Enter Stage Right hands out its monthly awards...

The March 1998 Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

Proving that only politicians could screw up something as good as the Internet, America's governors have decided that since they can't set up their PCs to surf without an intern around, they'll just grind the rest of us because of it.

The nation's governors adopted a resolution on February 24 calling on states to establish single tax rates on all electronic commerce over the Internet and mail order purchases.

With only the governors of California and Virginia dissenting, the National Governors Association passed a resolution urging Congress to enact legislation to regulate Internet sales.

The resolution said such legislation should prohibit taxes on Internet access or monthly fees. But it urged each state to "establish a single statewide sales tax rate on all taxable electronic commerce and mail order purchases."

Shockingly, U.S. president Bill Clinton came out against the resolution, instead pressing for a five year moratorium on taxing Internet sales.

According to the Washington Post, to placate the governors, Clinton will call for a commission to develop a uniform approach to taxing commerce on the Internet and might eventually be willing to support a modest tax on Internet commerce. Now that's the Clinton who American's love -- or at least one intern and 63 per cent of the public.

Why have a free market when the governor of some half-assed state can get a chance to collect their rubles? Forty-eight Earth is Flat Award statutes coming up!

The March 1998 Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

What a month February turned out to be!

During ordinary months, the Vinegar in Freedom Awards laud those who do good in the service of that which Enter Stage Right supports, which usually means that conservatives win. This month, however, two foes of conservatism come out on top. This month a feminist organization and a member of the Canadian Liberal Party get our praise.

United States

It has long been a running theme that if a conservative gets in trouble with our society's sexual mores, then feminists go for the jugular, as witnessed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Bob Packwood. When a liberal gets in trouble, then they clam up.

No so one chapter of the National Organization of Women.

In late February, the president of a Northern Virginia chapter of NOW says its members are ready to break from the main organization because they say the national leadership has been too easy on President Bill Clinton over his alleged sexual improprieties.

Marie Jose-Ragab, president of the Dulles chapter of NOW, told CNN it is unacceptable for NOW President Patricia Ireland and others to say the alleged relationship between Clinton and former intern Monica Lewinsky is not sexual harassment.

NOW President Patricia Ireland said in an interview earlier that month that if Clinton did have a relationship with Lewinsky, it was consensual, which caused a firestorm of criticism from conservative women's groups who call the organization hypocritical.

"This is the ultimate in sexual harassment," Jose-Ragab said. "We have a pattern of standing up for issues having to do with sexual harassment, now we're being selective. This is not the nature of our organization. We're above partisan politics, we defend all women."

No matter what you think of that statement, it is laudable that one feminist group is finally showing some consistency. At an executive meeting, the chapter voted to become a dissident member of NOW until the national organization changed its stance on the Clinton affair.

Bravo to the Dulles chapter of NOW!

Canada

In a February 24 budget speech that seemed so long that the clock on the wall began to melt like that painting by Dali, Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin did in reality what U.S. President Bill Clinton can only do by fudging books. Yes, in Canada we have a honest to goodness balanced budget.

When Martin took the job of finance minister back in 1993, Canada had a deficit of $42 billion (remember, this is Canada). Within just a few years, he has managed to erase that deficit and even pass $7 billion in tax cuts over the next three years. Of course, that only translates into about $250 a year per taxpayer. Yahoo.

And unlike Clinton, who has to take money from elsewhere to get a surplus in a few years time, Martin actually fudged his books to erase a surplus and turn it into simply a balanced budget.

Admittedly the deficit was erased with taxation which would make the ordinary American blanche, but I have come to the opinion that since Canadians demanded all of those social programs, they can now pay for deficit, and the $583 billion debt, that came along with them.

Kudos to Paul Martin!




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