Komen Foundation Ends Planned Parenthood Partnership

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, a leading charity for breast cancer, announced that it will be ending its partnership with Planned Parenthood in education and prevention screenings at the health centers across the U.S., Fox News reported.

Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun told The Associated Press that the cutoff results from the organization’s newly adopted criteria that bars grants to entities that are under investigation by Federal, State or local authorities. This would apply to Planned Parenthood due to the fact that it is the focus of an inquiry launched by Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), as he is looking to determine if public money was spent on abortions.

Anti-abortion groups welcomed the news, as the Alliance Defense Fund praised Komen “for seeing the contradiction between its lifesaving work and its relationship with an abortionist that has ended millions of lives.”

Fox News reported that a statement from Planned Parenthood noted that the Komen Foundation began informing local arms of the non-profit organization that their breast cancer initiatives would no longer be eligible for new grants beyond those agreements already in existence.

CBO Notes Federal Employees Make More Than Similarly Educated Workers In Private Sector

The generous benefit packages that many Federal employees receive have helped these individuals earn significantly better compensation than similarly educated workers in the private sector, according to a report released by Congress’ chief scorekeeper.

The Washington Times reported that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) noted that Federal workers earn 16 percent more in total compensation than comparable private-sector employees. This includes wages and benefits for these individuals.

According to the newspaper, only private-sector workers with the highest levels of education, such as lawyers and doctors, earn more than their counterparts in the public sector.

“For workers at all education levels, the cost of total compensation averaged about $52 per hour worked for federal employees, compared with about $45 per hour worked for employees in the private sector with certain similar observable characteristics,” analysts from the CBO said in the report.

Fox News reported that compensation was 36 percent higher on average for Federal workers with a high school degree, 32 percent higher for Federal employees with some college education and 15 percent higher for Federal workers with a bachelor’s degree.

Congress Attempts To Police Itself On Insider Trading

Members of Congress are looking to regain some sense of trust from the American people, as they have proposed rules that would subject themselves to tougher penalties for insider trading and a requirement to disclose stock transactions within 30 days, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, a procedural vote this week would allow the Senate to pass a bill prohibiting members of Congress from using nonpublic information for their own person benefit or “tipping” others to inside information that they could use for trading.

Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) co-wrote a bill that would subject any member of Congress who violates the ban on insider trading to investigation and prosecution by the Justice Department and regulatory agencies, the AP reported.

“We can start restoring some of the faith that’s been lost in our government by taking this common-sense step of making members of Congress play by the exact same rules as everyone else,” Gillibrand said of the bill put forth by her and Brown. “We must make it unambiguous that this kind of behavior is illegal.”

The Hill reported that Representative Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) minimum net worth skyrocketed by almost $14 million in 2010 because of smart stock plays and real estate investments by her husband.

Pentagon Prepares For Talks With Iraq

The President Barack Obama Administration is preparing to commence talks with Iraq on ironing out the details of a long-term defense relationship that may include more U.S. training help, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s chief policy aide.

The Associated Press reported that Michele Flournoy, who is leaving her Pentagon post on Feb. 3, told a small group of reporters that the Administration is open to Iraqi suggestions concerning the scope and depth of the defense ties between the two countries.

“One of the things we’re looking forward to doing is sitting down with the Iraqis in the coming month or two to start thinking about how they want to work with” the U.S. military to develop a program of exercises, training and other forms of security cooperation, Flournoy told reporters.

Both sides had considered keeping several thousand American troops in Iraq to help with training, but they failed to reach an agreement prior to the expiration of a 2008 deal that required all U.S. forces to leave, according to the AP.

The New York Times reported that the State Department is operating a small fleet of surveillance drones in Iraq to protect the United States Embassy and consulates in the Arab nation, but Iraqi officials have expressed outrage over these actions.

Congress Attempts To Police Itself On Insider Trading

Members of Congress are looking to regain some sense of trust from the American people, as they have proposed rules that would subject themselves to tougher penalties for insider trading and a requirement to disclose stock transactions within 30 days, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, a procedural vote this week would allow the Senate to pass a bill prohibiting members of Congress from using nonpublic information for their own person benefit or “tipping” others to inside information that they could use for trading.

Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) co-wrote a bill that would subject any member of Congress who violates the ban on insider trading to investigation and prosecution by the Justice Department and regulatory agencies, the AP reported.

“We can start restoring some of the faith that’s been lost in our government by taking this common-sense step of making members of Congress play by the exact same rules as everyone else,” Gillibrand said of the bill put forth by her and Brown. “We must make it unambiguous that this kind of behavior is illegal.”

The Hill reported that Representative Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) minimum net worth skyrocketed by almost $14 million in 2010 because of smart stock plays and real estate investments by her husband.

New Pentagon Plan Cuts Traditional Forces, Focuses On Drones And Special Ops

The Pentagon plans to expand its global network of drones and special-operations bases in a reorganization of the U.S. military, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the newspaper, even as the Pentagon cuts back on conventional forces, the reorganization is part of an effort to project the power of the U.S. The plan calls for a 30 percent increase in the American fleet of armed unmanned aircraft in the coming years, defense officials noted.

Defense officials also noted that the plan foresees the deployment of more Special Operations teams at a growing number of small “lily pad” bases across the globe. At the bases, soldiers will be able to mentor local allies and launch missions, according to the Journal.

“What we really want is to see the Army adopt the mentality of Special Forces,” a military officer who advises Pentagon leaders told the newspaper.

The Associated Press reported that Panetta wants to save money by reducing the size of Army and Marine Corps ground forces and limiting the U.S. presence in Europe.

Struggling In America, F-35 Fighter Sought By Allies

The F-35 stealth fighter, a plane that critics have called the costliest military plane ever, may have recently found a savior, as deep-pocketed allies of the U.S. are looking to add the machines to their arsenal, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, the fighter was recently chosen by Japan over the Boeing F/A-18 and the Eurofighter Typhoon as a replacement for 42 aircraft in its aging air force. This marked the first victory for the plane in an open-bidding competition, though commitments have been made by countries such as England and Israel.

Manufacturer Lockheed Martin is looking to bring F-35’s to South Korea in a deal that could be the biggest single military purchase for the Asian nation ever. This would bring the country 60 top-of-the-line fighters worth more than $7 billion in a decision that could come as soon as October, according to the AP.

The Wall Street Journal reported that leaders from Lockheed Martin were distressed over the recent across-the-board cuts that would be imposed on the Defense Department if lawmakers do not alter the deficit-reduction deal.

Mortgage Deal Draws Criticism From All Sides

A draft settlement between mortgage companies and States that would allow the nation’s biggest banks to pay out billions in compensation for a raft of foreclosures has public interest groups across the political spectrum upset over the deal that was made behind closed doors, Fox News reported.

According to the news outlet, the deal is being strong-armed by the President Barack Obama Administration despite the opposition. The draft proposal was sent to State officials on January 23, and is supposed to overhaul the mortgage industry and help homeowners.

The deal would let the country’s five largest mortgage lenders pay out as much as $25 billion to cover new terms for homeowners who were driven out by foreclosure. However, people who lost their homes are unlikely to get them back or see much financial gain from the agreement, according to Fox News.

The Associated Press reported that officials from California are refusing to sign the proposed settlement, as they have called the deal between the State and five major banks – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Financial – inadequate.

Defensive Shooting Fundamentals

In my practice as a defensive firearms instructor, I work with many students of all ages on a private basis.

Over the years, numerous students have come to work with me to learn advanced defensive shooting techniques. In many cases, initial evaluation of their shooting skills revealed that they were terribly incompetent with a handgun and often unsafe as well. In almost every case, these people had never gotten the basics down. This is remarkable given the fact that many of these students reported that they had attended multiple tactical shooting schools before coming to me. This phenomenon left me wondering how they had missed the boat. I was also left wondering how it was that some “big name” firearms instructors with whom they said they trained, in some cases privately, never straightened them out.

