Monday 9 December 2013

Rob Ford: Alcoholic Thinking and a Gullible Public

First written on Dec 9/2013. Updates and videos below: Letterman, Kimmel, and Hitler. Yes, Hitler.

I go on vacation for the month of November and all hell breaks loose. This story is so ridiculous, I'm not even sure of where to begin. We shouldn't be here. We shouldn't be talking about this. This is so patently absurd, it's as if we have collectively been transported into the middle of Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 where the protagonist Winston Smith is taught to accept and believe the doublethink of two plus two equals five.

I'm not going to talk about drugs and I'm not going to talk about the comedic fodder for late night talk shows. I am, however, going to talk about the hyperbolic bravado of political leaders vying for my vote who are counting on me being naive and uninformed.

If it was that easy, it would be done by now.

A guy (or gal) stands up on a soapbox and tells me that yesterday was bad, today is worse, but tomorrow can be better if I only vote for him (or her). When I investigate, I find out that yesterday was not that bad; today isn't worse and it is very doubtful the plan for tomorrow will make things better. In other words, this person doesn't understand the current situation and as a consequence, their ideas are wholly inadequate for addressing the issues.

Right from the start, Rob Ford's campaign platform didn't make sense. In 2010, Toronto had a budget of around $9 billion. Ford said he could find two billion dollars of savings. Within one year, he was going to the public to ask for $750 million in cuts to services because there wasn't enough money to pay for them. How did we get from $2 billion in the black to $750 million in the red?

Now this is where I hold up my hand to stop you or Rob or Doug (Ford, the brother) or some other supporter from launching into a long-winded explanation to justify this extraordinary turn of events. I'm sorry, there is no explanation. That's what Rob said and he was wrong. He was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Ford's campaign slogan "Stop The Gravy Train" was based on the idea those running Toronto were lining their own pockets and spending the city into a hole. Journalist after journalist at the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail has proved unequivocally over and over again that this entire slogan was pure, unadulterated uninformed Conservative B.S. The sky is not falling. The sky was never falling. Oh, but it certainly is falling now.

The Gullible Public
A guy promises to deliver sunshine, lollipops and rainbows and you believe him. Are you sh*ttin' me? I can't figure out what's worse: a politician saying things which clearly proves he doesn't know what he's talking about or a public who votes in a manner which clearly indicates they don't know what they're talking about. If it was that easy, it would be done by now.

Alcoholic Thinking
This term comes from Alcoholics Anonymous and in a nutshell, means this. Even though a person can be cold stone sober, at the moment, for days, for a week, whatever, their overall addictive behaviour can be a mindset that affects how they think, how they act, and how they make decisions and conduct their life. Being dry, being sober doesn't mean you've kicked the habit, it just means that right now, at this very moment, you are not under the influence. Getting rid of alcoholic thinking can take weeks, months, even years.

What is alcoholic thinking? You've been a bad boy or girl. You are embarrassed. You are ashamed. You are desperately clinging to the belief or the hope that people are not aware how bad you've been. You are sober but you are still rationalising like hell. In your own mind, you are trying to justify your actions with a million excuses which are, when you get down to it if you're totally honest, just a bunch of crap.

Rob Ford is on the hot seat. He admits to being drunk. He admits to using drugs. His response? Everybody has their moments. He says that the entire city council should take tests for drugs and alcohol to prove his point. This is classic alcoholic thinking. Rob is going to lessen the gravity of his crime by trying to drag everybody else down to his level. I'm sorry Rob, but the majority of people in the world do not drink. The vast majority of people who do drink do not end up in a drunken stupor. The vast majority of people do not do drugs. Everybody has their moments? The majority, no the vast majority of people do not have their moments. (According to WHO, the World Health Organisation, less than 4% of all imbibers in the world have a problem with alcohol.)

Maclean's - Nov 8/2013
Rob Ford’s wild ride by Charlie Gillis: Inside the greatest political train wreck of our time
The term “Purple Jesus” never appears, but police surveillance reports offer compelling evidence as to Rob Ford’s go-to beverage in times of emergency. Officers had watched one evening last August as Toronto’s large, imperfect mayor stole down the footpath of a leafy park just a stone’s throw from his mom’s home in the western Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. There, away from prying eyes and apparently unburdened by mayoral duties, Rob Ford whiled away the better part of an hour, and officers who whisked to the scene afterward didn’t have to look hard for clues as to what he’d been up to: one spent bottle of Iceberg Vodka lay on the ground. With it was an empty container of Tropicana grape juice.

Rob to Conrad: I'm willing to take a urine test
Who "has" to take a test? Not the vast majority of people. More bad thinking.

Save $1 Billion
Rob Ford rationalises; he compensates. Hyperbole becomes the tactic of choice. Rob says he's saved the City of Toronto one billion dollars. Bullsh*t. So say the pundits who have investigated this claim. In fact, while Rob has made the claim he was taking over from a financial catastrophe, David Miller the former mayor, those same pundits have revealed that Miller did, in fact, save Toronto $1.8 billion during his time in office.

Economic Powerhouse
As with every political brouhaha, it is difficult for Joe and Josephine Public to sort out fact from fiction. On the one hand you have Mr. Rob Ford and familial doppelgänger brother Doug Ford pulling more and more fantastic statements out of their ass to somehow overshadow or negate the most egregious of behaviour on the part of an elected official. On November 21, 2013, Rob stands up at a gathering of business leaders at Casa Loma and boasts that during his three years in office, he has turned Toronto into an economic powerhouse. (NOW Magazine) Really? All by his little old self? Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America. (Wikipedia) It is ranked 11th in the world as a financial centre. (Wikipedia) The Toronto Stock Exchange is 8th in the world. (Wikipedia) Toronto was an economic powerhouse before Rob Ford; it will continue to be one in spite of Rob Ford; and it will remain one after Rob Ford. Rob's arrogance is classic alcoholic thinking. He completely overestimates his contribution and clearly shows his lack of knowledge of how things truly work.

Rob Ford's private life is none of my business
Yes it is I'm afraid. When that private life has an impact on the performance of his duties, yes it is my concern. His alcoholic thinking has been up front and centre from the beginning; heck, before the election dating back a decade. He spends little time at the office. He does not have a grasp of the issues. He throws around supposed facts and figures which turn out to be misinformation due to a fundamental grasp of reality. Examples?

Rob claims to "return every phone call." (Financial Post) That may have been a good thing when he was a counsillor but not as a mayor. He's the leader; he's the chief. He can't be running around doing what he did before: investigating pot holes in streets, talking to individual constituents, etc. He's supposed to be the mayor in charge of the whole city. This is bad management. This is a waste of his time. Instead of paying attention to a pothole, he should be paying attention to nine billion dollars.

But, I would put forward that this approach to the political office has further distorted his view of the issues. As I said, he started out by claiming he could find $2 billion in savings and within one year was asking for $750 million in cuts. He unwisely cancelled the vehicle registration tax and froze property taxes. You can't cut your income and still have the money to pay for things.

My pet peeve: the plastic bag tax
Thank goodness, Rob has not managed to get this repealed... yet. For those not in the know, Toronto stores charge you five cents for a plastic bag with the laudable goal of making everyone reuse their bags. (my blog: Rob Ford drops the bag... er, ball - Dec 30/2010) The CBC reported that major grocery store chains like Metro and Sobey's were reporting an 80% drop in plastic bag distribution. 80%!!! I know for a fact, yes, a fact, that this tax has drastically altered my own behaviour. I always carry a cloth bag around with me. And this is a very, very good thing for all of us.

I'm doing what the people want
If a constituent said they wanted all lampposts to be painted purple, would Rob Ford do it? He cancels the land registry tax because he claims people told him to do so. Doesn't everybody hate taxes? I'm sorry, we all have to give something back and we should be glad to do so because we live in the wonderful city of Toronto.

