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Mums and Dads

January 11th, 2013

I don’t have a strong view on the hoax announcement that ANZ had withdrawn its support for the Whitehaven coal project. However, I do have some thoughts on the widespread claim that “Mums and Dads” lost significant sums of money as a result of the short-lived fall in share prices that ensued.

First, the claim is undoubtedly true. By the time they have enough money to invest in, or speculate on, the share market, the great majority of Australians have children. Nathan Tinkler, for example, is a father of four. Gina Rinehart is, at least according to her kids, a spectacularly bad mother, but she’s a mother all the same. The unremarkable fact that most owners of shares have children does not entitle them to any particular sympathy.

More importantly, this was a zero sum event. For every Mum, Dad, or childless person who lost money by selling at the bottom, another gained by buying.

Finally, what kinds of Mums and Dads lost money on this event? Anyone who left their investment portfolio unchanged over the course of the day was unaffected. So, the losers fall into two groups
(a) Unsuccessful speculators, who might be better advised to spend more time with their kids and less time playing the market
(b) A few unlucky parents who shifted their long-term investments the right way (that is, out of coal) but at precisely the wrong time

As regards Mums and Dads in group (b), I offer the consolation that, while they didn’t get the timing precisely right, a decision to sell coal stocks will very probably turn out well in the long run. And, as far as investing is concerned, getting out of coal is certainly the best thing they could do for their children.

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  1. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:17 | #1

    Hear hear!

  2. Ben
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:18 | #2

    Mums and Dads who invest in coal mining companies need to have a good hard look at themselves.

  3. Gavin R Putland
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:27 | #3

    In (b), did you mean to say the right way at precisely the wrong time?

  4. John Quiggin
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:29 | #4

    @Gavin R Putland

    Snap! I was changing it just as you commented

  5. Ootz
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:44 | #5

    Thank you Prof Quiggin, you once again confirm that you are a leading navigator in this spinning world trapped by parallel universes.

    What about the ‘mums and dads’ who get the ‘Orwellian treatment’ in “a carefully concocted scheme to get rid of legal challenges to ministerial decisions approving new mining ventures, in particular coal mines and coal-seam gas projects.”


  6. Fran Barlow
    January 11th, 2013 at 11:48 | #6

    Hear Hear Professor.

    As regards Mums and Dads in group (b), I offer the consolation that, while they didn’t get the timing precisely right, a decision to sell coal stocks will very probably turn out well in the long run. And, as far as investing is concerned, getting out of coal is certainly the best thing they could do for their children.

    I would also note that those “mums and dads” who did get the timing right have really only succeeded in passing over their exposure to loss to another party or parties who may also be mums and dads.

    I should declare too that despite being a parent I have no specific concern for the interests of mums and dads and always cringe when I hear the term. My specific interest is with working people and the marginalised, many of whom will be parents but who get no extra personal concern from me on those grounds. I am however in the “it takes a village to raise a child” camp. Not all parents and not even most have dependent children of course.

  7. January 11th, 2013 at 11:57 | #7

    Alison Parkes, who teaches accounting as well as having been the Green’s candidate for Lord Mayor of Melbourne, has noted that the actual losses were of the order of $80-300,000, rather than the $300million that has been widely quoted. That is in addition to your point that an equal amount was made as a windfall by those who bought at the bottom.

    I’d assumed at the start that the hoaxer would be charged and would have to accept the punishment, but I wonder whether they will actually go ahead. Given that in court any attempt to pin a $300million loss on him will fall over, will it be too embarrassing to charge him with costing (one subgroup) of investors $80,000 when they’ve been making all this fuss about the figure being 4000 times as high?

  8. January 11th, 2013 at 12:38 | #8

    Very well said, JQ. I’m sure many people will be put off by the “but but he hurt the ordinary MUMS AND DADS” approach, so this is very timely.

  9. January 11th, 2013 at 12:52 | #9

    Well said John.

  10. January 11th, 2013 at 12:56 | #10

    Carbon Pollution investing mums and dads have children. So by sinking money into speeding up Climate Armageddon, and so Economic Armageddon, where are their heads at?
    Haven’t these parents discovered ethical investments, so everyone wins.

