Obama Campaign Slogan “Forward” Tied To Socialism And Marxism Throughout 19th And 20th Centuries

April 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – 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.

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Cops Promise Their Will Be Drones Flying In US

April 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Look up. Drones are “certainly” coming to the skies over the Beltway in the next few years, one area police chief says.

The use of drones in the D.C. area became public information last week, after the Federal Aviation Administration released a list of agencies currently or previously permitted to use the unmanned aerial vehicles. It included many federal departments, such as Agriculture, Homeland Security and Energy as well as local organizations such as Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.

“Drones will certainly have a purpose and a reason to be in this region in the next, coming years,” said Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer, while speaking on WTOP’s “Ask the Chief” program on Monday. “Just as a standpoint as an alternative for spotting traffic and sending information back to our VDOT Smart Traffic centers, and being able to observe backups.”

The use of drones over U.S. soil has some in Congress concerned about Americans’ privacy rights.

“The potential for invasive surveillance of daily activities with drone technology is high,” wrote Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., in an April 19 letter to FAA. “We must ensure that as drones take flight in domestic airspace, they don’t take off without privacy protections for those along their flight path.”

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said in the same letter he “proudly suppported” the FAA Modernization and Reform Act that allowed for the domestic use of drones. There are many institutions in his home state that the FAA has cleared for done use, including Texas A&M University, and the police forces in the city of Arlington outside Dallas-Fort Worth and in Montgomery County near Houston.

“However, if used improperly or unethically, drones could endanger privacy and I want to make sure that risk is taken into consideration,” he said.

The police chief of Prince William County, Va., which neighbors Fairfax, is not as focused on the prospect of the alternative monitoring system.

“I really haven’t studied them that much,” says Police Chief Charlie Dean. “I’m sure they’re valuable to some degree, but I don’t know about their capabilities.”

The police chiefs also discussed their officers’ involvement in seeking out illegal immigrants.

Prince William County has received national attention for its aggressive policy of checking the immigration status of every person arrested.

Victims of crimes and witnesses are exempt from such questioning, Deane said Monday. He supported the policy as “fair, lawful and reasonable.”

Upon learning that an arrested person is an illegal immigrant, Prince William police officers then turn over their information to federal authorities, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Fairfax County officers are not required to ask about immigration status after making an arrest, says Rohrer, though officers are trained to ask if they suspect someone might be in the country illegally.

“We are not a sanctuary,” he says.

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New Mobile Application Allows Travelers To Immediately Report Harassment Or Mistreatment By TSA Agents

April 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — A Sikh advocacy group launched a free mobile application Monday that allows travelers to complain immediately to the government if they feel they’ve been treated unfairly by airport screeners.

Launched at midnight by The Sikh Coalition, the FlyRights app had fielded two complaints by 10 a.m. EDT Monday.

The first complaint came from a woman who said she felt mistreated after she disclosed to a screener that she was carrying breast milk. A man who is Sikh filed the second complaint, saying he was subjected to extra security even though he had not set off any alarms. The woman’s complaint was based on gender and the man’s, religion, said coalition program director Amardeep Singh.

Singh said the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration were notified of the app before its launch. The agencies agreed to allow the app to use the agencies’ system for submitting the complaints.

TSA said in a statement that it does not profile passengers on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion and is continually working with communities, including The Sikh Coalition, “to help us understand unique passenger concerns.” The agency said it supports “efforts to gather passenger feedback about the screening process.”

The app, available for iPhone and Android phones, was conceived in response to complaints from Sikhs in the U.S, who since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are routinely subjected to additional inspection, Singh said. Some are made to remove their turbans, which Sikhs wear for religious reasons, Singh said.

The app is intended for everyone who feels they are racially profiled or subjected to other unfair treatment. It is also intended to provide better data on how often such incidents occur.

In light of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, immigration laws in Alabama and Arizona, and the anniversary of the Rodney King trial “it has never been more readily apparent how the practice of racial profiling impacts all Americans,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The conference helped launch the app.

After completing screening, a person can go to the app and click on the “report” button. The app will automatically fill in the person’s name, phone number and email address. The app asks questions such as race and name of airport, as well as the basis of the complaint, such as religion or gender. It has “submit” and “share” buttons to post on social media that a complaint was filed. The app also contains information on rights of passengers and TSA procedures.

The Sikh Coalition gets hundreds of complaints of unfair treatment and profiling, Singh said. By contrast, he said, the Department of Homeland Security said in its last report to Congress on civil rights and civil liberties that 11 people in the U.S. submitted complaints in the first six month of 2011.

“My hope is that this app will exponentially increase the number of complaints filed with the TSA, flood the system so they get that this is a problem. For too long the Transportation Security Administration has been able to tell Congress this is not an issue, nobody’s complaining,” Singh said.

