May 1st, 2012
BLS Wiki note: Vorwärts ("Forward") was the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany Berlin from 1891 to 1933 by decision of the party's Halle Congress, as the successor of Berliner Volksblatt, founded in 1884.
The Washington Times
The Obama campaign apparently didn't look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, "Forward" — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism.
Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name "Forward!" or its foreign cognates. Wikipedia has an entire section called "Forward (generic name of socialist publications)."
"The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications," the online encyclopedia explains.
The slogan "Forward!" reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.
The Obama campaign released its new campaign slogan Monday in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word "Forward" with the "O" having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. It will be played at rallies this weekend that mark the Obama re-election campaign's official beginning.
There have been at least two radical-left publications named "Vorwaerts" (the German word for "Forward"). One was the daily newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany whose writers included Friedrich Engels and Leon Trotsky. It still publishes as the organ of Germany's SDP, though that party has changed considerably since World War II. Another was the 1844 biweekly reader of the Communist League. Karl Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin are among the names associated with that publication.
East Germany named its Army soccer club ASK Vorwaerts Berlin (later FC Vorwaerts Frankfort).
Vladimir Lenin founded the publication "Vpered" (the Russian word for "forward") in 1905. Soviet propaganda film-maker Dziga Vertov made a documentary whose title is sometimes translated as "Forward, Soviet" (though also and more literally as "Stride, Soviet").
Conservative critics of the Obama administration have noted numerous ties to radicalism and socialists throughout Mr. Obama's history, from his first political campaign being launched from the living room of two former Weather Underground members, to appointing as green jobs czar Van Jones, a self-described communist.
Recent Entries from the Washington Times
April 30th, 2012
By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Republican House leaders have drafted a proposed contempt of Congress citation against Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in which they charge that he and his Justice Department have repeatedly "obstructed and slowed" the Capitol Hill investigation into the ATF's flawed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.
The 48-page draft citation is being drawn up by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Top committee officials recently met for most of a day in the House speaker's office and were given the green light to proceed toward a contempt citation, according to sources who declined to be identified.
If adopted by the GOP-led House, the contempt resolution would be sent to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington or perhaps an independent counsel in an attempt to force the Justice Department to provide tens of thousands of internal documents to the committee.
A contempt resolution would also escalate a political feud between Issa and the Obama administration. Earlier this week Issa called the Obama White House "the most corrupt in government history." At a hearing in December, he compared Holder to disgraced Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from the President Nixon era, a comment that prompted Holder to fire back in language reminiscent of the bitter Senate hearings led by former Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.): "Have you no shame?"
Holder and other Justice Department officials insist they are cooperating with congressional investigators. Holder said the department had responded to more than three dozen letters from members of Congress and facilitated numerous witness interviews. The department has submitted or made available more than 6,400 pages of documents, he said.
"This has been a significant undertaking for department employees," Holder testified before the committee in February. "And our efforts in this regard remain ongoing."
Holder also cautioned that "the separation of powers concerns are particularly acute here," especially since there were still several "open criminal investigations and prosecutions" that resulted from the Fast and Furious case.
The operation — run by the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosivesfrom 2009 to early last year — allowed illegal gun purchases in hopes of tracking the weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders. Instead, hundreds of guns vanished, and scores turned up at crime scenes in Mexico. Two were found where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death south of Tucson in December 2010.
A number of illegal straw purchasers have been indicted, and two others are charged in Terry's slaying.
Issa and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, contend that they have received far more documents from ATF whistle-blowers than have been turned over by the Justice Department.
"The department's refusal to work with Congress to ensure that such a mistake [as Fast and Furious] is never repeated is inexcusable and cannot stand," said a copy of the draft report obtained by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau. "Those responsible for allowing Fast and Furious to proceed and those who are preventing the truth about the operation from coming out must be held accountable for their actions."
Holder has sharply denied that he or other Justice Department officials were aware that the ATF purposely allowed illegal weapons to circulate on the border. As soon as he learned of the "gun-walking tactics" used in Fast and Furious, he said, he called for a Justice Department inspector general investigation.
The contempt citation maneuver has been applied in the past. During the Clinton administration, the Republican-controlled House oversight panel voted Atty. Gen. Janet Reno in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena related to campaign finance law violations. During the George W. Bush administration, the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee and the full House voted two top administration officials in contempt for not cooperating in the scandal over the political firing of several U.S. attorneys.
Issa's draft report outlines evidence collected by the committee that contends some top Justice Department officials knew the ATF had allowed about 2,500 guns to be illegally purchased in Arizona — guns that were later "walked" to Mexican drug cartels.
The draft describes a 2010 meeting in the office of then-acting Deputy Atty. Gen. Gary G. Grindler in which charts were presented showing 31 people had illegally paid cash for 1,026 weapons. Also shown were the locations of "stash houses" before the weapons were moved to Mexico.
"Despite receiving all this information ... Grindler did not order Fast and Furious to be shut down, nor did he follow up with ATF or his staff about the investigation," the draft says.
Grindler, however, has told congressional investigators that he was not advised at the meeting about the unusual tactics used by ATF agents in allowing the guns to be illegally sold under Fast and Furious.
More From The LA Times
April 30th, 2012
UK Daily Mail
By Toby Harnden
Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.
The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’.
In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Mr Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed.
Besides the ad, the White House is marking the first anniversary of the SEAL Team Six raid that killed bin Laden inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with a series of briefings and an NBC interview in the Situation Room designed to highlight the ‘gutsy call’ made by the President.
Scroll down for video
Taking credit: President Obama has used bin Laden's death as a campaign tool
Mr Obama used a news conference today to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mr Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let bin Laden live.
‘I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,’ Mr Obama said. ‘If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it.’
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice - it was a broader team effort.’
Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that MR Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’
Target: Bin Laden, pictured in his compound in Pakistan, was killed a year ago
Mission: Senior figures gathered to watch Navy SEALs invade the compound
Mr Obama has faced criticism even from allies about his decision to make a campaign ad about the bin Laden raid. Arianna Huffington, an outspoken liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.
She told CBS: ‘We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It's one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room... all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.’
Campaigning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mr Romney responded to a shouted question by a reporter by saying: ‘Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.’
A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.
‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.
‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’
Rival: Mr Obama has questioned whether Mitt Romney would have done the same
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
Mr Kyle added: ‘He's trying to say that Romney wouldn't have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it's going to get him some pretty good mileage.’
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.
‘In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.’
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL who spent 13 years on active duty and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: ‘Bush should get partial credit for putting the system in place.
‘Obama inherited a very robust package with regards to special ops and the intelligence community. But Obama deserves credit because he got bin Laden – you can’t take that away from him.
‘My friends that work in Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that have been on video teleconferences with Obama on these kill or capture situations say that Obama has no issue whatsoever with making decisions and typically it's kill. He’s hitting the kill button every time. I have a lot of respect for him for that.’
But he said that many SEALs were dismayed about the amount of publicity the Obama administration had generated about SEAL Team Six, the very existence of which is highly classified.
‘The majority of the SEALs I know are really proud of the operation but it does become “OK, enough is enough – we’re ready to get back to work and step out of the limelight.” They don’t want to be continuously paraded around a global audience like a show dog.
‘Obama has a very good relationship with the Special Operations community at large, especially the SEALs, and it’s nice to see. We had the same relationship with George W. Bush when he was president.’
It was ‘stretching a little much’ for Mr Obama to suggest only he would have made the decision. ‘I personally I don't think Romney would have any problem making tough decisions. He got a very accomplished record of making decision as a business professional.
‘He may not have charisma but he clearly has leadership skills. I don’t think he'd have any problem taking that decision.’
Clint Bruce, who gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer before retiring as a lieutenant after nine years, said: ‘We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate.
‘It’s a waste of time to speculate about who would and wouldn’t have made that decision. It was a symphony of opportunity and intelligence that allowed this administration to give the green light. We want to acknowledge that they made that decision.
‘Politicians should let the public know where they stand on national security but not in the play-by-play, detailed way that has been done recently. The intricacies of national security should not become part of stump speeches.’
April 30th, 2012
From the CNN Political Unit
CR NOTE: Uh, let's be clear, OBAMA did not make this "gutsy call." See Admiral McRaven...
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama on Monday appeared to call out Mitt Romney over what he said about going after Osama bin Laden on the campaign trail four years ago, as opposed to on the eve of the first anniversary of the raid that killed the terrorist leader.
