April 2015

Meanwhile, in Canada ...

Stephen Harper proves his loyalty is to global capital,

not the country he swore an oath to serve ...

Image: Photo of Canadian Prime Minister standing at attention in presence of unidentified Saudi. Caption by Geoffrey Dow reads: "'Ready, aye, ready!' Canadian Prime Minister sells Canadian farmers to Saudi Arabia."

Government privatizes Wheat Board

in deal with G3 Global Grain Group

"Economic treason" — NDP

By Chinta Puxley
The Canadian Press via The Winnipeg Free Press
15 April 2015, WINNIPEG —The federal government is moving to privatize the Canadian Wheat Board in a deal with a company partially owned in Saudi Arabia.
G3 Global Grain Group will get 50.1 per cent of the company in exchange for an investment of $250 million. G3 is a joint venture between Bunge Canada, and SALIC Canada, a subsidiary of the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co. (Read more)

Man arrested, released on Peace Bond

on suspicion he may commit terrorism

Canadian Press via The Huffington Post Canada

25 March 2015 OTTAWA — The RCMP have arrested a man after a peace bond was ordered against him based on allegations he might commit a terrorism offence.

Police say Amir Raisolsadat was released on unspecified conditions and ordered to return to court on April 20.

No other information about the man, including where he is from, was released by the RCMP, citing the fact there is an ongoing criminal investigation in the case. (More)

Harper's new world order

Bill C-51, the Police State Act — special section

Image: Photo-illustration of Steven Harper's face on banner hanging from building, by Geoffrey Dow.

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor
True North Perspective

30 March 2015 — It isn't often that a single bill proposes to fundamentally change the very nature of a country. One thinks of the American Emancipation Proclamation or of the passing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Or, indeed, from the other corner, of Hitler's Enabling Act, which saw the end of Germany's first experiment in parliamentary democracy.

It is not without serious consideration that True North Perspective uses Hitler as an analogy for what the current government of Canada is attempting to do to our country's experiment in democracy. But sometimes seemingly extreme examples are not so extreme as all that. Because, if the Harper Government's Bill C-51 does not, quite, provide the government with a dictatorship's powers, it certainly lays the ground-work for it.

Combined with other anti-democratic measures proposed or already in place, we do not believe it is alarmist or extremist to ask our readers to take the time to really read the articles linked to in our C-51 Special Section. C-51 seeks to give the government the powers to arbitrarily define any person or group as a "terrorist"; to give the government a permanent right to read all of your email and listen to all of your phone calls; to arrest you without knowing the charge or evidence against you, or to arrest you without any charge at all, simply because someone in the Government or the Secret Police (CSIS, for now; who knows how many other agencies will soon also be "keeping us safe"?) believes we might be a threat at some point in the future.

There is a word for this kind of law; there is a word for this kind of government. It is fascist. A state that has no respect for the individual, that takes its orders from its cronies in big business (the same big businesses that are spewing radioactive wastes into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima in Japan, that are poisoning drinking water all over North America and sweeping life right out of the oceans all over the world) is the sort of state so many of our parents and grandparents thought they went to war to fight against in 1939.

Steven Harper is working hard to make of Canada not a peace-maker internationally, but a junior partner in murder and terror, now in the Arab world and later ... well, who knows? Bill C-51 will give him the tools he needs to make "criminals" of any of us who dare to oppose his wars, his tar-sand developments or his illegal wars in far-off lands.

If C-51 passes, this country will be changed, and it will be a very, very hard task to change it back again.

Almost all of this country's former Prime Ministers, the Canadian Law Society, even Conservatives who once backed Harper all the way find the Bill goes too far. And of course, the New Democratic Party (and the Greens) have been putting up a serious fight in Parliament, while tens of thousands of Canadian citizens have taken to the streets, signed petitions and written letters to make their opposition clear.

As of this writing, the Government says it will make amendments to the Bill — a victory, of sorts. But now is not the time to celebrate; now is the time to keep the pressure on. Not just on the Government, but on the Official Opposition as well. Only intense and continuous public pressure can ensure that this monstrous blow against our freedoms and our democracy can be stopped.

We don't ask you take our word for it. Please visit our Special Section on C-51, in which we present a wide sampling of analyses about this very dangerous power-grab by the Harper government. You owe it to yourselves and to your children to do everything  you can to put a stop to it. (More)

It's not too late!
Click banner below to sign a petition to stop Bill C-51
Image: Banner against C-51. Click to sign a petition demanding the government withdraw Bill C-51!


