Conservative Values

February 13, 2013

If nothing else comes from our current transit funding debate, if we’re still snarled on our roads and public transit modes, screaming Subways! Subways! Subways! at each other 25 years hence, differentiateat least we will have during this time of discussion differentiated between the reasonable conservatives and that of their all taxes are evil, Ted Nugent, we can’t even figure out how to plow our streets properly paleo-conservative brethren.

For it seems that only the most retrograde, mouth-breathing, Atlas Shrugged hugging, Toronto Sun columnist-commentator type believes that if there is a congestion problem, and they’re not all convinced there is, then there are plenty of ways to pay for alleviating it other than digging deeper into the hardworking taxpayers’ pockets. Hit up the private sector, for example. It can always be counted on to serve the public good. Or how about cutting spending on programs only the shiftless lay-abouts use? Or uncovering the mountains of scandal tinged money spent on pet social engineering projects or to prop up a teetering government.

The X billion dollars spent on X scandal could build X kilometers of subways!

Those right leaning thinkers of a more sound mind and constitution have accepted the fact the region’s congestion is slowly strangling our economic well-being and quality of life. digintoyourpocketThey also accept the fact that much of the money is going to have to come from the public purse. There is no silver bullet, no magic potion that will painlessly deliver transportation infrastructure for free.

This is what’s known as an un-blinkered, non-ideological assessment of the facts.

There is one quirk, however, in this otherwise reasonable conservative mindset, on display by the National Post’s Matt Gurney in his conversation with his NP colleague Chris Selley and NOW magazine’s Jonathan Goldsbie.

“But I think everyone except the mayor has probably realized the city needs to pay for most of this [transit expansion] itself…It’s all well and good to talk about the federal government’s obligation. We’ll have plenty of time to jaw-jaw about that while sitting in traffic or waiting for a subway car that isn’t packed to the gills. But for now, we have to recognize that money isn’t coming from Ottawa.”

This is a variation on a theme Mr. Gurney and other like-minded conservatives have been uttering for a while. Don’t expect money from the senior levels of government. They have a deficit to contend with. They’re broke. ‘emptypockets1Tapped out’, as Mr. Gurney wrote a couple years back.

The business of governing must wait until both Ottawa and Queen’s Park get their respective fiscal houses in order. Nothing is more important than deficit reduction. Sacrifices must be made. If we just cut here, slash there, trim that area between the two, and wrestle the mighty beast into submission, then we can talk about building stuff. Until then, you’re on your own, cities and everybody else in need of something.

It’s all about cutting costs with these guys. Any expenditure, at least any expenditure on the social side of things, is deemed a cost, never an investment that will contribute noticeable returns down the road in the form of increased revenue or reduced costs. It’s all about the short term, baby.

With that kind of prevailing attitude, how did conservatives claim the mantle of sound financial stewardship? They seem to lack a certain understanding of even the most basic of economic theories. Or rather, they’ve transformed more complicated economic ideas into easily regurgitated chants.

In the face of an economic meltdown, fiscal conservatives of all political stripes rushed to embrace austerity. notoausterity1Dubious on paper, it has proven to be wrong-headed in practice as Europe is mired in fiscal gloom, having imposed severe austerity measures on its most profligate member countries. Great Britain is now flirting with a triple-dip recession after their dance with austerity. With no noticeable improvement, the logical response, of course, is to stay the course. This shit’s gotta work sometime, right?

Cut costs. Cut taxes. Damn the revenue. Better living through scarcity.

Besides, there is more than one way to skin a cat, a skinny, deprived, malnourished runt of the litter.

Casinos!

You want revenue that won’t cost a thing?

Casinos!

Because there’s nothing a modern day fiscal conservative loves more than free money. Cash on the table simply to host a casino (actual amount to be negotiated after the fact but, rest assured, a sliver of what’s needed to fund transit expansion). dogandponyshowPlus, think of all the job creation, both building a casino and working in it once done. Good, well paying, union jobs which, normally conservatives aren’t all that comfortable embracing. But you know, when it comes to a casino and all that no cost money filling a city’s coffers, all bets are off.

