C0nc0rdance: Individuality by Robert Ingersoll

Remember, I am posting this before setting off on my holidays:  it may refer to the 4th of July, but, in my never-humble-opinion, this piece is timeless!!!

 

Militarized Cops

 

FIRE Announces the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

A fitting post for the 4th of July!!!

 

Presidential Power and the Rise of American Monarchy: Q&A with Author Frank Buckley

 

Two important videos…

Adam Kokesh is a name all freedom-loving people ought to get familiar with.

Yes, he is absolutely adorable – in the same way that a pitbull puppy is:  there is an awareness of the power within, but it has not awoken to its full extent.  Unlike a pitbull puppy, Adam Kokesh has very intelligent and well-reasoned out arguments to support voluntaryism.   I truly believe he will grow to be remembered as one of the great liberty-minded philosophers of our era, on par with Payne and Jefferson.

And, while the following video ostensibly shows how one ought to behave at a ‘sobriety check point’, it contains a most excellent explanation from first principles of the philosophy of voluntaryism.  It is not too long, but very powerful:

The second video I’d like to share with you is very, very different – yet no less important for maintaining our liberty.

While Adam Kokesh addresses how to fight the oppressive forces from within our society, Stephen Coughlin addresses the most clear and present danger to our liberty from without – but one which is increasingly infiltrating the power-structures within our society.

Stephen Coughlin is one of the very few people who, based on their understanding of Islam and the political factions in the Middle East, accurately predicted the events of the so called ‘Arab Spring’ , including the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the ‘unrest’ in Benghazi – and predictive ability is the most scientific metric of knowledge, understanding and analysis.

It is a long video – about an hour – but it addresses (and explains in understandable terms) the significance of the whole ‘interfaith dialogue’ movement which culminated in the Vatican inter-faith-prayer between Christians, Jews and Muslims….where the Muslim cleric went off-script and called (right inside the Vatican) for the victory of Islam over Jews and Christians.

Yes, the Vatican tried to put a positive spin on it after the fact, but the event was simulcast to the whole of the Muslim world and it is essential that we understand the implications of this ‘off-script’ prayer – something understood (whether agreed to or not, it was understandable and understood) by the worldwide Muslim audience:

 

Give us your land for one dollar – or you go to jail!!!

Please, indulge me for a while…I promise I’ll get to the point, eventually.

 

  • If you sent your child to school with a yummy lunch and someone used the threat of force to make your kid  ‘sell’ them their whole (and much more valuable) lunch for a dollar – would that be acceptable?  How would you react?

 

  • If you (rather than your child) bough a lunch and someone used the threat of force to make you ‘sell’ them your lunch for a dollar – would that be acceptable?  How would you react?

 

  • If you bought a pair of shoes and someone used the treat of force to make you ‘sell’ them these new shoes for a dollar – would that be acceptable?

 

  • How about a car – would it be acceptable for someone to use the threat of force to make you ‘turn over’ a new car to them for one dollar?

 

  • What about a house?  Would it be acceptable for someone to use the threat of force to make you ‘turn over’ your house to them for one dollar?

 

  • And if you purchased some land and planned to build a home on it – would it be acceptable for someone to use the threat of force to ‘turn over’ that land to them for one dollar?

 

  • And what if you purchased some land and planned to build a more than one home on it – would it be any different?  Would it be acceptable for anyone to force you (using threats of violence and imprisonment) to turn the land over to them for one dollar?

 

Yet, that is exactly what is happening in Ottawa!!!

What is worse, even though I took some time before writing this up to wait for a single news outlet to report this for the travesty that it is, not one of them has.

Each and every one of the mainstream media outlets has interviewed only the people who are doing the forcing – and what is worse, they feel it is righteous of them to do this.  Every single one of the reports on this ‘story’ have been deeply empathetic to the bullies and not the victim in this case.

An eternity ago, when I was in high school, we studies a short story called ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’.  If you are unfamiliar with it, here is the story in a nutshell:  a farmer has bad luck and eventually agrees to sell his soul to the Devil in exchange of 7 years of good luck.  The Devil fulfills his end of the contract, even letting the farmer have an extension.  Still unwilling to pay the price he had agreed to in the contract, the farmer hires the famous orator Daniel Webster to argue for him in front of a jury.  Instead of judging the contract on the basis of facts, Webster manipulates the jury’s emotions to judge on the basis of ‘people=good, Devil=evil’…and gets the farmer off.

When we discussed the story afterwards in the classroom, every single student – excepting me, of course – was happy with the way the story ended, hailing is as a ‘victory of good over evil’.  I was not sure what I was more horrified at:  that the story permitted the victory of ‘wrong over right’ or that so many of my classmates had been manipulated of their perception of ‘Devil=evil and therefore must be defeated by any means necessary’ and could not perceive that in this situation. the ‘evil’ Devil was actually in the right.

By the way – my hubby had attended a different high school, but he, too studied this short story and he also was the only one in his class to argue ‘right vs wrong’ rather than ‘good vs evil’….

Why do I bring ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’ up in this context?

Because in today’s world, it is difficult to imagine someone more ‘devil-like’ than a land developer…except, perhaps, someone in the ethical oil/gas industry.

In the Ottawa permutation of the story, a land developer had purchased land with the aim of building homes on it and, well, selling them.  But, the City of Ottawa had decided that on the property this land developer had legally purchased, there ‘might’ have been some old and/or significant trees….and if the city’s agents deemed that this was so, the developer would be forced to ‘turn the land over to the city for one dollar’.

In other words, the City of Ottawa was both the prosecutor and the judge – and, should they issue the arrest warrant, the executioner.

It was the City of Ottawa who raise the issue and it was the City of Ottawa who would judge if they have the ‘right’ to demand the land be ‘turned over’ to them for one dollar…

Am I the only one who thinks this is not just plain wrong, but truly evil?

Yet, every news source I heard or read is empathetic to the city, not the ‘evil’ land developer….

How does this happen?!?!?

 

Why I support Israel

 

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!

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