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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom School: more panelists

On the weekend, I posted my little speech from the Freedom School.

My good friend Elsa’s much longer – but most excellent - speech is here.

I was part of the panel on Political Correctness:  in my never-humble-opinion, ‘Politically Correct speech is an example of the worst kind of ‘hate speech’.

Some of my co-panelists had quite excellent things to say, quite worthy of your attention.  (And, not all of my co-panelists’ speeches are out yet – editing takes time – but, here are the ones that are.)

Please note that Valerie Price, in her speech, calls attention to the plight of Free Dominion:

And, here is Janice Fiamengo, a professor at Ottawa University whose Ottawa speech last Friday had experienced such heckling…

Aside:  at that conference, Dr. Fiamenco and I had a most excellent discussion about the book ‘Reading Lollita in Teheran’ – we both loved it and I would recommend that book to everyone!!!

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

NOTICE:  this post discusses and assesses the testimony given by Mr. Bows, so, if any reader who is banned by the court from reading about Mr. Bow’s testimony until his own is finished comes across this post, they ought to leave this page right away in order not to breach the court’s order.

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.

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

Day 3, Wednesday, was the ‘broken-up day’:  Madam justice had a previous commitment for a 3 hour meeting smack dab in the middle of the day.  So, the court was scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30, then a bit of a break, then again from 1:30 to 5:00.  And, as I had commitments of my own which I had been neglecting due to the trial, I took the morning to try and get caught up on some of them.  So, I missed the morning hour…

I was there for 1:30, ready to go!  But, the most exciting thing to happen was that the bailiff announced that the courtroom clock had finally been fixed!!!  It now actually displays the correct time….

After a bit of waiting, we learned that Madam justice had finished her meeting, but needed a bite to eat, so the court would not reconvene until 2 pm.  Oh well…

At 2 pm, on the dot, the court reconvened.  And, I had another little surprise:  Dr. Baglow was not on the stand!

Could he have finished his testimony and been cross examined by 4 people in the span of the morning hour?  Not quite…

Because the trial had originally been scheduled for 3 days only, that is how long Mr. Bow had planned to be away.  In order to accommodate him, all the participants agreed to permit Dr. Baglow’s  testimony to be interrupted in order to let Mr. Bow testify and be cross examined first.

Mr. James Edward Bow chose to swear on the Bible, then settled in to the witness box.  In his dark grey suit, white shirt, striped tie, with understated wire-rim glasses complementing his dark hair and eyes, he looked handsome and dapper.

Aside:  while talking about what people were wearing…Connie wore a fuchsia cardigan that was almost identical in colour to my own top, but mine was short sleeve, so all awkwardness was avoided!  Sorry – humorous interlude over!

Mr. Bow testified that he lived in Kitchener, Ontario and worked as a freelance writer with a web designed business on the side.  While he never had any formal training in web designed, he had worked for a number of tech companies in the 90′s and received a lot of on the job training.  In 2005, when his daughter was born, he became a stay-at-home dad while doing the writing and web stuff on the side from home.   As a stay-at-home mom who also blogs, I can relate!

When Mr. Bow testified that he had received his degree in Environmentalism, I began to seriously doubt Dr. Baglow’s sanity:  is he really bringing a capital ‘E’ Environmentalist to try to support the veracity of a contentious claim?  Really?!?!?

I had to work hard to suppress a bout of giggles:  like ANYONE on EARTH would ever again believe a word that comes out of the mouth of an ‘E’nvironmentlist!!!

Disclosure – my  background is physics, field of data acquisition and analysis…and I specialized in helping scientists/technologists avoid ‘conformational bias’…so, I find the modern ‘E’nvironmentalists particularly, well, how can I put this without being defamatory…’not up to snuff’ scientifically and having a very, very deep, perhaps un-bridgeable, credibility deficit.

In my never humble opinion, Mr. Bow’s testimony bore out the expectations one would have of an ‘E’nvironmentalist:  lots of claims of technical expertise followed by ‘D’uh, I don’t know how to do that…’

To his credit, Mr. Bow tried very hard to support his friend, Dr. Baglow, but to anyone with an iota if IT knowledge, he simply did not come across as credible – to my never-humble-thinking.

He blamed Dr. Baglow for not updating the comments before they attempted to migrate them to the new platform (without explaining why they could not have simply gone through the steps of updating step by step by step…), completely forgetting that if they had both migrated the site to the new spot (for the hosting of which Mr. Bow got paid by Dr. Baglow) AND left the old site up, instead of shutting it down, the defendants in this case would not have been deprived of access to information essential to their defense.  No amount of difficulties with migrating the comments over would have caused this damage had they not actively shut the old site down…

In another bit of testimony, Mr. Bow testified that it was Dr. Baglow’s decision to stop trying to recover the ‘lost’ comments, or he would have continued to look for ways of migrating them over.  In my never-humble-opinion, this was Mr. Bow covering his rear end, making sure his incompetence did not get perceived as malice and shifting all responsibility for the ‘lost’ comments squarely onto Dr. Baglow.

At this point, my other-world duties pulled me out of the courtroom:  I may have put off fixing my own broken (front) tooth till next week in order to attend the trial, but, I could not put such limitations on ‘my little one’ (OK, he’s taller than I am, but he will ALWAYS be ‘my little one’!!!) and I had to leave the courtroom in order to take HIM to the dentist…

When I left the courtroom in a rush, I found Dr. Baglow pacing nervously in front of the courtroom:  by the judge’s order (and as per ‘normal’ practice, he was excluded from the courtroom while other witnesses for his side’ were ‘on the stand’).  As we had exchanged pleasantries in the past few days, and as he had always been very civil towards me, I greeted him and had a little (though very hurried – I had stayed in the courtroom well into my time-margin).

During this exchange, he pointed out to me that I had indeed misunderstood the timing when he had joined the NDP.  I had reported on this in Day 2:  having heard that he had torn up his NDP membership card during Buffalo Bob’s reign, and the accusations that Bob Rae’s political opponents were motivated by anti-Semitism (since Mr. Rae’s wife is Jewish), I wanted to head off any potential smear campaign against Mr. Baglow due to the confluence of this.  Yes, I pointed this out in my reporting – but, with sincere and honest statement of fact that I do NOT believe Dr. Baglow to be an anti-Semite – specifically to ward off any potential smear campaign.

Which is why I was  very happy that Dr.Bglow corrected my error:  he had actually joined the NDP because he had been inspired by Bob Rae’s electoral victory!  And, as I understood (and reported), it was Mr. Rae’s subsequent policies that got him so disgusted, he ‘tore up his membership card’.

He accepted my assurance that my calling attention to this was an effort to ‘nip in the bud’ any smears – and appreciated it.  I in turn, appreciated being corrected, because I would much rather be corrected in the short run and carry accurate information than be left in error!!!

I promised to correct in in the original post (I put the edit at the top, so anyone reading it will have the correction before getting to the erroneous bit, without hiding I had made an error), and I also promised to describe our conversation on ‘day 3′ to explain how the correction came about.

That was it for me for ‘day 3′ – days 4 and 5 are coming up as soon as I can type them up!

 

As always:  if I have made any errors,  if you can correct/add to this commentary, please do so and I’ll be glad to edit this post in order to add your comment!!!

Freedom schools: Think or Sink

 

Freedom School: Political Correctness Panel

January 31st/February 1st 2014,  there was an event in Edmonton called ‘Freedom School:  Essentials of Freedom.’

One of the many excellent parts of the program was a panel on Political Correctness:  a number of speakers addressed Political Correctness in different spheres of our life and from widely differing angles.  The short little speeches were followed by a very lively Q&A.

Perhaps I am jumbling the order of speakers, but, I admit I am a little biased…  So, please forgive me that I present the last speaker first:

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

EDIT:  Dr. Baglow has been kind enough to inform me that I made a mistake in my reporting of when he joined the NDP.  Indeed, he was inspired by Bob Rae’s victory in Ontario and joined then – but later, he was so disgusted by the political policies that he tore his membership card up.  That is an important distinction, as it completely negates any accusation that Bob Rae’s wife’s religion/nationality had been any kind of a factor in his decision to leave the NDP under Bob Rae’s leadership.

First and foremost, please, see the write up of ‘John Baglow vs Connie Fournier, Mark Fournier and Roger Smith: the ‘FULL TRIAL’, day 1, part 1′ for the details and the warnings.  Short form:  using a borrowed tablet to blog till my laptop is fixed, can’t even highlight, so cant’ put in links and such, but, will come back and do so once I’m ‘back in business’.  So, this will be brief and, temporarily, not linked to supporting materials.  My apologies.  Also, these are my observations and opinions and as I am not legally trained and not a human behaviour professional, all of this content ought to be treated as very highly imperfect opinions and nothing more.

Also, if anyone can add to this account and/or correct any of the many errors I am bound to make, please do so!

Day two of this ‘FULL TRIAL’ was held at the Elgin St. Court House in Ottawa on Tuesday, 25th of March.

It started punctually, but, going on the experience from Monday, I thought I had a bit of leeway and did not enter the courtroom until a few minutes past.  By this point, Dr. Baglow was testifying about having received his doctorate, chuckling about how he spent more years in school than he expected – but I did not catch what that doctorate was about.

He went on about his CV, his jobs, his political affiliations over the years, and so and so.  It was very interesting – and quite a lot of content, as he was asked to quote something from page 6 of it.

For example, Dr. Baglow testified that he considered himself ‘more or less’ a ‘man of the left’ and was a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP) while a student at McGill. Then, he was fascinated by the Communist party (though he never actually joined), but the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia cooled him somewhat (my words, not his) and he returned to the NDP.  He had stayed with the NDP for much of the time since:  except, of course, for when Bob Rae had run it:  he had torn up his membership card then), but returned thereafter.

Aside:  this is very, very interesting….one of the things Connie Fournier said in her opening statement was that a B’nai B’rith member had (rightly or wrongly) accused Dr. Baglow of anti-Semitism…and Bob Rae has, throughout his career, claimed that he had been persecuted by ‘some segments of the population’ because he is married to a Jew.  I’m sure it is a coincidence, as Dr. Baglow asserts contempt for anti-Semites – and Bob Rae’s politics are enough to turn anyone off, regardless of whom he may or may not be married to.  And while I can see how this co-incidence could, potentially, be abused, as my son is fond of saying, co-incidence is not evidence of causality.  And, in all my (admittedly limited) interactions with Dr. Baglow, I have never detected any anti-Semitism (as almost all Europeans, I am part Jewish myself, so I’m touchy on this).

Another, completely irrelevant, aside:  seeing the tanks roll down our street in ’68 when, as a toddler, I climbed up a sofa and a dresser to look out the window, is one of my earliest childhood memories…

Dr. Baglow was as well groomed as ever, wearing a dark suit/shirt, testified he became a civil servant and then joined PSAC (a public service union) and, eventually, became an executive VP thereof.  In this capacity, he had lobbied for all them policies that I consider to be evil – like, for example, the universal child care thingy.

Indulgently personal aside: I grew up in the Socialist Worker’s Paradise and, as such, was institutionalized (during the daytime) from toddlerhood till gradeschool, in a ‘universal daycare/kindergarten’ system.  I am a survivor of this evil and I fully understand its workings and impact, from the inside.   As such, I swore that I’d rather sell myself on the streets than permit such an evil to ever touch MY children!!!

So, when Dr. Baglow willingly testified that  he had fought FOR such evil institutionalization of innocent children (and seemed proud of promoting what, in my never-humble-opinion, is ‘government enforced child abuse’), I kind of lost my composure for a bit and had a hard time hearing the next bit of testimony.  My apologies.

This is about where the ‘interesting’ bits ended – at least, in my never-humble-opinion.  All the next whole bunch of testimony was about what is the ‘blogosphere’, how to spell the word (neither the judge, nor the person transcribing the trial seemed to know the spelling), and so on and so on and so on.  The only ‘colourful’ bits I gleaned fro this are that Dr. Baglow’s lawyer is a frequent commenter on ‘Dawg’s Blag’, even though he and Dr. Baglow have wildly (and chucklingly so) divergent political opinions.

Perhaos one thing I ought to note is that after Dr. Dawg’s lawyer explained one of the finer points of the blogosphere culture,  he mentioned Omar Khadr.  And, since he ‘got into the mode’ of explaining ‘everything’ to the judge, he tried to explain to her who Omar  Khadr was….Amused, the judge replied that though she might not be up on the latest internet jargon, she’s not an idiot….my wording, not hers, intended to capture her body language, not words.  (Note:  later, the judge demonstrated she knew exactly what a ‘hyperlink’ is, and thus may be tiny bit less of a luddite than she postures as….  To me, this is a very positive thing, indicating she ‘gets’ what she knows and does not know, both, and is not afraid to ask questions!

