31 July 2011

No Quick Fix for America's Rising Gas Prices? Think Again.

The comment below, from "Neil" on LinkedIn's Clean Energy Community, makes a good point about the speed with which things could change:

Did President Obama get it wrong when he just said that there is no “quick fix” for America’s problem of rising gasoline prices and vulnerability to spikes in the price of foreign oil?

Sorry, Mr. President, but you are simply wrong. There is a “quick fix” that can massively reduce U.S. oil consumption, and make our vulnerability to price spikes in the foreign oil market a relic of the past. To draw that solution into focus, we need to understand that 70% of the oil the industrialized world uses is needed for transportation and nearly none for generating electrical power. So, shocking as it may seem coal, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal all have nothing to do with our dependence on oil.

What really matters is the amount of gasoline and diesel we use in cars, trucks and buses. We could reduce that amount cleanly and economically by turning natural gas to methanol and by turning non-food crops and cellulosic waste to ethanol or to synthetic gasoline and diesel – and then use these as a substitute to oil-based fuels. But that won’t happen until we put in place THE ONE POLICY THAT COULD CREATE A MARKET FOR THESE ALTERNATIVE FULES AND SPUR THE INVESTMENTS NEEDED TO BRING THEM TO MARKET: an “Open Fuel Standard” for autos.

To learn more about the Open Fuel Standard and how it could change the way in which we fuel transportation, I invite you to visit our website at http://www.ea-21.org. The Open Fuel Standard is the “quick fix” to America’s dependence on foreign oil.

One of the most encouraging things about the Open Fuel Standard is how quickly it could change things. Anne Korin, Gal Luft, and Marc Goldman state in their paper, Energy Independence Myths and Solutions:

The challenge with flex fuel is the difficulty in locating a station that pumps it...

That will change when all cars come flex fuel capable. At 10-12 million new cars per year in the U.S., it will take only about three years for flex fuel to reach the 30 million cars needed to justify most gas stations to invest in flex fuel pumps.

Our presidents have been struggling to make the United States independent from foreign oil for over thirty-five years. But with the passing of this bill, things will begin to change within three years. That's pretty quick.

If you'd like to help make this happen, there are a few simple actions you can take, and they won't even take much of your time. Go here to get started.


Flex-Fuel Cars Only Add $70 to Cost

GM has produced four million of the seven and a half million flex-fuel cars now on American roads. GM's Vice Chairman Tom Stephens says it adds "as much as $70 to the production cost" of a car to make it a flex-fuel car. Says Stephens:

Today there's 2,200 (ethanol fuel stations) that are out there but that's not enough. Two-thirds of the pumps are concentrated in 10 states and those 10 states have only about 19 percent of the flex-fuel vehicles that we have on the road.

"That will change when all cars come flex fuel capable," says Anne Korin. "At 10-12 million new cars per year in the U.S., it will take only about three years for flex fuel to reach the 30 million cars needed to justify most gas stations to invest in flex fuel pumps."

Alcohol is a cleaner, less-polluting fuel to burn. It is economical (right now it's 90 cents cheaper than gasoline), and it puts less carbon dioxide into the air than gasoline. It can be produced within the United States, adding jobs and stimulating the economy. It adds very little to the cost of the vehicle, and costs the U.S. taxpayers nothing at all. And it will end OPEC's ability to deliberately damage the U.S. economy, as it did during the recent recession.

Passing the Open Fuel Standard Act will get more and more of these flex-fuel cars on the road, spurring competition between fuels, bringing down fuel prices, and motivating fuel stations to add alternative fuels. Do you want to help make this happen? Click here to get started.

Read the whole Reuters article here.

Most of the time when you read an estimate for how much more it costs to make a flex fuel vehicle rather than a gasoline-only car, the number is usually $100. But if GM is already making flex fuel cars and they say it costs $70, why is there any variance in the number?

Here's why: The definitions employed by the Open Fuel Standard Act are unique in a few ways — one of them being its use of the term "FFV" for cars that can operate on E85, M85 and gasoline blends. The four million GM cars on the road today do not meet the definition because the automaker has not warranted them to run on all three fuels.

The types of cars called for by the Open Fuel Standard may cost a little more — most estimates say around $100. It varies a lot, depending on the type of car and the kind of fuel lines used. But when the industry has fully switched over and cars are routinely made into FFVs, the cost may well come down (because of the economy of scale), so most experts simply use the conservative figure of $100.

Compared to the cost of a new car, any of the estimates, by any measure, add an amount so small it would probably be unnoticeable.


How to Launder Text

When you want to copy and paste some text, often the text has some formatting embedded with it. When you don't want that, you must launder the text — you must strip the text of its embedded formatting so you have nothing but pure, plain text. Here's how:

1. Copy the text.

2. Paste the text into Notepad. This a free program that comes with Windows. Notepad is a very simple program and only deals with plain text, so when you paste text into it, all the embedded formatting is automatically eliminated.

3. Copy the text you just pasted into Notepad.

4. Now paste that text where you want it.


29 June 2011

Wahhabi Islam: General Overview

The following was originally published here.

Wahhabi Muslims
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 shook the United States to its core. Since those horrific moments, our nation has been thrust into a global war against terror and religious extremism. Now more than ever, it is of the utmost importance that we understand the thought processes of those who seek to destroy the very fabric of Western society. Nothing short of our way of life and our very existence are on the line. We cannot afford to lose.

What could possibly drive people to murder innocent civilians on such a large scale? What would lead a man to sacrifice his own life to take that of another? Why are these terrorists so filled with hate and animosity towards us, that their hate even overshadows their willingness to live? Many questions remain unanswered. Though some politicians would have us believe that the answers to these questions lie in US foreign politics, I believe that there is another force at hand: Wahhabi Islam.

Wahhabi Islam is a term commonly given to a strict Sunni sect of Islam. Followers of Wahhabi Islam do not refer to their religion as “Wahhabi” (Anon., Justifying; Bijlefeld; Hardy). Many merely call themselves “Muslim,” for according to their beliefs they are the only true Muslims. Some Wahhabists refer to themselves and their religion as “al-Muwahhidun,” “Salafi,” “Salafi Da’wa,” or “Ahlul Sunna wal Jama’a” (Anon., Justifying; Bijlefeld; Hardy). Depending on the region and dialect in use, other names also exist. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to this religion as “Wahhabi Islam” and it’s followers as “Wahhabists.” By “Wahhabi Islam”, I am referring to the forms of Islam that share the strict revivalist vision and beliefs that were preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the late 1700’s.

