Friday 26 April 2013

Keep the Faith

To our readers who want to know what happened to our Boston Bomber piece

Our publication is dedicated to the truth. However, we don't have the funds to pay for dedicated fact-checkers, and so we sometimes make mistakes.

Shortly after publication of this edition, a reader wrote to us with evidence that significant elements of the Boston Bombing story, which had been running in this space, were badly flawed, containing "facts" — including a false claim by CNN made in the early turmoil of reporting — that were simply wrong, and which had been proven wrong for some time.

Realizing the facts were not correct we pulled the story without stirring the energy to explain why.

Just as a reader pointed out the flaws in that story, others have written to ask where it went; one, at least, wondered if perhaps True North Perspective has succumbed to censorship. The answer, plain and simple, is above.

Meanwhile, please rest assured that so long as we can draw enough oxygen to feed our brains and enough energy to tap a keyboard, True North Perspective will remain loyal to its premise: Truth without prejudice.

Americans troubled more by government abuse than terrorism

30 April 2013 BOSTON — New polling numbers suggest that United States citizens are on average more afraid of their own government then the threat of another terrorist attack.

Even after a pair of bombings in Boston two weeks ago injured hundreds, more Americans say they are unwilling to sacrifice constitutional liberties for security than those who are. (More)


US gives Cuba cold shoulder over prisoners and their suffering families

Fates of jailed Cuban Five are at the heart of hostility between Washington and Havana. Cuban Adriana Perez hasn’t seen her imprisoned husband since 1990s

By Oakland Ross
The Toronto Star
27 April 2013 — She’s 43 years old, childless, and lives in Cuba, while her husband of a quarter-century is incarcerated in a U.S. maximum-security prison, having served just 14 years of a soul-crushing sentence — two life terms plus 15 years.
So what are the odds that Adriana Perez and her spouse, Gerardo Hernandez, will ever have a child together?
Right now, those chances are looking extremely slim.
Or, as Perez put it just the other day: “It’s another one of our rights that is being violated.”
In this case, the right to bear children. (More)

Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

A violent act again in a violent nation  .  .  .

'To paraphrase an old riddle: "Are we governed by clever people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it?"  In this case, did the United States mean to open the gates of Hell in Syria, or did it just blunder into this mess?'

How the West fueled the ever-growing carnage in Syria

The actions of the United States and its allies in Syria

have only led to escalating violence, death, and chaos  


School principal discouraged teen girl from reporting

sexual assault because it would ruin boy's basketball career


TrueNorth Humanist Perspective

US terrorist list and state terrorism against Cuba 

kills and maims thousands of children and students

By Keith Bolender
Eurasia Review
Raul Castro23 April 2013 — Of all the components to the United States hostile strategy against Cuba, nothing raises the ire of the Castro government more than its inclusion on the State Department’s list of states that sponsor terrorism.
The designation is seen by Havana as an impediment towards improving relations and as a cruel hypocrisy that provides political cover for Washington to justify the imposition of economic penalties along with the perpetuation of anti-revolutionary propaganda.
There is an opportunity to eliminate that stumbling block in the next few weeks, if newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry decides to recommend Cuba’s deletion from the list to President Obama.
Kerry has until the release of the State Department’s annual terror report on April 30 to make the determination of whether Cuba will remain on the terrorist list. High ranking Cuban officials are closely watching this development, indicating the removal could offer an opportunity to re-engage with the United States. (More)
From the Desk of Ramsay Hart, Mining Watch

Ring of Fire First Nation declares state of emergency

as wealthy mining corps gang up with high-priced heat

By Shawn Bell
Wawatay News
25 April 2013 — The tragedies of multiple suicides in Neskantaga, and the First Nation’s declaration of a state of emergency, should be a wakeup call for everyone involved in trying to push the Ring of Fire ahead.

If there ever is a time for people working in government and in the mining industry to step back and look at the big picture, this is it. Seven tragic deaths have shaken the community of 420 over the past year. Another 20 tried to end their own life but failed. Everyone is exhausted, emotionally and physically.

Meanwhile, as councilor Roy Moonias said, Neskantaga is under “overwhelming pressure” from mining companies and governments who want to negotiate with the community on the Ring of Fire mining development. (More)

From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor

US government turns blind eye on corporations

responsible for the multiple deaths of workers

Though the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company hadn’t had a safety inspection since 1985 and had lied to the Environmental Protection Agency about explosives on the property, it will likely and literally get away with murder.
By Mike Konopacki and Kathy Wilkes
Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons
Remember Fallen Workers poster24 April 24 2013 — The recent bombing in Boston that killed three people was quickly branded “terrorism.” If convicted, the 19-year-old suspect could face the death penalty under federal law. In the same week, an explosion at a West Texas fertilizer plant killed 14, including 11 firefighters.
Though the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company hadn’t had a safety inspection since 1985 and had lied to the Environmental Protection Agency about explosives on the property, it will likely and literally get away with murder.

In Texas (and, sadly, elsewhere in the US), killing workers for profit is the perfect crime. In 2005 an explosion at British Petroleum’s Texas City refinery killed 15 and injured 170.  Five years later, BP’s offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded and killed 11 workers.

Though BP was fined for both incidents, there were no arrests of those responsible. Similarly Gulf Stream Marine, which handles cargo at Gulf Coast ports, experienced six fatal accidents from 2007 to 2011. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found violations in every case but subsequently deleted violations and erased penalties in half of them. (More)
True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 8, No. 8 (336)
Friday 26 April 2013
Editor's Notes
US Vice-President Joe Biden recently acknowledged the obvious: that Americans have a right to own and bear arms but he said that the arms should be used to defend against criminals not the government.
But why should Americans trust their government? Their government lied its way into a series of wars, the most well known of which are Vietnam and Iraq. It lied about its successes in Afghanistan. It lied its way into the destruction of Libya and now is working hard to destroy Syria. Wars that have seriously tarnished the country's international reputation and brought it to the brink of economic ruin.
Since 9/11 Washington has incrementally reduced the freedoms of its civilian population against a background of everything from mounting joblessness and home foreclosures as the finance and oil industries have been rewarded for dishonesty and brutal exploitation. And it lies about an economic boom that is allegedly just around the proverbial corner.
Meanwhile, expanding control over agriculture by Monsanto marches on as with the mounting threat of fracking to rich farm lands.
Obama and his disgraceful bunch of hypocrites shed crocodile tears about three dead in Boston while they pursue foreign policies that result in the wrecking of economies and the mounting deaths and dismemberment of millions throughout the world.
With all this there might be some sense to the proposition that the best defense of democracy is the possession of a high-powered automatic rifle in the hands of every man, woman, and child in the country.
Chasing after guns held by its citizens is hypocritical for the government of a country that is the largest gun manufacturer, seller, and user, in the world. (More)
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- 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


Agriculture numbers that matter for Canadians

The challenges are urgent and exciting and call for our full attention

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
26 April 2013 — A recent presentation by Ron Bonnett, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and a report from Agriculture Canada drive home the importance of growing and producing food to the Canadian economy.
But how many realize it?
Here’s the agriculture and food industry by the numbers: (More)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

One Last Walk with Judy Graves

City of Vancouver's only full-time advocate for the homeless to retire in May
By Jackie Wong
Tyee Solutions Society
12 April 2013It's one of the first sunny days of spring, and the herons have returned to their rookery in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Judy Graves walks slowly, pausing to admire the wiry herons' nests, the new daffodils, and the fluffy cherry blossoms. The 63-year-old's nails are whimsically painted a lilac pastel that matches her goofy spontaneity and youthful inquisitiveness.
"Here," she says, leading us toward the Vancouver Park Board's headquarters. We follow her to a side of the building thick with rhododendron bushes. "When I'm a homeless old woman, this is where I'll live."

It takes a moment to understand what she means. She points to a rectangular covered area with a clean white concrete floor. Short walls provide some shelter from the elements. "The people who live here are usually very organized," she says. "One man, he would cook his food out on the beach. And he just loved the flowers." (More)


Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Of Bells and Belles and a dream come true

By Geneviève Hone

Hone, small image.

26 April 2013 — On this fine Saturday afternoon, I am slowly walking along the street, enjoying the spring sunshine, trying to pick up the sounds of birds in their mating and nesting season. But no luck. Bird conversation is drowned by the noise of the street, including that of two cars roaring down the block, “music” blaring out of sound systems that should be banned from the earth. I come to a lovely old church, notice that the door is open, a rarity these days, and with the hope of finding “sounds of silence”, decide to enter.

No one is in the church other than a young man perched high on a ladder putting up decorations for tomorrow’s service. He agilely climbs down and comes to greet me. In the course of our short conversation, he tells me a bit of the history of the church and he mentions that he is one of the bell ringers. This last bit immediately piques my interest. I have always been fascinated by bells, especially church bells, and if I am granted another life, I do want to train as a bell founder, no matter how long it takes. As you can well imagine, bell making is a very complex undertaking which I won’t explain here for lack of space… and also because I know absolutely nothing about the process! (More)

Spirit Quest

Lest we forget Margaret Thatcher

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

26 April 2013 — There was a time when I loved to fly, unfortunately not so much any more. I well remember my first venture into the air on a flight from Toronto to New York (1947) on Trans Canada Airlines. I felt like a highly privileged person, aged 18, as I boarded the 21 passenger DC 3. Indeed, I was treated as a guest rather than a necessary nuisance as on today’s Air Steerage.

Nowadays I recall those early flights whenever I use Porter Air, a company very much in the news these days. Some years ago on a flight to Halifax I encountered Robert Deluce, the president of the company. I told him how much I enjoyed the spacious seats, the food and drink, the staff on ground and in the air wearing pillbox hats, the less polluting aircraft of their fleet. He listened appreciatively and then told me of his plans to expand into the United States . We had a very pleasant conversation. Before taking my leave I offered him a bit of advice: ”Don’t get too big.” He gave me a strange look which quickly melded into a wry smile which seemed to say “try and stop me.” (More)
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.


Memories Chiefly Paul Pauk

Paul Pauk, partner of Frances Sedgwick for 44 years, died peacefully in Toronto at 1 p.m. Monday 23 April 2013. He was 94. Paul was severely handicapped by a stroke ten years ago. The loyal warm care Frances has given him since then pays ample tribute to both of them. Here following is a column Frances wrote five years ago, 24 April 2008, in which she recalls just a few of Paul's strengths that caused her to love him so deeply. It was published with the headline

My Trip to Ottawa – Memories on the Train

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Paul Pauk, detail.24 April 2008 — Things quieted down, I lay back and watched the scenery — then we passed a station. All of a sudden tears came to my eyes. That’s the Cobourg Station! I sit up. How many summers my partner picked me up here and we went to our trailer. He would be there fishing and I would say, “Don’t come to Toronto to pick me up, I’ll take the train." Oh, the fun we had, fishing, entertaining friends, bonfires, dogs, kids. As the train sped along the memories kept flashing through my mind. How many kids did I introduce to my “enchanted forest” across the road? How many spiders did we watch catching mosquitoes in their webs on our deck? “Remember Gabriel, never destroy a spider web. It has its purpose.” How many special stones did Gabriel and I collect? And oh yeah, those bugs.

The highlight of the summer of course was the fishing. 

How many kids got their introduction to fishing from Paul? I’ll always remember the look of excitement on their faces when they pulled in a fish. (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. She is the author of the blog Ancient Wisdom at:

Justin Beiber may be rich and famous

but he's still a teenager — give him a break

By Beverly D. Blanchard
True North Perspective

Justin Bieber close-up.26 April 2013 — It would appear from media reports that Justin Bieber’s life has been spiraling out of control. Apparently he was caught with his shirt off in an airport, and he is being investigated by the police after allegedly 'assaulting' his neighbour. The assault was an alleged spitting. Oh yes and he was caught driving over 100 mph on a Los Angeles, California, freeway.

In addition to these infractions, he also signed the guest book after a tour of Anne Frank’s house with a suggestion that she might have been a Bieber follower. Now we have a new report that he is not helping out his grandparents who live in a house with a hole in the roof.

Since he is Canadian, and he might have First Nation or Inuit lineage, I figured I would divert my attention away from my Aboriginal Awareness articles and take the time to write an article in defense of Justin. (More)

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Cross Town with Carl Dow

A class act at the Cuban Embassy

You can dress him up but you can't take him out

Cuban embassy, Ottawa.26 April 2013 — On Tuesday 23 April 2013 I went to a reception at the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa. I hadn't been invited, and probably never will be after what happened.

I've had to contend with pain ever since I was eight-years-old. I have good days and bad days. This was a bad day and I made the mistake of using a cane instead of crutches. Crutches are good because they build upper-body strength aside from giving you something to lean on when standing gets tough. But they are a nuisance because they occupy both muscling arms. 

A friend, a recently retired municipal politician, had been invited to a reception at the embassy in honour of Adriana Pérez, wife of Cuban Gerardo Hernandez who was sentenced to two, repeat two, life terms plus 15 years in a bizarre case that has roused anti-American feeling throughout the world. Mr. Hernandez can be considered nothing less than an American political prisoner.

In another example of the cruelty behind the phony senntimentality and crocodile tears shed by official Washington including the most disappointing President Obama, the Americans won't allow her entry so that she could visit her husband. Since 1998! Please see story below.

My friend said she could bring a guest, would I like to go? Suffering from an acute case of curiosity, a disease that afflicts all critical journalists, I said yes.

But I didn't take any pain killer and, like I said, I carried my cane instead of crutches. Standing is harder for me than walking. I figured I'd stand around for a while then sit down. (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.

There can be no life without laughter

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show takes on

the Bush Library and 'Disasterpiece Theater'

"Invade Iraq? Yes. Rescue New Orleans? No. Bail out Wall Street? Pass the checkbook."

26 April 2013 — On Thursday 25 April night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart and senior correspondent Al Madrigal took on the newly-unveiled, George W. Bush Presidential Library. The team took particular shots at “Decision Points Theater,” the absurd exhibit where museum patrons get a chance to relive some of Dubya’s most controversial moments in his shoes.

“But any Bush library is going to have to grapple with some of the damaging decisions made by this administration—Iraq, Katrina, the financial crisis—hopefully the Bush center has found a way to explore these issues that are both informative and objective,” Stewart said before introducing what he calls “Disasterpiece Theater.”

Jon then turned to senior correspondent Al Madrigal, who reported live from the library, wielding a “George W. Bush Steak-on-a-Stick.”

“Decision Points theater: amazing. I aced it by the way,” Madrigal said. “Invade Iraq? Yes. Rescue New Orleans? No. Bail out Wall Street? Pass the checkbook.” Jon, curious, asked, “Knowing what we know now, why did you choose ‘yes’ on invading Iraq?”

“Well,” Madrigal replied. “The choices were: (A) Leave a mad man in power that will destroy civilization or (B) be a little bitch,” Madrigal said, further explaining that those who choose B face a video of Bush telling users they made the wrong decision.

“You’re making that up right?” Stewart checked.

“No, that’s actually what happens at the George W. Bush museum,” Madrigal said, reflecting a very sad reality.

Luckily for presidential enthusiasts, similar exhibits exist in other libraries, Madrigal explained. “There’s a decision points room at the Clinton presidential library … Actually it’s just a crotch-level hole in the wall.”

Three challenges on how well you know our country

By Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa are the authors of nine books about Canada, with best-seller sales of more than 50,000. Their Web site is:

Big Book of Canadian Trivia cover

But don't worry: three strikes and you can try again — after you read the answers.

1. What province has the purple violet as its provincial flower?

a) Ontario  b) Nova Scotia c) New Brunswick d)  Manitoba

2. Seven types of vireo breed in Canada.  What is a vireo?

a) a type of bird  b) a type of fish  c) a type of rodent  d) a type of insect

3. True or false?  Indian pipe is the name for the logs that were used by Iroquois to build their longhouses


Sister and brother swim 13km in stormy seas after boat sinks

US tourists swim for nearly 14 hours after engine blows near St. Lucia

Associated Press
25 April 2013 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The fishing trip off the rugged north coast of St. Lucia was supposed to last all day, but about four hours into the journey, the boat's electric system crackled and popped.
Dan Suski, a 30-year-old business owner and information technology expert from San Francisco, had been wrestling a 200-pound marlin in rough seas with help from his sister, Kate Suski, a 39-year-old architect from Seattle. It was around noon April 21.
He was still trying to reel in the fish when water rushed into the cabin and flooded the engine room, prompting the captain to radio for help as he yelled out their co-ordinates.
It would be nearly 14 hours and a long, long swim before what was supposed to be a highlight of their sunny vacation would come to an end. (More)

Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons

When amply-funded US 'good' terrorists backfire

By Coleen Rowley
Open Mike

Donald Rumsfeld, unrepentant20 April 2013 — I almost choked on my coffee while listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he's never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the US; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.

Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen terrorists proved useful to the US in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya's "friends," including former CIA Director James Woolsey.

For instance, see this 2004 article in the UK Guardian, entitled, "The Chechens' American friends: The Washington neocons' commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own." (More)

George W. Bush: All the (former) Presidents' friend

Obama is comfortable with Bush's Inferno

False attack on Iraq killed one million, but that's okay . . .


By Ralph Nader
Common Dreams
George W. Bush, unrepentant22 April 2013 — George W. Bush is riding high. A megamillionaire, from the taxpayer-subsidized Texas Rangers company, he makes $150,000 to $200,000 per speech, receives a large presidential pension and support facilities and is about to dedicate the $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on April 25.

President Obama will be at the dedication, continuing to legitimize Mr. Bush, as he did from the outset by announcing in 2009 there would be no investigations or prosecutions of the Bush officials for their crimes.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Bush continued to say he has no regrets about his Presidency. "I'm comfortable with what I did," he said, "I'm comfortable with who I am." He added, "Much of my presidency was defined by things that you didn't necessarily want to have happen."

But he and Dick Cheney made them happen, although Mr. Bush attributed some military events to Providence. One of the "things" he is comfortable with was his criminal, unconstitutional invasion and occupation of Iraq, which took more than one million Iraqi lives — children, women and men — created 5 million refugees and committed overall sociocide on that country which posed no threat to the US. The carnage continues to this day by a militarized al-Qaeda-in-Iraq that didn't exist before his invasion. (More)


US Cuba Policy: Fruitless, mean and cruel

By Saul Landau and Nelson P. Valdes

Saul Landau’s FIDEL and WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP are available on DVD from

Nelson Valdés is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico

26 April 2013 In their 54-year-old effort to bring down Cuba’s revolutionary government and restore obedience in our Caribbean neighbor, U.S. officials have compiled a spectacular record of failure, overshadowed only by the determination to persist in their pursuit of wrongheaded polices, further damaging U.S. interests.

In the 1990s, Washington began to define terrorism as the new peril on the security horizon. President Clinton deemed it reasonable to make informal arrangements with other countries, even Cuba, trying to achieve anti-terrorist goals.

Indeed, Cuban intelligence agencies fed antiterrorist data to the FBI because they assumed the Bureau shared the same dread as their U.S. counterparts about the death and chaos that would result from allowing terrorists to pursue their goals. But, in September 1998, the FBI Bureau Chef in Miami perpetrated an act of security illogic. He ordered his FBI agents to arrest the Cuban intelligence agents who had supplied the Bureau with important data about terrorists operating in Florida. (More)


While American puppet alleges voter fraud Venezuelan

audit analysis shows shows Presidential results are legit

By Eurasia Review
26 April 2013 CARACAS Venezuela — A statistical analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) has shown that if Venezuelan opposition claims that Nicolás Maduro’s victory was obtained by fraud were true, it is practically impossible to have obtained the result that was found in an audit of 53% of electronic voting machines that took place on the evening of Venezuela’s April 14 elections. The odds of this occurring would be far less than one in 25 thousand trillion.

“The U.S. government must know this, too,” said CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot, economist and co-author of a forthcoming paper with economist and computer scientist David Rosnick. “So it is difficult to explain why they are refusing to recognize the elected president – in opposition to all of the countries in Latin America and most of the world.”

The results of Venezuela’s April 14 presidential election returned 7,575,506 votes for Nicolás Maduro, and 7,302,641 votes for challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. This is a difference of 272,865 votes, or 1.8 percent of the two-way total between the candidates. (More)


New 'Comet of the Century' bears down on our solar system

By Staff Writers
Space Daily
Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)26 April 2013, TUCSON AZ — Scientists eagerly await the arrival of a recently discovered, highly active comet that will skim 730,000 miles above the Sun's surface on November 28 and has the potential to be readily visible from Earth.

The comet, C/2012 S1 (ISON), is highly unusual in that it comes to the inner solar system for the first time and will skirt around the Sun within less than two solar radii from the Sun's surface on Nov. 28. Comet C/ISON was discovered in September 2012 when it was farther away from the Sun than Jupiter, and was already active at such a great distance. (More)

Health Watch

AIDS hopes dashed again:

Agence France-Presse
Lab image25 April 2013 — US authorities announced Thursday they have halted clinical trials of an experimental vaccine designed to halt the virus that leads to AIDS after discovering it did not stop infection.
The program, which began in 2009, is the latest in a series of unsuccessful studies of candidate vaccines aimed at tackling HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said volunteers in 19 US cities — either gay men or transgender people who had sex with men — took part in the study, with the HVTN 505 vaccine given to 1,250 and 1,244 receiving a placebo.
A panel analyzed the results of the study on April 22 and recommended halting the program after findings indicated 41 infections among those who had received the vaccine versus 30 in the placebo group. (More)
The Book End

'My conclusion was that this exhaustive and high energy review of the continuing effort in the United States of America to conflate the state and Christianity is well worth reading, particularly for the secularist whether declared or ‘instinctive’. It sensitizes the reader to the importance of the language of the political religious discourse and the passions it raises and provides a wealth of reference material.'


In Freedom We Trust  

An Atheist Guide to Religious Liberty

By Edward M. Buckner and Michael E. Buckner

Prometheus Books 2012

ISBN 978-1-61614-644-3

           ISBN 978-1-61614645-0 (eBook), pp. 281

Reviewed by Mel Massey

Mel Massey  is a retired lawyer (International Corporate Law) living in Ottawa, Canada, with his artist wife, Joan. He engages in a medley of activities including writing short stories, volunteer work with charitable agencies, skiing and hiking. He is thinking of putting together a collection of short stories but wonders whether the fun stuff will get in the way.

Friday 26 April 2013

In Freedom We Trust, cover (small)I admit that it was with trepidation that I agreed to review this book. I considered it would likely be an opaque screed harpooning some aspect of life in the United States. Those folk already monopolize our news. They rule our airwaves, particularly at their election times.  

‘American’ topics can be singularly boring to non-Americans possibly excepting theologians and political scientists. They frequently involve navel gazing into specialist notions like the concept of American ‘exceptionalism’, the Monroe doctrine, the extraterritoriality effect of American laws and detailed exegesis of the Constitution of the United States, Bill of Rights etc. etc.

While these may be subjects for talking eggheads on late night shows from the ‘States, does one want to read more online about the preoccupations of the wealthiest, most militarily powerful and most heavily indebted country in the twenty-first Century? After all, Canada lies north of the ‘longest unguarded border in the world’?

Happily, I am able to report that I found In Freedom We Trust to be interesting and potentially relevant to Canadians and to the potential of church and religious issues forming part of governmental policy explicitly or implicitly. It is a lively read and the authors’ passion for their subject comes across loud and clear. Moreover, the book’s format is agreeable and clear, the chapters short and punchy, with a wealth of reference material. It is a good place to start if the topic is of interest. (More)

How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell

Top ten real estate deals in the United States

Hot Home News: Matt Damon, Lance Armstrong & Playboy Bunny Hutch

This week at we take a look at Matt Damon's $20 million Miami mansion. Lots of recent Matt Damon news including new wedding vows and a new movie. And it looks like the star of The Departed is departing his Miami Beach home. It might be hard to understand why anyone would ever leave such an exquisite estate in one of the world's premier neighborhoods. In Matt's case, it is probably a career move to get closer to his Hollywood movie jobs and friends such as Ben Affleck. Matt's newest movie role as Liberace's much younger lover in Behind the Candelabra, was filmed in Los Angeles (much of it filmed at Zsa Zsa Gabor's recently sold Bel Air home) and premieres on HBO on May 26.

Designed in Mediterranean-style with all the character of the grand mansions in the era of Henry Flagler, the 12,705 square foot home has seven bedrooms, ten bathrooms, home theater and custom office. The enviable acre of premium waterfront land includes the main house, pool house with roof terrace and a two bedroom guest house. With 170 feet of water frontage on Biscayne Bay, it also has a dock and views of downtown Miami.

Matt landed in Miami when he met Argentine-born Luciana Bozán Barroso in 2003 while she was working as a bartender and he was filming Stuck on You in Miami. They married in 2005, purchased double lots on La Gorce Island for $14.5 million and then built their dream mansion. The privacy and security of the island has attracted many celebrities in the past such as Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Calvin Klein and Ricky Martin.

Matt and Luciana have four children and just renewed their marriage vows in Saint Lucia on April 13 renting out the entire Sugar Beach resort for $600,000. The star studded guest list included Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and Don Cheadle. The ceremony was officiated by Damon's good friend, and occasional arch enemy, Jimmy Kimmel.
In other home news:

Whenever a famous property goes up for sale, lots of people get excited. In the case of this house, it’s mostly men! This is the house, sometimes referred to as the Bunny Hutch, where Hugh Hefner housed a bevy of Bunnies and was the setting for The Girls Next Door TV hit. Across the street from Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion, the Bunny Hutch with 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, wine cellar, aviary, grotto pool, sauna and pool house is priced at $11 million.

And speaking of Playboy Bunnies, did anyone know Jon Bon Jovi’s mother was one too? Jon married his high school sweetheart, Dorothea almost 25 years ago. They have four children and have been very active in numerous charities including Special Olympics, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Now up for sale is the Bon Jovi's 7,452 square foot Soho duplex. It is one of the most expensive homes in New York at $42 million; price includes the furniture.

Katy Perry's 1925 home in the Hollywood Hills is for sale at $6.925 million. Purchased eight months into her marriage to British actor, Russell Brand, apparently things were already getting rocky since they never moved in. Russell filed for divorce six months after the purchase. The home's previous owner was Daniel Laikin who was the CEO of National Lampoon before being convicted of securities fraud and sentenced to prison in 2010. FBI agents, guns drawn, arrested him at this home. Yes, the new owner of this home will get a bonus of hours of cocktail party gossip.

Back in July 2008, before his drugging disclosure, in an interview and feature Architectural Digest did on his mansion, Lance Armstrong said a few things that have returned to bite him in the backside: “When their mom and I split, the kids and I moved around a bunch. But that’s over. This time I said, ‘You will graduate from high school in this house. I promise. Dad’s not moving again.’ ”  Lance just sold the home for about $3.1 million. It was originally listed at $10 million.

One of New Orleans most photographed homes, Gardette-LePretre Mansion, or more locally referred to as the Sultan’s House is for sale for the first time in 40 years. And, it comes with a scary story! Back in the mid 1800s, the house was rented to a Turk who claimed to be a sultan. He brought with him an entourage of servants, beautiful women and entertained New Orleans high society. One morning, as neighbors were walking by, they saw blood trickling from under the front door. The police were notified and had to break into the house only to find that all inhabitants had been murdered with swords or axes and the sultan was found brutalized and buried alive in the back yard. How much is local lore and how much is true, we will never know for sure. This is, after all, New Orleans. The French Quarter mansion is for sale at $2.65 million.

“These are the good old days” for Carly Simon, who has lived in Anticipation of selling her New York  City West Village apartment since 2008. Carly first listed her home in 2008 for $3.9 million, then it dropped to $2.98 million in 2010. In 2012 she put it back at $2.8 million. Shortly thereafter, she dropped the price to $2.5 million, then took it off the market again. Most recently it was back on with a new agency, relisted at the same $2.5 million. Her home is earthy with exposed brick walls, wonderful natural original wide plank flooring, and romantic wood burning fireplaces. Carly now has a contract pending for $2.275 million.

Real estate is never boring at TopTenRealEstateDeals. Check out today's most entertaining and unusual real estate news stories of the week. News such as weird celebrity homes, haunted homes you can actually buy, and dirty real estate tricks. also features Top 10 Condo Developer Deals, Top 10 upcoming home and condo auctions, and regional real estate agents' choices for the best deals in their areas.

Terry Walsh
Marketing Coordinator


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