Friday 18 January 2013

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Idle No More? Think Occupy With Deeper Roots

'Corporations and governments have often discounted the power of native communities — because they were poor and scattered in distant places, they could be ignored or bought off. But in fact their lands contain much of the continent's hydrocarbon wealth — and, happily, much of its wind, solar and geo-thermal resources, as well. The choices that Native people make over the next few years will be crucial to the planet's future — and #IdleNoMore is an awfully good sign that the people who have spent the longest in this place are now rising artfully and forcefully to its defense.'
By Bill Mckibben
Reader Supported News

12 January 2013 — I don't claim to know exactly what's going on with #IdleNoMore, the surging movement of indigenous activists that started late last year in Canada and is now spreading across the continent — much of the action, from hunger strikes to road and rail blockades, is in scattered and remote places, and even as people around the world plan for solidarity actions on Friday 18 January, the press has done a poor job of bringing it into focus.

But I sense that it's every bit as important as the Occupy movement that transfixed the world a year ago; it feels like it wells up from the same kind of long-postponed and deeply-felt passion that powered the Arab spring. And I know firsthand that many of its organizers are among the most committed and skilled activists I've ever come across. In fact, if Occupy's weakness was that it lacked roots (it had to take over public places, after all, which proved hard to hold on to), this new movement's great strength is that its roots go back farther than history. More than any other people on this continent, they know what exploitation and colonization are all about, and so it's natural that at a moment of great need they're leading the resistance to the most profound corporatization we've ever seen. I mean, we've just come off the hottest year ever in America, the year when we broke the Arctic ice cap; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic than it was when I was born. (More)


'I Have a Drone'

Obama’s 'Military Dream' is backfiring

Two former US officials, one military general and another top counter-terrorism advisor for President Obama, have publicly denounced the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen, saying they disproportionately kill civilians and generate anti-American sentiments that aid al-Qaeda recruitment efforts.

By John Glaser
Global Research
Washington's Blog

09 January 2013 — Michael Boyle, who was on Obama’s counter-terrorism advisory group in the run-up to the 2008 election, writes  in a study for the Chatham House journal International Affairs that Obama abandoned his pledge to restore respect for the rule of law following the Bush administration.

Obama “has been just as ruthless and indifferent to the rule of law as his predecessor [maybe worse] … while President Bush issued a call to arms to defend ‘civilisation’ against the threat of terrorism, President Obama has waged his war on terror in the shadows, using drone strikes, special operations and sophisticated surveillance to fight a brutal covert war against al-Qaida and other Islamist networks,” Boyle writes.

The study concludes that the Obama administration has been “successful in spinning the number of civilian casualties” downward by counting all military-age males they kill as combatants. Civilian casualties are likely to be far higher than so far acknowledged, Boyle said, and government claims to the contrary are ”based on a highly selective and partial reading of the evidence.” (More)


Big Oil, Big Ketchup

and 'The Assassination of Hugo Chavez'

Copyright, Reprinted with permission

By Greg Palast
Truthout Op-ed

Greg Palast reviews the extraordinary career of Venezuelan President and Robin Hood figure Hugo Chavez, how he has cheated kidnap and assassination and may yet cheat death by maintaining his accomplishments.

Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It's the oil. And it's the Koch Brothers - and it's the ketchup.

[As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a free download here. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, it was filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.]

Reverend Pat Robertson said,

    Hugo Chavez thinks we're trying to assassinate him. I think that we really
    ought to go ahead and do it.

It was 2005 and Robertson was channeling the frustration of George Bush's State Department. Despite Bush providing intelligence, funds and even a note of congratulations to the crew who kidnapped Chavez (we'll get there), Hugo remained in office, re-elected and wildly popular.

But why the Bush regime's hate, hate, hate of the president of Venezuela?

Reverend Pat wasn't coy about the answer: It's the oil.

     This is a dangerous enemy to our South controlling a huge pool of oil. (More)


From the Desk of Geoff Bickerton

An amazing mea culpa on austerity

Washington Post

03 January 2013 — Consider it a mea culpa submerged in a deep pool of calculus and regression analysis: The International Monetary Fund’s top economist today acknowledged that the fund blew its forecasts for Greece and other European economies because it did not fully understand how government austerity efforts would undermine economic growth.

The new and highly technical paper looks again at the issue of fiscal multipliers – the impact that a rise or fall in government spending or tax collection has on a country’s economic output.

Heading into a crisis that nearly tore the euro zone apart, in other words, neither Olivier Blanchard nor any one of the fund’s vast army of technicians thought to reexamine whether important assumptions about the region would still hold true in times of crisis. (More)
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Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 8, No. 1 (329)
Friday 11 January 2013
Editor's Notes
Welcome back. We've missed you. Hope you missed us.
It takes a lot of hard work to make something look easy. Underfunded, overworked, we've decided to ease back on line to once every two weeks. The extra time between deadlines eases the strain of production.
You may be pleased to know that with this issue we've added a sister publication that will also appear every two weeks. This is in response to me becoming acutely aware that there is a savage loony religious right that would have us believe, among other silly conclusions, that the world is 9,000 years old (it used to be 5,000) and that homosexuality causes earthquakes.
True North Humanist Perspective will be one more strong voice for learning and knowledge, seeking the truth. While it will give plenty of space to secular arguments it will also be respectful to rational Believers of faith.
Our splendid columnists are back with at least one new addition. And additional strength will be found in a growing number of brilliant contributors.
With that I'll leave you to them. Your feedback will be most welcome. Whether positive or negative it helps us to keep our sense of reality fine-tuned. So please let us know what you think.
Meanwhile, take it easy, but take it.
Looking forward
Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective
True North Humanist Perspective
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-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is 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

The recession may be officially over

but food banks are busier than ever

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

18 January 2013 — Perhaps food banks are the canary in the mine for our economic system.

While the 2008 recession has been declared over, the country’s 4,100 food banks and soup kitchens are busier than ever. Visits to them have risen 26% since the start of the recession, says Katherine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada. More than 322,000 of those helped were children.

“It is shocking that hundreds of thousands of Canadians need help from food banks each month to make ends meet,” she notes. “The level of food bank use over the past three years has grown at an alarming rate and food banks are stretched to the limit.” (More)


From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Slums and the future of cities

By Gala Vince
BBC Smart Planet

14 January 2013 — As I said in my previous article, we are experiencing a unique time in Earth’s urban history. The migration of people to cities is by far the biggest humans have witnessed, and it’s well underway. The question is whether the urban revolution of the Anthropocene will add to the environmental and social problems of our age, or whether it can provide sustainable solutions?

Key to this is how the slum districts of developing world cities evolve. I visited Khulna, a city in southern Bangladesh, where shrimp farming had brought considerable wealth to local landowners and the country as a whole – it was the second most important GDP generator after the garment industry. However, the city's success gathered misery in its outskirts as migrants were drawn to Khulna’s apparently gold-paved streets – around 40,000 people a year were moving there. (More)


Spirit Quest

Hanns recalls when hockey was a gentlemen's game

while he carries a goal-tender's scar on his forehead

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

18 January 2013 —

Who’d-a-thought it!  No hockey, none until late January of this year, at least. I think it was mentioned in the Mayan Calendar.  I hear hockey night is big in Oaxaca City.

The first time I saw an NHL hockey game was at Maple Leaf Gardens — where else! Somehow, can’t remember how, I managed to get a seat in the “Reds”, still afforable in those days in the fourties, where I could fully appreciate not only the game but the players. Next time I went on the ice I made sure that my coiffure was perfectly and securely held in place by copious amounts of Brillcream.

The game seemed graceful, almost like the Ice Capades, which I took-in the following day, no comparison to “extreme hockey” — the mayhem on ice of today. (More)

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

We have survived the 'end-of-the-world'! Now what?

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

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

18 January 2013 — “Friday evening! We’ve had a whopper of a snowstorm, but other than that, I’m still safe and sound. The Christmas tree is lit, so are the outdoor lights. All is calm, all is bright! Christmas is coming and I only have a few more gifts to wrap.” (December 21, 9:16 p.m.)

Dear friends, we are still here! Having celebrated Christmas and New Year, we now look forward to this new beginning. Out with the old and on with the new!

Much was said about the end of the world occurring on December 21, 2012.

I laughed when Denis Gratton (Le Droit) mentioned a call from a distraught woman who was very worried about this possibility. Denis joked that you could always take this opportunity to max out your credit cards and go on a trip to Hawaii, Australia, or Tahiti… or you might want to tell your boss exactly what’s on your mind. You might treat yourself to the most outrageous “poutine”! (More)


Dignity at last

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.

At the end of my street is a housing complex called Edmund Yu Place.

It is home to "street survivors" and is owned by the City of Toronto.

It was once a run down rooming house that burned down with one of the roomers dying in the fire.

It stayed idle for years until the City of Toronto finally took it over.

The other day as I was waiting for the street car in front of the building a woman, obviously excited, pointed to the windows on the ground floor of the building. (More)


Beating the Drum

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.
The other side of the coin
By Beverly D. Blanchard
True North Perspective

18 January 2013 — I have been an independent consultant for over twenty years. Most of my clientele have been First Nations communities and organizations. Over these years, I have seen a lot of change in the First Nations world. Unfortunately, the media, researchers and activists do not talk about how the First Nations world has changed. Instead the usual statistics of lower educational rates, poorer housing, greater health problems, higher suicide rates, higher drug and alcohol dependency, and incarceration rates get tossed around.

Coupled with the statistics, there are the usual phrases such as: ‘our poor Aboriginal people’ or ‘we, the First Nations, are marginalized’ or ‘Aboriginal people get too much money’ or ‘abolish the Indian Act’. Everyone has an opinion and all of these opinions are based on their perspective that is sometimes limited in scope.

So instead of writing about Chief Spence, the Idle-no-more movement, the Harper government or the January 11 meeting (which I was sure would not result in anything), I decided I would provide the readers with some other statistics about Aboriginal people, and some of the organizations that are working to advance the well-being of my people. (More)


Mr Harper's End Game

By David McLaren
Special to True North Perspective
David McLaren is an award-winning writer living at Neyaashiinigamiing on Georgian Bay. He has worked in government, in the private sector, with ENGOs (Environmental Non-Government Organizations). He has worked with First Nations in Ontario for the past 22 years. He is author of two reports for the Ipperwash Inquiry or the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Some of his writings are collected at

It is telling that the Idle No More movement started with four First Nations women — Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean who gave the first “Idle No More” teach-in. Sylvia McAdam is a lawyer, as is Tanya Kappo, who first tweeted #idlenomore. Perhaps they are of the “New People” of the Anishinaabek Seventh Fire prophecy. Perhaps they are of those who refuse to see themselves as victims, but rather as human beings with rights that are being eroded and responsibilities that need taking up, Time will tell, as it has told of past abuses and as it is telling of present wrongs.

In 2007, Mr Harper gave the Kashechewan First Nation a choice. Either stay where they were put in 1957, or move to Timmins — stay in a place where you might get sick again from E-coli or lose your land and move to town. To become what? Beggars? Assimilated? The people suggested a third way and asked Mr Harper to move them upstream, to their original home. He refused.. (More)


From the Desk of Thomas Dow


How the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

By Naomi Wolfe
29 December 2012 — It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time — was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police.
The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves — was coordinated with the big banks themselves. (More)

Cross Town with Carl Dow

'Wisdom is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience'

Getting out and about by way of public transportation proves to be a perfect way to mix it up with the public.

Far better than being isolated in your personal vehicle, struggling with traffic and being annoyed about the high cost of fuel.

Almost always those sitting beside you or across the aisle are easy to engage in conversation.

Recently, opposite me was a charming woman who was confidently carrying her middle years. On her lap was a satchel. Under her right arm was a book. (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.