Friday December 9 2011

 

Watch Out! You could be next on the chain gang

Stephen Harper schemes to impose US slave system  

on Canada with his plan for new, privatized prisons

Stephen Harper, the man who would be President, plans to spend billions on new prisons and privatize them. Here is a revealing story of how this shameful practice works in the United States, the so-called land of the free, which has more behind bars than any other country.

Salon.com
 
8 December 2011 — "The 13th Amendment, when it abolished slavery, did so except for convicts. Through the prison system, the vestiges of slavery have persisted." ~ Angela Davis
 
Every now and then we get a piece of information that makes us sit up and take notice.  My moment came recently when reading up on prison labor in the United States.
 
We all know that prisoners work while they are incarcerated.  Aside from the familiar task of making license plates, there are still chain gangs employed throughout the south and several states have explored the use of prison labor to work the agricultural fields after Latino immigrants fled the tough immigration laws enacted in some southern states, namely Georgia and Alabama.1,620 words.
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Kidnapper sues former hostages for breach of contract

Says hostages should have helped him hide from police

By David Edwards
Raw Story

02 December 2011 TOPEKA Kansas — A Colorado man is taking blaming the victim to a new level.

Jesse Dimmick was convicted of kidnapping Jared and Lindsay Rowley in 2009. Today, he’s suing them for breach of contract because they did not help him hide from police.

Dimmick was fleeing from murder charges in Colorado when a high-speed chase ended with him crashing a stolen van into the Rowleys’ home. The Rowleys said that Dimmick took them hostage at knifepoint, but they later gained his trust by offering him Cheetos, Dr. Pepper and watching the movie “Patch Adams” together. 269 words.
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Atheists show they will not be passive bigotry targets

Mid Ohio Atheists launch successful counteroffensive 

By Greta Christina
alternet.org
 
In the last few years atheists have become seriously organized, mobilized, visible, vocal and unapologetic about their atheism.
 
01 December 2011 — If there are two things you take away from this story, they should be:
 
1. Anti-atheist bigotry and discrimination, of a completlely overt, very ugly kind, is real.
 
2. Atheists are no longer putting up with it. If you muck with them, they will muck with you right back. And they know how to do it.
 
Two recent events in the news illustrate this bigotry vividly. 1,924 words.
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No 'food' for Raging Grannies at Loblaws

By Shannon Lee Mannion
Contributing Editor
True North Perspective
 
Photo by Shannon Lee Mannion  
 
09 December 2011 OTTAWA Canada — Rightwing pundits have shrugged off the cruel pepper spraying of peaceful demonstrators by police. One wingnut said, after all, pepper is just a food. You wonder in what drawer he left what passes for a brain when he woke up that morning.
 
Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that the Ottawa police witheld 'food' from the Raging Grannies who have been demonstrating in support of employees at local Loblaw stores who are suffering very serious cutbacks both in employment and income. 
 
The Raging Grannies did a flash-demonstration at the large Loblaw store located at the corner of McArthur Road and the Vanier Parkway mid-Friday afternoon, 25 November 2011. We were met immediately by an irate store manager who lost no time calling the police. He was placing the call as we strolled across the parking lot to the sidewalk where our signs were held high and cars honked in support as they streamed by.
 
Two police cars with three officers attended. We were warned that we'd be charged with trespassing if we went back on the property.
 
We told them that we'd support them if they were losing their jobs and benefits or taking a quarter-hit to their pay.
 
Loblaws employees are experiencing severe job problems and they need help.
 
Anyway, the police continued on their way without a 'food' sample.
 
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. 6, No. 41 (301)
Friday, 9 December, 2011
 
Guest Editorial
 
 
By Thomas Walkom
The Toronto Star

9 December 2011 — Americans are puzzled by the reluctance of so many Canadians to have personal information shared with Washington. They should not be. Our fears are rational. The United States makes us nervous.

This is not because we think Americans terrible people. We don’t. Americans are our friends. In many cases, they are our relatives.

But since 9/11, their government has played fast and loose with the rights of its own citizens. Is it any wonder that we worry about Washington doing the same or worse to us? — 594 words.

"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. 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

Hope for Canadian cities

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

9 December 2011 — It’s been a long time coming, but Canadian cities finally have reason to hope they will be getting the kind of financial assistance they need to keep the water flowing and commuters moving.

It won’t be an overnight fix, says Berry Vrbanovic, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). However, the process has begun.

The FCM and the federal government have set up a three-step process to determine by next fall what municipal infrastructure needs fixing or replacing and how best to pay for all the work. 619 words.
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Sending forensic auditors to Attawapiskat while the Red Cross sends emergency relief takes political cynicism to new lows in Canada

By Ish Theilheimer
XRayMagazine.ca
 

7 December 2011 — With extreme right-wing politicians pushing the boundaries of decency and civility, a new term is coming into common usage: dog-whistle politics.

 

'Saving' money the Harper way:

Consultant to get $1,300 a day — from Attawapiskat itself

By Heather Scoffield
The Canadian Press

8 November 2011, OTTAWA — The federal government is forcing the troubled Attawapiskat First Nation to pay a private-sector consultant about $1,300 a day to run its finances — even though the government’s own assessments say the third-party management system is not cost-effective.864 words.

Dog whistles are intended to be heard by dogs, not people, and the term refers to the use of coded language which some people hear and understand differently from others. Wikipedia reports the application of the term is "invariably pejorative."

In the case of Stephen Harper and the native housing crisis exemplified by the Attawapiskat state of emergency, Charlie Angus' charge that the government is guilty of dog-whistle politics is well merited.

It is hard to understand why a Prime Minister with a majority and total command for the next three and a half years feels he needs to continue feeding red meat to his right-wing base.599 words.

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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

7 December 2011 — Sweden, the U.K., and Germany: The European trio leads the world in fighting climate change.

That's the finding of the most recent Climate Change Performance Index [PDF], which was released yesterday at COP 17 in Durban. But Swedes, Brits, and Germans shouldn't cheer just yet; even their countries are not contributing their fair share.

What about the United States? In comparison to 2010, the U.S. has climbed up two ranks, mainly due to emission reductions from the recession and increased renewable energy capacity. However, given still-high emissions and the lack of substantial national policies, the U.S. remains toward the bottom of the index, ranked No. 52. Among the large emitters around the world, only Canada, Russia, China, and Iran are worse. 393 words.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Choosing to live with love on a daily basis ...

“Love is life… and if you miss love, you miss life.”
(Leo Buscaglia)
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.

9 December 2011 —Have you ever loved and lost? Have you awakened and realized that the love of your life is gone forever? All the little things you shared cannot be revisited; they are but memories.
 
I have loved and lost… After Brian died, it was painful to hear his voice message on his office answering machine and know he wouldn’t be coming home in the afternoon. Never was I more aware that we all have our individual body scent as when I opened his closet or his dresser drawers. It would fade away one day, I knew. I missed our goodbye kisses when one or the other left home, that caring wave of the hand from the living-room window that said “Have a safe journey! I love you!” ... But I also knew I would love again.1,409 words.
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Spirit Quest
 
 
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

9 December 2011 — “You did a very stupid thing (coming here),” were the words of greeting that my daughter spoke as her mother stepped off the Cesna that brought her from Thunder Bay to this dirt landing strip in northern Ontario. My daughter was running a youth project on a fly-in reserve, not Attawapiskat, but sharing many of its characteristics and problems.

My wife Marlene was making a one-week visit. Her only piece of baggage  was crammed to bursting  with the items that my daughter had requested. Upon returning home, my wife stated that she was surprised that her first visit to the Third World would be within our own borders. Years later, after considerable travel visiting Kenya and Ethiopia, she came to the conclusion that northern Ontario had much in common with those countries, except of course the weather. There was poverty, disease and overcrowding. These are problems without borders.

For a week my spouse, shared a “basic house” with a group of young people from the south who were involved in a number of projects designated by the local band council. 863 words.
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ParkTales 

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick is on vacation


 
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.

Women's self-loathing is big business
 
 
 
By Gail Dines and Julia Long
The Guardian UK
 
02 December 2011, HAVANA, Cuba — "Sexualisation" has become a much-debated issue in recent years, and a noticeable feature is the assumption that feminists who oppose sexual objectification are generating a "moral panic". Ever since sociologist Stanley Cohen introduced the term in 1972 it has been used as a shorthand way of critiquing conservatives for inventing another "problem" in order to demonise a group that challenges traditional moral standards.
 
So apparently feminists are now the conservatives fomenting unnecessary panic about the proliferation of "sexualised" images while the corporate-controlled media industry that mass produces these images is the progressive force for change being unfairly demonised. What a strange turn of events. 817words.
 

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 Ugh Wayne 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.

Report from Obama's America

Lighting the fires of a new Cold War?

America's dangerous plan to 'contain' China

By Michael T. Klare
TomDispatch.com
 
U.S. naval bases, graphic adapted from AntiWar.com.  

6 December 2011 — When it comes to China policy, is the Obama administration leaping from the frying pan directly into the fire?  In an attempt to turn the page on two disastrous wars in the Greater Middle East, it may have just launched a new Cold War in Asia — once again, viewing oil as the key to global supremacy.

The new policy was signaled by President Obama himself on November 17th in an address to the Australian Parliament in which he laid out an audacious — and extremely dangerous — geopolitical vision.  Instead of focusing on the Greater Middle East, as has been the case for the last decade, the United States will now concentrate its power in Asia and the Pacific.  “My guidance is clear,” he declared in Canberra.  “As we plan and budget for the future, we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region.”  While administration officials insist that this new policy is not aimed specifically at China, the implication is clear enough: from now on, the primary focus of American military strategy will not be counterterrorism, but the containment of that economically booming land — at whatever risk or cost.  — 2,221 words.

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Science

 
CBC News
 
5 December 2011 — At least one of 1,000 "planet candidates" discovered by NASA's Kepler mission is a verified planet located in the habitable zone of its star, the mission's scientists have confirmed.

"This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth's twin," said Douglas Hudgins, a scientist with the Kepler program, in a statement Monday. The confirmation will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Kepler-22b, located about 600 light years away, has a radius 2.4 times bigger than the Earth, making it the smallest planet ever found in the middle of the habitable zone around a star – the area where liquid water, and therefore life as we know it, can theoretically exist..297 words.

   

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Always looking forward ...

The Book End

F-Stop: A Life in Pictures

By Emily-Jane Hills Orford

The following excerpt is the Introduction to Emily-Jane Hills Orford’s latest book: F-Stop: A Life in Pictures (Baico: 2011). This Introduction was entered as a short story to the Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award and was named one of the finalists in 2009.

London, Ontario, Canada – December 2007

I should be doing something, anything. My body will not function. It does not seem to read my mind nor does it respond to my commands. In short, my body is no longer working. I just lie here, mostly in a daze, thinking about all of the things that I should be doing, could be doing, yet cannot do. I do not understand why this is happening to me. I have never been one to lie around idle. My hands have always been busy and my mind has always been active. I should be teaching, taking care of Norman, looking after the great grandchildren, painting, knitting, sewing, working on my embroidery, baking, taking pictures, reading, doing my pottery, working on my genealogy, writing to someone, talking on the phone, helping sort out a problem…. the list is endless. I never could run out of things to do. So why this? Why now?

A voice is singing to me. Norman, bless his heart, is singing me a love song. For sixty-one years we have stood together, loved one another and took care of each other. Usually it was Norman who was very sick. This is the first time that it is me and I do not like it one bit! I should be singing along with him. Music is my great gift. It is a gift I have shared and passed on to so many others: my children, my grandchildren, my students and the many choirs that I have led. I had so much fun leading choirs at church and helping young voices sing their praises to God. I wish I could still sing. I want to sing. There is so much that I want to do. There is too much yet for me to do. I have so many unfinished projects. Now, I am unable to even sit up without rolling over sideways. I think, I try to talk; but nothing comes out. What is that song? Norman is singing me a song. I should know what it is.1,319 words.


The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
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.

 

Pakistan committed to fighting terrorism
Pakistan committed to fighting terrorism
Pakistan committed to fighting terrorism

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