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Archive for June 2008

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Edge of Disaster

Thousands Continue to Suffer as Burma Tragedy Slips From the Headlines

June 30th 2008

Disaster - Burma Food Line
Burma Victims in Food Line

Almost two months after Cyclone Nargis ripped through Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta region, leaving tens of thousands of people dead or homeless, thousands continue to suffer with little or no relief.

Burma’s military regime followed its initial decision to restrict and obstruct the delivery of aid with new regulations which serve only to further impede humanitarian efforts.

Only 1.3 million of the estimated 2.4 million people affected by the cyclone have been reached by international aid agencies, and only a few hundred foreign aid experts have been allowed into the country – and even fewer into the worst-affected areas.

For a few weeks, the crisis in Burma dominated the headlines. For a short time, the US, Great Britain, and France had naval vessels anchored off Burma’s coast, poised to go in with aid supplies. The talk was of whether the UN’s much-trumpeted "Responsibility to Protect" principle could be exercised. For a brief moment, the idea of military intervention on humanitarian grounds looked – for the first time – like a possibility. The British Government said no option was off the table, and the French appeared to be leading the charge.

Read more ..

The LNG Threat

Liquefied Natural Gas: A Growing Economic Target?

June 30th 2008

Energy / Environment - LNG Tanker
LNG tanker at sea

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is more than just a potential weapon of mass destruction in the right locale. It also offers terrorists an awesome economic target wherever in the world it can be found--even on the high seas.

During a March 21, 2007 hearing, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, of the second district of Mississippi, observed that although it is important to consider the dangers of LNG, it is equally important to try to assess the economic impacts that an LNG incident might incur. “…Terrorists would just as well like to keep a port out of business for a week or two and that would be an absolutely significant incident… So, I think part of our challenge is how we look at all the consequences associated with the handling of LNG. Clearly, we want to know the hazards initially, but we also want to look at economic conditions that relate to it.”

The variables that would affect the economic impact are too numerous to make such a predetermined calculation possible. Additionally, as time passes and the role of LNG grows worldwide, the potential impact of a terrorist attack on these tankers or terminals increases. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), LNG imports comprised only three percent of overall natural gas consumption in the U.S. in 2005. Energy analysts expect LNG imports into the U.S. to increase by 8.7 percent annually through 2030. Conversely, natural gas piped in from Canada, which is the number one source of imported natural gas to the U.S., is expected to decrease by 4.6 percent. At this rate, by 2030, approximately 17 percent of all natural gas required to meet U.S. consumption needs, will be supplied via LNG imports.  Read more ..


The Politics of Energy

New Battery Technology “In the Works” Years Before McCain’s $300 Million Proposal to Award a “Breakthrough”

June 30th 2008

Politics - John McCain

RELATED STORIES:

Electric Vehicle--The Immediate Years Ahead

Shai Agassi's Electric Car Plan Good Enough to “Wipe out Gasoline Cars” Says Deutsche Bank

 

The $300 million incentive plan proposed by John McCain to motivate the “development of a battery package that possesses the size, capacity, cost, and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrid or electric cars,” has been scoffed at by politicos and energy experts alike.

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama said the $300 million award is nothing more than “bounty” for some “rocket scientist” to claim. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the specifics would be introduced and made policy if McCain is elected. McCain wants Americans to understand that yet to be discovered approaches can help solve America’s dependence on oil, he said.

But experts such as Edwin Black, author of Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives, publicly declared that the candidate did not seem to be aware of more than a century of existing battery technology waiting to be resurrected. In an interview with FOXNews.com, Black criticized McCain’s proposal for lack specifics. “As of now, there is no proposal,” he said, “A battery? For what car?” Black continued, “The money could already be put into manufacturing the many existing battery designs waiting for a boost—if the government wanted to.” The author equally criticized both presidential candidates. Weaning America off oil immediately in months, not years, should be the goal, Black said, and neither Obama nor McCain has offered a program to accomplish that. Read more ..


Iran`s Nukes

American Jewish Communal Leader’s Message to the People of Iran

June 30th 2008

Jewish Topics - Malcolm Hoenlein
Malcolm Hoenlein

I welcome this opportunity to speak to the Iranian people. As the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, I want to tell you that we have no issue with the Iranian people. We want to see you prosper and your country develop. We want to renew the close relationship that once existed between Iran and the United States, and Iran, Israel and many countries around the world. It is regrettable that you have a leadership that does not care about your welfare and the conditions under which you live. Rather, your leadership exploits Iranian citizens in its quest for extremist goals driven by radical ideological commitments that are not consistent with the interests of the people of Iran, or the stability of the region in which Iran finds itself.

We know that the vast majority of people of Iran do not support President Ahmadinejad and the extremist goals that he seeks, or his Holocaust denial, the denigration of minorities or segments within your country, or the hatred that he expressed for other religious groups. That has not been the tradition of the people of Iran and we know that it does not reflect your sentiments. We want to work with you, help you, and support your efforts to achieve a better life, have a government that truly reflects your priorities, your interests, and can help contribute to a different kind of region in the Middle East--and a better world at large.

What is happening in Iran now is a diversion of national resources from education and healthcare, and from meeting the needs of the citizens of Iran, to this singular effort to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity at any cost, in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions. They have driven those who advocated diplomacy and dialogue to support more and more stringent resolutions that negatively impact the economy of your country. Hundreds of billions of dollars have flowed out of Iran to the Gulf states and elsewhere. Iran, according to the World Bank, is suffering the greatest brain drain in history with hundreds of thousands of educated Iranians leaving and a total population loss of ten percent. Read more ..


The Politics of Energy

Washington's War on Energy

June 30th 2008

Politics - Lincoln Headshot

Most Americans have little faith in the federal government to represent their interests. Who can blame them, when their fears are constantly affirmed by Washington’s shenanigans? According to polls, presidential and congressional approval ratings are hovering around an all time low. Just 17 percent of American voters believe the federal government represents the will of the people.

That this skepticism is well placed is bad news for citizens who are looking to Washington to solve the problem of rising fuel and energy prices. It’s even more dire news for Americans on fixed and limited incomes.

With energy prices already skyrocketing, federal lawmakers wreaked more havoc by trying to pass heavy-handed regulatory legislation known simply as “cap and trade.” The legislation would impose stringent emission limits on energy and manufacturing industries. At the same time, many environmentalists admit that the legislation would have little to no impact on climate change. However, the bill would greatly increase hidden taxes and costs on consumers. The poor and middle class would be hardest hit.

The religious left and even some evangelicals are supportive of the legislation, rallying around a supposed “green” policy at the expense of the economically marginalized. With their support come odd statements like this one from the Rev. Jim Ball of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, “We agree that a cap-and-trade policy will spur innovation and will create new markets.” But even many expert economists who support cap and trade admit that it will have a negative effect on the economy. Read more ..


Terrorism on the Internet

Battle of the Taliban Bloggers Could Alter Counterinsurgency Efforts in Afghanistan

June 30th 2008

Islamic Topics - Taliban
Taliban leaders

Islamic extremists who regularly post messages to a pro-al-Qaida website in Egypt are accusing Afghanistan's Taliban of straying from the path of global jihad. Prominent Taliban have responded by lashing back with criticism of their own.

The development suggests a rift is emerging between the Taliban leadership and religious extremists in the Arab world - including the al-Qaida network that the Taliban had hosted in Afghanistan while it planned the 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks in the US. Such a break could affect Afghan government efforts to convince Taliban fighters to lay down their weapons and peacefully resolve their differences with officials, which could in turn influence whether non-Afghan al-Qaida fighters continue to be welcomed among the Taliban.

Internet criticisms of the Taliban follow a February statement from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar announcing that his movement wants to maintain positive and "legitimate" relations with countries neighboring Afghanistan. Read more ..


The Oil Weapon

Thinking Outside the Barrel About OPEC and the Oil Weapon

June 30th 2008

Energy / Environment - Arab Oil Derick

About 10 years ago, al-Qaeda's leader, Usama bin Laden, stated that his target price for oil was $144 a barrel, and that the American people, who allegedly robbed the Muslim people of their oil, owe every Muslim $30,000 in back payments.

At the time, $144 a barrel seemed farfetched. As of this writing, bin Laden was a mere $8 per barrel short of his target. Indeed, the economic warfare component of the global campaign against the West has undeniably been a resounding success for the jihadist movement. This has deep implications for the West and its ability to prevail in the long war of the 21st century.

The U.S., deeply embroiled in a struggle against radical Islam, nuclear proliferation, and totalitarianism, now faces difficult realities. Relations with the Muslim world are at an all-time low, but more than 70 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and over a third of the production are concentrated in Muslim countries. The theocratic and dictatorial regimes that most strongly resist America's efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East are the dominant forces in the world oil economy. While the U.S. economy bleeds, oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran—both sponsors of radical Islam—have enjoyed staggering windfalls. In 2006, the United States spent about $260 billion on foreign crude oil and refined petroleum products. This year, the figure could surpass $500 billion, the equivalent of our defense budget. As bin Laden had hoped, Muslim oil producers are taxing every American man, woman, and child. Read more ..


Inside Islam

Indonesia Cracks Down on Minority Religious Groups

June 30th 2008

Contributors / Staff - Joe Griebowski headshot
Joseph Grieboski

The Indonesian government has halted all religious activities of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, handing a victory to Islamic extremists and tarnishing Indonesia's reputation as a moderate, pluralistic Muslim nation.

The decree, approved June 10 by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, falls short of an outright ban on Ahmadis, but orders them to stop practicing their faith and "return to mainstream Islam." Ahmadis now face arrest for practicing their beliefs. About 5,000 members of the hard-line group United for Islam demonstrated outside the presidential palace the day the ban was signed.

On June 1, extremists attacked an interfaith rally supporting Ahmadiyya, injuring dozens of people. Extremists have been demonstrating by the thousands in Jakarta over the last few months, and on April 28 some torched an Ahmadiyya mosque in Sukabumi, Western Java.

Since the influential and state-supported Council of the Indonesian Ulama issued a 2005 fatwa that banned the Ahmadiyya, violence, threats and vandalism against the group's estimated 200,000 followers in the country have increased. The Ahmadiyya endure official and societal discrimination simply for believing that leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who founded the movement in 1889, was a prophet.

President Yudhoyono has been caught between moderates and extremists in this battle for Indonesia's democratic character. By caving in to extremists, he has abdicated the state's responsibility to respect its citizens' freedom of conscience, while effectively condoning religious violence. Other religious minorities, including Christians and Hindus, are now at greater risk for discrimination and persecution.

On June 14 the Indonesian government disregarded a formal agreement with Protestant leaders by demolishing three churches.  The agreement called for the churches to suspend their Sunday religious functions in exchange for not being torn down.  Read more ..


Significant Lives

Remembering Harriet McBryde Johnson—A Woman With All The Spine And Muscle Anyone Could Hope For

June 30th 2008

Obits - Harriet McBryde Johnson
Harriet McBryde Johnson

On June 4, 2008, we lost a great American civil rights leader, Harriet McBryde Johnson. Harriet died at the age of 50 and was a well-known disability and civil rights attorney who fought for the right for life over death for Americans with disabilities.

I could easily write an obituary of Harriet's life as her accomplishments are many. But instead I will do what she would have done—what she always did—and take this opportunity to educate and to further her cause.

Harriet McBryde Johnson, a brilliant attorney, was a woman with spinal muscular atrophy. Her power came from her words, spoken and written, for those who she felt were being denied the choice of living.

In February 2003, Harriet graced the cover of the New York Times Magazine. The article, Unspeakable Conversations, discussed her meeting with Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, who made the inflammatory statement, “It does not seem quite wise to increase any further draining of limited resources by increasing the number of children with disabilities.”

What Singer was advocating was what Harriet railed against. She said, “Singer believes that it should be lawful under some circumstances to kill, at any age, individuals with cognitive impairments [as he considers their condition] so severe that he doesn’t consider them persons.”

“He simply thinks it would have been better, all things considered, to have given my parents the option of killing the baby I once was, and to let other parents kill similar babies as they come along and thereby avoid the suffering that comes with lives like mine, and satisfy the reasonable preferences of parents for a different kind of child.”

Not one to miss an opportunity, Harriet went to meet with Singer in person to debate the issue of the choice of aborting children with significant disabilities. Read more ..


America's Nazi Nexus

GM and the Nazis--Part Four: How Will History Remember General Motors’ Collaboration with the Nazis?