  11. Katz
    January 11th, 2013 at 13:21 | #11

    It’s unlikely that either the big institutions or small investors (so-called mums and dads) were induced to sell as a result of the hoax.

    A perusal of WHC volumes indicates that sales, while up, we’re not enormous on 07-01-2013.

    It is likely that most of the action was by traders, who may indeed have produced offspring, but who are more remarkable for their chosen occupation as speculators than for their fecundity.

    That said, the market, like every other public institution, should protect itself better from pranksters. After all, Godwin Grech’s prank cost Malcolm Turnbull his career. The consequence was Abbott. If the losers in the WHC prank can unwind those trades, can the Libs unwind their latest spill?

  12. January 11th, 2013 at 13:21 | #12

    sorry but I beg to differ.

    The Mums and Dads and any other person would not have had to worry about this hoax if it never happened.

    What he did was illegal and he should be prosecuted.

    What if for some reason anyone was forced to sell when this was occurring!

  13. Uncle Milton
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:03 | #13

    The level of hatred directed at Jonathan Moylan in the right wing blogosphere is quite extraordinary, well out of proportion to what he did. The explanation, I think, is that not only is he an unkempt greenie who is campaigning against what he sees as a cause of climate change, which in itself sets right wingers off like hounds who have caught the scent of a fox, but he did it by disrupting what right wingers hold near and dear to their bosoms, the pure workings of the stock market.

    Mathematically, what he’s done is ‘action to enrage right wingers’ to the power ‘action to enrage right wingers’. Little wonder they’ve gone troppo.

  14. Uncle Milton
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:08 | #14


    Anybody with money in superannuation, which is anybody who works, will have some of that money invested in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, who mine a lot more coal than Whitehaven. This is worth keeping in mind if you’re going to take the high moral ground.

  15. Ootz
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:17 | #15

    Nonsense nottrampis, Moylan will not be charged for two reasons. First, as per Stephen Luntz ‘s comment above, it would be a PR disaster for the ASX and the coal grubs, remember the Mclibel case? Second, as Sally Whyte in her article in Crikey points out:
    “This is the third time in seven months the Australian stock market has seen share prices and trading affected by hoaxes. In July last year, David Jones stocks fell 5.4% on the back of a fake takeover bid and in October, trading in MacMahon Holdings was halted due to a bogus takeover bid.”
    In neither of the previous ones charges were laid, I guess it could encourage copycats.

    And as for the right honorable E Abetz’s clambering on top of his hobby horse of bashing the Greens, he would do well to remember his involvement of that other very undignified hoax.
    From the Globalmail:
    “First, Eric Abetz should know a thing or two about hoaxes. He was the man who first produced, in a Parliamentary estimates committee, an email — subsequently proven a forgery — which purported to show then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had received mates’ rates on a car in return for favours to a Brisbane car dealer.
    The source of the information was one Godwin Grech, a Treasury official identified by other members of the Coalition as its “mole” inside the department who channelled information to them.
    Abetz was the conduit by which this libel made its way into Hansard. Which puts him rather closer to the scene of the crime than the Greens in the ANZ press release hoax.”

  16. Ootz
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:25 | #16

    BTW Is coal the new asbestos?

  17. Happy Heyoka
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:30 | #17

    I think it was a _spectacular_ piece of culture jamming by Jonathan Moylan who had the cojones to implement it when he plainly understood the potential consequence for himself.

    Also, given that I can recall at least a couple of previous occurrences of something similar, but **done for profit**, I think we can agree that he was taking advantage of a previously exposed and obvious vulnerability in corporate-to-market communication.

    Practical digital signature technology, more than 20 years old, could 99% eliminate this and all it would take is a simple ruling from ASIC to require it in “official” communications. There are already a bunch of rules dealing with this area so I can’t see that it would be huge burden on anyone involved.

    JM’s main crime, I suspect, was his success with such a trivial exploit; like Mathias Rust flying to Moscow or the Chaser and their Sydney APEC prank.

  18. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:32 | #18

    Uncle Milton @13, it was amusing to read a letter in yesterday’s SMH that complained that “[Christine] Milne will lead her party to the next election having endorsed the potential of hoaxers to attempt to bring down an economic system that is based upon the transparency of asset values in a free market.” This is like accusing Milne of wanting to pull the wings off the Tooth Fairy and turn the Easter Bunny into rabbit pie.

  19. January 11th, 2013 at 14:40 | #19

    There is a right way and a wrong way to go about an issue.

    This is clearly the wrong way.

  20. John Quiggin
    January 11th, 2013 at 14:47 | #20

    To restate, I’m not taking a view on the hoax itself, just making the point that its impact on economic welfare was tiny, and that the overheated responses are nonsense.

  21. rog
    January 11th, 2013 at 15:09 | #21

    A lot of traders have automatic stop loss orders in place so the fall could have shaken these out. Also anyone who is on a margin loan, warrants or other such devices would have lost out. But these are not normally the activities of your normal Mums and Dads, unless they are running a hedge fund.

  22. Tim Keegan
    January 11th, 2013 at 15:19 | #22

    I’m sure a lot of people suffering from tobacco and asbestos related cancers would have liked to have seen an action like Moylan’s in the 1960′s. We need to get out of fossil fuels.

  23. Tim Hollo
    January 11th, 2013 at 15:53 | #23

    Great post, John.

    Re your last point about coal not being a great investment for the kids, as it turns out Whitehaven hasn’t exactly been a great investment for anyone over the last two years:


  24. Tim Macknay
    January 11th, 2013 at 16:01 | #24

    @Happy Heyoka

    I think it was a _spectacular_ piece of culture jamming by Jonathan Moylan who had the cojones to implement it when he plainly understood the potential consequence for himself.

    A minor quibble – according to Crikey, Jonathan Moylan said he wasn’t really aware of the possible legal consequences at the time he performed the hoax.

  25. Pete Moran
    January 11th, 2013 at 16:04 | #25

    Brilliant post.

    It’s extremely troubling to hear the ABC talking all this ‘victim’ nonsense so seriously. In fact, the media’s performance on this topic deserves examination as well.

    JQ, can you try to get on to provide them some of the famous ‘balance’ I’m sure they’ll be scratching for in this?

  26. January 11th, 2013 at 16:05 | #26

    I agree on that however he still misled people.

    It was the wrong way to go about it.

  27. tgs
    January 11th, 2013 at 16:37 | #27

    John Quiggin :To restate, I’m not taking a view on the hoax itself, just making the point that its impact on economic welfare was tiny, and that the overheated responses are nonsense.

    What is your stance on the hoax itself?

  28. Fran Barlow
    January 11th, 2013 at 16:42 | #28


    Err … It’s an acceptable and plausible way. Whether with hindsight, it will prove to have been a good move from the POV of working people is as yet too early to say.

  29. Fran Barlow
    January 11th, 2013 at 16:44 | #29


    And if they are, then more fool them.

  30. January 11th, 2013 at 18:17 | #30

    It is acceptable and plausible to lie about something merely because you think it is bad?

  31. Jim Rose
    January 11th, 2013 at 18:22 | #31

    There is a difference between chaining yourself to something to get publicity for your cause to influence public opinion and elections and imposing your will on others.

    It is about fidelity to democratic equality and the rule of law: Jonathan Moylan thinks his vote counts for more than minea and yours. Might never makes right. That is mob rule.

    We resolve our differences by trying to persuade each other and elections.

  32. rog
    January 11th, 2013 at 18:30 | #32

    That’s nonsense, Moylan’s only crime (if you can call it that) is that he is not a banker with HSBC. Had he been employed with a bank he could have committed any number of crimes with impunity (too big to fail) while being paid handsomely for his efforts.

  33. January 11th, 2013 at 18:39 | #33

    I disagree Jim. Progressive change has come about through struggle against the powers that be, not from their largesse. Civil disobedience can produce change and help change the attitudes of the public to an issue. Moylan’s actions challenge the untrammeled rule of capital and its casino of the ‘free market’, sorry I mean stock market. Hence the vitriol from capital and lies about the impact of the loss aimed at him. The Herald Sun has an article whose headline says Hoaxer Jonathan Moylan cost Nathan Tinkler $180 million… Even on the basis of a market capitalisation ‘loss’ rather than a realised loss, it was only about $50 million and if he didn’t sell it was righted after the hoax was revealed, ie in ahort time. So his loss as a consequence of the hoax was $0. Just a little different to $180 million. His notional loss since the high price of $6.03 on 18 April 2012 on the other hand has been 43%. Many mums and dads who have invested in Whitehaven have lost similar percentage amounts. Any jail for the directors for that loss? No, that’s ‘the market,’ and it is sacrosanct isn’t it?

