Chaplains Say They’ve Witnessed Jail Abuse

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Three volunteers at a Los Angeles County jail say they’ve witnessed sheriff’s deputies abusing inmates, a report said.

Two chaplains and a Hollywood producer who volunteered at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles have submitted sworn statements expected to be filed in court by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The volunteers allege they witnessed beatings of inmates by deputies in cases where the prisoner appeared not to be resisting. The volunteers said they found supervisors unresponsive to their complaints.

The Los Angeles Times said the FBI has is looking into at least two inmate allegations of abuse, as well as an incident in which an ACLU monitor saw deputies beat an unconscious inmate.

Iran To Deploy Ships Near U.S. Sea Borders

TEHRAN, Sept. 28 (UPI) — An Iranian naval official said the country’s navy plans to deploy ships in the Atlantic Ocean near U.S. maritime borders.

“Just like the global hegemony that is present near our marine borders, we … also plan to establish a strong presence near U.S. marine borders,” the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari as saying Tuesday.

U.S. Defense Department officials did not have an immediate comment, CNN said. The United States has deployed fleets to the Persian Gulf.

Iranian media quoted naval officials as saying the country would establish a presence in the Atlantic Ocean “the same way that the [world’s] arrogant power is present near our marine borders.”

Sayyari also said ships would be deployed in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea Aden to protect vessels from pirates who hijack ships for ransom.

Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi kicked off the production line of the cruise missile called Qader (the Able) Wednesday, IRNA reported.

The inauguration occurred on the last day of Holy Defense Week, an annual commemoration of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The cruise missile has a 125-mile range, Vahidi said.

Christie Skirts 2012 Presidential Bid

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Sept. 28 (UPI) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remained coy about whether he’d enter the Republican presidential race despite pleas from some quarters for him to run.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan President Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Tuesday, Christie called for strong leadership but said nothing to indicate he might jump into the GOP race, The Washington Post reported.

Christie has said he wasn’t interested in trying to claim the party’s nomination for the 2012 election.

During a question-and-answer session, a woman stood up and pleaded, “I really implore you — I really do. This isn’t funny. I mean this with all my heart. Please, sir, reconsider. Go home and really think about it. Please. Do it for my daughter; do it for our grandchildren; do it for our sons. Please, sir, your country needs you to run for president.”

Christie said he felt the “passion” the woman conveyed and “it touches me.”

He said he was listening to people urging him to run and “feeling it too.” But, he said, “by the same token, that heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. That reason has to reside inside me. That’s what I’ve said all along. … And so my answer to you is just this, I thank you for what you’re saying.”

During his remarks, Christie called on the nation’s leaders to act and lead through compromise.

“When there is a problem, you fix it,” he said. “That’s what you do. That’s what we did. That’s the job we’ve been sent to do. And you cannot wait for someone else to do it when you’re sitting in the Oval Office.”

Christie’s appearance at the library is part of a three-state fundraising trip for the New Jersey Republican Party.

Obama Reaffirms Commitment To Israel

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States remains committed to Israel.

In a video address Tuesday before the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Obama said his administration is working to promote prosperity at home and security and peace throughout the world.

“While we cannot know all that the New Year will bring, we do know this: the United States will continue to stand with Israel, because the bond between our two nations is unshakable,” he said.

Obama said the past year was full of struggle and hardship for people around the world and Israel faces the “uncertainties of an unpredictable age.”

“As Jewish tradition teaches us, we may not complete the work, but that must never keep us from trying,” he said.

Afghan Attack Kills Eight Police Officers

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Militants struck the Lashkar Gah area in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province for the second straight day Wednesday, killing eight policemen, authorities said.

The attack also wounded three officers at a police post which was destroyed, CNN reported quoting provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi.

Ahmadi said an investigation revealed it was an inside job.

“It is now clear that a policeman from the post had contacts with the Taliban who invited the Taliban to conduct the attack,” he said, adding the police officer fled with the Taliban.

Separately, China’s Xinhua news agency quoted Ahmadi as saying: “An unknown number of armed insurgents raided a police checkpoint in Nahri Sarraj district in northern part of provincial capital Lashkar Gah at about 2:00 a.m., triggering a gun battle (that) lasted for hours.

“As a result eight policemen were killed and three injured.”

On Tuesday, five people reportedly were killed and several more injured in a suicide bomb attack at a bakery near the Lashkar Gah police headquarters.

Lashkar Gah was one of seven places whose security had been transferred to Afghan forces by U.S. and NATO forces under their troop withdrawal program, set to be completed by 2014.

Also Tuesday, 16 people died when a bus carrying 20 wedding party members detonated a landmine in Afghanistan’s Herat Province.

Taliban militants were believed to have planted the mine, a police spokesman said.

Pakistanis Seen Connected To 2007 Ambush

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 28 (UPI) — A 2007 ambush in Pakistan, in which a U.S. major died, has remained under wraps but new findings suggest Pakistani involvement, a media report says.

In the May 14 incident, a group of American officers and Afghan officials who were holding talks with Pakistanis in the Teri Mangal area over a border dispute were ambushed. A U.S. major was killed and three other U.S. officers were wounded along with their Afghan interpreter, The New York Times reported.

The report said fresh accounts from Afghan and U.S. officers who were there reveal it was actually a calculated assault by Pakistanis. The U.S. soldiers returned fire before escaping in their Black Hawk helicopter.

During the attack, several gunmen opened fire without warning as the Americans and Afghans were getting ready to leave, the report said. The attackers also included Pakistani intelligence agents and military officers, the report said.

Washington apparently kept the incident quiet because of Pakistan’s strategic value, although U.S. officials reportedly aware of the double game Pakistan was playing.

The Times said reconstruction of the ambush, which officials think was revenge for Afghan or Pakistani deaths at U.S. hands, comes at a time when relations between the two countries continue to worsen.

U.S. officials and military leaders have been taking issue with Pakistan lately. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told a Senate committee Pakistan’s intelligence service is undermining efforts in Afghanistan and has been supporting insurgents in recent attacks.

The Teri Mangal attack was first blamed by Pakistani officials on militants, and later on a rogue tribal paramilitary soldier.

Obama’s Schedule For Wednesday, Sept. 28

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — President Obama participates in a roundtable discussion and delivers his annual back-to-school address Wednesday, the White House said.

The daily schedule indicates Obama will:

— Participate in an “Open for Questions” roundtable, fielding questions from readers of Yahoo!, MSN Latino, and AOL Latino/Huffington Post Latino Voices.

— Meet with Vice President Joe Biden for lunch.

— Deliver a back-to-school speech at a Washington-area high school, in which he will encourage students to study hard so that they can reach their potential.

Amnesty Criticizes Thai Rebel Killings

BANGKOK, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Human rights group Amnesty International slammed rebels in southern Thailand for deliberately targeting civilians in what could be considered war crimes.

For the past 7 1/2 years armed and organized ethnic Malays — nearly all Muslims — have been fighting the officially and predominantly Buddhist Thai state. Around 5,000 people have been killed and thousands injured.

Amnesty’s 64-page report “Unlawful Killings in Thailand’s Southern Insurgency,” based on extensive interviews with victims of violence in four southernmost provinces, heavily criticized the rebels for attacking what it called soft targets.

These targets include “farmers, house workers, teachers, students, religious leaders, monks, civil servants or persons with vague or tenuous affiliation with the security forces or counterinsurgency efforts.”

“Insurgents in southern Thailand are spreading terror among the civilian population by deliberately targeting people with no role in the conflict and no one is immune from attack,” said Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy director.

“The insurgents must publicly commit to stopping these unlawful killings immediately.”

The report is based on the testimony of 154 interviews with witnesses and survivors, relatives and friends of victims, conducted between October 2010 and last July.

The testimonies describe 66 insurgent attacks against civilians in three southern Thai districts: Rangae in Narathiwat province, Yarang in Pattani and Yaha in Yala. Killings also have been noted in parts of neighboring Songkhla province.

“Amnesty International calls on the insurgents to immediately cease attacks deliberately targeting civilians, indiscriminate attacks and other violations of international humanitarian law, many of which constitute war crimes,” the report said.

Amnesty also comes down heavily on the Thai security forces, accusing them of torturing suspected rebels and captured fighters.

“The region is still characterized by a culture of official impunity,” Guest said. “All unlawful killings, including those allegedly by security forces, must be independently investigated and acted upon.”

After an attack by insurgents on a military base in Narathiwat province in January, at least nine suspects detained by security forces reported they were tortured while in custody.

The report said no official has faced punishment for the tortures and other alleged human rights violations, including the October 2004 incident in Tak Bai district when 78 detainees died of suffocation while being transported by the military in tightly packed trucks.

A major issue against finding a solution to the protracted conflict is that the rebels’ demands aren’t clear.

Around 94 percent of population in the four provinces consider themselves Muslim but the ability to worship and carry out Islamic religious practices hasn’t been at issue, the report says.

There is reportedly a feeling by Malays of being discriminated against by other Thai nationals, despite their majority status.

Grievances have surrounded lack of recognition of educational degrees obtained at Islamic institutions abroad and the lack of ethnic Malays in local and national government.

The area remains economically poor and ethnic Malays believe the federal government in Bangkok is little interested in investing in the area.

New Israeli Housing; U.N. Mulls Palestine

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Israel revealed plans for 1,100 new housing units beyond its pre-1967 war border as the U.N. Security Council was to mull a Palestinian U.N. membership request.

The Palestinian National Authority condemned the Israeli housing plan, with a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of placing new obstacles in the way of the peace process.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration was “deeply disappointed” by Israel’s announcement, which came a day before Wednesday’s Security Council meeting to refer the Palestinian Authority request for state recognition, a key step toward full U.N. membership, to a committee for review.

On Friday, after Abbas submitted his recognition request, the United States, United Nations, Russia and European Union — known collectively as the Quartet — urged the authority and Israel to return to direct negotiations within a month, with no preconditions.

The statement did not mention a settlement freeze, but called on both sides “to refrain from provocative actions” and cited the sides’ obligations under a 2003 U.S.-backed “road map” peace plan that included a call for an end of all Israeli settlement building.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the authority’s settlement-freeze demand was “a pretext” to avoid direct negotiations.

He told The Jerusalem Post that during Israel’s last 10-month moratorium, the Palestinians waited nine months before sitting down to negotiate — only to walk out a month later when the moratorium on settlement construction expired.

He called on the authority to begin immediate, direct talks with no preconditions.

An Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman told The New York Times the timing of Tuesday’s announcement about the new settlements was determined by a lengthy approval process, not by a political agenda.

Construction is not likely to begin before 2013, she said.

The construction is proposed for the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, along with East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel later annexed the settlement to Jerusalem, a step not recognized internationally because it goes beyond the so-called Green Line for Israel’s border set out in the 1949 armistice agreements between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Obama: America Needs Student Ideas Now

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — The nation needs American students’ passion, ideas and energy now, not just tomorrow, President Barack Obama is to tell students, the White House said.

“Our country used to have the world’s highest proportion of young people with a college degree — now we’re 16th,” Obama is tell students at 1:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Washington’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.

“That’s not good enough. And so we need your generation to bring us back to the top. If we do that, you guys will have a brighter future. And so will America,” prepared remarks of Obama’s third annual Back-to-School Speech indicated he would say.

Banneker is a small, 30-year-old magnet school considered Washington’s best public high school due to its strenuous curriculum and advanced-placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

Its Web site says Banneker is a “No Child Left Behind blue-ribbon school.”

Obama announced changes to the Bush-era law last week, letting states seek waivers from what its critics call its most onerous requirements, including the requirement that 100 percent of students test at grade level in reading and math by 2014 — which many educators argue is unrealistic.

The White House released an advance copy of Obama’s third annual Back-to-School Speech Tuesday night seeking to blunt any allegations Obama would give a political speech to schoolchildren.

The address was to be broadcast and streamed live to students nationwide.

The White House said Obama — who was expected to confess in his speech that he wasn’t always a good student — would tell the Banneker students excelling academically didn’t have to mean getting straight A’s all the time, “although that’s a good goal to strive for.”

It meant “being the best student you can be,” setting sights high and taking risks, the remarks said.

“But I also want to emphasize this,” Obama was expected to say. “With all of the challenges that our country faces today, we don’t just need you for the future — we need you now. America needs your passion, your ideas and your energy right at this moment.”

