The Ranting Canadian

John Tory, the leading Conservative Party candidate for Toronto mayor, has gotten endorsements from the Conservative Toronto Sun (after they previously promoted the Ford brothers), the Conservative Globe and Mail, Conservative Toronto city councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a bunch of other lesser-known Conservative city councillors, federal Conservative Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper  and other Conservative MPs.

I haven’t seen an official endorsement from the Conservative National Post, but their coverage of Tory has certainly been in his favour.

Gee, you think it might be because John Tory IV is a long-time, dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore Conservative partisan? Anyone who still believes Tory is some kind of progressive because he isn’t as loud, aggressive and impulsive as the Ford brothers is delusional.

Just because a bunch of right-leaning, pro-privatization Liberal politicians (and a few Olympic athletes for some reason) have also endorsed Tory doesn’t mean he is somehow not a right-wing, capitalist, dismissive, patronizing elitist.

It’s interesting, but not surprising, that the “strategic voting” crowd that, in every single provincial and federal election campaign, says we have to only vote Liberal to keep the Conservatives out, is now demanding that we vote for one Conservative mayoral candidate to keep another Conservative mayoral candidate out.

The same bunch of unprincipled manipulators who said the sky would fall if we didn’t vote Liberal (instead of NDP or another party) to keep the Progressive Conservatives out of Ontario, and keep the Conservative Party out of  federal power, now say the sky will fall if the Conservative Doug Ford beats the Conservative John Tory due to vote splitting. They want us to ignore the fact that Tory is a diehard Ontario Progressive Conservative and a federal pro-Harper Conservative, and that he would work hard to push their agenda at Toronto city council.

It’s too bad that many Torontonians have fallen for this bait-and-switch trick and will vote against their own best interests and their own core beliefs to elect someone they don’t even want as mayor.

To the sleazy, dishonest manipulators out there, I have one number and one letter to say to you: 4 and Q.

————————————————————————————————-

The song linked above is “4Q” by Blitz.

Doug Ford should drop out of the Toronto mayoral race – he is splitting the anti-John Tory vote. John Tory should drop out of the mayoral race because he is splitting the anti-Doug Ford vote. They should both drop out because they are both splitting the pro-Chow vote.
If that sounds silly or presumptuous, then think of how arrogant and pretentious it sounds to Chow supporters (or NDP supporters in federal and provincial elections) that progressive-minded people should roll over, abandon their principles and “strategically” vote against their own interests just because one right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-labour, elitist candidate “isn’t as bad as” the other right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-labour, elitist candidate.
The thing that self-proclaimed “progressive” Liberal supporters of the diehard Conservative John Tory cannot comprehend is that real progressives do not want Tory in office, period. They do not see Tory as an improvement over Ford, because Tory is, in fact, not an improvement over Ford.
Ford and Tory would both be terrible mayors, just different. Their main difference is in style, not substance. Both Conservative candidates have policies and outlooks that primarily serve the rich and powerful while screwing over the rest of society. They both want to privatize public services (including healthcare, if they had that ability), want to sabotage the public transit system, want to irresponsibly slash taxes, and want to drastically cut services that benefit the poor, the working class and the environment. They both promote brutal competition and greed over cooperation and pooling our resources for the common good.
For some of us, the thought of voting for any Conservative politician in any election makes us physically sick to our stomachs. If the self-entitled Tory fanatics got their way and Chow dropped out, many Chow supporters would either seek out smaller fringe candidates, spoil their ballots or not vote at all. Attempts at belittling and shaming Torontonians into voting for one of the two pro-Harper candidates will not work. We are not weak-minded suckers or masochists.
The loud and abrasive conflict between Tory and Ford is more like an internal family spat than a gang war. Many of the criticisms that they lob at each other are valid, but are ridiculously hypocritical considering the sources. If their pompous trash-talk sessions seem like segments from a professional wrestling TV show, that is partly because they are just as fake.
Ford and Tory are both children of privilege who have had most of their opportunities (and much of their money) handed to them on a silver platter. Neither of them has ever had to struggle to pay the bills. Neither of them has had to apply for a job like a normal person and go through a hiring process that was more than a mere formality. Both have ridden their fathers’ coattails to get where they are today. Neither of them understands how hard things can be for regular working people, and neither of them really cares. Their main goal is to keep what they have, get more, and exchange favours with their friends and acquaintances.
I know it’s difficult for comfortable, wishy-washy Liberals to understand, but some people actually have principles that they stick to. To those of us who aren’t sheltered by wealth and privilege, politics is more than just a debating club for abstract philosophical discussions.  We understand that actions by governments directly affect our lives on a daily basis.
For some of us, we are already moderating our leftist beliefs enough by parking our votes with the centrist Chow (and the centrist NDP in provincial and federal elections). After decades of incrementally further-right economic policies and the intensified race to the bottom, what Canada really needs at all levels of government are radical socialist governments to get our country back on track. Barring that, we certainly do not feel obligated to abandon all semblance of community and human decency and endorse the very policies that have been actively destroying our standard of living. That is a line we will not cross, so don’t even bother trying to pull our legs.
——————————————————————————————————
For more photos of John Tory IV (father of John Tory V) with his Conservative Party brethren, see http://toryisatory.tumblr.com/

