Star Grazer

August 23, 2010

Not every gull likes french fries for lunch.

HST Petition Under Fire

August 23, 2010

As regular readers will know, I am a believer in consumption taxes and using them to replace income taxes completely.  I am therefore in favour of the Federal Government and the BC Government’s move towards a harmonized sales tax (or HST) which combines both Federal and Provincial consumption tax into one more easily managed package.

The HST is not popular here mainly, I believe, because of a shoddy job of explaining the full benefits.  It is so unpopular in fact that a far right and formerly-disgraced ex-Premier, Bill Vander Zalm, has been leading a petition initiative to have the HST thrown out.  A week or so ago he presented the petition with 700,000 signatures on it; enough to meet the stringent requirements of the initiative law, and he has been shouting from the rooftops about “democracy this” and “democracy that.”

Now, however, the independent Elections BC has announced that, on their first run through, they have found 150,000 phony signatures — and they are now looking for additional duplicates.  Vander Zalm’s position: He said he was puzzled that Elections BC is bothering with an investigation. “I don’t know why they would care,” he said “People may have innocently signed twice.”

Is it any wonder that he is a disgraced ex-Premier.

The Choking of Democracy In Thailand

August 23, 2010
Garuda as national symbol of Thailand

Image via Wikipedia

Wikileaks is most famous for posting detailed materials from America’s imperialistic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it also posts material about other countries that has become banned or restricted from circulation. One such is the excellent Australian ABC documentary on the Thai monarchy.

This is well worth watching as it shows how the Thai military dictatorship hides behind the monarchy and a faux form of democracy to control the citizenry of that country using censorship and lese-majesty legislation. It also reveals why the next King of Thailand, the playboy son of the current king, could be a disaster for the country. As respect for the monarchy dies with the old king, the military may have to be even more blatant in their overt control of the state.

Charleston, West Virginia

August 23, 2010

A skyscraper and the sky in Charleston, WV.

[better resolution here]