July 21, 2012

Late Night Live

ABC Radio National

Peter Kuznick:
[During the Cuban missile crisis] US boats were dropping depth charges on the Soviet sub that was … accompanying the ships that were moving toward … the quarantine line.
And we'd knocked out the power systems, the carbon dioxide is rising, the Soviet sailors are … passing out, and the commander says:
War must have started already, let's fire our nuclear torpedo!
— and gave the order to fire.
[Vasili Arkhipov (1926 – 98),] who was a sub-commander on the ship, talked him out of it.
Had Arkhipov not talked him out of it, then the Soviets were going to fire their nuclear torpedo, nuclear war would have begun in 1962 and much of the world as we know it would have been wiped out.

Tony Windsor (1950):
I've always been a fan of having a price of carbon …
Even John Howard, and Malcolm Turnbull, and Tony Abbott supported it back in [the day.]
They proposed to have an emissions trading scheme, but to get the institutional framework in place, you've really got to have a fixed price for a certain period of time.
[For Howard and Turnbull that was 1-2 years.]
[Under the current scheme it's] only a fixed price, or a tax, until 2014 when it becomes an emissions trading scheme. …
It is the cheapest way of trying to deal with the risks that are out there.

On Tolerance

Douglas Murray (1979):
We are the inheritors of Christian culture whether we like it our not. …
What we have in countries like yours, countries like mine, is historically very unusual.
Values like tolerance … are not made such a big thing of in many other societies around the world.
(Is Islam killing Europe?, 13 June 2017)

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970):
The Anabaptists repudiated all law, since they held that the good man will be guided at every moment by the Holy Spirit, who cannot be bound by formulas.
From this premiss they arrive at communism and sexual promiscuity; they were therefore exterminated after a heroic resistance.
(p 20)

The Syrians, who were largely Nestorian, suffered persecution at the hands of the Catholics, whereas Mohammedans tolerated all sects of Christians in return for the payment of tribute.
Similarly in Egypt the Monophysites, who were the bulk of the population, welcomed the [Muslim] invaders.
(p 513)

Gradually weariness resulting from the wars of religion led to the growth of belief in religious toleration, which was one of the sources of the movement which developed into eighteenth- and nineteenth-century liberalism.
The Thirty Years' War persuaded everybody that neither Protestants nor Catholics could be completely victorious …
(A History of Western Philosophy, 2nd Ed, 1961, pp 510-1)

From Latin fānāticus (“of a temple, divinely inspired, frenzied”), from fānum (“temple”).
(Wiktionary, 22 December 2012)


Historically speaking, religious tolerance is no more an essential feature of Christianity than intolerance is of Islam.
In the 17th century the Catholics and Protestants fought each other to a standstill.
It was only after the Catholics found there were too many Protestants to kill that they resigned themselves to 'tolerating' the continued existence of the heretics.
They did, however, give it their best shot.
If it had been in their power to destroy them, they would have.
Indeed, when Christian minorities were sufficiently small and weak, eg the anabaptists (who were persecuted by both Protestants and Catholics), they were annihilated.
Ironically, in the Middle Ages, the Nestorian and Monophysite Christians were safer under Islamic rule than Christian rule.

Tolerance arose not out of religious doctrine but military exhaustion.
Not from divine inspiration but practical reality.
From necessity rather than choice.
Western civilisation owes its tradition of religious tolerance not to its Christian heritage, but to secular modernity.

Fanaticism is the breeding ground of atrocity.
Atrocity is the breeding ground of fanaticism.
Christian, Jewish and Muslim fanatics are not dangerous because they are Christian, Jewish or Muslim.
They are dangerous because they are fanatics.
Dogmatic adherence to scripture is not productive of civil relations between diverse groups.


The Indispensable Nation

Tony Windsor

Buying Politicians

Money Talks

Late Night Live

Phillip Adams (1939)

  • Middle East meltdown?, 20 August 2013.
    Patrick Cockburn: Foreign correspondent, The Independent.
    Rosemary Hollis: Professor of Middle East Policy Studies, City University, London.
  • China and the world's environment, 19 August 2013.
    Craig Simons: Environmental writer.
    Jennifer Turner: Director, China Environment Forum, Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.
  • JFK's last year, 15 August 2013.
    Jeffrey D Sachs: Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University.
    Thurston Clarke: Historian.
  • Egypt on the brink, 1 August 2013.
    Ahdaf Soueif: Novelist, commentator.
  • Darwin, denialism and climate change, 30 July 2013.
    Tom Griffiths: W K Hancock Professor of History, Australian National University.
  • Inside the new America, 16 July 2013.
    George Packer: Author, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.
  • Untold history of the United States, 1 July 2013.
    Oliver Stone: Filmmaker, Screen Writer and Director.
    Peter Kuznick: Professor of History, American University, Washington.
    You are the light of the world.
    A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
    (Matthew, 5:14)

    Madeleine Albright [Secretary of State to Bill Clinton, 1997-2001]:
    If we have to use force, it is because we are America.
    We are the indispensable nation.
    We stand tall and … see further than other countries …
    (Bush & Clinton - Squandered Peace and New World Order, The Untold History of the United States, 7 January 2013)
    Peter Kuznick:
    This notion of American Exceptionalism [dates back to] John Winthrop, in his sermon on the Arbella in 1630 in Massachusetts bay, where he says that
    [Wee] shall be as a citty upon a hill.
    The eies of all people are uppon us.
    (A Model of Christian Charity)
    That belief has been central to American mythology throughout American history.
    That the United States is different from all other countries.
    That the United States is more moral, more righteous …

    George Will [Conservative Columnist]:
    There are many magic moments in American history that convince you that there’s something miraculous about the American experiment.
    And one of them is the simultaneous death, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
    These great rivals, the crusty, awkward — not very lovable, frankly — New England Federalist and the graceful Virginia gentleman striking up this wonderful correspondence that becomes one of the treasures of American letters, dying simultaneously on July 4, 1826.
    And John Adams’ last words were,
    Jefferson still survives.
    Indeed he does.
    (Ken Burns, Thomas Jefferson, 1997)

  • Blue Labour: Lessons for Australia, 27 July 2013.
    Maurice Glasman: Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, London Metropolitan University.
  • Trayvon Martin verdict, 24 July 2013.
    Bruce Shapiro: Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
  • Egypt and the future of political Islam, 15 July 2013.
    George Joffe: North African Ppecialist, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge.
    Ashraf Khalil: Independent correspondent, Cairo.
  • Rudd's resurrection, 26 June 2013.
  • Being independent, 12 February 2013.
    Tony Windsor: Independent Member for New England, House of Representatives, Commonwealth of Australia.

    [Coal seam gas is] an issue that I've been banging on for a number of years …
    Back in the … John Howard days [we wanted] some money spent on objective assessment of landscape, particularly water.
    There were various threats being posed, particularly … to the Liverpool plains, which is a beautiful area of land [in my electorate —] magnificent soil.
    It has these massive reserves of ground water beneath it.
    I've been arguing for some time that we've got to be a little bit careful with those sorts of landscapes.
    That we don't rush in with a whole range of resource activities, particularly coal seam gas. …

    When you've got massive resources of ground water … and you're [drilling holes] a kilometre deep, you've got to be really certain that you're not creating some issues of mixing salt water aquifers with fresh water aquifers.
    Particularly now that we've just gone through all this agony of trying to [negotiate] some sort of water budget [in] the Murray-Darling [Basin].
    One of the things that we really haven't got a handle on is the relationship between ground water systems and surface water, and what that means at the Murray mouth. …

    We need to change the way in which we make these decisions.
    The decisions should be made on objective science. …
    [Once] you get that independent scientific advice, you need to risk assess the landscapes.
    If there's landscapes where there's low risk, activities would probably proceed.
    If there's landscapes with high risk, they probably shouldn't. …

    [The CSG industry ran a TV advertisement] last year that said the know reserves in New South Wales alone could power a city the size of Sydney for 5,000 years. …
    My argument is
    Why don't we slow done in some of these sensitive areas?
    Get the science right, and if we lose a couple of years in terms of that 5,000, I think future generations might forgive us. …

    Even in the 6 months that the [carbon price has] been in play, there's been … in country areas, enormous changes in behavior.
    Just this week, we've seen 16 of the major meat processors [—], that did get some assistance from government [—] they've been able
    • to reduce their emissions …
    • to reduce their reliance of natural gas or electricity …
    • to produce methane [so they can generate] some of their own energy …
    It's actually working in some of those areas where the [critics were] saying this will make us internationally uncompetitive.
    The reverse is the case.
    We're working on a case at the moment where the unit costs, at an abattoir, could be reduced by up to 20% because of the carbon tax rather than the other way [around. …]

