Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Bear gets a place of his own...

RevMod opens a branch plant with a distinctly west coast flavour

west coast flavour - B.C. bud odours mixed with mold and three day old sushi...
On your mark

The provincial election will be called today, and it looks like the Tories are running against Ottawa, as I predicted they would.

The [pre-election billboards] - one each in Edmonton and Calgary - show a smiling Klein next to the words: "Proud to be Albertan." [link here]
Klein's Tories have had a lot of electoral success running on the idea of debt elimination. That issue is no longer on the table. Is this what we have left? This isn't going to be the Premier's best showing - good thing for him it's his last.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Survey says....

Health, education, infrastructure. That's how Albertans want their money spent, now that the debt is paid. The province spent half a million dollars generating the answers almost anyone could have predicted months ago. It's a good PR scam - ask people what they want, knowing full well the answers you're going to get are the ones you were prepared to act on anyway. Then call an election, running on doing only what you were told to do. It makes the Tories relatively bulletproof from the emerging Alberta Alliance, who are talking tax cuts and more democracy. Sorry, but more democracy says more social spending. Nice try.

This isn't what I would call "leadership". Let me make a little proposal of my own, instead, for at least a few of these dollars. It's not an idea that would ever emerge from a survey, but it would serve the government well in a few different ways.

According to Ron Suskind's book The Price of Loyalty, Paul O'Neil, Dubya's first Secretary of the Treasury, lobbied toward the end of his tenure for a clean water project in Africa. He waanted to start with a single test country, Uganda, where the entire population could be provided with wells for US$25M. Long story short, the Bushites were too busy planning for their Iraqi adventure to mess around with a project like this, and it never got done.

Alberta could get a lot out of making this investment.

First and foremost, we could be doing something for Africa, something the developed world should be doing anyway, without any further incentive.

When the Premier heads to the United States to complain, again, about the border closed to Alberta beef, he gets to speak with a tone of moral superiority that he was probably going to use anyway, but this way, it's justified. "We're picking up your responsibilities, making the world a better place, and you still won't buy a roast?"

If the federal government starts thinking that Alberta has more money than it has really "earned", well, we're acknowledging that. But instead of contributing beyond our responsibilities to transfers, we're giving back to people who wouldn't see any assistance at all without Alberta's help. Is the federal government willing to plunder from Africa to pay Manitoba?

Finally, it gives Klein a stick against the feds, and you know how he likes those. Forget firewall-based ideas, which stink of greed and selfishness. And forget about the standard provincial-federal (and increasingly, municipal) power struggles, which tend to have each level of government fight for more power and less financial responsibility. Let's intrude on a federal responsibility, and have them just try to say no to such an egalitarian effort.

No survey is going to produce this idea. My party certainly isn't going to run on a policy like this, so I'm not going to be advocating for it at forums. But I might just whisper it in the ear of the Tory candidate at those forums. I hope that some leadership, and some sense of responsibility to people who have not had the advantages Alberta has had, will exist in the new government caucus.

Monday, October 18, 2004

RevMod backdoor-drafted reservist/guest host BEAR says:

Vancouver Wards Off Progress

Congratulations to the "Non-Partisan" Association, their Real Estate Developer sugar daddies, the West Side old money reactionaries, the perpetually opportunistic posturing Greens and anyone else who refers to the raw sewage leaking from the Vancouver Sun's editorial pages as ice cream, for your stunning victory in Saturday's referrendum on a Ward System for the City of Vancouver.

This result pretty much confirms for the rest of the country our city's reputation as Canada's undisputed leader in f**ked up local politics. Here's a sampler of the arguments that the 52% of voters bought from the "No" side, including translations for non-Vancouverites.

1. A ward system will result in NIMBYism.

translation: If we drop the at-large system, we can't shove every homeless shelter and rehab centre into the Downtown Eastside anymore.

2. The proposed ward system does not include proportional representation.

translation: Let's string the Greens along to reject wards, as if there's any way we're screwing with a system that's kept Kitsilano and Point Grey in the driver's seat for 70 years.

3. Equity seeking groups like people with disabilities won't be able to run for City Council under the ward system.

translation: People the NPA can't filter out through corporate vetting of candidates, stacked nomination meetings, and skyrocketing campaign costs would be able to run for City Council under the ward system.

4. A ward system is the first step towards a Vancouver mega-city

translation: until Vancouver's Coaltion Of Progressive Electors and the Burnaby Citizen's Association are crushed under our bootheels, and those of our right-thinking bretheren in Surrey and Richmond, we simply just can't have that.

It's not like the 'Yes' side did themselves any favours either. Every other previous vote on wards passed, largely because of COPE's aggressive campaigning against the NPA's long standing hegemony on council. Funny thing was, COPE swept municipal elections in 2002, and it's hard to stick it to the man when you're the man.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

RevMod guest host/indentured servant BEAR takes care of...

The Obligatory Post about The Presidential Debates

George W. Bush must be proud of the fact he's the first from his family to be President, and given his opponent's momentum, should enjoy it while it lasts. No, Mr. President, I'm not missing anything or hallucinating, it's just that the past two weeks clearly illustrated that John Kerry is your Daddy!

When historians look back at the 2004 election, the pivotal moment that will generate most of the discussion will be that night in St. Louis when the President swaggered out of his chair toward the camera, thrust out his pelvis a little and exhorted "Need some wood"?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Fun session of Parliament

Alberta is in the midst of municipal elections. It includes another nonsensical "senate election". No one with an ounce of savvy seriously thinks Link Byfield will be getting appointed to the Senate. The election is a stick the Premier will be using to smack the feds around with, because going into a provincial election, no one is more popular in Alberta than a Premier with a Fed-beating stick. I digress.

By the end of October, we'll be well into a provincial election campaign. It will feature the NDP and Liberals running mostly against each other, the new "Alberta Alliance Party" running against the the Tories for being too moderate and concilliatory, and the Tories running against the federal government (see above).

Know what we need? A federal election. That'd be fun.

Prime Minister Paul Martin says he'll go to the polls if his government loses tonight's vote on a Bloc Quebecois sub-amendment to this week's throne speech motion.
(Full props to Martin for maintaining that the throne speech is a confidence motion.)

It might not be Martin's decision to go to the polls or not. The Governor General wotuld be entirely within her rights to give the Conservative Party a shot at governing first. However, I wouldn't expect that to last long either way. If the Conservatives are serious about not wanting an election soon, they're going to have to swallow it and vote with the Liberals, or be absent in precise numbers.

Monday, October 04, 2004

We just don't learn

A CBC investigative report (RealAudio version here, starts at about the 2 minute mark) heard over the weekend on The House found that spinal cord material --- including material from Canada's BSE "Patient Zero" --- made it into chicken feed as protien additive. When feed on a farm is mixed, when cattle are exposed to chicken waste, or when common equipment is used to deliver or store feed without cleaning (and who disinfects an auger?), we're risking feeding BSE-positive material to cattle.

Good Lord! Can't we throw away eighty-five cents worth of each animal to avoid risking another multi-billion dollar disaster to the industry? Are the margins in the packing industry really so thin that every cent needs to be squeezed? Really? Even with the BSE bailout that seems to have primarily benefited packers? Maybe the packers are hoping to extend the crisis, because it's been so lucrative for them so far.

Time for the government to step in.