Dr. Baglow vs Freedom of Speech: September 16, 2014 part 1

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.

September 15th, 2014 account is here.  Roger Smith presented his side of the story (defense) and was cross examined.

September 16th, 2014, was the second day of the trial phase where the defense gets to present their case.  Today was the day that, as Minister Jason Kenney referred to her, ‘the famous Connie Fournier’ took her place on the stand.

I got to the courthouse nice and early.  There was quite a commotion in front of the Courthouse – but for all the wrong reasons…  Instead of focusing on this historic case, which will affect every single Canadian’s internet presence, the media was all in a tizzy because of some doofus senator

Having made my way past the hoards of reporters and cameras positioned in front of the courthouse (as all cameras are banned not just in the courtrooms, but everywhere within the courthouse) and waited with baited breath, in front of Courtroom #20 at the Elgin Street Courthouse in Ottawa.

I was rather taken aback by the unusually large group of people also waiting in front of Courtroom #20… I was sure Madam Justice Polowin would try to stay in the same courtroom, but these people looked unrelated to this case.  At 9 am, they all filed into the courtroom – much to my bewilderment (yes it does not take much to bewilder me….).

It turns out that Madame Justice Polowin also had this child custody case that needed to be heard and she had scheduled it before the Baglow vs. Freedom of Speech case I was there to cover…  You have to admire a judge that will juggle multiple cases at once:  it may not look so on the surface, but, in order to ‘do justice’ to a case (if you will excuse the turn of phrase), a judge has to read TONS of paper (almost literally!)….and to be up to speed on multiple cases at once would require such a sharp focus that I must admit I am awed by judges who make it look effortless.

(And – make no mistake – Madam Justice Polowin takes copious notes, more so than any other judge I have seen, and she is totally on top of ‘stuff’!!!)

By 10 am, the earlier case people had filed out of the courtroom and we all filed in – with the judge still sitting at the top of the room. And she looked ready for the day!!!

Dr. Baglow had exchanged his blue shirt for a cream one – otherwise, he either has multiples of the same dashing black suit or he wore the same one as yesterday.  He also wore his signature black riding boots with the adorable silver trimmings – and, for the record, they were spotless and shining!

The ever-charismatic Mark Fournier, who had worn a cream shirt with yesterday, had  exchanged it for a blue one – but much darker one than Dr. Baglow had worn yesterday. Ok, ok, I am a sucker for patterns…but it did not look like the two had swapped shirts!

Roger Smith had exchanged his shirt for a green one, otherwise he looked  the same as his dashing, distinguished and elegant self as yesterday…

The lawyers looked their ‘selves’ – in their lawyer robes and black shoes to match…difficult to write up their fashion sense since they have to wear these traditional outfits which make them look the same day after day….

Now let me get to the star of the day – and I do mean star!!!

Connie Fournier wore a very flattering dress:  power red, textured knit, with cap sleeves…fitted through her bust through to her narrow waist (accentuated by a thin, shiny black belt) and with a playful ‘twirl’ bit at the bottom, which was just below her knees. Her outfit was perfected by her perfect black pumps – not too high, but high enough….the heel being not too thick, neither a ‘slutty thin’…  She looked perfect – a force of nature!!!

(OK – I wex a bit poetic here….but, if Connie had had a professional ‘dresser’ or ‘stylist’, they could not have done a better job of turning her out for court today!)

[IF I were to characterize the defense team, Connie Fournier would be Roger Daltrey, Roger Smith would be Pete Townshend, Mark Fournier would be Keith Moon and Barbara Kulaszka would be John Entwistle...just saying...]

As well-dressed as she was for the court, Connie Fournier’s mind was in even better a shape or state of readiness…  But, that is Connie!!!  No matter what situation life hurls her into, she is there, ready, brilliant – and smiling to boot!  There are very few people on this Earth whom I admire as much as I admire Connie Fournier!

The day started out with Connie Fournier on the witness stand, testifying to her own defense.

I was there for much – but not all – of Connie’s testimony – and I had to leave before the cross examination started:  my apologies to you, my readers, but I am not a lawyer or paid to report on things, and my other-life-pressures have put a limit on the time I can spend in the courtroom…  I just wish there were other people, better versed in legal matters, who could/would report on this momentous case….but, alas, there seems to be a dearth of them, so you, my dear readers, are stuck with my limited and incomplete observations.  My apologies go to you!

Connie had testified to many of the things we had heard in the courtroom before – but presenting them from her unique and informed point of view.

For example, it seemed funny to me just how Dr. Baglow seemed to shrink in his seat as she testified about the many and various instances where Dr. Baglow, using his Dr. Dawg personna, smeared Connie Fournier as a ‘white supremacist’ and a Nazi sympathizer – all the while as Connie Fournier’s metis husband was sitting in the spectator section of the courtroom…because, them ‘far right’ ‘white-supremacists’ and ‘Neo-Nazis’ go out of their way to marry people with a Native-Canadian background!!!

(Ok, I may be a ‘danged’ immigrant myself, but, through my hubby, my children share in the Ojibwe bloodline, so I am particularly sensitive to this issue….)

Let me just stress that I am convinced Ms. Fournier is neither a ‘white supremacist’, nor a ‘Neo-Nazi':  not ‘just’ because she is married to a man who is a metis, but also because her father is an evangelical minister and she takes her Christian roots very seriously – including the ‘love thy neighbour’ and ‘all human lives are sacred’ bits.  I’m just waiting for the so-called ‘progressives’ to try to pain Mark Fournier as ‘a white metis’….

…more coming soon…

 

September 18th, 2014  – the day of the expert testimony Part 1 is here.

In Defense of Absolute Freedom of Speech: The Principle of Self Ownership

Oh, my, where to start!

Something that seems so self evident to me appears to be beyond even consideration by the majority of people in today’s society….to the point that people who hold the same convictions as I are presumed not to exist any longer.

That is sad, very sad…

So, please, do let me present to you my reasoning for why ‘Freedom of Speech’ ought to be unfettered and absolute.

If you indulge me, I would like to present several completely different lines of reasoning – all from ‘first principles’, all logical, and all leading to the inevitable conclusion that speech MUST indeed be absolutely unfettered.

First line of reasoning:  from the principle of self-ownership.

Each and every person owns his or her self.

Body, mind and soul.

This is the core principle on which our civilization is built – to reject this core principle is to reject our society, our form of civilization.  And, since this argument is being made for conduct within this civilization, it is ‘core’ – a fundamental and irrevocable ‘starting point’ for our logical journey.

It is immoral and wrong for one person to own another, which is why we have abolished slavery.

With the principle of self ownership comes the responsibility for absolute accountability for one’s actions.

What this means is that an individual is 100% responsible for one’s own actions.

Regardless of what an individual is exposed to, he or she is absolutely responsible for their conduct as a response to it.

This means that no matter how much somebody else may incite you or lies to you, you and you alone are responsible for acting – or not – on that incitement or on those lies.

Yet, our current laws are written so as to put partial blame for ‘incitement’ or ‘lie’ on the speaker, rather than on the ‘actor’.  This is extremely dangerous because it fails to build into our citizens an appropriate sense of self-responsibility, it infantilizes our citizenry – and we must fight against this most vigorously.

For an infantilized citizen is no longer capable of being self-responsible and rejects the self accountability and independence of self-ownership…

In other words, failing to be accountable for one’s actions without blaming others for ‘incitement’ or ‘lies’ (or, indeed, ‘hate speech’) surrenders one’s mind and soul to another:  in violation of the principle of self-ownership.

Which will necessarily mean the end of our civilization, since our civilization, as stated at the beginning of this argument, is founded on self-ownership.

I have presented this argument first because it is the most ‘theoretical’ and principle based, in my never-humble-opinion.  I would welcome you, my dear reader, to try to find flaws in the logic of this reasoning and present them to me for discussion because I really cannot see how this particular line of reasoning could be faulted.

Many of you might accept this particular argument ‘in theory’ – something that might be wonderful to implement in a utopian society, but impossible to implement in a  real-life society of blood-sweat-and-tears humanity.  That is indeed a fair objection, to which my only retort would be that this is what we ought to be aiming, that this ideal ought to be what we strive for – and not start out from the very beginning by lowering the standards to such an extreme low that the very existence of those of us who hold this principled point of view is doubted or denied.

This I lament as even many ‘free speechers’ start out the debate by saying ‘nobody thinks freedom of speech ought to be absolute, so let’s start talking about where to draw the lines’…

NO!!!!

Freedom of speech MUST be absolute and any and all ‘lines’ limiting it MUST BE ERASED!!!  Anything less is an existential threat to our very civilization and the abdication of the principle of self-ownership!!!

*   *   *

There are less theoretical and more practical reasons – yet all principled – for why freedom of speech ought to be absolute.  I shall attempt to present just a few of them (as an exhaustive listing would take a lifetime to compile!) over the next few weeks and hopefully we can engage in a vigorous discussion.

For now, I’d like to start here, from the core principle of self ownership.

Your thoughts?

Chilled in Alaska: Student Newspaper Investigated for Nearly a Year for Protected Speech

FIRE is indeed a force for good!

 

Dr. Baglow vs Freedom of Speech: September 18, 2014 – Part 1

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.

September 15th, 2014 account is here.  Roger Smith presented his side of the story (defense) and was cross examined.

September 16th, 2014, was the second day of the trial phase where the defense gets to present their case.  Today was the day that, as Minister Jason Kenney referred to her, ‘the famous Connie Fournier’ took her place on the stand.

September 17th, 2014, the third day of this phase of the trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer finished his cross examination of Connie Fournier and Mark Fournier took the stand to both testify and be cross examined.

Today, the 18th of September, 2014, was a most tantalizingly interesting day in  court!!!  Today was the day that the court-appointed ‘internet expert’ was due to testify!!!

I must admit, I was terribly curious to meet this ‘political blogosphere expert’!!!

If you have been following my reporting on the legal encroachments on our unalienable freedom of speech for a while, you may note that over the years (!) of my observations in the courtrooms, this will have been the first time ever to hear ‘expert testimony’.

Exciting indeed!

So excited, I completely forgot to note down what shirt Roger Smith was wearing today – and as the days bled together, all I can swear to is that he wore tan slacks and a blue blazer (I could see those even from behind…).  My apologies.

Connie Fournier wore charcoal trousers with a narrow pinstripe, sensible square-toed shoes, a pretty tan blouse with bright red poppies and a matching blood red cardigan with shiny gold nautical-style buttons.  For jewelry, she wore a simple, elegant circle of tiny diamonds and pearls suspended on a golden chain.

She and I entered the courtroom a little early (the air was thick with expectations – you can’t blame us!), about 20 minutes before ten am when the court was due to reconvene.  Madam Court Clerk was already at her post, busily getting things ready for the day.  (We were back to the original Court Clerk – the same lady from the Spring who tried to persuade Dr. Baglow that he should like cats and who didn’t want to be blogged or Tweeted about.)

Our entry into the courtroom was an intolerable intrusion into these preparations.  Chastised, Connie and I took the hint and extramuralized velociotously.  This seemed to put Madam Clerk into a good mood, as later, she happily joked about tossing out somebody’s cigarettes and chattered about her background, both legal and pre-legal.  Mr. Frenkel turned on his boyish charm and Madam Court Clerk just melted!

Oh, yes – Mr. Frenkel from the CCLA was back in the courtroom and no longer stood in for by the nice young woman (I hope this is an OK turn of phrase).  He wore the traditional lawyer robes, but differed from the other lawyers present in that he wore very crisp gray pants, instead of the traditional black ones.  His youthful face was framed by glasses with serious, dark frames which added gravitas to his appearance.  He really is a brilliant young lawyer – a heavy hitter by any means of assessment!

