Um, To Be Brainwashed, I Believe One First Has To Have A BRAIN.

by matttbastard

If Toronto City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti wasn’t real, some enterprising young sketch comedian would have to invent him (and subsequently cash in on the character with a marginally enjoyable initial feature length smash, followed by a lackluster sequel):

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has launched a Facebook site designed, he says, to give voice to the silent majority of working-class Torontonians who don’t have time to speak out at all-night City Hall meetings alongside layabouts and “communists.

[…]

“I don’t want to hear from communists,” he said. “I won’t be calling them communists on the site, but I will be using the word ‘whatever’ to reply to them. If you see that word you can be pretty sure they’re a communist and I’ll be cutting them off of the site.”

In the 1980s, Mr. Mammoliti served as a leader for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Later, he served as an MPP for the NDP, where he became something of a pariah for opposing same-sex benefits.

“That’s where I learned how communists smell,” he said. “They are the ones who tried to brainwash me then at a younger age. It was 25 years ago. I know how they think and feel and speak. I just don’t have the time for them. Their attempt to brainwash me back then didn’t work then and won’t work now.”

He maintains a broad definition of the term “communist” as “anyone who is able to work, doesn’t want to work and wants everything for free,” he said.

Now, it’s been a while since I’ve thumbed through my dogeared paperback copy of the Communist Manifesto, but I don’t seem to recall that passage in Marx & Engels’ historical dialectic. Also, exactly what DOES a communist smell like —  stale clove cigarette smoke and cappuccino infused with the distinctly musky odor of desperate proletarian zeal? Regardless, it seems painfully clear that poor wittle Giorgio has been utterly traumatized by the unfortunate time he spent captive in the Ontario NDP’s Pinot Grigio Gulag.

So, fellow Canuckistanian Progressicommie comrades, how about we pry our lazy duffs from the leather sofa and chip in a few loonies to help poor wittle Giorgio thoroughly insulate his precious cranium from further Marxist mind-control attempts:

It takes a brave, bold, forward-thinking individual to stand firm with the ever-ignorant Silent Majority against Toronto’s Red Menace of worthless layabouts and freeloaders angling to topple the tinpot regime of Rob Ford; seems only fair that this faithful champion is properly dressed for battle.

Mammoliti image: alienbeatpoet, flickr

G20 Aftermath Shakes Canadian Democracy: Public Inquiry NOW.

(Originally posted at Comments From Left Field)

At this past weekend’s G20 Summit, Toronto the Good was transformed into Toronto the Garrisoned.

Almost from the moment the summit began, 25,000 mostly-peaceful protesters faced a riot gear clad phalanx of security forces19,000 police officers in total, almost 20 times the number of Canadian troops currently serving in Kandahar. Yet it was a small  group of agitators determined to make a statement through senseless violence who (in concert with officials eager to delegitimize peaceful assembly and popular dissent) got to drive the media narrative.

Initially.

Then Sunday’s massive security overreach washed away talk of Saturday’s anarchic orgy in a digital wave of damning, as-it-happened social media coverage, culminating in a rainy, 5 hour “kettling” of over 300 people at Queen and Spadina after a peaceful march turned into a tense standoff. Many of the detained were bystanders who had either joined out of curiosity or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It’s not Canadian”, said CP24 host Stephen Ledrew, after innumerable images of cold, drenched Torontonians penned in by riot police had been broadcast, not knowing why they were being held, nor when they would be released.

Some were so desperate for resolution they actually begged to be arrested.

And that’s not to mention numerous clashes between trigger-happy, heavy-handed security officials and members of the news media, many of whom ended up being asked to leave protest areas, detained and, in some particularly disturbing instances, brazenly assaulted in a disgusting circumvention of our grand tradition of a vibrant free press.

By now we’ve all seen now-ubiquitous footage of obsidian-adorned “anarchists” hurling bricks and torching cop cars. Light the flame and the moths will swarm (and, apparently, loot). So why the hell did the brain trust in the PMO decide that the best way to showcase the GTA on a global scale was to hold a big, capitalist photo-op in the downtown core of a major, world-class metropolis, an event almost certain to attract scores of provocateurs?

It was an inexplicable decision that was, to quote Toronto Star publisher John Cruickshank, “bewilderingly stupid”.

TVO’s Steve Paikin and Sun Media columnist Greg Weston have said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s secret late-night legislation that granted G20 security forces sweeping detention powers is as bad or worse than the infamous War Measures Act — and resulted in more arrests than the October Crisis (at least 900 at last report). Clearly, a public inquiry (or inquiries) is only way to resolve still-lingering questions about the G20: why Toronto was picked as host site, how the estimated $1B in costs was actually spent and, most ominously, just what exactly was contained in provincial legislation granting extra-judicial powers to smirking security officials (that so-called ‘five metre rule’? Bunk.) Reports from detainees of misogynistic, homophobic and racist treatment by law enforcement officials should also be thoroughly addressed and charges laid if allegations of police misconduct can be corroborated.

If our elected leaders can waste almost one and a half billion bucks of taxpayer coin on an international photo-op and a fake lake they can pony up some quid to determine why their precious G20 summit resulted in a monumental clusterfuck.

(Photo:  Jonas Naimark, Flickr)

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“These trans women make easy, almost socially sanctioned, scapegoats for a litany of issues that they are largely unconnected to and not responsible for.”

by matttbastard

Wendy Babcock, Morgan Page, and Rebecca Hammond have an article in this months issue of FAB Magazine on the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association and its controversial efforts to force transgender sex workers out of the neighbourhood.  Although the article isn’t available online, Babcock has posted the text at her blog, the Prostitution in Canada Journal.

A sample:

Homewood and Maitland isn’t the first stroll in Toronto to come under pressure as a consequence of gentrification – so what’s the big deal if this is a sad, but seemingly routine, social process? Homewood and Maitland is unique in that it has historically been known as the trans stroll, making it one of the few safer spots for trans sex workers. Johns here know what they are getting, as one sex worker explained, “in other neighbourhoods the johns don’t know what they’re getting, and they are likely to freak out and assault us.” As working conditions deteriorate thanks to the HMSA, trans women have started working untested areas where they are likely subject to increasing violent attacks.

These trans women make easy, almost socially sanctioned, scapegoats for a litany of issues that they are largely unconnected to and not responsible for. The streets are quiet, save for a few rowdy drunk college kids and the sounds of traffic wafting down from Wellesley. You know, the kind of night soundscape one comes to expect in downtown Toronto. Other residents of the neighbourhood have expressed their dismay to us. “Just tell me what I can do to help the sex workers,” one man said to us. The HMSA is quick to dismiss these other neighbours as unimportant, either because they live on the higher floors of the condos or their opinion goes against HMSA morals.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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PSA: Protest against transphobia and sex worker oppression

by matttbastard

Via Shameless:

The Maitland Homewood Safety Association [of Toronto] is waging a campaign to rid their neighbourhood of trans sex workers. Every Friday and Saturday starting at 11pm the Association goes out armed with flashlights to [harass] the women working in the neighbourhood. There have been some reports that the members of the Association have physically assaulted transwomen.

If you care about the rights of trans and sex working women to be free of harassment and nimbyism (which you should) and are free this Friday, then join us Friday August 15th at 11pm at Homewood and Maitland to show our support to the women in the neighbourhood, as well as to send a clear message to the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association that violence and harassment against trans women will not be tolerated.

PLEASE NOTE: Organizers of this event are being targeted by this group, we need as many people there as possible to ensure our safety. For more info on the [Association’s] transphobia please check out http://splinterjete.livejournal.com/78658.html
and
http://spocgirl.braveblog.com/entry/27765

Facebook event listing here, more on the MHSA here.

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