Now, try running that line of reasoning by fiscal conservatives when it comes to building infrastructure. Think of all the jobs it will create to build and run that subway, dig up and replace aging water and sewage lines. Good, well paying, union jobs.

Blink, blink. Blink, blink.

Does not compute.

The difference being as Tom Broen at The Infrastructure Society pointed out most recently, infrastructure costs are up front, nowsville, while the benefits of such spending are lost in the ethereal dreams of tomorrow. A casino, on the other hand, is money in your pocket today baby, ka-ching, ka-ching! The costs and downsides? None that I can see and if there are any? Somebody else’s problem.spendingthekidsmoney

While fiscal conservatives go apoplectic at the thought of leaving some sort of financial deficit for their children and grandchildren to deal with, they seem to have little problem bequeathing them crumbling highways and antiquated public transit. Infrastructure deficit? You’re just sticking words together to see if they make sense, aren’t you.

There’s a word for that kind of thinking but it’s not conservative. It certainly isn’t enlightened or enterprising either.

Regressive. Selfish and self-serving. Backward and obstructionist. Those sound closer to the truth.

RSPly submitted by Cityslikr


Days Of Sue-Ann Supreme

November 23, 2012

In future days, will this be the face of the Toronto Sun?

DEVILITATOR

One might argue it already is but I’m referring specifically to the paper’s former editorial page editor, Rob Granatstein’s thoughts on the most recent cuts to Sun Media’s newspaper chain.

The cuts have crushed the local newsrooms. When the latest victims of downsizing are gone, Toronto will be down to three general assignment news reporters, according to people in that newsroom, unless staff is reassigned. That’s flat out ridiculous. The Sun will rely even more on its columnists to generate the news going forward. [Bolding ours.]

The Sun. Columnists. Generating news.

Information flowing forth, free of context, full of personal opinion. News from top down not bottom up.

This isn’t just about it being the Toronto Sun. Any newspaper working with a skeleton crew of reporters and teetering precariously with op-ed writers isn’t a newspaper. It’s, well, an organ of opinion, both informed and otherwise.

It would be just like… All Fired Up in the Big Smoke. Only with inkier fingers.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be able to do whatever it is I do without piggy backing on the work of Daniel Dale, David Rider, Robyn Doolittle, Kelly Grant, Elizabeth Church, Don Peat and a handful of other reporters who tirelessly dig up the dirt and parse information on Toronto politics on a seeming 24 hour, 7 day schedule. I’d hazard a guess neither could the bigger names a couple paragraphs up. The less reporting that gets done, the more, what would you call it?, PRing happens?

Picture Toronto, with the discourse only consisting of the views from the likes of Sue-Ann Levy, Joe Warmington, Royson James, Christopher Hume, Rosie DiManno, Chris Selley, Matt Gurney, Christie Blatchford, Marcus Gee, Margaret Wente?

“Columnists have found themselves out of jobs because they were too agreeable to those in power,” says Granatstein in this week’s Grid profile of Ms. Levy, “and it makes for weak reading. Wearing the Ford colours has hurt Sue-Ann…That means she struggles to get the other side of the story sometimes. People don’t feel she gives them a fair shake.”

While at the moment this may be a bigger bind for Sue-Ann because she’s in so deep with Team Ford, this can be a ditch all opinion writers must fight not to steer into. I’m sure the Star’s Christopher Hume has problems gaining access to the mayor and his staff. His colleague, Royson James, could hardly be considered an honest broker back in the day with the Miller administration. Remember his one-man, moralistic crusade to de-rail Adam Giambrone’s mayoral bid?

But that’s not really why we read columnists, is it? For impartiality or objectivity? We’re looking for opinions. Hopefully ones based on at least a semblance of reason and reality but we certainly don’t view their words as gospel or final on any given topic. Their purpose really is to either make our blood boil or confirm our biases.

Newspapers stressing op-eds over real reporting are nothing more than modern versions of olde thyme pamphleteering. And, if I do say so myself, that’s kind of our bailiwick, over here on the interwebs. We need newspapers to remain newspapers. Otherwise, we’ll all just be making shit up to push forward our agendas, unchecked and unsupported.

opinionatedly submitted by Cityslikr


The Clown Prince And Queen Frances of IsSheSerious?

November 2, 2012

The easiest thing to do these days when covering Toronto city council is simply to end with a panache of loathing, a figurative throwing of hands in the air and shop worn variation of the Shakespearean quote, “A plague on both your houses!”

Council meetings are often bogged down in partisan rancour although, in fairness and in the end, they always do wind up clearing their often times bulky agenda even if it does take them three days instead of two. It’s seldom pretty. It’s rarely graceful. But the business of the city is being taken care of.

Which, in reality, is quite a testament to the majority of councillors since we have a chief magistrate and his administration firm in the belief that governance suffers from a governing problem. Of course this is a circus, folks. We’re politicians! What else would you expect from us?

The opposition party is in control and has no idea how to actually run things because that would take having an open mind toward the efficacy of government. Few of them do. There’s nothing affirmative in their approach. It’s simply about no. no, no, no.

Mayor Ford is much more comfortable behind a microphone as a radio talk show host or on the football side lines than he is chairing a committee or speaking to items. His councillor-brother assumes the private sector does everything better than the public sector and gives that sales pitch at any opportunity that arises. The budget chief faints at the sight of large numbers.

But none may represent the vacuity of leadership and embrace of maladministration within Team Ford better (or would that be worse?) than its self-appointed QB, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, and council Speaker Frances Nunziata. It’s almost as if they were adopted and appointed for no other reason than to make the mayor’s bad behaviour look better by comparison. If his primary intention upon assuming office was to discredit the very notion of municipal government, the elevation of councillors Mammoliti and Nunziata to positions of power and visibility should be considered one of his only unqualified measures of success so far.

Immediately, partisan hackles are raised and examples of outlandish opposition antics are raised. What about Councillor Gord Perks getting all in Mammoliti’s face on camera? No question. Deplorable. But he subsequently apologized unequivocally at council. Intemperate displays of loutishness are not confined just to the right side of the political spectrum at City Hall. It’s just the regular, almost like clockwork and always near operatic occurrence of it from the Ford Administration that makes it seem so commonplace.

As Speaker, Frances Nunziata is supposed to bring a degree of decorum to the proceedings. An even-handed voice of reason and unbiased arbitrator, the role is that of a referee. Keep everything moving along and dealing with infractions in the fashion of blind justice.

Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Hectoring, nakedly partisan, she has maintained the fractious, contentious tone bestowed on council chambers by Don Cherry in his inaugural address. Worse still, the speaker doesn’t seem to have a handle on the procedural rules of the place. Things stop and start based on her mercurial whims that staff seem reticent to rein in for fear of having everything ground to such a halt that it might never get started again.

If Speaker Nunziata gave a shit about the appearance of propriety, she would’ve handed over her gavel to the Deputy Speaker during the contentious debate over the Ombudsman’s Report which dealt with the questions of civic appointments at the Civic Appointment Committee, a committee the speaker was chair of. How does that not smack of conflict? Instead she harassed critics of the process, coddled the defenders and used her role as speaker as a soapbox to editorialize.

The only upside to Frances Nunziata’s role as the council speaker is it keeps her off the floor of chambers in the capacity of councillor to a minimum. Her speaking times frequently double in length, punctuated as they are by a succession of her colleagues standing on points of privilege and order to correct the wildly inflammatory statements she makes. On Wednesday, she stood up to her critics, accusing them of using hearsay and innuendo to undermine the appointment process. The former mayor David Miller was guilty of “interfering every day” she claimed, citing no evidence to back it up.

A dictionary for the speaker, STAT! She evidently doesn’t know the meaning of ‘hearsay’ or ‘innuendo’.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that her performance paled in comparison to Councillor Mammoliti’s. Let’s just say it provided a fitting complement to it because, when he decides to let fly (and he does regularly), Councillor Mammoliti is without peer in delivering nonsensical rhetorical bombast. Which – guilty pleasure confession – kind of makes him a soft spot for me. Am I alone in my love of having a performing monkey?

Who else (aside from Councillor Ford) would have the gall to stand up with a list of names in his hand that he claimed a month earlier did not to exist and refer to it as “so-called”?  No one else challenged the authenticity of the list. There was no doubt about where it came from. Lots of questions about its intent but not its existence. Still, for Councillor Mammoliti it was “so-called”.

His 5 minute incantation of the words ‘Halloween’ and ‘candy’ and ‘witch hunt’ was truly Dadaesque in delivery. There was no internal coherence or logic. Just words spewed forth to mock and demean the office of the Ombudsman and incite the ire of his colleagues into defending Ms. Crean and the validity of the report she delivered.

See? We’re all crazy down here in the Clamshell. No need to take us seriously.

This is why we have to continue striving to distinguish between constructive and destructive debate and governance. While nothing in Chris Selley’s article about this week’s council meeting was at all factually incorrect, it suggests an equal culpability in the shenanigans going on during the meeting. “… four-and-a-half hours of councillors hurling accusations, counter-accusations and countless points of personal privilege at each other. At last, they had The List. Blood would be spilled. Edifying, it was not.”

No, it wasn’t but the blame for that should hardly be dished out evenly. Some members of council bear much more responsibility for degrading the discourse and, unfortunately, most of them are part of the mayor’s team. Adding further insult to that injury, such a sorry state of affairs seems to be their default and preferred position.

fairly submitted by Cityslikr


Where Have You Been?

April 26, 2012

“Time to talk about taking on the Fords” was the headline in a National Post article written by Chris Selley yesterday. “Three times this week,” it opened, “City Hall poured gasoline on Ford Nation’s smouldering embers.” He then outlined those three examples: the Metrolinx approval of council’s decision to go ahead with 4 LRT lines, the chief medical officer’s recommendation to lower speed limits in the city and the growing talk of looking at road tolls.

On top of which, Mr. Selley suggests later in the piece that in taking over control of outsourcing practices, city council “…added a weapon to the Mayor’s arsenal.”

There seems to be some inconsistencies in this argument.

For starters, city council has moved beyond talking about taking on the Fords. They’re already doing it by rolling back proposed cuts in the 2012 operating budget, successfully defending the Portlands from Councillor Doug’s incursion, reversing new fees for sports fields along with the examples above. The mayor’s self-proclaimed mandate continues to be challenged.

But to Mr. Selley this is pouring ‘gasoline on Ford Nation’s smouldering embers’, intimating that by defying the mayor council is only succeeding in making him stronger. (With a nod to @HULKMAYOR) DON’T MAKE FORD NATION ANGRY! YOU WON’T LIKE FORD NATION WHEN THEY’RE ANGRY!

This argument grates. It pops up every time the mayor suffers a setback. A wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth and the wailing of, but we’re just giving him a re-election platform.

What?!

And the alternative? To sit back, let him run rampant, implementing the worst of his policy ideas? When it all goes to shit, we then step up and say, see? We told you so? Then start picking up the pieces.

That’s certainly not what Mr. Selley’s suggesting. He believes the mayor’s opponents need to take control of the narrative and contest the fallacious assertions Team Ford continues to make. Like the St. Clair “disaster” and its mutant spawn, St. Clair-ization of the city with the building of LRTs. Agreed and I think that’s already under way with the work John Lorinc and others have been doing exploring St. Clair Avenue post its St. Clairizing.

“When it comes to subways and LRTs specifically,” Selley writes, “someone needs figure out how to make staying the course look sexy.”

That’s kind of a tall order and perhaps a little bit of overkill. While I know the mayor has pledged to make it a campaign issue and the likes of the Toronto Star’s Royson James worries that the timing of the Sheppard LRT’s commencement of construction in 2014 could be manna from heaven for Mayor Ford’s re-election bid, I’d really like to see him try and run with that frankly. Already having put off the timetable by 18 months with his declaring Transit City dead does he really think promising further delays is going to be a winner for him?

The statement issued from his office yesterday in response to the Metrolinx decision to proceed with LRTs suggests the mayor isn’t looking to go to the mat for a Sheppard subway. It attempts to put the matter fully into the province’s lap, saying that the focus for the TTC should now be solely on “…delivering operational and customer service excellence — and not on capital infrastructure planning and construction.” The mayor’s continued ‘push for subways to form the backbone of Toronto’s future plans for rapid transit expansion’ is vague enough to open the possibility of talk for something as out there as the downtown relief line. Subways are subways, right?

Inadvertently, Mayor Ford has triggered a transit discussion this city has not had this openly in decades. Very few people now disagree that we have fallen woefully behind, to the growing detriment of commuters and businesses alike. A Spacing-Environics poll last week suggested an eye-poppingly large number of the GTA are more than willing to consider a regional sales tax dedicated to building transit.

That’s a tax increase, folks. The polar opposite of what then candidate for mayor Rob Ford ran successfully on in 2010. All the talk of evil taxes now seems to be little more than pissing in the wind, a naked appeal to a narrowing base of support.

So the mayor and his brother want to recreate the conditions that got them elected some 18 months ago? Good luck with that. Like they say, you can’t push toothpaste back into its tube. The agenda has changed, the discussion advanced. Fighting yesterday’s war seldom leads to victory today.

That’s not to say I’m writing the mayor off as one and done. Mr. Selley’s correct in pointing out that then Councillor Rob Ford was severely underestimated. The anger he helped foment and then champion was surprising and misunderstood. He will be helped by the power of incumbency.

But 2014 will be a different political landscape, one the mayor will have contributed to having altered. Last time out, his main rival, George Smitherman, forged the anti-City Hall mindset that Ford ran away with. Every subsequent move Smitherman made to differentiate himself from Ford only seemed to reinforce the argument that Toronto’s government was out of control in every conceivable way. The only main candidate defending the status quo, Joe Pantalone, was simply a bad campaigner. His arguments were closer to the truth but he just couldn’t effectively deliver that message.

It’s hard to imagine how that dynamic will be recreated for the mayor to exploit. Council has already established itself as a viable counter-balance to the worst instincts of the mayor. There is a working majority consensus on most of the important issues the city faces. Whoever rises up from that to take on Mayor Ford in 2014 will be the type of formidable candidate he didn’t face in 2010.

Chris Selley doesn’t seem to realize that and is writing from a few steps behind what’s happening on the ground now.

up to speedly submitted by Cityslikr


Diminshed Expectations Are Contagious

March 18, 2011

I have come to terms with the fact that our 4 dailies, most of the mainstream media actually, take a dimmer view of government than I do. For I continue to believe that our elected representatives act only as badly, goodly, cravenly, bravely, miserly or magnanimously as we allow them. Their faults are our faults. Their successes ours. At the end of the (election) day, governments remain accountable to the people and to the people only.

Yeah. I do actually believe that.

So most political coverage from our newspapers that comes across my desk I read with a mixture of anger, dismay, incredulity, angrier, disbelief, confusion, angrierer. (But not you, Christopher Hume.) It’s not that I simply disagree with much of what’s written. That’s a given. I just find it discouraging to think of the influence the discourse has on our political atmosphere. A disheartened atmosphere of No Can Do-ism and diminished expectations. Ask not what your government can do for you because it can do diddly squat.