Wahhabi Islam counts among its adherents such names as Osama Bin Laden and Saudi Prince Nayef (Cline; Haykel; Smith; Hardy). Various groups such as Al-Qaeda, Pakistan’s Jamaat-I Islami, The Islamic Salvation Front, and al-Jihad have also adopted Wahhabism as their official religion (Ahmed; Cline; Haykel; Smith; Hardy). The extremist religion offers many a theological justification and mandate to kill those they deem to be infidels. One should note that according to Wahhabism, the vast majority of Muslims (over 99%) are also to be considered “infidels, heathens, and enemies” (Haykel; Smith; Lopez).

Wahhabists have made their presence known worldwide. From the beheading of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan to the beheading of countless Russian soldiers in Chechnya, from the beheading of Nick Berg in Iraq to the beheading of Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia 2 days ago, Wahhabists have shown a willingness to use television and the internet to display their gruesome acts of barbarism. To truly understand those that we must fight in this battle against terrorism, one must learn more about Wahhabi Islam and it’s extremist teachings.

The Origin and History of Wahhabi Islam

Wahhabism started as a movement within Islam founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792). To fully understand the militancy of Wahhabi Islam, it is important that one learns of the warlike nature of Wahhabi Islam’s founder and the brutal times of war in which he lived. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

Having been born in a small oasis town in central Arabia, al-Wahhab grew up studying Hanbali Law, one of Sunni Islam’s strictest and most conservative schools. He lived and studied with his grandfather until he was in his early teens, at which time he left his home to move to the holy city of Medina, where he continued his Islamic studies.

After completing his studies in Medina several years later and now a young man, al-Wahhab traveled to a city in what is modern day Basra, Iraq. There, he taught Islamic law for approximately four years. Al-Wahhab then traveled to Baghdad where he continued teaching Islamic law. There, he met and later married an affluent woman. She later died and left al-Wahhab a large inheritance, which he used to travel the region. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

The early 1730’s found al-Wahhab residing in Iran. It was here that he first started to preach his new and radical thoughts on Islam. Al-Wahhab virulently attacked the customs and beliefs of the tribes in the region, many of whom were Sufi Muslim. He also extended his criticisms to the practices of the Twelver Shia, such as paying respect at the tombs of holy men. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

With the growing unpopularity of his criticisms against Sufi Islam in Iran, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab moved back to his native town of Uyaynah in the late 1730’s. Upon his return to his birthplace, al-Wahhab began writing the Kitab at-Tawhid, which would later become the main text of Wahhabi Islam’s doctrines. It was about this time that al-Wahhab begun to gather a larger amount of followers. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s extremist views and doctrines led to controversy in Uyaynah. Many of the town’s leaders were not fond of his fundamentalist approach to Islam. After all, merely invoking the name of the Muslim prophet Muhammad was, by al-Wahhab’s standards, a grave sin. In 1744, he was expelled from Uyaynah. Al-Wahhab then settled in Ad-Dir'iyah, which was under the control of a powerful tribal leader named Ibn Sa'ud. Ibn Sa’ud became a believer of Wahhab’s doctrines and the two formed a strong alliance. Al-Wahhab and Ibn Sa’ud swore a Muslim pledge with each other in which they vowed to establish a new state that would operate under al-Wahhab’s strict interpretation of Islamic Law. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

And thus began a military campaign that would shake the Arabian Peninsula to its core. The Wahhabi faith provided Ibn Sa’ud with the justification he needed to raid and conquer nearby settlements. Though these settlements were Islamic (and traditional Islamic law prohibits Islamic states from attacking each other), the Wahhabi doctrine viewed all non-Wahhabists as infidels and not true Muslims. It was thus that Ibn Sa’ud found a legitimate purpose to bring the nearby settlements under his control, to spread “true Islam” to the infidels. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

The Wahhabists were indiscriminate in their killings of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. They soon garnered a reputation as brutal and fanatical warriors. These Wahhabist warriors were described as being so fanatical that they had little regard for their own lives … their sole purpose, it seemed, was to kill the enemy. By the time of his death in 1765, Ibn Sa’ud had managed to gain control over most of the region and had spread Wahhabism to those conquered lands. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab died in 1792 but the spread of Wahhabism continued under the leadership of Ibn Sa’ud’s son, Abd al Aziz. Abd al Aziz continued the Wahhabi campaign and managed to sack the Shia holy city of Karbala and Sunni towns in Hijaz. The Wahhabists were brutal in their treatment of captured lands and brought destruction upon those who had opposed them. In the early 1800’s, the Wahhabi army even managed to gain control of Mecca and Medina. Viewing the acts of commemorating dead holy men and praying to saints as unholy acts, the Wahhabists destroyed monuments and gravesites in the holy cities. By doing this, they sought to imitate the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s smashing of pagan symbols when he returned to Mecca in 628. Access to the holy sites in Medina and Mecca were severely limited to outsiders. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

Shortly after the capture of Mecca, Abd al Aziz died. His son, Sa’ud, assumed leadership of the army but also died shortly after. Sa’ud’s son, Abd Allah ibn Sa’ud was then left in charge of the movement. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

The majority of Muslims were appalled and horrified at the brutal tactics used by the Wahhabists. Furthermore, the wanton destruction of what was to them holy sites and monuments incensed the overall Muslim community. It was then that the Ottoman Turks, one of the most powerful forces in Islam at the time, united with Muslim forces in Egypt to launch a bloody retaliation against the Wahhabists. Facing such an overwhelming force, the Wahhabists didn’t stand a chance. They immediately lost control of Mecca and Media and by 1818 had lost control of the majority of their territories. They were left a mere shamble of their previous power. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

The Wahhabists managed to make a slight comeback by 1833, but were once again beaten back. By 1889, the Wahhabi forces were annihilated and the Sa’ud family had fled to Kuwait for refuge. Many hoped that this final victory over the Wahhabi forces would mark the end of the extremist religion once and for all. However, the Sa’ud family would find an unlikely ally in Britain. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

