Sunday, July 31, 2011

Amateur hour at Global TV News

Continuing Global's 'expert examination' of HST, Doug Herbert provided this from Sun Peaks on the July 31 6pm Vancouver News Hour:
"The difference in price for a secondary residence pre-HST and post-HST is dramatic. An Australian recently bought a unit in this building behind me for $777,000. He paid just over $93,000 in HST. If he bought it pre-HST, he would only have paid $52,000, a difference of $54,000."
Accuracy. What the hell, too much bother!
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Here you learn "the rest of the story"

I pay little attention to AM radio nowadays. My audio library of spoken words - gathered mostly from American and European sources - is much more informative. However, while in the car last week, I heard the July 26 4pm news read by Terry Schintz on CKNW.  One item seemed out of place because it was not a news report, it was an apologia for David Hahn, the generously paid CEO of BC Ferries.

CKNW's Terry Schintz:
"BC Ferries boss David Hahn making no apologies for his wealthy pension plan and overall compensation. . . .Hahn says the BC Ferries Board made it clear when he was brought in it wanted a private sector approach to cleaning up the fleet."
David Hahn:
"It's probably, umm, a lot more than most people would like to see me being paid - and the other, ah, key members of the team - but, on the other hand, the results, ah, speak for themself."
Terry Schintz:
"Hahn says people are starting to forget about the never ending ferry line-ups from years gone by. . ."
The audio clip of Hahn used on NW's prime 4 o'clock news was taken from Bill Good's talk show earlier that day. There Skipper Hahn got the usual deferential - or is that reverential - treatment.

NW might defend softball treatment by talkshow commentators but there is no place for it within the newscasts. Where was the balance, the rest of the story about Hahn's remuneration? Should not his self-serving remark have been accompanied by information that he earns eight times the amount of the Washington State Ferry CEO and even more than the top executives of international shipping and ferry operator Stena Line.

Of course, Hahn's statement that the Board (a self-perpetuating one which elects its own members) wanted a "private sector approach" is meaningless. Sure, the worst examples of private sector business allow executives to loot treasuries almost at will but authentic, respected private enterprises manage assets for the long term benefit of the owners. In the private sector that I know, non-owner executives are paid according to levels typical in similar businesses. There is no excuse for the extravagance of BC Ferries senior management.

Besides, Mr. Hahn, the results do not speak for themselves.

The German built ferries have been and remain problematic, less efficient and usable than the BC built Spirit Class ships. Recently, we learned the $20 million BC Ferries is offering as subsidy to the billionaire owners of Washington Marine Group is a requirement of the Harper Government established during negotiations over duties imposed when the German-built ferries were imported. WMG already scored millions by selling three fast cat ferries to Abu Dhabi. (Wow. Friends sure take care of friends in this world.)

Customer satisfaction remains low, fares are punishingly high, rising well above the inflation rate. Since 2003, rates have increased as much as 80 per cent on some routes. Service sometimes is below minimum safety standards. For example, on the Powell River - Comox run, a patron recently complained in a letter to the Powell River Peak newspaper after finding that ship elevator service was unavailable for an aging relative, She said,
"When it comes to the safety factor, exactly what arrangements are made to help those who are struggling to climb the stairs? Will they be assisted in case of an emergency?"
The answer is no. Executive salaries and pensions are more important than elevators and customer service staff.

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What a contrast to Canada's Harper Government

The Telegraph, July 31, 2011
"The European Commission has apologised for decades of an EU fishing policy so disastrous that the next generation of children may never see fish on their dinner plate.

". . . We cannot afford business as usual. Maybe 10 years ago, the past, it was easier for us, in the European Commission, in governments, in the sector, to close our eyes. We cannot do that anymore because if we do our children will see fish, not on their plates, but only in pictures."
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Meaningful differences

From The Atlantic July/August Ideas Issue, Dispatches - Food, by Corby Kummer:
"[Las Vegas] a congenial city to set up shop and even raise a family. And restaurant workers who can’t afford a comfortable middle-class life in most big cities—dishwashers and servers—discovered they can in Las Vegas.
"Because so many of the hotels are unionized, many restaurants are unionized too—something both rare and contentious in cities like New York, where restaurateurs can’t afford the wages or, they say, the inflexibility that unions impose.
"Workers who have to hold several jobs in New York or Los Angeles can work one in Las Vegas, and keep it for years—a stability almost unheard-of in the restaurant world."
Imagine, an ordinary family able to live a comfortable and stable middle-class life. Radical eh?

What the Plutocracy Prefers for Us

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

No higher authority than the other side of what they say!

Alex G. Tsakumis interviewed Rafe Mair on The Money and Wealth Program (CHEK-TV, July 30 7:00 pm). Don't miss the entire conversation. The two newsmen focus on topics that mainstream reporters are not allowed to cover. Look for an online version at TalkDigitalNetwork,com.

Responding to a question from AGT about media and politics, Mair tossed out this beauty,
"I think the way you know that it's absolute B.S. is because The Province and The Sun both thought it was good. So, you know automatically that it is not good. And the same with their supporting the HST: to vote no, that gives you a clear indication that all the indications are you should vote yes.
"There's no higher authority than the other side of what they say."
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Freedom of speech and freedom of the press - all in good time

July 30, 2011, from Associated Press by
"Thirty-six years after Richard Nixon testified to the Watergate grand jury, a federal judge yesterday ordered the first public release of the transcript about the break-in that drove him from the presidency.

"The 297-page transcript will not be available immediately but will be held until the government decides whether to appeal . . .

"The Obama administration opposed the transcript's release. . ."
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Ordinary workers experiencing growth without gain

The Resolution Foundation, an independent research and policy organisation working to improve the lives of people with low-to-middle incomes:
"The share of national income going to the bottom half of earners in Britain has fallen dramatically over the last 30 years. These ordinary workers have seen their share of GDP fall by a quarter, at the same time as the share going to the top 1% of earners increased by half."

Missing Out
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An intelligent view of America's democracy crisis

Annihilating Democracy with the Tea Party
Commentary by Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, correspondent in the Washington office of DER SPIEGEL
"Democracy depends on compromise and the American government depends on all branches working together. The Tea Party movement shuns both, preferring instead to drive the state into bankruptcy. On principle."
Who is brewing tea in the USA?

This sophisticated couple?

Or these billionaires, Charles and David Koch, whose war against Obama
is profiled by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker in

During the 2010 election campaign, WSJ editorial board member Stephen Moore carried the Koch agenda to Wisconsin workers -- in workplace seminars called by their bosses.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

This is old news but worth revisiting. I was reminded because of a notice in my inbox that Capilano University is selling tickets to a lecture by Ms. Berman in September.

Is there an inevitable journey for professional environmentalists from impecunious youthful idealists to zealous hustlers loyally serving industrial interests?
Greenpeace Greenwash
Greenpeace International hires torchbearer Tzeporah Berman as chief climate campaigner

As the world turned their attention to the spectacle of the 2010 Olympics, Greenpeace International played another kind of game, appointing Tzeporah Berman as their new energy and climate campaign director. As a result, she will inherit their “Stop the Tar Sands” campaign and take responsibility for 110 Greenpeace climate campaigners in 28 countries. In the last few years Berman has been known to accommodate corporate interests, provided they make minor concessions and release joint statements. Greenpeace itself, by teaming with Olympic corporate sponsor Coca-Cola, has made clear this strategy also falls within their overall corporate strategy.

Berman, a former Greenpeace BC campaigner, was recently appointed to the BC Liberal government as an “adviser” on free market-based “green energy” initiatives. She immediately conferred an award to BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s “leadership” in fighting climate change while at the Copenhagen negotiations. This, even though BC was the only province in Canada whose tally of greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2009 was higher than the year before. While Berman was on the inside at Copenhagen handing an award to Premier Campbell (whom she now worked for), tens of thousands of activists calling for real action on climate change were being arrested, beaten and tear gassed. According to the Vancouver Sun, Berman “decided to apply for the job after reconnecting with Greenpeace representatives at the Copenhagen climate conference last December.” Her decision came roughly the same time as Greenpeace International was releasing their statement with Coca-Cola.

