Category: Editorials

Toronto: The rising city

It has now come to pass that Toronto can lay claim to being the fourth largest city in North America, passing Chicago, with its city proper population now ringing in at an estimated 2,791,140. This is a significant climb in population for Toronto, rising about one-quarter of a million people in a decade.

Both for Canada’s largest city and most hated city, the statistical milestone is nothing more than that. And as a datapoint on its own, it really is nothing more than that.

I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have lived outside of Canada, and been lucky enough to have stamps in my passport from almost every continent in the world. And truth be told, there’s a lot of places I’ve been which I wouldn’t mind spending a great deal more time in.

That said, Toronto is “special” in the world today. It’s perhaps, in the developed world, the city most defined by immigration. A fact lamented by conservatives and embraced by liberals. In the year 2013, a majority of the people living in the City of Toronto, North America’s fourth largest city, were not even born on this continent. I think the liberals are on the right side of history, here.

Cities like New York and Chicago could once claim a similar statistic, in their heydays as destinations for masses of immigrants from Europe. But America has fallen out of love with the idea of immigration being a good thing. While immigrants still contribute to America in a big way, culturally America has grown distrustful of immigration and a majority of Americans would like to see the gates into America churning ever more slowly — and more discerningly.

Toronto stands out in the world, because its a place where hints of xenophobia are noticeably rare.  And people do notice.

A colleague of mine on a trip from Germany was sitting in Jack Astor’s restaurant on John Street in downtown Toronto a couple of years ago sipping beers and having a quick bite to eat when he suddenly changed the topic from work to an observation of the restaurant; looking around the restaurant he observed that at almost every table, sat persons of mixed ethnicities. Almost no all-white tables. No all-black tables. No all-Asian tables.

This stuck out to me. And I think back to that moment a lot when I’m abroad, or even in the United States. My German colleague’s observation really contrasts Toronto quite starkly when you pay attention.

It really begs the question: is Toronto the least racist city in the world? And if it is, why?

The standard conservative refrain in Canada, and even from within Toronto is that multiculturalism has failed. It has led to ethnic ghettos and inter-racial tension. But in Canada’s showcase metropolis, with a city dominated by a non-white, multi-ethnic majority, these supposed racial tensions are noticeably absent. They’re not gone. Toronto is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a city free of the repugnance that is racism. But is it the city which has come closest to extinguishing it? Perhaps.

Against this backdrop of Toronto’s rapidly shifting demographics, is also the very real sense that the city is growing. For Toronto, the city is faced not with what so many other North American cities are faced with — attracting people and businesses — but is faced with the challenges of figuring out with how to cope with the city’s attractiveness and the attendant population inflows.

It’s a problem a lot of cities would like to have.

Ironically, Toronto is despised for its growth by many. Growth is seen as an inconvenience. An unpleasant change.

Toronto’s condo market may be a bubble, riding on cheap money and over-extended credit. But one must also take heed of the fact that people are, in droves, eschewing suburban living and moving downtown.

The city has been called “boring” by many of its detractors for lacking the majesty of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, a music venue with the prestige of New York’s Radio City Music Hall, or a waterfront as beautiful as Chicago’s.

But Toronto is a young city. It does not have the history, and thus, venues and places with the history of Empire State Building, or Chicago’s Board of Trade Building. Lacking these sorts of tick boxes in a tourist guide does not make Toronto boring. It actually, when put in perspective, makes Toronto all the more fascinating.

Half a century ago, Toronto was nothing more than a small provincial town. At that time, Chicago was the second biggest city in North America. Today, a half century later, Toronto is larger than Chicago. It has more skyscrapers under construction than any city outside of China. It has more office space under construction than Chicago, New York City and San Francisco combined.

No, Toronto is not a city of historical depth like Chicago or New York City. It’s a city where significant history is being written, by perhaps the most cosmopolitan population the world has ever seen — and that makes Toronto today, anything but boring. 

