Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A difficult mother’s birthday - and a wonderful cake!

This past few weeks have been difficult for me owing to my mother having to have two operations for a breast tumour and my having to spend three hundred dollars to replace the whole frame of my bike. The problem was discovered in an unusual manner when I was travelling to visit Christian Ganaban in Richmond and the bike appeared to move out of alignment.

This has made me very nervous about my future, with concern I will have to work much harder than I have been doing lately. The last few months have been dominated by grazing and grazing on Sesame Wheats and Monte Carlos, so that my mass, which over the middle 2000s I had curbed the growth of and even achieved some loss, has risen to quite unprecedented levels.

In spite of this, today I have done a good deal to redeem an appallingly late night where I was not in bed until 3:00. After recovering from a prolonged sleep, I went quickly to get the 1999 Geelong v Melbourne game from Christian Ganaban and to re-deposit money in my saver’s account that had been used to pay for the bike frame. I did not - as I have been doing - hand around Name A Game, but after buying meat, mushrooms, cake and ice cream went straight to prepare for a dinner planned by my mother of steak, chips and mushroom sauce. After buying the steak and mushrooms, I came home to cut the potatoes and watch a surprisingly good game between The Cats and Demons in a year when both became awfully disappointing.

When Mummy came home at 18:00, I had already prepared the food for cooking, and we cooked it very well - indeed only one of the two steaks was required. I enjoyed the dinner even if I expected more varied flavour and Mummy said not to cook the onions and garlic I had prepared as she wanted a pure mushroom sauce for the steak.

The highlight of the day, however, was the way in which the cake shop (I am familiar with it but have never bought from it) gave my mother a piece of white chocolate with “Happy Birthday” on it! She was amazingly delighted, even though we had to remove the chocolate spirals to cut the cake into a piece small enough for eating, and in my view the cake and ice cream (of which there were two flavours, vanilla and banana, which I bought because bananas have been appallingly expensive ever since the major cyclones of last summer) were the real highlight of what I fear in my worst dreams will be my mother’s last birthday dinner, although she says that the cancer is not invasive and will not reach the lymphatic system.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

It’s not de-funding, it’s equitably taxing

In my email today, I had an advertisement for Credo Mobile Phones given to me by the American journal Mother Jones (MoJo). I had never expected it to be an advertisement, but the point of de-funding the greenhouse sceptics is one which really needs serious attention.

Greenhouse sceptics are very marginal in most of the world today. However, in non-academic suburbs and rural areas of Australia they are essentially mainstream, yet greenhouse-sceptic opinions among Australia’s politicians do not result from the car-dependence of Australia’s low-density suburbs. They result instead from Australia’s surfeit of mineral and energy resources, which in turn gives greenhouse-emitting industries in Australia unique wealth and hence political influence.

As I have explained many times before, most countries in Eurasia and the Americas do not have any significant deposits of major lithophile metals, and the less energy-intensive chalcophile metals are too scarce in the crust to be a long-term resource. This allows the overwhelming scientific view that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are the cause of observed global warming to be universal in parliaments.

The results are that governments of these countries, which actually have no need for environmental regulations, are able to plan for a rapid transition to renewable energy and electric cars or mass transit. The social costs of a selfish and inhospitable culture and the potential for a demographic time bomb of extreme old age dependency ratios are very great. There is likewise no doubt that government regulation, as Johan Surkyn and Ron Lesthaeghe have shown in their relationship between government size and religion (which determines how gentle and hospitable a culture is), is the cause of the extremely selfish and inhospitable cultures dominant in Europe, East Asia, Canada and New Zealand today. (In fact, this character of these cultures may worsen Australia’s destructive carbon emissions by encouraging people who might consider migrating to these countries to settle in the gentler culture of suburban Australia).

In Australia, by contrast, mineral companies have had virtually complete control over the country’s energy policies ever since the first lithophile mining boom of the 1950s. Their complete control was seen in the dreadful Lonie Report of 1980 - written not by urban planners or economists but by the chiefs of Broken Hill Proprietaries and the Country Roads Board - and in Australia’s laggardly status with renewable energy and emissions reductions. Those within and outside Australia who wish for the country to improve its emissions from the highest per capita to the lowest (the only acceptable situation) need to realise that this grip on policy by corporations with great wealth and vested interests in unrestricted emissions in their hands must be broken completely for anything to be achieved.

My opinion - strange as it might seem - is that corporate taxes really must be judged on the natural inorganic resources available. Whilst I do not deny that high taxes can lead to inefficiency, even Kevin Williamson admits that when they become wealthy enough corporations are able to control governments - and nowhere is this more possible or real than in Australia. Even if taxes on corporations in the Enriched World are undoubtedly excessive, those in the Unenriched World may be quite inadequate. Indeed, Australia’s 30 percent company tax allows corporations more political influence than a tax haven would permit in the Enriched World, whereas similar rates in Europe stifle economic and family development completely. Capping mining income would, as I said in my last post, not affect Australia’s mineral output significantly and would give a genuine opportunity to give Australia a public transit system superior to any in the Enriched World. It would also mean that Australia could invest in solar power without having demands of the fossil fuel industry on its back.

The trouble is that Australia’s working class - the people whose duty it should be to do this - live comfortable lives that protesting would greatly disturb. More than that, those in Western Australia - the very state whose climate has become unrecognisable from pre-1969 climates purely via man-made global warming - is the state whose working masses rejected the mining tax most vehemently, even those in southwestern Australia whose rainfall has declined by fifty percent and judging by the last five years is declining at an exponential rate.