Tag Archives: Legal

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.

Double standards

I’ve just had a stressful morning trying to pay a bill online, spending valuable vacation time on the phone to my bank in Canada. All safe and sorted now (I hope, but you can never tell with banks) and way more expensive than I wanted. I lost out on charges and exchange rate differentials. When I tried to pay the bill you’d think I was staging a smash and grab on a diamond deposit the way these guys carry on. You tell your local branch you’re going away (“Have an awesome time!” With a big happy smiley face). Use your secure ID to transfer funds between your accounts, all the while on the phone (International call, telling them who and where you are) to Bank tech support. Yay! Easy peasy. Try to transfer via the banks byzantine international money transfer? “Sorree. Security flagged it up as unusual activity and cancelled your transfer.” Which has led to much grinding of teeth and tugging of what little hair I have left. FFS! Whose fucking money is it? My bank are quite content to accept funds from my Brokers, yet ask them to pay exactly the same company so I can do a quick, efficient, less than 24 hour transfer? You got it – no fcuking way. When I get home my banks customer service department will be getting an ear bashing. My money has to work, to move, to breed, and they’re getting in the way.

Large companies use currency brokers all the time. I know because I used to run tech support on the applications side. Transfers of millions went through every day and the banks never blinked. Try that as a private citizen. Even after double confirming your identity and bank details. Go on. Clucking bell. The big guys use third party money transfers all the time, yet can I do so as a private individual? No. I run headlong into the brick wall of ‘money laundering’ restrictions, even when I’ve already jumped through all the hoops of account verification, exemption forms and the like. Then I have to pay the banks extortionate charges and loaded exchange rates, which can lose me up to a hundred bucks a transaction. I can buy a lot of wine with that. Especially here.

To make matters worse, we’ve run out of wine to lower my blood pressure, so I’m off out in a few moments to replenish supplies. At this rate I’ll be making a serious dent in the much-vaunted EU ‘Wine lake’. Well, at 2-5 Euro’s for a half way decent bottle I can do that. A lot. To add insult to injury, I haven’t smoked for over thirty five years, but I’m eyeing the displays of cigarillo’s right now with fond nostalgia.

Maybe I need a better bank.

Nothing much to say

……and no real inclination to say it. Life trundles on. On the downside, I’ve just had to set the lawyers on a family member. A situation I’ve striven manfully to avoid, but they’ve been so dumb and plain obstructive I feel that a quick lick of the legal cat o’nine tails might bring them to their senses. If not, well, That’ll be their tough luck. Not that this gives me any satisfaction. We left the last chance saloon late last week and are now in the alley out back. It could get messy and expensive. For them, certainly.

Now excuse me, I have a trip to Paris to organise.

Celebrity asset stripping

There’s an illegal business practice called Asset Stripping. It’s where an undervalued company is bought up, by fair means or foul, and the assets sold on for a profit leaving nothing but its debts. Whereupon said company is liquidated and fat wodges of cash are salted away beyond the wot of Tax Inspectors. It’s a nasty practice that destroys industries and puts people out of work. Which is why it’s a crime.

One of the tactics asset strippers use is to devalue a company by attacking its brand and devaluing it in the eyes of investors, allowing the asset strippers or their proxies to move in, buy the company up cheaply and literally denude its physical assets. Premises, equipment and holdings all go under the hammer before the shrivelled corpse of a once thriving business or brand is thrown onto the midden of bankruptcy, leaving Directors, Employees, Legitimate creditors, Investors and their families high and dry.

Seems to me there’s continual attempts to emulate this dirt cheap dirty deed in Celebrityland under the guise of sex crimes, where even a celebrity looking into a pram to say “What a cute baby” is viewed, not as a well meant compliment to the parents, but as a statement on the lines of “I’m horny, can baby and I have a party? I have drugs.” According to the feminist meme of “All men are rapists” and no child is safe from them. At least according to the wave of Paedo-hysteria that has been poisoning my home shores for over two decades now. Like with the Salem Witch trials, a pointed finger is enough and if the perpetrator has money – evidence will be found. Or fabricated. Or imagined. No matter how tenuous.

The fact that all the allegations seem to stem from thirty and even forty years ago should ring very loud warning bells to anyone involved as an evidence gatherer. During my streetwalking days we were taught that after each ‘incident’ we were to write down exactly what was said and done as soon as possible. Not half an hour later or end of shift, but right there and then. My wife often comments on how good my memory is because I can recall whole conversations up to a week after the event, but even then I’m cautious. Memory is a tricky thing; and even I’ve been known to get it badly wrong. Because I’ll tell you from hard first hand experience how a charged emotional state will change someone’s perception. People will literally make stuff up, mostly because they weren’t really listening at the time and are covering their arses. They will even happily perjure themselves in a court of law to cover up a minor lapse in attentiveness. Having first convinced themselves that what they thought they saw actually happened. Even if Mr Brain was in ‘idling’ mode at the time.

Even mild mannered me (I am – Honest Guv) has been accused of being ‘abusive’ and even of ‘threatening to hit’ people I’d just issued a parking ticket to on several occasions. None of these accusations were true. Even under direct verbal and physical threat on duty I never swore at, or in front of, a member of the public, nor made any gesture that a sane person would interpret as threatening. Apart from pull out my notebook or hand held computer. As an example, a polite hat tipping gesture was once misinterpreted as ‘flipping the bird‘ to a member of the public. This one minor ‘incident’ like so many other spurious accusations from those times, probably still lie on my personnel file in some dank archive and can be brought back twenty years hence should the will be there. I wouldn’t have a clue after that length of time. Would you?

Having done two stints of Jury service, I’m also more than painfully aware how one prejudiced and assertive voice in the jury room can turn a majority ‘Not Guilty’ decision into ‘Guilty’. Especially when everyone is tired of arguing over minutiae and just want to go home. Juries are strange twelve headed beasts that pull all over the place, sometimes led by the evidence, but more often by strong opinions and emotion. In these infantile days, it is my sad observation that opinions and emotion matter more than facts. Which can be the difference between conviction and freedom.

Scales of injustice clipartIt is also said that everyone lies. We do. Most especially to ourselves. What starts as a little white lie to cover up a trivial misdemeanour takes on layers of untruths to cover up the initial lie. Especially after a protracted period of time. Our imaginations embellish the trivial to make the mundane significant. To make ourselves look and feel more important than we really are. People mishear and misinterpret. Especially children, the emotionally upset, or even someone with a minor electrolyte balance. This is all too human, yet poorly corroborated accusations are being turned into convictions against once-famous old men with a bit in the bank. All so their accusers and their lawyers can feed off the corpse of a career.

So let’s call the current hysteria by its proper name. Celebrity asset stripping.

Canada recognises Bitcoin

Bitcoin CanadaJust caught this off The Register. Bitcoin just got the endorsement of regulation in Canada. My, my. On the same footing as the Dollar no less. A little bit of a two edged sword this, as by putting Bitcoin on the official list of currencies, the various exchanges will have to register and comply with the financial regulations up north of the 49th parallel or get out of Canuckland. However, the upside is that by recognising Bitcoin, it gives the controversial crypto-currency a veneer of respectability, and encourage wider trading and convertibility. Which in a wider sense can be considered a good thing. Even if the main intent is to allow the taxman to get a piece of the action.

First the Enbridge pipeline gets approved, now this. Canada’s economic future is looking brighter all the time.

All your interwebs belong to us (again)

A lot of kak is currently being talked about ‘regulating the Internet’ mainly by politicians who don’t seem to understand the medium. They seem to think that the dying mainstream press (owned or controlled by them) needs subsidising against what Glenn Reynolds called ‘An Army of Davids’. A mostly unpaid and unsubsidised bunch of amateurs. Shock! Horror! ‘Professional Journalists’ beaten by a bunch of mere amateur scribblers! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! Cue Dalek like repetitions of “Regulate! Regulate! Exterminate!” from vested interests and those with something to hide. Including, and especially, the United Nations, which is looking increasingly like an organisation well past its sell-by date.

Okay, let’s be a bit more dispassionate, shall we? Why is the mainstream losing ground against the many voices on the ultra-connected sources of the Internet? I have a one word answer; Integrity. The Internet is the great leveller of information playing fields. The teller of uncomfortable truths, and, let’s be fair, a whole lot of bullshit as well, but at least that pile of crap is obvious and visible, accessible for fact checking and verification. It’s a full on assault on the sensibilities. Unlike the monochrome, one sided cut and pastedness of the mainstream, where too many press releases get uncritically reposted as incontrovertible facts.

For as long as I can remember, even before the Internet, I’ve heard tales of Journalistic ‘Integrity’. Misquoted interviewees. Cheque book journalism. Garbage rummaging, to name but three. Not to mention important stories ‘spiked’ (rejected) by editorial policy.

To suggest that “It’s all the fault of the Internet” as Boris Johnson (amongst others) did today in the UK’s Daily Telegraph is therefore a palpable, noisome, egregious nonsense. Never mind the impossibility of regulating every single voice and blog. It’s too big. Even highly censorious regimes have serious trouble keeping the drip-drip of dissenting voices silent. As for Theresa May’s “Anyone who doesn’t support regulation has blood on their hands” assertion, why do the presses not jam, their servers not melt and crash under such a heinous untruth?

My response? Anyone supporting such regulation is an obvious Statist, and as such to be viewed with automatic suspicion. Someone who is not worthy of trust. Warning! Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!H/T This post at|Counting Cats
Shop an Extremist today

There is a way the mainstream can survive and prosper. If they want to compete, they’re going to have to smarten up their collective act. Be more honest, rediscover the meaning of Journalistic integrity. Print only that which can be independently verified, and not by any ‘regulator’ – the facts have their own voices which need no outside help. Then the ‘lost’ readers will return; slowly at first, but in increasing numbers and revenues will climb. Not that I’m holding my breath waiting for such a miracle to occur, that is.

Popcorn futures skyrocket

There seems to be a lot of upset coming from our cousins down south about their recent elections, with an unprecedented array of states wanting to secede over Federal interference. Which is what started the last big kerfuffle. ‘States rights‘ was the original battle cry of the 19th century secessionists, which still echo today.

According to the LA Times, 50 states have submitted petitions to the White house formally requesting permission to secede from the Union. Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Texas have submitted petitions of over 25,000 each. Texas was over 100,000 at the last count. Which should come as no real surprise. Texans are well known as traditionally independent people.

There is also a much smaller counter movement who have petitioned the White House with the following plea; “please sign an executive order such that each American citizen who signed a petition from any state to secede from the USA shall have their citizenship stripped and be peacefully deported.” Yeah, like that’s going to work if someone was born in the USA. What are the petitioners suggesting? That hundreds of thousands of people are declared stateless and homeless just because they made lawful protest? First Amendment rights anyone? Besides, if those protestors ‘to be deported’ have families who have been resident since the 19th Century or are even native Americans, where would you deport them to? Canada? I bet our immigration people might have a few sharp words to say about that.

It’s a joke, of course. A poor taste partisan threat even. Only 10,000 signatures against several hundred thousand pro-secessionist so far. Although according to the White House web site “If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” Like consigning all those petitions to File 13 after making the usual noises about “Having given due consideration” etc. Ignore it and the problem will go away. All sound and fury, nothing more. Yet…. smoke and fires. From my reading of US Civil War history, I seem to recall reading this was how the last mess began.

According to this piece in the Digitaljournal, it’s not just sour grapes by disappointed Romney voters, as some might be tempted to think; the secession movement is more deeply rooted than that. It’s not about the perpetual dogfight of partisan politics at all, but derives from perceived blatant abuses of rights by the NDAA and TSA, amongst other federal authorities.

The Texans are not the only ones to be angered about the abuse of political power. All over the world there are similar sentiments. A need to break free from overweening authority and top down thinking driven interference. A desire to be liberated from Corporatist or Socialist regimes (The two are so similar it makes no real difference). From the British EU Referendum pressure groups to the Syrian militias; it’s all about the rights of the individual over unrepresentative authority.

In the West at least these things are slow to come to the boil, and the only realistic way to deal with them is to ease off the legislative pressure. Less state intervention. Fewer, not more laws. Less, and more human, enforcement.

As a keen student of history I’m not sure where the process will lead, but one thing is certain; this secession business isn’t going away any time soon. This side of the 49th Parallel popcorn futures are rocketing. Although don’t mention Quebec.

Another day, another foot in the mouth

Back in the old country, I see the idiot Limp Dems are at it again. The UK is in one of the worst economic fixes since the 1930’s and they’re talking about a Nationalised National bank and the ‘rights’ of homosexuals to ‘marry’.

Nationalised banks? Another way to rob the poor bloody UK taxpayer of even more of their hard earned to subsidise lending and spend it inefficiently on politicians pork barrel promises. The fallout will make the 70’s, where UK industry almost collapsed look like a stroll in the park. Some say it already does.

To the homosexual lobbyists wanting the same ‘rights’ as heterosexual couples I would say; are you crazy? Do you really see the legal and fiscal noose you’re running your necks into? These are the self same ‘rights’ that politicians mess around with regarding tax breaks and inheritance whenever they feel like a little wealth redistribution. Which is just about every other budget. Trust me, the whole marriage business is too complicated by half, and you’d do better by using the law as it stands to circumvent all the tax tricks and traps by getting a decent specialist tax accountant. It will be much cheaper. Cheaper than lawyers. Although my youngest is in training and will no doubt welcome your business later in her career. The whole marriage thing needs a serious overhaul to redress the imbalances laid for the unwary in the divorce courts.

For those homosexuals still determined to get legally hitched I would counsel thus; politicians will cheerfully lead you down the garden path to a place where more of your disposable income can be liberated for the privilege you so desire. Trust me on this. If it were a simple matter of ‘with ring I thee wed’ and sharing the tax breaks I’d simply shrug my shoulders and say “Go for it.” It isn’t. Read the fine print. I say this as a very married man. However, if you’re determined to ignore my advice, I have no issue. Knock yourselves out; but remember, any tax savings aren’t that great. Good luck. You’re going to need it.

I’d even go so far as to make a little prediction. As soon as Homosexuals get the ‘equality’ they desire, all the tax breaks for marriage, tax free pension and asset transfers, will dry up like spit on a hot stove. For everyone. So there will be no prejudice. Everyone will be truly equal, regardless of sexual orientation. Won’t that be nice?

Quite frankly I don’t give a shit what Nick Clegg’s office says about dissenting voices. Every time he opens his mouth he must have trouble making himself heard for the shoe leather. Sometimes I think that UK politics is going to eat itself and he’s just trying to be first politician to do it literally. Who knows? These are part of life’s great mysteries. Better that they remain so.

Just as an aside, did you know that the word ‘Bigot’ is taken from a Montreal dwelling Francois Bigot, Intendant of New France around mid 1700’s? Rather like ‘Chauvinism’ was also named after a Frenchman, the eponymous and legendary Nicholas Chauvin. Fascinating stuff, History. Pity that UK politicians ignore it so much.