Friday, April 11, 2008 Vol 3 No 15 (129)
"True North is for opinion makers"
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"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.

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True North No Gas Fridays
Don't be shy! Just don't buy!
And here’s a good reason why!

Join True North No Gas Fridays and hit back at Big Oil price gouging. When enough drivers make the point that they're mad as hell and won't take it anymore Governments will act. You can count on it. Protect yourself with True North No Gas Fridays.

dont go here

Take care, beware, don't go near that thing on Friday . . . theres a gouger lurking, with a very greedy eye on your hard-earned money.


In 1999, the price of oil hovered around $16 a barrel. In the fall of 2007 it began to approach the $100 a barrel mark. The reasons for the surge ranged from the relentless growth of the economies of China and India to widespread instability in oil-producing regions, including Iraq and Nigeria's delta region. The prospect of triple-digit oil prices has redrawn the economic and political map of the world, challenging some old notions of power. Oil-rich nations are enjoying historic gains and opportunities, while major importers including China and India, home to a third of the world’s population confront rising economic and social costs.

Managing this new order is fast becoming a central problem of global politics. Countries that need oil are clawing at each other to lock up scarce supplies, and are willing to deal with any government, no matter how unsavory, to do it.

In many poor nations with oil, the proceeds are being lost to corruption, depriving these countries of their best hope for development. And oil is fueling gargantuan investment funds run by foreign governments, which some in the West see as a new threat.

Countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran are flush with rising oil revenues, a change reflected in newly aggressive foreign policies. But some unexpected countries are reaping benefits, as well as costs, from higher prices. Consider Germany. Although it imports virtually all its oil, it has prospered from extensive trade with a booming Russia and the Middle East. German exports to Russia grew 128 percent from 2001 to 2006.

In the United States, high gas prices produced steady grumbling, but little sign that drivers were making fundamental changes in their behaviors. Small car sales did rise, but in many cases those represented were Car Number 3 for families that parked them beside the sports-utility vehicle, rather than getting rid of the gas guzzlers.— Nov. 7, 2007

Editor’s Notes

Me, my children, my Jehovah's Witnesses care seller
and the editorial premise of True North Perspective

When our children were young, on both sides of the beginning of school, my wife and I hired a full-time young woman to care for our children during the day. She was prompt to tell us that she was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. That was okay. We weren’t concerned about her religion, what we wanted was a responsible person who was sensitive to children. — 573 words

Judge Wright hears charge of manslaughter
brought against conscientious Farmer Jones

Old Farmer Jones was hauled into court by Sheriff Harasser on a charge of Second Degree Murder. — 218 words.

Health Watch

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

Single virus gene may cause obesity

If obesity seems to be spreading like a virus, that could be because it is. We're now closer to understanding how adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), thought to be responsible for some cases of obesity, causes fat cells to grow. — 242 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

The 160 km car is on the horizon
as teams vie for $100 million prize

Drivers often joke their car "is running on fumes," when the tank gets low. Well, how about an engine that actually gets its energy from gasoline fumes? — 884 words.

In Vancouver elections, campaign material
is in six languages — none of them French

VANCOUVER — Voters won't go to the polls until November, but the contest to become the mayoral candidate for Vancouver's newest political party is already as fiercely fought — and likely as expensive — as entire municipal elections run elsewhere in the province. — 1,142 words.

At last a clarification of why Canadians add ‘eh’

Spirit of Canada

True North Perspective contributing editor Rosaleen Leslie Dickson presents the following, inspired by the National Press Club Spirit of Canada Gala taking place on Wednesday evening, April 30, at the Sheraton Hotel, Ottawa.  — 485 words.

Spirit Quest

‘You don’t have to be religious to have a sense of that. It is a human experience.’

On remembering the assassination of Martin Luther King

By The Reverend Hanns F. Skoutajan

Last Friday, April 4, was the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee. Some friends and I were talking about how we remember intimately where we were when we first heard of important, world-shaking events such as the murder of this famous civil rights leader. — 790 words.

Afghans hold secret trials for men
arrested and held by U.S. military

KABUL, Afghanistan — Dozens of Afghan men who were previously held by the United States at Bagram Air Base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are now being tried here in secretive Afghan criminal proceedings based mainly on allegations forwarded by the American military. — 1,342 words,

Beer may be magic bullet to kill cancer

Researchers are always looking for the magic bullet to kill cancer, and now they may have found it in a surprising place — a glass of beer! (Who knew?) It turns out that hops, which is the flavor component of beer, contains a cancer-fighting compound called xanthohumol. — 185 words.

Fair-weather Russian generals and spooks
air dirty linen in public in Kremlin clan wars

The Kremlin has designed its power vertical in such a way that any public complaint against the government is considered a sign of disloyalty. Nonetheless, government authorities are complaining a lot these days. Most important, it is the members of the siloviki (secret police) and the military who are complaining the loudest. This is striking because, according to their own code of honor, it is better to take a bullet in the head than to air dirty laundry in public. — 638 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Harold Wright

Newfie’s get their own back with a look at Saskatchewan

A group of Saskatchewan friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight  of an eight-point buck. 'Where's Henry?' the others asked. — 365 words.

‘I believe journalism has a mission — to tell the truth’

‘After my government experience, it took me a while to get my footing back in journalism. I had to learn all over again that what is important for the journalist is not how close you are to power, but how close you are to reality.’

Note: Bill Moyers delivered these remarks in Washington, DC, April 3 at the fifth annual Ridenhour Prize awards ceremony, sponsored by The Nation Institute and the Fertel Foundation. Moyers received the Courage Prize; author James D. Scurlock, received the Book Prize, and former Navy JAG officer Matthew Diaz received the Prize for Truth-Telling. The text of his speech appears here as part of the ongoing Moral Compass series, highlighting the spoken word. — 1,976 words.

Bush's double talk on Iraq

A close reading of the president's latest speech
reveals even more of his disregard for the truth

President George W. Bush delivered his latest statement on Iraq Thursday, April 10, and the main question at this point is whether he instructed the speechwriters to be mendacious or merely shallow. — 1,603 words.

Ex-Communist Party boss sentenced to 18 years
in China corruption case involving pension funds

SHANGHAI, China — The former Communist Party chief of China's financial capital was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison for his role in a massive corruption scandal involving a third of the city's pension funds. — 434 words.

PBS on Iraq: A Compilation of Deceit
How an amoral group of schemers seized control of the White House

There have been five agonizing years of this war in Iraq . Five terrible years of bewilderment and rage. Commemorating that anniversary, Frontline, the PBS investigative series, allotted four-and-one-half hours over two nights to an in-depth analysis of the war in Iraq and how it came about. — 1,117 words.

The Surge Twins sow confusion
in Senate on Iraq embarrassment

Maybe it was because I was sitting in the back of the Senate chamber with three war protesters — grim-faced, chanting women dressed in black hooded cloaks, white makeup and blood-red hands — that I felt as though I were watching a production of “Macbeth” rather than a hearing on Iraq. — 841 words.

For Many a Boom That Wasn’t

‘The slowdown began in the 1970s, with an oil shock that raised the cost of everyday living. The technological revolution and the rise of global trade followed, reducing the bargaining power of a large section of the work force. In recent years, the cost of health care has aggravated the problem, by taking a huge bite out of most workers’ paychecks. . . . Statistics like these are now so familiar as to be almost numbing. But the larger point is still crucial: the modern American economy distributes the fruits of its growth to a relatively narrow slice of the population. We don’t need another decade of evidence to feel confident about that conclusion.’

How has the United States economy gotten to this point? — 1,043 words.

He doesn’t know it, but Fidel Castro (the one and only)
has joined True North Perspective as a Guest Columnist

From the other side of the fence: Reflections by Comrade Fidel

Are the Russians and the Americans planning
a vehicle-traffic tunnel from Siberia to Alaska?

Bush, war, and the desperate struggle for a slice of life  

‘Important events are taking place in Europe. To ignore them would be to remain ignorant of today’s dilemmas. With enough patience to get through the next few pages, readers will have access to news that were extracted from a sea of information, news which see the light of day at different times and on different days, thrown together with other headlines, vital and not.’ — 3,611 words.

Did you know?

Homes Quiz – by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

For many Canadians, their home is their castle.  It’s where they spend the greatest portion of their time relaxing with friends and family, entertaining, tackling odd jobs, or sleeping.  They also spend a large chunk of their income on mortgage payments, property taxes, repairs and upgrades.

But how much do Canadians know about the homes they live in or are planning to buy?  As you tour open houses in search of your dream home this spring, or plan renovations at your existing abode, we invite you to test your knowledge of housing with our trivia quiz.. We’ll pose one question each issue here. You can find the answer at the bottom of the page. Good  luck!

In 1929, realtor and homebuilder A.E. LePage astounded the real estate world with an amazing accomplishment. Did he:
a) sell every house on a downtown Toronto street in two days b) build a house in one day c) create Canada’s first mobile home by converting an old streetcar into a residence d) sell two Toronto residences for $1 million on the same weekend.

Randy Ray of Ottawa and Mark Kearney of London, Ont. are the authors of seven books, including Pucks, Pablum & Pingos, a Canadian trivia book to be published in April.  Visit their Web site at:

Leaked draft agreement reveals Iraq end-game:
Indefinite Occupation — Not that it should surprise anyone.

George W. Bush and Nouri al-Maliki want to sign a long-term security treaty. Both are executives of countries with Constitutions that require treaties to be ratified by their respective legislatures, and both know that ratification doesn't stand a snow-ball's chance in Hell of happening. — 507 words.

Some men are born to turn a dollar
like Mozart was born to turn a note

Billionaire George Soros is one of them
He says a ‘superbubble’ is about to burst

George Soros will not go quietly.

At the age of 77, Mr. Soros, one the world’s most successful investors and richest men, leapt out of retirement last summer to safeguard his fortune and legacy. Alarmed by the unfolding crisis in the financial markets, he once again began trading for his giant hedge fund — and won big while so many others lost. — 1,401 words.

‘How far are we going to allow the Fed to subsidize Wall Street?
What the heck happened to free markets? Capitalism?’

How far is too far?

‘What do these new moves mean? In plain English, the Fed has gone from ostensibly trying to help poor, little old ladies on Main Street who are facing foreclosure ... to greasing the credit wheels for developers who want to build high-rise office properties and Wall Street dealmakers who spend their days plotting the takeover and restructuring of America's corporations.’

Is there anything the U.S. Federal Reserve WON'T do? That's the question I'm asking myself here as I watch it go further and further down the "extreme activism" road. —2,520 words.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says U.S. must get smart
by ending its enslavement to carbon supremacy

The Next President's First Task [A Manifesto]

Last November, Lord (David) Puttnam debated before Parliament an important bill to tackle global warming. Addressing industry and government warnings that we must proceed slowly to avoid economic ruin, Lord Puttnam recalled that precisely 200 years ago Parliament heard identical caveats during the debate over abolition of the slave trade. At that time slave commerce represented one-fourth of Britain's G.D.P. and provided its primary source of cheap, abundant energy. Vested interests warned that financial apocalypse would succeed its prohibition. — 1,428 words.

Book Review

Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide

Sam Trosow & Laura Murray's new book, Canadian Copyright: A Citizen's Guide (Between the Lines, 2007, ISBN 978-1-897071-30-4), is a must-read for all working writers, editors and publishers. — 186 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

Many of us, as kids in the '50's, had our own versions of "Boo" Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird. Proper mental health care just wasn't there and the afflicted had to make do at home or be banished to the "Looneybin" in Brockville. — 579 words.

The Book End

Every Friday in this spot True North will feature a book by a Canadian writer. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author written by him/herself and about the product of the author’s literary labours. If a reader wants to file a review we’ll publish it. Today we offer The Other Man by Kevin Dooley. The copy and photos were filed with two reviews so we’re publishing those too. Looking forward.  — Carl Dow, Editor.


By Barbara Florio Graham


Mewsings/Musings combines the subtle wit and gentle satire of award-winning writer, Barbara Florio Graham, back to back with her celebrity cat, Simon Teakettle, in a clever flip book designed to "a-muse" readers of all ages. Barbara's satiric pieces on writing and teaching are coupled with several of her award-winning humorous poems as well as witty comments on living with the "classy cat in the black fur tuxedo." Be sure to click here for more.

How to Promote Your Book or Your Business:

An April 19, 2008 Workshop

Ottawa publicity experts Barbara Florio Graham and Randy Ray will share their expertise on how authors and businesses can get their message out to the public effectively and inexpensively.

The three-hour workshop opens at 1 p.m. on April 19 at the National Library in Ottawa and is sponsored by Ottawa Independent Writers.

Cost: $50 for OIW members; $60 for non-members.

For more information: Randy Ray: (613) 731-3873 or

Link not working? Story not loading? Can't click on the links? Got another computer problem? Never fear! Carl is here!

If you have any problems with accessing the newsletter or problems with your computer, send an email to Carl Hall , and he will be more than happy to assist you.

Answer to Homes Quiz Did You Know?

b) LePage built a four-bedroom bungalow in Toronto in one day.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Mike Heenan, Literary Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Rosaleen Dickson
Geoffrey Dow
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright