Why @dreahouston is a goddess and the rest of us mere mortals | #onpoli #CanQueer #PrideTO #homophobia


Populist-homophobe Tim Hudak has shown up to the Pride VIP reception at the 519. @dreahouston goes in for the kill:

via Populist-homophobe Tim Hudak has shown up to the Pride VIP reception at the 519. @dreahouston goes in for the kill:.

H/t @goldsbie.

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For this we blew off half a season? | #NHL #Leafs

This is entertainment?

This is “the product?”

This is what the NHL wants to market as a sport? Does it want to compete with professional wrestling or something?

Do we have to go through this again? Concussions, disfiguring injuries, lasting brain damage, and for what? So the NHL can crank up its market share among the Cherry / Neanderthal demographic when there aren’t enough flaming crashes on the NASCAR channel?

Colton Orr has already worked his way back from at least one concussion. He did his time in the AHL, working to reinvent his game and broaden his skills, and when he makes it back to the NHL, this is the role the Leafs stick him in? This is the message they want to send? Seriously? 

And can we please dispense with the pious bullshit about needing enforcers to keep the game safe or hold other players accountable? Maybe the league, the owners, the managers, the coaches, and the players could step up and do it on their own, instead of expecting guys like Colton Orr and Derek Boogaard to sacrifice their health and their lives.

Enough already.

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@TOMayorFord, football, and the #TOpoli gong show: why does he let this go on?


OK, Ford Nation (or whatever you want to call yourselves)?

I may be a latte-drinking, Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging downtown elitist, but I don’t hate Rob Ford. I’m not keen on what he’s done to Toronto’s social fabric or the public conversation, but I don’t hate him or want to hurt him personally.

Honest to god.

Cross my heart and hope to die.


I think it’s pretty clear that he hates his job. What’s less clear is why the hell he wants to hang on to it. It’s not like he needs the money or anything. And it’s obvious that it’s just getting in the way of his love for football.


All the rest of it — the hypocrisy, the bad optics, the cellphones, the staffers, the hamfisted attempts at misdirection, the victim narrative, the Shiny Objects, the counterproductive messaging, the Brother … just cherries on the shit sundae.



But here’s a thought, and for this I acknowledge both Ed Keenan and John Lorinc: can we just stop, already, and perhaps focus on the stuff that needs attention? Transit, infrastructure, poverty, the inequality gap, public services, the quality of our civic life? These are all things that we need to have serious adult conversations about, and that can’t happen with the Rob Ford Follies consuming our attention, our focus and our energy like a fire consumes oxygen.

It’s time to recognize Rob Ford for what he is: a distraction. An easy shot to the front page, or the top of the evening news, or the trending topics on Twitter, but nothing more. This will go on for as long as it goes on, but there’s nothing that says we have to drop everything and dwell on it every time he drops the ball.

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Refusing to debate abortion rights isn’t censorship | #cdnpoli

There’s a lot of sound and fury, understandably, about Stephen Woodworth’s attempt to reignite the abortion debate. 

It’s hard not to be struck, right off the bat, by the disingenuous bullshit surrounding it. Woodworth likes to characterize his initiative as an honest inquiry about when life begins. The Harper machine insists that Woodworth is acting on his own, and that this isn’t official government policy. 

Yeah, right. This from an operation so obsessed with message control that backbenchers dare not even fart without clearing it with the the PMO. 

And let’s be clear about what this is: it’s not a simple intellectual exercise or an attempt to update the state of scientific knowledge. It’s an assault on reproductive autonomy — a transparent and disingenuous attempt to reassert patriarchal control over women’s bodies and take away the freedom of choice that took decades to achieve.

To suggest that this “debate” isn’t welcome is not, as some misguided voices would argue, the same as advocating censorship. It’s an assertion that some debates are simply not worthy of consideration in public discourse. 

It’s inconceivable that in 2012, we would even discuss whether women have the right to control their own bodies. That question was settled by the Supreme Court of Canada more than two decades ago. Do we really have to go through all that again? Are we really prepared to put the basic human rights of our fellow citizens in issue? Seriously?

