Why Don’t Liars’ Pants Really Catch On Fire?

So there we were, minding our own business at the office, trying to set up one of those nerf basketball deals that seem to be all the rage on the new lawyer shows on TV. (Both Jimmy Smits and Rob Morrow toss up shots while mulling over television points of law.) Mostly, we were just trying to distract ourselves from the Mad Men-esque wet bar we’d long ago established. The source for many alcohol fueled eruptions and near butter knife fights but precious few drunken trysts, alas.

When this email popped up on our computer screens:

From: “Karl Haab” <khaab@on.aibn.com>

Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010

To: afuitbs@gmail.com

Subject: Fw: Advance polls open tomorrow and who to vote for

City Elections for Mayor and Councillors

You can vote in the advance poll starting tomorrow, Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Locations attached.

If you don’t know who to vote for, find the recommended candidates at www.saveyourbusiness.ca

I’ve not included the attachment as it was pretty much as advertised, a list of advance polling stations. But the link is worth a little look-see if only to see firsthand the level of discourse going on out there as we close in on election day. Misinformed doesn’t do it justice as that would suggest a certain degree of ingenuousness or wide-eyed, golly-gee how `bout this at work. Ill-informed isn’t quite right either as, again, it denotes a passivity to it.

No, I have to Poe-it here, and create a word to strike the note I’m going for. Mal-informed. As in, a deliberate act of becoming misinformed. To cause oneself and others around you to be informationally misinformed.

Why is it that people want to be wrong? How is their cause, whatever that might be, well served if it’s based on lies and distortions? If being right means being so, so wrong, I just don’t want to be right.

These are not simply ideological or philosophical differences of opinion, I’m talking about here either. A quick glance through the site reveals out-and-out lies and mistruths. As if they’re coming straight from the campaign offices of Rob Ford or Rocco Rossi.

Exhibit A: Point #4 under Road Tolls and New Taxes. Taking away automobile lanes to make way for bike lanes on Jarvis Street at a cost of $6 million. Over and over, anti-bike lane candidates have tried to pimp this one. In fact, it cost less than 1/100th of that figure. And while it’s still being studied, so far, the ‘sheer madness’ of the bike lane causing traffic congestion along Jarvis Street does not seem to have materialized as was guaranteed by Rocco Rossi.

Exhibit B: Check out the site’s Ret Hot Lies link. Here you get an entire page dedicated to non-scientist Christopher C. Horner and Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank which gets millions of dollars of funding from Exxon, debunking the myth of climate change. “A world-wide scam as large as David Miller’s streetcars and is responsible for billions of dollars of government grants and grants by charities to study it.” Blah, blah, blah.

So it goes. There’s no pro-business, anti-Miller candidate the site won’t endorse. None who display even a flash of progressive spirit that it doesn’t want to see go down to ignominious defeat on October 25th.

Who cares, you ask. Why bring such dreck up like some political hairball that has massed in the stomach, causing much nausea and discomfort. Acknowledging it only gives it more credence than it deserves.

Yes but, ignoring it hasn’t helped make it go away either. In fact, the modus operandi behind www.saveyourbusiness.ca has driven this campaign, infecting the debate with lies and misinformation, twisted logic and a mountain of anecdotal evidence that’s not worth the paper it isn’t written on. This screed has been treated with de facto legitimacy when in reality it’s nothing more than biased, highly suspect ideology.

It’s tough to engage with any contrary opinion when it’s based on pure and utter subjective bullshit. If people like those behind this website are so off the mark and clearly motivated by such egregious mendacity, why should we concede any point to them? Their motivation is clearly suspect. Their opinions skewed through a perverse lens of deluded bias. Their goal is not legitimate debate or an honest and forthcoming exchange of ideas.

They need to be exposed in order that their views and opinions are derailed, debunked and dismissed before they can cause any further damage.

**Swoosh** That’s a tres, boys! I believe I just earned myself a Manhattan.

Kobely submitted by Cityslikr

Terror Babies, Council Corruption And The Long Form Census

The crazy train is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, is it.

