Dr. Baglow vs Freedom of Speech: September 15, 2014

This is a continuation of a prolonged court, the earlier bits of which are here:  Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).  Day 5 is more or less covered by days 6 and 7.…  Day 6 is here.  Day 7 part 1 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly… part 2 is here.

Dr. Baglow’s impression of my coverage of the court hearings, as per Twitter, is here.

Which brings us to the first day of the ‘fall session’ of the trial, where the defense part of this case starts.

Aside – I understand that the court-ordered ‘blogosphere expert’ will be testifying on Thursday..

I showed up in court nice and early – long before the information desk folks (on the 2nd floor of the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa – but facing the main Elgin St. entrance) got the memo about which courtroom this particular civil case will be heard in.   However, as time passed on, I learned that the case will have been heard in Courtroom #20 – the courtroom closest to the main/front entrance (and thus dubbed ‘the smoker’s courtroom’).  Here are the players:

Justice:          Polowin, J.

Plaintiff:        Baglow, John

Lawyer:          Burnet, Peter Francis

Defendant:     Smith, Roger

Self-represented

                 Fournier, Connie

Self-represented

                 Fournier, Mark

Lawyer:            Kulaszka, Barbara

As the ‘players’ arrived on the ‘playing field’, these were my observations:

Barbara Kulaszka (BK) looked her steadfast self:  short hair kissed with just a tiny bit of silver, billowing lawyer’s robes framing her slender frame, she was her true self.

Peter Burnet, (PB) slightly balding and silver, looked distinguished (edit:  a complained-of phrase has been removed here).

Roger Smith looked dashing in his tan slacks, brown shoes, blue blazer, dark (black or charcoal) shirt with a blue-inside-a-gray-striped shirt and blue thin-striped tie, his silver hair dashing, his cheekbones chiseled above his silver, manicured beard/mustache.

Dr. Baglow wore his signature outfit:  black suit, blue shirt (opened collar, as if to stress his ‘blue collar’ sympathies), the ubiquitous riding boots (with delicate and adorable little silver trimmings), silver watch, rings on the ring and pinkie fingers of his left hand, silver hair and tailored silver mustache accentuated by the gun-metal framed spectacles he twirled in his hands more than he wore.

The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a new-looking dark blue suit with a thin gray stripe, black shoes and a cream, open-necked shirt.

Connie Fournier was elegant in form-fitting dark trousers which flattered her shape and a dark violet, v-necked thin-knit pullover (with cute button-sleeve detail) which highlighted her fine, strawberry-blond hair cut into a flattering bob.

To complete the picture, let me just say that the same Court Clerk (from the spring) who did not want to be blogged about (and worried she’d be ‘Twittered’) presided over the case, fussing over the improperly entered ‘stuff’ from the spring and lamenting that it will fall to her to re-enter and correct it all.  The ‘Madam Court Reporter’ was a pretty young woman sporting longish black hair with flattering bangs.  Her trim figure was perfectly framed in a navy blue, long-sleeved knit dress accentuated by a thin brown belt with gold-coloured metal trimmigs.  Her pumps were impeccable!

Also, the CCLA, an intervenor in this case, was not represented by Mr Frankel, but by a competent-looking young woman in a black-and-white striped shirt, black slacks and blazer and bright red flat shoes (which she shed while she sat cross-legged on the spectator bench) – I understand Mr. Frankel will rejoin the case later in this week.

Courtroom #20 differed from most court rooms in that on the right side, it sported a sturdy-looking gray sofa with 4 fluffy-looking pillows.  I can only presume that Dr. Baglow’s past blood-pressure difficulties motivated the court to pick a courtroom with a sofa in it.  Otherwise, Courtroom #20 was much like most of the courtrooms in the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa:  creamy-white walls with the ‘head’ wall (behind the judge) being a wood-panel in the same tan colour as the doors and the wooden-bits of the spectator benches, bearing the Canadian Coat of Arms. (The back wall – not the benches!) The seat bit of the upholstered spectator benches was a muted pink, which clashed rather badly with the crude orange-red of the floor carpeting.

It is difficult to describe the air of expectation one can only experience in the courtroom, with everyone present and waiting for the judge to arrive.  I can only liken it to a cross-section of the feeling which, as a 14-month-old (OK – I’m an Aspie and remember this), you are expecting the vaccine-baring MD to enter the room where your mother is holding you down overlapped with the dread you feel as you are sitting at a desk, awaiting your fist Calculus exam paper to arrive.  Add to this the distinct staccato of high heels in the distance – it is ever present, even if completely unrelated to the judge’s arrival – and you approach the hushed tenseness that awaiting the judge’s arrival in the courtroom accompanies!

