Friday 15 April 2011

Oliver Stone: Don't betray us, Barack — end the empire

Let's face facts: The US can no longer dictate to the rest of the world.

15 April 2011

By Oliver Stone and  Peter Kuxnick

"Suddenly, a season of peace seems to be warming the world," the New York Timesexulted on the last day of July 1988. Protracted and bloody wars were ending in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua, and between Iran and Iraq. But the most dramatic development was still to come.

In December 1988, the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, declared the cold war over. "The use or threat of force no longer can or must be an instrument of foreign policy," he said. "This applies above all to nuclear arms."

He proposed cutting offensive strategic arms in half, jointly safeguarding the environment, banning weapons in outer space, ending exploitation of the third world and canceling third world debt payments. He called for a UN-brokered ceasefire in Afghanistan, acknowled ging that, after nine years, the Russians had failed to defeat the Afghan insurgents despite deploying 100,000 troops.

Still, he was not finished. He held out an olive branch to the incoming administration of George H W Bush, offering a "joint effort to put an end to an era of wars".

The New York Timesdescribed Gorbachev's riveting, hour-long speech as the greatest act of statesmanship since Roosevelt and Churchill's Atlantic Charter in 1941. The Washington Postcalled it "a speech as remarkable as any ever delivered at the United Nations".

Gorbachev saw this as a new beginning for America, Russia and the world, but US policymakers had something very different in mind, hailing it as the triumph of the capitalist west after the long decades of the cold war.

In September 1990, Michael Mandelbaum, then director of east-west studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, rejoiced that "for the first time in 40 years we can conduct military operations in the Middle East without worrying about triggering World War III".

The US would soon test that hypothesis, beginning two decades of costly and destructive imperial overreach, particularly, but not exclusively, in the Middle East. It squandered a historic opportunity to make the world a more peaceful and just place, instead declaring itself the global hegemon. After the attacks of 11 September 2001, the entire gaggle of neocons was extolling American power and beneficence. "We are an attractive empire, the one everyone wants to join," crowed the military historian Max Boot. — 1,597 words.
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In the spirit of fair play . . .

Cuba moves to Socialism from War Communism

How War Communism compares with War Capitalism

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

An historic event will take place in Cuba April 16 to 19, 2011. The date marks 50 years of struggle to survive and thrive against the unrelenting attempt to destroy it by the United States, it's neighbour across the water hardly 160 km to the north. On Saturday 16 April 2011 the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will open. My bet is that we'll see that Cuba will abandon War Communism and take the road to Socialism.

Abuse of language prevails, and is so annoying that in less charitable moments I think it should be declared a sin. But then I relent. I look upward with the compassion of Jesus Christ on the Cross and pray, "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do."

The abuse is especially true when such subjects as democracy, capitalism, socialism, and communism are on the table. By definition (economics, history, political science to name a few) there has never been throughout history a socialist or communist country. There have been attempts to practice socialism but they've failed so far because of what I would call bad management, to put it mildly. The concepts of socialism and communism have taken a major propaganda beating from those who feel threatened by them. But any serious student of materialist and idealist philosophies knows that socialism, if it ever truly gets off the ground anywhere, would be merely a secular application of the New Testament of The Holy Bible. All attempts so far, have been no further developed than state capitalism.

When any country is under attack by military force it closes ranks to protect itself. Cuba has been under military and propaganda attack, deliberate violent sabotage, and economic blockade, by the United States since 1959. Cuba, by definition is not a Communist state. It is a country that has resorted to War Communism in order to defend itself. In this essay I compare War Communism in Cuba and War Capitalism in Canada. 3.068 words.
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  Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, 15 April 2011  
 

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, 15 April 2011, comics.com.

 

Attack on Libya — the horror story becomes more stark

War for oil or for water ... or for banking?

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Whatever the reason, protecting civilians is just an excuse

By Ellen Brown
TruthOut.org

13 April 2011 — Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank - this before they even had a government. Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal:
I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. 1,955 words.
Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank - this before they even had a government. Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal:
I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences.
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If the Qaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS, whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors and whether education and health care continue to be free.

 

If the Qaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS, whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors and whether education and health care continue to be free.
If the Qaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS, whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors and whether education and health care continue to be free.
If the Qaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS, whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors and whether education and health care continue to be free.
If the Qaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS, whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors and whether education and health care continue to be free.
If the Qaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS, whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors and whether education and health care continue to be free.

War for oil, for water or ... for banking?

Since when do rebels fighting for their lives stop to establish a central bank? Whatever the reasons for the western attack, protecting civilians is almost certainly nothing only an excuse

By Ellen Brown

TruthOut.org

13 April 2011 —  — 1,955 words.

 

Uganda may be the next target of 'Humanitarian Aid' via

Uganda may be the next target of 'Humanitarian Aid' via 

cruise missiles as President Museveni tightens grip on oil

By Staff Writers
United Press International

07 April 2011 KAMPALA Uganda — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is reported to be tightening his grip on the East African country's emerging oil sector in a region that seems set to become the new frontier for oil and gas exploration.

The centerpiece of Uganda's nascent oil industry is the Lake Albert field that holds at least 2.5 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates go as high as 6 billion barrels.

But whatever the total, Lake Albert, lying in the center of Africa between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the biggest discovery in sub-Saharan Africa in two decades.

That underlines the potential of East Africa, long considered an oil industry backwater, as a hot energy zone to rival the continent's resource-rich western and northern regions despite its notoriously corrupt and often violent politics. 694 words.
 

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
Editor's Notes
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 13 (272)
Friday, April 15, 2011
 

It has been said . . .

True North Perspective is too radical

                

While we publish in best traditions of Canadian journalism

What's radical, in a pejorative sense, is that there is no longer a competitive press in Canada.

Canada grew up with a competitive press. During the American Civil War The Montreal Gazette was pro South and pro slavery. The Toronto Globe was pro North and anti-slavery.

In Canada's capital up until the 1950s the two English language dailies registered their differences on their front pages. The Ottawa Journal proudly proclaimed its allegiance with the word Conservative right up there with the newspaper's flag. The Ottawa Citizen matched this with the word Liberal.

Late in the 1970s into the 1980s bean counters became an assassination squad and killed daily newspapers throughout the country.

In Ottawa, it was the Journal that was put to death. The Citizen, which for generations had been centre-left was severely wounded when Conrad Black took over.

The recently departed James Travers was Editor-in-Chief of the Citizen at the time. He refused to be converted to the radical centre-right politics of Conrad Black so he resigned along with several other heavy hitters on staff. 344 words.
 

 
The Droz Report

Kim Campbell's revenge

 (Nothing new in the boys' room)

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online
 
Geoffrey Dow is blogging the Canadian election at Edifice Rex Online. Each week for the duration, True North Perspective will present the best of his previous week's columns.

14 April 2011 — After two debates and an in-person attendance at a rally, I'm finding myself kind of depressed about the election, enervated instead of energized. Though I still think the choices facing us are important — Very Bad versus Not Very Good — it's not easy to get excited by the latter.
 
And it's not easy to get excited by canned rhetoric, by half-truths contending with lies, lies with half-truths, or by the fact the most inspirational actor in either the French- or the English-language debate was a separatist whose primary goal is to destroy the most successful and successfully complex civilization in the history of the world (ask me what's good about Canada some day!).1,183 words.
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This should be an election issue!

 
Mental illness will strike one Canadian in five at some point in their life
 
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
15 April 2011 — Coming in the middle of the May 2 election campaign, Michael Wilson’s presentation to the Canadian Club of Ottawa got scant media attention compared to the latest utterances of the party leaders.
 
But mental illness, the topic of Wilson’s address, should be an election issue. A former federal finance minister and a business leader, Wilson is the current honorary chair of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation. In his words, here’s what the party leaders should be talking about.
 
“You’ve probably heard that one in five Canadians - that is, one in five of us - will experience a mental illness or addiction in our lifetime. But, did you know that mental illness is the No. 1 cause of workplace disability in Canada?833 words.
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Election '11 Reality Check
 

Harper building foreign-born underclass one 'guest-worker' at a time

No way to know how many leave, how many stay illegally
 
By Ira Basen
CBC News
 
14 April 2011 — Jack Layton: "Why so many temporary foreign workers? We've got more of them coming in than immigrants."

Stephen Harper: "We have people coming who have jobs waiting for them. They almost invariably settle here. The NDP government in Manitoba wants us to bring people specifically to fill jobs. That's why we're making some of this re-orientation of the program. To make sure immigrants have work. It helps them adjust. It benefits everybody. I don't know how anyone would be against it and even your colleagues are not."

That exchange was part of a surprisingly lively discussion about immigration in the English-language leaders' debate this week.

The actual question was about multiculturalism, but except for Gilles Duceppe, who declared multiculturalism to be not appropriate for Quebec, the leaders generally chose to steer clear of that hot potato and focus on immigration policy instead. 808 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:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

To tunnel or not to tunnel?

                                                     

 

That is the question in earthquake wary Seattle, U.S.A.

09 April 2011 SEATTLE, Washington — Here in the capital of the Pacific Northwest, where commercial jets were born but now the mayor brags about biking to work, questions over commerce, climate change and community are converging on a couple of fateful miles of asphalt.

Is the Alaskan Way Viaduct overlooking Elliott Bay on the western edge of downtown just an elevated relic, another old road that needs to be replaced? Or is it something more, a symbol whose fate will help shape not only this city but the rest of urban — and New Urbanist — America?

“It’s not just a highway anymore,” Mayor Mike McGinn said. “It’s about the type of city we are and what are our priorities.”

Another question: Is Mr. McGinn a visionary or an obstructionist?

For a decade, since a 2001 earthquake exposed the viaduct’s vulnerability, this ambitious but frequently indecisive city has been debating what to do about it. In 2009, the city, county and state came up with a plan to replace the viaduct with a $4.2 billion, 1.7-mile tunnel that would run beneath downtown skyscrapers and behind a seawall protecting it from Puget Sound. In a city inclined to dither, something was getting done.1,156 words.

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From the Desk of Anita Chan

True North Perspective Contributing Editor, Australia

 
This issue of CLNT features the blogs of Zhu Chunsheng - a worker activist who since late 2010 has been resisting the Harbin Passenger Railway’s efforts to lay-off staff and force remaining employees to sign illegal contracts with worse conditions. He himself has been laid-off. Zhu claims the enterprise union has refused to assist workers, and he is now calling for new union elections for real worker representatives.
 
The strike at Nanhai Honda in May 2010 generated widespread attention, because it was a rare example of migrant workers demanding democratic union elections. Although it was significant that this demand came from young migrant workers in a foreign-owned enterprise, it is important to note that an unknown number of worker activists have been making similar demands for democratic union elections in state-owned enterprises for a long time. Zhu Chunsheng at Harbin Railway is one of those examples. 502 words, or download the original Chinese-language article.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
As spring slowly gives way to summer, Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair has been on the road over the past few days, and so we present the following True North Perspective classic, from the halcyon days of autumn fading into winter.

Will the real Patch Adams come to Santa’s rescue?

He is so SAD!!

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.

19 November 2010 — Indian summer is over! It sure made everyone feel happier while it lasted. Humans need their daily dose of sunlight, otherwise they start to feel gloomy and lethargic. Unfortunately at this time of the year, days get shorter and the sun’s rays grow weaker. We must also contend with colder weather. My body always takes a while to adjust to the latter.
 
This is the time of year where I try to indulge in simple pleasures to counterbalance the effects of less light, less heat and more indoor living. For example, I will cook more comfort food at this time of the year. When Brian was around, our favourite weekend breakfast was either French toast served with cream cheese and fresh fruit drizzled with maple syrup or pancakes, our favourite being buckwheat pancakes drizzled with molasses.  1,608 words.
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Spirit Quest

'Padre of the Laundromats' ... think of it!

 

Once upon a time I had aspirations to that title

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

When our first child was born the abundance of diapers and other washing exceeded the capacity of our rather primitive washing machine as well as the energy of my spouse. She had been subjected to hard labour in the dingy basement of the manse, as a pastor’s residence was called. She cranked a hand wringer and schlepped the damp clothes in a basket up the cellar stairs to the back porch and pinned them to the clothesline.

Enough was enough; we decided that we could afford the cost of availing ourselves of the services of a laundromat at the shopping centre.

We took turns going to these facilities, loading the machines, supplying the coins, then sitting and watching the devices to go through their cycles after which we reloaded them into the dryers and sat some more.

Much of the time between loading and folding was spent simply waiting along with others, mostly housewives, although there were some young people, mostly college students, using the facilities.

We did not sit in silence, some read but many were engaged in conversation. I soon discovered that the laundromat was akin to a confessional. I was often the object of an outpouring of hopes, fears, anger and disappointments and a host of other feelings. People brought not only their clothes to be cleaned but also their hopes and fears to be laundered. 670 words.
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ParkTales

Enough of these Election Polls

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.

15 April 2011 — We can make our own decisions without being influenced by polls.

Do we have to have updated polls every day on who is leading in the opinion of a selected few who may or may not give their real preference?

I, for one, am fed up with these election polls.

I think polls during election campaigns should be abolished.

We should be able to make up our minds as to what candidate we are voting for by their performances in parliament, in their riding, and yes, in their neighbourhoods. By how they kept the promises they are throwing around now.

If not yet an elected politician then the candidate should be judged on their involvement and achievements in their local.

Why do we need to be manipulated by these polls seeing who is ahead to make voting decisions?

I had a very disheartening experience today talking with a employee in my husbands' nursing home. 471 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 Mugh Payne 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.


From the Desk of Ken Jeffries, True North Perspective East Central Ontario Editor

Desperate artist who designed Canada's replacement of two-dollar bill

Raises cross and noose on front lawn after 4-year war to save his home

   
 
Photo By Ken Jeffries, True North Perspective East Central Ontario Editor
 
Toonnie Artist Brent Townsend raises notorious cross and noose in bid to win public attention to his four-year battle with city hall to save his home in Campbellford, Ontario.
 
Chloé Fedio
Staff Reporter
The Toronto Star

15 April 2011 CAMPBELLFORD Ontario — A Campbellford artist celebrated for his design of the toonie has drawn the ire of his community after he erected a 5-metre cross on his lawn and hung a noose from the top.

Brent Townsend knows the display is especially controversial in a town that gained notoriety last Halloween when a Ku Klux Klan getup won first place in a costume contest.

But the 48-year-old wildlife artist, who created the cross out of old barn beams, said it’s his last resort in a four-year battle with the municipality over the planned construction of a bridge. His home is slated for demolition. 621 words.
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Canada! Here comes your revolution!

Beware of Harper Coalition of Church and State

Flags of world bowed to Israel, Canada, 

in candle-lit ceremony

'This is just like fascism' said one witness

By Esther Matharu
Ottawa, Canada

Elections 2011! Sigh. . . Many of us think finally, we can get rid of that person, about whom one of the Ottawa Raging Grannies writes  . . . “a sober analysis of the conduct of Stephen Harper as Prime Minister carries way too many resonances of what happened in Germany as the National Socialists were coming to power. Stephen Harper is not a dictator. But if his right-wing coalition government gets back in power, to paraphrase what another Prime Minister famously said, "Just watch him!"

The issues at stake are not only about dictatorship, but about the kind of dictatorship Mr. Harper will introduce — legally and with our consent — if he is elected.  Here is a foretaste of the things to come. 1,159 words.
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How a liberal brain may be different from a conservative's

A new study shows liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain related to understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section linked to fear.

Agence France Presse

10 April 2011 — Everyone knows that liberals and conservatives butt heads when it comes to world views, but scientists have now shown that their brains are actually built differently.

Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology. 335 words.
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No surrogate thing

Surrogate mother who kept baby awarded $785 a month

from would-be parents

By Tralee Pearce
The Globe and Mail

14 April 2011 — It's not uncommon for a would-be surrogate mom to back out of an arrangement and decide to keep the baby. But a case in Britain is raising eyebrows because a couple is also being asked for child support for the baby they never got to take home.

The couple, known as Mr. and Mrs. W at the moment, have been ordered to hand over more than £500 (about $785) a month for the now-eight-month-old child by the government's Child Support Agency, according to the Daily Mail. Mr. W is technically the father, since his sperm was used in the insemination. But Mrs. W’s eggs were not used. The couple had already allowed the surrogate, known as Miss N, to keep the £4,500 they had given to her for expenses when she told them of her decision. 418 words.
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Science

U.N. global warming limit nearly impossible to reach

But action needed now more than ever

By Eli Kintisch
Science

8 April 2011 — International negotiators at a United Nations-sponsored climate conference ending today in Bangkok repeatedly underscored the goal of keeping the amount of global warming in this century to no more than 2˚C. But results from a Canadian government climate modeling study published last month suggest that “it is unlikely that warming can be limited to the 2˚C target,” the scientists who wrote the study say.
 
The paper finds that reaching that goal would require that greenhouse emissions “ramp down to zero immediately” and that scientists deploy means, starting in 2050, to actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Previous modeling efforts have already highlighted the difficulty of reaching the 2˚C goal. But the new study is unique in several ways. Most important, it relies on the first published results from the latest generation of so-called Earth System climate models, complex programs that run on supercomputers and seek to simulate the planet’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere. The model in this study, Canadian Earth System Model 2, also incorporates updated data on volcanic eruptions, and it simulates in a more sophisticated way the biosphere’s ability to take in or emit carbon. —  590 words.
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By John Vidal
Newsday.co.zw
 
15 April 2011 SUCRE Bolivia — Rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.

The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature "to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities".812 words.

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Spread of popular whale songs reveal

non-human cultural exchange

By Alasdair Wilkins
io9.com
 
14 April 2011 — The haunting songs produced by whales are shockingly similar to human pop music: one single hit tune spreads across the ocean, and becomes the preferred whale mating tune. And, just like the modern music industry, it all runs on remixes.

Humpback whales are one of a number of whale species that produce these beautiful, mysterious songs, as many of you may remember from that acclaimed nature documentary Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Humpbacks make an array of different sounds, and the repetitive sound patterns created by males during their mating periods really do have a comparable structure to human music - some researchers have dubbed male humpbacks "inveterate composers" for all the music they create.576 words.

You can count on the True North Team

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

From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

 

Report from Obama's America

Endless war and empire

Obama administration spends more on war than did George W. Bush's

By Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis
Reader Supported News

14 April 2011 — eath and taxes are the only certainties in life. And these days, they go hand in hand.

While our fiscal woes have led Congress to slash food aid this year to the world's poor - rest assured, fellow Americans - the US government will keep using your tax dollars to kill them. For while John Boehner and Barack Obama might disagree on some things, there's one area they can agree on: War. And the need for more of it.

"Money for bombs, not bread," might be a good bipartisan slogan. 1,062 words.
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U.S.-backed bloodshed stains Bahrain’s Arab Spring

By Amy Goodman
TruthDig.com
 
12 April 2011 — Three days after Hosni Mubarak resigned as the long-standing dictator in Egypt, people in the small Gulf state of Bahrain took to the streets, marching to their version of Tahrir, Pearl Square, in the capital city of Manama. Bahrain has been ruled by the same family, the House of Khalifa, since the 1780s—more than 220 years. Bahrainis were not demanding an end to the monarchy, but for more representation in their government.
 
One month into the uprising, Saudi Arabia sent military and police forces over the 16-mile causeway that connects the Saudi mainland to Bahrain, an island. Since then, the protesters, the press and human-rights organizations have suffered increasingly violent repression.
 
One courageous young Bahraini pro-democracy activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, has seen the brutality up close. To her horror, she watched her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent human-rights activist, be beaten and arrested. She described it to me from Manama:791 words.
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Money and Markets

At last! Obama calls Republicans' bluff

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

14 April 2011 NEW YORK Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, sounds upset. And you can see why: President Obama, to the great relief of progressives, has called his bluff.

Last week, Mr. Ryan unveiled his budget proposal, and the initial reaction of much of the punditocracy was best summed up (sarcastically) by the blogger John Cole: “The plan is bold! It is serious! It took courage! It re-frames the debate! The ball is in Obama’s court! Very wonky! It is a game-changer! Did I mention it is serious?”821 words.

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Book Review: Nemesis, by Philip Roth

Philip Roth's novel an excellent addition to distinguished career

By Sigrid Macdonald
Ottawa, Canada
 
Sigrid Macdonald is author of Be Your Own Editor and is available at 
 
15 April 2011 — Summer should be a happy time for children who’ve been cooped up in crowded schoolhouses all year: a time for freedom, recreation, jubilation.
 
Instead, the summer of 1944 was a time of fear and dread for the kids in Newark, New Jersey, thanks to the sweeping polio epidemic.
 
In his new book, Nemesis, the prolific and distinguished Philip Roth creates an emotionally powerful tale, rife with interesting historical facts, philosophical questions and ethical dilemmas.844 words.
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Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011 — Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing.839 words.
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Venezuela fights inflation in recovery bid

Polls show Chavez win in new run for president

By Staff Writers
United Press International

08 April 2011 CARACAS — Venezuela is battling inflation as it struggles to shed more than two years of recession that has blighted the oil-rich nation's economy, society and politics.

President Hugo Chavez mocked critics in March as he announced his intention to run for a further term. An opinion poll this month said Chavez would win the 2012 elections. 445 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.

 


The Associated Press

8 April 2011 — The secret network of jails, known as "black sites," that grew up after the Sept. 11 attacks are gone.

But suspected terrorists are still being held under hazy circumstances with uncertain rights in secret, military-run jails across Afghanistan, where they can be interrogated for weeks without charge, according to U.S. officials who revealed details of the top-secret network to The Associated Press.

 

Quantico Blocks official visits

to Bradley Manning by UN, Amnesty

By Michael Whitney
FDLAction
 
7 April 2011 — Government officials and Quantico Marine base haveblocked official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Amnesty International, and the UN Special Rappateur on torture. According to Manning’s attorney, Kucinich, Amnesty, and UN have been trying to get clearance for “official visits” to Manning at the Quantico Marine brig. — 282 words.
 

The Pentagon has previously denied operating secret jails in Afghanistan, although human rights groups and former detainees have described the facilities.

U.S. military and other government officials confirmed that the detention centres exist but described them as temporary holding pens whose primary purpose is to gather intelligence.

The Pentagon also has said that detainees only stay in temporary detention sites for 14 days, unless they are extended under extraordinary circumstances.

But U.S. officials told AP that detainees can be held at the temporary jails for up to nine weeks, depending on the value of information they produce. — 1,230 words.
______
 
Report from Obama's America
 
 
By David Kravets
Wired
4 April 2011 — The authorities may seize laptops, cameras and other digital devices at the U.S. border without a warrant, and scour through them for days hundreds of miles away, a federal appeals court ruled.
 
The 2-1 decision (.pdf) Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes as the government is increasingly invoking its broad, warrantless search-and-seizure powers at the U.S. border to probe the digital lives of travelers.
 
Under the “border search exception” of United States law, international travelers, including U.S. citizens, can be searched without a warrant as they enter the country.
 
Under the Obama administration, law enforcement agents have aggressively used this power to search travelers’ laptops, sometimes copying the hard drive before returning the computer to its owner. — 430 words.
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Waiting workers: why it's still hard to find a job

'Networking is essential to finding employment'

By Catherine Benesch
Student Journalist, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

04 April 2011 OTTAWA Canada — “When you’ve had a year of sending in resumes and hearing nothing, you can be like … 'there’s something wrong with me,’” said Kirsten Partanen, who’s just lived through a year of being unemployed.

“Why bother trying if I’m doing everything the way that I should, and nothing’s happening?”

Partanen, 43, sent out dozens of resumes after losing her job in early 2010. She did keep trying though – she’s starting a new job working with children at a local library.

It’s been a hard year for people like Partanen, even with the 322,000 new jobs created nationwide in the last 12 months.

Weary job seekers might be forgiven for wondering and worrying why it’s still so hard to find a job.

Even as conditions apparently improve, unemployment in Ontario still sits at more than eight per cent. That’s slightly above the national average of 7.8 per cent, and more than two percentage points higher than before the recession started in 2008, according to Statistics Canada.

“The statistics are bullshit,” said Aimee Britten, a freelance writer and consultant who has been looking for work since Christmas. — 1,208 words.
______
 
Rear-view Mirror
 
 
 
By Robin McKie
The Guardian
 
13 March 2011 — It remains the one untarnished triumph of Soviet science. On 12 April 1961, a peasant farmer's son with a winsome smile crammed himself into a capsule eight feet in diameter and was blasted into space on top of a rocket 20 storeys high. One hundred and eight minutes later, after making a single orbit of our world, the young pilot parachuted back to Earth. In doing so,Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to journey into space.

The flight of Vostok 1 – whose 50th anniversary will be celebrated next month – was a defining moment of the 20th century and opened up the prospect of interplanetary travel for our species. It also made Gagarin an international star while his mission was hailed as clear proof of the superiority of communist technology. The 27-year-old cosmonaut became a figurehead for the Soviet Union and toured the world. He lunched with the Queen; was kissed by Gina Lollobrigida; and holidayed with the privileged in Crimea.

Gagarin also received more than a million letters from fans across the world, an astonishing outpouring of global admiration – for he was not obvious star material. He was short and slightly built. Yet Gagarin possessed a smile "that lit up the darkness of the cold war", as one writer put it, and had a natural grace that made him the best ambassador that the USSR ever had. Even his flaws seem oddly endearing by modern standards, his worst moment occurring when he gashed his head after leaping from a window to avoid his wife who had discovered a girl in his hotel room.

To many Russians, Gagarin occupies the same emotional territory as John F Kennedy or Princess Diana. The trio even share the intense attention of conspiracy theorists with alien abduction, a CIA plot, and suicide all being blamed for Gagarin's death in 1968. — 3,659 words.
_____

A fallen giant: The Soviet Space Industry

'Enormous challenges were laid before Soviet scientists, and they proved themselves up to the task.'

'The existence of nuclear physicists in the Soviet Union was an open secret, but no one knew about the missile-defense specialists who had worked in secret since the 1950s until the collapse of the Soviet Union.'

By Konstantin Bogdanov
RIA Novosti

04 04 2011 MOSCOW — Ordinary Russians see little connection between space exploration and economics. If anything, they see expensive space programs as a permanent drain on the nation's resources. Some are inclined to take it personally, as if the dark vacuum of space somehow sucked the money right out of their pockets.

Space is beyond the realm of the rational and, therefore, beyond the realm of economics. But Russia's space program was built, in part, by ordinary Russians using ordinary steel. Space exploration was considered a national priority in the Soviet Union, with the funding to match.

Elaborate production chains were set up, the necessary infrastructure was built, and state-of-the-art technologies were developed virtually from scratch. Aerospace specialists were paid stable salaries and received good housing, both of which were in short supply in the command economy of the Soviet Union.

But it wasn't just about the money for them. By their own account, they worked to experience the thrill of creative endeavor and to feel a sense of confidence about the future. — 1,395 words.
______
 
 

The Associated Press

6 April 2011 — A Russian capsule delivered three new astronauts to the International Space Station on Wednesday, doubling the size of the crew just in time for a pair of major space anniversaries.

The Soyuz spacecraft docked two days after blasting off from Kazakhstan. The linkup took place 350 kilometres above the Andes Mountains of Chile.

Settling in for a five-month mission are Russians Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev, and American Ronald Garan Jr. — 257 words.
______

While under house arrest Egypt's Mubarak

receives monthly allowance of $339. from the state

29 March 2011 — Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is in receipt of a monthly allowance of $339 from the state, an Egyptian paper said Tuesday.
 
Mubarak's pension as the former commander of the armed forces could not be disclosed, the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily said, citing an unnamed state official, RIA Novosti informs.
 
"There is no truth to reports that former president Hosni Mubarak has left Egypt for Tabuk in Saudi Arabia", "He is under house arrest, with his family, in Egypt," the country's military rulers said in a statement on Facebook.
 
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has ruled Egypt since Mubarak was forced to quit in February this year after 18 days of massive street protests against his 30-year autocratic regime.
 
The council has announced it will hold a general election in September. It said emergency laws would be lifted before the elections, Sifi says. END
______

Colombia to extradite drug lord Walid Makled

to Venezuela, not U.S.

By Adriaan Alsema
Colombia Reports

06 April 2011 Bogata — Colombia will extradite alleged drug lord Walid Makled to Venezuela and not to the United States, which had also requested the extradition, Colombia President Santos announced on Wednesday.

In an interview with news network Univision, Santos said "I promised [Venezuelan] President [Hugo] Chavez that if the law said this man should be extradited to Venezuela, I would extradite him to Venezuela. Moreover, at this moment I am asking Venezuela [to extradite] two big drug lords." — 262 words.
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Film documentary review

 
By Sigrid Macdonald
Ottawa, Canada
 
Sigrid Macdonald is author of Be Your Own Editor and is available at 
 

8 April 2011 — Based on real footage, and old and new interviews, this 2009 documentary by Steven Soderbergh and Marina Zenovich was fascinating. Despite the media frenzy surrounding the now internationally acclaimed Polish-French film director, Roman Polanski, for much of his adult life, there are still some facts that people may not know, such as the devious way his trial was conducted, and the excruciating losses he endured before his child molestation trial in 1977.

 
In a Kennedyesque fashion, everything went wrong for Polanski, who experienced extreme highs and lows in life. He was a Holocaust survivor and lost both his parents to the camps. Somehow he made it to Hollywood, despite all odds, creating smashing movies such as Rosemary's BabyThe Tenant and Chinatown. Meanwhile, party boy Roman fell in love with the stunning Sharon Tate. For once in his life he was happy and safe until a real-life Satanic force, in the form of the Manson family, brutally murdered pregnant Sharon. — 1,082 words.
______

From the Desk of Carl Hall, Entertainment Editor

Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert sing duet of Friday 

by Rebecca Black, 13, to raise $86,000 for child education 

Originally aired on episodes of The Colbert Report and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Recently, Stephen Colbert auctioned off one of his portraits to DonorsChoose.org, subsequently raising $26,000 for child education. After announcing this milestone, Colbert unilaterally decided that his "best friend for six months" Jimmy Fallon would match the $26,000. Following is the response from Jimmy Fallon, then the duet performance by the two video comics of the hit single Friday by Rebecca Black. —Click for all three videos inside.
______

Gained in Translation

Words of wisdom from a Moscow-based American translator

The Moscow Times
 
Michele A. Berdy, a Moscow-based translator and interpreter, is author of The Russian Word’s Worth(Glas), a collection of her columns.
 
Талант: talent
 
08 April 2011 — Like the vast majority of my fellow Americans, I’m great at making New Year’s resolutions and horrible at keeping them. But there is one resolution I’d like to keep.
 
Awhile back, I realized that I always complain about translation goofs and gaffes, so I resolved to celebrate translation successes from time to time. As we blunder our way through a foreign language, it’s heartening to remember that with time, effort and talent, it is possible to make translations that sing. 606 words.

 
In case you missed it ...
 
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.


 

 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

Sex and violence: is sex at the psychological root of war?

Research from Hong Kong suggests that, among men, the impulses to make love and war are deeply intertwined.

By Tom Jacobs
Miller McCune Magazine
Alternet.org

30 March 2011  

Guys: What do you feel when you look at a photo of an attractive woman? Excited? Intrigued?

How about warlike?

Such a response may seem strange or even offensive. But newly published research suggests it is far from uncommon — and it may help explain the deep psychological roots of warfare.

With yet another war in full swing, we once again face the fundamental question of why groups of humans settle their differences through organized violence.

A wide range of motivations have been offered over the years: In a 2002 book, Chris Hedges compellingly argued that war is both an addiction and a way of engaging in the sort of heroic struggle that gives our lives meaning.

Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, see war as an extension of mating-related male aggression. They argue men compete for status and resources in an attempt to attract women and produce offspring, thereby passing on their genes to another generation. This competition takes many forms, including violent aggression against other males — an impulse frowned upon by modern society but one that can be channeled into acceptability when one joins the military.

It’s an interesting and well-thought-out theory, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence to back it up. That’s what makes “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships,” a paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, so intriguing. — 839 words.
______
 

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