tnp logo

Friday, April 3, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 17 — 168
"True North is for opinion makers"
Mission Statement        Archives        Contact the Editor        Subscribe!

Historic US-Russian agreement on nuclear weapons

Obama, Medvedev Seek a New Start

By Nikolaus von Twickel
The Moscow Times

LONDON — Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev announced at their much-anticipated first meeting Wednesday in London that Washington and Moscow would negotiate a new nuclear arms reduction treaty by year-end. — 814 words.

"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.

Editor's Notes

Friday, April 3, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 17 (168)

Karzai’s move against Afghan women prompts shock and awe
because mainstream media covers reality with a false rosy glow

In February, President Hamid Karzai, our esteemed ally and leader of democratic progress in Afghanistan, sneaked through parliament a bill that officially consigned women to the middle ages. (Please see below.) — 467 words.

From the Desk of RCAF Lt. Col. (Ret'd) Harold Wright, Contributing Editor

As the great Scottish bard Robbie Burns wrote: For a' that and a' that, a man's a man for a' that

This applies to many life situations where we fail to see the person before us. Too often we are annoyed by that "old fool" who moves hesitantly and has problems with paying the cashier, or ordering a meal. Next time cut some slack and take a moment to imagine that person in his or her prime. Then recognize that the toward the end of the race, we all will be trying to live with some dignity and independence. We may be that crabby person, that Crabby Old Man. — 512 words.

Tasteless start to food safety inquiry

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

What could have been an instructive model of political co-operation in Ottawa tripped at the starting line and will probably become one more example of the mess politicians create when they play games. — 460 words.

Grandparenting on demand

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of "The Neglected Garden/Le jardin négligé" and "Une prière pour Hélène". Her website is

I have done every job possible since my daughter started her family: babysitting, serving meals, running errands, laundry, doctor and dentist appointments, picking up medication for a sick child. I have often been driver and adult companion for weekend dance classes, concerts and tournaments. Not to mention special restaurant outings and trips to museums and local fairs... — 522 words.

City dwellers 'harm climate less'

By Nora Schultz

City lights may burn bright, but overall the greenhouse gas emissions of large cities are far below those of rural areas, a new report finds. — 726 words.

Right-wing conspiracy theorist

Heaven help us: Crazy Bachmann wants an 'orderly revolution'

By Steve Benen

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) -- who is, by the way, mad as a hatter -- appeared on a radio show earlier this week, describing elected Democratic officials as the "enemy" and encouraging her constituents to be "armed and dangerous." Soon after, appearing on Sean Hannity's radio show, Bachmann went even further. — 464 words.

Venezuelan President Chavez: "I Won't Wear James Bond Suits"

MERIDA — On Wednesday Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez criticized members of his own administration as he signed the Presidential Decree to eliminate superfluous spending, one of the measures announced last Saturday as part of combating the effects of the financial crisis, which has seen the price of oil, Venezuela's main export, drop. — 652 words.

The growing storm

By Dahr Jamail
TruthOut | Perspective

Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist, is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from occupied Iraq for eight months as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last four years.

Last weekend, the Iraqi government arrested an Awakening Group leader of a Baghdad neighborhood, then moved into the area. With the help of US occupation forces, they disarmed the militiamen under his control, but only after fighting broke out between US-backed Iraqi government security forces and the US-formed Sunni Awakening Group militia. This disturbing event is the realization of what most Iraqis have long feared - that the relative calm in Iraq today would eventually be broken when fighting erupts between these two entities. — 1,447 words.

What does one TRILLION dollars look like?

What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I'd take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like. — 326 words.

The unknown war

By Boris Kagarlitsky
The Moscow Times

Boris Kagarlitsky is the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.

While economists debate whether the economic crisis has bottomed out yet and celebrities throw gaudy evening bashes and ordinary citizens count their shrinking incomes, there is a quiet but grim war taking place on the streets. Bands of fascists and anti-fascists are pitched in a brutal struggle that is rarely mentioned in public or in the mass media. — 583 words.

Military spy charged in sex slave ring

By Natalya Krainova
The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — An official with the Defense Ministry’s intelligence branch has been charged with leading an international crime ring trafficking women as sex slaves, a senior investigator said Friday. — 310 words.

Tibet celebrates Serfs Emancipation Day

Tibetans recall cruel life under the old Dalai Lama regime

China Daily

LHASA/BEIJING — The first annual Serfs Emancipation Day was celebrated across Tibet autonomous region on Saturday, while people from elsewhere in China expressed their best wishes to the Tibetans. — 1,122 words.

First annual Serfs Emancipation Day reminds West of darkness of old Tibet

China Daily

OTTAWA, Canada — The marking of the first annual Serfs Emancipation Day will serve as an "important reminder" for the West that the old Tibet had never been a Utopia-like "Shangri-la", a leading Chinese Tibetologist said here on Friday. — 514 words.

Purchase of US Treasuries to continue

By Zhang Ran
China Daily

China will continue buying US government debt but pay close attention to possible fluctuations in the value of the assets, a vice-governor of the central bank said on March 23, 2009. — 620 words.

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

Keeping a cool head

Henry Ruttan of Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, introduced air conditioning to train travel in 1858 by channelling a flow of air through a ventillating cap and over a shallow, coldwater tank placed on top of a rail car.

Trivia compiled by Randy Ray and Mark Kearney, authors of nine books about Canada. For more fabulous facts, visit their Web site at:

Women-only police patrol popular with residents

China Daily

LHASA/BEIJING —A special women-only police patrol is popular with residents in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province. — 74 words.

Anglo-Amerian capitalism on trial

By John F. Burns and Landon Thomas Jr.
The New York Times

LONDON — Sitting in a gilded upper room at 10 Downing Street last week listening to Prime Minister Gordon Brown outline his ambitions for reforming the world economy had something of an out-of-this-world feeling. With Mr. Brown seated beneath a 16th-century oil painting of Queen Elizabeth I, it was tempting to imagine for a moment that Britain was again rising grandly to the challenges of the age, in the way of Good Queen Bess. — 1,711 words.

Obama will face a defiant world on foreign visit

By Helene Cooper
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Obama is facing challenges to American power on multiple fronts as he prepares for his first trip overseas since taking office, with the nation's economic woes emboldening allies and adversaries alike. — 1,255 words.

Merkel is set to greet, and then resist, Obama

By Nicholas Kulish and Judy Dempsey
The New York Times

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, an avowed friend of the United States and the leader of the European Union's biggest economy, is diplomatic about the coming visit by President Obama. But she is clear that she is not about to give ground on new stimulus spending, stressing the need to maintain fiscal discipline even as she professes to want to work closely with the new American president. — 1,042 words.

The market mystique

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

On Monday, March 23, 2009, Lawrence Summers, the head of the National Economic Council, responded to criticisms of the Obama administration's plan to subsidize private purchases of toxic assets. "I don't know of any economist," he declared, "who doesn't believe that better functioning capital markets in which assets can be traded are a good idea." — 810 words.

Afghan President signs law 'legalizing rape'

Karzai mocks the West and shows true colours by plunging Afghan women back into the middle ages

By Jerome Starkey
The Independent

Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalizes" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August. — 515 words.

Why is a progressive think tank telling Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan?

It is deeply disappointing that the Center for American Progress has issued a call for a 10-year war in Afghanistan

By Tom Hayden
Huffington Post

The Center for American Progress has positioned itself as a "progressive" Washington think tank, especially suited to channel new thinking and expertise into the Obama administration. It therefore is deeply disappointing that CAP has issued a call for a ten-year war in Afghanistan, including an immediate military escalation, just as President Obama prepares to unveil his Afghanistan/Pakistan policies to the American public and NATO this week. — 1,228 words.

Q&A: Gaps in gender equality in Cuba

'In the area of politics, the proportion of women in the (Cuban) National Assembly (parliament) is among the highest in the world.' — Canadian Susan McDade, United Nations resident coordinator in Cuba

Patricia Grogg interviews UN representative Susan McDade
Inter Press Service

HAVANA — United Nations resident coordinator in Cuba Susan McDade is the first woman to hold that post, and considers herself fortunate to have been assigned the position in a country where women's rights are enshrined in the constitution, even if it does have a "machista" reputation. — 1,376 words.

Money and Markets

Welcome to America, the world's scariest emerging market

By Desmond Lachman
The Washington Post

Desmond Lachman, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was previously chief emerging market strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and deputy director of the International Monetary Fund's Policy and Review Department.

Back in the spring of 1998, when Boris Yeltsin was still at Russia's helm, I led a group of global investors to Moscow to find out firsthand where the Russian economy was headed. My long career with the International Monetary Fund and on Wall Street had taken me to "emerging markets" throughout Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, and I thought I'd seen it all. Yet I still recall the shock I felt at a meeting in Russia's dingy Ministry of Finance, where I finally realized how a handful of young oligarchs were bringing Russia's economy to ruin in the pursuit of their own selfish interests, despite the supposed brilliance of Anatoly Chubais, Russia's economic czar at the time. — 1,334 words.

Spirit Quest

'Ride on, ride on in majesty!'

'Unfortunately the very people who believe the old stories often fail to grasp the modern parallel.'

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Palm Sunday, April 5, commemorates an event of biblical times. Churches in our country and throughout much of the world, regardless of denomination, remember and often reenact the biblical story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. If you happen by a church door this Sunday just as worshippers are exiting you may notice that they may be carrying palm branches. The story is that the people welcoming Jesus waved palms or laid them on the road to form a carpet for their hero riding on a donkey and his entourage. — 810 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

Make a pome

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

107 words.

Musings: It takes skill to hold an audience

By Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective
First published in Freelance Writer's Report

Barbara Florio Graham is the author of Five Fast Steps to Better Writing, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, and Mewsings/Musings. Her website is

Writers are, by nature, independent and solitary. Some are sociable and meet friends frequently to exchange ideas and banter. But speaking in front of an audience is not usually something we relish. — 931 words.

Book Review

Packing Inferno, by Tyler E. Boudreau

Review by Jason Leopold

'In the end we resolved to hold our fire, and I was glad we did. The truck floated quietly past us without exploding into a million bits of fragmentation in our faces. We stared, agog, at the passengers, a family of four or maybe five crammed into the cab staring back at us, all agog as well.' — 2,204 words.


A short story by Carl Dow
Editor and publisher
True North Perspective

The Model A Ford

When the hormones start to surge, a boy feels like a man. When he does a man's work on the farm, and labours in construction during high-school holidays, he's not long to become as strong as he feels. So it was as natural as spring fever becoming year-round that he should decide to head for the big money in tobacco even though he was just two weeks into his seventeenth year. — 4,656 words.

Website may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a website to promote his publicity services, which he offers to authors, publishers and companies. Mr. Ray has helped many clients get their message out across Canada on CTV, CBC Radio, CH-TV, A-Channel and Global TV, and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers. Mr. Ray's web site is: He can be contacted at: (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.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
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
Anita Chan, Australia
Rosaleen Dickson
Tom Dow
Bob Kay
Randy Ray
David Ward
Harold Wright