Cutting Edge Editorials reflects the considered opinion of the management of The Cutting Edge News. The Cutting Editorial Board is comprised of fifteen individuals located across America and five overseas. We encourage letters in agreement or disagreement with our editorials. See our Letters section.
The Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel is yet another form of jihad in our midst. This effort is an economic jihad, its purpose being to destroy bilateral peace efforts between Arabs and Jews at the grass roots level. BDS agitators want Arab and Israeli academics to stop cooperating, Arab and Israeli businessmen to stop bilateral commerce, Israelis to stop employing Arabs, and global investments to disengage from areas now benefiting from the economic rewards of peaceful coexistence. The BDS method seeks to accomplish its goals by financial intimidation and the reinvention of history while elsewhere the violent edge of jihad with the same purpose is being waged with suicide vests, provocative armed flotillas, and organized demonization. The mission of BDS is not to encourage progress toward real peace on the ground, but to make Israel disappear by trying to isolate it into economic shambles and continue the Arab boycott already made illegal by Congress. It is purely economic warfare, no different from the economic warfare practiced for decades by Arab communities that have rejected peaceful coexistence with Israel. Peace for those in the BDS movement will come only when there is "a one-state solution," where the religious freedom for all faiths, now prevailing in the area, becomes a thing of the past and a Gaza-style religious, theocratic regime takes hold.
Just as every airline passenger is now aware of the threats confronting them, every businessman, investment manager, and student should understand that the threat of economic jihad will one day come calling. When it comes, you will know it under the mantle of BDS. The same resoluteness which Americans show by flying and going to Times Square--despite the risks, should be shown when BDS tries to embarrass, pressure, or harass ordinary businesses. Stand up for peace and reject the idea. Today, BDS focuses its venom on Israel. If successful, this movement can turn its sights on any institution it targets, foreign or domestic.
The case of Jonathan Pollard is a tragic one both for US-Israeli relations and the American justice system. Pollard was unfairly sentenced to life imprisonment, unfairly prevented from appeal, and his subsequent lawyers have been unfairly prevented from proper access to the secret 46-page memorandum concocted by then-secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger to convince the judge to send Pollard to jail and throw away the key. Weinberger later told journalist Edwin Black, "It was, in a sense, a very minor matter but made very important," adding "the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than its actual importance." When Black asked Weinberger why this had happened, Weinberger obliquely answered, "I don't know why — it just was."
Comparing Pollard's 25 years already served to the terms of other spies, one sees extreme inequality. For example, Michael Walker, a member of the infamous Walker family spy ring that worked for the Soviet Union, was released to a halfway house after just after serving 15 years of a 25-year prison sentence. That espionage ring functioned for 17 years, resulting in major damage to national security. Korean-American Robert Kim, who spied for South Korea, was released from prison in 2004, after serving just seven years of his nine-year sentence. Many others convicted of espionage have served just a few years. Yet Pollard is serving a life sentence.
What possible threat can Pollard be today? His secret information was gathered in the mid-1980s, before home computers and cell phones came into usage. What is Pollard going to do--reveal the secrets of carbon paper? The man is no threat to anyone if released. But his continued incarceration is a threat to the American notion of equal justice. His release should be fast-tracked.
An extraordinary and turning-point summit convened in the northern Chicago suburbs on October 24-25, 2008, under the auspices of Set America Free and its coalition of left, right, liberal, conservative, Democratic, Republican, Independent, green and otherwise concerned American citizens. Packed into one large conference room were scores of the nation's most informed and clear-thinking experts on the economic, scientific, commercial, industrial, and political ramifications of America's perilous addiction to oil. There was so much energy intellect concentrated in that one room, the expertise and the sheer shock value of the dioverse revelations was literally palpable. It was all there: the fine points of our growing economic disaster, details on viable technologies new and old, the roadmap to alternative fuels, the stunningpolitical malaise, land use issues, the chemistry and chicanery, the terorrist implications, the petropolitics and pyrotechnics of what is ahead.