Doug Ford should drop out of the Toronto mayoral race – he is splitting the anti-John Tory vote. John Tory should drop out of the mayoral race because he is splitting the anti-Doug Ford vote. They should both drop out because they are both splitting the pro-Chow vote.

If that sounds silly or presumptuous, then think of how arrogant and pretentious it sounds to Chow supporters (or NDP supporters in federal and provincial elections) that progressive-minded people should roll over, abandon their principles and “strategically” vote against their own interests just because one right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-labour, elitist candidate “isn’t as bad as” the other right-wing, pro-corporate, anti-labour, elitist candidate.

The thing that self-proclaimed “progressive” Liberal supporters of the diehard Conservative John Tory cannot comprehend is that real progressives do not want Tory in office, period. They do not see Tory as an improvement over Ford, because Tory is, in fact, not an improvement over Ford.

Ford and Tory would both be terrible mayors, just different. Their main difference is in style, not substance. Both Conservative candidates have policies and outlooks that primarily serve the rich and powerful while screwing over the rest of society. They both want to privatize public services (including healthcare, if they had that ability), want to sabotage the public transit system, want to irresponsibly slash taxes, and want to drastically cut services that benefit the poor, the working class and the environment. They both promote brutal competition and greed over cooperation and pooling our resources for the common good.

For some of us, the thought of voting for any Conservative politician in any election makes us physically sick to our stomachs. If the self-entitled Tory fanatics got their way and Chow dropped out, many Chow supporters would either seek out smaller fringe candidates, spoil their ballots or not vote at all. Attempts at belittling and shaming Torontonians into voting for one of the two pro-Harper candidates will not work. We are not weak-minded suckers or masochists.

The loud and abrasive conflict between Tory and Ford is more like an internal family spat than a gang war. Many of the criticisms that they lob at each other are valid, but are ridiculously hypocritical considering the sources. If their pompous trash-talk sessions seem like segments from a professional wrestling TV show, that is partly because they are just as fake.

Ford and Tory are both children of privilege who have had most of their opportunities (and much of their money) handed to them on a silver platter. Neither of them has ever had to struggle to pay the bills. Neither of them has had to apply for a job like a normal person and go through a hiring process that was more than a mere formality. Both have ridden their fathers’ coattails to get where they are today. Neither of them understands how hard things can be for regular working people, and neither of them really cares. Their main goal is to keep what they have, get more, and exchange favours with their friends and acquaintances.

I know it’s difficult for comfortable, wishy-washy Liberals to understand, but some people actually have principles that they stick to. To those of us who aren’t sheltered by wealth and privilege, politics is more than just a debating club for abstract philosophical discussions.  We understand that actions by governments directly affect our lives on a daily basis.

For some of us, we are already moderating our leftist beliefs enough by parking our votes with the centrist Chow (and the centrist NDP in provincial and federal elections). After decades of incrementally further-right economic policies and the intensified race to the bottom, what Canada really needs at all levels of government are radical socialist governments to get our country back on track. Barring that, we certainly do not feel obligated to abandon all semblance of community and human decency and endorse the very policies that have been actively destroying our standard of living. That is a line we will not cross, so don’t even bother trying to pull our legs.

——————————————————————————————————

For more photos of John Tory IV (father of John Tory V) with his Conservative Party brethren, see http://toryisatory.tumblr.com/

Gallery: Doug Ford campaign posters.

I’m surprised I have never seen anyone post this song (click on the video link above) in relation to the fucked-up Ford brothers, Doug and Rob. Maybe I have just missed it. The original lyrics don’t all apply to the Fords, so here is an amended version.

Asshole (Rob Ford version)

(SPOKEN)
Folks, I’d like to sing a song about the Etobicoke dream.
About me, about you, about the way our bigoted suburban hearts beat way down in the bottom of our bigoted suburban chests. About the special feeling we get in the cockles of our hearts, maybe below the cockles, maybe in the sub-cockle area, maybe in the liver, maybe in the kidneys, maybe even in the colon. We don’t know…

(SUNG)
I’m a millionaire regular Joe who’s never had a real job.
I’m your silver-spoon elite, white suburbanite slob.
I like football and cocaine and acting like a boor.
I’ve got an enormous, but plain, house with a nice hardwood floor.
My wife, my “job”, my kids, my Escalade that’s black.
My feet on my table and a pipe full of crack.

But sometimes that just ain’t enough to keep a man like me interested (oh no) no way (uh-uh). No, I’ve gotta go out and have fun at someone else’s expense.
(oh yeah) yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.

I read while I drive drunk in the ultra-fast lane,
While people around me are going insane.
I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, what an asshole)
I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, such an asshole)

I use public toilets and piss on the seat,
I walk around in the summertime saying “How about this heat?”
I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, what an asshole)
I’m an asshole (He’s the world’s biggest asshole)

Sometimes I park in handicapped spaces,
While handicapped people make handicapped faces.
I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, what an asshole)
I’m an asshole (He’s a real fucking asshole)

Maybe I shouldn’t be singing this song
Ranting and raving and carrying on
Maybe they’re right when they tell me I’m wrong…
NAAAAH!

I’m an asshole (he’s an asshole, what an asshole)
I’m an asshole (he’s the world’s biggest asshole)

(SPOKEN)
You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna get in my Cadillac Escalade SUV — mafia-black, with whale-skin hubcaps and all-leather cow interior and big brown baby seal eyes for headlights. Yeah! And I’m gonna drive around in that baby at 180 kilometers an hour, getting 3 kilometers per litre, sucking down quarter-pounder cheeseburgers from McDonald’s in the old-fashioned non-biodegradable Styrofoam containers! And when I’m done suckin’ down those greaseball burgers I’m gonna wipe my mouth on the Toronto flag and then toss the Styrofoam containers right out the side, and there ain’t a God-damned thing anybody can do about it. You know why? Because we got the mob, that’s why!

Two words — gangsters and guns, OK? Chow, Soknacki, Stintz - they can have all the democracy they want. They can have a democracy cakewalk right through the middle of Tiananmen Square and it won’t make a lick of difference, because my friends got the guns, OK? Al Capone’s not dead - he’s frozen! And when we find a cure for pneumonia, we’re gonna thaw out Capone and he’s gonna be pretty pissed off. You know why? You ever taken a cold shower? Well, multiply that by 15 million times. That’s how pissed off Capone’s gonna be.

I’m gonna get Capone and Sandro Lisi and Giorgio Mammoliti (Hey) and Fabio Basso (Hey) and a case of Vodka and Gatorade (Hey) and fly to one of my other homes in Chicago… (Hey, Hey, Hey)

(Hey you know you really are an asshole)
Why don’t you just shut up and sing this song pal.
I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, what an asshole)
I’m an asshole (He’s an asshole, what an asshole)
A – S – S - H - O – L – E.
Everybody, A – S – S - H - O – L – E.

Arf Arf Arf Arf Arf Arf Arf
Fung Achng Tum Chng Fum Afung Fung Ooh

(SPOKEN)
I’m an asshole and I’m proud of it!

The Harper Cons have announced they are naming the new Finance Canada building after the worst finance minister in Canadian (and Ontario) history, “Deficit Jim” Flaherty.  To reflect Flaherty’s disastrous political record and mean-spirited personality, it will:

Be small and useless
Go billions of dollars over budget and have a huge mortgage
Be funded by money embezzled from veterans’ services, Employment Insurance, healthcare, scientific research, job training programs, environmental conservation, etc.
Be built by underpaid temporary foreign workers instead of Canadians
Be constructed and operated under unsafe conditions
Have a false front
Feature a gazebo, a fake lake and a barrel full of pork
Cause significant, long-lasting environmental damage
Be filled with overpaid, underworked upper-level managers instead of frontline workers
Be plastered on the outside with Conservative “Economic Action Plan” propaganda signs
Be decorated inside with fake-Irish kitsch made in China, as well as many portraits of Dear Leader Stephen Harper
Be inaccessible to average working-class Canadians
Have special entrances for private bankers and other corporate elites
Have an even more special, luxury VIP entrance for members of the Ford crime family
Have an extra-large parking area for limousines and oversized SUVs
Above the main entrance, feature a sign that says “Work Will Set You free”
Crumble under the weight of Stephen Harper’s iron fist
Cause the premature deaths of hundreds of Canadians
Eventually be sold to a foreign corporation for pennies on the dollar and rented back from the new owners at an insanely high cost, under a lease with terrible conditions.
Have its true costs hidden for years, and only revealed after the courts force the government to do so.

