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Why You Can’t Convert Your Vehicle to Natural Gas in the United States

February 8th 2010

Overall, there were an estimated 254.4 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States according to a 2007 DOT study. In that same year there were only 110,000 Natural Gas Vehicles in the US. This means that .043 percent of the vehicles in the US are Natural Gas vehicles.  Other countries have converted up to 25 percent their total vehicles to natural gas. Little Bangladesh with only a million vehicles has been able to convert 25 percent of their vehicles to natural gas. It has been an American tradition to solve problems by appointing commissions and forming agencies. Here in the United States we chose to pile NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle) conversions on the “Global Warming” fire as another reason for us to feel guilty for driving our gasoline vehicles. As the EPA revved up their bureaucratic engines and cranked out more ambiguous vague regulations natural gas conversions slowed to a crawl. Even though over the last 15 years there have been at least five car manufacturers selling OEM CNG Vehicles in the United States as of 2010 there is only one OEM natural gas vehicle still in production the Honda Civic GX. There will have to be a paradigm shift in the way the United States looks at the CNG Conversion process in order for it to catch up with Bangladesh, Utah is working putting CNG conversion testing back in the hands of the states and individuals. Maybe the idea of less regulation and more entrepreneurship is a good idea.

CNN Seems to Have Woken Up

February 1st 2010
I had given up on CNN as a news channel last year. All I heard was political heads babbling, little real news, and the exalting coverage of Obama. I have discovered a change--and I know when it happened--the day the Nigerian underwear bomber tried to bomb an airliner landing in Detroit. It was as though CNN had be reinvented. They immediately saw a total government breakdown in the security realm. They reported it day and night both from the terrorism view and the federal breakdown. At the same time, they became skeptical of the Obama administration's record, the health care backroom deals, and the Congressional failures. Then came the Haiti earthquake with round-the-clock coverage. It seems CNN returned to the news business. I am now happy to leave the naysayers of Fox.

US Air Visa Credit Card Hawkers at Airports Are Obnoxious

January 25th 2010
Recently, I was trying to make my way through the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Every few feet, a US Air credit card hawker motion to me to approach with all the come-on of an alley dope dealer. The come-ons involved seductive, finger waving, "hey you" shouts to the middle of the aisle and invariably they all want to know where I am flying. It is none of their business where I am flying. Yet I am bothered every few feet in the terminal. The TSA refused to act when I complained. US Air personnel at the gates say they are helpless and emphasize the credit card hawkers only appear to be US Air employees--they are in fact not. Does US Air not know how bad this looks for their business? US Air must stop this conduct at the airports which sells their product. If US Air must sell its credit card--who needs it--it should do so quietly and courteously without hassling travelers.

Ancient Iraqi Tomb Being Altered to Erase Hebrew Inscriptions

January 18th 2010

Following Shelomo Alfassa’s January 11,2010 article, Islamists Erase Jewish Identity from Ezekiel’s Tomb in Iraq, I wish to remind your readers aware of this potentially disastrous development in cultural history. The tomb of the prophet Ezekiel at al-Kifl, near Baghdad, is one of the oldest Jewish shrines in the world. It has been a centre for Jewish pilgrimage through the ages. But 150,000 Jews have been driven out of Iraq in the last 50 years. In the entire country there are only seven left. Not content with erasing Jews physically, according to a recent news report, the Iraqis now want to erase traces of their 3,000-year old Jewish history. As part of their renovation plans the Iraqi authorities are coming under pressure from Islamic parties in Iraq to obliterate the tomb’s Hebrew inscriptions and panels. Only international pressure might force the Iraqi authorities to reconsider their plans. We urge your readers to contact UNESCO Director-General, Mrs Irina Bokova at the following address. See: http://www.unesco.org/webworld/portal/processing/forms/contact/en/form.php)

Lyn Julius represents the UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and N Africa.

Invasive Biology and Genocide Suggested

January 18th 2010

There is a new biological threat to Jews around the world that has the potential for mass destruction of life. It is not in the form of a disease or mutation. This biological threat comes in the form of a theory, called invasion biology. It started with the Nazi's, and it now dominates environmentalism worldwide. It extols the “native” and exterminates the “alien”. It seeks to purify the environment of the unwanted and destructive influence of “invasive species.”

But the analogy to humans is clear. As Hitler put it in 1943, "Everywhere we encounter seeds which represent the beginnings of parasitic growths which must sooner or later be the ruin of our culture...(O)ne of the most potent principles of Nature's rule: the inner segregation of the species of all living beings on this earth."

As a result of contact, immigration and assimilation, cultures that once had a relatively unified sense of identity are now changing, alarming the old guard and causing a resurgence of nationalism and exclusivism, along with anti-immigrant hostility. They have gone from promoting immigration to the other extreme of xenophobia. Likewise, the environment has been treated as a melting pot, with plants and animals transported around the world to increase biodiversity and bring desirable species to new areas. And the resulting threat to the identity of the environment has led to a form of biological nationalism, with laws protecting native species and hostile to immigrant species, a form of bio-xenophobia.

The issue is especially relevant to the Diaspora Jew. Jews are all around the globe, and come in all colors and races. Where are we considered “native”? More to the point, what will happen to us when the “natives” in cultures in which we live decide that we are unwanted “aliens”?