He cited three high school students he said made extraordinary accomplishments — Will Kim of Fremont, Calif., “who launched a non-profit that gives loans to students from low-income schools who want to start their own business”; Jake Bernstein of St. Louis, who launched a Web site with his sister “devoted to community service for young people”; and Amy Chyao from Richardson, Texas, who “discovered a breakthrough process that uses light to kill cancer cells.”

Like those three teenagers, “you don’t have to wait to make your mark,” Obama’s remarks said.

“A lot of the time, you’ve got better ideas than the rest of us anyway,” he was expected to add. So get those ideas “out in the open, in and out of the classroom.”

Firm To Fla.: Don’t Use Drug In Execution

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 28 (UPI) — A drugmaker has told Florida Gov. Rick Scott using one of its untested products in an execution “contradicts everything” the company is in business to do.

Pentobarbital — the barbiturate Georgia used last week as part of the lethal drug-mix injection that killed convicted killer Troy Davis — has not been proven in clinical tests to produce the desired result or effect “outside of the approved labeling,” Lundbeck Inc. President Staffan Schuberg said in a letter to Scott.

He expressed his “adamant” opposition to using the sedative and anti-seizure medicine in Wednesday’s scheduled 4 p.m. EDT execution of Manuel Valle, 61, convicted of killing Coral Gables, Fla., police officer Louis Pena 33 years ago.

The execution would be Florida’s first use of the drug as the first of three drugs administered during a lethal injection.

Some doctors and legal experts say pentobarbital could inflict extreme suffering on prisoners as they die.

“Use of our products to end lives contradicts everything we’re in business to do, which is to provide therapies that improve people’s lives,” Schuberg’s letter said.

Scott and his press office had no immediate response to a United Press International phone message and e-mail seeking a comment on the letter.

A British doctor sought Monday to stop the execution, filing a petition with Florida’s Supreme Court, but the court rejected his petition Tuesday.

A Miami-Dade Circuit judge ruled Aug. 3 pentobarbital was suitable to render a condemned inmate unconscious before two other fatal drugs were administered.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for use in executions but has declined to enforce a ban against states using it.

Pentobarbital, marketed under the name Nembutal, is increasingly used by some of the 35 states with the death penalty as an alternative to the anesthetic sodium thiopental, better known as Sodium Pentothal, whose only U.S. producer, Hospira Inc., stopped making it in January to protest its use in capital punishment.

Lundbeck, the U.S. subsidiary of Denmark’s H. Lundbeck A/S, announced July 1 it would no longer sell Nembutal to prisons in states that carry out executions.

Florida and other states already had stockpiles, allowing them to keep using it unless ordered by U.S. courts to stop.

Valle was convicted in the 1978 killing of Pena, who stopped Valle for a traffic violation in a stolen car. He has been sentenced to death and re-sentenced three times in legal wrangling that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his death penalty in 1987.

Courts later reaffirmed his death penalty conviction. He had an appeal pending before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday morning.

Germany Blasts Obama For Euro Debt Remarks

BERLIN, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Germany told Washington to sort out its own mess before giving advice to others after President Barack Obama said Europe’s debt crisis was “scaring the world.”

“It’s always much easier to give advice to others than to decide for yourself,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said, alluding to Washington’s debt crisis, which prompted credit-rating agency Standard and Poor’s to remove the U.S. government from its list of risk-free borrowers.

“I am well prepared to give advice to the U.S. government,” Schauble said.

The White House and congressional leaders — whose standoff over U.S. debt contributed to the S&P downgrade — had no immediate comment on Schauble’s remarks.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been a key driver of plans to give Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis bailout fund enough firepower to shore up Italy and Spain. The U.S. Federal Reserve is propping up the European banking system, including through dollar swaps, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.

Obama told a town hall-style meeting in Mountain View, Calif., Monday Europe had “not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges their banking system faced. It’s now being compounded by what’s happening in Greece.”

“So they’re going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. And they’re trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be,” he said.

Schauble derided a European Commission idea to boost the European Union bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility, beyond its $600 billion lending limit to more than $2.7 trillion, perhaps by raising funds from the European Central Bank.

“I don’t understand how anyone in the European Commission can have such a stupid idea,” the Telegraph quoted Schauble as saying. “The result would be to endanger the triple-A sovereign-debt ratings of other member states. It makes no sense.”

