“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Mosque in East Berlin

This was an interesting article about East Berlin's new mosque:
The Muslims Are Coming!
A citizens' group in Berlin turned out this week for a candlelight vigil to protest plans for a new mosque in their neighborhood. It will be the first to be built in the former East Berlin, where almost no Muslims live -- but no one can quite explain why it shouldn't be there.

It's the demographics, stupid. More on the story.


  1. Israel must be destroyed and
    ”Abbas made clear he would not budge from the deal.”

    Israel must die, and "This agreement was the best we could get. We cannot change it. You either take it or leave it."

    Rice pursues Mideast peace despite unity dilemma

    Mr. Abbas is being snippy without cause. Of course the Bush administration will accept the “death to Israel” Fatah-Hamas deal; however, it would be indecent to hurriedly do so. Appearances must be maintained.

  2. The shock of the new. I hope everyone likes the new look. You will get used to it. The new blogger switch is complete. Just make sure you pay your bar bill on time so Whit can pay the contractors.

  3. The State Department is the definition of insanity. Hamas, Abbas, Fatah, the PLO. They're all terrorists and should be dealt with accordingly. They have earned nothing but a bullet.

  4. I will never understand the mentality of being blessed by living next to one of the most wealthy countries in the world, having access to jobs , education, technology and opportunity and screwing it up. Can you imagine what would happen to property values and prosperity if the Palestinians rid themselves of the fanatics and gangsters that dominate them.

  5. This is what I wrote about Hamas a year ago over at Observanda.

    Hamas is an Islamist organization whose primary purpose is to bring jihad and sharia to Palestine. The total destruction of Israel and annihilation of all Jews is the centerpiece of the Hamas charter. For too long, the Europeans have ignored these facts and for whatever reasons (anti-semitism, multiculti dhimmitude, anti-americanism) have subsidised the terrorists with hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

    Perhaps now that the Iranians are threatening nuclear destruction, and the Palestinian people in democratic elections have made their intentions unequivocally clear, the world will begin to see the truth about Islam. Perhaps Europe will stop subsidizing terror and Israel will be allowed to defend itself without the universal condemnation of the UN.

    It may be, now that Hamas has won the seats of power, that all pretense of negotiation and settlement will be dropped. The issues will clarified, with no prevaricating Arafat to obfuscate the real Palestinian goals. Sides will be chosen and the dogs of war will once again be let loose on the world.

    Hamas is about to learn that actions have consequences, and that with power comes responsibility and accountability. Will Hamas pursue its genocidal philosophy to a very bitter end? Probably. The larger question is who in the Islamic world will join them?

    See the Hamas Charter

  6. New look is sweet.
    A lot cleaner than the old. Amazing what google gives away.

    Has Israel started giving the Sales Tax monies to the Palis? That'll be the sign post of signifigance

  7. With peace and stability, assume the Palestinian incomes would get to 50% of israeli incomes. That would be a 900% increase.

    GDP Palestine (purchasing power parity):
    $5.327 billion (2005 est.)
    GDP Israel:
    $166.3 billion (2006 est.)

    Palestinian GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $1,500 (2005 est.)
    Israeli GDP- per capita $26,200 (2006 est.)

    Palestinian Labor force:
    568,000 (2005)
    Israeli Labor force:
    2.6 million (2006 est.)

  8. Unless you believe Israel more monolithic than the US, no, Israel hasn't given tax revenue to psychopaths. Mr. Olmert's government is, however, doing its best to reward the Palestinians.

    Mr. Bush’s plan to give Mr. Abbas’s government $86 million in aid is being blocked by Representative Lowey.

    Via Harrison:
    One gutsy congresswoman blocks US funding of Palestinian terrorists


  9. The Israeli tranfered the monies to Arrafat, in his day, did they not?

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Think of Tijuana.
    If being next door to the US for 150 years did not teach a lesson to the Mexicans, why would 50 years of hate lead to different conclusions in Gaza?

  12. RAMALLAH, West Bank — The world will have to deal with a new Hamas-Fatah coalition even if its platform falls short of international demands such as recognition of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas told a U.S. envoy Saturday, according to an aide to the Palestinian president.

    Abbas told State Department official David Welch he will deliver the same message — that he has done his best to moderate the Islamic militants — at an upcoming summit with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said the aide.

