October 2015


(Click for Editor's Notes, below)

In Calais, France, a 25-years-old Syrian man, Hassan, half jokingly, half seriously shouted at me: “Many of us are not really emigrating. We are just chasing a thief! We want to go where they took our possessions!”

Tens of millions of lives have been destroyed

by unreported Western military aggressions

Image: Detail of photo of Somali Refugees in Djibuti by Andre Vitchek. Copyright Andre Vitchek.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. His latest books are: Exposing Lies Of The Empire and Fighting Against Western Imperialism. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East.

By Andre Vitchek
20 September 2015 — While Europe is erecting fences, deploying armies and expressing its “concern” about how to deal with the annual influx of some 300,000 asylum seekers, vast areas of the world — namely the Middle East and Africa — are essentially ceasing to exist. (More)

From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick, Toronto

Justin Trudeau betrays tradition - flip-flops before election day

Sacred Liberal tradition: run on left; govern on right

and then flip-flop only after you've won but never before

Image: Jean Chretien and Justin Trudeau celebrate unkept Liberal promises, February 2015.

      Jean Chretien and Justin Trudeau celebrate un-kept Liberal promises, February 2015

By Bill Tieleman

15 September 2015 — There are actually three — not two — things you can always count on: death, taxes and Liberals breaking progressive promises after an election campaign.

That's a long political tradition for the federal Liberal Party over many decades — just like Lucy pulling away the football just before Charlie Brown can kick it in the classic Peanuts comic strip.

Former Liberal prime ministers Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien were masters of punting their progressive pledges as soon as safely elected to government.

They both followed a classic Liberal dictum often attributed to veteran operative Davey: campaign from the left — but govern from the right.

So certainly there's reason to doubt current Liberal leader Justin Trudeau will keep his word on key planks in his platform — like amending the repressive Bill C-51 security legislation — after October 19 should he be in a position of power. Because it's just not the Liberal way. (More)

Mulcair says NDP government will cancel Harper's

plan and reinstate postal home delivery in all Canada

Image: Photo of a 'community mailbox', with several doors broken open.
By Susan Dixon

23 September 2015, Cambridge ON — Tom Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, says that for the past year and a half, Canada Post has been implementing a sweeping, five-year plan to end door-to-door mail delivery for 5.1 million Canadian households. When completed, Canada will become the ONLY G7 country without any home mail delivery. We think that is unacceptable, and for the past year and a half, the NDP been the only party consistently standing up for home delivery services for Canadians.

Predictably, the loss of home delivery will have negative consequences for seniors and people living with disabilities. It also means a loss of up to 8,000 jobs. To make matters worse, large cities, like Montreal and Hamilton, and hundreds of municipalities across Canada have been hit with legal and logistical problems. The decision to install thousands of super mailboxes in high density and mature neighbourhoods is raising many concerns about traffic congestion, the privacy of homeowners, damage to trees, cables and properties, and sidewalk and safety issues such as poor street lighting. (More)


Postal Workers on the road again in Southern Ontario

28 September 2015, OTTAWA — The Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ cross-country tour is swinging into Southern Ontario this week, encouraging people to fight back against the cuts to their postal service by voting out the Conservatives.

Among the planned stops will be Jeff Watson’s riding in Windsor, Ontario. “As Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Watson has been instrumental in attacking our money-making postal service,” said Mike Palecek, National President of CUPW, who will be aboard the Save Canada Post bus. “We hope he will be held accountable by his constituents.”

Stops for the days ahead are as follows: (More)

The Old Man's Last Sauna
by Carl Dow
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Lia Tarachansky

A Jew reports from Israel

Israel deports African refugees against their will


Russia dives in to clean-up failed U.S. mess in Syria

Mike Whitney: For more than a year, the United States has been playing patty-cake with an army of homicidal maniacs who call themselves ISIS.

Putin: 'We won’t achieve anything until we defeat terrorism in Syria.'


Why German mayors are leading

the migrant-wave welcome wagon


'Suddenly Syria's constitutional president Assad

doesn't look so devilish to west European leaders'


Poklonskaya blasts Ukrainian blockade

of Crimea as unlawful and West-inspired


Turkey's president says Western greed and wars

with double standards are 'drowning humanity'


‘Death boats’ vs. danger at home

European asylum-hope splits Syrian twin brothers

Chechen leader Kadyrov takes 2,000 Syrian refugees

out for Muslim holiday feast in German restaurant


Communist opposition MP elected Siberian Governor


TrueNorth Humanist Perspective

Barack Obama: Peace Prize Nobelist is global arms dealer-in-chief

Image: Photo of US President Barack Obama, via Middle East Eye.

Sales of $90bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since 2010 has eclipsed arms sales under George W. Bush

By CJ Werleman
Middle East Eye
28 September 2015 — Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a mere 12 days into his presidency. Never had a recipient achieved so little to be lauded so much. Essentially it was a pre-emptive award given on the presumption Obama’s foreign policy record would eventually meet its promise.
In the six-years since becoming planet earth’s most recognised agent for world peace, Obama has failed to close Guantanamo Bay, which remains the symbol of the darkest chapter in modern US history; has assassinated US citizens around the globe sans due process; has suspended habeas corpus; has terrorised villagers in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere with the incessant buzzing sound of weaponised drones; armed Israel in the midst of its brutal and bloody invasion of Gaza, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead; toppled a government in Libya without so much as a consideration for what might come next; supported the toppling of a democratically elected government in Egypt, and, in turn, armed arguably the most brutal dictator in that country’s history; and has coordinated and guided Saudi Arabia’s terrorist activities in Yemen, which has left more than 4,000 Yemeni civilians dead.
It’s a record to behold with some awe, and it gets worse. (More)

Arms dealer to the stars Saudis

Harper sells Canada's soul for 3,000 temporary jobs

and massive corporate profits in 'secret' Saudi arms deal

Image: Detail of photo of Prime Minister Steven Harper inspecting ight Armoured Vehicles at General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ont., in 2014. (Reuters, via OpenCanada)
By Cesar Jaramillo
21 September 2015 — The largest arms exports contract in Canadian history will see Canadian-made military equipment shipped to one of the worst human rights violators in the world — Saudi Arabia. This will happen despite an existing export control regime specifically intended to prevent Canadian goods from fuelling human rights violations abroad.
The deal was brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) — a taxpayer-financed Crown corporation — for an undisclosed number of Light Armoured Vehicles to be manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), based in London, Ontario.
While many details of the deal remain shrouded in secrecy, below are 10 indisputable facts. (More)
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True North Perspective
Vol. 10, No. 8 (359)
October 2015

Editor's Notes


Image: Photo of NDP leader Tom Mulcair campaigning, via NDP.ca.

Only those with political long-term memory loss forget that a Canadian tradition of Ottawa federal leaders is to say one thing when electioneering and do another when in power. The Liberals have a time-tested tradition of running on the left and governing on the right. It's a safe bet that Justin Trudeau, despite his election posturing, will remain loyal to the Liberal tradition.

Perhaps the most glaring example of Harper's duplicity was his promise to rid us of that archaic appendage called the Senate. Instead, Harper made 59 Senate appointments, several of them now facing criminal charges. Among other sins, he governs in secrecy, and denies science, as he muzzles our scientists. Canada, once known as peace keeper, has become known as a war maker under Harper. Meanwhile, he remains as a false fear-monger on the economy and security. U.S. President Roosevelt once said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Today Harper stands out as the West's Fear Salesman-in-Chief.

The New Democrats, wherever they have led provincial governments, have a proven record of being as good as their word. (Please don't count Bob Rae because he was a Liberal in disguise.) Let's give Thomas Mulcair and the federal New Democrats a chance to prove that they can be as good as their word. Vote New Democrat Monday October 19. Considering the Liberal/Tory record, voting NDP can't hurt and maybe the country can win. Remember, it was the NDP that courageously gave us Medicare at a time when the insurance companies, medical associations, and the corporate media were saying that Medicare was a communist plot that would undermine the moral fibre of the country. Whew! What whoppers!

Meanwhile, take it easy but take it by voting Monday October 19.

Looking forward

Carl Dow

Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective
True North Humanist Perspective      (Back to top)

Op Ed

Jeremy Corbyn’s economic vision

Image: Detail of hand holding sign reading 'Democracy not Corpratocracy', via Global Research.

By Stephen Lendman
Global Research

27 September 27 2015 —  America, Israel and Britain are the developed world’s most unequal countries. Wealth disparity in all three are extreme and widening – government-sponsored hellishness for their ordinary citizens, finding it increasingly harder to get by on stagnating low incomes, reduced benefits and rising cost of food, shelter, healthcare and other essentials.

Western governments overall are dismissive of their needs – serving monied interests exclusively.

Corbyn’s economic vision is polar opposite, promoting equity, fairness and justice entirely absent in today’s Britain. Labour leadership will “build a strong, growing economy that works for all, not by increasing poverty,” he said. (More)

The Binkley Report

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alexbinkley.com. He also recently published his first novel, Humanity's Saving Grace.

Sailors union adds cabinet ministers

to legal action over jobs on foreign ships

Image: Detail of Seaman's International Union (Canada) press release logo.
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Image: Cover of Humanity's Saving Grace, a novel by Alex Binkley. Click to purchase at Amazon.caWhile the Harper government has complicated efforts by many industries to recruit foreign workers, it has turned a blind eye to complaints about poorly paid sailors on foreign ships working in Canada.

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada has taken the government to Federal Court over its practice of routinely granting temporary work permits to foreign sailors on foreign ships delivering cargo between Canadian ports.

To draw attention to the issue, it has named Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney in the legal action against the Canadian Border Services Agency. (More)


Give peace a chance

'Under the clouds of war, humanity hangs on a cross'

Image: Photo of Gerald Celente, via Occupy
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Image: Cover of Humanity's Saving Grace, a novel by Alex Binkley. Click to purchase at Amazon.caThose who can remember John Lennon’s hit Give Peace A Chance will welcome economic forecaster Gerald Celente’s plan to revive the spirit the song espoused.

Celente, who predicted China’s current economic woes long before the markets twigged to it, has launched Occupy Peace to wrestle the United States and its allies away from the War on Terror that former President George W. Bush launched in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Wasington in 2001. Bush “set the nation on a constant war footing with no end in sight,” Celente says. (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

The study that brought down Volkswagen

Image: Detial of photo of Volkswagens in lot. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton, via CityLab.com

Closer look at West Virginia report on VW's dirty little secret

that was made public and overlooked a year-and-a-half too long

By Eric Jaffe
The Atlantic Citylab 
24 September, 2015 — Volkswagen’s dirty little secret got out last week: the auto giant rigged its diesel cars with a defeat device that reduced pollution during official emissions testing but relaxed on real roads to improve driving performance. But the details at the heart of the news have been openly available since May 2014. That’s when West Virginia researchers reported the results of tests exposing the high rates of NOx emissions in two VW models.
The enormity of the scandal (in every sense of that word) merits a closer look at the 117-page study at its core that went overlooked for a year and a half too long. (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

The science behind the Volkswagen emissions scandal

Image: Detail of photo of Los Angeles smog, Walter Bibikow/JAI/Corbis, via Nature.

The debacle has wide-ranging implications

but many already knew that diesel emissions tests were problematic

By Quirin Schiermeier

24 September 2015 — Revelations that Volkswagen, the world’s biggest car maker, rigged its emissions testing in the United States to circumvent regulations and boost its sales have sent shock waves through the car industry. On September 22, the company admitted that it had used special software to lower emissions during laboratory tests of some of its diesel vehicles; on September 23, its chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, resigned.

The firm's admission suggests that about half a million cars on US roads and 11 million worldwide may be emitting substantially higher levels of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (collectively known as nitrogen oxides or NOx) than expected from lab tests. The implications for human health are unclear, and some think that the scandal could yet spread to other car makers. Experts have long been aware, however, that lab tests often greatly underestimate actual emissions from diesel cars. (More)


From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor

Smoke and Mirrors

Pollution is a physical manifestation of corruption

Image: Detail of a cyclist wearing a mask cycles across London Bridge. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP

By George Monbiot
The Guardian UK

22 September 2015 — Pollution, as scandals on both sides of the Atlantic show, is a physical manifestation of corruption.

In London, the latest figures suggest, it now kills more people than smoking. Worldwide, a new study estimates, it causes more deaths than malaria and HIV-Aids together. I’m talking about the neglected health crisis of this age, that we seldom discuss or even acknowledge. Air pollution

Heart attacks, strokes, asthma, lung and bladder cancers, low birth weight, low verbal IQ, poor memory and attention among children, faster cognitive decline in older people and – recent studies suggest – a link with the earlier onset of dementia: all these are among the impacts of a problem that, many still believe, we solved decades ago. (More)

Change of Venue

The Ottawa Canada Celtic Folk Night

has moved to

The Heart and Crown Club

353 Preston Street

Every Wednesday evening at 7

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Is it possible to live untroubled in a troubled world?

Image: Photos of Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton. Provided by the author.

“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” (Dalai Lama)

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair

O1 October 2015 — “How do we cope with senseless tragedy? How do we react to the unexpected slaughter of innocent people? As we scrutinize our beliefs in human nature, the human psyche and society itself, we have been confronted once more with terrorism, the homegrown kind.”

I had written these words at the start of a previous column where I had discussed the shooting rampage of James Eagan Holmes at the Century 16 movie premiere of the Batman film in Aurora, Colorado and the Anders Behring Brievik case in Norway when he went on a shooting rampage on Utoya Island near Oslo, Norway.

In both cases, the tragic events had been planned, weapons had been purchased, and the unthinkable had been played out. On Tuesday, September 22, tragedy hit closer to home as Basil Joseph Borutski went on a shooting rampage killing three women. Anastasia Kuzyk, a well-respected 36 year-old real-estate agent for Century 21 Neville Realty in Pembroke was gunned down at her home. Nathalie Warmerdam, a 48 year-old mother of two who was a healthcare professional and dedicated volunteer was later gunned down at her home near Wilno. Both women had been in relationships with Borutski. Anastasia had feared for her life the last time she had kicked him out after an argument. (More)

Spirit Quest

We must help victims of war

Image: Detail of photo of refugee Aylan Kurdi washed ashore. Via CNN.

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

Like so many I have been moved by the picture of the little boy in his red T shirt and blue pants, washed ashore on a Mediterranean beach. Every now and then a picture reaches the public that stirs people to acts of compassion. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. There are today thousands of pictures that beg us to action. The little boy is a refugee from the carnage in Syria. He and his parents had entrusted themselves to a rickety boat that foundered on the rocks of the Turkey coastline.

It is scenes such as this that hit us with a wallop and turn our maladies to the side if for only a brief time.

I was reminded that I was once a refugee child. I shall not forget huddling with my mother by the window of a refugee train that was taking us from Prague to the Baltic in November 1938. (More)


Refugee crisis rooted in the West's policies

Image: Detail of photo of refugees from the Middle East arriving at Greece's Lesbos Island after crossing the Mediterranean Sea by rubber raft from Turkey, September 26, 2015. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times, via TruthOut.)

By William C. Anderson
Truthout | News Analysis
29 September 2015 — In recent months, the Western world has been pulled into a state of shock and panic as the repercussions of its actions have come starkly into view, due to an intensifying refugee crisis from Eritrea to Libya to Syria and around the globe. The mainstream media would have you think that this crisis materialized overnight. However, it has roots in the terrible atrocities the West has engaged in over the last several years - atrocities that cause people to have to flee their homes in the first place.
The situation at hand is a harbinger of a much deeper crisis that will come if the reigning empires of the world do not change their ways. (More)

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True North Perspective Public Service Notice

Voter ID rules have changed. You may have voted in federal elections before, but may not be able to do so in October. Make sure you are properly registered to vote.

Click below to visit Elections Canada's Online Voter Registration Service to confirm you have not lost your right to vote or, for first-time voters, to register!

Image: Banner linking to Elections Canada voter registration service.


From the desk of Isabella Tandutella, Contributing Editor, Mexico City

At least 16 injured in clashes with police in Mexico

At least 16 were injured in clashes between students and police in the Mexican central state of Michoacan de Ocampo.
Police deployed tear gas against the students in clashes that broke out after police pulled over several busses filled with students on their way to Mexico city on the road between the cities of Morelia and Patzcuaro.  Several media reports said journalists at the scene had also become involved in the fray.
No police officers have been reported as injured. The students were heading to the capital for a Saturday 26 September rally that marked a year since the disappearance of 43 students in the city of Iguala.

Six murdered, 43 disappeared in Mexico: one year later

Government lies, human bonfires, and the search for truth

Image: Detail of photo of protest march in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. Via UpsideDown World.
'The mass forced disappearance has also spawned groups of family members who have begun to search for their missing loved ones among the official count of 25,230 disappeared in the country. After receiving only disdain and indifference from government offices, they’ve taken matters into their own hands.'
By Laura Carlsen
Upside Down World

26 September 2015 — Tens of thousands of Mexicans have taken to the streets, carrying photographs of the missing students and making the cause their own. The government wanted Ayotzinapa wiped off the map — the school, its rabble-rousing youth, and later the movement and its calls for justice. (More)


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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.

There can be no life without laughter

Olympic-level troll hijacks HLN segment on

Edward Snowden to defend Edward Scissorhands

By Jia Tolentino
30 September 2015 — Today is a really great day.
In this video, HLN anchor Yasmin Vossoughian dials up Jon Hendren, known by his Twitter handle @fart, for a segment on America’s best top fugitive Edward Snowden’s recent appearance on Twitter. Hendren is introduced as a Snowden supporter.
He plays it straight at first, when Vossoughian asks him why Snowden’s account is allowed while ISIS accounts have been shut down. “He’s been isolated for so long,” says Hendren. “We should listen to what he says.” (More)


Alarming report finds only 6% of earth’s surface indoors

The Pope In America: Francis visits The Unholy Land

Classic Quiz

By Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa are the authors of nine books about Canada, with best-seller sales of more than 50,000. Their Web site is: www.triviaguys.com

Big Book of Canadian Trivia cover


1.  I am an explorer who celebrated the first Thanksgiving in North America, more than 40 years before the Pilgrims in Massachusetts.  Who am I?
a) Samuel de Champlain  b) John Cabot  c) Martin Frobisher 
d) Jacques Cartier e) Hernando Cortez
2. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on a Monday; on what day of the week do Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving?

3.  What are Beltsville Small Whites, Slates, White Hollands and Bourbon Reds?


Randy Ray, publicist / speaker agent / author
www.randyray.ca  www.triviaguys.com

 (613) 425-3873 - (613) 816-3873 (c)

O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

This is not the first time that to cover or not to cover

has been a hot issue in Quebec, it began with breasts

Image: Detail of expulsion of Huguenots from La Rochelle of 300 Protestant famillies Nov 1661 Jan Luiken (1649) via Wikipedia.

During the first French-language debate in September, Stephen Harper smirked as Tom Mulcair stood his ground on principle on the issue of whether a woman could keep her face covered while taking the oath of allegiance.

Mulcair argued that since a veiled woman unveils in a private ceremony to prove her identity and have her photograph taken, she should be allowed to dress as she pleases during the official swearing-in. A sensible take on a subject that unfortunately seems to have cost the New Democrats some support, perhaps only temporarily, as the country considers serious issues.

This ultimately silly controversy calls to mind when women in French Canada refused to cover up and, during our short hot summers, went about with naked breasts, parading nipples and all.

The Roman Catholic clergy were in despair because they had to contend with more than a few boat loads of Huguenots, Protestants who had fled their homes in France to escape religious persecution.

The Huguenot women held the Catholics in contempt. The only time they would cover up was when the Iroquois were attacking. For protection they would head for the Roman Catholic church, the strongest building in the community.

All this came to an end after the British conquest in 1760. The Roman Catholic brass cut a deal with the English: let us keep our religion and our language and we'll give you the people, then about 60,000 souls converted and unconverted. And so was Canada's French Fact born.

Within a generation or two French Canadian women became ashamed of their breasts and almost all those of Huguenot descent came to think of themselves as having been Roman Catholics forever. – Carl Dow

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Red Ambassador: Wartime diaries

of Soviet diplomat Ivan Maisky published in English

Screenshot from RT video.

By Professor Gabriel Gorodetsky

Image: Cover of the Maisky Diaries. Click to buy on Amazon.22 September 2015 — Ivan Maisky, Moscow’s wartime ambassador to London, witnessed a tumultuous era of East-West relations from a unique perspective. Israeli-born Oxford historian Prof Gabriel Gorodetsky introduces Maisky’s diaries, translated into English for the first time.

The secret diaries of London’s wittiest and favorite Russian, kept under lock and key, further reveals how chances to avoid the Cold War were lost and how the ambassador did not fear risking his life to keep the Grand Alliance alive. They further disclose how Churchill misled Stalin about the second front and how the prime minister was distrusted even by his own colleagues, who were only happy to share their feelings with the Soviet ambassador. It is stunning to discover that much of the information the Kremlin gleaned from London hardly came from spies, such as ‘the Cambridge five,’ but was rather garnered by Maisky directly from British politicians and officials, whom he befriended such as Beaverbrook, Lloyd George, Eden, Vansittart and even Churchill – all of whom spoke candidly and openly with the Soviet ambassador, sharing with him at times, “heaps of cipher telegrams.” (More)

Media Watch

RT spanks Daily Beast for being bad at counting

RT is the most watched news network on YouTube with over 2.5 billion views


Image: Screenshot of Daily Beast website fearing photo of Vladimir Putin.

RT, 17 September 2015 — The Daily Beast has spectacularly failed to do math, but why should we be surprised? In fact we’re here to help. Spewing unverified and plainly incorrect data from years ago (while falsely presenting it as relevant) Daily Beast tries to claim that RT’s popularity ain’t all that.

“Of all the YouTube clips watched over five years, 81 percent—344 million views went to videos of natural disasters, accidents, crime, and natural phenomenon.” (More)


The incredible vacuousness of the race

for the Republican presidential nomination

Image: Donald Trump and Jeb Bush at the most recent Republican presidential nominee debate. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) via In These Times

By Ralph Nader
In These Times
29 September 2015 — The mass media, with usual exceptions, have allowed themselves to be pulled down to the level of the political circus. If the Republican Party’s early primary campaigns for the presidential nomination had an elephant and a clown car, Ringling Brothers would be in trouble. It is hard for the Republican presidential candidates to resist temptation, defined by hyping an entertainment circus led by the chief circus barker—Donald Trump of gambling casino fame.
Sixteen candidates, after inexplicably excluding Mark Everson, the former IRS commissioner under George W. Bush and the first to announce, are hurling epithets, war-mongering bravados, and assorted boasts against one another. After their so-called debates, the media emphasize the insults of Trump and others against one-another. Reading the coverage and watching the TV clips, once comes away with the impression that snarls, quips, ripostes, and gaffes, now pass for news. (More)

U.S.-backed rebels give arms to al-Qaeda group

Image: Photo posted on a Twitter account of Syria's al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, shows a fighter from the Nusra Front firing a weapon during clashes against the Syrian government forces at the western Zahra neighborhood in Aleppo city, Syria.(Photo: AP)

By Jim Michaels

25 September 2015 — U.S.-trained rebels handed over American-supplied vehicles and ammunition to an al-Qaeda linked group shortly after arriving in Syria, the Pentagon said Friday, the latest blow to a Pentagon program that has been plagued by problems since its inception.

The rebels surrendered six pickup trucks and ammunition to an Nusra Front “intermediary,” the Pentagon said in a statement. The Nusra Front is an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. (More)


From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick, Toronto

Agriculture Canada employees unhappy about Experimental Farm land transfer to hospital

Image: Photo of sign for The Experimental Farm
By Elizabeth Payne
Ottawa Citizen

28 September 2015 — Scientists and senior managers at Agriculture Canada were unhappy about plans to relocate the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital to 60 acres of the Central Experimental Farm, with one manager telling a scientist no one in the government cared that irreplaceable research would be destroyed.

Edward Gregorich, a scientist whose experiments would be lost under the plan, emailed the associate director of the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre on Nov. 4, 2014, the day after former Conservative MP John Baird and hospital CEO Dr. Jack Kitts made a surprise announcement that one of the most historic fields in the Experimental Farm would become the site of a new Civic hospital, according to documents obtained by the Citizen. (More)

Sex and relationship

Why women need to shout about sexual pleasure

It is vital that women find ways to discuss the reality of sex

Sharing their stories about sex and climax is a public service

Image: Detail of photo of man and woman kissing by Philipp Nemenz/Getty/Cultura Exclusive via The Guardian.

By Laura Bates
The Guardian UK
24 September 2015 — More than 50% of women would like to be having more sex, according to a recent survey of users of the fertility app Kindara. Contrary to popular stereotypes about men having higher sex drives than women, 75% of the 500 women polled would like to be having sex more than three times a week, and 13% would prefer six times per week.

We live in a world in which the ubiquity of the male gaze constantly packages women for sexualised consumption, yet the notion of women enjoying their own sexuality remains startling to some. The victim-blaming responses to some of the hacked nude photographs of celebrities demonstrated the extent to which our society is still unwilling to allow women sexual agency, even as it projects acceptable ‘sexiness’ on to them. It doesn’t help that we still have to contend with nonsense such as Glamour magazine’s recent (now infamous) advice about opening the door naked and satisfying our partners’ every frat-boy fantasy.

The fact that so many women disclosed their sexual desires to an app doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel similarly confident relaying them to their sexual partners — in fact, their reported dissatisfaction might suggest otherwise.

In the age of online porn, which shows women going from 0 to panting with next to no foreplay and having suspiciously regular screaming simultaneous orgasms with very little apparent effort from their partners, for women to share their stories about sex and climax isn’t just powerful. It’s a public service. (More)

Entertainment (historical division)


Russia before the Revolution, in colour

The people of the Czar's Empire


Image: Detail of photo by Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky of A. P. Kalganov poses with his son and granddaughter, taken in 1910.

By Amanda Uren
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944) became photographically renowned in Russia for a color portrait of Leo Tolstoy. It was this fame that, in 1909, brought him to the attention of Tsar Nicholas II.
Prokudin-Gorsky's subsequent meeting with the tsar and the tsar's family was to be the pivotal moment in his life: The tsar provided both the funding and the authority for Prokudin-Gorsky to carry out what he would later describe as his life's work.
For most of the following decade, using a specially adapted railroad car as a darkroom, Prokudin-Gorsky traversed the length and breadth of the Russian Empire, recording what he saw in more than 10,000 full-color photographs. (More)