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We feel your pain, Toronto

Published: Sun, November 24, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

An open letter to the residents of the city of Toronto, Canada:

Dear Neighbors to the North:

Greetings from the Mahoning Valley, a region held hostage for 17 years by a political buffoon — a carbon copy of the one who is causing you such anxiety and embarrassment today.

For us, James A. Traficant Jr. was a nightmare we thought would never end. But then, just when we had resigned ourselves to being forever represented in Congress by an individual whose preoccupation with flatulence and other bodily functions had made him a national figure, fate (or his own venality) intervened.

Traficant went off to prison for eight years and thus ended the Valley’s political nightmare.

Likewise, you thoughtful residents of Toronto will one day be rid of your crack-smoking, foul-mouthed mayor. But until then, embrace the moment.

Indeed, if you see the humor in all that’s going on, it will be easier to accept the fact that the largest city in Canada is being led by a buffoon.

Brain ailment

It would interest you to know that while Traficant and Mayor Rob Ford do not share physical attributes — yes, they both played football, but one has kept in shape, the other has not — they do suffer from the same brain ailment.

Consider some of their more infamous public comments:

Ford: “My question is, I urinated in a parking lot. What does that have to do with anything?”

Traficant: “Mr. Speaker, is she or is she not? Rumors persist that Miss France is not a big-bone diva but actually a man. Reports say that pageant officials said they are anxiously awaiting the bathing suit contest.

“Unbelievable. Maybe J. Edgar Hoover will crown the next Miss France, Mr. Speaker.

“Hey, what is next? Will they have certification standards performed by licensed gynecologists for these pageants? Beam me up. This is not brain surgery. Even the University of Dayton School of Political Science can determine human genitalia.”

Ford: “I don’t understand. Number one, I don’t understand a transgender. I don’t understand. Is it a guy dressed up like a girl, or a girl dressed up like a guy? And we’re funding this for — I don’t know, what does it say here — we’ve giving them $3,210?”

Traficant: “Mr. Speaker, last week a girl was crowned prom king in Washington. This week we learn a whole new classification term for men and women: Transgenders. That is right, transgenders. Ohio University has designated 30 restrooms as transgender-type restrooms, able to be used by both men and women at the same time. They are officially called unisex restrooms. Unbelievable. What is next? Unisex locker rooms with thong/jock support dispensers? How about Maxipad vending machines in locker rooms? Beam me up. I yield back this higher education business as yet simply getting high.”

Ford: “Who the [expletive] do you think you are? Are you a [expletive] teacher? Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?”

Traficant: “Broadway has announced a new play called ‘The Vagina Monologues.’ I quote, the promo states that ‘Vagina Monologues uses humor and drama to explore such things as sexual fantasies, orgasms, pelvic examination and rape.’ Now if that is not enough to entice your condominium, this vaginal virtuoso is being billed as theater at its finest.

“Unbelievable. What is next? Rectal Diaries? Men are dropping like flies in America from prostate cancer, and Broadway is promoting vaginal titillation.

“Beam me up. I advise all New York men to sleep on their stomachs, and I yield back all the STDs on the East Coast.”

Ford: “I’ve changed the culture down here. You don’t hear about the scandals anymore … I mean, a money scandal.”

Dear Neighbors to the North, Traficant has been put out to pasture. Take heart. Your man is just another crack pipe away from his fall from grace.

TV ‘stars’

Incidentially, just like Mayor Ford and his brother, city Counselor Doug, Traficant had a television show on a local channel. He used the air time to rant and rave about his favorite subjects: The Internal Revenue Service; the FBI; the Chinese, and the powerful Jewish lobby in Washington that, he charged, controls the federal government.

Since the Fords’ television show lasted only a day, perhaps the mayor and the former congressman can star in a reality show called, “Nuts and Dolts.”


1Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 10 months ago

What a buffoon you are Bertram, let me educate you on Traficant's style, also known as SATIRE:

Satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Traficant made those statements outrageous on purpose for the sake of trying to make a point--and judging by how the culture of this country has been going, he was not too off base on making those points.

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2Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 10 months ago

Ford did not use satire, Ford is an idiot. His comments are idiotic and were made to be crude for the sake of being crude.

Traficant's comments obviously are taking shots at a society gone mad, and they were designed to be exaggerated to get the attention of people who might actually stop to consider how screwed up things have become.