  34. January 11th, 2013 at 18:41 | #34

    Stephene Luntz, you say ‘Alison Parkes, who teaches accounting as well as having been the Green’s candidate for Lord Mayor of Melbourne, has noted that the actual losses were of the order of $80-300,000, rather than the $300 million that has been widely quoted.’ Any link for this? Google doesn’t bring up anything for me.

  35. Uncle Milton
    January 11th, 2013 at 18:53 | #35

    @John Passant

    I can’t see how she could possibly know this. She’d have to know who bought and sold and at what price. Maybe some of the same people sold on the way down and bought on the way up. Who knows? Not even the ASX would know. If Moylan is charged or sued, someone might forensically go through each trade, but until then, nada.

    It could be that her numbers are brokerage fees. But even then she’d be guessing.

  36. John Quiggin
    January 11th, 2013 at 20:17 | #36


    Not my style but not a big deal either.

    The same is done every day for profit, and on a much bigger scale, by the big investment banks – eg pitching stocks to their clients, while selling the same stocks. If the publicity leads people who formerly trusted the stockmarket to distrust it, that’s a good thing. (For example, I don’t think Jim Rose believes the nonsense he is pushing, but if he does, this is a good lesson on how easily the system can be, and routinely is, gamed).

    To make the point even sharper, Nathan Tinkler is ripping off everyone in sight – tradies,suppliers, the ATO (that is, us), shareholders and so on, while living it up in IIRC Malaysia. The outrage over this hoax really is confected.

  37. rog
    January 11th, 2013 at 21:23 | #37

    On the day there were more than double the transactions before trading was suspended.

  38. Fran Barlow
    January 11th, 2013 at 22:31 | #38

    There’s no wrong in what Mr Moylan has done. It may well have been pointless, though it is much too early to tell. But nobody who lost was entitled to avoid loss or to win and those who won may yet lose tomorrow. The whole thing, as the Americans say, is one big crap shoot, and Mr Moylan’s action exposed just how arbitrary the whole business is. That in itself may be a sufficient warrant for what he did.

    It is ironic that the enthusiasts for capitalism appeal against dishonesty, when capitalism on a global scale is a system designed to swindle the bulk of the world’s people as a matter of course and forever. The charge is led by newspapers under the instructions of the most dangerous criminal mastermind in the world — a man who has tainted governments and mobilised armies from three continents to do his bidding — and is even this day smiling as drones blessed by him slaughter innocents in at least four countries.

    Even at the micro-level, Whitehaven were lying about the community benefits of the project and covering up the fact that they were pitching for government subsidies of about $23k per job. These are part of a cohort that brought down a Prime Minister of this country to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

    No, Mr Moylan is not the criminal here. Not even a bit.

  39. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 12th, 2013 at 07:55 | #39

    I’ve made this point on another thread, but Moylan’s action has brought about a greater level of public awareness of the reality of big bank involvement in fossil fuels behind their greenwashing facade than had been achieved by legal means (e.g. Guy Pearse writing an excellent book, Greenwash, which has attracted much less interest from the media than tripe like 50 Shades of Grey).

  40. January 12th, 2013 at 08:28 | #40


    thinking here is becoming catallaxyix!

    It is perfectly okay to lie about something, possibly meaning people lose money on a bogus claim but there is nothing wrong with what moylan did.

    I side with Jim Rose

  41. Fran Barlow
    January 12th, 2013 at 09:25 | #41


    I side with Jim Rose

    How embarrassment! {/Effie}

  42. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 12th, 2013 at 09:33 | #42

    At the risk of being called on a Godwin, would the world have been a better place if Oskar Schindler had been scrupulously honest and truthful in all his dealings with the German authorities.

  43. Fran Barlow
    January 12th, 2013 at 09:40 | #43

    @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy

    Apparently his factories were very poorly run, costing the German taxpayers far more than they should have. What can one say of such a man?