Asked about Romney's comments earlier in the day that the decision to go after bin Laden was a clear one and that "even Jimmy Carter would" have made the call, Obama referred to a difference between what Romney said during his 2008 presidential campaign and on the eve of the first anniversary of the attack.
"I assume that people meant what they said when they said it," Obama said during a joint appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. "That's been at least my practice. I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did. If there are others who said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, I'd go ahead and let them explain."
Obama also appeared to take exception with a reporter's question that suggested there was excessive celebration around the anniversary of the al Qaeda leader's death, repeating a charge that Republicans have made."I hardly think that you've seen any excessive celebration taking place," Obama said. "I think that the American people likely remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens."
Romney's spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, responded in a statement that Obama was using the anniversary of bin Laden's death as "a cheap political ploy" that she said distorted Romney's policies on fighting terrorism.
"While the Obama administration has naively stated that 'the war on terror is over,' Gov. Romney has always understood we need a comprehensive plan to deal with the myriad threats America faces," Saul said.
U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011 during a raid in Pakistan.
The war of words around the bin Laden death anniversary started last week when Obama's campaign made it an issue in a Web ad that questioned whether Romney would make the same call in the Oval Office. Former President Bill Clinton narrates parts of the video, in which he praises Obama's decision to order the attack. It also points out Romney saying in 2007 that, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." Days later, he said, "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."
Asked by a reporter at an event Monday morning whether he would have made the call, Romney said "of course" he would have. "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order."
Surrogates took up the argument over the bin Laden raid on the Sunday talk shows.
Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs defended the campaign, while senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie characterized it as a "bridge too far."
Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, said the video was "not over the line" and criticized comments Romney made on the issue during his first White House bid as "foolish."
"There's a difference in the roles they would play as commander in chief, and I certainly think that's fair game," Gibbs said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Gillespie, a former aide to President George W. Bush and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said using the raid for political purposes is one of the reasons Obama has "become one of the most divisive presidents in American history."
"He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans, and he's managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack," Gillespie said in a separate interview on the same NBC program. "I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign."
Arizona Sen. John McCain, Obama's 2008 opponent, called the minute-long spot "a cheap political attack ad."
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan avoided politics and praised the president's decision-making skills on the talk shows and in an address Monday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
"One year ago today, President Obama faced the scenario that he discussed here at the Wilson Center five years ago, and he did not hesitate to act," he said.
"The death of bin Laden was our most strategic blow yet against al Qaeda," Brennan said. "Credit for that success belongs to the courageous forces who carried out that mission, at extraordinary risk to their lives; to the many intelligence professionals who pieced together the clues that led to bin Laden's hideout; and to President Obama, who gave the order to go in."
Vice President Joe Biden previewed the theme in a Thursday campaign-style address.
"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive," he said during a speech at New York University.
Clinton appeared in a fundraiser with Obama on Sunday night, characterizing Romney as "an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before -- on steroids. Which will get you the same consequences you got before -- on steroids."
Obama will pick up the message with what the campaign has billed as his re-election kick-off Saturday. He is expected to attend campaign rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia, two likely battleground states in the November election.
He cited Ronald Reagan on Monday as he rallied building trade union members, trying to draw a distinction between the conservative icon and the Republican Party that the president is running against now.
"Ronald Reagan once said that rebuilding our infrastructure is common sense; an investment in tomorrow that we need to make today," Obama told the Building and Construction Trades Department Legislative Conference. "Ronald Reagan said that -- that great socialist Ronald Reagan said that. Couldn't get through a Republican primary these days."
Biden will attend campaign events in Missouri and Indiana on Monday and in Washington on Thursday.
Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, said that Saturday will mark the end of the Republican "monologue."
Romney's campaign, meanwhile, announced that its candidate will mark the anniversary of the bin Laden raid in an event with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was dubbed "America's mayor" for his response in the days after bin Laden's 9/11 attacks against the U.S.
Romney's Jimmy Carter comments came at an event in New Hampshire with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, another of those believed to be on Romney's vice president candidate search list. The freshman senator was an early backer of Romney's and appeared with him repeatedly on the stump ahead of her state's primary.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida got the VP scrutiny treatment last week when he appeared with Romney in Pennsylvania. Many political observers see Rubio as the favorite for Romney's vice presidential pick, given his ties to the swing state of Florida, the Hispanic community (he is the son of Cuban immigrants) and members of the grassroots tea party movement.
