February 2014


More than two thousand rally in Ottawa to protect

door-to-door postal delivery and stop postage hike

Outraged by claim that seniors want the exercise of community boxes

Image: Canada Post employees and members of the public march to save postal service.

26 January 2014 OTTAWA (CNW) — Thousands of postal workers and supporters rallied in Ottawa today to send a message to Canada Post and the Harper federal government in opposition the plan to end door-to-door mail delivery and hike postage rates.

"The Conservatives are wrong to think that people are going to accept these cuts," Gayle Bossenberry of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in front of a cheering crowd at the Prime Minister's office, "Stephen Harper, axe this plan and consult with the public!."

Aside from terminating an essential service to so many Canadians, the cuts in door-to-door service would result in the loss of 8,000 jobs and thereby deliver a major blow to the economy.

Canada Post took most Canadians by surprise with its announcement of December 11 that it would replace all door-to-door delivery with community mailboxes and further outraged the public when its President Deepak Chopra suggested that seniors wanted the exercise.

Since December, municipalities, small business owners, seniors' groups and disability advocates have been taking up the issue across the country. So far, Vancouver, Victoria and Medicine Hat are officially opposing the cuts to door-to-door delivery. Other municipalities are expected to follow. (More)

Wow, what a demo! Visiting supporter reports

on the postal worker rally to save Canada Post

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Image: Detail of enthusiastic Canada Post supporter, Ottawa, Jan 26 2014. Photo by Frances Sedgwick.01 February 2011 — Wow, what a demo! A friend in Ottawa informed me there was going to be a demo in Ottawa in support of the Postal Workers on Sunday 26 January. How clever I thought, he knew how to get me to Ottawa.

Immediately I booked a train for Ottawa for Saturday 25 January.

When my letter carrier came to deliver the mail the next day at my apartment building I proudly proclaimed, “I am going to Ottawa to support you.”

She smiled and we got into a discussion about Canada Post and what the Post Office recommendations put forward were going to do to the public, the workers, and how it would destroy the Canadian tradition of door to door delivery. I told her how ridiculous the idea was that it would be good for seniors to get exercise by going out to community boxes.

I said, “As you can see in this apartment building some seniors find it difficult to just get down to the mail boxes in the lobby!”  As we continued our discussion the letter carrier mentioned all the jobs that would be lost by the Canada Post cuts. When she finished putting the mail in our boxes she turned to me and said, “Thank you sister for your support.” (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


On torture: So-called defectors lost all credibility in Iraq

Neocons want new Arab war so aim at Syrian peace talks

'If the Washington Post's editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt learned anything from the disastrous Iraq War, it should have been to treat "defector" claims with many grains of salt. But it's probably a safe bet that Hiatt and his fellow neocon opinion-shapers are not really interested in applying the normal skepticism of professional journalism. They're looking more toward advancing the neocon agenda.'

By Robert Parry
Consortium News
Reader Supported News

Image: Bashar al-Assad24 January 2014 The Washington Post's neoconservative editorial page is still beating the drums for U.S. military intervention in Syria, but its latest demand for violent reprisals against the Syrian government dropped a key element in the previous propaganda campaign: the claim that President Bashar al-Assad had "gassed his own people."

Without admitting that those earlier Sarin gas allegations have fallen apart, the Post editors simply moved on to new accusations - that the Syrian government tortured thousands of captives who were subsequently killed. Those claims came from an anonymous "defector" who claims he took photographs to document the deaths and then turned the images over to the anti-Assad government of Qatar.

Of course, the Post editors treat the new allegations as flat fact, much as they did with earlier charges against the Syrian regime - and with the Bush-43 administration's claims in 2002-03 that Iraq was hiding stockpiles of WMD. The Post was catastrophically wrong in the Iraq case, but none of those top editors lost their jobs over the fiasco. Instead, they're still around treating the new Syrian accusations with the same lack of professional skepticism that they displayed regarding Iraq.

But what's interesting about the Post's editorial on Thursday calling for the Obama administration to threaten a U.S. military assault if the Assad regime doesn't comply with U.S. government demands is that the editorial makes no direct reference to the Sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of Syrians on Aug. 21. (More)


Hidden history of CIA's torture prison in Poland

bought and paid for with $15 million in cold cash

By Adam Goldman,
The Washington Post
Reader Supported News

Image: Barbed-wire fence surrounding a military area in Stare Kiejkuty village in Poland. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)24 January 2014 — On a cold day in early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch.

The men put the boxes in a van and weaved through the Polish capital until coming to the headquarters of Polish intelligence. They were met by Col. ­Andrzej Derlatka, deputy chief of the intelligence service, and two of his associates.

The Americans and Poles then sealed an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison - a remote villa in the Polish lake district - to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. The Polish intelligence service received the money, and the CIA had a solid location for its newest covert operation, according to former agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interrogation program, including previously unreported details about the creation of the CIA's "black sites," or secret prisons.

The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the first of a trio in Europe that housed the initial wave of accused Sept. 11 conspirators, and it was where Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times after his capture.

Much about the creation and operation of the CIA's prison at a base in one of the young democracies of Central Europe remains cloaked in mystery, matters that the U.S. government has classified as state secrets. But what happened in Poland more than a decade ago continues to reverberate, and the bitter debate about the CIA's interrogation program is about to be revisited. (More)


Senator Segal: ‘Zero’ accountability on Canadian spy

Image: Senator Hugh Segal, photo by The Canadian Press/Michael Hudson.

20 November 2014 OTTAWA – Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal says it’s “deeply problematic” that Canada lacks a full-fledged national security committee of parliamentarians to keep an eye on spy agencies.

At a national intelligence conference Wednesday, Segal described current oversight of the spy world as a “non-system of zero legislative accountability.”

It features parliamentary committees — including one on which Segal sits — that aren’t allowed to see secret documents and watchdogs that conduct after-the-fact reviews, the senator told a symposium of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies.

He pointed to countries such as the United States and Britain where parliamentarians are able to tackle current crises head-on, eliciting candid testimony from spy chiefs. (More)

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

Paleontologist presents Origin of Life Theory


An atheist revolutionary philosopher and the Catholic Church

Is Pope Francis about to declare Karl Marx a Saint?

Is the Pope getting the catholics ready for an economic revolution?


Making things worse in the Middle East where

sectarian conflicts now rage beyond US control



TrueNorth Humanist Perspective


True North Perspective publishes in
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© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 9, No. 2 (344)
February 1 2014
Editor's Notes

Guest Editorial

Justin Trudeau missed his chance to have dealt

with the Liberal senators in a democratic hand

By David McLaren
True North Perspective

Justin’s Gambit

Image: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, detail.

The Senators formerly known as Liberal are looking for a new leader. Not just any leader but a leader who’s also a Liberal. They even call themselves “the Senate Liberal Caucus.”

Ah well, plus ça change
To quote the PM: “I gather the change announced by the leader today is that unelected Liberal senators will become unelected senators who happen to be Liberal.”

Not that I think having an elected Senate is a good idea — I mean, why on earth would we want to replicate in the Upper House the partisan shenanigans of the Lower House. (More)



Ukraine and the rebirth of fascism

'There is a disturbing pattern here that has never been lost on keen political observers: the United States always makes common cause with right wing extremists and fascists for geopolitical gain.'

By Eric Draitser 

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.com. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com. This article originally appeared on CounterPunch.org.

29 January 2014 — The violence on the streets of Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a government. Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich. (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

Agriculture numbers that matter for Canadians

Some 98% of farms are family-owned and operated

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
01 February 2014 — A recent presentation by Ron Bonnett, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and a report from Agriculture Canada drive home the importance of growing and producing food to the Canadian economy.

But how many people realize it?

Here’s the agriculture and food industry by the numbers: (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

10 most absurd right-wing lunacies this week

Pity the One-Per-Cent Edition

A super-wealthy venture capitalist complains that the One Per Cent are being treated like the Nazis treated Jews. And more!
By Janet Allon
Laura Ingraham doesn't think Sarah Silverman is funny. Not funny at all.  

25 January 2014 —  So much right-wing craziness this week, it's difficult to know where to start. So, we'll just dive in.

1. Thomas Perkins: The 1% are treated the way Nazis treated Jews.

If you’ve been spending your time worrying about the plight of the very poor, the long-term unemployed, low-wage workers or even the strapped middle class, stop it! You need to get some sensitivity training about the persecuted 1%.

You know, it is just not easy being mega-wealthy. People are mean to you, In fact, it’s like the Nazis.

Wait. Whoa. What? (More)


Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

To love and be loved . . . not only on Valentine’s Day

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.

01 February 2014 — Everyone yearns to love and to be loved but for so many people, it remains the greatest challenge they face. Some say it’s a fairytale fantasy and doesn’t last; some call it a disaster waiting to happen. Some talk of being burned, some give up and say they just don’t have what it takes.

So let’s take a walk down lovers’ lane and try to make sense of this. I love this quote by William Hazlitt: “To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love are the two greatest proofs not only of goodness of heart but of strength of mind.” I feel this encapsulates the prerequisites for love, given and received. (More)


Spirit Quest

Harper should follow Israel's example of government

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

01 February 2014 — I received my first lessons in civics in a little red school house (36 pupils, 8 grades, one teacher, one room with potbellied stove in the centre) in the wilds of Saskatchewan north of the prairies. As was the practice with most schools in the province the teacher set up a branch of the Junior Red Cross.This organization was not to teach how to roll bandages or to administer a variety of minor medical procedures but to raise a few funds and to teach the students the rudiments of parliamentary procedures. Thus at the age of 11 or so I had some sense of how a meeting was to be conducted, to pass motions and, yes, even to amend them. So why is it that most Canadians are still blissfuly ignorant about rules of order insisting that motions be passed before amended rather than the other way round?  At this point I need to emphasize that the Canadian parliamentary system is not run by the American Robert’s Rules of Order but by Burniot, and there is a difference. The latter rules of order are the authoritative manual of parliamentary procedure originally published in 1884. (More)


Raise the minimum wage to $14  — Freeze rents
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

Image: Woman demonstrates for a rise in mimimum wage.01 February 2014 — One recent morning I weathered the cold and biting winds and went swimming. So cold was it that I even took a cab to get back to my routine which had sadly been interrupted with holidays, storms, and other excuses.

While in the swimming pool familiar faces smiled and welcomed me back. Glad to see you are okay.

Right away I remembered what a wonderful, therapeutic, experience this always is. All these regulars, mostly, seniors, enjoying company while keeping fit.

Then over the lifeguard’s megaphone came the announcement, “Today is Lucy’s 80th birthday.” Everyone started singing happy birthday and clapping. Great stuff!

While swimming I met a young mother. She remarked “I must be the youngest one here.” We got into a conversation and discovered we were neighbours and both lived in MetCap apartment buildings.

As my new acquaintance and I talked she mentioned her rent is going up 8½% spread over three years — that is 3.3% a year. Apparently this is justified by “renovations”. This is well above the Provincial Guideline this year of .8%. She said soon none of us will be able to live in Parkdale anymore. (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

“Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good.”
― Jim Butcher, White Night

“Last night somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates... When I pointed it out to my roommate, he said, "Do I know you?”
― Steven Wright

“I would not know how I am supposed to feel about many stories if not for the fact that the TV news personalities make sad faces for sad stories and happy faces for happy stories.”
― Dave Barry

“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”
― Phyllis Diller

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood


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. What is Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber’s middle name?
a) Drew  b) Jason  c) Michael  d) Nicholas
2. What American-based team has won the most Stanley Cups?
3. What’s the average lifespan of a moose in the wild?
a) 5 to 10 years   b) 15 to 20 years c) 20 to 25 years d) more than 25 years.


O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Story Teller Norm Roselen about

The death and rebirth of Mimico Creek

The Mimico Creek meanders unremarkably from north of Pearson International Airport for about 30 km in a generally south-east direction through west Toronto to empty into Lake Ontario at Humber Bay Park. It's small, unremarkable, hardly noticed, a mere slip of a stream, easily fordable.

It is also a completely urban waterway and that means it has problems. It's crisscrossed by busy roads and highways, flanked by apartment buildings, suburbs, three golf courses, schools, parking lots, baseball diamonds and redirected by concrete spillways. These all affect the quality of the water and its corresponding valley. Yet, it thrives for the most part.

It is in fact an oasis of park land, walking trails and bridges with an assortment of animals, birds and fish living in its reach. There are even a few deer. All this despite the continuous urban onslaught and a history of industrial pollution dating back to the 1950's when I saw it die. (More)


O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Lament for a Nation – Canada’s slide to colonialism

'John Diefenbaker was the last Canadian nationalist'

By David McLaren
Editor's Note: A version of this essay appeared in Sunmedia papers, April 20, 2013.

Image: Detail of cartoon of Prime Minister Steven Harper by Paul Lachine.O1 February 2014 — On Wednesday 27 November 2013, John Baird officially redefined Canada to the world as a corporate shill.

Prime Minister Harper told Ed Fast, the Minister of International Trade after the 2011 election that he wanted Canadian foreign policy to focus on foreign trade. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development’s new Global Markets Action Plan is the result of that order. But it isn’t all that new — it’s been developing ever since Bev Oda scrawled “NOT” on CIDA’s funding approval letter to KAIROS.

Actually it’s been developing a lot longer than that.

In 1965, George Grant published Lament for a Nation. In his eulogy for a sovereign Canada, he argues the Liberals got and held power by merging their political policies with the ambitions of corporate North America: “Liberalism is the perfect ideology for capitalism . . . even the finest talk about internationalism opens markets for the powerful.”

For Professor Grant, John Diefenbaker was the last Canadian nationalist. Yes, he cancelled the Avro Arrow, a fighter jet ahead of its time. It was too expensive to build, largely because the US refused to buy any. But when the US pushed the Bomarc missile on him, he refused to arm them with nuclear warheads.

It was a move mocked by the Liberals under “Mike” Pearson and booed by Bay Street. In the “Defence Election” of 1963, Dief was out and Mike was in. The Americans were happy and President Kennedy promptly sent over nuclear warheads for the Bomarcs. (More)


The Associated Press

28 January 2014 NEW YORK — Buoyed by his characteristically soaring spirit, the surging crowd around him and a pair of canes, Pete Seeger walked through the streets of Manhattan leading an Occupy Movement protest in 2011.

Though he would later admit the attention embarrassed him, the moment brought back so many feelings and memories as he instructed yet another generation of young people how to effect change through song and determination — as he had done over the last seven decades as a history-sifting singer and ever-so-gentle rabble-rouser.
"Be wary of great leaders," he told The Associated Press two days after the march. "Hope that there are many, many small leaders." (More)
  Pete and his grandson Tao lead everyone to sing along to this great song! Live at Wolftrap, August 8, 1993.  
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

Pete Seeger told the US House un-American

witch hunters that their questions were absurd

By Dahlia Lithwick
Slate Magazine
Image: Peter Seeger sings, 1944. Eleanor Roosevelt smiles, sitting between 2 servicemen. Photo by: Joseph A. Horne/Library of Congress20 January 2014 — Amid all the tributes and accolades to Pete Seeger today, it’s easy to paper over the extent to which his career was almost destroyed by associations with communism and his refusal to testify to Congress about his time in the Communist Party.

When, in August 1955, he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he refused to discuss his political associations and activities, and chastised the committee for the entire inquiry. As he put it that day:

I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.

Seeger was later indicted by a federal jury on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 10 concurrent one-year prison terms, which he never served. In 1962, the convictions were overturned. (More)

Pete Seeger's special ties with

a Brampton, Ontario, summer camp

The legendary folksinger, dead at 94, had close ties with many at Camp Naivelt, a left-leaning Jewish camp near the Credit River. 'He could have everyone thinking that no matter who you are, you could make a difference.'
By Alex Ballingall
The Toronto Star
Image: Pete Seeger sings with his five-string banjo at Brampton's Camp Naivelt in the summer of 1955. Photo via Barbara Blaser / Winchevsky Centre. 28 January 2014 TORONTO Canada It’s soft summer in the mid-1950s and Pete Seeger sits beneath an old tree near the Credit River. Banjo on his lap, the kind-faced troubadour plucks the notes to a children’s song for a bunch of wide-eyed youngsters, and sings.
Way down yonder in the yankety-yank, a bull frog jumped from bank to bank, just 'cause he’d nothing better for to do.
The memory is still clear decades later for Maxine Hermolin, who listened to Seeger play that day at Camp Naivelt, a getaway for kids near Brampton that’s run by a left-leaning Jewish group.
“He was such a presence. It resonated right from the beginning,” she recalled. “He could have everyone thinking that no matter who you are, you could make a difference.” (More)
Links to Pete Seeger songs that millions sang

Aeroflot appeal upheld in Berezovsky case

RIA Novosti

22 January 2014 LONDON England — A London court has upheld state airline Aeroflot’s right to appeal a case involving deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

The High Court of Justice ruled Thursday that Aeroflot should be allowed to appeal a 2012 dismissal of a case it filed in London seeking the recognition and enforcement of fraud judgments the airline had previously won against Berezovsky and its former deputy director general Nikolai Glushkov in Russia, news agency RAPSI reported.

Berezovsky and Glushkov were convicted of defrauding Aeroflot in the 1990s and initially ordered to pay the airline over 200 million rubles ($6 million) in damages. The judgment took effect in February 2008, after the Moscow City Court dismissed Berezovsky’s appeal. (More)


Turkish counterterrorism raids target

al Islamic charity, net al Qaeda operatives

By Lisa Lundquist

14 January 2014 — In an apparent crackdown on support for al Qaeda in Syria, Turkish authorities conducted simultaneous raids in seven provinces today against an Islamic relief organization and arrested at least 23 people, including senior al Qaeda operatives. The organization, Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), reportedly the biggest Turkish provider of aid to Syria, is protesting its innocence. The operation has reportedly netted several senior al Qaeda operatives, including al Qaeda's Middle East deputy leader İbrahim Şen, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, and the terror group's Turkey representative, Halis Bayancuk. (More)

Greenwald: Journalists must investigate

government officials because they lie

' . . . national security officials will routinely lie to their population'

By Juan Cole
Informed Comment

Image: Photo of Glen Greenwald

30 November 2013 — Glenn Greenwald on the BBC's Hardtalk seems to surprise the anchor by asserting that journalists need to investigate the powerful since the latter tend to lie to the people.

This is how the BBC describes the program

"Journalist Glenn Greenwald who reported on the data leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden has told HARDtalk it is the job of journalists to investigate the claims of people in power.

Mr Greenwald said the Iraq war was as an example of how the US and UK governments had made "false claims" to gain support for the war.

"People in power, specifically national security officials will routinely lie to their population," he added.


Judge slams CSIS for deliberately deceiving

court to hide intercepting Canadians abroad

By Colin Perkel
The Canadian Press

Image: CSIS sign

20 2013 TORONTO — Canada's spy agency deliberately withheld information from the courts in an effort to do an end-run around the law when it applied for top-secret warrants to intercept the communications of Canadians abroad, a Federal Court judge said Friday.

In doing so, the judge said in written reasons, the agency put Canadians abroad at potential risk.

The situation arose five years ago when Canadian Security Intelligence Service asked Federal Court for special warrants related to two Canadian citizens — already under investigation as a potential threat to national security — that would apply while they were abroad. (More)
Image: Hilary Clinton in 201314 January 2014 — Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s new memoir hasn’t been a welcome development for Hillary Clinton. In one of the book’s most quoted passages, Gates writes that he witnessed Clinton make a startling confession to Barack Obama: she had opposed George W. Bush‘s last-ditch effort to salvage the Iraq war, the 2007 troop “surge,” because the politics of the 2008 Democratic primaries demanded it.

Clinton’s critics were quick to celebrate the new evidence of the former Secretary of State’s expedience. Clinton, hissed a statement from the conservative Stop Hillary PAC, “will do anything, including mislead the country by putting her political ambitions ahead of the safety of Americans at home and abroad.” (More)


An honest politician against the duplicitous Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton, who has betrayed the best interests of the United States as a war maker, who has failed to represent the best interests of American women, now plans to run for president in 2016 on a platform of vote for me because I am a woman, because it's my turn. Meanwhile, a contender who has proven herself worthy in both word and deed is Elizabeth Warren. — Carl Dow.

By Joan Vennochi
The Boston Globe via ReaderSupported News

Image: Elizabeth Warren, photo via Boston Globe

29 November 2013 — Senator Elizabeth Warren, the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street, just got another boost to the presidential campaign she said she isn't running.

It lies in the $13 billion deal that JP Morgan Chase reached with the US Justice Department. The settlement, which ends the government's probe into the bank's risky mortgage business, reportedly represents the largest amount a single company has ever committed to pay Uncle Sam. That's significant — but so is the bank's unusual admission that it failed to disclose the risks of buying its mortgage securities.

Warren was a force in both aspects of JP Morgan's day of reckoning. After the economic collapse of 2008 — and before her election as senator — Warren led the charge for Wall Street accountability while overseeing the government response to the banking crisis. As senator from Massachusetts, she continues to push for down-in-the-weeds results and isn't shy about acknowledging her role in achieving them. In September, Warren told The Daily Beast that her lobbying of Mary Jo White, the newly installed chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, played a key role in getting government regulators to require more companies to admit wrongdoing, not just pay fines — which is what happened in JP Morgan's case. (More)


Furious mother uses skill, will and courage to take down

cyber punk who bullied her daughter with porn revenge

I took down the man who posted a hacked topless photo of my daughter on the Internet

This is what happens when the "most hated man on the Internet" messes with the wrong mother.

By Charlotte Laws

Image: Young Woman takes selfie with mobile phone.

27 November 2013 — I felt like Will Smith in "Enemy of the State."

I was being hunted, harassed and stalked by criminals with technological expertise. I had been thrust into an unexpected war. I felt exposed, vulnerable and alone on the front line. I had awoken a hideous network of villains and saboteurs, who were in pursuit of me, hoping to ruin my life. I had received creepy emails, backlash on Twitter and three death threats. My computer had been bombarded with viruses, and a technician had advised me to buy all new equipment because the malware was tough to remove. (More)


John Kerry At The Organization of American States

A Shift In US Policy Or More Of The Same?

By Frederick B. Mills
Senior Research Fellow
Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University
Council on Hemispheric Affairs
27 November 2013 — In a speech delivered on November 18 before the Organization of American States (OAS) and cosponsored by the Inter-American Dialogue, Secretary of State John Kerry did not exactly stun his audience by declaring “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.” At best, this grand gesture evoked a somewhat hesitant applause. Could it be that the audience was taken by surprise? After all, just seven months ago, Kerry referred to Latin America as “our back yard.” The use of such language engendered disbelief because this was not the first time a Secretary of State announced a significant shift in US policy towards Latin America. At the 1933 Pan-American Conference in Montevideo, Cordell Hull echoed President Franklin Roosevelt’s good neighbor policy by backing a credo that “No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.” But a long series of US interventions in Latin America has undermined the credibility of that promise and forever placed a burden of proof on any new such declarations of a change of course called for by a United States official. (More)


Pushing boundaries:

US eyes Russian encirclement via NATO ‘Trojan horse’

By Michael Ballantine

20 November 2013Who is the enemy? Why do we need to continue to fight the cold war as if it has not ended? There is no desire by the Russian or American people to fight and there are no reasons for such a fight. America needs to keep the world on edge to justify its war machine and defense spending. The quickest and surest way to maintain peace is for the US to demobilize, stop using drones as a tool of foreign policy and begin to talk to other nations as equals instead of as subjects.


Image: Photo of NATO military exercise in Poland, 2013

The US is using NATO as a Trojan horse in order to take over militarily and politically the whole of Eastern Europe, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and this is an open provocation vis-à-vis Russia, Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO told RT.

RT: What's the problem with NATO doing more war drills? We do live in a dangerous world and practice makes perfect doesn't it?

Rick Rozoff: Right, we have to put matters into context. If we are talking about the most recent NATO war games in the Baltic Sea, so-called operations or exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013. We have to keep in mind it's the largest joint military exercise held by NATO in seven years. And it was with the expressed intent of solidifying what is called the NATO response force, which is a global military strike force and was conducted in two countries — Latvia and Poland — that share borders with Russia. And it was again a large-scale: 6,000 troops, air and naval and as well land and infantry components in countries bordering Russia. It’s not an everyday affair, as your comments may have indicated. If anything analogous to this were to occur on an American border, say Mexico and Canada, and troops from 40 countries, all NATO members, and a number of NATO partners were to engage in joint war games on the American border, you’d hear something from Washington, I’m going to assure you. And this isn't an innocuous everyday affair of one nation, two nations, holding war games; this is the largest military bloc in history, to be honest, with 24 members, with partners of over 70 countries in the world, which is over a third of the nations in the world, and in the UN, for example. So this is a further indication that the US-led military bloc that is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, inspires, first of all, to hold what could be construed as reckless and perhaps even dangerous war games near Russia’s borders and at the same time design to further develop and give a body to activate its international response force.

RT: These exercises do not come cheap though — and many European nations aren't in the best shape financially. Is it really worth it for them?

RR: Of course not, this is a phantom, an imagined threat that has been combated. It’s worth noting that the Secretary-General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other NATO officials including the Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow, who is the former US Ambassador to Russia, made comments on the war games conducted in Latvia and Poland were meant to consolidate the gains that have been made over the last 12 years in Afghanistan, where NATO, through the International Security Assistance Force, has consolidated — in its own words — its operability with military forces of over 50 different nations. Can the peoples of Europe, the citizenry of the respective 26 NATO member states in Europe afford this sort of extravagance? No, of course, they cannot. So what we’re left to believe is that the United States finds it expedient to use NATO and it is prepared to underwrite the majority of what it costs to conduct the war games or set up military installations, and further the United States’ geopolitical interests in Europe and in the world. (More)

Why is NATO stalking our schoolchildren?
Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
Image: Photo of RFID computer chips.18 October 2013 — Technocracy is slowly replacing Democracy in the West. In debt crippled countries, such as Italy, Greece and Spain, no politician dares press the default reset button, so the Anaconda debt is delivering slow inexorable death.

Because our political representatives lack the spine to bite that bullet, elections have become a charade. Financial markets, the shadowy Gnomes of Zurich, have begun choosing our political leaders.

But these Goldman Sachs friendly, loan shark, technocrats are only one arm of an octopus that is emerging as the real power in the Western world. Lesser known are the companies that own valuable patents and, like conjurers, roll out dazzling new scientific gadgets. This is the technology which, in public hands, should now be liberating us all from drudgery and freeing up our leisure time, but in private hands it is doing precisely the opposite.

When our MPs, journalists and lawyers store their phone contact book data using a 'Synch' service, or back up documents in 'The Cloud' they have no idea where their precious work will end up. They share that data unthinkingly with businesses that can quietly copy it, sell it on, or even corrupt it before they let them have it back. (More)

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Health Watch

Another 'Marlboro Man' Dies from Smoking-Related Disease
Eric Lawson is the third cowboy model for the brand to succumb to lung disease.
Several other actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man have also died of smoking-related illnesses. David McLean died of emphysema in 1995, and Wayne McLaren died of lung cancer in 1992. McLaren become an  outspoken anti-smoking advocate in the years before his death, and according to his mother, some of his last words were, 'Take care of the children. Tobacco will kill you, and I am living proof of it.'
Image: Cigarette pack as tombstone
27 January 2014 Eric Lawson, the actor who portrayed the “Marlboro Man” in the iconic 1970s cigarette ads, has passed away at the age of 72. He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a disease that makes it  progressively more difficult to breathe over time — which is primarily caused by cigarette smoking.
Lawson portrayed the ruggedly handsome cowboy in Marlboro’s print ads in between 1978 and 1981. The Marlboro Man, which ultimately helped equate smoking with masculinity, was an  extremely successful advertising icon that helped establish Marlboro as the best-selling cigarette brand in the world. The company’s print ads helped maintain its hold on the market even after cigarette ads were banned from TV in 1971. (More)
How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell

Top ten real estate deals in the United States

Hot Home News: Queen Latifah's New Jersey Home

In this week's Top 10 homes spotlight at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com. Queen Latifah might be the hardest working woman in show business. With her new TV talk show and fresh off her gig at the Grammy Awards when she officiated over a mass wedding of 33 couples, Latifah has just placed her New Jersey home for sale so she can move closer to her work on the West Coast. Asking $2.4 million

Also, if you have always wanted a home on a private island in the South Pacific, two Balinese-themed style homes on Fiji's Lomaiviti Archipelago that were priced at almost $20 million are going to auction on February 7.......More homes with spectacular views include a stone estate on the top of Elder Mountain overlooking Chattanooga and the Tennessee River offered at $2.5 million, and a redwood and glass award winning home in the hills above Carmel-by-the-Sea with views of the Pacific priced at $12.5 million.....Good news for followers of Frank Lloyd Wright homes: The largest and most elegant of his “bootleg” houses, the Emmond house, has just had a price cut to under one million.

Chattanooga Mountain Home

Chattanooga, Tennessee is a city of charm and progress. In fact, there are many things that are unexpected surprises for anyone who thought Chattanooga was just another ho-hum city. In 2010, it became the first city in the country to have one gigabit a second Internet service (200 times faster than the national average) that was provided by its own utility, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga. In 2012, it got its own unique brand logo font, “Chatype,” making it the first time a city has had its own typeface in America and the first publicly funded custom-made typeface in the world. Progressive? You bet. Located in the midst of beautiful topography, Chattanooga spans the Tennessee River, nestled between the Appalachians and Walden’s Ridge. With festivals, sports, parks, museums and performing arts venues and a moderate climate, residents and visitors never run out of interesting activities year round.

Perched 1,860 feet above it all on the highest point of Elder Mountain, from this stunning mountain retreat with its 60-foot stone observation tower, one has a panoramic view of four states encompassing Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. Its earthy exterior built completely from materials from the mountain itself, continues into the dramatic interior. At once earthy and elegant, this 7,470 square foot home on six mountaintop acres is comprised of incredible views, six bedrooms, nine baths, a guest house and artist studio as well as a three-car garage, viewing tower, terraces and a pool, all within a 24-hour guard-gated enclave. The interior has exposed stone walls, arches, solid oak vaulted ceilings, slate floors, lovely stained glass windows, wrought iron chandeliers and hardware, two fireplaces and an abundance of space for entertaining.

Elder House, now for sale for only the fourth time in its 82-year history, with an elevation of 1,860 feet above Chattanooga but only twelve minutes to the city, is priced at $2.45 million.

Classic in Carmel-by-the-Sea and stiletto heels

Two hours south of San Francisco is an enchanting town favored by authors, actors, artists and movie directors. Unique and captivating with the natural beauty of its rugged coastline, pristine beaches and green rolling hills, Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the few towns in America that has retained its original charm with no streetlights or parking meters, and where all the homes are named instead of numbered. Mail delivery and pickup is still at the centrally located post office. The constant Mediterranean climate and 50% humidity eliminates the need for air conditioning and even the coolest evenings are cozy by a fire in the fireplace or terrace fire pit. Also unusual, and we might add - very French, is the unexpected welcome to dogs. One can take their posh pet to tea where it is spoiled with water and dog biscuits and also welcomed by shopkeepers. Back in the 1920s, a law was put in place where women could not wear high heels over two inches in height to avoid injuries walking on cobblestones and tree roots. However, when Clint Eastwood became mayor, he didn’t exactly eliminate the law but made acquiring a license for stilettos fee free. A mecca for the arts, quaint restaurants and shops, hiking trails and taking in the dramatic scenery, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a magnet for anyone who can afford it.

High above the town on a private 20-acre peak overlooking forest and ocean, renowned architect John Marsh Davis created this “Lost Modern” designed house, a style for which he is most well-known. A work of art in itself, the 8,000 square foot glass, redwood home with copper roof has five bedrooms, six baths, four grand fireplaces with lush forest and ocean views graced with high ceilings and intricate use of redwood. For horse lovers, the 20 acres are approved for equines. Sophisticated and thoughtfully laid out, it took the owners four years working with the architect to achieve not only beauty but warm livability. Note that one of the owners is the popular Carmel artist, Beth Weissman. Landscape architect, Paul Leffingwell, provided the award winning seven acres of garden with its unusual stylized water features.

Carmel-by-the-Sea’s notable California redwood and glass 20-acre artist’s estate overlooking forest and ocean, asking $12.5 million.

Queen Latifah's New Jersey Home

Fresh off her gig at the Grammy Awards when she officiated over a mass wedding of 33 couples, Queen Latifah is America’s queen of versatility. Born and raised in New Jersey by her mother who was a school teacher and her father who was a police officer, Dana Elaine Owens claimed the stage name “Queen Latifah” as a teenager and never looked back. This naturally talented woman started in hip hop, has the voice to sing “America the Beautiful” and has appeared in over 30 films, TV sitcoms and music productions. She is the star of her own TV talk show, The Queen Latifah Show and one of Madison Avenue’s go-to commercial stars promoting cosmetics, pizza, underwear and weight loss products.

Along with the excitement and fame that comes from making it to the top, Latifah has had her share of tragedy. Her brother was killed on a motorcycle she had just given him and she still wears the key to that motorcycle around her neck. Another violent tragedy occurred when the car in which she was riding was hijacked and her boyfriend was shot and killed. Surrounded by hard work and life’s battle scars from past events, Latifah remains grounded and continues to succeed at new adventures.

Queen Latifah has lived in her Colts Neck, New Jersey home for the last twelve years, but with the time it takes to produce her talk show, decided that a move to the West Coast would make more sense. She has recently placed her 7,000 square foot, nine-acre New Jersey estate on the market. The six bedroom, eight bathroom mansion is impeccably maintained with pristine landscaped grounds, a five-car garage and heated Olympic-sized swimming pool. The interior has huge spaces for entertaining, is open and filled with light, has an exercise room, a game room, and four fireplaces.

Queen Latifah has put her nine-acre New Jersey estate on the market and is asking $2.4 million.

South Pacific Island Retreat Auction

On first sight, there is no doubt that this Fiji home is a South Pacific paradise. Easy to imagine that some well-known island-loving celebrities will be kicking themselves that they didn’t wait around for this one. Specifics who come to mind are Oprah with her Maui farm where she grows organic vegetables, Larry Ellison who just bought most of Lanai just because he could, and Richard Branson who has been happily living on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands with his family for years. Mel Gibson owns his own island in Fiji, the 5,400 acre Mago Island, but might want to trade for this fabulous retreat. Since it’s going up for grabs at a no reserve auction, maybe one of them will want to add it to their collection.

Wakaya is a privately owned island in Fiji's Lomaiviti Archipelago. Only five miles long and one and a half miles wide, it was purchased by Canadian gold mining entrepreneur, David Gilmour, in 1973. He proceeded to establish an exclusive resort, the Wakaya Club, along with roads, a freshwater reservoir, an airstrip, a marina, jetty, village, church, gym and school for the resort’s employees and guests.

Named Lawedua, this is one of only five homes on the island and is perched 150 feet above a private beach. The location of the estate offers dramatic views of the Koro Sea and cliffs of tropical vegetation. If it looks familiar, it has appeared on the cover of Architectural Digest and has been host to celebrity guests such as Bill Gates, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jim Carey, and Celine Dion. The Lawedua enclave consists of two residences and two guest bures, each with two bedrooms. Architectural details are Balinese pole-style construction of structural bamboo with soaring ceilings and living areas separated into pavilions, or bures in Fijian.

Balinese-themed sanctuary with two residences in Fiji. Currently listed $12.99 million and $6.99 million. No reserve auction to be held February 7th.

Frank Lloyd Wright Bootleg House

Frank Lloyd Wright had interesting character traits aside from being a visionary designer. He was resourceful and was a risk taker. When he built his own house and studio, he found it necessary to borrow money from his employer, architect Louis Sullivan. In order to pay it back promptly he had to come up with additional income. Of course selling his architectural services would make the most money, but there was the issue of that pesky little clause in his contract with Adler and Sullivan that said independent work outside the company was forbidden. But Wright decided to take the chance. He managed to build eight of these “bootleg houses” before being caught and fired.

Except for this larger, more elegant Emmond house in La Grange, Illinois, the others were of modest size with the basic plans being the same. Only a change in details gave each its individuality. The Emmond House measures 2,638 square feet with five bedrooms and one bath.

Built in 1892 in La Grange, Illinois, the house has painstakingly been restored to its original design both inside and out. It was designed in an era when the Victorian gingerbread houses were all the rage. In his bootleg houses, he combined Colonial Revival, Queen Anne and Dutch Colonial, all pared down to simplicity without the curlicues and architectural adornment of the originals. One can see this in the octagonal turret and pointed, equilateral roof. These features would later evolve into his Prairie style. Over the years, brick veneer siding had been installed over the original wood clapboard and Wright’s porch addition with open arches had been enclosed along with other architectural changes. Fortunately, original photographs were obtained and paint analysis on wood siding that had been covered revealed the exact original paint color which was replicated. The exterior restoration was completed in 2007 after six years of restoration. The current owners also worked from plans to restore the interior to its original design. The windows are lead art glass and furnishings are the Wright originals. In 2008, the owners were presented with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Outstanding Restoration.

Frank Lloyd Wright is one more example of how being fired from a job can be a boost to one’s future rather than a hindrance. Originally listed for $1.5 million, now after a number of price cuts it has been reduced to $919,000.

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 the scorching real estate market in Texas, New York City real estate wars, and Ellen DeGeneres' new home next door to the Playboy Mansion.  

Terry Walsh
Marketing Coordinator