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Friday, April 10, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 19 — 170
"True North is for opinion makers"
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FBI warned Bush on epidemic of Bank fraud
Bush reassigned 500 to terrorism and never replaced them
Obama coddles crooks on fear of public response to total collapse

By Bill Moyers

For months now, revelations of the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of Wall Street have reminded us that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." In fact, the man you're about to meet wrote a book with just that title. It was based upon his experience as a tough regulator during one of the darkest chapters in our financial history: the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980s. — 5,005 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 Note

Friday, April 10, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 19 (170)

'Mr. Harper, who do you represent'?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper clucks like a contented hen
when talking about the Canadian economy and our banks

Harper's declarations of empathy for the victims of the crumbling economy calls to mind Marie Antoinette who, when she heard Parisians demanding bread, said, "If they have no bread, let them eat cake." — 674 words.

Look out Stephen King!

Here comes Carl Dow
With his chilling short story

Room for One Only

Writes of Spring Celebration will honour True North Perspective

Each month our readership grows. While still mostly in Canada and the United States we are being picked up, effective March 2009, in 64 countries on all continents, and in increasing numbers. True North Perspective is clearly winning local, national, and international respect for a balanced mix of news, analyses, and entertainment. — 414 words.

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

Who is in the highest position in the world?

A man with nerves of steel operates a crane and lives at the top of the world's tallest building
Babu Sassi, a fearless young man from southern India is the cult hero of Dubai's army of construction workers

Known as the "Indian on the top of the world", Babu is the crane operator at the world's tallest building, the 819-meter Burj Dubai. His office, the cramped crane cab perched on top of the Burj, is also his home. Apparently it takes too long to come down to the ground each day to make it worthwhile. When the building is completed, its elevators will be the world's fastest. — 129 words.

Harper approved plan to leak Mulroney story

Move meant to distance party from former PM

By Tonda MacCharles
Toronto Star

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, from overseas, was aware of and agreed with plans to leak stories that would distance him and the current party leadership from former prime minister Brian Mulroney, the Star has learned.

406 words.

Maple Leaf joins the ranks of bloggers to engage public in safe-food dialogue

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Food Chemical News

It's hard sometimes to think of something positive to say about large companies. Well Maple Leaf Foods certainly deserves kudos for its behaviour since last year’s terrible Listeria outbreak. — 543 words.

Health Watch

The stunning consequences of not getting enough sleep

Many people don't get as much sleep as they should. And their brains are paying the price

By Allison Ford and Divine Caroline

Nothing feels worse than hearing your alarm clock ring in the morning when your body is screaming for a few extra hours of rest. Given the opportunity, who wouldn't get more sleep? If I had a choice between a year of unlimited Easter candy and a year of unlimited sleep, I'd say "Bye-bye Cadbury" and "Hello, bed!" — 979 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

100 mile-per-gallon car contest under starters' orders

By Tom Simonite

On Tuesday night in California a list of 111 teams was announced — one of which may hold the key to motoring's green future. They are the registered entrants to the Progressive Auto X Prize, a contest that will award prizes totalling $10 million for vehicles that can go 100 miles on the energy equivalent to that in a gallon of fuel. — 539 words.


When a man loves his car ...
In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, there's always


CAJ condemns police seizure of Vancouver photographer's camera

Canadian Association of Journalists

Police had no right to seize a Vancouver Province photojournalist's camera on the weekend, says the Canadian Association of Journalists. — 230 words.

Russians say 'nyet' to luxury

Moscow's fashion district starts losing its shine — recovery depends on commodities

By Amie Ferris-Rotman and Maria Plis
Business Report

Kerchiefed women peddle fake deisgner handbags in front of the pitted Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney stores, whose signs have beens scratched off by hand less than 18 months after their grand openings. — 825 words.

US is not at war with Islam, says Barack Obama

By Mark Tran
The Guardian

Barack Obama declared on Monday that the US "is not at war with Islam" as he made his first visit to a predominantly Muslim country as the US president. — 637 words.

Chávez hopes to "reset" U.S.-Venezuela relations

By Brian Ellsworth

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he hopes to "reset" relations with the United States at an Americas summit this month after nearly a decade of tensions between Caracas and Washington. — 239 words.

Venezuela, an imaginary threat

Obama is maintaining a hostile policy towards Hugo Chávez — which will cost the US friendships elsewhere in Latin America

By Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian

US-Latin American relations fell to record lows during the George Bush years, and there have been hopes – both north and south of the border – that President Barack Obama will bring a fresh approach. So far, however, most signals are pointing to continuity rather than change. — 844 words.

US poll reveals deep polarisation in early stage of Obama era

By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian

NEW YORK — Barack Obama's promise to overcome partisan political divisions and reunite the United States has so far failed to materialise, according to independent analysts in Washington. — 466 words.

Medvedev and Putin declare their earnings

By Anna Malpas
The Moscow Times

President Dmitry Medvedev's wife owns a 10-year-old Volkswagen Golf and has savings totaling 135,144 rubles ($4,045), the Kremlin revealed Monday as part of Medvedev's anti-corruption campaign. — 137 words.

Wives of Russian officials' are main breadwinners

By Anna Malpas
The Moscow Times

As top officials this week declared their spouses' income and property for the first time and, taking a cue from President Dmitry Medvedev, made the declarations public, it emerged that some of them — on paper, at least — are not the main breadwinners in their families. — 686 words.

Nemtsov: Authorities hampering Sochi bid
Candidates in pitched electoral battle for control of 2014 Winter Olympics site

By Anna Malpas and Alexandra Odynova
The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — Sochi mayoral candidate Boris Nemtsov accused police of illegally confiscating tens of thousands of campaign pamphlets Saturday as part of a drive by regional authorities to derail his bid. — 442 words.

Deputy accused in Dubai murder

By Natalya Krainova and Alexandra Odynova
The Moscow Times

Dubai police on Sunday accused State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov of masterminding the assassination of former Chechen commander Sulim Yamadayev and said they would seek his arrest. — 734 words.

Kadyrov tells of plot to poison Chechen lake as charges
and counter charges fly in wake of Dubai murders

By Nabi Abdullaev and Carl Schreck
The Moscow Times

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on Monday accused Chechen strongman Sulim Yamadayev, who was shot dead in Dubai on March 28, of trying to poison him and implicated him in the assassination of his father. — 626 words.

Acquitted suspect detained on new extortion charge

The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — A former Moscow police officer acquitted in the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been detained on suspicion of extortion. — 266 words.

Communists win easily in Moldova elections but 10,000 opposition crowd seizes parliament


CHISINAU, Moldova — Moldovan protesters ransacked the president's offices and the parliament Tuesday in violent protests over parliamentary elections that President Vladimir Voronin said amounted to a "coup d'etat."

RIA-Novosti reported that the authorities and opposition leaders agreed late Tuesday to a recount of votes cast in Sunday's parliamentary election, which was easily won by Voronin's Communist Party. Voronin said in a television address late Tuesday that opposition leaders had embarked on a "path to the violent seizure of power." — 730 words.

China's American way of life

‘Slums’ of Beijing becoming an ideal for American urban planners
Tight-knit community, narrow, car-free streets that are neat — and safe

By Michael Meyer
The New York Times

Michael Meyer is the author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed.

If Hillary Clinton were to step away from photo-ops at the Great Hall of the People and walk 200 yards south past the edge of Tiananmen Square, she would enter Dazhalan — a half-square mile of 114 hutong, or lanes. Home to 57,000 people, this 800-year-old neighborhood exemplifies the sort of urban planning that many American cities seek to recreate, featuring narrow, car-free streets enlivened by a tight-knit community. Mrs. Clinton should visit the area while it’s still there; wide roads are slated to pierce through the heart of this historical center, where a new boutique mall and a Wal-Mart already shadow its edges. — 620 words.

Much ado about Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, and the importance of independent media

I.F. Stone's son talks about the Izzy Awards, Amy Goodman and Glenn Greenwald

By Jeff Cohen
Huffinton Post

Jeremy Stone is the president of Catalytic Diplomacy. He headed the Federation of American Scientists from 1970 to 2000; his name appeared on Richard Nixon's Enemies List in 1973. He supervises the official website and is the elder son of Esther and Izzy Stone.

(This short speech was made by Jeremy Stone at Tuesday's inaugural ceremony of the Izzy Awards for independent media -- named after legendary journalist I.F. "Izzy" Stone. Blogger Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! shared the award presented by Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media, which I head. — Jeff Cohen.)

REMARKS OF JEREMY STONE: When I first heard about an award for people who most "resembled" Izzy, I had high hopes that I might finally win a prize. Unfortunately, the selection committee appears to have been concerned with behavior. — 578 words.

The wrong weapons

By Richard Lourie
The Moscow Timest

Richard Lourie is the author of The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin and Sakharov: A Biography.

Iran is the Cuba of the Middle East. Long ostracized and under sanctions, both are ripe for change. We will probably see breakthroughs with Cuba and Iran in U.S. President Barack Obama's first term. Cuba will be easier, but Iran is more important to U.S. goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan. — 576 words.

Saakashvili gets taste of his own medicine

By Matthew Collin
The Moscow Times

Dining out in downtown Tbilisi has become a somewhat uncomfortable experience recently, at least for President Mikheil Saakashvili. The Georgian leader has been rudely interrupted twice while eating at restaurants in the capital over the past few weeks. His persecutors, a mob of rowdy students, have been harrying him as the opposition pumps itself up for mass demonstrations that they hope will force Saakashvili to resign. — 384 words.

A new darling of the Right: African author pans Foreign aid to Africa

She's attractive, articulate, and says what they want to hear, but her argument misses some vital points

By Joshua Holland

I'm going to weigh in briefly on a book I haven't read, Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa. Yes, that seems like the worst kind of uninformed post, but I'm going to take the liberty because the argument made by author Dambisa Moyo is a familiar one to anyone who's taken a hard look at international development issues. — 1,252 words.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, sez:

"The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi."

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

The Peace Tower that declares itself with 53 bells

The carillon in the Peace Tower at Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada, consists of 53 bells made in Croydon, England. The largest bell weighs 10,160 kilograms and sounds the note E. The smallest bell weighs 4.5 kilograms and is pitched to the A note.

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

Spirit Quest

Good Friday

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

One day as I was driving in the country I saw a small white cross beside the road. Around it were some flowers. I didn’t stop to examine this memorial but surmised that that is what it was. Here, close by, someone's life had come to a sudden and violent conclusion. An accident had taken place, road fatalities are frequent, almost daily, I am told. One moment all is well and then there is the sound of screaming tires, a horn blares out and then the sickening rasp of metal against metal. Life has come to an end because of a moment of inattention, a mind fogged by alcohol, a road turned treacherous by ice. — 773 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

Lilies of the Valley

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

OTTAWA — Our home in Sandy Hill (Chapel & Stewart) was shaded by a giant Oak and surrounded by three beds of Lily of the Valley. Dad, a Naval vet of both wars, wore his ragged old Naval shorts to go down each Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. sharp and pluck 600 Lilies from the front and side beds. — 277 words.

Musings: In search of Shakespeare

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

Four centuries after Shakespeare's career was in full flower he continues to capture headlines. A few years ago it was the discovery of a play, "Edmund Ironside," attributed by some scholars to the Bard. Then a new biography appeared written by Peter Levi, who also claims to have found a series of 14 previously unknown verses by someone who signed them "W. Shk." — 1,469 words.

Jamaican music is world leader during past fifty years
A surprising plus for a country of less than three million

By Ian Covey
True North Perspective

Of all the 'world' musics of the twentieth century, music from Jamaica has arguably had the greatest impact globally during the past fifty years. Most today recognize the name Bob Marley, and even more recognize the distinct reggae music played by Marley, and artists like him. Even though the country of Jamaica produces more records per capita annually than any other country in the world, it still is quite surprising that an island twice the size of Prince Edward Island with a population under three million has had such an effect on the world of music. (Moskowitz, 2006) During the last half-century Jamaican music and artists have had significant impacts on the world over and the music remains extremely popular in certain areas and social groups today. TIME magazine even named the album Exodus by Bob Marley and the Wailers the album of the century in 1998. (TIME, 1999) Reggae music still influences new artists and genres today. But what influenced early reggae? — 2,103 words.


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

Sorry, room for one only

In this time of casual, Travis Robertson went formal. Except at the beach or in bed, he always wore a suit, shirt, tie, matching socks, and polished shoes. He selected his own wardrobe. Not his wife. His secretary was called a secretary, not an administrative assistant, nor any other fancy name to suit current fashion. He called her Miss Berlinger. She called him Mr. Robertson. They had been working together as master and slave for more than 20 years. They knew each other as intimately as could be possible without being man-and-wife. Miss Berlinger and Mr. Robertson saw themselves, without qualification, as the cornerstone, nay the very foundation, upon which rested and thrived Robertson-Cotton Communications and Cybernet with its three hundred and thirty-nine employees in key locations throughout North America. Early in the microchip era Robertson/Cotton found a lucrative niche for itself in the development of computer software and last fiscal year saw a tidy, satisfying, profit out of a turnover of more than one hundred million dollars. Both partners had secured enough by now to enjoy a luxurious retirement. But retirement was not on the minds of either one. — 7,230 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