Author Archives: PRNewswire

UN Human Rights Council Condemns Israel, Absolves Hamas

NEW YORK, July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC is dismayed by the adoption of a UN Human Rights Council resolution that sharply criticizes Israel, while totally absolving Hamas of any role or responsibility in the current conflict.

The vote took place in Geneva today. The resolution was adopted with 29 nations voting in favor, the United States opposed, and 17 countries, primarily from Europe and Africa, abstaining.

“For anyone interested in knowing what’s wrong with the UN’s preeminent human rights watchdog, today’s vote is the perfect illustration,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“Because of the ‘automatic majority,’ Israel can’t get a fair hearing,” Harris continued. “Instead, Israel is held responsible for a conflict solely triggered by Hamas. That Hamas is a terrorist group that fires hundreds, if not thousands, of deadly missiles into Israel, that it seeks Israel’s annihilation, and that it uses its civilian population as human shields are all deemed immaterial. Shame on the UN Human Rights Council! Bravo to the United States for standing up for principle and integrity.”

The resolution describes Israel as the “occupying power,” though Israel left Gaza in 2005 and gave local residents their first chance in history – something no other nation had ever done – to chart their own destiny. It also calls for establishing a “commission of inquiry,” reminiscent of the ill-fated and one-sided Goldstone Commission created after the Israel-Hamas war in 2008-9, whose report was eventually repudiated in large part by Judge Richard Goldstone himself.

“Fact: The UN Human Rights Council has focused more on Israel than any other nation on earth,” Harris added. “Fact: The UN Human Rights Council has blithely ignored egregious human rights violations in those parts of the world that don’t suit the interests of the ‘automatic majority.’ Fact: The UN Human Rights Council discredits itself by this selective and skewed focus. And fact: The UN Human Rights Council has set back the cause of Arab-Israeli peace by empowering Hamas, an avowedly terrorist group.”

NASA’s ‘Flying Saucer’ Readies for First Test Flight

WASHINGTONJune 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA’s flying saucer-shaped test vehicle is ready to take to the skies from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, for its first engineering shakeout flight.

The first launch opportunity for the test vehicle is June 3, when the launch window opens at 8:30 a.m. HST. The test will be carried live on NASA TV and streamed on the Web. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) will gather data about landing heavy payloads on Mars and other planetary surfaces.

“The agency is moving forward and getting ready for Mars as part of NASA’s Evolvable Mars campaign,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We fly, we learn, we fly again. We have two more vehicles in the works for next year.”

As NASA plans increasingly ambitious robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, accommodating extended stays for explorers on the Martian surface will require larger and heavier spacecraft.

The objective of the LDSD project is to see if the cutting-edge, rocket-powered test vehicle operates as it was designed — in near-space at high Mach numbers.

“After years of imagination, engineering and hard work, we soon will get to see our Keiki o ka honua, our ‘boy from Earth,’ show us its stuff,” said Mark Adler, project manager for the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “The success of this experimental test flight will be measured by the success of the test vehicle to launch and fly its flight profile as advertised. If our flying saucer hits its speed and altitude targets, it will be a great day.”

The way NASA’s saucer climbs to test altitude is almost as distinctive as the test vehicle itself.

“We use a helium balloon — that, when fully inflated, would fit snugly into Pasadena’s Rose Bowl — to lift our vehicle to 120,000 feet,” said Adler. “From there we drop it for about one and a half seconds. After that, it’s all about going higher and faster — and then it’s about putting on the brakes.”

A fraction of a second after dropping from the balloon, and a few feet below it, four small rocket motors will fire to spin up and gyroscopically stabilize the saucer. A half second later, a Star 48B long-nozzle, solid-fueled rocket engine will kick in with 17,500 pounds of thrust, sending the test vehicle to the edge of the stratosphere.

“Our goal is to get to an altitude and velocity which simulates the kind of environment one of our vehicles would encounter when it would fly in the Martian atmosphere,” said Ian Clark, principal investigator of the LDSD project at JPL. “We top out at about 180,000 feet and Mach 4. Then, as we slow down to Mach 3.8, we deploy the first of two new atmospheric braking systems.”

The project management team decided also to fly the two supersonic decelerator technologies that will be thoroughly tested during two LDSD flight tests next year.

If this year’s test vehicle flies as expected, the LDSD team may get a treasure-trove of data on how the 6-meter supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator (SIAD-R) and the supersonic parachute operate a full year ahead of schedule.

The SIAD-R, essentially an inflatable doughnut that increases the vehicle’s size and, as a result, its drag, is deployed at about Mach 3.8. It will quickly slow the vehicle to Mach 2.5 where the parachute, the largest supersonic parachute ever flown, first hits the supersonic flow. About 45 minutes later, the saucer is expected to make a controlled landing onto the Pacific Ocean offHawaii.

NASA TV will carry live images and commentary of LDSD engineering test. The test vehicle itself carries several onboard cameras. It is expected that video of selected portions of the test, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked during the commentary. Websites streaming live video of the test include:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

and

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

Dr. Ben Carson Takes 2nd Place in 2016 Presidential Straw Poll

MERRIFIELD, Va.June 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is proud to announce that Dr. Carson made a strong showing in the 2014 National Republican Leadership Conference (NRLC) presidential straw poll, coming in 2nd place in a crowded field of twelve contenders.

“Dr. Ben Carson continues to prove he is a strong presidential contender for 2016 taking top spots in poll after poll,” said Vernon Robinson, the Committee’s campaign director. “Dr. Carson continues to say that if enough Americans clamor for him he will run for president, and a strong showing in the NRLC straw poll clearly shows that the grassroots are clamoring for him.”

The NRLC poll was conducted over the three-day conference May 29-31 in New Orleans, and surveyed 1500 attendees. Dr. Carson was in a dead heat with Sen. Ted Cruz, narrowly coming in 2nd place with 29.38 percent of the vote to Cruz’s 30.33 percent. The next closest contender was Sen. Rand Paul who came in a distant 3rd with 10.43 percent of the vote.

Dr. Carson’s strong showing in the straw poll is the latest in a series of polls showing that the American people are clamoring for him to run. In January, Dr. Carson overwhelmingly won the Linn County, Iowa, midterm caucus straw poll with 87 percent of the votes. And 77 percent of respondents to a poll of Tea Party activists said they support Dr. Carson.  Dr. Carson went on to take top spots in both the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in New Hampshire and the Conservative Political Action Conference Straw Poll in Washington DC.

“Dr. Carson’s seems to be noticing the groundswell of support for his candidacy demonstrated by thousands of Committee volunteers around the country, and hundreds of thousands of petitions urging him to run,” said John Philip Sousa IV, national chairman of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. “Dr. Carson is the potential candidate best suited to heal our nation and put America back on the path to prosperity, and wins like the NRLC straw illustrate that conservatives stand behind him.”

Americans Clamoring for Ben Carson in 2016

MERRIFIELD, Va.May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has announced a video contest to spread the word about why Dr. Carson should run for the 2016 Republican nomination. There will be three winning videos, chosen based on the number of Facebook “likes” they receive. Winners will receive their choice of a Silver iPad Air™ or a Microsoft Surface™.

“We’re excited to launch this video competition to let the American people make their voices heard in clamoring for Dr. Carson to run for president,” said Vernon Robinson, the Committee’s campaign director. “We need a principled leader in the White House in 2016, and these videos will let the world know Americans believe Dr. Carson is that leader.”

Participants are encouraged to create their video, upload it to YouTube and send the URL to [email protected], to be uploaded to the Committee’s Facebook page. Contestants must gather as many “likes” as they can by spreading the word to family and friends. All videos will be posted to the Facebook page between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET once they have been submitted. The three submissions that garner the most Facebook “likes” will win. All entries must be submitted by midnight onFriday, May 30. Winners will be declared on Monday, June 9.

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee delivers roughly 4,000 petitions to Dr. Carson each week from Americans who want him to run. In January, Dr. Carson overwhelmingly won the Linn County, Iowa, midterm caucus straw poll with 87 percent of the votes. He also finished strong in the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and Northeast Republican Leadership Conference straw polls. In a recent poll of thousands of Tea Party activists, 77 percent of respondents said they support Dr. Carson.

Since its founding in August 2013, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised more than $5 million – outpacing the fundraising efforts of the Ready for Hillary PAC. Nearly 75,000 individuals have contributed to the campaign and more than 10,000 volunteers have joined the effort.

About the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. It was founded by John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, and works to raise awareness of Dr. Carson’s qualifications and to engage grassroots conservative activists in clamoring for Dr. Carson to run for president.

Chris Christie Further Complicates 2016 Presidential Ambitions

WASHINGTONMay 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Statement by from Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network concerning the renomination of Judge Rabner by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

“Judge Rabner is the ringmaster of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s activist circus, a court that has wrecked the state’s economy and its legal culture by imposing its will instead of faithfully interpreting the law. By reappointing Rabner, Governor Christie has made it clear that he has no interest in keeping his promise to remake the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Christie is hanging his hat on the fact that he also nominated Lee Solomon, a Republican.  But Solomon is just the latest in a string of Christie nominees with no discernible judicial philosophy.  This isn’t compromise; it is total surrender.

“The next President could replace as many as three justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and countless appellate judges, shaping the federal judiciary for a generation.  Republicans who like the idea of a Christie presidency should ask themselves whether they can trust him to fill those seats with true constitutionalists.  If you want a Court full of Souters and Stevens, then Christie is the candidate for you.”

Dem Lobbyist: GOP Will Control House and Senate in Mid-Term Elections

WASHINGTONApril 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — APRIL 24, 2014-WASHINGTON, DC—The Republican majority in the House will rise to its largest margin in history and the Senate will transfer from Democratic control to Republican come the November mid-term elections, says Neil Dhillon, a Democratic lobbyist and former senior congressional aide.  It’s inevitable with the President’s approval rating at a record low 37% plus the traditional gains for a President’s opposing party in mid-terms that it will be an historic night for Republicans in November.

Even with 6 months out it’s an easy call to make now, says Dhillon.  There’s an added clincher that a large population of newly registered Republican voters are Asian and Hispanics and that will further propel the Republicans in November.   The President’s pressure on Congress on Immigration Reform, Energy Dependence, Federal Deficit, and Health Care will continue to determine whether his approval rating will rise or lower over the next few months.

The only good news for Democrats is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised close to $3 million more than Republicans in the last quarterly report.  The Democrats will need to raise at least $20 million more each quarter to have any chance of forgoing full Republican control.  And that is a tough road to climb.

The Senate presently has 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and two Independents.  The Republicans need a net gain of 6 seats out of 36 Senate races with Democrats fighting to retain 21 seats that include 6 races in states that Governor Mitt Romney won big in 2012.   President Obama should do everything he can do now to forge some type of relations with the Senate Republicans to help ease the pain of his final two years in office.  This will not be an easy task as the President and Congress barely talk as it is.

The House presently has 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and 3 open seats. Historically, the President’s opposing party makes big gains in mid-terms election plus the President’s approval rating is a low 37%.  It appears that the Republicans will gain close to 10 seats and get over a 242 seat majority.  If this occurs, this would the largest majority ever by Republicans.  Republicans held a 239 seat majority in 1949 and a 242 seat majority in 2010.

Libertarian Party of Texas Poised for Largest State Convention in its History

AUSTIN, Texas, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — With Generation Liberty! as its theme, the Libertarian Party of Texas will host its 2014 state convention April 11-13 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center in Temple.

The party will nominate candidates for statewide office and elect new state party officers. The convention will feature an exciting lineup of speakers and events supporting Libertarian goals of peace, liberty and justice for all.

While national trends show declining party registration for Republicans and Democrats, since November 2012 the Libertarian Party has shown 11.4 percent growth (Ballot Access News).

The Libertarian Party of Texas has enjoyed growth as well. “Our growth has come from a wide variety of Texans, but we especially see interest among young people,” reports Patrick Dixon, Chair, Libertarian Party of Texas. “I am very encouraged to see future generations of Libertarians getting involved.”

The Libertarian State Convention will see over 200 delegates, with 25 candidates seeking nomination for 15 offices, and, what is tracking to be the largest number of non-delegates, in attendance.

Friday events are free and open to the public while Saturday and Sunday includes meal and speaker events that require registration.

With a 1 p.m. kick-off, Friday’s first session will provide important training for delegates to learn mechanics of the procedures observed during convention business sessions. A 3:30 p.m. “Come and Take It” rally in the Mayborn Center parking lot will feature speakers including C.J. Grisham discussing the importance of defending Second Amendment rights. Candidate debates for statewide offices are scheduled from 6 – 9 p.m.