Dr. Baglow sported a cream, opened necked shirt which contrasted strikingly with his black suit and his ubiquitous riding boots, also black, with adorable silver trimmings.  His watch was also silver, while the frames o his glasses looked to me a gun-metal coloured more than silver.  In the left lapel of his suit jacket, he wore a silver pin – perhaps some abstract maple leaf?  Dr. Baglow truly is a very handsome man, at the height of his strength.

The charismatic Mark Fournier wore his navy, pin-striped suit with a navy shirt.  His chiseled cheekbones were flushed with expectation and, when they thought nobody was looking, he and Connie held hands.  Sorry, ladies, this one is hopelessly in love with his wife!

Jeremy, a frequent spectator at these hearings, was back in the courtroom and everybody – on both sides of this lawsuit – was happy to see him.  Dr. Baglow even chatted with him shortly (they are both history buffs) and, I am afraid I must report that in the courtroom, Dr. Baglow used the ‘B’ word:  the one word which is still beyond the pale in the civilized parts of the Universe.  Luckily, the judge was not yet in and nobody else seemed to notice that word (or, perhaps, its signifacance)…

Now, Otawa is the Capital of Canada.

If it were up to Justin Trudeau, Ottawa would be the weed Capital of Canada.

As it is, our esteemed Mayor Watson and his eco policies have turned Ottawa into the ragweed Capital of Canada.

And, right now, we are at the height of the ragweed season.  Thus, everybody who has to speak for any length of time is struggling not to wheeze and cough all over the place.  This requires frequent sips of water and everyone is struggling to have a fresh supply of cough-suppressant candies, the consumption to which Madam Justice Polowing had excluded from the usual food/drink ban in the courtroom.

Which brings me to another little detail in the courtroom:  all the tables have an ample supply of silver carafes of water and everybody (well, the important people at the front of the room) has access to white styrofoam cups from which they can sip this water.

Except, of course, the judge.  She (or he, as it may happen) always has a classy tall glass filled with ice water on her high table!

This is yet another reminder of the status in the courtroom:  the ruler from on high gets the civilized glass cup, the courtiers up front (if you excuse the pun) get to sip the nectar from the styrofoam cups … and us peasants in the gallery don’t.

Interesting observation:  Dr. Baglow sits at the front table (which faces the Judge, the Court Clerk and Recorder and witness box) with his lawyer, while Mark Fournier, equally a participant in this, lets his lawyer represent him at the table and humbly sits in the spectator are with the rest of us peasants.  I have long wondered why this is so…and why this seems unquestioningly accepted by everyone, even when there was not enough room at the front table…

Oh, my – I’m rambling.  My apologies, my indulgent readers!  Let me get right down to the court expert!!!

The expert turns out to be none other than Dr. Greg Elmer.

A quick google search shows he is quite well known and respected, as you can see here (with a ‘roguish-grin’ picture), here, here and here.

Dr. Elmer looks to be in his early-to-mid forties, a competent, intelligent and gentle man.  His hair is cropped very short, according to the latest ‘almost bald’ style and his eyes are quick to smile, the rest of his face following quickly.  His handshake (yes, I introduced myself when he looked at me inquiringly as I looked him up-and-down and scribbled on my notepad (a new one, on sale at Staples – with red lines and a pretty shell-design in one corner – I am a sucker for stationery and have been, from my earliest childhood…and mid-September, one can get awesome deals on stationery!) furiously – so I thought I’d better say ‘Hi!’) was cool and confident.

His clothing was very dark and classy and blended harmoniously.  A black suit (and shoes and socks, of course), the shirt was a deep blackish-blue and his tie was ever so slightly brighter/warmer blackish-bluish-purple.  The overall effect was very pleasing and classy.

At the start of the day, Dr. Elmer looked a little apprehensive – as if he were not quite sure how all this was going to go down.  Don’t misunderstand me – he did not seem worried or scared  – just apprehensive and vigilant as intelligent people tend to be when they face a situation new to them:  trying to drink it all in and analyze it and do their best in a new situation.

Madam Justice Polowin breezed into Courtroom #20 at approximately 9 minutes after ten am and worked hard to put Dr. Elmer at ease.  (Madam Court Clerk recognized her footfall right away, as soon as the staccato of her high heels became audible, and alerted us to her coming from ‘behind the scenes’.)