Actually, I had been quite impressed by Madam Justice Polowin, J.:  she takes copious notes (Dr. Baglow even slowed his lawyer down a bit by gestures to ensure she gets all the note-taking in).  My own experience is that if I hear something, I may forget it on perhaps even not ‘process’ it correctly…but if I write it down as part of ‘taking notes’ – I can usually recall it very accurately, without needing to refer to the notes themselves.  Having observed Madam Justice Polowin, J., I am wondering if her note-taking serves a similar function because if she writes it down, she seems able to quote it without difficulty…

As best as I can determine, the rest of the morning’s testimony had been taken up by defining terms like ‘thread’ and technical details about who has editorial control over posts and comments and site meters and such…

Of interest to other bloggers may be some little tidbits, otherwise unimportant….

  • Dr. Baglow testified that though his readership fluctuates, it averages about a thousand unique readers per day
  • he currently has 3 co-bloggers who can post, but not have moderating control
  • he described a very different ‘startup’ and ‘functions’ experience from mine – but that is to be expected as I have used different platforms than he has
  • he deferred to his tech guy, Mr Bows (sp?) for all tech details, said not knowledgable himself
  • he uses SiteMeter
  • he does not permit racist, anti-Semitic or any kind of hate speech comments on his blog
  • he did 2 takedowns/apologies (with qualifications, making it seem like Ezra Levant’s claim against him was both a persecution for an innocent and understandable misunderstanding of legalese as well as an ‘over-reach’…and the other was a simple misunderstanding of the facts, rather than a misstatement)

‘The term ‘trolling’ got discussed a lot and had been, in my never-humble-opinion, woefully poorly defined and misrepresented to the court – though, it seemed to me, this was not done as a deception but as a deep and true misunderstanding of the very philosophical basis of the concept of ‘trolling’ and the positive, beneficial and, frankly, necessary (for freedom of thought), function of an ‘internet troll’.

At a point just shy of 11:25 am, Madam Justice said she had received a request from her court staff that they would like a little recess -  and we were adjourned for 15 mniutes.

Oh, how things can change!!!

As we all filed back into courtroom 21, Dr. Baglow’s lawyer became concerned over the redness in the face of Dr. Baglow, who suffers from high blood pressure.  While Dr. Baglow protested and insisted some of this redness was due to a sunburn he had just suffered on his holidays to Cuba*, his lawyer was not taking any chances.  All the lawyers and self-reps met in the judges’ chambers while the court clerk took Dr. Baglow’s pulse, declared it way too high, and called the judge with her finding.

On this note, the hearing was adjourned on medical grounds for a bunch of hours….and, no knowing for how long it would go on for following such  a long break, and considering the start of a migraine in me…well, to make a short story even shorter, I went home to try to recover.  My understanding is that tomorrow morning will be taken up with more background testimony and we’ll not get to any of the juicy/substantial stuff until tomorrow pm…

 

 

 

 

Manning Networking Conference 2014

If you are planning to attend the Manning Networking Confeence 2014, please, do stop by booth #302 – the booth that was generously donated to Free Dominion:  I’ll be helping out there, so, please, do stop by and say ‘hello’!

In related news:  blogging will be light as I’ll be ‘afk’ and at the conference.

 

Fundraising for Free Dominon

When members of the media are afraid to criticize a member of their country’s Military, who they honestly believe had abused his position of authority for personal gain/power, we have a problem.

Yet, that is exactly the situation we find ourselves in, in Canada, in 2014.

More and more voices in the media are being silenced through lifetime gag orders against them, brought about through the actions of a specific Agent of the State (and member of the Military, none-the-less)!

This has created such an unprecedented chill on speech that news reporters – even when addressing the public – refer to him as ‘He Who Must Not be Named’!

Help one of his latest victims, Mark and Connie Fournier, by popping over to Indiegogo and listening to their story, spreading it through the internet and, if you have the means, perhaps dropping a few pennies to their legal fund.

P.S.  This is an interesting twist on the story:  the guy doing the silencing had, in the past, been a candidate for election as a member of a political party deeply philosophically opposed to the party one of his targets had been a candidate for…  Do we really want to have the courts be the ones settling philosophical differences between various political parties and their candidates/supporters?  In my never-humble-opinion, this is one very slippery slope…

Words we must speak daily – if we dare

Here is a list of 40 words (along with their definitions) that every free-speech lover ought to say out loud, at least once, while we still can:

Akhirat:  The Islamic concept of the ‘afterlife’.

