Friday, December 16, 2011

An Appreciation of Edward Keenan's Dec 5-21/11 Column

The article's headline is "Why raising taxes might (ahem) solve our problems" and it refers to the debates over the lying, blubbering cry-baby Rob Ford's budget:

During last week’s public hearings on next year’s municipal budget, scores of citizens told the city’s politicians they didn’t want services cut. Almost all of the speakers were asked by members of Rob Ford’s budget committee, “Do you have any solutions?” Many of them suggested raising taxes. The suggestion drew scorn from committee members. It’s fair to say Councillors Doug Ford, Mike Del Grande, Frances Nunziata and Giorgio Mammoliti did not consider it a suggestion at all.

Even though dozens of citizens had just suggested raising taxes as a way to maintain service levels, Del Grande told a television reporter from Global News, “No one is really answering the question of how to pay for [that].”

It’s a childish response—“Nyah, nyah, nyah, I can’t hear you!”—even if it is understandable.
It would be understandable, if it was at all fair. There's further snide, condescending responses to the left-wing pinkos from Ford's gang of idiots and liars in this week's NOW article about the budget disaster as well. (I want to focus on Keenan's column today though.) The thing is that Ford and his fellow fuck-ups don't have a leg to stand on. You see, taking them at their word, these morons said that there was around half-a-billion dollars of "GRAVY" that could be painlessly eliminated, allowing for tax cuts and freezes "GUARANTEED." So, if we want to pretend they weren't lying through their shit-stained teeth, Ford, DelGrande, Nunziata, Mammoliti were just completely, totally out to lunch about the state of the city's finances and they should step aside.

You see, it doesn't even matter that nobody wants to raise taxes, even if (as Keenan will go on to demonstrate) that Toronto's tax rates are among the lowest in the whole GTA. It doesn't matter if the Ford administration has found itself in a mess and they refuse to raise taxes because that would be political suicide. None of this matters because Ford said, again and again and again and then he GUARANTEED it, that there would be no mess. There was no mess other than an ocean of gravy that had been built up over the years. Ford was completely, totally, unforgivably wrong, and he should hang his head in shame. He's a goddamned useless liar and he and everyone associated with him should resign enmasse.

Obviously, the shamelessness (plus stupidity and boorishness) that allowed Ford to lie and babble so blatantly will help the fuck-head rationalize his continuing in office, but let's continue with Keenan's article:
But in Toronto, where the city delivers much better services for far lower taxes than anywhere else in the GTA, it’s time for a grown-up to conduct a reasonable conversation about finding ways to raise more revenue.
Did you read that? Read it again: "it’s time for a grown-up to conduct a reasonable conversation" That's the reason that I decided to type an appreciation of Keenan's article. The entire Ford administration is comprised of childish liars and morons. Children, being who they are, at their level of mental and emotional development, tend to shamelessly concoct more absurd and ridiculous lies than do adults. In fact, adults who are forced to invent preposterous stories tend to be people who are routinely referred to as "childish." They're generally selfish people who haven't developed empathy with others and who don't think about their actions before they do them. Mayor Rob Ford, with his whining, his quick temper, his carelessness (even indifference) about facts, is a pathetic 300 lb [14o kg] man-child.

And what Ford represents really, is the entire "conservative" political movement of the last few decades. It began with the simplistic lies of the actor-president Ronald Reagan, which descended into the shameless greed, crudeness and hypocrisy of the Newt Gingrich years, and it touched bottom with the out-and-out criminality and idiocy of the bush II years.

Yes, those were US-American politicians that I was referring to. Because this is the centre of late-capitalist politics. And it is infecting us here, north of the border in Canada. The elevation of Ezra Levant's locker pin-up Stockwell Day to leader of the movement, the simultaneous freak-show of the Mike Harris government in Ontario, and culminating in the quasi-fascist regime of morons, closet-cases, religious nutbars and other assorted scum of the present harper regime, all take their cues from the garbage that is the US right-wing.

And in doing so, they are obviously enabled by the cooperation of the liberal opposition. This descent into madness isn't an affliction of the "conservative" parties of the world, but the scrambling of greed-heads and stupid monsters, struggling to preserve their privileges in a dying system. The great battle of our time is how decent, intelligent people within the majority population can protect themselves against greed-heads and shit-heads.

Let's continue with the Keenan column:

In Toronto, we have the largest metropolitan police force in Canada, and our cops are the best paid in the country, too—as everyone agrees they should be. We have the most sophisticated transit system in Ontario, by far, and it survives with fewer government subsidies than any other major transit system in North America. We have the best and most-used library system on the continent, and, as Canada’s largest urban centre, we provide extensive services to non-English speakers, the poor and those otherwise in need of specialized assistance.

Despite these top-tier service levels, our property taxes are very low. In Hamilton and Oshawa, residential property tax rates are more than twice as high as they are in Toronto. In Ajax, residential taxes are about 72 per cent higher and in Mississauga they are 25 per cent higher. Toronto has the lowest property taxes in the GTA. (And lower than many other large cities: Montreal’s property tax rates are about 20 per cent higher, while Ottawa’s are about 70 per cent.)

This is more damning evidence that we owe nothing to Ford or his witless supporters. The upshot of those facts is that whenever some fucking imbecile goes on about "the mess" left behind by progressive mayor David Miller, we should just laugh in their face. When the union-loving David Miller (who was so willing to roll-over to all of their exorbitant demands that they went out on strike to reject his offers!) is blamed for anything, it's blame based on ignorance and delusions. Once again, these right-wingers are simply not fit for adult political discussions and it is LONG past time that we ignored their stupid protests and complaints.

If the city were to increase residential property tax rates to the level that people in Ajax pay, the city would raise an additional $2 billion per year—enough to eliminate our supposedly crippling civic debt before the end of Ford’s first term (and pay for the entire Sheppard subway construction by the end of a possible second term). If they raised taxes to the average rate charged in other GTA cities, we’d see more than $900 million a year in extra revenue.

In this context, let’s remember that the budget committee is seeking ways to avoid making $88 million in cuts. A tax increase of 6.5 per cent this year would render all of the proposed service cuts unnecessary; even then, Toronto would still have the lowest rates in the GTA.

Keenan goes on to argue that there CAN be an argument against tax increases but it has to be based on reality as processed by sane adults. Perhaps other policies make living in Toronto more expensive than other places and these things should be attended to first before property taxes are raised. Perhaps the province and the feds should give Toronto more control over tax revenue. But regardless, as it stands now, Toronto was a well-run, low-tax location and Rob Ford is a lying asshole. These things are facts. They're simple facts. They're facts that say that everything that comes out of the mouths of Rob Ford and his fans' mouths is bullshit. These are facts that say that right-wingers don't understand policy and they don't understand budgeting and they don't understand truth and they don't understand reality.

When we take the battle to them, there should be no respect for their arguments. They have nothing but stupid lies. There should be no respect for decorum. They abuse our restraint. There should be no respect for their feelings. These people are racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, stupid thugs. Canadian Cynic used to document the drooling idiocy of the right-wing in Canada on a regular basis. Nothing has changed since he stopped blogging. They're still morons. Contemptible morons. They should be treated as such and the people who might be tempted to embrace their beliefs should be shamed into leaning more towards our direction, thereby raising the intelligence level of our political culture.


Anonymous said...

Hi Thwap,

Your last comment is the most telling: "raising the intelligence level of our political culture". That is the key issue that has allowed this ridiculous right wing attitude to ground swell in Canada. The one thing I grant praise to the harperized version of conservatism is their skill in delivering the message and crushing the opponent. They have this down pat. The only way to overcome that is to play the same game. There are several instances being handed to the progressive movement on a silver platter, but we lack the PR savvy to have it take hold. If that had been in place, Tony Clement, Peter McKay and Peter Kent would be well on their way out the door, but in this culture, their careers will likely flourish. I find it most frustrating that neither the NDP or what's left of the liberals have clued into that. Wouldn't you agree?

BC Waterboy

thwap said...

BC Waterboy,

This contemporary "conservatism" has been a long-term thing, with the appearance of the "Sun" tabloids being a part of the general celebration of Archie Bunkerism.

Even still, the harpercons only won 25% of the votes.

But the fact that during the last election neither the Liberals or the harpercons went for the jugular against harper:

- pointing to harper's attempts to imitate the disastrous Wall Street policies of the USA
- pointing to Flaherty's glaring incompetence (re: deficits and their "Action Plan")
- pointing to their disgusting harassment of activists for wounded veterans
- outlining the significance of harper's constitutional crises

I would have thought it would have been possible to bury the fucker electorally.

Now, the official oppositions seem distracted with their leadership races, they're not articulating a clear message right now.

But I clearly think we need to take the gloves off against these assholes. Just like in this post about Rob Ford's stupid lies. Bite onto the significance that his "gravy train" nonsense reveals his complete and utter incapability and never let go. Never let him, or anybody else forget it.

Anonymous said...

I wish the NDP had tried seriously in my riding and at least made the Con work for it. It would've been easy since he was a reformer, so you could point to all the old reformer principles he used to spout. Originally they had actual reasons they hated Liberal things like the gun registry, not just Librul=Satan.

Then you could point to each Conservative scandal that shit all over those supposed principles. Parliamentary privilege? Government refusing to provide costs of its programs? Government hiding from lawful Access to Information with the tale of "cabinet confidence"? Billions of dollars senselessly wasted (on the G8/20)? Blatant patronage for the monetary elite? These hypocrites need to be called out. They don't deserve their golden pensions (that they yelled should be gotten rid of, until they lasted long enough to qualify for those pensions themselves).

thwap said...


You'd think that when it's so blatant that it'd be so easy wouldn't you? Just like it's hard to believe that the brilliant USA can barf up such a laughable bunch of clowns as genuine contenders to have their fingers on the nuclear button.