September 30, 2011

Green Army: Persons of Interest

Global War on Disinformation


Free at Last







(Stephen Ives, Roads to Memphis, PBS American Experience, 2010)

Theodore Parker (1810 – 60) [Unitarian Minister and Abolitionist]:
Look at the facts of the world:
You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right.
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe — the arc is a long one [and] my eye reaches but little ways …
[Yet,] from what I [can see,] it bends towards justice.

Martin Luther King (1929 – 68)


Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.
(April 1963)

[If] a man has not discovered something that he [is willing to] die for, he isn't fit to live.
(Speech during the Great March on Detroit, Cobo Hall, 23 June 1963)

[I] have a dream.
It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, [that:]
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. …

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. …

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight …

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with:
  • With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
  • With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
  • With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day … when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring! …
And so:
  • Let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
  • Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
  • Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
  • Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
  • Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. …
  • Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
  • Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
  • Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
  • From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children —
  • black men and white men,
  • Jews and Gentiles,
  • Protestants and Catholics,
— will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last!
Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
(I Have A Dream, Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, 28 August 1963)


Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness.
Let us stand with a greater determination.
And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. …

… I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead.
But it doesn't matter with me now.
Because I've been to the mountaintop.
And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. …
But I'm not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God's will.
And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I've looked over.
And I've seen the promised land.

I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.
And I'm happy, tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man.
[For, mine] eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

(I've been to the mountain top, Memphis, Tennessee, 3 April 1968)


Nina Simone (1933 – 2003)


I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
I wish I could say
All the things that I should say
Say 'em loud, say 'em clear
For the whole round world to hear

I wish I could share
All the love that's in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you'd see and agree
That every man should be free

I wish I could give
All I'm longin' to give
I wish I could live
Like I'm longin' to live
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do
And though I'm way over due
I'd be starting anew

Well I wish I could be
Like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be
If I found I could fly
Oh I'd soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
Then I'd sing 'cause I know,
How it feels to be free

(Dick Dallas & Billy Taylor, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, Silk and Soul, 1967)


A New Birth of Freedom






David Grubin:
[In the lead up to the 1864 presidential election, the] Democrats were about to nominate the former Union Commander, George McClellan, still popular, still ambitious.
Lincoln believed McClellan was likely to try to end the war by promising to rescind emancipation. …
The Democrats were calling for an immediate armistice and negotiations with the South.
(Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, PBS American Experience, 2001)

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826):

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions.
The most unremitting despotism, on the one part.
And degrading submissions, on the other. …
Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect:
  • that God is just [and]
  • that his justice cannot sleep for ever …
Nothing is more certainly written in the Book of Fate than that these people are to be free.

William Herndon (1818 – 91):
If Lincoln ever had a happy day in 20 years, I never knew of it.
A perpetual look of sadness was his most prominent feature.
Melancholy dripped from him as he walked.
(p 79)

Dale Carnegie (1888 – 1955):
The great tragedy of Lincoln's life was not his assassination, but his marriage.
When Booth fired, Lincoln did not know what had hit him, but for 23 years he had reaped almost daily what Herndon described as "the bitter harvest of conjugal infelicity."
(Lincoln the Unknown, 1932, Windmill Press, 1947, p 195)

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 65)


I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one fried left, and that friend shall be deep down in side of me …
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.
I am not bound to succeed but I am bound to live up to the light I have.
(Peoria, 16 October 1854)

  • If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and
  • if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and
  • if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.

What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
(Letter to Horace Greeley, 1862)

I am opposed to Negro citizenship in any and every form.
I believe this government was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity for ever. …
I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races.
There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together on the footing of perfect equality.
He is not my equal in many respects, certainly not in color, perhaps not in intellectual or moral endowment.
But in the right to eat the bread … which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of … every other man. …

A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing, or all the other.
(1858)

It was [the American Constitution] which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. …
If this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle … I would rather be assassinated on this spot than to surrender it.
(11 February 1861)

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other.
The prayers of both could not be answered.
That of neither has been answered fully.
The Almighty has his own purposes.
(Second Inaugural Address, 4 March 1865)