By admin March 15, 2013 Off

Portrait of a libertarian Republican

I’m posting this strictly for the lulz. Eric Dondero, a self-described libertarian Republican who once worked for Ron Paul, is spitting mad about President Obama’s victory.

And when I say spitting mad, I mean that literally.

If I meet a Democrat in my life from here on out, I will shun them immediately. I will spit on the ground in front of them, being careful not to spit in their general direction so that they can’t charge me with some stupid little nuisance law. Then I’ll tell them in no un-certain terms: “I do not associate with Democrats. You all are communist pigs, and I have nothing but utter disgust for you. Sir/Madam, you are scum of the earth.” Then I’ll turn and walk the other way.

This is even funnier if you imagine Daffy Duck saying it. Which you probably are, now that I’ve mentioned it.

Daffy Dondero’s “personal boycott” gets even funnier (and pettier, if you can believe it.)

Have a neighbor who votes for Obama? You could take a crap on their lawn. Then again, probably not a good idea since it would be technically illegal to do this. But you could have your dog take care of business. Not your fault if he just happens to choose that particular spot.

Yes, well. I believe some jurisdictions may also frown on pet owners letting their dogs shit on other people’s lawns. Then there’s that whole respect-for-private-property thing.

When not befouling his neighbor’s yard, Dondero is doing his part to dismantle the “libertarians are all assholes” stereotype.

When I’m at the Wal-mart or grocery story I typically pay with my debit card. On the pad it comes up, “EBT, Debit, Credit, Cash.” I make it a point to say loudly to the check-out clerk, “EBT, what is that for?” She inevitably says, “it’s government assistance.” I respond, “Oh, you mean welfare? Great. I work for a living. I’m paying for my food with my own hard-earned dollars. And other people get their food for free.” And I look around with disgust, making sure others in line have heard me.

Keep in mind: this isn’t something he’s planning on doing; it’s something he’s already doing. Imagine how many converts he’s made.

No, not to libertarianism. To the libertarians-are-all-assholes point of view. Well done, sir! Well done!

If all libertarians were like Dondero, Gary Johnson would have received at least five percent of the popular vote. You know it’s true.

Dig into the comments for even more fun.

Hint: when Dondero’s not glowering in disgust at people in the line at Walmart, he’s predicting “Nazi-style concentration camps” in two or three years. What a guy! We need more like him! 

By admin November 8, 2012 Off

On neoconservatives and conspiracy theories

Ron Paul is driving the neoconservative right crazy. For them, a Ron Paul presidency signals the end of America. His foreign policy will be the final nail in the coffin of the United States.

They often lament that many of Ron Paul’s views are driven by wacky conspiracy theories. In particular, they focus on a one-time event in which Ron Paul refused to dismiss 9/11 “truthers” out of hand, saying that he just didn’t have time to follow the issue.

In the minds of neoconservatives, this is tantamount to Ron Paul being a truther himself. Which is unsurprising, since that’s simply how neoconservatives work. There is right and wrong. And no in between. If you’re not solidly on their side, then it goes without saying that you’re solidly on the other side.

That said, one should dig a little deeper into what exactly is behind the neoconservative thought process that leads them to the inescapable conclusion that a Ron Paul foreign policy would be the end of the United State.

Well, to understand that, you must consider that the right versus wrong dichotomous thinking that neoconservatives are so comfortable with. And then you must consider their worldview which is, to say the least, highly conspiratorial.

Pamela Gellar, a neoconservative anti-Islam blogger, and a stalwart of “protecting liberty” — at least in the minds of other neoconservatives — advances the conspiracy theory that Muslims all around the world are engaged in a highly organized and insidious plan to bring down Western civilization from within and replace it with a global Islamic Caliphate. And worse, even so-called moderate Muslims might be involved and are merely practicing Islamic lying to decieve us all.

Let us not forget the atheist and homosexual conspiracies to take away your right to practice religion and destroy your family.

Now, it turns out that I think 9/11 truthers are pretty crazy. But it’s pretty rich for your average neoconservative, I think, to dismiss these people purely on the basis of being conspiracy nuts since it’s pretty clear to anyone paying attention that much of what defines the current neoconservative worldview is itself, pretty damned conspiratorial in nature. That is, the belief that there’s all these ideological opponents of conservatives that are, in cloak and dagger fashion, plotting the downfall of our cherished Western way of life.

On Iran, the conspiracy theories fly unmolested by neoconservatives as well. For these right-wing hawks, it goes without saying that the first thing Iran will do if and when they develop a nuclear weapon and make it deliverable through a missile system is launch it at Israel. It’s clear as day. That’s what will happen. These neoconservatives know the minds of these Mullahs. And what they know is their primary motivation in developing a nuclear weapon is to reduce Tel Aviv to nuclear ashes as soon as possible.

Neoconservatives are also relatively sure that Tehran is so unshakably committed to this course of action, that the  Iranian government is not even cognizant of the consequences. Because their Muslims. So they’re all suicidal, you see.

Thus, it stands to reason, in the warped mind of neoconservatives, that what really needs to happen is to bomb Iran and bomb them right now. Before it’s too late. Every day that goes by brings us inextricably closer to the second Jewish holocaust.

Now, once again, it is Ron Paul who is the conspiracy nutcase. Because all of these neoconservative worldviews are apparently self-evident and reasonable.

But don’t take my word for it that this worldview might be a little detached from reality — what does Israel’s own Mossad have to say on the matter?

According to three ambassadors present at the briefing, the intelligence chief said that Israel was using various means to foil Iran’s nuclear program and would continue to do so, but if Iran actually obtained nuclear weapons, it would not mean the destruction of the State of Israel.

Wait a second. The non-naive neoconservatives in North America just finished explaining that the very opposite is true, giving us no choice but to go to war.

In fact, if I’m not mistaken from what I understand about neoconservative foreign policy doctrine, by the very virtue of being against war with Iran, it necessarily implies you’re for the destruction of Israel. This is how neocons like Newt Gingrich know that Ron Paul is an anti-Zionist extremist who counts down the days until he can celebrate the nuclear annihilation of five-million-plus Jews.

Remember, the number one thing you should always do as a neoconservative is take one position, and then pigeon hole every other position as manifestly the same as the extreme opposite position. This will provide you a reliable guide to taking various opinions on just about anything.

Practical example: Same-sex couples want to get married.

Same sex couples want to get married? Well, since you’re against that, and believe only in opposite sexed marriage, what it really tells you about these homosexuals is: they not only want to get married, but they want to destroy your opposite sex marriage. And not only that, they want to brainwash your kids into becoming homosexuals.

See? Pretty simple. Because they don’t agree with you. It stands to reason that they’re actually against you and have malicious intent against you.

Practical example #2: Atheists don’t want Christian symbols on public property.

Well, this is easy. Since atheists don’t want Christian symbols on taxpayer-funded property, it stands to reason that their intention is to wipe out Christianity. In fact, they will soon seek to make it illegal for you to go to church. The attribution of this extreme view to the atheists who seek to keep religious symbols of public property is pretty simple; you’re a Christian, and you’d like those symbols there. The fact these atheists don’t want them there proves — without question — that these atheists hate you, your religion and your way of life. They also hate freedom. And probably have a sweet spot in their heart for Stalin and Hitler.

Conclusion: There is no in between. Either America military engages it’s perceived villainous enemies now, or it is the end of America. As Newt Gingrich has said, “as goes Israel, so goes the United States”. That is to say, the rabid defense of these threats against Israel — ignore that Mossad guy — is the last line of defense against Iranian global domination. Or gays. Or liberals. Or gay atheist liberal Iranians. 

By admin January 8, 2012 Off