As in – no movie could possibly do it justice!!!  No amount of suspense could possibly capture the breathlessness of these moments!!!

At 10:05, Madam Justice Polowin, J., entered.

Her hair was longer and lighter than before – and her (paler than before) face looked puffy and strained.  Yet, her eyes looked as intelligent and as sharp as ever!

The first session of the first morning of a hearing are usually taken up with tedious ‘housekeeping’ or ‘administrative’ matters.  Not so in Madam Justice Polowin’s courtroom today!  We went straight to the start of the defense’s case!!!

The first person to take the stand was Roger Smith (aka Peter O’Donnel).  He explained that even though ‘Roger Smith’ is his legal name, it is not ‘unique’ – both ‘Roger’ and ‘Smith’ being ‘common names’. ‘ Peter O’Donnel’, however was somewhat less unique – and as it was his birth name, he used it extensively  (though not exclusively – he sometimes picked ‘humorous nicnames’) in his online activities.

It is my impression that Roger Smith is a very reluctant defender:  it seems to me that he believes that his only defense lies in his truly held beliefs (and that promoting these is in the public good), but that he also thinks that having to justify his deeply held ‘political beliefs’ in front of a judge is very inappropriate of itself (regardless of the eventual ruling) and subversive of our democracy itself – akin to having to having one’s very thoughts needing to br sanctioned by a court of law….which, obviously, is a violation of the most fundamental freedom – the freedom of thought.  So, it seems to me, he is very reluctant to present his beliefs and convictions to the court – yet, his only defense (it seems to me) lies in him claiming to ‘truly believe’ what he had said/written/posted on the internet.  As in – it seems to me as though Roger Smith believes that it is not his statement of his beliefs, but his convictions themselves, which are on trial here – a form of ‘thought-crime-policing’, if you will.

And, since (in my never-humble-opinion) he thinks ‘thought-crime’ ought not be a ‘crime’ (if you excuse my clumsy expression of the principle), he is having difficulty with the whole matter.

As in, defending his views would be a bit of  a violation of the ‘thought-is-not-a crime’ bit.

At least, that is the impression I have been left with following his testimony and the bit of cross-examination I saw.

The testimony bit of the day merely repeated what had been entered into the record in the past – just the light it had been cast in was ‘slightly’ different.  And by ‘slightly’, I mean ‘a lot’.  As in, the bits that the prosecution entered in as ‘strong’ evidence now seemed rather silly and frivolous…which is not much of a comfort, since in a civil case of libel, ‘malice’ is presumed and needs to be disproved, rather that that whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ bit of jurisprudence….

Yes, much revolved around SmallDeadAnimals (SDA) and Jay Currie’s blog posts, as well as Free Dominion and the Conservative blogosphere in general…plus Dr. Dawg’s blog –  ‘progressive’ site run by the plaintiff (civil prosecution).

Roger Smith’s background – from Math and Science to an Honours’ BA in Geography in order to become a ‘Climatologist’ (‘Climate Scientist’ in Newspeak), along with the necessary Global Warming/Anthropogenic Climate Change baggage – was discussed, as was the means by which Roger Smith makes his living as well as his online identity  – all this was explored at great length.

Then we got into the relevant bits – the 7 words which are the subject of this lawsuit (and which I therefore fear to mention – on the pain of ‘re-publishing slanderous material’) and the context in which they had been uttered.

It seemed to this court observer that Mr. Smith not only proved (beyond a reasonable doubt- a much more strenuous test that required in a civil lawsuit) that he believed the truthfullness of his statements, but also that stating them in an online forum was ‘in the public interest’.

Actually, this is where things got rather interesting – after the lunch break (1-2 pm), when Roger Smith had finished his testimony and his cross examination by PB commenced!

PB seemed obsessed with the idea that Roger Smith’s view of what constituted ‘appropriate speech’ was ‘beyond the pale’.

Which is rather funny – considering me being in the audience (and the only person there in the courtroom with the express purpose to report to you, my dear readers, on the contents of this hearing)!!!

If you read my blog regularly, you may know that I am a free speech absolutist – because I am an anti-slavery fundamentalist.

Perhaps it is my Asperger’s that informs this bit of me, but, for better or worse, I cannot help but see this issue in black-and-white – with no gray in between.

To me, this is the necessary extension of the principle of self-ownership:  if you own your self, then you and only you are responsible for your reaction and any and all resultant action you may take based on what you hear/read.
In other words, if you can be swayed to bad actions through ‘hate-speech/incitement to violence’ you hear, then you are admitting that the speaker is a de-facto part-owner of you and thus, submitting to their will is a tacit admission/permission of slavery.  And I am 100% against slavery!!!
Self-ownership implies self-responsibility!
A 100% self-ownership (i.e. anti-slavery fundamentalism) implies a 100% self-responsibility, thus making all forms of hate-speech/incitement irrelevant.
Which means that all hate-speech/incitement laws are an admission of and permission for a form of slavery – something I will never accept.
And since I cannot accept any form of slavery, I cannot acknowledge that hate speech/incitement can sway a self-determining, self-owning individual…which makes outlawing it an admission that my core principles are irrelevant…something I cannot accept.
I hope this makes some kind of sense to you – it certainly makes sense to me.
But, that is me – and (thankfully) not the subject of this particular lawsuit.
Anyhow, it seemed to me that PB spent most of his cross-examination time trying to ‘nail’ the ‘bit’ where Roger Smith drew ‘the line’ between ‘permitted speech’ and ‘illegal speech’.

SILLY BUNNY!!!

As IF there ought to be such a thing as ‘illegal speech’!!!!

 

Roger Smith said he drew the line between what ought to be permitted speech and not somewhere between what Ernst Zundel said and what is routinely said online by people whom ‘the progressives’ label as ‘Neo-Nazis’ but who are in reality no such thing.

As in – according to Roger Smith – Ernst Zundel was ‘illegal speech’ while the wrongly villified ‘neo-nazis’ who were not really ‘neo-nazis’ were OK…if you actually listened to what they truly said rather than just buying into their rhetoric.

But, PJ tried very very hard to paint this in the worst light possible – as in, he tried to twist Roger Smith’s words into saying that Ernst Zundel’s crap (and his claims ARE crap) was OK but the Neo-Nazis were not OK.

It seemed to me that Roger Smith, naturally nervous, being on the stand and all, did not really understand where PB was aiming with this ‘twisting’.  But, the judge sure did!  And, she put PB in his place on it, too.

However, this was not the only bit of testimony that PB tried to twist – and I am not entirely certain that the judge (much less Roger Smith, who was justifiably nervous, arguing for his retirement fund and all) quite got the manipulation or not.

Anyhow, that is where I had to leave off – having real-life obligations and all….I do hope to be filled in on the bits I missed and report to you tomorrow!!!

 

 

 

 

Support for Israel from around the world

India

 

Japan

 

England

 

France

 

For hundreds more, just look up pro-Israel Rally on YouTube.

The pro-Israel protesters are acting well, supporting peace and freedom for all in the Middle East.

Contrast that with the violence – both in words and actions – that accompanies the anti-Israel protests:  shouts of ‘Heil Hitler’ and ‘Hitler was right!’ and calls for ethnic cleansing of the whole world to commit a genocide against Jews…  Here is just one example from hundreds:

The violence that is committed against Jewish targets outside of Israel, against people who may or may not be Zionists themselves but are definitely Jews demonstrates beyond any doubt that these are not anti-Zionists or people who are critical of the policies of the nation state of Israel:  this is anti-Semitic Jew hatred, pure and unadulterated by compassion or reason.

 

 

Thunderf00t: Feminism Vs FACTS (Anita Sarkeesian DESTROYED!)

Long, yes, but it is worth it – I’m getting my sons all the video games mentioned in it!

 

Pat Condell: Is this helpful?

Pat Condell: A cure for Islamophobia

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 4 part 2

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 are here.  (all previous caveats still apply, though I have temporarily borrowed  slightly better tech.)

Day 2 is here.

Day 3 is here.

Day 4 part 1 is here.

Alternate account is here:  day 1, day 2day 3day 4.

As promised, let’s start with the ‘Fern Hill’ bit:  though, I am warning you, I might get a bit philosophical…

In her opening statement, Connie Fournier said her testimony would demonstrate a multi-year cyber-bullying campaign of herself by Dr. Baglow and that this lawsuit is just another means through which he is victimizing her.  It was alleged that, among other things, Dr. Baglow attempted to isolate Connie by bullying  and targeting people who supported her and even attempted to sabotage a fundraiser for their legal costs.  In order to have Dr. Baglow’s side of the story (as Connie’s testimony is still in the future), Mr. Burnet had to ask Dr. Baglow a lot of questions about this and thus bring his side of the story forward.

So, this is what is happening here.  I’ll explain this the best that I can – though, again, I cannot stress strongly enough that it is extremely difficult to follow what is happening in court because everyone has exhibits and is reading all kinds of materials which are being discussed, but the spectators have no access to these materials and only hear the references to them, what their importance is or is not according to all the different people.  So, I’ve tried to piece this together as best as I could…

Fern Hill is a blogger – and a decidedly progressive one.  Unlike Connie Fournier, Fern Hill is 100% pro choice and, from what I’ve gathered, she is very proudly far left of centre.  She has several co-bloggers, including a female blogger named DammitJanet.  And, as a fellow ideological leftist, she and Dr. Baglow were on very friendly terms.

Yet, when Dr. Baglow filed this particular lawsuit against the Fourniers, in my never-humble-opinion, Fern Hill saw the existential danger to the whole blogosphere that this lawsuit poses:  should Dr. Baglow be victorious, it will not be a ruling against the Fourniers and Roger Smith:  it will be a ruling against the blogosphere, as it exists today.  If one can be fined tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and penalties for a honestly believed-in comment that 5 or 6 people saw (before the Streissand effect applied), then one could not possibly post one’s own honestly believed-in opinions on any kind of an open forum.

Fern Hill was a friend of Dr. Baglow – but hoped the defendants (whom she disagreed with, but whose silencing she saw as being potentially capable of silencing herself) would prevail in this particular case.  This put her in a very uncomfortable position:  side with her friend and loose her rights, or side with her rights and anger her friend!

Fern Hill arrived at what she thought was a win-win solution:  she would work hard to raise funds for BOTH sides!

This way, she would support her friend, Dr.Baglow, in his fight and thus show her loyalty.  At the same time, she would raise the same amount of money for the defendants, as they were also fighting for her own right to speak freely.

Both sides get some help – all benefit, her conscience is clear.

Win-win!!!

Right?

Wrong!!!

And it was during this portion of the testimony that Dr. Baglow was not his polished, professional self but let some of his raw emotion show.  He was truly and honestly hurt by Fern Hill’s suggestion that she support both her friend and her rights (as she saw it)!  In my never-humble-opinion, Dr. Baglow truly and honestly did not get Fern Hill’s dilemma, nor her reasoning for the proposed solution.  To him, this was a black-and-white issue:  either you support your ideogical allies, or you are a traitor to the cause worthy of the worst possible abuse.

This brings in the philosophy bit….

In my never-humble-opinion, this is a key, fundamental, un-negotiable divide between collectivists and individualists…and why the two cannot begin to see eye to eye.

Individualists  realize just how important to humankind the approval of their peers is, how necessary it is for one to have the acceptance/approval of the social group one exists in in order to thrive, physically and mentally.  It is precisely because they understand this basic human need ‘to be accepted’ that individuals who stand up to the group and/or specific elements of the group (which may be influential and/or powerful) and stand up for what they believe is right and wrong.

In other words, risking social rejection in order to stand on principle is, to the individualist, the highest form of morality, worthy of the greatest praise and admiration.

Conversely, compromising one’s ideals in order to conform to the group is, among individualists, considered to be the height of hypocrisy and the most contemptible, hypocritical  behaviour ever.

Now, let us consider the collectivist point of view:

To the collectivist, the group IS the embodiment of the ‘self’.

Thus, setting personal principles aside and supporting ‘the group goal’ (even if parts of it, or the means of achieving it proposed, are against one’s personal principles of ‘right and wrong’) is seen as the most admirable, praise-worthy quality of self-lessness and altruistic dedication to ‘the cause’.

Standing up against ‘the group’ (or, by default, the loudest and thus most influential elements within the group) in order to preserve one’s principles of right and wrong is seen as the cardinal sin of ‘arrogance’ and ‘self-gratification’  by the collectivists.

With such a different conception of what constitutes morality – standing on principle against the group vs. giving up principles to the will of the group – is it any surprise that a collectivist would not only fail to see how standing on one’s principles would not be praiseworthy, but how he could perceive a person trying to protect themselves from the actions of  ‘a member of the group’ would be seen as ‘betrayal’.

And this is what I think Fern Hill’s problem was.

Dr. Baglow testified that he felt betayed by his friend and ideological ally, he saw her action as aiding and abetting of Nazi enablers (because, even though the Fourniers are not themselves Nazis, by fighting for freedom of speech for everyone, even the distasteful elements in society, he sees their actions as enabling Nazis to spread hate speech).  I hope I have understood this accurately – if I have made errors, please, let me know.

Because Dr. Baglow felt so betrayed by Fern Hill’s support for both sides, he posted and Tweeted some nasty things, designed to express the depth of hurt and anger that he felt.  And, as a true collectivist who presumes guilt by association, he smeared anyone who stood up for Fern Hill (I believe it was in this context that some misogynistic abuse was hurled at DammiJanet, Fern Hill’s co-blogger and a fellow progressive).  He demanded that Fern Hill pick sides – and clearly indicated which side he thought she ought to pick.

In my never-humble-opinion, this admission proves the charge that he interfered with Connie’s fundraising efforts as well as her accusations that he tried to bully people who stood up for her cause, isolating her from supporters.  But, my understanding is necessarily imperfect as I have no legal training, and it is difficult to predict what kind of impression this made on the judge.

Are you familiar with the expression:  “Looking down one’s nose at something/someone”?

I am not a very good observer of facial expressions or body language, so I don’t really recall ever having quite understood what people mean by this phrase.  Until Dr. Baglow’s cross examination, that is.

At times, he would remove his glasses, tilt his head back and glare contemptuously at Barbara Kulaszka (who was the first to start the cross examination) and the rest of the defendants and, in the most derisive, patronizing tone, he’d utter phrases like “extreme free speech types”…  I found this very uncomfortable, because this did not seem like the very charming, courteous man whom I’ve had the pleasure to chat with.

Plus – compared to me, the Fourniers are very much ‘centrists’ when it comes to ‘free speech’ ideas.  Myself, I am an anti-slavery fundamentalist, and, thus, through logical evaluation, I must take the position of a free speech absolutist.  If I own my self, then I am 100% responsible for my actions, regardless of who does and says what.  This also means that if you own your self, then I am not responsible for your actions or how you react to my words.  Thus, falsely yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre must not be prohibited because if I were to be responsible for how other people react to my words, then such a responsibility implies at least part ownership.  After all, how can I be responsible for you if I have no coercive power over you?  And if I have coercive power over you, then you do not truly own your self….or so the reasoning goes.  Others have said all this much more eloquently many, many times before.

Anyhow, the cross examination  was very exciting.

Barbara Kulaszka, the lawyer for Mark Fournier, had gotten Dr. Baglow to agree to some of the basic facts about the Khadr case – in particular, that Omar Khadr had been picked up in a raid on the Taliban.  In other words, we were again covering the whole Al Qaeda vs Taliban thing.

Then we got into the ‘Taliban Jack’ nickname for Jack Layton because of his perceived support of the Taliban and why that was not defamatory.

The next bit covered had, I suspect, something to do with ‘context’.

Throughout is testimony, Dr. Baglow had testified that he did not remove words even more insulting and offensive that he was called, on his own blog and under his control, because of the context…either they were clearly miss-use of the  words or they were a simple vulgarity or if was so obvious from the context that they were just silly that it was not worth his time to bother with them.  This, however, was different, because there was insufficient context around the comment to make it clear it was not literally true.

Barbara Kulaszka skillfully walked Dr. Baglow through many instances on his blog where he relies on ‘general information’ for context and does not supply it – nor does he repair broken links that provide context on older posts, thus committing the same error of publishing strong statements of views without the necessary context.  I think she demonstrated this clearly, as it was at this point in the cross examination that Dr. Baglow began fidgeting in his seat.

There was a lot of back and forth, asking about the blogosphere, other fora and blogs and bloggers – and commenters.  One name kept popping up quite a lot:  ‘MarkyMark’.  Dr. Baglow testified that they had met through the blogosphere and became friends and that MarkyMark even stayed in his house!

When asked about blogs on the political right, he named many.  When asked about blogs on the political left, he hmmmd and eventually came up with a few rather unknown ones while not naming any of the ‘biggies’ (that even I know about – and I know very little about the ‘progressive’ bit of the blogosphere, for obvious reasons).  I was quite surprised at this and wondered about it.

He testified, with a straight face, that when he told people that if they were looking for Nazis (people who said they had guns and were looking to kill Nazis, no less), they should go see Connie Fournier, he did not intend for them to take their guns and threaten Connie but that he honestly believed ‘she could facilitate contact’ with them.  It continued much in this way for quite some time, suggesting Connie should be imitated with a staged Gestapo accent, and so on.  This is obviously just teasing and not abusive in the least, as per Dr. Baglow.

About his online implying that Connie had maliciously sent him an email with an electronic virus, Dr. Baglow forced out a chuckle and said that right after he had read his email, his computer crashed, so he joked about it.

Dr. Baglow mocked the Fourniers from the stand for winning the George Orwell Free Speech Award, sneering that was not an honourable award to win.

It was a bit after this when BlazingCatFur (BCF) was mentioned, and in that context the term SLAPP suit was raised.

For those who do not know, a SLAPP suit is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation and a favourite tool of the totalitarians to suppress free speech by suing people into oblivion.  If you did not know what this term was, you are not alone – the judge did not know either and commented on what an interesting concept this was.

It was at this point that I got a bad toothache and I did not take as good notes afterwards.  My apologies – I’ll have to be a little bit brief.

The most important thing that came out during next little bit of talking about BCF and his blog was something Dr. Baglow had written.  It seems that something negative was said about BCF on another, most likely Dr. Dawg’s, and BCF copy/pasted it when rebutting it or somehow responding to it, so that the offensive term appeared again, this time as part of BCF’s comment.

Dr. Dawg had then written something to the effect that by showing the text and responding to it, BCF had, in fact, re-published it.

This is important because the words that are the subject of this lawsuit were similarly copied and re-published by the plaintiff.  So, getting him on record that repeating and responding constitutes republishing may become an important part of the case.

There was also quite a bit of stuff about Dr. Baglow saying rather unpleasant things about a lot of people, some in anger, some in frustration – it is what it is – as well as about the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who also happens to be intervening in this court case as a friend of the court.

Oh yes – and Mr. Burnet, Dr. Balow’s lawyer, had, at one point, jumped to his feet and outed himself as PeterOne or Peter1 or some name that sounds like this and admitted taking part in some of these online verbal skirmishes.

At one point, Dr. Baglow testified that ‘there is a lot of political motivation behind it’ – and by ‘it’ I understood he meant this lawsuit (I tried to insert other things, but this was the only one that made sense in this context), which would have proven what Roger smith had said in his opening statement:  this is a political disagreement and does not belong in a court of law because it is inappropriate for the courts to be deciding which political opinions are legal to hold and which are not.

And this ends my account of day 4 – report on day 5 coming soon!

 

 

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 4 part 1

Day 1 part 1 and part 2 are here.  (all previous caveats still apply, though I have temporarily borrowed a slightly better tech.)

Day 2 is here.

Day 3 is here.

Alternate account is here:  day 1, day 2day 3day 4.

Disclosure:  It may be important to note my past experience with PSAC, that very powerful and ruthless public sector union, of which Dr. Baglow testified he had been the Executive Vice President of.

When, decades ago, I was a wee little teenager, shortly after we came to Canada, my mom got a job where she was forced to become a member of PSAC.  Back then, there was a lot of tension created by this most militant union.  Once, just before a strike, my mom naively said she opposed the strike – within earshot of a union thug.  We started getting phone calls at all times of day and night.  My mom got threats that were not even thinly veiled.  Once, a caller told her where I went to school, the times I walk there and back and the exact route I walk…

My mother was so frightened that she took a leave of absence until after the strike….and this event had, for ever, opened my eyes to the way labour unions in Canada function and ‘get things done’.

Thursday, day 4 of the trial, started with a bit of excitement.

Being a ‘morning person’ (that is, I hardly ever go to sleep until after I’ve said ‘hello’ to the morning), I find it difficult to actually be places at an uncivilized hour, like, say, 9:30 am.  So, I missed the original action, but it had caused such a buzz and so much comment, I was soon filled-in on the situation.  Like I reported earlier, witnesses were not allowed to hear each other’s testimony, nor was anyone allowed to tell them about it.  Thus, as I left the court yesterday, Dr. Baglow was pacing expectantly outside of the courtroom, not being allowed to know what Mr. Bow’s testimony and cross examination brought out.

But…

While surfing the net in the evening, Dr. Baglow accidentally encountered a blog which reported on day 3 in court – and thus Mr. Bow’s testimony!!!