To God, and nature, it's all one planet. People, creatures, and plants move around. It has been going on for millennia and will continue. It is only to man, with his desire to control and create an artificial order to the world, that nativity has any meaning. Surely, there is a time and place for weeding, selecting, and controlling species, and people. But we must reject the very notion that some species should be eradicated simply because they are not “native.” In human affairs we call this ethnic cleansing and genocide, and we have seen how ugly it is. It is no less ugly when unleashed on a plant or animal, its seeds of intolerance and hatred lying dormant for the next Holocaust.

Religious Profiling Unfortunate But May Be Necessary

January 11th 2010
Our media and "talking head" establishment is once again talking in circles. This time is it is about the need to profile. As we have seen from shoe bombers, to underwear bombers--from Mexican-Americans to Pakistanis to home grown boys in Arkansas, by and large it is not their race or nationality that matters but their connection to religious extremism. I mean Islamic extremism. To debate this newest threat properly, we need to get away from Middle East men and focus on the reality. The overwhelming majority of the terrorism threat comes from Islamic extremism whether it is Jose Padilla, Richard Reid or Nidal Hassan, they share on thing in common. So start the conversation there. Religious profiling is hateful and un-American. But if all the bombers are affiliated with the IRA, look for the Irish. And so on.

Rejection of Saudi-Linked J-Street Proves Israel Lobby Not Monolithic

January 4th 2010
Until recently, I never head of J Street. I just assumed it was another pro-Israel lobby. Then I began reading reports that the mainstream Jewish community has rejected this group's approach. Now I see with Lenny Ben-David's (see December 28, 2009 Slices: The Saudi Take a Stroll on J Street) well-documented article, that this group has strong links to the Saudis and their spokesmen. This proves two things. First, the Jewish community is not monolithic in their support for Israel or how that support is to manifest. Second, as in energy lobbies, food lobbies, tax lobbies and healthcare lobbies, we need to check who is funding the operation before we take them seriously. Sometimes it is the one opposed to progress that is sending us messages.

Fleischman and Chavistas

December 28th 2009
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela is now the greatest threat to democracy in our hemisphere and is in fact the front line for Iran and other anti-Western regimes and ironically a communist or socialist ideology that even China and Russia have abandoned. His oil power and political long arm are slowly projecting his influence throughout Latin America. I agree with an earlier writer who states that the mainstream media has largely ignored this threat. Your many articles, including those by Luis Fleischman shine the light where it needs to go. Fleischman's writing, and that of others, on Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Bolivia is giving us a window into what is happening there. True to form, the mainstream media will only discover Venezuela as they have Yemen--when the crisis hits the top of the thermometer. By then it is generally too late.

Robbing The Cradle Makes its Historical Point

December 21st 2009
I have often wondered just why the Iraqis and the Mesopotamians before them are trapped in such and uncivil society of bombings and beheadings even though that region is the so-called Cradle of Civilization. I found this answered excellently by Edwin Black in the excerpt from Banking on Baghdad (see Robbing the Cradle Page One Dec 14, 2009). When I lived in the United States I remember the effect of the Watts riots and similar urban devestation. We can see it now even in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. No wonder a country like Iraq which has been historically decimated time after time has never been able to recover. They invented writing and counting, but none of that matters, I guess, when eveything is continually brutalized into ashes and misery.

The Moment for Energy Independence Has Passed Us By

December 14th 2009
Last year when gasoline was hovering at about $5 per gallon, and the country was in an uproar over imported oil, we had a once in a decade--perhaps once in a generation--opportunity to start the movement to get off of oil. The economy tanked, the politicians faked us out with compromise legislation, the uproar became muted as people applauded a very bad program known as Cash for Clunkers. Now we can only wait the moment when oil supplies are squeezed shut due to machinations in the Persian Gulf. What a waste of energy--so to speak.

Uruguay Coverage is Correct

December 7th 2009
Thank you for covering Latin America as you do. We see little of that in the mainstream media even though Latin America is on our doorstep and has it history, present and future intertwined with ours. Your most recent article by Luis Fleischman on Uruguay called it right. If that country falls into the Chavista sphere, it will not only be another notch for Venezuelan influence. It will further extend Iranian influence into our hemisphere since Venezuela and Iran have become an axis. Please continue writing about Latin America. I can only hope more people will pay attention.

Oust Holocaust Museum Bosses if They War Against Survivors

November 30th 2009
I am not Jewish or a Holocaust survivor, but members of my family fought in World War II and helped liberate camps. The thought that the executives at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are refusing to provide the Bad Arolsen files to survivor communities--that so many died for--is an outrage. Therefore, I wish to add my name to those calling for these Museum executives to be ousted from their jobs. This is after all an American federal museum. Its job is to serve the community first and its own designs of exclusivity second--or not at all.

Super Bunker Buster Coverage Scoops CNN by Weeks

November 23rd 2009
A few days ago, I saw a CNN Breaking News piece about a Super Bunker Buster, that is the Massive Ordinance Penetrator... nicknamed MOP. I went looking online for more news and discovered The Cutting Edge News has broken the story and covered it extensively on September 21. Several other publications merely reference or repeated your coverage. Did no one tell CNN that this was old news?

Saudi Succession Series Welcomed

November 23rd 2009
For more than a month now, you have been running a series on the subject of Saudi Succession. You came it in great detail from different angles. I for one found it fascinating. Please continue your excellent coverage of Mideast issues.

Coverage of Africa and Middle East

November 16th 2009
I am a recent reader discoverer of The Cutting Edge News and I am extremely pleased to see the diversity of thought and information in your articles. I am particularly struck by your coverage of the nightmares and social deprivation of Afircan society, something our mainstream media ignore while millions suffer. Why do we not hear about these issues on the nightly news? At the same time, your articles on the Middle East, Jews, Arabs, and the conflict with a nuclear Iran, offer a dimension to the problems in this area that I cannot get elsewhere. This includes your excellent articles on Turkey, the seemingly inevitable showdown with a nuclear Iran, and the history and archaeology of the region. Thank you for making the effort to include all this information, and give us more.

The Transfer Agreement—What We Know Now vs What they Knew Then

November 9th 2009
With reference to the 25th anniversary re-release of the Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black, it is important to distinguish between what we know now and what the Zionists knew then. Given what the Zionists knew then about Hitler and the Nazis, did they not make the right decision to negotiate and to get some way of recovering something in Palestine. What would critics say to that generation of German Jews who migrated the Palestine -- tens of thousands of them -- and their descendants -- hundreds of thousands of Israelis -- to convince them that this operation was not a successful rescue operation.  
Michael Berenbaum is the former Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A Call for Action Against CAIR

November 9th 2009

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. For years there has been plenty of smoke around CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In the past twelve months that smoke has thickened. First, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing trial. Then, the FBI severed official ties with CAIR due to its connections to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. Now, the curtain has been completely thrown back with the release of the must-read blockbuster book, Muslim Mafia. Thanks to a daring undercover operation, Muslim Mafia contains many stunning allegations, including (these are quotes from the front flap of the book):

• CAIR has previously unreported ties to al Qaeda
• CAIR board members and advisors have privately advocated Uzi jihads against American cities
• CAIR planted spies inside key law enforcement agencies

This is just the tip of the iceberg! Yet, astonishingly, many government leaders and members of the media continue to defend CAIR. It’s past time our government did its duty in protecting national security and launched appropriate investigations of CAIR.

Brigitte Gabriel is ACT! for America president at www.actforamerica.org. Read more ..

Tracing Who the Arabs Are is Long Overdue

November 2nd 2009
As one who lives and works in Arab countries, I was gratified to see the excerpt from Edwin Black's book, Banking on Baghdad finally provide this information on the Arab formative history and identity in a cogent and documented fashion. There is so much misinformation of the nature of this people, especially when many conflate Islam with Arabs. Islam of course began with the Arabs, as Black rightly states in his book and article. However, it now encompasses nations and national ethnic groups from Indonesia to Iran to Turkey and none of these people are Arabs. Many of those in the extended Middle East such as the people of Iran are commonly mislabelled Arabs. They aren't. Thank you for running this important factual history that sets the record straight.

Essays Sought Analyzing the US-Israel Special Relationship

October 26th 2009

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), an academic community of over 28,000 scholars worldwide, wants to call to your attention that our call for essays up to 2,000-words analyzing the special relationship between the United States and Israel. Essays submitted should convey the mutual benefits of this deep-rooted, multi-faceted relationship, based on moral values, common strategic interests and shared humanitarian visions. The essays should be written in clear, jargon-free language for distribution among policy-makers, opinion-leaders, faculty and students across all academic disciplines. A title page should include the title of the essay and the author’s or authors’ name, address, academic affiliation (if any), email address, and daytime and evening telephone numbers.  Source citations and bibliography should be included. Deadline for submission electronically is January 15, 2010.  Essays will be academically reviewed by a panel of scholars with the best selected for electronic and paper publications and distribution.  Essays should be sent to SPME at spmeexecdir@gmail.com .

The Transfer Agreement Shows the Painful Decisions of the Zionists and the Jews During the Holocaust

October 12th 2009
Reading the accounts of Edwin Black's re-released book, The Transfer Agreement, I find the entire story anguishing. I must agree with Abraham Foxman who wrote: "Decades later, it is easy to employ judgmental hindsight. Those who do so were not there but seem to think that books, records, and movies can adequately recreate the context. We are talking about the thirties—a very bad time for European Jews. But no one back then could imagine how bad things would actually become.... In light of the bitter reality of the Holocaust and the world’s unwillingness to stop it, the decision to transfer Jews and their possessions to Palestine was a wise one." I also agree with the author's assessment that the whole world had agreements with the Nazi regime, and the Zionists were pursuing their's to rescue people and assets. In this case, it was not for pure profit or political expediency but to help save a people and help create a state, their safe haven in Israel. Yet like the author, Mr. Black, I too am haunted by his final thought when he writes: "Was it madness? Or was it genius?"

Why Does Congress Mandate America use 70 Percent Foreign Oil?

October 5th 2009

In 1979 leaders in Congress and American industry drew a line in the sand; America would not trade its freedom for oil. The second mideast oil crisis in six years had once again disrupted economies world wide halting transportation and commerce. Leadership called for action to counteract petroleum’s new hyper-status as a strategic commodity that could be plied as a strategic weapon against other countries. So why today does Congress mandate American transportation rely on 70 percent foreign oil, a staggering increase from 24 percent reliance in 1979?

