2008 - WWWWWTF?

About 20 years ago, this page was fortunate enough to be given rudimentary lessons in journalism as part of a grade 5 english class. I learned the fundamentals of the five W's: Who, What, Where, Why, When, and their non-W interrogative sidekick, How. Drawing on the five W's, let's take a look ahead at the coming year:

WHO will be the next POTUS?

The 2008 Presidential election, which has actually been going on for the past couple of years, will reach its soul-shattering climax in November. This page sees another close race with Hilary Clinton and Mike Huckabee as the last two candidates standing.

WHAT will it take to make governments take Climate Change seriously?

Climate change is being taken seriously by governments - Washington and Ottawa, for example, are doing everything conceivably possible to give the appearance that something is being done.

WHERE is the next front in the War on Terror (tm)?

After the Bhutto assanination this week, this page guess it's moved a few kilometres further into Pakistan. Even if he's a little eager about military action, Barack Obama is correct about engaging Karachi if Al-Qaida is ever to be significantly subdued. Otherwise, Canadian troops in Afghanistan (who, if Reason is reading, are in fact good people doing a sh*tty job as best they can) are so much sniper fodder.

WHEN is the next Federal election?

If the best that Stephen Harper can do looking across from Stephane Dion is a string of virtual ties in the polls, more than likely the writ will be dropped when the Liberals think they can wrestle another minority government from the Conservatives.

WHY does anybody want to be Mayor of Vancouver?

Carole Taylor thinks it's the stepping stone to the Premier's office. It's also a job where nobody can actually do anything as the result of Metro Vancouver, TransLink, the idiotic At-Large system for electing Councillors, and Victoria's heavy-handed application of the Vancouver Charter. If Carole wants to parade around on the short leash of her former BC Liberal buddies and their VANOC syncophants, hey, it's her parade.

HOW will the Canucks do this season?

All the way, baby. Just like the Mariners. You people come here for whacked-out opinion, right?



What's in Santa's Brand New Bag?

One more item before this page takes off for a couple of weeks - The Mitchell report was released yesterday, which points the finger at 90 current and former Major League Baseball players for taking performance enhancing drugs. Besides the usual suspects (i.e. Barry Bonds), the report takes much note of one Roger Clemens, who up until recently displayed an uncanny ability to repeatedly retire and come back a few months later throwing harder than ever.

Senator Mitchell's report could also explain how someone could deliver presents to people around the world, then come back and do it again year after year. Maybe it's not that the elves or so small, it could be that their boss somehow managed to get really big....

Enjoy the holidays, and join this page on December 31 for some kind of half-assed year-end hijinks.


Crazy. Old. NIMBY.

Once again, the selfish and self-serving attitudes of Vancouverites are getting in the way of establishing much needed social housing in this city. West Side residents are up in arms about a proposed development at 7th Avenue and Fir Street which would primarily house people suffering from mental illness. According to Rob Whitlock, a City of Vancouver housing planner, several concerns have been raised about the seniors home across the street from the proposed site, as well as 'strata councils and individuals just generally living in that area who feel that this is not the right location.'

This page calls bullshit - invoking a seniors' home as rationale for precluding social housing for the mentally ill amounts to cynical discrimination. Both groups need the medical services available at nearby Vancouver General Hospital and are equally entitled to the access that the 7th and Fir location provides. Besides many seniors already suffer from mental illness - Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, and Depression just to name a few. Complaints from Strata Councils should be dismissed outright, as they're little more than bastions of NIMBYism. The Strata Council that this page deals with regards anyone who cannot afford to own their home as a second-class citizen who shouldn't be trusted. As for complaints from 'individuals', I contend that Whitlock is using code for real estate developers who hope the City will back down and let them put up more overpriced condos.

Indeed, it sucks to be old. It also sucks to suffer from schizophrenia, severe depression or a personality disorder that may keep one from ever being able to grow old. Why is it O.K. to shove the mentally ill into the squalor of the Downtown Eastside but we won't do the same to seniors?


Program Notes

Revolutionary Moderation is up and running again, so feel free to click over and catch up with Don. Also, this page will being going into holiday hibernation after December 14, but will return with some kind of year-end piece by the 31st.

For those of you scoring at home, this page is relishing the fact that Conrad Black is going to jail, even if 6 and a half years is far too short a time. During the Calgary Herald strike of 1999/2000, this page witnessed a confrontation outside the Palliser Hotel between Black and one Andy Marshall, President of Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Local 115A. The public has a pretty good idea of what Black is like, and Marshall was the exact opposite: bespectacled, soft-spoken and genuinely likable. Marshall very politely asked Black why his newspaper was refusing to bargain. Black's response was to hurl back psychotic epithets of how the newsroom staff were 'gangrenous limbs' that needed to be cut off. CBC radio had their mics on at the time so some of the public heard Lord Almost's vicious little outburst. As far as this page is concerned, I hope they throw away the keys.


Rent your own Cops

Vision Vancouver is saying no to the pleadings of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) and their request for City funding of the Downtown Ambassadors Program. For those of you who live outside Vancouver, these 'Ambassadors' are little more than glorified security guards in snappy red outfits. From having seen them in action on a number of occasions, it appears that their primary mandate is to harass and intimidate homeless people, skateboarders, squeegee kids and anyone else our corporate overlords deem to be on the wrong side of B.C.'s Safe (for the rich) Streets Act.

Most trouble downtown actually happens in the middle of the night/early morning, thanks to extended bar hours and the establishment of the Granville 'entertainment zone', another initiative of DVBIA members. Apparently, drunk and disorderly is fine as long as one pays the cover charge. If anybody doesn't feel comfortable shopping or dining downtown without the presence of several pseudo-cops paid for by City taxpayers, you should probably be on the first SkyTrain to Metrotown, where everything is white, clean, and neat and Mall Security calls in the Mounties if someone picks a soda can out of a garbage bin. When this page pays his taxes, he expects to be getting actual police services provided by actual police officers.


A Kick in the Crystal Balls

The Amazing Kreskin has locked the name of America's 44th President in box at Donald Trump's bar across the street from the United Nations building in New York. This page's prognosticating skills only go so far as the gridiron (take the Seahawks plus the points vs. Arizona on Sunday), but I will predict that Election 2008 will be an even bigger mess than the 2000 or 2004 editions, thanks to Republican political maneuvering to carve out Electoral College votes in California.

Let's look at some numbers: In 2000, George Bush (with the help of his Florida Governor brother Jeb, the U.S. Supreme Court, and an avalanche of hanging chads) beat Al Gore 271 electoral votes to 266. In 2004, Republican 'voter suppression' tactics in Ohio plus a string of hate-mongering anti-gay marriage referrenda, Bush opened the margin of victory for his second term, 286 to 252 over Senator John (Swiftboat) Kerry. That makes the average margin of victory over the past two elections 13 Electoral College votes.

Where it gets messy is the last line of the article about the California GOP's machinations:

'If the measure qualifies for the November ballot, it remains unclear whether it would apply to the presidential election held that day.'

Traditional voting patterns in Congressional Districts have Republicans carving 22 of California's 55 electoral votes, and no one is sure whether or not the new rule could put those 22 votes in play will count on Election Day? For Kreskin's sake, this page hopes the Donald gave him the key.


Out of Order

This page's affiliated site, Revolutionary Moderation, is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Hopefully, Don will have his ship righted as soon as possible. If there are any regular RevMod readers lurking around, welcome aboard, and mind the screeching polemic.

Note to Don - it could be worse. At least RevMod isn't broadcasting from Boston Bar.


Furious George just can't let go

Despite the report from the National Intelligence Estimate that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program four years ago, President Bush will not give up the sabre-rattling. The President claims that's "nothing's changed". He's right - despite a lack of credibility so large that states are racing to conduct the primaries to replace him, the Bush dynasty continues to conduct international relations using its own special brand of Texas style weapons grade bullsh*t.

