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Turks Refuse a Cross on the Armenian Church But Demand a Ground Zero Mosque

September 20th 2010
Turks refuse to allow a cross to show on the ancient Armenian Church they have blockaded in the region they exterminated Armenians. That is okay. But these same people want us to place their victory mosque over Ground Zero. What are we missing?

Waiting for an Answer on Baha'i and Ground Zero Mosque

September 20th 2010
After I read a prior letter writer's comment about the Muslim persecution of Bahai's and how they would never be admitted to the Ground Zero Mosque, I waited for anyone to answer or for the mainstream media to cover this. All I got was silence. Is anyone willing to stand up for the Baha'i faith? Or don't they count? I am not Baha'i but from what I understand, they are being persecuted solely because they have a profit who came about from Muslim lands who preaches world peace--for real.

Sheraton Greensboro Should Think About The Down Economy

September 16th 2010
I for one found the article on the (see Sheraton in Greensboro Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons Unwelcoming--Try Another, Travel, Sept 16, 2010) a perfect shortee giving me exactly the information I need to know before I book my small but discriminating group for our winter meeting. There is no excuse for a hotel to be snooty to new clients, perspective clients or even past visitors. The writer of this article is correct. It is a down economy and no meeting hotel experiencing good times temporarily should think it is immune from the hard times that have befallen other hotels. I think the recommended alternatives, the O. Henry and the Proximity, will do just fine.

The Deaf After Mendoza Eugenics Should Say Never Again

September 15th 2010

After my involvement fighting during the California bill AB 2072 (Mendoza), I thought it would be appropriate to look at the wisdom of Deaf leaders in the past to understand the struggles of the Deaf community which continue to this day. The words of George Veditz, former president of the National Association of the Deaf, seem as fresh today as they did 100 years ago: "Right now let me say that a person who thus disregards the opinions of the educated and organized deaf has no license to pose as an
educator of the deaf nor as the head of a school supported by the taxes of the people and of which they pay their share. And right here let me say that the organized deaf do not understand their own might. It is in their power, if united, to dictate to the schools what methods of education should be pursued therein. Their cause is so palpably just that public, legislators and parents must in the end side with them." We must always remember Veditz's words were during a dark time of our history when Deaf educators saw their jobs being eliminated and replaced by arrogant hearing educators who did not know sign language. Many of the state funded schools for the Deaf were overrun by people advocating for only the oral education method regardless of whether the Deaf child benefited from it.  Sign language was not taught and in many cases harshly forbidden in the schools. I will echo the words in my beautiful sign language, along with millions others who share it today, "Never again!"

Ground Zero Mosque and Islam Will Not Welcome Baha'i--The Media Ignores This

September 13th 2010
Why does the media fail to ask the important question of Ground Zero Mosque advocates and Muslims in general? Are Bahai's welcome? The answer is no. Islam has been persecuting Baha'i' since its beginning. Baha'i believes in the oneness of all religions--but because it began in a Muslim lands after Mohammad, Muslim kill and persecute its adherents. Their shrines are destroyed. Their leaders are imprisoned. They aren't even allowed to be dhimmis--just dead. So CNN, Fox, New York Times--ask that question of the ecumenical advocates of the Ground Zero Mosque.

Michael Marrus Gets Two Questions

September 13th 2010

After reading Edwin Black's stunning review of the new Michael Marrus book, I have two questions (see Michael Marrus Falters in Some Measure of Justice, Arts, March 1, 2010). First, how does one write a book on the Holocaust survivor lawsuits in Florida without contacting those people? Second, how is it possible for a knowing big-name historian with access to Google to claim that IBM head man Thomas Watson, convicted of fraud and blackmail and all the rest, was just "a maverick" and not "a corporate scoundrel?" A book on Watson was quoted by Marrus and that book says the opposite and does mention the conviction in detail. Count me among those who have learned from this experience. The Internet allows everyone to check everything and the old guard big names are no longer in charge of managing our take on history. I cannot wait for the next book by Mr. Marrus. My Google is ready.

TIME Must Apologize For The Insidious Subtext Of Its Israel Cover Story

September 8th 2010

After having received calls and e-mails from around the country expressing outrage at TIME magazine’s September 13 article, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the editors to apologize for a cover story the League said was predicated on the “insidious subtext” of Jews being obsessed with money. The outcry from the Jewish community and others over TIME’s Israel cover story has been overwhelming. We have received calls and e-mails from around the country expressing outrage at the implication that Israelis care more about money than a future of peace and security. After reading the story, we understand why so many people were offended. In a letter to Managing Editor Richard Stengel, the ADL called on the magazine’s editors to issue an apology to readers, both for the timing of the article and its calling up age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money. Our letter made this message clear: “The insidious subtext of Israeli Jews being obsessed with money echoes the age-old anti-Semitic falsehood that Jews care about money above any other interest, in this case achieving piece with the Palestinians. At the same time, TIME ignores the very real sacrifices made by Israel and its people in the pursuit of peace and the efforts by successive Israeli governments of reconciliation. One can only be cynical about the timing of the article, appearing as Israelis and Palestinians engage in direct negotiations and Jews the world over pray on the High Holidays for a New Year that will bring peace."

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

Zionists Strongly Condemn Planned September 11 Koran Burning

September 8th 2010

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) condemned the planned 9/11 Koran burning event organized by Pastor Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The ZOA has not and will not support or condone burning religious scriptures of any faith. This proposed act of Koran-burning is not only offensive and counter-productive, but a diversion from real issues that concern us regarding extremism in the Muslim world. The ZOA has countless times articulated its genuine and substantive concerns about Islamic radicalism. We must combat jihadists as well as other Muslim extremists who legitimize, rationalize or seek to dishonestly sanitize violent, totalitarian doctrines that involve the murder and subjugation of non-Muslims and moderate Muslims. We oppose tirelessly Islamist terrorism and those Muslims who work for the subjugation of America, Israel and indeed all non-Muslim countries, whether this is attempted by immediate, violent and blatant means, or by gradual, non-violent and covert means. We should be seeking out, promoting and working with moderate Muslims. It will not be possible to do so if we support or fail to criticize Koran-burning events such as the one proposed in Florida. It has been argued, including by General David Petraeus, that this proposed Koran-burning will serve as a pretext for Islamist assaults here and overseas. His statement is misconceived. These are not the grounds on which we oppose and condemn this event. Burning the Koran should be opposed because it is offensive, wrong and counter-productive, not because it can be used to justify Islamist violence. If we take that approach, we will soon find that all efforts to oppose or challenge radical Muslims will be quickly condemned on the same grounds. This will morally and physically disarm us and encroach on our ability as a free society to challenge dangerous enemies. Radical Muslims need no pretext to attack us, so it is wrong to suggest that we are specially endangering ourselves by doing something, whether proper or offensive, to challenge them. Tragically, the attacks would come anyway, regardless of what we say and do today.

Morton A. Klein is president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Sholom Rubashkin's Trial was Conducted in Violation of American Legal and Constitutional Principles

September 8th 2010
It now seems clear from the most authoritative juridical experts that Sholom Rubashkin's trial was conducted in violation of American legal and constitutional principles. The judge held numerous ex parte meetings with prosecutors starting six months before the original raid. The Justice Department's own memos refer to her a "stakeholder." Mr. Rubashkin is entitled to due process of law, like all American citizens, and we call on the Justice Department and the courts to treat him fairly and equitably. All the community is asking is for a fair and honest delivery of justice. Is that too much to ask for?

Digging TIME Magazine Out of the Garbage to Boycott Its Advertisers

September 6th 2010
I am thoroughly outraged at TIME Magazine's clearly anti-Semitic cover story designed to irritate Jews on their holy days, Rosh HaShonah and Yom Kippur. I intend to get my copy out of the garbage, where it so richly deserves to be, tear out every advertisement, and paste them on my refrigerator to remind me daily who to boycott. They do not deserve and will not get my hard-earned cash. Same goes for TIME magazine.

Time for TIME to To Go out of Business

September 6th 2010
Horror and dismay are not sufficient to express my utter outrage at the cover of TIME Magazine and the subsequent article. They didn't bother to show the young soldiers dying, the funerals, the rockets in Sderot, the terrorist shootings of 4 innocent people, one of whom was pregnant. The nerve of Israelis to sit on the beach. Why not show the pictures of Gaza and the malls and the olympic size swimming pools. How dare TIME use the Star of David to denigrate Israel and Jews - I'd like to see a full boycott of TIME and a full cover apology but better still - a going out of business sign. Jews are not free for all targets for the insidious anti Semitism (couched in anti Israel sentiments).
Goodbye TIME. It is time for TIME to go the way of all such rag tabloids.

TIME Magazine anti-Jewish Cover Deserves a Boycott of Advertisers

September 6th 2010
I am completely outraged at Time Magazine Rosh HaShonah cover story featuring a giant Jewish star made of daises and declaring why "Israel Doesn't Care About Peace." Everyone should shred their subscriptions and notify the advertisers that they will boycott those who paid for this cover to be mass circulated. This is a new low. To focus on a few Israelis who have taken a justified moment off at the beach from their ever-present military duty and anti-terrorism fears, and declare this as proof that Israel does not want peace is as offensive on this holiday as can be on the even of the Jewish New Year and the eve of peace negotiations. Shame on Time.

Bought and Paid For California Eugenics Bill Pushing Implants Troubling to Entire Deaf Community

September 6th 2010
Deaf communities across America are rightly up in arms by the up-for-sale legislation in California designed to subtly push cochlear implants on Deaf infants. This is only the beginning. We will see new policies, new laws, new reimbursement rules, until the Deaf are made extinct by slowly whittling away their culture. This is how eugenics has always worked. California's bought-and-paid for AB2072 is troubling to the nation's entire Deaf community from shore to shore. Who is putting so much money to push implants? The only avenue the Deaf have now is to impeach, investigate and remove from office the legislators who have sold out the community for a few coins. Prosecute and Impeach--whichever comes first.