  44. Katz
    January 12th, 2013 at 09:56 | #44

    And why didn’t Oscar simply come out and say frankly to the Nazis that he disapproved of the way they were treating the Jews? Oscar didn’t give the Nazis an opportunity to examine themselves and to change their ways.

    Instead, cynically, Oscar played an expensive hoax on the Nazis.

  45. Jim Rose
    January 12th, 2013 at 10:36 | #45

    @John Passant Civil disobedience and political activism are overrated.

    Most activists take to the streets because if they ran openly for office, they would struggle to get 1% of the vote. Their best options are entryism and branch stacking.

    The strength of democracy is a small group of concerned and thoughtful citizens can band together and change things by running for office and winning elections.

    That is how new parties such as the ALP, the country party, the old DLP, Australian democrats and the greens changed Australia. One nation even had its 15 minutes of fame. Bob Katter’s party and the new DLP are next! All started in someone’s living room.

    The Progressive Left finds democracy frustrating because it cannot win openly at the ballot box even under proportional representation in federal and state upper houses. the state upper houses even have Christian and shooters parties and many independents.

    When the shooters party and no aircraft noise party can win ahead of you, it is time to accept that your message of struggle simply does not resonate with the electorate. There was only one left-wing government in Australia for three years after 1949.

    1. As for say the US civil rights movement as a change a catalyst, that was about shifting allegiances as more Southerns joined the middle class and voted Republican – a trend dating from the 1920s. Eisenhower carried much of the South. LBJ was put on JFK’s ticket to win back Texas. The democrats played both sides of the fence and kept courting the Dixiecrat vote, which was working class, until it died out.

    2. the antiwar movement in the US in the 60s died off when the draft was repealed.

  46. Katz
    January 12th, 2013 at 10:42 | #46

    And let’s not forget John Brown. Instead of attempting to persuade Southern voters to abolish slavery peacefully and voluntarily, he fomented a slave uprising. This was no hoax or prank. It was the real thing. Fortunately, the ASIC of his day caught up with Brown and he was hanged.

    Yet, shockingly, a hymn honouring this destroyer of the wealth of slave-owning mums and dads of the South is still sung in Christian churches worldwide.

    Do these Christians have no respect at all for the rights of property and for an orderly market in working capital?

  47. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 12th, 2013 at 11:34 | #47

    Jim Rose @45, that’s too simple. It’s 30 years ago this year that civil disobedience and political activism, combined with an astute electoral intervention, helped to bring about a change in Federal government in Australia, prevent the construction of the Gordon-Below-Franklin Dam, preserve one of the most valuable World Heritage properties in the world, redefine Australian federalism and contribute to the emergence of a significant new political party. The effects of this development are still being felt.

  48. John Quiggin
    January 12th, 2013 at 11:43 | #48

    Jim, I don’t usually bother with your stuff but this “the antiwar movement in the US in the 60s died off when the draft was repealed.” appears to be missing the phrase “in 1973, after the US withdrew from Vietnam” Would you like me to fix it for you?

  49. January 12th, 2013 at 12:11 | #49

    Jim, the ALP was formed as a consequence of the defeat of unions and direct action during the 1890s Depression. It was not some Kumbaya happy clapping let’s all get together and change other people’s minds type of thing. In fact,as the destruction of Rudd as PM shows, real power exists disproportionately with capital, and it is only industrial action or mass social protests than can challenge its entrenched power. Parliament doesn’t. Indeed it is its spokesperson, with minor differences.

  50. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 12th, 2013 at 12:41 | #50

    In support of John P @49 I offer Julie Novak at Catallaxy, who Jim Rose must surely consider a reliable authority who writes, with characteristic moderation and equanimity:

    “That a rabid self‑interest group, in the guise of trade unions, had crafted the Australian Labor Party to infiltrate legislatures, and subvert democratic principles in carrying out the unionists’ bidding, is of great historical shame and discredit to Australia, in my personal view.”

  51. Katz
    January 12th, 2013 at 14:45 | #51

    JR, have you ever heard of the Case-Church Amendment of 1972 and the Nixon veto-busting majority it received in both Houses of Congress?