The Harper Cons have announced they are naming the new Finance Canada building after the worst finance minister in Canadian (and Ontario) history, “Deficit Jim” Flaherty.  To reflect Flaherty’s disastrous political record and mean-spirited personality, it will:

  1. Be small and useless
  2. Go billions of dollars over budget and have a huge mortgage
  3. Be funded by money embezzled from veterans’ services, Employment Insurance, healthcare, scientific research, job training programs, environmental conservation, etc.
  4. Be built by underpaid temporary foreign workers instead of Canadians
  5. Be constructed and operated under unsafe conditions
  6. Have a false front
  7. Feature a gazebo, a fake lake and a barrel full of pork
  8. Cause significant, long-lasting environmental damage
  9. Be filled with overpaid, underworked upper-level managers instead of frontline workers
  10. Be plastered on the outside with Conservative “Economic Action Plan” propaganda signs
  11. Be decorated inside with fake-Irish kitsch made in China, as well as many portraits of Dear Leader Stephen Harper
  12. Be inaccessible to average working-class Canadians
  13. Have special entrances for private bankers and other corporate elites
  14. Have an even more special, luxury VIP entrance for members of the Ford crime family
  15. Have an extra-large parking area for limousines and oversized SUVs
  16. Above the main entrance, feature a sign that says “Work Will Set You free
  17. Crumble under the weight of Stephen Harper’s iron fist
  18. Cause the premature deaths of hundreds of Canadians
  19. Eventually be sold to a foreign corporation for pennies on the dollar and rented back from the new owners at an insanely high cost, under a lease with terrible conditions.
  20. Have its true costs hidden for years, and only revealed after the courts force the government to do so.

No wonder Rob Ford is so screwed up. His mother is Dame Edna and his father was Nosh from the movie Eat the Rich (see photos above).

But seriously folks, you good people of the great city of Toronto, there’s something disturbing about Ford’s mother Diane. Don’t be too quick to fall for her crocodile tears and her claims of being shocked about the extent of Robbie-Bobbie’s addictions to drugs, alcohol and acting like an asshole. Drugs and crime are no stranger to the Ford household.

According to several reports, Dame Diane is the ringleader who strong-armed Rob into becoming a career politician. Perhaps she was the one who pushed her now-deceased husband into politics as well. The ruthlessly ambitious matriarch certainly didn’t want Robbie running the family business into the ground, and she knew he wasn’t qualified for any other profession or trade.

Now that Robbie and his associates have butchered her selfish plan of turning the Ford crime family into political royalty, she may be seeking retribution. The authorities and the media should keep a sharp eye on this potentially dangerous puppet-master.

Photo Gallery: May Day 2014 in Toronto

The theme of the 2014 Toronto May Day (International Workers Day)  event was Honour Communities: Fight Capitalism. The chilly evening rally started at Allan Gardens, transformed into a march west on Carlton/College, and concluded at Queen’s Park with a few more speeches.

Toronto’s May Day event didn’t get much media coverage, likely because it was overshadowed by two bigger local political stories:1) Toronto’s untrustworthy, unethical, incompetent, promise-breaking mayor Rob Ford having another public meltdown and then taking a leave of absence, and 2) the untrustworthy, unethical, incompetent, promise-breaking Ontario Liberals putting forward their new budget bill (which was rejected the next day, thus triggering a provincial election).

Toronto’s march was energetic but peaceful, unlike the event in Vancouver, where police officers vicously attacked a few individuals, seemingly for no legitimate reason. Videos of violent Vancouver arrests are linked here and here.

Some Canadian content for May Day (International Workers’ Day):

This video is a documentary about the Toronto folk music group The Travellers, who started out in 1953, mixing traditional folk songs, Canadian patriotism, communism and Jewish culture (sometimes singing in Yiddish). They were inspired by, and worked with, Pete Seeger. They are  best known for the Canadian version of “This Land is Your Land”.

The Travellers were deeply involved with a left-wing Jewish summer camp in Brampton called Camp Neivelt, which still exists. In their early days, The group performed at many benefit concerts for the labour movement and other related causes.

They had several line-up changes and eventually took a more mainstream commercial approach, even releasing two non-political children’s records and performing in a beer commercial. They eventually split, seemingly over artistic and political differences. Nevertheless, Jerry Gray, a founding member, performed with a group as “Jerry Gray and & Travellers” as recent as 2011.

