Friday 27 April 2012

An excerpt from Secret Selves by Jamie Johnson — Please be sure to read the excerpt from Jamie Johnson's memoir that you'll find toward the bottom of the cover in our literary section. It's a powerful piece of writing about a highly sensitive subject. — Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.


The poet was right
April is the cruelest month

We at True North Perspective look

forward to a warmer May for us all

(Image by the Phantom Photographer.)

Banned under the Taliban, thriving under US guns

Male-child dancing-and-sex slaves bought and sold

By Ernesto Londoño
The Washington Post

04 April 2012 DEHRAZI, Afghanistan — The 9-year-old boy with pale skin and big, piercing eyes captivated Mirzahan at first sight.
“He is more handsome than anyone in the village,” the 22-year-old farmer said, explaining why he is grooming the boy as a sexual partner and companion. There was another important factor that made Waheed easy to take on as a bacha bazi, or a boy for pleasure: “He doesn’t have a father, so there is no one to stop this.”
A growing number of Afghan children are being coerced into a life of sexual abuse. The practice of wealthy or prominent Afghans exploiting underage boys as sexual partners who are often dressed up as women to dance at gatherings is on the rise in post-Taliban Afghanistan, according to Afghan human rights researchers, Western officials and men who participate in the abuse.
“Like it or not, there was better rule of law under the Taliban,” said Dee Brillenburg Wurth, a child-protection expert at the UN mission in Afghanistan, who has sought to persuade the government to address the problem. “They saw it as a sin, and they stopped a lot of it.” (More)

From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick, True North Perspective Columnist

Some patriotic one-percenters campaign for higher taxation

Doctors would pay higher taxes for a more humane Canada

Click below for the video

Dr. Tanya Zakrison on the CBC Lang O’Leary Exchange March 22 2012

By Omar Ha-Redeye
Lawyer for Fair Taxation

25 March 2012 TORONTO Ontario — This past week Dr. Michael Rachlis launched Doctors for Fair Taxation, calling for the top wealth earners in Canada to be taxed even further. Given that physicians are often prominent members of this tax bracket, the initiative attracted lots of attention.

Rachlis suggested to Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom that this could inspire a "Lawyers for Fair Taxation." Walkom responded with skepticism, which to me was incredibly telling of the way that lawyers continue to be perceived in society.

The rationale behind Rachlis' group is that income inequalities lead to poorer health indicators, and that the decline of social indicators in Canadian society is largely due to shrinking government revenues. Their proposal was explained in the Canadian Press, Doctors for Fair Taxation are proposing new surtaxes that would tax any income over $100,000.

People who earn between $100,000 and $170,000 would pay an extra one per cent on the income between those two figures and income between $170,000 and $640,000 would be subject to an extra two per cent levy. (More)

From the Desk of Elizabeth Hill, Toronto

State genital-groping practiced in US is illegal in Britain

By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation
Edited by Walter Lippmann
With files from Naomi Wolf and The Washington Post

21 April 2012 WASHINGTON DC USA — In a recent five-four ruling, the US Supreme Court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time.

This decision is in keeping with other recent legal dispositions: the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the "trespass bill", which gives a person a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near a building or a place with Secret Service protection. Both are repressive measures targeting the Occupy Wall Street movement.

On these laws, US political consultant and feminist writer Naomi Wolf published an essay with the title How the US uses sexual humiliation as a political tool to control the masses, in which she analyzes the reach and purposes of this legislation.

The writer says that in a situation where anyone can be arrested for walking a dog without a leash, what Albert Florence, the citizen who brought the initial suit against the government for these laws, narrates is alarming. (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. 7, No. 13 (315)
Friday 27 April 2012

Editor's Notes

There's Politically Correct and there's Politically Correct

Not all fanatics are in Washington, though all are dangerous

Lest anyone draw the erroneous conclusion that True North Perspective is partial to the ambitions of Muslim fanatics, let me make it clear that we are unalterably opposed to fanatics on either side of the developing war between the West and the Muslim world.
There is a bloody-minded determination for world domination on both sides of the divide. The West, led by Washington, is determined to expand its unlimited hegemony. The ambition is fueled by the economic advantage it secured during World War II. Rather than using its power wisely to promote the heart-felt promise from England's war song, The White Cliffs of Dover, (There'll be love and laughter, and peace ever after/Tomorrow when the world is free), Washington, especially after the Cold War dissolved, has pursued its reprehensible policy of ruthless bribery and war. (More.)
From the Desk of Connie Fydenchuk, Toronto
03 March 2012 — YouTube banned this video on grounds that it would incite hatred against Muslims. True North Perspectives is running it to alert the public that fanatics would impose their violence on a society that gives them more liberty than they would have in their countries of origin. We have not edited the video.
Arab Spring? Yeah sure … tell us about it