By 1920, the Sa’ud family and their Wahhabi forces had built themselves back up. In 1927, the British, who at the time controlled much of the Arabian Peninsula, saw the Sa’ud family as allies from their WWI fight against the Turks, who were allied with Germany. The British signed a treaty with the Sa’ud family in which the Sa’uds assumed control over the Gulf sheikdoms. In 1932, the Sa’uds gave this land the name “Saudi Arabia.” And so was born the Wahhabist kingdom that bears the same name to this very day. (Ahmed; Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Haykel; Hisham; Metz, Kuwait; Metz, Saudi)

Beliefs and Doctrines of Wahhabi Islam

With his strict Hanbali upbringing and militant nature, it comes as no surprise that al-Wahhab’s teachings espoused a very extremist interpretation of the Quran. In addition to supporting strict and uncompromising societal obedience to Shariah Law (Anon., Wahhabism), Wahhabi Islam has additional rules and beliefs that set it apart from other forms of Islam. Some of these doctrines are:

True Muslims – The only true Muslims are those who follow the teachings of al-Wahhab. All other “Muslims” are non-believers and infidels. (Anon., Wahhabism; Cline; Haykel; Lopez; Metz, Saudi)

Tahwid (the essential oneness of God) - Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab championed the notion that people must never, under any circumstances, question the essential oneness of God. He took this notion to its extreme by claiming that prayer or observance to any saints or holy men was a form of raising up human figures to the level of God’s power. His belief was that the observance and honoring of the dead, saints, and/or angels detracted from the complete subservience one must feel towards God and only God. Wahhabi Islam thus bans any prayer to saints and dead loved ones, pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, religious festivals celebrating saints, the honoring of the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and even prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead. (Anon., Wahhabism; Bijlefeld; Cline; Metz, Saudi)

Any Muslim who does not follow these rules is to be considered an infidel (Anon., Wahhabism; Lopez). In the mind of the Wahhabist, this automatically places the far majority of Muslims, who indeed do celebrate their prophet Mohammad’s birthday and do mention him and various saints in prayer, into the category of non-Muslim infidel. It was thus that al-Wahhab made it a point to destroy all Muslim shrines that he came upon in conquered territories. Upon conquering the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, al-Wahhab even attack the prophet Mohammad’s gravestone and shrine. In his own fanatical mind, al-Wahhab compared this to the prophet Muhammad's destruction of pagan idols when he reentered Mecca in 628. (Haykel)

Bayah (the oath of allegiance) – According to al-Wahhab’s teachings, all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a Muslim leader. As long as this leader follows the laws of Islam (as determined by Wahhabi Islam) completely, the individual must give him his unquestionable allegiance. The Wahhabist must make this pledge to ensure his redemption by God after death. The purpose of the bayah is to merge religion and politics into one, ensuring that all Muslims dedicate their lives to following a “pure” leader who upholds all the tenets of Islam while at the same time ensuring that every leader must follow the laws of Islam completely. The Muslim community is thus to become the living embodiment of God’s laws and dictates. It is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that all people who live under his control know and follow the laws of God. (Metz, Saudi)

Conformity – Wahhabi Islam demands conformity. All people must dress similarly (you may notice in Saudi Arabia, most men wear the same white cloths), behave similarly, pray at the same time, use the same rituals in prayer, and speak in a similar manner. Adherence to the “true faith” is demonstrable in physical and tangible ways. The Wahhabists believe that they can judge a person’s faith by observing his actions and level of conformity to the Islamic ways. It is thus the responsibility of each Wahhabist to constantly observe his neighbors and friends in search of unholy actions and behavior. (Metz, Saudi; Mortimer)

The Struggle against Jahiliyya – Taken literally, the word Jahiliyya is a reference to a state of barbarism and ignorance. But al-Wahhab used it in a different context. In Wahhabi Islam, all societies that do not follow the true ways of Islam are considered to be in a state of Jahiliyya. All “infidels” are Jahili. Used in this context, Jahiliyya can more accurately be described as a representation of what Wahhabists consider to be the unholy, polytheistic, barbaric, corrupt, and evil state of Arabia before the coming of Islam. Jahiliyya is a representation of the culture that Mohammad fought against and destroyed with the inception of Islam. By so closely comparing their struggle against Jahiliyya with Mohammad’s fight against the polytheists of his time, Wahhabists see the struggle as one of the most holy actions they can take. (Cline; Idris; Metz, Saudi)

According to al-Wahhab, it is the duty of all true Muslims to fight Jahiliyya and the Jahili. Though conversion to “true Islam” is an option, Wahhabists are permitted by their doctrine to “rob, murder, and sexually violate” Jahili (Lopez). We can find an example of Wahhabi Islam’s brutal treatment of what they consider to be Jahili in the gruesome beheadings of such people as Paul Johnson, Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, etc. . (Cline; Idris; Metz, Saudi)

Wahhabists also use many verses from the Quran to support their views on the struggle against Jahiliyya. Two verses commonly used by Wahhabists as justification for their battles are: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah ... until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection," (Quran 9:29) and “fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah" (Quran 8:39). (Olasky)

One indication of the strict standards that Wahhabists apply to societies can be found in their current view of the Saudi government. Even though Saudi Arabia’s government is by Wahhabi standards Islamic in almost every way, the fact that they allowed “infidels” onto the holy land after the first gulf War, in the eyes of many Wahhabi Clerics, made the Saudi Arabian government Jahiliyya. Some radical Wahhabi proponents such as Osama Bin Laden now even call for the overthrowing of that government. (Haykel; Phares)

Original Grandeur of Islam - Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab believed that the Islam of his time was not Islam at all. His contention was that the original purity of Muhammad’s teachings and the Quran were watered down and greatly altered from their original form. According to his views, the more time that passed after the writing of the Quran, the more unknowledgeable Muslim scholars got about its true meaning. It is thus that al-Wahhab believed in the original grandeur of Islam. He preached that the Islamic community should return to a strict interpretation of the principles enunciated by the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Wahhab accepted only the authority of the Quran and Sunna along with the issues clearly settled by early jurists. All later reinterpretation of issues and the Quran were to be rejected. Islam would return to the form it had taken shortly after the time of Muhammad. Wahhabists do not believe in reinterpreting issues of Islamic law that were already settled at that time. (Cline; Hisham; Metz, Saudi)