Rob Ford tries to cancel the plastic bag tax because he claims people told him to do so. We have an 80% drop in bag distribution. I'm sorry, I don't care who hates the tax, it's staying. It's good for all of us. It's good for Toronto. It's good for the big picture and the big picture overrides the desires, the ofttimes self-centred uninformed desires of the few.

I didn't vote for Ford
Right from the beginning, I saw red flags. The more I delved into this candidate, the more I heard warning bells. The other people vying for the position of mayor weren't necessarily bad, but they seemed to be unable to combat this inexplicable movement of dissent, Ford Nation. As the character Howard Beale in the movie Network said, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."

But you're mad about what? Stop the gravy train? David Miller saved Toronto $1.8 billion. That's just for starters. Back in 2011, Rob released a video of him explaining how he was going to stop all the freebies at city hall such as free Metropasses (subway) for the members of city council. (my blog: Rob Ford or the public: Now who's dumber?) As of this writing, a Metropass costs $128.50 per month or $1,542 per year. Times 45 members, that's a cost of $69,390. To anybody who points their finger at this while saying, "Ah ha!!!" I would respectfully point out to you just how stupid this is. The budget of Toronto when Rob was elected was $9.2 billion. Did you hear me? Nine point two billion. The amount of $69,390 is 7.5 thousandths of one percent or 0.00075%. Personally I couldn't give a rat's ass about this. But I do care that Rob's cancellation of the Scarborough LRT (Light Rail Transit) will end up costing us collectively $100 million. Stop the gravy train? Are you out of your freakin' mind!?!

Okay, I couldn't leave this out. Sometimes, you just have to fall on the your sword. There is no excuse. There is no explanation. But the very fact that Rob Ford said these things, is further proof of his alcoholic thinking.

"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine. But no, do I, am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago."

"It [court documents] says I wanted to eat her pussy [former policy adviser Olivia Gondek] and I have never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married and I’ve got more than enough to eat at home."

Rob, for the love of God, shut the hell up.

Final Word
I keep seeing this over and over again. There is no rational dialogue about the issues. Ideologies are distilled down to a some catchy buzz phrase and from that point onward it's ra ra sis boom ba I ain't paying any attention to investigating the details. What is the biggest fault of a democracy? It's a democracy. Everybody gets a vote but I'm finding more and more that people are doing little or nothing to become knowledgeable about the issues so as to make an informed choice. Politicians stand up on their soapbox and spout bulls**t like it's gospel. But I'm willing to give them a break by saying they are just as uninformed as the public. I am sometimes flabbergasted to hear people repeat things with no due diligence as to the veracity of their statements. We sometimes laugh at how our ancestors believed in what we now know were superstitions but today, I'm not seeing any difference. We spread so much misinformation; it is next to impossible to discover what is fact and what is fiction.

I could go on and on about Rob Ford but others, more knowledgeable than me, have already investigated the man and done a good job about it. The problem we all face is that there are so many red flags, so many alarm bells, that everything about the mayor needs to be reviewed. Rob Ford is a man out of control in his personal life who is desperately trying to portray himself to the world as a flawed man who is the second coming. Flawed is underestimating the problem. Rob may have done an okay job as a counsillor, but he is in no way a big picture visionary with a detailed grasp of the issues. He is, at best, a dilettante. This man never should have been elected to office. Toronto will survive Rob Ford but it is a far-reaching example of our collective naivety, our collective stupidity, how we all drank the Ford kool-aid. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore.

Dear Olivia, Please run. Pretty please?

Update: Dec 17/2013
Rob Ford has repeated numerous times to the media, then to Conrad Black in a televised interview that he saw Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale standing on bricks at the back of Ford's house peering over the fence. He also said Dale was taking photos. While never uttering the word, Ford has suggested Dale is a pedophile. Dale denied taking pictures or peering over the fence. Metro police investigated and couldn't find any evidence that this was true. Dale starts a defamation suit against Ford. Today, Ford reads a prepared statement.

"To be clear, I never personally saw Mr. Dale peering over the fence or taking pictures."

What!?! Whether it's the drinking or crack cocaine, Ford denies, denies, denies right up to the moment when he is caught red handed. Alcoholic thinking?

"It's unfortunate the word I did not say has been ascribed to me by the media. I certainly did not mean to suggest he is a pedophile."

Rob, give me a break. You are so full of s**t, it stinks to high heaven. That's what you inferred. That's what you suggested. There is absolutely no other interpretation of what you have repeated numerous times to the media and to Conrad Black. Admit it. Admit it to yourself.

Everything Rob Ford has said and has done or is saying and is doing needs to be objectively reviewed. Nothing is to be trusted. As I keep saying, never mind his personal life, Rob Ford's numbers do not add up.

Update: Dec 18/2013
The Globe and Mail reports that Rob Ford insulted his fellow councillors by suggesting they all are corrupt.

It was a nasty remark, even in the heat of the moment, but the most he could bring himself to say the next morning in council was, “I’ll withdraw my comments.” Deputy Speaker John Parker, one of council’s true gentlemen, rose to suggest gently that the mayor might go a little further. That prompted a Fordian tirade. “How about ‘I am so sorry’?” Mr. Ford said, his voice thick with sarcasm. “Super, super, super, super, super, super, super, sorry? So sorry?” It was a juvenile performance, more fitting for a schoolyard than a council chamber.

And like a scolded schoolboy, he had a good laugh about the whole thing with Mr. Mammoliti, who had issued his own half-hearted apology minutes before. Mr. Ford even indulged in a little pantomime. He put his hands behind his back like a handcuffed prisoner and trudged theatrically toward the exit, then turned around and went back to his desk, grinning.

Alcoholic behaviour? Is Rob Ford one of the Trailer Park Boys?

If Rob Ford was an employee, he would have been let go a long time ago. Any organisation has the right to protect its name and its reputation and unacceptable behaviour including criminal activity is grounds for dismissal. It is hard to fathom how the highest elected official of Toronto can brazenly get away with this. Obviously, the founding fathers in crafting legislation for the municipality did not imagine a situation like this. They certainly never imagined the likes of Rob Ford.
-my blog: Rob Ford and His Legacy: Okay, now I'm scared.

Update: Dec 18/2013 late in the day
According to the CBC, Rob Ford has issued a new apology in which he clearly and definitively retracts everything he has ever said about Daniel Dale. It is a stunning admission. Ford has outright lied about this from the beginning. Befuddled thinking, exaggerated retelling of events, rationalisation: Mr. Ford needs help. He may be sober now; he may be able to pass a urine test, but I'm afraid his thinking will be out of whack for years.


Videos: my blog: Rob Ford: a new high, a new low, and a new word - Jan 26/2014
The latest videos about Rob Ford including his drunken rant with a Jamaican accent using the patois "bumbaclot".

Videos: my blog: Hitler and Rob Ford - Jan 31/2014
Parody videos based on Downfall, a 2004 German/Italian/Austrian epic war film.

Videos: Rob Ford inspires yet another Top Ten - Feb 8/2014
David Letterman: Top Ten Things Rob Ford Might Be Saying In This Video

Videos: Rob Ford on Jimmy Kimmel: Are we laughing with him or at him? - Mar 4/2014
Mr. Ford visits the late night talk show where the host claims he is obsessed with the mayor.


I could list references until the cows come home. There is so much material; it's hard to know how to pare it down. Please note that what I list below represents the serious stuff. God only knows how many late-night talk show hosts have pointed out the absurd. In fact, the truth itself is so absurd; you don't even need to make a joke up. The facts are funny enough.

