Tag Archives: Legal

Having second thoughts

We are currently booked and paid for to visit London, UK in Autumn 2019. Nothing much, we’re going to spend a little quality time with ‘North’ (Younger stepdaughter) in the great metrollops and go do some sightseeing. Only the current Police crackdown, where they are doing the whole facial recognition fascist thing has me thinking twice. Arresting otherwise law abiding people for getting annoyed at being scanned without permission? That and they’re confiscating spoons for heavens sakes. I’ve just seen a triumphant tweet from London Police of a ‘deadly weapons cache’ that looks like the contents of my cutlery drawer before I had a clear out last year. I swear this picture of a ‘weapons cache’ had a butter knife and a spoon in it, FFS! All right, there was a fencing foil in amongst the edged kitchen tools on display, but that had a fencing button on the tip and might have put someone’s eye out if they were very, very unlucky / clumsy. I bet most of those other bits of metal weren’t all that sharp, rather like the arresting officers.

Jesus H Freaking Christ on a Velocipede! I used to be part of the UK law enforcement ‘community’ as a lowly bylaw enforcement officer, but right at present any trust of the UK Police on my part has been eroded to the point of nothingness. You can even be arrested for telling jokes for heavens sake! Or questioned for holding the ‘wrong’ opinions. After that some bozo in black will probably make an excuse to rummage through your kitchen drawers and try to make a case for terrorism. “All right chummy. Yore nicked! Slice your own bread do you? Right! You’re under arrest for conspiracy to make sandwiches.” Dear God alive. Does anyone understand how retarded that sort of behaviour makes them look? God knows what they’d make of my Sabatier and Sushi knife collection. Probably accuse me of a massive conspiracy to cook a casserole.

Honestly at this juncture I’m actually becoming more afraid of the UK Police than any criminal I might happen across and am inclined to avoid any uniformed presence like the plague, refusing to engage with them and crossing the streets where possible to avoid said uniformed presence.

This is why the current crop of party politicians have to go. They’re the ones behind the moral panics driving this idiocy. All of them. Tory. Labour. Lib Dem. Green. None of them have a clue. This is getting worse than the 60’s and 70’s and this extreme behaviour by the UK Police is liable to make things far, far worse than they already are.

I am seriously thinking about cancellation. Stuff ’em. I’m halfway inclined to spend my tourist dollars elsewhere.

On the plus side, my deck garden is looking well. The largest Lemon plant just crept over the twenty four inch marker. My Capsicum seedlings have been planted out and we should shortly have Sunflowers, Canna Lillies, Lupins and Delphiniums. A Blue rose has also been added to the collection. Once the rain stops I’ll be outside reading Montaigne’s essay on the delights of solitude.

Power

There is no such thing as power without responsibility. Well you can try, but it always ends in tears. Even when you don’t there are winners and losers. Let me enlarge…

Over the last three weeks we have been busily involved in exercising our legal powers as powers of attorney on behalf of an old family friend. Emphasis on the ‘old’. We’re talking upper nineties here.

Recently our very good friend became ill. For twelve long hours she lingered at death’s door, or should I say dithered indecisively before deciding to stay with what she knew. Which annoyed some people, but less about them later.

Upon hearing the news, we thundered up the Island highway. Made sure all was under control at the hospital, obtained reports, discussed issues with medical staff and care home manager. Then we thundered back down home getting back late and very tired. Daily phone calls to hospital and relatives ensued while juggling new work issues. A disinterested and cynical reader might think we were being a bit over the top, but we reckon we owe our elderly friend a debt of gratitude for the help that she and her late husband gave us when we first landed. That is a debt I will not consider paid until she is gone and her estate settled.

What didn’t help was Hospital staff and Doctors often giving conflicting information. On one occasion within an hour of each other. On the third day one refused to give us any details over the phone because we “Weren’t on the list” which we bloody well most certainly were. Top of the list of contacts as legally registered powers of attorney if you please.

In the middle of this muddle our friend was blithely and obviously non compos mentis so we held all the aces. A terse conversation with hospital administration was had. Apologies were received. “Oops, sorry, that was on another screen.” Yeah, right. A full report was forthcoming. Necessary people were notified and informed, arrangements made, through which our old friend glided sedately as a Swan, while we and others were doing a lot of desperate paddling underneath. Which made some people, how shall I put this delicately, a little defensive.

Let me explain. A lot of West Coast Canadians hate confrontation to the point where it’s almost comic. They cannot negotiate like a European or our Southern cousins will. They either duck the issue and pass the buck like nobody’s business or get all whiny and passive-aggressive. For our part Mrs S and I handle confrontations without all the circumlocution and squirming West Coasters so often go in for. To us a spade is a spade, you use them to dig holes. Or hit people who won’t give you a straight answer. As people we are often direct, concise and to the point. Which makes us unpopular but what the hell. Did I say West coasters hate confrontation? The passive-aggression we occasionally meet is easily deflected by a flash of legal powers. The opposition might know their ‘rights’ but unfortunately for them, so do we.

Notwithstanding, another trip up and down the highway with a two night stay was booked so we could be there for our friends release from hospital into her residential home at the weekend. Then a phone call from the Care Home Manager. Why not from the Hospital? We’re the powers of Attorney, not him. She’s being sent home when? Today? Hells bells! Thanks for letting us know, you utter tossers. Change of booking. Thunder up Island highway again. Negotiate care instructions and agree with fortunately co-operative Manager of Residential home where elderly friend is resident. At least he appreciated our no-nonsense approach.

I’ll say this for this particular care home, it’s very nice, more like an upmarket hotel for Seniors than a UK pattern care facility. Elderly friend’s apartment is compact but more of a studio apartment plus bedroom. It’s roomier too with a full en-suite bathroom. The facility also has it’s own care unit for the less able, which is where elderly friend stayed until she retrieved all her marbles and got reassessed so she can go back to living more independently.

Additional problems arose when a couple of ‘relatives’ decided to turn up out of the blue and foist themselves on our elderly friend. Eating her food, using her facilities, which we, as her powers of attorney thought was a bit of a nerve. Especially when other family members far closer than we would not put them up. Which I found a little odd. When we asked why, no-one wanted to deal honestly. Mrs S and I found it quite comic listening to someone literally squirming on the other end of a phone line. Obviously no love lost there. It was a pity they couldn’t just be honest with us. “No, they’re an utter pain we don’t want as a house guest.” Would have been quite acceptable as a response, but no, we had to listen to fifteen minutes of ever more elaborate excuses. They had their own lives and wanted someone else to make the hard calls while the vultures descended.

My attitude to the vultures is simple; visit by all means, but pay your own way please. Elderly friend gets charged for having guests in her apartment, which even we as her legal guardians are refused access to. Another set of terse phone conversations were had with the care home. Veiled statements of legal intent were issued. Instructions were reiterated. If elderly friends recovery is threatened by these people, out they bloody well go. Do not pass go, do not dip your hand into her wallet. Elderly friend is supposed to be resting after a very life threatening illness, not in need of ‘cheering up’ or ‘taking out of herself’ by mindlessly well-intentioned freeloaders with their piggy little eyes on our old friends money. Have the common decency to wait until she’s dead, you greedy bastards.

That’s one thing about our part of the Sticker clan is our fierce loyalty to close friends. We look after our own and we like our friends alive thank you very much. Now sod off.

Once upon a time…

I’ve been looking around of late, in my few off-duty moments, wondering if the online culture war of faux-outrage has any cause and I regret to say I think it’s always been going on. Why I think that is a convoluted path, but the answer can be summarised with a Trudeau-like “Because, Humans”.

This answer derives from the 1941 movie (Okay, I love old black and white Frank Capra movies, so sue me) “Meet John Doe” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper which is a satire on the state of journalism and politics during the early to mid twentieth century urban USA. What it, and many other similar productions tell us is (Including one Marx Brothers comedy) how mainstream media outlets, like all human institutions, are partisan and how that partisanship plays out with an audience and the powers that be. Particularly when said dead tree press is struggling to survive under severe financial pressure. I particularly liked the portrayal of a prototype SJW as a fat, rich and idle white woman bloviating over the phone to the Mayor’s office, giving him hell for not “Doing something” about an issue invented to save a journalists paycheck, then that invented ‘problem’ going on to create a national cause célèbre.

The parallels with today’s online society are obvious. A vociferous minority with otherwise empty lives, the #MeToo movement as a case in point, get told a lie to further the agenda or line the pockets of some rent seeker, then without looking at whether the information they are given is sound or not, go off on a rant about it. In the process not caring about the harm they do to any innocent party. Rather like the Salem Witch trials or Nazi and Soviet era denunciations. Due process goes out of the window, there is no examination of any evidence. In their eyes the accusation is the evidence. Emotion is all, mere facts or lack thereof are irrelevant. The Twitter or Facebook lynch mob wants blood and no evidence of innocence can be countenanced. Bugger human rights, sod innocent until proven guilty, the unthinking mob just want to see those necks stretch. They love the drama, the endorphin hit of feeling they’ve done the right thing, regardless of any inconvenient facts or even the lack thereof. Or the innocence of the people whose lives they try to destroy by going after their employers or family.

The irony of privileged white people crowing about the “end of white supremacy” is not lost on this blog. If these people had any real self awareness or insight they’d understand that if the societal freedoms and responsibilities they call “White supremacy” do disappear, so will their own privileged indolent lifestyles.

