Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Rob Fucking Ford

It's always great to see a conservative asshole politician consistently shoot himself in the foot, and then put it in his mouth.  That is exactly what Toronto Mayor Rob "Fucking" Ford has been doing for the last six months of his first year in the driver's seat of the Toronto City Council.

Ford was elected on a familiar campaign of stopping the "gravy train" of municipal government.  We've all heard it before: government is rife with inefficiencies, redundancies, mismanagement, unnecessary bureaucracy, and it's costing the poor tax payers countless millions.  Who can clean up this expensive mess?  Businessmen of course!  Businessmen know how to "trim the fat" and get the government enterprise running smoothly and effectively...right?  It's disappointing to see a naive public continually buy into the myth that significant costs can be cut without a reduction in services, but people keep falling for it.  Here's a rule of politics that won't steer you wrong: when a candidate tells you that he will cut your taxes without affecting the quality of, or access to, public services, nine times out of ten he's lying to you.

And, as a small aside about hating on taxes in general, every time you're standing in the very slow line at the DMV, clenching your fists, gritting your teeth, and screaming in your mind "WHY THE FUCK ARE THERE SIX EMPTY KIOSKS AND ONLY ONE EMPLOYEE DEALING WITH THIS?!??"  That's a result of reducing big bad bureaucracy in order to cut your taxes.    

1999 mug shot
It's truly amazing that Rob "Fucking" Ford was elected mayor, and it just goes to show how far the gravy train rhetoric can take you.  With his track record he could never be elected Prime Minister or even provincial Premier.  He's had a long reputation for being a belligerent, bullying, arrogant drunk.  He has a DUI under his belt.  During his tenure on City Council he was ejected from a hockey game by security for being drunk and getting into a shouting match with other spectators, and in 2008 he was arrested for assault and uttering a death threat towards his wife.  The charges were later dropped.  He's put his foot in his mouth numerous times on subjects ranging from HIV/AIDS ("How are women getting it?  Maybe they are sleeping with bi-sexual men") to the work ethic of Asian people ("Those Oriental people work like dogs").  After elected mayor he allegedly flipped the bird at a woman for motioning for him to get off of his cell phone while driving.  Driving while using a hand-held device is illegal in Ontario.  Driving while using a hand-held device and flipping the bird is just plain reckless.
Here's a fun clip of Ford as councillor, acting very mature and statesmanlike:

To Ford's credit, he's shown consistency in his disdain for government perks.  As a councillor he refused to use government money to pay for office supplies and the like.  Although, the guy's rich, so buying his own pencils and Post-it Notes isn't exactly the most gruelling display of integrity.  More importantly, his campaign promises to slash the budget and cut taxes and fees without cutting any services or public sector jobs have proven to be bogus (big surprise).  Cutting no jobs soon turned into probably cutting some jobs.  Municipal departments, including emergency services, have been ordered to cut 10% of their budgets - though, after some objections from the Chief, the police department was instead granted a budget increase.  They have the guns, after all.  Talk of closing libraries (their hours of operation have already been cut) and selling off or shutting down other city-funded amenities, like the Toronto Zoo, has people realizing that perhaps the definition of "gravy" isn't the same for everyone.  His popularity has plummeted, with a poll taken in September 2011 showing that only 27% of Toronto residents would re-elect him.  Yes, cutting taxes means cutting services that you enjoy (of course, if you live in an affluent neighbourhood chances are your libraries and community centres are perfectly safe).

Rob Ford made international news last week, and was named Keith Olbermann's "worst person in the world" after calling the cops on the CBC.  The incident not only illustrated the ugliness of his character, but his willingness to be completely dishonest at the most inopportune time.  On the morning of Monday, October 24, Ford was approached in his driveway by Mary Walsh, in character as Marg Delahunty, for CBC's satirical comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes.  The "ambush" resulted in Ford retreating to his home and calling the police.

Ford's initial portrayal:  It was early morning, and it was dark outside.  He was with his daughter in his driveway, preparing to take her off to school, when all of a sudden unknown individuals were running towards him, yelling "we've got you Rob Ford.  We got you!"  As this came after he had received recent threats, he was naturally frightened, didn't wait to see who was coming after him, and ran into his house to call 911.

This, of course, is not at all how it went down.  How do we know this?  Because there was a god damned camera there!

The first thing one should notice is that it was not dark outside.  Second, far from fleeing from unknown ambushers, he stood around for a bit and was even smiling.  He knew exactly who was there.  There was also no child in sight.  He simply got pissed off about being delayed and decided to make that Toronto Police Department budget increase work for him.  According to Mary Walsh, Ford first appeared to be "jovial," and her account is backed up by the footage.  Why the hell do people think they can get away with lying about something that was filmed?

The story doesn't end there.  Ford allegedly called 911 three times, annoyed that police hadn't shown up promptly.  Perhaps the cops had something better to do than chase the media off of his lawn.  On one of those 911 calls he reportedly yelled at the dispatcher: "You...bitches!  Don't you fucking know? I'm Rob fucking Ford, the mayor of this city!"  He admits uttering the "eff word" out of frustration, but denies calling the dispatcher names and pronouncing his title.  His permission is required to release the recording; don't hold your breath.  

This is the kind of leader you get when people vote with their wallets and not their brains: a self-righteous, self-important, dishonest greed head with no poise and no respect for common interests.