With this strong stance against any reinterpretation of Islamic law issues already settled, Wahhabi Islam leaves absolutely no room for any reform (Cline; Hisham; Metz, Saudi). Wahhabists are thus left with customs and beliefs from ages long ago. Among some of these issues that may not be reinterpreted and reformed are:

1) Women’s rights – Women have almost no rights in Wahhabi culture. They are forced to dress in certain ways (usually covered from head to toe in either black or blue), are not allowed to drive, may not speak, not allowed in public without a male chaperone, have no custody of their children, and so on. (Ahmed; Mortimer)

2) Dietary laws – Like many other Muslims, Wahhabists may not eat pork or drink wine. They do however follow even stricter guidelines in the form of not being able to drink any alcohol at all or consume any stimulants (i.e.- smoking cigarettes). (Ahmed; Mortimer)

3) Exhibition of Wealth - Wahhabists are forbidden to wear any jewelry, including gold, or silk clothing. (Ahmed; Mortimer)

4) Culture – Listening to music, dancing, pictures, paintings, loud laughter, and demonstrative crying are strictly prohibited. Men are not permitted to trim their beards shorter than a certain length and are not allowed to grow their hair longer than a certain length. (Ahmed; Mortimer)

5) Wahhabi Islam’s doctrine of original grandeur thus leaves the Wahhabist in a state of following customs and cultures of ancient times with no possibility of such customs and rules ever being reformed and changed. (Cline; Hisham; Metz, Saudi)

The Influence and effect of Wahhabi Islam

One can easily see the strict and uncompromising nature of Wahhabi Islam. Not only does it entail conformity among people, the observance of ancient customs, a strict and unforgiving interpretation of the Quran, but Wahhabi Islam also glorifies the struggle against Jahiliyya. This leaves the Wahhabist in a position of feeling that the majority of people are infidels and it is his duty to wage war against such Jahili. So it comes as no surprise that Wahhabi Islam has had a significant influence on the world.

Wahhabi Islam has a tremendous effect on all those who live under it’s auspices. The individual is first bombarded with the teachings of al-Wahhab as a young child. According to the rules of bayah, it is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that all people who live under his control know and follow the laws of God (Metz, Saudi). And so, the rulers will make religious education a large part of children’s lives. In Saudi Arabia, mandatory Wahhabi studies account for over 35% of most schools’ curriculums (Smith). Parents also have the option of sending their child to a madrassa, in which 100% of the studies are religious in nature. (Smith)

Wahhabi studies seek to indoctrinate the young children with religious extremism at an early age (Smith). One quote from the official school textbook used in many Saudi Arabian schools states:

"The last hour won't come before the Muslims would fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them so Jews would hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and tree would call: oh Muslim, oh servant of God! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only "Gharkad" tree, it is of Jews' trees." (Smith)

Wahhabi Islam views the majority of Muslims as infidels (Cline; Idris; Metz, Saudi). It supports violent struggle against all infidels and the young children are indoctrinated with these beliefs from an early age (Cline; Idris; Metz, Saudi; Smith). Ali al-Ahmed, a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia, shares his experiences of the state funded schools:

“The religious curriculum in Saudi Arabia teaches you that people are basically two sides: Salafis [Wahhabis], who are the winners, the chosen ones, who will go to heaven, and the rest. The rest are Muslims and Christians and Jews and others.

“They are either kafirs, who are deniers of God, or mushrak, putting gods next to God, or enervators, that's the lightest one. The enervators of religion who are they call the Sunni Muslims who ... for instance, celebrate Prophet Mohammed's birthday, and do some stuff that is not accepted by Salafis.

“And all of these people are not accepted by Salafi as Muslims. As I said, "claimant to Islam." And all of these people are supposed to be hated, to be persecuted, even killed.

“Bin Laden learned this in Saudi Arabia. He didn't learn it in the moon. That message that Bin Laden received, it still is taught in Saudi Arabia. And if he dies, and this policy or curriculum stays, we will have other bin Ladens.” (Smith)

In this culture, young children are taught that anyone who is not a Wahhabist is a Jahili and is supposed to be “hated” and “persecuted” (Smith). It becomes clear why terrorist organizations are able to find so many recruits. Recruits are being raised in Saudi Arabia and indoctrinated by the school system (Smith). It is no coincidence that 15 of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian.

The environment in which the child grows into a man is also one that leaves no other option open except conformity and religious extremism. The entire student body dresses and behaves in a similar manner. There is no music to entertain the young teenager in his spare time. There are no school dances. There is no mingling with the opposite sex. There are no opportunities to find creative outlets. The young man is left with no other tangible alternative but to turn to Wahhabism as the driving force in his life. Wahhabism teaches the young man hate and intolerance, which become molded into his psyche. (Ahmed; Metz, Saudi; Mortimer)

The Wahhabist is also taught to constantly observe his neighbors and friends in search of unholy actions and behavior (Metz, Saudi; Mortimer). He is also aware of the fact that his own actions are being observed. The constant presence of Mutawwiin, “enforcers of public morals” who roam around the towns and cities in search of anyone who violates the cultural rules of Wahhabism (i.e.- someone playing music, not praying at the right time, someone with a beard that is too short, etc), help to sink into the Wahhabist’s psyche the notion that he constantly has to be on the lookout (Metz, Saudi; Mortimer). He is in a constant state of having to prove himself and thus acts in an even more devout manner.

We can clearly see that Wahhabi Islam has a huge influence on the individuals who live in such a society. They have little choice but to turn to the extreme and intolerant teachings of Wahhabi Islam as the only viable outlet to their energy. The individual who lives in a truly Wahhabi society is one who is indoctrinated in extremism from an early age.

Wahhabi Islam’s influence on culture is also a noticeable one. Al-Wahhab’s teachings support a drive towards extreme conformity (Metz, Saudi; Mortimer). And so we find Wahhabi culture to be severely lacking in individuality. Everybody dresses, behaves, and even prays in a similar manner (Mortimer). One could easily recognize the traditional and plain white garment worn by almost every man in Saudi Arabia.

