No One Gets Out Alive

August 22, 2014

I begin this already doubting its relevance to the wider general public. Which may ultimately be the point of it, I guess. doubtAlthough, why bother then, you could ask.

Indeed.

Earlier this week a whole lot of dust was kicked up when noted political thingie and Olivia Chow campaign volunteer whatsit, Warren Kinsella, referred to mayoral rival John Tory’s Smart Track transit plan as ‘Segregationist Track’ in a tweet. Outrage ensued. How Dare Hes abounded. Demands for an apology were issued.

The offending tweet was deleted. Kinsella apologized, put up a Gone Fishin’ sign, and went silent. The Chow team put some distance between itself and Kinsella, the volunteer. New news broke. People moved on. The earth kept spinning.

Honestly. Did you hear about any of this?gonefishing

If not, maybe the actual intent of the tweet is still at work.

During the initial fury, amidst the calls of misappropriation of the word and the accusations of ugly intimations of racism contained in the tweet aimed at John Tory, Siri Agrell, a communications strategist, consultant and a David Soknacki (another mayoral candidate) fan, dropped this into the debate:

“If intent is to plant a counter-narrative that Tory is racist, is getting everyone in the media to report tweet really a strategic stumble?”

Ahhhhhh!

Essentially, have someone who gives you plausible deniability take the hit for a contentious public statement and when the heat cools, the heat always cools especially in a 10 month long election campaign, what’s left behind, the residue if you will, is the question of why anyone would want to make you think John Tory is a racist.daffyduck

Arguably, Kinsella’s choice of words was inappropriate. Arguably, he should’ve apologized quicker and louder. Pull the pin. Detonate the grenade. Brush the smoke smudge from your face. Ooops. Sorry. Step back from the damage.

Still.

A couple days on now and all that really lingers, if anything is lingering from the incident at all, is that question. Why would anyone suggest that John Tory is a racist? ‘Segregationist Track’? What’s that even mean?

And then the explanation.

Take a look at Tory’s Smart Track map. That dark blue void of nothingness, up in the left hand corner, where a bright red line should be, representing the Finch West LRT and new rapid transit options for the residents of northwestern Toronto. A part of the city home to many of the city’s non-John Tory phenotypes, let’s say. New Canadians hailing from non-white countries around the globe. People representing places that give us bragging rights to our official municipal motto, Diversity, Our Strength.

How come John Tory isn’t prioritizing their transit needs? Why is he ignoring a fully funded by the province piece of vital transit infrastructure in their neighbourhoods? Does John Tory not care about visible minorities?

Don’t be ridiculous. I mean, seriously. Just stop… being ridiculous. John Tory isn’t a racist. Some of his best—Don’t be ridiculous.

OK, fine. Then why has John Tory’s Smart Track plan wiped the Finch West LRT off the transit map? Can he explain that for us?

There you have it. This thing that began as a question of Olivia Chow’s character judgement about those who are working on her campaign, even peripherally, becomes more a question of John Tory’s priorities and who he’s actually looking out for. Who exactly is part of John Tory’s vision of the city?

And those of us who like watching the insider baseball nod our heads, struck by the possible cleverness of the strategy. outragedHuh, we say. Well, let’s see how this all plays out. This is why these people get paid the big bucks, I guess. They know how to play the game.

Of course, we are in the minority, we close observers of the game. Quite possibly the far bigger audience, the general electorate out there who will ultimately determine the outcome, won’t see it that way. They won’t appreciate the nuance of the tactics like we do. Floating the John Tory is a racist balloon might be seen as nothing more than the worst kind of mudslinging. Everything they fucking hate about politics.

Or claim they hate, anyway. Going negative has a proven track record, going negative practitioners will claim. Hell, Rob Ford’s entire existence is built on a negative platform, a campaign of hate and hurled baseless accusations of corruption and incompetence.

People might not like it but they seem to take the bait an awful lot. At least, the people who continue to participate and come out to vote even if they’re not happy or enthused about doing so. The others? The growing number of people who’ve just tuned out and turned off? smotheredWhy bother voting? It only encourages them.

They’re the casualties of the war rooms. Democracy is dead to them. They’ve walked away and not looked back.

So, I guess the bigger question is, is it worth it? Is the shot at elected office worth the long term harm inflicted on democracy? We pay very smart people enormous amounts of money for the benefit of candidates, and at the expense of the general voting public. Is that a sustainable democratic model?

I don’t ask this rhetorically. I have no answer to it. I’m just a concerned citizen.

discontentedly submitted by Cityslikr


Ford More Years In The Wilderness

January 13, 2014

(While we here at All Fired Up in the Smoke have vowed to spend less time and effort on the 2014 mayoral race, that doesn’t mean we can’t provide space to those who do have that inclination. For example, our fully endorsed 2010 candidate for mayor of Toronto, Himy Syed.)

*  *  *

Toronto City Hall 8:15 a.m. January 2, 2014

Rob Ford walks past The Colin Vaughan Press Gallery, along a corridor it shares with Toronto’s Election and Lottery office.

Named for late City Hall Reporter, Colin Vaughan, who previously served as Alderman representing The Annex. His son, Adam, today represents Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina.