Canada Post reveals a $299 million profit for 2014

while it proceeds with scheme of delivery cutbacks

Image: Canada Post 'superboxes' marooned in a snowbank. Prime Minister Steven Harper, inset.27 March 2015 OTTAWA Today, the Canada Post Group reported a massive profit from operations of $299 Million for 2014. The Canada Post segment reported profit from operations of $204 M and a profit before tax of $194 M.
“This is affirming news for our members,” said Denis Lemelin, CUPW National President, “It’s some $555 Million better than the loss projected in Canada Post’s corporate plan. Postal workers are justifiably proud to perform a valuable, profitable public service. Now if only Canada Post’s executives could see how clearly it shows that there’s no need to cut door-to-door delivery for millions of families." (More)

CUPW President Denis Lemelin challenges Bill C-51

Says increasing spook power won't guarantee safety

Image: Canadian Union of Postal Workers Logo.25 March 2015 OTTAWAThe union representing 51,000 postal workers is adding its voice to the growing chorus of concerns over Bill C-51, the federal government’s sweeping national security bill.
“The Canadian Union of Postal Workers knows what it is like to experience out-of-control state surveillance,” said Denis Lemelin, National President of CUPW, referring to the lengthy history of CUPW being spied upon by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP.
“Increasing the powers of the security establishment will not necessarily make us safer,” said Lemelin. “The lack of civilian oversight and the dearth of monitoring information-sharing between government agencies in this bill is very disturbing.” (More)

CUPE and Golden in Kicking Horse Country

sign on for new five-year collective agreement

26 March 2015

GOLDEN BC — "Town Council is pleased it can provide both a great working environment for our staff and labour conditions to complement it", said Mayor Ron Oszust.  "Council values the outstanding work of our employees that make our community safe, functional, and appealing".

The Town of Golden and Local 2309 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees are pleased to announce the ratification of a new 5 year collective agreement for wage rates, benefits, and other working conditions.

The new agreement is effective from March 1, 2015, to February 28, 2020.

The agreement includes a number of housekeeping changes, modest improvements to benefit provisions, and a wage increase of 9.2% over the term with annual successive increments of 2.0%, 1.5%, 1.7%, 2.0%, and 2.0%.

"We have an exceptional relationship in Golden between administration and our labour union", said Chief Administrative Officer Jon Wilsgard, "and as a result we were able to arrive in short order at yet another collective agreement that mutually respects the working conditions of all our staff, and sets a wage increment reasonable to both employees and the corporation".
David Hedges, CUPE Local 2309 President said "Our corporate relationship continues to ensure a positive and healthy environment for all workers.  We are very happy in having this new agreement that provides stability for the next five years".


CIA, FBI hid from government that they used more than

'1,000 ex-Nazis and collaborators' as spies during Cold War

29 October 2015
CIA and FBI used at least 1,000 ex-Nazis of all ranks and collaborators as anti-Soviet spies during the Cold War overlooking their war crimes and concealing it even from the US Justice Department, The New York Times reports citing newly disclosed files. (More)
From the Desk of Izabella Tandutella

Mexico says it may pay thousands

to families of victims killed by army

15 March 2015

A Mexican government commission for victims' rights may pay tens of thousands of dollars in reparations to relatives of those killed in the army's June 30 slaying of criminal suspects after most of them had surrendered.

Two of the three survivors were jailed for months on weapons charges before being released. They claim they were tortured while in custody.
The government's human rights commission found that between 12 and 15 of the suspects at a warehouse in central Mexico on June 30 surrendered but were shot anyway. (More)
From the Desk of Izabella Tandutella

Mexican bus drivers block a main highway

out of capital to protest killings and robberies

20 March 2015 MEXICO CITY (AP) About 40 buses blocked one of the main highways leading north out of Mexico City in a protest over the latest killing aboard a bus by thieves.

Bus routes around Mexico City have become a favored hunting ground for bands of thieves who board buses, draw weapons and rob passengers before fleeing. (More)


Navy SEAL on Hillary Clinton:

Lies, lies, lies, and her fake sniper story

If Americans want to vote on gender, Elizabeth Warren is better bet

Anyone who tracks Hilary Clinton will know that she is not only a pathological liar but a betrayer of women's causes. Here folllowing she is caught on video lying about being under Boznian sniper fire when in fact she was greeted by a picnic.

By Dom Raso
NRA News

Image: Photo of Hilary Clinton, with caption: 'Only someone completely arrogant, ignorant and disrespectful of what happens in war could say something like that.'11 March 2015 — Brian Williams has been all over the news lately. And while he’s getting the shaming he deserves, don’t think for a second that there aren’t thousands of other people out there selling you lies every single day.

And I want to make sure you don’t lose sight of another liar who thinks she can use the heroism of our nation’s armed forces to promote herself as the next commander in chief.

“I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia, and as Togo said, it was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor or too dangerous, the President couldn’t go so send the First Lady. And, that’s where we went. And I remember landing under sniper fire, there was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. But it was a moment of great pride for me.”

So Hillary claims she dodged sniper fire to get to her car. Below is the video of what really happened, and in the footage I’m not sure I see any sniper fire. (More)


Why military-frontman Obama spots light on Venezuela

By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept
Image: Screenshot from Democracy Now! television.13 March 2015 — The White House on Monday 09 March 2015 announced the imposition of new sanctions on various Venezuelan officials, pronouncing itself “deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents”: deeply concerned. President Obama also, reportedly with a straight face, officially declared that Venezuela poses “an extraordinary threat to the national security” of the U.S. — a declaration necessary to legally justify the sanctions.

That nothing is more insincere than purported U.S. concerns over political repression is too self-evident to debate. Supporting the most repressive regimes on the planet in order to suppress and control their populations is and long has been a staple of U.S. (and British) foreign policy.

“Human rights” is the weapon invoked by the U.S. Government and its loyal media to cynically demonize regimes that refuse to follow U.S. dictates, while far worse tyranny is steadfastly overlooked, or expressly cheered, when undertaken by compliant regimes, such as those in Riyadh and Cairo (see this USA Today article, one of many, recently hailing the Saudis as one of the “moderate” countries in the region). This is exactly the tactic that leads neocons to feign concern for Afghan women or the plight of Iranian gays when doing so helps to gin up war-rage against those regimes, while they snuggle up to far worse but far more compliant regimes. (More)


Open Letter to Steven Harper

My niqab gave me a voice

Raised in a hockey-loving household,

a woman explains why she donned the veil

By Aysha Luqman-Pandor
Originally published in TheTyee
Image: Detail of photo of woman wearing a niqab.19 March 2015
Dear Mr. Prime Minister Harper,

Do you know who I am? You should, because you are asking me to unveil myself. So, let me tell you who I am.
I am a Canadian. I was born in this beautiful land, and I call it home. I'm hidden, but no stranger, active, but not really an activist, often terrified, but not a terrorist, a fan, but not a fanatic. I am just me.

My name is Aysha Luqman-Pandor. (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
Image: Link to BumblePuppy Press Amazon store

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

Lia Tarachansky

A Jew reports from Israel

Brilliant writer of critical analyses in prose and poetry
provides a new series about the Israeli-Palestine crisis

Ex-Chancellor Schroeder criticizes Merkel’s Russia policy


China's Xi defies expectations

Xi is the mother of all boat rockers



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. 10, No. 4 (355)
April 2015

Editor's Notes

Harper gallops along on his road of betrayal

Tries to distract us with Politics of Fear and War

By Carl Dow

(With notes from Robert Cruickshank, Senior Campaign Manager Democracy for America.)

Harper plays Politics of Fear on 'terrorism' and rattles sabres in his me-too silly but fatal American war in Iraq, and now Syria, disracting our attention while he betrays Canada with the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Image: True North Perspective Editor and Publisher Carl Dow. Photo by the Phantom Phographer.30 March 2015 — The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is worse than we thought.

There is a provision reported to be in the proposed trade deal called "Investor-State Dispute Settlement" or ISDS.

ISDS allows multinational corporations to challenge laws passed by our government — things like environmental or safety regulations — to potentially win millions of dollars in "damages" that would have to be paid by taxpayers. And they could do all this without ever having to go to court in the United States or Canada.