White House Reforms Healthcare, Changes Fall Short

Instead of the necessary changes, Obama simply outlined a potential broader deal to cut benefits for Medicare in an exchange with Republicans for tax increases. President Barack Obama put forth enough healthcare savings in his new debt plan to delay the insolvency of Medicare in the immediate future, but these changes were short-term and unsustainable, according to The Washington Times.

The reforms were short of the major changes that all sides say are needed to fix the program in the long run. Obama went as far as to ignore the suggestions that his own deficit committee recommended last year, reported the news outlet.

Instead of the necessary changes, Obama simply outlined a potential broader deal to cut benefits for Medicare in an exchange with Republicans for tax increases.

“To just stick your head in the sand, ostrich-style, and say, ‘No, it’s fine,’ is not acceptable,” Representative James Lankford (R-Okla.) told the Times. “I think he’s trying to say, ‘Let’s make a big proposal,’ but the big proposal is just to find savings and cut down on reimbursements to providers.”

The Charleston Daily Mail reported that the Obama Administration has given people changes to their healthcare that have not been paid for, and these were increased with “Obamacare.” The news source noted that the physicians and specialists who care for these Americans will be among those who suffer because of this program.

A Financial Failure

Do you think we’ve seen some financial turmoil this year? Let me tell you what happened 13 years ago this week, when one of the most highly touted investment vehicles ever created failed.

On Sept. 22, 1998, Long-Term Capital Management shocked the financial markets when it revealed that it was at risk of imploding and destroying billions of investors’ dollars when it did.

LTCM was founded and backed by some really smart and really wealthy people. But in 1998, disaster struck. When a series of interest-rate bets went bad, the company lost $4.6 billion in a matter of months.

“At the beginning of 1998, LTCM had equity of $4.72 billion, with borrowed capital of more than $124.5 billion and assets of about $129 billion,” wrote Adnan Siddiqi and Peter Hrubi in Islamic Investments Funds Versus Hedge Funds. “From the beginning of 1998 until September 1998, LTCM’s equity fell from $4.72 billion to $600 million… Total losses were found to be $4.6 billion.”

Faced with a potential financial catastrophe, the Federal Reserve organized a bailout of $3.625 billion from 15 investment banks. “On September 29, 1998 the control of the LTCM was passed on to Oversight Partner 1 LLC,” wrote Siddiqi and Hrubi.

There was an extraordinary amount of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth over the LTCM bailout back in 1998. It seems hard to believe all the fuss was over a “mere” $3.6 billion, doesn’t it? Especially since Uncle Sucker … I mean Uncle Sam … has spent more than $1 trillion since then, in a futile effort to revive our flagging economy.

The more it changes, the more it all stays the same — except the price tag keeps getting higher.

–Chip Wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electric Cars: A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come

Editor’s note: This is part 1 in a two-part series on the dangers of going green.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have little doubt that the road President Barack Obama envisions is built around renewable energy; the only vehicles that traverse it are electric. It is the world of science fiction. America’s problem is that this world will hasten our downfall.

Case in point is Solyndra Inc.’s slide into bankruptcy earlier this month. The Fremont, Calif., solar-panel maker was magically awarded a $535 million Federal loan guarantee in September 2009. It is all part of the President’s dream to remake America green. It began with a loan from the Energy Department from funds derived from the 2009 Obama stimulus package.

Bad news for the White House and Obama Democrats came on Sept. 6 when the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Two days later, the FBI raided the company’s offices.

There was more bad news last week. Solyndra said it needs more than the initially expected four weeks to find a buyer to take over its idled solar panel-making operations.

Solyndra said it had a plan to try to find a buyer by early October, a company that could restart its recently shuttered factory and rehire some of its 1,000 staff. Maybe Solyndra can find some magic beans. It could grow something green that would stretch to the sky, something both the environmentalists and the Obama Administration need.

Recently, an opinion piece of the WNYC website summed up the failure of Solyndra:

That the government invested in a non-viable company because it wanted a “Green” photo-op and that this investment was part of a sweetheart deal to reward an Obama donor is disgusting but typical. The fact is, when the government pours money into a business or a program or an initiative, no one cares too much whether it succeeds or fails.

