Saturday, October 31, 2009

Layer 214 . . . Part Three . . . Mel's Journey into Darkness and Ignorance, Obama and City Bonuses

Well done The Guardian for giving Ed Hussain space in the paper to lambast the appalling Melanie Phillips.

The personal jihad of Melanie Phillips

In her McCarthy-style paranoid parallel universe, the Spectator columnist views every Muslim a potential Islamist terrorist
Melanie Philips's zealotry and ignorance frighten me. How did we produce a public commentator filled with such anger, venom and hatred?

I believe in the human ability to change and, in that hope of helping Melanie see the the flaws in her analysis, I met with her several times in private and appealed to her to stop blaming Islam and Muslim scripture for (the decidedly un-Islamic phenomenon of) terrorism. Why would she and her acolyte Douglas Murray not cease attacks on Muslim scripture that were based on bin Laden's understanding of Islam? And why would they not support Islam's inherent pluralism and recognise that Islam per se is not the problem, but iconoclastic interpretations of it.

With Melanie and Douglas, I probably failed. Just as humans can travel to enlightenment, they can also journey into darkness and ignorance.

Melanie has gone from being a tree-hugger during her Guardian days to ranter about climate change "totalitarians". And worse, seeing conspiracies and dangerous links where there are none. What else explains her suggestion in last October's Spectator magazine that President Barack Obama "adopts the agenda of the Islamists" and is "firmly in the Islamists' camp"?

Lots of good comments on CiF after this article, like this one from royj68 -
The reason i can't listen to the moral maze anymore.Taking lessons in morality from Melanie Phillips:hilarious.
And from notsuperstitious -
Don't forget the Melanie Phillips definition of 'anti-semitism' i.e. anyone who dares question that maybe, just maybe, the Palestinians have a right to their own state, perhaps should not be subject to apartheid restrictions in their own land with their resources and land stolen from them, and in fact deserve to be treated and viewed as human beings rather than the unpleasant brown stuff you sometimes tread in.

Talking of Obama -

Much remains for Obama to do – but what's remarkable is how much he has achieved in the face of financial crisis – by Ian Williams
After Obama's election I wrote here: "It may not be the second coming, but to use the eschatological phraseology of the Palins of this world, it is certainly the end of the reign of the Antichrist." I also recalled what I'd said during the campaign: "The world looked upon these elections as an IQ test for the American public. The electorate has aced the test. It has put centuries of racism behind it and elected a president who shows signs of knowing where the rest of the world is."
Frankly, while still far from euphoric, I feel vindicated. The coalition of not-so-covert racists, teabaggers, birthers and defenders of Medicare against the state should be a reminder to the purist Obama-detractors of the left just who could instead be staffing the US government now.

There's talk today about how Obama seems to have failed to create any positive change in the Middle East and Israel. It looks to me as though having appointed Hilary Clinton he's more or less had to allow her to go softly softly into the region and more or less be led round in circles by the various parties there.

However, there will surely come a point when he'll have to say in a big speech what he expects to see happening henceforward, and what the consequences will be as far as America is concerned if the Israelis continue to take the American billions and give nothing in return except piss-taking and a contemptuous refusal to cooperate in any enlightened way.

Time for a windfall tax on bonuses

We need to transform the banking sector by reasserting democracy and bringing the business elite to account

by Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford
The Christmas bonus pay-out by the City is forecast to rise to £6bn. This excessive reward for market failure is morally and politically unacceptable. So today Compass is calling for a windfall tax on bankers' bonuses.
A minimum tax of 25% on banks' bonus funds could net £1.5bn to create jobs for young people and help to develop the future green economy. The government must show political leadership and act decisively because there are larger issues of democracy and economic development at stake.
Britain is now the only major economy still in recession. Three decades of the ascendancy of financial capital and the dismantling of the welfare state, employment regulation and workers' rights has removed many of the economic stabilisers that act as buffers to deflationary pressure – secure jobs, decent wages and proper benefits. With our capacity to weather the economic storm weakened, millions will pay for the bankers dynastic levels of wealth by facing a sub-poverty line Christmas on the £69-a-week Job Seeker's Allowance.
Lord Griffiths, vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs, says the British public should tolerate this kind of inequality because it will lead to "greater prosperity for all". The evidence proves him wrong. A decade of booming bank profits has left the incomes of middle Britain stagnant. Between 2005 and 2006, when the financial services share of the UK's GDP increased from 8.8% to 9.4%, income poverty began to rise again.
The business model of the financial sector does not spread wealth and it does not create a significant number of jobs. It established a collusion between shareholder value and the business elite which engineered a massive transfer of wealth to the rich.

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