For anyone who caught a glimpse of this last week, you know what I’m talking about. Pure, unhinged, paranoid in-fucking-sanity. Yes, that is a double dare to all those not yet in the loop. Check it out, starting at the 1’12” mark although the warm up act is worth sitting through too.

In the days before our all pervasive high-speed internet and proliferation of cable channels, the kind of crazy on display from Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert was largely restricted to religious revival meetings, street corners and family BBQs where we all had some slightly touched Uncle Louie who, after a few rye and gingers and a pile of potato salad, started spewing forth about the coloureds, UFOs and braless women wearing short shorts. (Deny it as you might.) I remember back in the mid-80s when Morton Downey Jr.’s vitriolic rantings began wafting across Lake Ontario from some Buffalo affiliate station. It was nothing short of shocking and unsettling. We’re really giving airtime now to our crazy Uncle Louies?

Twenty-five years later, Morton Downy Jr. seems tame in comparison, what with the mainstreaming of TV personalities like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly and the radio behemoth, Rush Limbaugh. And we’re not just making media superstars of this crowd, we’re electing them to public office. Cranks and kooks from forlorn backwaters, striding to within almost a heartbeat of the self-proclaimed most powerful position in the free world.

After watching Gohmert’s video performance last week, I smugly tweeted something to the effect of wanting to travel down to the Texas district he represents to meet those folks who saw fit to elect him. Almost immediately, I rethought my arrogance. Who am I to cast aspersions on other voters when I live in a city that elected Mel Lastman as its mayor twice? Now, just seven years after that unmitigated disaster, the (possible) front runner for the job is perhaps even more unfit for the office and prone to similarly wacky, outlandish outbursts and behaviour.

Take away Gohmert’s dullard suggesting Texas twang and it could be Rob Ford talking. His entirely unsubstantiated council corruption smears last week were no less devoid of rationality and truth than Gohmert’s screeches about terror babies. No iota of evidence was needed. In its place, pure gossipy innuendo.

While the biggest culprit so far in campaigning purely on style and forgoing even so much as a scintilla of substance in order to plug into the resentment vein of the electorate, Ford is hardly alone. Both George Smitherman and Rocco Rossi are running on platforms built on ideologically unstable ether. Cut taxes. Cut wages. Maintain services. Build subways with money from… well, we’ll get back to you on that. Somehow in a way that no one’s ever thought of before, the private sector will swoop in and sort it all out. Just remember, voters, you’re angry at the direction the city’s heading!

Such illogical, visceral appeals to our dark side are all neo-conservative/liberal proponents have anymore since their cause had its brains bashed out on the sidewalk of reality. Reasoned argument is no longer part of the equation because they’ve been pedaling pure bullshit for decades now. All that remains in their arsenal is divisiveness and emotional sorcery.

Which brings us to the federal government’s War on the Long Form Census. When fact and reliable data become your enemies, undercutting your assertions at every turn, there is only one course left to you. Stop trying to ascertain facts and disable the apparatus for collecting reliable data. If you can’t win an argument through reasoned thoughts and rational discourse, why allow anyone else to? Freeing all of us from having to test and prove our beliefs means we’re all on equal footing. All points of view are valid and it’s only a matter of making a smooth, easy-to-understand case.

So who are you, Anderson Cooper, to demand proof of Louie Gohmert about terror babies? And if Rob Ford says that the council he’s been part of for a decade is corrupt to the bone, then anyone arguing to the contrary is obviously a shady dealer. Don’t tell us that building billions of dollars of prisons in this country and doubling up prisoners in cells flies in the face of a declining crime rate. How can you be sure the data’s reliable?

It’s the age of Orwell’s 1984 with a sadly unfunny touch of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. We’re right if we say we’re right. You can’t prove otherwise even if, well, you can prove otherwise.

sure-footedly submitted by Cityslikr