Categories for Feature

Linkless, contextless stuff, plus Warren’s History of the Internet

Nearly twenty years ago, when I started this here web site, I would have folks coming up to me on the street or at events or whatever and saying: “I follow you on your blog.”

“It’s not a blog, for Chrissakes,” I’d say.

“Don’t blog about me,” they’d say.

“You’re not interesting enough,” I’d say.

Later, when Facebook came along and commenced giddily stealing peoples’ personal information to share with the Russians, people would come up to me and say: “I follow you on Facebook.”

I’d say: “You shouldn’t do that. I lie a lot.”

Or they’d say: “Will you friend me?”

And I’d say: “I don’t need any new friends.”

Anyway. In the shiny new Internet era, I now get people coming up to me and saying: “I follow you on Twitter. You’re funny.”

Me: “I’m not funny, I’m pissed off. Get off my lawn.”

Or they say: “Hey, can you retweet my tweet that my church, the Half Way Baptist Cavalry Redemption Mission, is having a vegan bake sale?”

And I say: “Sure, whatever. Get away from me while I’m listening to the new Pennywise album.”

Anyway. As in any election period, things get a bit batty. So I thought I’d give you HTML renderings of my last few notable tweets. It’s been interesting. It also strongly suggests I need professional help.

  • Saw a guy at Starbucks wearing a skirt. He was wearing it well. We’re not in Bancroft anymore, Dorothy.
  • Goofy haircuts notwithstanding, A Flock of Seagulls had some fucking amazing tunes.
  • What was most striking about today’s Ontario political panel on CBC’s Metro Morning is that there was no Ontario Liberal representative – just the PCs and NDP. Another legacy of the 2018 Wynne/Wizard Campaign: the OLP is already being erased from history.
  • Voters don’t believe late-campaign scandal stuff. Jack Layton affidavit, etc. Doesn’t work.
  • I’d like to be a Soros puppet if it allows me to retire early.
  • Media polls are worth what one pays for them.
  • Talking about ending the York U. strike now is the most the cynical thing Wynne et al. have done since the last cynical thing they did.
  • Colon schmolon.
  • I love how everyone on the HGTV shows Lisa Kinsella watches all have stickers on the Apple logo of their Apple laptops so we are fooled into thinking they aren’t Apple laptops even though they totally are.
  • I plan to retire to a beach in Jamaica where I will play reggae and live in a shack and eat lots of jerk chicken.
  • The universal truth contained in the ‘Mats’ ‘If Only You Were Lonely’: “Somewhere, there’s somebody throwing up.” That’s songwriting, man.
  • If Kathleen Wynne really wanted to help Ontario Liberal candidates, she would have resigned the leadership a year ago – she knows she was as unpopular then as she is now. Yesterday’s stunt wasn’t selfless, it was reckless. Worst campaign ever.

Kathleen Wynne doesn’t think she should have resigned

On Saturday, five days before Election Day, the Ontario Liberal leader conceded the election. Usually, politicians wait until, you know, the actual vote has taken place.  But Kathleen Wynne insisted she was doing so because she wanted to help her party’s candidates. “I would never want to do anything that would undermine any of my candidates, any of those races. I have thought long and hard about this, believe me,” she said.

Her view: I’m helping out my caucus and candidates by throwing in the towel.  The view of many Ontario Liberals: bullshit.

One lifelong Grit, Jim Curran, wrote this on Facebook. He has given me approval to quote it:

I am voting Liberal anyway. What Kathleen did to her candidates yesterday was pretty much the shittiest thing I’ve ever seen a leader do to her own, hardworking, selfless, dedicated candidates who have put their lives and families on hold for the party they believe in. It was absolutely selfish and totally disgusting IMHO. I will continue to support my local Liberal candidate as the alternative is not acceptable to me. I’m for a party dedicated to a living wage for its citizens, free pharma for the young, dedication to making sure our kids get to go to college and dedication to building and expanding hospitals for our growing and aging population. In [my riding] I will be voting for [his candidate], LIBERAL.

