Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 140
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Saturday & Sunday, February 6 & 7 2010
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).
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
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)
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
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
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
I can not help wondering whether our so celebrated Democratic model
has a rapidly approaching "use by date".
- 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.
- 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
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)
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.
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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
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
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.
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.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner