Friday 1 April 2011

 

Libya: Americans know they want to dump el-Qaddafi

But they have serious doubts about who the rebels are

Washington in fierce debate on arming Libyan rebels

'The question of whether to arm the rebels underscores the difficult choices the United States faces as it tries to move from being the leader of the military operation to a member of a NATO-led coalition, with no clear political endgame. It also carries echoes of previous American efforts to arm rebels, in Angola, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and elsewhere, many of which backfired. The United States has a deep, often unsuccessful, history of arming insurgencies.'

By Mark Lander, Elisabeth Bumiller and Steven Lee Myers
The New York Times

29 March 2011 WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is engaged in a fierce debate over whether to supply weapons to the rebels in Libya, senior officials said on Tuesday, with some fearful that providing arms would deepen American involvement in a civil war and that some fighters may have links to Al Qaeda.

The debate has drawn in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, these officials said, and has prompted an urgent call for intelligence about a ragtag band of rebels who are waging a town-by-town battle against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from a base in eastern Libya long suspected of supplying terrorist recruits.

“Al Qaeda in that part of the country is obviously an issue,” a senior official said. 1,164 words.
______
 

Walkom: Yes, contempt of Parliament does matter

'Harper has refused to accept the voters' verdict'

National Affairs Columnist
The Toronto Star

25 March 2011 — The Conservatives say their government’s contemptuous approach to Parliament doesn’t matter. They are wrong.

They are wrong on any number of levels. The most basic is the most obvious. For all of its imperfections (and they are many), the only thing close to a democratic national body in Canada is the House of Commons.

To be contemptuous of its members is to disdain those who elected them. Canadians get precious few chances to determine what their leaders do. When voters elected a minority government in 2008, they were signalling that they didn’t trust Stephen Harper’s Conservatives (or indeed any other party) to run the nation’s business single-handed.

Instead, they wanted the opposition parties to check government — to act as watchdogs, moderate its ideological excesses and keep it in line.

But throughout the life of this now-dead Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to accept the voters’ verdict. His decision to operate as if he controlled a majority of Commons seats may have been good short-term politics. But it contradicted both the spirit and reality of the very limited mandate voters had given him.

Had he stopped there, Harper’s approach might have been excused. The fact that his government survived as long as it did can be blamed in large part on the opposition’s failure to call his bluff earlier. —597 words.
______

On the road to the Harper government's tipping point

under a heavy load of  'just recently' exposed corruption

By Lawrence Martin
The Globe and Mail

8 March TORONTO Canada — It’s not the parts that count but the sum of the parts. Which invites the question: Is anyone doing the math?

Just recently, four senior Conservatives (including two senators) were charged with willfully exceeding spending limits in the 2006 campaign that brought the Tories to power. The “in and out” financing scheme came at the same time that Stephen Harper was promising a new era of transparency and accountability.

Just recently, we had the document-altering scandal featuring International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, who appears in the House of Commons for Question Period but refuses to answer questions on the matter.

Just recently, we had new revelations in regard to the government’s so-called integrity commissioner, the one who received 228 whistleblowing complaints and upheld not a single one. She left with a half-a-million-dollar severance package – and a gag order to go with it.

Just recently, we learned that the office of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney used ministerial letterhead to raise money for the Conservative Party. We’ve also seen a contempt of Parliament motion brought against the government for its refusal to disclose basic information on the costs of crime bills and on corporate profits. And we’ve seen the Conservatives release attack ads of such questionable quality that they were withdrawn. 624 words.

 

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
Guest Editorial
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 11 (270)
Friday, April 1, 2011
 

Canada watches its democracy erode

The Australians are also shaking their heads in dismay
 
By Ramesh Thakur
The Australian

30 March 2011 — On Friday, the minority Stephen Harper government fell on a confidence motion by a 156-145 vote. Speaking to the motion, Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff attacked the government for disrespecting Canadian democracy and treating parliament with contempt.

The myth of Canada being dull is captured in the apocryphal story that in an international competition for the most boring news headline of the year, the winning entry was "Yet another worthy Canadian initiative".

Edmund Burke noted that all that was necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. Canadians are certainly good and worthy folks, but they suffer an excess of civil obedience, politeness and lack of civic rage that could be harnessed to combat political atrophy. At a time when Arabs risk life and limb for political freedoms, Canadians seem largely apathetic about the erosion of their democracy. 739 words.


 
The Droz Report

A spectre is haunting Canada

The main issue of this election is personal


'This government is willing to sacrifice Canadian soldiers to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Libya. But it cavalierly dismisses democracy at home.

'Cynics hold that Canadians don’t care about such abstract matters, that as long as our bellies are full we will put up with anything. We shall see. The cynics have been surprised before.' — Thomas Walkom, in The Toronto Star, March 25, 2011.

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

1 April 2011 — It's been a week since the Conservative government of Canada (also known as "The Harper Government", about more of which anon) was finally defeated in the House of Commons. Stephen Harper had decided to roll the dice and put Thomas Walkom's claim that Canadians do care about such abstract matters as integrity and democracy to the test.
 
Having survived two and a half years, there was no great surprise that the government was defeated on a motion of non-confidence; what was (or should have been) a surprise was that that motion also declared that the Harper government had not just lost the confidence of the House but that it was in contempt of Parliament, an historically-unprecedented occurrence.
 
Some have no doubt argued that the charge was strictly political — and maybe it was — but sometimes the strictly political is based in reality.
 
In this case, the opposition had insisted — quel horreur! — that the Harper Government provide cost estimates for its proposed "anti-crime" bills (I use the quotation marks deliberately, and will return to Harper's "tough on crime" posturing in a future column). Contemptuous of Parliament indeed, the government of the Prime Minister Who Would Be President simply refused to tell the House of Commons — and by extension, the people of Canada — what the new prisons and guards, etcetera, would cost, insisting the measures be approved on faith.
 
Such a patently unreasonable stance can only mean that Stephen Harper wanted the election, no matter how much he protests otherwise. Harper was gambling that he could campaign his way into that ever-elusive majority government at last — at which point, if it happens, the gloves will come off and the spectre haunting Canada will will solidify into a very real neo-conservative nightmare.1,635 words.
______
 

Let's try another C word

 
'The price for NDP support was quite modest compared to the cost of an unnecessary election.'
 
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

The first weekend of the May 2 election campaign was dominated by a lot of vacuous talk about a coalition of opposition parties that would unseat a Conservative minority government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to use the bogus threat of a coalition to appeal for a majority. At the same time, he tried to wiggle out of his role in discussions about a 2004 pact with the other opposition parties to replace the minority Martin government even as former aide Tom Flanagan undermined his claims. 410 words.
______

Canada no longer leads on human rights — Amnesty International

By Campbell Clark
The Globe and Mail

31 March 2011 — Canada has lost its standing as a world leader in pressing for human rights, in part by taking a one-sided view on Middle East rights issues, Amnesty International says.

That judgment, according to Amnesty’s global secretary-general Salil Shetty, is the cumulative effect of several moves in recent years, including a reluctance to sign new UN rights declarations, avoiding accountability for the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, and a failure to stand up for the rights of Canadians accused abroad, such as Omar Khadr, the Canadian detained in Guantanamo Bay. 545 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 —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!
 
 

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

Making Tracks

The recently completed 16-station Canada Line that links downtown Vancouver to the city's airport is a welcome addition to the public transit system in the region.

Eighteen months have now passed since the inaugural run of the new Canada Line, which connects the cities of Vancouver and Richmond with the Vancouver International Airport, and has already reached the capacity ridership anticipated for five years hence. Now seems as good a time as any to assess its efficacy from a transit rider's perspective and to evaluate its overall success as a new urban intervention in the city's streetscapes. Many have spoken about its overwhelming success since it was introduced shortly before the Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, during which time an unprecedented 40% of the population left their cars at home to use public transit. However, much has been said about the negative side effects of its construction, which resulted in the tearing up of a prominent Vancouver neighbourhood's public thoroughfare and other accompanying negative consequences. 

The Canada Line not only connects the two cities of Vancouver and Richmond, but stops at their respective City Halls; moreover, downtown Vancouver is now only a 15-minute train ride from the airport. With such a unifying effect, there are numerous opportunities to create new communities along the nodes. 2.705 words.
______
 
It's 2011 — why are women (and girls) still being blamed for being raped?

Heather Mallick on what to wear for SlutWalk

By Heather Mallick
The Toronto Star

30 March 2011 — “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,” Toronto police Const. Michael Sanguinetti told a class on rape at Osgoode Hall Law School.

He then apologized and ran for cover, but the fact is, in the Sanguinetti world we live in, women are judged on their appearance.

SlutWalk, a beautifully conceived and organized protest against this kind of women-hating, starts at central Queen's Park at 1:30 this Sunday and winds up at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College St. Wear anything you like, the organizers told me when I emailed them.
 
Because it isn't what you're wearing that matters, it's that cops, and indeed rapists, will assess you whatever you wear. Their assessment will invariably be different from yours.589 words.
______
 
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

The lovebirds are back and spring is the ultimate mating season

'Nature is a never-ending source of inspiration'

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.

1 April 2011 — The robins are back. First, the males showed up, securing the territory around their old nest. At this time of the year, you’ll see robins bobbing along, looking for food and courting. They will soon refurbish the old mud and grass nest or build a new one. At dusk, you can hear their sweet evening song. Some make the pine trees their home; others prefer the Boston ivy vines that climb along my porch walls or its ledge.

In the animal kingdom, few mate for life: the grey wolf, coyotes, beavers, certain foxes, a few hoofed mammals and certain primates to name a few. And of course, the lovebirds! 1,071 words.
_____

Spirit Quest

A Fair Country — 'As an antidote to

the bull of election ads, read this book'

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

01 April 2011 — If I had money to invest I would do so in an industry that produces squared paper and HB pencils. Rubber erasers and pencil sharpeners might be a good deal as well. So we are persuaded  just as politicians, bankers and economists encourage us, as they unleash tons of statistics to prove whatever theory they espouse on matters of taxation, productivity, national debt and deficit.
 
Stephen Harper leaves no doubt about his vision for a Canadian government — a Conservative Majority. Within hours of achieving his dream we shall awake to a new society. The wraps will be off and a new nation will be born. That birth may be akin to a Caesarian section with cuts and drains, but what of the newborn? Harper has barely hinted as this vision of the new society for fear of public revulsion. 881 words.
_____
 
ParkTales

Town Hall meeting challenges mayor Ford's bid

to sell off Toronto's public housing to private control

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.

01 April 2011 — I attended a Town Hall Meeting this week at the St Lawrence Community Centre on the future of public housing.

The meeting was called in response to Mayor Rob Ford's intentions to privatise public housing. A lot in the audience were tenants in public housing. What an inspiring meeting!
 
People spoke out on the need for not less, but more public housing and publicly controlled. One particular young woman caught my attention. 370 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.


 

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

 

Twitter fights order to hand over user information

Twitter’s lawyers are trying to block US authorities from accessing personal data as part of a WikiLeaks probe

By Matthew Broersma
EWeekEurope.co.uk
 
28 March 2011 — Lawyers on Friday asked a US judge to overturn a ruling from earlier this month, forcing Twitter to hand over account details to the US Department of Justice, in a case related to the US federal government’s ongoing investigation of Wikileaks.
 
The appeal (PDF) seeks to overturn a ruling that would give the US government access to Twitter account details for three users who had contact with Wikileaks. The government also wants Twitter to provide information on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and on Bradley Manning, a US Army private charged with providing data to Wikileaks.620 words.
______

Money and Markets

The truth? America is headed fast for double-dip recession

By Robert Reich
RobertReich.org

30 March 2011 — Why aren’t Americans being told the truth about the economy? We’re heading in the direction of a double dip – but you’d never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington.

Consumers are 70 percent of the American economy, and consumer confidence is plummeting. It’s weaker today on average than at the lowest point of the Great Recession.

The Reuters/University of Michigan survey shows a 10 point decline in March – the tenth largest drop on record. Part of that drop is attributable to rising fuel and food prices. A separate Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence, just released, shows consumer confidence at a five-month low — and a large part is due to expectations of fewer jobs and lower wages in the months ahead.

Pessimistic consumers buy less. And fewer sales spells economic trouble ahead.751 words.

______

U.S. corporate profits up while employment, housing prices, down

By Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy

27 March 2011, WASHINGTON — U.S. corporations continue to post strong profits quarter after quarter, even as the unemployment rate remains high and the U.S. economic recovery plods along in fits and starts. What gives?

Corporate profits grew 36.8 percent in 2010, the biggest gain since 1950, according to Friday's latest report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. No sign could be more clear that U.S. companies see the so-called Great Recession in the rearview mirror.

The strong profits, however, mask the continued difficult terrain for businesses. Yes, profits are high, but that doesn't mean business is strong.

"It's not that they're fake, it's that they're generated through a bunch of economic anomalies that are not the normal course or normal factors that generate profits," said Martin Regalia, chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America's premierbusiness lobby. 1,145 words.
______
 
 
By John McDonal
Correo del Orinoco International

25 March 2011 NEW YORK —  Leonora Laboy has received  a credit on her rent in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx for the last two years through help from an unlikely source — the Venezuelan government.

Mount Hope Housing Company, Inc., the community development organization that manages the housing complex where Laboy lives, has participated in Citgo Oil’s heating oil subsidy program for the past six years, including 2010. This year, 290 of Mount Hope’s almost 400 residents benefited from the program, which grants recipients an annual rent credit.

“It definitely makes a difference”, said Laboy, a widow with five children. Every year Citizens Energy, a Boston based company that uses revenues from commercial enterprises to channel millions of dollars into charitable programs in the US and abroad, asks for aid from major oil producers —including Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP— to alleviate the burden of high heating costs for low income, elderly and Native American populations in the US. Citgo, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, is the only company that agrees to help. 539 words.
______
 
 
SecurityWeek News
 
29 March 2011 — The Rustock Botnet was sending as many as 13.82 Billion spam emails each day before being taken down early this month by an effort headed by Microsoft in cooperation with authorities and the legal system.

According to Symantec’s March 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report, the Rustock botnet had been responsible for an average of 28.5% of global spam sent from all botnets in March.

Following the takedown, when the Rustock botnet was no longer cranking out spam by the billions, global spam volumes fell by one-third. Toward the end of 2010, Rustock had been responsible for as much as 47.5% of all spam, sending approximately 44.1 billion e-mails per day, according to MessageLabs stats. 520 words.

 

Cottage & Big Backyard Show

April 8, 9, and 10

offers one-stop shopping for the latest

cottage and outdoor living products and services

Buying, selling or upgrading your cottage?  Looking to turn your backyard into an outdoor oasis that will be the envy of your friends and neighbors? In the market for the latest boat, barbecue or hot tub?

If so, The Cottage & Big Backyard Show at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa is the place to be on April 8, 9 and 10.

New and exciting products and services to be showcased include the world’s first pre-finished deck and dock boards, cut river rock exterior facing for cottages, natural additives that virtually eliminate the need for chemicals in hot tubs and the latest in aluminum docks, boat lifts and watercraft. — 591 words.
______

'Chair-ity' auction during

The Cottage & Big Backyard Show

helps cancer victims enjoy cottage vacations

Cancer survivors will spend time in cottage country this summer thanks to an auction during The Cottage & Big Backyard Show  April  8, 9, 10, that will see four beautifully decorated Muskoka chairs awarded to the highest bidders.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Cottage Dreams Cancer Recovery Initiative, a charity that supplies cottages to cancer survivors and their families. The cottages are donated by their owners.

“It’s a way for survivors to reconnect with family members and continue the recovery process in a peaceful and beautiful setting,” says Seanna O’Neill, founder of the organization, whose mother passed away from cancer.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to raise money for this charity at our show by auctioning off four very special Muskoka chairs that have been painted and decorated by local artists,” says Ian Forsyth, Managing Partner for Caneast Shows, organizer of the show. — 472 words.

 
Science
 
 
By Mark Brown
Wired UK

28 March 2011 — Speaking at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in California, MIT professor Daniel Nocera claims to have created an artificial leaf made from stable and inexpensive materials that mimics nature’s photosynthesis process.

The device is an advanced solar cell, no bigger than a typical playing card, which is left floating in a pool of water. Then, much like a natural leaf, it uses sunlight to split the water into its two core components, oxygen and hydrogen, which are stored in a fuel cell to be used when producing electricity.

Nocera’s leaf is stable — operating continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity in preliminary tests — and made of widely available, inexpensive materials — like  silicon, electronics and chemical catalysts. It’s also powerful, as much as 10 times more efficient at carrying out photosynthesis than a natural leaf.

With a single gallon of water, Nocera says, the chip could produce enough electricity to power a house in a developing country for an entire day.words.
______

Cuba rejects as false the talk of 'protection' in Geneva

'Concerns occur . . . only when these countries have oil, gas, mineral resources'

Prenza Latina


25 March 2011 GENEVA — Cuba dismissed as false the rhetoric of protection promoted by the powers of the North in the Human Rights Council (HRC), United Nations, saying it applies only to oil-rich territories.

During the general debate on item 10 of the sixteenth session of the Council, the permanent ambassador of Cuba in Geneva, Rodolfo Reyes, said that concerns occur curiously only when these countries have oil, gas and mineral resources.

Also when they have a privileged military geo-strategic situation or in the design of international flows of energy resources, or its authorities actively reject the imperial opinions, he said.

The Responsibility to Protect has been manipulated as a doctrine of military adventures of the Northern powers, in which operational forces are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians classified as collateral damage, he said.

Rodolfo Reyes said that Northern powers are not alien to the torture, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and rapes committed by the alleged agents of protection. END.
______
 

Move may lead Russia away from Putin's state capitalism

Agence France Presse

01 March 2011 MOSCOW  President Dmitry Medvedev has launched a campaign to oust allies of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin from company boards in a possible blow to Putin's carefully-built system of state control over the economy.

After Medvedev reeled off his new to-do list that calls for state officials to stand down from corporate directorships, Russia was buzzing with speculation over whether he has agreed his plan with Putin or was acting independently to thrust himself to the forefront of Russia's leadership with less than a year to go before presidential polls.

Convening a meeting in the steel city of Magnitogorsk in the Urals to discuss training programmes for engineers, Medvedev on Wednesday appeared to catch most by surprise when he unveiled his plan to improve the investment climate. 602 words.
______
 

Objection to a 20-cent raise in canteen food can win you a 'consultation'

By Zhang Jiawei
chinadaily.com.cn
 
25 March 2011 BEIJING  — China's prestigious Peking University is planning to enforce screening all its students for "radical thoughts," raising concerns that a lack of free thinking will stifle students in a place famed for open discussions.
 
Beijing Evening News reported Friday the university started a trial of the screening and consultation last November in its Health Science Center and Yuanpei College, which gets most of China's top students. 384 words.
______
 

of nuclear power plants: official

China Daily News

27 March 2011 BEIJING  An official overseeing nuclear safety in China has said that the safety of the country's nuclear power facilities is guaranteed, while reaffirming its goal of developing nuclear power as a clean energy source.

"There is a guarantee for the safety of China's nuclear power facilities and (China) will not abandon (its nuclear power plan) for fear of slight risks," said Tian Shujia in response to reports that China will become more prudent toward developing nuclear power.

He said there are strict laws, regulations, and technical standards which govern site selection, design, construction, testing, operation, and retirement of nuclear power plants in China. He added that these codes are stringently enforced by the Chinese government. 434 words.
______

The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada, revisits Karl Marx

on the 128th anniversary of his death, March 14, 1883

Hate him, scorn him, or love him, Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German philosophersociologisthistorianpolitical economistpolitical theorist and revolutionary socialist, who developed the socio-political theory of Marxism. His ideas play a significant role in both the development of modern social science[2] and also in the socialist political movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894), many of which were co-written with his friend, the fellow German revolutionary socialist Friedrich Engels.[3] . . . In a 1999 BBC poll Marx was voted the "thinker of the millennium" by people from around the world.T[9]

While Marx remained a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas and the ideology of Marxism began to exert a major influence on socialist movements shortly after his death. Revolutionary socialist governments following Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of such "socialist" states as the Soviet Union in 1922 and the People's Republic of China in 1949, while various theoretical variants, such as LeninismTrotskyism and Maoism, were developed. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, (both of whom set out to refute Marx but ended up refining him) as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.[2]

With financial meltdowns and labour protests, is it the springtime for Marx?

By Elizabeth Renzetti
The Globe and Mail
 
27 March 2011 LONDON, England — In Highgate Cemetery, the faithful still come to drape flowers over the giant bust inscribed with some of Karl Marx's most famous words: “Workers of all lands unite” and “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point is to change it.”

It is the most-visited grave in the cemetery, even if most of the pilgrims don't come from Britain, the land of Marx's exile, where he died in near-obscurity in 1883. One of the volunteers at the cemetery, where fewer than a dozen mourners gathered at his funeral, says, “We get lots of Chinese visitors. They seem to think he's the greatest man who ever lived.” Around the base of his monument, crocuses have pushed their way through the cold earth.

Still, with the West suffering from the after-effects of the financial crisis and revolution in the air in parts of the world, could it possibly be springtime for Marx? Could Marxism, the Union Carbide of political brands, possibly be rehabilitated – or, more likely, mined for the bits that are still relevant in a chaotic world?

The signs may be sparser and more frail than those spring flowers around his grave, but students of the historian's work point to a few potential indicators: Striking workers in Egypt provided crucial leverage in the downfall of Hosni Mubarak; thousands of people have poured onto the streets of the American Midwest to protest against draconian labour legislation in various states. In Britain, trade unions are organizing marches on Saturday that will probably be the largest seen in the country since the anti-war demonstrations of 2003. Workers may not be the gravediggers of capitalism, as Marx and Friedrich Engels prophesied, but they may no longer be its zombies, either.

At this moment, the most famous living historian of Marxist thought is digging him from the toxic bed where Stalin and Mao left him: “Today Marx is, once again, very much a thinker for the 21st century,” Eric Hobsbawm writes in his 16th book, How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism.(The collection of essays, just published in Britain, will be available in September in Canada and the U.S.)

The title is much more crusading than the book's sober content – and its cover, which features a picture of Che Guevara, but not Marx, may give some indication of the taint still attached to poor old Karl. 2.202 words.


Book Review of Red Capitalism:

Evaluating China's financial foundation and extraordinary rise

'Chinese Communists have capitalism on a short leash while it continues to attract foreign investments by the billions'

'Capitalism isn’t just for capitalists.' — Deng Xiaoping

By Frank Voisin
Frank Voison.com 

21 March 2011 — A regular topic on this site has been the impact of China on U.S. firms, as well as the growing prevalence of Chinese firms listed in North American markets. The underlying quest here, Is there still value in Chinese investments, or is China a bubble waiting to burst? But it is a real challenge for investors to research companies and get valid answers from a country with weak reporting standards and strong censorship, in a market where capitalism is on a short leash held by communists. And yet, China’s magnificent growth and emergence as a new world superpower fascinates us and continues to attract foreign investment by the billions.

In my efforts to learn more about China’s markets, I recently read Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise. This book provides a good summary of China’s macroeconomic growth over the last few decades without shying away from discussing the systemic fragility that has come along with it, and I thought it was worth reviewing the book in a bit more detail.

Introduction

The first thing that struck me about this book was that it was written by insiders who think like outsiders, two guys with on-the-ground experience who have provided the insight necessary to write a book of this nature. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an expose, but it illuminates trends and policies in China that aren’t often discussed, certainly within China and probably not enough outside either. The authors are westerners who have worked in finance in China for years, and they presented their evidence in a logical manner without avoiding or sugarcoating the issues. 1,299 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.


Add new comment