The text of the proposed TPP deal has been a secret — until now. The New York Times and WikiLeaks got their hands on the TPP text, and it's bad. The TPP would go further in undermining our laws and regulations, and it would benefit more big businesses than we'd originally believed. (More)



Harper’s monumental determination

By Jeffrey Simpson
The Globe and Mail

Image: In Ottawa, the north side of Confederation Boulevard, which includes the Houses of Parliament, the Supreme Court of Canada – and soon, possibly, a Memorial to the Victims of Communism, shown here in an artist's sketch.28 March 2015 — Only the National Capital Commission now stands between the implantation of a memorial to the victims of communism on the main ceremonial street of Ottawa and its realization.

The NCC, however, is composed largely of appointees of the Harper government. They have rolled over before; they might do so again, since the government is utterly determined for political reasons to get this monument built. Biting the hand that appointed them would take rare courage. (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 issue in ...

The Binkley Report

Government tinkering with foreign workers

is hurting both agriculture and food industries

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective 

While the federal government has policies to encourage the country’s farmers and food processors to boost production, at the same time it’s hobbling them with ill-informed changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

It’s a remarkably clumsy move that began last year and seems to be rolling along unchecked by reality. It’s angered a lot of people who might be Conservative supporters. (More)

UBC computer prof doubts there were no qualified locals
By David P. Ball

Image: Man looks at Facebook logon screen. antb / Shutterstock.com.


Canada doesn't know what 154,000 foreign workers actually do

By David Ball
13 March 2015 — Canada's budget watchdog says there isn't enough information about temporary foreign workers, noting the dearth of data makes it difficult to assess the impact these workers have on the economy. (More)

12 March 2015 — The Canadian government gave Facebook the green light to hire 93 temporary foreign workers in its Vancouver offices, federal documents reveal.

The company would not speak on record about its successful 2013 applications or confirm that each of the 15-month contract positions were filled. A Facebook Canada spokesperson said the jobs were among roughly 150 at an engineering office opened in Vancouver, one of only five worldwide that hosted engineers at the time.

According to federal Labour Market Opinions issued by Employment and Social Development Canada, Facebook successfully applied for 88 software engineers and four production engineers -- both jobs requiring only a bachelor's degree and English proficiency -- as well as one position of "Audience Researcher, Vertical Measurement" which required a PhD. (More)


From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

'It is our moral duty to divest from fossil fuels'

In an exclusive interview, Rockefeller Brothers Fund chair, Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, and president, Stephen Heintz, talk about the decision to cut ties to fossil fuels, what it meant for the divestment movement and the challenges involved

By Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian

Image: Screenshot of Valerie Rockefeller Wayne.27 March 2015 — On a perfect summer day in June 2014, on the grounds of a stately home overlooking the Hudson River, a handful of the descendants of America’s most enduring business dynasty made a fateful decision: they would cut their ties to fossil fuels in order to fight climate change.

The ironies were inescapable. About half of those gathered for the board meeting were direct descendants of John D Rockefeller – founder of the oil empire that eventually became ExxonMobil – and here they were, gathered in the estate he built at Pocantico Hills, New York, surrounded by a collection of antique gas guzzlers and limousines, preparing to take a highly symbolic stand against fossil fuels. (More)


Freedom, built from the seeds up

El Salvador farmers successfully defy Monsanto — again

Tiny nation's subsistence farmers struggle to keep the right to choose what seed to plant

By Dahr Jamail
Image: Detail of photo of farmers driving through 'coffee lands' of El Salvador, November 6, 2013.23 March 2015 — The perils of ingesting food that has any contact with a Monsanto-produced product are in the news on nearly a weekly basis.
As Dr. Jeff Ritterman has documented, Monstanto's herbicide, Roundup, has been linked to a fatal kidney disease epidemic, and has also been repeatedly linked to cancer.
Recently, a senior research scientist at MIT predicted that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, will cause half of all children to have autism by 2025.
Farmers in El Salvador are acutely aware of the importance of producing their own seeds, and avoiding those from the bioengineering giant. The farmers, who have already been consistently outperforming Monsanto with their seed, as the local seed is far healthier and more productive, have just managed to bring about a giant defeat of Monsanto by preventing it from supplying El Salvador with its seeds. (More)

The high cost of driving

Urban sprawl costs US more than $1 trillion a year

By Tanvi Misra
The Atlantic CityLab
Image: Aerial photo of subburb, via Flickr/lindenbaum.25 March 2014 — More and more young people are moving to urban centers because they prefer to live in walkable areas with lots of public transportation options. Still, developers are reluctant to build compact housing using this smart growth approach. But perhaps a new economic case against sprawl can convince these developers to think twice.
Sprawl costs America over $1 trillion a year, according to a new report by LSE Cities and the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, because it can increase per capita land consumption up to 80 percent and car use by up to 60 percent. Together these outcomes create social costs that amount to $626 billion a year for people living in sprawling areas and $400 billion for those outside of them, the report estimates. (More)

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life


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.

We are so constituted that we can gain intense pleasure only from the contrast…” (Sigmund Freud)

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair

Image: Detail of snow on the author's roof. Photo provided by Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair. 1 April 2015 — Some people will tell you that you appreciate summer more after a rough winter. Some people will tell you learning to love winter is all about changing your attitude. Well, let me tell you I hate winter and have had enough of it, thank you! I’m sure thousands of Maritimers would agree with me. Now if we could only get Mother Nature to respect the calendar date for spring, I would have stopped complaining, but we got -27C weather with bitterly cold winds right after spring’s official arrival. Spring seems so close and yet so far away!
I wasn’t planning to go away on vacation this winter but after suffering through minus 40 degree weather with ever vicious winds, dangerous driving conditions, cars that wouldn’t start (not mine), I decided I had had enough and booked a two-week vacation in Barbados with my friend Marjo. We left in total darkness on the 18th of February. The flight to Toronto was smooth and for our flight to Barbados, we were offered a good deal that bumped us up to the VIP section. Marjo and I have often said that there are no coincidences in life, just perfect synchronicity… and so our trip was full of wonderfully synchronized happenings. (More)
Spirit Quest

Spring to Life

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

Hope springs eternal — So wrote Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744).

In the cycle of the seasons of the year, Spring is the time of hope. It is the promise of new growth and life.

On the evening of my 86th birthday, my spouse Marlene and I, enjoyed a delicious meal at Le Cafe at the National Arts Centre here in Ottawa. The view of the Rideau Canal was still obstructed by mounds of ice and snow, no longer white but dirty grey. Following that we adjourned to Southam Hall for a concert that featured Beethoven’s 6th symphony, the Pastorale. He wrote about this composition that, “it is no picture but something in which the emotions are aroused by the pleasure of the country.” It is preeminently a symphony of hope.

The musical themes of this, one of his most popular works, are familiar, even whistleable. Did I hear someone in the staircase at the end of the performance rehearse those tunes? (More)


In Finland making fines hit the rich as hard as the poor

Speeding millionaire gets 54,000-euro fine in Finland

  Image: photo of Finnish speed-limits posted on road-sign.  
3 March 2015 — Finland's speeding fines are linked to income, with penalties calculated on daily earnings, meaning high earners get hit with bigger penalties for breaking the law. So, when businessman Reima Kuisla was caught doing 103km/h (64mph) in an area where the speed limit is 80km/h (50mph), authorities turned to his 2013 tax return, the Iltalehti newspaper reports. He earned 6.5m euros (£4.72m) that year, so was told to hand over 54,000 euros. The scale of the fine hasn't gone down well with Mr Kuisla. "Ten years ago I wouldn't have believed that I would seriously consider moving abroad," he says on his Facebook page. "Finland is impossible to live in for certain kinds of people who have high incomes and wealth." (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.

WikiLeaks Press Release

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter

Image: Cartoon of Mickey Mouse charicature holding TPP poster. Via Wikileaks.25 March 2015 — WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014).
The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." (More)


There can be no life without laughter

 • Study: Support for Bill Of Rights highest while attempting to talk way out of drunk driving arrest

Progressive company pays both men and women 78% of what they should be earning


New book Blair Inc: the Man behind the Mask

reveals Tony Blair's betrayal of Labour's principles

to satisfy his greed for money and personal power


Image: Cover of Blair Inc. Click to buy at Amazon.ca.A sensational new book, Blair Inc: the Man behind the Mask tours the horizons of Britain's most controversial prime minister. From the takeover of the Labour Party, the invasions and the occupations to the Everest of money still piling up. Francis Beckett, co-author of Blair Inc, a Labour man and one of the country's leading Blair-ologists, joins Sputnik to tell us about the private dealings of Tony Blair since leaving office in 2007.

And 50 years ago in the Audubon ballroom in New York the greatest black leader in America, Malcolm X, was gunned down in mysterious circumstances. It was a decade which saw the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, President John F Kennedy and the equally mysterious assassination of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. Four dead leaders in five turbulent years. To mark the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X's murder, Sukran Chandan has organized the first Malcolm X festival, and he joins Sputnik this week to tell us all about it. (Video)


And it's not only about sex

Woody Allen's disgrace is not the only one

Nine other beloved artists accused of terrible things

The cognitive dissonance of loving the art but hating the artist

27 March 2015

By Kali Holloway

Image: Cover of Out Came the Sun, by Mariel Hemingway. Click to buy at Amazon.ca27 March 2015 — Few of us are likely shocked by recent “revelations” — if allegations of Woody Allen’s sexual impropriety can still be considered revelatory — from actress Mariel Hemingway. In an exerpt from her new book, Hemingway recounts how a 44-year-old Allen romantically pursued her then 18-year-old self, including asking her to come stay with him in his home in Paris. Though her parents “lightly encourag[ed]” her to take the director up on his offer, an unnerved Hemingway ultimately put an end to Allen’s courtship. Her allegation rests atop a pile that includes charges of child molestation by Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan and, at the very least, a highly questionable relationship with ex-wife Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. (The two have been married since 1997.) Mariel, famously, played Allen’s teenage girlfriend in “Manhattan,” arguably one of his very best movies. It’s a film that has grown far creepier in hindsight.

And that’s the thing. Allen is proof that there are people who have made brilliant art, who have cultivated such loveable public personas, that we forget one essential truth: We don’t know these people. Not really. Artists whose songs soundtrack our adolescence and whose films have given us joy are rarely who we imagine them being. They’re just people. And some of them have done some pretty gross things.

Here’s a list of folks who fit the bill. While lots of living stars have been involved in scandals (from Roman Polanski to Chris Brown), those noted here might be considered particularly intriguing figures. What’s more, their alleged bad behaviors have left them relatively unscathed. In some cases, charges may have seriously marred their reputations. But by and large, they’ve either managed to live them down or, at the very least, evaded prosecution. In any case, here’s a list of 9 Beloved Artists Charged with Doing Terrible Things. (More)


O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Store owner forgets to lock up, customers respond in the most Canadian way

(Long story short, nobody stole a thing)

By Michael Hiscock
Image: Screen-shot of security video footage showing man in empty store.4 March 2015 — What do you think would happen to a store if its door was left unlocked and the security system off for an entire night? It would probably get looted and robbed, right?
Not in Canada.
The owners of a family-run shop in Toronto are feeling pretty lucky after they left their store completely unsecured for an entire night, only to find that nothing had been taken in the morning. Diego Catala, who — along with his mother and father — owns Tires Tires Ltd., said the incident began when staff were getting ready to wrap up on Saturday. A last-minute customer had come in, and inadvertently distracted the only remaining employee in the store. As a result, she accidentally ended up leaving the shop unlocked, the security system off and the “OPEN” sign still in place.
Any thief’s dream, amirite?
Well, the store’s security cameras show that five people entered the business while nobody was there.
“They could have taken a set of tires, rims, batteries,” Catala told the Toronto Sun, adding some of the more high-end parts would have cost thousands. (More)

The incredible true story behind the Toronto mystery tunnel

Why Elton McDonald built the Toronto tunnel that captivated the world

By Nicholas Köhler
Image: Elton McDonald with shovel. Detail of photo by Della Rollins.20 March 2015 — The digger Elton McDonald grew up on what’s probably the toughest street in Toronto — maybe even Canada — and he still lives there with his mother and two sisters. Three summers ago, a man got shot in the head behind their townhouse. Elton’s sister Anora Graham went to the man’s aid, pressing a shirt she’d run to fetch against the wound. He died two weeks later. Lots of others here have, too. “Elton went to school with kids who are not alive anymore,” says Anora. “They died when they were 16.”
The townhouse, in a public housing development in the city’s far northwest called Driftwood Court, is small: a kitchen and living room on the ground floor, three bedrooms on the second. Every now and then, Elton and his sisters start watching the same movie on the TVs in their three separate rooms — as they did not long ago, with Life of Pi — keeping their doors open to chat across the hall during commercials. Sometimes they call their mother, Tracy Graham, who sleeps in the basement, to see if she’s watching, too. (More)

Bry Bitar, Montreal LGBT teen, sparks school uniform revolution

Royal West Academy student convinced school officials to allow switch from boys' to girls' uniform

By Shari Okeke
CBC News
Image: Photo of Bry Bitar, whose request to school officials led to a board-wide discussion about how best to serve students and staff in similar circumstances. (Shari Okeke/CBC) 20 March 2015 — When I first met Bry Bitar, I assumed they were 17 years old, but it turns out Bry is a tall, charming 13-year-old.
And yes, Bry prefers the pronoun "they" — not he or she. Bry also prefers to avoid labels.
"If I need a label, it would be androgynous, leaning towards feminine, which basically means I feel both masculine and feminine. But... a lot more to the feminine side. I do like wearing... women's clothing, I do like wearing makeup," Bry said.
From birth until this school year, Bry was Bryan.
Now, Bry has stopped wearing their high school's boys' uniform and instead wears the girls' uniform.
It's a first at Royal West Academy in Montreal. (More)
Don't slam the door on your way out

Image: Photo of Bill Whatcott, via Huffington Post Canada.

By Emma Prestwich
The Huffington Post Canada

18 March 2015 — In a March 10 blog post on the socially conservative site Free North America, the activist writes that his "ministry" in this country is finished and he has moved to the Philippines with his wife.

"I have pretty much given the last quarter-century of my life to fighting for a Judeo-Christian vision for Canada, especially in the areas of life, sexuality and family. I also fought very hard for free speech and religious freedom for social conservative Christians."

And Whatcott's very public activism has literally cost him.

In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that two pamphlets he distributed in Saskatchewan condemning homosexuals violated that province's human rights code. He was ordered to pay one complainant $5,000 and another $2,500. (More)


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.  True or false?  Muskoxen are the only animals that don’t seeK shelter during Arctic blizzards.

2.    When did the Toronto Blue Jays last win the World Series?
a) 1991 b) 1992  c) 1993  d) 1994

3.  This province has the world’s largest population of red-sided garter snakes.  Is it:
a) Ontario   b) Manitoba   c)  New Brunswick   d) Quebec


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Media Watch 

NYT Publishes Call to Bomb Iran

The New York Times continues its slide into becoming little more than a neocon propaganda sheet as it followed the Washington Post in publishing an op-ed advocating the unprovoked bombing of Iran

By Robert Parry
Image: An Iranian man holds a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian government photo/Consortium News28 March 2015 — If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the U.S. government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness,” and “behavior not fitting the Twenty-first Century.”
But when the newspapers are American – the New York Times and the Washington Post — and the target country is Iran, no one in the U.S. government and media bats an eye. These inflammatory articles — these incitements to murder and violation of international law — are considered just normal discussion in the Land of Exceptionalism.
On Thursday, the New York Times printed an op-ed that urged the bombing of Iran as an alternative to reaching a diplomatic agreement that would sharply curtail Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it was used only for peaceful purposes. The Post published a similar “we-must-bomb-Iran” op-ed two weeks ago. (More)

How neocons and the fake-left

took over the British establishment

' . . . we have a state that is big enough for a war, but too small to keep public libraries open.'
By Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog is at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Image: Photo Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corporation (Reuters/Jason Reed)LONDON, England 14 March 2015 Forty years ago, Britain could be described as a vibrant democracy. Our parties lived up to their names: a conservative Party believed in conserving things, a Labour Party represented the interests of working people and a Liberal Party was liberal.

We had a mixed economy, in which majority interests were put first, a sensible foreign policy — we pursued detente with the Soviet Union — and didn't seek to go around the world trying to stir up conflicts. The only foreign “wars” we got involved with in those days were the so-called “Cod Wars” with Iceland.

Today, it's a very different story. Our political parties have converged around what author Tariq Ali has labelled “the extreme centre.” The range of views which can be freely expressed in Britain without adverse personal consequences ensuing is narrowing by the day. (More)


Anti-Russian propaganda is ‘unconvincing’

because Western narrative is false

By Neil Clark
Image: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen on a television mornitor. Detail of photo by Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch .23 March 2015 — You really couldn’t make it up. Almost 24 million people in the EU are unemployed. The Greek debt crisis has yet to be resolved. An Islamic State terrorist attack in Tunis, just over 100 miles from Italy. The ever-worsening problem of climate change.
And what are the EU elite talking about? How best to counter ‘Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns’. It’s good to know they’ve got their priorities right, isn‘t it?
At last week’s summit in Brussels, EU leaders discussed a range of options- one of which could include the setting up of a new Russian-language TV channel funded by European taxpayers. (More)


Russia, US agree to build new space station after ISS

'Our area of cooperation will be Mars' says NASA chief

28 March 28 2015


India gets last laugh on US's ‘elite space club’


31 October 2014 — Following India’s successful attempt to put a vehicle in Mars orbit, the New York Times published a cartoon acknowledging the event that some called racist. But India did not have to wait long to issue a comic rebuttal. (More)

Image: Screen-shot of Russian rocket lifting off, ferrying US-Russian crew to the International Space Station.

Baikonur, Kazakhstan — In a landmark decision, Russian space agency Roscosmos and its US counterpart NASA have agreed to build a new space station after the current International Space Station (ISS) expires.

The operation of the ISS was prolonged until 2024.

“We have agreed that Roscosmos and NASA will be working together on the program of a future space station," Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said during a news conference on Saturday, 28 March 2015. (More)


UK MP George Galloway's videos on rt's Sputnick 070 reveal

collapsing credibility of British colonial and media institutions

For as long as the Palestinian struggle has existed, another gift to the world from collapsing British colonialism has blighted the subcontinent in Kashmir. As two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, confront each other across a line of control both with fingers firmly on the button, the injury suffered by the people of occupied Kashmir is ignored and nobody much cares. One who does is writer and broadcaster Victoria Schofield who joins Sputnik this week.

Many thousands of people had their telephone routinely hacked by the grubby practitioners of the low press. But industrial scale law breaking by first Mr Murdoch's operation, and then by the Mirror group, has told us much about the collapsing credibility of British institutions. However, in one of the most expensive trials in British history, only minions were convicted in the case against the Murdoch empire. Joining Sputnik this week is the author of Beyond Contempt, Peter Jukes, who tells us who did what to whom and how they mostly got away with it. (More)


Health Science

Blind man now able to see shapes thanks to bionic eye

By Justine Alford
2 March 2015 — If there is one thing we don’t seem to be able to get enough of, it is emotional YouTube videos showcasing the moment someone’s life changed for the better. Just over a month ago, we shared with you the moment a legally blind woman saw her baby for the first time thanks to a pair of innovative electronic glasses. Now, after being fitted with a “bionic eye,” a blind man has been able to see his wife again for the first time in a decade, and they are both pretty overwhelmed, to say the least:
The man in the clip, 68-year-old Allen Zderad from Minnesota, suffers a rare, degenerative eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Those with this inherited condition suffer a loss of cells, called photoreceptors, in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye known as the retina. Although some may only experience a severe impairment in night vision, others can become completely blind. (More)


Worried about size? New study determines ‘normal’ penis length

By Carmen Chai
Global News
Image: Detail of photo of smiling man opening condom wrapper. Photo by Jeremy Maude/Rex Features via The Canadian Press 3 March 2015 — Fellas, put away the rulers. British researchers who conducted an international review that measured the length of 15,000 penises say they’ve figured out the average penis length and circumference in men.
So what are the magic numbers? The average length of an erect penis is 13 centimetres (five inches) while a flaccid penis was nine centimetres (3.6 inches). When it comes to girth, an average erect penis’ circumference is almost 12 centimetres (4.6 inches) in circumference while the width of a flaccid penis clocked in at 9.31 centimetres (3.7 inches).

“We believe these graphs will help doctors reassure the large majority of men that the size of their penis is in the normal range. We will also use these graphs to examine the discrepancy between what a man believes to be their position on the graph and their actual position or what they think they should be,” Dr. David Veale, lead researcher and King’s College London professor, said in a news release. (More)

Thousands embrace sex work to fund university costs

More UK men than women sell themselves to avoid debt


Image: Photo-illustration of a sex-worker by Toby Melville.20 March 2015 — Roughly one in 20 UK students has worked in the sex industry to earn money while at university, a new study has found. Many students are motivated by financial reasons, while others are driven by curiosity.

The study, which is part of the University of Swansea’s ‘Student Sex Work project,’ is the culmination of three years’ research involving 6,750 students.

In a climate of high tuition fees and rising living costs, over 50 percent of student sex workers in Britain are motivated by the need to earn money, the report said. Some 45 percent wish to avoid debt, it added. (More)