June 30th 2008

Nazi Era - GM Hitler Banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The epilogue of the tumultuous saga of General Motors during the New Deal and Nazi era is still being written. That saga is the subject of a four-part investigative series that concludes with this story. Thousands of pages of decades’-old documents were scrutinized and re-examined to produce this series, which sheds new light on GM’s relationship with the Third Reich—and on the company’s activities in America. They reveal that even as GM and its president, Alfred P. Sloan, were helping jump-start the resurgent German military, they were undermining the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and undermining America’s electric mass transit, and in doing so helped addict America to oil.

In 1974, a generation after World War II, GM’s controversial history was resurrected by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly. GM and Opel’s collusion with the Nazis dominated the opening portion of the subcommittee’s exhaustively documented study, which mainly focused on the company’s conspiracy to monopolize scores of local mass transit systems in the United States.

The report’s author, Judiciary Committee staff attorney Bradford Snell, used GM’s collaboration with the Third Reich as a moral backdrop to help explain the automakers’ plan in more than 40 cities to subvert popular clean-running electric public transit and convert it to petroleum-burning motor buses. Read more ..


Garlic (New Smyrna Beach)

Sorry, there are no reviews for this Entry.

Perils of LNG Should Be More Widely Discussed

June 30th 2008
I am probably speaking for many in saying that I was unaware of the the role Liquid Nature Gas production and shipment plays in the handbook of America's enemies--both our economic adversaries and terrorists. Your articles on this subject have not only brought this to the forefront for me, but makes me wonder why more in the mainstream media cannot tackle this topic. The fact that these shipments are so well protected does not reassure me as much as confirm just how vulnerable they are.

Grinds and Grounds

Birthplace of Coffee, Ethiopia Grows Into the World of Competitive Branding

June 30th 2008

Food / Wine - Ethiopian coffee

Every day, 15 million Ethiopian farmers awaken in traditional grass huts called gojos and head off to work on coffee farms. They toil hard for the entire day before returning home, having earned about one dollar.

For the roughly one in five Ethiopians who rely on coffee for their livelihood, more money and a higher standard of living could be on the horizon thanks to Ethiopia’s latest effort to secure higher prices for the farmers who cultivate the country’s “black gold.”
 
In addition to being the origin of all humanity, Ethiopia is also the birthplace of coffee. The word coffee is derived from Kaffa—one of many regions within Ethiopia where coffee is grown. Just as Ethiopia is the first country to grow coffee, it is also the first nation to produce and export it.

Though Ethiopia has diversified into other areas such as floriculture and leather processing, coffee exports remain the country’s leading source of foreign exchange. Those exports have helped Ethiopia maintain a 10 percent annual growth rate since 2003, among the fastest in the world—double the average of Africa as a whole. Read more ..


Gotham Bar & Grill (New York City)

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Living with Terror

Sderot Families Stand up to Hamas Missiles - Living 15 Seconds at a Time

June 23rd 2008

 - House hole at Sderot
A Resident of Sderot in Israel

View Video 

Imagine it: a modern under constant attack from invaders; barrages of flaming armaments crashing into the city from the skies, citizens running for cover from the unholy hellfire streaming down. The lives of average citizens are disrupted in a constant torrent of explosions, fires, and only 15 seconds means the difference between life and death.

Warsaw 1939? London 1940?

No, it is today, the tiny town of Sderot, at Israel’s desert edge with Gaza. Men, women and children in this tiny city have all collectively endured Hamas-launched Kassam rocket attacks for eight years. In that time, the city's population – once numbered around 24, 000 – has fallen to just under 19,500. The city is now a fortress or concrete bulwarks. Even bus stops in Sderot are all reinforced cement structures used as shelters when rocket warning alerts go off. Knowing at all times the location of the closest shelter is just part of life here.

As of January 2008, over 8,000 Qassam rockets and more than 2,500 mortar shells have been launched at Sderot. Massive rocket fire against Sderot and the Western Negev started in January 2001, and has continued ceaselessly every day. Read more ..


The Next Mideast War

Washington Planners, Obama and McCain Aides Agree: U.S. Must Prepare for Israeli Strike on Iran's Nukes

June 23rd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Rosner
Shmuel Rosner

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WI) has just published the final version of a report by the Task Force on the Future of U.S.-Israel relations. One fascinating conclusion asserts that achieving peace between Israelis and Arabs while Iran is going nuclear will be difficult. "Moreover, our collective ability to wage peace or prevent conflict will, in many ways, be shaped by the success of Iran's nuclear ambitions."

Giving insight into the pending question of the day, the report is entitled, "How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge." No less insightful is the list endorsing this report: Tony Lake and Susan Rice of the Obama campaign, Vin Weber, James Woolsey of the McCain camp.

The list of endorsers also includes other important people, some of whom are also close to the presidential campaigns. Among them, former counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke, Bob Blackwill of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Senator Bob Kerry and others.

Dennis Ross, former Mideast peace envoy, and Rob Satloff, of the WI, were the two main movers behind the report.

The collective group of Washington thinkers raise some concerns regarding the depth and content of U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. They think this dialogue should be enhanced, especially so because of the challenge Iran poses to both countries.

The gist, in a journalistic headline format is: Obama, McCain advisors agree: US-Israel should discuss preventive military action against Iran. But this is, of course, the simplistic way of describing this document which merits a more nuanced reading.

All signatories agreed upon other points:

The NIE report of Iran was as bad as many people thought it was: "Regrettably, however, the NIE's crediting past efforts to pressure Iran with partial success had the unintended consequence of reducing the sense of urgency for additional pressure. The result is that the prospects for significant strengthening of international resolve to raise the cost to Iran of continuing to pursue objectionable policies in the nuclear field are less hopeful today than they were prior to the publication of the NIE." 

Read more ..

Election Edge

Why a Black Conservative May Now Support Obama But Adds "Allow Me to Elaborate"

June 23rd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong Williams Headshot
Armstrong Williams

Recently, many people watching and listening to my national TV and radio appearances in recent days—from CNN to XM Radio, seem to have developed the impression that any support for Obama from me – or any other black conservative for that matter – is due solely to race. Unfortunately, if anyone thinks there is a concrete Obama vote coming from me, or that I believe the black community should all rally behind and vote for Obama because he is black, they have it wrong. Let me elaborate on what my comments really mean – or rather what they don’t.
 
I do not condone Harvard professor Cornell West who turns blackness into a political ideology. The Illinois senator used to be accused by people like West of “not being black enough.” But apparently he’s now black enough and can identify with black America – which means what? Can he not identify with or represent white America? Even today human slavery and its aftermath remains the stain of American society. No one will argue that the reasons Sunday church service remains segregated is because of how this country once separated its brethren based on race. The same can be said for why they're black and white fraternities; historical black colleges; black engineering societies; the NAACP; National Urban League. The list could goes on.

It would be disingenuous to not acknowledge the ills slavery has wrought on this society.  Many hustlers have used this racial divide to create a thriving industry that continues to flame and focus on the ills of the past and the scant progress achieved over the past decade. While Rev. Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton had no chance of claiming the democratic nomination for president, Senator Barack Obama not only shows the progress of America, but reminds the world that we're still that shining city on the hill offering hope and prosperity around the globe.  Read more ..


Election Edge

Terrorist Rights Ruling Rallying Point for McCain

June 23rd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Ronald Kessler
Ronald Kessler

Conservatives seeking a reason to rally behind John McCain for president need look no further than the Supreme Court’s 54 decision to give foreign enemy combatants the same rights as American citizens to challenge their detention.

Writing for the liberal majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said, The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.

By this reasoning, illegal aliens should be given access to the federal civilian courts to contest their expulsion from the country. Nazi soldiers taken prisoner during World War II and held on American soil should have been allowed to argue their cases in federal court. Instead of shooting terrorists on the battlefield, American soldiers should read them their rights and ship them off to American jails.

In fact, under the majority opinion in Boumediene v. Bush, suspected terrorists are given more rights than our own soldiers are afforded when charged with crimes. Their cases are restricted to the military courts.

The court acknowledged it was the first time it had ruled that noncitizens detained by our government in territory over which another country maintains de jure sovereignty have any rights under our Constitution. It said such a constitutional right can be suspended by Congress only in times of rebellion or invasion.

Justice Kennedy noted that we are not currently under invasion or rebellion. But that has nothing to do with a war overseas. When the Constitution was written, no one envisioned that a non-citizen who is captured overseas and held outside the U.S. could claim the right of habeas corpus to challenge his detention.

What the ruling means is that a large segment of the 270 detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay may have to be let go because soldiers in battle cannot possibly be expected to accumulate the sort of evidence that is expected in a civilian arrest.

Read more ..

Edge on the Cosmos

Pluto’s Identity Crisis Foments Confusion in Classrooms and Bookstores

June 23rd 2008

Science - Plutoid

It’s a planet, it’s a dwarf planet, no…it’s a plutoid!

The journey of Pluto’s identity began in 1930 when astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the small, frigid Kuiper Belt-dwelling oddball that was named Pluto by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and dubbed the solar system’s ninth planet. Pluto, whose orbit around the sun takes 248 Earth years, is orbited by three moons: Charon, Hydra, and Nix. Its temperature is roughly 43 K (-382 degrees Fahrenheit).

For over seven decades children were taught that Pluto was the ninth planet, which is furthest from the sun. Now that has changed.

The IAU voted to reclassify Pluto as a "dwarf planet." Demoting it from its 70-year status as a planet, and placing Pluto in the same category as Eris and Ceres which are considered dwarf planets.

The IAU’s reasoning behind its demotion of Pluto is based on their agreed strict definition of a planet. According to the IAU, a planet: must be in orbit around the Sun; must be large enough that it takes on a nearly spherical shape; and its orbit must clear the orbits of other objects. All three prongs of the planet definition must hold in order for a body to be classified as a planet. This definition was introduced formally by the IAU on August 24th 2006. The third prong of the IAU’s definition is not met by Pluto because of its irregular orbit which causes it to cross the orbit of Neptune. Pluto’s mass is 27% less than that of dwarf planet Eris, which bolstered acceptance of Pluto’s reclassification.

Read more ..

The Myths of LNG Shipping Perpetuated

June 23rd 2008

Your article "Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers Remain Giant Terror Targets" (Page One June 16) does nothing but perpetuate the myths about LNG shipping. The expert witnesses speaking in front of your congress have their own agenda to play up the risk, a risk which frankly is laughable.

The union representatives know nothing of our (UK that is) vetting or monitoring procedures, scaring the US public with visions of floating bombs manned by any Tom, Dick or Harry that choses to board is just so ridiculous I can't believe the politicians don't see through it. No one can sail on board any ship I have ever worked on without an official seaman's registration book issued by their own country and more commonly now the flag state of the ship registration as well. The flag state issues the identification document after verifying the national ID and certification. I (and every other certificated officer in the UK) am subject to a revalidation process every 5 years, the British government has my full history of the 40 years I have spent at sea. We come to the US and suddenly I am a security risk? I am master on one of the largest, latest generation LNG ships scheduled eventually to come to the US and I can tell you I don't like the idea at all.

The United States is the most hated shipping destination in the world, the authorities are inhospitable, the regulations so complex and unforgiving that the smallest mistake in completing a form leads to a fine of more than $25,000 and delays which can quickly end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars more. Furthermore, my ship, like many of the sister vessels being built at the moment, is registered in the Marshall Islands which is US territory and a US 2nd register, we are also classed by ABS the American Bureau of Shipping. Yes my ship is registered with a flag of convenience, with the head office in Richmond, Virginia. True, I'm not a US citizen, so they got that bit right.

The US is dependent on international not American shipping, without it the country would quickly stop, the only reason your union bosses insist on using the terror-threat card at every turn is for them to get their members on board my ship. Wake up, their is no terror threat from an LNG tanker bomber. LNG shipping has the best safety record of any sector in the shipping world; the ships are built to contain the cargo they hold. The cargo is almost impossible to explode and the notion that a ship can be blown up on demand is beyond belief and as for a Naval officer suggesting such a thing raises doubt on the creditablity of US naval intelligence services. LNG burns with a "lazy" flame, not an explosive one; in all probability any incident on a tanker would lead to fire nothing more, bad enough for those on board but this does not represent a major danger to surrounding areas. No large scale test has ever been conducted of the results of a leak of LNG, all results are an extrapolation of a test using very small quantities of LNG carried out in the early seventies. Everything being given as fact is far from it.

Set the record strait (sic). Stop slandering me and my colleagues and be honest with the American public. LNG ships have been around for almost 50 years and there has never been a major accident, I am sure this record will continue.


America's Nazi Nexus

GM and the Nazis--Part 3: Shifting Gears: From War Profiteer to Undermining American Mass Transit

June 23rd 2008

Nazi Era - GM Hitler Banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the late 1930s, Hitler’s persecution of Jews was building to a frenzy even as fears of a war escalated. Nevertheless, General Motors’ German automotive subsidiary, Opel, remained a loyal corporate citizen of the Third Reich — content to obediently do the Nazi regime’s bidding, and unstintingly supporting Hitler’s program on many fronts. These included economic and employment recovery, anti-Jewish persecution, war preparedness and domestic propaganda. In return, Opel prospered.

Hitler was pleased — very pleased. In 1938, just months after the Nazis’ annexation of Austria, James D. Mooney, head of GM’s overseas operations, received the German Eagle with Cross, the highest medal Hitler awarded to foreign commercial collaborators and supporters.

On Nov. 9-10, 1938, shortly after Mooney’s decoration, nationwide pogroms broke out in Germany against the Jews — Kristallnacht. The American public was finally shocked onto its heels by the night of officially orchestrated burning, looting and mob action again Jews. President Roosevelt recalled America’s ambassador, plunging German-American relations to their lowest point since Hitler assumed power. All things American came under special scrutiny in Germany.

By now, the truth about GM’s ownership of the Opel car and truck operation was out in the open among Germans. Reich armament officials increasingly directed Opel’s output, including mandating that nearly all vehicles be devoted to military use. Read more ..


Kicking Our Oil Addiction

A Green Fleet Initiative--Our Only Big Solution to a Big Oil Problem

June 23rd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Edwin Black
Edwin Black

In the absence of a government-launched Manhattan Project to ignite the alternative fuel revolution, the public must turn not just to the White House or the state house but also to the largest fleet owners in the country. Carmakers such as Honda, BMW, and Toyota are waiting for only one thing before they commit their considerable resources away from gasoline cars and toward hydrogen, electric, natural gas (CNG) or other alternatively fueled vehicles. Those companies want tangible demand. Fleets—governmental, commercial and private—have a compelling volume purchasing power no automaker can ignore.

For-hire carriers in 2004 operated 675,000 trucks; the top ten include such companies as UPS, Federal Express, and Yellow Roadway. UPS alone deploys some 80,000 brown trucks daily as it makes 13 million deliveries every 24 hours. Only about 1,000 of UPS’s massive fleet ran on compressed natural gas as of summer 2006. Within Federal Express’s 70,000-vehicle fleet, the company operated 30,000 medium-duty trucks, of which less than a 100 were hybrid diesel as of summer 2006.

Some 6 million additional vehicles are owned by private commercial fleets such as Sysco, Wal-Mart, Halliburton, and Frito-Lay. Wal-Mart alone operates 3,300 trucks that in 2005 drove 455 million miles to make 900,000 deliveries. Verizon operated 70,000 trucks and cars in 2004. Waste Management operated about 28,000 vehicles in 2004. Krispy Kreme Donuts operated 750 vehicles in 2004. City, state, and federal agencies, as well as universities, comprise just a fraction of America’s 38,000 private fleets.

Today alternative fuel vehicles are ready—or fast becoming ready—to roll out en masse. If fleet managers adopted a Green Fleet Initiative, that is a hierarchy of purchasing that mandates hydrogen cars first, fully electric cars second, and CNG cars third, the race would be on among all truck and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers from GM to Mercedes to be the first to fulfill those orders. Volume purchasing would multiply and accelerate the technology, bring down costs, and migrate such vehicles swiftly from commercial fleets to average consumers. Read more ..


Inside Europe

Irish Voters Place European Integration at Risk, Cause Rifts Aong European Leaders

June 23rd 2008

Europe Topics - Irish EU Vote No
Photo Credit: AFP

The future of the European Union was thrown into crisis in recent days after voters in Ireland rejected plans to transfer more power to Brussels.  The Czech Republic followed the Irish rejection by declaring that it too was having problems ratifying the new treaty designed to streamline decision-making among EU nations. Some diplomats pronounced the treaty “dead.”

Irish voters sunk the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum by 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent – with 862,415 people opposed and 752,451 in favor – vetoing a deal that required approval by all 27 EU countries. The rejection transforms the upcoming EU summit in Brussels into a crisis-management exercise, overshadowing efforts to tackle soaring food and energy costs.

While political leaders across Europe were shaking their heads in frustration at the Irish voters' veto, many of their citizens were not. Ordinary Spaniards, Dutch, French and Britons, who wish they could get the same chance, indicated that they would also say "no" to the cold, distant heart of Europe. The emotional disconnect between European Union leaders and their nearly 495 million constituents has never been more evident than with the results of the votes in Ireland, long considered one of the most pro-European populations.  Read more ..


Inside Human Trafficking

800,000 Suffering in Human Trafficking Create Modern Day World of Sex Slaves and Labor Servitude

June 23rd 2008

Politics - Mark Lagon
Amb. Mark P. Lagon

Earlier this month Secretary Rice released the eighth annual Trafficking in Persons Report—the flagship publication of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons which I direct. 

In virtually every country around the world, including the United States, men, women and children are held in involuntary servitude, exploited for commercial sex, coerced into work in factories and sweatshops. In some, children are forcibly recruited as soldiers.  These are forms of human trafficking. They are, in fact, forms of modern-day slavery. Estimates of the number of victims vary widely. According to the U.S. intelligence community, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. About 80 percent of them are female. Up to half are minors. These figures do not include millions who are trafficked for purposes of labor and sexual exploitation within national borders as well.

As a function of the information collected in compiling this document, we know far more today than we did eight years ago with the first edition, or even three years ago, when, for example, we started taking a closer look at forced labor practices.  Some key trends emerged this year which are best exemplified by an individual tragedy because it is truly these personal stories of anguish that motivate modern day abolitionists.

Last summer, I met a young Burmese woman, Aye Aye Win. She had been recruited to work in a shrimp processing sector of a neighboring country to Burma, together with 800 other Burmese men, women and children. Desperate to leave her country, Aye Aye Win described her horror to me at finding herself locked in a factory compound in the middle of a jungle, prevented from leaving or calling family by phone, or even eating decently. She and her Burmese brethren weren’t even paid. Read more ..


Inside Islam

Religious Minorities--Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Unregistered Muslims and Others-- Harassed in Azerbaijan

June 23rd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Joe Griebowski headshot
Joseph Grieboski

Police have raided two Jehovah’s Witness communities in Azerbaijan this month in the capital of Baku.  The first came June 3, during which police reportedly detained nine men for 6-1/2 hours. The men were reportedly beaten and threatened with sexual assault, including rape, unless they changed their religious beliefs.

Local police chief Colonel Sahib Babaev claimed that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were meeting illegally and reading religious literature and providing religious education at the private home of Bahaddin Ismaylov. Babaev told reporters, “They collect people together and teach them.” He continued, “They shouldn’t meet in a private house- there are special places for this, like mosques and madrassas.”

The men were taken into a police station where they were repeatedly hit in the face and body, pressured to renounce their religious beliefs, and were told that their meeting was illegal. The police threatened the men with prison and that they would be raped if they continued to meet.

The second raid on Jehohavah’s Witnesses came on June 11, during which 15 police officers detained a whole congregation and beat three detainees, according to Forum 18 News. Jehovah’s Witness communities have been raided by police on several occasions, including incidents of harassment by police in December 2007 and January 2008.

Tragically, these incidents are not the only abuse religious minorities have faced at the hands of authorities in Azerbaijan in recent months. Read more ..


After the Holocaust

US Court finds that Chabad Can Sue for the Return of Precious Archives held by Russia

June 23rd 2008

Jewish Topics - Chabad Court Sketch
Attorney Nathan Lewin Arguing Chabad's Case Against Russia
Sketch: Dana Verkouteren

The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia ruled in a landmark decision on June 13, 2008 that Agudas Chasidei Chabad of the United States may pursue claims in federal court against Russia in order to recover sacred religious texts and archives. Chabad – the largest Jewish organization in the world – has demanded the return of these texts from Russia for decades. Stolen by Nazi Germany and kept hostage by the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation since World War II in violation of international law, the appellate court’s decision clears the way for the recovery of the prized documents by means of U.S. courts.

 

The DC appellate court wrote in its ruling “We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court finding jurisdiction over Agudas Chasidei Chabad’s claims concerning the Archive; we reverse its finding of Russia’s immunity as to the Library claims based on the events of 1917-1925 and 1991-1992; we affirm the court’s rejection of Russia’s forum non conveniens defense; we affirm its rejection of Russia’s act of state defense to the Archive claims; and we vacate its application of the act of state doctrine to the Library claims.” Read more ..


The LNG Threat

Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers Remain Giant Terror Targets

June 16th 2008

Energy / Environment - LNG Tanker
LNG Tanker at Sea

Can Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) be used as a lethal weapon of mass destruction? That question lies at the heart of the debate about increasing use of this important energy resource.

The answers are not reassuring. Nor are the questions.

Certainly, security measures currently in place make LNG terminals and ships extremely hard targets for terrorists. However, it would be imprudent to believe that terrorists are either incapable or unwilling to attack such targets. It would be equally imprudent to assume that these targets are impenetrable. A number of known vulnerabilities exist within the LNG industry. These vulnerabilities lie in the human factor. In other words, LNG ships and tankers are structurally sound. The potential for problems lies within the people who are somehow involved in the industry.

Inadequate vetting of crews

LNG shipments often originate from politically unstable and unfriendly countries and regions. Some of the locations in which LNG originates include Qatar, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt. “It’s the location of the ports, and where the LNG is loaded, and who gets on the vessel [that is important]," said William Doyle, Deputy General Counsel of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA). Many ships operate under grossly unregulated “open registry” or “flags of convenience” registries and often originate from ports with poor security systems in place. Read more ..


The Oil Weapon

The New World Order of Oil Users and Suppliers

June 16th 2008

Energy / Environment - Oil Refinery
Yanbo Petroleum Complex in Saudi Arabia

As nations become increasingly dependent on oil, it becomes strategically imperative for them to secure their access to the Middle East. This means building strong alliances with the region’s suppliers, providing them with diplomatic support and military aid, and often turning a blind eye to their human rights transgressions.

Since the famous 1945 meeting between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud aboard the USS Quincy in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake, it was the U.S. that served as the guarantor of security and stability in the Persian Gulf. In fact, the use of military power to ensure free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf has been a tenet of U.S. national security strategy. According to the Carter Doctrine, put forth by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, any effort by a hostile power to block the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to the U.S. will be viewed as an attack on America’s vital interests and will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. Since the policy’s inception, the U.S. has exercised the Carter Doctrine several times.

When Iranian forces attacked Kuwaiti tankers during the Iran-Iraq War, President Ronald Reagan authorized “reflagging” and provided them with U.S. Navy protection. Then, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, President George H.W. Bush authorized military action aimed to defend Saudi Arabia’s oil fields and restore Kuwait’s sovereignty. In the decade between the Gulf War and the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. strengthened its military presence in the region, building bases in Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. At a cost of $50 billion to $60 billion per year the U.S. patrolled the waters of the Gulf, imposed a no-fly zone in Iraq, and provided training and equipment to the region's militaries. Read more ..


Inside Islamic Europe

Christian Ministers Charge that Human Rights Violations on Increase in London's Muslim "No-Go Areas"

June 16th 2008

Islamic Topics - Muslims London

Two American preachers in Birmingham, UK, were warned to leave for allegedly distributing Christian leaflets to Muslims. The preachers, 48-year-old Arthur Cunningham and 65-year-old Pastor Joseph Abraham, were talking to four Muslim youths when a "police community support officer" (PCSO) approached them.

According to the Daily Mail, the PCSO was Naeem Naguthney. PCSOs are auxiliary members of the police force who have less training and status than a police constable.

According to Cunningham, Naguthney "realized we were Americans and then started ranting at us about George Bush and American foreign policy. He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said he was going to take us to the police station."

Cunningham also stated: "I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive. He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station." Read more ..


Inside Lebanon

Nasrallah’s Speech: How Hezbollah Ruled, How the West is Fooled

June 16th 2008

Islamic Topics - Nasrallah

In the coming days, a major battle in the “War of Ideas” will be unfolding worldwide, particularly through the international media—a massive campaign by Hezbollah's strategic communication machine to frame the outcome of the battle for Lebanon, significantly lost by the United States, the West, and the forces of Democracies in the region.
 
The main issue at hand in the Iranian-funded war room is not about convincing the international community and the Arab and Muslim world that Hezbollah has defeated its opponents in that small but strategically located republic, but that an overwhelming majority of Lebanese are now firmly standing behind secretary general of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in his vision for the future of the Eastern Mediterranean and probably the Greater Middle East.
 
The propaganda machine, living off Khomeinist Petrodollars, enlists not only the traditional Hezbollah outlets such as al-Manar but also a network of friends in the multi-layered world of the foreign press and active pens in newsrooms around the world. The power of the Iranian Oil lobbies is almost as influential as the power of the Wahabi Petro pressure group.
 
In his more than significant speech in the first week of June, Nasrallah uncovered the bulk of his agenda for Lebanon, the region, and perhaps his international open alignment with Tehran's ambitions. This speech, delivered after the invasion of West Beirut and southern Mount Lebanon and collapse of the Siniora Government is indeed a declaration of victory. Usually, Hezbollah's commander produces these benchmark-speeches when a new era is already underway, indicating that the Tehran-backed militia in Lebanon has already scored its victory on the ground, in the institutions, and diplomatically. Read more ..


America's Nazi Nexus

GM and the Nazis--Part Two: As the Nazis Amassed Power, What Did General Motors Know — and When?

June 16th 2008

Nazi Era - GM Hitler Banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the spring of 1933, the world was beginning to learn about the lawlessness and savagery of the Nazi regime, and the Reich’s determination to crush its Jewish community and threaten its neighbors.

On March 27, 1933, a million protesters jammed Madison Square Garden in New York, and millions more around the world joined in a coordinated show of protest against Nazi brutality. By May 10, 1933, Nazi-banned books were being torched in public bonfires across Germany. The corporate library at General Motors’ Opel in Germany was purged, as well, of Jewish-authored publications and other undesirable literature.

Beginning in the late spring of 1933, concentration camps such as Dachau were generating headlines reporting great brutality.

By June 1933, Jews everywhere in Germany were being banned from the professional, economic and cultural life of the country. As state-designated pariahs, they were forbidden to remain members of the German Automobile Association, the popular organization for the general German motorist. Hitler’s anti-Semitic demagoguery and the daily, semi-official, violent attacks against Jews were discussed in the American media almost daily. Read more ..


Inside the Military

Military Suicides Cause an Entire Battalion To Vanish

June 16th 2008

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong Williams Headshot
Armstrong Williams

Alarming statistics show suicides by active duty soldiers, National Guard, and Reserve troops rose to 115 in 2007, which is a nearly 13 percent increase over the 102 military suicides in 2006 and double the 2001 figure since the War on Terror began. Moreover, the number of troops with new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder almost doubled in 2007. Clearly, America’s men and women in military service are crying out for desperate help and counseling.

Though the conflict in Iraq has shown a remarkable reduction in casualties and injuries during the past year, the trauma of the conflict still imposes a lingering toll on our military forces at home and abroad. An unspeakable number of lives have already been lost with an equally distressing number of horrific injuries. Now it is clear that the problems of the war are not confined to the battlefield, but visit young veterans at home.

"Since the beginning of the global war on terror, the Army has lost over 580 soldiers to suicide, an equivalent of an entire infantry battalion task force," the Army said in a suicide prevention guide to installations and units that was recently posted on the army’s website. "This ranks as the fourth leading manner of death for soldiers, exceeded only by hostile fire, accidents and illnesses," it said. "Even more startling is that during this same period, 10 to 20 times as many soldiers have thought to harm themselves or attempted suicide." Read more ..


Significant Lives

Washington Just Won’t be the Same Without Him—A Buffalo Colleague Remembers a Personal Moment with Tim Russert

June 16th 2008

Media - Tim Russert
Tim Russert

Tim Russert was the most familiar and trusted political face in America. Known to millions as the moderator of “Meet the Press,” the nation’s most respected Sunday morning issues show, he also regularly appeared on a palette other NBC programs, from the Today Show, NBC’s Nightly News, to an interview program named for him on MSNBC. He was a giant.

But back in 1996, Tim Russert was just a face on the television to me, when I gave my elderly mother the thrill of her life by bringing her to the White House for a Christmas party. It was there that I met Russert personally, and it was there that I came to know him.

A few minutes after arriving, I told my mother to wait for a moment while I went to get us some wine. That left this daughter of a coal miner and widow of a tannery worker standing awkwardly alone in the middle of an ornate White House parlor … and that was obviously too much for Tim Russert to take. Read more ..


Election Edge

Obama's Life Story Seems More Republican than Democratic

June 16th 2008

Contributors / Staff - Star Parker right crop
Star Parker

The words we're hearing most during this presidential campaign are "historic" and "change." But what I see is "paradox."

Take our new Democratic Party nominee, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

This is a man, to be sure, of extraordinary talent and ambition. But what a gap between the reality he manifests and the reality he talks about.

No one could have predicted, even a year and half ago, that today Obama would stand as leader of his party, running for president of the United States. It's the possibility of this type of surprise -- allowing for the inconceivable and the unpredictable -- that makes freedom so powerful and speaks to the sham and pretense of government and political planning. Who can question that the success and prosperity of this country -- with its vast cast of individuals who have changed the world through creativity and innovation, with our long list of Nobel Prize winners -- is due to freedom?

And yet, Obama's prescription for the many challenges we face today, whether it is health care, education, or global competition, is increased government planning and control. Here is a man who now stands where no "expert" could have predicted, yet wants to tether our nation's future to the mind games of the same kinds of "experts", rather than letting what truly drives America's unique success -- free individuals and free markets -- work. A paradox. Read more ..


Inside the Middle East

Jordan's King Abdullah Supports Christians in Jerusalem

June 16th 2008

World Leaders - King Abdullah of Jordan
King Abdullah of Jordan

In a day filled with a flurry of diplomatic formalities, Jordan’s young King Abdullah again expressed his support on June 9 for what the Jordan Times termed “efforts exerted by Arab Christians to protect holy sites, their rights and the Arab identity of Jerusalem.”

Meeting with Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah and Bishop Fouad Twal of the Catholic Church, King Abdullah expressed support for non-Jewish residents of Israel. Besides commending efforts to preserve an Arab identity in the most revered city of the world’s three monotheistic religion, according to the Jordan Times, the king also commended Patriarch Sabbah’s support for Palestinians and the presence of Arab Christians in the holy city. 