Wahhabi Islam’s concept of original grandeur makes its effects known in culture. With the ancient jurists banning music, loud laughter, dancing, alcohol, and even paintings, (Ahmed; Hisham; Mortimer) the Wahhabi artistic and entertainment culture is a bland and boring one. There is little that can truly be called “culture” in Wahhabi society. It is mostly tradition and rules that must be abided by.

Another aspect of culture that Wahhabi Islam has had an influence on is the treatment of women (Ahmed). In this day and age, women in Wahhabi culture are still treated very poorly. They are forced to dress from head to toe in either black or blue garment, are not allowed to drive, may not speak unless spoken too, are not allowed in public without a male chaperone, have no custody of their children, and are even subjected to beatings from the Mutawwiin (Ahmed; Hisham; Mortimer).

Wahhabi culture dictates the mandatory pledging of an unquestionable allegiance to one’s ruler, bayah (Metz, Saudi). It would seem as though after stripping people of any true form of culture, Wahhabism also strips them of any sense of ownership of their own body and mind. By pledging the allegiance, they give up that last bastion of control over their destiny.

Wahhabism has had a significant, yet unfortunate, influence on culture by stifling the creative arts, treating women badly, annihilating any sense of individuality/personal worth, and driving its people to a form of extreme conformity.

One need not look past the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to realize the influence and effect Wahhabi Islam has had on the rest of the world. The extremist religion has indoctrinated hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Muslims into a system of hate and violence (Alexiev). With its glorification of violent struggle against Jahiliyya (Cline; Idris; Metz, Saudi) and the millions of extremists it has created (Alexiev), it should come as no surprise that Wahhabi extremists have been waging a war of religion since the time of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab himself.

There has not been a time in its existence that Wahhabi Islam was not in some form or another at war with what it considers infidels. The origins and history of Wahhabi Islam, described earlier in this essay, show the violent and brutal nature it took before the formation of Saudi Arabia. Groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1940-50’s, Al-Jihad and Gamaa Islamiya of the 1970-80’s, The Front for National Salvation in Algeria, the Taliban and Mujahideen that fought the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, etc have kept the violent Wahhabist jihad against what they consider to be Jahiliyya alive to this very day (Ahmed; Alexiev; Cline; Smith; Hardy). The violent killing of “infidels” is an influence of Wahhabi Islam that has haunted the rest of the world.

The United States of America has been thrust into a global war against terror. We fought the Taliban in Afghanistan and are now in Iraq. This is no doubt an effect of Osama Bin Laden’s Wahhabi theology (Cline; Haykel; Smith; Hardy). But we are not the only ones who have felt the sting of Wahhabi terrorism. Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Chechnya, and Bosnia are just a few of the other countries to feel the wrath of Wahhabists (Alexiev). The war against terrorism will be a long and hard war indeed.

The doctrines of Wahhabi Islam are playing another role in this war … for they are influencing the culture of war itself. Wahhabists are permitted by their doctrine to “rob, murder, and sexually violate” Jahili (Lopez). Wahhabi extremists are taught from a very young age that all “non-believers” are worthless and subject to persecution and death (Cline; Idris; Lopez; Smith). This extremist Wahhabist view of “infidels” has led the terrorists to use gruesome and hateful methods. On September 11, mass quantities of innocent civilians were killed. And yet this would mean nothing to them, for the civilians were merely Jahili (Smith). The lives of civilians are normally valued and protected in times of war. Wahhabi Islam influenced a major change in those values of war. It is now permissible for our enemies to slaughter and even behead civilians (Smith). Violent Jihad against the “infidels” is not only permissible to the Wahhabist; it is mandatory (Alexiev).

Wahhabists and the Saudi government continue to fund Wahhabi madrassas worldwide. A recent figure estimates that the Saudi government alone has spent over 70 billion dollars funding such extremist schools (Alexiev).

The full influence of Wahhabi Islam has yet to be felt by the world. With so many extremists being churned out of Saudi Arabia and its madrassas worldwide, things only appear to be getting worse. The real solution would be to implement some major changes in Saudi Arabia itself. Though some minor changes have been taking place (i.e.-they are cooperating with us more on arresting terrorists), the real changes that need to be made are not ones that Saudi Arabia would be willing to take by itself. For such changes would involve altering the very nature of Wahhabism itself. The Saudi clerics would not stand for such meddling by their own government. So we are unfortunately stuck in this hard place of having to fight terrorists in far away lands with no real end in sight.

Works Cited:

1) Alexiev, Alex. WAHHABISM: STATE-SPONSORED EXTREMISM WORLDWIDE. Testimony at the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, June 2003. http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/congress/2003_h/030626-alexiev.htm

2) Anonymous. Justifying Wahhabism: The relationship between Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab and Ibn Taymiyah. Islamic Web. http://islamicweb.com/beliefs/creed/wahhab.htm

3) Anonymous. The Rise of Political Islam : Wahhabism and Neo-Salafism. The Media Guide to Islam: A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Islam. http://mediaguidetoislam.sfsu.edu/intheworld/04a_therise.htm

4) Anonymous. Wahhabism. Nation Master Online Encyclopedia, June 2004. http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Wahhabism

5) Bijlefeld, Willem. Wahhabism: General Information. BELIEVE Religious Information Source. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/wahhabis.htm

6) Cline, Austin. Wahhabism and Wahhabi Muslims: Profile and History of Wahhabi Islam. About.com, Religion and Spirituality. http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/blfaq_islam_wahhab.htm

7) Idris, Jafar Shaikh. Characteristics of 'Abd Al-Wahhab's Fundamentalism. Islamic Awakening Foundation. http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=1073&

8) Hardy, Roger. Analysis: Inside Wahhabi Islam. BBC News, September 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1571144.stm

9) Haykel, Bernard. Radical Salafism: Osama's ideology. Canadian Society of Muslims Online Library, 2001. http://muslim-canada.org/binladendawn.html

10) Hisham, Muhammad. Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. Naqshbandi Sufi Way Website, Febuary 1998. http://www.naqshbandi.org/ottomans/wahhabi/abdulwahhab.htm

11) Lopez, Kathryn Jean. The Good & the Bad: Stephen Schwartz on Islam and Wahhabism. National Review, November 2002. http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/interrogatory111802.asp