Rubio was one of three potential candidates mentioned by House Speaker John Boehner in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." Boehner said there is a "long list" of qualified candidates for the GOP ticket, including Rubio, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, all of whom fit his criteria that the pick be capable of serving as president.
Romney will spend much of the coming week fundraising, with events in Pennsylvania and Virginia. He is expected to meet with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Friday, a long-awaited rendezvous, given that the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania has yet to endorse his party's presumptive nominee.
Santorum danced around the issue last week with CNN's Piers Morgan during his first televised interview since he suspended his candidacy on April 10.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to announce the suspension of his campaign Wednesday, at which point he will back Romney, sources told CNN.
April 30th, 2012
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY
The number of babies born addicted to the class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers has nearly tripled in the past decade, according to the first national study of its kind.
About 3.4 of every 1,000 infants born in a hospital in 2009 suffered from a type of drug withdrawal commonly seen in the babies of pregnant women who abuse narcotic pain medications, the study says. It's published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
That's about 13,539 infants a year, or one drug-addicted baby born every hour, says the study's lead author, Stephen Patrick, a fellow in neonatal-perinatal medicine at the University of Michigan.
Treating drug-addicted newborns, most of whom are covered by the publicly financed Medicaid program, cost $720 million in 2009, the study says.
The country has an obligation to help these newborns, who "have made no choices around drug abuse and addiction" and are "the most vulnerable and the most blameless" members of society, says Marie Hayes, psychology professor at the University of Maine, who was not involved in the study.
Unlike in the 1980s and 1990s, when hospitals saw a surge in babies born addicted to crack cocaine, many newborns today arrive hooked on powerful prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, Patrick says. The type of withdrawal Patrick studied, called neonatal abstinence syndrome, produces different symptoms from those caused by cocaine. The syndrome also can be caused by illegal opiates, such as heroin, Patrick says, but this surge in addicted babies probably is explained by the national "epidemic" of prescription drug abuse.
The number of pregnant women who used or abused narcotic painkillers increased fivefold from 2000 to 2009, his study found. These mothers now account for 5.6 out of 1,000 hospital births a year, the study found. The findings also were presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Boston.
"The prevalence of drug use among pregnant women hasn't changed since the early 2000s," says Andreea Creanga, a researcher with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noting about 4.5% of pregnant women use illegal drugs. "But the types of drugs that women are using is changing."
The CDC has flagged prescription painkiller abuse as a major health threat, noting that these drugs now cause more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. And the problem is getting worse. The death rate from overdoses in 2007 — 12 deaths per 100,000 people — was roughly three times higher than in 1991, a CDC report in November showed. Most of that increase came from prescription drugs.
Many of these mothers tell their doctors they didn't realize prescription painkillers could harm their babies, perhaps because the drugs are technically legal, says Mark Hudak, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics who wrote the group's 2012 clinical report on newborn withdrawal. Other mothers are addicted when they become pregnant and simply unable to quit, he says.
Babies born in withdrawal are often born small and are at a higher risk of death than other infants, Patrick says. Doctors try to relieve the pain of surviving babies by treating them with methadone, a narcotic painkiller commonly used to treat heroin addicts. Doctors reduce the dose slowly over weeks to avoid causing sudden withdrawal symptoms, Patrick says.
Doctors and nurses sometimes can tell which babies are going through withdrawal from the hallway, without even seeing them, simply by hearing their cries, Patrick says. These babies are irritable and hard to console, with stiff, rigid muscles that won't relax. They have tremors, seizures and breathing problems. They have trouble feeding and resist taking a bottle. They throw up frequently and produce watery diarrhea. "It's like a colicky baby times 10," Patrick says.
Sometimes, these babies are exposed to multiple drugs in the womb, from tobacco and alcohol to antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, says Howard Heiman, associate chief of the neonatal intensive care unit at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York. Researchers need to find better ways to treat drug-addicted mothers and to identify and treat addicted babies as early as possible.
Some states have been hit harder than others, Hayes says, particularly those with high rates of rural poverty, such as Maine and Kentucky. In Florida, the number of babies with withdrawal syndrome soared from 354 in 2006 to 1,374 in 2010, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. In response, Florida's attorney general has convened a task force to address the problem of drug-addicted newborns.