CAMERA Announces Conference to Combat Global Campaign to Delegitimize Israel

September 3rd 2010
I am writing to alert Cutting Edge News readers regarding upcoming conference, "War by Other Means: the Global Campaign to Delegitimize Israel," hosted by Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America also known as CAMERA. Now, more than ever, Israel finds itself in a battle for fair treatment on the world stage. CAMERA’s event will bring together international experts such as Alan Dershowitz, Bret Stephens, Mark Steyn, and many others to articulate the enormous challenges of the moment and to formulate constructive action. The conference will take place October 10 – 11, 2010 in Metcalf Hall at Boston University. Topics will include the role of the media, NGO’s, the UN, academia and the mainline churches in threatening Israel’s legitimacy; the urgent conditions in Europe; hands-on sessions for training and activism; and special workshops geared exclusively towards students and young adults. “This conference will serve as ‘boot camp’ for those who want to help: it will provide thorough knowledge of key issues, and the tools needed to promote the facts,” in the words of Andrea Levin, President of CAMERA. Cutting Edge News readers can find additional at www.camera.org.

Ovadia Yosef Comments “Offensive and Incendiary”

August 31st 2010

We found the recent comments by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas Party in Israel, where he called for God to strike the Palestinians and their leadership with a plague, offensive and incendiary. Particularly on the eve of renewed peace talks, and on the eve of the Jewish New Year, one would have hoped that Rabbi Yosef could have inspired his students and followers with a message of hope, humility, repentance, and forgiveness. These comments do not exist in a vacuum. Such incendiary expressions contribute to a potentially dangerous environment of intolerance and hatred.

California Deaf Eugenics Law Was Obviously Up for Sale

August 30th 2010
From what I can see, the legislation in California known as AB2072 was up for sale to the highest bidder. Whoever stood to make the most money from legislating Deaf ASL out of existence controlled the legislation. Pick them: audiologists, cochlear implant makers, schools for the deaf--whoever. While people were told the amendments would be made, they were lied to to. The legislation was skillfully changed at the last minute. Every deaf person in California should mobilize now to impeach, defeat for re-election and have investigated the legislators who committed this miscarriage of justice and return to Eugenics. My niece is Deaf and I pray this type of law does not come to Ohio. In the meantime, I salute The Cutting Edge News and eugenics expert Edwin Black for fighting to defeat this horrible measure.

Calling for Meetings with Local Clergy and Educators to Stop the Hate

August 30th 2010

I am tired of counting swastikas and hearing antisemitic cat calls when  my wife and I  head home from synagogue. It happened to us again on Friday night August 20th on Route 27, where Jew-baiting by local teens has become trendy over the last year. On Friday night the lighting was so poor near the shopping center, we could discern only that the vehicle from which the epithets emanated was a dark-colored one and that the voices were female. I am also tired of calling the police, since there is little or no evidence left behind. It doesn't help when these hate crimes are dismissed as youthful pranks. In recent weeks, I have  appeared on local and national  news stations, the Wall Street Journal and other media, but the publicity,  has now led to copycats who want to get in on the action. The screaming girls are thinking what they did was cool. It wasn't. And the local police and mayor have ignored my requests for assistance in dealing with these things. They don't even follow proper reporting procedures under the State's hate crime laws. Since the community can't be protected from these obnoxious hate crimes, and the police won't follow through, we, as citizens of Edison, must see how we can change these teen behaviors from the pulpit and in our classrooms. Danger lies ahead if we do nothing. It is my personal belief, that once these kids get bored with yelling epithets about Jews, they will move on to baiting Muslims and Latinos, going from verbal violence to physical violence. Their behavior is an indicator of a failure in our educational system, which mandates Holocaust Education but that doesn't always work. The point of learning about what happened to the Jews during World War II is that we aren't supposed to behave the way the Nazis did. We are Americans who believe in the Bill of Rights and that all people should be treated with respect and dignity. Our children need to know that and live by that. The only way these current hate crimes will stop is by working with students before they are hard-wired for hate. I hope that local clergy and educators will join me in showing our children that hatred doesn't work. If we ignore what's happening and do nothing, our children will take it as a license to escalate their behavior, and more people will be hurt. We've got one goal: to stop the hate.

Ground Zero Mosque Endorsed by Hamas as a "Must"

August 23rd 2010
The Hamas terror group has endorsed the Ground Zero Mosque. Its cofounder Mahmoud al-Zahar declared, "We have to build everywhere." He also said, "We have to build the mosque, as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places." Now what does this tell you about the political dynamics of this mosque. This is no longer a local religious edifice—this is now an international Islamic political matter and our State Department has joined in by sponsoring the fundraising trip across the Muslim world. Do we want such a mosque at Ground Zero? I do not.