So it was as I read Chris Selley’s piece in the National Post a couple days back, Let’s get diesel trains to airport on track Mr. Selley may have a tepid point with his analysis of the diesel vs. electric debate. Let’s take whatever we can to get a rail link between downtown and Pearson. Finally. It’s long, long, very long overdue. But isn’t it this grudging acceptance, this settling for something less, this sense of diminished expectations that has got us into our current transit mess in the first place?

Had the newly minted Harris government not experienced a failure of nerve or a failure to take the long view or just been less… oh, I’m so tempted to drop the c-bomb and add an ‘ish’ here but I’ll restrain myself… back in 1995, we’d already have a subway running along Eglinton Avenue. Fast forward 13 years, Premier McGuinty wavering in the face of a recession induced deficit and scaling back plans on funding Transit City, itself something of a We-Don’t-Have-The-Density/Money-To-Build-Subways compromise. The result? More delays and opening the door wide to the new mayor’s ridiculously under-thought out Sheppard subway plan that, whatever the outcome, only means even further delays for Toronto.

What happened to the time when our politicians marshalled an uncertain public to embrace the great unknown for the greater good? Like JFK sending Americans to the moon. I’m sure a very solid dollars and cents case was made why that wouldn’t be a good idea. Or (and I hesitate to go here, fearing that I may just be invoking Godwin’s Law which I only recently learned about from @jm_mcrath) back in 1939, imagine western governments worrying about the costs, both human and financial, of going to war with the Nazis? You know, the timing’s really bad. Winter’s coming. We’re still a little behind the 8 ball with this Great Depression-y thing…

Oh, right. We now have leaders marshalling an uncertain public to embrace bad causes for the lesser good. Like say going to war in Iraq. Deregulation. The debasement of government itself.

The strange thing is, we watch as the private sector nose dives into a near death spiral through mismanagement, criminality and irrational swings in triumphant certainty to baseless fear, only to be picked up, dusted off and sent back along their way with billions of dollars of government cash, yet still we lionize these titans of industry for their daring-do, spirit of adventure and risk taking in the face of daunting odds. Our politicians? Not so much. Just deliver the services we demand, don’t take too much money from us and try and keep quiet over there.

While no transit expert, I think the case for electrifying the rail link from downtown to Pearson is a slam dunk. Yes, the upfront costs are more but the general feeling is we will recoup that money through lower operational costs down the line. Electrification would allow more flexibility in terms of the numbers of stops along the way. There’s that whole concept of weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. I know some of our electricity is coal generated but it is more flexible to future energy innovations (although there’s another front where our politicians are easily swayed away from green energy by dubious arguments). Diesel is diesel and electric trains simply make public transit a joy.

Mr. Selley does his argument a great disservice by blithely pointing out that the diesel trains Metrolinx has contracted to buy are convertible to electric as if it’ll be as easy as that. Slap up some wires, attach a couple of those rod thingies to the trains and we’ll be good to go. It’ll be a little more burdensome than that and, if history can be used as an example, the cost will be much higher in the long run than if we just electrified it now. (And while we’re in critical mode with this. Please, Chris. “If I worked downtown and was flying to London, I’d much sooner change in Montreal, or even Newark, than brave Pearson.” Seriously? A connecting flight rather than making your way to Pearson for a direct one? A little over the top, wouldn’t you say?)

But that seems to be what we do these days, make questionable claims to back up our demand for less bold measures from our governments. Bold measures are inherently risky, unpredictable and oftentimes don’t immediately pay off. It takes some courage to step up and see them through. If our politicians aren’t capable of such conviction, maybe it’s because we aren’t either.

boldly submitted by Cityslikr


When Governments Shrug

November 15, 2010

Last week’s Canadian Civil Liberties Association/National Union of Public and General Employees hearings into security force conduct at June’s G20 Summit in Toronto revealed few surprises except, perhaps, the degree to which lawlessness prevailed. We all know about the Black Block and the burning of a police car during the brief but damage filled riot that broke out on the Saturday of that weekend. How could we not? It was international news.