    However, Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni suggested later Saturday that there would be no room for compromise. Speaking at the start of a meeting in Jerusalem, they said any Palestinian government would have to meet the three conditions of international acceptance — recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and accepting previous peace deals with Israel.

    "The moderates on the Palestinian side need to understand that the path toward a Palestinian state goes through the renunciation of violence and terrorism and not by compromising with terror," Livni said, in an apparent reference to Abbas.

    At Abbas' headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the president told Welch that he had no choice but to cut a deal with Hamas, which won parliamentary elections last year. Abbas was elected separately in 2005 and also wields considerable power.

    "President Abbas told David Welch that the Mecca agreement was the only possible agreement and the world must deal with it," Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said. The U.S. side did not comment on the meeting.

  13. Think of Tijuana.
    If being next door to the US for 150 years did not teach a lesson to the Mexicans, why would 50 years of hate lead to different conclusions in Gaza?

    Rat is like the old Aqua Velva commercial slap in the face-"thanks, I needed that."

  14. QUETTA: Up to 17 people, including a senior civil judge, were killed and 30 wounded in a powerful suicide bombing in the Quetta District Courts compound on Saturday.

    The blast took place inside the courtroom of Senior Civil Judge Abdul Wahid Durrani at 11:05am. Hospital sources said 15 people had been killed, but independent sources put the death toll at 17.

    “It was a suicide bombing which is evident from the recovery of the heads of two persons. One of them entered the courtroom and blew himself up,” said Tariq Masood Khosa, Balochistan’s inspector general of police. He said police were considering all possible motives for the attack and were not ruling out the involvement of a “foreign hand”. “In the past, we have had to grapple with sectarian and nationalistic violence. This seems to be a blend of both as for the first time innocent civilians and government offices were targeted,” the IG told reporters after the blast.

    Eyewitnesses said the bomber was a bearded man aged around 20. Seven of the dead were reported to be lawyers. Body parts and blood littered the district court compound.

    7 Lawyers down & 1 Judge, can't fault 'em for those aye guys?

    Open season on Lawyers, ever since Mr Cheney's hunting trip.

    Seriously, another strike in Pakistan, bodes no good tidings.
    The Lawyers felt safe, as evidenced by:
    " Last year, police tightened security in the district court compound, but the measure was severely criticised by lawyers. Since then, the checking of entrants to the district court compound was largely softened. "

    The Lawyers obviously did not think the security situation justified the hassles. They got what they asked for.

    Lesson to be learned.

  15. Two more "Master Plan" drummers
    touting the belief the US to incite civil strife, in Iraq and the Region

    Assad, Ahmadinejad vow to form alliance against U.S., Israel
    By Haaretz Service and Agencies

    Iranian President Mahmoud Adhmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday vowed to form an alliance against what they called U.S. and Israeli...
    conspiracies against the Islamic world.

    Iran's ISNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying that the Islamic world in general and Iran and Syria in particular should maintain their vigilance and neutralize conspiracies aimed at ...sowing discord among Muslims.

    "Dispute among Muslim factions has always been harmful for regional nations and useful for Islam's enemies," Ahmadinejad said.

    "America's policies have failed in the region ... By creating divisions...among Muslim nations, Washington wants to pursue its aims," IRNA quoted Assad as saying during his meeting with Ahmadinejad, who urged "Muslim countries to preserve unity."

    The Syrian leader said Muslims worldwide should be informed about "the evil aims by the U.S. and Zionists" which he said were...sowing discord among Muslims

  16. Max Weber posited the “calling” of Protestants as the cause for the political and economic success of European Protestant countries. By “calling” Weber meant the divine imperative to struggle for worldly prosperity as a sign of choseness. For Jews a somewhat kindred concept is Tikkun olam: literally, “repairing the world”. Islam’s call is to martyrdom and jihad. While simplistic, to be sure, the differences in perspective may prove Weber an astute observer.

  17. Kirkuk bombings

    How long before the Kurds retaliate? And just as importantly, does this show that the operations in Baghdad are working?

    Border security

    An Interior Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the closure of Iraq's four border crossings with Iran and two with Syria took effect yesterday.

    US officials have long accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to cross its long, porous border into Iraq, and at the weekend presented evidence of what they said was Iranian- manufactured weapons being smuggled into Iraq.

    Iraq had said it would shut the borders for 72 hours. The US military said yesterday border checkpoints were to be revamped to establish "transfer points" to search vehicles.