12) Metz, Helen Chapin. Kuwait: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993. http://www.exploitz.com/Kuwait-Kuwait-cg.php

13) Metz, Helen Chapin. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1992. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/loc/sa/saud_wahhabi.htm

14) Mortimer, Louis. Saudi Arabia: Wahhabi Theology. Country Data. http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-11589.html

15) Olasky, Marvin. Islam for terrorists. World on the Web Magazine, October 2001. http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/10-27-01/cover_5.asp

16) Phares, Walid. Wahabi vs. Wahabi. Front Page Magazine, June 2004. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13693

17) Smith, Martin. Saudi Time Bomb? PBS Frontline, 2001. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/interviews/


21 June 2011

We Shouldn't Even Have To Ask

Note to American automakers after your letter to congress:

Since you are AMERICAN car companies, and since America is being deliberately drained of its wealth by enemies of the country, and since America badly needs the economic boost that the alternative fuel market would create, and since it wouldn't cost you hardly anything and would cost taxpayers and car buyers nothing at all, and since we bailed YOU out when you needed our help, and since you're already doing it for Brazil (which helped them recently achieve energy independence), you should have already voluntarily switched all your fleet over to flex fuel vehicles. We shouldn't even have to ask.


Automakers Ungrateful to Taxpayers for Bailing Them Out

Instead of doing something to help out the taxpayers — like making it possible to lower gas prices — automakers have chosen to lazily satisfy their own selfish wishes, and the American taxpayer be damned.

It would cost slightly more to make flex fuel cars. They already do it for Brazil, and they don't charge Brazilians one dime extra for their flex fuel cars. It costs car buyers nothing. But they don't want to do it for their own fellow countrymen because it might be slightly inconvenient. Yes, it could give us a break at the pump, cleaner air, energy independence, a healthy economy, and national security, but they would rather not spend $70 or less per car.

How many billions did we give them when they needed it?


Automakers Want Americans to Pay $5 a Gallon for Gasoline

Last week, automakers decided to try to destroy the Open Fuel Standard Act. In other words, they chose to keep us relying on petroleum alone to fuel our cars, the price of which is determined by OPEC.

For many reasons — turmoil in OPEC nations, more difficulty finding and developing new oil deposits, greed, and a desire to bring the West to its knees — it is inevitable that gasoline will reach $5 a gallon. Goldman Sachs believes it will happen this summer. But it will go to $5 without a doubt, and much higher eventually.

This could be avoided if gasoline had any competition. The competition could be easily and cheaply allowed if the automakers were willing to spend the $70 or less per car to make them all flex fuel right now. Within three years, a significant enough number of pumps serving alternative fuels would be widely available and forever after protect us from the domination of OPEC's whims.

But automakers aren't having it. National security? Nah. Energy independence? No thanks. We'd just as soon keep doing what we're doing and to hell with America.


American Automakers Continue to Sell Second Rate Gas-Only Cars That Keep Us Dependent on Foreign Oil

The following is a response to American automakers who recently voiced strong opposition to the Open Fuel Standard (which you can read about here).

American automakers could, with only minor upgrades, give us cars that would effectively end our country's dependence on foreign oil by giving the driver the option to buy American made alcohols in addition to gasoline.

We have hundreds of ways and thousands of ideas about how to make alcohol fuels out of everything from plant waste to industrial waste to all the stuff we throw in the trash. Every dollar paid for American alcohol fuel strengthens our economy: Every dollar to foreign oil weakens our economy. Wake up, Detroit! You could be leading the way to energy independence by adopting an Open Fuel Standard. You could be making cars that give drivers freedom of choice at the pump. You could give me a car that keeps more money in my pocket and the money I spend would go to American businesses, creating American jobs, and helping our economic recovery, not making the men of OPEC — who hate the West and our freedoms — stronger.

What's with these second rate, inferior gas lines that can't handle alcohols? You make flex fuel cars for Brazil. Why not for the USA? I want a first rate fuel system. I want to be able to use any alcohol fuel. It's good for me. It's good for our economy. It's good for the world's economy. So, ultimately it's even good for your sales.

Why continue to make cars that slow our economic recovery and threaten our national security by making a gas-only fuel system that makes us slaves to whatever price OPEC mandates. Gas-only cars are wonderful for Big Oil and OPEC who are making obscene profits while the rest of us do without.

Man up, Detroit. You could help save the free world. Give us cars that give us freedom at the pump. Give us cars that create competition in the fuel market place. Give us the best cars you can. It's the American way, remember? Act like American men, instead of good little boys doing what's best for Big Oil.

How can we become energy independent when our own American car companies keep making gas-only cars? Your gas only cars are draining our economy, draining our power, threatening our national security, because right now, if OPEC did another embargo, we'd be in danger of a recession/depression/chaos like the world has never seen. All these gas-only cars leave us too vulnerable.

OPEC is a group of economic terrorists. The first embargo was punishment for the USA for not doing what OPEC wanted. Yet the good old boys of American car makers keep making gas-only cars that keep us weak and dependent on a fuel controlled by foreign governments?! You've got to be kidding. Why in the world would you be doing that? American car manufacturers are destroying our way of life with every second rate fuel system they sell.

Ever since OPEC's first embargo, the oil companies' profits have taken more and more of our paychecks, resulting in a declining standard of living. For the first time, your children will have a harder time making a living than you did. We have always been able to give our children a better world. But since OPEC began draining the world economies, each decade that passes leaves us with less than we had before.

Economic growth is hard when any gains go to fuel costs. We're paying a dollar more a gallon than we were at this time just last year. During the worst worldwide recession, the price of oil has doubled in the span of two years. And you automakers keep building gas-only cars?! Are you crazy? Whose side are you on?

When fuel costs double, everything we buy goes up in price because everything has a fuel cost to get it to the store. Americans are paying more for everything because we have no choice but to buy oil, whatever the price, because our very own American car makers still build gas-only cars.

You fight the OFS bill because it mandates giving Americans cars as good as you give to Brazil. You object to a mandate, even though this simple, subsidy-free bill that would free the American people from OPEC's ability to mandate prices. Maybe that's the reason you drag your feet? Do you want the American taxpayers to give you even more money? What do you want? A thousand-dollar-a-car incentive for a $70 upgrade? Is your greed appropriate? Didn't we bail you out? We helped make your companies strong again: Shouldn't you be doing something to help our country grow strong again? Shouldn't you be doing everything you can to help our economy recover as quickly as possible?

What do you gain by dragging your feet instead of stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done? Your gas-only cars drain us so bad we soon will not be able to afford your cars! Your gas-only policy doesn't even work for you, much less our country!

Gas-only cars mean no choice at the pump which means today, in just one 24-hour period, billions of dollars left our American pockets for foreign lands. Tomorrow billions more will leave. We are hemorrhaging huge fortunes because we have to pay whatever OPEC dictates. Get a grip on our situation, Detroit. We now spend more on foreign oil than our entire military defense budget. You automakers need to man up to your responsibility in this. You make it all possible. We pay whatever OPEC mandates because you keep building gas only cars. You hold the system in place every day you delay upgrading your fuel systems. Every gas only car you make will continue to drain our economy for the next 18 years of use.

American cars are the foundation of OPEC's ability to drain us. You could help us keep those billions a day here in our economy instead of giving our hard-earned money to the men of the OPEC nations, a group of men who rule others through force, who are ruling us by force. Man up, Detroit! You can divert all that money back into American hands.

American automakers have an opportunity to be economic heroes. You could, quite literally, can help save the free world from economic ruin just by giving us cars that give us freedom to buy American fuels, not just of foreign oil.

Gas only cars make us dependent on foreign oil: Flex Fuel cars make us a free people again. Man up, Detroit, and give us a freedom we haven't had since Ford made the first Model T. Give us cars that make us free, not gas-only cars dependent on OPEC. Wake up, Detroit! America needs you. Cars made in America should be good for Americans, not OPEC, not Big Oil.

Cars made in America should be the best cars possible. Quit selling second-rate, gas-only cars. Make "made in the USA" mean something again.


Automakers Confirm Their Reputation as Shortsighted

Click on image to see larger.
Automakers resisted seat belts, air bags, clean car standards, and fuel economy standards. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that automakers have come out in opposition to the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2011. But still, I am surprised.

Announced yesterday, the major automakers said "they oppose a bill that would require nearly all vehicles to be capable of running on mostly biofuels." Capable of running on mostly biofuels? That's a strangely misleading way to describe the bill.

They also said it would cost consumers more than a billion dollars annually. First of all, GM says it only adds seventy dollars or less to the production cost of a car to make it a flex fuel vehicle, and American car companies in Brazil say they don't charge any extra for flex fuel vehicles. And secondly, Americans paid $80 billion for oil in 1999. Ten years later we paid $900 billion. Why? Because we have no fuel choice. So even if it did cost a billion dollars, it would save us far more.

The automakers' arguments against the Open Fuel Standard Act are either uninformed or deliberate attempts to deceive. Automakers stated that most people with a flex fuel vehicle use less than a tank of ethanol per year on average. They said that the bill effectively imposes a tax on consumers "regardless of consumer demand and fuel availability."

Eight million Americans have already purchased flex fuel cars knowing full well it would be difficult to find fuel stations selling ethanol but hoping more stations would open. And they have. The more flex fuel vehicles on the road, the more alternative fuel pumps show up.

And it is alternative fuel's availability which is the main purpose of the bill. By mandating that cars will be capable of burning alternatives in addition to gasoline, fuel stations will have an incentive to provide ethanol and methanol to their customers.

The purpose of fuel choice is to create competition at the pump in order to break up OPEC's harmful monopoly of transportation fuel. This is good for America's national security and economic stability.

But automakers don't think it "makes sense." This is the same nonsense they've pulled before, saying air bags would make cars unaffordable to most people.

Automakers have shown a puzzling reluctance to make improvements in their cars that Americans want — safety features, fuel economy, etc. — and their reluctance has allowed foreign car makers to grab a large piece of the American auto market.

So the automakers came out against the Open Fuel Standard Act. Too bad. Seat belts were mandated against their wishes too, and have saved countless lives. When the Open Fuel Standard Act is passed, it will save our economy from future oil shocks, and it may very well save lives as it cuts off funding to Islamic fundamentalists and strengthens our national security.

Taxpayers helped the automakers recover from the last recession. Now they can help us prevent the next one.


The Ultimate Flex Fuel Car Engine?

In an announcement earlier this month about Pinnacle Engines signing a deal, we learn about "an engine that's ultra-efficient and compatible with most fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and biofuels." The announcement says:

Pinnacle Engines, developer of a four-stroke, spark-ignited, opposed-piston Cleeves cycle engine, is initially targeting low-horsepower applications like rickshaws in emerging markets for its "breakthrough ultra-efficient engine." The startup company has reportedly signed a licensing and joint-development agreement with an unnamed Asian vehicle manufacturer. Pinnacle says that its engine will power vehicles that are scheduled to hit the streets in the first quarter of 2013.

The core of Pinnacle's technology resides in its "Cleeves Cycle," named after James Montague (Monty) Cleeves, founder of the company. The Cleeves cycle can switch back and forth from the Otto cycle (constant volume combustion) to the Diesel cycle (constant pressure combustion) depending on operating conditions. The result, according to Pinnacle, is an engine that's ultra-efficient and compatible with most fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and biofuels. Read the rest>>>

This engine would certainly qualify as a flex-fuel vehicle!


Why Was Osama bin Laden Obsessed With America's Oil Supply?

In an article entitled, Osama's Oil Obsession, Daveed Gartenstin-Ross writes:

The killing of Osama bin Laden has provided the U.S. public with a stark reminder of the risks posed by America's dependence on foreign sources of oil. On May 20, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new bulletin outlining al Qaeda's interest in targeting oil and natural gas infrastructure based on evidence unearthed after the Navy SEAL raid that killed the terrorist chief. "In 2010, there was continuing interest by members of al Qaeda in targeting oil tankers and commercial infrastructure at sea," said a DHS spokesman...

Bin Laden long believed that undermining the U.S. economy was central to his war against the United States — an outlook that has permeated al Qaeda's ranks and will outlive him.

Al Qaeda views attacking the oil supply as a smart strategy for good reason: America's reliance on oil for its transportation needs makes it a commodity that, if disrupted or made unaffordable, will cause the U.S. economy to collapse.