. . . She has previously demonstrated in both word and deed that her strategic deployment is to work in tandem with corporations and neo-liberal governments, not to oppose or resist them in any way. Berman’s likely corporate engagement strategy, which could include tar sands giants and experienced greenwashers Shell and Suncor would negate the possibility of carrying out the chant of anti Olympics demonstrators to “shut down the tar sands.”
Desmogblog writer Richard Littlemore made a generous effort to defend friend Berman mostly by slagging her critic Macdonald Stainsby. That weak effort attracted legitimate and powerful reproof for Littlemore in the Desmogblog comments, including this statement by yours truly:
"Reputed environmentalists quite properly have credibility questioned after they start cashing cheques from governments and private industry and when they are seen to be promoters of questionable projects and organizations. Particularly groups that aid greenwashers or astroturfers.

"I agree with your comments on Stainsby and think CBC was unconscionably careless in presenting an unqualified guest to slag anyone. Nevertheless, you are too gentle with Ms. Berman who deserves criticism for becoming a BC Liberal partisan and a promoter of river despoilment. IPPs have used their financial muscle to reward a handful of former environmentalists and media pundits. Recipients are worthy of disrespect."
By the way, I retract the statement about Stainsby being unqualified. His website Oil Sands Truth is a worthwhile site that has been around for some years.
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Lessons also for Canadian progressives

Eugene Robinson on Conservative Momentum in the Budget Battle

"Power of the Big Idea" -- Conservatives are on a winning streak because they have a Big Idea that serves as an animating, motivating, unifying force. It happens to be a very bad idea, but it’s better than nothing—which, sadly, is what progressives have. 
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Integration of church and state

The Government of Canada will match donations to World Vision for East Africa drought relief. Question: should Canadian foreign aid be delivered by an evangelical relief and development organization whose stated goal is:
"to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God?"
By the way, World Vision Canada had ten executives earning more than $10,000 a month in 2010, including the CEO who was paid about $20,000 monthly. The head of World Vision International receives about twice that amount. Poverty is a bitch.

Another interesting fact: the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, to which Prime Minister Stephen Harper has belonged for decades, believes Jesus Christ will return to Earth in an apocalypse, won't ordain women, strongly opposes abortion and divorce, condemns homosexuality as the most base of sins and believes those who aren't born-again are "lost."

Do Stephen Harper's evangelical roots influence taxpayer support for religious organizations such as World Vision?

In my view, a better choice for charity supporting East Africa drought relief is the secular Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)

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Wisdom of the ordinary guy

The Common Sense Canadian's cartoonist in residence. While working at a paper mill and raising two children as a single-dad in Kitimat, BC, Gerry Hummel began working as a self-taught editorial cartoonist for the town paper in 1993.

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Good hire, wrong time slot

Michael Smyth's radio program promotion about the BC Ferries gravy train seemed out of place on CKNW, the radio mouthpiece for BC Liberals. No doubt, David Hahn and his flatterers were unhappy with Smith for re-focusing attention on the financial exploitation by senior executive staff at the ferry corporation.

Apparently Corus believes that Michael Smyth is out of place on CKNW. We learned today that his days are numbered on the afternoon talk show. Simi Sara takes over the spot shortly.

Smyth's smartass style is a fresh approach on an overly stodgy radio station and the permanent appointment of Simi Sara is overdue. She is personable, smart and articulate, better suited to replace one of NW's pensioners still on-air. How about Bill Boring's 8:35 am Monday to Friday spot?
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Not a chance in the world of interference

Talking about the HST referendum, BC Liberal highbinder Kevin Falcon assures us that:
". . . he has confidence in Elections BC to oversee the vote.

"This is getting increasingly ridiculous," said Falcon. "There's not a chance in the world that we're going to interfere with their [Elections BC] independence or start telling them how they should run and oversee a referendum."
Remember though, there was not a chance in the world that Liberals would interfere with the judicial process in the fraudulent sale of BC Rail. Except, they did. Blogger Ian Reid revealed part of the real story in his excellent indictment of Liberal politicians and BC media.
". . . affidavits showed that Gordon Campbell’s deputy minister Ken Dobell had violated the terms of the court ordered protocol for vetting potentially privileged documents relevant to the investigation. The violation was not an innocent mistake as Dobell helped draft the vetting protocol document under the auspices of Chief Justice Dohm.

". . . Dobell was not one of the five people entitled to see documents and Dobell had not signed any confidentiality agreement at the time he saw the documents in question. Under the terms of this legally binding protocol Dobell was not allowed to see these documents in the context of the case.

"Along with the documents Dobell was given a list of the questions the RCMP intended to ask Cabinet Ministers Collins and Reid and other government employees as well as a short note briefing him on timing and other issues.

"In other words the senior member of Gordon Campbell’s staff was provided with documents the RCMP thought relevant to the investigation along with the RCMP’s questions about those documents and how they related to the sale."
Political interference was the order of the day:
  • in the BC Rail affair, from the 2004 leak to bidders that reported blow by blow Cabinet discussions about the sale, to the 2010 muting of justice by the Basi/Virk settlement involving a $6 million payment to the defendants, trivial punishments and secrecy agreements all round.
  • as BC Hydro ran up $55 billion (yes, billion) in obligations to private power producers.
  • as the foreign fish farmers gained protected status that overruled independent scientists managing the fisheries resources.
  • as plans were made for oil and gas pipelines from Alberta to the coast of BC so that an oilport in Kitimat could service supertankers bound for China.
  • as bridges and highways were constructed and designed in the lower mainland while Liberal friendly developers gained millions from land speculation aided by insider knowledge. 
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Have they ever lied to us before?

Does any BC citizen believe that the HST referendum result is not yet decided? I, for one, think the current mail-in vote is so full of pretence that it is a travesty. Elections BC claims to be non-partisan but its recent history suggests it is anything but that.

I majored in political science at UBC many years ago and, while my memory can be cloudy at times, I remember studying the fairness process of Canadian parliamentary elections. One of the critical factors in the conduct of a fair election is a rigorous and transparent system of oversight, with participation of election officials but, importantly, also representatives of those competing in the election. To reduce the possibility of error or corruption, scrutineers observe the casting and counting of ballots. The right of partisans to oversee the entire voting process is established by precedent and by statute.

For example, the BC Guide to the Election Act states:
A candidate or their official agent can appoint candidate representatives (scrutineers) to observe voting, registration in conjunction with voting and ballot counting for an election.

After voting ends on General Voting Day, the Voting Officers open the ballot boxes and count the ballots from general voting and advance voting. This is called the initial count.

Candidates and their representatives can watch the initial count.
However, long established fairness rules do not apply to the HST referendum. In the regulations, part 4-16 states:
The only individuals who may be present at a place where counting proceedings are being conducted are
 (a) referendum officials, and
 (b) individuals authorized to be present by the chief electoral officer.
In other words, BC Liberals and the officials they appointed at Elections BC say,
"Trust us folks. We may not have been truthful about certain other matters, but this time, we'll be honest. Really, we will."
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh Canada !

Section 2(b) of the Charter states that "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ... freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication."

Everyone, that is, except for federal scientists, whose work is financed by taxpayers.

Ottawa silences scientist over west coast salmon study, from the Vancouver Sun, July 26, 2011:
". . . Natural Resources Canada scientist Scott Dallimore had to wait for "pre-clearance" from political staff in the minister's office in Ottawa to speak about a study on a colossal flood that swept across northern Canada at the end of the last ice age.

"Researchers, who used to be free to discuss their science, are now required to follow a process that includes "media lines" approved by communications officers, strategists and ministerial staff in Ottawa. They vet media requests, demand reporters' questions in advance and decide when and if researchers can give interviews. . . "
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Message from Alexandra Morton

Dear Wild Salmon People:

This article below tells us where the problem with our wild salmon comes from.... deep within Ottawa.  This bad and wrong for us and for future generations.

Justice Cohen, Dr. Miller, myself and others need you to show up to witness the Aquaculture Hearings at the Cohen Commission in late August and early September.  Wild salmon are politically inconvenient, forcing the politicians in power to bite the hands that feed them because they need free-flowing rivers, lakes, rivers, streams and an ocean free of oil slicks, toxic algae and gender bending chemicals, and trees on the mountainsides. Salmon need the same thing we need.  When 100 of uspaddled the lower Fraser and were joined by 100s more to walk in the pouring rain to the opening of the inquiry to ask Justice Cohen to release the fish farm disease records we succeeded.  No judge or government has done this anywhere else in the world despite many fighting salmon feedlots worldwide.

And now unless the salmon people stand by those of us in there fighting, we will be silenced too.  We are powerless without you.

The hearings are in Vancouver across from the Vancouver Art Gallery 

See also for events

Thank all of you who have sent funds, you are keeping this movement alive.

Hope to see you Justice Cohen needs to know this matters.


Ottawa silences scientist over West Coast salmon study
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Worth Remembering

From Ralph Deline's blog Read My Mind:
"On 4 May a rally drew approximately two thousand students, many merely curious onlookers. National Guard officers ordered the protesters to disburse, shooting tear gas into the crowd. Next more than one hundred armed guardsmen advanced on the students. The troops moved toward the protesters, up a hill, and then down to a practice football field. Reaching a fence at the far end, some knelt and aimed their weapons. Students retreated into a parking lot between several buildings, but some lobbed rocks and tear gas canisters back at the guardsmen.
"After ten minutes the troops moved back up the hill. When they reached the crest, a group of twenty-eight guardsmen turned quickly and shot in the direction of the parking lot and the main group of protesters. They fired sixty-one rounds of ammunition. Of the thirteen people killed or injured, only two were actively participating in the confrontation. One student was killed while walking to class, and another ironically was an ROTC student. Others were more than one hundred yards away.
"As news spread Kent State and nearly five hundred other colleges were closed. Ten days later another shooting occurred, this time at Jackson State University in Mississippi. Police and state patrolmen fired into a dormitory at the all-black school, killing two students and wounding nine others. The lack of attention given to the deaths at Jackson State embittered many in the African American community."


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Gathering Storm

From Tomgram, July 26:
China’s economy soars on one side of the planet (though with a multitude of half-hidden problems). . .  On the other side of the same planet, from Greece and Ireland to Spain and Italy, Europe shudders and fears run wild. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the president and Congress have headed the economy merrily for the nearest cliff, while money is lacking even to keep court systems running in some parts of the country.
In February, former Forbes editor Robert Lenzner blogged:
"Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff [predicts] that the high unemployment rate and high levels of debt in the U.S. will sooner or later trigger serious 'social unrest from the income disparities in the U.S.'

“. . . I don’t understand why people don’t wake up to the crisis they are creating,” . . .
July 26, the Pew Research Center reported:
Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics
"The median wealth of white households is 20 times greater than that of black households and 18 times greater than that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research analysis of newly-available data from a 2009 government survey. These ratios are the largest in the quarter century since the government first published such data. "

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Canadian right wing less flaky, more dangerous

Rafe Mair recaps the misdeeds of BC Liberals

A comment at The Tyee submitted by "immigrant" includes this wise observation:
". . . Since moving here I've learned that the BC and Canadian right is less about uninformed whackos as in my former home in the US, and more about cold-hearted, steely-eyed men who know exactly what damage they're doing. That's far more dangerous."
This is a fine example of what makes The Tyee so valuable. We get BC's best political writing and almost unrestricted commentary by readers, much of it reasoned and precise.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Will the final loser be the G.O.P. or the U.S.A.?

Regular readers will know there is one mainstream writer for whom I have particular admiration, as a skilled wordsmith and a thoughtful humanist. Roger Ebert's Journal is one of the finest opinion sites on the Internet. It should not be missed.

This week, Roger touches on politics: The Republicans exit history. He supposes that certain issues will lead to destruction of the broadly based GOP and result in isolation of America's political zealots from ordinary citizens. A few of his comments:
  • "There is also the curious refusal to raise taxes for the rich, who would best afford to pay them. How many grass roots Americans agree with that? The theory that wealth and jobs will "trickle down" is a fossil from the Reagan era. Voodoo economics. Money that goes to the top has a way of staying at the top, which is why the richest Americans have prospered in these hard times."
  • "Decent health care is a humanitarian service a society can provide its citizens."
  • "Opponents of health care are financed by lobbyists paid by the insurance and drug companies."
  • "The right wing of the Republican Party is under the sway of religious fundamentalists. Some of these people believe they know God's will. They subscribe to the fiction, "America was founded as a Christian nation." They actively believe the church should have a greater role in the state. But not just any church, or all churches -- their church, fundamentalist Christianity."
  • "Few people have any problem with the immigration of the best and the brightest from India, China and anywhere else in the world. Here the focus is on undocumented aliens from Mexico. Yet it is a fact that our economy needs and employs them. The agricultural industries of California, Arizona and New Mexico depend on them. Every salad you eat, every fruit juice you drink, inescapably involved an undocumented worker at some stage of its journey to you."
  • "The inexplicable ideological war against the reality of Global Warming is fueled from the right wing and financed primarily by alliances of the traditional energy industries. Al Gore has been demonized for his crusade on the issue. Al Gore is correct. His opponents seem bought and paid for, whether they are aware of this or not."