After all, are any of the people who made the decision to fund Solyndra going to see a pay cut to their own paycheck? Of course not. That remains the number one argument as to why the government should not have the power to use OUR money to fund their pet projects.

It’s also the most reasonable argument for why private businesses always do better than public ones. For example, Fed Ex and UPS have to balance their budgets, make cuts when necessary and care about meeting their bottom line. The US Postal Service? Less.

At least the U.S. Postal Service uses proven technology. The Obama Adminstration wants to reinvent the world with things that, frankly, don’t work — at least not yet. Solar panels are just one failed scheme. Another is the Adminstration’s support for the electric car.

A Lemon That Runs On Electricity

If you listen closely enough to Obama, you might think the Electric Age has just begun when in fact it dates back more than a century. The President has announced his goal of having 1 million electric cars on American roads by 2015. His Administration has even allocated $2.4 billion in “stimulus” money to subsidize production of them, along with the batteries and other components that they use.

Earlier this month, Forbes contributor Louis Woodhill weighed in on what he thought of Obama’s seed money for the electric car:

Unfortunately, electric cars are about to do a barrier crash into economic reality, and all the airbags in the world won’t be able to save them.  The taxpayers’ $2.4 billion is destined to join Obama’s $535 million investment in solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra at the bottom of the crony-capitalism “stimulus” rat hole.

Woodhill was specific in his criticism of Obama’s plan, especially when it comes to mass-produced battery electric vehicles. He points to Nissan, which is engineering state-of-the-art lithium batteries into its new car, the Leaf. “It costs more than twice as much ($35,430 vs. $17,250) as a comparable Nissan Versa,” Woodhill wrote.  And before you rush to save the Earth and sacrifice your pocketbook, keep this in mind: The battery-powered car provides far less convenience and performance than the car that burns gasoline.

The Leaf has terrible acceleration and has only 25 percent the range of a comparable gasoline car.

Given the cost of using batteries for the Leaf versus an economy car you can fill at $4 per gallon with gasoline, you would have to drive your new electric car 164,000 miles just to recover the additional purchase cost.

Factor in interest on your money, and you would have to drive your electric car almost 200,000 miles before you break even. It’s too bad about not being able to merge on to the freeway because of the car’s terrible performance. And it is impossible to drive a Leaf more than 60 miles per day.

That the electric car is a poor substitute for a gasoline car is nothing new. In 1896 Thomas Edison panned the electric car: “Electric cars must keep near to power stations. The storage battery is too heavy.”

More than a century later and with new lithium technology, the fortunes of the electric car still have not changed. In 2009, when speaking of the Chevrolet Volt (a big name among enthusiasts), the president of Audi America, Johan de Nysschen said: “There are not enough idiots who will buy it.”

With the exception of Forbes, the popular press has never given up on trying to find idiots to buy the electric car.

In Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, author Robert Bryce wrote:

  • 1911: The New York Times declares that the electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical.”
  • 1915: The Washington Post writes that “prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family.”
  • 1959: The New York Times reports that the “Old electric may be the car of tomorrow.” The story said that electric cars were making a comeback because “gasoline is expensive today, principally because it is so heavily taxed, while electricity is far cheaper” than it was back in the 1920s.
  • 1967: The Los Angeles Times says that American Motors Corporation is on the verge of producing an electric car, the Amitron, to be powered by lithium batteries capable of holding 330 watt-hours per kilogram. (That’s more than two times as much as the energy density of modern lithium-ion batteries.) Backers of the Amitron said, “We don’t see a major obstacle in technology. It’s just a matter of time.”
  • 1979: The Washington Post reports that General Motors has found ”a breakthrough in batteries” that “now makes electric cars commercially practical.” The new zinc-nickel oxide batteries will provide the “100-mile range that General Motors executives believe is necessary to successfully sell electric vehicles to the public.”
  • 1980: In an opinion piece, The Washington Post avers that “practical electric cars can be built in the near future.” By 2000, the average family would own cars, predicted the Post, “tailored for the purpose for which they are most often used.” It went on to say that “in this new kind of car fleet, the electric vehicle could pay (sic) a big role—especially as delivery trucks and two-passenger urban commuter cars. With an aggressive production effort, they might save 1 million barrels of oil a day by the turn of the century.”

The sacrifice is all worth it, argues Obama, if only to get the nation off of its addiction to Middle East oil. There’s just one hiccup. While America is hooked on Arab oil and all the problems that come with that, green technology depends on rare earth elements. And the nation holding the bulwark of those materials — perhaps as much as 90 percent — is China.

That means that America is trading away its energy dependence on one region of the world to a single Communist country, China, a nation that has grand ambitions for the 21st century. It is China’s monopoly on these elements that is the real threat America faces if we choose to go green.

Next week, in part 2 of this report, I will tell you about China’s dominant control of critical rare earth elements that the United States could soon depend on.

Until then… yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers
Editor, Myers Energy & Gold Report

Retired Republican Plan On Unemployment Benefits Catches On

The Republican party has embraced the view that Bunning held while in the Senate.Though Jim Bunning has left the Senate, his plan for requiring an increase in unemployment benefits to be matched by budget cuts elsewhere has become an accepted stance within the GOP ranks, according to The Washington Times.

The Republican party has embraced the view that Bunning held while in the Senate. The former major-league pitcher wanted the increases to Federal spending to be matched by budget cuts elsewhere to maintain a more sustainable government, reported the news source.

“A lesson we can draw from the debates we’ve been having here over the last six months is that the American people won’t accept that excuse any longer,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) said in a statement. “The whole ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ argument is the reason we’ve got a $14 trillion debt right now.”

Though the changes that Bunning had proposed have not been implemented yet, the looming government shutdown and debate of FEMA funding could push the President Barack Obama Administration closer to these types of cuts, according to CBS News.

Gallup Poll Shows Historic Dissatisfaction With Government

Congress fared the worst out of the governing bodies with 82 percent of Americans disapproving of its performance. The latest Gallup poll showed that Americans are more unhappy with their government than ever before, as 81 percent of the country reported dissatisfaction with their leaders, according to The Hill.

According to Gallup, “Americans’ various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government — something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period.”

A total of 65 percent of Democrats were dissatisfied with the leadership of their government, as opposed to the 92 percent of Republicans who were polled, The Hill reported.

Congress fared the worst out of the governing bodies with 82 percent of Americans disapproving of its performance. The legislative branch as a whole did not fare much better, with a disapproval of 69 percent.

According to the Politico, Americans are also more willing to believe that the government is able to solve problems in the international arena than domestic issues.

Raising Cain

The Republican apparatchik and mainstream media have lost control of the nomination process, and they’re scrambling to get it back.

Bilderberg-selected candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are fading. Romney is reviled by the Tea Party and hasn’t caught on with conservatives despite four years of campaigning. Romneycare hangs around his neck like a millstone. Perry, who entered the race as the group’s darling, is stumbling and bumbling his way out of contention as his crony capitalist/soft-on-immigration past comes to light. And he didn’t help himself during the Florida GOP debate when he insulted everyone who opposes special subsidies for the illegal aliens.

Herman Cain, fresh off a strong performance in the debate and a win in the Florida Straw Poll — which has correctly picked the Republican nominee every time it’s been held — is surging. In the latest Zogby poll, Cain garnered 28 percent support, but Perry dropped to 18 percent.

The mainstream media and Republican insiders desperately want a two-man race between Romney and Perry. That’s because they expected Perry to implode so Romney could carry the day. But try as they might, their hoped-for horserace is not going to happen.

Perry will crash and burn, but Romney has enough Republican insider support to trudge on. Writing for The Hill, Brent Budowsky predicted Perry’s implosion and said the race is going to be between Romney and either Cain or Congressman Ron Paul.

“Both Paul and Cain deserve far more respect from the major media,” Budowsky wrote. “This is not a Soviet campaign where Pravda-like pundits treat certain candidates as though they do not exist.”

So far, it has been exactly that in the case of Paul and Cain. But the voters aren’t cooperating.

 

As ‘Mens Rea’ Erodes, More Become Unwitting Criminals

A Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday outlines the decline of the consideration of criminal intent in prosecutions in America as the Federal criminal code continues to swell each day.