How very, very unfortunate that out of the hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of blogs in the blogosphere, Dr. Baglow accidentally landed on the one and only blog in the world where the forbidden information was published…

Of course, being a moral and upright ex-union boss, as soon as he realized what he was reading, Dr. Baglow logged off right away.

There were only 2 observers in the courtroom who were blogging about the case, and I didn’t write up day 3 until yesterday, so we can narrow down pretty easily which was the blog in question.  However, the court clerk and stenographer did not know that and the court clerk was sending daggers out of her eyes in my direction all morning.

I think the court clerk must have a very difficult and frustrating job.  While I have never heard any of the other court clerks in the cases I have observed so far complain about their job, this one was more articulate.  She kept explaining to anyone within earshot just how much more difficult they were making her job.  And everything in the courtroom seemed designed to annoy her – from the way the chairs were arranged to the fact that some people left the courtroom through the left side of the door instead of using the right side only.  Poor woman – so much responsibility and so many unnecessary obstacles were being hurled into her path.

And now this!

“Now I have to worry about  being on some BLOG!!!’ she lamented at one point, as she shot me a particularly venomous look.

It must be a difficult job, indeed!

But, back to the substance of the trial.  I am not quoting directly, but rather expressing my imperfect understanding of the testimony and cross examination.  Timelines may be jumbled and at some points, I may put specific bits of testimony and cross examination together, to maintain the narrative.

As I came in, the blogger Jay Currie was under discussion.  (Note – the linkie is to his new blog, which I quite like.  The discussion here is about his old blog, which Dr. Baglow says was quite good, but I myself hardly ever went there as I simply did not like the format and feel of it.)

Jay Currie’s old blog was a bit of a cross-roads where a lot of unlike-minded people went to for ‘verbal fencing’ – not because they actually expected to convince anyone of the rightness of their point, but simply to bicker.  Personally, I detest bickering, so I hardly ever went there and never took part in the pointless bickering.  This was not the case for Dr. Dawg (Dr. Baglow’s online persona), nor for Peter O’Donnel, the other persona of Roger Smith.

At some point in time, Dr. Dawg had a private email conversation with Jay Currie, which he had subsequently learned was shared with Mark Fournier’s lawyer, Barbara Kulaszka.  Dr. Baglow was deeply hurt and very disappointed by this breech of trust and invasion of privacy.  Poor Dr.Baglow…

It is my guess that the emails referred to here were the ones which definitely established the identity of Ms. Mew as a handle of Dr. Baglow.  Dr. Baglow insisted that everyone knew he was Ms. Mew as the nickname was an obvious play on ‘Dr. Dawg’.  However, I suspect ‘everyone knew’ would not be a good enough identification for the courts….and nor would using Ms. Mew’s IP address, as numerous courts have ruled that an IP address cannot be used to identify a person.

Anyhow, at this particular time, Dr. Baglow testified, the online sparring in the comments between himself and Jay Currie had gone on for quite some time.  Dr. Baglow was upset to find out that the offensive materials (those 7 little words, and, in my never-humble-opinion, had the article used been ‘a’ instead of ‘the’, we could not be here, in court – so, listen to all us Grammar-nazis out there, it may help you avoid a lawsuit!) would not be taken down and he was very, very hurt and angry.

The discussion now moved to something that had been written, but I could not see as the exhibits are not available to the spectators, but it was understood by the Fourniers as a threat to use the courts to bankrupt them – and thus was said to have demonstrated malice on the part of Dr. Baglow.   If I am not mistaken, it was something like that when this was all done, he, Dr. Baglow, would get Roger Smith’s harpsichord and play it in Mark and Connie’s house, which he will have won in the lawsuit.  Or something like that.  The Fourniers and Roger Smith took this to be a threat of lawfare – where the process is as much of a punishment as any potential outcome (and something which spreads ‘libel chill’ throughout the blogosphere)  but Dr. Baglow testified that this was just a bit of ‘bravado’ and ‘nothing to pay serious attention to’.

