April 2014

Thugs who control Kiev want Natalia Poklonskaya arrested

Meanwhile she's appointed Crimea Acting Chief Prosecutor

Directly after her appointment the 34-year-old 'battle-ready heroine' gave a no-nonsense press conference in which she described the EuroMaidan revolt as an "anti-constitutional coup" and said she did not "propagate Nazism, unlike certain regime functionaries in Kiev"


Image: Natalia Poklonskaya.

30 March 2014 — The newly-created Japanese anime icon who is wanted by the Ukrainian national security service, Crimea's acting chief prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya, says her attractive looks have never hampered her judicial practice and are, well, deceitful.

Poklonskaya took the job, which many of her male colleagues feared to accept, just days before Crimea’s referendum on independence from Ukraine, stunning the world not only with her courage, but her beauty as well.

“In the 12 years I’ve spent working in the Prosecutor General’s office, I’ve been dealing with organized crime and put many criminals in prison,” Poklonskaya said. “My looks have never been an obstacle — I hope they deceive my enemies.”

During her first press conference on the new position, the 34-year-old blonde didn’t hesitate to denounce the coup-imposed government in Kiev.

“The constitution says that the only power in Ukraine — and I repeat — the only power in Ukraine is its people,” she said at the time.

Ukrainian national security service has put Crimea’s acting chief prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya on its wanted list. With bizarre irony she is charged with taking actions aimed at the violent overthrow of constitutional order and takeover of government power.

Poklonskaya took the office just while Crimea defied the coup-imposed government in Kiev and sought independence from Ukraine. After the peninsula joined the Russian Federation, she was appointed as Crimea's acting chief prosecutor by Russia’s General Prosecutor Yury Chaika.

The Ukrainian National Service for Security and Defense accuse her of violating article 109 of the Criminal Code, which deals with overthrow of the government. (More)


Ukraine crisis highlights ugly energy truths for Canada

Enslaved by debt, it represents the worst of corrosive oil and gas politics

By Andrew Nikiforuk
Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about the energy industry for two decades and is a contributing editor to The Tyee. Find his previous stories here.
Image: Photo of German protest by blu-news.org, Feb. 2014, Creative Commons licensed.27 March 2014 — Anyone who thinks the crisis now unsettling Ukraine is purely about a people's quest for democracy and "the madness" of Vladimir Putin would be mistaken.

Ukraine, a semi-failed state due to energy debt and corruption, merely illustrates the new energy politics now unsettling governments from the United States to Crimea. It represents our collective global future, should governments and citizens continue to ignore energy flows and budgets.

The story should be familiar to most North Americans. In U.S. political lingo, Ukraine is a blue state dependent on energy imports from Russia, the powerful red state next door. They share a tense master-slave relationship. (More)


US takes Saudi Arabian break from condemning tyranny

While Cameron pounds an honest man, George Galloway

By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept via Reader Supported News

Image: US President Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in June 2010 in the Oval Office of the White House. (photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)

29 March 2014 — Selecting the year’s single most brazen example of political self-delusion is never easy, but if forced to choose for 2013, I’d pick British Prime Minister David Cameron’s public condemnation of George Galloway. The Scottish MP had stood to question Cameron about the UK’s military support for Syrian rebels. As is typical for Western discourse, criticizing western government militarism was immediately equated with support for whatever tyrants those governments happened to be opposing at the time: “Some things come and go,” proclaimed the Prime Minister, “but there is one thing that is certain: wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world, he will have the support of [Galloway].”

What made Cameron’s statement so notable wasn’t the trite tactic of depicting opposition to western intervention as tantamount to support for dictators. That’s far too common to be noteworthy (if you oppose the war in Iraq, you are pro-Saddam; if you oppose intervention in Libya, you love Ghaddafi, if you oppose US involvement in Ukraine, you’re a shill for Putin, etc. etc.). What was so remarkable is that David Cameron – the person accusing Galloway of supporting every “brutal Arab dictator” he can find – is easily one of the world’s most loyal, constant, and generous supporters of the most brutal Arab despots. Cameron has continuously lavished money, diplomatic support, arms and all sorts of obsequious praise on intensely repressive regimes in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Egypt. That this steadfast supporter of the worst Arab dictators could parade around accusing others of supporting bad Arab regimes was about as stunning a display of western self-delusion as I could have imagined . . . (More)

The Old Man's Last Sauna

by Carl Dow

'Life is scary, frustrating and sometimes funny. All of these themes are explored in Carl Dow’s collection of short stories, told with the pristine elegance that we haven’t seen since the likes of Stephen Leacock or even Pierre Berton.' — Award-winning author Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Order now, through the BumblePuppy Press Amazon store!

Image: Link to BumblePuppy Press Amazon store

RT, Gorbachev and NATO
By Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective
There was a media dust up recently when on Wednesday 05 March 2014 RT journalist Liz Wahl announced her resignation because she alleged that RT was bogus in delivering news and analysis. As you will see below in Media Watch her resignation was a neo-con set up and we have her in a video, giggling with the members of the plot. Her former colleagues at RT said Liz showed no interest in politics outside of her studio responsibilities and said the only time they heard her complain was when she said she wasn't getting enough help to write her on-camera presentations.
Meanwhile, the one and only Larry King is a happy camper on RT.
In 1990 when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to the deal on German reunification, the cornerstone of the pact was that a united Germany could remain in NATO.
US secretary of state Baker assured Gorbachev that "there would be no extension of NATO's jurisdiction one inch to the east." Gorbachev repeated: "Any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable." Baker's response: "I agree."
In 1990 there were 12 members of NATO. Now there are 28 and they are all crowding east against Russia's borders. The US is busy setting up a so-called missile defense system in their inching world. They lie about the system being designed for missile defense against Iran.
The fact is that the system is designed to neutralize the Russian missile defense system so that the latter would be defenseless against a missile attack by a U.S. led NATO.
One reason Gorbachev has publicly supported Putin on the Crimea is that his trust in the West was so cruelly betrayed. (More)

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

A letter from Arthur Milner

Arthur Milner is a brilliant Canadian playwright, currently residing in Vancouver. In this missive he reports on staging his play, Facts in Arabic, that was recently staged in ten theatres in nine cities on a trip to Israel. Opening night in Bethlehem the audience responded with a standing ovation.


How Did Life Arise? Fuel Cells May Have Answers


The danger of false narrative

The liars and thieves who produced a trillion dollar war in Iraq with more than one million dead are still in control of Washington and pushing similar false narratives on Ukraine to Syria and Iran.


Tens of thousands sign petition

to reunite Alaska with Russia



TrueNorth Humanist Perspective



True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 9, No. 4 (346)
April 1 2014
Editor's Notes

Are they stupid or insane?

It's stunning to listen to Barrack Obama and John Kerry make pronouncements on or about developments in the Ukraine.

Kerry says no country has the right to impose its will on another. His says this with a straight face. He must be counting on public ignorance or memory loss. Just remember Viet Nam and poor little Grenada, and more recently Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine, just to name a few of a long list of American violent military interventions since World War ll.

Fewer and fewer are listening to Obama as he and court jester Kerry invent  history and current "facts" as they go along. Now it seems that Obama isn't even listening to himself. See below his story about a referendum in Kosovo that never took place.

One wonders if they have been rendered stupid or insane by shock of responsibility . . . or both?

Evidence of a diminishing audience to their ravings may be found in a 2012 Pew Research report that found RT to be the most popular news channel on YouTube, with Fox News coming in second. Meanwhile, at that Washington propaganda mouthpiece, CNN, viewers have gone down to 421,000 as of January 2014. By comparison, RT has reached more than 1 billion views on YouTube.

True North Perspective and True North Humanist Perspective don't have one billion readers (yet) but we remain steadfastly dedicated to bringing you the truth to the best of our ability.

Meanwhile, take it easy but take it

Looking forward

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective
True North Humanist Perspective


Op-Ed from the Desk of Alex Blinkley, Contributing Editor

When It Comes to Political Ideas, How Big Is 'Big'?

In the face of 'big ideas' New Democrats play it small

By Murray Dobbin
The Tyee
Image: NDP Leader Thomas "Tom" Mulcair.24 March 2014 — The notion of "big ideas" periodically raises its head in Canadian politics and I recently criticized the NDP for taking a good idea — a national day of action — and wasting it in on, well, small ideas. Specifically I suggested that the party's focus on excessive interest rates and other charges effectively redefined citizens as consumers, something that Stephen Harper's Conservatives have been doing for eight years.

In response to the criticism, the party's deputy leader Megan Leslie wrote claiming that the NDP had big ideas "in spades" and that she was proud of them. It is unusual for the NDP to engage its critics on the left outside the party, and it is a positive sign — just as the days of action and national town halls are. Engaging people outside the four week period of elections is critical to the NDP's future success.

But, as my philosophy prof would have said, engagement itself is necessary but not sufficient for a party claiming a progressive mantle. If you want to get people engaged as citizens you have to challenge them as citizens to engage with you about their future. And people know, even if they are often in denial, that the future looks bleak. In the context of rapid climate change (and the social upheaval it will cause), increasing inequality, international conflicts, the coming conflicts over water, the dangerous growth of the security state, the threat of another global economic meltdown and the limits to growth, the need to commit to big ideas is even greater. (More)

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alexbinkley.com. 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

Tory infrastructure plan a shell game, Liberals charge

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
  Image: Cover of Humanity's Saving Grace, a novel by Alex Binkley. Click to purchase at Amazon.ca

01 April 2014 — The Harper government has announced a 10-year, $53 billion renewal of the Building Canada program in the 2014 budget but it appears the program is long on illusion for the next few years.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities wanted something solid enough that cities and towns could embark on badly needed road, sewer and other upgrades by April 1.
At a recent meeting of the Commons transport committee, Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel couldn’t even put a figure on how much additional money would be available for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Most of the funds promised by the government won’t be available until the final years of the program, says Liberal critic David McGunity. “The new program is just a Conservative shell game. (More)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Big Oil’s new strategy:

If you can’t build a new pipeline, just overload the old one

By Heather Smith
Image: Open pipe ends
07 March 2014 — Yesterday (Thursday 06 March), Canadian pipeline behemoth Enbridge won government approval for its plans for 9B, one of the most contentious pipes in pipe business. While it doesn’t get much press, 9B is important because it’s part of a hot, new trend in trans-national pipe dreams: Skirting environmental review, and public scrutiny, by pumping dirty crude through existing pipelines rather than building new ones.
Enbridge wants to use 9B to carry up to 300,000 barrels of tar-sands oil per day to Quebec for refining and export. And it is determined to not repeat the mistakes of TransCanada, the company behind the much-maligned (and very publicly held-up) Keystone XL pipeline. Thus the tactic of reusing old lines, a game that it has already played with several other pipes. (More)
One law for the rich . . .

Robert H. Richards IV may never see a day behind bars

Prosecutors and childrens' rights advocates are shocked

By Cliff Weathers
Image: Mugshot of Robert H. Richards IV, heir to the Du Pont fortune, convicted - but not jailed - of raping his 3 year-old daughter. 31 March 2014 — An heir to the Du Pont fortune, convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter six years ago, only faces probation and will likely never see prison time.
A Delaware Superior Court judge said that Robert H. Richards IV, the great grandson of Du Pont patriarch Irene Du Pont, would benefit more from treatment than prison.

Richards is also the scion of another prominent Delaware family, the Richards (of the corporate law firm Richards Layton & Finger). His father, Robert Richards III, was a partner in the prestigious firm until 2008.

Court records list the younger Richards as currently unemployed, but he owns a0 $1.8 million estate in the opulent North Shores area near Rehoboth Beach. (More)

CUPW says new postage hikes benefit big business

hurt single users, charities, and smaller businesses

Image: Save Canada Post Banner. Click to sign petition31 March 2014 OTTAWA — Denis Lemelin, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) says that Canada Post’s new higher postage rates, which come into effect today, are structured to give big business a break while individuals and smaller organizations will pay more.

Speaking at a press conference today with New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice, Mr. Lemelin said stamp booklets, usually purchased by individuals and smaller companies, are shooting up from 63 cents per stamp to 85 cents while single stamps will cost a dollar.  Large-volume mailers, however, will pay only 69 or 70 cents per stamp.

Postage metre users will get a discount of 10 cents per stamp. The metres are manufactured and sold by the multinational corporation Pitney Bowes. Deepak Chopra was President and CEO of Pitney Bowes' Canadian division before taking the reins at Canada Post. 

“That’s the Conservative way," said Mr. Lemelin, "one standard for their corporate friends and another for the rest of us.” (More)

Image: Cuban legislator Mariela Castro.31 March 2014 HAVANA Cuba (acn) — Cuba has considerably advanced in the issue of women emancipation and is now the third country in the world with the largest presence of women in its national parliament, Cuban Deputy Mariela Castro said in Spain.

Women stand for 48.36 percent of Cuban parliamentarians, while they are increasing their presence in leading posts, Mariela Castro told PL news agency.

She said that the struggle for women's emancipation, waged by the Cuban Women's Federation, has never minimized the role of men, which is crucial so that all together manage to transform patriarchal culture inherited from colonial and neo-colonial systems. (More)

By Geneviève Hone

Where There Is A Family

There's always advice from Granny Witch

Insults . . .  'Touching conversations waiting to be heard'

Hone, small image.

Image: Detail of Les enfants chicane 3, by Julien MercureDear Granny Witch,

Today I was having lunch at a restaurant with my friend Bonnie when we heard a commotion coming from a few tables down. There was this child, maybe 2 ½ to 3 years old, who had decided he wanted to go home NOW. He started making a terrible scene, shouting “Bad Mommy” over and over again. He then started on the waitress calling her “stupid” when she tried to distract him with a small toy. When they were gone, Bonnie said: “Aren’t you glad that our “terrible twos” days are done with?” I burst into tears. Dear Bonnie thought I was missing having very young children. It was not that at all, I blurted out. “It’s that October is just around the corner.” We are in March! Bonnie threw me one of those looks that old friends develop over the years that basically say “I think you are becoming crazy, but I’ll stick with you no matter what.”  

Granny Witch, I dread the month of October because the last two have been terrible. We have four boys, aged 4, 8, 10 and 12, all good looking, healthy, intelligent and strong willed.  They were all born in October, but no two on the same date, be thankful for small blessings. We do love our sons dearly and we work hard at being good parents, but recently I’ve been dreaming of renting the house next door and sending them to live there and do their anarchistic stuff in peace, so to speak. Perhaps the boys resent having their birthdays so close together, but throughout October, a month that could be a long celebration of Life, they are at their worst behavior. To put it mildly, they wage war. Granny Witch, I recognize war when I see it. I teach history! (More)


Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

On Intergenerational Storytelling

Dostoyevsky: 'The soul is healed by being with children.'

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: Lea Anderson01 April 2014 “If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.” (Lyndon B. Johnson)

My granddaughter and I had the pleasure of participating in an intergenerational storytelling project organized by the RAFO (Rendez-vous des aînés) this year. We chose a theme and developed a story about an event dear to our hearts. I chose my first visit to Disney with my daughter over thirty years ago; Lea chose a weekend with her mom at Mont-Tremblant last year. On Tuesday, March 11, we presented our stories. People who were present enjoyed our narratives and came over to congratulate and thank us for sharing during the lunch that followed. (More)


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

01 April 2014 — I love bookstores and of course their contents. Bookstores are for me more than places of business. Their shelf-lined walls contain collections of ideas, thoughts, and fantasies. They are in fact places rich in culture. Is it any wonder then that upon hearing of the possible demise of Books On Beechwood  in Ottawa’s New Edinburgh neighbourhood a year ago, I along with many others were crestfallen - and equally elated when three Samaritans emerged to take over the store, and by the look of things made it successful.

My home in Czechoslovakia prior to World War II contained many books. My parents were avid readers. All this treasure was lost when we became refugees. Later in Canada we were settled in a remote area of the country where books were not considered a necessity. Better a cord of wood than a box of literature. My wonderful public school teacher, Verna Brown, took the time after lunch hour to read to the class. It was a time cherished by all and we sat in wrapped attention as she related to us the tale of Black Beauty and other fiction. (More)

Wear your buttons with pride and spread the word
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

ParkTales Image, small

01 April 2014 — What good are wearing buttons? That is buttons promoting causes you support such as, Raise the Minimum Wage to $14. Save Canada Post.

I have been to demonstrations in support of both these causes.

 The Raise the Minimum Wage to $14 an hour movement have demonstrations on the 14th of each month to draw attention to the need to raise the minimum wage to help move people above the poverty level.

At one of these demonstrations I got a Raise the minimum wage to $14 button. I pinned it on my coat. I have never experienced so much attention from people who agree with the message. I even forgot I had the button on when, paying for my goods, the cashier said, “Good idea, I'd like that."  At my local coffee shop one of the young people working there said, "Can you get us some of those buttons? It would sure be good to make that." (More)


Saanich district still hopeful about

custom student data system's future

By Katie Hyslop

25 March 2014 — The Saanich School District says there's still a good chance its custom-made student data system could be used in British Columbia schools, despite anticipated additional costs in the millions required to make it compatible with provincial standards. (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.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr

There can be no life without laughter

What's the difference between a civil engineer and an aerospace engineer?
Aerospace engineers build weapons, civil engineers build targets!

• Three engineers, mechanical, electrical, and civil, were sitting in a bar arguing about God.

The mechanical engineer says "It's obvious God is a mechanical engineer. Look at the human body. Look at all the joints, tendons, and muscle systems. Only an ME could figure all that out so that we walk upright."

The electrical engineer takes a drink and rolls his eyes. "You're wrong. God is an electrical engineer. Look at the human body! You've got neurons firing, nerve cells, signal transfers, only an EE could have even come up with that."

The civil engineer finishes off his beer and laughs. "You're both wrong. God's obviously a civil engineer. Look at the human body! Who else but a CE would run a toxic waste line through a recreation area?"

Crimean city caught in crossfire between uninformed commenters on CNN.com

Study: Slapping everyone in grocery store, exposing yourself in produce section still frowned upon by society

U.S. freezes Putin's Netflix Account 

Hypochondriac convinced patient has cancer

Where's the remote? Woman kills boyfriend by shoving it in his mouth


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. Which city had a bigger population in 1901 – Saint John, N.B. or Vancouver, B.C.

2. In what year was the Nunavut Territory established?
a) 1997  b) 1999  c)  2001  d)  2003
3. In 1986, Canadian Sharon Wood became the first woman from North America to do this.  Was it
a)  climb Mount Everest   b) pilot a jet plane for a commercial airline  c)  play in a men’s professional golf tournament   d) win the Top Chef in Europe award

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

 (613) 425-3873 - (613) 816-3873 (c)

From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick

O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Canadians were first to rebuff

Washington on regime change

‘Never mind the propaganda, we want to see silver and gold’

When Benjamin Franklin abandoned Montreal to the British

he left behind a printer who founded The Montreal Gazette

This policy of tolerance and reconciliation infuriated the small group in Montreal that had come out early and openly for the Revolution and had risked everything in doing so. They charged the commissioners with showing more concern for Tories than for the “true sons of Liberty.”

Image: Cover, Montreal the Days that are no More. Click to buy from Amazon.ca.The Invasion of Canada in 1775 was the first major military initiative by the newly formed Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The objective of the campaign was to gain military control of the British Province of Quebec, and convince the French-speaking Canadiens to join the revolution on the side of the Thirteen Colonies. One expedition left Fort Ticonderoga under Richard Montgomery, besieged and captured Fort St. Johns, and very nearly captured British General Guy Carleton when taking Montreal. The other expedition left Cambridge, Massachusetts under Benedict Arnold, and traveled with great difficulty through the wilderness of Maine to Quebec City. The two forces joined there, but were defeated at the Battle of Quebec in December 1775.

Montgomery's expedition set out from Fort Ticonderoga in late August, and began besieging Fort St. Johns, the main defensive point south of Montreal, in mid-September. After the fort was captured in November, Carleton abandoned Montreal, fleeing to Quebec City, and Montgomery took control of the city before heading for Quebec with an army much reduced in size by expiring enlistments. There he joined Arnold, who had left Cambridge in early September on an arduous trek through the wilderness that left his surviving troops starving and lacking in many supplies and equipment.

Brigadier-General Benedict Arnold was US Commander in Montreal

The Great Diplomat Who Failed: Benjamin Franklin

By Edgar A. Collard
Montreal: The Days That Are No More

Benjamin Franklin was an aging, ailing man when he set out for Montreal in the early, icy spring of 1776. He had gone only part of the way when he began to doubt whether he would live to arrive.

When he reached Saratoga and found it under six inches of snow, he wrote a farewell letter to Josiah Quincy: “I am here on my way to Canada, detained by the present state of the lakes, in which the unthawed ice obstructs navigation.

I begin to apprehend that I have undertaken a fatigue that at my time of life may prove too much for me; so I sit down to write to a few friends by way of farewell.” (More)

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-- 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:
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Anger, disbelief as Obama defends US invasion of Iraq

By Jon Queally
Common Dreams
Image: President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels. (photo: Reuters).27 March 2014 — In order to not appear hypocritical, Obama rewrites history around Iraq War while denouncing Russia.

President Obama is on the receiving end of scorn for remarks made during a high-profile speech in Brussels on Wednesday in which he defended the U.S. invasion of Iraq in an attempt to chastise Russia for recent developments in Crimea and Ukraine. (More)


Obama says Kosovo left Serbia only after

referendum — but there WAS no referendum

Image: Kosovars hold Albanian flags as they take part in celebrations marking the 6th anniversary of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia, in Pristina on February 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Armend Nimani).

30 March 2014 (RT)Barack Obama’s speech on the Ukrainian crisis seems to have left the public confused as he claimed that Kosovo broke away from Serbia “after a referendum.” But attentive listeners quickly pointed to Obama’s gaps in history — there was no referendum in Kosovo.

President Obama was speaking Wednesday 26 March at The Center for Fine Arts in the heart of Brussels, Belgium, and was telling the youth crowd mostly about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict over the strategic Crimean Peninsula.

He lashed out at Russia for “violation of international law, its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Obama recalled the conflict around Kosovo and NATO’s involvement, making a counter-argument to Russia officials’ statements, in which they cited Kosovo independence from Serbia in 2008 as the precedent.

He said: “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

In fact, “none of that even came close to happening” in Kosovo either. (More)


Staunch friend to liberty and the West,

Saudi Arabia decrees all atheists are terrorists

in new law to crack down on political dissidents

By Adam Withnall
The Independent
Image: Saudi Arabian king Abdullah, whose royal decrees have declared atheists and political dissidents as "terrorists" no different from violent militant groups.01 April 2014Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.
In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could "harm public order".
The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy. (More.)

Media Watch

CBC falls for myth of news censorship in Venezuela

More than 90% of Venezuelian media is privately owned

Exchange with CBC on Venezuela article by Mark Cadiz
By Joe Emersberger
Image: CBC logo on building facade.29 March 2014 — I wrote to Mark Cadiz of the CBC (exchange below) about an article of his that claimed Venezuelan “activists” were turning to social media because the Venezuelan government censors news about the protests. I provided numerous examples that demonstrate how outrageously false it is to claim, as his article did, that Venezuela’s media is “censored”.  In fact, if you sample Venezuela’s media directly, it is very easy to see that it is far more open to vehement anti-government content than is the media in Canada.

Cadiz responded to me promptly and graciously. He humbly admitted that he was not even familiar with the hostile Ultimas Noticias, Venezuela’s largest circulating newspaper. The next day his article was edited to remove an explicit claim that Venezuela’s media is “censored”. However, the article's total reliance on Venezuelan ex-pats living in Canada still conveyed that impression very clearly. Overseas voters cast 93.1% of their votes for the opposition candidate who lost in Venezuela’s last Presidential election. It isn’t hard to predict the slant of a news article that relies on Venezuelan ex-pats.

Sadly, I don’t think the Canadian media is free enough to allow any major outlet to inform its audience about the true state of press freedom in Venezuela. I’ll be happy to be proved wrong. (More)


CNN's Amanpour, State Dept.

and good old double standards

Christiane Amanpour is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. When George W.Bush launched the pointless and fruitless trillion dollar and more than one million dead attack on Iraq, CNN sent Amanapour to the battle zone. The party line was to present the assault as being as pristine as possible. She stood with microphone in hand talking to the CNN camera and said no oil wells had been set on fire. Meanwhile in the background were smokestacks from burning oil wells. On her third repeat the dimbulbs at CNN central woke up and said, "Uh . . . Christiane . . . thank you. We'll talk with you soon." Now she's at  it, not again, but just some more. Please read below. — Editor Carl Dow.

Image: Christiane Amanpour.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt).21 March 2014 — Christiane Amanpour called out RT’s Nastya Churkina on CNN, claiming she’d reported on her own father, as if that was some kind of journalistic sacrilege.

"And one more note: we continue to reach out to the Russian government for their comment, including officials such as UN Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. We haven't had much luck, but perhaps people like Churkin feel they don't really have to leave their comfort zone,” Amanpour said Thursday in her show.

“Churkin’s own daughter is the US-based reporter for ‘Russia Today’ in New York. She's shown here, quizzing US State Department spokesman, Jen Psaki, over this whole Ukraine crisis. And in the past, she's even reported on her own father.”

Oh, these beautiful double standards! When you don’t know what to say, fall back on those standards at the double, as it were. But it is getting tedious and hard to stomach anymore. (More)


About Abby Martin, Liz Wahl and media wars

Read to learn of a competitive media and click on the videos

By Margarita Simonyan
RT Editor-in-Chief

Image: Abby Martin.06 March 2014 — I can see very clearly why I continue to work for a channel that stands alone (!) face-to-face with thousands and tens of thousands of Western news outlets, showing everybody the other side of the story, under daily attacks from the media against which it can hardly fight back. It’s my country. There is no other choice for me.

But the foreign journalists who work for RT across the globe do have a choice. Some of them might be asking themselves, “Why would I have to defend Russia at the expense of my career, my future, my reputation, why would I tolerate humiliation by my fellow journalists?” Few can say “Because I’m telling the truth, and there’s no one else to tell it.” Some will fail to find the answer and quietly resign. Others will perform their resignation on air in a self-promotional stunt, perhaps securing fantastic career prospects they wouldn’t have dreamt of before.

Standing out from the crowd is hard, sometimes unbearable. I wish the best of luck to those who can’t take it. To those who continue to do their best for RT, who know they are right even if the whole world says otherwise, I have to say I’m proud of you. Immensely Proud. (More)


RT chief editor has 5 very serious answers

to 5 very serious questions from BuzzFeed

By Margarita Simonyan
Image: RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.12 March 2014 — Today I received some interesting questions from BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray. RT press office sent me a draft of the answers. They're so funny that I decided to leave them here. Take them as they are, BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed: Do you regularly have meetings at the Kremlin or with Russian government officials? Can you describe them, if so? How much direct influence does the Kremlin have over what RT reports?
I don't have to go to meetings at the Kremlin because I already live there. My office is located there as well, as are the offices of all other TV executives in Russia. And RT doesn't do any of its own investigating or reporting -- we just read the latest Kremlin press releases on camera. It is much more efficient that way. (More)

Brainwash level - ‘neocons’: Staged

Liz Wahl Psy-Op exposure explodes on Twitter

20 March 2014 — Remember the mainstream’s frothing over Liz Wahl’s resignation from RT? How she was feted by the networks, supported by the Beast, and embraced heartily by neo-con Russia-haters?

Turns out things might not be as spontaneous as they seem – in fact, in the paranoid world of neo-con American journalism things are very rarely spontaneous. They’re usually nasty, angry, ugly exchanges full of trolly self-righteous butthurt.

Rania Khalek & Max Blumenthal revealed that tweets, likely by mouthpiece Jamie Kirchick at the neo-con think-tank FPI, pre-empted Wahl’s RT stage exit. (More)

Off the Wahl

How Cold War-Hungry neocons

stage-managed RT Anchor Liz Wahl’s resignation

Wahl beefed about pay, writing on her own but not about politics

By Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek

Image: The “Freedom selfie” from James Kirchick’s Twitter feed.19 March 2014 Six current employees of RT were interviewed for this investigation. All are Americans who made no secret of their qualms with the network’s coverage of Russia-related issues. Some said they bristled at an increasingly suffocating atmosphere rife with heavy-handed editorial imposition, while others in different positions at the network said they still enjoyed a modicum of independence. All insisted on speaking anonymously for fear of repercussions. Four of the sources were personally acquainted with Wahl and worked or interacted with her on a regular basis.

Each of those who knew her described her as apolitical.

“She’s never had a political bone in her body,” said one RT employee.

“Liz has always been apolitical and without any clear principles,” said another. “She didn’t talk about any politics outside of work.”

An RT employee who worked closely with Wahl added that Wahl rarely voiced objections about the network’s news coverage. “We do have editorial meetings in the morning to bring up questions comments or concerns, an opportunity Liz rarely took,” said the employee. (More)


In 2012, Pew Research found RT to be the most popular news channel on YouTube, with Fox News coming in second.[45]

RT, previously known as Russia Today, is an international multilingual Russian-based television network. It is registered as an autonomous nonprofit organization[2][3] funded by the federal budget of Russia through the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation.[4][5]

RT presents round-the-clock news bulletins, documentaries, talk shows, and debates, as well as sports news and cultural programs on Russia aimed at the overseas news market.[6] The network's signal is carried by 22 satellites and over 230 operators, which allows some 644 million people to watch the channel in more than 100 countries.[7] RT America is available to 85 million people in the United States.[8] In 2011 it was the second most-watched foreign news channel in the U.S. after BBC World News,[9] and the number one foreign station in five major U.S. urban areas in 2012.[10] It is also very popular among younger American people, U.S. college students, and in U.S. inner city neighborhoods.[10] In 2013 RT has become the first TV news channel in history to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. According to the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board between 2.25–2.5 million Britons tuned their televisions to RT during the second half of 2012, making it the third-most watched rolling news channel in Britain, behind BBC News and Sky News.[11][12]



Paul Craig Roberts

and the decline and fall of The Washington Times

By Eric Peters

Image: Washington Times front page, September 16-25, 2005.01 June 01 2010At least Paul Craig Roberts' decision to drop his column, announced March 24, 2010, was his own — this time.

In Roberts' valedictory, he described, among other things, how he and other old-school conservatives (that is, conservatives who actually advocated conserving the things that made America America, such as the rule of law, opposition to nation-building, the welfare-warfare state and, of course, who had the temerity to even mention the mortal danger posed by the tsunami of "immigration" from Third World countries) have been systematically marginalized, then excised, from the pages, not merely of the establishment press, but also from the opinion pages of ostensibly "conservative" publications—including The Washington Times.

Roberts is not imagining things — at least insofar as The Washington Times was concerned. I know, because I was there — as a young (and initially, naive) editorial writer. (More)

Years of American hostility to Russia sparked

Crimea crisis says a former U.S. ambassador

Why Ukraine might be better off without Crimea

By Juan González
Democracy Now!

Image: Former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock.20 March 2014 — The standoff over Ukraine and the fate of Crimea has sparked the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on top Russian officials while announcing new military exercises in Baltic states.

Meanwhile in Moscow, the Russian government says it is considering changing its stance on Iran’s nuclear talks in response to newly imposed U.S. sanctions.

As tensions rise, we are joined by Jack Matlock, who served as the last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. Matlock argues that Russian President Vladimir Putin is acting in response to years of perceived hostility from the U.S., from the eastward expansion of NATO to the bombing of Serbia to the expansion of American military bases in eastern Europe. (More)

The truth about Venezuela: A revolt of the rich

as the working class goes about its daily business

By Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian UK
Image: A Venezuelan protester poses for a portrait at Altamira square in Caracas (Jorge Silva / Reuters).20 March 2014 — Images forge reality, granting a power to television and video and even still photographs that can burrow deep into people’s consciousness without them even knowing it. I thought that I, too, was immune to the repetitious portrayals of Venezuela as a failed state in the throes of a popular rebellion. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in Caracas this month: how little of daily life appeared to be affected by the protests, the normality that prevailed in the vast majority of the city. I, too, had been taken in by media imagery.

Major media outlets have already reported that Venezuela’s poor have not joined the right-wing opposition protests, but that is an understatement: it’s not just the poor who are abstaining – in Caracas, it’s almost everyone outside of a few rich areas like Altamira, where small groups of protesters engage in nightly battles with security forces, throwing rocks and firebombs and running from tear gas. (More)


Neo-nazi flees Russia over anti-gay video campaign

The Moscow Times

Image:  VKontakteMartsinkevich posted a picture of himself on a beach in Thailand.12 November 2013 — Neo-Nazi Maxim Martsinkevich, known to be the leader of a radical right-wing movement "Occupy Pedophilia" that targets and harasses gay men in Russia, announced Sunday he had left the country due to possible prosecution over a recent video.

Martsinkevich, also known as Tesak, or Machete, wrote on his VKontakte page Sunday he had left the country "on an urgent vacation" to Thailand to avoid being charged with extremism and face a possible two-year prison sentence. According to Martsinkevich, the authorities may charge him for a video he made in Ukraine last month, in which he humiliated and beat a gay Iraqi man that he found using his "honey trap" tactic.
The video was part of Martsinkevich's "Occupy Pedophilia" campaign, which lures young gay men to meetings with potential sexual partners, where they are abducted, abused and beaten by Martsinkevich's teenage followers before the incidents are posted to the Internet. (More)


Near miss: Enormous solar blast

could have devastated Earth in 2012


Image: Solar flare.20 March 2014 — Citizens of Earth had no idea how close the planet was to getting slammed with a devastating solar flare back in July 2012, but scientists claim we only missed the damaging event by nine days.

As noted by Reuters, scientists found that a series of coronal mass ejections – powerful eruptions on the sun’s surface that send waves of magnetized plasma through the solar system – occurred last year sometime between July 22 and 23. The blasts traveled through earth’ orbit, but narrowly missed colliding with the planet.

According to a new report published in the Nature Communications journal on Tuesday, if the solar eruptions occurred just nine days earlier, they would have likely hit earth and caused a great deal of damage to the planet’s magnetic field. Fortunately for us, the earth was on the other side of the sun by that point. (More)


Health Watch
Crazy conspiracy theories about light bulbs

and then we see there are some real dangers

LEDs are very energy efficient, but they're also a threat to our health   
By Cliff Weathers
Image: Various light-bulbs displayed.20 March 2014 — The light-bulb aisle has never been more confusing. Gone are traditional incandescent bulbs, replaced by Halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and a variety of expensive light-emitting diode (LED) lights. And while these greener choices come with their unique trade-offs, they're not necessarily the unsatisfactory alternatives their detractors claim them to be.
Critics, especially right-wing commentators, like to scream that President Obama banned incandescent light bulbs in the United States, although there is no such ban and Obama wasn't even in office when legislation was signed to create new energy regulations. At the start of 2014, stricter standards kicked in as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was signed by George W. Bush. (More)
By Tracy Clark-Flory
A study tries to find the real answer to that question and discovers men have been telling the truth all along.
Image: Measuring tape.12 July 2013 — Let’s just get this out of the way up front: 14.15 cm (or 5.57 inches). That’s the mean length of an erect penis, according to a new study. I’ll wait here while you break out the measuring tape.

Finished yet? OK, with that out of the way, we can get to the more interesting stuff (said like a true vagina-haver). The study out of Indiana University, “Erect Penile Length and Circumference Dimensions of 1,661 Sexually Active Men in the United States,” is just what it sounds like. The main, ahem, thrust of the research was to get men to accurately measure their own penis length — in other words, to cut through the cultural BS (and, OK,  proven preference for larger members) that might encourage a man to inflate his number. Despite worries about inaccurate reporting, the researchers went with a self-measurement approach. That’s because many men have trouble getting fully aroused, or maintaining an erection, in front of a researcher with a measuring tape. (More)

How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell

Top ten real estate deals in the United States

Hot Home News: Dean Martin, Elvis Presley & Pete Rose

In this week's Top 10 homes spotlight at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com, we take a look at the Los Angeles home over Sunset Strip where Dean Martin and John Lucas composed Martin’s Las Vegas shows - priced at $7.29 million.

Also, the Elvis & Priscilla Presley house they purchased in 1967 for $400,000 was recently flipped to an unnamed corporation for $14.5 million.

And, once again, Pete Rose won't be in the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, but Charlie Hustle is still hoping to score with his California home for sale at $2.15 million.

Dean Martin Sang Here

For 30 years, Dean Martin was among the most popular acts in Las Vegas. From his partnership with Jerry Lewis, when he was part of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop, in films, television and recordings, he was always the smooth, crooner with a drink in his hand, ad libbing with the audience and the band. Always giving the impression of a womanizer and a heavy boozer, the truth was that he was neither in his private life. Martin was a family man who, when not performing, was usually home with his wife and children. He was an attentive father and close to his kids, many of whom worked with him in various capacities in later years.

When preparing his Las Vegas shows, Martin worked with composer John Lucas at the piano in the living room of this house with its stunning views of Hollywood and Sunset Strip below. Built in 1957 and now for sale, this 5,376-square-foot home with the staggering view is at the end of a private cul de sac. It features four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a master suite with private terrace and spa, chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, granite, 148-bottle wine cooler, indoor BBQ and a large island with prep station. The main living area has 14-foot glass walls with 270-degree views from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. There are two fireplaces, a step-down living area with custom built-ins, flat screen TV and bar, the lower level has a swimming pool with waterfall overlooking the view, a fitness center, 6-person steam room and 8-person sauna. There is a high-tech audio-video system, electric blinds and automated Lutron light system and a one-bedroom, one-bath guest apartment with kitchen and separate entry.

The home where Dean Martin and John Lucas composed Martin’s Las Vegas shows, high above and overlooking Sunset Boulevard to the ocean. Priced at $7.29 million.

Elvis Presley 1960's Beverly Hills Home

The days of Elvis slouched on a well-worn overstuffed sofa with a plate stacked high with banana sandwiches on his lap are long over for this house that he and Priscilla bought for $400,000 when they were first married in 1967. Located in Trousdale Estates with spectacular views over Los Angeles, fans have been coming for years to write messages to Elvis on the garden gate door set into the front wall. But when Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton bought it in early 2013, the rumor was that he would tear it down and build a Beverly Hills super mansion. By November, Burger King made him an offer of $3.69 million. Fitting that at the time, Burger King was about to launch their Big King burger and in the offer to Morton, said they would preserve the house as was. Since Morton paid $9.8 million, it was no surprise that he didn’t accept.

During this time the idea that the house might be torn down brought the preservationists and Elvis fans out of the woodwork to launch steady protests. Finally giving up under pressure, Morton held back and just “gave the place a cosmetic makeover both inside and out,” according to The Real Estalker, with the intention of renting it for $45,000 a month. Morton just sold the property for $14.5 million, realizing a profit of $4.7 million in just one year. No word on what the new corporate buyer will do with the house.

Morton purchased home for $9.8 million, paying $3.2 million under the asking price. Elvis & Priscilla bought the Trousdale Estates house in 1967 for $400,000. Just flipped to an unnamed corporation for $14.5 million.

Play Ball - Pete Rose Home

With the opening day of the baseball season starting this year in Australia, it will also be a big year in Cooperstown with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre entering the Baseball Hall of Fame. One person who won’t be inducted this year is Pete Rose. It’s now been a 24-year, ongoing brouhaha over Pete Rose’s gambling on the Cincinnati Reds games while he was the team’s manager. Despite considerable support from current baseball hall of famers, players and fans, Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader, 17-time all star, MVP and one of its most exciting players ever is still banned from the Hall of Fame.

Now a resident of Las Vegas, the home that Pete Rose bought in 1999 in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles is on the market. Sited on a quarter acre lot, the home consists of 4,719 square feet with six bedrooms and five baths. Also included are family room, formal dining, study-office, 3-car garage and gourmet kosher eat-in kitchen. The master bedroom has a large balcony overlooking the backyard pool and spa and the covered rear patio has an outdoor kitchen and bar for entertaining.

Sherman Oaks home of baseball star Pete Rose is for sale, listed at $2.15 million.

Real estate is never boring at TopTenRealEstateDeals. Check out today's most entertaining and unusual real estate news stories of the week. News such as Donald Trump's Fort Lauderdale lawsuit victory, the Magnum P.I. Hawaii house, and McMansions are getting even bigger.   

Terry Walsh
Marketing Coordinator