To all our readers world wide we wish you our heartfelt
best wishes for the New Year: we'll be back 13 January
Please see Editor's Notes
Students challenged to address modern day slavery
By Stacey Roy
15 December 2011 OTTAWA Canada —
Students at Rideau District High School (RDHS) were shocked to hear that there are more slaves in the world today than during the entire period of black slavery.
Modern slavery includes labour, but the vast majority are women and children who are being used as sex slaves abroad and in our own backyards.
"It happens (here in Canada Ontario) in Kingston, Brockville and Smiths Falls. It's happening right now and it's only getting worse," said Kourtney McCordic of the Rideau Engaging in Activism and Change Today (REACT) who presented the special talk with Miss Canada 2011, Tara Teng, to students December 1. — 697 words.
First Nations 101
The media focus on failures rather than successes
of First Nations on and off the reserves says expert
By Beverly D. Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario. She holds a degree in Economics. During the past twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.
16 December 2011 —
Over the course of my consulting career I have seen everything. Trolling through the articles and comment boards, it appears everyone seems to have an opinion about how to fix the Attawapiskat development.
There seems to be an endless list of options and everyone seems to have a different perspective on the First Nations’ situation. So here is mine. — 947 words.
Loblaws' cruel policy is damaging its public image
Ottawa's Raging Grannies continue to hammer Loblaws
for abuse of employees with pay cutbacks and unfair hours
'Cell phone cameras went off like paparazzi at a red-carpet event'
By Shannon Lee Manion
True North Perspective
16 December 2011 — Fresh from our successful demonstration last week at the Loblaws at Carlingwood, the Ottawa Raging Grannies hit the Loblaws store on Rideau Street in Ottawa mid-day on Friday, December 16.
They pulled up in a bright red van, unloaded an activist's cornucopia of signs, hats, shawls and handouts and positioned themselves in the foyer.
Immediately, a crowd formed on the stairway leading into the store, clapping in time to the Jingle Bells-tuned song the chorus of which goes like this: — 638 words.
We can't do this without you
Thanks to all of you who have answered our call for financial assistance
But we're still in a state
of acute starvation
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Carl Dow, True North Perspective
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Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9
Victory in Iraq — but whose?
How Maliki and Iran outsmarted the U.S.
By Gareth Porter
Inter Press Service
16 December 2011, WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's suggestion that the end of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq is part of a U.S. military success story ignores the fact that the George W. Bush administration and the U.S. military had planned to maintain a semi-permanent military presence in Iraq.
The real story behind the U.S. withdrawal is how a clever strategy of deception and diplomacy adopted by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in cooperation with Iran outmanoeuvered Bush and the U.S. military leadership and got the United States to sign the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement.
A central element of the Maliki-Iran strategy was the common interest that Maliki, Iran and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr shared in ending the U.S. occupation, despite their differences over other issues. — 1,179 words.
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
Friday, 16 December, 2011
I have never liked December. It's a difficult time for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere. In December the darkness gets serious. As I write this at 03:12 I know that the sun will not rise until 07:36. It will grace us for only about nine hours and plunge us again into darkness at 16:20.
I have long concluded that I'd like to go to sleep December 1 and wake up New Year's Eve. — 308 words.
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst. Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ...
The Binkley Report
Slow and cautious wins the race
Meanwhile, 'I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The next few years may well be a rough ride economically, but that’s no reason to get all gloomy and grumpy. Enjoy life, family and friends.'
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
16 December 2011 — The Canada-U.S. border streamlining agreement barely held the interest of the news media for a day before it drifted into obscurity on the back pages.
That’s probably just what the architects of the deal want so they can get on with implementing it.
The agreement, announced in Washington by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama Wednesday, December 7, is long on pilot projects and phasing-in and short on glitz and catchy headlines. It’s clearly focused on making the border as open as possible to trade. It holds considerable upsides for the automobile, agri-food and transport sectors if officials in the two countries can turn all the promising leads in the agreement into reality during the next few years. — 750 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
BC court holds hearings on lab results that show
potentially lethal virus attacking wild Pacific salmon
By William Yardley
15 December 2011 VANCOUVER, British Columbia —
The fate of wild salmon is a sensitive topic in the Pacific Northwest and arguments often end up in court in the United States, whether over threats to endangered fish by dams or sea lions swallowing them along their migration routes.
But on Thursday, 15 December, a new and particularly bitter dispute began playing out in a very different kind of judicial venue across the Canadian border: a provincial Supreme Court justice held a hearing into questions of whether a potentially lethal virus had been detected in wild Pacific salmon — and whether the Canadian government was responding adequately. — 756 words.
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
'Be of love a little more careful than of anything'
Advice from children on how to be better parents
By Geneviève Hone
True North Perspective
Geneviève Hone is a grandmother, family therapist and social worker. With her husband, Julien Mercure (also a family therapist), she has co-authored three books on couples and family life. Her home on the web is www.hone-mercure.com/index_hone_en.php.
16 December 2011 — “So what has Alberte written about this week?” asks my husband as I walk into the room holding Alberte’s latest TNP article, Choosing to live with love on a daily basis. He knows I like to gather inspiration from my friend’s writings and use her thoughts as a launching pad for my own articles. He remembers also that no later than yesterday I had announced that “If Alberte gives me half a chance, I’m going to write about Santa Claus.”
At first glance, there is not much Santa Clausy stuff in my friend’s latest article. Alberte who never shies away from difficult issues has written about violence, bullying, family dysfunction, incompetent parenting. Not exactly light fare, though as always she has managed to share hope along with anguish. I sigh: “You remember my ‘love poster?’ Well she wrote about that.” — 1,409 words.
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
'Twas In the Moon of Wintertime
is undoubtedly the first carol ever written on the North American continent. Jean de Brebeuf, a missionary priest and martyr, saw the Incarnation taking place in 1644 in a true north native setting.
I can only imagine that the divines of the Curia in far off Rome were left unimpressed and frowned on the transposition of the manger scene from Bethlehem to the wilds of Huronia. — 412 words.
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
16 December 2011 — “I am mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore!” These words from the film, Network (1976) have largely been forgotten. Nevertheless their sentiments are growing in popularity.
In the film a newscaster is about to be fired because of the declining ratings for his show. He is angry and announces that on his final show he will commit suicide. This of course sends his rating through the roof. He relents but his anger persists. He encourages his listeners to follow his example, to open their windows and shout out to the world that they are mad as hell and won’t take it any more. His request catches on and all over the country people are giving vent to their spleen at their sense of helplessness and for what is being done to them without their approval.
As the last grain of sand trickles out of the top of my egg timer I sense the pervasiveness of that anger and helplessness. In the last twelve months the anger quotient throughout the world has risen appreciably. — 1,225 words.
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick is on vacation
From the Desk of Darren Jerome
A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency
Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.
Bradley Manning goes to court
16 December 2011 — A US soldier accused of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks appeared in court Friday for the first time, with the defense immediately alleging the military hearing is biased.
Bradley Manning, a former intelligence analyst, is accused of downloading 260,000 US diplomatic cables, videos of US air strikes and US military reports from Afghanistan and Iraq between November 2009 and May 2010.
He was serving in Iraq at the time and allegedly transferred the data to WikiLeaks, which then published the documents worldwide on the Internet, in one of the worst breaches ever of US military intelligence. — 634 words.
Reports from Obama's America
15 December 2011, WASHINGTON — Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families. — 1,399 words.
By Brian Wheeler
14 December 2011, ALABAMA — Banks stand to lose millions of dollars in debt repayments if the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history is allowed to proceed.
But the real victims of the financial collapse in the US state of Alabama's most populous county are its poorest residents - forced to bathe in bottled water and use portable toilets after being cut off from the mains supply. — 1,423 words.
If the business of America is business
The business of business is repression
How the Pentagon tried to strangle the Arab Spring
By Nick Turse
13 December 2011 — As the Arab Spring blossomed and President Obama hesitated about whether to speak out in favor of protesters seeking democratic change in the Greater Middle East, the Pentagon acted decisively. It forged ever deeper ties with some of the most repressive regimes in the region, building up military bases and brokering weapons sales and transfers to despots from Bahrain to Yemen.
As state security forces across the region cracked down on democratic dissent, the Pentagon also repeatedly dispatched American troops on training missions to allied militaries there. During more than 40 such operations with names like Eager Lion and Friendship Two that sometimes lasted for weeks or months at a time, they taught Middle Eastern security forces the finer points of counterinsurgency, small unit tactics, intelligence gathering, and information operations -- skills crucial to defeating popular uprisings. — 2,130 words.
Always worth repeating
'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'
— Winston Churchill
Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Ugh Wayne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.
Christopher Hitchens dies aged 62
Lost his (political) way in the USA
Celebrated journalist, writer and unshakeable secularist has died from complications of oesophageal cancer
By Richard Lea
The Guardian UK
16 December 2011 —
The writer, journalist and contrarian Christopher Hitchens
has died at the age of 62 after crossing the border into the "land of malady" on being diagnosed with an oesophageal cancer in June 2010. Vanity Fair, for which he had written since 1992 and was made contributing editor, marked his death in a memorial article posted late on Thursday night.
The reactions to Hitchens's illness from his intellectual opponents – which ranged from undisguised glee to offers of prayers – testified to his stature as one of the leading voices of secularism since the publication in 2007 of his anti-religious polemic God is Not Great. The reaction from the author himself, who after a lifetime of "burning the candle of both ends" described his illness as "something so predictable and banal that it bores even me", testified to the sharpness of his wit and the clarity of his thinking under fire, as he dissected the discourse of "struggle" that surrounds cancer, paid tribute to the medical staff who looked after him and resolved to "resist bodily as best I can, even if only passively, and to seek the most advanced advice". — 979 words.
Another myth bites the dust:
No difference between men and women's math abilities
By Alasdair Wilkins
12 December 2011 —
There's a longstanding myth of a gender gap between boys' and girls' math performance, suggesting some basic biological difference in how the two genders approach math. It's deeply controversial and widely discredited. And now, a new study has completely debunked it.
Until now, there was maybe a sliver of statistical data to support the existence of this gender gap — nothing remotely convincing, mind you, but just enough that the idea couldn't be entirely dismissed out of hand. — 1,154 words.
Russian research team finds 'fountains' of methane bubbling to surface
By Steve Connor
13 December 2011 —
Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.
The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.
In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed. — 480 words.
You can count on the True North Team
While publishers are cutting back and that includes in-house editors
Outside editors of the True North Team are rescuing writers from oblivion.
We handle fiction and memoirs, manuscript editing to ghost writing
Everything to put the best face on your work to publishers and the reading public
For a free consultation please don't hesitate to contact
or Carl Dow at 613-233-6225
Always looking forward ...
Not satisfied with suing teenagers for copyright infringements, big media is swooping in to claim public domain footage as their own
By Cory Doctorow
The Guardian UK
12 December 2011 —
When you hear about "piracy" in connection to YouTube, perhaps you think of the billion-dollar lawsuit brought by Viacom against the Google division, claiming that Google should have the duty to police all of its users' uploads to determine that they don't infringe copyright.
Google does something very close to this already, of course: the company offers a service to rights holders called "ContentID" that is meant to automatically police copyrights on their behalf. Rights holders upload copies of their copyrighted works to YouTube and identify themselves as the proprietors of those works, and YouTube scours its files for videos or audio that appear to be connected with those copyrights. — 856 words.
The Book End
Early colonial adventures
of living in Brazil under the lash of his Portuguese masters
The admirable adventures and strange fortunes of Master Anthony Knivet
17 December 2011 —
ONE cold morning in 1591 an English sailor found himself shivering on Ilhabella, now an island of yacht clubs and well-appointed weekend houses that is to Brazil what Martha’s Vineyard is to America. He had been left for dead—again—the fourth or fifth time Fate had deserted him in his short career as a pirate. He survived for eight days by catching crabs in his stockings and cooking them over a fire, and then for a further two weeks by picking at the carcass of a beached whale.
He was naked, alone but for the savages who lurked inland and a man-eating dragon he had spotted in the shallows, and far from Virginia, where England would subsequently found a colony: here was a man in the wrong hemisphere at the wrong time. Yet painful as they were to him, Anthony Knivet’s misfortunes offer a fascinating, if mostly overlooked, insight into an early stage of colonialism. Unusually, Knivet was both an exponent and a victim of it. He experienced both the thrill and enchantment of contact with remote tribes and the brutality of enslavement. And he recorded all that (with the odd embellishment) in his memoir. — 2,670 words.
The Old Man's Last Sauna
An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story. The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.