Passengers can ask to speak to supervisors or customer support managers at an airport, contact the TSA Contact Center, submit feedback through “Talk-to-TSA” online or file a civil rights complaint through its website, the agency said.

Prabhjit Singh, a motivational speaker, said he has been profiled 30 times, starting in Feb. 2007 when he was taking an early morning flight from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to Alabama. In that incident, he was told he had to go through a mandatory pat-down of his turban, even though he had not set off the detector. But after asking for information on the TSA policy, a supervisor told him he could not fly, he said.

“Out of those 30 incidents, I have not yet been able to take myself and write down all the information I needed to and been able to convey that to the Sikh Coalition. This app will allow me to do that,” said Prabhjit Singh, who is not related to Amardeep Singh.

“When I sat down on that airplane, after that experience, I looked around at everybody else … and I thought, they did not have to go through what I had to go through to get on this airplane,” he said.

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Dallas Texas Police Officer Rafael Mendoza Arrested And Suspended After Shooting At A Car – Suspended Last Month After Attacking His Girlfriend

April 30, 2012

DALLAS, TEXAS – A Dallas police officer, arrested over the weekend for allegedly firing a gun at another vehicle, received a five-day suspension last month over a prior family violence case after the alleged victim decision not to prosecute, police officials said Monday.

In July 2011, Officer Rafael Mendoza was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and unlawful restraint after his girlfriend alleged he knocked her to the ground, handcuffed her and threatened to send her to prison.

Mendoza’s girlfriend later signed an affidavit of non-prosecution so the charges were not filed, police said.

The department’s internal affairs investigators later concluded that Mendoza precipitated, caused or escalated a domestic disturbance and was untruthful to a supervisor. He received a five-day suspension on March 1.

He also was on administrative leave from July 31 until March 1. He has now been put back on administrative leave as a result of the incident that occurred early Sunday, which my colleague Melissa Repko detailed in this blog item.

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Windsor Ontario Police Officer Det. David Van Buskirk Pleads Guilty After Brutally Beating Blind Doctor

April 29, 2012

WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA – CBC News has obtained video that shows a Windsor, Ont., police officer beating a doctor who is legally blind.

Det. David Van Buskirk, who attacked Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan on April 22, 2010, pleaded guilty Thursday to assault causing bodily harm.

Video cameras at the Jackson Park Health Centre captured the beating, although much of the physical altercation is slightly out of frame. Afterwards, Van Buskirk wrote in his report that the doctor “”immediately reached out and grabbed my throat and pushed me backward.”

In pleading guilty, Van Buskirk admitted that Abouhassan “did not strike him at all.” He also confirmed that all of the doctor’s reaction “was in lawful resistance to being assaulted by the accused.”
David Van Buskirk has pleaded guilty to assault.David Van Buskirk has pleaded guilty to assault. (CBC News)

Julian Falconer, the lawyer representing Abouhassan, told CBC News that “in the face of denials by this officer and allegations that my client attacked, I think it’s essential that the public see this.”

Abouhassan, who is legally blind, suffered a broken nose, bruised ribs, a torn eyelid and detached retina in the beating.

Adding insult to injury, he was subsequently charged with assaulting a peace officer following the initial investigation by Windsor police, including Det.-Sgts. Paul Bridgeman and Patrick Keane.

Bridgeman watched the video between eight and 10 times before endorsing assault charges against Abouhassan, according to the office of the independent review director.

Both Bridgeman and Keane were charged with discreditable conduct for trying to prevent Abouhassan from filing criminal charges against Van Buskirk. Both were later exonerated.

Falconer said this case is the poster child for the failure of the police disciplinary hearings and a huge embarrassment for Windsor police.

“This was a vicious beating of an innocent doctor-turned-cover-up-turned-conspiracy, pure and simple. And our discipline apparatus couldn’t do a thing about it,” Falconer said.

Abouhassan has filed a lawsuit seeking more that $14 million in damages from the Windsor Police Department, seven of its officers and Smith, the former chief.

Van Buskirk is due to be sentenced on the assault charge Wednesday. Acting police chief Al Frederick has reserved comment until then.

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Newark New Jersey Airport Terminal Shut Down And Passengers Evacuated After Baby Slips Through Security

April 29, 2012

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – A terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport was shut down for over an hour Friday after officials discovered that a baby hadn’t been properly screened, Transportation Security Administration officials said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, described the incident as a security breach that occurred at around 1:15 p.m. at a security checkpoint. Terminal C was evacuated and passengers had to go through security screening again.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said a mother and baby went through a metal detector when the machine sounded an alarm. The mother handed the child to the father, who had already been screened. The mother was cleared, but the baby hadn’t been properly screened. The parents and baby left the checkpoint and headed to their gate, Farbstein said.

TSA officers searched for the family in the secure area of the terminal and notified Port Authority police as per protocol, but they emphasized that it was a low-risk situation, Farbstein said.