Saturday business sessions will address state rules and nominations while break-out sessions will address topics like, “The Libertarian Message and Drugs, Data and the Dominatrix: Civil Liberties in Texas.”

Saturday’s lunch will feature Students for Liberty (SFL) founder Alexander McCobin discussing how the young generation can carry the Libertarian message.

The dinner banquet will include speakers Wes Benedict, Michael Cloud and Ben Swann. Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, and Cloud, president and co-founder of the Center For Small Government, will talk on effectively spreading the party’s message. Swann, a broadcast news journalist known for creating “Reality Check” and his own media company, the Truth in Media Project, will deliver the keynote address.

On Sunday, 2013 SFL Student of the Year award winner, Noelle Mandell will discuss why young people matter and how Libertarians can work to attract/engage the next generation, and will also facilitate a hands-on exercise in activism.

A Sunday break-out session, “Free Beer: Liberating our favorite libations,” will highlight the challenges of small business owners in a highly regulated environment while lunch speakers will discuss “Bitcoin, Banks and Bailouts: How do Bitcoin, the Federal Reserve System, and crony capitalism affect the economy.”

Full convention schedule:
https://www.lptexas.org/2014-schedule

Registration information:
https://www.lptexas.org/convention-registration

Singer Bret Michaels visits Wounded Warriors in San Antonio

bretmichaelsSAN ANTONIO, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Singer Bret Michaels (center left) met with wounded warriors at Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio this week. The legendary musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist visited the transitional housing facility to thank, support and provide a voice for our wounded warriors.  (Also pictured, left, Operation Homefront Vice President Dino Sarracino; center right, wounded warrior Kenny Walker; right, wounded warrior Stephen Jackel.)

With Village communities in the San Antonio, Oceanside, Calif. and the Washington, D.C. areas, transitional housing through Operation Homefront Villages constitutes a vital program for wounded warriors and their families as they undergo rehabilitation and transition from military to civilian life.  Each furnished apartment – including the cost of financial counseling and other transition programs for residents – costs more than $15,000 per year.  This program is made possible by generous contributions from individual donors, corporate foundations and partners. No federal money supports the Village program.

operationhomefrontOperation Homefront Village allows these service members to live rent-free with their families while they go through the transition and rehabilitation process. Upon placement in OH Village, Operation Homefront counselors will set up a schedule that includes support groups, workshops, benefits briefings, and resume-writing classes. Once they have become self-sufficient, Operation Homefront will help them find suitable housing in the area they intend to live on a permanent basis.  Michaels’ visit was on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Texas is the latest victim of a judicial free-for-all

Texas Ruling Striking Marriage Amendment is Attack on Rule of Law

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Federal Judge Orlando Garcia, a President Clinton appointee, struck down the Texas constitutional marriage amendment which had been approved by 76 percent of the state’s voters.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

“The state of Texas is the latest victim of a judicial free-for-all in making a lawless mockery of the ideals that our Founding Fathers stood for.

“A court-imposed redefinition of marriage strips away the fundamental right to self-governance. This is not just an attack on marriage, but an attack on the rule of law. It is not the role of judges to redefine our most fundamental societal institution which has such far-reaching implications for society at every level.

“While these activist judges appear to be rolling out a rainbow colored aisle runner leading the way for a nation-wide redefinition of marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide on the redefinition of marriage. Hopefully, the Court will refrain from repeating the disaster of Roe v. Wade by imposing a radical minority view on the nation. Instead, we would expect the Supreme Court to restore order by returning to the people and their elected representatives the right to decide the future of marriage,” concluded Perkins.

FBI Report Once Again Confirms What We Already Knew About Guns

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The FBI’s semi-annual uniform crime data for the first half of 2013 confirms once again what the firearms community already knew, that violent crime has continued to decline while gun sales have continued to climb, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

The report, issued last week, says murders declined 6.9 percent from the first half of 2012, while aggravated assaults dropped by 6.6 percent nationwide and robberies were down 1.8 percent. Forcible rapes declined 10.6 percent from the same period in 2012 and overall, violent crime fell by 10.6 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 3.6 percent in metropolitan counties.

“This new information reinforces the notion that not only do guns save lives, their presence in the hands and homes of law-abiding citizens just might be a deterrent to crime,” observed CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation has been reporting a steady increase in firearm sales for the past few years. Taken as a whole, one cannot help but conclude that the predictions from gun prohibitionists that more guns leads to more crime have been consistently wrong.”

Gottlieb said the tired argument from the anti-gun lobby that more firearms in the hands of private citizens would result in sharp increases in violence have run out of traction. Not only has the decline in crime corresponded with an increase in gun sales, it also coincides with a steady rise in the number of citizens obtaining concealed carry licenses and permits, he noted.

“The FBI report says burglaries and auto theft have also decreased,” Gottlieb said, “and it is impossible to look at this pattern and not suggest that increased gun ownership just might be one contributing factor. Gun prohibitionists would, of course, dismiss that suggestion as poppycock, but you can bet your life savings that if the data was reversed, and violent crime had risen, the gun control lobby would be rushing to every available microphone declaring that guns were to blame.

“This continuing pattern brings up a pertinent question,” he concluded. “If the gun ban lobby has been so wrong about more guns resulting in more crime, what else have they been wrong about? The word ‘everything’ comes to mind.”

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms  is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

Iconic Goodyear Blimp Retires after Daytona 500

goodyearDAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — After 14 years of filling the skies, the “Spirit of Goodyear” airship retired after the Daytona 500.  The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s (NASDAQ: GT) longest continuous operated airship was overhead to provide aerial coverage for its final events this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation” joined the “Spirit of Goodyear” in a rare appearance by two Goodyear airships at the same event. The “Spirit of Goodyear” will be decommissioned with a very special retirement gift: a GUINNESSS WORLD RECORDS® achievement for the “Longest Continuous Operating Airship.”

“The ‘Spirit of Goodyear’ has provided captivating aerial coverage of the biggest televised events in its 14-year history including many prominent NASCAR races,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, global communications. “Sports fans around the globe have seen the ‘Spirit of Goodyear’s’ aerial coverage and Daytona was an ideal venue to recognize those contributions.”

Since its launch on March 15, 2000, the “Spirit of Goodyear” covered NASCAR races, as well as some of America’s biggest events including the NFL playoffs, MLB All-Star Games, NBA Finals, Preakness, Belmont States, U.S. Opens, and NCAA football games.

As the “Spirit of Goodyear” retires, Goodyear is finalizing construction of an all-new airship at the company’s Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio. Training flights on the new state-of-the-art airship are expected to commence in the near future. The new airship will begin a new chapter for Goodyear, which has provided television networks with industry-leading aerial coverage since 1955.

Goodyear began providing tires to NASCAR in 1954 and both companies are celebrating the 60-year relationship this year.

About The Goodyear Airship Fleet

Goodyear’s blimps have adorned the skies since 1925 and are among the most recognizable brand icons, representing the largest tire company in North America. Today, the fleet consists of three North American airships – “Spirit of America” inCarson, Calif.; “Spirit of Goodyear” in Akron, Ohio; and “Spirit of Innovation” in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Could Expats Decide the 2016 Presidential Election?

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — In past years, the Democratic party had a virtual stronghold on the expat community vote in presidential elections. This year may be different. The Republican National Committee (RNC) is making a strong case for US expats living abroad to vote Republican. The party has begun a campaign to repeal FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which is causing an uproar throughout the world.

FATCA was originally created in 2010 to uncover tax cheats who are hiding funds in overseas accounts. The Act requires individuals to report on their assets abroad if they exceed certain thresholds, and is also now requiring foreign banks and financial institutions to report on the accounts of their American clients. This has been an uphill battle for the US, as many overseas financial institutions pride themselves on their banking secrecy laws. The additional reporting requirements of FATCA have prompted many foreign banks to refuse new American clients, and even close the accounts of the existing ones.

The RNC believes FATCA violates American citizens’ right to privacy. The resolution to repeal FATCA gained full support of the RNC Resolution Committee, as well as 26 co-sponsors, which virtually guarantees it will pass when voted on at the party’s winter meeting later this month.

