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Monday, November 26, 2012

Conflict of interest, Mayor Stupid, and the Globe's stunning incoherence

There was a short-lived meme on Twitter recently, riffing on the Teutonic gift for coining words that have no exact English equivalent, but nevertheless capture meanings beautifully. "Schadenfreude" is one of the best examples. (I'm trying not to indulge at the moment.)

So I'm left wondering whether there's a German expression for times when reprehensible people appear to do the right thing, albeit for questionable reasons and in contexts which make the rightness of their actions suspect.

As we all know by now, Judge Charles Hackland, ruling in the conflict of interest proceedings brought against Rob Ford, has ruled that Mayor Stupid must be removed from office. No surprise at the finding, although there was a fair bit of energy backing the prediction that the court would somehow find a way not to apply the maximum penalty.

However, it's the reaction of our supposed Newspaper of RecordTM that begs further examination. As the pinstriped pamphleteers of Front Street argue:

Mr. Ford didn’t want to play by the rules. Not the ones he didn’t like, anyway, such as those governing conflict of interest.

Well, no argument there, although it's not as if the observation first came to life in the Front Street drawing room over brandy and cigars. Pious and paternalistic, but essentially correct. But it's what comes after that triggers the WTF:

The country’s biggest city gave him a strong mandate to reduce costs and attack what Mr. Ford described as a culture of entitlement at City Hall. He has even had some success.

Um ... what?

[Slim Pickens voice]
Did you say "Attack a Culture of Entitlement?"
[/Slim Pickens voice]

Is there anyone who embodies that more than Mayor Stupid and Brother Dumbfuck? A pair of guys who think they can flout the rules and blow off the consequences whenever they feel like it because … because ... shut the fuck up, OK? Taxpayers taxpayers taxpayers, subways subways subways, mandate, drool, release the trolls.

Let's review: here's a guy who thinks he's entitled to

  • Phone Andy Byford and demand to know where his bus is
  • Abuse and demean public servants
  • Ignore the rules whenever they don't conform to his own sense of what's right
  • Demand that city staff fix the road in front of his family business
  • Blow off his official responsibilities to go coach football, and use public resources to do it

And that's just off the top of my head.

But let's move on, and compare that to the Globe's support for their charming ideological brethren in Ottawa, and ...

  • electoral fraud
  • robocalls
  • naked attacks on dissent
  • instructions for disrupting parliamentary committees
  • secret "free-trade" deals
  • Mordor
  • embarrassment and damage to Canada's international reputation.

These are the people, mind, whom the Globe endorses as a way of "finding new ways to protect Parliament."

Are you fucking kidding me?

(But never mind all that just now -- is there a trend we might not be catching? Like, omigaaaawd ... )

In the continuing train wreck otherwise known as the Wente Clusterfuck, it's easy to lose sight of our National Fishwrap's many other acts of civic and linguistic vandalism. While this little corner isn't fit to polish Carol Wainio's flatware, perhaps this one little bit of paint on the cave wall might merit a footnote.

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