Speaker after speaker--from former CIA director James Woolsey to Set America Free co-directors Gal Luft and Annie Korin to EV World editor Bill Moore to investigative journalist Edwin Black to former national security advisor Bud McFarlane amid a talented cavalcade of others--laid out the case against oil and what needs to be done now. It's not rocket science and, in many cases, the technology, ideas and infrastructure are either well-entrenched, overlooked, subverted or trivialized by a nation asleep at the switch, asleep at the wheel and asleep as the collapse nears.
Quickly it became apparent during the many sessions that the nation's leadership, mass media and citizenry are sleepwalking through a gauntlet of passionate, informed experts shouting from the sidelines for them to wake up and implement real change now. Now does not mean years from now. It does not mean decades from now. It means immediately. During one interview, Edwin Black was asked why America has not yet reacted with any real plan for either energy independence or a response to an oil interruption. His answer was this: "While the knife is at the throat, it has not yet pierced the skin. Only when the wound is felt will the body politic react. But, by that time, it may be too late." Read more ..
Reports that AIG fat cats celebrated America’s painful trillion dollar bailout of their misconduct with a nearly half-million dollar weekend retreat at a plush California spa has outraged the nation. The idea that our legislators as well as our men and women on main street convulsed for two weeks while their wealth diminished by billions of dollars at high velocity should never have been the cause for a lavish, high-fiving free-for-all on the golf course and massage tables by AIG executives.
Then, even as congressional investigators railed about the excess, as even more billions in bailout were required, it was learned that yet another lavish AIG event was in the offing. It seems partying big-time is a corporate habit at AIG.
Now, stung by an investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the insurance conglomerate has agreed to cancel 160 more of these lavish conferences and events. Some exceed $750,000 per event, for a total savings of $8 million. Here are some examples of the cancelled events and why one to two generations of taxpayers will have to suffer deficits. A “best operator” conference scheduled for Las Vegas was expected to cost $750,000. A risk management conference scheduled for this month—not at the Holiday Inn but at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay--was expected to cost $500,000. A sales conference at Sea Island scheduled for November, 2008, was projected at $350,000. A cozy little get-together in Scottsdale, AZ, was scheduled for 2009 to the tune of $190,000. These are just a few examples of your hard-earned, bailout dollars at work. This type of abuse of a publicly owned company with hundreds of thousands of devastated shareholders and millions of citizens worldwide who depend upon the liquidity of this insurance giant is certainly criminal. Read more ..
Improving automobile performance and alternative fuel has long been plagued by calculated patent sequestration and the use of restrictive licensing agreements, too often designed to keep good technology suppressed. Critics of the auto establishment like to talk about the advanced battery designs, alternative fuel systems, nanotechnology and other technical accomplishments sequestered by energy and automotive companies for the sole purpose of keeping them off the market. We see this now in dramatic fashion with the Japanese auto marvel, Honda, which is so visibly restricting sales of its two alternative fuel vehicles, the Civic Natural Gas GX and the Hydrogen Clarity.
As part of a plan to get off of oil rapidly, the nation needs to establish an Energy Patent and License Intervention Office so government action can enable good energy technology to rapidly proceed in the marketplace. This office would be empowered, on public complaint, to investigate whether alternative fuel technology was being expeditiously deployed in the marketplace, or withheld. For example, such an office could examine Honda’s license agreement with Plug Power for the Home Energy Center, or Fuelmaker for the Phill unit to determine whether the country could benefit from the more rapid deployment of the technology. Such an office could compel the patent holder to grant compulsory licenses so that the technology may be exploited for the sake of the country, and encourage competition. Under this scenario, a third party would be authorized to exercise the patent, but required to pay a fair fee to the original holder.
In other words, in a true emergency, if the technology was workable, the controlling company would be obligated to deploy it or see it deployed by another company. In everyday parlance, “use it or lose it.” Read more ..
The latest thump in the revelations about Barack Obama's past associations is his connection to Bill Ayers, a well-known Chicago domestic terrorist. Obama worked with Ayers several years ago in 1995 at the beginning of his career as he was being introduced to neighborhood politics. In the circles Obama was running in, being accepted into what was known as Chicago's "radical chic" was definitely on the checklist. The “radical chic” was a circle of wealthy anarchists opposed to the establishment in every way. In the case of Bill Ayers, organizer of the 1960’s “Weather Underground,” scion of an affluent Chicago family, we are not talking about an obscure figure. Ayers was as infamous in Chicago as Patty Hearst was in San Francisco. His wife, Bernardine Dohrn, had achieved similar notoriety in the city. The Ayers way was urban terrorism from rampaging down Chicago streets breaking car windows to plotting bombings of Army bases.
For Obama to say he was unaware that the neighbor throwing a political coffee for him was the well-known domestic terrorist whose group had helped cripple the sheriff of Cook County, and who openly and unrepentantly espoused what we would today call Al Qaeda-style bombings is most disingenuous.
Chicago is as political a town as exists anywhere in the United States. This is a city where the corpses in cemeteries are registered to vote and have been known to swing elections. Every door is a decision. Of course Obama knew who Ayers was. Of course he knew who Tony Rezko was. Of course Obama knew what Jeremiah Wright was saying. Of course Obama knew what the gangs of Chicago's south side were doing.
It is time for Obama to come clean with himself and the American public about his long list of scandalous associations from Bill Ayers to Pastor Wright.
If Barack Obama cannot be judged on his political record, since he has a scant political record, perhaps we can judge him on his real record. And since the chief item on his record is "community organizer," something he reminds us of continuously, exactly who in the community Obama was organizing and who was organizing Obama should certainly be a dominant question in this campaign.
Congress must not permit our country to be further bankrupted by already bankrupt financial institutions that have achieved their insolvent state through unbridled fraud, deception, economic predation and pure greed. Rather than commit a $700 billion sum, which will surely tip the $1 trillion mark, to bailing out the scoundrels, our government should commit just one of those billions to the establishment of an army of junkyard dogs to prosecute the thieves. Here's how.
1. Declare every leading executive of any of these insolvent organizations to be a material witness. Seize their passports.
2. Subject them all to a rigorous IRS audit and Department of Justice financial misconduct investigation.
3. If found guilty, issue stiff consecutive sentences for multiple felonies.
4. Allow absolutely no plea bargaining down to a mere fine. Everyone must serve jail time using federal sentencing guidelines already in place requiring minimum incarceration.
5. Allow a sentencing reduction per the guidelines for permanent prohibition against further financial sector dealings. There is ample precedent.
6. Assemble an international army of forensic accountants to launch asset seizures against these thieves including the repatriation of assets transferred abroad in the form of yachts, island homes, European chateaus and foreign investments. Like in any fraudulent transfer, all family members that became beneficiaries of these funds, would also be subject to asset seizure and possible prosecution.
7. All of these assets should go into a giant victim restitution fund which would permit claims from those forced from their homes by preditory lenders and robbed of their savings by looting executives who turned their corporate stock from crown jewels into corporate junk.
8. Create video case studies that will become mandatory viewing in all business schools, banks and brokerages the same way drunk driving videos are required for those convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Now that would be an investment in America's future.
Few have spoken more eloquently about race relations in this country than Sen. Barack Obama in defending the anti-American, black separatist views of his pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright. By now, millions in America have seen Pastor Wright twirling with exhilaration after 9-11 chanting “God damn America” and his bizarre rants that America has engaged in genocide by creating an AIDS epidemic in the Black community, and a continued litany of anti-American venom.
Obama places this all in the contentious context of Black-White race relations. But whole communities in this country—millions of people—have nothing to do with the Black-White racial legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination and the racial disenfranchisement that Obama rightly speaks of. These people love their country and they find tolerance of anti-American God damning hate speech abhorrent. Who are these people outside the Black-White racial conflict?
They are American-Jewish people, almost all of whom came to this country after 1890, most during the 20th Century, and generally fleeing the awful persecution of wars, pogroms, genocide and Holocaust. These families are not descendants of the slave days and did not create Jim Crow. These families fought off their own problems of discrimination and still do. These families love their country. Read more ..