(David Grubin, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, PBS American Experience, 2001)


Contents


Aly, Waleed

Adams, John

Bickmore, Barry

Blyth, Mark

Buffet, Warren

Chang, Ha Joon

Cook, John

Darwin, Charles

Das, Satyajit

De Botton, Alain

Enting, Ian
Ferguson, Charles

Flannery, Tim

Galbraith, John

Garnaut, Ross

Gates, Bill

Gibbon, Edward

Gore, Al

Grant, John

Gyatso, Tenzin
Haidt, Jonathon

Hansen, James

Harari, Yuval
Hoggan, Jim

Horne, Donald

Houghton, John
Hulme, Mike

Hume, David

Jackson, Tim
Johnson, Lyndon

Kahan, Dan

Kennedy, John

Keynes, John Maynard

Kilcullen, David

King, David

King, Martin Luther

Lewis, Michael

Lincoln, Abraham

McKnight, David

Manne, Robert

McPhersen, James

Megalogenis, George

Mill, John Stuart

Oreskes, Naomi

Pearse, Guy

Piff, Paul

Piketty, Thomas

Popper, Karl

Probert, Belinda
Putnam, Robert

Quiggin, John
Ricard, Matthieu

Roosevelt, Franklin

Russell, Bertrand

Sagan, Carl

Singer, Peter

Soros, George

Stiglitz, Joseph
Stone, Oliver

Truman, Harry

Washington, Hadyn
Wilkinson, Richard

Wilson, Woodrow


Persons of Interest


Waleed Aly (1978)


Broadcaster.
Lecturer in Politics, Global Terrorism Research Centre, Monash University.

  • The Future of Conservatism in Australia, Big Ideas, ABC Television, 12 April 2010.
  • What's Right? Quarterly Essay, Issue 37, Black Inc, March 2010.
  • People Like Us: How arrogance is dividing Islam and the West, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2007.

    In the early 1940s, Winston Churchill conceived of a campaign of 'terror bombing' German cities …
    Its target was not the German army, but … the 'morale of the enemy civil population'.
    New weapons, such as incendiary bombs, were [explicitly] designed to destroy private homes.
    Half a million … civilians were slaughtered …
    Eventually … this tactic "of bombing German Cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror (though under other pretexts)" [was reviewed;] not because it was immoral, but because otherwise Britain "shall come into control of an utterly ruined land".
    As a matter of morality, Churchill would defend the terror campaign until his death. …

    [For] twentieth century military theorists, such as General Giulio Douhet or Basil Liddell Hart … the object of war was the subjugation of the enemy's will [to fight by any means necessary — including:]
    [Attacking] the centres of government and population …
    The legitimisation of civilian targets is largely a bequest of this modern [concept of 'total war'.]
    (pp 201-2)

    [The] objectives of Islamic law [are] the preservation
    • of religion
    • of life
    • of property
    • of the intellect and
    • of lineage. …
    The prohibition on consuming intoxicants … aims to preserve the intellect.
    Prescribed forms of worship … inculcate the preservation of religion.
    [The] strictures of warfare that protect non-combatants … preserve life.
    [And] the denunciation of inequitable trade practices speak to the preservation of property.
    (pp 231-2)


Barry Bickmore


Professor of Geochemistry, Brigham Young University.
County Delegate for the Republican Party (2008-2010).


Ha Joon Chang (1963)


Professor, Faculty of Politics and Economics, Cambridge University.

  • Economics: The User's Guide: A Pelican Introduction, 2014.

    The Mondragon cooperative group is famous for having the wage rule in which the partner in charge of the top management position can be paid only three to nine times the minimum wage paid to a partner who does a front-line job …
    [The] exact ratio [is] decided by votes among the partners of each cooperative.
    Compare this with the pay packages of top American managers, who get at least 300–400 times the average (not minimum) worker’s wage.
    (Some estimates that include stock options — whose values … could be over 1,000 times.)


