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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

An Unsafe Space - a controversial new play about Free Speech and Identity Politics to premiere in Toronto in January

The play I wrote, AN UNSAFE SPACE, now has a live website and tickets are available for purchase.
The cast is the most impressive you're ever likely to see in an independent Toronto theatre production.
It features nationally and internationally known stars Craig Lauzon, of CBC TV's flagship comedy series, Air Farce, Precious Chong, who is incredibly talented and comes from the amazing entertainment lineage of being Tommy Chong's (of Cheech and Chong) daughter, Canadian stage legends, John Jarvis, Jane Spidell, and Peter Millard, all of whom are considered among the best stage actors ever produced in this country, and two amazing young talents, Jenny Weisz, who was the lead in the Young People's Theatre Dora -nominated production of Annie, and the incredible, Stratford alumni actor Chanakya Mukherjee.
Who is so wise that you would be willing to entrust with the authority to make decisions of what you should and should not see? Should education and public discourse be controlled by a few people with one kind of perspective who suppress things with which they disagree or just don't like?

Anyone who is interested in these types of issues should definitely see An Unsafe Space, no matter which side of that argument they take. Because all sides will be given concepts to think about and discuss.
Free speech, censorship, and the ideologically-based suppression of ideas, as well as the stereotyping of people and their opinions based on their racial and ethnic identities, are among the hottest topics currently in the public sphere.
The comedic play AN UNSAFE SPACE, which will have its world premiere in Toronto on January 10, 2019, addresses these concepts in a biting, irreverent way that entertains while acting as a stimulus for people to think about and confront their preconceptions.
Inspired by an actual events at a major North American university, AN UNSAFE SPACE begins with a meeting of progressive academics who have gathered to find ways to foil a large donation to their department by a conservative benefactor.
The play takes place in the home of Joanna Whitney, a Political Science professor, and includes some of her colleagues, who also happen to be her friends. Joanna also had arranged to meet her new romantic interest, an aboriginal lawyer named Oliver Waterman, at the same time that the impromptu meeting is occurring. Rather than cancel her date with Oliver, curious to learn what his political stances are and how he interacts with her friends, Joanna experiments with letting her personal and professional relationships interact.
To the surprise and consternation of Joanna's colleagues, Oliver expresses strong opinions which contradict the expectations of what the academics believe a First Nations person would and should hold.
Romantic and professional rivalries and disputes, and the outrage that Oliver instigates at the meeting leads to clash after clash. The events leave the characters confronted with the unexpected necessity of having to examine their own outlooks and prejudices.
There is no other play that addresses the important issues discussed in AN UNSAFE SPACE in the same way.
At a reading of the play done at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, one of the participants described it as "a smart play written for smart people." Darrell Dennis, the renowned aboriginal actor and playwright, who participated in the reading, said, "Thank you for writing this so audiences can finally see a play with an aboriginal lead who isn't a victim."
Upon reading the play, the nationally-syndicated columnist and radio host Andrew Lawton said of AN UNSAFE SPACE, "It's hilarious and delightfully irreverent. AN UNSAFE SPACE slays every sacred cow, taking no prisoners in the process. The play offers a tragically funny look at how the perpetually offended interact behind closed doors. It certainly won’t be appropriate for any campus safe spaces, but will be a must-see wherever it’s allowed."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

An Unsafe Space - the play. It's coming soon!

A new play I've written called AN UNSAFE SPACE will be premiering in Toronto on January 10, 2019.

It's about Identity Politics, Free Speech, Racism, Jealousy and Romance, and Censorship in academia.

It should be great fun and it's got some of the best theatre talent Canada has to offer in it.

More details will follow very soon, in the next week or so.

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 13, 2018

92% of left-wing activists live with their parents and one in three is unemployed, study of Berlin protesters finds

Color me unsurprised:

The vast majority of left-wing protesters arrested on suspicion of politically-fuelled offences in Berlin are young men who live with their parents, a new report found.

The figures, which were published in daily newspaper Bild revealed that 873 suspects were investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013.

Of these 84 per cent were men, and 72 per cent were aged between 18 and 29.
More than half of the arrests were made in the Berlin districts of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Mitte, mostly during demonstrations.

A third of them were unemployed, and 92 per cent still live with their parents...

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Hungarian govt abolishes gender studies as it is useless in the country’s job market

At the beginning of the week Hungarian universities received 24 hours from the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI) and the Ministry of Justice (IM) to comment on a proposed amendment, which declares that no gender studies courses can be launched in the future, HVG.hu reported on Friday.

According to HVG.hu, the part of the amendment which concerns gender studies provides no explanation whatsoever. Two universities are concerned: Hungary’s biggest state-funded university ELTE, and the Central European University, founded by George Soros.

If the amendment becomes official, it will mean that nobody can attend gender studies courses in Hungary and get a degree in the subject. HVG.hu notes that CEU offers both Hungarian and American degrees, the amendment will not affect the latter.

The Ministry of Human Capacities told HVG.hu later today that there is absolutely no interest for gender studies graduates in the Hungarian job market. EMMI added that the course is economically irrational, so they assume that it’s not launched to give the students useful knowledge...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why the Left Is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson

..The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts—to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.