University of Wisconsin Press and Elvis

August 23rd 2010
I consider the revelation that the University of Wisconsin Press does not fact check prior to publication (see Michael Marrus Falters in Some Measure of Justice, Arts, March 1, 2010) good news indeed. For some time now I have been working on a book length manuscript proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Elvis lives. Perhaps they would be willing to publish it.

Mendoza Eugenics AB2072 Goes to the Senate and Must be Opposed

August 16th 2010

AB2072 was taken off "suspense" in the Appropriations Committee, and it will go to the Senate floor for a vote this week. The public everywhere should rally to influence California Senators to oppose AB2072, also known as Mendoza Eugenics for its intent to subtly wipe away the Deaf Culture. There are grave problems with this bill. Parents have the right to information about their deaf baby. Nevertheless, the view of this issue is still dominated by a "fix the problem" perspective. This needs to change to a broader consideration of nurturing each child as a whole individual and the importance of the child's mind and spirit, instead of being narrowly focused on the child's "ear."

The most recent amendments introduced by Assemblymember Mendoza include new language to add audiologists and physicians onto the advisory panel developing the brochure for parents. Mendoza also struck out a section that would restrict "special interests" and those who have a conflict of interest from contributing to the fund set up for implementation costs. These amendments, which were hastily added after the bill was put on suspense, are a "kill shot" removing any progress that has been made in improving this bill to include the views of Deaf ASL/English users. In passing this bill as it is now written, the California legislature is in effect saying, "We believe more strongly in a medical model of Deaf people, and give more value to those who pursue, even at great cost to deaf people, the path to 'normal'." How demoralizing to those of us in opposition to this bill, that after so much progress toward a greater understanding, the bill will still reflect old thinking.

The repercussions of this medical model approach will continue to negatively affect the system and children throughout their lives. In the past 50 years, the number of Deaf high school graduates is at an unacceptably low level. The extreme focus on the medical aspect of fixing the hearing/ears, rather than being focused on language development, has created this situation. Real innovative legislation would abandon the medical model as being ineffective.

Parental choice has everything to do with Deaf stakeholders and the knowledge they have. Deaf people are the very people who end up being the most affected by parental choice. In a comment from Assemblymember Mendoza, he said for us to rest assured he would keep our views in mind during this legislative process. Well, he has let us down. Clearly, an intervention is very much needed to resolve the unrest behind this bill that the Senators need to vote NO on AB2072 to stop a plan of privatization and human rights violation. Otherwise AB2072 with medical professionals brings back the slippery slope of Eugenics!

Mendoza Eugenics in AB2072 Continues As Deaf People Are Ignored

August 16th 2010

As many are aware, California State Assemblymember Tony Mendoza suddenly and without notice submitted 16 amendments to the Appropriations Committee and controversial AB2072 bill passed.This bill which promotes cochlear implants is commonly referred to as "Mendoza Eugenics" because it is designed as the first step toward wiping out the Deaf culture. We are extremely disappointed that the wording we offered to Peter Hansel and Mia Orr of the committee staff was not accepted. We also shared our thoughts with Assemblymember Mendoza, but to no avail. We feel extremely let down, and now with the new amendment wording offered, "visual language, including but not limited to ASL [American Sign Language]," it has been watered down to the point where we may not even have any representation of ASL users.

We are fully aware of the special interest groups lobbying this measure, including the California Medical Association and the audiologist profession. We feel that this influence has banked heavily on the fact that Mia Orr is not paying attention and seems to harbor bias against us. She has not listened to us and is definitely not neutral as I thought health committee consultants are supposed to be, and keeps twisting things to say she hasn't received anything from us. We know this not to be truth. It is for this reason I am sharing with the public our extreme disappointed in how we were treated. We feel completely slammed by this recent maneuver against us. It was our hope that Senator Elaine Alquist would stand alongside us, especially since it was she who thought to add the restriction to the audiologists. Adding them to the panel of stakeholders was definitely a slap in our face. I guess money is more important than the people of California who are ASL users.

Ground Zero Imam Travels Abroad Draws Ire

August 16th 2010
The State Department has confirmed that Feisal Abdul Rauf—who wants to be the imam of a mosque at Ground Zero—is taking a State Department funded trip to the Middle East to foster “greater understanding” about Islam and Muslim communities in the United States. “He is a distinguished Muslim cleric,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. “I think we are in the process of arranging for him to travel as part of this program, and it is to foster a greater understanding about the region around the world among Muslim-majority communities.” Rauf is reportedly going to Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Qatar.

What a sack!

We know a lot of rabbis, some ministers and a few priests. We would be appalled to have the government of the United States, which by law favors no religion, sending a rabbi to Israel—or the former Soviet Union or France or Argentina, where there are communities of Jews—to talk about how Jews live in the United States. Having a priest travel to the Vatican, Honduras, Ireland or the Philippines to describe the lives of American Catholics would be outrageous. Likewise, ministers to Sweden.

