Tag Archives: Legal

Amo amas amat it again

Sorry about the old Latin gag as a headline, but yes, they’re all at it. Now the UK Labour party rediscovers it’s inner sex beast (Post-Prescott) and all the puritans are kicking down the doors just in case anyone should be having any fun whatsoever. Whilst those of us in the crowd behind them are quietly chortling at the hypocrisy. From all sides.

As any Victorian-era (Or Greek, Roman, whatever) pleb could tell you, there’s nothing quite like a good political sex scandal or public execution to lighten the working week. Just to know there’s some other poor bugger getting it in the neck for their transgressions and not you. This is a universal constant in all human activity because at the core all humans know they are randy, venal, lazy, self centred little opportunists and xenophobes. On a sliding scale. Which, I might add, are excellent survival traits and nothing to be ashamed of. All else, I would argue, is a cultural veneer. The gilding of humanities base metal. A trick of insight. Gosh is that my cynicism again? Shirley Knott. Wondered where I’d put it.

For example; Someone might think they’re a ‘nice’ person, second only to St Francis of Assisi but really they’re not. The ‘niceness’ always has a few holes through which the corrosive core of their real selves may be glimpsed, and morality is a malleable concept anyway. Wanton nethers know no conscience, no matter who you are. Ergo Gods have feet of clay. Heroes are flawed. Politicians are corrupted. Saints are made of plaster. So why does everyone act so surprised when these scandals come to light?

So where is this moral ambiguity most visible? One could point to many occurrences. Twatter ‘hate mobs’ for example, who in their desperation to prove what ‘good’ people they are (Sorry, can’t help laughing at that) by going after people they disapprove of, or who have the guts to call a spade a wood handled digging implement.  With the result that these mobs try to strip the object of their disapproval of their normal societal protections and ruin lives in the process. Could that be called ‘good’ or ‘moral’? Of course not. Self-righteousness is never good. Except of course to those who indulge in it. I see it as just another form of bloodless Fox Hunt. The hate mobs sharing that vicarious thrill of chasing down and destroying something which is not them. They’re not guilty of course. No matter how many lives they ruin, or how many people they force out of employment just because they disagree with the mob.

In that vein, the Weinstein Hollywood sex scandal (and others), whilst not much of a surprise, continue to unravel as layers of Non disclosure agreements start to crack. People who agreed to keep their mouths shut for a large sum of money over the years are now looking at their Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) and thinking “How can a Non disclosure agreement be legal if it covers up a crime?” Which is an excellent question, and one I and many others would like to see answered. If a murderer got his victims family to sign on the dotted to say nothing after one of their own had been killed, I’m sure that if it ever came to light the courts would not find in favour of the transgressor, or would they? Same for rape, or fraud, or anything else which the law says is wrong. Surely such gagging orders verge on legal malpractice?

As far as I’m aware, NDA’s are business contract clauses meant to protect business information, like recipe’s, processes and patents. Their use as ‘gagging’ orders, particularly to protect wrongdoing, either in commercial or personal affairs, is from what I’ve been able to ascertain, a very grey area of the law. I’ve even gone so far as to put the question to our families legal eagle. She deals with NDA’s all the time and will be able to give me a more informed legal opinion.

All the above notwithstanding, today’s tasks are tidying up the last details of our trip to the fabled land of Oz this Christmas. Yes, and as you can see in the picture, my tomato plants are doing very nicely thank you. After we get back from Oz in mid January I’m thinking of starting an indoor Herb garden to add to my perennials outdoors. Dill, Basil, Oregano, that sort of thing. In the meantime I can be easily located by following the peals of merry laughter as the mighty tumble. Sterling is regaining value too. So for the moment we’re all smiles here at Maison Sticker.

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The blame game

Oh the Hollywood Weinstein scandal, the gift that keeps on giving. Where sexual acts are traded for roles in movies. What a whole canning factory of worms and vice has been opened across the board. There are panderers, pimps and whores all over the place. Which is what the general public has suspected for years.

One of the things that occurred to me while reading the multiple sources of outrage over this affair is that the law has been broken by all sides of the argument. So I went and took a look at the California legal codes covering sexual assault and prostitution. Oh dear. This does not look good for either Weinstein or his coterie of tearstained accusers.

Let me explain; what Weinstein did was not rape or sexual assault. He is guilty of neither of those crimes for one simple reason; he was influence peddling. Trading movie roles and influence for sex. Under Californian law he is probably guilty of soliciting prostitution. Telling his ‘victims’ that they could have what they wanted (A movie role) for what can easily be defined as a ‘lewd’ act (A sexual act like a blow job or full sex). Which, according the rather useful Findlaw web site, is a crime under Californian law. Because prostitution laws make it a crime to offer, agree to, or engage in a sexual act for compensation.

Now, for those who delight in irony this is amusing for one solid sterling reason. There are no innocent parties here. Why? Because in order for a successful prosecution of Harvey Weinstein under the laws of California for soliciting sex, they have to find his accusers guilty of prostitution. Any enablers, like female personal assistants etc who ‘left the room’ for Harvey to make certain actresses an offer they could have refused, could also find themselves in court under the pimping provisions of the same legislation.

Oh my.

There’ll be tears before bedtime

Road trip is booked, planned and good to go. Trans Canada all the way out to Newfoundland & Labrador and back. Hotels, gas stations, mileage are all plotted and sorted. We’re taking the northern route out and the quickest way back via Highway One. About the only provinces we’ll miss en route will be Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

The one thing to sour the edge of this magnificent undertaking is the passing of the egregiously idiotic Bill C-16 giving what should be purely a civil matter over to criminal law.  Which means if you use the wrong pronoun to the wrong person you can go to jail. I watched Jordan Petersen give evidence to the Senate in the clip below and I’m inclined to agree with Dr Petersen’s gloomy prediction that this will not end well for transgenders.

The question the politicians overlook is this; if you run the risk of prison by offending someone by forgetting to use one of their alphabet soup pronouns, then will that encourage you to associate with them? Got it in one. It will have exactly the opposite effect to that intended. Transgenders and similar will find themselves even more marginalised as people will unconsciously avoid them even more. I’ve already heard of teachers saying they’ll hang up their teaching tools for good this year over this issue. These are veterans of the chalkface you understand. Experts in bringing children from bottom of the class to the top percentile. The cream of the profession. Now faced with this catch-22 of a bill, I can see other child care and social work professionals doing likewise. To the very detriment of the people they would normally help.

Likewise anyone with eccentric hairdo’s or any of the other indicators of such a lifestyle will be getting nothing from me but a cursory look and a long, deep silence. Because you can’t prosecute someone for something they won’t say. On the grounds that I might find myself prosecuted if I unconsciously offend the offence seeker in any given instance. So if you’ll forgive me I’ll be giving the high shoulder in future to those with blue, green or any unnatural hair rinse, or any of the other indicators that denote one of the newly privileged few. This is entirely understandable because I, like so many other Canadians, will be doing so in case we give some undefined kind of offence and run the risk of arrest.

Second thought: What this means is that I will be taking my money to businesses who do not attract such people. Again. It’s not because I dislike them in any way, although the one’s I have met haven’t really impressed me. It’s simply that now the threat of fine or imprisonment has been added to what should be a purely civil matter, I’ll be taking my custom elsewhere. This isn’t hate speech, it’s simply me protecting myself.

Sincerely,

His high Kekness Bill Sticker. God-Emperor of the known Multiverse, (Oi Vey for short)
FYI: The correct form of address is to Kowtow (meaning 2) three times before giving yourself a wedgie and kissing the ground under my feet. Get that wrong and you’ll be nicked chummy. Sauce for the goose etc.

Adjusts tinfoil hat…

This morning’s amusement comes courtesy of The Register. Those naughty spies at GCHQ have been up to mischief, the little scamps. Misuse of data collection. Illegal monitoring. Yeah, yeah, the stuff of paranoia, right? Well this is a bit of an “I tole ’em, buggrit. millennium hand and shrimp.” post. According to this report on a court judgement handed down in Judgement No. IPT/15/110/CH, between 1998 and 2015, the UK ‘Intelligence’ services have been rummaging through everybody’s dirty online laundry. Starting with the Blair government and continued ever since.

Which is something those of us who are familiar with the inner workings of the jolly old Interweb were always painfully aware of. That there is no such thing as complete online anonymity, and tracking any activity is easy peasy for those with access to the right tools. So all those folk who’ve been posting general naughtiness and insults from behind the supposed safety of their keyboards, guess what? Someone, somewhere can find out who you are and where you are in less than a heartbeat. Guess what else? That data will still be on record. In a small dark hard drive of a forgotten server in a data centre far, far, away is all your online data. Not just the metadata, but actual content. Financial transactions, secret messages to paramours past and present, browsing history, travel history, passport activity, where you went and who with and if you were married at the time.

Like some brooding spirit in a horror movie, all this data will never go away. Even if a name flagged up only as a by-blow of an investigation of someone bumped into once, or worked at the same office, once. In order to tick names off their list, a search will have been made. Backups of those searches will have been performed. Why? Because it’s how Police and intelligence work is done. Doggedly trawling through massive tranches of data, looking for links, occasionally getting a giggle out of something stupid someone has said or done, or ordered from that convenient online catalogue of erotic aids (Do they actually do their size?). Checking up to see if their partner is not playing away from home or draining the joint account. All that stuff and much, much more.

Because when all is said and done, we’re all bog standard Mk I humans with all the flaws contained therein. We can resist anything but temptation. Just a quick peek. Just this once. Just to be sure. No harm, no foul, right? Why? Well, the Internet is a public space. So if you drop your undergarments online, don’t be startled if someone notices that metaphorical boil on your bum. But then some of us have been saying this all along.

Wikileaks, Snowden? How much more proof does anyone need? The powers that be don’t like or trust the average voter. And it’s always worse under left leaning governments.

As my parting shot today, I thought I’d link to the first of a series of videos by a certain Project Veritas, which is busy exposing the Clinton dirty tricks machine and how they work. I’m sure there’s a UK equivalent that directs the rent-a-mob, but it’s interesting to see how the US Democrat (Hah!) party does things.

When I was a boy I always liked to go lifting rocks to watch the all nasty little critters go scurrying for cover as daylight hit. No doubt this will have the same effect if it goes viral. Wonder how long Mr O’Keefe’s channel will last before YouTube tries to take it down or ‘demonetize’ it?

Today’s lack of amusement

Today I have the signing of forms. Legal matters in the UK require my notarised signatures, so off I went to the local Notary Public to get my drunken spider crawl witnessed and stamped. Such are the occasional inconveniences of being an Expat. That and having wills in multiple jurisdictions. Not to mention the extortion that Canada post tries to apply while delivering a distinctly third rate overseas service. I’ve all but given up expecting Air Mail to be delivered within 4 to 7 working days. From Canada it’s more like three bloody weeks. So in future I’ll be sending important post UPS or Fedex. They’re actually cheaper would you believe? And they do express post to places Canada Post seems unable to reach.

Of such is the coarse cloth of my lack of amusement cut. Still, I stand to make a pretty penny, so I shouldn’t bitch. I just wish I didn’t have to send hard copies via an insecure means because of companies whose business models haven’t quite made it into the 21st century. Why my Bank and Lawyers won’t accept a fax or have a secure portal I can update my records on is a source of all too frequent irritation. Every time I have to authorise changes, with legal costs and postage we’re talking about a hundred and ten dollars, which is about fifty five quid a pop at the time of writing. That’s a hell of a lot to have your signature witnessed and to send ten sheets of paper. I don’t care how ‘carbon friendly’ the service is.

Anyway. While browsing the pilots forums at PPRUNE.org, I see the desperation about so called ‘man made climate change’ has sunk to a new low. At least according to the propaganda machine called the BBC. Apparently it’s supposed to make transatlantic flights longer, although the mechanism detailed in both the article and study looks like some sort of doomsday fantasy, which is what the lamestream keep feeding us. Yay! Wreck your economy and doom your descendants to penury over ‘science’ that would even make a Fourteenth century alchemist go “Carbon Dioxide? Really? Pass that philosophers stone will you and bugger off, I’ve got to transmute this lead into gold by next week or I get shortened by ten inches. Monarchies, eh?”

Well just let me pull my worn and tattered scepticism out of the drawer, yet again. The models this ‘science’ is based on makes Piltdown Man and Phlogiston look like cutting edge. None of these carbon dioxide driven climate models has ever made an accurate prediction three days ahead, let alone a century. So isn’t it about time they were consigned to the junk pile of failed theories? Like the flat Earth, Earth centred astronomical model, celestial spheres and Angels dancing on pinheads? The climate changes, and if you listen to people who are thinking outside the CO2 box, you start to get the idea that the Earth’s Atmosphere in no way resembles a greenhouse (Lack of glass, no frames or doors), and that a trace gas which is essential to photosynthesis could be a whole lot higher and actually improve the biosphere of dear old mother Earth. Cut the level of CO2 below 150ppm, and photosynthesis stops. The plants die and so do we. We need more CO2, not less. The whole ‘back radiation’ thing is an assumption based on the work of 19th century Swedish researcher Svante Arrhenius, whose equations assume straight line values for temperature response. Which is fine, to a point.

However, anyone who has studied meteorology in any depth, like those whose livelihoods are shaped by atmospheric physics, for example pilots, will understand that there is nothing straight about nature. A few years decades ago, when I was much younger and flush with funds, I had an ambition to learn to fly. Part of this entailed taking lessons how to fly gliders, light aircraft and even on two wonderful occasions in a helicopter (Once as navigator, once hands-on). Necessary background study gave me a rough working knowledge of atmospheric physics, airflows over laminar surfaces, cloud formation, air currents, the Jet stream, Anabatic and Katabatic winds etcetera. In short, what causes your tiny airframe to be lifted and tossed around by outside forces and how not to die when it is. Wish I’d kept my log book, now lost in multiple house moves, up to date. But that’s by the by.

What my studies have taught me is that Nature is curly. Things have limits. The speed of sound is a good one. Flying faster than sound requires much more complicated mathematics than simple straight line equations. Supersonic pressure wave build up is not a straight line response. Likewise, the speed of sound is not an absolute, it’s a variable which changes with pressure, density and temperature. Likewise, the IR absorption of Carbon Dioxide does not follow a straight line or even, as some have claimed, an exponential relationship with proportion. Any increase of temperature down to CO2 drops off rapidly after 20ppm.

Wait a moment. Twenty parts per million, but our atmospere contains around four hundred now? WTF? If it was an exponential relationship, shouldn’t we be baking in a Venus-like hell already? Apparently not. CO2 and Temperature H/T to Jo Nova for the original graph based on the work of Lindzen and Choi, 2009. So all this stuff about CO2 being a major climate driver doesn’t look so solid when you take a long, cool look at the real information.

So why is CO2 even an issue? Possibly because there are a lot of people with money tied up in Carbon derivatives, and politicians who have already spent all your tax dollars and need an excuse to raise even more taxes, who would like us all to think otherwise. So a number of very able Public Relations specialists are paid to keep the issue on the boil, brain dead media luvvies who leech off the whole apocalyptic drama of the thing, protestalot ‘climate’ activists who get back door funding from rich donors, and the politico’s making sure that grant money is directed to those who are (unsuccessfully) trying to prove that CO2 is the big climate bogeyman come to murder us all in our beds. Notwithstanding the ‘groupthink’ by the underinformed and credulous. If it wasn’t for the constant demands with menaces, I could laugh at these people a whole lot more.

Gay shark jumping

Well isn’t that fun? Jailing a clerk for refusing marriage licenses. The latest episode in the ‘rights for all’ crusade has resulted in an otherwise blameless (if deluded) woman being jailed. Superficially over refusing to issue marriage licenses to a number of the entitled. Who, instead of simply saying “Okay” and going off to Lost Wages for a weekend of excess and a (Still equally legal and binding) wedding by an Elvis Presley impersonator made a big issue of things, instead electing to involve the increasingly ironically named American Civil Liberties Union; and when they couldn’t have the stubborn God-squadder fired or fined, ended up with an elected county official in jail.

Now as I understand it, this particular clerk can still be carborundum in the oil of law administration in her county while banged up, and is being so by refusing to instruct her staff, who are reportedly a little nervous about taking decisions without their bosses approval. A judge can’t issue court documents themselves, nor can the Sheriff. The Judge and Lawyers do the law, the Sheriff and Deputies do the enforcement. Many critical courthouse documents however, are issued by the county clerks office. Which kind of puts everything in a little bit of a procedural quandary. The Judges can give out all the orders they want, but if a key person in the administrative process has been slung in the old hoosgow for refusing to issue a document over a matter of conscience, certain aspects of the administrative process of law in that county can be sabotaged. Especially if unsigned licenses are given out under duress, as is reportedly the case. Will a less sympathetic judge or civil servant refuse to accept those licenses at some future date? They are after all official court documents, and in all western jurisdictions, if the i’s and t’s aren’t properly dotted and crossed, well, there’s a fine howdy-do and no mistake. Some lawyer down the track is going to have a complete field day.

The whole matter is such a comedy of hurt feelings and entitlement that you’d need, as dear old Oscar Wilde once wrote; “A heart of stone not to laugh.” The massive, one size fits all, hammer of Federal law brought down on someone whose only ‘crime’ was one of conscience? Kind of makes a mockery of the whole freedom of conscience principal the good old US of A was founded upon. The whirring noise from the vicinity of Martin Luther Kings tomb is nothing to worry about. Move along now.

North of the 49th Parallel of course it’s a different matter. If two people want to get ‘married’ regardless of sex; fine, no problem. No one bats an eyelid. Well, no-one of a critical nature anyway. No-one has that kind of power, apart from the court itself. In the USA it’s different; they have ‘States Rights‘.

Other clerks in various Kentucky counties are also refusing licenses. Possibly because states law hasn’t (at the time of writing) caught up with Federal and still prohibits the following;
Prohibited and Restricted Marriages: (In Kentucky)
Marriages between persons who are nearer of kin to each other by blood, than second cousins.
Marriages between first cousins.
Marriages with a person mentally incompetent.
Marriages where there is a husband or wife living, from whom the person marrying has not been divorced.
Marriages not solemnized or contracted in the presence of an authorized person or society.
Same sex marriages.
Common law marriages.
Proxy marriages.

I have a distinct feeling this one isn’t over yet. Midden, windmill, incoming!

Nothing new under the sun

Life trundles on with no big deals apart from several ongoing sagas over legacies and banks. I won’t bore you with the details. That’s for my lawyers (Lye, Cheetham and Runne). Suffice it to say, someone was trying to dip into my cookie jar and I’ve cried ‘havoc’ and set the dogs of law onto them.

Nice display of Sundogs in the late afternoon a couple of days ago. Nothing unusual for August. Although they do presage a change to cooler, rainy weather which will have everyone crying for the return of unremitting sunshine after three days. Mrs S and I are now both getting back into the swing of work before relatives descend upon us in the latter half of September. ‘Les Girls’ (Wife and sisters) are off to Seattle while I play host to Youngest, which will give me a fine excuse to go see all the movies and go a few places Mrs S doesn’t much care for. The Imax beckons.

The only thing of any note is attending various lectures at UVIC, oh and Neil McCollum over at Forgotten Weapons has uncovered this little gem (See video below). A Gyrojet carbine? Well I never.

As he says. No flying cars or jet packs, but a rocket rifle? What fun.