Framing it as a matter of free inquiry and intellectual exchange allows its proponents to posture as reasonable people and dismiss their opponents as angry, irrational and hysterical. Condescending? Ya think? What next? Are we going to have calm, reasonable, mature debates about whether black people should have the same rights as white people, or whether LGBT people should have the same rights as straight folk?

No. And saying “we’re not going to debate about it” isn’t censorship. Woodworth and his hangers-on — so-cons, misogynists, fundies and assorted intellectual wankers — are welcome to have as many of their little debates as they like. Fill yer boots, boys. 

Just not in the Parliament of Canada, let alone any forum that bills itself as “progressive.”

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More on charities and politics: the Fraser Institute and the Koch boys | #cdnpoli

While the federal government and pro-oil lobbyists have taken aim at environmental charities for allegedly violating the Canadian Revenue Agency’s legal limits for “political activity”, the Fraser Institute and its charitable status remain unquestioned. And as the Koch Foundation’s tax data shows, they’ve received a significant amount of “foreign funding” to help influence Canadian policy—which is precisely what environmental groups have been accused of doing.

The Fraser Institute claims to be “non-partisan and non-political”, and denies that it undertakes lobbying activities. However, critics cite examples of its blatantly political endeavors—like publicly calling on the government to change election spending laws, or pushing provinces to adopt “right-to-work” legislation.

The Fraser Institute’s continuing prominence in the national conversation is one of life’s enduring mysteries. Its agenda is evident to anyone with basic critical-thinking skills; like other organizations of a similar mindset, it pushes a worldview that seeks to portray government and the public sphere as inherently corrupt, feckless and inefficient. Hence the “enfeeblement” I wrote about earlier this week.

And yet every time it releases one of its position papers, or “studies,” or contrived and transparent PR stunts like Tax Freedom Day, the corporate media are all over it. It says a lot about what’s considered “newsworthy ” these days. Seriously, someone at the FI could fart and it would be on front pages all over the country.

So this piece from the Vancouver Observer is timely for two reasons: one, it puts the Harper regime’s unsubtle threats against charitable organizations in context, and two, it highlights the hypocrisy and double standards evident in the treatment of charities considered “friendly.”

More Koch influence in Canada. Just what we need.

Update: follow the money.

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Unethical oil and its Canadian friends | The Vancouver Observer | #tarsands

Partnerships with Myanmar and Sudan… links to Burmese heroin traffickers… With this cast of characters partnering in the development of the Northern Gateway, you’d think Ethical Oil would be at the front of the line condemning the pipeline.

That is if you think Ethical Oil’s real purpose is to oppose unethical oil.

If, on the other hand, its real purpose is to front for Enbridge with scurrilous attacks on pipeline opponents….  Well then its actions to date make sense.

More untreated tar-sands effluent, spewing into Canada’s public discourse. I don’t want to think about the effect it’s having on our civic ecosystem.

Apparently the arguments are so convincing that they need to pay some worthless little putz to redirect the conversation by squealing obscenities at people on television.

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Income inequality, the 99 percent, and the dysfunction of American society | via Esquire | #uspoli #OWS

Income inequality is a symptom, not the disease. People realize that now. They see the symptom erupting in all directions, but, at a visceral level, they can sense the deeper pathology at work in their lives. The disease is a lack of accountability, a failure of the responsible institutions, political and otherwise, to do their jobs as a check on the inebriate gluttony of the financial sector of the economy, abetted by its pet economists and its legions of fans in the business media, and the disease is also a political system so awash with the proceeds that it can’t clear a space to do anything about making whole the victims of this reckless pilferage.

Income inequality is the medical shorthand. The butcher’s bill will run to volumes.

A little further reading on how the United States got to where it is today.

Note the backhanded compliment paid to the New York Times, and how people missed the signs leading to this in the 90s because “a pack of ignoramuses decided to chase the president’s penis all over Washington.”

Not much to add to this, really, other than to note, once again, that there are people currently governing our country who look at what’s going on in the United States – ignorance, distractions, polarization in economic and cultural terms, belligerent stupidity – and think it’s a good thing worthy of emulation.

I know I keep going on about the cultivation of stupidity, but demented greed isn’t a civic virtue either.

