Thursday, February 12, 2015
Labour's #pinkbus for women backfires with stream of Twitter spoofs
When senior Labour figures announced their intention to tour the country in a bus to “reach out to women” ahead of the general election, they probably didn't expect it to be quite so controversial. But the bus has become a hot talking point - mainly thanks to its hot pink paint job.
The 16-seater van has sparked a debate on social media about whether the choice of pink for a women's campaign is patronising and sexist, or simply an eye-catching colour that people are reading far too much into.
Labour insists the colour was chosen purely for practicality: red wouldn't stand out from other vehicles in traditional Labour colours, a darker red looked too much "like a Pret A Manger van", while white vans weren't conspicuous enough.
But opinion from the masses remains firmly split.
"At least they're trying. People will always find something to complain about," wrote one commenter on the Telegraph's Facebook page.
"What a joke! Totally sexist and out of touch!" said another.
One thing is for sure - it is very easy to parody a bright pink bus.
The 'Woman to Woman' vehicle raised instant comparisons to Barbie cars, pink party limos and the hot pink cadillac from the Sheila's Wheels car insurance adverts in a stream of Twitter parodies:
Grandfather's body could be exhumed after relatives of Muslim buried alongside complain he was an unbeliever
Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, could be dragged into a messy legal battle after a Muslim family demanded that a “non-believer” who was buried next to their relation be exhumed for religious reasons.
The unnamed Muslim family raised objections after an 89-year-old Roman Catholic man was buried in a plot adjacent to their relation.
Shadrack Smith was buried in the multi-denominational Lychgate Lane Cemetery in Burbage, Leicestershire, following his funeral on Jan 30.
Mr Smith had lived in an official gipsy camp in nearby Aston Firs for more than 20 years, and in excess of 400 relations and friends attended his funeral.
His family later received notice that relations of the man buried alongside him had complained because Mr Smith was not an adherent of the Islamic faith.
Islamic religious authorities say that it is forbidden for non-Muslims to be buried alongside Muslims under normal circumstances.
Mr Smith’s family have now been warned by town hall officials that Mr Smith’s grave may be moved.
If Burbage parish council decides to overrule Mr Smith’s family’s wishes, it would fall to Mr Grayling’s Ministry of Justice to approve the application to exhume and relocate his remains.
His family, which includes eight children, 25 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren, have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to stop any exhumation taking place.
Any bid to move human remains requires a licence from the Ministry’s officials.
“The consents of all the next of kin of the deceased are normally required,” official guidance says. “The MoJ receives over 1,000 licence applications a year. Each will be considered on its merits, but applications made for private family reasons on behalf of the next of kin will, subject to any other necessary consents, normally be considered sympathetically.” But Mr Smith’s family have vowed to fight any move to relocate his remains.
His daughter-in-law, Tracey Smith, 46, said: “This whole thing has devastated our family. We were told when we bought the plots that it was a multi-faith cemetery, but the council has been so unsupportive.
“I feel for the Muslim family because they obviously thought they were only going to have other Muslim families buried around them. But that’s not our fault.
“The council has tried to bend over backwards to please the Muslim family.
“We have been told we might have to exhume Shady if the council decide to side with them. There is no way Shady will be exhumed. If they suggest it, we will take them to the highest court in the land. We will fight tooth and nail to stop the grave being dug up.”
Mr Smith’s family were warned by the council four days before his funeral that the owners of the plot adjacent to theirs had complained, but declined to amend their plans. His family paid £2,500 for three plots at the cemetery, including one hand-picked for its position, facing towards Mr Smith’s home, a Romany tradition. Burbage parish council confirmed that the cemetery is unsegregated, adding that: “So that people of all denominations can use Burbage Cemetery, the graveyard ground at Lychgate Lane is unconsecrated.”
Richard Flemming, the Council chairman, said: “Unfortunately the parish council has recently received representation from two families regarding the allocation of adjacent grave plots within Burbage Cemetery.
“The parish council is sympathetic to the feelings of both families concerned and is committed to working with the relatives and the wider community to reach an amicable and acceptable solution.”
Obama now claiming 1 in 5 women in America have experienced rape or attempted rape
Gone are the days that the president makes false claims that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college. Now 20 percent of all women in America have been raped or nearly raped. And 25 percent of American women — not just college women — have experienced domestic violence.
Let’s just think about that for a minute. The current population of the U.S. is 316.1 million, with women comprising about half. That means there are about 158 million women and girls in the U.S. If 20 percent of American women have been raped or almost raped, that’s a total of 31.6 million women, which is somewhere between the populations of Texas and California.
These numbers are wildly out of line with national crime statistics, which don’t show anywhere near that number of rapes in the past two decades. Those statistics show fewer than 2 million rapes being reported in that time frame. Even accounting for the fact that many rapes go unreported, the number Obama gave Sunday night is staggering. It would mean that just 6.3 percent of rapes and attempted rapes are reported.
This would also mean that, if Obama is right and 25 percent of American women have experienced domestic violence, then 39.51 million women in the country (which is more than the population of California) are victims of such violence.
If this is truly the case in America — and Obama didn’t just make a major blunder by not limiting his statistics to college campuses, which are still wildly exaggerated — then the draconian measures activists have been pushing to eradicate due process to address the supposed rape crisis might be understandable.
However, in the more likely scenario that Obama forgot to say “women in college” when pushing these politically powerful but ultimately incorrect statistics, then he just broadcast to everyone watching the Grammy’s that they should be afraid to leave their house for fear of rape, and afraid to stay in it for fear of domestic violence.
The Crusades in Context: Correcting a Historic Campaign of Disinformation
At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last Thursday, President Obama looked directly at his audience and, with a straight face, invoked an argument commonly leveraged by Islam's disingenuous apologists and western intelligentsia. He asserted that we must resist the urge to "get on our high horse," as we lack the moral credibility to decry Islam for the horrific acts committed by the Islamic State (IS), due to a documented history of Christian-perpetrated violence-the Crusades.
This shifty attempt to divert attention away from fourteen centuries of atrocities committed under the banner of Islam, by falsely manufacturing moral equivalency with the Crusades, dangerously grants absolute impunity to the ideology that motivates the unthinkable barbarity committed by the Islamic State today.
By way of revisionist history and intellectual dishonesty, western intelligentsia has sought to whitewash the doctrinal skeletons of Islam by contorting Christian history-and they've largely succeeded. How well have they succeeded? During a 2001 visit to Damascus, Syria, the late Pope John Paul II apologized to his Muslim hosts for "Christian offenses and violence of the past." The grim irony: this apology was delivered in the Umayyad Mosque-a former Christian church, conquered and converted into a mosque in the earliest days of Islam.
Thoughtful targets of this historic campaign of disinformation should consider whether this pseudo-argument is properly invoked, by asking the basic question, "what were the Crusades?" Further, may such a questionable line of reasoning be regarded as logical justification to pardon Islam for the crimes committed by its adherents and institutions-which are not only sanctioned by Islamic doctrine, but are also expressly commanded by the Koran? Why do such apologists have to reach back nearly one thousand years in Christian history to muster a single-yet inadequate-example through which to construct this immoral moral equivalency?
A Look Back
In the seventh century, a new Islamic Empire, motivated by Mohammadean political-military philosophy, dressed in the cloak of religion, emerged from the Arabian Desert, and waged predatory conquest over the Levant, south Asia, Anatolia, north Africa, the Balkans, and eventually the Iberian Peninsula. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Muslim dynasty inherited this spirit of conquest, and executed with renewed zeal.
Like their dynastic predecessors, the Seljuk Muslims waged a persistent campaign to slaughter the Christian minority communities of the Holy Land, the Levant, and northern Mesopotamia, as they continued to force their way deeper into Europe, by way of the Balkans in the east and the Iberian Peninsula in the west. The Christians who were not slaughtered along the way were forcibly circumcised (both men and women), raped and subjugated.
Unlike the preceding dynasties of the Caliphate, the Seljuks exterminated thousands of European Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Thus, in 1095, Pope Urban II sanctioned the First Crusade.
The Crusades are often mischaracterized as an example of medieval Christian bloodlust and warfare, motivated by dominion theology. However, when considered in its accurate historical context, it becomes apparent that the Crusades were not wars of Christian conquest and conversion, but rather defensive measures to protect European pilgrims and Christian holy sites, and to fend off the Muslim Empire's burgeoning westward tide. The Muslim Empire posed a geo-political threat to the edges of the European continent indeed, but more importantly, a threat to western civilization at large, with imposition of Islamic law as its pinnacle goal. The survival of western civilization was at stake; and as such, so was the Christian principle of free conscience.
The Crusades were also a humanitarian campaign to rescue the persecuted Christian minorities of the Holy Land, Levant, and northern Mesopotamia. While twentieth century secular Arab regimes have concocted the claim that the Crusades decimated the native Christian communities of the Levant, we know from original sources that the Crusaders actually bolstered the Syriac Christian communities of Edessa, Antioch, Damascus and the Holy Land, the Maronite community of Lebanon, and the Armenians of Edessa.
It would be irresponsible to ignore that many native Christians fell victim to rogue mercenaries from within Crusader ranks. However, to be clear, those atrocities, while inexcusable, did not represent the campaign's mission; such orders were not passed down the chain of command, and they were certainly not commanded by Christian religious texts. While history judges the Crusades largely as self-defeating to Christendom (the Fourth Crusade is credited with the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire), I'm sure this is not the cruel legacy apologists cite when passing moral condemnation on "Christianity's oppressive history."
Justifiable Even by Modern Standards
Not only was the European Christian campaign a defensive humanitarian and geo-political imperative by medieval standards, but also by modern standards of international law. Contrast that with every Islamic campaign observed throughout history, starting with the genocide of the Jews of Medina, to the genocide of Syrian and Iraqi Christians today.
The international duty of humanitarian intervention, commonly known as the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P), is an international norm, adopted retrospectively by the international community after its failure to respond to the Rwanda genocide of 1994. R2P holds that nation-states bear the responsibility to protect their internal populations (including ethno-religious minorities) from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. The international community bears the responsibility to assist said nations in fulfilling this primary responsibility. If a state manifestly fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocity, the international community bears the duty to intervene through coercive measures, to include military intervention.
Justifiable under both medieval and modern standards, the Crusades can only reasonably be condemned by way of revisionist history, and intellectual dishonesty. While this revisionist narrative was created in western ivory towers, it did not remain confined therein. This lie of the ages has spread from college campuses into western popular culture and ultimately infiltrated policy lobbies.
Either with treasonous purpose, or by ignorance, many supposed intellectuals fail to highlight the fact that medieval Arabic accounts do not regard the military campaigns of European Christians in the Holy Land as a monumental historic event. In fact, the Crusaders are regarded in medieval Arabic manuscripts as just another element in the political-military milieu of the Levant in the High Middle Ages, and were viewed with far less concern than the plethora of internal enemies of the Seljuk dynasty, and the Islamic Caliphate generally. It was not until the late nineteenth century that the notion of the Crusades as a discrete event entered into Arab nationalist political thought, drawing largely from western sources. This novel narrative neatly suits the deceptive Islamist victimhood agenda today.
The Proper Basis for Moral Comparison
It is nearly impossible to refute the claim that every religion, at some point in history, has had rogue elements commit criminal acts in its name. However, characterizing any religion by cherry picking the misdeeds of its individual adherents is a fundamentally flawed methodology for scientific inquiry. Individual actions only represent the vices and virtues of individuals. To objectively evaluate the character of a religion, one must engage in a sober review of its scriptural principles, along with the beliefs, character and conduct of its founding prophet.
According to biblical scripture, the followers of Christ are commanded to engage in a conquest of hearts and minds, with love as their sole weapon. In that light, Christian missions have fanned across the globe, over the last two millennia, building schools, hospitals, and orphanages.
Islam, on the other hand, expressly and unambiguously commands its followers to bring perpetual jihad until the Day of Judgment (al-jihad qa'm hatta yawm al-deen), or until all peoples of all nations submit to Allah. Islam's dominion theology is not merely the brainchild of an individual's radical interpretation or an extremist strain. Koran 9:5 commands Muslims to "slay the infidels wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush." Koran 8:12 more specifically commands Muslims to "strike off the heads of infidels." A far cry from "turning the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39).
If there's ever been a single cause that warrants the world community to mount a moral "high horse," this is it-the campaign against the ideology of the Islamic State. The world cannot afford to regard human beheadings and live human incineration from a moral relativist perspective. Shielding a self-proclaimed rogue state, and its belligerent ideology, from objective moral accountability is a treacherous slope, especially if that pseudo-state has already demonstrated the will and capacity to mount an unprecedented campaign to claim large swaths of sovereign territory, and redefine Westphalian world order.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.