Friday, February 29, 2008
"True North is for opinion makers"
Mission Statement         Archives         Contact the Editor

"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.

Or quick and easy and perfectly safe, via Pay Pal. No donation is too small.

True North No Gas Fridays
Don't be shy! Just don't buy!

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 wont 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, dont go near that thing on Friday . . . theres a gouger lurking, with a very greedy eye on your hard-earned money.


Editor’s Notes

If March be here can spring be far behind?

Looking forward indeed!

— 4 words

Randy Ray and the boa constrictor

To escape Ottawa’s cold and snow, True North’s irrepressible Contributing Editor Randy Ray flew to rest under the sun on St. Lucia. In this photo of photos he clearly takes pleasure in being caressed by nothing less than a boa constrictor. Next thing we know he’ll be paddling in a Canadian canoe among the alligators and the more dangerous crocodiles in the Florida Everglades. In Florida there are one million alligators alone, never mind the crocs. Welcome home Randy.

Thousands of Canadian freelance writers/photographers
are bullied into surrendering ownership of their work

By Shannon Lee Mannion 

OTTAWA Thousands of freelance writers and photographers across Canada have been bullied into signing an inimical Freelance Agreement sent to us in late-2007 by Canadian media giant, CanWest MediaWorks. I have refused to sign this contract. Several other long-standing freelance columnists have also done so. We no longer have our jobs with CanWest MediaWorks. — 483 words.

In shrinking economy whitecollar workers learn
the value of joining unions for bargaining power

More and more white-collar workers are organizing. A few years go, the figure stood at 11 million and has certainly increased since then. Doctors, teachers, engineers and attorneys who never had any use for unions now see the safety and bargaining power in numbers. — 763 words.

How the spooks took over the news — commercial media
slavishly delivered propaganda that opened the gates to war

Editor's note: This is an edited excerpt from Nick Davies' book, Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media (Chatto & Windus).

Davies' book has created enormous controversy in the UK, where many of the newsmakers Davies discusses in the book have fired back with op-eds accusing Davies of relying on the same anonymous sourcing that he condemns the commercial press for using in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. 2,041 words.

British court convicts 'Osama Bin London'
for training terrorists in secret forest camps

An extremist who called himself 'Osama Bin London' was Tuesday found guilty of training men in secret camps held in secluded forested areas of Britain to fight abroad. — 403 words.

James Hill for The New York Times
PUTIN’S REACH In the Nizhny Novgorod region, by the Volga River, supporters of President Vladimir V. Putin control nearly all of the political offices. More Photos >


Putin’s iron grip on Russia suffocates his opponents

By Clifford J. Levy
The New York Times

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia — Shortly before parliamentary elections in December, foremen fanned out across the sprawling GAZ vehicle factory here, pulling aside assembly-line workers and giving them an order: vote for President Vladimir V. Putin’s party or else. They were instructed to phone in after they left their polling places. Names would be tallied, defiance punished. —2,576 words.

China says Stephen Spielberg couldn’t resign as artistic advisor
of the Olympiad because he never had the job in the first place

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Visiting Chinese government's special representative for Darfur, Liu Guijin, Wednesday said had the so-called resignation event not taken place he would have not revealed his meeting last September with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. — 499 words.

Winnipeg man seeks addiction treatment in Cuba
‘You’re in a 1.5 star clinic with 7 star personnel’

Manitoba overhauling program on Cuban model

CBC News

A Winnipeg man who traveled to Cuba to receive treatment for alcoholism says he was "blown away" by the treatment he received in the Caribbean nation. — 510 words.

Corporate legal lobbyists have turned
human rights into a tradable commodity

By Todd Tucker
Eyes on Trade

It's our unfortunate duty here at Eyes on Trade (EOT) to have to read some truly mind-numbing trade law analyses of domestic regulation. For instance, have you ever really thought about whether electricity is a good or a service?  — 493 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

Study reveals one in 99.1 Americans in prison
U.S beats China, Russia for most behind bars

The Globe and Mail Canada

For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report tracking the surge in inmate population and urging states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs. — 672 words.