    Finance


    [In] order to fully understand a CDO^2 — one of the more, but not the most, complicated new financial products — a prospective investor needs to absorb more than one billion pages of information …

    According to [the] models, the chances of what happened in 2008 actually happening were equivalent to winning the lottery twenty-one … times in a row. …

    [The massive expansion in the financial sector has led] to a misallocation of [human capital,] as people who would be a lot more productive in other professions — engineering, chemistry and what not — are busy trading derivatives or building mathematical models for their pricing.
    It also means that a lot of higher-educational spending has been wasted, as many people are not using the skills they were originally trained for. …

    The disproportionate amount of wealth concentrated in the financial sector also enables it to most effectively lobby against regulations …
    [Furthermore, the 'revolving door'] between the financial industry and the regulatory agencies means that [a] lot of regulators … are instinctively sympathetic to the industry that they are trying to regulate …
    Regulators may bend the rules … to help their potential future employers.
    [Alternatively, former regulators can] just set up their own private equity funds or hedge funds, into which the beneficiaries of their past rule-bending will deposit money …

    Despite the [manifest] incompetence, recklessness and cynicism [of the financial industry, the] ideological conviction [persists] that maximum freedom for the financial industry is in the national interest. …

    [Virtually] no country was in banking crisis between the end of the Second World War and the mid-1970s — when the financial sector was heavily regulated. …
    Our financial firms have become very good at generating high profits for themselves at the cost of creating asset bubbles whose unsustainability they obscure through pooling, structuring and other techniques.
    When the bubble bursts, these firms deftly use their economic weight and political influence to secure rescue money and subsidies from the public purse, which then has to be refilled by the general public through tax hikes and spending cuts.
    This scenario has been playing out on a gargantuan scale since the 2008 global financial crisis, but it had already been repeated dozens of times on smaller scales all over the world … in the last three decades. …


    Inequality and Poverty


    [The] majority of statistical studies looking at a large number of countries show a negative correlation … between a country’s degree of inequality and its growth rate. …
    During the last three decades, despite the income shares of those at the top rising in most countries, investment and economic growth have slowed down in most of them. …
    [The] recent dramatic upswings in inequality in the US and the UK can mainly be explained by deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. …

    The most equal societies [have income] Gini coefficients between 0.2 and 0.3.
    Many of these are advanced capitalist countries with a strong welfare state.
    They are, in alphabetical order, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway (the most equal country in the world) and Sweden. …
    Some of the most equal countries are former socialist bloc economies, whose egalitarian legacies have held [eg:] Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia …
    Roughly speaking, Gini of 0.35 is the dividing line between relatively equal countries and ones that are not.
    {In the case of the US … the OECD estimate is around 0.38 but the ILO puts it around 0.45.}
    [I]t is clear that wealth inequality is much higher than income inequality in all countries …

    Since the 1980s, income inequality has risen in the majority of countries. …
    The trend of rising inequality has slowed down somewhat since around 2000. …

    [Markets] are routinely rigged in favour of the rich …
    Money gives the super-rich the power even to rewrite the basic rules of the game by … legally and illegally buying up politicians and political offices. …

    Currently, around 1.4 billion people — or about one in five people in the world — live [in absolute poverty on] less than [PPP] $1.25 per day.
    Over 70% … live in middle-income countries. …

    [The OECD] ‘universal’ (relative) poverty line [is] defined as the proportion of population living with less than 50% of median household income in each country (after taxes and transfers) …
    [Of] OECD member countries with more than $20,000 per capita income in 2011, Denmark [6.0%] had the lowest poverty rates, followed by Iceland [6.4%,] Luxembourg [7.2%] and Finland [7.3%.]
    The ones with the highest poverty rates were Israel (20.9%), followed by the US [17.5%], Japan [16.0%,] Spain [15.4% and Canada (11.9%).]

    Given the high inequality in many poor countries, absolute poverty (and relative poverty) can be reduced without an increase in output, if there is appropriate redistribution of income.
    In the longer run, however, a significant reduction of absolute poverty requires economic development …

    The rich countries may have virtually got rid of absolute poverty, but some of them suffer from high incidences of relative poverty and high inequality. …
    [To] allow poor individuals to get out of poverty through their own efforts, we need to
    • provide more equal childhood conditions (through better welfare provision and education),
    • improve access to jobs by poor people (by reducing discrimination and ‘clubbiness’ at the top) and
    • prevent the rich and the powerful from rigging markets. …

    Work and Unemployment


    [According to the OECD, in 2011] the longest [annual] working hours [were] found in
    • South Korea [(2,090),]
    • Greece [(2,039),]
    • the US [(1,787)] and
    • Italy [(1,772). …]
    The Greeks [worked] 1.4 and 1.5 times longer than the [Germans (1,406)] and Dutch [(1,382) respectively. …]

    [In] the early 1970s, there were less than ten unemployed people [out of a population of 200,000] in the Swiss city of Geneva …
    In Greece and Spain the unemployment rate has risen from around 8% before the [global financial] crisis to 28% and 26% respectively, with youth (aged fifteen to twenty-four) unemployment rates over 55%. …


    The Role of the State

    [For 21.5 of the 32 years to 2013] six out of the ten holders of the US treasury secretary position [came from] the financial industry. …
    [Two out of the six came from Goldman Sachs. …]


    The International Dimension


    [In 1928 there was a] massacre of striking workers in a [United Fruit Corporation] banana plantation in Colombia …
    [The] Colombian government sent in its army and killed possibly thousands of workers (the number has never been confirmed) {when it was threatened with an invasion by the US Marines to protect the interests of the UFC. …}

    In some rich countries, especially in the UK (which actually doesn’t have a particularly generous welfare state by European standards) there is a fear of ‘welfare tourism’ — immigrants from poor countries coming to live off the welfare state of the recipient country.
    But in most of these countries immigrants pay on average more taxes than they claim from the welfare state.
    This is because they tend to be younger (and thus don’t use health care and other social services very much) and [because skilled migrants tend to earn more] than the average local person. …

    [In difficult economic times] disaffected native workers, manipulated by right-wing populist politicians, come to believe that their woes have largely been caused by immigrants.
    But much bigger causes of stagnant wages and declining working conditions are in the realm of corporate strategy and government economic policy:
    • shareholder value maximization by corporations, which requires squeezing workers,
    • poor macroeconomic policies that create [unnecessarily high levels] of unemployment,
    • inadequate systems for skills training that make local workers uncompetitive and so on.

    [According to the World Bank] the stock of immigrants in the rich countries rose from 7.8% of the population in 1990 [88 million] to 11.4% in 2010 [145 million. …]

    [The] population of the developing world is nearly 4.5 times that of the rich world (5.60 billion vs 1.29 billion) …

    Remittances [by foreign workers are] over $300 billion [or] around three times larger than foreign aid given to developing countries by rich countries (around $100 billion).

    Would you like to know more?


John Cook


Climate Communication Fellow, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland.


Alain De Botton (1969)

  • Status Anxiety, Hamish Hamilton, 2004.

    'Natural' Ideas, 1857-1911
    Earl Percy:
    The real fact is that man, in the beginning, was ordained to rule over woman …
    [This] is an eternal decree which we have [neither the right nor the] power to alter.
    (1873)

    Lord Cromer:
    There is more difference, physically and morally, between an educated European man and a European woman than there is between a European man and a negro belonging to some savage Central African tribe.
    (1911)

    William Acton:
    The majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled with sexual feeling of any kind.
    (1857)

    Alexander Stephens:
    As a race the African is inferior to the white man; subordination to the white man is his normal condition.
    Therefore our system, which regards the African as an inferior, rests upon a great law of nature.
    (1861)
    (p 213)
    George Bernard Shaw:
    You must clear your mind of the fancy with which we all begin as children, that the institutions under which we live are natural, like the weather.
    They are not.
    Because they exist everywhere in our little world, we take it for granted that they have always existed and must always exist.
    That is a dangerous mistake.
    They are in fact transient makeshifts.
    Changes that nobody ever believed possible take place in a few generations.
    Children nowadays believe that
    • to spend nine years at school,
    • to have old-age and widows' pensions,
    • votes for women and
    • short-skirted ladies in Parliament
    is part of the order of nature and always was and ever will be …
    [But] their great-grandmothers would have said that anyone who told them that such things were coming was mad — and that anyone who wanted them to come was wicked.
    (The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928, emphasis added)
    (p 215)


Ian Enting (1948)


Professorial Fellow, Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems, University of Melbourne.

