tnp logo

Friday, February 6, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 9 — 160
"True North is for opinion makers"
Mission Statement        Archives        Contact the Editor        Subscribe!

Obama seeks deal with Russia to slash nuclear weapons

Radical new treaty would reduce
number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 each

By Tim Reid

President Obama will convene the most ambitious arms reduction talks with Russia for a generation, aiming to slash each country’s stockpile of nuclear weapons by 80 per cent. The radical treaty would cut the number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 each, The Times has learnt. Key to the initiative is a review of the Bush Administration’s plan for a US missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, a project fiercely opposed by Moscow. — 400 words.

Afghanistan: Losing a No-Win War
in 'the graveyard of empires'

By Steve Weissman
Truthout | Perspective

"Our greatest military challenge right now is Afghanistan," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his recent testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. But, he offered something less than a rousing defense of the new Afghan plan that he and Gen. David Petraeus will formally give President Obama...Gates was "deeply skeptical" about sending any more than that in the future, setting a ceiling that could later come back to haunt him. — 860 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, February 6, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 9 (160)

Obama gives us more cause for rejoicing with his decision
to convene nuclear arms reduction negotiations with Russia

What a difference a president makes. Like a bunch of schoolyard bullies the Bush bunch preferred to stir up trouble by baiting the Russian Bear with phony justification for radar installations in Eastern Europe and threatening a military assault on Iran. Now the world observes a president at Washington who is clearly looking for resolution to world problems rather than creating them.

For the full story of the attack, counter attack, and the heart-wrenching suffering by innocent civilians in Ossetia — and one of the Bush regime's last-ditch attempts to prevent an Obama victory — be sure to take time to view the 48-minute video available here.262 words.

Believe it or not

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

Top this one for a speeding ticket!

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar...The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. — 308 words.

Health Watch

Walking more effective than you think

Walking costs nothing, suits any level of fitness
and has a long list of benefits.

Rob Sharp

It's cheap, you can do it anywhere and you have a usefully instinctive knowledge of how to do it. Whether you are working off a belly acquired over Christmas or looking for a regular way to improve your health, putting one leg in front of the other is the way forward. The NHS advises that walking 10,000 steps a day, or 5 miles, can give you a healthy heart and reduce your body fat. It's good for your circulation and lungs and can improve your cardiovascular fitness. — 1,616 words.

Ancient dentists recommended Portuguese urine as perfect whitening ingredient

Egyptians were the first to invent toothpaste many centuries ago, when there were no anti-cavity, mint-flavored and whitening toothpastes and gels. The ancient toothpaste was a mixture of pumice and wine vinegar. Yummy, isn't? It may sound absolutely insane, but ancient Romans found a much more original way for their daily tooth-care. Wealthy Romans, especially women, were ready to pay a lot of money for the local sort of toothpaste, in which human urine was the main ingredient. — 379 words.

As they say in Pefferlaw:

'Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see'

Jimmy can’t crack corn with his cell phone

YouTube videos that show a group of friends apparently cooking kernels of popcorn with their cellphones have been viewed more than a million times since they were first uploaded. — 448 words.

Lesbian girls have a different brain structure

It is no news that people who have unconventional sexual orientation look differently. However the study showed that they also think differently. Lesbians’ brains react differently to sex hormones than those of heterosexual women. An earlier study of gay men also showed their brain response was different from straight men — an even stronger difference than has now been found in lesbians. — 621 words.

Suspected Colombian paramilitary forces arrested in Venezuelan capital

Chavez pardons and deports 130 would-be assassins nabbed in 2004

By Tamara Pearson

MERIDA, Venezuela — 31 Colombians, suspected of being paramilitary forces, were detained in the Caracas suburb of Petare, the Venezuelan vice president Ramon Carrizalez announced yesterday. He said the government is investigating the motives of the 31 Colombians' presence. "It is part of an ongoing investigation we have been conducting for some time," he said. — 255 words.

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

Only two score back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning goals

Jack Darragh and Mike Bossy are the only NHL players to score back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning goals. Bossy, of the New York Islanders, did it in 1982 against the Vancouver Canucks and in 1983 against the Edmonton Oilers. Darragh accomplished the feat in 1920 and 1921 when the Ottawa Senators knocked off the Seattle Metropolitans and the Vancouver Millionaires.

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

Venezuela: Local reactions to the re-election reform

From left to right a vigorous philosophical public debate on democracy

By Max Ajl

Following close on the United Socialist Party of Venezuela's (PSUV) electoral victory in the November 23 regional elections, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez re-proposed a constitutional reform that would allow indefinite re-election. The first attempt, bundled with various constitutional amendments that would have accelerated economic restructuring, was defeated 51 to 49 percent in December 2007. — 1,054 words.

U.S. researcher says racial profiling fails as security tool
But argues that using 'a little bit' is better than none

'That should let us reopen this whole question of whether profiling is a good thing at all'

CBC News

Relying strongly on ethnic or nationality profiling when trying to spot criminals is no more efficient than random sampling, according to calculations made by a U.S. researcher. — 554 words.

Afghan civilian deaths increased by 40% in 2008

CBC News

More than 2,100 civilians in Afghanistan were killed last year as a result of armed conflict, a 40 per cent rise from the previous year, the UN's humanitarian chief said Tuesday. — 311 words.

Rich get poorer and the poor disappear

By Barbara Ehrenreich

Ever on the lookout for the bright side of hard times, I am tempted to delete "class inequality" from my worry list. Less than a year ago, it was the one of the biggest economic threats on the horizon, with even hard line conservative pundits grousing that wealth was flowing uphill at an alarming rate, leaving the middle class stuck with stagnating incomes while the new super-rich ascended to the heavens in their personal jets. Then the whole top-heavy structure of American capitalism began to totter, and — poof! — inequality all but vanished from the public discourse. — 1,021 words.

Iraq unwilling to guarantee detainee rights

By Nick Mottern and Bill Rau
Truthout | Perspective

The Iraqi government will make no commitment to ensure rights of due process for tens of thousands of detainees in its jails and prisons...the shortcomings of the Iraqi justice system appear to also include not being able to even keep accurate records on the detainees it holds, assuming it wishes to do so. Indeed, it is unclear how many Iraqis are being held by their own government; estimates range from 25,000 to 60,000 and possibly more. — 2,831 words.

Doing the recovery right

'The transformation of our fossil fuel driven economy into a clean energy economy will be the work of a generation, engaging a huge range of people and activities.'

By Robert Pollin
The Nation

For most of the past generation, the aims of environmental sustainability and social justice were seen as equally worthy, yet painfully and unavoidably in conflict. Tree huggers and spotted owls were pitted against loggers and hard hats. Fighting global warming was held to inevitably worsen global poverty and vice versa. Indeed, the competing demands of the environmental and social justice agendas were frequently cited as a classic example of how public policy choices were fraught with trade-offs and unintended consequences — how you could end up doing harm while seeking only to do good. Over the past couple of years, there has been a dramatic reversal of thinking: the idea has emerged that protecting the environment — in particular, defeating global warming — can also be an effective engine of economic growth, job creation and even poverty reduction. — 3,241 words.

Money and Markets

World Bank Chief Economist offers radical advice on how to rescue the U.S. bank bailout

Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz calls for nationalization of failing U.S. banks

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

America's recession is moving into its second year, with the situation only worsening. The hope that President Obama will be able to get us out of the mess is tempered by the reality that throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the banks has failed to restore them to health, or even to resuscitate the flow of lending. Every day brings further evidence that the losses are greater than had been expected and more and more money will be required. The question is at last being raised: Perhaps the entire strategy is flawed? Perhaps what is needed is a fundamental rethinking. The Paulson-Bernanke-Geithner strategy was based on the realization that maintaining the flow of credit was essential for the economy. But it was also based on a failure to grasp some of the fundamental changes in our financial sector since the Great Depression, and even in the last two decades. — 1,639 words.

Buffett cancels annual event with biographer

By Leslie Wayne
International Herald Tribune

NEW YORK — A longstanding custom of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting has been the dinner hosted by Alice Schroeder, whom Warren Buffett chose to write his biography, The Snowball, which was published last September. — 563 words.

Czars, Communists, presidents and the Russian banya

Faith, vodka and banya (bathhouse or steam-bath) have always been the three links to keep a connection between common people and the powers-that-be in Russia. When Ivan the Terrible arrived in Pskov in 1570 he saw people — men, women of all ages and even monks and nuns — taking steam baths and running out of banya buildings into the streets naked. That was the first time the banya made its appearance in Russia’s politics. Ivan IV had a great fondness for the banya and considered it to be the cradle of health. A steam bath would make the terrible czar a quiet person at least for a short period of time. He took a steam bath for several hours on March 18, 1584 and began to play a game of chess afterwards, when he suddenly died. — 821 words.

Musings: Bigger isn't better

By Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective

There’s a song in the Broadway show, Barnum, sung by Tom Thumb, the midget P.T. Barnum featured in his circus. Every time I enter one of the new, "improved," supermarkets, the catchy tune comes to mind. "Bigger Isn’t Better," I sing to myself. — 438 words.

Random Acts of Poetry


By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

"Veterans"? — 95 words.

Fascinating historical notes ... by George Laidlaw

There is gold down there!

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

Just recently news has confirmed that the HMS Victory, the Flagship of the British Navy has been found. The 100 gun ship was lost in a fierce storm in the English Channel and the 1100 souls on board went down with the ship. Not only are the 100 brass guns worth a fortune but the rumour of it carrying 4 tones of gold coin makes it a very valuable discovery. — 498 words.

Spirit Quest


By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

When recently it was mooted that one of the conspirators for the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre might be released from Guantanamo when it is closed later this year, there was anger especially among those who had lost a friend, or a loved one in the Manhattan Holocaust. The wife of a fireman who died in the wreckage spoke out strongly, that she was being denied "closure." — 941 words.

Web site may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a Web site 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
Harold Wright