This guy is truly, truly awesome and brilliant and knowledgeable and worth listening to:
H/T: Vlad Tepes
In the words of the one and only Inigo Montoya:
Or, if you are more into classical music:
“Because, you know, sometimes words have two meanings…”
It is impossible to hold a meaningful conversation with somebody when you both think you know what the words you are using mean, but in reality, you each subscribe to a completely different meaning of that word.
For example, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood government that had come to power in Egypt following the ‘Arab Spring’ was lead by Morsi’s party, which was called the ‘Freedom and Justice Party’.
Muslim Brotherhood = Freedom and Justice?
Why, yes – if you mean what the Islamists understand these words to mean.
‘Freedom’, according to Koranic sources, is defined as ‘freedom from the laws of men’. In other words, being ruled by the word god, Allah, alone.
In other words, they understand the word ‘freedom’ to mean the implementation of the Sharia and Sharia alone.
‘Justice’ according to laws of God and God alone: again, Sharia.
In these people’s mind, the way we use the words ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’ is a perversion of their true meaning (Sharia and only Sharia) and we are ‘spreading mischief’ by perverting these words.
And under Sharia, the penalty for ‘spreading mischief’ is death.
A simple way to tell a moderate Muslim from an Islamist is to ask their view on whether Sharia should be implemented in the West.
If they say no, they are here because they are attempting to flee the horrors of life under Sharia and we must do our utmost to protect them, because they will be the first victims of the Islamists. Many are afraid to speak out, for very real fear that relatives stuck in Islamic countries would be harmed for their words: Islam is a clan-based culture where you are often held responsible for your relatives actions.
If they say yes, then they are an Islamist who is advocating, in no uncertain terms, the elevation of SHaria above our own laws. This is treason and our societies must treat it as such. All advocates of Sharia in the West must be arrested and charged with treason, because that is what trying to replace our laws with Sharia is.
Following is an excellent video. It is a bit longer than what I usually post, but it is most excellent:
This is reporting on a real-life (unfortunately) court case, the whole narrative of which is indexed in Dr. Baglow vs Free Speech – and listed at the top bar of this blog.
As I left off, Barbara Kulaszka, the lawyer representing the defendant Mark Fournier, had finished her closing arguments. It was now Roger Smith’s (known online as Peter O’Donnel) turn to make his closing arguments.
It is difficult to describe Roger Smith in a few words because he is quite a complex person. Even my short exposure to him made that clear. So, what I write, can only be a very tiny glimpse of this unique (in a very good way) and highly intelligent man.
Roger Smith is of a similar age as the plaintiff, Dr. Baglow, and both have silver hair – but that is where the physical resemblance ends.
Where the extroverted Dr. Baglow is expansive, speaks loudly with expressive body language (his doctorate is, after all, in poetry – so some theatricity ought to be expected) while the introverted Roger Smith is shy and humble in his demeanor, speaking softly and gently.
So, one has to listen carefully when Mr. Smith speaks – not just because he is soft-spoken, but also because he makes many little jokes under his breath! And his jokes are well worth straining one’s ears for.
Even Madame Justice Polowin seems to enjoy his jokes – her eyes sparkle and she has even, a couple times, rewarded Mr. Smith’s humour with the kind of smile usually reserved only for Mr. Frankel. (At least – in this courtroom…..though Connie has, at times, earned it as well.)
I will be paraphrasing a lot, but, to the best of my understanding, Roger Smith’s defense revolved around the following points:
Firstly, he asserted that the impugned words were actually not defamatory – and urged the judge to find that way. After all, the fact that the late Jack Layton was referred to as ‘Taliban Jack’ not only did not cause him any defamation, it seemed to actually help his electoral success!
Madam Justice was nodding her head in assent.
Secondly, he (RS) did not mention the plaintiff by name – Roger Smith’s online pseudonym called Dr. Bglow’s online pseudonym a name. But, pseudonyms are not the same as real-life names and, as even the court’s own expert had testified, people often build a very different, unique persona for their online pseudonym – one which intentionally differs in tone and perhaps even opinions from their real-life identity (for various legitimate reasons). Thus the two ought not be conflated: Roger Smith did not call Dr. Baglow anything – Peter O’Donnel called Dr. Dawg a name, that’s all…
In addition, the context of the debate – ongoing, skipping around all through them interwebitudes from blog to blog to discussion boards and back again, over a number of days – had reduced the defamatory potential of the impugned words to exactly zero.
Since that debate did bounce around from one online place to another, it is not the easiest thing to follow the actual real-time sequence in which the various comments were made because some were time/date stamped in one time-zone, some in another. In order to make it easier for Madam Justice to follow the timeline, RS had taken the pains to sequentialize them in Appendix A. Madam Justice was much less interested in this at that point in time than Mr. Smith was, but, in my never-humble-opinion, she will find it a useful tool as she reviews the evidence.
Which she will – she made that abundantly clear!
For the duration of the trial – and even in the communication that was not publicly visible, like the various emails that form the voluminous body of the exhibits in this trial and tribulation, the plaintiff and his lawyer, Mr. Burnet (who had, actually, commented as a ‘guest’ on the Warman trial coverage on this very blog in the past), had referred to Roger Smith as an old crank, a wingnut.
This, I believe, was the very word that Madam Justice Polowin used extensively when questioning the court expert on online media and communications – and he assured her that once a person has acquired an online reputation as a ‘wingnut’, nothing that person says will be taken seriously by anyone else and his commentary will either be skipped right over or simply seen as humorous interlude…
But, I digress…
Throughout this whole ordeal, Peter O’Donnel had been referred to as a crank, a nut, a wingnut…and his writings were referred to as ‘incoherent rambling’ and ‘woolly essay’. In other words, ridiculed and dismissed. There was even one email read into evidence from Dr. Baglow to someone (Jay Currie, I suspect, but am not certain) where Dr. Baglow dismisses Peter O’Donnel as an inconsequential crank, saying he’s probably not even going to bother suing him because coming from him, the impugned words ‘mean nothing’: it was the Fourniers he was going after for having provided a forum for this speech to be uttered.
So, RS continued, he was surprised that in his closing arguments, Mr. Burnet had promoted Roger Smith to an intelligent man, a deep thinker … and his writing was promoted to ‘well-composed prose’!
It was at this point that Roger Smith earned one of Madam Justice’s impish smiles and her cheeks even flushed a bright pink, as I suspect she was working hard to stifle a fit of giggles…apparently, this ‘promotion’ had not gone unnoticed by her!
Working on his momentum, RS continued building his defense, recalling the plaintiff’s words (which Dr. Baglow regretted and apologized to ‘our agricultural workers’ for having used) ‘yokels with pitchforks’ and re-classified Omar Khadr and his ilk of terrorists (the subjects that evoked the impugned description of Dr. Dawg from Peter O’Donnel) as ‘super-yokels with rifles’.
And, a substantial number of Canadians (59%, if I understand it correctly) do hold the belief that lending moral support to Omar Khadr is indeed ‘giving moral support to the enemy’…it would, in very real terms, enhance their geopolitical struggle on the other side of the world if their members were receiving moral support from some people over here, undermining our political will to continue in the armed struggle.
RS asserted that leftists often make common cause with terrorists in their regional struggle. (Indeed, I would have taken this further, pointing out that many leftists believe that their utopian end justifies any means and that supporting (directly or indirectly) the enemies of our Western society, based on civil liberties, will bring our civilization down faster, which will help them build their tyrannical dystopia that much faster.)
The judge interrupted RS at this point, saying he need not belabour this: she understands that he means that ‘support’ is more than just money or direct fighting…
During this bit, Dr. Baglow was leaning back from the table, his long legs elegantly crossed in front him in a classical ‘power pose’ – but he was very fastidiously studying his manicure.
Mr. Burnet was using the index finger of his left hand to tap his ear, listening carefully to every word and undoubtedly preparing for his rebuttal at the end of the day.
Indeed, RS continued: support can be passive, like supporting ‘carbon taxes’…I suppose the climatologist in him cannot be suppressed! (By the way, according to the brief discussions we had during breaks, our scientific conclusion on ‘Global Warning’ are pretty similar.)
His essay (within which the impugned words were contained) covered a number of topics – from Steven Harper to long-form census (something that was VERY HOTLY debated in my own family: one of those instances where my brilliant economist father-in-law, who had been a special economic adviser to 4 different Liberal Prime Ministers – two as PM’s, two while Ministers of the Crown who later went on to seize ‘the brass ring’, well, he and I battled long and loud over the souls of the next generation of our family over this issue! I think it was the next generation of our family that won: they were forced to consider the issue from all possible angles and reach a conclusion of their own (not that they’d tell us what that is)!!! Which, really, is the point… Though my hubby and my mother-in-law tried throwing things at us (figuratively!) to change the topic….it seems not everyone appreciates a heated, no-holds-barred political discussion at the dinner table! Which reminds me – I must get something awesome prepared for the next family holiday….) Re-focusing!
The essay covered things as diverse as the ‘beer and popcorn’ fiasco and lamented the hypocrisy of calling conservatives ‘yokels with pitchforks’. RS admitted freely that it was a poorly written essay, and that it rambled a lot and would not have won any essay contests! Indeed, it was so poorly written that the thread was virtually unread…until, that is, this whole thing erupted! Then Streisand effect took over….once Dr. Dawg and MsMew sank their teeth into it (my words, not his).
OK – I must admit to you, my dear reader, that I have mangled both the wording and the timing of the various arguments. I am working both from memory and my notes – and when I see something touched on, I keep writing – spilling the whole scoop to you, even when it ought to have just been foreshadowing…then, I read on and find the full argument I described 300 words ago only happened now. Please, forgive me my sloppy reporting – I just wish someone better at it than I would have been in the courtroom to present another accounting of the events.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that throughout the trial, different people did drop in for a bit here and there. Today, for example, Mr. Frankel’s sister-in-law, who is a law student, dropped by the courtroom to watch the closing arguments (and got to have lunch with Mr. Frankel to boot!).
He-who-must-not-be-named (on pain of legal action) also dropped in every now and then, though not today.
And Canadian Cynic, known in the blogosphere for his knowledge of Linux (good) and for hurling misogynistic slurs at conservative women (sad, so very sad) on the internet (at least, that is what a quick Google search suggested), also popped in a few times: I even saw him chatting with Dr. Baglow in the hallway, but no matter how hard I tried to establish eye contact, I failed.
On this last day of this case, there was also a youngish man with a mop of blond hair, a gray tweed jacket, light open-necked shirt with a subtle stripe and blue jeans. I approached him during the lunch break and sked if he were a reporter.
“Sort of” he smiled as he slid over a copy of Frank magazine. “I’m with them!” I saw him later chatting with Canadian Cynic. Funny thing is – Frank magazine’s name did actually pop up in the trial earlier, as an example of how different print media have differing ‘standards’ for ‘discourse’…as in, one would not expect as colourful a language in, say, CTV or CBC or ‘Globe and Mail’ as one would from ‘Frank magazine’… And demonstrating that different segments, even wihin the same ‘print media’ would have different levels of discourse and expectations of the way language is used is at the very heart of this court case: the plaintiff asserts that once published, even to one person, the ‘language’ must be ‘standardized’ and it really is of no relevance whether this is a scientific treatise or a tabloid or a shock-jock-thingie (WIC radio case)….while the defense is claiming that in different platforms, the participants are performing for different audiences and that the expectations and understandings of the particular audience of their message board is of paramount importance because it is the perceptions of that segment of the citizenry who will be exposed to the impugned words, so, how they perceive will define their defamatory potential.
OK, I have been generalizing again – but I think that this is important because conveying the ‘flavour’ of the differing sides is so core to this very case….
Thank you, my dear reader, for having indulged me thus far.
I have attempted to capture both the substance of Mr. Smith’s defense as well as the atmosphere in the courtroom. But, let me return to it, in my most imperfect manner.
Roger Smith explained to the judge that he truly and honestly held the belief that what Dr. Dawg had posted in his comments constituted giving aid and comfort to the terrorists and enemies of Canadian Armed forces in Afghanistan – and that while he held these beliefs about the words posted by Dr. Dawg, he did not harbour any personal malice against Dr. Baglow himself … but that the evidence bore out that, sadly, this was not true in reverse.
RS pointed out that while Dr. Baglow had reached out to Connie and Mark Fournier, asking them to settle out of court, he had not presented any such opportunity to Mr. Smith himself. Not once had Dr. Baglow extended Roger Smith the courtesy of even contacting him…
Any reading of the discussion, as it evolved over the 7 or so days, will reveal deeply vitriolic comments made by Dr. Baglow – much more so than by RS.
‘Begly’ (the name that the defendant, at this point, thought was Dr. Dawg’s meat-space name – not even being aware of the proper name of the pesky paintiff who thinks himself so important that ‘everyone’ knows him, yet he should not have to meet the ‘higher bar’ for defamation set for ‘public figures’ – he’s the only ‘public figure’ who should have the ‘private person’ protections against legitimate political criticism), Zyklon B, pot-calling-the-kettle-black…you get the picture.
At this point, Mr. Smith became unsure if pointing out just how much of a chill a ‘guilty’ verdict would cast over the interwebitudes and just how cluttered the courts would become with defamation cases if the bar were to be set this low… Being a principled person, he wanted it judged on the merits of this case – which he honestly thinks are insufficient for the finding of defamation. But, this is where he was, in my never-humble-opinion, torn: he wanted the court to be aware of the potential real-life implications of setting the bar this low, without appearing to ‘fear-monger’ or some such thing.
Madam Justice Polowin found this rather endearing: she assured Mr. Smith that the so called ‘floodgates argument’ is not without merit and is, at times, successfully employed by real-life lawyers at court so he, as a self-represented citizen, ought not be ashamed of raising it. And she smiled…
I know my words do not do justice to this moment at court but I’d like you, my dear reader, to know that this was a ‘Moment’ with a capital ‘M’…if you excuse the expression.
At this point, Roger Smith concluded his defense by saying that he cannot afford a fancy lawyer and that it would probably have been wise not to fight this battle, but, that he was not fighting it just on his own behalf but also on the behalf of the many Canadians who cherish their freedom of speech and exercise it, including on the internet, and that he felt that it was his moral obligation to our society to fight this battle!
In her right, Madam Justice Polowin seemed to understand this – and appreciate the kind of sacrifice it took Roger Smith to go on and fight for all of us!!!
She beamed a wonderful smile at him, and assured him that, for a self-rep, he had done an admirable job, that he was respectful of the court rules and, along with Connie, they had been some of the most professional self-reps she had ever had the pleasure to preside over.
Long, yes, but it is worth it – I’m getting my sons all the video games mentioned in it!
Day 1 part 1 and part 2 are here. (all previous caveats still apply, though I have temporarily borrowed a slightly better tech.)
Alternate account is here: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 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.
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.