Friday 10 February 2012


Would you hire this man?

FBI: Steve Jobs 'Deceptive' but of 'High Moral Character'

Documents depict the Apple founder as a complex person of both 'integrity' and 'suspect' moral character

By Dominic Rushe
The Guardian (UK)

Thursday 9 February 2012 — The FBI has released its files on Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder and icon of the business world, painting a picture of a complex man who is described both as "a deceptive individual" and one of "high moral character and integrity".

The documents, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, were compiled by the FBI when Jobs was being considered for political office in the president's export council under George Bush Sr's administration.

Some of the titbits revealed in the 191 pages of documents include that that he was a negligent father who would "twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals," according to documents released by the FBI.

The FBI interviewed Jobs and at least 29 people who knew him as part of a background check. Their investigations took place in the 1990s, after Jobs had been fired from Apple and before his triumphant return to the company. (More)

Social worker says sex slave business

is growing in Tennessee and across the US

By Jordan Bule
The Jackson Sun

03 February 2012 JACKSON Tennessee USA — In December, a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Haywood County led to the arrest of a Texas man on sex crimes involving a 16-year-old boy.

The boy was a passenger in the man's SUV, and Trooper Brad Simpson was suspicious after they appeared nervous and gave different stories about their travels. It turned out that the boy was a runaway from Dallas who may be have been sexually assaulted in Memphis earlier that day. 
According to a TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) study released last year, the case is likely evidence of a sex-trafficking problem that is growing across the country and in West Tennessee. (More)

Russian envoy asked to 'keep quiet' about spy case 

Says Canada will be red-faced when truth is revealed

By Michael Gregory
The Toronto Star
9 February 2012 — Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov says Moscow has a deal with the Canadian government to "keep quiet" about his country's involvement in the case of a naval intelligence officer accused of spying, according to a CTV News report.
Canadian Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle was arrested by the RCMP last month and is charged with breach of trust and violating the Security of Information Act, after he allegedly passed secrets to a foreign entity between 2007 and 2012.
“I have a deal with your people to keep quiet,” Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov told CTV, adding that once the “seal of silence is lifted, I will tell you and you will be very red faced.” (More)

Army officer turned Whistleblower says senior

military leaders dishonest with American public 

'How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?' 

By Scott Shane
The New York Times News Service

Sunday 5 February 2012 WASHINGTON USA — On his second yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis traveled 9,000 miles, patrolled with American troops in eight provinces and returned in October of last year with a fervent conviction that the war was going disastrously and that senior military leaders had not leveled with the American public.

Since enlisting in the Army in 1985, he said, he had repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dress up a dismal situation. But this time, he would not let it rest. So he consulted with his pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, where he sings in the choir. He watched his favorite movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” one more time, drawing inspiration from Jimmy Stewart’s role as the extraordinary ordinary man who takes on a corrupt establishment.

And then, late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. (More)
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© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 7, No. 05 (307)
Friday 10 February 2012
Editor's Notes

Sorry to disturb your innocence Peter MacKay

but Canada does practice torture here at home

In a story in this issue we carry a Canadian Press report on mounting pressure on the federal government to scrap a policy that sanctions the use of torture-tainted information in exceptional cases.
In supporting the government's position Defence Minister Peter MacKay stressed that "Canada does not condone torture and does not use torture. However, Canada will use information to save lives."
The fact is that the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) routinely studies and practices at least systematic psychological torture in Canada, if not physical torture. (More)
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-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst. 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

Meat industry needs to live with ethanol production

Agri-business should focus on future not old quarrels

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

A recent report from the George Morris Centre in Guelph linking ethanol production and higher feed costs for the livestock industry, resurrects an old complaint and ignores the potential for a new economic driver in Canada.

The Centre’s report says raising corn and other crops to make ethanol raises the livestock industry’s production costs and reduces employment in the meat processing industry. It’s the same basic complaint as diverting crops into fuel production means more hungry people in the world.

What’s missing from the equation is why grain farmers, who are finally enjoying decent prices, have to forgo a revenue source. As well, the use of food crops in fuel production has likely peaked globally. It will decline as the alternate fuel industry learns how to make ethanol and bio-diesel from crop and wood waste and non food plants such as twitch grass and miscanthus as well as pond scum. (More)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

Artist Stan Douglas, on immortalizing the 1971 Gastown showdown, his harshest critics (police) and what the image stands for today.


By Alexander Alberro and Stan Douglas

8 February 2012 — [Editor's note: The following interview with Stan Douglas by art historian Alexander Alberro is excerpted with permission from Stan Douglas: Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971, published this month by Arsenal Pulp Press. This collection of essays pries open the iconic 30x50-foot translucent photo mural, depicting a decades-ago clash between police and protestors that defined Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood, and which now hangs in the atrium of the city's Woodward's complex. From Nora M. Alter's analysis of the image as a "moving still" to Jesse Proudfoot's history of the politics of representation in the Downtown Eastside, these essays help fulfil Douglas's intent to keep conversation about the riot -- and the photograph that "condenses" it — evolving. Enjoy.]

Alexander Alberro: What is the event that your photo mural Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971 represents? (More)
Health Watch
Investigation reveals dubious health and nutirition claims
CBC News

3 February 2012 — A number of companies tout the supposed health benefits of their food products but the claims don't resonate with nutrition and medical experts, a CBC Marketplace investigation has revealed.

Package labelling often promotes "all-natural" ingredients or the presence of valuable nutrients and minerals. Alternatively, companies often focus on the absence of preservatives and substances linked to serious illnesses and diseases.

Others suggest consumers will become smarter or healthier, including providing a nutritional or immunity boost, as a result of using the products.

Marketplace contacted a doctor who specializes in healthy eating, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, to examine a number of claims found on the labelling of food products and created a Top 10 list of lousy labels, packaging that might have consumers shelling out cash for little or no benefit. (More.)
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Have I told you lately that I love you?

(Have I told you lately that I care?)

True North Perspective

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

10 February 2012  — Valentine’s Day, many people toast and celebrate love! Restaurants are busy, stores sell tons of chocolates and millions of love cards but… that is not the real stuff love is made of!!

It’s about feeling love, being in love and sharing love. Love is simple yet powerful but if it is to be durable, it needs to be nurtured on a daily basis. We often associate Valentine’s Day with lovers but it encompasses everyone, from your lover, your spouse to your children, parents, extended family, friends and professionals that provide quality care or services to people who have touched your life in a special way. Teachers, for example, are the ones who receive the most valentines! (More.)
Spirit Quest
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

10 February 2012 — I  miss ice flowers on the window panes. They have all but disappeared. I was recently reminded of this wondrous phenomenon by a small book, Frost on the Windows: Nature’s Mysterious Art. Janice Street has collected beautiful photos  of windows decorated by an artist by the name of Jack Frost.
Some years ago we lived  in a graceful old stone house. It was even then more than 100 years old. It was beautiful to look upon but living there soon made us aware that technology needed to improve our living conditions. My wife can wax eloquent on this subject.
The Old Manse had windows glassed many years ago. After the first cold night ice decorations made them opaque. We marvelled at the lifelike patterns of flowers, particularly ferns, that covered their surfaces and wondered about this mystery. (More)
Beating the Drum

Cult of the 'Expert'

By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario.  She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

What Makes an Expert?

The world is filled with them. They dispense their opinions. They make claims. They point us in the direction of how we should live our lives. They tell us what is good for us; what’s bad for us. They make predictions on the economy. They give us their stamp of approval. Yet, are they really the experts? What makes an expert?

I was at workshop a few weeks ago where the speaker was talking about how to write a good self-help book. He said something to the effect that once you write a book on a subject you are seen as an expert. I cringed when I heard him say it because I knew there was a lot of truth in what he was saying. In our world today, we place a lot of confidence and credence on superficial experts.

Watch any news broadcast. You have the entertainment experts, political experts, economic experts, health experts, weather experts and so on. And now we will go to our expert. The word expert is tossed around and bogusly applied. It would appear that some individuals are designated experts not because of knowledge but because they are crowned with the title of an expert. To make these experts more authentic, our news broadcasters engage in scripted dialogues. (More)
Media industry lobbyists push for Bill C-11 to increasingly resemble besieged US net piracy bill
By Michael Geist
7 February 2012 — The battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States may have concluded with millions of Internet users successfully protesting against the bill, but many Canadians are buzzing about the possibility that some of its provisions could make their way into a copyright bill currently before the House of Commons.
For months, the public focus on the bill has centred on its restrictive digital lock provisions, which provide legal protection for technical protections found on DVDs, electronic books, and other digital content. Dozens of organizations -- including businesses, the Retail Council of Canada, creator groups, consumer groups, education and library associations, as well as representatives of the visually impaired -- have argued that the government's approach is overly restrictive and will upset the traditional copyright balance. They note that restrictive rules do not penalize pirates, but rather Canadian consumers and businesses. (More.)

Oklahoma Mom shoots, kills intruder after 911 operator OK

'There's nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.'

By Kevin Dolak and Ryan Owens
Good Morning America
4 January 2011 OKLAHOMA CITY USA — A young Oklahoma mother shot and killed an intruder to protect her 3-month-old baby on New Year's Eve, less than a week after the baby's father died of cancer.
Sarah McKinley says that a week earlier a man named Justin Martin dropped by on the day of her husband's funeral, claiming that he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. The 18-year-old Oklahoma City area woman did not let him into her home that day.
On New Year's Eve Martin returned with another man, Dustin Stewart, and this time was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. The two soon began trying to break into McKinley's home. (More)

An answer to the Explainer's 2011 Question of the Year

By Daniel Engber
Slate Magazine

10 January 2012 — It's been a few weeks since we posted the questions that the Explainer was either unwilling or unable to answer in 2011. Among this year's batch of imponderables were inquiries like, Are the blind sleepy all the time? and Does anyone ever get a sex change back? We asked our readers to pick the question that most deserved an answer in the Explainer column. Some 10,000 of you were able to register a vote, and the winning question is presented below. But first, the runners-up:

In third place, with 6.6 percent of the total votes, a bit of speculative evolutionary biology:Let's say that a meteor never hits the earth, and dinosaurs continue evolving over all the years human beings have grown into what we are today. What would they be like?

In second place, with 7.5 percent, an inquiry into pharmacokineticsWhy does it take 45 minutes for the pharmacy to get your prescription ready—even when no one else is waiting?

And in first place, with the support of 9.4 percent of our readers, the winner by a landslide and Explainer Question of the Year for 2011:

Why are smart people usually ugly? I get this isn't always the case, but there does seem to be a correlation. Attractiveness doesn't predict intelligence (not all ugly people are smart), but it seems like intelligence can be a good predictor for attractiveness (smart people are usually on the ugly side). Keep in mind, I have nothing against people who are really brilliant, I've just always wondered.

The answer: They’re not. (More)

Insurance companies - and slum landlords - what a rip-off

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.

10 February 2012 — I went to Ottawa for the Winterlude.

I arrived home to my apartment to a disaster.
 I live in an apartment managed by TransGlobe.
You may have seen a documentary about them on a special CBC documentary. Not a good record in keeping up their buildings. In fact, despicable.
Since they took over our building about five years ago everything has deteriorated. To get a complaint looked after takes time if ever solved.
When they first acquired our building TransGlobe, among other things, destroyed the entrance to the building by putting cheap tiles over beautiful terracotta that will never wear out and is in all our hospitals and public spaces, just to get an increase in rent. (More.)
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.

Report from Obama's America

Off-shore everywhere: kicking down the world's doors

Budget cuts and defeat in Iraq (and soon in Afghanistan) only mean the Pentagon is changing its strategy, not its goal of ending national sovereignty everywhere

By Tom Engelhardt

5 February 2012 — Make no mistake: we’re entering a new world of military planning.  Admittedly, the latest proposed Pentagon budget manages to preserve just about every costly toy-cum-boondoggle from the good old days when MiGs still roamed the skies, including an uncut nuclear arsenal.  Eternally over-budget items like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, cherished by their services and well-lobbied congressional representatives, aren’t leaving the scene any time soon, though delays or cuts in purchase orders are planned.  All this should reassure us that, despite the talk of massive cuts, the U.S. military will continue to be the profligate, inefficient, and remarkably ineffective institution we’ve come to know and squander our treasure on.
Still, the cuts that matter are already in the works, the ones that will change the American way of war.  They may mean little in monetary terms -- the Pentagon budget is actually slated to increase through 2017 -- but in imperial terms they will make a difference.  A new way of preserving the embattled idea of an American planet is coming into focus and one thing is clear: in the name of Washington's needs, it will offer a direct challenge to national sovereignty. (More.)

Critics want Ottawa to rescind torture directive to CSIS

MacKay innocently says Canada 'does not use torture'

(Please see Editor's Notes)

The Canadian Press

9 February 2012 OTTAWA Canada — Pressure is mounting on the federal government to scrap a policy that sanctions the use of torture-tainted information in exceptional cases.

Amnesty International Canada and the official Opposition urged the Conservatives to impose a total ban on material gleaned from abuse and mistreatment, saying Thursday there can be no exceptions when it comes to torture.

Controversy has raged this week over revelations the government directed Canada's spy agency to use information that may have been extracted through torture in cases where public safety is at risk.

The government once insisted the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would toss out such information, but is now telling the spy service to act on it to protect lives or property. (More)

Colombia pledges to support 

Cuba's struggle against the US economic blockade

8 February 2012 HAVANA Cuba — Columbia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holquin said here today that her country will stand by Cuba at the United Nations in its struggle against the 50-year-old economic blockade imposed by the United States.

During an official meeting with her Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, the Colombian official described as very positive Cuba’s election to the presidential troika of the recently created Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). (More)
6 February 2012 CARACAS Venezuela — Officers of the Venezuelan National Anti-Drugs Office (ONA) arrested a prominent Colombian drug dealer, Nelson Orlando Buitrago Parada, aka "Caballo," on Saturday.
According to Venezuela’s minister for justice and internal affairs, Tareck El Aissami, Buitriago has been involved, together with his father and brother, "in several murders" and in "an important network of narco-paramilitarism" operating in Colombian plains.

El Aissami made the announcement on Monday during an interview with a local radio station.

"We arrested another Colombian drug trafficker for whom INTERPOL had issued a red alert on Saturday night in Anzoategui state (eastern Venezuela), specifically in the town El Tigre," the minister said. (More)

The Guardian (UK)

7 February 2012 — Death in RAF helicopter and secret prison camp in Iraq desert raises questions about legality of British and US operations
On the evening of 11 April 2003, a pair of RAF CH47 Chinook helicopters swept over Iraq's western desert towards a remote rendezvous point beside Route 10, the highway that begins life on the outskirts of Baghdad before running for mile after mile towards the border with Jordan.

As they approached their destination, the crews assumed they were on an operation that would be uneventful. Two days earlier Saddam Hussein's statue had been toppled after American tanks rolled into the Iraqi capital; three weeks later George Bush would stand in front of a banner saying "mission accomplished".

The helicopter crews had been told that a number of detainees were under armed guard at the side of the highway. They were to pick them up after dark and take them to a prison camp. What followed was far from routine: before the night was out, one man had died on board one of the helicopters, allegedly beaten to death by RAF personnel.

The incident was immediately shrouded in secrecy. When the Guardian heard about it and began to ask questions, the Ministry of Defence responded with an extraordinary degree of obstruction and obfuscation, evading questions not just for days but for weeks and months. (More)

New AU headquarters is a tribute to China-Africa relations

A must read to understand China's role in present day Africa

By Antoine Roger Lokongo
Pambazuka News

02 February 2012 — Which other friend of Africa would be willing to fund, design, build and maintain a new $200 million African Union headquarters in the middle of a global financial crisis?

In her article published in Pambazuka News on 26 January 2012 and titled 'Tragedy of the new AU headquarters', Chika Ezeanya (an African I presume) reckons that it is an insult to the African Union and to every African that in 2012 a building as symbolic as the AU headquarters is designed, built and maintained by a foreign country - it does not matter which.
My initial reaction as a journalist was to get the information right. First of all, the new AU headquarters was inaugurated on 28 January 2012 by Jia Qinglin, chairman of China's political advisory body, the People's Political Consultative Conference, not by President Hu Jintao. Second, the project cost $200 million in total, not $124 million as Chika Ezeanya reports. Third, although the construction of the building which started in 2009 was fully funded by the Chinese government at a cost of $200 million, a team of up to 1,200 Chinese and Ethiopian workers laboured around the clock in two or three shifts to finish it on schedule. [1]
Is this not analogous to the gift of the Statue of Liberty from France to the United States on the occasion of the latter's independence which was a joint effort, whereby over 120,000 Americans led by Joseph Pulitzer contributed funds for the construction of the pedestal in 1885? Fantalun Michael, the project coordinator is an African himself. So, Fantalun and his team should have an idea of how the building was wired, unless Chika Ezeanya does not trust them too and thinks they are just manipulated Ethiopians. Can the Ethiopians take such an insult? (More)

By Alasdair Wilkins
7 February 2012 — The human genome carries an average of 1% to 4% Neanderthal DNA, which means our ancient human ancestors must have interbred with our extinct evolutionary cousins. That raises an obvious next question: why did humans have sex with Neanderthals?
That question isn't meant to be totally glib. The current consensus is that ancient humans must have reproduced with Neanderthals, as otherwise the non-African genome wouldn't feature Neanderthal DNA. But would ancient hunter-gatherer societies, which were hugely reliant on close cooperation between all its members, really have encouraged breeding with a rival group? After all, for humans and Neanderthals to have come into contact, they must have been competing for the same pool of resources. Even if these groups weren't outright fighting each other, would they really have been making babies together? (More.)

Homes Calgary News

Your guide to Real Estate in Calgary

Landlords advised to keep rent increases low

By Judy Drzymala
Remax House of Real Estate - 403-274-7474

10 February 2012 CALGARY Alberta — Calgary's strong economic growth resulting from elevated prices for fossil fuels and low lending rates is translating into job creation and affordable housing.

Expect modest increases in sales and prices. The average sale price for 2011 was $466,402.
The condo market has not recovered to the same extent as single-family prices. However, the demand for condo's is expected to improve. The average condo sales price for 2011 was $287,172.
Calgary's new home market is on the path to recovery. While construction was mostly weak in 2011, 2012 is expected to improve by 11% according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. The anticipated growth is being attributed to a stronger net migration, employment growth and historical low mortgage rates.
Calgary's vacancy rate dropped and rent rates have moderately increased. Landlords are advised to consider low if any rental increases to keep tenants from entering home ownership.

Calgary Quick Facts

Population: 1,365,200

Source: Calgary Economic De­velopment

Vacancy Rate: Down­town Office – 6%


Source: Avison Young

Vacancy Rate: Apart­ment - 3.4%

Source: CMHC

Unemployment Rate: 5.9%

Source: Stats Canada


Money and Markets
By Mike Larson
Money and Markets
10 February 2012 JUPITER Florida — In Europe, despite news of what seems like the hundredth Greek deal, default is all but inevitable down the road. In the Middle East, tensions are ratcheting up in Syria and Iran, with the odds of an Israeli military strike steadily climbing. And here in the United States, many economic indicators suggest the recovery is far from robust.

For all of those reasons and more, I’ve counseled caution and patience when it comes to investing. But it doesn’t mean I’m recommending you sit in all cash. There are select asset classes, sectors, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and stocks that I feel you can buy with confidence. So this week, I’d like to profile a few.

Here Are Some Safer Fixed-Income 
Alternatives for Today’s Market (More)

The Old Man's Last Sauna
An eclectic collection of short stories by Carl Dow 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.