Saturday, January 31, 2015

I reorganised my blogs - once again and hope this is the last time

HOME I last posted on my MountPleasantNotes blog in the summer of 2010. Over several years I "struggled" to organize my blogs in a sensible way,which led to  starting several. (Some - though not all - are listed here.)

I have finally found the solution to my problem by linking everything I write on my home page.

So if you are interested reading what I wrote it will all be available at this page. There are also links to some of what I wrote earlier, videos I edited and a couple of my radio programs. Another advantage is that the url is relatively easy to remember, something that could not be said about all my blogs.

If you arrived here from my blog about 9-11 I apologise for having to click one more time to get to my home page. I've forgotten which email account is linked to the 9-11 page  and therefore could not embed the link to my home page there.


My goodness four links to the same page lol !

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream

... and the dream is still to be fully realized 47 years after it was given.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Dr Martin Luther King evoked the name of Lincoln in his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963. This is often credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The next year, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The copyright of the speech belongs to Dr. King's estate and is reproduced here under Fair Use and Fair Dealing doctrines.


Free At Last!

I Have A Dream

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Colin Hansen's propaganda

According to an article in the Vancouver Sun (June 26, 2010) B.C. Finance Minister Hansen dismissed concerns that the restaurant business would be adversely affected by the HST:

"In terms of the restaurant industry, what studies show is the consumption of restaurant meals is driven more by a strong economy and more by consumer confidence than by any tax raise," Hansen said, noting once the economy is fully recovered from the recession the service industry should not notice any loss of profits.

Funny "law of supply and demand"! (When B.C. Liberals resist an increase in the minimum wage they use this argument in reverse, i.e. that a cost increase would hurt the restaurant business.)

Hansen also noted a multinational company like Rio Tinto Alcan could save $70 million thanks to the HST.

According to the Minister low income families making less than $25,000 per year will get rebates of $230 per family member per year. He also mentioned $80 savings for every B.C. taxpayer thanks to an increase in the province's basic personal tax exemption.

That works out to $ 310.- of tax savings per year for low income earners and $ 230.- savings per year for the poor , who do not pay income taxes.

According to Statistics Canada, the average B.C. household could be spending $521 more each year with the HST, i.e. a tax increase of $ 291.- per year, as reported by the Vancouver Sun (June 22, 2010).

The average B.C. household could take a hit of $521 to its bottom line next year as a result of the harmonized sales tax, according to a model prepared for the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper by Statistics Canada.

The change could range anywhere from $78 for households with single parents and one child to $801 for a married couple with no children,the figures show.

If one puts more faith in the extensive model Statistics Canada used with inputs from various government departments than the opinion pieces, such as this one, the Government relies on it would appear that Mr. Hansen is lying.

(This document was linked to on the Ministry's website. It was subsequently removed, perhaps because Mr. Hansen claimed the opposite of what the author has written.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

HST became law in British Columbia April 29, 2010

The B.C. Lieberals rammed the law through the legislature cutting off debate on Thursday April 29, 2010 and it is immediately charged on certain items, e.g. plane bookings for a flight after July 1st or annual gym memberships.

Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun called it a "shamefest". I think Stalin might have applauded the undemocratic way the government used to adopt the law. To add insult to injury the bill is named Consumption Tax Rebate and Transition Act. That's quite a name for a law, which brings about a tax increase and a massive redistribution of the tax burden. (1984?)

And no, Lieberals is not a typo.

Gordon Campbell was asked during the election campaign if he planned to adopt the Harper Sales Tax, aka Harmonised Sales Tax, and his answer was no as it had been on other occasions before. Once a liar, always a liar, it seems. (When he got arrested for drunk driving in Hawaii he blatantly lied about the number of drinks he consumed before getting behind the wheel. That was shown by a professor at the University of Toronto at the time.)

The Harper Sales Tax will be administered by the federal government and the rate will be 12 percent. Some items, which are subject to the GST will be subject to a rebate of the provincial portion of the HST.

Here is some Information and propaganda about the Harper Sales Tax.

Information about the administration of the HST in British Columbia is also available on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website.

What is strange about those in favour of the HST is that it is usually the same crowd that does the never ending whining about tax cuts. (Nobody likes to pay taxes but they are a necessity in any civilised society.) But with respect to this tax they not only love the shift from businesses to consumers but, by implication, they also love a tax increase.

No matter what the Lieberals tell you about this being revenue neutral, a fourth grader could tell you that if you tax previously untaxed items without lowering the rate of taxation tax revenue will inevitably increase.

A document published by the C.D. Howe Institute claims:

"Burdens on business would decline substantially with harmonization to the GST base (Table 1 note i) but if such a reform were to be revenue-neutral ... the statutory tax burdens on consumer expenditures would necessarily rise. (p.10) (Nevertheless, on p.14 the author claims: "Overall, consumer prices in the harmonizing provinces [in the Maritimes] fell with the reform, although prices rose somewhat for shelter and clothing and footwear, and that fact tended to make the reform slightly regressive. [my emphasis]

Even those prices which fell didn't necessarily fall because of the HST. The essay is in the form of a commentary and it is therefore safe to assume that it was not peer reviewed.

Haven't we heard about revenue-neutral tax reform before? Yes. It was with another conservative government when Brian Mulroney made the same claim about the GST. In its first year the GST netted the government about twice as much as the Manufacturing Sales Tax it replaced.

The Harper Sales Tax inevitably means a tax increase and it remains to be seen if the $ 230.- credit for low income individuals is enough to offset it for the less advantaged.

"The annual amount of the credit will be $230 per family member for individuals with incomes up to $20,000 and families with incomes up to $25,000. The credit will be phased out by 4 per cent of income above the thresholds."

It may, or may not, be a significant tax increase but one thing is indisputably true: It is a redistribution of income from consumers to businesses.

It is estimated that harmonization will remove over $2 billion in costs for BC businesses. This includes an estimated $1.9 billion of sales tax removed from business inputs and administrative savings for BC businesses of about $150 million annually.

Next time you vote keep in mind how conservatives hit you in the pocket book. (Not that the LPC is much better.)

After Mulroney (and a brief interlude of Kim Campbell) the Tories were reduced to two seats in the House of Commons. If the anger expressed on comment pages of the Globe and Mail and the number of people signing the petition to have this put to a referendum is any indication, the same might be in store for Gordon Campbell.

But by then he will have once again served the interests of business and given the cost this would entail it will be almost impossible to get rid of the Harper Sales tax.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Will the real Osama bin Laden please stand up?

Official FBI photo

It's been a long time since we were shown photos of Osama bin Laden. Now Reuters published a
photo said to have been taken of him in 2009.

If you ask me it doesn't look much like him. (Compare the nose in the 1998 and 2009 pictures.) But this falls into a well established pattern. I have seven different pictures officials claimed to be of the man. (And had several others I unfortunately can't find anymore.) The trouble is they often don't look as if they were of the same person.

Have a look.

Vancouver's Green Olympics

Cypress Mountain

Official Venue for Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding
It needs some snow!

I opposed the bid for the Games because I think it's a bad investment. However, after having spent the enormous amount of money for this circus I hope they will be a success.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

The Games will be held Feb. 12 to Feb. 28 and organizers are thinking of using helicopters to transport some snow from the top of the mountain to the venues. That wouldn't be in line with the boast of the Games being the most environmentally friendly. (This is not to deny the laudable efforts which are made in that direction.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BC fiscal cupboard is bare

The B.C. government said in its Throne Speech that it will review its health authorities, boards of education and Crown corporations in an effort to find cost savings.

"Shrinking revenues will by necessity curtail our discretionary spending," the government said. "The fiscal cupboard is bare and currently hangs on a wall of deficit spending."

Shrinking revenues: Only three weeks ago the government reduced its revenues by giving royalty breaks to the oil and gas industry, of all businesses.

Is the government of Gordon Campbell merely incompetent or is it determined at any cost to give money to very profitable industries?