Schoolyard bullies try to make their victims feel hopeless, like resistance is futile so you may as well hand over your lunch money and get ready for a smack.
The undynamic duo, mayors Rob and Doug Ford, are bullies trying to divide and defeat citizens in the course of making over a once-great city as a right-wing science experiment.
And you'd better not complain, because "there's more where that came from." Rob Ford said as much Monday when, in announcing proposed cuts that make a lie of almost all his campaign promises, he warned, "This is just scraping the surface right now."
Get it? Shut your mouth or you'll really see what he can do.
The Fords have traded in abusive language and us-versus-them rhetoric since their con job of a campaign, mocking their opponents and peddling simplistic solutions to problems both real and imagined.
There was no gravy-oozing golden goose hidden at City Hall ready to disgorge misused funds to maintain services citizens hold dear without using anything as quaint as taxation to pay for them.
The bumblers from Etobicoke have wasted more money than any Flying Dutchman of a grounded gravy boat could ever carry. They've cancelled already-approved initiatives like Transit City, the Fort York bridge and possibly the port lands, as well as engaging in good old-fashioned pork-barrelling by hiring trusted pals as "consultants" to rubber-stamp their slash-and-burn radicalism.
And that's before they actually start burning money on the Sheppard subway.
Their numbers, like their promises, just don't add up, and in the process they're pulling away at the threads that have held this city together.
But despite the unbelievable arrogance of Toronto's 21st-century Family Compact, the mayor and the unelected mayor have only two votes on a 44-vote city council.
On our divided council, the mayor can count on roughly 19 votes guided by the thumbs-up or thumbs-down gesture of his henchman, Giorgio Mammoliti. The battered left can reliably muster 15, which leaves 10 votes gently blowing in the wind, the so-called mushy middle who showed a willingness to climb on the Ford bandwagon when the band was still playing.
But maybe now, as the proof of the Fords' big lies becomes apparent, those in the centre might choose a long-term political career over sinking with the rapidly discredited Ford ship of state.
After all, quiet councillors who keep their heads down and their local potholes filled and manage to have decades-long careers have always been part of city politics. But the middle, along with Ford's acolytes, could all disappear next election as the city reels from the inevitable strikes, despair, turmoil and hardship their slash attack will unleash if implemented.
Is Karen Stintz really prepared to kiss off her dreams of a centrist run for mayor in order to bolster Ford's attacks on transit, libraries and hazardous waste pickup?
Is Don Valley West's Jaye Robinson prepared to have her City Hall career be a one-term footnote, something quirky she once did before going back to her regular life?
Civic politicians are remarkably susceptible to citizen pressure, and that's a good thing; there's no big party machine to embolden them, so the voters are all they have. And the mushy middle have started to be emboldened - little fissures forming in what was once thought to be highly tempered right-wing steel at City Hall over TTC cuts and fare hikes as well as proposed library branch closures.
Even the so-called Ford Nation thought they were voting for a decent Toronto; they were just conned into thinking they didn't have to pay for it. We don't have to wait for the next ejection to derail the Ford-fuelled locomotion of destruction.
If a slim majority of the middle can be moved back to city-building, the agenda stalls and we get wetlands, housing and parks instead of Ferris wheels and mega-malls, light rail not monorails, a helping hand instead of one raised in anger.
Spontaneous protests are already starting to spring up, and the marathon of hope, the all-night citizens' showcase of opposition to the first look at the calamitous KPMG proposals, still inspires.
Ford's folly is unravelling faster than even his biggest critics could have imagined. The deal is not done, and the means of stopping this radical deconstruction of Toronto are in our hands. Let's confront city councillors with the awful truth that there is no running from responsibility for the Ford frenzy; voting with the two mayors means destroying the very services - and city - we were assured was safe in their hands.
Let's wrest control away from the mayor's office and back to the citizenry by letting councillors know they have a choice. Contact your city councillor today, and again tomorrow, and make sure he or she votes for a city with a future instead of going down in the fury that follows a Ford flameout.