As a matter of fact, there were quite a lot of instances where Dr. Baglow was ‘displaying bravado’ or just writing words in frustration at having such an injustice committed against his person, and any words uttered in such a state of mind, no matter how derogatory or sexually degrading (those would be the ones directed at Connie Fournier, the lone female participant in this farce of a trial – and the one for whom Dr. Dawg’s vilest of insults were reserved), were not any evidence of malice or bad will, but just a symptom of frustration.  Had the Fourniers been good little unwashed plebs, and done everything the intellectual Dr. Baglow demanded, they would not have brought such malicious invective on themselves!!!  At times, I think Dr. Baglow felt quite hurt that the Fourniers, Connie in particular, had forced him to use such uncivilized language…

Please note, I am paraphrasing and getting the ‘gist’ of the testimony as I understood it, not quoting Dr. Baglow directly….and I am using the word ‘malicious’ in the colloquial, not the legal sense of the word as I have no legal training.  And I am applying the word ‘malicious’ t the words used, not to D. Baglow.  Just thought I ought to clarify that here, so nobody would be misled.

Aside:  the kind of language that Dr. Baglow used was truly, truly ‘past colourful’.  For example, he called a male blogger (not involved in this lawsuit) a ‘flaming …..’ where ‘…..’ is a word for female genitalia.  Now, I don’t care how punny anyone thinks this may or may not be, but, using bits of female anatomy as an insult to hurl at another man:  if THAT is not anti-woman hate-speech, I don’t know what is!!!

Dr. Baglow testified most vehemently that he does not approve of, indulge in or permit (on his blog) ‘Hate Speech’ of any kind.  Whenever someone used the phrase ‘right to freedom of speech’, he made sure to insert the word ‘alleged’ before the word ‘right’ – with great emphasis.

His lawyer, Mr. Burnet, kept ‘fumbling’  the documents and getting the exhibits ‘mixed up’.  And, at times, he kept ramming the left arm of his glasses into his left ear….  How exciting to witness such skillful courtroom theater!!!!

Another ‘current’ through this testimony was about likening Connie Fournier to Nazis.  Perhaps not in name, but in imagery.

Dr. Baglow testified that he did not say Ms. Fournier was a Nazi, nor does he think that she is.  But there were so many statements brought up during the testimony and the cross examination where Dr. Baglow used Nazi imagery that his professions seemed weak at best.

Then there was some testimony I could not follow, but it sounded as if Dr. Baglow were defending himself from accusations of having written that Judge Annis (the one that ruled that the ‘disputed words’ were not capable of being defamatory) – among other judges – was ‘in the pocket of the conservatives’…  Please, do take care that I am stating, flat out, that I did not understand heads or tails of this bit of testimony – just that this is what it sounded like was happening.  Mr. Baglow, while admitting to writing the words, denied most vehemently that this was their implication.

Then Dr. Baglow referred to 2 different studies – again, I had no reference, this was all in the documents I had no access to – that ‘proved’ one or another of his statements/positions.  But, the judge stared at Dr. Baglow and verbally spanked him by pointing out that she read those two things and they were nothing like ‘scholarly studies’ but just the ravings of some inconsequential journalists.  (Again, I am conveying my impressions of what happened, not the actual words uttered.)

Mr. Burnet asked Dr. Baglow if it is true that he wrote about a judge that he is guilty of statutory rape for having had sex with his baby sitter.  Now, again, I did not have the documents in front of me, so my understanding is highly imperfect and I would love to be corrected, so that the record will be accurate.  But, it seems that event though the babysitter was over the age of 16 (not statutory rape), the judge – as an employer of the baby sitter – was ‘an authority figure’ which Dr. Dawg thinks ‘bumps up’ the statutory rape thingy to 18, not 16.  And, Dr. Baglow would appear to have been highly critical of this and he appears to have blogged his criticism.  But, writing that ‘a man in position of authority’ was having sex with someone under the age of 18, as he asserted the judge had indeed done, this apparently did not imply, in any way, shape or form, that he was accusing that judge of statutory rape.  And while I can respect his opinion and his original blogging thereof, I must admit I was disappointed in how he tried to walk this bit back…

The post by Dr. Dawg called ‘Off with his head’ – and referring to Prime Minister Harper – was also brought up, both during the testimony and the subsequent cross examination.  While Dr. Baglow insisted this reference was satire, the fact that there actually was a real-life plot to behead our Prime Minister makes this assertion sound hollow, at best…rather, it would seem to (in my never-humble-opinion) a very thinly veiled sympathy and/or support for militant Islamist terrorists.  OK, it was never openly stated in the testimony, but, it hung in the air like a miasma which all parties present pretend is not really there…silent, but palpable!!!

Then the issue of Fern Hill came up….

….I just realized I’m at over 2k words and we have not yet hit lunch!!!

Let me break here and start part 2 from the ‘Fern Hill’ bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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