A TSA official said they had explained the circumstances of the breach to the Port Authority police and recommended against evacuating the terminal since it was a low-risk situation.

Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman, said that it took the TSA more than 30 minutes to notify police of the lapse and that officers “took immediate action to make sure the breach did not endanger passengers or our facility.”

“We’re not going to second-guess a real-time decision made by our police department to err on the side of caution and protect passenger safety,” he said.

The terminal and checkpoint were closed from 1:30 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

Passenger Jennifer Pallanich said she was on a Houston-bound flight scheduled to depart at about 2 p.m. and boarding had been completed, but because of the breach, the passengers had to evacuate and go through security screening again.

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US Government The Biggest Problem For US Economy

April 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Government has become its own worst enemy when it comes to the economy, with public spending putting a damper on growth that otherwise continues at a steady if unspectacular pace.

Friday’s gross domestic product report confirmed what a drag government can be: While consumer spending grew at a 2.9 percent clip, state and local governments cut back spending by 1.2 percent on an annualized basis and the federal government pulled back by 5.6 percent.

As a result, the GDP [cnbc explains] number showed just a 2.2 percent improvement. The report disappointed economists, some of whom had the number as high as 3 percent and beyond, and cast an uncertain future on a stock market dependent on Federal Reserve stimulus for growth.

“None of this is all that surprising, so where is the miss?” wondered Brown Brothers Harriman global currency strategist Marc Chandler, after noting some fairly pedestrian and in-line quarterly growth results. “Contrary to what passes as conventional wisdom, the main drag is coming from the government itself.”

Before anyone starts thinking that Washington suddenly has gotten religion on spending, the bulk of the federal government cuts came from defense spending, which plunged 8.1 percent.

State and local governments, facing the necessity to balance their budgets against declining revenue (not to mention the specter of Meredith Whitney’s muni bond default forecast) likely will continue to cut, though that’s not as certain with their federal counterpart. Washington’s drop in spending came after a 19.1 percent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2011.

“The government spending plunge is unlikely to repeat for a third quarter (in 2012 at least) and an inventory drag in 2Q only masks moderate demand gains,” Citigroup economist Steven C. Wieting said. “But the 1Q GDP data should limit remaining optimism that U.S. economic growth will accelerate significantly this year.”

So what does this all mean?

Investors are watching the Federal Reserve [cnbc explains] closely for signs that the U.S. central bank might step in and provide more stimulus once Operation Twist ends in June.

The Fed currently is buying long-dated bonds and selling shorter-dated notes in an effort to stimulate risk and drive down lending costs. At the same time, it is rolling over the $2.8 trillion already on its balance sheet in the form of Treasurys as well as mortgage and other debt.

Some are hoping that Chairman Ben Bernanke and Co. will be willing to step in with a third round of balance sheet expansion — quantitative easing [cnbc explains] — to keep goosing the market through the economic trudge. But the GDP progress, halting as it is, likely will forestall if not completely derail QE3 prospects.

It’s all part of “Bad Goldilocks” phenomenon, in which the economy doesn’t grow quickly enough to inspire confidence but moves just enough to keep the Fed at bay. Central bank critics worry that all the liquidity efforts will spur inflation, not to mention uncertainty over what happens once the Fed has to start unwinding all that debt it is holding.

Also remember: Out there not so far in the future is the “fiscal cliff” of which Bernanke has warned will appear if Congress cannot agree on deficit reduction and thus face an automatic round of steep spending cuts and tax increases at the end of 2012.

“Enthusiasm for equities is likely to be curbed by a turn in the US profit cycle, an absence of additional unconventional monetary stimulus from the Fed and a renewed flare-up of the crisis in the euro-zone,” John Higgins, senior market economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

“The latter should weigh particularly heavily on stock markets in the region, even though valuations are now low from a historical perspective and relative to the US,” he added.

Indeed, there’s a lot not to like about an economy that relies on government spending as its primary growth engine. Just ask anyone in Europe.

Ostensibly, the U.S. economy is consumer-driven, with private spending amounting to 70 percent of GDP. But several economists doubted that the robust 2.9 percent spending increase in the first quarter could last, raising further questions about where we go from here.

“We assumed that growth would be driven primarily by final demand, but, inventories contributed 0.6 (percentage points) to GDP, putting real final sales at a weak 1.6 percent annualized growth rate,” said Neil Dutta, U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Moreover, the strength in consumer spending and contribution from motor vehicle output look unlikely to repeat in future quarters.”

Government policymakers, then, face a dicey dilemma: Continue spending and risk falling further into the fiscal abyss, or cut back and deal with a prolonged future of uninspiring GDP numbers.

“The dagger (from the GDP letdown) came from a second straight steep drop in federal government spending due to plunging defense outlays,” observed Pierpont economist Stephen Stanley. “Boy, wait until these budget cuts start to kick in.”

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