What business is it of the American government to send a Muslim to Muslim-majority countries to talk about Islam? How offensive is it to think that the American government is using American tax dollars to fly a non-government person around the world to promote the activities and lifestyle of a particular religion? Better to send a non-Muslim American government official to talk about American religious freedom, cultural diversity and the virtues of the secular, democratic state.

To the speculation that Rauf will engage in fund raising for the proposed mosque at Ground Zero, Mr. Crowley said, “That would not be something he could do as part of our program,” he said.

We're so relieved. And we're so sure he will do only as the American government desires.

But Debra Burlingame, a 9/11 family member, told The New York Post, “‘We know he has a fund-raising association with Saudi Arabia’ ... noting that the Saudis have contributed money to underwrite programs by the American Society for Muslim Advancement, a not-for-profit that Abdul Rauf runs with his wife and that is one of the sponsors of the Ground Zero mosque. ‘He's going to the well, and how can they say they do or don't know what he's doing?’”

To be entirely clear, JINSA believes Ground Zero is a battlefield cemetery—the site of a battle for the liberal democratic state. We oppose the building of a Muslim sectarian monument there because regardless of what its supporters say, it will be widely understood in the Muslim world as a battlefield monument in the name of Islam.

Does the State Department really think Rauf (who said in English that the United States bears responsibility for 9-11) will tell the Saudis, Bahrainis, and Qataris that he is building a monument to cultural understanding, interfaith relations and peace in New York because America is a good, safe and decent place for Muslims as long as they understand the secular, democratic nature of the United States? And that he doesn't want their money because Americans will fund the mosque?

And how will the State Department know?

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA.

Michael Marrus Gets it Wrong

August 16th 2010
Did I read correctly that the esteemed historian Michael Marrus suggested that IBM president Thomas Watson who was convicted on a host of felonies from fraud to blackmail was just "a maverick" and not "a corporate scoundrel" (see Michael Marrus Falters in Some Measure of Justice, Arts, March 1, 2010). That is just wrong. Did I also read correctly that some of the main participants in the lawsuits were not consulted for their point of view for use in this book. That too, I think, is just wrong. I have now learned a valuable lesson of history. Check out the history books you read.

America Must Suspend Military Assistance to Lebanon

August 9th 2010

I have been concerned for sometime about reported Hezbollah influence on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and its implications for our military assistance program for Lebanon. For that reason, on August 2, I placed a hold on a $100 million dollar security assistance package to the LAF. The incident on the Israel-Lebanon border only one day after my hold was placed simply reinforces the critical need for the United States to conduct an in-depth policy review of its relationship with the Lebanese military. I strongly condemn the unprovoked attacked by the Lebanese Army that resulted in the death of an Israeli officer. Until we know more about this incident and the nature of Hezbollah influence on the LAF -- and can assure that the LAF is a responsible actor -- I cannot in good conscience allow the United States to continue sending weapons to Lebanon.

Congressman Howard L. Berman is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rubashkin Judge Sits Both on the Bench and at the Prosecutor's Table

August 9th 2010
Now the story is becoming clearer about the extreme judicial measures taken against kosher slaughterhouse Rubashkin (see Rubashkin Judge Accused of Massive Conflict of Interest—Acted as Both Judge and Involved with Prosecutors, Attorneys Say, Page One August 5, 2010). Not being Jewish or from Iowa, I could not understand the stiff 27-year sentence meted out to Rubashkin. Now it seems the judge is sitting at two locations in the courtroom, on the bench and at the prosecutor's table. Anyone could see her on the bench at the front. But her role as a prosecution adviser was kept secret. I can only imagine that the man's attorneys will prevail and the judge will be removed from office. What is important is not this one person's injustice, but the potential for injustice that this represents to all. Thank The Cutting Edge News for exposing the truth.

Mendoza Eugenics Get Another Swipe

August 9th 2010
In case you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the sharks that swim with California Assemblyman Tony Mendoza are at it again, now trying to dilute all the hard-won gains secured by the Deaf community when they fought back against AB2072 (see Mendoza Eugenics Stalled as California Legislator Considers Deaf to be Defective Americans Features, June 21, 2010. For those who do not know, this the tricky legislation introduced by Mendoze and designed to promote cochlear implants over the established American Sign Language that millions of deaf people in this country use in their everyday communication. This has broadly been called Mendoze Eugenics and compared to a backdoor Nazi eugenic campaign. Apparently, when we weren't looking, Mendoza had the amendments and safeguards stripped out of the pending legislation. The point is, the fight is not yet over. I hope Sacramento is listening.

Asbestos Must be Banned in the Third World

August 2nd 2010

Referring to your article on the global asbestos crisis (See Exporting an Epidemic: A Global Asbestos Crisis, July 26, 2010), all the 52 countries that have banned asbestos should proactively support and recommend a total global ban on the mining, trade, manufacturing, and use of asbestos and asbestos products of all forms. To begin with, they can send a joint letter to Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of ruling Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance to act swiftly. There is an incestuous relationship between the ruling party and the industry. Consequently, asbestos has become so widespread in India that on December 9, 2009 even Indian President Pratibha Patil’s helicopter hit an abandoned asbestos roof. As a result asbestos roof was uprooted and the three blades bent under the impact. An immediate ban on the production and use of asbestos is long overdue in India as there is no legal or medical remedy for the victims. In India, mining of asbestos is technically banned but its trade and use is not banned. Russia’s Ural Asbestos Mining & Ore Dressing Company, the world's largest manufacturer is the largest supplier of chrysotile asbestos to India followed by Canada, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

The matter with regard to complete ban and decontamination of existing asbestos sites is pending before the Supreme Court of India and National Human Rights Commission. The Indian Mines Ministry has consistently informed the Parliament that “In view of the hazardous effect of asbestos mining on health, the Government has decided not to grant any new lease for mining of asbestos and minerals found along with asbestos. It does not renew the existing mining leases of asbestos. In view of the deleterious effect of asbestos mining on the health of the workers, the government has ordered the State governments in 1986 not to grant any new mining lease for asbestos (including chrysotile variety) in the country. In June 1993, government stopped the renewal of existing mining leases of asbestos in the country.” This Indian ministry has recognized the poisonous nature of asbestos fibers. But now it is arguing with an alarming and indefensible logic that unless complete ban on asbestos is announced and enforced, asbestos mining in India can be permitted because its being buying asbestos in any case. In 1995, Supreme Court of India held that “The development of the carcinogenic risk due to asbestos or any other carcinogenic agent does not require continuous exposure. The cancer risk does not cease when the exposure to the carcinogenic agent ceases, but rather the individual carries the increased risk for the remaining years of life. The exposure to asbestos and the resultant long tragic chain of adverse medical, legal and societal consequences, reminds the legal and social responsibility of the employer or producer not to endanger the workmen or the community or the society. He or it is not absolved of the inherent responsibility to the exposed workmen or the society at large. They have the responsibility-legal, moral and social to provide protective measures to the workmen and to the public or all those who are exposed to the harmful consequences of their products. Mere adoption of regulations for the enforcement has no real meaning and efficiency without professional, industrial and governmental resources and legal and moral determination to implement such regulations.” Since then, the court and other concerned agencies have turned a blind eye to the plight of the victims under the influence of the industry.

The writer is founder of the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI).

Germany wants to weaken Iran sanctions of the European Union

July 26th 2010

Amidst negotiations for additional EU sanctions to be implemented against the Islamic Republic of Iran on July 26,  German negotiators are trying to enforce terms that would rob the sanctions of their penetrating power. According to information obtained by the STOP THE BOMB campaign, Germany is pushing for financial sector exemptions in this new sanctions package despite resistance from other EU partners. Germany is trying to weaken British and French sanction demands, which target Iranian banks in Europe and the European banks doing transactions with them. If Germany has its way, German banks operating with Iranian financial institutions wouldn’t be heavily effected by these sanctions.

A recent study found that five German banks continue to act with Iranian partners which were placed on the UN security council sanctions list on June 9. As of June 30, four major Iranian banks, which the Security Council or the US treasury department sanctioned, are still active in Germany. The Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG (EIH) is very important in this context. The Hamburg based bank is owned by Iranians and has rapidly increasing business figures.

On June 14, 2010 at the EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg, it became clear that Germany is trying to weaken the sanction plans of other EU nations. According to press reports, the German delegation at this meeting tried to remove the gas sector off the sanctions list. This German attempt to mitigate the Iran sanctions has been successfully countered. On June 16, EU leaders agreed on sanctions that will include the gas sector.

If the German federal government were to strip the sanctions of their potential crippling effects, it would undermine the international efforts to stop the Iranian policy of aggression. With annual exports reaching 4 billion euros, Germany is at the forefront of exporters to Iran. In particular, the German high-tech exports to Iran in the energy sector cannot be replaced by other countries. In the first four months of this year, German exports to Iran increased 13 percent, according to the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce. Appeals from Paris and London for tougher Iran sanctions have been rejected repeatedly by Berlin.

After the bloody suppression of the Iranian opposition in the summer of last year, a British attempt to impose diplomatic penalties was blocked by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Britain wanted to withdraw the European ambassadors from Iran. Merkel objected to these proposals. The international community views Germany's role in the Iran issue with increased criticism. Germany's leading role in trading with Iran and its years of appeasement have made the Iranian regime an ever growing danger. If sanctions do not succeed in preventing Iran's nuclear bomb, then it is to a large extent the fault of Germany. 

Barry Sewell and Blogging a Waste of Time

July 19th 2010
I admit it. I checked the blog of Barry Sewell and read his numerous rants and attacks against the Deaf (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs, June 28, 2010). What a waste of time is the whole idea of blogging and Mr. Sewell's blog in particular. The very thought that here is a mere maker of funny hats who takes it upon himself to taunt and denigrate Deaf people, and somehow validates himself this way, now that is testimony to what is wrong with the Information Age.

