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The Passion of Rob Ford
April 1, 2014 4:32 AM   Subscribe

Excellent Dissent magazine article on Rob Ford that looks beyond his disastrous single term as Toronto's mayor and examines the neoliberal strain in Canadian politics that has caused the larger problems facing Toronto, of which Ford's 2010 election is only a particularly appalling symptom.
posted by orange swan (106 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't read anything about Rob Ford today because it is IMPOSSIBLE to differentiate his actual antics from an April Fools joke.
posted by Twain Device at 4:33 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


Over a week ago I heard rumours that Rob Ford will be arrested in early April. Wouldn't it be just too good if he were to be arrested today?
posted by orange swan at 4:37 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


At this point I don't think there's any way he'll be arrested while in office. The police have had ample justification for that, if they wanted to do it, for so long that it has to be a deliberate choice.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:42 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


orange swan: Over a week ago I heard rumours that Rob Ford will be arrested in early April.

While I obviously hope that's true, we've heard "rumours" of this over and over and over again from unreliable sources.

I want all three of these for my lawn.
posted by gman at 4:46 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I really don't want to derail, but at what point did small-government populist wingnuttery stop being called "conservative"* and start being called "neo-liberal"? If I was prone to paranoia I'd assume it was an attempt by some institutionally-affiliated conservative factions to implicate their opposition by inference.

*(as in ideology, rather than Conservative party affiliation, since I was first seeing this in U.S. political contexts.)
posted by ardgedee at 4:49 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


I really don't want to derail, but at what point did small-government populist wingnuttery stop being called "conservative"* and start being called "neo-liberal"? If I was prone to paranoia I'd assume it was an attempt by some institutionally-affiliated conservative factions to implicate their opposition by inference.

Neoliberalism means liberal in the sense of "liberal democracy", not in the sense of, say, the US Democrats.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:52 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


As for Rob Ford, I suspect the police have substantial evidence to arrest him at any time, but that would still leave Doug free to run around and make their work more difficult. Without anything irrefutable to pin on Doug, they're in a bind similar to what the rest of the Toronto city government is facing.
posted by ardgedee at 4:52 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I think he'll be arrested at some point before the election in October. The police have had ample reason to arrest him, as you say, and the fact that they didn't means they had bigger fish to fry than even the drunk driving and drug use he's done. The OPP has been releasing information related to the investigation and getting warrants, so the case is still being worked on.

Alas, even if Ford's behind bars come election day in October, his addled followers will still vote for him and still believe it's all been a plot on the part of hater liberals to bring a good man down [slams head repeatedly against keyboard].

Also:

The Passion of Rob Ford
favorited 1 time, recently by Pope Guilty
MetaFilter post - 3 minutes ago


eponysterical!
posted by orange swan at 4:53 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm on the other side of the world, so my Ford coverage is MeFi and the Daily Show, but is Ford really symptomatic of a larger problem, or just an outlier?
Because if he is just a symptom, oh boy!
posted by bystander at 5:00 AM on April 1


Rob Ford himself is certainly an outlier by any metric, but the fact of his election absolutely fits into a larger narrative of problems Toronto and Ontario are facing.
posted by 256 at 5:03 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


And Toronto-ans, isn't it the case that Ford was elected due to multiple left candidates splitting the progressive vote?
posted by bystander at 5:05 AM on April 1


Neoliberalism means liberal in the sense of "liberal democracy"

No, really it doesn't. And I don't know if the Wiki article is scary enough, especially from a Canadian perspective. Here's another view.
posted by sneebler at 5:05 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Americans have watched videos of big city mayors smoking crack before

How did so manifestly unqualified a candidate win a landslide victory, and how is it that he continues to have so many partisans?

To really understand Rob Ford as a political phenomenon requires retracing Canada’s steady march to the right since the 1980s.

Oh come on. In America Marion Barry - an astonishingly unqualified mayor firmly in the mainstream of Democratic politics - did all of this and more (he served six months in a Federal prison) AND was re-elected by a highly partisan constituency.


"He May Not Be Perfect, But He's Perfect for D.C."

The right in Canada has demonstrated no such political power.
posted by three blind mice at 5:16 AM on April 1


sneebler, all of that comes down to market fundamentalism and disrupting existing structures so that they can be turned into markets instead. And that's what the "liberal" in "liberal democracy" means- capitalism, markets, private property. It's why some libertarians like to call themselves "classical liberals".
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:16 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I mean, of course it's not exactly like the old liberalism, it's a new form of it, hence neo-liberalism. It's no coincidence that neoliberalism is even more nasty and vicious and oppressive than the original flavor- it's had several decades' experience to get smarter and meaner with.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:18 AM on April 1


Yeah, as someone who was born and has lived most of his life in the US but who also lived a few years in Canada "Neoliberal" is neither new nor liberal in the sense that those of us who [mostly] live south of the 49th parallel might understand.

Others can better explain the nuance. The wiki above is a decent primer.
posted by vapidave at 5:21 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


That "[mostly]" was meant to indicate that not all Canadians live above the 49th parallel. I was unclear there, sorry.
posted by vapidave at 5:24 AM on April 1


It's why some libertarians like to call themselves "classical liberals".

The twists and turns of language are fascinating and head-scratching. I knew a couple of those guys in college and they would get super worked up over that word, to the point where you would worry about their health.

The police have had ample justification for that, if they wanted to do it, for so long that it has to be a deliberate choice.