Al Qran:  Literally ‘the recitation’, it is the central book of Islamic teachings.  Muslims believe that these ‘revelations’ were made to their prophet Mohammed by the arch-angel Gabriel regarding the will of the Islamic god named Allah and are the literal word of God.  These ‘recitations’ were not written down during the lifetime of Mohammed but only collected when it became apparent that Mohammed’s closest companions were dying out and so it became important for Muslims to preserve his teachings in a written form.  It was compiled by the Caliph Abu Bakr, who ordered the Muslims who remembered Mohammad’s recitations to have them written down and sent to him.  These he then organized into chapters which make up the Koran/Qu’ran/AlQran by the length of the chapters.  This means that the sequence in which these chapters were dictated has not been preserved, which creates the problem regarding the Islamic principle of ‘abrogation’ which states that if two verses of the Koran/Qu’ran/AlQran are in conflict, the one that was revealed to Mohammad later is the valid one, as it abrogates the earlier revelation.

Allah: ‘The God’ in Arabic.  At one point, Mohammed taught that Allah had three divine daughters, but later altered that teaching, making Islam monotheistic.

As Sunnah:  Literally translates as ‘common practice’, in the Islamic context, it means the ‘righteous path’ of following proper Islamic customs.

Auliya:  friend, helper, protector, patron or patron saint.

Azan/Adhan:  Islamic call to prayer

Baitullah:  Literally ‘house of god’ and may refer either to any mosque or to the main mosque in Mecca which houses the Kaaba, the box which houses a black meteorite, which the Muslims worship, and to which they are supposed to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime (haj).  Prior to Islam, Mohammed’s grandfather made his living from people making a pilgrimage to the Kaaba.

Dakwah/Dawah/Da’wah:  Literally means ‘issuing a summons’ or ‘inviting’, in Islamic context, it means proselytizing Islam.  It is unlawful for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim without having first invited them to join Islam.  Some Islamic leaders have criticized Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks because he had failed to issue a Dawah to all the American citizens 1 year before the terrorist attack.  Numerous Islamic scholars have since corrected this oversight and issued a Dawah to all Westerners.  If we fail to heed this call to convert to Islam, killing us is not considered to be ‘murder’ under Islamic law (Sharia).

Fatwa:  a legal judgment pronounced by an Islamic scholar.  These legal judgments make up Islamic jurisprudence and ought to be followed by pious Muslims.  There have been some interesting fatwas issued over the time.  For example, the Penang Mufti Hassan Ahmad had issued a fatwa that prohibits non-Muslims from ever using (speech, writing, publishing or in electronic form) the very 40 words being defined in this humble post.  This is legally binding in Malaysia.  However, if someone reading these words in Malaysia realizes they were published by a non-Muslim, they may make a legal complaint, a warrant may be issued and Interpol will act upon it to deliver the culprits to the land where the warrant  was issued.  So, enjoy while you still may!  Another recently issued fatwa prohibits women from sitting in chairs, because if they moved just the wrong way, they may become sexually aroused.

Firman Allah:  As I could not find this exact phrase translated into English, the closes I can make it out to be is ‘that which Allah has made permitted’.  Granted, I did just a quick Google search, as I’m trying to define quite a few terms here, but this seems to fit in with Islamic sayings rather well and captures the spirit of the phrase.  Corrections would be appreciated.

Hadith:  literally ‘tradition’, this refers to the habits and sayings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

Haji:  Someone who had completed the haj and traveled to Mecca to see the Kaaba.  As non-Muslims are not permitted to enter Mecca, only a Muslim may be a Haji/Hajji/Hadji.  A Muslim who has completed the haj may add this honorific to his name.

Hajjah:  Not sure of this one, but I suspect it means a female Hajji.

Ibadah:  Literally ‘obedience with submission’, the term is derived from practice of slavery.  In the Islamic context, it means worship of Allah.

Illahi:  I suspect this is an alternate spelling of ‘Elahi‘, meaning ‘my god’ or ‘my awesome one’.

Imam:  An Islamic leadership position, usually denoting an Islamic cleric.

Iman:  Iman is a really, really hot model.  However, I doubt that is whom the good Mufti meant in his fatwa.  Rather, I suspect he was referring to the Muslim believer’s faith in the metaphysical aspects of Islamic teachings.

Kaabah:  literally ‘the cube’, in Islamic context, it is a black cube that Muslims have been praying to since a little over 200 years past Mohammed’s death.  All modern mosques face the Kaabah, which is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  (For the first few centuries following the death of Mohammed, all mosques faced the ancient city of Petra, as archaeological findings have demonstrated.)

Karamah:  a divine miracle (and not a conjuring trick type magic, that the other religions have)

Khutbah:  public preaching, refers to the sermons delivered during formal prayers.