Bertram, how you cannot differentiate between the two styles is reason enough for you to be out of a job. And you call yourself a writer.

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3GoPens(397 comments)posted 10 months ago

All these years later and people are still defending Traficant?


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4Nom_De_Plume(54 comments)posted 10 months ago

An open letter to Bert, the Vindy editors, and the readers who continue to suffer.

Another week of suffering through the useless commentary of a washed-up, agenda driven columnist. It's hard to believe that the Vindy dedicates any of its shrinking column space to this guy let alone issues him a paycheck! However, this drivel represents a new low.

Bert writes, "He used the air time to rant and rave about his favorite subjects: The Internal Revenue Service; the FBI; the Chinese, and the powerful Jewish lobby in Washington that, he charged, controls the federal government."

Sound familiar? Just replace a few words. Bert uses his column to rant and rave about public employees; Jim Traficant; YSU; and the Cafaros who he believes control local government!

Look in the mirror you horrible little man. You should be relegated to the same trash bin. Hypocrite.

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5kurtw(848 comments)posted 10 months ago

Right on gdog! Berts column may be a bit misdirected- somebody like Traficant was a thousand times more injurious to our area- over a longer period of time- than a pathetic substance abuse case like the Toronto Major could ever have been.

If we in the Mahoning Valley had had somebody like Mayor Ford to deal with (a guy who seems to hurt only himself) instead of a shrewd, cunning, immoral Mobster like Jim Traficant, we'd have been lucky. Bertram- and the Vindy- is to be commended for going after "Our Jimbo" a long time ago. The people of the Mahoning Valley (most of them) were (are?) FOOLS for not listening and, instead, continuing to support the low-life J. T. for all those years- despite the overwhelming evidence that he was a Criminal: Our Congressman, courtesy of the Mob, Right! Scotty, Beam me Up!

P.S. Another criticism of Bertram I have is the timeliness of his column- I mean, Traficant is (let's pray to God) history- J.T. is no more (hopefully) as a political force- except in the addled brains of his Fan Club Members (some of whom appear to be on this thread), so why talk about him at all? Let it go Bert, especially when there's another ripe (over ripe?) target on the local political scene for your rhetorical cannons to aim at. Forget J.T., there's another set of initials you should be thinking about (I know you have already, but keep it up!) What are they- those initials? D.B., of course, a man close to Traficant in buffoonery- though whether close to Traficant in corruption hasn't yet been determined. The future will tell, but I have faith in his abilities.

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6Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 10 months ago

Well, frame it like this. With Traficant, he stood up for Americans by putting the burden of proof on the IRS on tax cases, not the taxpayers. You know, something that can be quantified as actually being a good thing for taxpayers.

With Tim Ryan, you get healthcare reform that screwed everyone, and a guy who remains to be in the pocket of the entrenched Democratic machine.

Take shots at Traficant all you want, but I'll take the "crazy" "embarrassment" who actually has done good by the American people before I'd take the politicians who hold themselves out to be honest to the Americans who don't know any better.

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7kurtw(848 comments)posted 10 months ago

For anybody interested in understanding why Jim Traficant never accomplished much in Congress, I just came across an interesting book, that addresses his Congressional Record- specifically why Traficant never got any important Committee assignments- the key to getting anything done in Congress.

It's called: "Committee Assignment Politics in the U.S House of Representatives", by Scott Frish and Sean Kelley and is published by the University of Oklahoma Press. You can find it on Google by entering: "James Traficant Congressional Appointments" which takes you to pages 170-74 "The Political Style of James Traficant"

Quite an eye opener! Should be required reading for James Traficant Fan Club Members- might cure them of their illness (if it doesn't give them a heart attack or stroke!). Here's a brief quote: "..he (Traficant) was not placed on any important positions because (fellow members) felt he would prove embarrassing to them...Traficant came to Congress with a reputation as a brash, bombastic individual who was not a team player..." It says, paraphrasing here, he had a record, from the very beginning, of not getting along with the (majority) leaders of his own party, which kept him from important political assignments- specifically "Appropriations and Ways and Means", which he requested several times and was turned down (no surprise- his party colleagues and leadership thought he was "nuts", a guy who shot from the hip, a self-aggrandizing grand stander who couldn't be trusted).

In other words, the only thing Traficant accomplished with his antics all those years was the care and feeding of his own ego. By comparison, hold Traficant's record next to that of Tim Ryan's- in 11 years he's already had important Committee assignments and, whether you agree with him or not, Ryan is someone worthy of respect- an effective legislator- and, most importantly, he doesn't bring shame or ridicule to the people of the Mahoning Valley.

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8kurtw(848 comments)posted 10 months ago

I guess "nom de plume" doesn't like Bert's Columns: "commentary of a washed-up, agenda driven columnist... this drivel represents a new low". Wow, strong stuff- even harsher than anything I've ever said.

Nom doesn't seem to like Bert, as a person, either- he (or she) gets real personal: "Look in the mirror, you horrible little man. You should be relegated to the same trash bin. Hypocrite." As I said, strong stuff- bit "tetched in the head" as well, I would say.

I'm betting this post originated from an office cubicle in the basement of the Cafaro Comany Headquarters- am I right?

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9kurtw(848 comments)posted 10 months ago

Correction: "Comany" should read "Company"- that's what happens when you work late- and I've only had four glasses of Burgundy!

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10Nom_De_Plume(54 comments)posted 10 months ago

I notice that you didn't disagree with what I said, Kurt.

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11Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Kurt, this is all I have to say about Tim Ryan's record:

"In addition, the bill will give you greater choice in your health care decisions. You will be able to keep your doctor, and your current plan, if you like them."-Tim Ryan, July 15th, 2009. The Hill "Health care reform will reduce costs, increase choice (Rep. Tim Ryan)"

Sorry, say what you want about Traficant, but Tim Ryan has contributed to millions of people being thrown off their healthcare plans because of a lie he knew about. Yes, I'm sure that is a record you can really be proud of. When Jim Traficant contributes to the hurts of millions of middle class people, then come talk to me.

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12Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

So you are embarrassed because of Jim Traficant hurting the image of the region. Hate to break it to you, this region's image was screwed long before Traficant came on the scene for a whole lot of other reasons.

You know what is more embarrassing? Having to admit our region voted for a patsy of the Democratic Party who contributed to some of the worst legislation in the history of America. I'm ashamed to say I come from an area where our elected representative screwed so many people because he drank the healthcare Kool Aid.

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13papa1(662 comments)posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Traficant was a jackass. I still remember when he pretended to shoot the moon to a committee in Washington. how embarrassing for our valley. he's a buffoon and now we have a good rep in dc with tim ryan.

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14southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why are we still talking about Traficant? Move on already. That is one problem in the Valley, too much fixation on the past prevents moving forward.

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15kurtw(848 comments)posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

For all the people on this thread who dislike Obama Care, one bit of advice: the solution is to stop voting- like a knee jerk- for Democrats- they're the ones who rammed it down our throats without reasonable debate- the Republicans voted almost wholly against it.

We have to get rid of our "one-party" mentality around here and try to entertain opposing viewpoints and people- let one group of people- the Democrat Machine- run things, without opposition, and they get corrupt- and arrogant (like Nancy Pelosi saying- about The Affordable (ha, ha!) Health Care Act, "You have to pass it in order to know what's in it". That is infuriating! No tin-pot dictator in a Banana Republic (sorry Latino's) could have said it better to perfectly express "One Party" rule which is exactly what we peasants in the Mahoning Valley "enjoy". We are the Banana Republic of Ohio Counties- which is why we get so little respect in Columbus.

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16kurtw(848 comments)posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago

You're wrong about that, Nom, I do disagree with what you wrote- if you think Bertram is a lousy columnist (I don't) that's your opinion and you're free to express it - but I think every fair minded person would reject as venom: "Look in the mirror you horrible little man. You should be relegated to the same trash bin. Hypocrite." In my view, you crossed the line when you wrote that- it's called decency. You don't attack a man that way because you disagree with what he has to say or the way he says it- and, if you do, you've branded yourself as a bigot.

P.S. I still think your post was written on a Cafaro Company Computer. I do believe they hate DeSouza's more than anybody else in town- Why? Because he has a history of holding their feet to the fire (deservedly)- and that's not a comfortable feeling, is it?

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17uptowngirl(111 comments)posted 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I would vote for Traficant any day over Pelosi and Reid. Bertram better look out--say what you want but Martin Bashir is gone and Rush Limbaugh is still on the air.

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