February 2015

09 February 2015

By Gerald Celente

NBC’s Brian Williams: Perjured by Presstitutes

Kingston, NY USANBC’s Brian Williams has come under vicious attack by fellow journalists, competing networks, editorial writers and media pundits for exaggerating the dangers he faced as an embedded reporter with the US military in the first days of the Iraq War.

Apologizing for twisting the facts, Williams said it was a “bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran, and by extension, our brave military men and women, veterans everywhere, those who served while I did not.”

Although he did not serve in the military, Williams has served as a loyal foot soldier who dutifully carried out orders to sell the Iraq War… and all the wars on terror before and since. And while the All-American Nightly News anchor now has become a target for his two-faced deceptions, Williams merely shared the primetime stage with a host of fellow presstitutes who peddled, and continue to peddle, Washington’s warmongering propaganda. (More)

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Analysis: Why the war in Ukraine?

The Fallujah Option for East Ukraine

Is Washington risking world war to stop China-Russia alliance?

By Mike Whitney
CounterPunch
 

“I want to appeal to the Ukrainian people, to the mothers, the fathers, the sisters and the grandparents. Stop sending your sons and brothers to this pointless, merciless slaughter. The interests of the Ukrainian government are not your interests. I beg of you: Come to your senses. You do not have to water Donbass fields with Ukrainian blood. It’s not worth it.”

— Alexander Zakharchenko,  Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic

 
Image: Illustration of US military bases on Russian borders. Click to view original.6 February 2015 — Washington needs a war in Ukraine to achieve its strategic objectives. This point cannot be overstated.
 
The US wants to push NATO to Russia’s western border. It wants a land-bridge to Asia to spread US military bases across the continent.  It wants to control the pipeline corridors from Russia to Europe to monitor Moscow’s revenues and to  ensure that gas continues to be denominated in dollars. And it wants a weaker, unstable Russia that is more prone to regime change, fragmentation and, ultimately, foreign control. These objectives cannot be achieved peacefully, indeed, if the fighting stopped tomorrow,  the sanctions would be lifted shortly after, and the Russian economy would begin to recover. How would that benefit Washington?
 
It wouldn’t. It would undermine Washington’s broader plan to integrate China and Russia into the prevailing economic system, the dollar system. Powerbrokers in the US realize that the present system must either expand or collapse. Either China and Russia are brought to heel and persuaded to accept a subordinate role in the US-led global order or Washington’s tenure as global hegemon will come to an end. (More)
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From the Desk of Elizabeth Hill . . .

Editorial The Globe and Mail

Parliament must reject Harper’s secret policeman bill

Image: Photo-illustration of Prime Minister Steven Harper's face superimposed on tattered Canadian flag, above caption: 'Trust me'.01 February 2015 Prime Minister Stephen Harper never tires of telling Canadians that we are at war with the Islamic State. Under the cloud of fear produced by his repeated hyperbole about the scope and nature of the threat, he now wants to turn our domestic spy agency into something that looks disturbingly like a secret police force.

Canadians should not be willing to accept such an obvious threat to their basic liberties. Our existing laws and our society are strong enough to stand up to the threat of terrorism without compromising our values.(More)

Escape from Sobibor

Nazi World War II death-camp stories have been delivered almost to the point of saturation. However, one outstanding, unusual, example of victims fighting back and winning is Escape from Sobibor, starring Alan Arkin, Joanna Pacula, and Rutger Hauer. The British made-for-TV movie is based on a 1982 book of the same name by American writer Richard Rashke. Sobibor was an extermination camp for Jews built by the Germans in eastern Poland. It was run by Hitler's SS who were served by Ukrainian guards. It shows how a platoon of Red Army prisoners gave the civilian inmates the direction and strength needed to organize the largest and most successful escape of World War II.

The movie is an excellent rendition of the horror of the Nazi expression of lunacy and of victim courage under fire. For the movie, click HERE It will provide insight into how and why the death camps were possible. In our March 2015 issue look for our review of an updated version of the book, Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke.

Canada’s new backward-looking terror law

Stephen Harper's tough new anti-terror bill is almost certainly unnecessary

By Thomas Walkom
Narional Affairs
The Toronto Star
 
Image: Prime Minster Steven Harper fails to answer question at press conference on January 30, 2015. Bernard Weil / Toronto Star 30 January 2015Stephen Harper’s new anti-terror bill is tough, backward-looking and almost certainly unnecessary.

Bill C-51 would allow a judge to impose up to a year of house arrest on someone who has neither been convicted nor charged with any crime. The judge could also require that the target wear an electronic bracelet.

The only requirement in the bill, introduced Friday 30 January in the Commons, is that police produce satisfactory evidence this person “may” commit a terrorist offence.

That’s tough. But not as tough as the anti-terror laws of, say, Britain or North Korea. (More)

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Thieves target new community mailboxes

Tim Armstrong of Canadian Union of Postal Workers says door-to-door delivery remains only way to break theft epidemic

For video click HERE

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Bomb attacks foiled at Crimea prosecutor's office

Severe beating fails to cower Natalya Poklonskaya

Image: Photo of Crimean Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya.19 December 19 2014, CRIMEA — Two attempted terrorist attacks on the Crimean Prosecutor’s Office have recently been prevented by members of the local People’s Guard. Natalia Poklonskaya has also had previous threats.

Two members of the guard prevented a couple of terrorist attacks that could have led to multiple casualties at Poklonskaya’s office, Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper reported Friday.

“Several months ago, our guys found a bag with explosives at ... the Crimean Prosecutor’s Office and in November it was an envelope with a blasting agent, sent via mail and addressed to the prosecutor,” Sergey Turchanenko, the commander of the People’s Militia told Rossiyskaya Gazeta. (More)

 
True North Perspective publishes in
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True North Perspective
Vol. 10, No. 2 (353)
February 01 2015

Editor's Notes

By Carl Dow

Sorry Gang, but a shift in attitude by Washington

does not mean that Cuba will be open for plunder

Raul Castro lays down U.S. action needed for talks to proceed

Castro warns Obama not to delude himself by thinking that what a half-century of terror and economic blockade failed to do will be achieved by a new shell game

In 1959, led by Fidel Castro, the ruthless grip of gangsters and their corporate allies was broken, and the Cuban people won their best chance ever to govern themselves. With grinding irony, the U.S., itself born of a revolt against rule by a foreign power (England), did its best to crush the democratic aspirations of the Cubans. Washington conducted a failed invasion, tried to assassinate Fidel Castro, but had to settle for something like a 50-year economic blockade. When Cuba's key trading partner, the Soviet Union, collapsed in 1989, Cuba, confronted by the U.S. blockade that the Soviet Union had ignored, was set back on its heels. There began what the Cubans refer to as the Difficult Period. Talk about belt-tightening. I've never been to Cuba but millions of Canadians have. Some of them have told me that during the Difficult Period Cubans, throughout the island, lost weight. They were hungry. They were alone. But they were tough.

The Washington attempt to isolate and crush Cuba failed. The U.S. has come to realize that the result of its policies has been to isolate itself. Now Washington has changed course. And there are those salivating at the prospects of restoring gangster and corporate control. But it's a new Cuba, in a new world. The day of gangster and corporate rule has passed, yielding place to the new. As confirmation of this, take the time to read Raul Castro's speech at the Third Annual Meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Castro makes clear that after all it has been through, Cuba will not now allow itself to be overwhelmed by the Yankee Dollah! (Click here for Castro's own words.)

Letters to the Editor

Bravo! for True North Perspective

Congratulations for ten years of True North Perspective, Carl Dow. Your constant, world-wide pursuit of the truth, combined with a sense of humour, is much appreciated. I look forward to every issue.

 
Bill Horne
Business Processes Consultant
Ottawa Ontario
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Congratulations!
 
Roberta Sherman
1st proprietor at Cohousing Options
Nepean Ontario
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Editorial the Toronto Star

Harper's attack dog cuts and runs

John Baird went overboard with his ‘bullhorn diplomacy’

Image: Detail of photo of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announcing his retirement in the House of Commons Tuesday, February 3, 2015. Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS 03 February 2015 — When he was working behind the scenes for the release of Mohamed Fahmy, the Egyptian-Canadian journalist unjustly imprisoned in Cairo, John Baird used to say he wouldn’t indulge in “bullhorn diplomacy.”

In fact, as Stephen Harper’s foreign minister, Baird was the master of the bullhorn when it suited him and his boss.

He used the bullhorn when sounding off against Vladimir Putin’s outrageous challenge to Ukraine’s sovereignty. He used it in 2012 when Canada abruptly shuttered its embassy in Iran. And of course he used it over and over in vowing that Canada would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel in all circumstances.

There’s a lot to be said for a man who speaks his mind plainly and loudly. With Baird, at least you knew what you were getting.

He gave voice better than any previous foreign minister to what’s become known as the Harper Doctrine — aggressively patriotic, overtly militaristic, contemptuous of nuance. And, not coincidentally, much more polarizing than the bi-partisan “consensus” that ruled Canada’s dealings with the rest of the world in earlier decades. Under Baird and Harper, foreign policy is more and more just one more arena for electoral jockeying. (More)

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OP ED

Time for a New Deal for Canada!

Harper lays claim to sound economic management — meanwhile . . .

. . . Canada has the third highest rate of working-age poverty among 17 developed countries. Inequality is at levels not seen since the 1920s. We have a moribund manufacturing sector and our companies get a 'fail' from the Conference Board of Canada on innovation. We have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7 and one of the highest levels of precarious work. Roughly 40% of the population is a couple of paycheques away from bankruptcy. Household debt is growing (now at 162.6% of disposable income), as the middle class tries to keep its head above water. Workers whose paycheques are shorter than the month are relying on food banks and publicly funded services to get by. Essential government programs such as health care are cracking as tax revenue falls.

Does that sound like a healthy economy to you? No, it doesn’t. What we need is a new way of doing business. What we need is a New Deal.

By David McLaren

David McLaren is a creative writer living on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. He worked in the arts industry in the 1980s and served on the Board of the Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists. He has also worked in the private sector (advertising) and in government.

Image: Chart showing Ontario employment rate, 2000-2013. Click picture for full-size version. 31 January 2015 — What do you say we start this discussion with some facts?

I know, I know, that’s not the way we do things anymore. Economics is common sense after all. Wage hikes cause unemployment. Unions are job killers. Companies are job creators. Tax breaks for the few trickle down to the many as wages. Inequality works, or rather it makes people work harder.

It’s a narrative that has informed our economic polices for the past 25 years. Unfortunately for its proselytizers, the facts tell a different story.

Good jobs lost in Ontario since the 1998 Recession hit. (More)

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OP ED

Cozying up to Saudi Arabia: How can that be ‘principled’?

By Jeffrey Simpson
The Globe and Mail

17 January 2015

The Harper government boasts of conducting a high-minded, “principled” foreign policy. In that case, could someone in government explain why Saudi Arabia is Canada’s second-largest export market for military sales? Where’s the principle in that?

Could that same person explain why the Harper government cozies up to a regime whose decision to drive down the world price of oil is crippling Canada’s oil industry and hurting the economy; whose government-sponsored support for a Wahhabi/Salafist form of Islam has spawned terrorism in many places; whose government opposes any attempt to curtail greenhouse gases; whose government oppresses its Shia minorities; and whose government has beheaded more people in 2014 than any other in the world and sentences a blogger to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam. (More)

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Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

wants Germany to pay for Nazi war crimes

By Ishaan Tharoor
The Washington Post
Image: Detail of photo of Alexis Tsipras at Kaisariani rifle range to honour WW2 dead. Image via Twitter. click for original.28 January 2015 — After the seismic victory of Greece’s leftist Syriza party in national polling Sunday, the country’s new prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, is leading all of Europe down an uncertain path.

Syriza has vowed to renegotiate the crippling debts saddled on the Greek economy by European lenders — a move that some fear could threaten the unity of the eurozone. Tsipras and his allies, meanwhile, see their ascension as a historic opportunity, as WorldViews discussed here.

But it's not just the future that's on Syriza's agenda. In what was virtually his first act as prime minister Monday, Tsipras journeyed to the memorial site at the Kaisariani rifle range, where in 1944 Nazi soldiers executed some 200 Greek activists in retaliation for the death of a German officer killed in a Greek ambush. (More)

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British MP George Galloway and Canadian Gabriel Keresztesi

focus on the unconquerable courage of the Mexican Zapatistas

George Galloway is a British politician, broadcaster, and writer. Since late March 2012 he has been the Respect Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford West, England. Gabriel Endicott Keresztesi is an amateur documentary maker working as a carpenter in Sudbury Ontario, since 2007. He is currently preparing a documentary about the year 1915 when the Zapatistas carried out land reform in South Central Mexico, the only year they were able to do so in peace during the ten year revolution. To hear Gabriel's podcast of the Zapatistas, click HERE. (May not work with all browsers.)

Also click HERE for George Galloway's Sputnic on killing Africans and the rise of the Zapatistas

In the same week that 17 died in Paris, 2,000 died in another terrorist outrage in Borno, a province in Nigeria of virtually no importance to western media. No hashtag #BringBackOurGirls for them. Indeed, virtually no coverage of any kind at all. But Nigeria’s president, the inaptly named Goodluck Jonathan, managed to make a statement denouncing events in Paris while completely failing to mention the thousands slaughtered in his own country in the same week. Helping us to make sense of it all is Ini Dele-Adedeji of the London School of Oriental and African Studies.

Mexicans are saying enough is enough

Has the world become inured to massacres? In Mexico, people are being murdered in their hundreds and it's usually connected to the raging drug traffic across the country's border with the United States where there is a voracious hunger for junk of every kind. It's not often however that a serving mayor is arrested and charged with the murder of 43 students. That's what happened in the town of Iguala, where protesting students were rounded up, murdered and buried in unmarked shallow graves. Mexicans are finally saying that enough is enough when it comes to the rotten, corrupt political class that has misruled the country for decades. Claudio Garcia Ehrenfeld and Denise Drake, of the London Mexican Solidarity Group, came into the studio to tell us about their work and the scandal which goes all the way to the presidency. (For video click HERE)

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08 February 2015

Prince Andrew 'sex-slave victim' accuses US

of covering up video evidence of her abuse

Virginia Roberts claims footage of 'life-threatening' underage sexual assaults by friends of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, including Bill Clinton, is being withheld

By Luke Heighton
 
Image: Photos of the Duke of York, left, and Jeffrey Epstein, who was jailed after admitting soliciting a minor for prostitution (REX)US authorities are ‘covering up’ video footage of the woman at the centre of underage sex allegations against Prince Andrew being forced to work as a “sex slave” for his friend, it has been claimed.
Virginia Roberts was so badly assaulted during the attacks by friends of billionaire convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein that she feared for her life, a court in Florida was told.
“There were times when I was physically abused to the point that I remember fearfully thinking that I didn’t know whether I was going to survive,” Ms Roberts, now 31, alleged. (More)
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Image: Virginia Roberts pictured with the Duke of York and Ghislaine Maxwell, right, in 2001.

 
  This creepy picture has done incalculable damage to the remains of the Duke of York's reputation  
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Whistleblower commits suicide after being subjected

to systematic psychological torture by Borneo 'mafia'

Ottawa Canada real estate development secretly funded by Borneo ruler’s family

Sean Murray of Ottawa drops Catholic faith and converts to Hishem the Muslim

On Sunday 3 October 2010, Ross Boyert was found dead in a Los Angelas hotel. Ross had pulled a plastic bag over his head, taped it tight around his neck and suffocated. Unable to handle the systematic psychological torture to which he had been subjected, he had killed himself.

The following story is based on a chilling book, Money Logging, On The Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia. Author Lukas Straumann of the Bruno Manser Fund, Switzerland, tells the story of how an Asian chief minister became a multi-billionaire illegally plundering a virgin rainforest by clear cutting and leaving the natives in abject poverty. Then, a 12-year employee who blew the whistle on the criminal activity was driven to suicide by systematic psychological  torture.

On 20 June 2010, Clare Newcastle's Blackberry flashed. A curious message had landed in her inbox: "I was Sulaiman Taib's Chief Operating Officer in the US for twelve years. I have sensitive information and am ready to share it. But are you ready to fight with Taib? Careful, my phones are tapped and my computer is compromised. Ross Boyert."

Four months later, Ross Boyert was dead. (More)

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Russia offers warm welcome to 850,000 Ukrainians

who have fled to escape the violence of the Kiev regime

Image: Detail of photo of Ukrainian refugees in Russia's Rostov region. AFP Photo/Sergey Venyavsy.04 February 2015 MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry regrets Ukrainian decision to close the border to Russian citizens with domestic IDs, or passports, TASS reported.

However, Moscow will not introduce similar measures for Ukrainians, for humanitarian reasons, the ministry said. It added that Russia has not yet received official notification from Kiev that starting on March 1, Russian citizens will be able to enter Ukraine only with an international travel passport. 

Konstantin Romodanovsky stated in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta that Russia was not planning “to take the path of complicating the situation for citizens of a brotherly nation who now find themselves in a very complicated situation due to an internal conflict.” (More)

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By Carl Dow
 
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Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

A Jew reports from Israel
Brilliant writer of critical analyses in prose and poetry
provides a new series about the Israeli-Palestine crisis
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Sorry Charlie you're a silly vulgarian not a satirist
Nuns masturbating, popes wearing condoms, Muhammad in pornographic poses
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Germany Angela Merkel: Queen of Europe
Could quickly lose her throne on 2015 tests
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Saudi human rights record is worst in the region
One beheading every 4 days: Kerry looks amused
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White supremacy on display in Paris
A celebration of western hypocrisy
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Minimum wage costs … Everyone
'…something (is) wrong with the business plan of a company whose profit depends on (or is enlarged by) the public purse.'
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Man who killed The Sniper goes on trial in March


And now for something completley different

Click here to learn about Vladimir Putin 

who found his thrill on Blueberry Hill


YOU'LL FIND ALL THIS AND MORE BY CLICKING HERE FOR

TrueNorth Humanist Perspective


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

Amanda Lang, Peter Mansbridge, Rex Murphy, Leslie Roberts

betray principles of the best traditions of Canadian journalism

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

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

01 February 2015 Canadian journalism is in a best of times, worst of times scenario.         

On the one hand are the antics of Leslie Roberts, former anchor and executive editor of Global News Hour in Toronto, and some of CBC-TV’s supposed leading lights — Amanda Lang, Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy. Then there’s Stun TV.

They have all gained prominence in the news though not through their reporting of it.

In addition to being a news presenter, Roberts was part owner of a public relations firm, some of whose clients were covered by Global, sometimes even being interviewed by Roberts.

Lang was caught for trying to protect the business interests of her boyfriend who just happens to be a member of the board of directors of the Royal Bank of Canada. Then there’s Mansbridge and Murphy taking hefty fees for speaking to conferences of organizations that are regularly in the news. Rest assured these good folks would be all over any politician caught in such a blatant conflict of interest. (More)

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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Canadian coast guard rescues Russian fuel-laden cargo ship

adrift in high seas and about to slam into Pacific west coast

Editor's note: Last October, a Russian cargo ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of bunker fuel lost power and drifted toward British Columbia's west coast. Disaster was averted when a Canadian Coast Guard vessel managed to pull it away from shore. In this exclusive feature, journalist Jessica McDiarmid recreates the dramatic hours — on land and sea — as rescue vessels raced toward the stricken ship.

By Jessica McDiarmid
TheTyee.ca
Image: Detail of photo from Canadian Coast Guard vessel The Gordon Reid approaching Russian ship Simushir off the west coast of British Columbia.12 January 2015 — It was still an hour before daylight in Victoria, B.C., when the news came in to the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) that the captain had been hurt.

The commander of the 134-metre Russian freighter adrift in stormy seas off the west coast of Haida Gwaii, 800 kilometres to the north, had fallen on the pitching ship. His face was in bad shape — a broken nose — along with a dislocated finger and a leg injury.

"He was incapacitated, which complicated things," said Jeff Olsson, acting regional supervisor for search and rescue at the JRCC, "because he was the best English speaker on board."

There was no medical treatment on the Simushir, beyond rudimentary first aid. The ship had lost its command -- the captain would need to be airlifted. And the weather out there was ugly, getting worse, as the freighter carrying hundreds of tons of fuel, along with mining equipment and chemicals, drifted closer to the shoreline of Haida Gwaii.

The JRCC declared a mayday. (More)

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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

A dangerous Great Canadian Migration

Watch this nature doc on the majestic tar-sands pipeline

By Sam Bliss
grist.org
 
18 Januaary 2015
 
Who doesn’t love a nature documentary about some adorable critter’s heroic journey over mountains, through valleys, and across rivers to fulfill their species’ destiny? Most such films chronicle audacious quests for food, risky migrations, or traditional pilgrimages to sacred breeding grounds.

But this spin-off of National Geographic Channel’s Great Migrations miniseries tells the story of an unexpected creature: The Tar Sands Pipeline. Watch for a classic tale of symbiosis — the Environmental Defence video points out the mutually beneficial relationship between migrating tar-sands oil and the bank accounts of transnational oil companies and their wealthy executives. Our appropriately accented host introduces The Tar Sands Pipeline’s journey thusly:

In today’s episode, we follow the path of the majestic, and misunderstood, Canadian tar-sands oil, as it makes its way from the idyllic shrouds of the Athabasca River over 4,000 kilometers across the breadth of Canada, to an oil tanker in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, this brief broadcast reminds us that many barrels will fail to complete this “epic and harrowing journey” — and not only those that spill into rivers, lakes, and suburban environments. According to the narrator, “Others still will be stopped by ordinary people who care about their planet and their children’s future.”

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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Two simple wishes for the New Year

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

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

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair

Image: Photo of pair of sheep, captioned Year of the Ram 2015. 1 February 2014 — 2014 was not an easy year. Terrorist threats, unstable countries under siege, human suffering, Islamic State beheadings, Ebola, natural disasters ... There were times when I chose not to listen to the news anymore.

Then 2015 came in with more violence, first in France. The world was shocked by the “Charlie Hebdo” attack and subsequent attack at the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. In both cases there were fatalities, including the gunmen. These were not rational attacks and they don’t make religious sense either. They are the result of hatred pushed to the outmost limit.

Now let’s step back for a moment and consider another start to a new year. The Chinese New Year starts on February 19 and heralds the year of the Green Wooden Sheep (or Ram, or Goat). Many astrologists, according to Goto horoscope, conclude “that the processes that have been unfolding and spreading chaos for the past few years are finally starting to stabilize… Mankind once again has high hopes for the future.” (More)

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Spirit Quest

Forget weltschmerz

'We are truly never alone'

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

A cartoon, not from Charlie Hebdo, depicts a figure reclining on a hospital bed. A clipboard dangling from the headboard bears witnesses to disturbing vital signs of the patient. The face on the pillow is familiar not in any personal way, indeed it is a picture of the globe with all the meridial lines formed into a sad frown. Obviously the patient isn’t happy. The caption of the cartoon, as is this blog, is “Weltschmerz.”

“Weltschmerz” (world pain) is one of those German terms that is difficult to interpret with any exactness. Like “heilgeschichte” (salvation history), “voelkerwanderung” (mass migration) the attempt to convey the meaning in another language does not quite cut it. Thus the German term persists particularly in academia.

“Weltschmerz” is a kind of psychological malaise caused by observing helplessly as the world goes to hell in a hand basket. The daily news brings on a sense of world weariness, even depression. I am well familiar with this disease. (More)

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ParkTales

Where there's a will, there's a way

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

Where there is a will there is a way.

The fate of the homeless in Toronto in these extreme weather warnings has been in the news and the lack of compassion is unconscionable.

Can you imagine the comments from the City of Toronto that the temperature is not down to the level set for opening additional shelters?  Even when people are dying on the streets?

There have been many promises made by both levels of government, City and Provincial to deal with the problem. Promises not delivered.

I would like you to read Joe Fiorito's Column in the Toronto Star of 14 January 2014.

The City of Toronto owns buildings that could be used in the same way Fiorito's  story suggests. If only there was a will to do it. These buildings could be used for quick solutions waiting for a long promised program by all levels of government for more shelters and affordable housing.

Joe Fiorito's column:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/01/13/giving_shelter_one_room_at_a_time_fiorito.html

The United Nation Charter states housing is a human right.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_housing

Ontario Human Right's Code
http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/right-home-report-consultation-human-rights-and-rental-housing-ontario/housing-human-right

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From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick

Raging Granny says proposed statue would be

an affront to the Supreme Court of Canada

An open letter to John Baird, Harper cabinet member

and minister in charge of the National Capital Commission

Saturday 24 January 2015

Subject: [ottawagrans] An Open Letter re the Monument to Victims of Communism

Dear Mr. Baird,

Image: Screenshot of Raging Grannies' Memorial to the Victims of Conservative government.I write as a proud resident of our National Capital to protest in the strongest terms your Goverment's support for the foolish proposal by a small private group to build a monument to the 'victims of Communism" in one of the most prominent sites in our city. As a member of Cabinet and the Minister responsible for the NCC, you bear a major reponsibility for this decision.
 
I will not address the question as to whether or not such a monument is a good idea in and of itself. The important point I want you to realize is that placing this monument next to the Supreme Court will brand your Government forever into the future as driven by ideology and lacking any respect for the institutions of justice, or any larger vision of Canada as expressed in the planning of its National Capital. (More)
 

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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.

There can be no life without laughter

Watch a minute of brilliance: John Cleese on Fox News stupidity

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Election campaigns kick-start five months of uninterrupted lying

With fingers crossed, fidgeting and winking to the camera, Prime Minister David Cameron fired the starting pistol to the longest sustained stream of affluent effluent in electoral history. He was swiftly joined by the leaders of all the main political parties keen to shovel on extra dollops of steaming manifesto do-do’s and don’t-don’ts. Monday 5 January 2015. Read the full story now at NewsBiscuit.com

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New Facebook notifications alert users

when they're not currently looking at Facebook

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North Korea behind all one-star reviews

In a state-sanctioned policy, North Korea has decided to undermine Western Civilisation by leaving ‘bitchy’ reviews for all media products. NewsBiscuit.com
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Scientist trains teenager to use human speechNewsBuscuit.com
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North Korea protests over ‘fu**ing rubbish film’

The North Korean government has made fresh protests over the decision to finally release the controversial film, The Interview, which it describes as ‘bloody awful’. In a fresh statement commenting on Sony’s reversal of their decision to pull the film, they commented that it ‘lacked comic flair’ and ‘failed to build on the excellent tradition of US greats such as Steve Martin and John Belushi’.NewsBiscuit.com


From the Desk of Kevin Dooley

O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Labourers on the Rideau Canal

1826-1832: From Work Site to World Heritage Site

Edited By Katherine M.J. McKenna

Introduction by Katherine M.J. McKenna

Image: Cover of Labourers on the Rideau Canal. Please click here to purchase from the publisher.The Rideau Canal has finally achieved the recognition it deserves with its designation as a World Heritage Site in 2007. Originally built in the event of war with the United States as an inland supply route connecting the Great Lakes with the mouth of the St. Lawrence, it thankfully has never been used for that purpose.

For a time it served as a major transportation and trading route, but this was short-lived. Completed in 1832, less than twenty years later it was superseded by a better water route constructed along the St. Lawrence and by the advent of the Canadian Railway age.

The Rideau enjoyed a second life beginning in the late nineteenth century as a recreational resource and a tourist attraction, but was neglected and fell into disrepair. In Canada’s centennial year, 1967, it was finally declared to be of national historic significance, and was placed under the care of Parks Canada beginning in 1972. Much of what we know today of the history of the canal is due to research undertaken by Parks Canada is due to research undertaken by Parks Canada, and the canal has been restored and well maintained under its care.

The Rideau extends 202 kilometres (123) miles from Ottawa to Kingston on Lake Ontario, an interconnected network of rivers and lakes connected by locks and channels carved out of swamp, rock, and wilderness forest. As an engineering achievement it is unsurpassed. Today, it remains the only North American canal still in use, with most of its original features intact. (More)

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-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
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 Books

Gorbachev: Putin saved Russia from disintegration

rt.com

Image: Detail of photo of Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev (L) signs autographs during a presentation of his new book "After Kremlin" in Moscow December 26, 2014. (Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin)29 December 2014 — Russian President Vladimir Putin saved the country from falling apart, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said during the presentation of his new book 'After the Kremlin.' Gorbachev also commented on the situation in Ukraine and NATO expansion.

“I think all of us – Russian citizens – must remember that [Putin] saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse. A lot of the regions did not recognize our constitution. There were over a hundred local constitutional variations from that of the Russian constitution,” RIA Novosti quoted Gorbachev as saying on Friday 26 December 2014. (More)


Media Watch 

From the Desk of Alex Binkley

Propaganda posing as Journalism

By Jim Poling Sr.

Image: Photo of Jim Poling21 December 2014 — Canada’s federal government continues to pour millions of taxpayer dollars into one of its most notable successes: blurring the line between journalism and propaganda.

Public Works Canada is paying $1.25 million for a publicity outfit, which looks like a real news operation, to write and distribute powder puff stories that “inform and educate” Canadians. This is nothing new or unusual. Governments for decades have used our taxes to buy distorted stories that make them look good.

Usually government departments have staff publicity people to do this. Now there is a trend to contract out flacking to private companies that try to look like genuine news operations. (More)

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Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA

By Ralph Lopez
Digital Journal
 
Image: Dr. Udo Ulkotte, Editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.26 January 2015 — Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a "propagandist," an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.
Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war. (More)

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CBC journos ride as cabinet guests aboard private planes

By Tom Korski
Blacklock's Reporter
 
Image: Photo of C$100 bill.  4 February 2015 — CBC journalists took VIP rides aboard government-chartered aircraft as guests of a Conservative minister for stories lauding cabinet’s environmental leadership. The junkets were arranged by Parks Canada at public expense. Journalists who took the trips declined interviews.
 
“As far as I know all practices were followed,” Evan Solomon, host of CBC-TV’s Power & Politics talk show, wrote in an email exchange with Blacklock’s; “At CBC the producer makes the arrangements.” Solomon referred all questions to an ex-producer who quit the network four years ago.
 
Financial accounts tabled in Parliament show Solomon was a guest of then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice aboard a private plane chartered by Parks Canada to tour British Columbia’s Gwaii Haanas National Park. The trip occurred in June 2010; the $3,308 cost of the charter was only recently disclosed in accounts.
 
“That plane ride into Haida Gwaii was part of the doc,” said Solomon, adding the trip “complied with CBC policy”. The junket resulted in a 17-minute feature story on CBC National entitled0 Survivormen: Wilderness Summit that depicted Minister Prentice in a plaid shirt, paddling a kayak, and praising cabinet’s environmental record: “We can talk as Canadians because we’re passionate about outdoors,” Prentice says on-camera. “We care about it. It’s part of who we are and it’s part of what we stand for”; “We are reducing emissions”; “We’re fulfilling our responsibility.” (More)
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BBC apologizes to RT on air for false claim

RT

 

19 January 2015 — BBC presenter Jo Coburn has apologized to RT and RT reporter Anastasia Churkina for leveling false accusation against her and the channel.

In the live broadcast of BBC Two’s 'Daily Politics' program on January 16, 2015, Coburn said: "On last Thursday's show, in an interview with Afshin Rattansi, a presenter from the RT news channel Russia Today, we wrongly suggested that a reporter from the channel, Anastasia Churkina, had interviewed her father, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin. We now understand this not be the case, we are happy to make that clear and apologise for the error." (More)

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BBC News and RT cleared over coverage

of shooting down of flight MH17
Ofcom says it considers matter resolved following complaint about BBC broadcasting of a picture of a passenger’s passport photo page

By Stuart Kemp
The Guardian, UK

Image: Detail of photo of  Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukrain in July last year. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images 5 January 2015Goveernment-financed BBC News and RT, the Kremlin-backed news channel, have both been cleared by Ofcom after complaints their respective coverage of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The MH17 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over the conflict-hit region of eastern Ukraine in July last year, claiming the lives of 283 passengers, including 80 children, and 15 crew members.

One viewer complained to the media regulator after the BBC News channel broadcast a picture of a passenger’s passport photo page as part of a sequence of still images showing debris from the crashed plane on 17 July, during live coverage on the day MH17 was shot down. The image was on screen for five seconds. (More)

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Database may uncover conflicts of interest for TV doctors

Free lunches, paid speaking gigs and free drug samples are often not disclosed by media physicians

By Paul D. Thacker
Columbia Journalism Review
 
23 January 2015 — Last September, the U.S. federal government rolled out a website that offered a searchable database of the $3.5 billion in payments that drug and device companies provided to physicians and teaching hospitals in the last half of 2013.

Data for 2014 is still being accumulated, but the breadth of information already completed has given unprecedented insight into a medical economy that dispenses money into the hands of thousands of doctor who turn around and dispense medical advice to patients.

Since this website went live, reporters from across the country have been combing through the data, producing dozens of stories about physicians with lucrative arrangements. But it appears that the reporters have not yet taken a look at how this database, which the government calls Open Payments, may uncover conflicts of interest in the field of journalism as well, conflicts that should prompt the profession to tighten up its own disclosure policies.

A review of the database finds physician journalists—those who appear regularly on news shows like Fox News, ABC News, and CBS News—are offering medical advice without disclosing that they’re receiving money from the pharmaceutical industry, which could benefit from the doctors’ on-air recommendations. For example, companies have provided free lunches to Jonathan LaPook, the chief medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and professor of medicine at NYU. (More)
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Ukraine's Security Service detains Russian TV

journalists in Kiev, will be denied entry for 5 years

rt.com

Image: Life News journalists Elizaveta Khramtsova (Photo from vk.com/hramtsova_liza) and Natalia Kalysheva (Photo from Facebook page) 30 January 2015 — Two Russian journalists working for Life News TV channel have been detained in Kiev by Ukraine’s Security Service, which says the crew will be expelled from the country and denied entry for five years.

The news of the journalists’ detention was first tweeted by Director General of NewsMedia group Aram Gabrelyanov.

“Life News journalists have been detained in Kiev by SBU [Ukraine's Security Service],” he posted. “They’ve been taken away in an unknown direction. They claim they are investigating some subway bomb planting.” (More)

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Sex

Sex in the age of consent

What men raised on porn need to know about pleasing a woman

(Hint: Every technique you learn in porn is wrong)

'The desire to be taken by force consistently sits there, all petulant and non-PC-like, among women's top sexual fantasies. This doesn't mean that women want to be raped, obviously, but it is related to the need to be desired'

By Jill Hamilton
AlterNet

10 December 2014 Everyone knows porn is just fantasy, but for many people, it's their primary source of sex ed.  Less than half the U.S. states require sexual education in public schools and only 19 require it to be “medically, factually or technically accurate.” Even when the sex ed is there and semi-decent, there tends to be way too much information on fallopian tubes and little, if any, on what one should do upon encountering a clitoris. Watching porn can be fun, but as a source of useful, lady-pleasin' info, it sucks. And most people do genuinely want to be decent lovers.

“Every technique you learn in porn is wrong. If men are going to porn to figure out to how to please women they're going to be very disappointed, ” says Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How the Porn Industry Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. “Everything that makes sex fun — the creativity, mutuality, enjoyment, connection, intimacy — is bled away and in its place is kind of a robotic fucking of women's orifices.”

So, lesson number one: “robotic fucking of women's orifices,” maybe a "no” on that. But with that off the table, what do you do instead? Great thinkers from Ovid to Master Tung-hsuan to Naomi Wolf have offered their own answers, and there are certain Great Truths that run through them all. (More)

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Personal health

Six penis problems that happen with age

One day you realize Mr. Happy gets older, too. Use it or lose it

By Beth Levine

AlterNet, via Grandparents.com

Image: Photo of man observing own penis with magnifiying glass inside underwear. Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com. 18 January 2015 — You’d like to think that at least some areas of our bodies will be spared the indignities of aging, but one day you realize: Mr. Happy gets older, too. “You don’t wake up one morning and realize it is different. It’s a gradual process, but starting around age 40, the changes become more noticeable,” says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., author of Penis Problems: A Man's Guide. So what does it mean when a penis looks and acts different? (More)

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From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick

Harper is breaking Canadian law by selling arms to Saudis

By Yves Engler
Dissident Voice
 
22 January 2015 — Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are working to expand Canadian arms exports and the focus is Middle Eastern monarchies entangled in a great deal of violence.
 
At the start of last year the Conservatives announced Canada’s biggest ever arms export agreement. Over the next 10 to 13 years General Dynamics Land Systems Canada will supply $14.8 billion worth of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi military.
 
Ottawa pushed this deal, which is expected to top 1,000 combat vehicles, even though Saudi troops used Canadian built LAVs when they rolled into Bahrain to put down pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011. That year the Conservatives approved arms export licences worth $4 billion to this bulwark of religious and political conservatism in the Middle East. (More)
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Science

Human brain deletes useless memories to stay tidy

12 January 2015
RT

Image: Photo of person wearing electrode skullcap. Reuters / Michaela Rehle 12 January 2015 —The mechanism, which prevents the human brain from being littered up by outdated and useless memories, has been uncovered by US scientists.

Before encountering any familiar situations the brain makes a subconscious prediction on what it expects to come across.

But if this prediction turns out to be wrong the memories related to it diminish and are more likely to be completely forgotten, the researchers at Princeton University and the University of Texas-Austin said.

“This has the benefit ultimately of reducing or eliminating noisy or inaccurate memories and prioritizing those things that are more reliable and that are more accurate in terms of the current state of the world,” Nicholas Turk-Browne, an associate professor of psychology at Princeton University, said.

Turk-Browne used the example of “a trip to a coffee shop” to explain the memory filtration mechanism applied by the human brain. (More)

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'If you don't like what the majority eat in schools, bring your own lunch'

‘Pork or nothing’

Mayor makes Muslim kids to go meatless at French school

11 December 2014 – A secularism scandal is raging in France, after a mayor in a northwestern town introduced a “pork or nothing” principle at school, even for 27 students who will get no meat substitute.

The rule was applied starting January 1 in the town of Sargé-lès-Le Mans, and may apply to Jewish pupils as well – though there aren’t any in this particular school. (More)

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Bigger than Apophis, dangerous 370-meter asteroid

to visit Earth's orbit every 3 years

RT

Image: Detail of AFP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech07 December 2014 Scientists have calculated that 2014 UR116 asteroid will fly in dangerous proximity to Earth every three years. If it collides with the planet the energy of the explosion could be a thousand times greater than the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteorite.

Vladimir Lipunov, a leading scientist on the team which discovered the asteroid this October, says the scientists now know its orbit and its period which is 3 years, but they cannot say precisely when the asteroid will approach the Earth.

“We should track it constantly. Because if we have a single mistake, there will be a catastrophe. The consequences can be very serious,” he said in the documentary “Asteroids attack” posted on Roscosmos website.

The new asteroid, called 2014 UR116 is about 370 meters in diameter. Its size exceeds the famous Apophis which the Earth can meet in the next decade. The exact trajectory of 2014 UR116 is yet to be determined, but theoretically it may collide with the Earth, Mars or Venus. Its trajectory can fluctuate because of the gravitational pull of these planets. (More)

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Remains of Neolithic ‘Atlantis’ found off Haifa coast
Ravaged by rising sea levels, 7,500-year-old well at Kfar Samir sheds light on climate change
 
By Ilan Ben Zion
Times of Israel

Image: Detail of photo of Dr. Ehud Galili taking core samples from newly excavated Neolithic well in Kfar Samir (photo credit: Dr Jonathan Benjamin courtesy of Dr Ehud Galili, University of Haifa and Israel Antiquities Authority)14 December 2014It may not be the actual mythical city of Atlantis, but it’s still pretty astonishing. Israeli Archaeologists recently explored the remains of a 7,700-year-old sunken village off the coast of Haifa and found what may be the world’s oldest known wooden structure. The site might also help shed light on the nature of global warming and climate change.

A team headed by University of Haifa archaeologists Dr. Ehud Galili and Dr. Deborah Cvikel, and Dr. Jonathan Benjamin of Flinders University of Adelaide, in October found a well belonging to a Neolithic village at a site known as Kfar Samir. What’s exceptional about it is that unlike most archaeological sites in Israel, the village is about 200 meters (218 yards) offshore and located about 16 feet underwater. (More)

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