June 2015

The real price of cheap oil

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF

‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than
the total spending for health of all the world’s governments

Image: Screenshot of oil rigs, via The Guardian.

By Damian Carrington
The Guardian

18 May 2015 — Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. (More)

How U.S. and its western flunkies broke international law

as greatest manhunt in history failed to take Ed Snowden

Image: Screencapture of Bolivian President Evo Morales waving from Presidential jet after being forced to land in Austria in 2013.

How the U.S. forced Snowden to seek asylum in Russia

By Amy Goodman
Democracy Now!

28 May 2015 — In 2013, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks played a pivotal role in helping National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong for Russia. During the U.S. hunt for Snowden, Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was forced to land in Austria for 14 hours after Spain, France, Portugal and Italy closed their airspace under pressure from the United States over false rumors Snowden was on board. Assange gives the inside story on why that plane was targeted. (More)

From the Desk of Frances Sedgwick, Contributing Editor

Image: Hundreds made their way through the Market, disrupting traffic, protesting the government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, Saturday, May 30, 2015. Detail of photo by Ashley Fraser / Ottawa Citizen

Raging Grannies join hundreds in the rain to protest

Harper's hysterical, terrorizing, anti-democratic C-51

By Ashley Fraser and Anais Voski
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawans say No to Harper's terrorism and torture show
By Matthew Behrens
Homes not Bombs
Based on what is exhibited and who is in attendance, CANSEC15 is essentially a terrorism and torture trade show. Raging Grannies and members of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, as well as Artistes Pour la Paix, were also there. (More)

Saturday 30 May 2015 Several hundred protesters braved thunderstorms in the capital Saturday afternoon as part of a final push to oppose Bill C-51, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act, that is headed towards third reading and final approval next week.

Marchers chanted determinedly from the Human Rights Memorial to Parliament through downtown, in one of about 20 similar protests across the country, according to organizers.

In Ottawa's Byward Market, the marchers’ spirits were buoyed as bystanders cheered and drivers honked. (More including autoplay video)

Macedonia unrest

‘American warning to Skopje against new Turkish pipeline’

Macedonia has become important to the U.S. because it could become the only way for Russia’s proposed Turkish Stream pipeline to reach Central Europe, which Washington does not want


Image: People light candles to commemorate policemen who were killed in a gun battle, during a memorial in Skopje, Macedonia, May 11, 2015. Detail of photo by Reuters/Marko Djurica.12 May 2015 — About thirty have been charged with 'terrorism' over a deadly shoot-out in Macedonia at the weekend. A fierce battle erupted between police and an armed gang in the town of Kumanovo, in the north of Macedonia. The district is populated by ethnic Albanians who make up about a quarter of Macedonia's population. The Macedonian authorities say the gunmen were plotting terror acts against government institutions.

Political analyst Srdja Trifkovic: Albanians do not react the way they acted or reacted over the past three days without encouragement from the outside. We saw this 14 years ago, in 2001 when the Albanians were caught in the village of Aracinovo, and there were some American fighters with them. (More)

Active opposition prompts Canada Post to continue

its door-to-door delivery up on Hamilton Mountain

3 June 2015 — Canada Post’s plan to end door-to-door delivery on Hamilton Mountain has apparently been put on "indefinite hold," according to the union representing postal workers. Hamilton postal workers were informed Tuesday 2 June by Canada Post managers that no new date for the end of door-to-door delivery would be scheduled at this time. (More)

NDP Chinook blows through Alberta

By David McLaren
True North Perspective

Image: Photo-illustration of Rachel Notley superimposed on campaing lawn sign.1 June 2015 — I’ve read pages of columnists and listened to hours of analysis about the battle in Alberta … how did the NDP pull it off … how did Jim Prentice lose it … why did voters push his Tories into third place?

But what all the commentators seem to have forgotten is that the ‘demos’ in democracy means ‘people’. And it’s what the people do in an election that matters.
The Orange Wave in Alberta is not such a shocker when you consider how people there think about things ... (

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Click below to visit Elections Canada's Online Voter Registration Service to confirm you have not lost your right to vote or, for first-time voters, to register!

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Strange Democracy

British Tories win 12-seat majority with 24% of vote

By George Galloway

Image: Screenshot of Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth) 16 May 2015, LONDON — The electoral kaleidoscope has been shaken and the pieces are in flux. But where will they land? After last week’s election it certainly appeared Britain had turned deep blue. But has it? Only 24 percent of the British people voted for David Cameron and yet he has untrammelled power for the next five, long years.

More cuts and austerity and undreamt of privatizations are on the horizon. For our first post-election show, we've assembled two of the most astute observers of the British political scene: Seumas Milne, the associate editor of the Guardian newspaper, and Neil Clark one of Britain's shrewdest political analysts. We ask what mandate David Cameron really has? (More)

The Old Man's Last Sauna
by Carl Dow
'Life is scary, frustrating and sometimes funny. All of these themes are explored in Carl Dow’s collection of short stories, told with the pristine elegance that we haven’t seen since the likes of Stephen Leacock or even Pierre Berton.'
— Award-winning author Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Image: Link to BumblePuppy Press Amazon store


Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

Lia Tarachansky

A Jew reports from Israel

Brilliant writer of critical analyses in prose and poetry

provides a documentary about the Israeli-Palestine crisis


Our electoral system reconsidered

First past the post or proportional

On the other hand

'2015 UK general election most unfair in history'


‘Bigger role’ for US in Minsk II accords

Are you sure you're wanted Ms. Nuland?


Chrétien invites Russia to attend dignitaries' meeting


US instructors frustrated with state of Ukraine army

Accidents turn tanks upside down (See video)


BRICS summit in Russia to launch New Development

Bank and currency pool to rival IMF and World Bank


EU not sure where Ukrainian

‘Frankenstein monster’ will lead it


The ISIS mystery is unravelled

Biting the hand that fed them, ISIS, now a 'threat'

was funded by the U.S. and Britain from the start


Wrong again, Obama, the ISIS is Islamic and fanatic

6 incredibly important things all should know re ISIS


TrueNorth Humanist Perspective

True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please rea
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 10, No. 6 (357)
June 2015

Editor's Notes

Much foolish negative ado about something worthwhile

NDP spending money in home ridings is common sense

Image: True North Perspective Editor and Publisher Carl Dow. Photo by the Phantom Phographer.

Because True North Perspective is grossly underfunded and our skeleton crew grossly overworked, I haven't been able to make time to pay close attention to the noise about Québec New Democrat MPs spending money in their ridings. However, it seems to me that that is what more MPs should be doing.

I know for a fact that these glamorous federal representatives of the public good must contend with serious challenges other than FIFA, armed conflict in the Middle East and a government that is determined to make a secret deal to turn our democracy over to international corporate power. They get calls from irate constituents because sand is blowing on their lawns, because some of their garbage was not picked up, or because a dog is barking. (More)

Op Ed

Network debates without Harper? No problem

By Jeffrey Simpson
The Globe and Mail

23 May 2015 — Canada’s major broadcasters must ask themselves one simple question about election debates: Do we, the networks, with our public licences, serve the citizenry or the political parties? They came up with the right answer. Good for them. (More)

Harper backs corporations against Canadian democracy

'Free Trade' deals put profits over public interest

Canadians have a very good reason for alarm at betrayal

By Murray Dobbin
The Tyee Daily Catch
Image: Cartoon by Greg Perry via TheTyee.29 May 2015 — Opponents of so-called free trade deals have always struggled with the question of why these international treaties don't generate more alarm and vocal opposition from Canadians. These treaties, after all, trump all other Canadian authority to make laws — provincial legislatures, Parliament, the courts and even the Constitution. If, instead of being bored by news of another ho-hum "trade deal," Canadians were told that a panel of three international trade lawyers would be reviewing all new laws and determining, in secret, which ones passed muster by meeting with the approval of their giant corporate clients, would they react differently? (More)

The Binkley Report

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alexbinkley.com. Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ...

TPP talks divide farm community

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Image: Cover of Humanity's Saving Grace, a novel by Alex Binkley. Click to purchase at Amazon.caHigh level negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) scheduled for Guam this month have opened a rift in Canada’s farm community that successive governments have tried to prevent.

Livestock and grain groups have gone public with a demand that the federal government fully engage in the talks and while they don’t actually say it, Ottawa must essentially be prepared to abandon the supply management sector to win membership in the TPP.

“As a country we need to be fully engaged in the negotiations to ensure that Canadian exporters attain the same access to markets as exporters from other TPP countries,” says a letter to the Harper government issued by the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance and many of its members including the Canadian Meat Council, the Canadian Pork Council, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, and Cereals Canada. (More)


Supply management as beneficial as ever
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Supply management is as relevant to Canadian dairy and poultry farmers as the day it was introduced, says a prominent champion of the production system.

That said, Bruce Muirhead, the Associate Vice‑President of External Research at the University of Waterloo, says the negative reaction of Dairy Farmers of Canada to cheese quotas offered to Europe as part of the tentative CETA deal was perplexing. I thought it was a pretty decent deal that they got. (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Let's go to Starbucks and guzzle a Monsanto

Neil Young's new Anti-GMO song Rock Starbucks

Image: Photo of Neil Young, via Reader Supported News.Watch an excerpt from Neil Young’s newest video for his song Rock Starbucks from his forthcoming record, The Monsanto Years.

Young recorded the album with Willie Nelson’s sons, Micah and Lukas. "I want a cup of coffee, but I don’t want a GMO," Young sings on Rock Starbucks, "I love to start my day off without helping Monsanto." (Video HERE)

For Notley, eight steps to reform the broken Petrostate

It may be tricky to tread, but Alberta's path forward is clear

By Andrew Nikiforuk

Image: Photo of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, flanked by unidentified workers. Photo via Rachel Notley campaign.9 May 2015 — The Alberta Spring has arrived and it heralds opportunities as profound as the protest movements that rocked the Middle East after oil prices collapsed in 2008. After 44 years of stultifying one-party rule, the citizens of Alberta voted for historic change this week.

In the process, they threw out Prime Minister Stephen Harper's power base: a cadre of Tory politicians rendered visionless in the face of powerful hydrocarbon interests. Albertans replaced them with a largely young bunch of ordinary, working Albertans led by Rachel Notley, a labour lawyer. (More)

Colombian takes BP to court in UK

over alleged complicity in kidnap and torture

BP says it will defend unprecedented claim by trade union leader Gilberto Torres in case that spotlights role of big carbon in one of Colombia’s darkest periods

By Mary Carson, Adrian Gatton, Rodrigo Vázquez and Maggie O'Kane
The Guardian

Image: Photo of masked paramilitary soldier, via the Guardian.22 May 2015 — A Colombian trade union leader is beginning an unprecedented claim for damages against BP in the high court in London, alleging the oil company’s complicity in his kidnap and torture 13 years ago.

Gilberto Torres, 52, was abducted in February 2002 while driving home from an oil-pumping station in Casanare, eastern Colombia, and was released after 42 days, only after workers threatened a national oil strike.

His lawyers say that it is the first time a union leader has been able to lodge a claim for human rights abuses against a multinational oil company in the high court. They believe his claim could pave the way for scores more similar actions. (More)

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan tells Kinder Morgan

opponents he's ready to be "arrested to stop" the pipeline

By Travis Lupic
The Georgia Straight
Image: Detail of photo by Jackie Davies showing     RCMP officers drag an opponent of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project away from a November 2014 demonstration atop Burnaby Mountain. Via the Georgia Straight.22 May 2015 — The mayor of Burnaby has said he is prepared to get arrested and see his career in politics come to an end if that’s what it takes to stop a proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
Speaking at a May 20 community meeting, Derek Corrigan told a full house he would do whatever it takes to prevent the project from going ahead.
“We’re going to ride this thing through to the very end, because if we’re not going to win it here, we’re going to win it in the courts, and we’re going to continue to fight,” he said as reported by the Burnaby Now’s Jennifer Moreau. (More)

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

On Hope and Gratitude

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  (Christopher Reeve)

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

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

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-SinclairImage: Photo of a young Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, with camera. Photo provided by the author.1 June 2015 — I was asked some interesting questions lately, questions that led me to ponder the answers and to review some facts about my life. The question that set off a flurry of questions was asked at a breakfast last week. I was showing my novels to a group and a lady asked, “What prompted you to start writing?”

Although writing has always been a part of my life because I love words, I had never thought of writing anything significant. I was very proud of a poem of mine that had been published in our high school year book. But what made me decide to write a novel was the need to free myself from the hurt and the betrayal of a marriage gone wrong. Seven years after my first husband’s suicide, I had learned of yet another painful betrayal, one that left me reeling with anger. (More)

Spirit Quest

'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you'

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

1 June 2015 — “A man’s heart can be judged by how he treats animals.” So wrote Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) who is probably better known and less well understood for his Categorical Imperative. His magnum opus, A Crtique of Pure Reason is a major stumbling block for most students of philosophy. The above statement is a pleasant break from his deep philosophical writings. Nevertheless what he says about man’s relationship to the animal world raises difficult moral questions for us humans.

The animal kingdom is under severe stress. In a recent study by Dr. Mark Urban of the University of Connecticut, he points out that earth is on a course to lose biodiversity, virtually by degrees — literally — as climate change exacts an inexorable toll on the species around the globe. (More)

A class question

It's middle income, not middle class, and what about

a focus on everyone else, from pensioners to youth?

By Frances Sedgwick — True North Perspective

1 June 2015 —All three parties seem fixated on the so-called middle class. Common sense knows that what they mean is middle-income earners.

Despite pretensions to the contrary the so-called middle class are really only among the higher-paid working class. The lower-paid working class deserves attention too.

And what about the rest of society? The under-waged, the jobless, the homeless, and desperate seniors trying to survive on a fixed income against a rising cost of living? (More)

Mexico roundup by Isabella Tandutella, Contributing Editor, Mexico City

UN calls on Mexico to step up probe into thousands of ‘disappearances’

The UN urged Mexico to investigate the involvement of state forces in “disappearances,” including in the case of 43 students reportedly murdered last year. The UN’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances said it received information illustrating that the large number of people vanishing “could be qualified as enforced disappearances.” These types of cases are linked to detention by state agents, who conceal what happens to the apprehended individuals. Mexico's delegation told the Committee last week that 11,300 people were unaccounted for. Amnesty International released a statement saying that more than 22,600 have gone missing in the past eight years.

44 killed in Mexico drug battle, including 2 police

At least 44 were killed during clashes between security forces and suspected drug gang members on Friday 22 May in western Mexico, according to local officials. At least two police officers were shot dead and another one badly wounded, Reuters quoted a source as saying. The other 42 killed were suspected members of the of the Jalisco New Generation (JNG) cartel. The armed battle took place in the Tanhuato municipality, Michoacan state – an area known for drug cartels.

Mexico officially stops vaccinating babies after deadly accidents

Mexican authorities have suspended the vaccination of infants and have launched an investigation after two babies died after receiving vaccinations for tuberculosis, rotavirus and Hepatitis B. According to an official statement, 23 children are currently in stable condition and six are in serious condition. The cause of the adverse reactions is not known. Originally, as a precaution, the authorities stopped administering vaccines nationwide on Saturday. The adverse reactions started Friday 22 May and the babies were taken to a hospital in Simojovel, Chiapas.


Image: HarperWatch logo narrow.

A culture of vengeance: The case of Omar Khadr


Supreme Court rejects Harper government

claim that Omar Khadr was adult offender


Canada’s prison watchdog is being fired after raising alarm

on race problems, solitary confinement, and violence in jails


Budget day letter to Music Canada confirms Harper's

copyright extension the product of industry lobbying


Bill C-51 violates Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OSCE finds


National Post View: The government has been caught

re-writing the rules to suit its own purposes — again

Click here for details.


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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.

WikiLeaks is raising $100,000 reward for the

Trans-Pacific Partnership 'TPP' Obama text deal

By Kevin Cirilli
The Hill
2 June 2015 — WikiLeaks is offering $100,000 for the text of President Obama's trans-Pacific trade deal.
The transparency organization released a video on Tuesday asking for donations to crowdsource the funds. (More)

'Ottawa seems to use 1984 as an instruction manual'

By Darren Jerome
True North Perspective
Image: Detail of photo-illustration of Stephen Harper brandishing copy of George Orwell's 1984.Canada's Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, raised alarm bells on May 14 when she stated that Bill C-59 would enable past laws, in this case those pertaining to ensuring public access to gun registry records, to be retroactively changed and make what was at the time an illegal withholding of information now legal.
Framed by the ruling government as a means of simply streamlining an existing legal framework, it is, according to Madam Legault, a great deal more. In her words, it "establishes a perilous precedent of rewriting laws; one that could jeopardize the ability of authorities to prosecute electoral fraud or other government scandals going forward." (More)

Always say 'never'

For terrorist fearmongers, it's always the scariest time ever

Image: Screenshot of cnn.com terror alert level announcement from 2003. Via The Intercept.







By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept

2 June 2015 — Two weeks ago, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was widely mocked for this breathless, fearmongering tweet:

For the fearmongers in the West and their allies, it’s always the scariest time ever; that “the threat has never been greater” is basically a slogan they reflexively spew. In March, the right-wing Canadian defense minister, Jason Kenney, arguing for new surveillance powers, announced: “While few believe full-scale conventional war is likely any time soon, the threat of terrorism has never been greater.” (More)

There can be no life without laughter

From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor

• Parents worried children old enough to remember family vacation
• Sepp Blatter resigns from FIFA with generous severance bribe
God impregnates fish
A virginal sawfish from Florida has become the most recent example of immaculate conception since the Almighty’s ‘barely legal’ fumblings with a 14 year old from Bethlehem. Why God has taken over two thousand years to manifest his zoophilia is unclear and he has expressed no interest in taking custody of seven small fry.
A spokesman for the Divine said: ‘God has been on the lookout for a womb free from original sin, but thanks to Club 18-30s package holidays and youngsters unwillingness to use protection since Durex branded their products with Olly Murs’ face, there have been no human subject that meets the criteria. Therefore, he has had to look further afield. Well, he started with fields, but livestock are pretty slutty as well. In the end, only sawfish know how to keep their fins crossed’.
Read the full story now at NewsBiscuit.com
Florida woman stops alligator attack with a .25 Beretta pistol
What is the smallest calibre that you would trust to protect yourself ?
This is a story of self-control and marksmanship by a brave, cool-headed woman with a small pistol against a fierce predator.
A Beretta .25 Jetfire testimonial:
"While out walking along the edge of a pond just outside of The Villages with my soon to be ex-husband, discussing property settlement and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-foot alligator that suddenly emerged from the murky water and began charging us with its large jaws wide open.
"The alligator must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive!
"If I had not had my little Beretta Jetfire .25 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today!
Just one quick shot to my husband's knee cap was all it took.
"The 'gator got him easily and I was able to just walk away at a brisk pace.
"It's one of the best pistols in my collection! Also, the amount I saved in lawyer’s fees was huge."
He called me fat. I called him an ambulance.
Cop Humour
A police officer pulled over a driver and informed him that, because he was wearing his seat belt, he had just won $1,000 in a safety competition. "What are you going to do with the money," the officer asked. The man said, "I guess I'll go to driving school and get my license." At that moment, his wife, who was seated next to him, chimed in, "Officer, don't listen to him. He's a smart ass when he's drunk." This woke up the guy in the back seat, who, when he saw the cop, blurted, "I knew we wouldn't get far in this stolen car." At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a voice asked, "Are we over the border yet?'

Classic Quiz

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: www.triviaguys.com

Big Book of Canadian Trivia cover


1. What’s the main food in a polar bear’s diet?

a) seals   b) walruses  c)  salmon   d) lichen
2. True or false. Canadian Steve Christie holds the Super Bowl record for the longest fumble return?
3. What is Stephen Harper’s middle name?
a)   Scott   b) Joseph   c) Walter   d) he doesn’t have a middle name

Randy Ray, publicist / speaker agent / author
www.randyray.ca  www.triviaguys.com

 (613) 425-3873 - (613) 816-3873 (c)

O Canada! Getting to know you!

This is one of a series on the heartbeat of Canada

Aboriginals, Métis were heroic leaders in World Wars

but continued to face racist discriminaton back home

By David Jón Fuller
The Winnipeg Free Press

David Jón Fuller is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor and the author of two short stories featuring the 107th Battalion, in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History and Kneeling in the Silver Light: Stories From the Great War.

Image: Detail of 107th Overseas Winnipeg Battalion crest.November 8 2014 — When the First World War erupted, many Canadians enlisted out of patriotic spirit to help Britain. But military aid to Britain was nothing new to many aboriginal people, whose ancestors had fought on the side of the British against the French, in the American Revolution, or in the War of 1812.

By the early 20th century, the government of Canada was depriving indigenous people of their lands, instituting residential schools and encouraging white settlement. Despite this, many aboriginal people enlisted to fight in the First World War. Their motives were as varied and their courage as great as their white counterparts. But those who survived the trenches found, upon their return, battlefield solidarity and commendations didn’t mean equal rights at home. (More)

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-- 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:
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Exhilaration, Hopes and Inspiration

The Sixties in Cuba through a Canadian's Eyes

By Lisa Makarchuk

Special to True North Perspective

Image: Photo of Lisa Makarchuk, age 22. Photo provided by the author.


Image: Cover of Cuba Solidarity in Canada. Click to buy at Amazon.ca.

This remarkable first-person story tells how a 22-year-old farm girl from Saskatchewan found herself at the heart of the Castro revolution in 1961. Originally published as Chapter 1 in Cuba Solidarity in Canada: Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations, Friesen Press, Victoria, BC, 2014. Reprinted with permission from Nino Pagliccia, Editor.

In 1960, when C. Wright Mills’ book  Listen, Yankee: the Revolution in Cuba became a must-read and both Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell took positions solidly in support of the revolution in Cuba, I was one of a young generation that was curious and searching, groomed by a cold war atmosphere that many people accepted but was rejected by others. Growing up with MAD (Mutually-Assured Destruction) within a foreboding shadow of the mushroom cloud, we perked up our ears at the distant drumming of new ideas for a better life that was emanating from Cuba and many of us were very receptive to them. There was something delectably and unspeakably daring about a small number of dedicated men and women being able to take on a national government supported by a powerful neighbour — and win! Many Canadians like me were ready to embrace the rebels' victory in Cuba. About 3,000 "barbudos" (bearded ones) from the Sierra Maestra Mountains had overcome an army of 80,000 regulars, trained and equipped by the U.S. Eroded by self-doubt and failures, the regulars began to desert in droves as the news spread that the rebel captors generally treated any prisoner respectfully usually releasing them if they promised not to bear arms against the rebels. (More)

Media Watch 

Voice of America falling behind RT

on Facebook and YouTube – BBG Watch

The US taxpayer-funded Voice of America is losing out to Russian multimedia broadcaster RT in popularity on social networks and services, according to analysis by BBG Watch, an independent watchdog blog that follows American media outreach abroad. (More)

Dude, where's the sexism?

Let's enjoy the lack of sexist punditry targeting Notley
No comments on the premier's hair or wardrobe? High fives, everybody
By Jenn Jefferys
Image: Photo of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley waving from podium. Photo from Facebook, via TheTyee.ca.
3 June 2015 — As we watched the poll ticker surpass the 44 seat mark, seasoned MP Peter Stoffer stood on a chair in the far back corner of the bar, raised his glass of Boddingtons, and proclaimed:
"Rachel Notley just won an NDP majority in Alberta! Cheers to Rachel!"
And cheer for her we did — some actually cried. There were even a few Liberal staffers in the mix who couldn't resist joining the party, if only vicariously.
But for women watching that night, we knew that this meant more than the obvious ideological shift in one of the most deeply-entrenched Conservative provinces in the country. (More)

UK media ignored, failed to investigate Trident leaks


Image: Detail of photo of British Trident-class nuclear submarine. (Reuters / David Moir, via RT.com)29 May 2015 — The official UK reaction to whistleblower William McNeilly’s report on security lapses on Trident nuclear submarines is an insult to the public and the claims need to be investigated further, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT.
The allegations haven't received much attention in the British media, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said he suspects there is a "standing D-Notice on all Trident nuclear weapons issues," meaning the media has been warned by the military not to report on the matter over security concerns. (More)

Kiev bars Ukrainian-born RT journalist at border

An RT Deutsch correspondent, who has recently covered stories on the Ukrainian crisis, including the Odessa massacre, has been turned back at the border by Ukraine’s Security Service, and banned from entering the country for three years. (More)


Tuesday 26 May 2015

A liar or an innocent among liars

Bob Woodward's credibility finally hits the ocean floor

By Charles Pierce
In which we learn the full depth of Bob Woodward's plunge into sheer hackery.

Image: Detail of photo of Bob Woodward, via Reader Supported News.The latest entrant in the Mistakes Were Made sweepstakes regarding C-Plus Augustus's [George W. Bush - Ed] blundering in Iraq is journalistic giant — and stenographer to the powerful — Bob Woodward, who stopped by Fox News Sunday this weekend because he is a big-time Beltway 'ho who doesn't care what kind of riff-raff leaves the money on the dresser these days. Anyway, Bob wants to assure us that the leadership of the late Avignon Presidency were babes in the woods. (More)


Solar Road in the Netherlands works better than expected

By Fiona MacDonald

Solar power ready now, not tomorrow - MIT study

By Walter Einenkel
12 May 2015 – MIT has released a pretty comprehensive study on solar energy, appropriately titled: The Future of Solar Energy. The study explores the practicality of solar-powered energy being able to help achieve carbon emissions goals. One of the more important findings of the study was the plausibility of achieving the technological touchstones needed.
In sum, there appear to be no major commodity material constraints for terawatt-scale PV deployment through 2050. (More)

Image: Cyclists on Netherlands' solar road. Photo via ScienceAlert.com.11 May 2015 — The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.

Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year.

The Netherlands made headlines last year when it built the world's first solar road - an energy-harvesting bike path paved with glass-coated solar panels.

Now, six months into the trial, engineers say the system is working even better than expected, with the 70-metre test bike path generating 3,000 kWh, or enough electricity to power a small household for a year. (More)

Health Watch

Cuba has a lung cancer vaccine, it could share with the U.S.

Tuesday 12 May 2015
By Caroline Reid
Image: Detail of photo of syringe and serum vials. Photo by Nikolay Litov via Shutterstock and IFLScience.Cuba launched the world's first lung cancer vaccine, Cimavax, to the public back in 2011. Each shot costs about $1, but the Cuban government has made the vaccine available to the public for free. Now it's 2015, and other countries are starting to get curious and want to get their hands on it too.
The Center of Molecular Immunology, Cuba, has finalized agreements with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, USA, to embark on a project that aims to develop a lung cancer vaccine that was first made in Cuba and begin to introduce it into the United States. This will involve gaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the vaccine and starting clinical trials. (More)


One hundred years of research solves mystery of holes

in Swiss Cheese — and it ain't those cheese lovin' mice


Image: PHoto of man holding a large Swiss cheese, via RT.28 May 2015 — The cause of those characteristic holes in Swiss cheese has finally been determined – and it only took researchers about 100 years to solve the mystery.

According to scientists from Agroscope – a state-run center for agricultural research in Switzerland – the holes found in cheeses such as Emmental and Appenzell are caused by tiny bits of hay present in the milk used to make the products. (More)

New project aims to establish a human colony on Mars

By Tomasz Nowakowski
Mars Daily

Image: detail of artist's conception of Mars Polar spacecraft. 26 May 2015 — MarsPolar, a newly started international venture is setting its sights on the Red Planet. The project consisting of specialists from Russia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, U.S. and Ukraine has come up with a bold idea to establish a human settlement on Mars' polar region, the part of the planet with abundant quantities of water ice.

The targeted area could be very interesting in terms of alien life hunting as the MarsPolar team puts it: "life begins where the water exists." The plan is to create the colony around 2029. (More)