#156 – Feels Nation

Rob Ford is worm food, and with his corpulence his corpse will be feeding worms to the Second Coming. Cakers this week went all-out in their worship of a guy who smoked crack in office. Because Marion Barry was totally the shit, right?

Yeah. AmeriKKKa had a mayor like this too (and in Washington, DC no less) – one who voted against gay rights, did drugs, had most of his power stripped by regional authority (in Toronto, Queen’s Park did it; in Washington, the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, which is I think Congress), and generally was known more for panache than thinking skills.

But here’s where some comparisons stop. See, Barry was a scientist – he actually trained as an organic chemist (the more you know, I guess) and scored his Masters in the field. His turn to politics came after his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, he left academia because as a doctoral student he was forbidden from tutoring white kids. Now, Marion has a checkered legacy that I as an outsider dare not cast judgement upon, but from his background Barry seems to be a genuinely intelligent man who had clear reasons to take up politics. How well that went isn’t for me to judge, but it’s miles above Rob Ford’s story.

Rob Ford was the son of a caker businessman named Doug Ford. Doug Senior was a crazy fucking goat of a man who kept money hidden in a tin hidden within a wall and upon losing track of said tin forced his children to take lie detector tests. In typical caker fashion he drove his partner out of their shared business and thus was born Deco Labels and Tags, a caker business caking it up with the best of them. From this we get the latest bundle of Ford fuck-ups – suburban wealth with awesome business-crashing powers and the kind of impulsiveness associated with drugged-out…oh, right.

The Ford family is fucking weird, and I could write an entire post simply linking to weird shit I’ve found while looking for a reason to believe that Ford came to politics for the right reasons. Instead, what I found was an angry Daddy’s boy who could never be bothered to read reports about issues and who ran from a meeting to slap magnets on cars. He thought improving walkability constituted a “war on cars“, tried to use caker nationalism to justify needlessly riling the nu-left, and provided a shocking interpretation of the Jamaican accent. Ford, in short, planned as well as most Canadians do and was as much a caker as any. Apple didn’t fall far from the tree on this one, folks.

How do you bury a man who loved being angry but hated learning anything about the source of his anger or planning?An alcoholic, drug-addled mess of a Mayor who made Toronto the laughingstock of the world, set transit back decades, and prioritzed minor tweaks over major repairs because he lacked the patience and foresight to do anything else?

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Apparently with an honor guard and repose at City Hall…?

Obviously, losing someone who doesn’t plan is a tragedy for Canada, a country that relies on not-planning because reasons, so cakers predictably went fucking nuts. Rob Ford is the Mayor of Heaven now, which presumably means that the chorus of angels will now have to cross a 70-lane superfreeway to get to practice. His brother valiantly held the torch of the “ME ANGRY GRRR” movement that Rob started.

Even Mike Harris, who should know better than to appear in public in Ontario (Dalton “Guilty” McGuinty fled to America because that’s what anyone with the money to does) came aboard to tell us what truly motivated Rob. I doubt it was struggles with racism on campus and the very real fear of getting drafted that Barry endured. So shoot, Mike – what was Robbie’s calling?

[T]hose who are most successful at it never let politics change who they were in the first place. This was certainly true for Rob. He came into politics with a strong sense of putting the people he represented first.

…Right. Putting the people first. Harris continued to proudly proclaim that poor kids got sports equipment thanks to Rob. They can’t get anywhere because Toronto transit is a joke and car-centric design is dangerous for humans, let alone kids, but ah fuck it, right? Typical caker prioritizing – why do something useful when you can do something cheap?  “Putting the people first” is fine until you realize that “the people” aren’t exactly filled with foresight or expertise, least of all Canadians and the very least of that least the GTA, the wood splinters at the bottom of the barrel of caker mediocrity.

But what’s really precious about this is the staggering amount of love poured into this guy by suburban cakers and the whispers of conspiracy that developed whenever this guy revealed his idiocy, which was always. Yeah, he didn’t achieve anything – but he made Toronto interesting so it’s all good! America is laughing at us as they watch our city spiral out of control but at least they’re watching!! Lookit meeee! He fought against unions that contributed to a decent working culture in Toronto because he really cared about the people!! Presumably not the ones getting the shit end of the stick but those guys are losers and conspirators against the Great Ford Nation.

And oh, the conspiracies. The media was out to get Ford by reporting on a guy who made the world about himself and thus should have known that he’d attract attention from profit-seeking news agencies. The police were conspiring against Ford’s driver by following the law and arresting people who break the law. Fucking Martians were probably in on it too. Interestingly enough, the cabal-forming, fuck-ethics-make-money stylings of the caker business class that the Fords come from wasn’t a part of the make-believe conspiracies.

What’s even worse is that people clearly like this “show-up-and-fiddle” method of government. In a way Ford and Trudeau share a lineage – hell, Ford and #RealChange were taking selfies at Jim Flaherty’s funeral. Justin is hardly leaning on the same hard-drinking hoo-rah football marketing campaign that Ford used but they come from the same silver-spoon Laurentian stock and employ personal mythologies (Ford as “man of the people” and Trudeau as “bringing Canada back”) and the appearance of doing things as a way to justify using their offices to boost themselves. This is what passes for politics in Canada, folks.

When both the “left” and the “right” of the country (I put those in quotes because either implies thinking and neither Ford nor Trudeau are known for their skills in that regard) believe in the same manner of governing something went very, very wrong. In Washington Mr. Barry may have had a similar trajectory to Mr. Ford but at the very least Marion was motivated by reasons beyond himself and demonstrated academic acumen. He didn’t look like a trainwreck from the start.

By contrast Ford was a typical son of caker oligarchy, with more feels than sense and a political job to fall into (Daddy was an MPP) bestowed by endless finances and a family name. His legacy is the kind of idiotic populism, a  vision of the soft aristocracy that dominates Canada today and will for the forseeable future with #RealChange in Ottawa. As long as Canada encourages this type of look-at-me politics it will never have the honesty or foresight to do much of anything except continue trying to draw attention with props and stunts.

 

 

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#143 – The Job Fairy, Part Eight: The R Word

English Canada is scared of what our national broadcasters couldn’t be bothered to spell and thus called “the R word“. Yes, people – we have devolved to the point where our best defense against another fucking recession (after the last one that we totally recovered from with the awesome trifecta of subprime mortgages, unstable staple resources, and a housing market most in the sane world are staying well away from) is just not saying the word recession. It’s not a recession – it’s a Canadian correction! And Canada’s madness ensures that Canada reacts to it by doing exactly the same things that got them into trouble in the first place.

We honestly have a situation here where Ottawa is falling over itself to provide tax shelter to the liquified natural gas sector of the make-believe nonconomy of British Columbia, because staple resources are nothing short of genius even though the province next door is experiencing economic meltdown akin to Toht’s face in Raiders of the Lost Ark precisely because it overleaned on staple resources. We have a continuation of overvalued condos, precarious labor markets, and hidden inflation. Ontario is using Bay Street bankers and lawyers to cold-store and sell of Hydro One – to Bay Street investors, bankers, and their ilk.

Here’s a question for you: outside of “because jobs”, what economic benefit comes from short-term bursts of ersatz growth? Because that’s what we’re building here. Will Toronto’s housing market and Vancouver’s condos remain absurdly overpriced forever more as more and more are crushed out from those cities by sheer costs? How is liquified natural gas any different from Alberta’s oil system, especially when there’s little evidence that anyone has learned anything from the lesson of literally a few months ago? How does any of this help small, rusted-over towns that aren’t experiencing the magic burst in manufacturing that the Bank of Canada seems to expect and can’t reasonably be expected to with populations who have long since hung up their tools or moved on?

This is what ad-hoc looks like – a smattering of fiscal steroids that leave our provinces, cities, and regions with aching bones and tiny balls. I’ve been reading a lot about the differences between streets and roads, where streets are local economic engines and roads and methods of transit between economic engines. Canada, like the United States, has a fixation on stroads – hybrid abominations that work at cross-purposes and thus can’t be serious generators of any sort of growth. Our cities are choked with them (that’s why they’re cultureless morasses) and our economic logic is entirely predicated on mega-project magic-bullets that will totally work this time you guys because reasons.

The real solution to Canada’s problems lies in brutal, critical honesty. We have to get over the Staples Trap that we’ve been falling into for the last 150 years. There’s a reason most settler-dominated countries turf their colonial economic policies as quickly as they can and opt to do something more useful. For whatever reasons, Canada refuses to make this crucial jump. It holds so much back – our relations with the Indians and actually following the Constitution, the brutal work that will be fixing Canada’s completely broken, stroad-ridden cities, honest cultural development – the whole thing. Canada is in no small part useless because it reacts like this to economic downturn.

The Greeks had the balls to turn away from an obviously untenable economic model, earning derision and scorn for daring to take care of themselves. It was honestly kind of inspiring to see the Greeks saying that their beloved country had seen enough non-starter austerity. Canada, by contrast, lacks the courage to even build things worthy of being cared about, far less the ability to speak honestly about what’s happening here.

The R word, indeed. I can think of another R word to define this trouser-stain.

#134 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: the Lame and O’Really Show

Amanda Lang and the story of how she still has a job is fascinating to me. She served as the foil to boorish Trump wannabe Kevin O’Leary – and when your job is “make the bonobo in the Trump costume seem clever” you’ve got problems. Leaving O’Really aside, we’re going to instead focus on the connections and culture of non-disclosure that broadsided her and thus the H.M.C.S. CBC, which is increasingly mired in scandal and honestly is starting to look a bit like a college production.

Also, yes – I know people want my comments on CBC bias. I want to change that terminology slightly, but I agree. The CBC is in the business of creating Canada through telling it what it ought to be. I mean, think about it – the CBC was born in part out of Canadian paranoia that AMERIKKKA and her deadly foreign broadcasts are coming to increase all of the portion sizes and make everyone interested in MLB instead of the NHL. Ever wonder why the CBC clamors to hire the brownest news anchors it can but how they all speak fluid, native English when radio stations that provide essential non-English language services for Inuit elders get zombified as advertising space for want of federal funds? It’s make-believe, folks! And we’re getting there.

When I go looking for muck in Canada, I start from the same place – families. We’ve discussed how family politics is endemic to and a toxic result of Canada’s extreme disorganization and bureaucratic confusion. And behind Amanda is…pappy Otto Lang whose infamous elimination of the Crow Rate subsidy brought tons of wealth to the TSX and the shareholders of the Canada-Pacific Railway at the expense of continuing the process of Western alienation.

The next place to look when I find family paydirt with connections to Canadian business is for links between that specific person and Canadian business interests. I found political interests, such as when she didn’t disclose that her brother was running against Jack Layton in a segment about whether Jack Layton was credible as a Party Leader. Yes, her brother was a Liberal. And then I found out that she was dating someone on the Board of Directors at the Royal Bank of Canada at the same time as she was sabotaging a story about abuses of the temporary foreign worker program by said. And then she got dinged for providing positive coverage of two insurance firms (Manulife and Sun Life – like there’s a difference) while taking paid gigs from them. Disclosing any of this would just have taken too much time out of her hard-hitting business journalism so she didn’t.

The whole family is a political powerhouse with journalists, justices, and business executives among the Otto children. And that obviously has nothing to do with the extent to which the CBC’s insular senior management is defending and protecting her. Their internal report was made public only after heavy redactions, including the entire section about conflict of interest. Obviously the sign of a body that values journalistic integrity!

#131 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: Slippery Pete

Heather Conway may be a student of the worthless Canadian business class and may have more background in spin than data, but she’s got nothing on the King of Slime Himself – Peter Mansbridge.

Peter Mansbridge was hired because of his voice. No seriously – he worked at an airport in Churchill, Manitoba when some CBC putty-launcher heard him doing an announcement on the intercom. Don’t take my word for it – read this glowing nonsense for yourself! And then read the Star’s report on Slippery Pete’s paid speaking gigs for big oil (“the CBC said it was okay so you’re all meanie poopieheads” is basically his response) and his fluffy-ass interview with Rob Ford who proved that, if nothing else, English Canadian businesspeople can be trusted to spout off laughable tough-guy talk while being propped up by the government.

But that’s not why we’re here. Sneaks and snakes are a reality of Canada that nobody can take away from it. What’s really special to me is that Peter serves as a sort of political Snuggee, a soft and understanding Dad-voiced friend in a media scene filled with meanies and bad guys. Did you literally smoke crack as a mayor? Come be absolved by Pete! Gotta look remorseful after the latest unwanted facts about Canada’s wicked past and useless present come to bite the cakers in the ass? Send Slippery Fucking Pete and he’ll knowingly frown with downcast eyes so you don’t have to feel the consequences of your shitty country’s horrible actions. Need some out-of-a-can-reverence for your revisionist event? Father Pete will bring the magic to your Canadiana bullshit with his dulcet baritone voice. If you’ve got money, the CBC has its favorite celebrity ready to come to absolve you and yours.

He’s like Oprah Winfrey but specially tuned for Canada in that he’s an old white dude who can basically do anything and get away with it because of name recognition. The fact that you donated the proceeds from a paid speaking engagement with the tar sands or the Koch Brothers doesn’t absolve you of the fact that you took money for a speaking engagement from the tar sands and a company ultimately beholden to the Koch Brothers. I don’t care that you get your money from elsewhere, Pete – but for the love of God please disclose that information when you’re reporting on something related to it. That’s basic journalistic ethics. It’s what Jesse Brown of Canadaland does. And you know what? While I often violently disagree with Brown and his guests, I respect him as a journalist and I read his remarks with interest because he has the courage to wear his potential biases on his sleeve.

This is, of course, in contrast to Slippery Pete, whose grandpa-face and a healthy dose of Canadiana clearly qualifies him as Chief Absolver of Canadian Sins. Does anyone remember when Walter Cronkite said this:

We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi’s winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that – negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate

This man, Old Ironpants (no, really), brought America’s defeat to the nightly news. He did it eloquently, prompting President Johnson himself to allegedly have said something like “if I lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America”. Somehow, given Slippery Pete’s “you’re poopieheads” response to being outed as a celebrity-for-hire-cum-journalist and this absolute joke of a speech, I doubt he brought ferric trousers to the CBC.

And that’s the way it is and has forever been in Canada.

#130 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: the Seething Ball of Cack

What’s this? Another special series? Welcome to Seething Ball of Cack!

This time, because I don’t feel like reading more into Louis St. Laurent (fuck you, I’m getting to him), let’s grab our shotguns and head on out to the live-well barrel that is the CBC. This is too easy – Canada’s newscasters fail at providing full disclosure and management makes totally inappropriate choices for a national broadcaster. The lot of limpdick syncophants and the worthless bureaucrats that support them are a stain on a national broadcaster whose legendary ability to waste talent, time, and funds is already breathtaking to behold. From its heady days in the 1980s kicking ass at the Constitutional Conventions, the CBC has rusted into feel-good Candiana, mindless “reporting”, and worthless daytime drama. The collapse of the CBC has its roots in upper management and its news anchors and we’re going to go through them.

Before we begin, I want to say a few things so that knuckle-dragging Libertarian-types don’t misread me. First off, I have no problem with the concept of a publically-funded national broadcasting service. A national broadcaster has tremendous potential for good. I’ve sung the praises of Australia’s the Checkout before and here I’m going to do it again – spreading information about consumer law and other useful information from a source that isn’t total cack is a good thing. You remove a lot of confusion when you use a public broadcaster’s legitimacy to broadcast publically-relevant information; stuff like consumer law, or the state of a government program or department, or even information like how to do taxes (which, courtesy of Steve and his boutique tax cuts is a Kafkesque nightmare) are all good things that I have no problem seeing tax money flow towards.