The 1979 proposals by leadership in Washington and Detroit to “Seize control of our energy needs” included:

1) Reducing foreign oil imports to 1977 levels
2) The Big Three automakers offered CAFE standards (Corporate Average Fleet Economy) of 48 miles per gallon by 1995.
3) A 2000 target date by which 20 percent of transportation would run on alternate energy sources to oil.
4) A national 50 cents per gallon tax be levied on imported oil. This would both spur conservation and fund the development of alternatives to oil.

Today America’s security, economy and foreign policy are in grave peril as 98 percent of our transportation (cars, trucks, planes, boats and military) runs only on petroleum, 70 percent of which must be imported from foreign countries.  The prosperity of future generations is compromised as we exchange our nation’s wealth for oil, undermining our national security.

Eighty percent of the world’s oil reserves are controlled by countries antithetical to America and democracy in general. The majority of these countries are ruled by dictators and autocrats whose policy or government could change in a single day. Crafting policy may take time, but for 15 sessions of Congress to have failed to “change the oil equation” is inexcusable. As our leaders wrestle with gasoline prices that fluctuate between “painful” and “acceptable” they ignore the underlying problem which exclusive dependence on oil for transportation presents when just 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves are located North America and the United States alone consumes 25 percent of the world’s total annual oil production. Read more ..

Seconding the Motion to Fire Holocaust Museum Hierarchy

October 5th 2009
The so-called "sorry state of affairs" at the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum depicted in Leo Rechter article about the hoarding of the Bad Arolsen files (see Opinion Sept 7, 2009, Holocaust Museum Snubs Survivors on Bad Arolsen Files But Luxembourg Gets the Data) and then a letter to the editor is completely unacceptable. I agree with the earlier reader who wrote a letter asking President Obama to throw the scoundrels at the Holocaust Museum hierarchy out if they cannot work with survivors in the last years of their life. I repeat the message that Leo Rechter presented: "Wake up and start applying pressure and mass protests on the United States Holocaust Museum Memorial in Washington, D.C. to release its sets of Holocaust files and records to major Jewish museums and libraries all over America, or the USHMM will continue to monopolize the data for its own purposes." What is the White House waiting for? Fire them from the executive director down, and especially anyone who obstructs the duplication of the files for suvivors in Miami and elsewhere.

Super Bunker Buster Should be Rushed into Readiness Amid No Good Choices

September 28th 2009
Edwin Black's report on a new super bunker-buster seems perfectly timed (see September 21 Page One Super Bunker-Buster Bombs Fast-Tracked for Possible Use Against Iran and North Korea Nuclear Programs). Just when the world is discovering that Iran is burying secret nuclear facilities far under ground, and rushing its own medium range and long missile into production, we should be be prepared to take action. Unfortunately, it appears that only the B-52 and the B2 Stealth bomber can carry the weapon due to tis heavy weight. This means that only the USA can deliver it--not Israel. Thus, America will have to take the heat for any such pre-emptive attack. My sense is that if Iran cannot be sztopped by diplomacy and sanctions, the Security Council may all authorize the "all means" clause and this would give America, Israel and allies the green light to take military action. Unfortunately, no one know what would happen next. Whatever it is, it will be terrible. No good choices.

If Holocaust Museum Snubs Survivors, Why Doesn't Obama Throw out the Bosses?

September 21st 2009
I was saddened to read the sorry state of affairs at the prestigious Washington Holocaust Museum from Leo Rechter regarding the wartime Bad Arolsen files (see Opinion Sept 7, 2009, Holocaust Museum Snubs Survivors on Bad Arolsen Files But Luxembourg Gets the Data). He wrote: "Unless Holocaust Survivors, Second and Third Generation individuals wake up and start applying pressure and mass protests on the United States Holocaust Museum Memorial in Washington, D.C. to release its sets of Holocaust files and records to major Jewish museums and libraries all over America, the USHMM will continue to monopolize the data for its own purposes." This is simply outrageous. Having looked into other media reports about this abuse of power, it seems the people in charge at the Holocaust Museum have thumbed their nose at just about everybody when asked to share the archives with survivor communities across the country. Indeed, why should elderly victims have to travel across the country and spend money for travel to see their own files. I ask, why doesn't President Obama simply fire the Holocaust Museum bosses starting at the top and replace them with people who will be more responsive to the survivor requests for their own files.

Hugo Chavez Must be Condemned not just as Anti-American, but also Anti-Semitic

September 14th 2009

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez must be condemned for a venomous speech delivered in Damascus, while on a visit to the Syrian dictatorship, in which he described Israel as “genocidal,” “anti-peace” and implementing “America’s imperialist policies.” Chavez also praised  Syria as the “architects and designers of the resistance,”  while condemning American and European hegemony and the “unipolar” world order (‘Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez slams Israel during Damascus visit,’ Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2009).

In a subsequent interview in the Italian Le Figaro, Chavez said that, “The question is not whether the Israelis want to exterminate the Palestinians. They’re doing it openly.” He also dismissed Israel’s need to defend itself in its Gaza operation last December and January saying, “What was it if not genocide? ... The Israelis were looking for an excuse to exterminate the Palestinians.” He also said sanctions should have been placed on Israel (‘Venezuela’s Chavez accuses Israel of genocide,’ Reuters, September 9, 2009).

