In case you missed it, here's the last seven days as seen by Mark:
~On Monday Mark noted fraudulent Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann's latest pitiful effort to re-promote himself as a Nobel Prize winner. The Nobel Institute has said he isn't, and the actual winner has told him to cease and desist. But, fortunately for the Nobel fantasist, Mann-child Tony Palmeri is still falling for it.
~On Tuesday Mark reported from Toronto, where he spent all week in court for what was the de facto appeal by Sole Surviving Sock Puppet Khurrum Awan of the three "human rights" complaints filed over Steyn's 2006 Maclean's cover story. Mr Awan is now suing Ezra Levant for calling him an anti-semite, and, when confronted with the well-aired views of his boss Mohammed Elmasry and the organization he himself served as youth president, Khurrum confessed to be utterly flabbergasted by all the Jew-hate going on right under his nose. His ability to keep a straight face grew more impressive as the week wore on.
~On Wednesday Mark discussed the Pelletier case in Boston in what became our most read post of the week, "The Gag Order Heard Round The World".
~Mark started Thursday bright and early, talking free speech and foreign policy with Toronto's Number One morning man. He did not sing "Sometimes When We Touch", though it provided a kind of theme for the week.
~On Friday he turned his attention to the big news of the week, the dearth of sufficiently Canadian porn.
~Steyn's weekend column expanded for Americans on a theme he'd touched on in his Canadian speech: culture trumps politics. Our climate-change story of the week raised the grim specter of a world with rampant ADHD and no guacamole, and it was a relief to put such cares aside for the SteynOnline Saturday-night movie, Hitchcock's Vertigo.
A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week. On Monday join Mark for three hours of guest-host-level Excellence in Broadcasting live from Ice Station EIB on America's Number One radio show.
On this week's Hugh Hewitt Show, Hugh and I discussed Obama phone tapping, and Thomas L Friedman phoning it in:
Lots more at Hugh's site, including my pledge to wear a barrister's wig for the Mann vs Steyn trial. If you'd like to chip in toward the cost of said wig and other fashion accessories for my legal defense, please consider buying a SteynOnline gift certificate or one of my books. We're currently working on serving Dr Mann with my initial discovery requests.
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has ruled that "upskirting" is legal - a timely reminder of the fine line between law and insanity.
~Speaking of which, today, yet again, I'll be in court for the fifth day of the Ezra Levant trial. In this strange and unnecessary rerun of the Canadian Islamic Congress' three "human rights" complaints from five years ago, as Christie Blatchford mentioned yesterday, the lawyers are lawyers, the parties are lawyers, and the witnesses are lawyers. And then it all went wrong...
Yesterday afternoon, in a bit of idle chit-chat with the lawyer-plaintiff's lawyer's co-lawyer, Angela Chaisson, I complained that the last three witnesses had all been lawyers - my old friend Julian Porter, QC; my not so old but reasonably genial accuser from the Maclean's case, Naseem Mithoowani; and the plaintiffs' counsel from the British Columbia trial, Faisal Joseph.
So I was somewhat lawyered out. Unfortunately, after three back-to-back lawyer-witnesses, the first non-lawyer to be heard in this trial turned out to be a total loon. Greg Felton was called by the defence to testify to a quotation by the plaintiff, Khurrum Awan, that appears in Mr Felton's column from The Canadian Arab News:
This is a damaging quote for Mr Awan - because it supports Ezra's contention that he's a "lawfare" guy who uses the courts purely for "libel chill": It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, you still "attain your strategic objective". So Awan's position is that he never said it. The defence called Felton to the stand to prove that he did:
Indeed. Brian Shiller questioned Felton not on anything he said about Awan, but on everything else he said in that Canadian Arab News column, starting with its first topic:
"What," asked Mr Shiller, "is a satrap?"
From there we moved quickly on to the Kennedy assassination/coup d'Ă©tat, and why 9/11 represents what Mr Felton calls "the highest stage of Zionism". As Christie Blatchford puts it:
After allowing Mr Felton to self-detonate his credibility with the multiple mini-hydrogen bombs of his own answers, the wily Shiller announced he'd completed his cross-examination and sat down.
As the blogger Blazing Cat Fur said, it's "oddly refreshing to hear Obama described as an Israeli Satrap, and Hillary Clinton labelled a 'Warmongering Whore' in an actual court of law". So a good time was had by all - for as long as it lasted.
But, for those of us who want Ezra to win, it was a dismal moment. Felton was so convinced of the truth of that Awan quotation that he was prepared to testify on behalf of a despised Jew. He was, to that extent, an honest loon. All Ezra's counsel, Iain MacKinnon, had to do was get the loony stuff in first - by treating Felton as a "hostile witness", not necessarily in the legal sense but in a more basic one. Yes, Felton's a nut, but he's a nut on the same side as Khurrum Awan: Like Khurrum, he supports "human rights" commissions; like Khurrum, he regards me as an "anti-Muslim" "defamer"; like Khurrum, he worked for Mohammed Elmasry, Mr Awan's Jew-hating boss and patron at the Canadian Islamic Congress. And Felton's 9/11 "trutherism" is no nuttier than that of Wahida Valiante, Elmasry's successor at the CIC.
Here's how the appropriately named Eye On A Crazy Planet sees it:
That seems to me an overly-optimistic interpretation. The Felton articles published by CIC weren't brought up, and thus aren't evidence. With the stuff that actually is in evidence, Brian Shiller managed to hang Felton's nuttiness round Ezra's neck. That seems to me a very foreseeable mistake on defence counsel's part. Shiller saw his opportunity and took it.
Finally, here's the defendant himself, filing a TV report on his own trial:
~On last night's Hugh Hewitt Show, we discussed Thomas L Friedman's almost as eccentric view of Putin's Ukrainian incursion. I'll post a transcript as soon as we have one.
I'll be back in court in Toronto today for the fourth day of Ezra Levant's libel trial. The plaintiff Khurrum Awan testified yesterday that he didn't call me "Islamophobic" and "racist", only my writing. Likewise, he testified that, although he was the youth president of an anti-semitic organization, he wasn't anti-semitic himself. From BlogWrath:
But charm will only get you so far:
Richard from Eye On A Crazy Planet was also in court:
Oddly enough, despite being entirely unaware of the CIC's position on terrorist groups, Khurrum Awan was flown all the way to London at the CIC's expense to testify to the House of Lords on ...terrorism! I guess that's what they call an inexpert witness.
See you in court.
Vladimir Putin, who is to the Crimea what Michael E Mann is to the data, may soon be joining Dr Mann among the hallowed ranks of Nobel laureates:
Geir Lundestad... Geir Lundestad... Now where have I heard that name before?
Oh, of course. He's the chap who said this:
~America can't send gunboats to the Crimea because it's too busy sending checks to China. The Weekly Standard reports:
This rang a vague bell with me. And sure enough, if you bought After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available at the SteynOnline bookstore, he pleads pitifully) when it was first published in 2011, you'll know that in the first few pages I write:
Why the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee are only just catching up, I'm not sure. But I mentioned it to Canadian conservatives at the Manning conference only last Saturday:
In fiscal terms, a US civil war relocated to the Straits of Formosa.
~I was in court again in Toronto for the third day of Ezra Levant's libel trial - which, as I noted earlier in the week, seems to have turned into a de facto appeal by Khurrum Awan against his three floppo defeats at the "human rights" commissions. Yesterday I was delighted to see on the press benches my old comrade from the glory days of The National Post, the great Christie Blatchford:
Indeed. But at least, as lawyers representing other lawyers, they don't have a fool for a client. Unless you count the plaintiff. Khurrum Awan is asking the judge to swallow an awful lot: As he has explained at length, he was misquoted by The Canadian Arab News, mis-edited by The Toronto Star, mis-characterized by Mohammed Elmasry in The National Post and, after demanding a correction from Elmo, mis-characterized in the correction; he mis-seated himself in the Vancouver courthouse, and mis-signed his own letter to Jason Kenney. Like that Matt Dennis song I quoted a couple of weeks back, everything happens to him.
(Scaramouche dissents somewhat from Christie Blatchford's benign characterization of the plaintiffs, although there's no doubt Awan's co-Sock Naseem Mithoowani made a good impression in court yesterday - much better than Khurrum did.)
Still, in its own way, this interminable case is a stirring testament to the power of my prose, even after eight years. Christie again:
Six years after Khurrum Awan testified in Vancouver in an attempt to get the kangaroo judges to impose a de facto lifetime publication ban on my writing, the original piece is still available at Maclean's. You can read it here - or, in the book from which it was drawn, America Alone, personally autographed copies of which ...yeah, yeah, I know; I'm pushing my luck.
~Instead of 5,000-word pieces by me, Maclean's now carries 5,000-word pieces by Dan Hill, the "Sometimes When We Touch" man. Perhaps this is what Khurrum Awan means when he says he "achieved his strategic objectives". Kathy Shaidle is not impressed:
Late last Friday night, I was in an Ottawa elevator with two former Ministers of the Crown singing to each other "Sometimes When We Touch". The honesty's too much. Which is not something anyone's likely to say about either Khurrum Awan or Michael E Mann anytime soon.
~See you on the radio later today with Hugh Hewitt, coast to coast across America at 6pm Eastern.
Mark started the day with Toronto's Number One morning man, talking foreign policy and free speech. Simply click below to listen - and don't forget he'll be back on The Hugh Hewitt Show, coast to coast across America, on Thursday at 6pm Eastern.
Ever since I started mocking the slapdash jurist, Natalia Combs Greene, whose incompetent order managed to confuse me and National Review with our fellow defendants Rand Simberg and CEI, I've been told by various experts in America's "justice" system that I shouldn't risk incurring the wrath of judges by talking about them.
We'll see how that pans out. But I'm heartened by the stirring example of Lou Pelletier, a Connecticut father who took his sick daughter to hospital in Boston only to have her kidnapped by the tinpot tyrants of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. That was a year ago. Since then he has been under a "gag order" imposed by Suffolk County judge Joseph Johnston. Initially, Mr Pelletier abided by the terms of the gag order, and didn't talk about what had happened to his daughter. Only when he broke the order and began discussing the case on TV and radio did the tide begin to turn. Judge Johnston's first reaction was to threaten Mr Pelletier with contempt of court. But by now the issue was not the behavior of the parents but the behavior of DCF and a crappy third-rate judge getting away with it under cover of darkness. Once Mr Pelletier threw off his gag order, neither Johnston's nor DCF's behavior could withstand the cleansing sunlight of media scrutiny. Justina Pelletier has now been returned to the care of her doctors, and her father's gag order has been lifted - but only after his own courage had rendered it meaningless. Had he maintained his deference toward a judge unworthy of it, his daughter would still be a hostage of DCF. There's a lesson for all of us there.
~On the far less life-endangering front of my own case, a couple of media links: Dr Fred Singer checks in with BlogTalk Radio to discuss "climate change" in the wake of Mann vs Steyn and other recent developments. Meanwhile, John Hayward writes on one of the biggest casualties were Dr Mann to prevail:
~Also yelling "Shut up!" is Khurrum Awan, whose second day of testimony against Ezra Levant in Ontario Superior Court went a little bumpier than the day before. The National Post's Joseph Brean reports:
This is why I want the "human rights" commissions abolished. Awan's preposterous position at this trial is that, while he was the "complainant" (plaintiff) in Ontario, he had nothing to do with the "complainants" in British Columbia - even though both complaints were filed on the same day and are all but identical. Apparently, that's just a coincidence. The reality is that, under this evil and squalid system, legal terms such as "judge", "plaintiff", "counsel", "witness", "client" no longer have any precise definition. Which is how Khurrum Awan wound up in a BC courthouse wearing an array of de facto hats as plaintiff, witness and lawyer. Now he's suing Ezra Levant for pointing out the obvious. Awan says he was only a witness in BC. But he wrote the complaint to the BC "Human Rights" Tribunal - which makes him a co-counsel. And he filed an identical complaint to the Ontario commission - which makes him a co-plaintiff. And he sat at the plaintiff's table in court (supposedly because the public gallery was full) and assisted the legal team with their case (supposedly because they were having difficulty stapling documents). And that's before you throw in his absurd threatening letter to cabinet minister Jason Kenney in which Awan claims to be the "driving force" behind all three "human rights" complaints - to the Ontario, BC and Canadian commissions.
This case is the logical consequence of allowing the "human rights" rackets to play loosey-goosey (as Maclean's counsel Julian Porter, QC likes to say) with the norms of justice.
~I'll be in court at 10am for Day Three of the trial. Before that - at 8am Eastern - I'll be on the air with Toronto's Number One morning man John Oakley. Details in our "On The Air" box at right.
In John Hawkins' annual poll of conservative opinion on the web, I was honored to win silver medal in the Best Columnist category, coming second to my fellow Montrealer Charles Krauthammer. Ann Coulter, in third place, was banned in Ottawa, and you can't get more Canadian than that. So I like to think of it as an all-Canuck sweep.
~Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), I'll be joining Toronto's Number One morning man, the great John Oakley, live in studio. Details will be posted in our "On The Air" box at right.
I spent Monday in a somewhat cramped courtroom in Toronto, at the defamation trial of my old comrade in the battle against the "human rights" commissions, Ezra Levant. The National Post's Joseph Brean reports:
Yes, it's like a little 2008 time-warp. Here's Joseph Brean's follow-up story:
Actually, all three were filed simultaneously, notwithstanding their different plaintiffs.
At any rate, I was surprised to settle in this morning, and hear Awan and his counsel, Brian Shiller, devote so much of his examination in chief to the original 2006 Maclean's excerpt of America Alone (personally autographed copies available here), and Awan's "shock" at my flagrant "Islamophobia", etc. But I got used to it pretty quickly. Having flopped out at the Ontario "Human Rights" Commission, the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission and the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal, Awan sees this case, in effect, as his appeal. Despite three strikes, he's not out.
~When Joe Brean says we "packed the little courtroom", that's not that difficult. There are just eight seats for members of the press and public combined. So, when Ezra's many supporters poured in, the court security officer helpfully dragged spare seats from the counsels' and parties' tables to the back of the room for the standing-room-only crowd. Madam Justice Matheson, who seems a decent sort and way sharper than the slapdash Judge Combs Greene that I wound up with in DC, nevertheless said something that made me bristle a little. She warned the members of the public that seating was limited and that "we're not going to continue to provide chairs" for the rest of the week. Justice has not only to be done, but has to be seen to be done. It seems very odd that the Province of Ontario should build courtrooms in which it is all but impossible for anyone to see justice being done.
~Speaking of The National Post, I helped launch the paper and I remain fond of it. But, post-Ken Whyte, it really does employ some dreary writers. BC Blue noticed this Tweet from Post arts writer Jeet Heer:
Fun fact: Jeet Heer provides no facts and no fun. Sad that he works at a paper once known for both the content and style of its writing. As I once said (in The National Post, as it happens), calling someone totally racist is totally gay.
Even funnier fact: Jeet Heer seems to think "brown or black" people need to have books read to them.
~Maybe Mr Heer should take it to the next level. Headline from The Washington Post:
As Eugene Volokh tells it, if you want to kill someone's speaking career, just take out a fatwa on them. Then every public-safety-conscious police chief will rule it's too dangerous to allow them through the door:
From Awan to Alleghan, it's all about shutting people up.
~Thank you for all the nice comments on Sun News' rerun of my Manning Conference speech last night. But, if you missed Ezra Levant in that slot, he and I will be doing a one-hour special together in the next week or two.
~Not much news on the Michael E Mann front these last 24 hours, but this is my favorite Twitter exchange of the day. First, the lame-o Mann accusing Michael Liebreich (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, UN High Level Group on Sustainable Energy, Clinton Global Initiative) of crossing over to the dark side:
Mr Liebreich replies:
That's a healthy attitude - rather than the frenzied Twitter blocking and industrial-scale Facebook comment-deleting that the insecure Mann indulges in. But then, knob-wise, he's an aircraft carrier. I expect he's blocked Liebreich by now.
On Saturday, I closed out Preston Manning's annual bash in Ottawa, and enjoyed it enormously. I think it was broadcast live on CPAC, but, if you missed it, Chris Selley has a post-conference round-up in The National Post:
That applies from Ottawa to Washington to London and beyond. In the Canadian context, Mr Selley's column is principally about "senate reform", which I played mostly for laughs, from which you can deduce my estimation of the likelihood that anything meaningful is going to be done on that blasted sod. Still, it's part of the broader concern:
~I've left Ottawa for Toronto, where I'll be swinging by the University Street courthouse to see my old pal Ezra Levant in the dock yet again. The trial starts this morning at 10am. A little later this week, Ontario Superior Court Defendant Levant and District of Columbia Superior Court Defendant Steyn will be getting together on his TV show.
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