The United States holds only 3 percent of conventional global oil reserves, yet uses 25 percent of the world's daily production. It imports more than 66 percent of its oil, amounting to a daily purchase of 12 million barrels of imported oil. A significant rise in the price of oil due to a terrorist attack would deal al Qaeda's main enemy a severe economic blow.

The potential of either al Qaeda or OPEC to seriously cripple our economy is the single most compelling reason for the Open Fuel Standard Act. We must end that vulnerability, and Open Fuel is the fastest, cheapest way to do it.


Bin Laden-proofing America’s Economy

In an article in the Washington Times, Robert McFarlane discusses the next generation of al Qaeda militants, and the likelihood they will attack strategic oil terminals in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. He writes:
Several factors make these oil-processing terminals attractive targets. 
The first is that if any of them were seriously disabled, which very nearly happened five years ago at Abqaiq, as many as 4 million barrels of processing capacity per day would be taken off the market for up to a year — enough to push the global price of crude to more than $200 a barrel and keep it there for at least a year. Petroleum-based fuel, which enables 97 percent of our road, rail and air transport carriers to move goods from farms and factories to markets, is literally the lifeblood of the global economy. 
Without it, nothing moves, crops rot, showrooms are empty, consumers stay home, jobs are lost, paralysis sets in, and our economy grinds to a halt. In short, petroleum-based fuel has become a strategic commodity — a product that, if disrupted or sold at an extravagant price, can cause our economy and our way of life to collapse.

The American economy is vulnerable. And we can greatly reduce that vulnerability by passing the Open Fuel Standard Act. McFarlane asks:

What can we and the rest of the world do to prevent this plausible scenario from taking place? What we can and must do is reduce petroleum’s strategic importance to our economy by opening our fuel market to competition. Today, unlike the choices one can make when purchasing toothpaste, clothing, food, movies and virtually any product in our highly competitive marketplace, there is no competition when you go to the pump. Worse, of course, the price you pay for that fuel is set by a foreign cartel, many of whose members don’t like us very much.

The Open Fuel Standard Act essentially says that by 2017 automakers will no longer be allowed to make cars that run only on gasoline. You can help make this bill a reality, bringing an end to oil's monopoly and the vulnerability it brings to America's economy, and you can begin today: Actions You Can Take.


How OPEC Profits Are Used to Endanger Americans

In the article, Achieving Energy Victory, Robert Zubrin writes:

Until the Saudis started racking up billions in inflated oil revenues in the 1970s, the Wahhabi movement was regarded by Muslims the world over as little more than primitive insanity. Without rivers of treasure to feed its roots, this horrific movement could neither grow nor thrive.  
It is the Saudis’ unlimited funds — over $200 billion in foreign exchange earnings in 2006 — that have allowed them to buy up the faculties of the Islamic world’s leading intellectual centers; to build or take over thousands of mosques; to establish thousands of radical madrassas, pay their instructors, and provide the free daily meals necessary to entice legions of poor village boys to attend.  
Those boys are indoctrinated with the idea that the way to get into paradise is to murder Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindus (not to mention moderate Muslims). Graduates of these academies are today killing American soldiers in Iraq.  
Meanwhile, Arab oil revenues have underwritten news outlets that propagandize hatefully against the United States and the West, supported training centers for terrorists, paid bounties to the families of suicide bombers, and funded the purchase of weapons and explosives. We have been subsidizing a war against ourselves. 
And we have not yet reached the culmination of the process. Iran is now using its petroleum lucre to fund its nuclear program and to insulate itself from economic sanctions imposed on it. Once produced, Iranian nuclear weapons could be used by the Iranian regime itself or be made available to terrorists to attack U.S., European, Russian, or Israeli targets. This is one of the gravest threats to international peace and stability — and, again, we are paying for it ourselves with oil revenue. 
Our responses to these provocations have been muted and hapless because any forceful action on our part against nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran could result in the disruption of oil supplies that the world economy is utterly dependent upon.  
We cannot stand up to our enemies because we rely upon them for the fuel that is our economic lifeblood. We pay them for their oil and they make war on us. 
In light of these realities, U.S. energy policy for the last three decades has been a scandal. The time has come for change. To liberate ourselves from the threat of foreign economic domination, to destroy the economic power of the terrorists’ financiers, and to give ourselves the free hand necessary to deal forcefully with them, we must devalue their resources and increase the value of our own. We can do this by taking the world off the petroleum standard and putting it on an alcohol standard.

And we now have an opportunity to do just that with the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2011. Urge your representative to co-sponsor the bill, and convince all your friends and family to do so too. Here's how to get started: Actions You Can Take.

The author of the excerpt above is Robert Zubrin, who wrote Energy Victory.

Read more: Why the Open Fuel Standard is Urgent


How to Achieve Oil Independence

This four minute video explains what the Open Fuel Standard Act will do and why we urgently need to get it passed. Please share it with your friends. This is a vital new bill that must be passed, the sooner the better.

Click here to find out what you do to help the bill become law.


Oil Prices Will Keep Rising

Tony Daltorio writes, "According to the International Energy Agency, the oil cartel (OPEC) will make $1 trillion in export revenues this year, a new all-time high. Talk about a gusher!...Oil now costs more than $100 a barrel. And oil production has been on the rise as well."

That's bad enough. But it gets worse:

"Unfortunately for consumers, higher oil prices are here to stay. The Institute of International Finance notes that Saudi Arabia will only be able to balance its budget if oil prices are at $115 a barrel in the future. And it isn’t the only one that needs prices to climb further; other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council are announcing similar spending plans. Kuwait, for one, will issue a $4,000 one-off bonus per citizen and free food staples for more than a year.

"Such social spending will press oil prices higher still. It will also reduce available funds for state-owned oil companies to invest into adding future production capacity. And as governments in the region continue to feel under threat from social unrest, they are less and less likely to cut into public energy subsidies."

We can do something about this: Get off the oil standard.


Robert Zubrin Explains Why FFVs Are an Urgent Necessity

The author of Energy Victory, Robert Zubrin, speaks to a group of Google employees about the need for flex fuel vehicles.


Anne Korin Answers Questions

This video is thirteen minutes and forty-five seconds long. But Anne Korin answers a lot of good questions.


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