On the universal basic income weaknesses

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“ In their incendiary book Inventing the Future, the authors Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek argue for UBI but link it to three other demands: collectively controlled automation, a reduction in the working week, and a diminution of the work ethic. Williams and Srnicek believe that without these other provisions, UBI could essentially act as an excuse to get rid of the welfare state. What’s needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but an entirely different conversation about what a welfare state is for. As David Lammy MP said, after the Grenfell Tower disaster: ‘This is about whether the welfare state is just about schools and hospitals or whether it is about a safety net.’ The conversation, in light of UBI, could go even further: it’s possible for the welfare state not just to act as a safety net, but as a tool for all of us to do less work and spend more time with our loved ones, pursuing personal interests or engaging in our communities ”

Ellie Mae O’Hagan, ‘Love the idea of a universal basic income? Be careful what you wish for’, The Guardian

On jihadi extremists, their goals and methods

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“ So it’s no surprise that both parties talk about security. However, the term itself is open to debate. People will point out that cows, clothes and cars kill more people every year than terrorism. Some say the threat we face from jihadi terrorism is unprecedented, while others say that, in historical terms, Europe is in a period of relative peace and that the larger dangers are from our own governments grabbing power in the wake of tragedy. Who’s right? Well … it’s complicated. Security expert Bruce Schneier describes security as both a reality and a feeling. The real risks of your children being the victims of a terror attack are low, but the odds don’t matter when it’s happening live on the news. Certainly, the raw number of attacks were higher in the 70s and 80s. That may be contributing to a greater sense of threat: if our baseline expectation of violence is minimal, attacks have more impact than if they are more regular (…) Westerners and Muslims, of course, are groups of significant overlap. They are not in opposition, but extremists on both sides want them to be. Professor Matthew Feldman, an expert in extremism at Teesside University, explains that an often overlooked impact of extremist activities is that they make the broader community feel forced to pick a side. Seen through this lens, the rush to demand that Muslims condemn the violence, setting up new loyalty tests for ordinary Muslim citizens, reinforces the Isis/English Defence League narrative that Islam cannot be accommodated within European culture (…) The Manchester bomber and the London Bridge attackers were atypical in historical terms but match a recent pattern of Isis terrorists. They weren’t religious extremists who became radicals, but radicals who became religious extremists. Isis is targeting young men who are already angry, disillusioned and rootless, and giving them a focus for that anger ”

Phil McDuff, ‘It’s complex: why the us-and-them approach to extremism won’t work’, The Guardian

On far-right Breivikism

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“ While the far right has always been obsessed with Jewish people, today’s far right is fixated too with Muslims and Islam. After three Islamist terrorist attacks in just a few weeks, some believe that Muslims as a whole are a fifth column, an internal menace to western civilisation. And that’s what leads on to what you could call ‘Breivikism’. In 2011, the Norwegian fascist terrorist Anders Breivik launched an Islamophobic attack that did not target Muslims. Instead, he targeted young socialists, whom he believed were traitors responsible for mass immigration, multiculturalism and the Islamisation of Europe. According to this worldview, the left is the enabler of Islam, and therefore just as culpable for the destruction of the west ”

Owen Jones, ‘Far-right extremists are cornered and dangerous. They must be challenged’, The Guardian

On the anti-US sentiment in Yemen for its support of the Saudi-led coalition

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“ ‘USA Kills Yemeni People’, screams graffiti plastered on walls in Yemen’s capital Sana’a. The Yemeni people who have been on the receiving end of US bombs dropped by Saudi pilots know all too well that the United States is complicit in their suffering. The intense anti-US sentiment in Yemen should be a wake-up call for Americans: if you don’t care about the millions of suffering Yemenis, you might think about the future blowback (…) People in the region understand that until there is a serious US interest in a political solution, it won’t happen. Even if Trump is only interested in ‘putting America first’, he would do well to stop being involved in dropping bombs on Yemenis and instead use his ‘art of the deal’ to join with the United Nations in ending this catastrophic conflict ”

Medea Benjamin, ‘America will regret helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen’, The Guardian

On the decisive differences between Clinton and Obama’s campaigns

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“ In 2012, 57% of millennials said that Obama’s policies would be “good for people like me,” compared to only 38% in 2016 saying the same about Clinton’s policies. According to the same research, Democratic messaging centered too much around personality and Trump’s unfitness for office, rather than on how Democrats would improve the lives of young voters ”

Sean McElwee & Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman, ‘Democrats need to win over young voters. Here’s how they can do that’, The Guardian

On how Muslims can offer the world their best qualities

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“ My existential crisis as a Muslim man haunts me to the core of my being. Amid the horrendous nihilism of Isis, the dull orthodoxy of self-proclaimed custodians of Islam and the culture of fear in the west which sees everything Muslim as pure evil, I seek an answer to a simple and unasked question: how does it feel to be Muslim today? Instead, you ask me to denounce – even apologize for – the horrors of Manchester, Nice, Orlando, Paris and Berlin, as if I were a silent accomplice cheering softly behind the garb of my faith. You mistake my silence for duplicity, my shock for deceit, and my choking inability to comprehend for disloyalty. But have you asked me how I feel instead of how you feel about me? (…) How can we reconcile the anarchic savagery of our worst Muslims today with the humanist generosity of our best Muslims of yesterday? What have we to offer the world today? (…) My aim here is not to disparage a civilization, but to diagnose its current malaise, one that inflicts Muslims today and prevents them from thinking themselves into the world, not because they are incapable of doing it, but because of a coordinated campaign to deny them the right to do it. Like many Muslims, I feel the weight of this tension everyday because the distance between our religious leaders and the world in which we live is a gaping hole. The biggest orchestrator of this campaign is not Isis. That is only one of its sad manifestations. It is Saudi Arabia and its rampant Wahhabi religiosity which cripples everything Muslim today. Its literalist theology is suffocating and has no place in the modern world. How can we tolerate a religious system which still flogs its people in public squares, denies its women basic rights like driving and looking out windows and criminalizes any form of dissent? Weighty words fit for a colossal peril that is Saudi Arabia ”

Nabil Echchaibi, ‘Muslims today face a deep malaise. We must confront it’, The Guardian

 

On Britain’s business community opinion on EU migrants

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“ It includes a poll of more than 1,000 companies, weighted to represent Britain’s business community, which finds that 23% believe allowing in an unlimited amount of EU migrants with a job offer would have a negative impact on their organisation. More than a third (35%) of businesses in low-wage industries said they recruited EU nationals because they cannot fill the positions with UK-born applicants, signalling that labour shortages could result from a clampdown. There was even more disquiet about stricter schemes among the 91% of companies that expected to hire EU migrants. Some 28% warned that giving skilled EU workers five-year visas would hurt them. More (30%) said that one-year visas for unskilled workers would do damage ”

 Michael Savage, ‘Big business leaders press Theresa May to rethink hard Brexit’, The Guardian