Three years before Toronto City Councillors began turning their backs each time Mayor Rob Ford rose to speak, Adam Vaughan was first to do so. He turned his back as Rob Ford was being sworn in; he faced The Public during Ford’s inauguration speech.

December 2010: turning your back on the Mayor appears petulant.

December 2013: it looks prescient.

Rob Ford and Adam Vaughan have been and remain each other’s true Council Nemeses.

*  *  *

Mark Cidade stood waiting for City Hall to open at 7:30 a.m.

Once inside, Cidade found Election staff setting up the rope line. Somehow, Bruce Baker beat Cidade to the Pole Position. Baker intended to be first to file for Ward 36 Councillor. No matter. Cidade being second in line would become 2014’s first Mayoral Candidate.

Third in line? Al Gore.

45 minutes later, Bruce Baker permitted Rob Ford to stand in front of him after Cidade and Gore each denied Ford a spot ahead of them.

Rob Ford began his Re-Election Campaign… by budding in line.

Filing Nomination Papers

Two pieces of ID, signatures, several gigabytes of video and still images, and $200.00 later… Rob Ford begins his Re-Election Campaign.

“Ford More Years…?” What does that even mean?

Before abandoning his first media scrum of the 2014 Toronto Election, leaving his City Councillor brother and just announced Campaign Manager Doug to wax damage control to Cameras, Mics, and BlackBerries… Rob Ford lied five times:

Declared Council’s best attendance record: he’s actually 15th worse out of 45; missing 1/6 of Council votes this term; Claimed tax increases under 1.75% for four years: rise was 2.5% in 2012 and 2% per last year; Claimed unemployment dropped from 11% upon assuming office to 7% today: actually it bumped up from 9.4% at end of 2010 to 9.8% in last quarter 2013; Claimed City “started spending like drunken sailors” after November when Council transferred numerous of his powers to the Deputy Mayor: thus far, the upcoming 2014 budget remains responsible; Repeated the fiction he alone saved “A Billion Dollars.”

Why did Rob Ford start his Re-Election Campaign with complete inaccuracies?

By “Complete Inaccuracies,” I mean “Lies”. Full Stop.

There’s a word for that.

Sociopath.

This word was said to me by a former Ford Loyalist City Councillor who voted to strip away The Mayor’s power. This Councillor’s last straw was Ford’s admission of Drinking and Driving after repeated denials. Out of sheer curiosity the Councillor looked up “sociopath”. It described Rob Ford to a T.

I asked how voting against the Mayor felt?

“Dirty.”

Ford More Lies?

A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others.  A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused – it is done to get one’s way).  Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others.  Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways.

— TruthAboutDeception.com

Sound familiar?

Fundamental error of The Press Gallery is engaging Ford on being “right” or “wrong.”

Sociopaths don’t really believe there is such thing as being right or wrong, there is only more or less powerful.

— Sociopath World

Moreover:

What do John Edwards, Bob Barr, Rod Blagjevich, John Ensign, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, William Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton, David Vitter, James McGreevy, Tom DeLay, Charles Rangel, Newt Gingrich, and David Paterson have in common?

Obviously, they’re all politicians who’ve been caught doing something illegal, unethical, mind-bogglingly self-destructive, or all of the above.

But what also binds them is that none of them seem to believe they really did anything wrong, in spite of vast evidence to the contrary. When they finally have no option but to appear contrite, their apologies feel stilted, scripted and anything but heartfelt.

— Tony Schwartz, Huffington Post

Mayor Rob Ford’s goal is to be Re-Elected.

Why?

Power.

If the Press Gallery continues attempting to keep proving Rob Ford wrong after each and every utterance that he is right; If challenger Mayoral Candidates’ ultimate street cred at the ballot box is that only they are uniquely “The Best NOT Rob Ford”; If the wider electorate doesn’t exercise its own power by voting For Something rather than Against Someone (Rob Ford); Then Election Day October 27 2014 will be reduced to being either a Referendum on Rob Ford or his Re-Election by an enabling “Ford Nation”.

What is Ford Nation? Why is Rob leading it?

Usually sociopaths hide themselves behind a pretense of being able to feel what the rest of us feel. Their very survival depends on being able to blend in, by imitating what they see around them, but cannot themselves feel, ever. Those most successful are those who con us best.

— Gene Messick, OpEdNews.com

During 2010, the above was condensed into three words: Respect For Taxpayers.

For 2014, three syllables: Ford More Years.

It is said that Every Pharaoh has his Moses.

And Every Moses has his Nation.

If this election remains all but a Referendum on Rob Ford, as the first few hours of media attention and challenger candidates’
behaviour reveal, Ford Nation will Re-Elect their Moses.

But instead of Rob parting the Red Sea and delivering his people from Pharaoh, a re-elected Rob Ford will start from Sinai and
walk back to Egypt, taking Ford Nation, and the rest of us, along with him… For Four More Years.

Respect for Taxpayers. Been there. Done that. And got the Bobblehead to prove it. (Both of them.)

Time the Electorate stand up to the Sociopath Mayor by budding in the front of the line, getting ahead of the Press Gallery, turning their backs to the traditional media echo chambers with their narrative, and begin demanding a Post-Rob Ford Vision for the City Region of Toronto and How We Get There without mentioning nor referring to the incumbent mayor.

himysyed

thoughtfully submitted by Himy Syed