Some examples of Hugo Chavez’s anti-Jewish and anti-Israel words and deeds: One of Chavez’s closest mentors was the deceased Norberto Ceresole, an Argentinean right-wing nationalist and advocate of a post-democratic Latin America, as well as being a  Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist preoccupied with alleged Jewish plans to control the planet. On November 29, 2004, Venezuelan armed police raided the Jewish elementary and high school at the Jewish Cultural Centre in Caracas, an attack that traumatized Venezuela’s 25,000 strong community.

Chavez made an astonishing anti-Semitic outburst in a December 2005 speech, in which he said that, “The world is for all of us, then, but it so happens that a minority, the descendents of the same ones that crucified Christ, the descendents of the same ones that kicked Bolivar out of here and also crucified him in their own way over  here in Santa Marta, in Colombia. A minority has taken possession all of the wealth of the world, a minority has taken ownership of all of the gold of the planet, of the silver, of the minerals, the waters, the good lands,oil, of the wealth then and have concentrated the wealth in a few hands.” Read more ..

A Turkish View on What is Really Behind Persistent Anti-Americanism in Turkey

September 7th 2009

Responding to "What's Behind Behind Persistent Anti-Americanism in Turkey?" by Soner Cagaptay and Yurter Ozcan in your August 31st 2009 edition (see August 31, 2009 Society), at least some of the reasons behind seemingly persistent Anti-Americanism in Turkey are: 

1) Continuing reliance of the Congress and even the Presidency on anti-Turkish lobbies to define United States-Turkey relations; 2) Ceaseless defamation of Turks, Turkey, Turkish culture, heritage, and history in the media due to input received from anti-Turkish biased sources, as in the bogus Armenian genocide case; 3) Insistence on a ridiculous war in Iraq despite strenuous objections from and damage to Turkey; 4) Behind the scenes wheeling and dealing with Kurdish terrorists, PKK (though officially always denied); 5) Taking Greek and Greek Cypriots representations and claims at face value when developing approaches in southeastern Europe; 6) Trade quotas (even yesterday’s communist China enjoys more freedom in trade in USA than long time ally, reliable friend and staunch supporter Turkey; 7) Remarkable ignorance and/or even insults when faced with matters Turkish always ending up in awkward apologies.

War Against the Weak was Neighbor Against Neighbor Ethnic Cleansing in America

August 31st 2009

I was astonished to learn in the Cutting Edge News (see Page One Government Death Panels and Mass Murder was Always an Option in 20th Century America's War Against the Weak by Edwin Black) that America's national health policy in the first decades of the last century was to wipe out the majority of its own citizens, ten percent at a time--millions of people at a stroke, leaving only a so-called blond Nordic utopian class to rule. I bought the book War Against the Weak by Edwin Black and read the details backed up up thousands of primary footnotes and am in disbelief that the official policies included state-run gas chambers, confinement camps, marriage restrictions of all sorts, forced surgical sterilization from California to New Jersey and that it was all upheld as the law of the land by the U.S. Supreme Court. Was this not ethnic cleansing in America, neighbor against neighbor? This country owes a debt to those like author Edwin Black who expose such horrors. I ask why this book and its terrible revelations is not taught in every classroom, discussed on every network, and available in every bookstore. I myself tried for days to secure a copy and was told the publisher was unable to keep up with demand. I did find the book in the library and it kept me up all night and then gave me nightmares. For shame.

Cash for Clunkers Parallels Cash4Gold

August 24th 2009

I have read with great interest the articles on the Cash for Clunkers program written by Edwin Black and a number of other contributors to The Cutting Edge News. Recently I sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate and House (with a CC to President Obama) regarding the PR and marketing success of the “Cash for Clunkers” campaign. In that letter, I drew parallels between the economic stimulus provided by my own company, Cash4Gold, and the Cash for Clunkers program. I noted that within just one week, the government doled out $1 billion with the intended goal of providing consumer-confidence-building liquidity. In parallel fashion, though at an admittedly smaller scale and on the basis of our own entrepreneurship and self-financing rather than through an Act of Congress with the support of the President of the United States, Cash4Gold has paid out more than $100 million since our launch in 2007.

In my letter to Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, I offered to dispatch a delegation of our core executive team-- including global brand strategists, marketers, alternative media experts, industrial metal recycling innovators, and communications specialists – to Washington to lend the initiative the benefit of our considerable collective experience. My staff is prepared to share best practices with the government that have enabled our success as the industry innovators and leaders in the consumer-direct precious metals recycling business, also known as mail-in refining.

I also recommended a series of steps that the government should consider to get the most mileage (please pardon the pun) out of its clunkers campaign. Among those recommendations were carefully selected celebrity endorsements to appeal to a wide range of Americans, more extensive Spanish-language outreach, and the use of a diverse array of innovative marketing strategies.

At the end of the day I am a businessman with an expertise in marketing and advertising who is singularly committed to providing the best possible precious metals recycling service to my customers. I don’t pretend to be an authority on the intricacies of the Cash for Clunkers scrappage program. Nor am I an expert who analyzes the impact that “inside the Beltway” policies have on our world today and their implications for the future. For that kind of insight I rely on The Cutting Edge.

Facts Revealed About Arab Nationalism, Syria and Palestine

August 17th 2009
I for one had now idea that "Arab Nationalism" was really just a 20th Century phenomenon and that the real quest for an Arab national identity focussed on Syria as I read in Edwin Black's eye-opening history of the original Mideast peace deal in 1919 (see Page July 27, 2009 One Original Mideast Peace Plan Recognized Jewish State in Return for Arab Nation in Syria). Nor did I know that the Arabs agreed in writing to a Jewish state in Palestine-Israel, not until until I read this illuminting article. As I look at it, the Mideast was carved up by the international community into a long list of Arab Islamic states and one tiny Jewish state. The Arabs all got their states. Israel should be allowed to live in peace in the one little parcel of land it lawfully developed in that region.

Cash for Clunkers--the Success that Wasn't

August 10th 2009

Cash for Clunkers (see Slices August 3 2009, Cash for Clunkers--a Historic Mistake by Edwin Black) besides not achieving any of its stated environmental goals appeared to be more successful than it really was. That success being measured by the program running out of money in July instead of November.

The program was supposed to start July 1st, but didn't actually get going until about three weeks later. So there was a delay in buying, all the people who'd made their deals with the car dealers, but had to wait to officially buy in order to get their Obama bucks. The week or so that the program was actually in effect had June and July sales that had just backed up at the starting line waiting for the tax money. People buying SUVs instead of small hybrids isn't going to change as long as the bigger car seems safer than the little car--something that wasn't really addressed in the Cash for Clunker dealer welfare. Maybe that will take something similar to bike lanes where the heavier vehicles aren't supposed to travel.

Years ago there was a demand to do away with Saturday Night Specials, cheap and readily available handguns.  Laws were passed and those weapons were no longer for sale. This didn't stop violent crime, just made handguns more expensive. Indeed the law could be viewed as manufacturers' welfare (perhaps racist) as the poor were deprived of self-protection whereas the wealthy could afford $300 to $500 for personal protection. Cash for Clunkers is also no help to the poor and indeed has consequences harmful to the poor as the $1,000 transportation they might have been able to afford has been used as a $3,500 or $4,500 trade-in, maybe for someone who has more than one vehicle.

With all the statistics being quoted about how much more oil and fuel older vehicles use I  haven't seen information about how that compares to the energy used in the manufacture of new vehicles compared to the retention of older vehicles. For example, a 1969 Austin-Healy SPRITE sports car, got 35 mpg, with top speed of 80 mph. A 1969 Plymouth Satellite 4-door sedan with the smaller 318 V-8 engine got 25 mpg on the open road and less in the city. The question is what makes a larger carbon footprint, driving one of these cars, or manufacturing a new car?

Cash for Clunkers was just another Bread and Circus giveaway.


Honduras Coverage Explains What the Networks Do Not Explain

August 3rd 2009
Your recent coverage of the events involving the ouster of Honduran ex-President Manuel Zelaya have helped me understand that the coup was not undemocratic but was in fact an act in defense of that countries democracies. In many ways, it is the opposite of what we have come to expect from Latin American countries. Unfortunately, I have not seen any explanation of the events except on the pages of The Cutting Edge News and in Luis Fleischman's writing. This includes the skin-deep coverage of the CNN and the other networks. Fleischman's last article made an exceptional point. The Obama Administration should stop supporting the return of Zelaya to power. Instead, the international community should use this moment to trigger a Yalta-like conference to oust all undemocratic regimes in Latin America. This would begin with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Restitution A Repeat Performance

August 3rd 2009

As expected, the June 2009 EU-sponsored Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets did little to nothing to deal with sizable amounts of unreturned assets stolen by the Nazis and their collaborators. As Stuart Eizenstat, head of the US delegation, pointed out in an interview, “There is no political will to have a binding treaty.”  Indeed, this Conference repeats the pattern of ineffectiveness of previous events on this subject.

For example, the Allies issued on January 5, 1943, the first of several multinational proclamations strongly backing the return of looted assets and invalidating agreements and laws to transfer these items to other parties. But at most 15 percent of the stolen assets were returned in the post war years. A renewed interest in the issue during the mid 1990s led to the 1997 London Gold Conference and the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets. Again the results were minimal with only 3 percent of the remaining unpaid assets in 1995 restored during the past 14 years.

Like the earlier ones, the Prague Conference final declaration acknowledged the horrific nature of actions taken by the Nazis and their collaborators and called on countries to return the stolen property or to pay compensation. This Conference placed much greater priority on the fact that the bulk of the stolen property will end up being “heirless” assets and these amounts should be mainly used to provide needy survivors with an adequate standard of living and necessary health care. This “new priority” has been understood for some time. Read more ..

Three Obama-Jewish Conferees Wrote the Next Week for The Cutting Edge News

July 27th 2009
I was struck by the fact that just after Barack Obama met with 16 Jewish leaders, three of them wrote their view of the meetings or the issues involved for tyhe very next Monday morning issue of The Cutting Edge News: Howard Kohr, the head of AIPAC [American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee]; Marla Gilson, the Hadassah representative; and Abraham Foxman of the ADL [Anti-Defamation League]. I found their three views fascinating, especially Gilson, as she was the fly on the wall. But no one has been able to answer the question why was the so-called "J Street" lobby invited. You cannot compare the stature of the historic Jewish organizations invited with this one-year upstart with a radical agenda and questionable funding. I think more should have made about that.

Corn Ethanol: An Exercise in Self-deception

July 20th 2009

Your July 13 Energy article "BioFuels are No Longer Just a “Field of Dreams" was written as though corn ethanol actually increases our fuel supply. This is an exercise in self-deception. Some experts calculate that producing corn ethanol consumes as much energy as burning it releases; others are more optimistic. Which side is right? Until now, cost and benefit calculations were largely theoretical. Now the data are in: As production ramps up, gasoline use should ramp down if ethanol is a net benefit. Since ethanol is about 3 percent of vehicle fuel, gasoline use should decrease correspondingly. But U. S. gasoline consumption increased by 1.4 percent annually for five years (using figures ending in 2006, the last year before wild oil price swings and economic downturn distorted markets). If ethanol had substituted for gasoline, gasoline use should have decreased 1.6 percent. The discrepancy might be explained if fuel demand had spiked upward, but total miles driven increased only 1.2 percent from 2005 to 2006. The only explanation is that the critics were right—there is no measurable gain from ethanol.

Why is this? One reason is that most of the energy that goes into corn comes not from sunlight, but from fossil fuels. Tractors run on oil, fertilizer is made mostly from natural gas and moved around on oil-consuming trucks, and the list goes on. Small changes in the statistics won’t change the conclusion: ethanol production is a disaster, one that will get worse as new distilleries come on line in the Midwest. More and more corn will be distilled, leaving less and less for food and feed. Already we see higher prices for milk, chicken and other corn-based products. High corn prices hurt us, and cause real suffering in the third world. It is time to end this failed experiment before it does even more damage without producing any benefit. Corn-based ethanol as a substitute for gasoline is a tragic illusion. The major obstacle to a rational policy is not engineering, but politics. The corn lobby is well-entrenched. But other lobbies, and the interests of the country as a whole, demand that we change course. Grass-based ethanol does not yet exist, because of the difficulty of breaking down cellulose. We naturally try the easy things first, and cellulose ethanol isn't easy. Maybe it will work, but we can’t count on it. We would be better off to burn our corn in powerplants to produce electricity - at least we would avoid the energy cost of distilling the alcohol. The idea seems absurd, and it is, but it is less absurd than the alcohol alternative.

Neil Goldstein responds: Whether Mr. Bridgeman likes it or not, we will all have ethanol in 2012. Had Mr. Bridgeman bothered to read the EPA study in my article, he would have understood that that is the point. As for the specific science behind the EPA’s decision to force corn-based ethanol production, EPA concludes that corn-based ethanol is a net energy saver and CO2 reducer when the costs of clearing and tilling the soil are amortized over 100 years, but not over 30 years. The California Air Resources Board (CARB), similarly, has called homegrown ethanol a low-carbon lifecycle fuel. But, whether Mr. Bridgeman’s analysis is right and the EPA and CARB are wrong is a completely moot point. Whatever the net energy impact may be, ethanol is going to be produced because that is the law. Read more ..

Obama's Cairo Speech Equates Agressor and Victim

July 20th 2009
President Obama’s Cairo speech June 4, 2009 continues to be of current interest, because he stated policy objectives which are long-term. First, Obama complained about occupation for Palestinian Arabs, but failed to disclose that their horrific terrorism necessitated these conditions. He thus disregarded his own warning about being “blind to the truth,” together with Israel’s legitimate security needs.  Second, he stated: “No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.” This could deny Israel the right singlehandedly to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms. Third, Obama said “I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not, ” urged that “no nations hold nuclear weapons,” and hoped that “all countries in the region” shared the goal of peaceful nuclear power under  the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article VI of that treaty requires the parties to negotiate in good faith “on effective measures relating to…nuclear disarmament,” supposedly under “strict international control.” This would require Israel to surrender any nuclear advantage she may have. The present controversy with Obama thus involves not merely settlements-which themselves may implicate security because of Israel’s narrow 1949 lines-- but also an attempt to impair Israel’s other security measures, no matter how justified, and to alter the military balance of power to Israel’s disadvantage and harm. Obama fails to distinguish between aggressor and victim. This is like equating the Holocaust Museum murderer to the armed security guards who shot him down in self-defense and defense of other innocents. Supporters of Israel—and Congress—should wake up and have the courage to stand up.

GM--a Criminal Company With Billion-dollar Bailout

July 13th 2009
I am like many Americans and find it unconscionable that our government has bailed out and in essence become the successor to the corrrupt General Motors empire. Read Edwin Black's "GM and the Nazis" series in The Cutting Edge News (see Investigation), and then check his book Internal Combustion. Not only did GM put the Third Reich on wheels, they did it while they were destroying mass transit in America by killing electric street cars. The company and its executives were successfully prosecuted by the federal government for their conspiracy against mass transit but never really tried at Nuremberg like other Nazi collaborators. The case against this company as a decades-long criminal enterprise is there for anyone to read, highly documented and highly recommended. Instead of receiving taxpayer money, this company should have have dismantled with its most valuable parts sold off to the highest bidder. America would have more jobs, better and more fuel efficient cars, and less addiction to oil.

Russian Nuclear Coverage On Target

July 6th 2009
The media in the past 24 hours has mentioned the extremely important meetings now underway between President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. But most people only learned of this in over the weekend trying to find real news amid the Micael Jackson coverage. Even what I have seen on the Russia summit, I have found to be vague and unfocussed. But for the past month, The Cutting Edge News has been extensively covering the details of Russia's nuclear program and the difficult negotiations the Obama Administration must undertake for the years ahead. Congratulations for again being ahead of the pack and giving the cutting edge information people need to understand the events of our day.

Ten Years Spent Planning for a North Korean Missile But Not for an Iran Oil Interruption

June 29th 2009
Reading Edwin Black's stunning detailed history of America's ten-year race to prepare for a potential North Korean missile launch toward out shores, and Iran's partnership as tester-in-chief (see North Korea Missile Threat Against Hawaii and Alaska Has Been Expected for Ten Years—Iran Regime a Full Partner Page One, June 22, 2009), I went further. The article stated the coverage was inspired by the research on the book The Plan. I read Black's book and was amazed and angered. How is it that our country has been working 24x7 and spending billions to prepare for a North Korean missile that was only faintly suggested in the late nineties, but do nothing for a generation preparing for an oil interuption threatened every day by Iran and its cohorts? Since the Oil Shock of the 1970s, we have known that our country and indeed the Western World is at the mercy of oil from the Persian Gulf. If Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, 20 percent of America's oil will stop and the nation has no contingency plan to deal with it. Iran is now more unstable than ever. North Korea is now more bellicose than ever. The threat from North Korea, the threat from international terrorism, our addiction to oil, and our vulberability to Persian crude--it is all inter-related. I wonder why we spent so much of our national effort to build a base on on distant frozen Shemya Island when all we needed to do was switch to electric cars.

Missing the Mark on Rules for Obama and Russia's Nukes

June 22nd 2009

Andrei Shoumikhin and Baker Spring are to be congratulated for provided an interesting and thought provoking article on the prospects for successful arms control negotiations with Russia (Eight Rules Obama Must Observe in Confronting a Nuclear Russia, Opinion, June 15th 2009).

It is unfortunate that the example they used to justify Rule #7 (The US should seek treaties that are enforceable) missed the mark.  The failure of the US Navy to maintain parity with the British Empire after the Washington Treaty had nothing to do with parties not honoring the terms of the Treaty, or the lack of enforcement mechanisms.  

It is no coincidence that the Washington Treaty did not quantitatively limit ships other than Capital Ships and Aircraft carriers – at that time at least three of the signatories did not accept the extension of the 5-5-3-1.67-1.67 ratio to smaller warships, and it is therefore no surprise that they continued to build to meet their perceived requirements.  In contrast, the USN fell behind because the US Government failed to make adequate provision for warship construction during the 1920s.  This was a domestic political issue that cannot be attributed to any weaknesses in the Washington Treaty or its enforcement mechanisms, or limitations imposed by that Treaty.

It is true that all of the signatories failed to comply with specific provisions of the Washington Treaty – including the United States whose carriers Lexington and Saratoga were clearly non-compliant with the terms of the Treaty – and it is also true that there were no effective compliance mechanisms to remedy this.  It is difficult, however, to identify any strategically significant advantages that were obtained by any of the powers as a result of this non-compliance. Read more ..

Obama Deserves a B Minus for his Cairo speech

June 22nd 2009

I have been involved with various projects trying to open channels of discussion with Muslims, including a trip to Islamabad with two colleagues to successfully invite then President Musharraf to publicly meet with the American Jewish leadership. I have brought Muslims to Israel and found their reactions quite encouraging. But Barak Hussein Obama’s now famous speech at Cairo University moved me and frightened me at the same time and reminded me of the need to pause before reacting.

For starters, President Obama disputed two myths that have currency in the Muslim world – and not only in the Muslim world. He said denying the Holocaust is “baseless,” “ignorant” and “hateful.” And he said that he is “aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. …These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.”

Both points were well thought through and well delivered and it took some courage to do so. Defending Israel’s right to exist, attacking Holocaust denial and dismissing 9/11 conspiracy theories amounts to an assault by land, sea and air on the swamp that passes for political culture in much of the Muslim world.

Moreover, the President did not move the goal posts on what Hamas must do to enter the diplomatic process – the one with the United States and the European Union. Hamas is already in the process with Arab, Muslim and other states (Russia); Mr. Obama restated the Quartet’s terms: “Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.” He said straight out the U.S. “strong bonds with Israel [are] unbreakable,” and that Muslims must (and many do in private) accept that Israel (presumably in the 1967 borders) “will not go away.” 

So far, Bravo, Mr. Obama.

On the other hand, the President did not single out for praise Egypt and Jordan as states for signing peace treaties with Israel. He spoke to Muslims, not to the citizens of the various 57 Muslim states – thus entering a dialogue on the basis of the Islamist program. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, clerics in Saudi Arabia, Hamas, and the Pakistani extremists agree that the various states (based on a parochial or Arab-wide nationalism) are not only failed instruments but stand in opposition to a “true” Muslim approach – a transnational caliphate. The United States is an appropriate interlocutor for Muslim states, but not for a worldwide religious community and, in any event, must not consent on this point. Read more ..

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