She looked crisp and fresh – in her billowing black judges’ robe, crisp white collar, her look is accentuated by a red sash that marks her out as a judge.  And when I say ‘sash’ I mean a diagonal thing like ‘Miss America’ or ‘Miss Universe’ would wear – but red, substantial-woolen-looking and with no words on it.  Today, her look was accentuated by delicate pearl stud earrings instead of the earlier delicate gold ones.

Madam Justice Polowin seems to like Mr. Frenkel – who is from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which, in turn, is an impartial intervenor in this case – and she relies quite a bit on his advice.  No, not all the time, but the Judge seems to trust him, as he is not part of either side in this debate and so he can be more impartial, his only goal being a good and just legal precedent in Canada, with no financial or otherwise vested interest in one or the other party winning.  Plus he comes across as an incredibly intelligent man, wise beyond his years.

Thus, Madam Justice Polowin entrusted Mr. Frankel with the admin bits of entering Dr. Elmer’s CV and particulars of how he had been engaged to come to court into the record, then jumping through the necessary legal hoops of having him formally qualified as ‘a court expert’.  It started out slowly, but, once done, Madam Justice was pleased to tell Dr. Elmer that now, he can add to his CV that he is a qualified court expert (the exact wording of his ‘expertise’, as per Madam Polowin, was so convoluted only a real-life-lawyer could get it and I most certainly could not wrap my pen around it, but it was something like expert…blogosphere…social…media…communication…political…plus-plus-plus…).

The upshot of all this was that Dr. Elmer knows his stuff, is good in ‘new media’, internet, blogs, message boards etc. with special focus on politics and Canada.  He studied it, lives it, teaches it and researches all aspects of it.  He gets to be a TV ‘expert’ on it – plus he has published a lot, including in ‘peer reviewed’ thingies.

Big Dog!

The only bit about him I did not like was his casual use of the word ‘collaborative’/’collaborate’.  Where I come from, ‘collaborators’ are lined up against the wall and shot – and the ‘normalization’ of this word necessarily includes the normalization of the practice of ‘collaboration’…something that ought to be avoided by moral people everywhere….  Aside from this (and I know I am bucking the trend here – but I AM RIGHT), I liked this court expert a lot!

Aside:  Dr. Elmer testified that, ‘in collaboration with others’, he created a ‘scraper tool’ – a bit of technology that collects data about people from social media sites – my ‘NSA warnings’ went off on that….think ‘Person of Interest!’

The next bit of questions/answers (between Mr. Frankel, the Judge and Dr. Elmer) was about the specifics of this case.

Did Dr. Elmer look through the Free Dominion site and Dr. Dawg’s Blawg?

No, he did not – not specifically.  Because he thought it would have been prejudicial – so once notified, he avoided them, even if he was aware of them before.

The judge regretted that, a it limited her questioning to the ‘general’, not ‘specific’ bits….but agreed that for the optics, this was likely better.

A bit of back-and-forth, but, eventually, it all got worked out, Dr. Elmer’s report got accepted as evidence and ‘fact’ without needing to be read and all that kind of good stuff.  Which, in the legal order of things, brought us to the cross examination of the expert witness.

Mr. Burnet, the plaintiff’s lawyer, got the first crack at Dr. Elmer.

Now, I must qualify this:  as at mid-day every day for the next few months, I have an obligation – and so I had to leave at 5 to 10 minutes after 11 am.  I return to the courtroom as quickly as I can, but, it does mean that today, I only caught the beginning of Mr. Burnet’s cross examination, as well as all of Ms. Kulaszka’s (Mark Fournier’s lawyer) and Connie Fournier’s cross examinations.  For this, I do apologize – but, obligations do intrude on my ‘court time’! The best I can do is tell you, my dear readers, what I saw and heard.

Mr. Burnet started the cross examination ‘softly’, but got ‘tough’ rather quickly.  If I ‘got the drift’ of where he was going with his questions, it seemed to be about people being able to find things out about people who post opinions, etc., online.  As in, employers or potential employers often ‘google’ their employees or potential empoyees….can get into trouble, loose a job or not be offered one.

