Categories for Feature

Laura Miller wins!

We’re way down here in Florida, but we have friends in courtroom 125 in frosty Toronto. And the result is in: Judge Timothy Lipson has ruled that Laura is not guilty on both counts.

Thank God. And here’s what I wrote about why a couple years ago.

Remember that old Sixties line? You know, the one from the hippie subculture that became a movie, and even a lyric in a Monkees tune? To wit: “suppose they had a war, and nobody came?” It was a nice thought, then and now.

Well, with some minor tweaking, it’s a line that can be applied to a “scandal” now raging, er, in one-block radius in downtown Toronto. Here goes:

“Suppose they had a scandal, and it really wasn’t one?”

Now, admittedly, at Queen’s Park, some media and some Opposition politicians are in a spit-flecked fury about the alleged deletion of government emails about the decision to move some gas plants in the 2011 Ontario election. You may have read about it in the papers, even in far-flung places like Whitehorse or Witless Bay. (I doubt it, but you never know.)

So, before we get started, three things. One, we use so-called flying quotes around the word “scandal,” up above, to notify you that the “scandal” really isn’t one. At all. Two, we use the word “alleged” about deletion of emails because, well, emails weren’t actually deleted. At all. Three, full disclosure, I proudly helped out former Premier Dalton McGuinty, and I remain friends with all of his former senior staff. And I hope that disclosure gives McGuinty-haters heart arrhythmia.

Scandals, real or imagined, have a way of taking on a life of their own. Even though the voting public aren’t nearly as preoccupied with scandal as the media and politicians are – Exhibit A, the Clinton/Lewinsky “scandal” – selfsame media and politicians are undeterred. They love scandal-mongering more than, you know, talking about boring stuff like “policy.” (There’s those flying quotes again!)

As no less than the most-famous-ever Canadian, Rob Ford, will tell you: voters hear about scandals too much. They’re skeptical. And, until they see a perp being frog-marched to the Longbar Hotel in an orange pantsuit and handcuffs, they don’t care much, either.

But that’s psychology. The reality of this “deleted email scandal” (Flying quotes! Drink!) is this: none were. Don’t believe me? Take your smartphone, and pop it right now in the toilet, where you already keep your old Blackberry. Now, flush.

There! According to the Ontario Provincial Police, you’ve now deleted emails and, er, committed a serious offence, Your Honour!

Well, not quite. As we all know, if you lose your smartphone – or if your PC or Mac blow up, or if (as in the Queen’s Park case) someone wipes a few hard drives to make way for a new employee – your emails aren’t gone, at all. They all still exist on a server in Cupertino, Calif., or Guelph, or somewhere else. They haven’t been deleted. At all, at all.

That’s why the whole Mother of All Scandals now gripping, um, a few dozen folks at Queen’s Park is so bloody ridiculous. The thing the Keystone Kops (a.k.a., the OPP) are investigating isn’t a crime, or even a violation of a ticketing offence. They’re investigating missing emails which aren’t, you know, missing.

Check your toilet, if you don’t believe me. Your device may be long gone, and so too your Miley Cyrus MP3s and some cherished pix of your kitten. But your emails aren’t.

Now, I know that this stunning revelation – to wit, emails exist on servers, not individual computers – is a shock for the geniuses in the OPP and at Queen’s Park. But for the rest of us living in the new millennium, it’s kind of not-news.

So too this “deleted email scandal.” It isn’t news, either. In fact, it is the biggest pile of crap to plop on the Canadian political stage since “Justice” (Drink!) John Gomery turned the sponsorship inquiry into a taxpayer-funded ego circus. And that’s saying something.

Thus, our new song: Suppose they had a “scandal,” and it really wasn’t one?



Neo-Nazi hate rag: Canadian Jewish News has the latest

A quick summary, also provided to Paul at CJN:

  • the Criminal Code charges for promoting hatred against women and Jews are going ahead with a hearing in February
  • the criminal charge for uttering death threats – initiated by Lisa and I – is also going to another court hearing in February
  • the panel reviewing the ministerial order to stop Canada Post from delivering Your Ward News is still holding hearings, but has essentially become moot following the laying of criminal charges
  • Lisa and I have separate civil defamation actions going against the publisher and editor of this pro-Nazi rag – out of which we hope to learn who is giving them financial support

There is a lot of other stuff going on, but that should give you an overview. The fight goes on.

Now, here’s the CJN report:

Warren and Lisa Kinsella have been among the loudest critics of Your Ward News, and they, like Farber, have often been featured in its pages.

They allege that the paper published death threats against them, and they filed separate civil actions against the paper and the people behind it.

For his part, Sears is contesting all the legal steps taken against the paper and rejecting the allegations that have been made by his critics. He told CBC News that, “Being criticized by mentally deranged Marxists has never caused us to consider shutting down our truth tract.”

The Winter 2018 edition notes that it is responding to six legal attacks and that, “We are fighting to overturn the Canada Post ban.” Meanwhile, Sears claims that 305,000 copies of the publication are being distributed by private companies and a “volunteer army.”

Warren Kinsella said that seeing a new edition of Your Ward News after its two principals were charged criminally was somewhat unexpected.

“I wish I could say I was surprised, but common sense doesn’t seem to be a characteristic of these individuals,” he said.

Kinsella speculated that they ignored the advice of lawyers not to publish, or “they have a bottomless” amount of money.

There are rumours, he continued, that the publication is receiving financial support from extremists in Germany and South Africa.

“Based on the evidence, they must be getting support from somewhere. We think it’s offshore,” he said.

According to Kinsella, who wrote a book on the racist fringe in Canada, Your Ward News is being distributed as far as Kingston and Niagara Falls, Ont.

He noted that it appears as though Sears has become something of a hero among extremists around the world who share his admiration for the Nazi cause. Photos on the Your Ward News website show German Holocaust “revisionist” Alfred Schaefer, who is awaiting trial on charges of Holocaust denial, with a copy of the paper, as well as French writer Robert Faurisson, who testified on behalf of neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel, also holding a copy of Your Ward News that was presented to him by “Canadian nationalist” Paul Fromm.

Do all Jewish people look alike?

Quebec’s bigoted securities regulator certainly thinks so.

Check out this shocking Graeme Hamilton report in the Post:

MONTREAL — Rabbi Momi Pinto has a beard and wears a yarmulke, just like the man from whom he bought his Montreal home in 2012.

According to court documents, that is where the similarity between the two men ends — and yet it was allegedly enough for Quebec’s securities regulator to conduct an “abusive” search of Pinto’s home last September.

In a lawsuit filed this month at the Montreal courthouse, Pinto and his family are seeking $230,000 in damages from the Autorité des marchés financiers and two of its investigators. They allege that in its hunt for evidence related to online gambling company Amaya Inc., the AMF relied on outdated registry information and a “grossly negligent” investigation to search their house.

Pinto’s lawyer, Julius Grey, said the “humiliating and invasive” search is a symptom of a larger problem. “It is the high-handedness of many government institutions today. They think they have a right to do whatever they want to do,” Grey said.

I was actually born on that street in Montreal. My parents told me our Jewish neighbours were thoughtful, courteous and wonderful people to live among. They loved it there.

And you know what, AMF jerks?

We could tell them all apart.

Column: ink-stained enablers

Who’s to blame?

When the United States of America regains its sanity – when the equivalent of political Nuremberg war crimes trial is convened – who will bear the blame for Donald Trump?  Who is responsible?

There will be plenty of blame to go around.  Russia, of course, for interfering in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, so as to give Trump an extra 79,646 votes and an illegitimate Electoral College “victory.”  The Republican Party, for embracing a “man” who admits to groping women – and who says dark-skinned people live in “huts” and “shitholes” and should not be allowed to set foot in the United States.  Several million Americans, who are apparently just as racist and misogynistic as their man.

But we in the media will be in the metaphorical prisoner’s dock, too.  We deserve to be.

We in the media share in the guilt for the chaos and division unleashed by Trump.  We mocked his candidacy before he won the Republican nomination.  And then, when he won, we swore that he’d never become president.  And when he topped the Electoral College – criminally aided and abetted by the aforementioned Russia – we said he’d be swiftly impeached.

But a year later, Donald Trump is still President of the United States.  And some of us bear responsibility for that.

This writer has a book coming out from Dundurn Press next year, loosely about the Trump era.  It is called New Dark Ages.  In a couple passages, I try to explain how those of us who ostensibly predict political events have gotten rather bad at it.

“The press called [him] a bigot and a white supremacist, and everything in between.  But, to Republicans, it didn’t matter.  The media didn’t understand that the Republican faithful weren’t gravitating towards to his campaign despite his racism – they were supporting him because of it.

“…the mainly-rural, high-school-educated, angry old white guys loved [Trump], wasn’t just because of what he said. They worshiped him because of how he said it – the way he said it. They loved him because he talked like they did, when they were in the privacy of a dark room in a trailer park somewhere. They loved that he didn’t use twenty-dollar words when two-dollar words would suffice. They loved that he said outrageous, offensive things, and that the queers on TV couldn’t resist reporting on what he said, and then analyzing it over and over and over. He stirred up the elites and the intellectuals.

And when they did that, they were letting [Trump] control the agenda. They were letting him dominate the dialogue. And, in some cases, [Trump] was therefore literally getting as much as a thousand times the coverage his more-experienced rivals were getting.”

Many of us in the media privately (and not-so-privately) despise Trump, but we can’t stop talking about him.  We chase every shiny silver ball he rolls past us.

Since he has become President, the media’s inability to understand Trumpism has only grown worse.  Facebook, for instance, last week announced that it would start minimizing real news stories on its platform – and, apparently, encouraging photos of kittens and birthday parties instead.  Twitter has announced its cracking down on racists who post hateful comments – but has continued to let the Hater-in-Chief, Donald Trump, to thumb out whatever foul thing that pops into his miniscule cranium.

Platforms like Huffington Post – which, full disclosure, I parted ways with last week, because of their willingness to shield Trump-like sexual predators from scrutiny – don’t even pay a cent to those who contribute to their web sites, and then wonder why journalism is dying.  And then Trump imposes a punitive duty of Canadian newsprint, clearly – as CFRA radio host Brian Lilley pointed out – to punish his critics at places like the Washington Post and the New York Times.

What we in the media are doing in respect of Trump’s new dark ages, we are doing wrong.  We diagnosed the disease wrongly – and, now that the pandemic is fully underway, we are merely advising a couple of aspirin and some bed rest.

We can do more, and we should do more.  We need to re-evaluate the way we cover Trump, and we need to change our ways.

Because whatever we are doing is working only for him.  And it’s not working for the people we serve – our readers and listeners and viewers.


It’s his day down here in the US, today.  It feels sad. It feels like this country is being run by the son of a Klansman – and it is. That’s bad.

Then again – on the other hand – a year ago, my wife and our daughter were near the spot seen in the photo above, protesting the racist, sexist, extremist Unpresident. That’s good.

Educate your kids about the importance of Dr. King.  In 2018, it will be more important than ever before.

New Dark Ages? What?

Spotted late last night on Apple iBooks. I didn’t expect to see it.

And, it immediately had the effect of panicking me about where I am on book three in the X Gang series (it’s a trilogy, for those who care).

The third book doesn’t have a title yet. But, like the first two, it’ll likely be another Bad Religion song title.

Pre-order now!

How’d you like to get this in your inbox?

All of Hawaii did, today. Would certainly make you a lot more alert, wouldn’t it?

When I was a kid in Dallas, at David G. Burnet Elementary, we used to practice for air raids. We’d take shelter under our desks, stop talking, and await further instructions.

We were preparing for the inevitable North Vietnamese fusillade, apparently. I was pretty young, so I didn’t ask a lot of questions.

Anyway. As Lisa and me head Stateside tomorrow, I am moved to wonder: is the most-policed state in the world smarter because it’s always ready for incoming missiles? Or are they just sort of naturally paranoid?

I still know the Pledge of Allegiance, but I actually don’t know the answer. But I do know I’m quite happy Hawaii is still there. It’s the only state I’ve never been to, you know.

When a neo-Nazi hate rag returns, don’t stick your head in the sand

As many of you know, Lisa and I and many others – in the Jewish, Muslim, LGBT, and other minority communities – have been fighting the neo-Nazi hate sheet Your Ward News for more than two years. We have launched civil actions, we have pushed the authorities into laying criminal charges, and some of us have even initiated private criminal prosecutions of these white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

The latest issue of this so-called newspaper, however, is out. CBC News has interviewed us about it. Lisa and I have been hearing from many people on the East side of Toronto who are very upset. They thought the laying of the criminal charges would put an end to Your Ward News.

Unfortunately, however, that hasn’t happened yet. While the publisher and editor of this Holocaust-denying, pro-Hitler piece of filth have been charged with wilfully promoting hatred against women and Jews, the courts have lifted some conditions which would’ve made it difficult for them to continue disseminating hate. That was a mistake.

This week, then, I started a new civil action against the haters behind Your Ward News, and they’ll be served soon. Lisa, meanwhile, launched a civil action against them last year – and she is represented by the legal powerhouse of Heinen Hutchinson. And, next month, we will be back in the criminal courts to pursue the editor and publisher for printing death threats.

The best approach, then, is not to give up. The best approach is not to stick your head in the sand. The best approach – notwithstanding what our sadly-misguided local councillor says – is not just to shrug and give up.

The best approach is to keep fighting.

If you receive this newspaper, contact the police. Contact your local MPP. Contact your Member of Parliament. Let the media know. The only way to defeat hate is for communities to come together and keep up the pressure.

That’s what we intend to do, and hopefully you will too.

Jordan Peterson in his own words

I’ve been spending the past couple years writing about – and fighting with – actual neo-Nazis, so I haven’t had much time for fringe cases like Jordan Peterson and Lindsay Shepherd.

But I’ve certainly noted that the far Right – the hardcore neo-Nazis and white supremacists – sure like to reference Peterson and Shepherd a lot.  To them, these fringe types are the intellectualized version of their expressed prejudices.  (And, it hasn’t helped that otherwise-intelligent media/academic people have been sucked in by Peterson and Shepherd.)

So, I did a few minutes of research on Peterson.  This is what I found, with sources.  There will be more to come, as I find (or get sent) more.  Almost immediately, I didn’t see him as transphobic as much as he’s a misogynist.

  • Peterson on women: “[Society is] increasingly dominated by a view of masculinity that’s mostly characteristic of women who have terrible personality disorders and who are unable to have healthy relationships with men.” (Slate)
  • Peterson on femininity: “[That] terrible femininity…is undermining the masculine power of the culture in a way that’s, I think, fatal.” (Slate)
  • Peterson on misogyny: “The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.” (Toronto Life)
  • Peterson on abortion: “Abortion is clearly wrong. I don’t think anyone debates that. You wouldn’t recommend that someone you love have one.” (Bridgehead)
  • Peterson on inclusion: “It’s not the role of society to make people feel included. That’s not the role of society.” (CBC)
  • Peterson on protecting people from gender discrimination: “[It is an] assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of the objective world.” (C2C)
  • Peterson on how women are neurotic: “Women are higher when it comes to Agreeableness — wanting everyone to get along…and Neuroticism — higher in negative emotion…” (The Spectator)
  • Peterson on LGBT people: “They’re power-mad people who use compassion as a disguise.” (The Star)
  • Peterson on being impolite: “There’s this strong compulsion to be polite. And not to purposefully offend someone. And I think that polite compulsion is being hijacked by power-mad leftists. In fact I’m certain of it.” (The Star)
  • Peterson on not caring if he’s offending anyone: “I think that people need to be able to say whatever they want no matter how outrageous.” (The Globe)
  • Peterson on why everyone would’ve likely supported Hitler at the time: “If you think that you wouldn’t be tempted by having 20 million people worship you, then you don’t know yourself at all.” (Forward)