According to a Washington Times article, Solomon Yue, a prominent RNC member from Oregon who is leading the charge on the issue, said “The law as it stands forces US citizens to make a modern day’s ‘Sophie’s choice’ between their love for their country by not renouncing citizenship and their love for their families by continuing to provide for them without banking services.”

The RNC believes the privacy rights infringed upon by FATCA is unfairly targeting innocent expats, not tax dodgers as the bill is designed to catch. The hope is that American expats feel strongly enough about this issue that they will be inclined to change their vote to possibly improve their lives abroad.

Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party for US citizens abroad, have traditionally won the support of expats. With offices in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the support of the presidential office, their extensive presence has helped them solidify the expat vote.

Republican Senator Rand Paul led the charge against FATCA when he introduced legislation to repeal certain parts of FATCA. The RNC is taking it one step further and attempting to eliminate it altogether. If the RNC is successful in gaining the expat community vote, it very well may have a significant impact on the 2016 presidential election.

“FATCA is a major issue for expats and it is quite possible that they would be willing to change their vote in the hopes that FATCA will be repealed,” commented David McKeegan, co-founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services. “Our past surveys reveal that expats feel like they lack a significant voice in the US government, and this may be the perfect opportunity for them to take a stand and be heard.”

How Close Is America To A Second Civil War?

bookA new novel analyzes how our current bitter political divisions could easily spill into armed conflict—and the horrifying reality of “brother fighting brother.”

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “Hardcore socialist takeover”…”Right Wing Neanderthals”…” Impeach Obama”…”Wall Street…the reigning American crime syndicate.”

Bitter and unrestrained politic rhetoric like this hasn’t been heard in America for decades—some say not since the turbulent years leading to the attack on Fort Sumter and a conflict that took 620,000 lives. Recession, unemployment, revelations of government surveillance, lies, cover-ups, and bare-knuckle tactics over health care reform have led some Americans to believe it’s time to take up arms–echoing Thomas Jefferson’s timeless reminder that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

J. D. Ludwig, a former Army medic, has witnessed the very human tragedy of combat. Better than most, he knows that war is not the glamorous and heroic affair we see on television and in movies, but a terrible juggernaut that–once begun–would leave soldiers, civilians, and our nation itself with deep wounds that could take decades to heal. In his debut novel Overreach: Blood of Patriots, Ludwig takes the anger, fear, and political division we can all see in today’s headlines and then “war-games” the horrors that would result if restraint and reason give way to blind extremism on both sides.

  • A president, beset by political scandal and convinced of the nation’s desperate need for change, takes a desperate gamble—using the military and executive powers of the government to eliminate his opposition and achieve total control.
  • As a peaceful demonstration descends into mass murder, a brave senator defies political blackmail and personal disgrace to warn the nation of the coming coup.
  • The president plunges the nation into darkness, cutting off power and communications to thwart resistance until he can solidify his control.
  • It falls to one man, retired Special Forces Colonel Ty Denham, to take action–desperately hoping that the power of personal honor and a deep devotion to this nation’s guiding principles will inspire his countrymen to take up arms and fight for their most basic rights and freedoms.
  • The book follows men and women across the country as they choose sides and deal with the chaos and shortages of a shattered infrastructure, and culminates in a accurate portrayal of the best-equipped military forces in the world—Americans all—facing each other in pitched battle where their ancestors fought over a hundred and fifty years ago.

Ludwig comments, “At first, I was reluctant to consider what I’ve explored in this book, but with all the wild rhetoric and sabre rattling we’re hearing from both sides, it seemed to me far better to fight this war in a fictional world—and hope that the reader can grasp the reality of bullets and bloodshed we could be facing in the very near future.”

This is not a dry exercise in political theory—the characters are fully drawn individuals with strong beliefs, honest dreams, and inevitable human weaknesses who find themselves thrust into a crisis they neither sought nor desired. The result, as one reviewer called it, is “a gripping tale of courage, sacrifice, and patriotism that explores the unthinkable.”

Blood of Patriots is the first novel in the Overreach trilogy, to be followed by Blood of Tyrants, and Tree of Liberty.

Overreach: Blood of Patriots by J. D. Ludwig; Ludwig and Son; Fiction; Soft Cover 978-1494387648 $21.95; eBook 978-0-9911972-0-0 $9.95

Availability: iBookstore, Amazon, Amazon Europe, CreateSpace eStore, eBook for Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook by Barnes and Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Copia, Gardners Books, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie, e Sentral, Scribd, Page Pusher

Author: J. D. Ludwig served in the United States Army from 1976 to 1979. He received combat medic training at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas and was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After leaving active duty, J. D. enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard and served as assistant battalion surgeon for the 1st of the 115th Infantry. He and his wife, Sally, an Army nurse who retired as a lieutenant colonel, spent many years working and raising their six children on bases in Hawaii andTexas before settling in rural Maryland where J. D. has worked for more than thirty years in the commercial real estate industry. He has held several international leadership positions, won numerous awards, and is a Trustee Emeritus for a Washington, D.C. graduate school that teaches statecraft, diplomacy, and national security.   

www.jdludwig.com

House Judiciary Committee Passes ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’

FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL LOGOWASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today the House Judiciary Committee approved by a 22 to 12 vote H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” authored by U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.). This bipartisan bill would permanently prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions.

Family Research Council Director for the Center for Human Dignity Arina Grossu responded with the following comments:

“This is a victory for women, their unborn children, and taxpayers who should not be forced by the government to pay for someone else’s abortion.

“We applaud the passage of this bi-partisan pro-life legislation to remove abortion funding from Obamacare and apply the long-standing Hyde Amendment across the government. Most Americans, regardless of their view on abortion, oppose government funding for the atrocity of abortion. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act restores government neutrality on abortion by removing government funding for abortion and yet allows private health insurance to cover abortion.

“We also know that government funding for abortion will increase the number of abortions, a prospect troubling to all but a handful of Americans.  With the Obamacare rollout, it has become clear that many health plans being subsidized by the government cover elective abortion. Even more incredible is that Obamacare requires an abortion surcharge, which in most cases is not even revealed to consumers shopping for a health care plan.

“One member at last week’s hearing falsely claimed that the Hyde amendment fully prevented government funding of abortion.  However, Hyde does not apply to the nation’s capital and the provision stopping abortion funding in D.C. was repealed in 2010.  As a result, Americans have paid to abort hundreds of unborn children at a total cost of $185,000 in taxpayer funds.  Hyde applies to other funding streams, not the District. Although this abortion funding restriction for the District was restored in 2011, these taxpayer-funded abortions demonstrate how the annual funding restrictions on abortion are tenuous. The passage of H.R. 7 would make this abortion-funding restriction permanent along with other government abortion-funding provisions. It’s time to permanently remove government funding for abortion,” concluded Grossu.

Lockheed Martin Completes Critical Milestone to upgrade the Navy’s Electronic Warfare Defenses

lockheed_martin_logoSYRACUSE, N.Y., Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently completed a milestone test on the U.S. Navy’s evolutionary Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 system. This test further validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving anti-ship missile threats.

Under SEWIP Block 2, Lockheed Martin will upgrade the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 system found on all U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships with key capabilities to determine if adversaries are using electronic sensors to track the ship.

Block 2 obtained a Milestone C decision in January 2013, after which the system began 11 months of land-based testing in preparation for installation on a Navy warship. This test, which successfully completed earlier this month, demonstrated the maturity of the open architecture electronic warfare system by performing full system operation in multiple scenarios.

“We are very proud of the effort the SEWIP team has put into achieving these successes,” said Joseph Ottaviano, director of surface electronic warfare at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training division. “Milestone C is a critical step towards delivering these next generation systems to the Fleet, and we are extremely pleased with the progress and results.”

Block 2 is the latest in an evolutionary succession of improvement “blocks” the Navy is pursuing for its shipboard electronic warfare system, which will incrementally add new technologies and functional capabilities. The Navy competitively awarded Lockheed Martin a contract in 2009 to develop SEWIP Block 2 to upgrade the passive detection capabilities of the current SLQ-32 systems. The company recently completed shore-based testing in preparation for ship installation.

Work on the SEWIP program is performed at the company’s Syracuse, N.Y. facility, which houses a new electronic warfare system test facility that simulates the complex environment submarines, surface ships and aircraft could operate in. By performing testing prior to delivery, the company is able to reduce risk and lower costs for the SEWIP program.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.