Friday October 7 2011

 

'Every country and nation stirs with youth's inspiration'

Obama's promise of change and hope has failed

Leaving an anger that can no longer be contained

Tomgram: America's Lost Decade

By Andy Kroll
TomDispatch.com
 
Placard held by Afghan woman reads: Thank you youth of Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, for showing us the way out!
 
An Afghan woman holds a placard at a protest in Kabul October 6, 2011. Hundreds of Afghans from the Hmbastagi party (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan) staged a protest to condemn the US-led invasion, which will mark its 10th anniversary on October 7. [Photo/Agencies]  

6 October 2011 — In some ways, Zuccotti Park, the campsite, the Ground Zero, for the Occupy Wall Street protests couldn’t be more modest.  It’s no Tahrir Square, but a postage-stamp-sized plaza at the bottom of Manhattan only blocks from Wall Street.  And if you arrive before noon, you’re greeted not by vast crowds, but by air mattresses, a sea of blue and green tarps, a couple of information tables, some enthusiastic drummers, enough signs with slogans for anything you care to support (“Too big to fail is too big to allow,” “The American Dream: You have to be asleep to believe it,” “There’s no state like no state,” etc.), and small groups of polite, eager, well-organized young people, wandering, cleaning, doling out contributed food, dealing with the press, or sitting in circles on the concrete, backpacks strewn about, discussing.  If it were the 1960s, it might easily be a hippie encampment.

But don’t be fooled.  Not only does the park begin to fill fast and the conversation become ever more animated, but this movement already spreading across the country (and even globally) looks like the real McCoy, something new and hopeful in degraded times. Of the demonstrators I spoke with, several had hitchhiked to New York -- one had simply quit her job -- to be present.  Inspired by Tunisians, Egyptians, Spaniards, and Wisconsinites, in a country largely demobilized these last years, they recognized what matters when they saw it.  As one young woman told me, “A lot of people in my generation felt we were going to witness something really big -- and I think this is it!”2,429 words.
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Creative family thrives in Montreal

 
   
 
A happy family stops for the camera in Montreal. In the background are Grampa and Gramma Nick Aplin and Hanna Clemann, visiting from Ottawa. Mother Jodi Essery tenderly holds Dorian Huxley Essery Clemann, who is about to declare an opinion, and who entered the world at 4:30 a.m. August 14, 2011 weighing in at 8 pounds, two ounces and 52 cm (or 20.5 in) long. Sitting beside his new brother is Lief Ogden Essery Clemann who will be 3 in December. And then we have proud father Attila Clemann. Jodi is a writer and theatre critic. Attila is a theatre artist and cabinet maker. I'll have to mention that he's also an actor and writer. I've witnessed him on stage and he's definitely got "it". As a writer, his work has been staged to top reviews in Eastern Canada and in the United States including New York City. Attila's play, ...and stockings for the ladies, is based on the experiences of Nick's father, E.M. (Ted) Aplin, an RCAF Squadron Leader who was stationed near Bergen-Belsen in northwest Germany before the dust of World War 11 had settled. The Nazi death camp was liberated by the British Army April 15, 1945. About mid-June Ted Aplin visited Bergen-Belsen. Appalled by the horror, Ted Aplin bypassed military bureaucracy and pulled rank to get trucks to take children from the camp for picnics with music in the country. Because everything was so gray among the 28,000 surviving victims he asked Toronto friends in his letters to send brightly coloured clothing (and stockings for the ladies). While thousands were to die from disease and malnutrition even after liberation, some of them lived at the camp into the 1950s— Carl Dow, Editor.
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Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet

'We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.'
 
By Noah Shachtman
Wired.com
 
7 October 2011 —  A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. — 952 words.

 
 

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Ottawans join First Nations in Tar Sands protest on the Hill

Cops arrest 117 who climb fence blocking House of Commons

By Ken Bilsky Billings
True North Perspective

Even though I knew that Monday's (26 September) Parliament Hill Tar Sands protest was a dance, with protesters and the police agreeing to the terms of engagement it still was unnerving to be cuffed under the shadow of the Peace Tower and driven away in a dog kennel size paddy wagon.

I'm sure for all the preparation and set up for the protest that the police were handsomely paid for their efforts. Meanwhile the people on the street that felt we had to do some type of civil disobedience had the pleasure of paying a fine for the right to say enough is enough. 707 words.

 
True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.

© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.

 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 32 (291)
Friday, 7 October, 2011
 
Guest Editorial

Record low voter turnout in Ontario poses the question

that the province consider legislating compulsory voting

By Josh Tapper
The Toronto Star

With voter turnout in Thursday’s provincial election dropping to an all-time low, political scientists, pundits and the public are serving up explanations for why fewer than 50 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

Of a population over 13 million, roughly 4.1 million — or 49.2 per cent of eligible voters — filled out ballots, according to Elections Ontario.

On Friday, Ontarians took to the Twittersphere, dismayed and disappointment by a province-wide display of apathy. One called the results “shameful.” Another called the turnout “abysmal.”684 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
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Reflections on True North Perspective

Editor and Publisher Carl Dow in conversation

25 September 2011 — Carl Dow, the editor and publisher of the weekly news site True North Perspective, which "is dedicated to filling in the gaps to help round out the news knowledge of Canadians," discusses the project by way of standards in journalism, the situation in Libya, Stephen Harper and Quebec politics with podcaster Mark A.

Carl is also President of the Ottawa Independent Writers and introduces some of his short-stories and novels.
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A new take on poverty

Economic arguments promote long-term vision to provide action plan

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
7 October 2011 — Kudos to Canada Without Poverty for marking its 40th anniversary with a new approach to convincing the federal government to get serious about eliminating poverty. Instead of well-worn moral arguments, the charity is using economic arguments for making its case for an action plan.
 
Its message, to a cost-cutting government, is that the current price tag for dealing with poverty across Canada is already $25 billion-a-year and climbing, with no improvement in the situation. A new way of dealing with the problem is essential if Canada is ever to live up to its potential for all its citizens.
 
In a call for action, the organization quotes Nelson Mandela and Jack Layton and cites Prime Minister Harper and Governor-General David Johnston in promoting a long-term vision that identifies resources to reduce poverty and ways to measure progress that is actually being made.728 words.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

 
After the 1950s cities were built for cars, not humans
 
The safest cities today were built before the 1930s
 
By Emily Badger
The Atlantic
 
19 September 2011 — Descend from 40,000 feet into just about any major metropolitan airport in the United States, and patterns of the trajectory of American life over the last century become clearly visible.
 
Old urban cores are etched out in tight grids modeled off a sheet of graph paper. Further out, all those neat lines and right angles begin their curling meander into suburbia.
 
Sparsely populated roads loop through the countryside in an odd geometry designed around the residential real estate dream of post-war America: a cul-de-sac for every family.  — 1,701 words.
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Good news on the economic front

Attendance soared at last weekend’s Home & Design Show

Crowds at three-day event increased by more than 100%          

People interested in home buying, renovations, design, and decorating poured through the doors at Lansdowne Park last weekend pushing attendance at the 2011 Home & Design Show to record levels.
            
Attendance at the Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 event at Exhibition Hall and the Aberdeen Pavilion was up 161% over 2010.
            
The 2011 show, which featured appearances by W Network celebrities the Property Brothers and Margie Doyle White and several local home renovation and green energy experts, marks the final time the show will take place at Lansdowne Park. 448 words.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

An apple for the teacher on World Teachers’ Day

“A great teacher inspires” – William A. Ward

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.

7 October 2011 — On October 5th, Canadian teachers united with 30 million of their colleagues around the world to celebrate and reflect on the importance of sound teaching dynamics and lasting inspirational teaching.
 
During the school year, school-aged children spend more time with teachers than they do with their parents. This is why it is so important to have well-trained, caring teachers who are devoted to their profession and believe in the educational system. Canada’s educational system is one of the best in the world. We should take pride and support it. 725 words.
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Spirit Quest

Fan the embers of love!

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

7 October 2011 — Two days before the tragic and untimely death of Jack Layton,” the best prime minister we never had,” he wrote a letter to the people. There is a paragraph in that epistle that has been and will continue to be much quoted.

“Love is better than anger,
Hope is better than fear,
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic,
and we’ll change the world.”

Those may seem empty words had not Layton himself embodied them.

Words often seem cheap. Indeed, those very words: love, hope, and optimism are overused and misused.897 words.
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ParkTales

Near empty swimming pool blamed on tomatoes and grapes

Disabled woman helped with grace that protects her dignity

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.

After my adventures at the lake and the final push on the election front, I returned to my weekly swimming.
 
I had neglected my body and the swimming was a welcome relief not only for my body but for my mind.
 
I noticed there was not many people in the swimming pool and mentioned it to one of the swimmers. 349 words.
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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 discover fascinating on-going reports on 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 it.

The 'getting' of Assange and the smearing of a revolution

It is not the Swedish judicial system that presents a "grave danger" to Assange, say his lawyers, but a legal device known as a Temporary Surrender, under which he can be sent on from Sweden to the United States secretly and quickly.

By John Pilger
Truth-Out.org
 
7 October 2011 — The High Court in London will soon decide whether Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct. At the appeal hearing in July, Ben Emmerson, Queen's counsel for the defense, described the whole saga as "crazy." Sweden's chief prosecutor had dismissed the original arrest warrant, saying there was no case for Assange to answer.
 
Both the women involved said they had consented to have sex. On the facts alleged, no crime would have been committed in Britain.
 
However, it is not the Swedish judicial system that presents a "grave danger" to Assange, say his lawyers, but a legal device known as a Temporary Surrender, under which he can be sent on from Sweden to the United States secretly and quickly.1,635 words.
 

Always worth repeating

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Ugh Wayne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.

Antiterrorist released from U.S. prison after serving time

 
By Stephen Kimber
 
Stephen Kimber is a Canadian journalist currently writing a book on the Cuban Five. You can read more at his website: cubanfive.ca
 
06 October 2011 — On Friday, October 7, René González will become the first member of the Cuban Five to be released from an American prison. He was released on a three-year parole on condition that he spend his time in the United States and not return to his home in Cuba.
 
In 2001, the Five were convicted in Miami of spying for Cuba. Cuba insists they were—justifiably—trying to prevent anti-Castro exiles from launching terrorist attacks against their homeland. The Five have since become heroes in Cuba, and their case has sparked international controversy—as has González’s pending release.
 
Last week, the same Florida judge who originally sentenced him decided González must remain in Florida during his parole rather than granting his request to return home to his family in Havana. Why?
 
On the eve of René González’s release Friday from an American prison—but not his prison America will now become—it’s worth reminding ourselves what terrible crimes he committed.1,167 words.
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WikiLeaks reveals intense U.S. propaganda war against  

public relations challenge by new media led by Venezuela

By Nikolas Kozloff
Al Jazeera

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the US. Visit his web site, www.nikolaskozloff.com

If past diplomatic cables are any indication, the Obama White House may be interested in perpetuating the ongoing US propaganda war in Latin America. According to classified correspondence recently released by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, Washington saw Venezuela as an upstart power whose public relations campaign stood to interfere with important US messaging efforts.

It's no secret that the Bush administration was paranoid about media coverage which had been critical of its international foreign policy, yet as more and more cables have come to light, it is eye-opening to see just how far the State Department was willing to go in equating Middle Eastern media with newly formed South American news outlets.

What seems to have concerned US diplomats most was the possibility that Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the Iraq War had gotten under the skin of the Bush administration, might collaborate with the likes of Venezuela as well as other South American nations. Hardly popular within the Beltway elite, Al Jazeera had broadcast graphic pictures of dead and captured US soldiers during the Iraq War. 3,291.
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Health sciences

Are you ready for Roundup?

GMO feed disrupts organs in animals

Kidney and liver damage seen after rats given genetically modified food we eat

Most animal studies have lasted only 90 days (or less), taken as 'proof' GMO foods are safe for humans to eat for years on end

By Jeffery M. Smith
 
Natural News
 
7 October 2011 — A new paper reviewing data from 19 animal studies shows that consuming genetically modified (GM) corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. "Other organs may be affected too, such as the heart and spleen, or blood cells," stated the paper. In fact some of the animals fed genetically modified organisms had altered body weights, which is "a very good predictor of side effects in various organs."

The GM soybean and corn varieties used in the feeding trials "constitute 83% of the commercialized GMOs" that are currently consumed by billions of people. While the findings may have serious ramifications for the human population, the authors demonstrate how a multitude of GMO-related health problems could easily pass undetected through the superficial and largely incompetent safety assessments that are used around the world.1,886 words.

   

You can count on the True North Team

While publishers are cutting back and that includes in-house editors

Outside editors of the True North Team are rescuing writers from oblivion.

We handle fiction and memoirs and full-length books

Manuscript editing to ghost writing

Everything to put the best face on your work to publishers and the reading public

For a free consultation please don't hesitate to contact

carl.dow@truenorthperspective.com

or Carl Dow at 613-233-6225

Always looking forward ...

King of the Road

Why King Abdullah is willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars

By Brian Palmer
Slate
 
26 September 2011 — King Abdullah announced on Sunday that Saudi women will be allowed to vote and run for office in municipal elections beginning in 2015. Saudi watchers view the move as a weaker step than allowing women to drive, a right women have been demanding publicly for more than two decades. Why did Saudi women find it easier to get the vote than a driver's license?
 
Because the right to vote is meaningless.
 
Elections are mostly symbolic in Saudi Arabia. Only half of the seats on the municipal councils are up for election, while the ruling al-Saud family appoints the other half of the members and the mayors.671 words.
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Reality Check

My life as a daughter in the Christian Patriarchy Movement

How I was taught to obey men, birth 8 kids

while doing battle against Secular America

We were raised to fight the enemy, be it Satan or environmentalists and feminists; to come against them in spiritual warfare and at the polls

By Libby Anne
AlterNet.org
 
14 September 2011 — Deep within America, beyond your typical evangelicals and run-of-the-mill fundamentalists, nurtured within the homeschool movement and growing by the day, are the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. This is where I grew up.
 
I learned that women are to be homemakers while men are to be protectors and providers. I was taught that a woman should not have a career, but should rather keep the home and raise the children and submit to her husband, who is her god-given head and authority. I learned that homeschooling is the only godly way to raise children, because to send them to public school is to turn a child over to the government and the secular humanists. I was taught that children must be trained up in the way they should go every minute of every day. I learned that a woman is always under male authority, first her father, then her husband, and perhaps, someday, her son. I was told that children are always a blessing, and that it was imperative to raise up quivers full of warriors for Christ, equipped to take back the culture and restore it to its Christian foundations.2,423 words.
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A lesbian who liked authoritarian men

she was cosy with Vichy traitor Pétain

By Mark Karlin
Truth-Out.org
 
2 October 2011 — If you want to discover the real Gertrude Stein, two art exhibitions now making their way to Washington DC and Paris gloss over some shocking historic evidence.
 
Gertrude Stein was a complex, iconic, artistic figure: an experimental writer, an intellectual salon hostess, a collector and nurturer of modern artists, an openly gay woman who admired authoritarian men. Her contradictions abounded and so did contradictions in many of her political statements. But there is no disputing that she chose to stay in France during WW II at a steep price to her historical legacy.
 
The smoking gun of Stein's ignominious behavior during WW II lies "in a few yellowing notebooks tucked away in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University," according to Dartmouth Professor Barbara Will. In her new book, "Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ and the Vichy Dilemma," Will details that on these aging pages are Stein's translation of 32 speeches by Marshal Philippe Pétain.2,148 words.
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Money and Markets
 

In recent months, a blizzard of new data has laid bare the dilapidated condition of the American economy, and particularly of the once-mighty American middle class.

06 September 2011

By Andy Kroll
Tomdispatch.com
 
Food pantries picked over. Incomes drying up. Shelters bursting with the homeless. Job seekers spilling out the doors of employment centers. College grads moving back in with their parents. The angry and disillusioned filling the streets.

Pan your camera from one coast to the other, from city to suburb to farm and back again, and you'll witness scenes like these. They are the legacy of the Great Recession, the Lesser Depression, or whatever you choose to call it.

In recent months, a blizzard of new data, the hardest of hard numbers, has laid bare the dilapidated condition of the American economy, and particularly of the once-mighty American middle class. Each report sparks a flurry of news stories and pundit chatter, but never much reflection on what it all means now that we have just enough distance to look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century and see how Americans fared in that turbulent period. 1,595 words.
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'When talking heads on, say, CNBC mock the protesters as unserious, remember how many serious people assured us that there was no housing bubble, that Alan Greenspan was an oracle and that budget deficits would send interest rates soaring'
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
 
6 October 2011 — There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.
 
When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.
 
It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.814 words.
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The Glass Teat

Confessions of an improbable plagiarist

Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

7 October  2011 — Every so often a famous writer gets taken down for plagiarism. Usually it's something pretty blatant, words and concepts lifted almost verbatim from a well-known work, as if it had improbably never occurred to the culprit that he or she might get caught.

When they do get caught, they typically claim it was an accident, that they must have done it sub-consciously. And the rest of us wonder, How stupid do you think we are? Give us a break and just 'fess up!

But I am suddenly much more sympathetic to those claims than I once was.

In my ostensible leisure time this week, I've been working pretty hard on my response to The Wedding of River Song and, yesterday, had what I thought was a well-argued two thousand words merely in need of a little polishing.

Towards the end of it, I made reference to a review I wrote earlier this year. Decided to link to it. And, linking, re-read it.

Guess what? I had been plagiarizing myself.

It wasn't word-for-word, but it was close. It was was a dismaying, a frustrating and a scary discovery. I really do try to credit sources, to quote directly or to paraphrase with attribution — and here I was, ripping off my own work!

Honest to god, your Honour! It was all sub-conscious!.

And so it is that my review of The Wedding of River Song, now plagiarism-free (I hope!), is a lot shorter than I had expected it to be, with a very conscious link to that which I have written before. As usual, spoilers and snark below the icing ... of The Wedding Cake of River Song. 1,197 words.


The Old Man's Last Sauna
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow
 
An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story. The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.