Wikipedia: Rob Ford
Robert Bruce "Rob" Ford (born May 28, 1969) is a Canadian politician and businessman. He is the sixty-fourth and current Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ford was elected mayor in the 2010 mayoral election, and took office on December first of that year.

my blog: TTC: Essential Service vs. the Right to Strike - Dec 17/2010
Legislation requiring compulsory arbitration in labour disputes involving public employees has increased wages by about 1.2 percent per settlement. Although politicians might view strikes in such situations as politically costly, they need to consider the long-term effects of arbitrated settlements; namely, higher labour costs that are borne by the taxpayer.

my blog: Rob Ford: Where there's smoke - Mar 10/2013
A politician stands up and makes all sorts of outlandish promises and we the gullible public believe him. And even if said politician has made an enormous mistake and has to renege on a promise, we the gullible public quickly forget about it because we have the attention span of a mayfly.

The Toronto Star - Nov 28/2013
Readers' Letters
Blame no one for Rob Ford but ourselves, Opinion Nov. 24

And I could have written the same column five years ago had I been a journalist then. Rob Ford was a disaster as a councillor, and anyone who had any knowledge of municipal politics in Toronto knew that well before he was elected.

However, I think that it’s useful to consider the factors that contributed to the folly of his having been elected, since it may help the electorate avoid making such a monumental mistake in the future.

First, municipal voters usually aren’t at all familiar with municipal politicians, so when the election comes around, they have only campaign slogans to go on. In 2010, the majority of Toronto’s voters just didn’t know that Ford was not only a buffoon, but a rank liar, so they believed his ridiculous slogans.

Second, there was a curious lassitude on the part of progressive voters, and even progressive leadership, which caused a drop in “downtown” voter turnout. Many progressives chose not to fight the media construct that David Miller and his policies represented failure and wastefulness, when it is demonstrable that they did not. As the Ford steamroller gained momentum, the progressives stepped aside rather than fighting back.

Third, the field of candidates was tailor-made for a Ford win. The only true representative of the Miller years on the ballot was Joe Pantalone, who, while a decent and good man, did not have the charisma to carry the progressive banner effectively.

And then we had George Smitherman, who had amassed a reputation provincially as a thoroughly disagreeable and aggressive politician, and carried with him some of the dirty laundry of the Dalton McGuinty’s early years. Any hope that he might have had of garnering desperation votes from progressives plummeted when he moved sharply to the right to try to counter Ford’s growth in the polls.

And so a perfect storm of circumstances conceded the race to Ford, and we all know how that has turned out. The challenge now is for all Torontonians, progressives, moderates, even mainstream conservatives, to make sure that it never happens again.

David Remski, Etobicoke

The Toronto Star - Dec 6/2013
Rob Ford: Low-income supporters stand by their mayor by Laura Kane
Ford’s supporters are predominantly lower-income. People who make less than $40,000 a year are twice as likely to support the mayor than those who make $100,000 or more, a recent Ipsos Reid poll found. In his former council ward of Etobicoke North, many lower-income residents are fierce supporters of the mayor. The reasons for their loyalty have more to do with the mayor’s visibility than any of his policies.
Critics point out that the mayor’s 2011 property tax freeze and subsequent small tax hikes are aimed at middle- and upper-class homeowners, not lower-income renters. His vow to drop the land transfer tax is also unlikely to benefit the poor.

Further, he has restricted funding for public transit and libraries, and hiked user fees for recreation programs — all municipal services that low-income people rely on.

“He’s made life harder for folks,” says Councillor Adam Vaughan. “He has done nothing for low-income people except answer their phone calls, show up, scream at a hole in the wall and leave. . . . He doesn’t fundamentally fix the problem.”

Councillor Ana Bailao, chair of the affordable housing committee, pointed out the mayor wanted to sell off 900 publicly owned homes in 2012 to tackle the repair backlog, while 90,000 people are waiting for social housing.

The mayor has also voted against funding social programs for at-risk youth — which he called “hug-a-thug” programs — despite his own devotion to his Rob Ford Football Foundation and former job as coach of the Don Bosco Eagles.

“He says he sides with (lower-income people), but when it comes to the voting, a lot of times he’s not voting for the things that really, really have an impact on them,” says Bailao. “That’s the reality.”

