Baglow v Free Dominion has become an Internet test case!

From Connie and Mark Fournier:

 

New news in the Baglow Trial

The court has now appointed an expert witness (that the parties have to pay for), and the “three-day” trial that turned into seven, now has seven additional daysscheduled in September!!

It is obvious that the court is serious about wanting to make case law regarding internet defamation, and that Baglow vs Free Dominion is now the test case.  We are doing our best to make sure that the decision is one that will help put an end to frivolous internet defamation lawsuits for good!

We’ve started a fundraiser to help pay for the court-appointed expert and for the additional court days.

You can help us by making a donation and/or by sharing our fundraiser link on your social networks!

The outcome of this case is important to all of us!

We can add offline donations to our fundraiser total now, so, if you prefer:

You can use PayPal by clicking this link:  Donate
 
or

If you feel more inclined, you can also help out using an Interac Email Money Transfer to connie@freedominion.ca .

Alternatively, our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than anything else!  Thank you so much for your faithful support! 

Fondest Regards,
  
Connie and Mark

 

Bill Whittle on The Narrative: The origins of Political Correctness

Political Correctness, Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School…this blog has covered Cultural Marxism many times (most notably in this awesome,  detailed guest-post by CodeSlinger).

Yet, it seems that there are many people who are still unfamiliar with the history of this cancer on our society.  Therefore, I bring you a quick refresher:

 

Pat Condell: Is this helpful?

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 5

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 was going to be written up later, but….  As I was writing up the background needed to accurately portray the events of day 7 (parts 4 and up), I realized that I am describing much of the material that came out on day 5 and that a separate write up would be redundant.

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

Part 4  left off just as Dr. Baglow explained that he had produced email communication for discovery from the period that he believed ‘the comments’ had disappeared from his old blog, but not the period that the defense claims the comments ‘had been disappeared’, because he simply thought they were not observant enough to notice that the materials they need for their case had disappeared months earlier…

This had actually come out on Connie’s cross of Dr. Baglow on day 6 – but the background had to be explained in order for my report on the events of day 7 to make sense.

As a result of the now defined and testified to difference between the two time periods under discussion, Connie Fournier asked the judge to direct Dr. Baglow to produce the emails they had actually asked for instead of the ones he thought they ought to have.

Which the judge did.

…and which Dr. Baglow had indeed produced – on the morning of the 7th day in court….long after Mr. Bow’s cross examination had finished so he cannot even be cross examined as to the content within them. And Dr. Baglow cannot testify to anything about Mr. Bow’s side of the conversation, as he is not Mr. Bow.

Nice, non?

OK, so Dr. Baglow had finally disclosed the emails from the requested time period on the morning of the 7th day of court….and he even visibly hedged when describing the emails, saying these are the emails from this time period ‘that he thought were relevant’ – immediately raising in me the question whether there were others that the defense might deem relevant but he did not  and so they would not have been disclosed…but I guess that is just my literal Aspie mind!!!

It was during Dr. Baglow’s cross examination by Connie Fournier regarding these late-disclosed-emails (which she had only 50 minutes to review before having to cross examine him on them!!!)  that I reflected on Dr. Baglow’s past as a high-ranking member of PSAC (that’s pronounced P. S. A. C. – Dr. Baglow is not fond of the usual ‘Pee-sack’ pronunciation and testified so in court earlier), a behemoth of a public sector union.  I could juxt picture him in labour negotiations, sticking to his line, appearing reasonable and affable (he can be incredibly charming), and making the most unreasonable labour demands sound like reasonable, middle-of-the-road compromises.

Aside:

This is, again, my literal Aspie mind at work here, but…it seems to me that if a group of organizations has to specifically be exempted from being charged under the racketeering laws, then they are (by definition) a form of legalized racketeering.

 Now had we had a market system (instead of the fascistic crony-capitalism system we actually have now – and I am using the word fascistic in its core meaning:  the collusion of government, big business and big labour against the rest of society), this would be self-correcting in the private sector:  if the labour unions raise labour costs to an unsustainable level, the company goes bankrupt and a correction occurs.

But, in the public sector, unsustainable labour costs get passed down to the taxpayer until the society itself becomes bankrupt and collapses.

That is why I consider public sector union to be the cancer which is weakening our society and hastening its demise.

And, I say this as someone who had been a member of both a private and public sector unions…I’ve see the rot from the inside!!!