    A British military spokesman, Major David Gell, said two Iranian border crossings, in Basra and Maysan provinces, had been sealed by British and Iraqi forces.

    The closures came as US and Iraqi troops stepped up operations in a new offensive in Baghdad, the epicentre of sectarian violence between minority Sunnis and majority Shiites that has pitched the country toward civil war.

    The Iraqi government was much more comfortably disposed towards lecturing Syria about its terrorist leanings, less so on Iran. This definitely changes the dynamics.

  18. What memory hole did the Mohammedan Mall shooter in Utah fall into?

    Nary a word to be heard.
    The suppression of the Mohamedan "spur of the moment" terrorism stories is getting better. Been four or five incidents that I can think of, all that fell off the radar.

  19. "If the Federal power fails to protect the not the people take it upon themselves?
    Is that not an inalienable right?
    To defend ones home and hearth, the markets and streets, from murder and mayhem?"

    And death and mayhem are occurring where, here?

    It appears so...

    "Been four or five incidents that I can think of, all that fell off the radar."

  20. How do you predict the which Mohammedan or neoNazi teenager will go off next?

    The Columbine killers were "Goths" of some sort, should all other trenchcoat wearers be prejudged, also?

    And local Utah law enforcement handled the situation competently. The shooter shot dead, quickly.

    US Law Enforcement is on top of the outbreaks of violence, a free society is not risk free.

    But that the curtain of silence has been dropped, by the Federals, the Locals, the MSM and the bloggers, as well. Now that I find interesting.

    Have you cut and pasted those quips to storyboards or some such?
    I'm honored that you'd make the effort.

  21. dr,

    re: Utah shooter

    gateway pundit has this to offer, while lgf provides more of those links that you might be interested in.

  22. Mohammed, at ITM, says things really are Getting Better in Baghdad.

  23. If I employed a tactic of cutting and pasting, there is no doubt that you are an intelligent person whose perspective is worth saving

    Just enjoy stirring debate on a slow night; have a rather good ability to remember content from different sources and time points, and their relationship to the present...

    The Katyushas fell between the cracks (By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff)
    ...One of the greatest failures during the second Lebanon war, a subject that has also occupied a great deal of time in the Winograd Committee's probe of the war, is the fact that the Israel Defense Forces did not put an end to the short range-rocket attacks against Israel. An analysis of testimonies and investigation reports, some of which were also available to the committee, suggest that while the Air Force and the intelligence branches focused on Hezbollah's arsenal of medium- and long-range rockets, dealing with Katyushas was neglected. The matter seems to have "fallen between the cracks" during the period preceding the war.

    29 March 2001
    After a short war in Lebanon in April 1996, Israel was promised by the Clinton administration that the U.S. would help develop a laser-based anti-missile system capable of destroying incoming Katyusha rockets.

    Though in and of themselves, Katyushas -- small, inaccurate rockets that have little or no guidance -- are not lethal enough to defeat Israel militarily, terrorist groups operating out of Lebanon have successfully used them to cause damage along the Jewish state's northern border and wreak havoc among the population.

    The "Nautilus" was an early laser system being developed to protect Israel's northern border.A laser system known as "Nautilus" was envisioned for the mission of destroying Katyushas, but another project, THEL --the Tactical High Energy Laser -- is also nearing the end of its development cycle.

    Technology Review July 1, 2001
    A second weapon, based on a deuterium fluoride-powered laser and known as the Tactical High-Energy Laser, is aimed chiefly at the small, cheap rockets often used by guerrilla soldiers. The program kicked into high gear in 1996, shortly after Israel was hit by a wave of Russian-made Katyusha rockets launched by Hezbollah troops in Lebanon. Since then the U.S. has sunk about $ 170 million into the program, matched by about $ 80 million from Israel--although development is solely under American control. These lasers combine radar tracking with a targeting and control system somewhat similar to the Airborne Laser's. The system is mounted on the ground, though, and should be able to down a Katyusha for about $ 2,000. "The Katyusha costs about $ 1,000 on the black market," says Tom Romesser, who heads TRW's space and technology division. "You can stop one with a Patriot missile, but you can't keep putting a $ 1 million weapon against a $ 1,000 threat."

    Lasers go to war: Raytheon, working without a government contract, is developing a beam to destroy mortars, small missiles

    With some government collaboration but no contract in hand, Raytheon developed the LADS on its own dime in six months, using "an existing, off-the-shelf solid-state laser, coupled with commercially available optics technology," the company said.

