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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...