· Again, Lord, we have no one to turn to but You for help in all things. As Your children, may we be of good cheer knowing this and may many more come to know this truth as new believers in Your Son, Jesus Christ. We Thank You for the oil treasuries You have sprinkled throughout the world, and may America be able to tap into her resources and her enemies no longer control the world's oil markets. For Your Glory we pray this. Amen.

· "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." (1 Timothy 6: 20 NKJV)

The Middle East in Focus

This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:

"Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for you are My servant: I have formed you; you are My servant: O Israel, you shall not be forgotten of Me." (Isaiah 44:21)

1. Olmert offers Abbas 64% of W. Bank - Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered the Palestinians 64 percent of the West Bank as part of a future peace agreement, London-based Asharq Al- Awsat reported Wednesday.

2. Abbas To Discuss Peace Process Status With Bush - NY Sun

President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority will discuss the so-called final status issues in the Middle East peace process when he meets President Bush in Washington on April 24.

3. Police on high alert ahead of Passover, Israel 60 celebrations - Ynet News

Police have raised their alert level throughout the country on Wednesday ahead of the Passover holiday and a series of events related to Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

4. Three soldiers killed, two wounded in Gaza ambush - Jerusalem Post

Three IDF soldiers were killed and two others were wounded Wednesday after coming under heavy fire from Palestinian gunmen while patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip.

5. Carter embraces Hamas official at West Bank meeting - ABC News

Former President Carter angered Israel's government Tuesday by embracing a Hamas politician during a visit to the West Bank, ignoring Israeli and U.S. designation of the Islamic militants as a terror group. Israel accused Carter, the broker of the first Arab- Israeli peace accord, of "dignifying" extremists. But Carter vowed to meet Hamas' supreme leader this week in Syria.

Court Blows Whistle on Christian Coach

Yesterday, a three-judge panel sided with a New Jersey school board which argued that a football coach cannot kneel and bow his head during student- led prayers. Coach Marcus Borden, who has been in the East Brunswick district for more than two decades, had been fighting the school's policy for three years when officials asked him to stop practicing his faith in front of the team. After the board intervened in 2005, Borden filed suit. He argued that school employees should have as much right to free exercise as school students. A lower-court judge agreed. With the help of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, East Brunswick appealed. Because of Coach Borden's long history of praying before meals and taking a knee in the locker room, the 3rd Circuit ruled unanimously against him, writing, ". . . [Borden's] acts cross the line and constitute an unconstitutional endorsement of religion." Borden and his attorneys vow to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. No school is justified in policing its employees' thoughts and penalizing them based on what they think is going on in their heads. What next? Will they bar coaches from silently moving their lips if others think it is a prayer?

(Family Research Council)

Family Breakdown Costs Taxpayers

The breakdown of the family isn't just costly to children. Divorce and unwed parenting cost U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion annually, according to a study released yesterday."This study documents for the first time that divorce and unwed childbearing - besides being bad for children - are also costing taxpayers a ton of money," said David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, which is associated with the study.

The national, state and local costs - which add up to more than $1 trillion over the last decade - are caused, in part, by high poverty rates of single, female-headed households, which lead to higher spending on welfare, criminal justice and education programs.

Blankenhorn said that reducing family fragmentation rates by just 1 percent would save taxpayers $1.1 billion. He joined the Georgia Family Council, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and Families Northwest in calling for state and federal groups to work to strengthen marriage."This report now provides the basis for a national consensus that strengthening marriage is a legitimate policy concern," Blankenhorn said.

Jenny Tyree, marriage analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said she would like to see more children living with their married parents. "We are hopeful that this research will help reveal that marriage is a great investment for our communities," she said. Read more.

(Source: Citizen Link)

Virginia Tech: One Year Later

Virginia Tech Marks Day of Mourning One Year After Shooting Rampage

A sea of people wearing orange and maroon flowed onto the main lawn at Virginia Tech on Wednesday, to remember the victims of worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. "We remain deeply and profoundly saddened by the events of that tragic day," Virginia Tech President Charles Steger told the crowd. "Indeed, all our lives were changed on that day."

While this close-knit campus of 27,000 in Blacksburg has worked hard to move on, the anniversary of the killings has left many struggling to cope. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine ordered state flags flown at half-staff, and a statewide moment of silence at noon followed by the tolling of bells. A candlelight vigil was set for the evening. Commemorations of the 32 victims started Tuesday.

Gerald Massengill, who led a governor-appointed panel that investigated the slayings looking for improvement to the state's mental health system and school security procedures, said, "I think a lot of us have been anticipating April the 16th with some reservations as to how it would impact us. And, I think as it's gotten closer, what I have tried to consume myself with are the lessons that we think we could learn from Virginia Tech." (Fox News)

· Gracious Heavenly Father, we humbly ask You to continue the grace, healing and comfort that You began a year ago today, at Virginia Tech University. May this school, the city of Blacksburg, and the State of Virginia, feel Your presence today as they and our nation have to regrettably "revisit" this incredible tragedy. May the lessons of "Your Good vs. evil" be taught through this murderous rampage and may many more choose life in this culture of death. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

· "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry." (Psalm 34: 4, 7& 15 NKJV)

Iran's Ahmdinejad Targets "Corrupt World Leadership"

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday (April 10) set Iran the target of wiping out the 'corrupt world leadership,' in his latest verbal attack on Western powers locked in a nuclear crisis with Tehran. 'The Iranian nation will not give up until the corrupt leadership in the world has been obliterated,' Ahmadinejad said in the Shiite holy city of Mashhad, northeast Iran, quoted by the Fars news agency. 'Our foes should know that threats, sanctions, and political and economic pressures can not force our nation to back down,' he added.

Ahmadinejad outlined two goals for the Islamic republic and its people. 'We have two missions, to build Islamic Iran and to exert an effort to change the leadership in the world. We have to carry out both (missions) as well as we can,' he said.

The hardline president also renewed his defiance of United Nations demands for Iran to halt sensitive nuclear work. 'The resolutions which are adopted against Iran are scraps of papers. The Iranians are a peace-loving people of dialogue in fair circumstances, but they will not discuss their rights,' he said.

The United States this week warned Iran it risked further isolation and new international sanctions after refusing to comply with UN Security Council resolutions over its disputed nuclear program. (

· Father God, you have instructed us to pay attention to the signs. We are watching and know that Persia (Iran) plays a significant part in end time prophecy. We hear the words of AHMADINEJAD and laugh, because though he has plans to "build Islamic Iran and to exert an effort to change the leadership in the world" we KNOW that Your plans are what will succeed. We place our hope and trust in You, LORD and ask that you strengthen us and the people of Israel for that which is yet to come.

· "Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:26-28)

Negotiating with Evil

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Former President Jimmy Carter is in the Middle East this week making a mockery of Western resolve to defeat Islamofascism. Carter is scheduled to meet with Hamas leader Khalid Meshal in Damascus on Friday, a meeting he tried to justify by saying, "I'm just trying to understand different opinions and provide communication between people. So I think if he does have anything constructive to say . . . then I would bring that to other people."

For those who may not fully comprehend Hamas or the man Jimmy Carter wants to "understand," here's a quote from Meshal in 2006: "Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day. Allah willing, we will make them lose their eyesight, we will make them lose their brains." How "constructive" is that?

Yesterday, Carter hugged and kissed a leading Hamas official and honored the terrorist thug Yasser Arafat by laying a wreath on his grave. Of course, the former president is not authorized by the U.S. government or anyone else to negotiate anything. But his decision to sit down with the leaders of Hamas, a group that has the blood of innocent Israelis and Americans on its hands, is deeply disturbing. Hamas has one overarching goal -- the destruction of the state of Israel. Along with Ahmadinejad of Iran, Hamas desires a second Holocaust. On what basis does one negotiate with such evil?

Meanwhile, the Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, said last week on Lebanese television, ". . . after we take Jerusalem, Israel's ideology will collapse altogether, and then we will proceed with our own ideology, if Allah wills, and we will throw them [Jewish Israelis] out of all Palestine." Also last week, Yunis al-Astal, an imam and Hamas member of parliament, told Palestinian worshippers in a sermon Friday, "Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was." He described Rome as "the Crusader capital, which. . . has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam," and declared that it would become "an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas."

Jimmy Carter and other leftists, like Barack Obama, who insist on appeasing our Islamofascist enemies have failed to learn the lessons of history and seem determined to repeat its worst mistakes. I'm pleased to report that at least one member of Congress has had enough of Carter's foreign policy freelancing. Citing a 1981 Supreme Court decision in Haig v. Agee, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), a solid conservative and co-founder of the House Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus, today called on Secretary of State Rice to revoke Carter's passport. (Gary Bauer; End-of-Day; April 16, 2008)