The Toronto Star - Nov 8/2013
Deconstructing Mayor Rob Ford's fiscal record by Daniel Dale
The mayor’s fiscal claims are exaggerated. He has repeatedly claimed to have saved taxpayers $1 billion — a figure endorsed by the city’s senior bureaucrats but one that relies on creative definitions of “savings” and “taxpayers,” exaggerations and omissions. Many of his other fiscal claims are also suspect.

The Financial Post - Nov 13/2013
Rob Ford’s ‘return every phone call’ claims aren’t proof of strong record — it’s just bad management by Armina Ligaya
As the scandal surrounding Rob Ford deepens and makes global headlines, Toronto’s mayor refuses to resign, touting his fiscal wins and his ability to “return every phone call” personally as proof of his strong record. But management consultants and academics say Mayor Ford’s penchant for handling the fine details — such as visiting constituents’ houses to tend to problems with trees, licensing issues — often is the opposite of what an effective leader of a major enterprise, whether a city or a business, should be doing.

The Toronto Star - Nov 28/2013
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s $100-million boondoggle: Editorial
[Rob Ford] flushed away $100 million of taxpayers’ money to please Scarborough residents expecting delivery on a reckless “subways, subways, subways” promise. That’s $100 million in sunk costs gone to buy — nothing. The drain on taxpayers doesn’t end there. Far from it. The actual bill for Ford’s three-stop Scarborough subway extension amounts to more than $3 billion. The province is carrying most of that burden, with Ottawa kicking in $660 million, but it still leaves Toronto in need of almost $1 billion. Property taxes are set to rise next year, in 2015 and again in 2016 to help cover this tab. By the time Ford’s three-stop underground route is paid for, it will have cost the average Toronto household at least $1,200.
There’s a final irony here. There was no need for Toronto property taxpayers to shell out anything at all. We’ve said this before, but it’s worth noting again: the seven-stop, ultra-modern light-rail line Ford succeeded in killing would have cost local ratepayers nothing. Nada. Zero. It was free public transit, with Queen’s Park covering the entire bill. Why would a mayor, supposedly dedicated to respecting the taxpayer, torpedo a no-tax option in favour of loading a fresh financial burden on Toronto families? The obvious answer is politics. ...Ford killed light rail to win fans in Scarborough. They wanted a subway so he gave them one — literally at the expense of every other ratepayer in the city.

The Globe and Mail - Dec 7/2013
There’s a call for action, but the police documents don’t have the goods by Marcus Gee
The latest release of information gathered by police has many people wondering why authorities haven’t stepped in to take action against Mayor Rob Ford. Why, they demand, hasn’t he faced charges after admitting to buying and using illegal drugs?

Canada.Com: Postmedia News - Nov 16/2013
Of all of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s enablers, the most culpable are the strategists By Andrew Coyne
No one seems to know how to get Toronto out of its mayoral mess. It is the product of a flawed civic architecture that, in all fairness, never contemplated the existence of a mayor so mountainously incompetent, yet so impervious to shame, as to make his continuation in the office at once both intolerable and inescapable. He must go and yet will not, and he will not go for the same reason that he must.

The Globe and Mail - Dec 19/2013
Why Rob Ford is mad as hell by Ken Dryden
Many highly educated, politically sophisticated, well-off people voted for Rob Ford in the last Toronto mayoralty election. It was not for no reason... People everywhere are mad. Mad at their jobs, mad at the money they don’t make. Mad at others for getting the chances they don’t. Mad at seemingly getting the short end of every stick... To them, politicians are the worst.

Published on Nov 6, 2013 by Sex With Dr. Jess
Did Rob Ford Lie? A sex & relationship expert weighs in.
Sex & relationship expert, Dr. Jess (PhD) addresses Rob Ford's admission that he smoked crack-cocaine in a drunken stupor. Was he lying? And what can we learn from our mayor's mistakes? Is there a relationship lesson buried beneath his behaviour?


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

This was very well written, my blood boils whenever I hear some idiot spout about how good Rob Ford still is and how he's saving us money. Everyone should read this!