In each of these cases, it was necessary for me to take them back through the basics. A shooter must understand and be able to perform the basics before he or she can expect to move on to develop competence in advanced shooting skills and tactics. In addition, if you are going to carry a concealed handgun, you must develop advanced competence. The purpose of this article is to provide a blueprint for learning the basics well so that you can then move on to develop advanced competence with the defensive handgun. However, recognize that you cannot learn this material from an article. You must practice and, ideally, you should work with a qualified shooting instructor.

Noted police and civilian firearms instructor and writer Massad Ayoob has been a pioneer in teaching people the fundamentals of defensive shooting in ways consistent with what happens physically and psychologically when you are fighting for your life. In the 1970s, he developed the Stressfire system, and it has evolved and been refined over the years. Ayoob’s Stressfire books are highly recommended reads.

Ayoob studied what happens to the human mind and body in the “stress flood” of a fight-or-flight scenario. Based on what he learned, he created techniques that not only wouldn’t fall apart under stress but, instead, would feed off the effects of the body alarm reaction and become more effective under stress.

The Stressfire shooting program emphasizes techniques that depend on simple gross motor skills as opposed to complex fine motor skills, since fine motor skills deteriorate under life and death stress. Also, gross motor techniques can withstand the tremors and increased physical strength attendant to the body-alarm-triggered adrenaline dump into the bloodstream.

You Must Learn The Basics Well

Think about it. In order to produce accurate hits with a handgun, you need to do all of the following: grip and hold the handgun securely and firmly; maintain a stable and balanced stance; keep the muzzle on the target — that is, aim the handgun properly and maintain good aim for follow-up shots (this is called follow-through); control and flow with the handgun’s recoil; and operate the trigger in a controlled manner.

Massad Ayoob’s Stressfire System emphasizes a five-point checklist that comprises the fundamentals for accomplishing the above: power stance, high hand, hard grasp, front sight and smooth roll of the trigger. This checklist provides a blueprint for practicing the fundamentals of marksmanship.

1. The Power Stance

Defensive handgunning is about fighting with a handgun. To gain the advantage in a fight, you need to adopt a stable, balanced and mobile stance. Your stance needs to be stable and balanced so that you are not thrown over by the gun’s recoil or anything else. Your shooting/fighting stance needs to be mobile so that you are not cemented or planted to the ground. You must be able to move to achieve dominance and to avoid being the recipient of blows or shots from your opponent.

More times than not, when I work with shooting students, I have to correct their stance. Many initially stand with a backward lean. Many stand too rigidly or too floppily. Some stand like a pole, and many stand square to their target with both feet parallel. None of these stances are aggressive fighting stances. Sure, you may have to shoot in a rapidly unfolding dynamic gunfight from an unorthodox and non-choreographed position; however, you must start from an aggressive and powerful stance that gives you a solid foundation.

A power stance gives you a wide base for stability and balance. It keeps you from being pushed backward by the firearm’s recoil or by your opponent. It entails leaning aggressively forward from the hips (head in front of shoulders and shoulders in front of hips). Knees should be slightly bent to absorb shock and facilitate mobility. The non-dominant foot (the one opposite your strong shooting hand) should be forward; and your dominant foot should be rearward, digging into the ground.

This power stance can be applied while static or while moving. It will be familiar to anyone with experience in wrestling, boxing or the martial arts. As stated by Massad Ayoob, “… it allows the fighter to deliver and receive impact without losing balance or the ability to continue strenuous physical activity.”

2. The High Hand

The lower a handgun’s bore axis, the easier it is to control the gun during recoil in order to deliver accurate follow-up shots. One can make the bore axis sit lower in the hands by gripping the handgun with one’s master hand as high up on the back strap as is possible. This increases your control over the gun whether you are shooting with one hand or two.

3. The Hard Grasp Or “Crush Grip”

You cannot grip a handgun too hard or too strongly. In real combat, defensive shooting means you are fighting for your life. Are you going to be relaxed at such a time? The answer is, of course not. You are going to be holding onto your life support system, your weapon, as if your life depends on it — and it does. Get used to it now. A crush grip or convulsive grip will make your handgun more difficult for your opponents to take away from you. A crush grip will help you control a powerful handgun’s recoil or the snappy recoil of a not-so-powerful mouse gun. Additionally, a crush grip will help you better isolate the movement of your trigger finger so that you have more trigger control. Conversely, a light grasp on the handgun encourages milking, which is likely to make a right-handed shooter’s shots go to low left.

As Ayoob points out, the crush grip or hard grasp may be applied with the thumbs in virtually any position, but it will benefit most when the thumbs are curled tightly down. When you curl your thumb down over your other fingers — as when you make a fist — you can squeeze harder. Try it and see for yourself.

4. The Front Sight

The bullet will go where the muzzle is pointed. To assure that the muzzle is pointed where you want the bullet to hit, you must have a reliable way of indexing the muzzle on target. That is the purpose of the front sight. The front sight helps you align your handgun’s muzzle with your point of aim on the target. This is usually accomplished in coordination with the rear sight. Verifying that the front sight is centered in the rear sight notch is called sight alignment, and superimposing your aligned front and rear sights onto your point of aim on the target is called getting a sight picture.

The more precise your shot or shots need to be, the smaller your target; or the greater your distance from your target, the more precise your sight alignment and sight picture need to be and the more time you will need to take those precise shots.

Sight alignment and trigger control are the two most important features of marksmanship. Trigger control helps the shooter maintain sight alignment and, therefore, muzzle alignment as the gun is fired and immediately afterward. Afterward is called follow-through. It means giving the bullet enough time to exit the barrel by keeping the gun directed at the point of aim while breaking the shot and, subsequently, recovering your point of aim after the gun travels through its arc of recoil so that you can prepare for a follow-up shot.

“… a firearm is a remote-control drill, and must be indexed or the hole it produces will be drilled in the wrong place…”

The goal of defensive marksmanship is to achieve combat accurate hits as fast as possible. Combat accurate hits are defined as shots that inflict disabling damage on the opponent. In any fight, the fighter who lands the first good hits on his opponent has the edge. In a gunfight, this translates into shooting well-placed bullets into your opponent before he hits you. It is foolish to sacrifice accuracy for speed. You can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight.

Factoring out the variable of a shooter’s confidence in his shooting ability, the closer the distance, the faster the shooter can afford to shoot, and the less reliance is needed on a perfect sight picture. At close (bad breath) distances, point shooting is the way to go. To learn to shoot for combat accuracy in a gunfight (defensive shooting), the shooter must learn to shoot both with and without sights — the latter being point shooting.

As Ayoob points out:

… a firearm is a remote-control drill, and must be indexed or the hole it produces will be drilled in the wrong place. The index may be precise or coarse, depending on the nature of the shot that must be taken. Distance, target size and speed are all factors in that determination. The shooter may have the precise sight picture of the conventional marksmanship manual. They may have a similar image in line of sight, seen quickly and less than perfectly (Col. Jeff Cooper’s concept of ‘flash sight picture‘). Out to roughly seven yards with a handgun, the front sight sitting above the rear sight is adequate for a heart-area hit and can be indexed even in secondary or tertiary focus when the shooter is focused primarily on the threat (StressFire’s “StressPoint Index,” champion Todd Jarrett’s concept of “shooting out of the notch”). In poor light at extreme speed, it may suffice to simply see the silhouette of the handgun superimposed over the area of the threat that the officer wants to hit (Jim Cirillo’s “gun silhouette” concept).

5. The Smooth Roll

Good trigger control is the most important aspect of getting good hits. It becomes even more important under stress. Poor trigger control is one of the biggest reasons for dropped and errant shots. It is logical that to keep the muzzle on target, the shooter needs to smoothly operate the trigger. Erratic trigger control will drive the muzzle away from the shooter’s point of aim.

The goal is to smoothly press the trigger all the way rearward without hesitation until the shot breaks and then to ride the trigger forward as the trigger resets for the next shot. As Ayoob points out, “… each activation of the trigger is done with a single-stage movement. We use the term ‘roll the trigger’ to convey the smooth, even, uninterrupted, straight-back rearward pressure on the trigger which we seek.”