I feel the same way.  I am disgusted by what Wynne and her $70,000-a-month “strategist” Wizard did.  But I am going to enthusiastically vote for my friend Arthur Potts, the Ontario Liberal candidate in our riding, because he richly deserves re-election.

This morning, Kathleen Wynne was yet again on CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, because she likes preaching to the choir.  Matt Galloway, who is a tough interviewer, demanded to know why Wynne didn’t quit the leadership a year ago.  Lots of us have been wondering that, although I was pretty much the only one saying so publicly.

Wynne dodged and weaved, but then she finally said she had consulted her “advisors and colleagues,” a year ago, but concluded that she “really believed” she could get re-elected.

Let’s examine that, shall we?

Exactly one year ago, here’s what the Angus Reid Group were saying about Wynne’s ability to get re-elected.

Not too good, eh?  Least-popular Premier in Canada.

But maybe she meant to say the year before that – in 2016.  So, here she is in May of that year.

A bit better, but not by much. So, what gives? Kathleen Wynne has been very unpopular for a very long time. What persuaded her to “really believe” she could win over the past couple years?

There are two possibilities, here. One, she is delusional, and totally removed from political reality. Having known her for a long time, however, I can tell you this is impossible. She is very, very smart.

The other possibility is one I have been hearing whispers about: Kathleen Wynne was being presented with numbers that were completely and totally wrong. Those bogus numbers persuaded her – and, beyond her, her cabinet and caucus, who never once rose up in revolt – that victory was attainable.

I think you all know where I am going with this.

Kathleen Wynne would have resigned a year ago if she had been presented with reliable, verifiable data. She would have have quit if she knew the truth. But someone didn’t give her the truth.

I wonder who that person is?


This is what $70,000 a month gets you

This is pathetic. It’s farcical.

And, as I will show everyone next week, it was completely needless.

If she had left a year ago – and if she had taken her pitiful Wizard and the Board with her – we could have won.

This is on them.

Kathleen Wynne on Saturday acknowledged that she will no longer be premier after the June 7 election and encouraged voters to elect Liberal candidates to prevent the NDP or PCs from securing a majority.

“Even though I won’t be leading this province as premier, I care deeply about how it will be led,” the Liberal leader said during a campaign stop in Toronto.

Public support for Wynne’s Liberals has plummeted since the election started on May 9, and Wynne said that a “confluence of things” led her to make her statement on Saturday.


About that huge, huge Globe investigative story: read it

Three things about this extraordinary investigative story.

One, it’s behind a paywall because journalists deserve to get paid just like you are.  Do you give away your goods and services for free?  Neither should they.  Cough up a few bucks and subscribe, for Chrissakes.  Don’t be cheap.

Two, this story is going to have an impact on the Ontario election – in a way that is very unhelpful to prominent Ontario Liberals.

Three, I left Navigator when Glen Murray arrived there, unbidden by me.  I despise him. His life is about to get very complicated, and deservedly so.

Snippets:

On March 23, 2013 – a Saturday – Mr. Murray travelled to the farm fields south of Bolton that Solmar sought to build on.

In an interview with The Globe last year, Mr. Murray acknowledged that he did not travel alone, but he declined to identify whom he was with, other than to say it was a “planner” or “consultant” for Solmar…During his site visit, Mr. Murray e-mailed his chief of staff, David Black, and asked him what powers he had, as minister, with respect to the housing development.

Mr. Black responded with blunt advice: “There is no action you can take.”

Mr. Black (who is now chief of staff to Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli) declined to respond to questions from The Globe. But his e-mails to Mr. Murray – obtained under the Freedom of Information Act – show he was concerned that his boss was with someone from Solmar.

And that was potentially a big problem. Solmar had taken Caledon to the Ontario Municipal Board, the quasi-judicial body that has the power to overturn the planning decisions of cities and towns, and a decision had yet to be rendered. But the OMB can be overruled by cabinet – which is why, Mr. Black warned his boss that day, ministers are forbidden from interacting with developers currently before the tribunal.

“I hope you are not in the Bolton area with anyone who might have an active OMB case,” Mr. Black e-mailed to Mr. Murray. “Ministers meeting with active OMB appellants can be grounds for the Premier to ask for your resignation because it can look like you are trying to influence the outcome of an OMB case.”

…But his interest in Bolton did not fade. On April 18, Mayor Morrison and two of her staff drove to Queen’s Park at the request of Mr. Murray.

According to Ms. Morrison and another staff member present that day, Mr. Murray scolded them for what he said was poor planning. He had a specific idea, too: The swath of land south of Bolton should be designated for homes .

Next, Minister Murray asked all of the aides, including his own, to leave the room. All of a sudden Ms. Morrison found herself in the type of meeting she had long refused to take – one without witnesses. And what unfolded next reminded her why.

“In my opinion, he threatened me,” said Ms. Morrison, who recounted the exchange, over several interviews with The Globe. “He told me that he had some complaints against me that were very serious and that he could make them go away if I changed those lands to residential.”

Ms. Morrison, then in her 10th year as mayor, insisted she had done nothing wrong, and that Mr. Murray could do whatever he liked with those “complaints.”

As he prepared to leave the room, she says, the minister repeated one more time that she “had better” permit homes on that land.

The kicker, about the Premier who received a complaint from a Mayor about one of her Ministers making a threat – and the Premier who did nothing about it, and why:

There is another person whom Ms. Morrison says she told about the encounter: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

In December of 2013, she heard Ms. Wynne on the radio claiming, in the wake of a massive ice storm, that she had spoken with all the mayors in the GTA. Ms. Morrison – who had lately become disenchanted with politics and had decided not to seek re-election the following year – became enraged: She had never heard from the Premier in the storm’s aftermath.

And so she sent the Premier a letter that made a pointed reference to a TV ad, filmed in Caledon, that showed Ms. Wynne out for a run. “Perhaps you have forgotten that Caledon is one of the GTA municipalities, not just a scenic location north of the city to film jogging commercials.”

Not long after, says Ms. Morrison, Ms. Wynne called her and said, “I got your letter … I don’t understand why you’re so upset.”

“I’ll tell you why,” the mayor replied, and chronicled Mr. Murray’s conduct. She says Ms. Wynne told her “I’ll be dealing with him.”

Ms. Morrison said that, at the time of that phone call, she didn’t realize that Solmar had donated $20,000 to Ms. Wynne’s 2012 leadership campaign – a sum that was among the largest contributions it received.

It was the last time she spoke with Ms. Wynne. 


Top ten Wizard excuses for the Wynne Wipeout™

A week to go, and I have already started to hear some of the excuses being road-tested by the Wizard and the Board. They know they are going to lose.  So they are readying their rationalizations.

Here’s ten of them, which I may turn into a Hill Times column.  Feel free to add more in comments.

  1. “We’ve been in power for more than a decade, we knew winning again was unlikely.” That so? Really? Except: the same excuse could’ve been trotted out in 2014, when it was also more than a decade in power. And: Stephen Harper didn’t drive his party in the ground. Christy Clark won a minority.  Bill Davis ruled Ontario forever. And so on.
  2. “Female political leaders never get re-elected.  Misogyny, etc.” Uh-huh.  Except: Nancy Pelosi, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Indira Gandhi, et al.  They all did okay.  Misogyny isn’t solely a Canadian problem.
  3. “Kathleen is gay.  She was defeated by homophobia.”  Gotcha.  Explain: 2014.
  4. “This is the former Premier’s fault.  Gas plants, blah blah blah.  Wasn’t our fault.”  This one drives me nuts.  (I mean, Kathleen Wynne would still be a little-known school board trustee were it not for Dalton McGuinty.)  Besides, it isn’t just disrespectful, it’s disingenuous: from the perspective of Joe and Jane Frontporch, folks, it’s all one Ontario Liberal Party, you know?  Voters remember you worked for Dalton, Kathleen.
  5. “Hiding Kathleen wouldn’t have worked.  She’s the leader, we needed to have her front and centre.”  Gotcha.  A former Ontario Liberal leader, Lyn McLeod, experienced precisely the same problem in 1995: she was dragging her party down.  So, McLeod and her senior people made the (tough, principled) decision to take her off the air for the final two weeks.  They held onto 30 seats as a result.  Why didn’t Wynne do likewise?
  6. “We ran an ethical and scandal-free government.  We were sunk by Dalton’s scandals.”  Repeat after me: it’s never the break-in, it’s the cover up.  Example One: Jean Chrétien resigned in December 2003, and the daily headlines were then still screaming about the so-called “sponsorship scandal.”  Chrétien’s approval number?  Sixty per cent.  Example Two:  five years earlier, in December 1998, Bill Clinton became the most popular president in the history of U.S. polling, at 73 per cent approval – all of which came after the Lewinsky scandal, and his impeachment in the House of Representatives.  Scandal isn’t what sinks you: per Harry Truman, it’s trying to pass the buck about scandal.
  7. “After fifteen years, there was no way we were going to win again.  We decided to take the hit so a new leader could start fresh.”  Really?  Seriously?  Next week, I will be presenting y’all with quantitative evidence showing that this is hooey: the Ontario Liberal brand was popular, the Ontario Liberal record was popular, the Ontario Liberal caucus was popular.  What wasn’t popular was the leader.  She needed to talk a proverbial walk in the proverbial snow.  She didn’t.
  8. “Our internal polling actually showed that we were going to do far worse.  We are pleased where we ended up.”  You are forgiven if that one in any way reminds you of this.
  9. “Trudeau has hurt the Liberal brand everywhere.  He pulled down our numbers.”  Did Trudeau take on water after India? Yes.  Does he have both sides of the ideological spectrum (unfairly) mad at him after the decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline?  Yes.  But the notion that Trudeau is in any way responsible for Wynne’s disastrous campaign is absurd.  If anything, her numbers pulled down his.
  10. “We’ll be back.”  Well, some of us will be.  But Kathleen Wynne and the Wizard and the Board?

They won’t be.


Hate hits Toronto neighbourhood

Warren Kinsella, a former Liberal strategist, author and lawyer who is currently writing a book about the growth of hate groups among young people, said the posters are concerning, in part because of how detailed they are.

“There’s swastikas, lightning bolt, the SS death head symbol,” Kinsella said, noting the posters also include more obscure references.

Author Warren Kinsella believes someone who has knowledge of neo-Nazi imagery and neo-Nazi lingo is responsible for the posters. (CBC)

“For example, on one poster there’s a reference to 14 — that’s the 14 words, which is about securing a future for white children. There is a reference to the number 88, and 88 represents HH in the alphabet, which is ‘heil Hitler.’ So it is somebody who has knowledge of neo-Nazi imagery and neo-Nazi lingo and needs to be taken seriously as a result.”

Kinsella said a concerned parent in the area called him about the posters, but didn’t want their name published. He said that shows people are already unnerved by what they’re seeing.

Link here.


About that “sorry not sorry” ad

Whoever came up with this fetid, squalid, shambolic atrocity should be – in the memorable words of a certain Campaign Wizard™️ – hauled into the village square and pilloried. It is among the worst I have ever seen – and that’s saying something.

This is what $70,000 a month gets you, folks. Thankfully, the lot of them will be finding a new line of work in ten days’ time.


That’s not a campaign, that’s advanced rigor mortis

The last time a campaign did something this stupid, you may recall, was 2005-2006.

That campaign was run by The Wizard™️.

And we all remember how it turned out, don’t we?