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Daddy, where do laws come from?

Bloomberg: Koch, Exxon Mobil Among Corporations Helping Write State Laws
Koch Industries Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) are among companies that would benefit from almost identical energy legislation introduced in state capitals from Oregon to New Mexico to New Hampshire -- and that’s by design.

The energy companies helped write the legislation at a meeting organized by a group they finance, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based policy institute known as ALEC.
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Bring on the economic insanity

Question are being asked now in the USA and Canadians should pay attention. Right wing influences are also at work in our country aiming to advance the interests of the plutocracy.

"How have the people been convinced that debt and deficits—medium and long-term problems to be sure – have suddenly become a short-term crisis? Especially since every economist not employed by a right-wing think tank is practically screaming that austerity in the midst of a jobs crisis is a form of self-destructive economic insanity.

"Finally, how can deregulation and tax cuts for the rich be posited as a solution to the recent economic catastrophe, when these were the very policies that caused it?"
Despite current efforts to shift the financial impact of government away from wealthy citizens, the rich are now paying a far lower share of their incomes in taxes than at any time since World War II. And, even as their share of the nation’s total income has withered, the tax burden on the middle has grown. Today’s working and middle-class taxpayers are shelling out a bigger chunk of income in payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes than thirty years ago.

It’s just the opposite for super rich.

The top 1 percent’s share of national income has doubled over the past three decades (from 10 percent in 1981 to well over 20 percent now). The richest one-tenth of 1 percent’s share has tripled. And they’re doing better than ever.

Yet, remarkably, taxes on the top have plummeted. From the 1940s until 1980, the top tax income tax rate on the highest earners in America was at least 70 percent. In the 1950s, it was 91 percent. Now it’s 35 percent. Even if you include deductions and credits, the rich are now paying a far lower share of their incomes in taxes than at any time since World War II.

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A Ferry Authority designed in Wonderland

From a July 8 ferry protest in Powell River, this pictures not a gathering of dropouts, anarchists and militants, but ordinary citizens, the people governments depend upon for re-election. BC Liberals ought to take heed.

A rally speaker noted the fundamental difficulty which ensures B.C. Ferry Authority will never be accountable to anyone but itself. The Coastal Ferry Act, nonsense that would fit Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, provides that sitting Directors appoint new Directors. The chance of coastal communities influencing operations of BC Ferries: 0%.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Michael Smyth's scoop

Last Sunday, Province columnist Michael Smyth asked and answered a question about a floating gravy train:
"How does B.C. Ferries boss David Hahn's salary compare with that of his counterpart in Washington state? The answer: There is none.
"Hahn bagged more than $1.1 million in total last year. By comparison, David Moseley, the top executive at Washington State Ferries, made $144,768 in 2009, the most recently available figure.
". . . The bottom line: We're getting ripped off. Big time."
Readers of Northern Insights already knew this, and more. In 2010, Carry on cruising, carry on regardless examined executive salaries at BC Ferries and made comparisons to other large ferry operators:
"To repeat, David Hahn is paid almost eight times the salary of the WSF CEO and is paid more than the CEO of Stena AB, an international corporation far larger than BC Ferries. By any measure, BC Ferries is paying far too much executive compensation, particularly since operations of the company are no better managed than in earlier years. The Spirit Class ferries built in the early nineties remain the largest and most efficient ships in the fleet and outperform the Coastal Class ferries acquired more recently by Mr. Hahn and his helpers."
Read also Giant paydays proved unsinkable  where we examined the BC Liberals' promise to slash top salaries at BC Ferries. Of course, that turned out to be just another meaningless political promise.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oh, really?