If the handgun fits the shooter’s hands, poor trigger control is typically caused by a combination of factors. These can include: poor isolation of the trigger finger (also known as “milking” the gun), inadequate placement of the trigger finger on the face of the trigger, an inadequate or unstable grip on the handgun (poor form, gripping too loosely, having to re-adjust the grip after each shot), flinching, anticipating the shot, jerking the trigger, trying to stage the trigger, and not keeping the finger on the trigger throughout a string of shots.

Trigger control can be practiced through dry fire in addition to live fire; so can the other fundamentals of marksmanship. An excellent dry fire drill for practicing all of the fundamentals is the Wall Drill.

The Wall Drill

Grasp the handgun high on the back strap so that the tang of the handgun pinches into the V-notch of your dominant strong hand.

This dry fire drill requires sustained focus and concentration. This drill builds a muscle memory or motor memory of the key marksmanship fundamentals.

Make sure that the handgun is unloaded, that there is no ammunition in the room, and that the backstop is safe and in a safe direction.

Pick an aim point on the wall or surface in front of you and point your triple-checked, unloaded handgun about an inch away from the aim point such that your front sight is right over the aim point.

Go through your pre-flight checklist of marksmanship fundamentals as discussed earlier: power stance, high hand, crush grip, front sight, sight alignment, sight picture and smooth roll of the trigger.

Think to yourself front sight, keep your sight alignment and sight picture steady and say to yourself smooth roll” as you smoothly press the trigger all the way rearward and then let it reset for the next shot. Your aim is to keep your gun steady as you press the trigger.

When you maintain a maximum strength, crush grip or “gorilla grip” on the handgun, you may see the whites of your knuckles. That’s how you know you are gripping hard enough, thumbs curled down, thumbprint over thumbnail for greater strength.

Live Fire Focus Drill

Live fire practice of the marksmanship fundamentals is essential. The following live fire drill is called the One Hole Drill. This drill makes use of the principle that if you aim small, you will miss small.

Start out at a reasonable distance from your target. Don’t be ashamed for this to be three yards; that’s nine feet. Pick a small spot on your paper target as your point of aim. You can draw a 1-inch circle in black magic marker to mark the spot.

Go through your checklist of marksmanship fundamentals as you focus on your aim point. Punch your handgun out toward your aim point as you focus intently on your front sight and acquire a sight picture. Your front sight should be in sharp focus as contrasted with a relatively slightly blurred target and rear sight. Recognize that you can only focus sharply with your eyes on one object at a time.

Keeping your gun steady (you should be in a power stance, with a high-handed, two-handed hard grasp on your handgun), smoothly roll your trigger rearward as you stay focused on your front sight. Watch your front sight as the shot breaks and through the gun’s arc of recoil. Don’t peek over your gun to see the shot.

Hold your trigger to the rear as the gun recoils and then ride your trigger forward until it resets as the gun settles back on target. Now, prepare for your next shot by taking up any slack in the trigger.

The front sight should be in focus; the rear sight and target slightly blurred.

You can run this drill in either one of two ways: One way is to take a string of shots without checking where those shots went; after shooting the string, lower the gun to a ready position and check the results of your work. The other way is to drop the gun to the ready after each single shot or pair of shots.

Your goal is a perfect 1-inch group. You want to exercise your fundamentals at the target distance at which you are working until you attain a perfect one inch group, and when you do, you can then move backward to a greater distance (e.g., 5 to 7 to 10 to 12 to 15 to 20 to 25 yards, and so on). You keep moving backward (increasing the distance) until you can no longer shoot a perfect group at a given distance, and then you stay and work at that distance.

This drill will increase your accuracy and marksmanship skill in live fire.

Summary

Without a solid foundation in the fundamentals, advanced shooting techniques fall short. Defensive and combat-oriented shooters need to create the discipline to practice their fundamentals regularly in order to keep their edge and maintain their advanced skills.

–Bruce N. Eimer, Ph.D.

Watchdog Report Shows Taxpayers Still Owed $132.9 Billion

According to a government watchdog, American taxpayers are still owed $132.9 billion from companies that have yet to pay after receiving Federal money for a bailout. The Associated Press reported that some of this will never be received.