Remember the Kuwaiti babies snatched from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers as justification for the first Gulf War? How about Colin Powell's little slide show at the UN about Iraq's massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction? Are we supposed to give the House of Bush the benefit of the doubt this time so they can extend their Mesopotamian Misadventure next door to Iran? This page wonders the kind of treatment North Korea would get if Kim Jong-Il claimed he struck oil and changed the name of his country to the Islamic People's Republic of North Korea.

At the close of the first Gulf War, this page remembers Bush the Elder gloating something about 'licking that Vietnam syndrome'. Not letting the facts get in the way of a good war, Junior appears to be flailing around looking for something to lick the emerging 'Iraq syndrome'. A good place to look first would be in the mirror.


Mascaught between a Rock and a Hard Place

Last week our VANOC overlords introduced us to our 2010 Olympic imaginary friends: Miga, Quatchi, and Sumi. Immediately, message boards and open line switchboards were lit up with screeds about how they were too 'Asian-looking', resembling anime characters. To those people, I say SHUT THE HELL UP! I'm trying to watch Naruto!! And don't call me back until I'm done with Bleach, Gundam Seed Destiny, Death Note and Inu Yasha!!! Other threads whined about the constant use of First Nations motifs whenever Vancouver presents itself to visitors. You people can go suck it - try living under the giant bombastic 'YA-HOO' cowboy hat of Calgary's civic identity like this page did for two decades.

The more pressing concern for this page were raised by labour activists, who rightly pointed out that the mascot toys currently on sale at The Bay and Zellers stores across Canada, just in time for Xmas, are made in what I like to call the Anti-Santa's Village, the Peoples' Republic of China. VANOC claims that they have third-party oversight to address child and/or prison labour issues, but they won't disclose who exactly provides that oversight: Let's call it the Ice Dancing method of judging your suppliers. As for the criticism, it would help if the BC Fed could name two or three companies who could manufacture the toys rather than having Jim Sinclair heckling from across the street like a more nasal version of Lou Dobbs.

However, this page looks at the $25 and $40 price tags for replicas of these five ring circus brand babies, and wonders how much Miga, Qatchi, and Sumi can rake in to save British Columbians from tax increases, cancelled programs, and service cuts once the post-2010 bills start rolling in. Contrary to what my detractors think, this page likes the Olympics, and I'm willing to rub a couple of nickels together for the games. I just don't like anyone who doesn't being forced to pay for them, nor do I like people being put out on the street because of them. How many stuffed toys are we going to need to cushion those blows?


For those of you just joining us...

First of all, to those of you outside of the Lower Mainland who habitually snicker about how Vancouverites cope (or don't) with severe winter weather conditions, it isn't as funny when the names of family members are attached to phrases like 'head-on collision'. This page considers a snowstorm to be nature's way of telling people to rethink their infantile attachment to the internal combustion engine and find a different way to get around. For those of you scoring at home, if you insist on wrecking the planet by burning fossil fuels, the planet may just insist on wrecking you.

Carole Taylor won't be running for the BC Lieberals in 2009. This page is not surprised. Taylor is the last of any actual 'Liberals' of note in Victoria, and its not likely her government would see her federal counterparts come to power anytime soon, leaving BC's falling on the deaf ears of the Alberta-bred, Quebec-obsessed Harper administration. What's left surrounding Gordon Campbell is the likes of Kevin Falcon, Mike De Jong and Stan Hagen, which leaves this page wondering if we can just calling this gang Social Credit again.

What's the difference between Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez? In Russia, Putin and his KGBullies gang up on the opposition, whereas in Venezuela, the opposition gets a free hand gang up on Chavez. Despite the perpetual bleating and bitching to Washington, and the 2002 coup attempt that was shut down by overwhelming popular support for the President, Chavez has survived the backlash of Venezuela's rich elites and furthered the Bolivarian Revolution, and uses democratic means to consolidate the revolution, even if it does mean coming up a little short at times. This page will take Chavez' bombast over Putin's menace anytime.