    The laser was mounted on the carriage of a Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, a ship-defense system designed to automatically track incoming missiles with radar and infrared technology and destroy them with a hail of 20-millimeter bullets from a Gatling-type gun.

    Booen declined to be more specific about the optical technologies used or the wattage the LADS achieves. He also declined to say which military agency or agencies have collaborated on the project or are likely customers. But he said Raytheon is serious about providing U.S. fighters with protection from mortars, artillery and rockets sooner rather than later.

  24. Buy a katyusha for $1,000?
    A ammo can of 7.62x39 in Baghdad was selling for what, around $500 USD, wasn't it? $1,000 seems a bit light, by Baghdad standards.

    Down a katyusha for $2,000?

    Wonder what assumptions are made to get to that number.

    In the 34 day War: As of August 13, 2006, Hezbollah has fired about 3,900 rockets into Israel

    So, adding in other rocket types, 4,000 incoming rockets rained on Israel. $2,000 each, gives a $8 million dollar budget.
    How many laser vehicles would an area target like northern Israel need?
    One would think four units, at least. Wonder what each vechile mounted laser ends up costing, more than a phalenx gun, I'm sure.

    The $250 million USD spent for R&D, to date, taking a while to recoup, at $2,000 per target.

    Bet they pulled that $2,000 number right out of the air.

  25. Early version -

    8 million is fairly inexpensive with today's spending; have no idea on number of vehicles for a size of territory/space

    Perhaps a "tipping point" (good book by the way) has been reached in related technologies, the Chinese and Russians are nervous of late...

    Beam weapons almost ready for battle; Directed energy could revolutionize warfare, expert says - Jan 11, 2006

    There is a new breed of weaponry fast approaching — and at the speed of light, no less. They are labeled "directed-energy weapons," and they may well signal a revolution in military hardware — perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.

    Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves and particle beams. Their adoption for ground, air, sea, and space warfare depends not only on using the electromagnetic spectrum, but also upon favorable political and budgetary wavelengths too.

    That’s the outlook of J. Douglas Beason, author of the recently published book "The E-Bomb: How America’s New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change the Way Wars Will Be Fought in the Future." Beason previously served on the White House staff working for the president’s science adviser under both the Bush and Clinton administrations.


    Light Boosts Destructive Power of Microwave Weapons, Sensors
    By David A. Fulghum

    Electronic warfare is becoming less a science of developing new technologies and more a process of sensor fusion, target networking and finding new ways to manipulate existing tools of the trade. A case in point--lasers and high-power microwave devices long have been eyed as competing directed-energy attack options. However, researchers are now combining the two to produce smaller, cheaper, more powerful, nonkinetic weapons. Electronic attack has taken a new path as well, shifting from covering enemy emissions with noise to finding, penetrating and exploiting enemy networks from low-power cell-phone networks to sophisticated air defense systems. The following articles explore some of those changes.

    High-power microwave weapons may be on the verge of a high-speed turn toward the practical.

    An advanced concept, pioneered by BAE Systems' researchers, uses light to multiply the speed and power at which HPM pulses--powerful enough to destroy enemy electronics--can be produced without the need for explosives or huge electrical generators.

    Researchers predict leaps of 10-100 times in power output within two years. That advance could push the beam-weapon technology far beyond the 1-10-gigawatt limit of current tactical-size HPM devices. Long-standing industry estimates are that it would require a 100-gigawatt pulse for a few nanoseconds to disable a cruise missile at a useful range.

    BAE Systems is not alone in the chase. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are also building distributed array radars that can produce air-to-air and surface-to-air HPM weapons effects, contend longtime Pentagon radar specialists. In particular, the F-22, F-35, F/A-18E/F and newest F-15 radars are designed to accept modifications that would focus their beams to produce HPM energy spikes powerful enough to disable cruise, anti-aircraft, air-to-air and emitter-seeking missiles. Germany's Diehl is developing suitcase-size HPM devices that could be placed surreptitiously in a target building to damage electronics such as computers.


    REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Jan. 16, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today opened a specialized facility exclusively for system integration and production of high-energy laser systems for military uses - the first of its kind by private industry in the United States.

  26. Wow! Spiffy new look. I like it, and will not have a bit of trouble adjusting to it. Bar must be making good money to warrant new digs. ;-)