I also don’t mind provocative films – documentaries that expose nasty problems (like, in fairness, those that the National Film Board puts out), pieces suggesting ideas through artistry, and breakout chances for newly-found talent. I’m okay with the way the French do their CBC because it is a combination of useful information, meaningful debates, and heartfelt performances. There’s a reason English CBC is trying to make a derivative of a Quebecois show and not the other way around. What I do have a problem with, however, are people like Vice-President and Director of English Services Heather Conway, whose list of shows for fall of 2015 includes shit like this:

Murdoch Mysteries,Coronation Street, This Life, Heartland, X Company, Rick Mercer Report, 22 Minutes, Dragons’ Den, Mr. D, Schitt’s Creek, Canada’s Smartest Person…Crash Gallery,  (source)

Good job, Conway – I don’t know what a third of those are and I think the average age group for the five-decade old Coronation Street is 120+. Also included are two incredibly washed-out programs (Rick Mucker and 22 Minutes of Agony) which should have had their cables pulled sometime after Terry Shiavo’s were. Heartland, X Company, and Mr. D sound like the title of a Tea Party blog, a shitty video game, and a pornstar respectively. Canada’s Smartest Person and Dragon’s Den are the same hurr-durr-look-at-the-stupid-people dressed up in some bush-league successes that the dreaded AMERIKKKA loves so much.

None of these are even remotely intriguing. Low-brow, pre-packaged, mushy, derivative, or just a straight-up crap shoot, the CBC’s English-language offerings are a comedic display of Sempai-notice-me. And behind them all, the one approving them is Heather Conway. And what experience does she bring? Outside of an art gallery, which is like television but the pictures don’t move,

Ms. Conway spent six years as Executive Vice-President at Alliance Atlantis Communications. There, she oversaw strategic marketing, publicity and on-air creative for 13 Canadian cable specialty channels, transformed the business model for channel distribution and increased subscription revenue. She later became Chief Executive Officer of Edelman Public Relations Canada. Earlier in her career, Ms. Conway held other senior management and consulting positions with TD Bank Financial Group, Hill & Knowlton and The Neville Group (source)

Oh, good. English Canadian media company, dynastic PR firm, shitty Canadian bank, another PR firm, and a temp agency. Because who needs any sort of critical thinking skills in the CBC’s upper management, right?

#129 – Canada’s Veiled Problem: Behind the Linguistic Curtain

Quebec is so evil that it wants to ban religious iconography in the public sector which means that they are meanie poopieheads who hate Canada!

Of course, Quebec is the only province in Canada with a pulse. Seeing problems with both receiving government services while veiled and providing said while veiled, Quebec has moved twice now to fix this problem and both times has had to eat English Canadian accusations of racism and “Islamophobia” (which, frankly, doesn’t sound unwise in a global context). Who knew that it would be tough to identify people if their faces are covered? I suppose if ever there was a logic to having your knuckles tattooed with your name on them, this would be it. Shockingly enough, the federal government is all for this reform.

Which is of course why Trudeau must stand in the way and pout about how his feelings about other peoples’ feelings were hurt because his feelings are so feelsy that they feel other feels before the other person can even feel the feels Trudeau feels for them. Useless phrases like “anti-women” and “#notallmuslims” or whatever nonsense nu-left ploy has been deployed from our worthless English university diversity leagues. Fear not, non-white master race! Professional student activists are here to “save” people who neither asked for nor needed saving from nebulous “oppression”, meaning whatever make-believe our professional student activists decided on last meeting. Rather than endlessly bandying about a worthless nugget of feels-laden crap, Quebec wants to answer the question. Your veil is fine but the polis has the right to demand that you take it off.