I wonder if the Ontario Premier had a straight face when,
Mr. McGuinty said he is worried about Ontario’s place in Canada with a federal Conservative government “based in western Canada,”  Source: The Globe and Mail
By the way, the current Parliament of Canada has 72 Conservative Party members from the four western provinces. That is 23% of the 308 MPs now serving in Ottawa. The oppressed Province of Ontario, by itself, has 73 Conservative MPs supporting the ruling government.
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Presiding over disaster

These are aims of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as stated by the Minister's cynical minions:
"DFO manages fisheries in accordance with the roles and responsibilities outlined in the Fisheries Act, using credible, science-based, affordable and effective practices. Key priorities for fisheries management in Canada include:
  • environmental sustainability;
  • economic viability; and
  • the inclusion of stakeholders in decision-making processes."
But, for a dose of reality, Alexandra Morton offers a stunning analysis of how the protectors of fisheries actually operated.
"[Dr. Dick] Beamish is a very influential, recently retired DFO scientist. He was the Director of the Pacific Biological Station, Head of Salmon Interactions and he received the Order of Canada. . .
Read Morton's entire article and try to answer the question she poses:
". . . Was Beamish influenced by policy or other pressures, not science, in his reporting to the Canadian public why millions of Fraser sockeye failed to return in 2009?"
I can deduce schemers who would eagerly suborn senior politicos and ranking fisheries scientists, if given the opportunity. We don't know that happened here. Perhaps DFO chose to boost west coast fish farming at the expense of wild fisheries. Perhaps the department made that decision internally, perhaps they were instructed by political officials. Maybe, they believe that open net fish farms pose no risks and evidence to the contrary is mistaken.

Concerned citizens must be troubled when, under scrutiny, an influential expert discredits his own work yet still promotes a theory that, in Morton's words, is biological gibberish. We cannot help suppose that a goal beyond environmental sustainability has gained precedence at DFO.

The stakes are so high that we must pay attention to Alexandra Morton and the coalition of environmentalists who urge caution in authorization of open net fish farms.  Incompetent ocean resource management and industrial prioritization have already put the coastal fisheries resources at risk. Continuation of such carelessness will have important consequences, not just to survival of a food source but to the cultures of First Nations people on the west coast.

Remember, the DFO is the same organization that presided over destruction of east coast fishing, leading to loss of the North Atlantic cod. The similarity of circumstance is chilling. Alexandra Morton reminds us,
"Policy drove DFO to overpower its own scientist who was warning the collapse was coming rapidly and who advised on how to avoid it. No one in DFO was held accountable for this even though the cod collapse was avoidable and is robbing entire generations of a food resource, jobs and stable communities. (Hutchings et al 1997)"
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What if they had a good year?

News items:
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the nation’s largest lender, will pay investment-banking employees bonuses of about $4.4 billion for last year, or an average of $400,000 each, a person close to the bank said.
Jul. 19 (Reuters) -- Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. bank by assets, on Tuesday reported a second quarter net loss of $8.8 billion.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

A view of HST not paid for by taxpayers or business groups

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Plans to protect wilderness are plans to protect humankind

National Geographic looks at north coast tanker traffic.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ray Grigg
Read Ray Grigg's entire article at Common Sense Canadian

Shades of Green: ISA - A Ticking Time Bomb

". . . The salmon farming industry, meanwhile, has been doing its legal best to prevent the release of privileged information it has been forced to divulge to the Commission, arguing that this release to the public could cause them "reputational and economic damage". The public availability of such confidential information previously hidden from open environmental scrutiny, it contends, would create a "media circus".
"Media circus" is the industry's term for losing control of a public relations agenda that for decades has been construing conspicuously damaging environmental practices as harmless. ISAv could blast that benign image out of West Coast waters. Indeed, a whole minefield of bombs are ticking under the industry's open net-pens."
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Prom night in Camden, NJ

Do they have  Wal-Mart in CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY?

Is this for real? Am I getting old or what?

Note the broad community support in the form
of numerous police vehicles and an ambulance

Prom dresses sure have changed
since I was in high school!

What is that around her neck?

More police in the background, more community support  I meant.

There is a Buick with missing seat  covers
somewhere in The  Hood.

Wonder if Boy George knows where his hat is.

What's holding those up?

No comment.

O  M   G   …



Who let him in?

I…  am…speechless…
Yes, that is a helicopter . .  .

And, last but not least:

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