The bailout that was launched at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008 will continue to exist for years, noted a report issued by Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the $700 billion bailout.

The AP reported that some bailout programs, such as the effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure through lowered mortgage payments, may last until 2017. This would cost the government an estimated additional $51 billion.

The fluid nature of the stock market has slowed efforts by the Treasury Department to sell off its stakes in 458 bailed-out companies, including American International Group, General Motors and Ally Financial, according to the news outlet.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the watchdog found that exiting these investments could be difficult in coming years, due to the state of the financial markets.

Boston Bruins Goalie Declines Visit To White House For Political Reasons

The backbone of the Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup championship team skipped a visit to the White House due to political differences with President Barack Obama, News Core reported.

According to the news outlet, Tim Thomas, a native of Flint, Mich., was the only Boston player to decline the invitation.

“I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People,” Thomas said in a statement. “Because I believe this, today (Monday) I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country.”

News Core reported that Obama noted the goalie’s stellar play on the championship run by the Bruins, despite the netminder’s lack of support.

Members of the team’s front office supported the decision by the goalie, as they noted that everyone has a right to voice their opinion, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Former CIA Officer Charged In Leak Case

An ex-CIA officer was charged in Federal court with leaking classified information to the media, as the former operative has been accused of releasing the name and contact information of two of his colleagues, The Washington Times reported.

According to the newspaper, John Kiriakou was named on four counts of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act, along with making false statements to the CIA Publications Review Board. This effort came as he was trying to include classified information in a book that he was seeking to publish.

Authorities noted that Kiriakou told a reporter about the capture of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in 2002, a time when the information was still classified. The captured individual has been described as a key member of the organization who was a major recruiter and suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to the Times.

"Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement.

CBS News reported that Kiriakou allegedly revealed their identities in interviews, emails and conversations with reporters, a violation of the legally binding agreement that is required of intelligence agents.

U.S. Military Raid In Somalia Frees American Hostage

U.S. military forces sent helicopters into Somalia in a nighttime raid on Jan. 25, freeing two hostages, an American and a Dane, while killing nine pirates, according to U.S. officials.

Fox News reported that the Danish Refugee Council also confirmed that the two hostages, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagan Thisted, were freed as part of “an operation in Somalia.”

According to the news outlet, the two hostages had been working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when they were kidnapped last October.

President Barack Obama confirmed the operation and rescue, as he noted that the success of the military action represented how the U.S. “will stand strongly against any threats to our people.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also praised the mission.

“This successful hostage rescue, undertaken in a hostile environment, is a testament to the superb skills of courageous service members who risked their lives to save others,” Panetta said in a statement.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. Navy Seal Team Six, responsible for eliminating Osama bin Laden, parachuted into a remote camp and rescued the two hostages.

Obama Highlights Wish List For Recovery, Offers Few Answers For Reducing Debt

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address focused on the idea that government intervention and tax hikes on the wealthy would be the keys to economic recovery, but will likely do little to lower the temperature in Washington, lawmakers and analysts told Fox News.

The news source reported that the President heads out on the road Wednesday to visit battleground States where he may sell his agenda and his bid for re-election, which was outlined in his address to Congress and the nation.

“Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans,” the president said in his address. “Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else — like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.”

Fox News posted the transcript to the rebuttal by Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.). He said Obama may not have caused the economic and fiscal crises, but he was hired to fix them — something that the lawmaker noted has not yet been accomplished.

I’m Confused

I’m confused. In order to get on an airplane, open a bank account, withdraw money, cash  checks, pick up movie or concert tickets, enter  a Federal building, apply for Food Stamps, or buy alcohol or prescription drugs, you often need a photo ID.

Democrats charge that requiring photo IDs (to prevent voter fraud) is racist, and meant to simply disenfranchise voters and suppress minority voting. So, I wonder, how have minorities done the above-mentioned without IDs?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has asked the United Nations to intervene to block State voter ID laws. The United Nations? In the United States? Wake up, America!

Last year, there were investigations, indictments and convictions for vote fraud in California, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland. In all but one case, the alleged fraudsters were Democrats. At least 55 employees of the Association for Community Organizations for Reform (ACORN) have been convicted of registration fraud in 11 States.

Texas passed a bill requiring voters to show ID, and Democrats said it was designed to erect hurdles for the poor and minority voters — even though the State’s ID cards are issued for free.

The Administration of President Barack Obama has gone so far as to issue an order halting South Carolina’s new photo ID law. On Dec. 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez sent a letter ordering South Carolina to stop enforcing its photo ID law.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s 2005 photo ID law, which the Democratic Party and several special interest groups challenged as “a severe burden.”

In Chicago, a Federal investigation of the 1982 gubernatorial election estimated that at least 100,000 illegal votes were cast and that voter fraud had been routine for years.

The average American favors requiring photo ID to vote. He wants to believe that his voting system is at least as safe as renting a movie from Blockbuster.

U.S. Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder called South Carolina’s voter ID law “racially discriminatory.” How is this a racial issue? Are blacks less capable than Asians, Native Americans, Hispanics or poor whites of obtaining a photo ID, issued free by States? A recent Gallup poll indicates why Holder is trying so hard to gut ballot security measures: Obama trails in all swing States. Democrats fear they can’t win unless they cheat.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is leading a group of Democrats in opposing voter ID laws that require individuals to present photo identification at the polls. With the economy in the ditch, the Democrats’ only hope of stemming the conservative tide might be to rig the returns, especially where political machines still prevail.

Without voter ID there is nothing to stop anyone from going to the voting location and saying “I’m John Smith from 1345 Anyplace Street, and I’m here to vote.” When the real John Smith from 1345 Anyplace Street shows up, he is denied because records show that he already voted.  The result is that the fraudulent voter voted twice (his and Smith’s), while denying Smith of the opportunity to cast his ballot.

 

Recent video documentation by an investigative reporter shows dead people voting in New Hampshire, where ID is not required. Neither is it wanted or even checked when offered as seen in this video.

Having said all the above, why is it that the Department of Homeland Security is insisting that everyone have a national ID card? The DHS national ID card was officially rolled out this month in Tennessee. From Jan. 1, ID cards are no longer optional; they are the law.

It’s really pretty clever. The ID card is rolled out under the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Rather than looking like a Federal DHS project, this police-state measure effectively delivers a federally mechanized ID card scheme under the perceived banner of a State mandate.

The Obama Administration has instituted a de facto amnesty by halting the deportation of 300,000 Illegal aliens and offering work permits. Look at all those undocumented Democrats! Imagine what happens when Homeland Security ID cards are used by the illegal aliens. The flood gates would open, giving them access to everything. Why are these ID cards not racist?

For any country to have a successful police state, the one thing it must have is a national ID card. In order to control the people, it is necessary to identify the people. “Show me ze papers, please!”

–Frank Grochowski

U.S. To Keep 11 Aircraft Carriers To Show Force

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told sailors that the U.S. is committed to keeping 11 aircraft carriers despite budget pressures, as the military wishes to project sea power against Iran, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, Panetta told a crowd of 1,700 who were gathered in the hangar bay of the USS Enterprise that the ship would head to the Persian Gulf region to steam through the Strait of Hormuz.

“That’s what this carrier is all about,” Panetta said in his address to the sailors. “That’s the reason we maintain a presence in the Middle East. … We want them to know that we are fully prepared to deal with any contingency and it’s better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy.”

NewsCore reported that the USS Abraham Lincoln passed through the symbolic waterway on Jan. 22, marking the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier has been through since Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz earlier this month.

“USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) completed a regular and routine transit of the Strait of Hormuz, Jan. 22, to conduct maritime security operations as scheduled and in support of requirements set by the combatant commander,” according to a statement from Naval Forces Central Command.

Gold Price Hits Six-Week High

The price of gold hit a six-week high on Jan. 23, as the metal was pushed upward by a recovery of the euro against the American dollar, according to Reuters.

The news outlet reported that confidence in the precious metal is growing, due to the fact that it has recorded three straight weeks of gains. Gold prices are up 7.1 percent since the end of December.