The WSJ reports that in 1790, the first Federal criminal law passed by Congress listed fewer than 20 Federal crimes. The list has since grown to 4,500 Federal statutes, plus thousands more embedded in Federal regulations, many of which have been added to the penal code since the 1970s. This has made it easier than ever for citizens to unknowingly break a law, and they are more and more often prosecuted without the consideration of mens rea, Latin for proof of a “guilty mind.”

More than 40 percent of nonviolent offenses created or amended during two recent Congressional sessions had “weak” mens rea requirements at best, according to a study conducted by the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Many believe that while ignorance of the law was at one time a non-defense in criminal matters, legislators have made it impossible to know and understand every law in the criminal code.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has criticized lawmakers for passing too much “fuzzy, leave-the-details-to-be-sorted-out-by-the-courts” legislation that has led to massive increases in arrests in the United States. About 80,000 people were arrested and subject to jail time or fines in 2010.

1st Indigenous Australian Woman MP To Quit

PERTH, Australia, Sept. 28 (UPI) — The first indigenous woman to serve in any Australian parliament has announced she is leaving politics after being called a “toxic coconut.”

Carol Martin told the Labor Party leader in Western Australia she will not run in 2013 for the state parliament, The West Australian reported. Martin has represented the Kimberley, a vast region in the north of the state, since 2001.

Martin and other indigenous leaders were called “toxic coconuts” in a newsletter put out by opponents of a natural gas distribution hub near Broome in the Kimberley, The Australian reported. The newsletter said she was “brown on the outside and full of the milk of white man’s money.”

In an interview last week, Martin said she plans to sue.

“This is the worst racial vilification that’s been directed against me in my life, and I have had it all, believe me, but this is the worst,” she told the Perth radio station 6PR. “I will see them in court, because as far as I’m concerned I have never and will never step away from a racial taunt.”

Mental Hospital Killer Sent Back

MELBOURNE, Sept. 28 (UPI) — A man who was close to release from an Australian mental hospital when he killed two fellow patients was ordered Wednesday to remain there for 25 years.

During a hearing in Melbourne, Maurice Magner, clinical director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health testified he believes the Thomas Embling Hospital can cope with Peko Lakovski, 51. He said the hospital has been preparing for his return.

Lakovski was acquitted in May of murder on the grounds of mental illness. He was initially sent to Thomas Embling in 2002 after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity of killing his wife and attacking his father-in-law.

At the time of the 2009 knife attacks, Lakovski was in a pre-release program. He was housed in a low-security unit and had made many unescorted trips off the hospital grounds, 15 of them overnight stays.

Magner said Lakovski would not be allowed to leave the hospital for at least three months and would be held in a secure unit. He acknowledged some members of the staff and patients were “very very distressed” at the prospect of Lakovski’s return.

Deadly Typhoon Moves Out Of Philippines

MANILA, Philippines, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Typhoon Nesat was moving out of the Philippines Wednesday after killing or leaving missing dozens of people and inflicting heavy damage on Manila.

The 403-mile wide storm, locally called Pedring, began wreaking havoc with heavy rains and high winds the moment it landed on the country’s densely populated northern Luzon Island Tuesday morning — unleashing floods and landslides, and knocking down homes and essential services, authorities said. Heavily populated Manila and surrounding areas located on Luzon were directly in the storm’s way.

Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said at least 20 people had been confirmed killed in the storm as of Wednesday, and 35 others remained missing, the Philippine Star reported. However, he warned the death toll could rise.

Most of those missing were reported in the Bicol region in southern Luzon. At least six of those confirmed dead were killed by falling trees.

The government’s weather bureau lifted storm warnings in much of Luzon as the storm moved away from the Philippines, authorities said.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the typhoon’s eye was about 236 miles west-northwest of Baguio City.

Meteorologists warned the storm could gain strength over the west Philippine Sea before exiting the country. Those living in coastal towns were warned of high waves and storm surges.

Massive cleanup operations were under way in Manila and surrounding areas littered with tree limbs and other debris. Thousands of people in other parts of Luzon were without power.

Several sections of the capital area remained waterlogged.

Even as remnants of Nesat remained a threat, authorities prepared for another tropical storm, to be named Quiel, forming in the horizon, GMA News reported. That storm was expected to become a threat by Sunday.