Dr. Elmer agreed – but in a qualified way.

As in, one can track if someone is tracking them online – but they would have to actively track it, have purchased metrics services, etc., which not everybody does.  Thus, some people may remain unaware of who searched them up on the interwebitudes and what they found – and may use the info.

As I absolutely had to leave, Mr. Burnet was just getting started on the Rehtaeh Parsons sad, sad story and trying to use her tragedy to ‘score points’ – something I found rather distasteful and a bit ‘cheap’.

[Edit:  I took out the last clumsy sentence, as it was speculative.]

 

 

 

 

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!!!

 

 

 

 

The Islamic State declared a New Caliphate: How This Affects Every Muslim in the World

To us, Westerners, it does not seem like a particularly big deal that ISIS/ISIL had pronounced the terrirories it now controls as a Capilhate and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (whatever  previous names he may have been know by) as a Caliph.

All right, let’s analyze  this, one bit at a time…

Al-Baghdadi simply means ‘from Baghdad’.

So, what does Abu Bakr mean?

It is obviously not the man’s birth name but rather a name he adopted in order to fit/further/support/explain the role he perceives himself (and others perceive him) to play.  Or, if you wish, the ‘mantle’ he had assumed.

Who was the original Abu Bakr?

The ‘original’ Abu Bakhr was the very first person outside of Muhammad’s family to become a Muslim – and he was the father of Muhammad’s child bride, Aisha.

To a person who is familiar with the history of early Islam, the above sentence is chock filled with meaning – so much so that a single little article may not do it justice…but, I will try!

The Early history of Islam is imbued with much meaning and allusions to it will convey many layers of meaning to those cognisant of it.  In order to even scratch the surface, I will need to ‘back up’ to the time of Muhammad himself.

Muhammad was born to a pre-eminent Meccan family.  His paternal grandfather was in control of the temple now know as the Kaaba.  It is now the most sacred site in Islam – the direction in which every Muslim prays.  Back then before Muhammad’s ministry, the Kaaba was a temple dedicated to many, many deities worshiped by the pagan Arabs – including the Moon God, Allah.

As the patriarch of the clan, Muhammad’s grandfather controlled access to the Kaaba temple – and much (if not all) of his income was generated from the fees paid by pilgrims who wished to visit the Kaaba.

Muhammad’s father was the son of this ‘gatekeeper’ of the Kaaba.

As a matter of fact, when Muhammad’s grandfather went to purchase Muhammad’s wife for his son, he saw another lovely woman in that family and purchased her for a wife for himself.  Therefore, Muhammed’s father married Muhamed’s mother in the same ceremony as his father married her kinswoman….and it is from this tradition that the tales of Muhammad’s unnaturally long gestation period come from…

Whatever the truth of the story, Muhammad was born long after his mother’s husband’s death – so long, in fact, that some people have questioned his parentage.  It seems that the worry about Muhmmed’s parentage was shared by Muhamed’s paternal grandfather….who refused to acknowledge Muhammed as being of his kin, prompting the teenage Muhammed’s excommunication from Mecca.  It was not until Muhammed’s paternal uncle officially adopted him that Muhammed was permitted to return to Mecca.

Once in Mecca, Muhammed caught the eye of his uncle’s employer, a wealthy widow named Khadija – who eventually married Muhammed.  

Prior to meeting Muhammed, Khadijah was in love with her cousin whom he believed to be the messenger from the one and only God.  Once she saw the young and handsome cattle-boy Muhammed, Khadija realized she was totally wrong and, afer she married Muhammad, she realized that it was really Muhammed who was the true prophet of the one and only God.

It took a few years of persuasion, but, eventually, the young Muhammed believed his wife (the first convert to Islam) that he was, indeed, special and chosen by God to be his Messenger!

Abu Bakhr, a wealthy merchant, was the first person outside the family to believe this and to embrace Muhammed as the prophet of the one and only God – thus becoming the first person outside the family to convert to Islam.  