According to CNN, the price of gold for February delivery rose $6.50 to $1,670.50 an ounce, marking an increase of 0.39 percent for the commodity.

The metal is being helped by the recent positive news coming out of Europe, as commodities rose across the board.

“(Gold) is going up as a commodity at the moment,” Simon Weeks, head of precious metals at the Bank of Nova Scotia, told Reuters. “Commodities have had a good start to the year, full stop.”

MarketWatch reported that the advance in the price of gold came as Europe was set to consider prohibitions on any trade of precious metals with Iran, as foreign ministers from the EU planned to gather in Brussels.

Obama Campaign Ad Defends Solyndra Record

The 2012 campaign of President Barack Obama kicked off with the release of a television ad on Jan. 19, a campaign official told Fox News.

According to the news outlet, the official said ads will air in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The President won all of these States in the 2008 election.

Fox News reported that the first ad seeks to defend Obama’s record on energy against criticism from a Republican-leaning outside group, showing that the campaign is heating up despite the lack of a chosen challenger from the Republican Party.

The ad responds to a $6 million television campaign by a group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers that accuses Obama of using pay-for-play politics in dealing with the bankruptcy of Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy despite receiving a $528 million Federal loan guarantee, according to the news outlet.

The Los Angeles Times reported that “Americans for Prosperity,” the group that accused Obama, fired back at the President, saying that he was “attack[ing] a grassroots group…in an attempt to divert attention and shrug off blame.”

House Passes Measure Against Hike In Debt Limit

In one of its first actions of the new year, the House passed a symbolic measure against President Barack Obama’s request to increase the Federal debt limit by $1.2 trillion, The Washington Times reported.

According to the newspaper, the bipartisan debt and budget agreement that occurred last summer allowed the White House to automatically raise the debt ceiling 15 days after the President notifies lawmakers that the debt level is approaching the current $15.2 trillion cap. If both chambers of Congress agree, the Administration’s request can be halted.

The measure against the further hike of the debt ceiling passed 239 to 176 in the House, as votes were issued along party lines. Republicans said the vote was important in showing that Democratic spending had reached a level that was much too high.

“House Republicans once again rejected the Obama Administration’s pursuit to continue its reckless spending binge and reaffirmed our commitment to fiscal responsibility,” Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said in a statement. “Since President Obama took office, our national debt has increased by $4.6 trillion and is now greater than the value of our entire economy.”

Fox News reported that the Senate is likely to allow the debt ceiling hike, despite the symbolic stance by the House.

Obama Administration Denies Keystone Pipeline Permit

President Barack Obama announced that he will deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, as he noted that the Republicans tried to impose a “rushed and arbitrary deadline” that did not give officials enough time to properly evaluate the project, Fox News reported.

According to the news outlet, GOP lawmakers immediately responded to the President’s move, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama is “selling out American jobs for politics.” He noted that the Republicans in Congress would keep pushing for the pipeline.

The decision by the President does not definitively kill the project, as the State Department said the denial “does not preclude any subsequent permit application.” Within hours of hearing about the move by Obama, TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, announced it would reapply for a permit, Fox News reported.

“Until this pipeline is constructed, the U.S. will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries,” TransCanada said in a statement. “Thousands of jobs continue to hang in the balance if this project does not go forward.”

The Washington Times reported that U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue said that the move by the President sends a message to the business community and investors that America is not open for business.

U.S. Border Patrol To Toughen Stance On Illegal Immigrants

The U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending illegal aliens back to Mexico without punishing them first, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, the agency is reworking how it deals with the 1,954-mile U.S./Mexican border. Years of growth in the Border Patrol staff and technology have helped drive down the number of illegal aliens who attempt to cross the border.

The AP reported that the number of agents employed by the agency has doubled to 21,000 since 2004.

In fiscal year 2011, agents apprehended 327,000 illegal immigrants on the border, down 80 percent from more than 1.6 million in 2000. This marked the slowest year for the agency since 1971, according to the news outlet.

The AP reported that the Border Patrol will soon change policies for those who are apprehended, releasing a new strategy in the next several weeks.