Other than just plain corruption, what reason would they have for not pursuing the arrest if they have actual justification? Does he have some kind of limited immunity while in office?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:25 AM on April 1


The other problem that Ford is a symptom of: laws are for little people. Even if the police genuinely don't like you, if you're important enough you can confess to felonies on international television and it's still too much trouble to prosecute you.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:32 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


Why do I keep reading the title to the Bauhaus tune "Passion of Lovers?"
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:33 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


I just wanted to point out that the use of the word "strain" here amused me to no end, because it implies that neoliberalism is a specimen of a virulent disease while at the same time being perfectly grammatical and used with dictionary accuracy.
posted by mwhybark at 5:37 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Those of you praying for Ford's arrest as Toronto's deliverance need to give your head a shake. It will change exactly nothing in the short term. Here's how it will play out:

1) Ford gets arrested
2) Ford posts bail immediately
3) Ford announces he will continue to campaign and go right back to handing out magnets and participating in debates
4) Ford deflects any questions from the media and other candidates, saying it's a "personal matter. I'm focused on saving the taxpayers money", and of course responding to the further probing with his new trademark, "I'm not perfect, maybe you are" brush-off.

Trial won't happen for some time so the election will be long over if/when he is dragged off to jail for any of his actions. Those of you who think an arrest would stop him haven't been paying attention.
posted by dry white toast at 5:37 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


That "[mostly]" was meant to indicate that not all Canadians live above the 49th parallel. I was unclear there, sorry.

About 70% of Canadians don't live above the 49th. The idea of the 49th parallel has always confused me. Parts of the US are north of parts of Canada, too.

I choose to believe he will be arrested soon, but I agree with dry white toast in that it won't make a big difference. I don't think he will be re-elected because he just doesn't have the resources to run a decent campaign.
posted by TORunner at 5:40 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


> Those of you who think an arrest would stop him haven't been paying attention.

I don't disagree with any of that, but his arrest, especially if it were something substantially serious, would be unlikely to grow his support, no?

Right???
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:40 AM on April 1


because it implies that neoliberalism is a specimen of a virulent disease while at the same time being perfectly grammatical and used with dictionary accuracy.

Implies? Neoliberalism is a disease. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine, since it's impossible to actually render neoliberalism safe for inoculation.

As for Ford, I have no idea what the solution is. Perhaps he could get trapped in a collapsed building for a couple of months.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:42 AM on April 1


He had team jerseys he wore to work
And in his fear he sought cracked pleasures
The passion of Rob Ford is for death said he
Licked his lips and sipped Tim Horton's

posted by mwhybark at 5:42 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


The article is a good summary of the trajectory of Canada's shift to the right, but it glossed over one important detail. When Harris amalgamated Toronto, re-aligning the political power base in the City was that efforts central aim. The article treats this as a knock-on effect, focusing on amalgamation's fiscal effects. But the fiscal constraints amalgamation created was window-dressing.

In the old alignment, with six smaller municipalities united under a "metro" form of regional government, downtown lefties held too much sway for Conservatives' taste. The realignment meant suburban voters and councillors vastly outnumbered those from downtown. Rob Ford is nothing less than the municipal apotheosis of Mike Harris's vision.
posted by dry white toast at 5:43 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


> The right in Canada has demonstrated no such political power.

The Conservative party in Canada, like the Republicans in the U.S., has been far more successful at closing ranks and acting in unison than their opposition has been. I am not as conversant in Canadian politics, but this has been true of politics in the U.S. since the Southern segregationists split with the Democrats and began reshaping the Republican Party.
posted by ardgedee at 5:44 AM on April 1


And Toronto-ans, isn't it the case that Ford was elected due to multiple left candidates splitting the progressive vote?

Ford got 383,501 votes, or 47% of the vote. The other two viable candidates were George Smitherman, who got 289,832 votes, and Joe Pantalone with 95,482 votes. So it would still have been close even if Pantalone had not run and Smitherman had scooped every single one of his votes.

There are approximately 2.8 million people in Toronto, so 383,501 is not exactly a hefty percentage of Ford supporters. But it was enough to get him elected, and although I don't think any of us ever expected things would get this bad, it was clear long before Ford was elected that he was grossly unfit to be mayor of one of North America's largest cities, or indeed for any public office. Yet there was a small yet significant minority who refused to look beyond Ford's affable persona and his claims that he'd cut all the waste and gravy from city spending and voted him in. Many of these people still support him with fanatical fervour. They'd vote for a gerbil if they thought it would save them a dollar in taxes.

It is this minority of ignorance and refusal to vote in terms of what's best for the country (and the half of Canadians who can't even freaking bother to vote at all) that's getting the wrong people and parties elected. A similar small but significant minority voted Stephen Harper's Conservatives in. Mind you, I'm not comparing Harper to Ford. Harper isn't lacking in intelligence, he doesn't have wildly out of control personal problems, and although I disagree with quite a lot of what he has done he hasn't been what I would call a disaster as prime minister, i.e., he has increased defense spending, but he kept us out of the Iraq War. But he's another politician who believes in the politics of austerity in terms of things like social programs, health care, education, environmental initiatives and infrastructure, while increasing spending on things like the military, law enforcement, prisons, and corporate tax breaks.

Many of us Canadians do know better than to elect a Ford or a Harper. Most of those who do vote cast our ballot for someone else. But when there is a multi-party/candidate election, the ignorant minority gets its way.
posted by orange swan at 5:45 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Toronto-ans

It's "Torontonians".

posted by orange swan at 5:58 AM on April 1


his arrest, especially if it were something substantially serious, would be unlikely to grow his support, no?

He has been focused on his base for a long time anyway. 20-30% of voters think he is a persecuted champion of the little guy and will never abandon him. Unless he was caught on live TV actually murdering someone (they would claim a tape could be doctored), they will stick with him.

I've comforted myself with the notion that his chances at re-election are slim, since his support can't really grow, and this year all the vote splitting in Toronto's municipal election is on the right.

However, something happened yesterday that made my hair stand on end. Ford held a press conference towards the end of the day to rant about the expenses city councillors incurred last year*. The local media lapped it up and dutifully wrote their pieces about "Ford setting his crosshairs" on councillors, never once asking him about his own use of taxpayer-funded staff, which police documents have demonstrated he used to help coach his football team during work hours, sent them out to get booze, and most likely to try to extort people he and his brother suspected are connected to the infamous video of him smoking crack.

While they occasionally ask tough questions, the local media mostly act like Ford's stenographers. When something unbelievable does actually come to light, Ford deflects or ducts questions until the media gets tired of asking, then he goes back to his message and the media goes back to quoting him, rather than destroying him for his racist, homophobic, violent lies like they should, and Ford is able to re-entrench his image as the champion of the little guy. Successfully executing this two-step is what actually gives him a fighting chance at being re-elected.


*He treats this like councillors lining their own pocket when in fact it's the money they use to serve their constituents. It's small change in the scheme of the City's $7 Billion budget, but it's been a favourite talking point of his since long before he became mayor. He of course famously never spends any of his office budget because his family's labelling business means he has all the money in the world to spend on his work, and he thinks everybody is basically like him; driving around in an SUV with daddy's money.
posted by dry white toast at 5:59 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I read this last week and it's just way, way over the top. I detest Ford and am no fan of neo-liberal policies, but the article does a really poor job of linking the two.

The real story in Toronto, then, is not Rob Ford. It is how three decades of creeping neoliberalism have made it possible for one of North America’s most diverse cities in one of the west’s most robust democracies to elect a right-wing populist.

This makes no sense at all. In the election prior to Ford, Toronto happily elected a left-wing environmentalist, despite that same 30 years worth of "creeping neo-liberalism". And in the next Toronto election in October, they're almost certain to a candidate either slightly to the left or slightly to the right of centre. Ford won because of a well-known history of responding to constituent concerns, a split vote on the left and complete lack of compelling messaging from his main opponent.

He's facing more compelling candidates this time around, and I would be blown away if he wins again.
posted by modernnomad at 6:04 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


But when there is a multi-party/candidate election, the ignorant minority gets its way.

you know, I refuse to even discuss politics with anyone who gets their news from Fox News or even cable for that matter. The non-ignorant majority among us need to stop being nice to people who think parroting the words their hear from tv is political thought. I may have less friends than I used to have but this is the small price I pay for not validating the intelligence of morons. Morons who dress well, drive nice cars and even run successful businesses - but morons nonetheless. These people who mortgage the future so they can gain riches today need to be shamed everywhere they turn. Repeat after me: "You heard that on Fox News? I'm sorry we can't continue this discussion" That's all we need to do, if you continue after that you are validating Fox News as a place that gives them even footing to debate you.
posted by any major dude at 6:13 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


My thoughts go to The Wire.

Hopefully there isn't a Rawls type pressing for an arrest before a strong case can be created and if there is a case and it goes to trial I fear a Clay Davis type of result in the nonsense champion of the people manner.
posted by juiceCake at 6:15 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Why do I keep reading the title to the Bauhaus tune "Passion of Lovers?"

"The passion of Rob Ford's for arrest, says weee-hee, the passion of Rob Ford's for arrest!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:32 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Liberal, from the Latin, means "freedom" and Neo-, from a 15 year old movie, means "new". They hate us for our new freedom.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:33 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


TORunner: "Parts of the US are north of parts of Canada, too. "

Is there anyone who doesn't realize Alaska is north of much of Canada?
posted by Mitheral at 6:37 AM on April 1


Those of you who think an arrest would stop him haven't been paying attention.

You're likely right but it also depends on what he's charged with. There are some rumors of some pretty damaging potential charges (just rumors, not worth repeating) that might make even Ford resign in shame.

Regarding the "possibility that multicultural Toronto knowingly elected a bigot"; the Ford supporters I knew in 2010 were surprised when I relayed the horrible stuff Ford was saying about immigrants, cyclists etc... They didn't read the Star, NOW or the Grid or any other source of good journalism. They heard "Stop the gravy train" and nothing else. For sure bigotry exists in Toronto but I think that ignorance was the real problem.
posted by beau jackson at 6:43 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Rob Ford has really made me rethink my previous support for the idea of urban-suburban consolidation. They've talked about merging the city and county here where I live for years and I always thought that it was a good idea since it would combine lots of redundant services and infrastructure but Toronto made me realize how dangerous it would be to let suburbanites vote for the city's mayor.
posted by octothorpe at 7:02 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


There are some rumors of some pretty damaging potential charges (just rumors, not worth repeating) that might make even Ford resign in shame.

That would require him to have shame. Again, you haven't been paying attention. He doesn't think anything he does should be held against him because he is saving the taxpayers money, and that forgives a ponderous multitude of sins. On the rare occasion that he has acknowledged the mere possibility that his actions have brought the city and his office into disrepute, his line has been "let the voters decide."
posted by dry white toast at 7:04 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


However, something happened yesterday that made my hair stand on end. Ford held a press conference towards the end of the day to rant about the expenses city councillors incurred last year*.

*He treats this like councillors lining their own pocket when in fact it's the money they use to serve their constituents. It's small change in the scheme of the City's $7 Billion budget, but it's been a favourite talking point of his since long before he became mayor.

From the link:
Mr. Perruzza spent $79,673 last year – $51,232 from general expenses and $28,441 from his office budget. Mr. Mammoliti spent $68,837 – $44,898 from general expenses and $23,939 from his office budget – according to city records released on Monday.
Profligate spender Perruzza spent just shy of $80,000 last year to serve over 50,000 constituents. Perhaps we should ask Ward 8 residents if they feel $1.49 a year is overpaying for the amount of representation they receive.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:06 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Is there anyone who doesn't realize Alaska is north of much of Canada?

Yeah, but it's less well known that Toronto and all points southward in Ontario are south of the entire state of Miinnesota, for example.

posted by ceribus peribus at 7:10 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


single term
Optimistic.
disastrous
Also optimistic.
posted by Flunkie at 7:21 AM on April 1


orange swan: "Wouldn't it be just too good if he were to be arrested today?"

It would be rather fitting if Rob Ford's political career followed the same arc as a Monty Python sketch...
posted by schmod at 7:29 AM on April 1


single term
Optimistic.


A March 14 poll showed that Olivia Chow has 36% of the vote, with Ford at 28% and John Tory at 22%. And you know Ford is only going to just keep disgracing himself repeatedly from now until October, and is very likely to be arrested between now and then. (Although, as other have said above, he will be promptly bailed out and the trial won't happen until after the election.) No way will he gain electoral support in the remaining time before the election. He will not win again.
posted by orange swan at 7:35 AM on April 1


Perruzza and Mammoliti are interesting studies who might signal that the troubles in Toronto municipal politics are more about pandering and populism (and perhaps yet unknown levels of backroom corruption) than fitting the wider analysis of the linked article. Both came to politics through the left-wing NDP. But Mammoliti is the closest thing we have to McCarthy, looking for communists and lefties everywhere. And Perruzza, who likes to give fired rambling but entertaining speeches on the council floor, directed them firmly from the left against Ford for most of this term, but has joined Ford's executive and has appeared to be one of his strongest supporters ever since the organized efforts to force Ford out of the Mayor's office. I just don't get what's going on with Perruzza. It has been such a sudden shift.

There have been a few rounds of rumours about Ford's 'imminent' arrest. It'll happen when it happens. No one could have predicted that the guy would obstinately hung on the way he has so far.
posted by TimTypeZed at 7:40 AM on April 1


Orange Swan- I'm not at all optimistic that he won't win again. It could happen, especially with some unfortunate vote-splitting (I'm also wondering about Chow's ability to grow her support, so far she hasn't been super dynamic, IMO).

I do think that an arrest would probably play out like dry white toast's scenario, but I don't think we can take it for granted that some heavy charges won't bring him down somehow. I disagree that he thinks he should be forgiven because "he's saving money". That's his propaganda line, it's not what drives him. Though he is fundamentally shortsighted, arrogant, and mean, I think he's capable of feeling shame, or at least embarrassment. I think he's driven partly a kind of sick pressure from his family and some of the conservative establishment and I think that given the right circumstances, that floor could fall from under him.

It really depends on the charges.
posted by beau jackson at 7:44 AM on April 1


Orange swan: I agree with most of your post above, but do want to correct the record with regards to Iraq. Harper did not keep Canada out of Iraq, he was not yet Prime Minister at the time. Jean Chretien kept Canada out of Iraq. Mr. Harper actually supported the invasion.
posted by bowline at 7:51 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


I wonder if the failure to charge Ford so far has anything to do with the fact the investigation was initially being managed by the Toronto police. Obviously there were some serious issues that caused the investigation to be moved under the control of the OPP. So perhaps before, during, and following the transition there needs to be time for things to be sorted out, and for ducks to get lined up in a row, etc.

Or perhaps all they got is Rob Ford pissing in children's playgrounds or whatever that fuck does.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:52 AM on April 1


I'm aware of that, bowline. But Harper could have sent Canadian troops to Iraq once he took office as PM, and he has not done so.
posted by orange swan at 7:56 AM on April 1


dry white toast: However, something happened yesterday that made my hair stand on end. Ford held a press conference towards the end of the day to rant about the expenses city councillors incurred last year*

The other day I held a conversation with a work superior who is otherwise a very smart man. When the subject of Rob Ford's misdeeds came up he said, I quote, "Say what you will, at least the man is not lining his pockets with public money like everyone else".

We're doomed.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:12 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I fear; given what people on the 'nets and TV are saying. At least 2 terms because people are just venal fools.
posted by NiteMayr at 8:18 AM on April 1


Harper could have sent Canadian troops to Iraq once he took office as PM

Regardless of his personal feelings, I don't think he could politically. He gained a minority in 2006, by which time Iraq was a huge mess. Harper was more than astute enough to gauge how long his political future would have been if he'd ordered Canadian troops into that conflict. Keeping them in Afghanistan after the early deaths on that mission was hard enough.

Harper has always been a sharp political operator (unlike Ford). I am quite sure that electability was the over-riding consideration for him during his minority days.
posted by bonehead at 8:21 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


It's easy to get the impression that Ford may win given on what some random co-worker says or what you gather from Twitter or internet comments, but these things aren't necessarily statistically representative. Most polls done over the past six months have shown that Ford will lose this election.

This is isn't statistically representative either, but I check pro and anti-Ford Facebook page fairly regularly (I want to write something about the whole mess and am just trying to figure out the angle and framing), and I'm cheered by these numbers.

The pro-Ford pages, with the number of their respective followers:

I Hate The War on Mayor Rob Ford: 3606 members
Rob Ford for Mayor: 451
I support 'Mayor Rob Ford', and I forgive 'Rob Ford' in his personal life: 397 members

The pages opposing Ford/supporting another candidate, with the number of respective followers:

500,000 Voters for a Rob Ford Free Toronto: 23,533 followers
Stop Ford from Destroying Our City/No Ford Nation: 3790
Olivia Chow for Mayor: 1047
Rob Ford must resign: 927
Unite the Vote - Toronto Election 2014: 58
Olivia Chow for Mayor of Toronto 2014: 31

The candidates' official pages:

Rob Ford's page: 16,981
Olivia Chow's page: 43,173
John Tory's page: 1000

Again, I don't put a lot of faith in these numbers. There's no way to know how many different people are following these pages (i.e., one person could be following all the pages on one side), whether they do so out of honest conviction or irony, whether they actually live in Toronto or elsewhere, whether they are eligible to vote in this election and/or will bother to do so. Also I have probably missed some pages. But I tend to think it does give som indication of how much support Ford has, and although yes, it's possible Ford may win in October, all reliable metrics indicate that he won't.
posted by orange swan at 9:04 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Plus Harper's got lots of other stuff on the go, like gutting science programs and environmental legislation, that high-profile issues like abortion or a war in Iraq might distract from.
posted by sneebler at 9:05 AM on April 1


any major dude: you know, I refuse to even discuss politics with anyone who gets their news from Fox News or even cable for that matter. The non-ignorant majority among us need to stop being nice to people who think parroting the words their hear from tv is political thought. I may have less friends than I used to have but this is the small price I pay for not validating the intelligence of morons. Morons who dress well, drive nice cars and even run successful businesses - but morons nonetheless. These people who mortgage the future so they can gain riches today need to be shamed everywhere they turn. Repeat after me: "You heard that on Fox News? I'm sorry we can't continue this discussion" That's all we need to do, if you continue after that you are validating Fox News as a place that gives them even footing to debate you.

Ignorance is a state of not knowing something. The best cure for ignorance is education.

In my younger years, my political ideology was neoliberal. Not because I was a moron, but because it made logical sense to my simplistic understanding of how things worked. Since then I've learned that society and economy and psychology are far more complex and multi-layered than I had previously thought, and those "common sense" answers didn't fit any longer. I slowly realized (initially counter-intuitively to me at the time) that leftist policies are a far better answer to these complex issues.

I guess my point is that I take issue with your response above. I didn't come about by being called a moron or otherwise insulted, nor was it by having people refuse to discuss issues with me. It was from people (mostly on MeFi) saying "Here...read this" and pointing me to some enlightening article or another. That's how you win hearts and minds. That's how you remove one vote for the Cons and replace it with one for the NDP.

If you don't want to be bothered educating so-called "morons" that's your prerogative, but please don't encourage others to do the same. It's not always a lost cause, and isn't gaining an ally better than having an argument?
posted by rocket88 at 9:10 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Walrus Magazine also has a great article: 'The Story Behind the Rob Ford Story'.
posted by Fizz at 9:16 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Ignorance is a state of not knowing something. The best cure for ignorance is education.

This is very true, but Ford Nation is demonstrating a special brand of ignorance of a wilful, delusional, intractable nature. They don't want to hear the facts or logic. The moderators of "The I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford" page delete almost all comments from and bans those who are critical of Ford or who try to argue with others on the page in a factual, logical manner regardless of how civil the commenters have been (not that some of them aren't rude about it, and the moderators are well within their rights to delete insulting comments), while comments from Ford supporters are generally allowed to remain on the anti-Ford pages as long as they are not actively abusive. I don't know what point there is in trying to reach people who simply refuse to hear the facts and who aren't open to reading articles and learning new information as you were. Some people, like Rob Ford himself, may simply be a lost cause and should be left strictly to themselves until, hopefully, they clue in somewhat.

If you think no one's beyond teaching, go hang out and participate on that "I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford" page for awhile and try teaching them a little. And good luck with that. I haven't tried it because I don't want to get banned from the page. I like the lols and want to visit there on election night with a glass of wine in hand.
posted by orange swan at 9:29 AM on April 1


The best cure for ignorance is education.

A thousand times this.

Less teasing, more teaching!
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:29 AM on April 1


The Ford nation responds most strongly to two things: getting the rascals out ("ending the gravy train") and saving money. "Personal failings" are excusable, as long as a bit of contriteness is shown ("I'm not perfect").

Going after his moral and legal problems aren't effective. Going after lies that he is saving taxpayers money will. How much have the Fords cost TO in lawsuits and legal spats, in changing direction on transit, on other damages caused by cuts? How much has he spent on hiring personal friends? Total up those numbers and shout them from the rooftops. That's how you'll get the FN to change their vote (or more likely, stay home on election day).
posted by bonehead at 9:35 AM on April 1


The changes probably won't come from the hard-core supporters, but from the fringes. The people who don't particularly like Ford or his antics but are afraid of their taxes going up. Those are the minds you want to change and they're ripe for it. They just need to see the facts that have been withheld from them by the Sun and Newstalk 1010, and that the alternative candidates really aren't all granola-eating leftists who want to steal their money.
Ford Nation is insignificant. It's the non-Nation Ford voters you want to target.
posted by rocket88 at 10:14 AM on April 1


Walrus Magazine also has a great article: 'The Story Behind the Rob Ford Story'.

That's a really interesting read, especially about how the media worked to change Canada's libel laws, to bring them more into line with Britain's tabloid-friendly arrangement. Talk about complicated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Walrus Magazine also has a great article: 'The Story Behind the Rob Ford Story'.

That was fantastic Fizz, thanks!

On the Ford topic in particular, this:
“For reasons I’ve never figured out,” says Donovan, “people are nervous about speaking out against Rob Ford.”
Hmm...

Excellent Dissent magazine article on Rob Ford that looks beyond his disastrous single term as Toronto's mayor and examines the neoliberal strain in Canadian politics

For people in Toronto, at least, this is the topic of our time. We have three vile faces of neo-liberalism at our various levels of government. Two in power, and the third--most dangerous, and probably least competent--yes, even when compared to Ford--perilously close. However, I think the article needs to be a lot tighter. A great start, but it needs harder evidence and editing.
posted by Chuckles at 10:23 AM on April 1


Though he is fundamentally shortsighted, arrogant, and mean, I think he's capable of feeling shame, or at least embarrassment.

The man made a graphic remark about his sex life with his wife, than paraded her in front of the media the following day when he "apologized." He made fun of a councillor during a Council meeting for having a DUI issue despite numerous documented instances of public drunkenness and driving while drunk. He has never once apologized for repeatedly using racist and homophobic language.

Please point me to one example of him demonstrating the capacity for embarrassment of which you speak?
posted by dry white toast at 11:18 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


If you think no one's beyond teaching, go hang out and participate on that "I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford" page for awhile and try teaching them a little. And good luck with that. I haven't tried it because I don't want to get banned from the page.

I tried that in a polite and openhanded manner and was shown the door in less than 24 hours. None so blind, etc.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:28 AM on April 1


I should add that this happened to be just before George Smitherman's partner committed suicide. (For those blessedly out of the Toronto media coverage, Smitherman was a centrist who came in second to Ford in the 2010 election. Smitherman's spouse Christopher Peloso struggled with depression for years and took his own life in late 2013). I was unsurprised to be locked out of the group but saddened to see an avalanche of homophobia and mockery of mental illness pass muster with the anonymous moderators and remain for all to read. Perhaps there was stuff even more vile that they censored, but they had a pretty low bar in that case.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:35 AM on April 1


Please point me to one example of him demonstrating the capacity for embarrassment of which you speak?

Rob Ford is, as everyone knows, an alcoholic and an abusive man. Alcoholics tend to be very much in denial (i.e., they don't have a problem, everything is everyone else's fault). Abusers also tend to be in denial as to who they really are. They blame others for their actions (i.e., "she made me mad"), and they put on a over-the-top public show of being a great person in an effort to try to convince themselves and others of their essential goodness (i.e., a man I knew who had been physically abusing his girlfriend once walked into her workplace with an extravagant bouquet of roses in a beautiful, expensive container, and acting very lovey dovey, in order to impress all her co-workers with how great a boyfriend he supposedly was).

Rob Ford doesn't believe he has a serious substance abuse problem or any other psychological problem. He honestly thinks he's a great mayor and that his leadership has been good for Toronto, and he tells lie after lie about his job performance: that he's supposedly saved Toronto $1 billion, that he returns hundreds of phone calls a day, that he's never missed a council meeting — all of these over-the-top claims have been proven to be utterly false. He honestly believes many of the lies he tells us, and I don't know if he'll ever be able to see that he's wrong.

Some people have an incredibly strong defense mechanism against feeling bad about anything they've done wrong. Their own comfort, their own need to believe themselves to be a good person and a successful person, takes precedence over every other consideration towards others. No amount of anyone else's pain or collateral damage that they have caused is ever really acknowledged because such people can't allow themselves to feel bad, to face to the fact that they've done wrong. It's a terrible quality in anyone (being a genuinely good person means, paradoxically, that one will feel bad sometimes because one is bound to make some mistakes), but it's especially disastrous in a person of considerable power. Rob Ford is one such. He will not let himself see what he is. So no, there's no shame there, because he won't let it happen.
posted by orange swan at 12:23 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Please point me to one example of him demonstrating the capacity for embarrassment of which you speak?

It's just my opinion. He's human. Albeit a human with a substance abuse problem and an otherwise distorted sense of reality. Still, not apologizing isn't an indication of what he's actually feeling or thinking, it's a political strategy, and one that has allowed his to continue playing victim and blaming the whole thing on the media and the elites.

Fundamentally, I don't think we would really disagree about much of his character. I can just imagine that a part of him is extremely vulnerable and fragile. He's not a calculating, emotionless, behind-the-scene political manipulator. Even must have his breaking points. What if some charges were so ugly that he loses the support of his family, of Jim Flaherty? Not likely perhaps, but an example of a situation where he would be ashamed.
posted by beau jackson at 12:39 PM on April 1


I've just been clicking through to the linked Facebook pages I listed in this comment, and it's pretty heartening to see how much faster the anti-Ford pages are garnering followers. Since I posted that comment, The I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford page has gained 2 likes; the Stop Ford From Destroying Our City page has gained 54. Rob Ford's page has gained 5 likes; Olivia Chow's has gained 155.

No worries, people.
posted by orange swan at 12:54 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


The Walrus story by Tossell is up to his usual great standard. You should also read Why Toronto fell for Rob Ford.

But whenever people bring up Ford's lack of shame, I'm compelled to jump up and down and point out this article by Nicholas Hune-Brown once again: On Rob Ford and the dangers of shame without guilt.
The seemingly unshakeable mayor—a man who can spout bald, easily disproved lies with such enviable conviction—would be a fascinating test-subject for the pair of Israeli researchers who have been studying the way that shame and guilt, or their absence, shape our responses to the world around us. In a study called “The Positive Side of Negative Emotion: The Role of Guilt and Shame in Coping with Interpersonal Conflict,” published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution last year, researchers Hadar Behrendt and Rachel Ben-Ari examined the way those negative feelings influence the way we act when we’re in a fight. ...

Important to understand is that shame and guilt are distinct emotions. Guilt is generally tied to a specific action (cheating at Words with Friends, say), whereas shame is a more general feeling (a global sense of crappiness about your essentially deceitful character). According to some research, shame mostly pops up as a result of public exposure, while guilt is innate. You feel guilty about something you’ve done; you feel shameful when others find out. ...

Thinking about Rob Ford and the bottomless pit of indignities into which he continues to dig, maybe the problem isn’t a lack of shame. After all, he has said over and over that admitting he smoked crack, after months of denying it, was utterly humiliating. And how could it not be? Perhaps what he’s missing—and what TV journalists keep fruitlessly searching for, in softball interview after interview—is the faintest sense of self-knowledge, of guilt. Feeling bad about what you’ve done, after all, can lead to real change. Feeling ashamed, more often, just leads to declarations of war.
posted by maudlin at 1:38 PM on April 1


That's how you'll get the FN to change their vote (or more likely, stay home on election day).

I doubt it. Any reasoned argument, anything factual that shines a light on the truth of the situation will be rejected by FN members.
posted by juiceCake at 2:15 PM on April 1


Fuck Rob Ford. He's a sideshow clown and should sink back into the swamp of anonymity from which he dragged himself.

He might be fun to talk about, in a schadenfreuderiffic way, but this article is great because it lays out nicely the horrifying way that nearly everything that Canada as a nation holds dear has over the past couple of decades been undermined, hollowed out, and tossed aside. It documents the decline of a once-great country -- my home country -- into the America-aping shitshow it is today.

The Ascent and Inevitable Decline of Rob Ford is a nice, vulturemedia-friendly story, but it's just the frame around a bigger picture, a picture that, for me at least, is one of the great disappointments of my life.

One hopes that the author is right, and that not only the hilarious sad trainwreck that is Rob Ford but the ongoing destruction wrought by Stephen Harper and his grunting herd of ideologue swine will serve as wake up calls to Canadians.

I fear that won't be the case, though. The pendulum swings further, marks out more extreme territory to be colonized, and there's no going back once that's done. What was once unthinkable becomes commonplace, and the center becomes harder to find.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:14 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


The pendulum swings further, marks out more extreme territory to be colonized, and there's no going back once that's done. What was once unthinkable becomes commonplace, and the center becomes harder to find.

I keep thinking how at one time, hearts were won over in Canada for a vision of a community that helps its neighbors, whether through medicare or welfare or child support or tuition grants or founding credit unions... Surely we can do it again? I feel I need to learn more about how these things were won before, and I know it wasn't perfect and et cetera. But its not like we stared out a unified country of social democrats and have just lost track... People worked hard to bring their neighbors on board for an idea...
posted by chapps at 9:20 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


(Half the time I'm mad about something harper had ruined and eliminated its also the first time I'm hearing this awesome thing exists!!)
posted by chapps at 9:22 PM on April 1


into the America-aping shitshow it is today

It's so obvious too. He spouts the same sort of absolute nonsense the Tea Party does and somehow gets respect. This shouldn't be happening.
posted by juiceCake at 9:38 PM on April 1




anthill: Rob Ford's words in the mouth of a child.

Heh, I came here to post that because the little girl is a close friend of my girlfriend's daughter and she's over at our house a lot.
posted by gman at 1:00 PM on April 2


Yeah, that video is pretty great. It's a shame most of the local media is so shitty when it comes to covering him. He basically never gets questioned about anything that comes out of his mouth.
posted by chunking express at 2:14 PM on April 2


Mayor Rob Ford was the sole vote on Toronto City Council against motions on naming a city street in honour of Nelson Mandela and congratulating Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes Wednesday afternoon.
[via: National Post]

He later says that it was a mistake.
sighs

posted by Fizz at 2:37 PM on April 2


Oh, joy. The plausible answer to "Why hasn't he been charged yet?": the OPP has a difference of opinion with the Toronto police on who was the extortion victim.

A screen cap of tomorrow's story in The Star.

(Urban Toronto's MetroMan has been saying for a while that politics was what was delaying this, although he also started talking about the Russian mafia over the last couple of days. There's no corroboration of his latter theory, but the former appears to have been somewhat accurate.)
posted by maudlin at 8:33 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


This is utterly disheartening.
posted by Crane Shot at 9:17 PM on April 2


Well, disheartening is a good word for it...but for what it's worth (and I'm really starting to wonder), MM thinks it's good news.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:05 AM on April 3


@CTVtoronto and @CTVNatalie are tweeting that Ford will not likely face charges related to Brazen 2, according to their sources.

Just WHAT is going on behind the scenes? Were they unable to find enough evidence or were there other political machinations? I really don't think there is a source, official or not, to believe at face value right now. This is really a debacle.

Anyway, it seems like we might see yet another example of a rich and powerful man facing no consequences for his actions. The TPS have to at least catch him driving drunk sometime. That man is a menace.
posted by beau jackson at 9:39 AM on April 3


Yeah, so it's looking like MetroMan is the new Unfuckwithable and can be safely ignored. This whole thing is fucking unreal. I feel bad for anyone who is trying to teach their kids that actions have consequences.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:46 AM on April 3


If true, this seems destined for a public enquiry eventually. I don't think this level of disclosure by the police will be acceptable to many people. But that's a terrible outcome, years and many millions of dollars away.
posted by bonehead at 10:16 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


The TPS have to at least catch him driving drunk sometime.

You left out "again."

He's already been caught. What police didn't catch in person, he's admitted to on television. And yet zero fucks are given.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:19 AM on April 3




It looks to me like the cops have tons of evidence showing that Sandro Lisi threatened and coerced a few people to try to obtain the crack video, but pretty much nothing connecting Rob Ford to those actions.
Disappointing, but not unexpected.
posted by rocket88 at 1:04 PM on April 3


A CBC reporter is indicating that Ford will be ordered to testify under oath at Lisi's preliminary hearing. It's a small victory but I'll take it at this point.
posted by dry white toast at 2:25 PM on April 3


I guess the Toronto police went public without a strong case in hopes that the controversy would force Rob Ford to resign, and Rob Ford made them blink first.

All I can say is I sure hope Olivia Chow campaigns with a holographic image of Jack Layton or something.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:36 PM on April 3


A CBC reporter is indicating that Ford will be ordered to testify under oath at Lisi's preliminary hearing. It's a small victory but I'll take it at this point.

If Ford lies on the stand (and what are the odds he won't? I don't think he knows the difference between reality and his perception of himself at this point), he can be charged with perjury.
posted by orange swan at 5:03 PM on April 3


All I can say is I sure hope Olivia Chow campaigns with a holographic image of Jack Layton or something.

Olivia Chow does not need to ride her late husband's coat tails to win this election. She is a seasoned politician who has been representing Toronto since the 90s. She has run in a number of elections and won all but two of them. She's going to cream Ford.
posted by orange swan at 5:08 PM on April 3


I sure hope you are right bucko.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:13 AM on April 4


A Ford win is not likely- there are other very strong candidates, and a lot of other things could go wrong for him (I would be surprised if we hear more news of public drunkenness and perhaps even stupider behaviour in the next few months - although what he would actually have to do to turn off the still-faithful Ford Nationers beats me). Also, the TPS could still come out with something damning if this whole investigation hasn't really been a flop.

Still, we can't count the guy out yet. He could very well win in October.
posted by beau jackson at 7:11 AM on April 4


Let me tell you, I feel the fear the rest of you do. But I am going to trust the polls and what relatively objective metrics I can gather from online. Ford is behind in the polls and he will not catch up. He's sure to just keep right on being a total disaster at doing his job and at running his re-election campaign and there's a good possibility he may be arrested for something before October. Yes, those Ford Nation morons will cling to their cognitive dissonance unto death, but there are plenty of Torontonians who can see what a terrible mayor he's been, or failing that, at least find his irresponsible and criminal behaviour unacceptable. If they find Olivia Chow too left wing, they can have their pick of other Ford-like candidates.

Ford will not win.
posted by orange swan at 7:27 AM on April 4


Looking at the long (and growing) list of mayoral candidates for 2014, it's tough to gauge how this will play out. The real action happens when candidates drop out and throw support to others. And there's still time for more to enter.
Right now, the Ford Nation conservatives have Rob and the non-nation conservatives have John Tory (a moderate, by today's standards). On the left there's Olivia Chow and, for now, no strong challengers.

I'm happy to see a couple of TO musicians I like and respect on the candidate list (albeit as likely fringe candidates)...Rob Johannes of Paint and Richard Underhill of The Shuffle Demons!
posted by rocket88 at 7:35 AM on April 4


But I am going to trust the polls

While I share your sentiment that Chow is a strong candidate and Ford will probably not win, I do not have any faith in polls anymore and in fact have the greatest cynicism about and contempt for pollsters, especially after the last few provincial elections (and the federal election and its Orange Crush).

The pollsters totally screwed up the last BC election for example. Or, until the appearance of Nate Silver, American election predictions.

The polling system is broken, if it ever worked in the first place, and more and more I see the pollsters and the use of their polls as attempts by whoever to try to manipulate the vote.

The polls are no comfort at all.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:09 AM on April 4


I know polls can lie, but they're a better gauge than someone saying we're doomed because his boss supports Ford.

I'm wondering if Sandro Lisi will turn evidence on Rob Ford in exchange for a lighter sentence. Although of course Ford could make it worth his while (or coerce him) to keep his mouth shut and do the time. It would depend on the length of the time he'll have to do. Anyone know what kind of sentence Lisi is likely to get for extortion?
posted by orange swan at 8:40 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


There's something fundamentally wrong with polling in Canada right now. In just the past few years, we've seen the NDP surge federally, the win in Alberta of Redford, the win in BC of Clark. I think people will be watching Quebec very closely as well.

What is wrong is a mystery to everyone. There's certainly no consensus, but it seems that the polling samples and models are way out of whack. Are polls misreading who are the likely voters? Are turnouts an issue? Are polls representative samples? Are people just lying on polls now? No one really knows.
posted by bonehead at 8:45 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


According to Clayton Ruby (a prominent Canadian lawyer), Toronto police inexplicably passed up chances to gather evidence that could have given them grounds for Ford's arrest and conviction. The argument I've heard is that the TPS was working on bigger charges (i.e., drug dealing rather than the use of drugs), but Ruby says there was no excuse for not seizing evidence as to drug use because it's routine to do so and then pursue further investigation.

The same argument would probably apply to Ford's drunk driving. The Toronto police have really fucked this one up.
posted by orange swan at 12:11 PM on April 5




God, maudlin, that broke my heart.
posted by orange swan at 9:18 PM on April 6


Thanks Maudlin. Rob Ford has wrought so much damage to so many people, including himself. Even knowing what he has done, I honestly feel sorry for him.
posted by saucysault at 10:26 AM on April 9




This video of an autotuned Rob Ford almost makes it all worthwhile.
posted by Flashman at 8:33 PM on April 10


2nd video of pipe smoking surfaces on Wednesday, April 30th. Appears to have been recorded in Kathy Ford's basement with Sandro Lisi present.
posted by In The Annex at 7:04 PM on April 30


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