    After that amendment, there was no more war for Americans in Indochina.

    The protest movement got what it wanted before the end of the draft in late 1972.

    If you want to stop being foolish, you really should try to avoid regurgitating wingnut myths.

  52. Jim Rose
    January 12th, 2013 at 15:03 | #52

    @John Quiggin As you ask, the Vietnam anti-war movement were primarily the result of the draft: hell no we won’t go etc and the burning of draft cards.

    Vietnamisation and college exemptions from the draft changed everything.

    By the beginning of 1972, over 400,000 U.S. personnel had been withdrawn, virtually all combat troops. The protests were against ending up in the jungle – not up the rear with the gear.

    There is a large literature on how college exemptions to the draft during the Vietnam War led to an over-supply of graduates in the 1970s. The over-educated American. Draft deferments for married men and fathers affected average marriage ages too, as I recall.

    p.s. a Vietnam vet told me that when he returned to his U.S. campus in 1971, it was very quite compared to 1969 because the spectre of the draft had gone in their minds.

  53. Ootz
    January 12th, 2013 at 15:49 | #53

    Katz, the problem with wing nuts is, they are superficially critical for either simple reasons, such as just to be contrarian or alternatively for obvious self or vested interest. So like real wing nuts they tend to stick out so one constantly bumps into them or get caught with the cleaning rags. However, they are practical; you can unwind them easily. So lets see what JR is holding together.

    I made clear early on that, like our host, Moylen’s action is not my style. First, if you accept the proposition, like you do, that in certain social situations it is allowed to break the law for the betterment of the society, then who is going to be the arbiter, history? Further, if you extend that sort of reasoning universally could that not end in a state of anarchy. Second, talking about style, my personal favorite is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s Satyagraha,. Then take Martin luther King, Lech Walesa, indeed Martin Bubers “Man’s Duty As Man” and it kind of goes right back to Thoreau. There are certainly plenty of other options available that people can take as civil action. As I argued previously, The Destroy the Joint movement was to a large part successful, because they themselfs kept it clean That is what you do when you stand up to a bully and say “Sorry, your behaviour is not tolerated for these reasons … and if you continue this way then x is going to happen.” the question is which one is the most suitable to achieve the result we would like to achieve in relation to coal and mining. Perhaps it would not hurt to ask the koories, murries and noongars et al. about their experiences on their land. As it is, in my parts and back then, most of their land and livelyhood was lost in the mad gold and grazing rush, and all for economic growth.

  54. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 12th, 2013 at 16:02 | #54

    Ootz, I have formed the opinion that had you been the Australian cricket captain in 1932-33, you would have responded to Bodyline much as Bill Woodfull did, and would have resisted the advice of hard-nosed types like Vic Richardson that the most effective response by Australia would be to select Laurie Nash and Eddie Gilbert to open the bowling and beat the Poms at their own game. :-)

  55. Katz
    January 12th, 2013 at 16:23 | #55

    Ootz, your use of the word “allowed” generates a potent ambiguity.

    “Allowed” can mean legal or licit. Yet it is true that one may act entirely legally with profound bastardry. It is clear that Moylan acted illegally. He did the crime he should be willing to do the time. Who knows, he may become a minor martyr for a good cause.

    Outside the frame of the law “allowed” can mean justified by one’s own sense of right and wrong. Here we are in “A Man For All Seasons” territory. You may recall how Sir Thomas More sought all manner of stratagems to avoid becoming a martyr. Yet there came a time when his conscience gave him no choice. Did STM stop attempting to avoid commitment too soon? Didn’t he have choices? I guess Moylan also had choices but in the end, STM felt that he couldn’t look at himself in the mirror without self disgust.

  56. Ootz
    January 12th, 2013 at 16:36 | #56

    Bring back Birdie, as you may gather I have a CALD backround, thus cricket utterly escapes me. You are welcome to translate your comment in another context. If it helps, I have done armed service, lived several of my formative years in civil wars, had guns poked at me, saw whole townships burn down, dead people in the streets …. Options are a precious gift when you want to change the world. However, they do not preclude assuming a last stance, as long some thought went into. As I understand, at present we have available more than five times over the amount of fossil fuel to turn into energy and CO2 than is required to keep at a minimum of ‘safe’ 2 degrees C level and a growing population all wanting GROWTH. PriceWaterhouse reports, that to keep to the 2oC ‘safe level’ we, globally, need to achieve 5% co2 emission reduction every year from NOW. Surely no situation to play games and amuse ourselfs?