Egypt's most popular comedian, Adel Imam guilty

of insulting Islam, nets 3 months jail, fined 1,000 pounds

ABC News

25 April 2012 CAIRO Egypt — The verdict of a popular Egyptian comedian convicted of offending Islam has been upheld by a Cairo court, raising fears among Egyptian liberals and secularists about the Islamic tide rising since the downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak last year

Imam, one of the Arab world's most famous actors, was first convicted in February of "contempt of religion" - illegal under Egypt's penal code - and appealed. The case was brought against him by an ultra-conservative Islamist lawyer named Asran Mansour for three films Imam made in the early-to-mid-1990s. The titles are "The Terrorist," "Morgan Ahmed Morgan" and "Terrorism and Kebab."

Imam, 71, played a fundamentalist terrorist in the first and a corrupt businessman in the third. Mansour accused Imam of blasphemous mocking of Muslim symbols like beards and the jilbab, a loose-fitting robe worn by some Muslims.
The Moscow Times
26 April 2012 MOSCOW — A Muslim lawyer erroneously reported to be an aide to a Federation Council member will be investigated on extremism charges after making controversial comments regarding the need to create Sharia courts in Russia.

Dagir Khasavov said in an interview with Ren-TV on Tuesday that any attempts to prevent the creation of Islamic law courts would end in "bloodshed" and a "second Dead Sea."

"Muslims don't want to get involved in the court system," Khasavov said. "You think that we come here to Russia as to some foreign place. But we believe that we're at home here. Perhaps you're foreign and we're at home. And we will institute rules that suit us, whether you want that or not." (More.)

"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.

Pitting the poor against the poorer ...

Two-tiered wage system announced by Tories

Harper Government permits companies to pay

foreign workers 15 % less than Canadians

Toronto Star editorial

28 April 2012 — Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has always vehemently denied bringing cheap foreign labour into Canada. Employers had to pay foreign temporary workers “the prevailing wage,” he pointed out.
That indeed is what the rules said – until Wednesday, when Human Resources Minister Diane Finley quietly changed them. Employers will now be allowed to pay foreign temp workers 15 per cent less than the average wage.
Business leaders, eager to recruit low-cost workers abroad, were delighted. Immigrant support groups, already fighting to protect temporary foreign workers from exploitation, were heartsick. And labour leaders warned that the wage cut would bring down the pay scale for all workers and make it harder for Canadians to compete for jobs in their own country. (More.)

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

Former MP Chuck Strahl's rail warning is aimed

at his former Tory colleagues and CP shareholders

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

27 April 2012 — He may be out of elected politics, but former cabinet minister Chuck Strahl has delivered a pointed message for Canadian Pacific (CP) shareholders and his former political colleagues.

In a commentary for the Globe and Mail that was picked up by Canadian Press, Strahl warned the contest for management control of CP is losing sight of the carrier’s importance to shippers and the country.

US activist investor Bill Ackman is trying to replace Fred Green, the current CP president and CEO with former CN boss Hunter Harrison. Most of the media coverage of the scrap between Ackman and the CP board of directors has focused on railway’s financial performance in comparison to CN’s under Harrison.

Virtually nothing has been said in the media about what the railway’s customers think of the showdown. Hopefully Strahl’s missive will bring some sorely-needed attention to this aspect. (More)

NDP soft on Genghis Khan?

Twitterverse mocks Harper's Hitler gaffe

By Randy Boswell
PostMedia News via the Nanaimo Daily News
NDP MP Dan Harris.  
27 April 2012 — Prime Minister Stephen Harper's erroneous statement this week that the "leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler" has triggered a torrent of Twitter messages mocking the mistake — all identified with the hashtag "#HarperHistory" — and prompted New Democrat MP Dan Harris to gleefully recite several examples in the House of Commons on Friday.
The effort to ridicule Harper's misplaced dig at the NDP — founded in 1961 after the eclipse of forerunner CCF, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation — had Twitter users blaming the NDP for everything from the fall of Rome to the Boston Tea Party to the betrayal of Jesus Christ. (More.)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

How the auto companies invented jaywalking

and turned pedestrians into second class citizens

By Sarah Goodyear
The Atlantic Cities
24 April 2012 NEW YORK, New York — It happened again the other night.

This time, the driver of a Jaguar traveling down 42nd Street in Manhattan struck another car and lost control, flipping onto the sidewalk and striking several pedestrians. Amazingly, given that this is one of the most crowded parts of town, no one was killed. Less amazingly, given the New York Police Department’s general approach toward car-pedestrian or car-bicycle crashes, the driver will apparently not face any criminal charges.

Despite remarkable recent gains in pedestrian safety – thanks in part to design changes aimed at slowing down drivers – cars still jump the curb nearly every day. Drivers who kill or maim pedestrians with their vehicles are still only rarely treated as criminals in New York, as long as they are not drunk and do not flee the scene. Even that is sometimes not enough to merit serious charges. (More)


Spirit Quest

'Oh! There's good news tonight!'

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

27 April 2012 — “Oh! There’s good news tonight!”  Where is Gabriel Heatter when we need him? It is with these words that this World War II radio commentator signed on each evening. Few newscasts these days can be prefaced with that remark.

However, there is good news. Not too many of us, according to Roman Catholic dogma, will rot or burn in hell for all eternity. God, it seems, is too kind or just for that. Most, however,  on our way to the realm of the blessed, will make a necessary stopover at a way station called Purgatory. There our nasty natures will be purgated to make us fit for paradise. Those who believe in retributive justice expect suum cuique (to each his own), that there is a punishment to fit each crime. I rather believe in restorative justice, that is the restoration of a right relationship, a transformation. That change is ongoing, semper reformanda. (More)

Frances scores the lack of courtesy by the gadget-obsessed

who annoy public with noise, texting, personal arguments

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.

27 April 2012 — Returning home using public transit, brought to mind a letter to the editor I read in the Toronto Star several weeks ago.The letter to the editor raised the need for cell-free zones. Apparently this exists in a country in Europe. Can't remember the country.
I totally agree with this.
I would add there needs to be etiquette for using cell phones, texting, and ipodes that spew music that not all of us want to listen to.
I have yet to ride on public transit without loud music permeating the subway car or streetcar. Or without some loud voice having a personal argument with someone on their cell phone that we all have to hear but not give advice on. (More)
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Earth Day!

Practice makes perfect

Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” — Dalai Lama

True North Perspective

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

27 April 2012 — On the Friday before Earth Day, I was sitting on the steps of my front verandah, enjoying a much deserved cup of tea after housecleaning all day when suddenly, two red admiral butterflies brushed by me. Their unique, soft fluttering movements, like a well-rehearsed aerial ballet, seemed to be some kind of ritual or courting dance. I thought: “This will be the year of the butterfly. How wonderful!”
Immediately, thoughts of gardening and planting flowers came to mind. Butterflies love cleomes and every year I plant some and watch as butterflies land softly and feed on their sweet nectar. I was reminded of the upcoming Earth Day and how much needs to be done by everyone if we are to share this planet with future generations. (More.)

Beating the Drum

The Age of Consumer Manipulation

Sigmund Freud's nephew gave birth to the press release

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

27 April 2012 — I have been watching HGTV lately. As individuals look around the various houses, one of the major issues that affect their purchase of a house is not necessarily the kitchen or the bedroom; it is the size of the walk-in closet. Yes that walk-in closet is an important determinant in the decision to purchase a house.

As the couple scrutinizes each of the rooms, the first comment upon entering the bedroom is the size of the closet. Usually the woman jokingly makes a remark to the man about whether or not the closet will be big enough for all her clothes. I sometimes sit there somewhat stunned as I look at the size of the walk-in closet. It is the size of my bedroom. (More)

Annals of Education

Sticking students with (yet another) corporate-friendly bill

Why the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada

signed the priciest copyright insurance policy in Canadian history

By Michael Geist

24 April 2012 — Car rental companies are infamous for encouraging customers to sign up for expensive liability insurance policies. Since many renters already have coverage from their own automotive insurance policies or can rely upon insurance coverage provided by their credit card issuer, the decision whether to sign up for a costly additional policy frequently depends upon who is paying the bill. If the individual is on the hook, they will often decline coverage and rely on their existing policies. If someone else is paying, it becomes easier to justify signing up for the additional coverage.
Last week, the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada, which represents dozens of Canada's leading universities, signed up for one of the most expensive copyright insurance policies in Canadian history. The policy comes in the form of a controversial model copyright licensing agreement with Access Copyright, a copyright collective that licenses copying and distribution of copyrighted works such as books, journals, and other texts. Should AUCC members sign the agreement — it falls to each individual university to decide whether to do so — they will pay $26 per full time student per year for the right to copy works from the Access Copyright repertoire. (More.)

The male punch in the gut is fading as violent girls

attack each other's face and hair in fits of jealousy

22 April 2012 AUCKLAND New Zealand — Teenage girls are attacking the faces of pretty victims as jealousy, boys and violent films drive fighting among women.

In a recent school attack, students allegedly assaulted and threatened to scar an attractive classmate.

Nelson-based social anthropologist Dr Donna Swift said the level of violence attributed to women was increasing.

Girls who lash out at each other often attack the face, possibly to take away from the victim's good looks, she said.

"Punching, pounding to the face, ripping at the hair, slapping across the face - girls seem to go for the head and face rather than a punch to the stomach," quoted Dr Swift as saying.

Alleged "dorm raids" on girls at a Waikato school hostel this month highlighted violence among young females. (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.

Russians of Faith rally to defend Orthodox Church from

the Faithless followers of the female 'Pussy Riot' punk group

Sofia News Agency
22 April 2012 MOSCOW Russia — Thousands of Orthodox Church believers gathered at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral for a nationwide prayer "in defense of the faith and desecrated sacred objects" on Sunday.

Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill held a liturgy in downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, during which he urged believers to take part in the nationwide prayer outside the Cathedral "for our faith, our Church, our sacred objects and our Motherland," as cited by RIA Novosti.

The Russian news agency says that Vandalism and church desecration cases have become more frequent in Russia after the female Pussy Riot punk group members, currently held in detention in Moscow, performed what it called "a punk prayer" in February next to the Christ the Savior Cathedral's main altar, which is off-limits to all but priests. (More)

By Sameer Vasta
24 April 2012 BURNABY BC — For most people, there are unwritten but implicit rules to office relationships: don't sleep with your boss or subordinate, and don't have sex on company time or at the office.
A high-ranking RCMP officer in British Columbia and a constable in his unit seemed to have ignored the unspoken rules, and both have pled guilty to charges at a recent RCMP conduct hearing. (More)

'One of the most damning exposés of corporate corruption'

23 April 2012 — David Barstow’s epic Wal-Mart investigation in the Sunday New York Times has already lopped $10 billion off the company’s market value ($8 billion if you assume Wal-Mart would have been down 1 percent like the rest of the market today).

Rest assured, though, the reverberations from this piece have just begun to be felt in Bentonville.

The Times gives Barstow nearly 8,000 words to present the case against Wal-Mart—and boy does he. This is one of the most damning exposés of corporate corruption I’ve seen in years. It’s an incredible piece of journalism. (More)


Are China and Russia preparing for war with the US

as they conduct largest joint naval drills in recent history?

By Li Ying and Cao Yang
Global Times
22 April 2012 — A joint maritime drill between China and Russia started Saturday 21 April in the Yellow Sea. It is the largest joint drill held by the two countries in recent years, and will continue until April 27. Is this drill a symbolic reference by the two navies as to how they will counter the US and its allies in the region? And how will Sino-Russian military ties move forward?
To find out, Global Times (GT) reporters Li Ying and Cao Yang spoke to Zhang Zhaozhong (Zhang), a professor with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University, Yana Leksyutina (Leksyutina), associate professor at the School of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University, and Michael Swaine (Swaine), senior associate of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (More)

The Book End

This Child of Mine

This Child of Mine is based on an excerpt from Jamie Johnson's full-length memoir, entitled Secret Selves: How Their Changes Changed Me. A Mother's Story. Jamie's work is centred on the four most terrifying, yet transforming years in her family's home, the years during which her daughter transitioned into her son, and her second son shared a year of his life with five alternate personalities. It is the surprising, touching and sometimes humorous account of a mother trying to ease the panic and accept the unthinkable twists fate has dropped in her lap. Johnson lives in her home town in Ontario and works alongside her husband in their store.

An excerpt from Secret Selves by Jamie Johnson

A Mother’s Love

They say there’s nothing like a mother’s love. But…just how far can that love be pushed? 

I wondered how to tell my 81-year-old, very religious mother, our secret. It had taken me so long to get through the tough initial stages of adjustment. But, my mom…well…she thought in very straight, very defined lines.


I pictured myself going to visit her, talking distractedly about the weather and then, with a burst of courage, handing her the family letter Julia had written to explain her private suffering. I would kiss my mom goodbye as her hand closed around the painful truth…and run. 

I couldn’t just leave her with a bomb like that, though. We had to tell her in person.  Picturing the look of confusion she would wear as we tried to explain this, however, haunted my thoughts. 

When Julia and I headed to her seniors’ home the afternoon was warm, but I shivered with the worry of the unknown. I wished the corridor leading to my mom’s room was longer that day, so I would have more time to somehow come up with just the right thing to say. (More.)

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.