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….
‘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…
In a country that prides itself on its tradition of freedom, an employer – a schoolboard, none-the-less – took it upon itself to tell its employees how long their facial hair may or may not be.
Now, I personally think ZZ Top would make better teachers than most teachers, and their beards are considerable, but I am not the Philadelphia School District. Those govenrment bureaucrat fascists thought it was OK to tell their employees how long a beard they may or may not have (regardless of the reasons).
Can you believe that regulatory over-reach? Outrageous!!!
This article takes a look at this from a ‘freedom of religion’ point of view, which, in my never-humble-opinion, is a fundamental error: the reason for how a person chooses to grow and/or groom their hair (facial or otherwise) should only become an issue if physical safety is an issue (machinery, etc, which may require long hair be confined in a net, and so on, or requiring no hair for ID purposes) – otherwise, it is none of the employer’s business, when that employer is the government.
Here is the email:
It’s been dragging on for a while, with no resolution in sight.
A few people who do not usually follow this debate have recently become aware of it and have asked me what it is all about. So, for them – and any others of you who are interested – here is a very brief recap of the story so far,
Here is the post that started it all: Football and Hockey
There is a number of questions people have been asking me about Muslims. I’ve tried to answer some before, but, upon further reflection, there are a few I’d like to re-visit.
Here, I would like to explain why I consider some Muslims to be ‘moderates’ – but not others.
Yes, there are some who do not see the distinction, pointing out that to follow Islam, one would have to skip large bits of the Koran in order to practice a ‘moderate’ version of the faith. True. But that is also true of the Bible – Jesus famously claims to bring not peace, but the sword. And it is not that many generations ago that my paternal grandmothers’ relatives were burned alive by the Jesuits for practicing the ‘wrong’ branch of Christianity.
In other words, it is not the dogma itself that makes a person a ‘moderate’: rather, it is the bits of the dogma that one takes and ‘owns’ and lives by that makes one a ‘moderate’ or not, regardless of the faith/religion (theistic, atheistic or non-theistic alike)/doctrine/dogma.
When it comes to Islam, I see the divide as being between those Muslims who demand official recognition of Sharia (Islamic jurisprudence) and those who do not.
What is Sharia?
Books have been written on this, but, in short, it is ‘Islamic Law’. There are 4 main Sunni and 4 main Shia schools of Sharia and they do indeed differ in some minor aspects, but, on those bits that they all agree, the ‘Islamic Law’ is unalterable.
Sharia evolved over several centuries. Scholars studied the Koran, the sayings of their prophet Muhammed and stories about the life of the prophet Muhammed as told by his companions. None of these were written during the life of Muhammed himself, but rather when many of his companions began dying off and the rest of the Muslims were afraid that his teachings and traditions would be lost, the ruler at the time had all the companions write down all they remembered, gathered all the materials, weeded through them to pick out the ‘most authentic’, recorded those as the only permitted version and had all the rest burned. A lot like the role the Council of Nicaea had in writing the Bible.
So, for centuries after the Koran and the Sayings and Traditions of Muhammed were written down, jurists would look to the scriptures themselves to see what the proper sentence should be. Not all jurists read the same things in these texts, yet, still, over the centuries, a body of jurisprudence had indeed been built up from which some rulings emerged as so common as to constitute laws. The formal collection of these laws is called Sharia.
While it is still being added to (in the form of fatwas, or pronouncements/rulings of learned clerics on legal questions),the major body of it had been codified at around 1100 CE or so – just as the end of the ‘golden age’ of Islamic science came to its end. Those two are closely connected, because Sharia is very inimical to any form of inquiry, including the scientific one.
It is important to keep in mind that while Sharia is based on early scholars’ reading of Koran and the life of Muhammad, it is not actually the Koran and Sunna itself.
The way Sharia is implemented in various Islamic countries does vary, even if the cores are common to them all: the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man, her inheritance is half that of a man’s, a woman is a perpetual minor in they eyes of the law so any and all of her property is managed for her by her guardian, and this guardian is also the one who enters into legal contracts on her behalf (including marriage: under Sharia, a woman is herself not a party to her marrige contract, only her guardian and husband have legal standing in the contract), apostates must be put to death (though one school of thought says female apostates are only to be under house-arrest for life), and so on.
Many Muslims do not like living under Sharia and its harsh rules – or, at least, the way it is imposed on them from the outside.
Thus, they have come to The West in order to practice Islam according to their own understanding and without the straight jacket jurisprudence that is Sharia. These are people who are happy to follow our secular laws and impose any additional religious rules onto themselves, from the inside, without compulsion from anyone else.
These are the people I consider ‘moderate Muslims’.
As opposed to the Muslims who want to live under Sharia – but to do so in our lands, in The West.
The problems with this desire are numerous – not the least of which is that in order to retain integrity and social cohesion in a land, one set of rules has to apply equally to each and every citizen. Equality before the law is such a fundamental cornerstone of our society that to have one class of people ruled by a parallel legal system means it has already been destroyed.
Another problem with Sharia is that it is deeply supremacist. It sees itself as above all mere man-made laws, and wherever there is a conflict between the two, Sharia demands supremacy. And since only Islamic scholars are permitted to issue Sharia rulings, permitting Sharia in a country effectively takes the application of law from the hands of trained jurists and places it in the hands of Islamic clerics…which could, indeed be problematic, to say the least.
Did I mention that non-Muslims are not permitted to speak at a Sharia court, even to defend themselves – even though Sharia reserves the right to rule over them?
And then there are the moderate Muslims – the ones who immigrated to the West specifically to get away from Sharia…if we permit it in our lands, they will automatically be subject to it, whether legally (as in Indonesia) or through peer pressure (as in the UK). Do we not owe them equality under our laws, just like every other citizen?
Though I have barely scratched the surface, I do hope I have demonstrated both that Sharia is incompatible with our governance and that we owe it to the moderate Muslims among us to protect them from it.
Which brings me to the other type of Muslim – the ones who demand Sharia in our lands, under the terms of ‘religious accommodation’, necessarily at the expense of our ‘freedom from religion’.
Sharia is the politico/judicial arm of Islam and not theological teachings.
As such, anyone who wishes for any form of Sharia to be implemented (accommodated is the term used, but due to its supremacist nature, in reality, this ‘accommodation’ requires putting Sharia above our own common laws) in The West is calling not just for freedom of religion, but for the imposition of Islamic law. And not just for themselves, as an act of private worship, but as something to be imposed on the whole of society because Sharia’s laws extend to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
This, by definition, makes them Islamists and not ‘moderate Muslims’.
To recap: those Muslims who call for Sharia accommodation/implementation in The West are not moderate Muslims, they are Islamist colonists who ought to be called out as such and resisted, if we want our culture of tolerance preserved.
This is quite distressing.
We have seen the purging of essential information from police and military training manuals in the US, but at least up here, in Canada, we have a Prime Minister who is not afraid to say out loud that the greatest threat to Canada’s security is Islamic terrorism.
Yet, we are seeing this same linguistic purging going on in CSIS?!?!?
This is not good, not good at all.
When political correctness trumps public safety, we are all …….’d!
Having said this, I am not surprised.
Over the years, I have interacted with a large number of high level civil servants – and not only do I speak their language, I am very, very familiar with their thought patterns and behaviours. For example, when Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was firs elected, I heard conversations among the highest echelons of the civil service on how best to circumvent the government’s will, how to intentionally introduce flaws into programs they are ordered by the government to implement so as to make the elected officials look foolish, and so on. (The mandarins did not know I was not on their team….)
Which is why, whenever someone raises the issue of term limits of elected officials, I suggest that we create term limits for how long an individual may serve in the civil service, regardless of the level. After all, inexperienced elected officials and VERY experienced apartchicks does not a good governance structure make!
I would recommend capping any individual’s term limit to work for ANY level of the civil service at no more than 12 years…
But, I digress…
This year, for Christmas, I bought my kids each a copy of Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’.
One of the first lessons it teaches is that if you cannot name/define the enemy, you have already lost.
Keep that in mind as you watch this video, which shows that increasingly, our security forces are not permitted to name/define the enemy.
Sad, so sad…