Rosenthal is Doing a Good Job--Don't be Distracted

July 12th 2010

I am responding to Gregg Rickman's recent article on Hannah Rosenthal's performance as the State Department's Special Envoy on anti-Semitism (see Our Confused Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism, Slices July 5, 2010), especially at last week's OSCE high level conference on tolerance and nondiscrimination in Kazakhstan. I was in Astana last week as a public delegate in the US delegation. My "on the ground" impression was that Hannah pursued the anti-Semitism agenda indefatigably, in the official sessions, in bilateral meetings with key foreign government officials, in side events, and in the hallways of the pyramid. The reversal of roles, with Hannah delivering Farah Pandith's statement on Islamophobia and Pandith denouncing anti-Semitism, seemed to be very well received by conference participants. This community relations message of mutual responsibility and the value of working across religious and ethnic lines was one that I also stressed in my own statement to the conference. Anyway, I say -- Hannah, don't be distracted by inaccurate accusations. Just keep up the good work!

Martin Raffel is vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Barry Sewell and BigBenFactor: Sad Examples of Internet Blogging

July 12th 2010
I have seen some sad characters on the Internet in my day, but about the saddest assemblage I have seen yet are the two bloggers who took out after Deaf people, Barry Sewell and BigBenFactor (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs, June 28, 2010). I really found it sad that Sewell accused author Edwin Black of impersonating Edwin Black on Edwin Black's own official website. This was all done as part of a campaign of bashing and humiliating Deaf people for exercising their rights. Nowadays anyone with a computer can type anything for all the world to see on the Internet--true or not, silly or not, insulting to Deaf people or not. Ten years ago, nonsense spewers like Sewell and BigBenFactor would have been restricted to trading notes in a bar. Now this dribble passes for a public globally viewed blog--or even an offshoot of journalism. After following three or four links on these webs, I realized these jokers have had the last laugh as what a waste of time it was for me.

Mideast Freedom Forum Demands German MPs be Investigated on Gaza Flotilla

July 12th 2010
The Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB), a German NGO has demanded a parliamentarian inquiry commission to investigate the participation of left MPs Annette Groth and Inge Höger and former parliamentarian Norman Paech from the party Die Linke at the Gaza flotilla and their connections to Islamist organizations. After Islamists violently attacked Israeli soldiers on the vessel Mavi Marmara with the result of numerous casualties and injured one fact becomes clear: Leading in the organization of the Gaza flotilla are groups who under the cover of humanitarian aid support Islamist terror organizations and global jihad. The main responsible organization for breaking the Gaza blockade is the Turkish group IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi, IHH). According to a study by the Danish Institute for International Studies cited in the German paper FAZ, the IHH underwent an "terroristic infiltration" to the highest ranks. Documents would suggest that "members of the IHH tried to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya." According to its profile, IHH is collecting donations for humanitarian aid but there is suspicion that they use the money for arms deals. The study mentions a razzia where "firearms, explosives and manuals for bomb construction" were found. Scores of press conference photos of IHH representatives together with Hamas officials prove the cooperation with the Gaza dominating Islamists. Also the dubious activities of the German branch of IHH based in Frankfurt should be subject to the inquiry of the German Parliament. Adjacent to the IHH, another big supporter of the Gaza flotilla is the "Perdana Global Peace Organization" founded by the former Malayan president Mahatir Mohamad. On the occasion of a summit of Islamic states in 2003 Mahatir Mohamad caused a sensation with an antisemitic speech. The German MPs of the left party were on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, the only ship that used violence against Israeli soldiers. When the Mavi Marmara, was leaving the port of Istanbul antisemitic chants were sung, warning the Jews of the return of Mohammad´s army. Any appeal of these people to humanitarian causes and human rights is mockery of these ideals. In their antisemitic delusion they make themselves common with Iran's Ahmadinejad and other Jew haters.

The writer represents the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin. Read more ..

Barry Sewell, Bizarre Blogs and the Deaf

July 5th 2010

Not sure if I was amused or saddened by Barry Sewell's bizarre denigrations about the deaf community's objections to a new California law (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs, June 28, 2010). I saw Sewell's picture on his so-called blog. He looks like a very sad man, frowning. How sad. If one were to waste one's time following this nonsense, you could see that he persists on his own blog and something equally silly called "BigBenFactor" in accusing Edwin Black of impersonating himself and the deaf of trying to do something against the interests of deaf people. What a bizarre experience it must be for Black to see such accusations. Blogs plastered with raucous anonymous insults are the new dumbing down of our society. Why are these people so afraid to sign their names?

Edwin Black replies: It has been bizarre indeed. I have had one public email for more than a decade, inquiry@edwinblack.com that receives mail from all over the world daily. I can be reached at my own public website www.edwinblack.com, or any of the book websites such as www.ibmandtheholocaust.com or www.NaziNexus.com. After I posted a statement in my own name on a point of clarification inviting contact at my public email address, and then left a routine phone message asking for contact, it was repeatedly claimed that I was an impostor only pretending to be Edwin Black. My attempts to confirm that I was really me were twice censored by Sewell on his blog. This view of me being an Edwin Black impostor persists today on one or two of the blogs. In point of fact, rumors of me impersonating myself are premature.

Bible Verses Say Do Not Insult the Deaf

July 5th 2010

I enjoyed seeing Edwin Black in June speaking on the deaf and eugenics in Sacramento. For those who insult the deaf (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs, June 28, 2010), I have two good paragraphs from the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.

LEVITICUS 19:14 says "You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord."
ISAIAH  29:18 says "And in that day shall the deaf hear the Words of the book. and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness."

Art Pedroza and Hitler

July 5th 2010
I am not deaf, nor do I live in California, but I share the opinion that Art Pedroza did not need to post a huge picture of Adolf Hitler to make is point bashing the deaf (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs June 28, 2010). The gratuitous use of Hitler's image, especially for mocking, is widely condemned. And by the way, why bash the deaf? They have enough problems in their life--and they overcome them marvelously. I hope Mr. Pedroza will reconsider the flip use of Hitler's image to attack the deaf, and also, stop attacking the deaf. I hope Mr. Pedroza is not deaf on this issue.

Coverage of Indigenious Peoples of Latin America

July 5th 2010
A recent edition of the The Cutting Edge News offered three separate articles about Latin America's indigenous people: first about indigenous peoples and their complete uninvolvement in Argentina's Bicentennial, the second about Bolivia installing its first indigenous president, and third covering the challenges to many indigenous groups across all of Latin America. Your publication is to be commended for helping the world know more about Latin America's many diverse indigenous peoples. I would not expect to see such coverage in the Washington Post or the New York Times, or any other major American newspaper--online or otherwise. Please continue to tell this important story.

Used Car Dealers Are Part of Washington's Insidious Lobbying Reality

July 5th 2010
Used car dealers are part of Washington's insidious lobbying reality and it is good that their antics have been exposed in The Cutting Edge News (see Features, Car Dealers Try to Wheedle Their Way out of Financial Reforms, June 28, 2010). Most of us think that lobbying is mainly Wall Street, Big Oil, Detroit and big business. That is the top of the problem. But scattered in the halls of Congress are thousands of lobbyists representing big and small issues many of us have never heard of, or from groups we would never suspect. Money drives this and until lobbyists are banned from Congress, or severely curtailed, the big and small ills that afflict the nation will not be reformed. Congress is for sale--even for used car salesmen.

Barry Sewell Exposes Himself as Having Zero Credibility

June 28th 2010
I had to laugh at this man in the silly hat, Barry Sewell, being afraid of historian Edwin Black's website and even Mr. Black's public email address (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs, June 28, 2010) as being part of sinister plot by Edwin Black to impersonate himself. I think Barry Sewell has exposed himself as having zero credibility, so any comments he has about the California legislation as it affects the deaf community should be taken with a grain salt. It seems the supporters of AB2072 will go to any length, but this is pretty far down the road. I just wish Barry Sewell had not dragged his daughter and his family's picture--oh yes and his dog--into the blog website links. Do they need to be party of his silliness? This just proves that bloggers should be careful what they wish for. They want the right to run an uncensored website, but that means there is no one to stop them from making absolute fools of themselves in front of the entire world.

Art Pedroza Should Stop His Cruelty and Learn About History

June 28th 2010
I am not deaf, but I could not help a sense of outrage at the blog pages against the deaf community from Art Pedroza. Although your article (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs June 28, 2010) did not list the website, I found it. Let me say, I have seen Hitler hero worship on openly neo-Nazi websites. But I would not expect a gentle picture of Hitler on a site that claims to be about contemporary California politics and one that that cruelly refers to the deaf as "loons" and as "crazies." Art Pedroza should stop his cruel online treatment of deaf people, get rid of that Hitler picture on his website, and learn something about history. His advertisers should think about this the next time they or anyone considers being associated with his blog. Art Pedroza, please stop.

Pro-Mendoza AB2072 Bloggers Twist Deaf Comments

June 28th 2010

I appreciate Martin Barillas's article (see Society, Mendoza AB2072 Supporters Taunt and Insult the Deaf on Blogs June 28, 2010) posted this morning. A number of us has had repeatedly and politely attempted to clarify our positions or corrected some misinformation, only to see our comments being twisted in unbelievable ways to benefit their anti-ASL/deaf agenda. It was really incredulous to see those type of bloggers dismiss our offer of clarifications, and how they interpreted those comments as lies and myths. I respect their disagreement, but, really, they have been arguing vociferously with little to no information about AB2072. They also were "DEAF" to listening to why we initially opposed AB2072. Some of those bloggers/vloggers are unfortunately deaf themselves. As I told one of them, we fought two battles... one against AB2072 and another against "deaf vlogging/blogging detractors."

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