Friday, February 22, 2008

Those poor misunderstood violent Muslims

The fifth US-Islamic World Forum concluded here yesterday on a positive note with the delegates expressing their determination to take the dialogue to wider areas and try to narrow down differences. "There was a general feeling that ignorance and paranoia are keeping the two sides divided [That's a fact. Ignorance and paranoia are rife in the Muslim world] . Mutual respect has emerged as the key word for fostering better relations and understanding," said Carlos Pascual, Vice-President and Director of Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings, the US, while giving the concluding remarks at the conference yesterday.

Use of words was one the major issues raised in the discussions. "There was an agreement among the participants not to use terms like Islamic terrorism. Terrorism is unIslamic and Muslims are among the victims of terrorism," said Pascual. He said it was proposed to use "violent extremism" while referring to terrorism.

Most participants expressed concern over the growing military budget in the US and called for a shift in focus [Maybe it would shift the focus if Muslims stop bombing and threatening people] . They felt the need to develop partnerships instead of unilateralism, and end conflicts that widen the chasm between the US and the Islamic world. The delegates urged to pursue the two-state formula to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue and called for a viable political solution to the Iraqi crisis.

Democracy was another hotly debated issue in the conference [What would Muslims know about THAT??] . The discussions focused on the forms of democracy, ownership of democracy, dialectics between faith and state and tolerance and choice. The need to provide more space for non-state organizations in the Islamic world was underlined, said Pascual.

The alleged human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay raised concern among the delegates, with many of them calling for closing down this detention camp. [How about closing down the Iranian nuclear program?]


Chronic Warrior Syndrome

One of the things I've come to love about writing for the Internet is the new friends I make whose perception sometimes make me smack my forehead in wonder that in all my years some insight they easily offer up had so completely eluded me until now. One such is a jarhead, and believe me, as an old paratrooper, I use that term with respect and brotherly affection. Old Leatherneck, Troy Watson, introduced me to the concept of Chronic Marine Syndrome, which as best I can determine is the inspiration of retired Marine Corps Brigadier General, Mike Mulqueen.

Reading the list of symptoms associated with Chronic Marine Syndrome, I realized quickly that the New York Times and other mainstream media organizations have been right all along that those who serve their country, and especially those who have actually fought in their country's service have most likely developed a syndrome which, considering the moral fiber of the mainstream media and the nation of sheep they seek to form and lead, could accurately be categorized by them as pathological.

Pardon me Marines in general, and General Mulqueen, specifically, but I think CMS extends beyond the Corps and infects past, present, and surely the future ranks of all American military services. Consider, if you will, but a few of the symptoms General Mulqueen has defined as markers of this unique infliction, as well as some others I have added:
First and foremost, having confidence in who they are

Possessing pride in oneself, one's organization and the country they serve

Being knowledgeable of and comfortable with the terms honor, courage and commitment

Determined to see the mission, regardless of temporary setbacks, accomplished

Often either respected or despised by others, due to their unique abilities and talents

Internally and essentially immune to organizational political correctness

Able to meet you with a firm handshake and look you in the eye

When not a warrior, a first responder, cop, fireman, nurse, doctor, EMT, etc.

If he/she says "Hang on, I'm coming for you," you can bet your life, they're coming for you

Shares the tremendous pride and the undying respect of his or her family

Shares the tremendous pride and the undying respect of his or her buddies, military and civilian

Shares rations, water and candy bars with the unfortunate children of war

Shares, unfortunately, the gratitude of only some of us in this nation he or she protects

Yes, I'm beginning to see where the media can make a sensational case that these people, these soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen that we send out in harm's way to defend us, somehow possess a demonstrable set of symptoms that clearly differentiate them from far too many in America today, especially these selfsame parasites in the mainstream media who greedily suck at the nation's wounds and feast on the world's offal. Since these symptoms seem to apply solely to a unique minority of volunteers who place selflessness above all other virtues, a condition of some rarity in this age of "me first," I can now understand how those staunch, courageous patriots at the New York Times and their fellow travelers at the broadcast networks see our returning warriors as unwell in some way.

Yep, I simply can question their judgment no longer; our troops returning from the Mideast wars are indeed afflicted and it's time to give that affliction a catchy name like the one the media loves for my generation of warriors: PTSD. However, considering the group of symptoms described above, I think we should call this current problem, CWS: Chronic Warrior Syndrome. Long may our young warriors be afflicted.


`Counterknowledge': when fiction masquerades as fact

From 9/11 to homeopathy, `counterknowledge' thrives thanks to a mad mixture of postmodern political correctness and capitalist greed

For anyone who still believes in the methodology of the Enlightenment, sitting around the table at a twenty-first century dinner party can be intellectual torture.

Your fellow guests tuck hungrily into a menu of conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, junk history and (above all) quack medicine. Yet they will also have the nerve to insist that they reject the `medieval superstition' of religion.

We are facing an epidemic of gullibility caused by what I describe in my new book as `counterknowledge' - fiction masquerading as fact. The chief medium of dodgy empirical claims is, unsurprisingly, the internet, which enables people to construct do-it-yourself conspiracy theories and turn them into cyberspace cosmologies within the space of 24 hours.

There is no point pretending that we can (or should) police the internet. What we must do, however, is relentlessly attack trusted institutions that are allowing the pollution of the public domain by counterknowledge.

The real villains of my book are not the snake oil merchants themselves: they are the governments, universities, medical professionals, major publishing houses and newspapers that circulate patently false empirical claims. Let me give you some examples.

Constable Robinson publishes a book called 9/11 Revealed, by Ian Henshall and Rowland Morgan, that recycles every brain-dead `alternative explanation' for the terrorist attacks, including the Pentagon being hit by a missile and the Twin Towers being demolished by pre-rigged explosives. I bought my copy in WH Smith at Paddington Station in London.

Six British universities offer degree courses in homeopathy, a form of 200-year-old quackery whose claims are so risible that the press was mocking them even in the early nineteenth century. The Prince of Wales regularly abuses his constitutional position to lobby on behalf of this witchcraft. Boots the Chemist sells shedloads of homeopathic `medicine' every day.

Patrick Holford, Britain's leading `nutritionist', claims that Vitamin C is proving more effective than AZT against HIV in laboratory tests. He holds no degree higher than a 1970s BSc in psychology, but has been made a visiting professor at the University of Teesside.

British and American universities regularly teach `Afrocentric history', built around a series of claims - for example, that the Greeks stole their philosophy from the Egyptians - which are designed to raise the self-esteem of black students. These claims are fantasies. But then all claims are fantasies, according to the dreary postmodernists who hold sway in the cultural studies faculties of these universities.

How have respected institutions allowed themselves to be drawn into pushing counterknowledge? The answer lies in a mixture of postmodern political correctness and capitalist greed - and the two mix very well together.

I am a capitalist and a conservative. But I also believe in a public domain in which facts must be demonstrated to be true. Many of my allies in this battle are Marxists who believe the same thing. The crucial conflicts of the future may not be between ideologies, but between fact and fantasy. The enemy consists of `9/11 Truthers', Afrocentric historians, homeopaths and `scientific creationists'. An ill-assorted bunch, certainly - but, unfortunately, their stuff sells.


Twisted British law again

Courageous Indian defended himself against an habitual criminal -- How awful!

A shopkeeper could be charged with murder after an armed robber who tried to steal the day's takings was stabbed with his own knife during a struggle. Tony Singh, 34, described as a hard-working family man who often works 13-hour days, was ambushed as he shut his shop on Sunday evening by Liam Kilroe, 25, a career criminal who was armed with a knife.

Mr Singh fought back and, after a fierce hand-to-hand struggle, Kilroe was seen by witnesses to stagger away clutching the knife to his chest. Kilroe was taken to hospital, where he died, and Mr Singh was detained by police. He is now waiting to discover whether he will be charged, and is on police bail until February 29 pending further inquiries.

Lancashire police confirmed that papers had been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will decide whether Mr Singh should be charged with one of three offences: murder, manslaughter or assault.

Mr Singh, who suffered injuries to his neck and back during the struggle and had to be treated in hospital, insisted yesterday that he had acted in self-defence. The shopkeeper, who runs the Lifestyle Express general store in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, said: "I feel lucky to be alive. All I was doing was trying to stop myself getting hurt. The guy could have killed me. "I have got some injuries to my face and I am pretty shaken up but, thankfully, I am OK and able to return to work. It could have been so much worse. If one of the wounds had gone one inch either way, then it could have been fatal for me."

Kilroe, of Billinge, near St Helens, who had convictions stretching back nine years, was in breach of bail conditions at the time of his death. He had failed to appear in court to answer charges that he carried out armed robberies at a shop and post office with an imitation firearm. In one raid a postmaster was hit over the head with a handgun but the robbers fled empty-handed. In a second robbery, at a general shop in Croston, Leyland, they forced a woman behind the counter to open the till at gunpoint and hand over 8,000 pounds. Kilroe's trial was scheduled to go ahead in his absence earlier this week at Preston Crown Court until Judge Christopher Cornwall was told that the accused had died.

Mr Singh had just shut his store at 9.40pm on Sunday and was about to drive home when Kilroe struck. He smashed the driver's side window of Mr Singh's Ford Focus with the butt of his knife and reached in to demand the takings. The shopkeeper resisted. At the end of the struggle Kilroe was seen to stagger away from the scene with the knife in his chest then stumble to the ground. A number of people witnessed the confrontation and have given statements to police. Mr Singh's customers and fellow shopkeepers offered their support yesterday. One said: "Tony is a much-loved shopkeeper who has worked hard all his life."

Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell, of Lancashire police, who is leading the investigation, said: "Police and an ambulance attended the scene and found the driver and passenger windows of the Focus smashed. Liam Kilroe was dead by the car and another man was in the car with stabbing injuries to his head and back. "There had clearly been a struggle between the two men and we have recovered a knife which I believe to be Liam Kilroe's. We have had a number of consistent accounts from eye witnesses to the incident and further inquiries will be made."

A spokesman for Lancashire police said that the Crown Prosecution Service had asked them not to divulge details of the struggle because they would form the basis of their decision whether or not to prosecute Mr Singh. He said: "A file will shortly be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for them to make a decision on finalising the case. Depending on their decision there will either be a charge or no further criminal action and the incident will be passed to the coroner."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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