Thursday, April 16, 2009

CHPP Daily Brief - April 16, 2009

In This Issue
• The Daily Brief
• The Middle East in Focus
• The First 100 Days
• The Good News Corner

Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
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The Daily Brief - Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." (Micah 7:18)

The Daily Brief

1. Al Shabaab says behind U.S. congressman attack - Reuters

Somalia's militant Islamist rebel group al Shabaab, said on Monday, it was behind mortars fired at U.S. congressman Donald Payne as he left the anarchic Horn of Africa nation after a rare visit by a U.S. politician. "We fired on the airport to target the so-called democratic congressman sent by (U.S. President Barack) Obama," Sheikh Hussein Ali, an al Shabaab spokesman, told Reuters.

Al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen ("Jihadist Youth") is linked to al-Qaeda and advocates the strict application of Islamic law. It came to the fore in Somalia after the 2006 toppling by Ethiopian troops of the Islamic Courts Union government that ruled briefly in Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab now controls more of Somalia than the Islamic Courts Union did even at the height of its power, and its reach extends beyond Somalia alone. Some of the Somali immigrants who have been mysteriously disappeared from the Minneapolis area have been recruited for jihad by al-Shabaab, which has also attracted jihad fighters from around the world to join its efforts to take control in Somalia. And -- it is a recipient of the pirates' loot.

• Lord, the world has allowed Somalia's militant groups to rampage unchecked into piracy and terrorism. We pray You will grant our leaders the desire to stop these attacks, and the ability to hear Your wisdom, understanding, and strategy to take down this stronghold of evil.

"As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death." (Proverbs 11:19)

2. N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress - New York Times

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews. Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in "overcollection" of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.

• Lord, whether "unintentional" or not, we are seeing our freedoms eroded at an alarming rate. We ask that You intervene to balance the actions of our security agencies to target the right people.

"In the place of judgment, wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity was there. God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there shall be a time there for every purpose and for every work." (Eccl 3:16,17)

3. Napolitano stands by 'extremism' report - Washington Times

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was briefed before the release of a controversial intelligence assessment and that she stands by the report sent to law enforcement that lists veterans as a terrorist risk to the U.S. and defines "rightwing extremism" as including groups opposed to abortion and immigration.

The outcry resulted in a demand from the head of the American Legion to meet with Ms. Napolitano, a request the DHS chief said she would honor next week when she returns to Washington from her current tour of the U.S.-Mexican border.

"The document on right-wing extremism sent last week by this department´s Office of Intelligence and Analysis is one in an ongoing series of assessments to provide situational awareness to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies on the phenomenon and trends of violent radicalization in the United States," Ms. Napolitano said in a statement.

B. Napolitano Apologizes for Offending Veterans After DHS Eyes Them for 'Rightwing Extremism'

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to veterans after a report issued by her department said troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were at risk for being recruited by right-wing extremists. "To the extent veterans read it as an accusation ... an apology is owed," she said during an on-air interview on FOX News Thursday, a day after veterans' groups and members of Congress blasted her for the report, which they said libeled members of the armed forces.

C. Republicans criticize report on right-wing groups - AP

Republicans on Wednesday said a Homeland Security Department intelligence assessment unfairly characterizes military veterans as right-wing extremists.

House Republican leader John Boehner described the report as offensive and called on the agency to apologize to veterans.

The agency's intelligence assessment, sent to law enforcement officials last week, warns that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit members.

The assessment also said that returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their home communities could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or might engage in lone acts of violence.

"To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as potential terrorists is offensive and unacceptable," said Boehner, R-Ohio.

• Father, while we thank You that DHS Secretary Napolitano attempted an "apology", it only attempts to deflect the depth of bad judgment in this report on "extremists." We ask that truth be restored to America, and that the small group of liberals who now hold power will be brought back to center by Your Holy Spirit or removed from leadership roles. As history has shown us when people hungry for power begin to call "good evil and evil good", evil runs rampant over a nation. We call out for Your protection, and for a nation that walks in truth and justice.

"Let me be weighed in a just balance, that God may know my integrity." (Job 31:6)

4. Governor Says Texans May Want to Secede From Union But Probably Won't - Fox News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"

B. Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas' Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment--Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry today joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states' rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state," Gov. Perry said. "That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states' rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union."

• Father, we praise You for the courage of Texans, and Governor Perry to stand firmly against the government attempts to over-reach their authority. We ask that the other states and more that have refused government funds, or introduced resolutions about the 10th Amendment will rise up strongly to defy the intrusion into the Constitution powers.

"Behave courageously and the Lord will be with the good." (2 Chronicles 19:11b)

5. White House Locked Down After Tea Bags Thrown - The Seattle Times

A robot was inspecting a suspicious package on the North Lawn of the White House after tax protesters threw what appears to be a box of tea bags over the White House fence.

That prompted officials to clear Pennsylvania Avenue Wednesday.

The U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday locked down the White House compound after someone hurled a package in an apparent act of defiance meant to echo the rebellion of the Boston Tea Party and related tax protests around the country.

B. ABC Reports Obama is 'Unaware of Tea Parties' - NewsBusters

Maybe he just doesn't know that there are people who disagree with his massive tax and spend agenda. That would explain a lot. Perhaps the network media's near silence on the "tea party" phenomenon has kept President Obama from realizing that hundreds of tax day protests will happen today?

C. Thousands of Anti-Tax 'Tea Party' Protesters Turn Out in U.S. Cities - Fox News

Chants like "Give me liberty, not debt" and "Our kids can't afford you" were heard across several U.S. cities Wednesday as anti-tax "tea party" protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to big government spending. Thousands of protesters -- some dressed in colonial wigs with tea bags hanging from their eyeglasses -- showed up in states from California to Kentucky to Massachusetts, holding signs and reading speeches lambasting the Obama administration's tax-and-spend policies.

• Father, in the face of all that occurred yesterday, the President was apparently oblivious, and even the media used it to make fun of the people who participated. Lord, we ask that you soften the hearts of our President, his administration, and the media -- we ask for supernatural intervention and conviction.

"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isaiah 40:4)

The Middle East in Focus

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

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

1. Talk of Israeli strike in Iran 'nonsense,' Peres tells Mitchell - Jerusalem Post

Talk of a possible Israeli strike in Iran is "nonsense" and the solution to the nuclear standoff with Teheran is "not military," President Shimon Peres said Thursday during a meeting with special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.

2. PA rejects W. Bank, Gaza confederation - Jerusalem Post

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been trying to convince the Palestinians to establish a confederation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a way to solve the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas, a Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said on Wednesday.

3. Report: Egypt considers indicting Nasrallah - Ynet News

The Lebanese daily An-Nahar reported Thursday a group of Egyptian jurists have begun drafting a legal document that may lead to the indictment of Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem for conspiring o commit a crime and planning acts of aggression and terror on Egyptian soil.

4. Blair: Netanyahu wants to build Palestinian state 'from bottom up' - Ha'aretz

Middle East envoy Tony Blair stated in an interview in the current edition of Time Magazine that in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier suggested to Blair that a Palestinian state be established from the bottom up.

5. Iran: Israel to blame for Egypt-Hezbollah row - Ha'aretz

Iran's foreign minister accused Israel on Wednesday of sparking a row between Egypt and Hezbollah as a way of intervening in inter-Lebanese politics.

The First 100 Days

DAY 87

"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." (Proverbs 21:1)

1. Report: IRS Provided Foreigners $1.8B in Improper Tax Credits

The U.S. Treasury's inspector general for tax administration said Thursday that in 2007, the Internal Revenue Service allowed $1.8 billion in tax credits for more than 1.2 million workers who claimed wages but did not provide Social Security numbers on their tax returns

2. Senate Committee to Probe Wiretapping Violations

The Justice Department confirmed Wednesday that it had reined in the NSA's wiretapping activities in the United States after finding out the agency had improperly accessed American phone calls and e-mails.

3. Cable Anchors, Guests Use Tea Parties as Platform for Frat House Humor

Cable anchors and guests covered the anti-tax tea party protests by cracking a litany of barely concealed sexual references.

For thousands of Americans, Tax Day was a moment to protest what they see as bloated budgets and a pile of debt being passed on to their children.

4. GOP Hopes to Pick Up Steam After Tea Parties

Republicans have lost their grip on Congress and the White House, but they claim to have American anger over taxes and the economy on their side as tens of thousands turned out for anti-tax "tea parties" around the country.

5. Gov. Paterson Announces Plans to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage in New York

New York Gov. David Paterson announced plans Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, putting forth the same bill that died in the state Senate in 2007.

6. Obama Calls for High-Speed Rail System to Ease Congestion, Save Energy

President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. must upgrade its high-speed rail system to ease traffic congestion, help clean the air and ease the nation's dependence on energy.

7. Israel Signals Growing Gulf With U.S. Over Peace Process

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman signaled a growing gulf with Washington over a settlement with Palestinians Thursday, saying the new Israeli government would be looking for a "new approach" to peace deals. (All articles from Fox News)

The Good News Corner

The Lord's Newest Army
Thousands of dolphins block Somali pirates
BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhuanet)

Thousands of dolphins blocked the suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported on Monday.

The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China's fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China's.

The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness before the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.

China initiated its three-ship escort task force on Dec. 26 last year after the United Nations Security Council called on countries to patrol gulf and waters off Somalia, one of the world's busiest marine routes, where surging piracy endangered intercontinental shipping.