    I am a believer in climate change.
    It's an attitude to risk, again.
    If you've got a number of expert people telling you there's a risk here …
    I would have thought, if we were responsible to future generations, we should attempt to do something about it.
    And I think the globe will come on side as the decade proceeds. …

    It all very well for the [conservative] opposition to run around and say
    We'll change the National Broadband Network.
    The climate change issues will all change.
    We'll do something with the Murray-Darling [Plan].
    Everything will become different.
    Everything that is bad will become good again.
    Well, it's not as simple as that.
    You've got, obviously, the Senate — the balance of power will be against the opposition …
    And there's a number of issues that they'll struggle to change.
    … Tony Abbott will probably comply with his promise to remove the carbon tax.
    And he'll do what John Howard and Malcom Turnbull did, is morph it into an emissions trading scheme.
    Which, technically, then, isn't a tax.
    That takes advantage of the groundwork that's been done by this parliament. …

    The fixed wireless [component of the National Broadband Network —] and we're getting quite a lot of that in country areas [—] has doubled [our bandwith].
    It's just a black box on the towers, 25 down, 5 [megabits/sec] up.
    [And that's just the] fixed wireless … not [optical] fiber.
    Various communities, one in my electorate, Armadale has got the fiber rolled out as we speak, nearly completed. …
    We sold last century's technology for $51 billion, that's the old Telstra.
    Copper wire — we sold it for $51 billion.
    We going to rebuild it with a new one for around $40b, some of that will be accumulated on the market, taxpayers will be up for $27 — $30 billion …
    [Even] if it does blow out, we get a new car for less than we sold the old one.
    I would have thought that's a fairly good business plan.
    A lot of the things that people will benefit … from fiber-optic … we don't even know exist yet.
    But it will [allow] some of that technology to go ahead. …

    Gonski has devised a funding formula [where] the money … follows the needs of the student, irrespective of what school he happens to be in. …
    If we're ever going to back investment in our future we've got to back our kids …
    And we are falling behind.
    [Major] beneficiaries will be country kids.
    Because, regrettably, that's where a lot of the disadvantaged kids are. …

  • Dying with Dignity, 6 December 2012.
    Ken Hillman: Professor of Intensive Care, University of New South Wales; Director of the Simpson Centre for Health Services Research.
    Richard Denniss: Executive Director, Australia Institute.
  • Climate, Science and Denial, 30 July 2012.
    Philip Mirowski: Carl E Koch Professor of Economics and the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
  • A Super History, 30 July 2012.
  • Money and Influence in US Politics, 7 June 2012.
    Daniel Newman: Founder and Executive Director, Maplight.org.

    Phillip Adams:
    [A super PAC] can raise funds without limits, to support or oppose candidates. …
    In 2008 … to be in the race, House members, needed to raise, on average, $1900 per day or $1.4 million. …

    Daniel Newman:
    As a [winning] senator, you have to raise several thousand dollars a day for your entire 6 year term …
    Senators and Representatives in the US congress spend 70 to 30% of their time raising money. …

    The five justices out of nine on the supreme court, the majority which dispensed essentially with limits on campaign contributions and spending.
    They took a very hard line.
    They obviously have a certain ideology that they wanted things to go that way. …

    [Newt] Gingrich would not have remained a candidate were it not for just one couple [casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miram] who contributed [$5 million each.] …
    [The] path of the Republican presidential primary was changed [by two people] writing cheques. …

    Phillip Adams:
    [The Koch brothers] were equally over-committed to idea of the super PACs. …

    Daniel Newman:
    [It's a really] tiny group of people that is giving the money to fund these campaigns. …

    Obama [raised] more money [in the 2008 campaign] than any presidential candidate ever in small donations; but, he also raised more money than anyone in large donations from traditional sources including corporate sources.
    So his fund raising was a combination of both …

    [The Republicans] tend to have more wealthier backers …
    [That's] what you see in these large sums being amassed by the Karl Rove Super PAC.

    On the Democratic side [they don't believe that they] can match [the Republican's] dollar for dollar …
    [So] some of the large traditional Democratic voters [are saying] they're going to put their money into voter mobilization and more grassroots strategies. …

    Phillip Adams:
    [Senators] who voted "no" to John McCain's amendment to allow the importation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, received 2.8 times as much money, in campaign contributions, from the pharmaceutical manufacturers. …

    Daniel Newman:
    That pattern of the money aligning with votes comes up on issue after issue …
    The $700 billion dollar bailout of banks that happened several years ago …
    The House members that voted for the bailout received 50% more money from banks than House members who voted the other way. …

    [It's a] myth that the super PACs are independent.
    [In] fact, they are run by close associates of the campaign.
    They can even share information publicly on their websites …
    They can run extremely negative advertising against their opponents and then the candidate can say
    "Oh I had nothing to do with that ad"
    when reality it's the same campaign, the same machine that's running those ad's. …

    [A] donor can contribute as much as he or she wants to a "pass-through entity", essentially a non-profit group set up for this purpose, and then that group can give the money to a super PAC without the ultimate source of funds being know. …
    Many corporations give money to the [US] Chamber of Commerce for political activity …

    With the Republican primary, you had much of the primary elections wrapped up before we [knew who was] running the ad's. …

    [There are several] specific actions that Obama could take [to address these issues] that he has chosen not to. …

    … Arizona [has introduced] public funding of elections.
    [Janet Napolitano] was the first governor in US history elected without private money.
    The first thing she did when she got into office [was] to make prescription drug discount program for Arizona citizens.
    She said
    "I couldn't do that if I had taken drug company money." …
    [We] now see a movement [in New York State] to pass public funding for state offices …

    California Proposition 29 … would increase the tax on cigarettes … by $1 per pack …
    The main funder for the proposition is the American cancer society …
    Overall … the Tobacco companies, have spent 3 times more [opposing it]. …

    Phillip Adams:
    Exxon-Mobil are pouring unbelievable amounts of money into [the current presidential] campaign, running at 98% pro-Republican …
    Their motivation is [to block action on] climate change.

    Daniel Newman:
    There is no investment that gives a higher return on investment than political influence. …
    Instead of companies innovating, coming up with better products, serving society better, it's cheaper for them to buy politicians.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Populism, 15 May 2012.
    Jim Hightower: Former Agriculture Commissioner, Texas.

    Jim Hightower:
    The …
    $97m went into [the superPACs of the] {top five Republican contenders for the presidential nomination} in the last few months.
    [Seven] people, were [accounted] for almost half of that money …

    Phillip Adams:
    One guy put $21m into Gingrich's campaign …

    Jim Hightower:
    That guy has specific things he wants from government.
    These are not people contributing to good government or to ideology.
    They are contributing to their own self-interest and particularly the [interests] of their class …
    They want to supplant our democracy with their plutocracy …
    Now the supreme court has freed them to put unlimited sums of money in.
    And that money doesn't just talk, it shouts.

    Phillip Adams:
    As you point out … a corporation isn't a person until Texas executes one! …

    Jim Hightower:
    It's not just that [the supreme court justices] said corporations are persons, but … that money is speech. …
    A corporation is [therefore] a superhuman person with the ability to spend more money, and to have … more speech than any human person can possibly have. …

    [Your] mining barons are now saying, we deserve to … own the media.
    We deserve to be able to put … money into politics. …

    The failure of the political parties to address the big issues …
    [In] my country it would be the need for universal healthcare.
    It'd be the need to good wages.
    Not just jobs.
    As Jesse Jackson points out, slaves have jobs.
    We're talking about income, middle class possibilities.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Dick Smith, 3 May 2012.
    Dick Smith.
  • The revolution in consciousness, 26 April 2012.
    David Brooks: Senior Editor, Weekly Standard.
  • Pacific Women, 29 March 2012.

    [The] most recent World Development Report [by] the World Bank [found that] Melanesia has the highest recorded rate of [domestic and sexual] violence against women in the world.

  • 'Bad News': Quarterly Essay, 5 September 2011.
    Robert Manne.
  • The many faces of Julian Assange, 29 March 2011.
  • Koctopus: the billionaires behind the Tea Party, 13 September 2010. Lee Fang.
  • The storms of James Hansen, 8 July 2010. James Hansen.

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