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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.

The Average Person is Helpless in Our Energy Crisis

September 29th 2008
What is the average person to do against an ever-widening fuel crisis when the automakers will not make the fuel-efficient vehicles, companies will not produce the alternative fuels, the government will not take meaningful action beyond lip service, and we are fundamentally faced with no intelligent choices? Since cars last ten years before they are scrapped, whatever we buy today, we are stuck with in the fuel enviornment at hand for a decade. We are helpless.

Financial Meltdown Called by Cutting Edge Months Earlier--So Why the Shock?

September 22nd 2008
The events of the past few days are startling the nation and the financial media. But The Cutting Edge News called it on August 4 with your article: "What Banks And The Government Are Not Telling Us About 2009—The Next Shoes You Hear Drop May Be Very Loud Ones." So I was not startled and my friends who I forwarded the message to were not startled. If you knew it was coming, and the readers of the Cutting Edge knew it was coming, why did the media and the regulators not know it was coming?

Keep on Naming Names at Wachovia and Other Culprits

September 15th 2008
I commend The Cutting Edge News for your cutting edge analysis of America's deepening economic crisis. You are telling it the way it is about Merrill Lynch, the Fed, and our government officials misleading the nation and little investors in particular. I found your critique of Wachovia as the "worst bank in America" to be right on the money--so to speak. Keep naming names. These culprits need to be exposed.

Random House Reneges--We Must All "Stand Up" to Censorship

September 8th 2008

When Random House recently reneged on its agreement to publish Sherry Jones’s manuscript, The Jewel of Medina, it was clear that the basis for repudiation was solely its fear that publication might offend some Muslims or even cause violence. While this novel that concerns Muhammad’s child bride might be a well or poorly-written book, and its contents good or bad history, Random House had already thoroughly vetted those issues, paid the author a $100,000 advance, and arranged for book club and foreign publication. It was only a warning of violence and Random House’s resulting cowardice that prompted the publisher’s repudiation. Most of us would be appalled if the heavy hand of government restrained the publication of any book. Yet there is no difference to readers if the restraint is made by a cowardly publisher. The public is as much deprived by cowardly self-censorship as by the hand of government. Moreover, this form of cowardice will only lead to more and more of this form of self-censorship and constitutes an affront to the integrity of literary publication. We all should stand up to it, in whatever ways are available to us. The Langum Charitable Trust (www.langumtrust.org) is a small foundation that gives book awards in various categories. The way of “standing up” available to us was to put Random House and its affiliates out of the running for our prizes until an English version of this book is actually published. Our foundation certainly holds no animus toward Random House. Last year’s winner of our American historical fiction award was a Random House title. Nor is there an issue of “what good” will come of our decision. For us, it was simply the right thing to do.

David J. Langum is director of the the Langum Charitable Trust, a foundation that awards book and media prizes.


Prohibiting Organ Transplants Between Muslims and Christians is Egyptian Eugenics in Action

September 1st 2008
Reading your recent article about Egyptian plans to outlaw organ transplants between Muslims and Christians ( Egypt Seeks to Ban Christian-Muslim Organ Transplants, Feature August 25) is nothing less than traditional eugenics played out in the Arab world. It is the blood the ruling majority does not want to mix. This time, the target group is the minority Christians. Racial purity here we go again. I am sure the same ban will soon apply to transfusions. We already have seen Muslim doctors in Britain refuse to render medical care to women as well as people suffering from diseases arising from sexual transmission and alcohol. What's next? Apartheid hospitals like they used to have in South Africa in the bad old days. Medical care in any society should be available to all without a religious, racial or ethnic test.

Are the Bank Robbers Actually Working for the Bank

August 25th 2008
Reading your "cutting edge" coverage of America's corrupt financial institutions--from the Federal Reserve Bank to the Treasury Department to Merrill Lynch, it is obvious that the public cannot trust a word of what bank executives are saying. Their off-the-books losses based on years of accumulated sweeheart, reckless and predator lending has now crippled the country's financial system. I look forward to the day these executives are not permitted to buy their way out of their lies and deception with multi-billion civil settlements, but instead must do serious jail time. Has it not occured to anyone that the bank robbers are actually working for the bank. Keep up the great coverage.

 


USHMM Continues to Snub Survivors Complains Holocaust Survivor Organizations

August 4th 2008

Every month our organization, The National Association of Jewish Child Holocaust Survivors, send copies of our NAHOS newsletter to several officials at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as to Mr. Reto Meister, the administrator of the International Tracing Service archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Recently we received a letter from Mr. Meister, thanking us for receiving our newsletter and assuring us that he was reading our newsletter and recommendations with interest. It would have been gratifying to receive a similar letter from any of the USHMM officials. Shouldn’t they also pay attention to our wishes? After all, it is our families’ tragic fate that gave rise to their fields of endeavor. When will they stop looking with disdain or indifference upon the survivors, like simply being other objects that need classifying?

The writer is the president of The National Association of Jewish Child Holocaust Survivors.


Obama's Controversial Catholic Spiritual Adviser Stuck in a Theology Dominated by Racism

July 28th 2008

In regards to Aaron Klein's article on Rev. Pfleger (The Cutting Edge News June 29, 2009) I have a quick comment on the Reverend's theology. On or about June 3, 2008 Rev. Pfleger was quoted in a Cathleen Falsani article in the Chicago Sun-Times about racism and the Bible. "I understand that," he says. "People say, well, I thought you were more politically savvy. Well, I would have been if I was speaking at a banquet, or if I were speaking at a press conference. But I didn't think this was a political time. I was speaking at a pulpit about an issue that is . . . the greatest sin against the Bible, about racism." I have not studied Black Liberation Theology, however the use of "Liberation" implies a liberation from something, or maybe a liberation to something. I am not necessarily sure what a "sin against the Bible" is. However, I understand the statement to rank racism above all other sins. As for ranking a sin in the Bible, racism is not #1. Idolatry is. One would think that a Catholic priest of 25 years plus service would know this. Application of this knowledge is another issue. Rev. Pfleger's ranking of racism over idolatry as a sin is idolatry in and of itself. And if he is preaching accordingly, he is leading his flock away from the teachings of God. I would like to know what the basis is for the Reverend to think racism is a sin. It is a sin because it denies God's created order. All sin starts with putting yourself ahead of God. I doubt that elevating the sin of racism to #1 is part of the Catholic curriculum. Maybe Cardinal George should send him back to school. Read more ..


Harriet McBryde Johnson Proved Me Wrong

July 21st 2008

In February 2003, my aunt-in-law, Eileen invited us to dinner at the beautiful plantation house she shared with her partner Meta, in the marshland countryside surrounding the romantic Charleston, where my husband and I lived at the time.

As we were chatting away in the kitchen, talking about new jobs and our new life in the Deep South of the United States, Eileen left the room for a moment to come back a few minutes later with the New York Times magazine in her hand. She gave it to me and she said, “I know you’re not working in disability anymore but I wondered what you thought about this. She’s a lawyer from Charleston.”

I looked down and there it was, Unspeakable Conversations: a huge article about disability and eugenics written by Harriet McBryde Johnson. I looked at her photograph, read the first few lines of the piece, and sat down and devoured it with a passion I hadn’t felt in a long time. The writer was a lawyer whose spinal muscular atrophy left her extremely thin and physically quite weak. Yet her spirit and writing and wittiness had the muscular strength of a Cyclops. She took so much risk in confronting herself and Dr Peter Singer, the professor of bioethics at Princeton University, that I was flabbergasted.

At the time I had reached “Disability Issues Burnout” as I called it then, as after years of working in this field—first in London in the UK , then in San Francisco in California, and then Bologna in my home country of Italy—I just simply could not find the motivation anymore to work around disability issues. Doubts were creeping up in my consciousness as to whether I was working in the disability field not because I really felt for it, but only because I could not find a good job in “mainstream” employment. Being severely deaf, wearing hearing aids and lip-reading, and talking with a strange deafy-Italian accent, I had almost never been unemployed since I had run away from my family home in Sardinia and found refuge in the UK. I was always striving to prove everyone wrong about my abilities, especially back home. Read more ..


Perils of LNG Should Be More Widely Discussed

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

The Myths of LNG Shipping Perpetuated

June 23rd 2008

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

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

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

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

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


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

June 16th 2008

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

 

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

Dear Abe:

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

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

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

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

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

Read more ..

Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Us

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

Electric Cars Should Have Been Manufactured Years Ago

June 9th 2008
Shai Agassi's electric car and his network  [Shai Agassi's Electric Car Plan Good Enough to “Wipe out Gasoline Cars” says Deutsche Bank, May 26 Energy] is something that should have been available decades ago. The technology is old--it goes back to the the electric car networks of the 1990s. At some point our society and our government must hold Detroit's carmakers responsible for hooking our nation on gas guzzling automobiles. GM, Ford, Chrysler and others have been withholding or neglecting electric cars for years to create the present oil crisis. Nor are they the sole culprits. The foreign car companies such as VW, Honda, and Toyota could have brought these cars to our country--and they did not. After we list the car companies, we should place government officials at the top of the list because they ran a public policy that made this mess possible.

Paul Shapiro and his Standoff with Holocaust Survivors

June 9th 2008
Maybe someone can explain why the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum allows Paul Shapiro to wage a standoff with Holocaust survivors with regard to their records at the International Tracing Service in Germany. Are there no supervisors at the Museum who can rein him in? Are there no Senators or Members of the House who can exercise any influence and allow these aging survivors to access their records? It's not about Holocaust tourism in Washington--it's about time. And that time for survivors to have instant access to their records is long overdue.

Baha’i Arrests Show Loss of Basic Religious Freedoms and Human Rights in Iran

June 2nd 2008

Seven Baha’i leaders recently arrested in Iran are members of an informal Baha’i national coordinating group established to help meet the needs of Iran’s Baha’i community. Six were arrested on May 14 and a seventh has been detained since March.

The arrests of these leaders of the Baha’i faith demonstrate the seriousness of the loss of basic religious freedoms and human rights in Iran. Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power, members of the Baha’i community have been harassed, physically attacked, arrested and imprisoned.

The U.S. government and leading human rights activists have likened the situation to the crackdowns on Baha’is immediately after the 1979 revolution in Iran, when 17 Baha’i leaders were arrested.  They have never been heard from again.

Now is the time for world leaders to join together and insist that Iran release these religious prisoners.

Abraham H. Foxman is national director of the Anti-Defamation League.


Why Does the Red Cross Continue Working with USHMM's Paul Shapiro?

June 2nd 2008
The Red Cross is the world's pre-eminent humanitarian organization. Their first duty is to the victims. My question is this: If so many Holocaust survivors are umcomfotable with the actions of Paul Shapiro [of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum], and his so-called mismanagement of the Bad Arolsen records, why doesn't the Red Cross simply jettison the man? Why should he call the shots? Surely the Red Cross could simply turn to an independent committee of Holocaust surviors, that could be created by their grass-roots organizations and their peers, and allow them to decide the fate of their records. Naturally, such a committee would need to be truly independent and not under the domination of the Museum. I think Holocaust survivors deserve better than the grand standing and politicized experiences they have seen at the hands of Shapiro and his circle. It seems it is up to the Red Cross to show some spunk.

I Chose Against University of California Irvine Because of Hate Speech

June 2nd 2008

I am a student in college and have been hearing many stories about Israel and America on the campus that make my skin crawl.

I was accepted to University California Irvine, but decided against it. I heard Allyson Rowen Taylor speak at a Chabad event and she discussed the issues on the campus to a room filled with parents who had no idea what was going on in the public arena. After reading about UCI online, and speaking with others who have seen the campus antics, I decided to go elsewhere, not only for reasons of the intense hatred of Jews at UCI, but because I wanted to be free of the "apartheid walls" and the vitriol of speakers who create hate with my fellow students. I searched for a campus with high academics where study was a priority, and the influence of the MSU was minimal if not absent. While there are issues at my campus, they are tiny compared to the issues of the UCI campus.

Thank you for opening the eyes of others who have no idea what is happening to our universities.

Spencer Morgan is a member of the Vassar Class of 2011.


Paul Shapiro and USHMM vs. Holocaust Survivors

May 26th 2008
It must be painfully obvious to all by now that Paul Shapiro and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are not working for the benefit of survivors in the Bad Arolsen records controversy. Just read the newsletters of survivor groups, the letters to the editor they have written, and their opinion pieces. Also look at Shapiro stonewalling the press and the Museum imposing media blackouts. The question remains: why can't survivors check out their own files online with local helpers? Why must they travel to Washington to check their files, or work with one one of the Museum's not-too-enthusiastic staffers via telephone. Survivors are all pushing for one thing in this matter--the right to see their own files where they live while they are still alive. Instead, the Museum and Shapiro have obviously set themselves up against the survivors so the Museum can raise money, and use the victim files as a gate attraction. Eventually, there won't be enough survivors to complain any more. Then the matter will be finally resolved in Shapiro's favor.


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