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The cruel reality of the American class system: We Are Not All Created Equal | #classwarfare #uspoli

There are some truths so hard to face, so ugly and so at odds with how we imagine the world should be, that nobody can accept them. Here’s one: It is obvious that a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility. But nobody wants to admit: If your daddy was rich, you’re gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you’re gonna stay poor. Every instinct in the American gut, every institution, every national symbol, runs on the idea that anybody can make it; the only limits are your own limits. Which is an amazing idea, a gift to the world — just no longer true. Culturally, and in their daily lives, Americans continue to glide through a ghostly land of opportunity they can’t bear to tell themselves isn’t real. It’s the most dangerous lie the country tells itself.

More than anything else, class now determines Americans’ fates. The old inequalities — racism, sexism, homophobia — are increasingly antiquated [fig. 1]. Women are threatening to overwhelm men in the workplace, and the utter collapse of the black lower middle class in the age of Obama — a catastrophe for the African-American community — has little to do with prejudice and everything to do with brute economics. Who wins and who loses has become simplified, purified: those who own and those who don’t.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/thousand-words-on-culture/american-class-syst…

It may be the day after Christmas, but this seems more appropriate for Halloween. This is some scary shit.

Retreating to the comfort zone in the face of something like this would usually point to some nostrum like “well, at least we’re talking about it openly.” But the thing about nostrums is that they’re designed to soothe, to paper over, to stifle discussion and make confrontation with unpleasant truths easier to avoid. I don’t find any comfort in that, and in truth, I’d have grave doubts about anyone who did.

We can’t congratulate ourselves for being able to talk about class, about inequality, about polarization between haves and have nots. Or more accurately, we can, but we shouldn’t. Talking about something honestly is all very well, but if you’re not prepared to pursue the implications of what you’re talking about, you might as well not bother.

So let’s address those implications. Is this what we want for our country, our future? Is this the kind of society we want to become? If so, then as Marche argues, the least we can do is have an honest conversation about it.

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@mtaibbi on How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the #OWS Protests | #Occupy #OccupyTO

This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it’s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.

The right-wing media wasted no time in cannon-blasting the movement with its usual idiotic clichés, casting Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty hippies who should get a job and stop chewing up Mike Bloomberg’s police overtime budget with their urban sleepovers. Just like they did a half-century ago, when the debate over the Vietnam War somehow stopped being about why we were brutally murdering millions of innocent Indochinese civilians and instead became a referendum on bralessness and long hair and flower-child rhetoric, the depraved flacks of the right-wing media have breezily blown off a generation of fraud and corruption and market-perverting bailouts, making the whole debate about the protesters themselves – their hygiene, their “envy” of the rich, their “hypocrisy.”

The protesters, chirped Supreme Reichskank Ann Coulter, needed three things: “showers, jobs and a point.” Her colleague Charles Krauthammer went so far as to label the protesters hypocrites for having iPhones. OWS, he said, is “Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters [denouncing] corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over.” Apparently, because Goldman and Citibank are corporations, no protester can ever consume a corporate product – not jeans, not cellphones and definitely not coffee – if he also wants to complain about tax money going to pay off some billionaire banker’s bets against his own crappy mortgages.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the political spectrum, there were scads of progressive pundits like me who wrung our hands with worry that OWS was playing right into the hands of assholes like Krauthammer. Don’t give them any ammunition! we counseled. Stay on message! Be specific! We were all playing the Rorschach-test game with OWS, trying to squint at it and see what we wanted to see in the movement. Viewed through the prism of our desire to make near-term, within-the-system changes, it was hard to see how skirmishing with cops in New York would help foreclosed-upon middle-class families in Jacksonville and San Diego.

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all of this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

Matt Taibbi nails it in Rolling Stone, along with the spurious and idiotic charges of “hypocrisy.” (In the process, he’s highlighted a lovely example of what some of us like to call #SattvaLogic.) In the words of Inigo Montoya, critics of the movement keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what they think it means …

In Toronto, our chief magistrate says he’s hearing from all kinds of people who want the St. James encampment shut down. He’s here to represent businesses and taxpayers, he says. (What about citizens, Mr. Mayor? What about all those people you hear from about burying subways — the ones that turn out to be voices in your head? We’ll just leave that alone for the moment.) Maybe he needs to hear from supporters as well. 416-397-3673.