That might seem like a small thing, but it’s not. With identity politics off the table, it was possible to talk about all kinds of things—religion, philosophy, history, myth—in a different way. They could have a direct experience with ideas, not one mediated by ideology. All of these young people, without quite realizing it, were joining a huge group of American college students who were pursuing a parallel curriculum, right under the noses of the people who were delivering their official educations.

Because all of this was happening silently, called down from satellites and poured in through earbuds—and not on campus free-speech zones where it could be monitored, shouted down, and reported to the appropriate authorities—the left was late in realizing what an enormous problem it was becoming for it. It was like the 1960s, when kids were getting radicalized before their parents realized they’d quit glee club. And it was not just college students. Not by a long shot...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Trump Derangement Syndrome is actually a real thing.

"Is he gonna blow us all up?"

So inquired one of Elisabeth LaMotte's patients recently, fretting out loud about the volatility of U.S. President Donald Trump's actions during a therapy session at her Washington practice.

It was a rhetorical question — one that predated Trump's threats of a showdown with Iran this week. But if the question wasn't meant in earnest, the politically induced anxiety LaMotte is hearing about from her clients certainly is, says the founder of the D.C. Counselling and Psychotherapy Center.

She refers to it as a "collective anxiety" among patients who feel on edge about how potentially dire the president's decisions could be.

"There is a fear of the world ending," she said. "It's very disorienting and constantly unsettling."..

Sunday, July 15, 2018

How Israel, in Dark of Night, Torched Its Way to Iran’s Nuclear Secrets

TEL AVIV — The Mossad agents moving in on a warehouse in a drab commercial district of Tehran knew exactly how much time they had to disable the alarms, break through two doors, cut through dozens of giant safes and get out of the city with a half-ton of secret materials: six hours and 29 minutes.

The morning shift of Iranian guards would arrive around 7 a.m., a year of surveillance of the warehouse by the Israeli spy agency had revealed, and the agents were under orders to leave before 5 a.m. to have enough time to escape. Once the Iranian custodians arrived, it would be instantly clear that someone had stolen much of the country’s clandestine nuclear archive, documenting years of work on atomic weapons, warhead designs and production plans.

The agents arrived that night, Jan. 31, with torches that burned at least 3,600 degrees, hot enough, as they knew from intelligence collected during the planning of the operation, to cut through the 32 Iranian-made safes. But they left many untouched, going first for the ones containing the black binders, which contained the most critical designs. When time was up, they fled for the border, hauling 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs of memos, videos and plans...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A quick note on the dearth of blog posts

Those of you who read my blog, you happy breed of men and women, you precious stones set in a silver sea, we few, we happy few..may have noticed a dearth of blog postings lately.

I've been quite busy recently, one of the causes being that I'm in the process of producing a play which will premier in Toronto in January 2019.

I'm pleased to say that two Canadian television stars have already agreed to be in the play.

More will be forthcoming as we get towards the end of the year, and I do thank you for your interest and support.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Progressive leftist anti ICE protesters harass and insult a female reporter's appearance

I thought it was Trump supporters who were supposed to hate the mainstream media.

The "progressive left" is becoming more vile and regressive with each day:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Unprecedented President Trump

Conrad Black discusses his new book about Donald Trump's presidency with TVO's Steve Paikin:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Today in sciencey stuff - Einstein proved right and blue sand on the Red Planet

Once again, Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity has held up — this time in another galaxy.

Using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, an international team of researchers found that gravity in a galaxy millions of light-years away behaves how the renowned physicist's theory predicted...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Crowds in Iran are chanting "Death to Palestine!" Not to Israel. Not to America. But to Palestine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

#FakeNews and the Future of #MSM

An interesting discussion on TVO's The Agenda with my old pal Jon Kay, among others. Although some of the panelists are there to pontificate and dissemble to justify some of the absurd biases in mainstream media:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A note to readers - By Charles Krauthammer

This is tragic. I was lucky enough to meet and speak briefly with Charles Krauthammer at the Munk Debates a few years ago. A kind, thoughtful, good man. We need more like him, not fewer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Obama Admin Granted Iran Access to U.S. Financial System Despite Sanctions

In selling the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran to Congress, the Obama administration assured lawmakers that Tehran would not have access to the U.S. financial system. But in 2016, the administration secretly granted Iran a license to do just that, according to a Republican-led Senate report released Wednesday.
The 53-page report by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), chaired by Ohio senator Rob Portman, also reveals the extent of Obama administration efforts to encourage foreign countries to do business with Iran. Its release comes after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the agreement and reimposing nuclear deal-related sanctions on Iran.
The lifting of those sanctions in January 2016 allowed Tehran to tap into its previously frozen assets abroad, including $5.7 billion rials held in an Omani bank, Bank Muscat. Iran wanted to convert those funds to euros, which could be done most efficiently by first converting to U.S. dollars as an “intermediary step.” In an effort to allow Iran to convert its once-frozen rials, the Treasury Department granted a specific license in February 2016 that authorized the Iranian assets to be converted using the U.S. financial system, according to the report.
“A conversion to U.S. dollars on behalf of the [Central Bank of Iran] was prohibited under U.S. sanctions,” the report says. “Other options existed to convert the funds from rials to euros without using the U.S. financial system. But using the U.S. dollar as an intermediary step was the most efficient means, even though U.S. sanctions prohibited it.”...

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Ontario legislative term ended with the NDP and Liberals proving they will screw over your kids to keep teachers unions happy

Before the Ontario legislature dissolved to make way for our provincial election, the government’s last act was to try to end the strike at York University by imposing binding arbitration. Because the Liberals waited till the last minute before the election campaign started, they needed all the parties to agree. The NDP refused. 

This means that 50,000 York students have not only lost most of their spring term but likely there will be no summer school at all. On the plus side, it's a timely reminder of where the NDP's loyalties lie...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Matt Gurney: There’s no easy fix to the Gaza mess, but threatening to flatten Hamas will help

...while we can’t expect to see peace and normalization between Israel and the residents of Gaza anytime soon, we can at least reasonably hope for no further large-scale killings in the immediate future. And all that needed to happen was for Hamas to decide a bunch of dead Palestinians no longer served its interests.

The killings this week, which left 60 dead on Monday, occurred during a large protest, involving tens of thousands of people, along the fence that constitutes Israel’s southern border with Gaza. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a listed terrorist group that also functions as Gaza’s government. The protesters were calling for the right to return to homes and villages they (or their ancestors) lost during previous Arab-Israeli conflicts, which typically end with Israel both victorious and larger.

It is difficult to overstate how ridiculous that claimed right is. Israel’s existence and massive military superiority are textbook examples of facts on the ground (heavily armed facts, at that). There isn’t going to be a return, period. Still, Hamas and other jihadist groups have had a role in organizing the protests, which are also fuelled by the genuine frustrations of Gazans tired of living in the densely populated, economically stagnant enclave, wedged between Egypt and Israeli checkpoints.
Israel, for its part, has been clear that any attempt to breach the border fence, including by approaching it within 100 metres, will be considered hostile and met with force. On Monday, reporters at the scene of the protest noted that Israel had deployed Arabic-language leaflets, which read, in part, “The [Israel Defense Forces are] prepared to face all scenarios and will act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians. Do not let Hamas cynically use you as its puppet. … Stay away from the security fence, from terror instigators and the violent rioters! Save yourselves and prioritize building your future!” When that didn’t work, tear gas was used, and warning shots fired into the dirt in front of protestors. When that didn’t work, live ammunition was used, resulting in the deaths and hundreds of injuries (further hundreds were apparently injured in the rush away from the shooting). Some of the dead were children.
That’s bad. But there’s an easy solution: Hamas makes the protests stop, or at least keeps them back from the border... 

Friday, May 11, 2018

John Bolton: The Iran deal was betrayed by its own abysmal record

On Tuesday, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the failed Iran nuclear deal. The president has famously referred to it as “the worst deal in history.” Its very premise has been betrayed by its own abysmal track record over the past two years.

The theory behind the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was that the Iranian regime would, in the interests of its own people, trade its nuclear ambitions for economic incentives. But rather than focusing on behaving responsibly, Tehran has poured billions of dollars into military adventures abroad, spreading an arc of death and destruction across the Middle East from Yemen to Syria. Meanwhile, the Iranian people have suffered at home from a tanking currency, rising inflation, stagnant wages and a spiraling environmental crisis.

President Trump acted prudently. He spent more than a year studying the deal, soliciting information and assessments from within his administration, and consulting with our allies. He decided that this deal actually undermines the security of the American people he swore to protect and, accordingly, ended U.S. participation in it. This action reversed an ill-advised and dangerous policy and set us on a new course that will address the aggressive and hostile behavior of our enemies, while enhancing our ties with partners and allies...

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Kathleen Wynne's "Care over Cuts" claim is built upon a dishonest premise

Few politicians have any real understanding of how the civil service works. The old British TV comedy Yes Minister, which had a clueless government Minister led around by the nose by a career civil servant was as accurate as it was amusing, and it was indeed both those things.

The civil service always claims it needs more funds, and provides excuses why it does. Politicians who have almost no understanding of how the the money is spent or how the bookkeeping is done almost always grant their requests. The politicians claim the increased money spent translates into advantages for the public, frequently without knowing to what extent, if at all, it benefits anyone outside the civil service and a few people connected to it. In very, very many cases it does not.

So when the head of Ontario's socialist New Democratic Party, Andrea Horvath, or Premier Kathleen Wynne say that the election is about "care over cuts," they speak from either total ignorance or deceit, because nothing could be further from the truth. It's possible to reduce government spending significantly without cutting services or firing employees.

How do I know this? Because I worked for the Ontario civil service for over a dozen years and saw how things work first hand.

The Ontario civil service operates on a fiscal year that goes from April 1 to March 31 of each year. Each fiscal year, every government department is allocated a budget. That budget may in fact exceed the actual needs of the departments' expenditures.

So what happens if a department doesn't spend all of its allocated budget by the end of the fiscal year? The money not spent goes back to the Treasury.

No civil service department head wants to give money back to the Treasury.

They don't want to give money back out of fear that someone higher up, seeing that a department needed less money this year, will then decide that it can make do with less money next year. They also don't want to give the money back because no one likes to give money back if it's in your hand and you can spend it, even if that means spending on things you don't really need.

And that's what they do. Towards the end of the fiscal year, government department after government department go on wild spending sprees. They hire consultants they don't need, they buy equipment they don't need, they do whatever it takes to make sure all the money is used up, so they can apply for the same or a bigger budget next year. I've worked in departments where as much as 15% of the annual budget was thrown away on those last minute, buy-anything-to-use it-all-up sprees.

It's a waste.

When Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford says that 4% of the budget can be cut across the board without any service or employment cuts, if anything, he's understating the amount of potential savings he'll be able to find. Doug knows this, because he and I have spoken about it.

During her term in office, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has plunged Ontario into debt so huge that it's the biggest sub-national debtor in the world. California, which has a huge debt problem, has three times the population of Ontario and yet its State debt is less than Ontario's provincial debt.

The unfettered government waste in Ontario can't continue without dire consequences. Neither Wynne nor Horvath have any practical solutions to the debt and spending problem. Doug Ford does. That goes to the core of the choice that Ontario has to make on June 7.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Iran Deal Is Strategically and Morally Absurd

It was surely Barack Obama’s profound aversion to the use of American military power that so enfeebled his nuclear diplomacy and made his atomic accord with Iran the worst arms-control agreement since the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. I do not know whether a more forceful president and secretary of state—say a Democratic version of Ronald Reagan and George Schultz—could have gotten a “good deal” with Tehran; it just boggles the mind to believe that a better deal wasn’t possible. A stronger president and secretary of state certainly would have been willing to walk away. Neither captured by Iranian demands nor the mirage of “moderate” mullahs and engagement, more astute, less fearful men would have been more patient, and more willing to let sanctions bite deeper into the economy and political culture of the Islamic Republic.

Obama was, to borrow from The New York Times’s Roger Cohen, America’s first “post-Western” president, a man deeply uncomfortable with American hegemony and the essential marriage of diplomacy and force. By 2013, when Hassan Rouhani won Iran’s presidential election, Obama made it increasingly clear that he was unwilling to fight over the clerical regime’s nuclear-weapons ambitions. He was also unwilling to do anything to brake the Islamic Republic’s rising Shiite imperialism, which in Syria led to the massive slaughter and flight of Syrian Sunnis who’d rebelled against Bashar al-Assad’s tyranny. And what happened in 2012-2013 in Syria and Iraq—with the absence of America—triggered the rise of the Islamic State and has now set the stage for a regional conflict that we haven’t seen since Saddam Hussein was running amok...

Friday, May 4, 2018

Happy birthday, Karl Marx: We could have done without the millions dead

On Saturday, Karl Marx turns 200 years old. A German dissident who spent most of his days in exile, Marx devoted his life to the notion that a literal heaven-on-earth was just a revolution away. Instead, he ended up inspiring one of the most prolonged epics of suffering in modern history.

Amazingly, this seems to have done very little to tarnish Marx’s apparently Teflon reputation. He just got a fawning biopic. He got glowing birthday wishes in the New York Times. And this weekend, EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will be unveiling a statue of the man in Marx’s hometown of Trier, Germany.

Europe already had plenty of statues of Marx, although you might not know it because a lot of them got pulled down in the late 1980s...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Understanding context undoes the smear campaign against Doug Ford by the Ontario Liberals and the Toronto Star

With the election looming and the popular tide turning against her, Kathleen Wynne is anxiously flinging a barrage of smears at Progressive Conservative Party leader Doug Ford. She's been trying to twin Doug with Donald Trump, hoping that polite Canadian sensibilities will be repelled by the thought of Ontario being led by someone who may be as brash and mercurial as the US President.

Aside from the stark irony that Wynne's approval ratings are less than half of Donald Trump's, the mud didn't stick, and her cheap shot only made the Liberal Premier look ridiculous and desperate. Other than the superficial elements of both Doug and Trump being outspoken populists and businessmen, the similarities end, and the majority of Ontarians weren't going to be fooled.

From an article attacking Doug Ford
in The Toronto Star
But that reality still hasn't registered with Wynne's media enablers, such as the Editorial Board at The Toronto Star.They're doubling down on efforts to link Doug to Trump, and even detail, based, it would seem, on their close, inside relationship with Wynne, her struggle to fathom the Ford phenomenon by reading Hillary Clinton's memoir about the latter's election loss. It's akin to trying to learn why Venezuela's socialist dictatorship under Hugo Chavez and his successor was such an abysmal failure by trying to understand the world through the extraordinarily bungled analysis of Chavista Naomi Klein's nonsensical tome, The Shock Doctrine. It's an exercise in learning nothing about the subject you hope to understand, but plenty about the biases of the person writing about it, while thinking you're doing the opposite.

Since understanding Ford's success is obviously outside the confirmation bias bubble that Ontario's Liberals occupy, they also have to resort to smearing Doug Ford and lying about him, hoping their slander will be unquestioningly accepted.

That's another reason Wynne and her supporters at the Toronto Star will fail miserably. The only way their efforts work is if the people they hope to reach are too stupid or uninterested to learn anything about the context of the attacks being launched against Ford.

For example, an oft-repeated smear that Wynne and her media proxies have tried to attach to Doug for a long time is that he hates, or is insensitive to youth with autism. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The background to this matter is that Doug was critical of a group home for youth aged 12 to 18 situated in a middle class neighborhood in the Etobicoke ward he represented during his term as a city councillor. Area residents pleaded with Doug to intervene about the late-night disruptions, screaming, constant visits from police and emergency services, and sharp uptick in crime, including car break-ins, that occured in the neighborhood as a result of the presence of the youth home for the developmentally disabled.

Responding to these disturbing incidents and the desperate anxiety of the neighbors of the improperly supervised youth home, Doug tried to get a type of resolution which would protect the safety of area residents.

There are many degrees of severity with autism. In mild cases, it's barely noticeable, but the severity of the condition can change that drastically. I've worked at a psychiatric hospital and dealt with people with severe autism.They can sometimes be violent, often scream uncontrollably, and in such cases they are incapable of living independently, or even semi-independently in the community. Think of Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man. His portrayal was only of someone with moderately severe autism. Many of the residents at the group home affecting Doug's constituents were in worse shape than that. It's worth noting that Alex Minassian, the Yonge Street van mass murderer, has autism.

According to Doug and the residents, they had been misled by the group home's organizers about the numbers, the extent they would be out in the neighborhood, and level of supervision that the residents with serious mental illnesses would have.

The root cause of the problems in the Etobicoke neighborhood where the group home was located were the fault, not of Doug Ford but Kathleen Wynne. It was Wynne's government which closed down the Thistletown Regional Centre, where youth with autism has been safely housed and supervised. That closure forced them to seek alternate housing in the community, but this was often done without appropriate safeguards.

Think about it. There are two alternate explanations for what went on. One is that after the Wynne government created a situation where people with mental challenges were housed in a neighborhood without proper supervision and Doug Ford was responding to the dire requests of his constituents to resolve a problem which was devastating their quality of life. The alternate explanation, the one the Liberal Party of Ontario and its media mouthpiece The Toronto Star would have you believe, is that Doug Ford, the most overworked councillor at Toronto's City Hall, would spend his spare time seeking out group homes for autistic people to criticize.

Take your pick, but the real answer is easy to recognize.

It also illustrates the very clear difference between Kathleen Wynne and Doug Ford.

Wynne is someone who isn't interested in doing right, and in fact will do things detrimental to the people she is supposed to represent, but will go to whatever length necessary to virtue-signal and pretend she's a champion of so-called "social justice."

Doug Ford, by contrast, is someone who puts the needs of his constituents first and foremost. He's someone willing to risk looking bad in the eyes of the media, and will set himself up for cheap shots from the likes of The Star's Martin Regg Cohn and Ford's political rivals, but doesn't care because his primary interest is helping people who need his help.

That's the choice Ontario has in the upcoming election of June 7. It's a choice that, as far as I'm concerned, couldn't be more clear.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Matthew Lau: Ontario's poverty numbers are growing again — the opposite of the rest of Canada

...Ontarians are struggling to get by, even as people living in other provinces are progressing out of low-income situations and bad provincial policy is surely to blame, given how poorly Ontario contrasts with nearly every other province. And it’s not just incomes that have been battered down by Liberal government policies: the 2016 Hunger Report by the Ontario Association of Food Banks contained a special feature on “energy poverty,” describing how Ontarians were suffering from “the rapidly increasing cost of hydro,” created by the Ontario Liberals’ “green” restructuring of the electricity grid.

People living in poor households and in rural areas are hit hardest by high hydro bills. “Ontario’s food banks are seeing an increase in the number of clients who say that they simply cannot keep up with their rising hydro bills,” the report warned. To compound the problem, food banks “with limited budgets are finding it increasingly difficult to pay the monthly hydro bill as well.”...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Douglas Murray: How many fourth-rate academics are first-rate bigots?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote two pieces about a very rum collection of ‘academics’ who had written to The Guardian defending Jeremy Corbyn from accusations of anti-Semitism.  Since then it is safe to say that the debate has not gone their way.  Or to put it another way – particularly after Tuesday’s debate in Parliament when Jewish Labour MPs and others testified to the racism now rife within the Labour party – there is even more evidence of anti-Semitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party today than there was when those forty ‘academics’ wrote to the Guardian.

Of course back then I had a bit of fun with the fact that the academics in question seemed not only to be at distinctly fourth-rate institutions, but also seemed to be ‘experts’ in non-subjects.  Almost every signatory was in a ‘media studies’ department, where their expertise ranged from ‘zombie studies’ to ‘Star Wars’.  One signatory was a saxophonist.  Personally I have no especially fixed attitudes either for or against the saxophone.  But why playing the saxophone should be said to give anyone any authority on the matter of anti-Semitism is quite beyond me.

Anyhow, imagine my surprise, nay my absolute amazement at the discovery that one of the signatories of that letter (zombie lady, as it turned out) should now turn out to have some very ugly views of her own. 
n what may be a journalistic first for the Huffington Post that publication has discovered that Jane Dipple of the ‘University of Winchester’ may not be a neutral voice on the whole issue of Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism.

According to the Huffington Post, this ‘lecturer in media and communication’ has been very active in the past on social media on the matters of Jews and Zionism.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read that Ms Dipple had been chuntering away on Palestine Live (the anti-Semitic Facebook group of which Jeremy Corbyn and his son were also members) about these subjects.  Among her posts she refers to one ‘Icke’.  By which perhaps she is referring to David Icke – precisely the sort of thinker I would expect a ‘lecturer in media and communication’ at the University of Winchester to be in the habit of citing.  Anyhow Ms Dipple refers to ‘Icke’ who apparently referred to ‘rampant Zionism across the media.’  Elsewhere she refers to a ‘Zionist attempt to create a pure race’.  And she also merrily re-posts from the neo-Nazi website ‘The Daily Stormer’.  The piece from that disgusting publication which so impressed the University of Winchester’s ‘lecturer in media and communications’ was headlined ‘BBC To Replace Male Jew Political Editor With Female Jew.’

The University of Winchester has responded to the Huffington Poststory by saying ‘We were shocked by the content in these posts and we are investigating further as a matter of urgency.’  Well let me just say that I doubt that there is anyone outside the public relations department of the University of Winchester who is shocked by this...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Setting The Record Straight About Doug Ford

As Ontario nears its next provincial election, the political establishment is working itself into a panicked frenzy.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal Party are so unpopular that it seems a near certainty that she'll lose on June 7, and will be replaced by the Progressive Conservative Party headed by Doug Ford.

Both Doug and his late brother Rob were the subjects of unprecedented media attacks while they served as elected officials in Toronto, Rob as mayor and Doug as a City Councillor and his brother's right hand man. Those attacks involved media stalking the Fords, inventing lies about them, and writing columns so histrionic that they did more damage to the credibility of the news outlets which published them than they did to Doug and Rob. The main motivation behind the attacks was that the Fords were populists committed to serving the actual public and not the city's well-heeled establishment and the special interest groups with which they work hand-in-glove.

Doug himself has been accused of being part of the 'elites' he decries. Indeed Doug Ford does come from an affluent family, but it was recent, self-made wealth by Doug Ford Sr. The Fords were never part of Toronto's established Old Boys Network. The business that Doug Sr started was built up to a huge, transnational success by Doug, who established a branch in Chicago as well as the home base in Etobicoke that is one of the continent's major label manufacturers.

I've come to know Doug pretty well in the last few months and I've come to consider him a friend. He's spent time at my home and we've had long talks about political philosophy, the direction Ontario, Toronto, and the country has been and is heading, the role of media, and all sorts of topics.

The establishment is worried to the extent that they're pulling out all the stops and spreading every lie they can think of to slander Doug before election day. And hearing those lies being told about a friend is somewhat upsetting, so I think it's time to set the record straight on a few of them.

An astroturf group which implausibly denies links to Kathleen Wynne's Liberal Party has been dishonestly implying, and in cases outright lying, about Doug being antisemitic and homophobic.

These are blantanty false accusations which are the opposite of the truth.

One incident, which I only recently recalled, is a particular example of how Doug went out of his way to fight antisemitism in Toronto when almost all of his then-City Council colleagues were too cowardly to do anything about it.

A few years ago, back in 2011, I was in contact with Rob Ford's office about the proposed use of city property to host an antisemitc hate fest known as Al Quds Day.  That annual event was created by Iran's despotic, homicidal Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini to promote the genocide of Israel's Jews. These al Quds Day rallies routinely feature calls to violence against civilians and expressions of antisemtic hatred.

While most of City Council sat on their thumbs in fear of offending the Islamists behind Toronto's al Quds Day, Doug stepped up to the plate without a moment's hesitation. Fighting the City's bureaucracy, which contains a few unsavory, pro-Islamist people who are armed with a spool of red tape big enough to color the CN Tower crimson from top to bottom, Doug nonetheless did all he could to have the al Quds Day fanatics prevented from using a taxpayer-supported facility to spew their hate.

In the end, because of opposition by some of the entrenched, NDP-linked bureaucracy at City Hall, Doug was unsuccessful at getting the al Quds Day event removed from the City facility, but much to the Islamists' chagrin, had Toronto Police send an officer from the Hate Crimes Unit to monitor their malevolent jamboree, which forced them to moderate from their usual vicious bile.

Doug stood up for the Jews when the so-called 'progressives' at City Hall enabled or cowered in silence in the face of antisemitism.

As to Doug's supposed homophobia, the 'proof' offered by an asinine propaganda website operated by anonymous trolls relates to the complete distortion of something Doug said about an incident that occurred when a few protesters crashed a Ford Fest, a  big, multicultural barbecue put on by the Ford family every year. One of the anti-Ford protesters carried a sign upon which was printed '#1 Ford Hater." A couple of the protesters were wearing rainbow flags. The anti-Ford protesters were confronted by some Ford supporters and among the back and forth, regrettably, there were some anti-gay comments made by a couple of people.

In the aftermath of the kerfuffle at Ford Fest, Doug, who said and did nothing homophobic, and who was not in the altercation, nonetheless apologized for what those few Ford supporters did to the protester. He also reasonably noted that if people go to an event, even a sporting event, for the purpose of taunting people as the protesters did, the result, far from being surprising, is more likely exactly the attention the protesters wanted.

At the time, Doug observed, "you can't show up at a Yankees game with a Red Sox hat on" or in that instance, it's absurd to come to a Ford party for the purpose of trashing the Fords, and expect no trouble. That's just obvious logic. Characterizing that as homophobia by Doug, as the anonymous trolls at notdoug.com attempt, is a sleazy lie, just as disseminating sleazy lies and intentionally deceptive mischaracterizations is the purpose of that website.

As it happens, Doug has many friends in Toronto's gay community, has reached out to help them when they were in need, and had even donated $4000 of his own money to Toronto's Pride Festival. These are hardly the hallmarks of a homophobe.

From a long career in different aspects of media, including a major Hollywood production company which has won multiple Academy Awards, experience has taught me that the personalities of public figures as they present on TV are rarely precise representations of them in real life. But there are exceptions.

My friend Tarek Fatah is one who is very much in private the way he comes across in media, he's passionate, excitable, and deeply committed to the causes about which he speaks. Doug Ford is another case where the private and public person are basically the same.

The ways that the private Doug and the public one differ is that Doug's great sense of humor, his politeness, and the touch of shyness that is about him don't fully come across on TV. But the essence of the man is there and what you see with Ford is what you get. If he says something he means it, which contrasts with the politicians we're used to, and who spend more time trying to avoid telling us what they really think than they do in being straightforward. He's absolutely committed to doing good for his community and the people. Unlike just about every other politician I've ever met, Doug does most of that good without seeking publicity for it, taking satisfaction in having helped out the people who needed his assistance.

One of the reasons Doug is running for Premier which he and I have discussed is that he believes in the rights of individuals to be respected as individuals. The government takes money from us in the form of taxes, and taxpayers have a right to expect government to be accountable to them and treat them fairly. We have a right to be treated as individuals, not members of a collective.

The Liberals cynically play the identity politics game pitting communities against each other while completely disregarding individuality or accountability. That was in plain display recently when Kathleen Wynne spoke about telling young voters that they have to vote to prevent old white people from deciding elections.

Compare that with Doug, who in explaining why he opposed al Quds Day fanatics from using City property to demonize Israel's Jews said he doesn't "believe city facilities should be used by one community to denounce another."

There's a stark choice in this election. Continuing with Kathleen Wynne's disastrous fiscal policies and cynically divisive Identity Politics from a Liberal government that believes it should be able to control every aspect of the lives of Ontarians. Under her administration, the overriding philosophy is that the people should be accountable to government.

Alternately, we have Doug Ford, who respects individual rights, and who believes that government's role is to protect people's freedom, and not to take it away from them. Doug will make sure government is fully accountable to the people, respects all of us, and will ensure that public servants are there to serve the public, not the other way round.

Take the chance to meet Doug if you can in this time leading up to June 7th. The real Doug Ford is not the person that most of the establishment media portrays. He's a good, decent, compassionate man and he will be a great, much needed Premier for Ontario.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Exposed: Jeremy Corbyn’s hate factory

...Twelve senior staff working for the Labour leader and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, are members of groups containing anti-semitic and violent comments, including praise for Adolf Hitler and threats to kill Theresa May, the prime minister.

The most comprehensive investigation conducted into 20 of the biggest pro-Corbyn Facebook groups — numbering 400,000 members — found routine attacks on Jewish people, including Holocaust denial.

The dossier was compiled over two months by whistleblowers working with The Sunday Times in the groups, who gained access to restricted membership groups. They uncovered more than 2,000 racist, anti-semitic, misogynistic, violent and abusive messages.

Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said the comments appeared to breach hate-crime laws...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Doug Ford is about to change climate change policy for the whole country — and it's about time

Doug Ford’s victory in the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race changes the national climate policy picture in a significant way. Not because he is opposed to carbon taxes: Many other federal and provincial politicians are as well. What makes Ford different is his willingness to declare that he sees climate change as a secondary issue in comparison to basic bread-and-butter economic priorities.

Lots of politicians agree, but they are too nervous to say so. They find it safer to nod along with the loudest voices on the other side, whose righteous crusade against (as they see it) planet-destroying fossil fuels leads them to believe that any policy, no matter how extreme and costly, is never enough.

Ford’s realism may inspire others to join him. And his view is well in line with expert opinion. The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after surveying the projected costs and benefits of climate change, concluded: “For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers… Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change.”

In other words, when it comes to the things that truly affect peoples’ day-to-day lives, climate change might belong on the list, but far down. Polls show that people have largely figured this out for themselves, with climate change consistently ranking far behind most other priorities.

Policy should reflect this...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I'd have thought the average Trump voter assumed he's had sex with at least a dozen porn actresses

Mark Steyn has this one right.

Trump voters couldn't care less about which or how many porn actresses with whom he had sex.

He wasn't elected to be a role model or a model paragon.

He was elected to bring about change, and that he's done.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Why John Bolton is no warmonger

Photo by Michael Vadon via Wikipedia
The hysteria from the Left over Donald Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor to replace Lt. General H. R. McMaster has been partly hilarious, partly alarming to behold. From The Guardian in this country to The New York Times, CNN, Slate, Salon, and beyond in the United States, we are presented with a scarecrow figure who makes Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove look like Albert Schweitzer after a nap. ‘Yes’, screamed an editorial in The New York Times, ‘John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous’. Bolton is a ‘hawk’s hawk’, an ‘extreme ideologue’ and ‘warmonger’ whose appointment ‘scares people’ and ‘puts us on a path to war’. Adds Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate, ‘and it’s fair to say [sure it is, Fred] that President Donald Trump wants us on that path’. In short, ‘the time to panic is now’. Argh!!!

Hysteria has its pleasures.  But if we step outside the echo chamber of this feverish anti-Trump mad house, we soon discover that John Bolton is not the reincarnation of Genghis Khan. On the contrary, he is an informed and thoughtful commentator on international affairs. The over-caffeinated chihuahuas yapping at his heels are in a panic because he doesn’t like the ‘deal’ (what some of us would describe as the craven capitulation) that Barack Obama made with Iran over its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Obama shovelled more than a billion dollars in cash to the Mullahs and said in effect ‘pretty please do not make any nuclear bombs’. The New York Times, in one of its excoriations of John Bolton, wrote that ‘The Iran deal has substantially halted the nuclear program and needs to be maintained’. But anyone not blinded by ideology knows that the third thing the Iranian leaders do each morning, after proclaiming ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’, is to chivvy their scientists to get on with their work making a bomb with which to obliterate the Zionist entity and threaten the Great Satan.  

Something similar can be said about North Korea. Bolton’s critics chatter like terrified, dyspeptic starlings because he has suggested that Kim Jong Un’s deployment of nuclear weapons presents an existential threat that may have to be met by a preemptive military strike. But does any thinking person doubt this? Moreover, as Rocket Man prepares for his meeting with President Trump, the presence of John Bolton in the American entourage should have a clarifying effect on the tubby tyrant.

But the revulsion on the Left against John Bolton is occasioned by much more than his robust positions on Iran and North Korea...

See also: 

John Bolton Has His Chance to Kill the Iran Deal Trump Tried to Fix

Monday, March 12, 2018


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who heads up the most corrupt, incompetent government in the history of her province, and which has run up the world's largest sub-national debt, says "Government exists to do the things we can’t do on our own ."

Here are some examples of things her government does that you can't do on your own.

Can you think of some more?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Objectivity Has a Poor Reputation in the Humanities, and Universities are Paying for it

...Equity studies and related fields are built on studying inequality (mostly based on group identity) and its effects on people. These fields have a symbiotic relationship with progressive activists in order to further the stated goal of equality, just as the field of chemistry has a symbiotic relationship with the chemical industry. Fifty years ago, when the civil rights act was only 4 years old and Canada still had an unwritten tradition of discouraging immigration from anywhere but Europe, there certainly was a pervasive system of inequality that would impede the success of certain groups of people. In a climate like that, there absolutely is a lot of content to for equity studies to produce. Because its necessity, competent individuals pursuing higher education would have been willing to study in this field.

Fast forward 40 years, things look a lot different. There are laws in place to prevent discrimination based on gender, race, disability, and sexual orientation. There are also hate crime laws that add additional penalty for crimes existing crimes motivated by bigotry. While still not perfect, all available metrics are trending in the direction of equality (between gender, race, and sexuality). When this inevitably happens, do the academics in equity studies just pack it up and go home? Of course not, this is their livelihood and they need to stay relevant. And if relevance is the necessity, the goal is to have a real impact.

Equity studies is indisputably less important than it was at its inception and incoming students recognize this. The other thing incoming students recognize is that a degree in equity studies and related fields are among the least marketable bachelor degrees one can hold, at a time where a high paying 9-5 career is harder to get without any technical skills. So, what does a competent student with a notion of personal responsibility do? They study something else. This leaves a field desperately in need of a rebranding and a prospect pool that is declining in quality...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

For eerie, fun drinks on Toronto's Queen Street West, it's Hocus Pocus

Queen Street West in Toronto is one of those destination spots where new businesses frequently appear and disappear. That's the economics of retail and sales rather than magic, however a new, very intriguing place on Queen West materialized recently and magic does play a big role in it.

I happened to stumble upon it a couple of weeks ago, and almost passed by it entirely until something on the chalkboard placard outside the Hocus Pocus Witchery (at 592 Queen West) caught my eye. With its storefront appearance, looking in from the street, the place appeared to be a sort of occult shop, selling Wiccan and magic paraphernalia. It's something I found interesting from an academic perspective when I wrote a screenplay once dealing with some of that subject matter, but that was a while back. So I only really qualsi took in the place as I was passing by until I almost tripped over their chalkboard, on which was written, 'Come and check out our smoking cocktails.'

While communing with Beelzebub wasn't on the forefront of my mind, I was indeed seeking out a place to get a drink. The prospect of booze in the witchcraft store was interesting enough to explore, so I got a notion to get a potion, so to speak.

There is indeed a bar at the Hocus Pocus Witchery, and a few tables, as well as plenty of items for sale, from magic potion ingredients to statues of ancient Egyptian deities to a wide assortment of Tarot decks to  $1000 'Love Wands" which I can only assume is something the parents of rich kids at Hogwarts would buy for their forlorn children. However, from my perspective, they had an impressive drinks menu, and the "smoking cocktail" description was not a metaphor.

There are a number of drinks at Hocus Pocus Wichery which literally smoke and bubble, and create an eerie graveyard mist which flows over the rims of the myriad of unusual receptacles that contain the concoctions. The drinks are delicious and quite reasonably priced for such elaborate recipes and presentation.  

Despite the ominous theme, the staff are rather friendly. Although to a point. I have some vague recollection of the suggestion that I could be turned into a newt if I didn't behave myself. Although that could just be part of a hallucination from the wormwood in the genuine French Absinthe contained in one of the beverages, the preparation for which is a ritual in itself.

My only complaint about the Hocus Pocus Witchery is that they close rather early for a bar on weekdays, at 9 pm, but they are open late on Friday and Saturday nights, and on the late closings, they frequently have entertainment. The last of which I saw was a burlesque dancer named Pastel Supernova (although I strongly suspect that is not the name she was born with) whose performance somewhat evoked the dance Salma Hayek did in From Dusk Till Dawn, minus the boa constrictor.

Considering how much fun I had there, I hope the Hocus Pocus Witchery doesn't vanish anytime soon.