  57. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 13th, 2013 at 06:05 | #57

    Ootz, in the serious light of morning I agree with you, especially your last three sentences.

  58. Jim Rose
    January 13th, 2013 at 09:14 | #58

    @Katz There were 24,000 US troops in Vietnam in 1972. this compares to 560,000+ in 1969. The senate voting to end the war when that was Nixon’s policy was a token gesture.

    I remember some guy saying that peace was at hand just before the election.

  59. Ootz
    January 13th, 2013 at 09:43 | #59

    Thanks, Bring back Birdy and Katz for making me nostalgic of Brian’s CC threads on the old LP.

    “I guess Moylan also had choices but in the end, STM felt that he couldn’t look at himself in the mirror without self disgust.”
    Katz, what a poignant summary, perhaps all of us should look at ourselves and our involvement with fossil fuel. Not all of us are capable or willing to perform in a media. Nor do media stunts and publicity solve the problem per se. There are many more actions individuals, including mums and dads, can take to become proactive and indeed resilient in the face of the co2 behemoth. Personally I’d like to see an organised push to shame investors in dirty energy. However, as individuals we then also have to be prepared to stop taking advantage from ‘cheap and easy’ options to fuel our habits. It is a drug, you know, or as Mick Jagger puts it:

    Please allow me to introduce myself
    I’m a man of wealth and taste
    I’ve been around for a long, long year
    Stole many a man’s soul to waste

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
    Ah, what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

    I shouted out,
    “Who killed the Kennedys?”
    When after all
    It was you and me
    So if you meet me
    Have some courtesy
    Have some sympathy, and some taste
    Use all your well-learned politesse
    Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah

    Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name

  60. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    January 13th, 2013 at 10:00 | #60

    Ootz, can I recommend “Greenwash” by Guy Pearse as a guide to the traps and pitfalls that the corporates are setting for those of us who want to do the right thing by the climate?

  61. January 13th, 2013 at 13:20 | #61

    Jim Rose, you’re making sh!t up. Again.

    From the statements you’ve made, it’s clear you’re too young (unlike me) to have direct, personal memory of the anti-war protest movement. While it’s true that the Australian anti-war movement became irrelevant upon Whitlam’s election in 1972 when he called the troops home and told the Nashos they could leave any time they wanted, it was still ongoing in the USA, as they still had troops in Vietnam.

    Still, you’ve never let facts interfere with a good story in the past, so I can understand why you’d stick with what looks like a winning strategy.

  62. kevin1
    January 13th, 2013 at 13:50 | #62

    @Jim Rose Can you substantiate that student opposition to Vietnam declined in 1971 because “the spectre of the draft had gone in their minds.” Wikipedia on Draft Evasion cites a govt document which says in 1969 “it implemented new standards that greatly restricted the availability of deferments. They were ended for graduate students and limited for undergraduates.” and this Slate article http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_reckoning/2012/08/23/_2012_brings_a_field_without_military_service_does_it_matter_.html claims “The actual draft had been suspended in 1973, with the U.S. withdrawal, and then Gerald Ford abolished the selective service (registration) requirement in 1975.”

    Although you imply that the motives of those opposed to the war are devalued by their concerns about being drafted, it is without question that Republicans and their acolytes were active in avoiding active service. Not just Bush junior and Mitt Romney, but Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, John Bolton, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove. Nowadays there is almost total abstention from military service by the US upper class, and only 1% of Congress reps have children serving http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2270473&page=1This link also cites a Duke University study which reportedly says that “when we have the fewest number of veterans in leadership and staff positions in Congress and the executive branch, we are most likely to engage in aggressive (as opposed to defensive) war fighting. And we are most likely to pull out of conflicts early.”

    Tom Barker, the Australian Wobbly did 12 months time in 1916 for publishing a cartoon which said “To Arms! Capitalists, Parsons, Politicians, Landlords, Newspaper Editors and Other Stay-At-Home Patriots. Your country needs YOU in the trenches!! WORKERS, Follow your masters.’’ http://links.org.au/node/1104 It is an unfortunate consequence for our polity that with “volunteer” armies, drones and robots that we can wage war while the great majority of the population is insulated from the slightest discomfort or even awareness.

    Just as former ADF chief Peter Cosgrove said we should never have gone into Vietnam, now Brigadier Cantwell, former chief in Afghanistan says that conflict is not worth the loss of one more Australian life. Rather than old stereotypes of military adventurers, we are fortunate to have military leaders who place more value on loss of life than our political class do.

  63. Katz
    January 13th, 2013 at 13:58 | #63

    @Jim Rose

    @Katz There were 24,000 US troops in Vietnam in 1972. this compares to 560,000+ in 1969. The senate voting to end the war when that was Nixon’s policy was a token gesture.

    You have just demonstrated your incomprehension of the Case-Church Amendment. It didn’t just end the war, it prohibited all future commitment of US forces to designated countries.

    Regardless, your partial understanding of events at the end of 1972 should be sufficient to demonstrate that the antiwar movement had achieved its core demands by that time. Why continue to protest for causes that have already been won? It’s not sensible.

    Granted, fringe organisations wanted to press for greater victories, but these folks were not popular.

  64. January 13th, 2013 at 18:30 | #64

    “A decision to sell coal stocks will very probably turn out well in the long run” seems like good advice.
    The global coal price is in steady decline, competition from US coal exports is ramping up, and natural gas is increasingly replacing coal.

    Investors in coal place their financial security at considerable risk. For example: http://blog.gerbilnow.com/2013/01/nsw-coal-exports-to-double.html

  65. January 14th, 2013 at 12:47 | #65

    Perhaps relevant to this discussion – an article just out in PNAS argue for shareholders to be held liable for the damages that companies cause to the environment and people
    News piece: http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/yournews/51987
    Paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/02/1219791110

  66. Uncle Milton
    January 14th, 2013 at 14:58 | #66

    @Megan Evans
    If you want to kill capitalism as we know it, that would be a very effective mechanism. No one would ever invest in anything.

  67. Jim Rose
    January 14th, 2013 at 15:38 | #67

    @Katz A 95%+ reduction in US troops in Vietnam between 1969 and 1972 suggests to me that the US was on the way out of that war by 1972.

    In January 1972, President Nixon announced the removal of another 70,000 troops over the next three months, but 25,000 to 35,000 American troops would remain until North Vietnam released all American POWs. The last US ground combat troops left on 23 August 1972. No war to protest against on a hell no we won’t go basis.

    On ‘Why continue to protest for causes that have already been won?’ in 1972, John Q. was offering to correct an earlier post of mine on the grounds ‘“the antiwar movement in the US in the 60s died off when the draft was repealed.” appears to be missing the phrase “in 1973, after the US withdrew from Vietnam”’

  68. Katz
    January 14th, 2013 at 17:01 | #68

    So, if there was no disagreement between Nixon and the Congressional antiwar majority, why did Nixon threaten to veto the Case-Church Amendment and, when he realised that the numbers were against him, work feverishly to delay its currency?

    Hint: there was serious disagreement. In December 1972, Operation Linebacker II was unleashed on North Vietnam. Such operations did not require any ground troops at all. The antiwar movement suspected correctly that Nixon proposed to continue to prosecute the war by other means. The Case-Church Amendment stymied Nixon’s plans.

    So you see JR, even though Nixon’s strategy required no ground troops and therefore no draftees, the antiwar movement acted effectively to end all forms of US military involvement in Indochina.

    Or to put it in your terms, the antiwar movement wanted to ensure that Nixon got completely out of Indochina, not partially out. And as I said earlier, they wanted to make sure that Nixon stayed out.

    And to return to your original assertion, without the Draft the US would have been incapable of occupying South Vietnam at all. It is therefore impossible to talk about US involvement in Vietnam without also talking about the draft. If the US had simply sent a professional army to Vietnam, there may not have been an antiwar movement spawned by the war. But under those restraints there would not have been a war, or at least one involving the US. Instead, the Viet Cong, with some help from the North would have won a speedy victory.

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