Seriously, I’m quite a fan of Neils videos because unlike so many firearms blogs he brings a thoughtful and considered approach to studying antique and not so antique firearms, often field stripping them on camera so you can see the innovation that made the gun either ground breaking or prematurely obsolescent.

Just another day at the office

We’re filling in travel insurance forms today to ensure the paper trail on Mrs S’s injured arm is up to snuff and all treatment gets paid for. Our travel insurance company is coughing up like a good ‘un, but we’re still covering our backs just in case someone, somewhere down the line says; “Oi! Mon-sewer. Vous n’avez pas paid for this!” and sends us a large demand with added Garlic (and Gallic) menaces.

Filling in forms has never been one of my favourite occupations. I always find myself asking the question; “What on Earth do you want my Mother’s old cats maiden name for?” Especially if it’s for a Dog licence. Fortunately the depth of information we’ve been asked for this time round is simply to do with Mrs S’s little tumble and subsequent treatment. We’ve copied all the original treatment documents, which are in French, but easy enough to get the gist of if you’ve spent any time working in and around hospitals. Although having carted all said treatment notes and prescriptions back across the pond, we’re still wondering what to do with the X-rays. No-one here seems to want them, so I toyed out loud with the notion of having them framed. To which Mrs S simply said; “Bill. Get them framed by all means, but I won’t let you hang them on my wall. Or anywhere else in the house.” When she said that, she had that certain, how shall I put it, uncompromising look in her eye which I know of old. So like the wise fool I am, I’ve backed down and squirreled the offending black and whites in our refurbished closet along with all our old photographic negatives.

As she’s having trouble typing, having only one effective hand, the fracture being well up the forearm towards the wrist the cast itself all but immobilises the fine motor movements needed for keyboard work. Seeing as I have no urgent jobs on, this means I’ve become my wife’s ‘Scribe’. Effectively, I sit at her desk and type up whatever reports she tells me to. Which has been an education in Educationalese, and has provided a few moments of innocent merriment as I have been learning to read between the lines. Oh what a tangled web. Then there’s showering, and a host of other little things she needs help with, like getting dressed, putting in ear rings (Which is a pet hate of mine – no idea why) and a whole raft of other personal tasks short of going to the toilet. There’s also been the interrupted sleep when she unconsciously thumps me with her cast clad arm in the wee small hours and around the back of my head. At times like these the night time sofa beckons, as a nights uninterrupted kip is well worth the price of a stiff neck in the morning. It’s better than bruises.

Nevertheless, the tasks aren’t onerous, I’m getting an extra beer ration, so no real complaints. We’re off ‘oop norf’ to our old homestead up island tomorrow to see some friends and make some work related house calls. So probably no posting. Unless something really dramatic happens, in which case I’ll be back nose to keyboard like a flash.

Anything else? Not really. The cast comes off next week, and Mrs S starts physio. We’re planning a cross border road trip to see how our Southern cousins are doing first hand and maybe do a little bit of shopping if the prices are right. The sun is shining, and for the moment we’re still ahead of the game. So, no complaints.

TTFN

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

Or so goes the old saying. First coined by Amnesty International Founder Peter Benenson. If you want to get all biblical about it, there’s always Romans 13:11 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

In this CCTV, Internet and phone surveillance daze, has the first sign that the ‘security’ pendulum is stuttering, and at last beginning the long slow swing away from total surveillance? Which was an impossible dream anyway. With the amount of digital traffic out there, even the most heavy duty filters would be hard pushed to track down bad guys as quickly as in a TV cop show.

Are we seeing a new, predawn light? Who knows? Even though the US Congress has passed the US Freedom Act by a landslide, legislation designed to curb the worst excesses of the notorious Patriot Act. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. Providing that the Senate don’t trash it and the Golf pro currently occupying the US Presidents chair doesn’t veto it on the grounds of ‘National Security’, even though the sponsors of the original, and notorious Patriot act have admitted publicly that mass metadata collection is of little use against terrorism.

Wonder if it will catch on?

Probably not. It was a happy thought while it lasted.