But the fed has an extra layer of 4Chan autistry to add. See, the reason Tim “I was totally born with the name Tim” Uppal supports the Quebecois tactic of crushing an irrelevant non-debate by thinking about it and coming up with a solution based on the principles of governance that they wish to espouse is because…are you ready for it…? He’s afraid that immigrants can’t show their loyalty to Canada during immigration ceremonies. Not because there’s an overarching concept of relations between state and person that Canada wishes to follow, not because the unhelpful “debate” about niqabs and ikons and whether or not Jews can practice near gyms is distracting from fixing the Apartheid system that still exists here – no. It’s to make sure that immigrants really mean it when they say that they love Canada.

There’s a brilliant metaphor for the reasonings behind both cakers and Quebecois here. The latter are, as I said, working from a playbook of ideas as to how they want Quebec to work and to get a non-issue out of the way by helping to define relationships. English Canada is working on the question so it can decide whether immigrants really super love Canada or just regular love Canada and from there presumably figure out whether the veil is allowed here, there, or a thousand other unimportant places. While the Quebecois try to actually make their home a better place, Canada is simply playing at window dressing. And it can’t even do that without political children coming to cry and whinge about their newest hashtag campaign.

#126 – What in the Fuck is Wrong With: Canadian Tourists?

I’m back, Caker-haters! And boy, do we have a topic for you.

English Canadians don’t know how to tourist. They expect the rest of the world to believe in the make-believe shield of Do No Wrong that English Canadians assume exists and proceed to make utter asses of themselves. Drunkeness is a real problem and Canadians are regarded as boorish and idiotic when going abroad. Here’s a report of a Canadian outright killing an old lady, because nothing reflects more highly on a population than throwing 73-year old women to the ground on a flight of stairs. Don’t worry – that person wasn’t charged.

See, cakers are lumped with the Worst Tourists of Ever – AMERIKKKA – in the eyes of the world. But that obviously would destroy the English Canadian ego so they cannot possibly see any similiarities between themselves. So, even though the rest of the world rightly collapses English Canadians into the American fold Canadians assume that they are somehow better than American tourists. You know that you’re with a group of special snowflakes when you see Canadian flags on every square inch of the traveling caker. Seriously – English Canadians are the only people I have ever seen who feel the need to inform everyone of where they’re from. They honestly expect to be treated better because they stopped at the dollar store to put a maple leaf on something. This is as stupid as a lucky rabbit’s foot but it’s Canadian so it must be okay!

Meanwhile, Canadians are taking naked pictures at ancient sites, Heiling the Reichstag, sexing up little boys, stealing from priceless cultural artifacts, and generally being cockburglers of the highest calibre. And remember, it doesn’t matter that Canadian tourists are drunks, idiots, and expect their feet to be kissed the minute any local discovers that they’ve got the Iron-On Canadian Flag of + 10 obliviousness – AMERIKKKA is worse, you guys! It’s in the stereotype! Never mind that Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Red and Blue in New York got puked on by a Canadian “performance artist” or that sidewalks the world over get a splattering of maple-hurl because Canadians are also a profoundly drunk people – AMERIKKKA is worse, so Canada is amazing at touristing!

Of course, English Canadians are on the whole deeply insensitive and boorish – remember when I shared that piece speaking to how genocide isn’t that bad because reasons? They don’t understand iconic buildings and ancient culture because they have neither and so the most logical thing for the English-Canadian ego to do is to get wasted. Is there small wonder that Cuban and Mexican resorts are so full of booze and so popular with cakers?

I have a theory that the Cuban and Mexican people know how idiotic Canadians and others who come to their home are and so contain the idiocy within resorts. They know that Canadians have no interest in local food or indeed in anything to do with the locale unless it involves fellating Canada or being a douchey tourist, so they contain the stupid in forsaken resorts and try to get on their lives on the other side of the resort’s walls. They aren’t protecting Canadians – they’re keeping the fucks contained so they don’t destroy everything.