For more information, see:

The Travellers in the Canadian Encyclopedia

Jerry Gray: A Historical Archive

"Something to Sing About" by The Travellers

"This Land is Your Land" by The Travellers

Short clips of songs from the album ”The Travellers: A Century of Song”

April 25 was Liberation Day in Italy, a national holiday commemorating the end of the Nazi/Fascist occupation of Italy. The above photo portrays the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and his entourage, hanging upside down after being executed by Italians who were fed up with their bullshit.
Predictably, as the failed capitalist system continues to collapse around the world, the dark forces of fascism and quasi-fascism are again rearing their ugly heads (even within Canada’s Harper-Conservative government). 
Meanwhile, the working-class socialist labour movement languishes in a weakened state; many so-called “progressives” focus on sniping at each other over semantics and intellectual minutiae; opportunistic liberals kowtow to the corporate elites; and the apathetic masses sleepwalk through life, ignoring anything beyond their immediate concerns. All signs point to history repeating itself. 
In order to prevent the tragedies of the past from happening again, fascism and extreme capitalism must be stopped in their tracks. It’s a monumental task, but it can be done. Are you up for the challenge?

April 25 was Liberation Day in Italy, a national holiday commemorating the end of the Nazi/Fascist occupation of Italy. The above photo portrays the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and his entourage, hanging upside down after being executed by Italians who were fed up with their bullshit.

Predictably, as the failed capitalist system continues to collapse around the world, the dark forces of fascism and quasi-fascism are again rearing their ugly heads (even within Canada’s Harper-Conservative government).

Meanwhile, the working-class socialist labour movement languishes in a weakened state; many so-called “progressives” focus on sniping at each other over semantics and intellectual minutiae; opportunistic liberals kowtow to the corporate elites; and the apathetic masses sleepwalk through life, ignoring anything beyond their immediate concerns. All signs point to history repeating itself.

In order to prevent the tragedies of the past from happening again, fascism and extreme capitalism must be stopped in their tracks. It’s a monumental task, but it can be done. Are you up for the challenge?

Due to the poor attendance at Rob Ford’s campaign kickoff party, his new theme song could be “Half Empty Halls” by The Evaporators.

By most accounts, the April 17, 2014 event was a flop, with low turnout, no “history in the making" moments (another Ford promise broken), none of the celebrity appearances that were anticipated, and a lackluster speech full of lies, clichés and vague pledges. According to some, Ford was even heckled a bunch of times.

TV footage showed a lot of people waiting in line to get Ford T-shirts and bobblehead dolls, but it seems that many of those people were not genuine supporters, and left soon after getting their memorabilia, perhaps to sell online.

View during Rob Ford's 2014 campaign kickoff speech.

The Ford campaign booked an enormous banquet hall; rented tables, chairs, tablecloths, sound equipment, etc.; shelled out for servers and other staff; hired a rock band and bagpipers; hung large printed banners; gave away free alcohol and snacks; handed out other freebies; and brought along an old fire truck as a prop (which brother Randy bought for $4,000 at an auction). There were probably many other expenses too.

Whenever I see these massive Ford crime family events, I wonder who the hell is paying for it all. What political financing laws are being broken? What business expenses and tax refunds are being claimed illegally? How much drug money is being laundered? I doubt the full costs will ever be revealed to the authorities and the public.

In the last Toronto election, more than one third of the [on-the-books] money donated to the Rob Ford mayoral campaign came from outside of Toronto, from people who could not vote in the Toronto election. Many of the people at his April 17 kickoff event do not live in Toronto either. In May, Ford’s first fundraising event for this campaign (a $300-a-plate gala for the rich elites he claims to hate) will be in Vaughan instead of Toronto. A few months ago, wackjob city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (a Ford ally) held an illegal fundraising event in nearby Woodbridge, at which lobbyists and other sleazy operators paid $5,000 per table. This is the kind of backroom corruption that the Fords pretend to oppose, but fully embrace in practice.

Attendees of the Ford kickoff party who spoke to the media displayed low intelligence, pathetic gullibility and almost no sense of reality. They are lost causes who will never be swayed by facts, so the Olivia Chow campaign has to move past them and focus on getting her own supporters to vote in October, and on convincing swing voters to come on board.

Torontonians cannot be complacent. Although polls show Chow in the lead, when one takes into account the margin of error, there is essentially a three-way tie between Chow, Ford and John Tory (Ford-lite). The election is months away and everything is still up for grabs. A Ford or Tory victory would be another win for the rich corporate elites and their cronies. Chow is the only option.