But equally, and far more sinister, was the conduct of the police force and the shocking assault not just upon peaceful protesters but the very foundation of our democracy before, during and after the summit. Peace, Order and Good Government? All tucked away nice and neatly. Noble sentiments in theory but, come on. This is the post-9/11 real world we’re talking about here, where the idea of “security” trumps all.

Even if the smallest fraction of what was said during the 2 days of hearings last week were true (and there’s absolutely no reason so far offered why I would assume there wasn’t far larger degree of truth being told), we should already be knee deep in some sort of public inquiry. Pre-summit arrests of various social activists. Police going badgeless (therefore nameless) while conducting highly questionable tactics with dubious claims of legality. Onerous bail conditions set on some detainees afterwards that suggest we’re dealing with the most nefarious of Al-Qaida suspects. Even in the pages of one of our more hawkish right wing dailies, there was a tentative call for a public inquiry.

And yet, to date all 3 levels of government have merely shrugged their shoulders. Whaddayagonnado? A few bad apples. Dock a day’s pay. Let’s move on. Nothing to see here.

In other words, people, go fuck yourself.

It’s almost as if we’re asking for a favour. A special dispensation handed down from on high. An indulgence granted by parliamentary privilege. Like we have no say whatsoever in how our governments and, by extension, those they oversee like police forces operate.

In his National Post piece above, writer Chris Selley asserts “Most people trust the police, and in general they should.” It’s his statement’s ‘in general’ qualifier that stands out. Shouldn’t we trust the police implicitly? Given the powers vested in them to, when deemed necessary, intrude into our private lives and personal freedoms, shouldn’t we demand full and open accountability at all times? Democracy and freedom are easy when neither’s being tested. The real measure happens when they come under duress. That’s exactly what happened at the G20 summit and by all accounts we failed them both miserably. It might be beneficial to try and figure out why.

Unless of course we don’t ultimately care. I mean, how often do we host G20 summits anyway? Police crackdowns are hardly ever necessary in the grand scheme of things.  It’s not like the security cameras remain up or lists are kept to monitor future activities. Right?

Yet for some reason, the ultimate villain in Mr. Selley’s article is Naomi Klein. Naomi Klein? Wait, how did she become—Oh right. Whenever criticizing the police, however mildly, don’t forget to raise the specter of a “radical” bogeyman, just so readers will remember what or whom the police are up against. In this case, outspoken lefty Naomi Klein who had the gall to praise student rioters in the UK for smashing up the 1st floor of Conservative Party headquarters to protest yet another hike in university tuition fees breaking a promise made when the coalition government was formed.

Naomi Klein is pro-riot. Naomi Klein is pro-G20 summit public inquiry. Therefore, G20 summit public inquiry = riot. Anarchy ensues if police aren’t allowed to trample our civil rights. Read between the lines, people.

Why are we more tentative in our criticisms of some displays of lawlessness than we are of others? In fact, shouldn’t we be much more vigilant in guarding against allegations of illegality conducted under the auspices of those entrusted to uphold the law? Doesn’t that present a much bigger threat to our civil society than the violent outbursts of citizens driven to such desperate acts because of oppression, neglect or ongoing and systemic disregard by those we elect to serve our interests?

No matter how sympathetic I may be to a cause that results in violent protest – and I think a democracy takes Tearing Up Some Shit off the table at its peril – I fully expect those who participate in such actions to be ultimately held responsible for their actions. Arrest and prosecution, all in proper legal fashion. Why is it so difficult to expect the exact same process for our police, its leadership and our own? It’s a dangerous double-standard and one we imperil our way of life with if we continue to hold it.

judiciously submitted by Cityslikr


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