Masjid:  a mosque, defined by Mohammed as a place of worship as well as a community centre, barracks for soldiers and materiel storage depot.

Mubaligh: a missionary (just follow the link and click on English for translation), one who is practicing dawah.

Mufti: an Islamic scholar from the Sunni branch of Islam

Musolla/Mushola:  Islamic prayer room

Nabi:  Prophets of Islam.  Most, but not all, Muslims believe that Mohammed was the last prophet.

Qadhi:  I suspect this term denotes Sharia courts.

Qiblat:  The direction in which Muslims should pray.  According to tradition, Mohammed is first ordered Muslims to pray in the direction of Jerusalem and to have later changed this to be towards Mecca and the Kaaba.  However, the earliest mosques (from the first 200+ years following the death of Muhammad) are pointing to Petra, not Mecca, indicting that the Kibla may have changed more than once.

Rasul:  prophet or apostle

Sheikh:  an honorific that means ‘elder’ and denotes the front man of a tribe.

Soleh:  This word is not Arabic in origin, but Indonesian and means ‘religious’.  Thus, according to this fatwa, if you are not a Muslim you may not call yourself ‘religious’.

Surau:  another word for ‘mosque’

Syahadah/Shahada:  a ritual Islamic prayer which is also used as an affirmation that one is a Muslim.  It translates into English roughly as:  ‘There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.’

Syariah:  Malaysia is one of the countries with a secular legal system for non-Muslims and Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.  Syariah is Malaysia’s Sharia adherent legal system which applies to its Muslim residents.

Tabligh:  ‘propagation’ of Islam by ‘spreading awareness’ of the teachings of Mohammed.

Taqwa:  While this definition varies somewhat between sects, the meaning ranges from ‘god-consciousness’ to piousness, love/fear of Allah, self restraint and so on.

Ulama/Ulema/Uluma:  In the stricter sense of the word, it refers to the upper echelon of Islamic scholars trained in the whole field of Islamic law, but it is often applied to any senior Muslim cleric.  Especially in rural areas, the cleric’s scholarship is not a significant issue.

Wahyu:  This word is of Indonesian origin.  From English-language version of this link:  ‘In religion and theologyrevelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.’

Wali:  Guardian – with all that it implies:  being responsible for someone, managing their material wealth as well as having the right to enter into legal agreements on their behalf.  This is an important concept in Islam.  A father is the wali to all his minor male children and all his female children until the daughters are married, at which point the guardianship of the woman in question is transferred to her father.  If there is no father, then the closest male blood relative takes on the role of a wali for any minor males and any females.  As the wali manages their wards property and is the only one permitted to enter into legal contracts on their behalf, it means that an Islamic marriage contract is between the groom and the bride’s wali, with the bride having no legal standing in the matter.  Thus, a petition for divorce in a Sharia court may need to be filed by the wife’s male relatives, as she has no legal standing in the marriage contract.  It also means that under Sharia, the highest legal status a woman can achieve is that of a minor.

Zakat Fitrah:  At the end of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sun-up to sun-down, there is a celebratory feast.  While ‘zakat’ means taxes (a portion of which must go towards jihad), zakat fitrah is the specific obligatory gift of food to the poor so that they may participate with other Muslims in the end-of-Ramadan feast.

 

Now that I have tried to define these words for your convenience, please, do speak them as often and as publicly as you can, before you loose the freedom to do so!  There is already a fatwa that forbids us to speak these words, if we are non-Muslims. It is up to us, freedom-loving people, to make sure that this and/or any other fatwa never becomes applied as a law onto us.

Rights are like muscles and cognitive abilities: if you don’t exercise them, you loose them!!!

TorrentFreak: “Which VPN Services Take Your Anonymity Seriously? 2013 Edition”

With the Federal court in Toronto awarding $10.5 million dollars in statutory and punitive damages for running a website which merely linked to Simpsons and Family Guy episodes, one might wish to know how best to protect their identity in the interwebitudes…and with some VPNs touting their security while handing over users info to the US government, it’s hard to know where to turn.

Helpfully, TorrentFreak has reviewed the different VPN services to see which one take your anonymity most seriously:

‘More than a year ago TorrentFreak took a look at a selection of the web’s VPN services to see which ones really take privacy seriously. During the months that followed we received dozens of emails begging us to carry out an update and today here it is. The first installment in our list of VPN services that due to their setup cannot link user activity to external IP addresses and activities.’

Read the full article here.

 

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