  • Climate science and public debate, Ockham's Razor, ABC Radio National, 13 March 2011.

    [If] there was a real case against a significant human influence on climate, why is so much of what passes for public debate based on fabrication?
    If Ian Plimer had a real case, why does he misrepresent the contents of dozens of his cited references and fabricates so many of his graphics?
    More importantly, since Plimer is only one individual, if his fellow pseudo-sceptics desire scientific truth rather than just manufacturing doubt, why don't they explicitly dissociate themselves from Plimer's conduct?

  • Twisted, The Distorted Mathematics of Greenhouse Denial, 2007.


Ross Garnaut (1946)


Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Professorial Fellow in Economics, Melbourne University.
Distinguished Professor, Australian National University.

  • The Garnaut Climate Change Review, 2008.

    If there is no comprehensive global agreement at Copenhagen in 2009, Australia, in the context of an agreement among developed countries only, should commit to reduce its emissions by 5% (25% per capita) from 2000 levels by 2020, or 13% from the Kyoto compliance 2008–12 period. …
    Australia’s mitigation effort is our contribution to keeping alive the possibility of an effective global agreement on mitigation. …
    A well-designed emissions trading scheme has important advantages over other forms of policy intervention.
    However, a carbon tax would be better than a heavily compromised emissions trading scheme.
    (p xl)


Tenzin Gyatso | Lhamo Dondrub (1935)


14th Dalai Lama.
Nobel Peace Prize (1989).

  • Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, Little, Brown and Company, 1999 (Abacus, 2001).

    [The] fact that
    • the air we breathe,
    • the water we drink,
    • the forests and oceans which sustain millions of different life forms, and
    • the climatic patterns which govern weather systems
    all transcend national boundaries is a source of hope.
    It means no country, no matter … how rich and powerful or how poor and weak … can afford not to take action [on] this issue.

    So far as individuals are concerned … while one person's actions may not have a significant impact, the combined effect of millions … certainly does.
    [It] is time for all those in the industrially developed nations to give serious thought to changing their lifestyle. …
    The fact that the rest of the population of the rest of the world as an equal right to improve their standard of living is … more important than the affluent being able to continue their lifestyle.
    If this is to be fulfilled without causing irredeemable violence to the natural world — with all the [suffering] that this would entail — the rich countries must set an example.
    The cost to the planet, and thus the cost to humanity of ever-increasing standards of living [for the already comfortably off,] is simply too great.
    (p 202)

    History shows that many of the positive developments in human society have occurred as the result of compassion.
    If we look at the evolution of human society, we see the necessity of having vision in order to bring about postive change.
    Ideals are the engine of progress.
    (p 205)

  • The Transformed Mind, 15 June 2009.

    Interdependence


    [One] meaning of interdependence is that all conditioned phenomena depend on causes.
    This implies that there is no creator; things depend on their own causes and those causes in term have their own causes, with no beginning.
    (p 30)

    [Emptiness] is not mere nothingness.
    Since all things are interdependent, independent identities or entities don't exist.
    (p 33)


Jim Hoggan


Public relations professional.


Mike Hulme (1960)


Professor of Climate Change, School of Environmental Science, University of East Anglia.
  • Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Lessons from East Anglia, The Science Show, ABC Radio National, 25 September 2010.


David McKnight


Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow and Academic Postgraduate Research Coordinator, Journalism and Media Research Centre, University of New South Wales.


Joseph Stiglitz (1943)


Swedish National Bank's Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (2001).
Professor of Economics, Columbia University.
Inaugural Rod Wyllie Eminent Visiting Fellow, University of Queensland.


Hadyn Washington


Environmental scientist.

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