When Muhammed told him that, in a dream, he was told that he is to marry Abu Bakhr’s six year-old daughter, Abu Bakhr first argued that she is too young, but, submitting to the will of God’s messenger, he eventually agreed.  

Unfortunately, at about the time of the betrothal, Abu Bakhr’s daughter, Aisha, fell ill and all her hair fell out.  So, Muhammed waited until she recovered and her hair grew back in before bedding her.

Aisha remained Muhammed’s favourite wife till his death.

Which is where the traditions ‘break path’, so to say.

BOTH traditions agree that Muhammed was ill, then felt better, lead Friday prayers, went to spent time with Aisha and then died.

According to Sunni Muslims, Muhammed had been poisoned by a Jewish woman who had served him a meal of poisoned mutton right after he had slaughtered her entire family and clan.  The Sunni believe she did this to test if he was just another King (who could be poisoned) or a true prophet (who could not – by the grace of God).  While he survived the immediate attack, the Sunnis believe Muhammed died as an after-effect of this poison.

The Shi’a Muslims, however, believe that being a true prophet of the one and only God, the poison given him by the Jewess as a test did not harm Muhammed at all. Rather, they believe that while Muhammed’s nephew and bodyguard was out of town, sent on a mission by Muhammed, Aisha killed him on the orders of her father, Abu Bakhr, so that he could assume the command of all the Muslims.

Indeed, there were many stories at about this time about faithful men in line to replace Muhammed as the leader of the Muslims being assassinated, one at a time, by the brothers of Aisha, so that her father could assume the reins of power and reign as the next Caliph.

Indeed, the very first war between the Muslims was about Abu Bakhr’s succession of Muhammed as Caliph…

Th Sunnis believe that Abu Bakhr was the rightful heir to Muhammed’s rule.

The Shi’as belive that Abu Bakhr was an usurper who had no right to power, but attempted to assassinate Muhammed’s rightful heirs in order to seize power for himself.

Whatever the truth may have been so many centuries ago is less relevant to today’s events than the traditions of these events, as told by both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims.

Today, considering the legends (and, perhaps, believing them to be true), adopting the name ‘Abu Bakr’ signals to Muslims that this person believes he is the rightful ruler of all of Islam (the Sunni bits, at least) who considers himself to he a true successor of Muhammed, with all that that implies.

Sure, it means death to all Shi’a Muslims as heretics – as well as all other non-orthodox Sunni followers of Islam.  According to this ‘Abu Bakhr tradition’ - anyone who did not acknowledge Abu Bakhr as the rightful successor of Muhammed and all followers of the forms of Islam that sprung from this must be exterminated as heretics, even ore dangerous than outright infidels…

Which means war in the middle east…

So – why is this important to the people outside the middle east?!?!?

It has to do with the very concept of ‘Caliph’.

A ‘Caliph’ is not just the ruler of a particular geographic area.

A ‘Caliph’ is the spiritual and political ruler of every Muslim in the world!

That is agreed upon by all the schools of Sharia – Islamic jurisprudence.

Thus, a Caliph erases the differences between different forms of Islam – regardless of Shi’a, Sunni, Ahmadi or anything else, once there is a proclaimed Caliph, all Muslims owe HIM and ONLY HIM their allegiance and obedience.

Regardless where on Earth they live, what local jurisdictions they are living under:  once there is a Caliph, Sharia dictates all Muslims must obey the Caliph before the laws of the land they happen to be living in.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may only control a small geographic area.  But, by having had himself declared a Caliph, he now commands the loyalty and obedience of all Sharia-adherent Muslims everywhere on this Earth.

THIS is why we, in the West, must draw a very pragmatic distinction between the Muslims who are immigrants to our lands, hoping to escape Sharia (and whom we must protect from their co-religionists) and the settlers/invaders who came here to try to enact Sharia law in our lands and thus make us conquered by Islam.

Make no mistake:  by having declared a Caliphate and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the new Caliph, militant Muslims have, in one move, turned Sharia-adherent Muslims in Western countries into enemy agents, whether they want to be or not!!!

 

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

 

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