Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 140

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Saturday & Sunday, February 6 & 7 2010 (diary)

Mooloolaba surf The surf at Mooloolaba has been pretty rough these last few days, but lots of fun with an exciting mixtures of good waves for body surfing and nasty "dumpers" (which tip over and crash down on you).
So there were frequent cries of "Take this one, this one!!" and occasionally "Oh NOOOOOOOO ..." when a huge dumper is slowly rising high up in front of your eyes (then it is a matter of trying to dive under it and hope for the best).

Babette with Hermina and Phil Two old friends, Hermina and Phillip from Perth (Western Australia), were on the Sunshine Coast for a Conference and stayed with us at ThreePonds for a day. It was nice to catch up with them, as I had not seen them for the best part of 20 years.
Hermina is Dutch like me and it was of course a treat to chat with her in our mother's tongue. Hermina and Phil just bought a house in my old University town Leiden (in Holland) and absolutely love it there. They plan to live there each year during Christmas as well as a few months during the summer.

Phil is a geologist (my former profession) so we too had lots in common and to talk about. We both agree that if there is any man made element involved in Global warming it is absolutely minute and negligible!
Professionals from the Natural Sciences see the world in a much broader time frame than politicians, media commentators and the general public and therefore have a far better insight in this matter. Slowly the rest of the world is starting to see the light.

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Monday & Tuesday, February 8 & 9 2010 (diary, politics, China)

With my bridge team : Mairead, Lisa and Gaileen, Oct.2009 My days here at the Sunshine Coast are coming to an end. My bridge team in Darwin has been adamant :

"Michael, the team is ready! We expect you back with us in Darwin before March 8, when we have our first serious teams competition (the GNOTS). And if the roads are still flooded : no excuse, you must swim across to get here."

So what can I say or do, when ordered by such lovely girls. Of course I will get there, or at least do my very best.

I read in the paper that a very recent survey in China has shown that more than 50% of the Chinese surveyed believe we are entering a new cold war between China and the USA. I believe that they may very well be right for there are an increasing number of friction points emerging between the two powers. Just the last few months :

    China's continued refusal to revaluate their currency (deliberately keeping it low against the US dollar) - its unco-operative stance against climate change and snub of Barack Obama in Copenhagen - its Internet attacks and spying on the US and other countries

  • USA : sales of military equipment and weapons to Taiwan - visit of the Dalai Lama to the White House - Google's refusal to continue filtering their search engine results

It is imperative that we reassess the real reason behind the victories of the wars of the past Century. The Allied forces (UK, USA, France, Australia, etc.) did not win the two world wars because it was Democracy triumphing over a Totalitarian system, or of good prevailing over evil. No it was because of the abundance of US material resources that they won these wars. And we won the Cold War against Russia because the superior free economy of the West.

But China is not Russia. China has a powerful authoritarian Government which can react quickly to political or economic circumstances, while it at the same time allows their economy sufficient freedom to flourish and grow.
In stark contrast, the West is governed by sluggish Democracies, which react slowly (if at all) and use a financial model that is now in tatters and urgently need serious revision.

I can not help wondering whether our so celebrated Democratic model has a rapidly approaching "use by date".

  1. Firstly in a Democracy majority rules. By definition this means mediocrity rules. No matter how creative and forward looking a Government is, when it leads from the front but gets too far ahead of the majority it will loose the next election.

  2. Secondly, Nations like the USA, UK and Australia are dominated by just two political parties (one socialist, the other liberal conservative). Whichever party is in government is therefore commonly obstructed in its agenda by a powerful opposition, so that in the end real progress is invariably slow and more often it is like "one step forward, two steps back".

So what can we do about this ? We should heed Anthony Trollope's warning and not just rely on our rectitude when assuming we are "in the right", but acknowledge the weaknesses in our political, economic and financial systems and do something to overcome these.
I believe that only through achieving this will we be able to restore and maintain a peaceful balance with China, and through this perhaps save our institutions of Democracy from becoming obsolete.
Unfortunately Barack Obama's recent populist measure of curbing Bank activities in the US sadly reveals that he has not a clue how to go about this. After the Davos Economic Forum last month it appears that nobody else has any idea either.

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Wednesday, February 10 2010 (diary, camels, carbon emission, tax)

Camel, by Pablo Picasso There are about one million feral camels roaming around in the deserts of central Australia. Like rabbits, they do not naturally belong in this country but are brought here by man and do considerable damage to the environment.
A camel also produces some considerable carbon emission, at the equivalent of one third of that of a medium size car. Getting rid of these camels would therefore amount to the equivalent of removing 300,000 cars from Australian roads.

When this proposition was put to the Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong this week she replied that there was no point in doing that "because feral camels are not included in the official globally accepted count for carbon emission reduction."
Only the 1,500 camels included in the Australian economy (for tourism, meat supply, etc.) are counted for this purpose, which would amount to the equivalent of only 500 cars.

Her comment clearly reveals (as also noted in 'The Australian' newspaper) the great insincerity of the Rudd Labour Government regarding their push for Climate Change legislation. They are not truly interested in improving the climate, but only in their flawed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which would bring them billions of dollars of revenue.

Some very good news from my accountant regarding my annual Tax return. Part of my modest Dutch Government pension is tax deductible. He only this year found the online instructions on how to claim that. So I hope to get a tax refund for 3 previous years to cover that. Most useful money coming in as I have some large bills to pay on new tyres, insurance and servicing of my car before I head off to Darwin again.
All the same I celebrated last night with a good dinner at the Thai Parnit Restaurant in Nambour. I am on my own at ThreePonds at present looking after the two dogs, because both Babette and Doug are away on business (in Sydney and India) until tomorrow.

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