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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 ..


Are Jews From Arab Countries "Arabs of Jewish faith?"

June 15th 2009

Congratulations on the excellent article by Edwin Black (Page One June 8, 2009) dissecting what was wrong with the Obama speech in Cairo. However there was one sentence which I do find incorrect: That Jews of the Middle East and North Africa are ‘originally Arabs, but of Jewish faith’. Almost no "Mizrahi Jews," that is Jews from Arab countries, consider themselves ‘Arabs’ unless they happen to be Commmunists or anti-Zionists. This concept plays into the anti-Israel propaganda argument that there is no such thing as a Jewish people, only Arabs of the Jewish religion. No Middle Eastern Jew, asked whether he was an Arab, would have said yes, no matter how at home he felt in his environment. And for that matter, no Arab would have called his Jewish neighbour an Arab either. Jewishness and Arabness were perceived as antonyms in the sense of denoting two mutually exclusive ethnic identities, just as “Jew” and “goy” were antonyms in Eastern Europe. 

Edwin Black replies: Your observation is understandable. But my statement was correct especially in historical context. Some explanation may help. The term "Arab" derives from the word which described a person who dwelled in the Arabian Peninsula. For centuries, these people were almost entirely non-agrarian marauders and nomads of tribal character. There was no Arab national identity and no Arabs nations anywhere. The Arab Conquest or Muslim Conquest of the early seventh century brought Arabs to the far reaches of the Middle East and beyond as the Caliphate was forged by fire and sword. For nearly a half millenium prior to World War I, the Caliphate was controlled by the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. There were, of course, no Arab nations and no Arab nationality or nationalism during these centuries leading up to twentieth century.

The despotism and backwardness of the Ottomans gave rise to the concept of "Arab Nationalism" in about 1908. Arab Nationalism was primarily driven by Christian Lebanese and Syrians influenced by French democratic thought. This group, the "Young Turks," expanded their movement to identify the Ottoman lands as not just imperial but also national, and its subjects as "citizens." In years before World War I, many nations saw a popular surge to end dynastic and ecclisiastical regimes from the Czars to the Sultans. The Young Turks defined Arab Nationalism or the Arab national identity to include all citizens of the realm, Sunni and Shia Muslims, Kurds, Christians or all denominations, Yazdi, Copts, Jews and all others. These people were to be Arab nationals first, and this identity and authority would supercede tribalism or religious grouping--just as it does throughout the Western World today. In fact, it was this Turkish national authority that asserted its right to tax Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca, thereby challenging the prerogatives of the Muslim Sherif. Indeed, this conflict compelled the Islamic forces of Hussein and Faisal to side with the British against the Turks in World War I under the leadership of Lawrence of Arabia. Read more ..


CNGChat Forum Influenced by Honda Dealer Administrator

June 15th 2009

Those of is concerned with the suppression of CNG have been exchanging views at the CNGchat forum online. Cutting Edge News articles regarding Honda’s suppression of CNG has been widely discussed on this site. Unfortunately, some of us find it easy to run afoul of administrators at the CNGChat forum. The biggest problem with the CNG Chat forum is that many of the administrators are intolerant of opinions contrary to what they accept as reality.

At least one major administrator at the Forum works at Robertsons Palmdale Honda, a dealer with a CNG fueling station right outside the door. So it is easy not to worry about or accept the idea that the forum administrator’s view—a Honda dealer employee--is in fact a minority view in this problem.

CNGchat administrators really do not understand that when people drop $10,000 cash on a unit to fuel the $27,000 car they just purchased there is the expectation that the company they purchased all this equipment from will operate in a fair and equitable manner. When it is the company that they represent they have a problem seeing the difference between where they are and where I am. I am still angry, and would dearly love to get my hands on the idiots at American Honda for a throttling session. There is just way too much insulation between consumers and "Corporate America" these days.

I am curious when I can get my misbehaving FMQ 2-36 serviced. It is on a steady diet of 15A fuses, about $150 in the last 3 months. The cooling fan is dragging and driving up the start-up current.

The CNG sector is viewed strictly as a public utility by most lawmakers and the people of the US in general. Suppression of technology is the accepted way of doing business today.


Obama Missed the Chance of a Century on General Motors

June 8th 2009
Barack Obama in muffing the GM crisis has lost a historic chance to rescue America from its oil addiction and its bad car century. The taxpayer is now the chief owner and controller of GM. Are we requiring the company to build the plug-in electric Volt? Are we requiring them to focus on flex-fuel and alternative fuel vehicles? Are we requiring them to build the Chevy Equinox Hydrogen vehicle and supporting a fueling infrastructure? Are we requiring them to build the type of fuel efficient cars here that the firm makes for overseas markets? Are we requiring them to build CNG cars here as they do in foreign markets? Are we placing government fleet orders for alt fuel, flex-fuel or alt propulsion vehicles that would crank up the production lines? We are doing none of that. Instead Washington will now be the new Godfather for GM's bad behavior, bad cars, and continued bad future. GM will soon be making the Camara muscle car again, a V8 vestige from the past. Gee--what changed when Barack Obama came to Washington?

Obama Speaks Out Against Israel

June 1st 2009
As who one enthusiastically supported Barack Obama for President, I am now wondering whether the worst fears of some in the Jewish community are now coming to pass and whether I made a mistake. Judging from the stern anti-Israel public statements coming from the White House--from Hilary Clinton to the President himself--it seems that Barack Obama is acting out the anti-Israel stance that no one in my circles wanted to believe. I am particularly concerned about two things: First, the Obama suggestion that the U.N. flag fly over the Western Wall? Am I hearing this right? Second, Obama tying action on Iran's nuclear threat to the Palestinian problem. Are we to think that nuclear destruction and a land resolution are in the same league? I am also distressed that Jewish leaders do not seem to be speaking up. So I am.

Nazi Nexus Opened My Eyes

May 25th 2009
I have studied the Holocaust a decade and for some reason during those years I was simply never aware of the American corporate connections to the murder of six million Jews and hundreds of thousands ofd Gyspies. Thanks to Edwin Black and his book Nazi Nexus, which I viewed on C-SPAN Book TV, my eyes have been opened. We have to thank not just Hitler but Hitler's power and profit driven helpers. Ford Motor, General Motors, the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and International Business Machines. Obviously, I have a lot of Edwin Black books to read. The world must never forget what the Nazis did. It must never forget who knowingly and deliberately advanced, accelerated, organized, financed and systemized the crimes that were committed.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Associations Criticize Obama Energy Program Cuts

May 18th 2009

The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) and U.S. Fuel Cell Council (USFCC), which collectively represent more than 200 companies and organizations, are concerned about the Obama Administration’s FY 2010 budget request for the U.S Department of Energy.

The cuts proposed in the DOE hydrogen and fuel cell program threaten to disrupt commercialization of a family of technologies that are showing exceptional promise and beginning to gain market traction. Fuel cell vehicles are not a science experiment. These are real vehicles with real marketability and real benefits. Hundreds of fuel cell vehicles have collectively logged millions of miles.

Both the National Academy of Sciences and NHA’s recent Energy Evolution report conclude that a portfolio of vehicle technologies is needed to achieve the nation’s energy and environmental security goals and that hydrogen is essential to success. Hydrogen also advances the Obama Administration’s goals of greener power generation and a smarter power grid. The newest fuel cell vehicles get 72 miles per gallon equivalent with no compromise in creature comforts. Fuel cell buses operating in revenue service achieve twice the fuel economy of diesel buses. Hydrogen production costs are already competitive with gasoline. Projected vehicle costs have been reduced by 75 percent. These are accomplishments of the Department’s own program in partnership with industry. It would truly be a government waste to squander them by walking away just as success is in sight. The National Academy recommended a portfolio approach and we are frankly puzzled at the Energy Department’s decision to ignore that recommendation even as the Department uses other material from the same report to justify its proposed cut. We are also concerned that the Department appears to be walking away from its Market Transformation activities, which support fuel cell deployment in early commercial applications. This Congressionally-mandated program is demonstrating the ability of fuel cells to provide a competitive and green alternative to battery-based systems in vehicles and in power supply.

Finally, we are concerned that the Department has proposed to cut funds for the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA). SECA success could dramatically lower the cost of carbon sequestration, improve power plant efficiency, and enable a virtually pollution-free coal plant in the future. Additional funding will hasten SECA progress.

The writer is the director of Technology and Communications for the National Hydrogen Association.


Urging Passage of Renewable Energy Standard Legislation

May 11th 2009

Passage of the renewable energy standard creates market mechanisms to ensure that a growing percentage of electricity is produced from renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass, solar & hydroelectric. Only legislation will create a predictable, competitive market, within which renewable generators compete with each other to lower prices. Renewable energy policies currently exist in 28 states, but not at the national level. Renewable energy occurs in nature, in contrast to non-renewable energy or fossil fuels, created in finite quantities, millions of years ago, by the decay or organic matter.  Renewable energy is clean. Nonrenewable energy such as coal, oil, gas, nuclear are dirty. In 2008, nearly 50 percent of America's new electricity production came from renewable energy and America surpassed Germany to became the world's number one producer of electricity from wind.

 

Today is a unique moment in history. Our eaders want change but they need the citizens help to break the political gridlock. Policy, the adoption of legislation, creates long term planning to supplant political discourse and rhetoric that produces policy changes every two years as Congress changes. American energy security will bring a cleaner, healthier era. The "green revolution" which will create jobs (35,000 new jobs last year alone) and scientific innovation, as well as building an economy based on creation, rather than consumption.

 

Change will come only when our voice demands new policy to safeguard america's future, looking beyond the current market interests of the utility companies. In 1973, America was crippled by the first Arab Oil Embargo. For nearly 40 years of energy "boom and bust," Congress has failed to lead and adopt a long term energy policy for America's energy security. We have that possibility now, with the Renewable Energy Standard which establsihes guidelines ensuring that 25 percent of all energy will be renewable for 2025. It's time for the people to lead.


Davis Elementary School Map Excludes Israel

May 11th 2009

Your readers should know the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and many others are troubled a factually inaccurate map of the Middle East that was posted at Pioneer Elementary School’s 4th Annual International Heritage Day in May 2008. Pioneer Elementary School is in the Davis Unified School District in Davis CA. The map did not include any reference to the State of Israel; instead, “Palestine” was erroneously denoted on the map in Israel’s place.

Even more troubling was the district’s response after the factually inaccurate map was brought to its attention. It took the district almost one year to respond to the complaint (supported in writing by numerous members of the community) that had been lodged about the map, and that was only after the original complainant repeatedly prodded the district for an answer. The response should have been immediate, since there was little if anything to debate about what the appropriate response should be.

When the district finally responded in a letter from Pamela Mari, Director of Student Services, the response was shockingly misguided. While the district acknowledged that International Heritage Day is a school-sponsored activity and that the district has the right and responsibility to regulate how such activities are conducted, the district then veered off in a direction that was unjustified and inappropriate.

The response focused on whether the map in question “promoted a discriminatory bias.” This is surely a concern. Leaving Israel off the map of the Middle East suggests an anti-Israel bias on the part of the map’s promoter at the International Heritage Day event. Indeed, the promoter’s animus toward Israel is clear; we understand that when confronted with the map’s inaccuracy, she responded angrily that “the Arab world does not recognize Israel.” (This by the way is false; Egypt and Jordan recognize Israel.) 

But bias is not the principal issue here. The fundamental issue is whether the school district is going to permit and promote deliberately false information at school-sponsored events, in derogation of its duty to ensure that materials that are presented to students are accurate and not misleading, and that such materials are based on facts and historical truths, not someone’s bigotry or political agenda. The individual who presented the map is plainly unhappy that the State of Israel exists. But it is indisputable that the State of Israel does exist and that it is a sovereign nation among all the nations of the world. It is outrageous that the school district would even consider tolerating a map at a school-sponsored event that deliberately falsifies the truth.

This information has also been communicated to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Representative Mike Thompson, State Senator Lois Wolk, State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada and other appropriate parties.
 
The writer is director of the Center for Law and Justice at the Zionist Organization of America.


Honda Is Responsible for the Fuelmaker Mess and CNG Supression

May 5th 2009
I really did not want to believe Edwin Black in The Plan and in his investigative series in The Cutting Edge News regarding Honda (see Investigation). Who would believe Honda would have a complete gameplan for suppressing CNG, not selling their own Honda Civic GX and hurting this nation's efforts to switch out of oil? But the orchestrated Fuelmaker bankruptcy Honda--connived between Tokyo and Torrance--documented with riveting precision in Black's work, now make it painfully clear. Honda must be investigated and sanctioned. I have always loved Honda cars. Now I see, not all that glitters is gold.

Angry Phill Customer Waits for Answers

May 5th 2009
If someone is compiling a list of angry Phill owners, please pass my name along. The warranty is not over yet on my Phill unit, and I have not been able to use it for a couple of months now due to a malfunction. Looks like I will have to reverse engineer it to get any satifaction.

Honda Image Tarnished Forever--No Better than GM

April 27th 2009
As a life-long customer of Honda automobiles and life-long admirer of the company, I must admit that revelations about its conduct in the field of alternative fuels have tarnished my view of them for the rest of my days. I remember when people like me and others in Chicago would drive nothing but a Honda back when it was hardly fashionable and when autoworkers were still smashing Japanese cars in parking lots. But people like me saw the value in the Honda vision. It is very said to see that vision become blurred and hazy by greed and deception. It is sad to see what they have done to suppress the Honda Civic GX, the proliferation of compressed natural gas automobiles and fueling, the forced bankruptcy of Fuelmaker through an anonymous corporation, and the fake vehicle shortages and quotas they have contrived. Clearly, they have done the same thing for hydrogen with the Clarity and the home refueler--put out a slick brochure and a few highly-laquered cars, but kept this fine vehicle off the road in any real numbers. For shame Honda. You now join the ranks of Ford and GM. Your white hat is gone forever.

Littoral Combat Ships in Another Perspective

April 20th 2009
Your author on the virtues of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) (Somali Piracy of Maersk Alabama Places Littoral Combat Ships in Perspective) might want to consider some additional factors in promoting their utility. They really are not that much more inexpensive, particularly when including the various mission packages contemplated and the crewing involved. But we should ask: How are they to be moved to trouble spots about the world as such arise, all too often unexpectedly, in a timely manner? What mission packages will be provided for such deployments, particularly when  all emergent threat elements may not be known? How will those emergent mission packages be positioned in the threat area, carried in what platforms, and changed out on the LCSs by what means? How will the small LCSs fare with emergent weather conditions which their sea keeping characteristics do not match? How will the LCSs be logistically supported for extended operations? Having been associated with the operation of smaller ships in forward deployed areas, with more than one type of threat environment, with severe weather conditions (typhoons) in the area, and with varied logistical support requirements emerging over a period of time, I suggest the author's analysis should be expanded. Realistically, the LCS may be a fine platform for a third world navy that has no distant commitments foreseen. Hopefully, the U. S. Navy is not destined to be so constrained.

Coca-Cola Questioned as Kosher for Passover Over Cairo Confiscation

April 13th 2009

Your readers should know on Passover that a growing organization in the Jewish community, called Magen Tzedek, demands that “kosher food produced with the highest degree of integrity.” Their standards prescribe that companies “must operate transparently and with integrity, respecting ethical standards of conduct and corporate governance.”

In this regard, I have asked them and all in the community to take strong public action against the Coca-Cola Company, which is selling a product that is rabbinically certified as appropriate (“kosher”) for consumption on Passover and year-round, but which has been engaging in grossly unethical (“traif”) behavior. Coca-Cola is continually making enormous profits by knowingly and deliberately exploiting property in Cairo stolen from my father by the Nasser government when our family was expelled from Egypt in 1964 and deprived of our Egyptian citizenship only because we are Jewish.

This story was investigated in great detail by Edwin Black in the The Cutting Edge News last Passover (On Passover, an Egyptian Jew Battles Coca-Cola in the USA for a Modern Day Injustice) . As was exposed, Coca-Cola, before 1964, was leasing space on the Bigio family property and contracting with our family for the production of Coca-Cola products. It knew in 1964 and knows today that the property was taken from us by force by the Egyptian authorities only because we are Jewish.

In 1979, the Egyptian government’s own Finance Ministry acknowledged this illegality and directed that the property be returned to our family. We brought ten lawsuits in the Egyptian courts, but the judges repeatedly refused to follow this directive of the Egyptian Finance Ministry.

In 1994, the Egyptian government announced that it was “privatizing” the property and would sell it to the highest bidder. The Coca-Cola Bottling Companies of Egypt purchased it for many millions of dollars and Coca-Cola has used the property in Cairo to make enormous profits since that time. It announced shortly after its purchase that it intended to invest $148 million in its Egyptian operations. This was done on our expropriated property with the full knowledge of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Indeed, when the “privatization” sale was announced in 1994 and Coca-Cola’s interest in purchasing the property was made public, I traveled to Atlanta and met with Coca-Cola officials. I pointed out that they knew this was stolen property, and I asked for a modest compensation for the Bigio family. The Coca-Cola management brushed me off in a most disdainful manner. Read more ..


Honda Customer To Call His State Attorney General over Fuelmaker

April 13th 2009
I am really irked at Honda over the Fuelmaker bankruptcy (See Honda Suddenly Kills Fuelmaker In Stunning Move That Outrages CNG Movement and Honda Scrambles to Sell Fuelmaker Amid Confusion and Outrage). Enough to get rid of my 2009 Honda GX and our 2007 Civic Navigation System. I wire-brushed Honda right before a recent press release on the pending sale. I actually suspect their release was inflouenced by my severe expletive-laced announcement that I was locating legal representation for breach of warranty and false advertisement for the FuelMaker availability. Companies that hide behind 1-800 numbers that are afraid to publish the direct numbers are a target for me. I will contact the Oregon State Attorney General immediately and get the numbers for the Honda executive team and fax numbers to give to my attorney. I currently have over $60,000 in Honda product, $39,000 of which I cannot drive. Irritated does not even go far enough.


Another Interested in Kim Taylor Response

April 8th 2009
Let me second the motion on Kim Taylor responding to questions from Edwin Black or any other reporter about the upcoming Alt Fuel Expo (See Honda Suddenly Kills Fuelmaker In Stunning Move That Outrages CNG Movement). As a long-time supporter of alternative fuels of all types, including CNG but also hydrogen, I question the involvement of Honda, plus Ford and GM. These companies have done everything possible to keep these alternatives from the public, at least delay their rollout. So if Ms. Taylor does reply, I will be listening. And if she does not reply, I will be listening for that as well.

Kim Taylor Does Not Respond on the Alt Fuel Event in Orlando

April 7th 2009
I noticed in Edwin Black's spot-on coverage of the Honda and the Fuelmaker crisis (Honda Suddenly Kills Fuelmaker In Stunning Move That Outrages CNG Movement) that Kim Taylor of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute did not return calls and emails on the topic of the forthcoming Alt Fuel Expo in Orlando later this month about the involvement of Honda, GM and Ford in an event designed to promote alternative vehicles and fuel. I for one would like to hear Kim Taylor's response to these questions, and cannot understand why she did not and wish someone among the organizers would. What is the problem? If Kim Taylor does respond, I hope The Cutting Edge will publish her explanation.

Set America Free Hopes to End the OPEC Oil Monopoly for $100 per Vehicle

March 30th 2009

American recently saw the bipartisan introduction of H.R. 1476: The Open Fuel Standard in the House of Representatives by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Bob Inglis (R-SC), Steve Israel (D-NY) and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD). The bill paves the way for fuel choice in American automobile transportation. A similar bipartisan Senate measure is anticipated soon. The Open Fuel Standard would ensure that starting in 2012, 50 percent of new automobiles powered by an internal combustion engine, and starting in 2015, 80 percent of such new automobiles, be flex fuel vehicles warranted to operate on gasoline, ethanol, and methanol, or be warranted to operate on biodiesel. Flex Fuel capability in new cars has a nominal cost of approximately $100. The Big 3 Automakers currently manufacture 90 percent of the cars produced for the Brazil market as flex fuel vehicles. 

The CEOs of the Big Three auto companies have repeatedly stated their willingness to commit to making 50 percent of new cars flex fuel vehicles or warranted to operate on biodiesel by 2012. Anne Korin, co-chair of the Set America Free Coalition, a diverse alliance focused on stripping oil of its strategic value by breaking its virtual monopoly over transportation fuels, notes. "The Open Fuel Standard Act would buttress this commitment with law, ensuring that most new cars will be platforms on which fuels can compete, thus providing certainty for investors in a variety of alternative fuels to ramp up production and fuel station owners to install pumps."

Gal Luft, a founding member of the Set America Free Coalition, has said: “Fuel Choice remains as critical today with gas at $2 per gallon as it was last year when oil was $147 per barrel and the pump price of gas was $4 per gallon. It costs the automakers an extra $100 per car to give us the insurance policy we
need to prepare us for the next oil crisis that will surely come once we pull out of the recession.”

This movement needs many voices to make the message of fuel choice an integral component of energy independence. It should reverberate in the offices of the administration and the Halls of Congress so it becomes part of their agenda. If America is ever going to achieve Energy Independence, we must begin now. The road to Brazil's transportation energy independence was paved by fuel choice.  Gas-only stations must become a thing of the past... if we're  going to have a viable future. If Brazil can do it, so can America.


Open Fuel Legislation Challenged as Unwise

March 23rd 2009

I’m not in the habit of commenting on irresponsible and misleading articles published on the web, and have no intention of getting into it, or subsequent haggling.  I just wanted to point out that an article you published on March 16: Separating Energy Independence from Global Warming with an Open Fuel Standard,” by Neil B. Goldstein is full of half-truth “facts” and in my opinion misleads your readers. When it serves the author’s interests, the solutions of some problems (“green” power generation and electric/plug in vehicles) are expensive, insufficient, and would take decades to achieve, whereas other problems – using biodiesel and other alternative fuels in cars – is simple and could be here immediately if we would only have a legislation forcing the auto industry to make the modifications enabling the use of such fuels. This is simply untrue. Suggesting it is a disservice to all, especially those who try to develop safe and affordable means to produce alternative fuels and investigate all the aspects of such a process, related to production storage and transportation. These folks know this is a task that would take years of work and significant funds to accomplish, just like the other very important topics Mr. Goldstein considers of a lesser value to the American people.   

The writer is director of the Center for Energy Research at the The Weizmann Institute of Science.

Goldstein responds: Given Professor Karni’s admirable record of accomplishment in the field of solar energy (including the use of high-temperature solar to produce hydrogen and biofuels from waste), it is not surprising that he brings passion to the subject of energy policy. Unfortunately he has permitted that passion to interfere with a fair and accurate reading of what I said, and to disregard the one transitional strategy that can significantly reduce U.S. consumption of imported oil in the immediate future.

Read more ..

Freeman Bows Out of Security Post

March 16th 2009

The public needs some important information regarding the withdrawal of Amb. Charles Freeman from consideration for Director of the National Intelligence Counncil, a non-confirmable position. The vetting process was internal - no one but Director Blair and the  President had to be satisfied with his credentials, and clearly Adm. Blair was. So why did he withdraw? He blames the "Israel lobby," a convenient, largely mythical foil.  But more likely, once he aroused public and then Congressional interest and knew he would have to explain himself, he had neither the desire nor the ability to defend being paid by Saudi Arabia and sitting on the Board of a Chinese state oil company. It would have been illuminating to watch him try. Consider this - the Chinese state oil company, on whose board Freeman sits, pumps oil in Sudan. Two weeks ago, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Sudan's President Omar Bashir for crimes in Darfur. Bashir, in retaliation, ousted several of the nonprofit food and medical organizations that keep the people of Darfur alive even as they suffer the depredations of the militias supported by the Sudanese government. A few of the civilized countries, including the United States, tried to get a UN Security Council resolution condemning Bashir for tossing the food and medical people. China has a history of defending Sudan in the Security Council and in this instance threatened to exercise its veto on behalf of its state oil company. Forget Israel. Try defending that in front of Congress.

The writer is a senior director for security policy at JINSA.


Honda Still Suppresses CNG Civic

March 9th 2009
Recently, I tried to purchase a Honda Civic GX. To my surprise, I was told that the car was unavailable. Neither I could I purchase the home filling device, the Phill. A friend told me to check the Cutting Edge News for the scoop on this. I was amazed and found more information in the book, The Plan. With Honda suffering right along with Detroit being unable to sell its Honda-style gas guzzlers, I am amazed that they will not give in and sell a car people actually want to buy--the Honda GX, especially as it will help free us by domination from foreign oil interests. What is wrong with Honda? Probably the same thing that is wrong with Detroit.

Energy Independence Day Will Feature Congressmen and Activists

February 27th 2009
A previous issue of The Cutting Edge News mentioned that energy activists would be rallying in Washington on March 3rd for Energy Independence Day (see Society February 3, 2008). I am happy to announce that five members of Congress have responded to our call and will be speaking, in addition to Pulitzer-nominated author Edwin Black, author of The Plan. This will be the first opportunity for activists to rally at the Capitol to let Congress know that we demand immediate action to get off of imported oil.  Anyone interested in joining the rally can come to the West Front Terrace of the U.S. Capitol Building where we will be meeting at 11 AM.

A Cross-Border Biofuel Perspective on Obama-Harper Meeting

February 19th 2009

While the first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will focus on a variety of issues, there is little doubt that the economy, energy security and the environment will be among the major topics to be discussed.

As America and Canada look for ways to provide economic opportunity, reduce the impacts of climate change, and develop renewable energy sources, the role of biofuels in the energy plans of both nations is becoming increasingly important. Both nations are investing in alternatives to imported oil.  For his part, President Obama is pushing for a comprehensive and ambitious plan to invest in alternative and renewable energy to diversify the North American fuel supply, address climate change, and create green manufacturing jobs and a new green economy. The biofuels industry has been in the forefront of creating green jobs for decades. 

Paralleling efforts in the U.S. to expand the use of ethanol, the Canadian Parliament last year passed a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring gasoline sold in Canada to contain an average of 5% renewable content, including ethanol, and 2% renewable content, including biodiesel, in the diesel supply.

We are pleased that in both our countries there is a strong policy recognition of the need to substitute cleaner, renewable fuels for oil imports and other finite hydrocarbons.

Renewable fuels provide a major source of economic opportunity. New green jobs will be created. Expanded production will equal increased industrial and commercial development. Perhaps most excitingly, renewable fuels will spark economic hope for our farm families and forestry sector – which will provide the feedstocks for new fuels that we harvest, rather than extract.

In addition, renewable fuels can help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, a leading contributor to climate change. For instance, newly published work in the Journal of Industrial Ecology notes that ethanol technology today reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 59 percent compared to gasoline.  As new technologies are developed and current technologies improved upon, renewable fuel production and use will further help mitigate the dangerous consequences of global climate change.

Finally, based on a number of recent studies, it is clear that renewable fuels using both grains and cellulosic feedstocks are better for the environment than gasoline. A study by Sandia National Laboratories found that by itself the US could produce 90 billion gallons a year by 2030. Together with production in Canada, using the same type of analysis, North American biofuel production will be able to replace a majority of our oil imports. 

Renewable fuels offer a tremendous opportunity for our respective countries, the western Hemisphere, and indeed the world to make tangible progress in replacing our fossil fuel use with cleaner, locally-produced renewable energy. The potential of renewable fuels technology to help provide energy, economic, and environmental security is something that must be aggressively pursued.

Bob Dinneen is president of the Washington, DC-based U.S. Renewable Fuels Association, and Gordon Quaiattini is president of the Ottawa-based Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.


Honda and Toyota are as Bad as the Big Three

February 16th 2009
Too often we think of our troubled auto industry as "the Big Three." Toyota is now arguably the largest automobile manufacturer in the, eclipsing GM. But Toyota is also a leading manufacturer of oversized gas guzzling SUVs, as is Honda, which makes the bad-for-American energy independence Pilot. True, GM killed the electric car and the trolleys, as they say and as The Cutting Edge News has skillfully documented. But Honda has smothered the CNG car market in the USA, and the hydrogen potential as well. Now both Honda and Toyota, once giants standing atop the reputation of their greenest cars such as the Prius and Civic, have been stung by a public rejection of their overall product line. Toyota is slashing salaries, assembly lines and output. No one one wants Toyota's cars anymore than they want Chrysler's. The big Three should be the Big Five. Thank you Cutting Edge News for telling it like it is.

CNN Had the Worst Coverage of Gaza War

February 2nd 2009
Of all the TV reports I watched during the recent Gaza-Israel war, and I include everything from the BBC to Fox, none was more prejudiced toward Israel than CNN. Its continual distortion of the concept of proportionality seems to believe that 8,000 rockets fired from Gaza, each intended to kill at least Israeli, did not matter. I stopped watching CNN. I could not bear it. I know I am not the only one.

Cancelling a Washington Post Subscription

January 26th 2009
I am appalled at the New York Times and now the Washington Post for their biased reporting of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The front pages for two days running showed the plight of the people of Gaza and the destruction that Israel bombs have caused. There was no talk of the rockets that have rained down on
helpless citizens inside Israel, even during the supposed three hour truce wanted by the 'do nothing' U.N. I for one am canceling my subscription to the Post and I hope they ask me why. I always thought reporting the news gave both sides and allowed the reader to determine whom he believed. This is not so. Are the Post and the Times owned or run by those who have another agenda? What a sad state it is. Kind of reminds one of the WWII-era when Goebbels said tell a lie enough times and people will start to believe it.

Russian Natural Gas Cut-Off a Wake Up Call

January 19th 2009
By now it must be obvious to the world that what Russia has done to Europe and he Ukraine in cutting off natural gas (see Energy January 5, 2008 Russia Shuts off Natural Gas to Ukraine as Political Overtones Fume), could be done to America. Yet as has been told to us time and again, neither the outgoing Bush Administration or the incoming Obama Administration have any plan for a similar shut down here. Libya did the same thing to Switzerland, shutting off 20 percent of its oil last fall. When do we get it? We need energy independence.

Citizen for Energy Freedom Florida Meeting Spotlighted as Oil Expected to Soon Rise

January 5th 2009
I was very pleased to read your story on the upcoming Citizens for Energy Freedom conference this January 17 in Florida (See Mass Movement for Energy Freedom December 15, 2008 in Energy).  The timing of this conference is especially appropriate. I just read recently that OPEC will be cutting its oil production by almost ten percent, starting January. This is sure to affect gasoline prices here, at a time when our economy is particularly vulnerable. Our continued dependence on oil forces us to line the pockets of countries led by dictators and terrorists seeking our destruction and that's true no matter what the price of gasoline might be.  It's time to get serious about fueling our cars by other means, and I for one am looking forward to linking up with others as frustrated as I am to hear from expert panels and learn how to educate others on the problem and the solution.

Michael Thad Allen Left the IBM Machines Out of His Book

January 5th 2009
I benefitted greatly by reading Edwin Black's review of Business of Genocide (see Disappointing Business For Michael Thad Allen’s Attempt At Holocaust Business Research, December 29, 2008 in Arts). I found it amazing that the IBM machines which we have all read about in IBM and the Holocaust and many other places, and seen in documentaries, located in the camps and among other things devoted to slave labor organizing... these were in fact never mentioned in Allen's book which is on the very topic of organizing the camps and slave labor business. This is a reminder that when it comes to corporate involvement in the Holocaust, we need to dig deeper and ask what is being included--and what is not.

Joe Dunlap And Spokane Need to Speak Up And Demand Honda GX Vehicles

December 22nd 2008
As one who believes in alternative fuels, I hope that the Spokane Community College finally gets the Honda GX cars they were seeking. The Cutting Edge News has covered this magnificently (see Honda Image Tarnished As It Uses Four Letter Expletives and Public Becomes Aware of Alt Fuel Suppression in Energy Dec1, 2008 and related series). As we endlessly discuss bailouts for the Big Three, I find it frustrating that Honda refuses to seize the opportunity to sell a car that can help both the industry and our nation out of our vehicular mess. I am equally disappointedly that school president Joe Dunlap has grown weary and has now resorted to "no comment." What kind of example is that? Joe Dunlap and all of Spokane need to speak up and demand that Honda sell GX vehicles that run on natural gas. They have been on the front line and must not shirk. I ask this not for Spokane, but for everyone in America. Here in Dallas, natural gas is a promising alternative fuel. It is abundant throughout this part of Texas and if Spokane can set the example with natural gas cars, everyone will gain across the nation.

Open Fuel Standard An Immediate Must

December 8th 2008

Does the irony ratchet any higher as Congress contemplates the use of a previously created $25 billion fund earmarked for automaker’s retooling for greater fuel efficiency to “bailout” the auto industry which for decades has fought increased CAFE standards? And this at a moment in time the auto industry, which has not missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity, is engaged in legal action in 16 states opposing states which seek to reduce greenhouse emissions from automobiles.

This horse can be led to water, but it will only drink if the legislation demands it must. Until it was legislated, the automakers spent tens of millions of dollars on lawyers and lobbyists opposing seat belts, shoulder belts, air bags, and catalytic converters. These innovations then became international standards.

Should Congress pass an aid bill, it must be predicated upon taxpayer assurances including concessions to ensure future viability and competitiveness, reduce labor packages, and reduce overall debt obligation.  This bill will fail Americans if it fails to include measures to put America on course for energy independence, including the Flexible Fuel vehicle benchmarks contained in the circulating Bill HR S3303/ 6559 also known as the Open Fuel Standard Act (nominal cost of $100 to $200 per car, proven technology, able to run on any combination gasoline or American ethanol and methanol) and fully electric cars.

Our National Security is compromised each day seventy cents of every dollar spent on oil leaves America. As America’s foreign oil dependence nears 70 percent, our way of life, predicated on available and affordable fuel, becomes more precarious should a supply disruption occur or should prices skyrocket again. We must not lose our sense of urgency to get America’s cars running on oil alternates derived from alcohol such as methanol, butanol, or CNG or electricity, become derailed by a temporary drop in the price of oil. The 1970s, 1980s, 1990s showed “cheap oil” will derail alternates, but oil’s price will continue to increase.

Worldwide competition for finite resources like fossil fuels, coupled with geopolitical gamesmanship, adds an element of uncertainty to fuel availability. We cannot wait another 35 years for Congress to act. We must break the oil monopoly before the petrodollars of Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela break us and our allies, systematically deploying strategic initiatives to obtain advanced weapons systems, develop nuclear weapons, and undermine relationships with our allies.

The next generation is counting on us not to miss this opportunity to reduce dependence on foreign oil. It's our duty. It’s our destiny.


Startled Or Not By The Definition Of "Being Christian"

December 1st 2008

In the book Understanding Thomas Jefferson by E. M. Halliday, there is a passage exploring an exchange of letters between Jefferson and Dr. Benjamin Rush concerning Jefferson’s stance on Christianity. Jefferson explained his basic stance as “I am a Christian, in the only sense he [Jesus] wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to him every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other.” Rush’s response to Jefferson’s stance was that “nobody who denied the divinity of Christ was entitled to be called a Christian.” (pg. 202). This drew me back to Elizabeth Black’s July 07, 2008 column "Does Cal Thomas Know the Only Way to Heaven?"

Where Ms. Black was not startled by Thomas’ opinion on the definition of Christianity, I would like to pose this question: does holding the belief that there are “many different paths” to God disqualify you from identifying yourself as a Christian?

As a caveat, I understand that survey questions can be poorly conceived, the results may not reflect what a person really believes and that a survey (or myself) cannot gauge the heart of the survey takers. However, we can explore the result that many self-identified Protestants and Catholics believe that there are many paths to God. A person has the freewill to decide if there are zero, one or many paths to God. However, that doesn’t mean the person is correct, for the basis of the Christian faith is found in God’s word, the Bible. And though a person or movement may try, they are not entitled to change God’s word. The Christian faith is not a democracy.

The belief that there are many paths to God and identifying yourself as a Christian is incompatible. Ms. Black is correct in saying that there are exclusive aspects to the Christian faith though it is not arrogance if one refers to the words of God, the Bible, in seeking the mind of God. All faiths and organizations have some element of exclusivity to them. Those who believe there are “many different paths” to God cannot reconcile that belief to, among other things, John 14:6, man’s sinful nature and separation from God, Jesus’ prayers in the garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus’ death on the Cross. There is nothing more fundamental to the Christian faith than the message of the Cross and the “many different paths” belief is opposed to the Cross. Read more ..


TCEN Called it on General Electric

November 24th 2008
Once again, the Cutting Edge cut right through the haze and did so just before the shoe dropped. You called it on General Electric just before the price dramatically tanked. The company has bamboozled the country and the investor community for years. They have always been a bank masquerading as an industrial combine. The Cutting Edge is to be commended. You did the same for Wachovia. That was the worst bank in America and you assembled all the facts in one place. Since the mainstream media won't give us this sort of insightful analysis, I for one am glad someone will. Keep up the slicing and dicing.

Friends of Zambia Recognize Coverage

November 17th 2008

I have just discovered your excellent site thanks to recent blogs. We Zambians and friends of Zambia are fed-up with the virtual media blackout on Zambia just because there isn't a lot of bad news about Zambia. So the article "Zambia's Election an Important Bellwether for Africa" of November 3, 2008 by Priya Abraham is just so refreshing! I wanted to say thank you and keep up the wonderful work - quality journalism instead of so much sensational stuff on our TV screens and newspapers (rarely watched or read).


Honda and Fuelmaker Tax Credits Can Be A Gaseous Myth

November 3rd 2008

In October, I began my journey into personal energy independence. I was fortunate to be able to purchase a 2009 Honda Civic GX and a FuelMaker FMQ-2-36 home fueling appliance. I bought the Civic with a promise of a $4000 Alternative Fuel Tax Credit and another $1000 Tax Credit for investing in a home refueling appliance.  Be warned, these so-called ‘Tax Credits’ evaporate if your tax filing status subjects you to paying the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax). It seems as if the people who can most likely afford to invest in alternative fuel technologies do not receive the tax advantage for doing so. On the other hand, people who could be eligible for receiving the tax credits are less likely to be able to afford the initial investment. It’s government ‘vaporware’ at its finest.


Honda Disappoints on Both GX and Hydrogen

October 27th 2008
As a loyal Honda driver, I am flabbergasted that Honda would let America down with both its natural gas and hydrogen cars (see Hondas related Investigation September 29, October 06 and October 20, 2008). I now see that these cars are strutted out to distract the media and governmment into thinking the company is commited to high fuel economy and alternative fuels. I am now buying another vehicle from Honda or anyone unless it is an alternate--electric, natural gas, hydrogen or the others. If necessary, I will wait for until 2010 when GM and other companies will be selling their electric cars. "Wake Up" Honda. Your loyal base will dry up. And buy the way, sell one car to Spokane please.

Honda Falls Off Its Pedestal

October 20th 2008
Now we finally see that Honda is as bad as the other bad actors in the country's automobile-driven addiction to oil, thanks to the Cutting Edge and Mr. Black's revelations. It is a quite a disappointment, as a lifelong Honda fan, to see this fine company join the ranks of GM and Ford in keeping this country hooked on oil and keeping the alternative cars we need from our roads. Honda will never be able to explain to me why they don't mass-produce their natural gas and hydrogen cars. Even GM has announced it is preparing the mass-produce hydrogen cars. I suppose money talks and the gas guzzlers provide the most profit. But America will pay for that profit and continues to pay, not only in cash but in our national independence. Honda needs to get back on the right road.

Honda Should Be Ashamed and Assessed Extra Taxes

October 13th 2008
I was shocked that Honda--I consider them one of the best--would hold back on their best fuel efficient and alternative technology, keep us enslaved to oil and still driving their gas guzzlers, all to keep their profits high. Here's an idea. Cancel Honda's tax deductions for any vehicle development such as the GX natural gas car and the Clarity hydrogen car, that the company is refusing to sell. And if they won't sell the best vehicles to any city, then by all means cancel ALL their tax deductions for operations in that city. I expected this from GM, but never from Honda. Honda should be ashamed.

Nancy Pelosi and Bailing Out the Billionaires

October 6th 2008

I thought it necessary to share my letter to Congresswoman Pelosi, whom the Republicans would so eagerly like to demonize for her speech during the bailout discussions, going so far as to suggest that the Republicans who ultimately decided to reject the bailout did so because of her. The fact is that the Republican "leadership" couldn't even muster their own, so they had little choice but to blame it on Democrats as they seemingly have no reflections in their mirrors.

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U.S.House of Representatives

Washington, DC

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi:

First the great financial wizards of our time display incredibly reckless judgment, then they insist we bail them out, while not being willing to even take pay cuts - preposterous! Then they decide to let the market get into a free-fall in order to pressure you into caving in to their demands. Your constituents are faced with the choice: Bail the bastards out, or face personal financial ruin whilst their 401K plans and other investments collapse around them. When the Swedes faced this problem in 1992 they bailed out the banks, but became shareholders, thus saving the industry AND the taxpayers. The Republicans would just as soon save their rich buddies and leave us to pay the bill - that's their modus operandi. Stick to your guns and don't cave in! If we go down, at least we don't do so while saddling on more indebtedness! Whilst the Republicans crow, and tell us to eat cake, they should remember what ultimately happened to Marie Antoinette!


Honda Should Be Ashamed

October 6th 2008
I was shocked to discover that Honda is holding back on its alternative fuel vehicles such as the GX natural gas car. This country needs to get off of oil. There is no excuse for a Japanese company to come to our shore and then hold back on the technology ready at hand to help get us off of oil. Not only should they sell GX cars to people in Spokane, we would love them here in the Bay Area and they should be sold everywhere in America. Kudos to the Cutting Edge and shame on Honda.


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