“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."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Inside Baseball and the Mosque

From the Daily Mail:
I was a fanatic...
I know their thinking, says former radical Islamist


When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network - a series of British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology - I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed this "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda work for us.

More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

The attempts to cause mass destruction in London and Glasgow are so reminiscent of other recent British Islamic extremist plots that they are likely to have been carried out by my former peers.

And as with previous terror attacks, people are again saying that violence carried out by Muslims is all to do with foreign policy.

For example, on Saturday on Radio 4's Today programme, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "What all our intelligence shows about the opinions of disaffected young Muslims is the main driving force is not Afghanistan, it is mainly Iraq."

I left the British Jihadi Network in February 2006 because I realised that its members had simply become mindless killers. But if I were still fighting for their cause, I'd be laughing once again.

Mohammed Sidique Khan

Mohammed Sidique Khan met with the author on two separate occasions

Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 bombings, and I were both part of the network - I met him on two occasions.

And though many British extremists are angered by the deaths of fellow Muslim across the world, what drove me and many others to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain and abroad was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary worldwide Islamic state that would dispense Islamic justice.

If we were interested in justice, you may ask, how did this continuing violence come to be the means of promoting such a (flawed) Utopian goal?

How do Islamic radicals justify such terror in the name of their religion?

There isn't enough room to outline everything here, but the foundation of extremist reasoning rests upon a model of the world in which you are either a believer or an infidel.

Formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion: they are considered to be one and the same.

For centuries, the reasoning of Islamic jurists has set down rules of interaction between Dar ul-Islam (the Land of Islam) and Dar ul-Kufr (the Land of Unbelief) to cover almost every matter of trade, peace and war.

But what radicals and extremists do is to take this two steps further. Their first step has been to argue that, since there is no pure Islamic state, the whole world must be Dar ul-Kufr (The Land of Unbelief).

Step two: since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they have declared war upon the whole world.

Along with many of my former peers, I was taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief.

In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.

The notion of a global battlefield has been a source of friction for Muslims living in Britain.

For decades, radicals have been exploiting the tensions between Islamic theology and the modern secular state - typically by starting debate with the question: "Are you British or Muslim?"

But the main reason why radicals have managed to increase their following is because most Muslim institutions in Britain just don't want to talk about theology.

They refuse to broach the difficult and often complex truth that Islam can be interpreted as condoning violence against the unbeliever - and instead repeat the mantra that Islam is peace and hope that all of this debate will go away.

This has left the territory open for radicals to claim as their own. I should know because, as a former extremist recruiter, I repeatedly came across those who had tried to raise these issues with mosque authorities only to be banned from their grounds.

Every time this happened it felt like a moral and religious victory for us because it served as a recruiting sergeant for extremism.

Outside Britain, there are those who try to reverse this two-step revisionism.

A handful of scholars from the Middle East have tried to put radicalism back in the box by saying that the rules of war devised so long ago by Islamic jurists were always conceived with the existence of an Islamic state in mind, a state which would supposedly regulate jihad in a responsible Islamic fashion.

In other words, individual Muslims don't have the authority to go around declaring global war in the name of Islam.

But there is a more fundamental reasoning that has struck me as a far more potent argument because it involves recognising the reality of the world: Muslims don't actually live in the bipolar world of the Middle Ages any more.

The fact is that Muslims in Britain are citizens of this country. We are no longer migrants in a Land of Unbelief.

For my generation, we were born here, raised here, schooled here, we work here and we'll stay here.

But more than that, on a historically unprecedented scale, Muslims in Britain have been allowed to assert their religious identity through clothing, the construction of mosques, the building of cemeteries and equal rights in law.

However, it isn't enough for responsible Muslims to say that, because they feel at home in Britain, they can simply ignore those passages of the Koran which instruct on killing unbelievers.

Because so many in the Muslim community refuse to challenge centuries-old theological arguments, the tensions between Islamic theology and the modern world grow larger every day.

I believe that the issue of terrorism can be easily demystified if Muslims and non-Muslims start openly to discuss the ideas that fuel terrorism.

Crucially, the Muslim community in Britain must slap itself awake from its state of denial and realise there is no shame in admitting the extremism within our families, communities and worldwide co-religionists.

If our country is going to take on radicals and violent extremists, Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I'd like to term the Land of Co-existence.

And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.


  1. Cal Thomas has helped me diagnose my illness, I am offically, "islamophobic"

  2. At least you're not in denial, gag.

    Do you have a touch of xenophobe, as well?

  3. DR absolutely not, some of my best friends are xenos....

    Seriously, you guys have been saying all along that the issue with these nutjobs is Islam itself, and not necessarily something the West has done or said. In their eyes, one is either an Islamist or the enemy.

  4. Meanwhile, the new British PM is being laudedfor moving away from the use of terms such as the "war on terror."

    Too confrontational, not prudent.

    President Bush may wish to spend a lot of time abroad as lame ducks usually do, but it is doubtful that Gordon Brown will be rolling out the red carpet for him.

  5. From Record Cocaine Haul Spills off Ireland.

    The BBC reported last week that smuggling between Columbia and Venezuela was out of control and Venezuela is now the number embarkation point for cocaine headed to Europe. They reported that transshipments through Venezuela are coordinated by the sons of Chavez's officers. Nice huh?

  6. But he smells sulpher when he is in the US

  7. "President Bush may wish to spend a lot of time abroad as lame ducks usually do, but it is doubtful that Gordon Brown will be rolling out the red carpet for him."

    I don't know why not. It was the Bush WH that first proposed dropping Global War on Terror as the moniker of choice for our present conflict. Two, almost three years ago. They just couldn't make the substitutes grab the collective consciousness.

  8. And truth be told, we'd be in a much better position if we could say, "War? What war?"

  9. Rat

    Here's the numbers on Mexican oil production. They're sinking fast. I'm sure the oil ministers in Mexico and in a
    half dozen other countries with falling oil production--are all thinking that falling production and rising demand equal rising prices. So that even with falling production--their revenues will remain relatively constant over the next 5-10 years.

    And I think that this is true --as far as it goes--.

  10. kilmer5
    figure 6, showing the declining rig count mirroring declining production, seems the most indicitive. They are not reinvesting in the production cycle.
    If the reserves are there.

    Same as is reported for Saudi Arabia, but without the detailed data. Questions as to whether the claimed reserves really exist.

    PEMEX, like the PRI, a vestige of 78 years of socilaist management. Management systems that are like an albatross around the necks of all Americans.

    I think you're right though, the line on the chart that is missing, gross dollar sales. Bet that has not dipped along with production.

  11. THIS is why you really need to be the "Richest" team on the battle field.

  12. OPEC, A Rabs, Oil? We got sumpin for those boys.

    We can replace 10% of their stinking gasoline with IOWA Corn, alone.

  13. Nationwide, the corn crop could top 12.8 billion bushels.

    At $2.90 per bushel = $37.12 Billion USD, the US corn crop value.

    Four months worth of US expenditures in Iraq.

    They deserve it, those Iraqi, Mr Bush says so, must be true, aye?

  14. 2.5 billion bushels from Iowa = 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol.

    divided by 55 gallons = 136 million barrels of ethanol

    Saudi Atabia supplies 1.3 million barrels per day

    Iowa could replace Saudi imports for four months, each year.

    If an barrel of ethanol had the same carloric value as a barrel of sweet Saudi crude.

    That is the scale of the challenge, it seems.

  15. It could with a properly tuned engine.

  16. With no need for the US to guard the oil reserves in the Gulf, it would be funny to see the arabs try to pull their Jihad nonsense when the Chinese come knocking in. :)

  17. The thing is: That's JUST "Corn" from Iowa. Hell, with a little drip irrigation Texas could produce, maybe, 5 or 10 times the ethanol that Iowa could.

    And we haven't even looked at all the rest of the Midwest, or all of the forest products from the rest of the country, or all of the biofuels that we could get from switchgrass, and sweet potatoes, in the SouthEast.

  18. Almost the whole of the record US corn crop would be needed to replace Saudi oil, cause it really closer to three months worth of Saudi oil, that 136 million barrels of ethanol.

    Does not seem reasonable to assume there'd be a doubling increase, not within a five year window, does it?

  19. Kick in a whole lot of hybrids on the road utilizing batteries charged from electricity produced from biomass, and Solar, and hell, every dollar given to Exxon, Citgo, or Ahmadamnedcrazyasshole is a travesty.

  20. And, Brazil has more arable land lying fallow than we have under cultivation, and Africa makes Brazil look like a water pistol.

  21. How fast can those distilleries be built? What is the concept to completion window?
    A couple of years, 18 months?

    Need a bunch of them, to produce the quantities involved.
    Five tor ten years to build out the infrastructure required?

  22. Well, rufus, charles and I had a similar discussion at the BC, the other day.

    After some surf searching I came to these numbers, which seem accurate. charles thought the Mexican oil fields would fade in signifigance with the advent of new technologies.

    I thought he overly optimistic, based on the data:

    In 2009 hybrid production is projected to be 1 million units.
    If hybrid sales and production were to increase by 1 million units annually, which is not likely, but we'll use as a base line.

    Using the same 16.7 units per year of sales.
    2010= 15.7 gas powered
    2011= 14.7 ditto
    2012= 13.7
    2013= 12.7
    2014= 11.7
    2015= 10.7

    So, 22 million hybrids and 79 million gas powered vehicles will be added to the fleet, from 2010 to 2015, with 60 million salvaged.
    Mostly we'll assume gasers.

    So the base line, at 2015, when we'll assume all cars go hybrid.
    is 282 million gas powered vehicles in the US, with a salvage rate of 4% a year.

    Gives us a projected 179 million oil powered vehicles in 2025. Which @ $5,000 USD average value each, is $895 Billion bucks, to much to write off

    They'll all need gas, over 16 million barrels a day.

  23. Rat, remember our lesson from yesterday. Most (60%) of our corn goes to feed livestock.

    When we use 7.5 billion bushels to make ethanol we get back about 2.5 billion bushels of Distillers Grains (livestock feed.) So, we've actually used about 5 billion bushels. We will produce about 14 billion bushel this year. I know the article gave a bit smaller number, but I'll be closer to right.

    So, anyway, we could replace SA's oil with about 35% of our current corn production, BUT, with the new Broin technology we're going to increase our production about 20% per acre initially, and then a heck of a lot more in a couple of years. Then, there are all of the other advances being made in crop production and manufacturing efficiency. Screw the Ragheads.

  24. Rat, what will happen is we'll replace just as much oil as we want to. When it goes over $60.00/barrel we'll get busy on our biofuels, alternates, hybrids, etc. When it drops we will revert back to mr easy.

    So, I think your figures for 2015 are about right. Maybe :)

    The thing is: the doomsayers are wrong. It's up to us, not ahmadoofusasshole. A lot of this WILL be driven by whether production can, somewhat, keep up with global demand. That's ANOTHER story.

  25. I hope it works that way, rufus.

    But the 35% number conuses me.

    As a bushel of corn produce 3 gallons, correct?

    A barrel is 55 gallons, correct?

    The Sauds sell US 1,300,000 barrels every day.

    474,000,000 barrels per annum

    12.5 billion bushels
    38 billion gal = 691 million barrels
    The % of the crop neede is around 68%.

    So other plants would be required, greater effeciencies obtained.
    Grant all that.

    How long to build the capacity, how many thousands of distilleries would be needed, to distill 500 million barrels per annum?

  26. Although North Korea has said that it would proceed with disabling the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and declare all nuclear programs, its continued test firing of missiles that can reach Seoul, as well as cities beyond the capital, can be construed as a display of hostile intent.

    North Korea should not attempt to find another reason to delay the shutdown of its main nuclear reactor. At the same time, it should think twice about test-firing more missiles that threaten South Korea.

    It is also about time the Roh administration brought up the matter with the North Koreans, rather than turning a blind eye to the incidents.

    Aid to NK

  27. What ever happened to the Albertan oil sands? I thought that was like 8x the size of Saudi Arabia? Surely that's some relief for awhile.

  28. This was an interesting column
    "Climate ethics on Capitol Hill
    By Paul Driessen
    Saturday, June 30, 2007

    Sarbanes-Oxley and the 2006 elections supposedly inaugurated a new congressional commitment to ethics, transparency, accountability and consumer protection. Something has been lost in translation.

    The “energy” bill now wending its way through the legislative labyrinth dedicates $6 billion to goodies like more energy-efficient snowmobiles for ski resorts, outlaws “price gouging” at the gas pump, and sets new mileage standards that will likely make cars and light trucks less safe and cost more lives. It also provides subsidies and mandates for politically correct “alternative” energy projects that probably wouldn’t survive without such aid.

    But the bill doesn’t increase the nation’s energy supply by one drop of gasoline or one watt of electricity, says Congressman Jim McCrery (R-LA). It lifts no bans on oil and gas drilling, and does nothing to ease regulatory impediments to pipelines, transmission lines, refineries, or coal and nuclear generating plants. The only power it generates is expanded bureaucratic power over energy and economic decisions.

    Its ethanol mandates will result in more land converted from wildlife habitat to corn fields, and in greater use of water, fertilizer, pesticides, and tractor and truck fuel. Corn prices will continue to rise, along with the cost of meat, candy, soft drinks and other products that use corn for feed or corn syrup as a sweetener. The biofuel itself will cost more, but provide less mileage per tank.

    Expanded wind power will mean more 300-foot-tall “cuisinarts” killing birds and bats, marring once-scenic vistas, and feeding into hundred-mile transmission lines – to provide expensive, intermittent electricity that has to be backed up by natural-gas-fired generators. It may even take more energy to mine and process the ores and manufacture the turbines and transmission lines and towers, than is generated during the productive lifetime of wind turbines, which only work about 30% of the time."

    Read the rest.

  29. Here Is What's Under Construction.

    This website only puts up projects that have broken ground, and are actually building.

    As you can see: we are currently producing about 6.33 Billion gallons/yr (about 4.5% of our gasoline supply.) We will doulble that within 20 months.

    It takes from 15 - 18 months to complete a refinery once construction has started. Preconstruction permitting, etc takes another 6 mo to a year.

    The good thing about ethanol and biodiesel is it doesn't take much in the way of upgrades to existing infrastructure. Ethanol requires a new stainless steel storage tank and various fittings, and biodiesel doesn't even require that.

  30. "Will Rogers once said, every time Congress makes a joke it’s a law, and every time it makes a law it’s a joke. The energy and climate bills are perfect examples.

    Luckily for Congress, it routinely exempts itself from ethics, accountability and price-gouging laws."

    Paul Driessen

  31. Yep, the Canucks stay at number 1 importer to the US at 1.86 million barrels of crude per day. Total petroleum imports from the great white north, 2.42 million barrels per day. Seems 560,000 barrels of refined product flow south, too.

    The oil sands have long been touted as salvation. Technologies are improving, with reports of a better tomorrow appearing on a consistent basis.

  32. Rat, I'm just saying, "Yeah, we'll use the 7.5 B, but the effect will be as if we've used 5.0 B, because we're replacing 2.5 B of the lost corn (cattle feed) with 2.5 B DDGS (cattle feed.) Got it?

  33. Whit, Townhall has been awfully unquestioning of the Big Energy Companies' talking points. I don't know why. I haven't bothered to think too much about it. I know The WSJ, the Cato Institute, and several other movers and shakers on the right have been writing idiotic hit pieces on biofuels, and alt energy. I suspect it has something to do with "Advertising."

    Don't sweat the Carbon Caps. Ain't gonna happen. Bush would veto any such if it ever did get past the Senate (it wouldn't,) and the whole Global Warmening dealie is unraveling quickern a cheap Chinese Sweater in a Cat House.

  34. 6,332.4 million gallons or 115 million barrels, today
    6,245.9 million gallons or 113 million barrels coming within 18 months.
    228 million barrels in 2009

    with 115 million barrels coming online every 24 months there after, seems reasonable.
    343 million barrels in 2011

    Imports from Saudi Arabia equal 1.3 million barrels per day or 475 million barrels per annum.

    Which in 2013 at current pace, ethanol production can displace.

  35. The poll question was "Is the U.S. the Greatest Nation in the history of the World?"

    28% of Democrats said, "NO!"

    I wonder who they would have voted for?

  36. I understand the methodology of the recycled distillery grains.

    And I'm not even discussing costs, rufus, but capacity of production, ramp up speeds.
    Then overlay other infrastructure modifications, if any required.

    Timelines to Goal achievement have to be reasonable.
    2013 seems to be best caae, as we speak.

  37. Remember, Brazil will probably match us barrel for barrel, and the rest of the world will probably kick in their 1/3 (or more.)

    And, man, keep in mind how volatile progress can be in the U.S. We could very well be off by a factor "Gadzooks!"

    The Ain't NO Telling what's liable to happen when this big mama of an economy of ours gets rolling.

  38. If Energy Independence is really the Goal, what does the pace of construction have to be?

    That has to be the first question asked, how much energy do we have to replace, to be "independet".

    I would put the United Mexican States and the Canadian reserves in the "Independence" tally.

    Not Venezuela, any of the ME or Nigerian supplies.

  39. Ethanol capacity should hit 40 million gallons by the end of the year. Biodiesel production should hit 5 million gallons in mid-2008 as a result of an expansion of Salem-based SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel LLC.

    Supporters say the law will kick-start investments in local biodiesel facilities.

    In addition, the new law gives tax incentives to biofuel consumers and producers of biofuel feedstock. Another bill that passed this year increases the tax credit given to biofuel manufacturers.

    Biofuels Legislation

  40. Good link, Sam, Thanks. I didn't know about Oregon going to 10%. That makes the sixth or seventh state to go 10%. California just announced it's going to join Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, Hawaii, and Montana (these are ones that I know of) in mandating ten percent ethanol.

  41. I don't know. All this cheerleading seems to neglect some important details.

    Aquifers crucial to corn production seem to be running out of fresh water, and in any case, the water depletion is already greater than the replenishment rate. How long can the aquifer last? Fact: the water table of the Ogallala aquifer is falling at drastic rates.

    And it's said that corn is one of the most water intensive grain crops to grow. This doesn't help matters. Deep water is already running out when all people grow is food for stomachs. When that water is also going to be used to produce fuel, oooooh-boy...

    Despite the many dangers, nuclear is the way to go. Unless it becomes possible to modify corn genetically such that each gallon of diesel uses much less water to produce.

    And of course, if it ever becomes possible to grow a plant subsisting on seawater that can be converted to fuel upon maturity... hmmm... that's an interesting thought...

    *saunters off to do some more research*