In my defense, I was young and when I learned the truth, I took a lower-paying non-unionized job…and felt the cleaner for it!  After all, we Aspies like the laws to apply to everyone equally… As my favourite philosopher of the 20th century once said:  a person’s a person, no matter how small!

In other words, I was admiring Dr. Baglow’s self control and ability to be completely non-pulsed and to appear relaxed even as clear contradictions to his sworn testimony were pointed out.  I could certainly not handle it with such grace…

But, not Dr. Baglow!

Cool as a cucumber, he stuck to his line that all the comments had disappeared in November 2010 and he was positively baffled that the defendants could access them as late as March and/or April 2011!  Not only could he not explain that discrepancy to them, he would have been glad had someone could explain it to him – after all, he testified, he is technologically quite ignorant…

 

When Madam Justice Polowin had a question about IP addresses, Dr. Baglow was very helpful to the court and correctly explained in great detail some very technical aspects of how the internet protocol worked – he spoke with the ease of an expert going over familiar ground and I was very impressed.

But, I digress…

Once the comments had stopped being visible (for whatever reason and at whatever time period) on the internet, the defense had asked for them in disclosure.

From what I understand, after a lot of hum-ing and haw-ing, a TEXT file with tens of thousands of comments, interspersed with code and completely devoid of context (i.e. missing such details like which posts they were in response to, other comments in their thread and their position in that thread – these had been completely stripped out).

As it was a text file, it was not possible to convert it to an actually usable format….

Dr. Baglow explained that they had submitted the comments in that format ‘in order to help the defense’…

Aside:  an unimportant observation… Whenever Dr. Baglow is about to say something particularly patronizing or obfuscating – especially to Connie Fournier – he takes a moment, tilts his head back, glares down his nose at Connie, and only then speaks.  I have no idea why, but it is a definite pattern…

It seems that Connie Fournier had not considered this to ‘be helpful’ and thought it an attempt at sabotaging the defense – and she objected to it.

From what I gather, she objected most vociferously!

It then (if I understood Dr. Baglow correctly) still took Dr. Baglow/Mr. Bow a couple of weeks to produce the comments in a format that was sortable and workable with.  Indeed, Connie Fournier had produced a sample page showing how the comments (as Disqus files) were sortable and searchable.

Now that I have explained a little bit about the background of ‘the comments’, I can return to Connie’s cross of Dr. Baglow.

Connie had singled out one email in particular – dated, if I am not mistaken (please correct me if I am), April 3rd, 2011 – that appeared to be a ‘test comment’….since the word ‘test’ or ‘testing’ appeared on it and it had the identifier of having come either from Dr. Baglow himself or from someone who had his administrative identifiers.  Once she established the date of the comment, entered the content, and demonstrated the identifier, Dr. Baglow claimed to have absolutely zero idea of how this could possibly have happened.

He was positively baffled – and looked up to the ceiling as he asserted so.

Well, well, well…

It seems that in one of the emails between the two of them – but only disclosed on the morning of the 7th day of the originally 3-day court hearings – Dr. Baglow had sent Mr. Bow his administrative id and password.

And the email came just before the time/date stamp of the ‘test comment’ from, I believe, April 3rd, 2011…

Now, if the plaintiff and his IT guy were testing the appearance of comments in 2011, why would they believe them to have disappeared in November of 2010?!?!?

As they say – the plot thickens!!!

Before the significance of the ‘gotcha’ could sink in on all present, Dr. Baglow laughed heartily and in a jovial manner informed all in the courtroom that he had since changed this password!

Madam Justice Polowin smiled indulgently and assured him that she has no intentions of using that password to access his blog…

I must admit, the deflection was skillfully executed – and again, in my mind, I was picturing Dr. Baglow sitting at a labour negotiations table.

Let me end here.  There is very little more to come – some more of my observations and, perhaps, something about the pleasant conversations Dr. Baglow and I have enjoyed during some of the breaks.

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 4

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 was going to be written up later, but….  As I was writing up the background needed to accurately portray the events of day 7 (parts 4 and up), I realized that I am describing much of the material that came out on day 5 and that a separate write up would be redundant.

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly.

Following the break (more about that later), Connie Fournier had a chance to cross examine Dr. Baglow regarding some emails he had JUST disclosed to her that morning.  If this seems confusing (given that this has been dragging on for years), let me back up a lot and paint the situation:

One of the ‘bones of contention’ – and a source of huge frustration to the Fourniers – was the disclosure of emails between Dr. Baglow’s technical specialist, Mr. Bow, and Dr. Baglow during the time period when the comments from his old blog had disappeared from visibility on the internet.

Even more background information is needed, or this will not make any sense.  And, I admit freely that my understanding is limited and I apologize for any errors I make.  If you spot them, please, let me know and I will publish the correction!!!  I’d rather be corrected than stay in error any day!!!

Dr. Baglow used to have ‘blogspot’ host his blog – which meant that the word ‘blogspot’ would appear in the middle of his blog’s address.  Online, he had befriended Mr. Bow, who does some IT stuff as his hobby – and Mr. Bow eventually convinced Dr. Baglow to have his blog moved over to Mr. Bow’s server.  Not only would he get a better service, Mr. Bow would get him an address for his blog that would not contain the server name on it.

Aside:  why he would go about it in such a complicated manner is beyond me. All he had to do to get a domain name for his blog without the word ‘blogger’ in it (a few dollars a year) and use a pointer, so that the ‘non-blogger-name-displaying address would be visible and the ‘blogger’ bit be hidden:  no migrating or headaches from lost comments necessary!  But, of course, that would not bring Mr. Bow income for hosting the site, so, perhaps, he might not have mentioned this easy alternative…

For quite some time after Dr. Dawg’s blog had been ‘migrated over’ to the new server (with all the posts but without the old comments, which were in a difficult format), the old blog and all the comments for the posts were still visible on the internet.

According to Connie Fournier, that is – something Dr. Baglow bitterly disputes.

Connie Fournier and Barbara Kulaszka (BK), Mark Fournier’s lawyer, were looking through these comments on the old blog because they believed that much of the material they needed for their defense was contained in these very comments.  According to my understanding (highly imperfect) of what Connie Fournier claims, she and BK were in the very process of looking at them one fine day in the spring of 2011 when suddenly, all these comments went ‘poof!’ and disappeared.

Or, perhaps, were disappeared…

If they ‘had been disappeared’ by the plaintiff or his agents at his direction (as opposed to just ‘disappeared’), it seems to me that this would be a very bad thing indeed….  Something called ‘despoliation’ – or, if I understand, willful destruction of evidence.

Dr. Baglow, of course, most vigorously maintains that the comments had NOT ‘been disappeared’ but simply were not visible on the new site due to a technical glitch and, as far as he is aware, they had also disappeared (not ‘been disappeared’) from the old blog, which he insist on calling ‘the transitional blog’ but admits it is identical to the old blog, except for the colourscheme…..and, of course, it lacks the comments.

As Dr. Baglow had had his blog moved from blogger to Mr. Bow’s server in November 2010, he insists that all comments also disappeared (due to said technical glitch – which was endlessly gone over and over on day 5 of the case – and since I am explaining it here, it now seems redundant to write that day up separately…) in November 2010.

Ms. Fournier insists she was browsing through them online in the spring of 2011.  I am not certain of the exact dates, but the 30th of March and 3rd of April 2011 kept coming up as the timeframe when the comments were visible online and when they disappeared.

Or were disappeared.

Not my call….

So, in discovery, the defense asked for all the emails between Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow from this time period to be disclosed (I am not certain of how it was phrased, but, I cannot help but have an impression that spring 2011 was specifically mentioned).

Dr. Baglow had indeed disclosed a slew of emails between himself and Mr. Bow – but from November/December 2010.  When questioned about why he had disclosed emails from the wrong time period, Dr. Baglow became nastily condescending and said (and I am paraphrasing) that he just thought  the defendants were too stupid to realize when the comments had disappeared, so he had thought to help them and provided them with the emails from the ‘right’ time period.

And he stuck to that line.

At least, that is my most humble recollection  and my most imperfect understanding of the events and the testimony regarding them.  If I got something wrong, it is not intentional and I would respectfully request that if you can, please do let me know so that I may correct my posts.  Thank you.

More coming soon!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 3

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 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

Day 6 is here.

Day 7 part 1 is here and part 2 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.

 

Following up on Dr. Baglow’s ‘uncivil’ language regarding Kate McMillan, Mr. Frankel brought up Dr. Baglow’s testimony that he believes in being ‘uncivil towards the uncivil’.  In my never-humble-opinion, this was a low point for Dr. Baglow….being shown to have been ‘uncivil’ to Kate McMillan even after she had been so ‘civil’ to him!

It was at this point that the judge noted that the level of sarcasm on the blog posts she had read was incredibly high…and she questioned Dr. Baglow if all the blogs were like this.  He explained that no, not all were – for example, some of the anthropological blogs he frequents, even though they address controversial topics, they maintain an academic level of discourse.

Then we got into the Godwin’s Law…the discussion was predictable, as was the redirect regarding it.

Following that bit, Mr. Frankel went on to demonstrate that Dr. Baglow did not object to much more reputation-damaging statements than the impugned words, such as  being called ‘a shill for Hezbollah’ and ‘traitor’.  Dr. Baglow’s response to all this was ‘context’…as in, had it been in ‘different context’, he would have taken legal action against them, too.

Next Mr. Frankel concentrated on the difference between Dr. Baglow’s blog posts and his editorial pieces for the National Post (having convinced an editor by the name of Kelly McParland (sp?) that having a leftist’s POV would enrich the publication).

It seemed quite clear to me what he Mr. Frankel was doing (if, indeed, he was doing what I think he was doing):  he was demonstrating that the submission process to a newspaper – even an editorial – is much different than a blog post or comment for a blog post.

It also seemed to me that Dr. Baglow also saw where this was going and was doing his best to avoid going there…like saying that ‘he knew how an op-ed ought to differ from a blog post so there was no need for anyone else to make changes to it’ and so on.

Yet, Mr. Frankel got Dr. Baglow to admit that the comments to his blog were not read by him until after they had been posted – in other words, he had no ‘editorial  control’ over the comments posted on his site – while the op-ed pieces he submitted to National Post were not only groomed by himself to adhere to a different standard than a blog post would, but that they had to be vetted by the editor prior to publication.

To me – this is the key difference between the blogosphere/discussion forums and actual online publications:  the ‘newspapers’, even in their online versions, have editorial control of what they publish because they read and OK everything PRIOR to publication, while blog comments and discussion forum posts/comments are NOT read/vetted by the administration prior to publication.  Indeed, in the case of a discussion forum with some 10,000 users (like, say, Free Dominion), vetting all posts/comments by the administrators would not only be physically impossible, but leaving everything in a vetting cue would prevent the ‘online conversations’ which define the very nature of debate on discussion forums.

 Therefore, it is (and I am extrapolating where I think this argument was going) it is ridiculous to hold people who have not seen a comment/post to the same standard of responsibility for it as those who have read and vetted it.

 

The next bit of time was taken up with discussing one of Dr. Baglow’s least favourite politicians… Vic Toews.

Frankly, I did not really grasp the significance of all this – except to unmask the visceral hate Dr. Baglow has the capacity for.  I really did not understand how this bit impacted on the matter in hand…except that Dr. Baglow’s hate-on for this politician resulted in him posting some nasty stuff about him – stuff one might argue was more slanderous than ‘the impugned words’….  As in, it demonstrated Dr. Baglow had both written and published more ‘libel-worthy’ things about Vic Toews than had ever been posted anywhere about him self.

Dr. Baglow’s not entirely convincing response was that had he been called on it, he would have cowered in a corner and backed down with a generous apology.  (I am paraphrasing somewhat…but I found the answer to be less than convincing because Dr. Baglow would not look up while he spoke until almost the end and then hurriedly added that, of course, he would only do it for statements he thought were truly potentially defamatory – and that then he’d re-phrase them but, of course, he would not take down and apologize for frivolous claims…)

I know I am going over this in a LOT of detail – but, I do think that the CCLA’s participation as ‘a friend of the court’ in this matter is very, very important.  The outcome of this case will, after all, determine the freedoms all of us enjoy (or not) on the internet!!!

The next bit struck a little bit close to home for the CCLA:  supporting freedom of speech was being criticized as ‘enabling’ hate speech….

Yet, Mr. Frankel was able to turn it inside out and, after he got Dr. Baglow to admit that supporting free speech – even for neo-Nazis (as per some people’s definitions) could be perceived (and was repeatedly labelled as such by his ideological comrades, as well as Dr. Baglow himself) as ‘support for neo-Nazis’ (or other such ‘hate’ groups), then support for Omar Khadr and his ilk could, reasonably, be seen as ‘supporting’ – or, at least ‘giving aid and support/comfort’ to the Islamists/Taliban that Omar Khadr was working with. What’s good for the goose…

It was very well done and it revealed clearly demonstrated the ‘if one, then the other’ bit here.  I fully expect it to come out in Mr. Frankel’s closing argument.

I suspect this highlights the ‘important’ bits of Mr. Frankel’s cross examination.  I know, my write-up is verbose, but it took surprisingly little time – just over an hour!

The court took a little (less than an hour) break at this point. And, so shall I – leaving the rest for another post!

John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 7, part 2

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 will be written up later, as writing it up may affect the trial…

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.

We re-join the action as Mr. Frankel, ‘the CCLA guy’ is cross examining Dr. Baglow.

Much of the next bit of cross examination was designed to demonstrate to the judge just how internet forums worked.  The post ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ was used as an example…

In is my strong impression that Dr. Baglow feels really, really badly about having used this phrase.  Not because it insults right-wingers, but because as an avowed blue-collar people defender he is supposed to be protective of our agricultural workers (I do believe this was the turn of phrase he used) and using the negative stereotype of the rural farmers as a smear against his ideological enemies comes dangerously close to lifting the proverbial curtain and revealing the champagne socialist behind it…

It is also my strong impression that Mr. Frankel noticed Dr. Baglow’s discomfort with having so bared his prejudices against our rural neighbours and agricultural workers and that this is precisely why he selected the ‘Yokels with pitchforks’ post as an example.

It is also my strong impression that Dr. Baglow understood perfectly well that Mr. Frankel saw through him and that that is why he elected to use this post as an example of ‘nesting’, as he (Dr. Baglow, that is) flushed and chuckled to try to hide his discomfort.

As I said before – look out for Mr. Frankel, he WILL become a superstar of our legal system!

This is the atmosphere in which Mr. Frankel’s cross examination of Dr. Baglow took place.

Aside:

When Ms. Kulaszka cross examined him, D. Baglow was relaxed and calm.

When Connie Fournier examined him, he assumed a patronizing drawl, an air of impatient indulgence towards a particularly dense student as he alternately said he was baffled by the facts that things he had testified could not have happened had actually happened, explained his technical arrogance ignorance and, for a man in his prime , he certainly experienced a lot of memory lapses.  But, he kept his cool.

When under cross by Mr. Frankel, Dr. Baglow’s cheeks were flushed, he looked down a lot of the time and he seemed very uncomfortable in his seat.

Other blogs and bloggers were raised.  Two that came up a lot were Kathy Shaidle, the Canadian poetess and the grande dame of Canadian blogosphere, for whom Dr. Baglow had visceral contempt (which I found surprising, as she is an acclaimed poetess and Dr. Baglow has his doctorate in poetry – I would have thought there might  have been room for some common ground there) and Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals (SDA).

Disclosure:  when I first started blogging, it was Kathy Shaidle who reached out to me, even though we are not of the same ideological bend, welcomed me to the blogosphere and encouraged me to blog…as well as introduced me to several other bloggers.  It seemed to me that she did not care about my ideology but thought that the more varied opinions on the Canadian blogosphere there are, the better for everyone.  For her kindness and encouragement, I will always be grateful to her.

As for SDA – I am aware of the blog but, as I am not a fan of the format, I am really not aware of what goes on there.  I just don’t have the time to follow more than a handful of blogs myself.  Yet, after what I’ve heard of Kate McMillan in court, I just might stop by there and check SDA out!

It seemed that the very mention of Kathy Shaidle unsettled Dr. Baglow so much, the judge requested that Mr. Frankel go with the Kate McMillan example – which, with a satisfied smile (I saw that as he turned away from the judge and witness to permit himself that brief smile) he was happy to do. I suspect he wanted to go there all along….as that is where some rather unpleasant ‘stuff’ about Dr. Baglow came out.

A few years ago, Dr. Baglow’s partner suffered an illness, from which she eventually died.  Dr. Baglow was her support, her rock – and was understandably devastated by the loss of the partner he loved.  He has my deepest sympathies for his suffering and loss, which I am certain he still feels every day.

One of the people who expressed empathy to Dr. Baglow and his partner as they were undergoing these trying times was Kate McMillan of SDA.

Mr. Frankel established, through Dr. Baglow’s statements, that Kate McMillan had put aside all partisanship and supported Dr. Baglow on a human level when he needed it most.  For his part Dr. Baglow said he was grateful to her – and looked quite somber and sad as he seemed to know where the questioning was heading… It seems that even though she supported him in his hour of need –  human to human – Dr. Baglow had no difficulty in objectifying her as an ideological enemy, with no regard for her humanity, and calling her some truly vicious, unpleasant things.

Dr. Baglow explained that this was because they had had a ‘falling out’…

Sad, so sad…

And I suspect this was not lost on Madam Justice Polowin…

More installments coming soon!

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