Neo-nazis and white supremacists publish
ominous anonymous threats to Obama's life

The most heated anti-Obama talk appears to be on Internet sites that allow people to post messages anonymously. — 359 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!

Which of the following home renovations offers the best payback when a house is sold?
a) kitchen b) central air conditioning c) exterior painting d) bathroom

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:

McCain torture endorsement lost amid media sex scandal frenzy

Of course, this is a "sex scandal."
Torture, by comparison, is old news.  

Upon being confronted with The New York Times' "bombshell" report of his too-cozy relationship with a "lady lobbyist" during his last presidential campaign, GOP contender John McCain took a page from the Bush playbook and blamed the media. — 941 words.

Health Watch

Airplane Asphyxiation

Could drop-down oxygen masks have saved a dying airline passenger?

An airline passenger had difficulty breathing and then died during a recent flight from Haiti to New York. According to a relative on the plane, the crew aboard the Airbus 300-600 tried to administer oxygen from a pair of tanks that were empty. (American Airlines has countered that the passenger did receive oxygen.) If the tanks really were empty, could the pilot have deployed the emergency oxygen masks? — 479 words.

Fort Worth paper says Secret Service ordered
end to gun checks at Obama rally in Dallas

NEW YORK — The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday, February 21 that security details at Barack Obama's rally in Dallas (of all places) on Wednesday "stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena. — 204 words.

The humiliating treaty that saved the new-born Soviet Union

David Marples, a professor of Russian history at the University of Alberta, Canada, is the author of "The Collapse of the Soviet Union, 1985-1991.
Ninety years ago Monday, Soviet Russia, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, in the city that today is located on the western border of Belarus. The treaty marked a notable change from diplomatic agreements of the 19th century in that the Germans imposed humiliating terms on the new government of Vladimir Lenin. — 968 words.

Venezuelan negotiations secures
release of four more FARC hostages

By Kiraz Janicke

Former Colombian legislators reunited with their families at Simon Bolivar International Airport (YVKE Mundial)

CARACAS, Venezuela — Visibly overcome with emotion, four former Colombian legislators, Gloria Polanco, Luis Eladio Pérez, Orlando Beltrán and Jorge Eduardo Géchem — held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for years -—were reunited with their families in the Simon Bolivar International airport near Caracas at 6.10 pm today after a successful Venezuelan led humanitarian mission. — 922 words.

Are we headed for a natural gas crisis?

It's difficult for me not to go off on a rant about oil prices breaking over $100 per barrel again. After watching oil prices move over $101 a barrel yesterday, I was tempted to scrap my other projects. But then I realized something ... $100 for a barrel of oil shouldn't surprise us.  — 647 words.

China: Oodles More Money to Be Made!
As sleeping giant awakens and shakes the world

China's economy is unlike any other in world history

Is China's boom over? Ha! Not by a long shot! China's economic rocket ride higher is far from over, and I think there are oodles of money to be made playing this giant as it awakens — and shakes the world! First, let's look at some of the recent economic stats coming out of China ... — 1,304 words.

‘Call them as you see them’

Journals – 1952-2000 ­­by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

"What the hell, you have to call them as you see them," the late Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., told his sons, Andrew and Stephen, who were surprised when their father asked them to edit his Journals for publication.

Book Review by Rosaleen Leslie Dickson

Fascinating historical notes … by George Laidlaw

George Laidlaw is a novelist and President of the Ottawa Independent Writers.

The pride of citizenship and responsibility

More and more each day we hear people complain that the country is changing and no longer is it as Canadian as it used to be.  — 251 words.

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

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. Looking forward.

Romance, mystery and danger against a
background of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons


A novel by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Summer is the sequel to the popular novel, Spring published by PublishAmerica (2006). For more information, click here.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, and his colleague George Carlin succinctly deal with profound questions of life and living:Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

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?

. a) kitchen, which pays back 68 to 73 per cent of renovation costs


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Rosaleen Dickson
Geoffrey Dow
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright