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British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement A Stunning Revelation

February 5th 2012
Edwin Black's presentation on Book TV about the pernicious history of BP (see Edwin Black Exposes War-Stained Oil History of British Petroleum on C-SPAN's Book-TV with "British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement," Page One January 21, 2012), was nothing less than stunning. Like others, I ask, why is this history not taught, known and mentioned by the mainstream media and our academic institutions. To think think that this one oil company was so intrinsic to the very concept and conflict of twentieth century war in the Middle East--and for what? For oil--which as the author proves handily--was a fuel we never needed.

Seeking Information on Jews Rescued by Japanese

January 30th 2012
In 1940, at least 6,000 Jews were rescued from Lithuania by Japanese consul Chiune Sempo Sugihara who provided them with transit visas enabling them to travel east through the Soviet Union, and sail to Japan. In gratitude, some passengers on board gave photos of themselves to Tatsuo Osako, an escort and clerk on one of the ships. Seven photos of the refugees have never been identified, and after Osako died in 2003, his assistant, Akira Kitade, is seeking to find them. The photos can be viewed at After 70 Years: Fragments of Memory - Photos of Rescued Jews - The Righteous A Please send information or queries to Mr. Kitade at kitadeakira@hotmail.com.

Edwin Black's "Farhud" Opened My Eyes on Yugoslavia and the Mufti

January 29th 2012
Following up on your story about Edwin Black on Book TV (see Edwin Black Exposes War-Stained Oil History of British Petroleum on C-SPAN's Book-TV with "British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement," Page One January 21, 2012), I did check it out. It was informative. But it caused me to pick up his related book, The Farhud, Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust. The two I think are intertwined. I found the Farhud was even more amazing. It really opened my eyes about Yugoslavia, the Balkans, and in general the unrevealed story of the Nazi-Arab alliance in Europe and the Mideast during World War II. The Mufti of Jerusalem was as much a war criminal as any of the Nazi thugs and surrogates who murdered so many in the Balkans. Why is this not taught and remembered?

The Lawrence Bully Who Attacked Autistic Man is a Spineless Coward

January 28th 2012

How cruel that a spineless bully in Lawrence Kansas jumped an autistic person (Autistic Man Viciously Attacked in Kansas by Unknown Assailant, News, Jan07, 2012). I am certain that this spineless bully belongs in prison so he can get some of what he dishes out. The sooner police catch this cowardly menace, the better. I hope the sentence matches the crime--and he spends hard days behind bars. By now you have figured out that autistic men and women are special human beings--and that I am the proud parent of one. None of them deserve this type of treatment in a world already hard enough.

The Lawrence Bully Needs to be Apprehended

January 28th 2012

My son is autistic and brilliant but certainly must put up with a certain level of abuse in school. This is why I join others in being absolutely infuriated by the bully of Lawrence who attacked the defenseless autistic person in broad daylight near a shopping district in Lawrence (Autistic Man Viciously Attacked in Kansas by Unknown Assailant, News, Jan07, 2012). He must be apprehended. If this vile bully with so bad a self-esteem issue will do this to a defenseless man, he can do much worse to any other member of the community.

EDITORS NOTE: The Cutting Edge News will be following up on this assault. Anyone with information on the man responsible should send information to editors@thecuttingedgenews.com. The information will be shared with law enforcement. Sources will be fully protected and remain confidential.

Eugenics Town Hall Meeting in NC-Womble to be Missed

January 25th 2012

House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and State Representative Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth) have just announced that they will host an information session and town hall meeting on eugenics on Wednesday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. The meeting will be open to the public and the press and will feature educational information on the history of North Carolina’s eugenics program. Comments will be made by representatives of the NAACP, the John Locke Foundation, and by legislative leaders on the issue.  The meeting will conclude with a question-and-answer session with members of the public who attend.

“This event is the first of its kind,” said Speaker Tillis. “Rep. Parmon and I are hoping to bring citizens together in an effort to educate people on the history of eugenics and discuss a practical way forward.” Rep. Parmon, who has represented Forsyth County in the State House since 2003, will co-host the town hall with Speaker Tillis. “This is an issue that demands education, discussion, and action from everyone involved,” Parmon said. “It is our goal to bring everyone together in Charlotte in a way that will help bring us closer to a positive result in the end.”  Parmon is also a close friend of Rep. Larry Womble, who has led the fight on eugenics, and was seriously injured in an automobile accident in early December.  “Rep. Womble is aware of the ongoing efforts to complete the final chapter of compensation for victims and is excited that his work is continuing.”

“We are sad that Rep. Womble, who has done so much to advance this issue to this point, will be unable to join us,” Tillis said.  “But clearly, he will be there in spirit as we build on the work he has advanced for many years.” Tillis said that he and Parmon are working to map out a strategy to create a working group that will discuss the best way to pursue a legislative solution to the eugenics problem.  “This meeting is the next step – and we hope it will put us on the path toward finally reaching a solution.”

Jordan Shaw is Communications Director for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Atlanta Jewish Times Op-ed Calling for Obama Assassination “Appalling”

January 23rd 2012

We were shocked and appalled to learn that the owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times suggested in a recent op-ed column that Israel should consider assassinating the president of the United States as one of its options in confronting the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. While the publisher and editor, Andrew Adler, has since apologized for the January 13 column in which he wrote that Israel should “give the go-ahead for U.S.–based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel,” it begs the question of how this shocking suggestion could ever have seen it into print into the first place. No apology can possibly begin to repair the damage done. There is absolutely no excuse, no justification, and no rationalization for this kind of rhetoric. It doesn’t even belong in fiction. These are irresponsible and extremist words. They have absolutely no place in a civilized discussion over the Iranian threat, or any other threat facing Israel. Mr. Adler’s lack of judgment as a publisher, editor and columnist raises serious questions as to whether he’s fit to run a newspaper.

Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League

How Dr. King Affected My Life

January 17th 2012

This is America.

I grew up middle class in a middle-class, more-black-than-white neighborhood in NJ. Mom was a librarian (and worked her way up to Director); Dad worked for the Post Office (and worked his way up from letter carrier to auditor). Both of Mom's parents, born in 1892, had postsecondary educations. I was 20 years old before someone called me a nigger in serious -- on the beach in Virginia Beach before classes started at Hampton. Oh, and the KKK picketed our campus. This was 1980.

I haven't been refused service because of my skin color (well, there was that one time at a restaurat in DE). I know I never got a fair shot at one job because of my skin color (but none others to my knowledge). I've been told I don't "sound black" -- probably because Mom and Grandma and Grandpa insisted on proper grammar and vocabulary, both from me and around me. (But when Grandma and Grandpa and Mom moved from Atlantic City to Jersey City in the 1930s, Mom couldn't join the Y with the pool because "little colored girls don't need to learn how to swim.") I've never been told where to sit on a train, or in a movie theater (but as late as the early 1970s, Grandma still had to move to the "colored car" to transit Washington, DC, and if I ride certain bus lines right here in New York City, they'll tell me I should sit in the back with the other women).

Growing up when/where I did, with the parents and community I had ... I haven't had it that bad. There was the Civil Rights Act. There was the Voting Rights Act. (Bill Moyers, LBJ's then-speechwriter, quotes him as having said the Democratic party had lost the South for a generation; et voilá, Nixon's southern strategy).

Because the SCOTUS decided Brown v Board of Ed and Loving v Virginia the way they did. Because the SCOTUS decided Griswold v Connecticut and Roe v Wade the way they did. I was eight when Dr King was assassinated. We've achieved parts of his dream, and we still have some to work on.

Because Dr King and his allies did what they did, I could (among other things) make it to 20 without the n-word falling hatefully on me. I never had to look at a "No Colored Need Apply" sign or a "Whites Only Waiting Area" sign -- to face the daily erosion of spirit that those kinds of signs caused. Because they stood up. And got beaten, and had dogs sicced on them, and got arrested, and went peacefully to jail, and did it again and again. They did that for us. They did that for me.a

This is America. It belongs to me no more (but no less) than to any other American. (I put "American" down for race on the last census; I mean, African, Scots, French, and Apache? What else? Where else on Earth?)

This is America. This is my home.

Happy Birthday, Dr King.

Lawrence Kansas Bully of Autisic Man is a Coward

January 8th 2012

As the father of an autistic young man, I am revolted by the cowardice of the bully in Lawrence who attacked a defenseless autistic person outside a coffeehouse in Lawrence (Autistic Man Viciously Attacked in Kansas by Unknown Assailant, News, Jan07, 2012). This man must be found and imprisoned. Then, in jail, he might learn what it means to be attacked for no reason. The bully will be bullied.

EDITORS NOTE: The Cutting Edge News will be following up on this assault. Anyone with information on the man responsible should send information to editors@thecuttingedgenews.com. The information will be shared with law enforcement. Sources will be fully protected and remain confidential. 

Who Decides What Traits are “Desirable?”

January 3rd 2012

I just read an article published January 1, 2012 in the Sacramento Bee, “Should parents be able to select a deaf child?” by Michael Wilkes, M.D., and I have deep concerns about the direction society seems to be headed. I believe if similar questions were asked about whether a parent should be able to select black, gay, or Jewish children, the article would get a visceral reaction from people and the author could even be called a racist, homophobe, or anti-Semite. So, why is it ok to ask questions about whether Deaf people should exist? Some people think preventing more Deaf births by outlawing certain genes could be a good thing like United Kingdom did in 2011. But frankly, it’s just as sick and perverse as sterilizing human beings or loading them into gas chambers. To preserve our humanity and respect for diversity within the human race, we cannot tolerate decisions to eliminate a population no matter the method of doing it. When we cross that line, what message do we send to society? That it’s ok to view certain populations as undesirable and to target them for extinction one way or another? What traits are undesirable? Who gets to decide?

Go Daddy Hell of Arrogance and Infallibility Remembered

January 3rd 2012

Your article about the mass exodus from Go Daddy (see Go Daddy Suffers Mass Customer Exodus Over SOPA Support and Business Style, Action Line, Jan02, 2012), and another letter writer reminded me of my own hell with Go Daddy. I went over my paltry daily email units by 3 because I mailed out Christmas greeting to my colleagues in the company, and my townhouse complex and my family--all in one day. That was 81 people total. Go Daddy stopped my email and I was forced to buy more units for a $3. I could tolerate the $3. What I could not tolerate was the fact that I could not just pay them on the spot or be billed, as in a cell phone plan or a a normal data usage plan--and keep using my email. I had to wait 24 hours for the purchase to kick in. They told me a stupid story about me being a suspected mass spammer because once a year I send a Christmas message to those I work with and my family. I was not able to use my normal email on my computer to send out a really vital work related series of emails. It cost me dearly. Go Daddy was so arrogant, so inflexible, so infallible in their manner, I just transferred a week later. This company should wake up. If it weren't for their cheap prices--no one would work with them.

Go-Daddy Was So Insulting

January 2nd 2012
I read your article about mass transfers from Go Daddy with complete empathy (see Go Daddy Suffers Mass Customer Exodus Over SOPA Support and Business Style, Action Line, Jan02, 2012). Our house worked with Go Daddy for a few years. My husband handled all the computers. At some point, I needed them to help me personally to fix a problem. The phone representative was so insulting. He said, "We can't help you if you aren't smart enough to understand the basics." That was the nicest thing he said. He made me feel like an idiot. I thought, look at their marketing approach to women. No wonder. Contacting his supervisor did nothing. We took our business to another company. Now I see tens of thousands of unhappy customers have done the same. Hooray for them.

Syrian Crisis Shows it is Time to Dethrone the Palestinian Crisis from the top of the Arab Agenda

January 1st 2012

It is time to place the Palestinian problem in perspective and dethrone it from the apex of the Arab stage. While we appreciate the efforts of those calling the world's attention to the Palestine-Israel crisis, right now we have more pressing issues at hand. Syria is burning, as is Egypt and Yemen. The world needs to focus its attention where it is needed the most. It almost seems trivializing to ask major institutions to channel their emotional wrath on Palestine when so many are dying in the streets elsewhere. A perfect example is the boycott issue at University Pennsylvania  (see U of Penn Rejects Boycott of Israel, Distances School From Upcoming Boycott Conference, Slices, December 24, 2012). I wonder how many Arabs would ask that such efforts be tabled so as not to detract from the crisis at hand. Blood is flowing in Homs and Cairo. The United States should take the protests seriously and intervene. The entire world should act.

How Can Israeli Boycotters Remain Silent About Carnage in Syria

December 31st 2011

How can these Israeli boycotters remain silent about the carnage in Syria and instead seek to divert the world's attention from where it is needed the most to where it matters the least--at least for right this moment (see U of Penn Rejects Boycott of Israel, Distances School From Upcoming Boycott Conference, Slices, December 24, 2012). Unless these boycotters can loudly speak up for the Syrian people now, murdered daily in the streets, they have lost all legitimacy in my mind. History will portray them for what they are. Part of the problem not part of the solution.

Why Don't Anti-Israel Boycotters Work to Stop the Bloodbath in Syria?

December 29th 2011

The true colors of the Israeli boycotters are oh so clear (see U of Penn Rejects Boycott of Israel, Distances School From Upcoming Boycott Conference, Slices, December 24, 2012). Look at Syria. Every day we hear about massacres, with dozens killed, and wounded. CNN just showed how people must throw bread across a street because anyone walking will be shot be government snipers. Anti-Israel boycotters should hang their head in shame for spending so much time and energy on Israel when they should be trying to stop the bloodbath in Syria. Nor to my knowledge did they try to stop the bloodbath in Libya or Yemen. No wonder the University of Pennsylvania has rejected them as hypocrites. They should immediately organize a boycott of Syrian oil and merchandise. If they do not, they have lost all moral legitimacy. I doubt anyone will listen.

Mideast Boycotters Should Turn Their Attention to Arab Nations or Admit They are Anti-Semites

December 25th 2011
Excuse me if I don't get it. I read your article about the groups trying to boycott Israel, and the University of Pennsylvania, my alma mater, turning them flat down (see U of Penn Rejects Boycott of Israel, Distances School From Upcoming Boycott Conference, Slices, December 24, 2012). I did a little digging and little bit of thinking. I see the boycotters want us to stop purchasing Israeli humus, and shampoos and hot chocolate because it will help Palestinians. I don't see the Israeli oppression as much as the intransigence on the part of Palestinians who bring it upon themselves with bombings and a refusal to live in peace. It seems that if the boycotters really want to help Mideast men, women and children who are beaten, bombed, raped, disfigured, shot, and tortured every day and almost every hour of every day--sometimes for offenses as small as protesting oppression, and sometimes for just being people--then the boycott targets should be the regimes of Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Bahrain. Look at the headlines which tell us how Syria kills dozens in a day and cripples elderly men because family members protest. Or Saudi Arabia which wants to whip women for driving or whip a man 500 times for being a Christian. Or Iran which persecutes people of the Baha'i faith, protesters and anyone else. Or Iraq where Shiites and Sunnis slaughter each other daily with bombs in public buildings and at mosques. So maybe the protesters should boycott Iranian oil and pistachios, Iraqi oil, Syrian oil and dates, Egyptian cotton, Saudi oil, Libyan oil, and I think you get the point. If the boycotters won't include this then perhaps as the critics of their movement say, it is nothing more than plain, old anti-Semitism dressed up as something more noble.

Downeast LNG, Misinformation, and Reality

December 24th 2011

Downeast LNG has insurmountable problems, failing to comply with the US Coast Guard requirements to obtain approval from Native Tribes for use of the waterway, offensively claiming Native Tribes have no rights in the waterway; and to obtain secure transit coordination from the Government of Canada—an issue unrelated to any existing maritime treaty. Downeast LNG’s website has consistently and falsely claimed the project is needed. However, US natural gas prices this November were at a 10-year low due to a decades-long surplus. The three new regional LNG import terminals are operating at mere fractions of their capacity, with massive winter storage just a stone’s throw from Downeast LNG’s proposed site.

Downeast LNG president Dean Girdis claimed in the December 13 Bangor Daily News that the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline cannot be expanded to bring more natural gas to Maine; however, his project’s website states: “M&NE can readily expand capacity to serve demand growth.” Girdis has even contradicted himself. Hubris and falsehood seem to be Downeast LNG’s guiding principles. Maine state government’s website indicates natural gas access already exists in over 16 communities, and is being expanded to at least 12 more. And yet, Downeast LNG continues to cite outdated 2006 and 2007 market data because reality weighs fatally against the project. Girdis and company still want to increase US dependence on overseas imports when the US is moving rapidly toward natural gas independence. Downeast LNG’s credibility has failed. Downeast LNG predicted correctly in 2005 that the project had little chance of success—the project obviously cannot succeed, and Girdis and the investors know it. It is time for them to face reality, pack up, and go home.

Robert Godfrey of Eastport, ME, is researcher and webmaster for Save Passamaquoddy Bay; Vera Francis of Sipayik, ME, is an environmental justice activist; and Hugh Akagi of Saint Andrews, NB, is chief of the Saint Croix Schoodic Band of Passamaquoddy.

Sugar Cane Industry Should Step Up to the Plate

December 19th 2011

Clearly, sugar cane workers in Central America are exhibiting an inexplicable onset of kidney disease (see Thousands of Sugar Cane Workers Die as Wealthy Nations Stall on Solutions, Page One, December 17, 2011). But no one can conclusively state the cause. What strikes me as odious is the reluctance of the sugar industry to step up to the plate and either rule themselves in or out as a causative factor. If prior occupational diseases serve as example, it makes one suspect that they--the growers--know something the rest of us and the workers do not. Rigorous study must begin to uncover the culprit.

Sugar Cane Workers in Monster Occupational Hazard

December 18th 2011

Thank you for helping to bring to light the plight of the sugar cane workers of Central America (see Thousands of Sugar Cane Workers Die as Wealthy Nations Stall on Solutions, Page One, December 17, 2011). They now suffer in disproportionate numbers a disease, chronic kidney disease, that Western Civilization thought was a relic. Not so in sugar cane fields where something is killing the peasant workers. Unfortunately, no government--north or south, least of all the United States, will pause long enough the crucial production of cane sugar for fuel and sweets to discover the source and cure for the illness. So it is now up to the public to pressure the industries and their government sponsors to get to the bottom of this monster occupation hazard.

Ease off the Sugar Until Progress in Cane Worker Illness

December 18th 2011
I am astonished at the revelations in your recent article on the tragedy of sugar cane workers in Nicaragua (see Thousands of Sugar Cane Workers Die as Wealthy Nations Stall on Solutions, Page One, December 17, 2011). It is clear these workers have no power and no voice to stand up to the great industrial forces that profit by their labors. I, for one, say until the public can see progress on the diagnosis and treatment of the widespread chronic kidney disease that has afflicted these workers, that we all ease off the sugar purchases. Everyone will be healthier with less process cane sugar.

Anti-Semitic Falsehoods from Liberals Draw Correct Rebuke from Simon Wiesenthal Center

December 17th 2011

Anti-Semitic accusations and falsehoods from the liberal establishment (see Simon Wiesenthal Center Weighs in on Anti-Semitic Blogger Controversy, Slices, December 17, 2011) have no place in our public discourse--not on campus or on the blogosphere. Simon Wiesenthal Center called it correctly when it slammed the Center for American Progress blogger crowd. Good for Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Agree with Simon Wiesenthal Center for Lambasting Liberal Anti-Semitic Bloggers

December 17th 2011

Finally someone had the courage to lambast the anti-Semitics ramblings of the ultra liberal and ultra left (see Simon Wiesenthal Center Weighs in on Anti-Semitic Blogger Controversy, Slices, December 17, 2011). I applaud the Simon Wiesenthal Center for the moral compass to express what has been on the minds of many.

Wild Animals Now Saved

November 24th 2011

On November 21, 2011, the  Texas bankruptcy court ruled in favor of the transfer of 113 animals — 112 macaques and one baboon — from the now defunct Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, Texas, to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas. This is thought to be one of the largest rescues of macaques in history. We at Born Free USA have worked for months with WAO and the Texas Attorney General’s office to find a way to help these animals. This is a heartbreaking situation particularly for this large group of primates who would otherwise likely be euthanized without our humane intervention. Every day wild animals need to be rescued from “pet owners,” laboratories, roadside zoos and other abusive circumstances, but this time it is about a large sanctuary having to shut down completely — and demonstrates just how challenging wildlife rescue work is. Wild animals belong in the wild and the scenarios that create the need for sanctuaries should never exist at all. Sanctuaries are filled to capacity, lack adequate funding, and yet are most captive animals’ only hope for a humane future.

On Aug. 31, 2010, the Wild Animal Orphanage announced the decision to dissolve “due to overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing for the animals.” According to the WAO board, they were in a “do-or-die situation.” WAO had to find placement for 112 macaques, 55 tigers, 14 African lions, 16 chimpanzees, six wolf hybrids and 20 baboons. Sanctuaries were found for all of these animals, in part through the leadership of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), of which Born Free USA is an accredited member. Finding a home for the 113 primates presented the biggest challenge. In addition to the huge number of macaques involved, there are other highly complex issues including:

  • Their sensitive social groupings — 12 different animal groupings with troops as small as three and as large as 25
  • The age range — from a 1 year old to some in their 30s.
  • Many physical health conditions, from blindness to cataracts to skin and age-related bone issues.
  • A multitude of mental health issues many of the monkeys still suffer from as a result of the effects of their captivity prior to their rescue by WAO.

At the spacious 186-acre Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, these 113 animals (112 macaques and one baboon) will join the current 532 primate residents and live as freely as possible. Their relocation from the WAO in San Antonio to Born Free USA in Dilley will take place in approximately three to four months after each animal is thoroughly medically tested, sterilized and tattooed, and the Born Free USA facility and staff are completely ready for their highly sensitive transition.

Adam Roberts is Executive Vice President of Born Free USA in Washington, D.C.

Booing the First Lady at NASCAR

November 21st 2011
The NASCAR crowd ought to be ashamed of themselves following the recent booing of the First Lady. The depths to which this nation's political discourse has sunken is now visible for everyone to see and hear. Not only did the crowd boo the First Lady, they booed the mission to assist our military, I hope they all proud. I also hope their boos and heckles ring in the ears of our servicemen so they know who they are fighting for.

UC Davis Police Used Pepper Properly--Should be Praised

November 21st 2011
I write to commend the UC Davis policeman who professionally pepper-sprayed the provocative protesters who failed a lawful directive to disperse. The calm and steady manner in which he worked shows his professionalism in the face of unlimited insults to provoke him by the crowd. Watch the videos closely, especially the one produced by the Associated Press. You will see the protesters are goading the officer, preparing to resist, being coached from the sidelines on how to cover their faces, and doing all in their power to refuse to comply even after the spray is used. The policeman used great restraint and should be praised. The protesters should be prosecuted.

Airlines Should be Fined and Fined

November 16th 2011

I certainly agree with the writer who cheered when American Eagle received a $900,000 fine for a tarmac delay. The feeling of helplessness when you are trapped on the airplane is only matched by the arrogance the airlines show to explain themselves. For them, they are always right and you are always wrong. And they always get to charge full amount for being wrong--even when they do not deliver the purchased services in the fashion they are promised. I think the fines should be automatic and not await complaints. Then we would see a change in their collective conduct. If I ran my business they way they run theirs, I would have no business.

American Eagle Pays $900,000 Fine for Tarmac Delays

November 14th 2011

I cannot tell you how happy I am that American Eagle must a $900,000 penalty for its latest great airport delays. May many more follow. I have been delayed too many times by this airline and many others with that helpless feeling of being kidnapped. And why? American Eagle violated the three-hour delay limit and so they must pay. This is the first such fine, but we hope not the last. More than 600 passengers were inconvenienced on delayed several flights, the media reports. The airlines are very quick to surcharge us for everything, but always have an excuse for not living up to their own obligations. Now I think the excuses may be over. We need a similar ruling on lost luggage.

US Natural Gas Production Obsoletes Proposed Downeast LNG Project

November 14th 2011

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced new information on November 8 that US domestic natural gas production is expected to reach record highs in 2012. Conversely, it also expects liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports to drop from a 2007 high of 770.8 billion cubic feet (bcf) for the entire year (2.111 bcf/day) to an amazing low of only 0.7 bcf/day. And, LNG imports from Trinidad — the US's closest and greatest LNG supplier — have dropped 66 percent due to flourishing US natural gas production according to Trinidad and Tobago Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine on November 13.

The proposed Downeast LNG project principals have said for over six years that they planned to build an LNG import facility with a daily capacity of 0.5 bcf/day. The government indicates that the entire country is destined to import only slightly more LNG than is being proposed by still-unpermitted Downeast LNG. Downeast LNG's proposed project is completely unreasonable and unrealistic from any business or logical perspective. And, the US already has 13 other nearly-idle LNG import terminals — with a total capacity of 18.835 bcf/day — 27 times greater than the entire country will use next year. The US already has many times more LNG import infrastructure than it can possibly use due to the industry's previous rush to build unneeded terminals. And now, due to the well-documented, decades-long domestic natural gas glut the country is facing, the industry is actually starting a mad rush to export LNG overseas. Downeast LNG's bald assertion that their ill-conceived, wrongly-sited proposed project it is still needed staggers the mind. There is plentiful natural gas in the US, the Northeast, New England, and downeast Maine without yet another defunct-before-it's-even-permitted, idle LNG terminal — especially an inappropriately-sited one like Downeast LNG.

What planet are the Downeast LNG principals and investors on? Downeast LNG has no permit applications with the State of Maine, having withdrawn their state permit applications in 2007 after going all the way through the process, including formal hearings, before determining permitting would be denied. Downeast LNG is over two years late in responding to questions from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the lead permitting agency. Downeast LNG is also a year late in answering additional FERC questions, and has just notified FERC — on the November 8 date due — that they would be late in answering a third set of questions. The idea of a Downeast LNG terminal in Passamaquoddy Bay is a non-starter. It's time for Downeast LNG's Dean Girdis and cohorts, and their venture-capital partners, Kestrel Energy Partners and Yorktown Energy Partners, to face reality, pack up, and go home. Read more ..

US Should Withdraw From—Not Just Defund—UNESCO

November 4th 2011

We urge the Obama Administration to withdraw from the United Nations Education, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), following UNESCO’s vote to accept the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a full member. UNESCO has become the first United Nations agency to accept the PA as a sovereign state since the PA launched its bid at the UN last month, in contravention of the Oslo Accords, to obtain a unilateral declaration of statehood without concluding a peace agreement with Israel. The US provides UNESCO annually with $80 million, 22 percent of its total budget. Under US law, the US is prohibited from funding any U.N. body that accepts the PA as a member. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “This legislation is clearly worded and offers President Obama no waiver to get around the prohibition” (Editorial, “Back to Unesco’s Future: What the US gets for its money at the U.N.”, Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2011).

White House spokesman Jay Carney described UNESCO’s decision as “regrettable” and “premature” and that it would undermine the international community’s shared goal to a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said UNESCO’s vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached and that the US would refrain from making a $60 million payment it planned to make in November. However, she said the US would maintain membership in the body. “The UNESCO General Conference’s action does not diminish our determination to work with UNESCO to advance US national interests. Therefore, we will maintain our membership in UNESCO and our commitment to UNESCO … We are very concerned about it, which is why we didn’t want it to happen in the first place and why we're concerned about this move being replicated in other UN agencies.” US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called UNESCO’s acceptance of a Palestinian state “anti-Israel and anti-peace … This is only the beginning … The Palestinians will now seek full membership at other UN bodies.” (Natasha Mozgovaya, “US cuts funding for UNESCO after Palestinian vote”, Haaretz, October 31 2011). Read more ..

Delegates Condemn Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate’s Offensive Remarks

November 3rd 2011

Aruna Miller of District 15 and Sam Arora of District 19) join me in condemning offensive remarks made by Kentucky gubernatorial candidate David Williams and calling for an immediate retraction and apology. Williams attacked Governor Steve Beshear on Tuesday for participating in a Hindu “Ground Blessing Ceremony” to mark the opening of a new flexible packaging plant designed to bring $180 million in investment and 250 jobs to Kentucky. Williams derisively taunted Beshear for “sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead.” His words were an insult to all Americans, not just to Hindus. I have served in the Maryland House of Delegates for more than two decades and have never heard an elected official use such reprehensible language toward their fellow citizens.

Delegate Miller: “In the difficult times we face, I cannot fathom why anyone would choose to use such inflammatory language instead of celebrating the economic impact and jobs the plant will create.” Delegate Arora: “As a Baptist, I am embarrassed that someone would try to use our faith as cover for such inappropriate remarks. This is the kind of desperate remark we hear from candidates who cling to fear instead of moving our economy forward.” Mr. Arora’s family immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Additionally, Hindus across the globe recently celebrated Diwali, one of the holiest days in the Hindu religion. I believe Mr. Williams could take a lesson from Governor Martin O’Malley, who is hosting his third annual Diwali celebration to recognize the valuable contributions of the Indian-American community. I sincerely hope that every Indian-American elected official will join me, Delegate Miller, and Delegate Arora in condemning Mr. Williams’s hurtful words.

DOJ Should Investigate Those Who Threatened Building Museum and Those Who Gave In

October 16th 2011

I find it hard to believe anti-Israel boycotters forced one of the capital's most respected Museums, the co-called Building Museum, to cancel an honorary award ceremony (see As 9-11 Nears, Pro-Palestinian Agitators Shut Down D.C. Museum Ceremony, Page One, September 9, 2011). The Department of Justice needs to not only investigate those who threatened, but those at the Museum whom abdicated their responsibility and gave the agitators a victory.

UNESCO, Now Politicized as Hamas Tool, Loses Credibility

October 10th 2011
I have supported UNESCO all my years. I respected their efforts to salvage heritage sites and protect minorities. I now see it has become a tool of Hamas and the Palestinians and become just another politicized UN agency. My support and respect has come to an end. A sad day indeed.

UNESCO Vote to Recognize Palestine with Negotiation Dangerous Inappropriate and Policiticized

October 5th 2011

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has today called a vote by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board to recommend that “Palestine” be admitted as a full member of the UN agency “woefully premature and dangerously inappropriate.” Of the 58-member UNESCO Executive Board, 40 voted in favor of the resolution, 14 abstained and four voted against the membership bid. This recommendation will now need to be approved by two-thirds of the 193 member states at the UNESCO General Conference, which meets in late October. This recommendation by the UNESCO Executive Board to extend membership to “Palestine” is both woefully premature and dangerously inappropriate,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The Palestinians have unduly politicized this body, and if this action is approved by the full membership, it risks undermining the truly important work of UNESCO.” The international community has been deeply engaged in efforts to forestall Palestinian unilateral efforts to upgrade their status until completion of a peace agreement with Israel. This UNESCO decision not only helps to complicate those diplomatic efforts, but it also rewards the Palestinians for their confrontational, unconstructive campaign and their deliberate circumvention of peace negotiations. ADL has also expressed great appreciation to the United States, Germany, Latvia and Romania, the four countries who opposed this resolution, for their strong stand against this effort. ADL called upon these nations and other like-minded states to work to prevent the two-thirds majority needed to approve the board recommendation at the UNESCO General Conference. 

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

Hawaiian Airlines Flight Staff Just too Uptight

October 2nd 2011

My experience with Hawaiian Airlines may mirror that of others. Rather than finding the staff a group of bozos, I found them just too uptight and highly regimenting (see Hawaiian Airlines Tries to Bill $105 for Ordinary Permitted Luggage, Action Line, August 1, 2011). I am referring to the flight attendants. If you have been to the islands, you know that the people are easy-going and friendly. But to get there you must endure an airline experience that reminded me more of crossing into East Berlin many years ago. Hawaiian Airlines should think about its attitude on board and the image it projects to people.

Overlooking the Silly Ineptitude of Hawaiian Airlines in an Up Economy

October 1st 2011

People could overlook the silly ineptitude of Hawaiian Airlines during an up economy. But now, with spending down, Japan tourism buckling, and international visitors traveling closer to home, the declines are showing up (see Hawaiian Airlines Tries to Bill $105 for Ordinary Permitted Luggage, Action Line, August 1, 2011). This airline flew fewer passengers in August then a year ago, and the numbers are down from a year ago. As people comparison shop, as they demand value and competence, they make choices other than Hawaiian when flying to Honolulu. I flew them a year ago, and still remember the lousy food and cramped conditions. When I complained, I was treated shoddily. So--when I go back to Honolulu--and I will, it will be flying the friendly skies of any airline other than Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Not a Nightmare--Just Bozos in a Comedy of Errors

October 1st 2011
I read the remark of your other letter writer about Hawaiian Airlines and scamming a passenger for $105 for carry-on luggage (see Hawaiian Airlines Tries to Bill $105 for Ordinary Permitted Luggage, Action Line, August 1, 2011). I flew this funny airline last year for the holiday of our life--we thought. It started with Hawaiian and everything they did was wrong, backward, or hard to figure. Staff was rude. The food was a joke. They handled our luggage badly and broke stuff. But rather than Hawaiian being a nightmare as your earlier writer suggested, I saw them as just a bunch of bozos in a nonstop comedy of errors. We had too many complaints--so we decided it was better to live and learn. Rather than ruin our vacation in Honolulu, by dwelling on their dumb moves and writing letters to management, we just laughed it off. If you fly Hawaiian, just be ready for goofiness.

Hawaiian Airlines a Nightmare

September 30th 2011
I just came across your Action Line article about Hawaiian Airlines trying to scam bill a passenger for $105 for ordinary on-board luggage (see Hawaiian Airlines Tries to Bill $105 for Ordinary Permitted Luggage, Action Line, August 1, 2011). This is an all-too common occurance. I recently flew Hawaiian Airlines and I found the seats to be sardine-like, the food inedible, service uncommonly rude, and the entire experience a nightmare. I applaud the passengers for fighting back on their credit card. I wish I had.

Free the Egyptian Blogger

September 29th 2011

The non-profit Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB) urges the German Foreign Minister to plead for the immediate release of the Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad before his hearing of an appeal which is scheduled for October 4, 2011. The 25-year old Maikel Nabil Sanad was sentenced to three years in prison because of his criticism of the military leadership in Egypt. Maikel Nabil Sanad criticized the brutal proceedings of the military against protestors and meticulously described the many human rights abuses. At a military court he was accused of having spread false information and having insulted the military. Without a lawyer present and without the possibility to inform his family, he was sentenced in a summary procedure. To protest for his release and against his unfair treatment Maikel Nabil started a hunger strike in August and a partial thirst strike since the middle of September. A hearing of an appeal is scheduled for October 4. Nobody knows if Maikel Nabil will still be alive at that day. It is against democratic standards to sentence civilians at military courts. The right of free speech of course has to include the right to criticize the military. Maikel's voice is an important voice for democracy, for peace, against Islamism and authoritarian rule; a voice that needs every support, and a voice that points to the possibility that a democratic Egypt will stand for peace in the Middle East. Maikel Nabil Sanad is the first public conscientious objector in Egypt. He calls himself pro-Israel and fights for a reconciliation and friendship with Israel. He is the only blogger who is imprisoned in Egypt at present. In letters to Germany's State Department and the chairpersons of the Foreign Policy and the Human Rights Committee of the German parliament, the MFFB urged Westerwelle and the politicians to plead for the immediate release of Maikel Nabil and to support the democratic opposition members in Egypt who are advocating for a good relations with Israel and therefore for peace in the Middle East.

Sebastian Mohr represents the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin.

Allegations that the White House Extorted Israel on Pal Statehood Veto

September 29th 2011

We are troubled by the allegation that the White House has threatened to withhold its veto in the UN unless Israel expresses support for continued funding of the PA. The allegation was made by the greatly respected Member of Knesset Dr. Arieh Eldad. Although MK Eldad's accusation has not been confirmed by the parties and will probably be denied, Dr. Eldad’s accusation is believable. Over the years he has proved himself to be a highly credible Member of Knesset with unimpeachable integrity. The behavior of both the Israeli government and the Obama administration is consistent with the truthfulness of the allegation. The Israeli government has issued several public statements supporting the continued financing of the PA. There would be no reason for such pronouncements in the absence of pressure from the Obama Administration; at most the Israeli government would make no public statements whatsoever about a US bill concerning financial aid to the Palestinian Authority pending in Congress. Further, the White House has been vigorous in its efforts to avoid having to cast the veto promised by President Obama.  It clearly pains the White House to be faced with the prospect of breaking its pattern of coddling Mahmoud Abbas and the PA. We agree with those members of Congress who support the pending bill to halt all funding to the PA if it proceeds with trying to obtain recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN.

Steven M. Goldberg, Esq. is National Vice Chairman of the ZOA.

Pro-Hamas Building Museum Agitators Should be Arrested

September 11th 2011

The Palestinian and pro-Hamas boycotters who forced the Building Museum in our nation's capital to cancel a public ceremony are little better than those who threaten airports and monuments  (see As 9-11 Nears, Pro-Palestinian Agitators Shut Down D.C. Museum Ceremony, Page One, September 9, 2011). They should be arrested and incarcertaed for long terms. Why has the federal government not moved on this?

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