The rest of us end up with our freedom of expression muzzled by poorly thought through “hate speech” laws. And eventually so does theirs, because the law is a two edged sword, which cuts both ways.

Update:  A gentleman named Mark Kern has suggested calling SJW’s and their media allies “Information Terrorists”.  May I suggest an alternative term, “The Enemy”.

A miscarriage of justice?

While Mrs S and I are enjoying the fruits and vines down here in the baking hot Sarf a France, relaxing in temperatures which occasionally top forty Celsius (In the low hundreds Fahrenheit), I see the powers that be in blighty have let a certain ‘far right activist‘ out of the jug. Personally I think the ‘far right’ tag is misleading, even libellous, as the gentleman in question has friends of all skin colours. Just because none of them belong to the religion of being blown to pieces doesn’t make him a Fascist either. If asked, I believe he would support Israels right to exist, so he’s not, to the best of my knowledge, an anti-Semite.

Unlike some mainstream political leaders. Yes Corbyn, we’re looking at you and your mates. Scratch a lefty, find a racist Jew-hater. Funny that, the extreme right and far left share so much. Especially their hatred of Jews. The Nazis hate Jews, Antifa and their far left cohorts hate Jews. You’d think they’d be the best of friends, being two sides of the same grubby political coin. Personally I actually like those of the Judaic faith. Who else could have come up the the gag;
Officious hotel manager: “Did sir take a bath?”
Jewish guest: “Why, is one missing?”
I miss Rabbi Blue and his often hilarious ‘Thought for the day’ on early morning UK radio.

No matter what you think about Tommy Robinson and his antics, two months in what was effectively solitary confinement was pretty rough justice. For contempt of court? Hells bells. Violent criminals often get less for rearranging other people’s faces.

For those who think he had it coming, try sitting alone, in isolation, for even one day. Imagine yourself in a locked room with no contact, little stimulation and constantly being told your family is under direct threat. That sort of thing can break a mind, which is why solitary is double punishment. Two months? Most people, even in University level studies, don’t last seven days without cracking up or exhibiting symptoms of psychological damage. Two months alone can open some very dark gateways in a man’s soul. For so little reason.

Watch Tommy’s behaviour during the interview. He’s twitchy, de-socialised. He cuts the interview short. Yet what did he do to be so mistreated? Vent his anger at what he sees as an oppressive presence? Protest at the mistreatment of others, which went on for so long as it did when the very institutions people rely upon to guarantee their safety turned a blind eye. For decades.

Then there’s the possibility that he may now have a valid claim for sizeable compensation which will end up costing the UK taxpayer a significant sum. Especially when the quashing of his sentence made it quite clear that precedent and Judges Rules has been at the very least, misapplied. Go on, look up the full judgement and read.

Now here’s where I’ll make a prediction. The Tommy Robinson saga is not over, not by a long chalk. There’s iron in that boys soul which is being forged into a dangerous steel which the UK’s Weimar government and perhaps the rest of the world, will regret. I wish it weren’t likely, but his unjust treatment has recently reduced those odds significantly.

But then, you can safely ignore the half witted prognostications of a tinfoil hatter like me, can’t you?

Update|  Sargons analysis of the judgement below.

The law of unforeseen consequences part deux

A few further thoughts about the EU’s heinous Article 13. This time on the possible downside. For the EU and those businesses pushing the proposed new copyright legislation. The law of unforeseen consequences, as I’ve pontificated about before, is waiting eagerly in the wings, ready to steal the scene with a big fat grin.

The gist of article 13 and it’s evil twin, Article 11 is to make it illegal to post any portion of a previously posted copyrighted article, soundtrack, photo or video without payment to the copyright holder. There appears to be no place for fair use or critique in the proposed legislation.

The thought occurs that all this reposting of content, either for parody or criticism acts as free marketing for the big media companies. How many sales of back catalogue items are down to snippets of music or video posted on YouTube for example? Does anyone know? I don’t, but what I do know is having watched stuff on Youtube I’ve subsequently gone to Amazon or the music store or the movie theatre to pay to see a movie or buy a new CD of a half forgotten favourite. The memes, parodies and critiques are free marketing on a massive back catalogue of stuff that actually does make money for the copyright owning companies. That’s right, the criticism and fandom, at least partially, is a source of profit. Kill that, or restrict the ownership and the market shrinks. The copyright holders are then left with the equivalent of a massive archive that generates little or no revenue. Like with the National Film Archive in the UK. A movie, book, or piece of music that is not shown is a missing piece in the jigsaw of existence.