Patriarch Sabbah is due to step down, since he has reached the age of 75, to be replaced by the Jordanian-born Bishop Twal who is due to take over the see on June 22. Bishop Twal said he was “reassured” by his visit with the Jordanian monarch. According to the prelate, the king told him that “we are not alone” with regard to the West Bank of the River Jordan and the Palestinians living there.  Read more ..


The Genetic Divide

Red Flags Over Consumer Genetics

June 16th 2008

World Citizens - Marcy Darnovsky
Marcy Darnovsky

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, known as GINA, sailed through Congress earlier this month and was signed into law yesterday by President Bush. The law of the land now prohibits health insurance companies or employers from using information gleaned from your genes against you. If your doctor recommends a genetic test, you'll be able to take it with less worry.

GINA is a welcome step, and a long overdue one. But even assuming it's effectively enforced, we're at the beginning of a long and bumpy road.

Consider one of the warning lights already flashing: the aggressive marketing of "direct-to-consumer" gene tests for scores of medical and nonmedical conditions. Unlike the tests ordered by a doctor, these at-home tests are often sold online. More than two dozen companies now offer to analyze your DNA if you'll just send them some spit in a test tube and a wad of cash.

Some of these companies promise information about your risk of specific serious conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Others offer tests for "hair loss" or "addiction," or claim to reveal the optimum foods for your genetic profile. And then there's the trio of "personal genome" companies - 23andMe, Navigenics and DeCodeMe - that have been much in the news of late.

Read more ..

Poll Results

51% of Readers Believe Hillary Clinton Would be Best in the Event of Nuclear Conflict Between Iran and Israel; then McCain with Obama Last.

June 16th 2008

TCEN Motifs - Poll Vote

The majority of respondents to an unscientific Cutting Edge Reader Poll voted that they believed Hilary Clinton would be the best presidential candidate in the event of a conlifct between Israel and Iran over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. McCain received the second highest confidence votes, with Obama coming in third.

In response to the question: Which Presidential Candidate Do you Favor in a Nuclear Conflict Between Iran and Israel? the results were:

 

 

    * 51 percent "Clinton"
    * 35 percent "McCain"
    * 14 percent "Obama"


During the poll period in May 2008, The Cutting Edge News recorded 436,468 hits. The poll concluded just as Hillary Clinton formally conceded the Democratic primary nomination to Obama. Scores of votes for Obama were disqualified when security features on the poll detected one computer repeatedly voting during a several hour period.


Book Review

Walt and Mearsheimer's Lobby Fantasies

June 16th 2008

Book Covers - Isarel Lobby cover

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 484 pages.

When Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s article on the Israeli lobby first appeared, it was rightly ridiculed for its shoddy scholarship. They were two prominent political scientists who knew nothing about the Middle East and had demonstrated their ignorance. Had they remained interested in their academic reputations, they would have pretended it was all a mistake, but their apparent conviction that Jews really are to blame for 9/11 and what they consider a disastrous war in Iraq would not let them give up their conspiracy theory.

The fact that anti-Semites and others inclined to believe their nonsensical arguments treated them credibly, and gave them publicity, prompted a publisher to offer them a reported six-figure advance. It was no surprise then that two eggheads whose work would usually generate yawns from the public and feeble or non-existent advances from academic presses would take the money and build a book from the thin reeds in their article.

If someone didn’t know the pedigree of the authors, they would never believe it was written by academics because the book shows such profound ignorance of all aspects of Middle East history and politics. Apparently they didn’t get much help from anyone who might know more. In their acknowledgments they mention only one person who has written seriously on U.S.-Israel relations and he’s a frequent critic of Israel. Clearly they didn’t speak to anyone with any expertise in the subject of the book who might have differed with their preconceived notions. They mention eight Israelis whose work influenced them — six are post-Zionists. They mention sources, but did no interviews with members of the lobby or those influenced by it. Read more ..


Pastor Hagee Clarifies Holocaust Positions and Comments to Anti-Defamation League

June 16th 2008

I wanted to share with your readers a letter that I had sent to Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and his reply. My letter and his reply follows.

 

Abraham Foxman
National Director
Anti-Defamation League
New York, NY 10158

Dear Abe:

I am writing to clarify my views on Jews, the Holocaust and the state of Israel, which have recently been the subject of news accounts.

I have devoted much of my adult life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the state of Israel. My commitment to eradicating anti-Semitism, including its historic antecedents in the Christian community, has been central to my ministry.

Also central to my faith is a belief in an omnipotent, sovereign God. In a sermon in 1999, I grappled with the vexing question of why a loving God would allow the evil of the Holocaust to occur. I know how sensitive the issue of the holocaust is and should be to the Jewish community and I regret if my Jewish friends felt any pain as a result. I have always believed that the Holocaust was a tragedy unique in its evil and horror and I pledge to you that I will always work with the Jewish community and others of good will in fulfilling the words, "Never again."

I cannot deny the tenets of my faith. However, I will work to express my faith in a way that is sensitive to and respectful of others, including the Jewish community. This includes acknowledging the limits of our understanding in seeking to comprehend the mind of God.

In the heat of a campaign season, some have attempted to use my words to divide us. The stakes for Israel and its allies are too great for us to allow this to happen. So please accept this heartfelt expression as the first step towards our working together to promote a dialogue between Christians and Jews based on reconciliation and mutual respect.

Read more ..

Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Us

June 16th 2008
We have about four months before we elect a new President.  The nominees are in their corners and the present President is more than one-and-one-half feet out the door. So it might be a good time to start reporting the news - not just the politics. We have a war going on, several in fact. The present administration put a pretty good blackout on pictures of the war and controversial reporting.  Their time is over.  It's time for the American people to see what these wars are costing them in terms of lives, injuries and damage both to our men and women in combat and the civilians from many countries. It's time for us to see the flag draped caskets. It's time we were able to see the wheelchairs, the crutches, the children, the blown out cities, the ruined equipment. It's time for us to take responsibility for all that we have done and are doing. It's time for us to take back our civil liberties and honor. It's time for the media to stop cow-towing to the administration. It's time for the Walter Cronkite's and Edward R. Murrow's of the day to make us stand up and take notice...whether we like it or not. And maybe then, maybe when we do take notice, the kids will start coming home and the money will stay in this country where it should be and the "war on terror" will end and it will stop being politics as usual.  Maybe, just maybe, we could start once again being proud to be an American.


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