As for the media companies and the link tax, if someone who critiques news coverage or a movie has to pay a fee to do so then they won’t. They will simply paraphrase, allude to and analyse without linking, developing their own credibility en route. Like with ‘professional’ Youtubers. They are the ones who help generate a word of mouth ‘buzz’ that is one of the most effective means of marketing ever. Not some ‘journalist’ working for a publication pushing it’s own agenda. There isn’t enough space in a web browser window for the needed advertising to drive content. And with everything paywalled, well, see that big toe? Ready, aim, fire!

Which prompted me to revisit an old childhood favourite;

The mainstream media sat on a wall,
Article 13 caused a great fall,
All the Zucks Farcebok and all their fake tweets,
Couldn’t get their content back out as repeats.

Why? Because as has been amply demonstrated ‘fake’ is so pervasive throughout the mainstream that anyone associated with it is tainted. According to Mark Twain a lie can run around the world before the truth can get it’s boots on, but the corollary of that is once the truth does get going it can, and often does, give the falsehoods a serious kicking.

Personally I have only one opinion on content sharing; links and commentary are fine, but the words are mine. Non-profit sharing is cool.

A must watch

Tinfoil hat alert. Related to the Tommy Robinson affair. Here’s something that should be watched in full because people get excised about ‘Moslem grooming gangs’, but there is possibly a greater problem as highlighted in the video by ex-Police officer John Wedger. If you believe him, the UK care system has been a tree laden with low hanging fruit for decades. Full of vulnerable children ripe for exploitation. As detailed in this case study article in the Guardian from 2009.

Or previously here;

My own first hand experience of the UK care system does not directly support John Wedger’s allegations, but, and this is a very big but, I do know that UK ‘care homes’ are far from airtight. Kids abscond all the time. It’s been a running joke since the 1970’s and before. That a proportion of these runaways are turned to drug dependency by the unscrupulous should come as no surprise. However the scale of the problem has grown out of all proportion. Add to that the bigger scandal that no one must say anything just in case it ‘offends’ a protected group.

Add to that assertion that care homes have long been known to feed the prison system. To quote the Prison Reform Trusts 2017 report (Bottom of page 12);

Fewer than 1% of all children in England are in care, but they make up nearly two-fifths of children in secure training centres (39%) and young offender institutions (37%).

Not only that but kids in the care system do go missing. They literally ‘fall through the cracks’. In 2016 for example, the figure of children who went missing was quoted as high as 140,000. Per year as recently as 2016. True, most of this number are found, they return home without fanfare or are located and no longer officially listed as missing, but some just vanish. Many of this number from care. Official figures can be found in the official 2015-6 National Crime Office missing persons report. Although the linked report does state that about 68% of people who go missing are never reported (Bottom of page 28).

Now this isn’t a given as some care homes have been better than others and small scale abuse has often been caught and dealt with. However, with the Rotherham and Telford cases now in the public domain, there is a strong growing suspicion of systemic collusion, either through fear of being labelled ‘racist’ or ‘islamaphobe’ or even leaving the now-convicted grooming gang members as a smokescreen for a more long running problem. And perhaps tossing the odd dead or retired celebrity out of the sleigh for the public to get angry about while a small but deeply ensconced network of well-heeled child abusers slips away behind a fog of outrage.

Which gives rise to the suspicion that Tommy Robinson got his punitive additional sentence because by focussing the searchlight of public attention on the grooming gangs, he posed an existential threat to a certain clique and their agents hiding (or with sources) within the very institutions meant to protect the vulnerable. Because perhaps these ‘elite abusers’ use very similar means to the grooming gangs to recruit their victims. If this were not the case, then why have whistleblowers so often come in for such hostility, often (If John is to be believed) from their own superiors?

As a theatrical character called Hamlet is wont to observe “Aye, and there’s the rub.”

Anyway, on the subject of Tommy himself here are his own words in a recent letter from prison.

This ain’t over. Not by a long chalk.

P.S. I now can confirm that twelve of my thirteen Lemon germinated tree seeds have poked their way above the soil and are producing leaves. I’m going to need exceptionally bigger pots.

We have germination

Three of my Lemon seeds have actually germinated and have sprouted little rootlets, with which I am quite delighted. My Avocado likewise looks promising with a couple of cracks beginning in the base as incipient roots start pushing their way out. Out on the deck, our Hybrid Tea rose has ten buds a-burgeoning and everything else is popping up like nobody’s business. I keep on walking into the kitchen to be greeted by Mrs S standing on the threshold, admiring the new growth. She hears me approach, turns and the smile on her face, as always, buoys my heart. “Looking good.” She says and I nod my agreement. By the time June arrives we should have a fine show of blossoms gracing our little deck garden.

Other new arrivals include a copy of the George Orwell Omnibus which does not contain all his novels, but which leaves only ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, ‘Homage to Catalonia’ and ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ outstanding. When obtained, these will complete my hardback collection of Orwell’s works already sitting in our bookcases, including his ‘Lost writings’.

Something else of interest has popped up in the wake of reporting restrictions on the Tommy Robinson conviction being lifted. Allegedly, video footage has emerged of Geoffrey Marson QC (The Judge responsible for sentencing Robinson – a Blair era appointee) looking out of a window at Robinson’s arrest. Now if true, his presiding over Robinson’s case is in clear breach of accepted judicial practice, both of the 2013 Judicial guidelines and Bangalore principles governing a Judges behaviour. The rule is, so I am reliably informed, that a sitting Judge may not appear as witness or complainant in a case he is called to make judgement upon because then he cannot be impartial. Not sure of case law here, but if it can be shown that Geoffrey Marson QC sentenced Robinson shortly after witnessing the arrest, then said conviction could easily be ruled as ‘unsafe’ and immediately quashed. Also, if the Judge was the initial complainant who called, or directly caused the Police be called to arrest Robinson, the guidelines indicate that this particular Judge should have recused himself and asked a colleague to step in, rather than try the case for breach of the peace and pass sentence himself as he did. By doing so he’s left himself and the case wide open. Foot, bang, ouch!

While I’m not a fan of Robinson’s, I still have this old fashioned notion that the law is the law and in order to be effective, those responsible for upholding it must be held to the highest standards. Notwithstanding, also still think the thirteen months was a bit steep. Even if the guy is a bit of a one note symphony.

In most instances where the conditions of being bound over are breached (Even if it was a bit of a reach), the original sentence and only that imposed at the time should be applied and trial for additional offences should be dealt with later, not summarily. That and I don’t see what the Judge was hoping to achieve. At the time of Robinson’s arrest, the defendants in the case he was reporting on had already been found guilty and were going in for sentencing. So the claim that what Robinson was doing was prejudicial to the defendants’ case is a bit flimsy. So if the powers that be wanted all Robinson’s fuss to just go away, they’re sadly misguided. The best they can do is shunt him to a low security unit and quietly drop the extra ten months with time off for good behaviour.

Anyway, that’s all for the lawyers and politicians to sort out. I shall be watching from this side of the Pacific rim with great interest as events develop. Rather like our deck garden, things are germinating.

The theory of cock up; part 2

Watching events from this side of the pond, I’ve been inclined to do a little thinking about the path that has taken a certain right wing activist (unjustly) to jail for more time than if he’d committed a far more serious crime. To be fair, he’s skated close to the edge in the past, but by reacting the way they have, the powers that be have exacerbated a situation they created in the first place.

Cock-up and public sector cowardice created the UK’s current dilemma’s over the last two decades. Cock-up in thinking that legislation can enforce ‘fairness’ because one man’s (and woman’s, whatever) fairness can be another’s injustice, cowardice in not enforcing the law equally from the start. If the law had been properly and fairly enforced we would not be at the point of what is in effect a global gagging order being issued by a UK court and the subsequent public backlash.

My first reaction to the Judges decisions, both to jail the activist and to massively increase his sentence for what was a very minor infraction of bail conditions was a loud groan of “No, no, no! You’ll just make things worse!” Maybe said Judge was acting on his own instincts, maybe he’d received ‘guidance’ from the Home Office. Don’t know for sure, but it seems likely. What level that ‘guidance’ might have come from is moot. Certainly the politicians will be shouting at their functionaries things like; “Whatever possessed you to do such a thing! Now you’ve created a martyr!” To which the functionary (more likely functionaries) will point to guidelines established under a previous administration and trot out the old “But Ve vere only following orders.” Defence. Said guidelines were probably of the “For God’s sake don’t stir things up!” Variety. The idea being that by appeasing a certain religious community (Hem-hem, to use a Molesworthism) inter community violence, or the threat of it, due to a large influx of people (invited by the Blair, Brown, Cameron administrations and the EU) who have no intention of assimilating into British mainstream culture, would somehow magically go away. Sorry chaps, appeasement never works as a tool of public policy. I think the 1930’s proved that.

The above I know is pure conjecture on my part, but it does seem logically consistent with my own experience within UK local and national government institutions and how these things work. Anyway, Tommy should look on the bright side; his arrest made the front page of Drudge. See last nights screenshot below.

Now I also hear rumours that the UK has the Police literally arresting native British people on their own doorsteps for ‘hate speech’? Otherwise known as pointedly asking why a certain religious group gets preferential treatment? That is so going to end badly.

As a whimsical aside; are the days of thunderstorms England is likely to suffer until Wednesday God’s comment on the matter? Maybe the almighty is really a free speech activist too?

This could get interesting..

Have just had to undertake ‘Anti-bullying training’ for my latest contract. Not that I wanted to because I only acknowledge one approach to bullies which can be summed up in this phrase; “please don’t do that, as an elbow to the throat often offends…” Not that I’ll ever be around when some authority figure comes to take issue with me for ‘retaliating’. Or that my first resort to intimidation would be violence. I’ve had special training in how to stand up to people bent on intimidation without having to resort to punching them out. That and having a well-honed Vetinari (Or Blackadder if you must)-like line in irony and sarcasm. One of my all time favourites being “Really? Well you might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment…” or “Prey, tell me…” in a cool tone of voice.

Now while I’m not in favour of bullying, having been on the receiving end one too many times, I’m also of the mindset that says that bullies exist to be dealt with, but emphatically do not think that the best way to deal with them is to go looking. Like offense, if you go looking for your definition of ‘bully’ all sorts of daily human interactions can be classed as ‘offensive’ or ‘bullying’ by some thin-skinned son of a bitch (Was that sexist? – ‘Daughter of a dog’ doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?) Indeed, I tend to agree with this 2016 article from Psychology today that;

“The anti-bully movement is a short walk to genocide.”

Because seeking out and punishing people for behaviour that might be construed as ‘bullying’ or voicing an unpopular opinion ‘hate speech’ is based on highly subjective criteria. As well as being dangerous, flagrantly petty, totally asinine and bad for your human rights. Life’s too short to waste it in continual recriminations. As well as possibly symptomatic of a profound mental illness. In mental health literature, The Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology, as far back as Volume 9 contains the following statement(Screenshot); Which, as I have posited so many times before, that offense-seeking behaviour often creates more of a problem than the proposed legislative ‘cure’. See the public backlash over the Count Dankula affair. Which has yet to run its course. And could get even more interesting than it has to date. Especially for the powers that be. Public opinion being what it is.

Anything else? Oh yes. Have spent the princely sum of sixty bucks out of my latest wage packet on one of those automatic watering kits for our little deck garden. Just in case I get caught up in my next round of number crunching and forget to water our burgeoning little collection of plant life.

Mrs S by the way, is delighted at the way all her seeds are germinating and pushing fresh (the saucy little things) green shoots up to be seduced into flower by the sunlight, which is so strong at the moment I can’t walk on the deck barefoot after two o’clock in the afternoon. So I’ve been having to hotfoot (groan) back inside every so often while setting up the watering system or suffer deep fried tootsies. Which I’m reliably informed are no fun at all, and not very tasty either. Cooking your feet is not advisable kiddlewinks, especially when they’re still attached to your ankles. I’ve heard of people chewing their nails, but toenails.. euw.

That’s it for now. I’ve poked my nose above the parapet and nothing much has changed in the outside world so it’s back to work. Figures to reconcile, bills to pay, you know how it is.

Gardening leave

Not much happening right now. Well not here, apart from an increase in personal gardening activity. A new Rose bush, Lilies, Honeysuckle, Junipers, Indonesian Lime, germinating Sweet peas and casting Nasturtiums hither and thither. I’m even having a go at germinating Avocado, Lemon and Orange seeds.

Anything really new? Well, Justin Trudeau is still the most cringeworthy Canadian Prime Minister ever. So no change there. Apparently that darling mop top is rather upset about all the mean (and well-deserved) comments coming his way. Although I’m sure some fuckwit might construe saying that as a ‘Hate Crime’. No idea why, but that’s their problem, not mine.

What else? We at Maison Sticker are keeping a weather eye on the Hawaiian situation. An explosive steam event is on the horizon, although how big that will be is anybody’s guess. Am checking in on the USGS pages for Kīlauea and half way listening for a far off low grumble that means Oahu has gone up in smoke and a big Tsunami is on its way. But that’s a few days away if it happens at all. Besides, even a ‘mega Tsunami’ caused by a massive Hawaiian land slip won’t touch us, we’re too high up and looking down on the rest of the neigbourhood (Damning the rest with faint praise and patronising the remainder.) Besides, the possible slip zone points are South and east of Oahu.  Meaning the focus of any Tsunami will be pointing right at Cali-forn-aye-a.  So much for beachfront property eh?

Liking what Sargon and friends are up to re free speech in the UK. I’m actually hoping that we’ve reached peak PC and some sort of grand ‘oops’ moment will cause various Governments to scale back on the current tidal wave of repressive legislation. Not that either the EU or the UK seem to be free of the insanity. The UK is considering jailing people for up to six years for ‘hate crime’. six years? You don’t get that for manslaughter FFS! (Current guidelines for an unlawful killing are 2-10 years) Saying something critical of the Religion of being blown to pieces can get you jail time? That is so coming back to bite the pollies who put and let these things stay on the statute books. Apart from being a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Which will create deeper and more permanent cultural divides. This is notwithstanding the EU’s latest directive on the topic. Dissent has, like in the old Soviet Union and other Communist and other extreme right and left regimes, become a crime, threatening to drive millions of otherwise moderate citizens right into the political arms of some destructive reboot of Fascism. Especially as voicing or publishing a dissenting point of view is now a ‘hate crime’. Unless, according to the latest proposed EU guidelines, you’re a service provider.

Wonder what happened to ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me‘? Gone the way of all flesh it seems. Every privileged minority seems determined to find something somewhere to get excited about. The rest of us look on at their antics with a certain astonishment. Especially when the perpetually offended get all vocal about a cause they aren’t directly affected by.

For my part I consider myself on unofficial gardening leave because work has tailed off and there’s bugger all to do apart from write and run errands. I’m still getting paid, so what the hell. Serves me right for being so efficient over the last few months.

After we get back from Europe in August, think I’ll join one of the local archery clubs so I can use their shooting range and get some new shafts made. Might be worthwhile keeping my eye in, just in case I get an invite to go bowhunting up country again. In the meantime, my roses are budding, Lilies trumpeting their heavy pollen to the skies and multiple seedlings straining to be set free from the confinement of the soil. Could be worse.

That’s interesting….

Reported in Liberty about mass surveillance in the UK. Headline reads.. “Court of Appeal rules Government surveillance regime IS unlawful” According to Martha Spurrier, Liberty’s Director:

“Yet again a UK court has ruled the Government’s extreme mass surveillance regime unlawful. This judgment tells ministers in crystal clear terms that they are breaching the public’s human rights. The latest incarnation of the Snoopers’ Charter, the Investigatory Powers Act, must be changed.

“No politician is above the law. When will the Government stop bartering with judges and start drawing up a surveillance law that upholds our democratic freedoms?”

Well, that will put a few noses out of joint. Kudos to UK MP Tom Watson for following through.

Meantime, many UK porn sites have been pushed by new laws into creating a registration scheme for users. Although this only affects UK (ab)users from April onwards. But not those with a VPN. Or accessing the web via an offshore proxy. Stuff many tech-savvy teenage boys can do without even bending a neuron.

Non Disclosure

Currently the level of cock-up in my current contract has reduced as after four weeks certain people are starting to get the idea that they can’t just throw company money around any more without proper recording or authorisation. The folks who hired me are looking at their cashflow and marvelling at how many procedural holes it was leaking out of. They’d been relying on an old fashioned cheque book and Corporate credit card to pay the bills and always wondering why they were struggling to keep their fiscal heads above water. Now they know. All we have to do is tidy up the in-house documentation and that’s another contract done. Think I’ve broken the back of this job with under two weeks to go. Well done Bill. Providing my clients stick to the Inventory, Purchasing and Sales order procedures we’ve thrashed out and don’t slip back into the bad old ways, they’ll be fine. Why they didn’t do it that way from the off is a mystery. They had the accounting package, the computerisation, all the software licences set up, they just weren’t using them. Oh well, it all makes work for the working man to do. Another happy tick on the old CV and another non-disclosure clause. Which everyone signs, but so few pay attention to because we humans are such terrible gossips.

Regarding non disclosure agreements, as a follow on from a recent post I’ve been asking around my legal contacts about civil Non Disclosure Agreements, those tricksy little contract clauses forbidding a signatory to publicly or privately discuss matters they have been paid not to discuss with others. The consensus seems to be that such orders are no protection against a criminal court action. Only courts can issue what are effectively ‘gagging orders’ and those will only be effective within a specific court’s jurisdiction.

So say if you know your organisation is breaking the law and that criminal activity is reported to the relevant authorities, that non-disclosure clause in your contract can be worth less than used toilet paper. In the case of a criminal prosecution, individuals are not allowed to hide behind NDA’s if called as witnesses. Especially if someone is trying to cover up fraud, sexual assault or worse. Which means the civil penalties outlined in such agreements cannot be enforced in a court of law if they were designed to prevent witnesses and victims testifying. Not without a charge of perjury at any rate. This is my understanding of these matters, if it is flawed, then corrections (With citations) in the comments, please.

Now, onto the juicy stuff. The Weinstein scandal. Ooh yes matron. The dark and shady doings circling actress Rose McGowan’s possible testimony are interesting. A warrant was issued for her arrest because she left drug contaminated luggage, which may or may not have been McGowan’s own drugs, on a plane. Unfortunately for the prosecution, mere contamination means nothing. Bank notes contaminated with cocaine still circulate out of ATMs. Indeed, back in 2010, it was reported that most British Bank notes were so tainted. Which is a whole heap of nose candy in circulation if you ask me. According to Wikipedia, most bank notes are contaminated and such false positives have even led to unfair dismissal of employees following drug tests. So the contamination of items left on a plane is meaningless and won’t hold up in a reasonable court. For a possession charge to stick, more than just trace amounts have to be found and the chain of possession confirmed. Besides, in the current climate, there’s a reasonable suspicion of evidence tampering.

As for potential paedophile scandal star witness Corey Feldman’s marijuana charge, that wasn’t him, that was his crew. He just paid the fines. Which is average for any rock band on the road.
Storm meet teacup. Whether he can name the names and out his erstwhile abusers is another thing. That has yet to come into the open. Although it is public knowledge that Hollywood has been manipulating their pet media for over half a century and then some. Just watch the documentary below about just one of the notoriously Gay film stars of the 1920’s and 30’s. You heard that. Public Homosexuality in the 1920’s and 30’s? – abso-freaking-lutely.

1930’s scandals aside; the problem with all these scandals and allegations is summed up in one word; evidence. The courts can get very picky about that. Verifiable proof is required. Unless you’re hauled before the laughably titled Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Kangaroo Court of the Star Chamber more like. It’s no good just naming names, or going into “He said vs She said” territory, credible witnesses must be produced. Victims identified. Verifiable evidence confirmed. The chain of evidence has to be close to watertight or there’s no real hope of conviction. However, reputation damage is another thing.

Because Hollywood, as Kevin Spacey has recently found out, is a place where reputation is all. Reputation gets an actor their part in a movie, confidence from investors and Distributors funds Production companies, who fund movies. Tens of Millions can rest on a single word. Now that reputation lies in tatters. It was already under pressure after multiple box office flops, but now the money, the life blood for all creative endeavour is leaving. You might say that parts of Hollywood are bleeding out after being shot by moral outrage. And there lies the opportunity for more savvy small production companies to persuade distributors to fund and allow their creative products access to the wider US markets. Fresh new blood is needed to save Hollywood. New ideas backed by non politically strangled dialogue. Not the same shit different day. That and time to heal. Simply trying to paper over the gaping wounds with NDA’s won’t cut it.

On the other hand, the current feminist litany of complaint about ‘too many men’ either as actors, producers and writers has one major flaw; the market. Women can act, produce and write as well as any man, there is no question about that. Whether they can sell a heavily pro-feminist end product, or even if a mass market for such a product exists, is another question entirely. Wonder Woman worked, but only because of the strong female lead, long-established character and story. Which is interesting, as the comic books the character was culled from were written by a man, Dr. William Moulton Marston with an all male scriptwriting team on the movie. Hmm.

Yet women writers get rich from various projects. Margaret Mitchell wrote ‘Gone with the wind’. Harper Lee wrote ‘To kill a mockingbird’. J K Rowling isn’t exactly impecunious from the Harry Potter movies and associated merchandising to name but three. And there have been many others. Yet still the endless “It’s not fair we’re being repressed by horrible white men and their patriarchy!” Whining. Yet there are many successful female agents and one particular casting Director who works (Her name has slipped my mind for the moment) for Jerry Bruckheimer and gets credited in many major movies and TV series (Including Star Trek, the next Generation) from the last two decades. Don’t take my word for it. Watch the credits after a movie and look for specifically female names. There are more than you’d think, and they’ve all earned their stripes. Same as all the men.

This is because everything Hollywood puts out is driven by the market. Because if people like an idea they will go to see it, pay for their theatre tickets, buy the DVD’s and the movie or TV show will make lots of money, then the Producers and Distributors will be looking to fund another to make even more money. If an idea isn’t popular, then it will graunch and the likelihood is that particular writer or team will not make any more, regardless of sex. Simply because no one likes losing money. There’s no patriarchy involved. Just dollars.

The truth is that a big movie project takes years of concerted effort, even for established Writers, Directors and Producers. A hit is a hit is a hit, and it doesn’t matter if you’re whatever race or religion, male, female or one of the thirty or so recently invented ‘genders’ – if the idea isn’t a ‘sell’ the likelihood is that you won’t be asked to make another. Or even get in on the ground floor. If there’s a ground floor left when all the Weinsteins etc have finished coming home to roost.

Anyway, for me that’s rather academic. My path to the fabled land of Oz lies wide open. Australian dollars obtained. Ferry booked. Airport parking booked and paid for. Maple Leaf lounge (The VIP bit at YVR) booked and paid for. Tickets, visa’s and passports. Flights sorted. Hotels and cars all good to go. Friends and relatives eagerly awaiting our arrival. Christmas presents packed along with my best silk shirts and other lightweight clothes for those sultry climes. All we have to do is make sure the house is properly cleaned and shut down for our return in January.

Not much else for me to do but practice saying “G’day.”

Update: Sorry about the cookery video instead of the documentary I mentioned. Situation remedied. No idea how that one happened.

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.

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.