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Friday, June 19, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 30 — 181
"True North is for opinion makers"
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Iraqi Oil Minister accused of mother of all sell-outs

To public fury, the country is handing over control of its fields to foreign companies

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent UK

BAGHDAD — Furious protests threaten to undermine the Iraqi government's controversial plan to give international oil companies a stake in its giant oilfields in a desperate effort to raise declining oil production and revenues. — 1,172 words.

Marian Hossa

It's official — The era of cheap oil is over
U.S. Energy Department changes tune on peak oil

By Michael T. Klare

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and the author, most recently, of "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy" (Henry Holt). A DVD of the documentary film based on his previous book, "Blood and Oil," is available by clicking here.

Every summer, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy issues its International Energy Outlook (IEO) — a jam-packed compendium of data and analysis on the evolving world energy equation. For those with the background to interpret its key statistical findings, the release of the IEO can provide a unique opportunity to gauge important shifts in global energy trends, much as reports of routine Communist Party functions in the party journal Pravda once provided America's Kremlin watchers with insights into changes in the Soviet Union's top leadership circle.

As it happens, the recent release of the 2009 IEO has provided energy watchers with a feast of significant revelations. By far the most significant disclosure: the IEO predicts a sharp drop in projected future world oil output (compared to previous expectations) and a corresponding increase in reliance on what are called "unconventional fuels" — oil sands, ultra-deep oil, shale oil, and biofuels. — 2,325 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, June 19, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 30 (181)

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of five Cuban political prisoners giving Obama an excellent opportunity to promote international good will

For decades anti-Cuban terrorists based in Miami, Florida, have conducted a campaign of violence against the island country. During this time more than 3,000 civilians have been killed. In 1976 a Cuban airliner was blown out of the sky murdering all 73 aboard. — 1,067 words.

What is Brent D. Wilson afraid of?
Why does he hide from leaders of the Lord Lansdowne Neighbourhood Group

'There is only one conclusion possible: the HVAC equipment is defective or inappropriate for a residence. Either way it has to be changed.' — Allan Moscovitch

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

OTTAWA, Canada — Never in my decades long history of frontline journalism that's included such newspapers as The Globe and Mail have I encountered anyone like Brent D. Wilson, president of Lord Lansdowne Retirement Inc., a unit of the Dymon Capital Corporation. — 605 words.

Humour from the Court of Judge Harold Wright, Contributing Editor

'English as she is wrote'

English is a hard language to learn. I'm grateful that I was born into it. Here following are some heroic grapplings. — 371 words.

Ottawa will finally allow Abdelrazik to return to Canada

By Staff Writers
CBC News

The federal government will comply with a Federal Court order to allow the return of Montrealer Abousfian Abdelrazik, who has been stranded in Sudan for six years after being labelled an al-Qaeda suspect, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday. — 412 words.

Farewell and godspeed!

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of "The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

Thursday evening of June 11th, more than 200 people gathered at Montfort School on Sladen Street in Ottawa to bid farewell to the old building erected in 1941 and later renovated and expanded in 1973. I was a teacher there in the 1990s, teaching children from grades 2 to 8. — 889 words.

Dennis Carr named City of Vancouver's Assistant Director of Social Infrastructure, Social Development

By David McLellan
General Manager Community Services
City of Vancouver

I am pleased to announce that Dennis Carr will commence employment with the City of Vancouver on August 17, 2009 as the Assistant Director of Social Infrastructure, Social Development. — 280 words.

A press release that shouldn’t have been necessary

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally writter for Ontario Farmer

Through the alphabet soup of farm aid programs concocted by successive federal and provincial governments during the last couple of decades, farm groups have strived to get a reliable and predictable disaster relief program in place. — 565 words.

Making waves on Parliament Hill: The war against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

'... thousands of women suffer in silence, as the shame slowly destroys their will to live and the life of their communities.'

By Rebekah Sears, MA (International Affairs)
True North Perspective

OTTAWA, Canada — Parliament Hill is home of Canada's houses of government, where issues are discussed and debated, and major decisions made. But how are these topics determined? MPs and senators are elected and appointed to represent the interests of their constituents and/or regions. Many also feel very passionate about specific issues at regional or international levels. Some of the most prominent issues include conflict resolution and the prevention of genocide and other crimes against humanity. — 1,036 words.


By Mike Montreuil
True North Perspective

Sooner or later, it was bound to happen. Another bastion of privilege has disappeared; in my mind at least. Two years ago, or so, an "edict" was proclaimed by the "big boss" of my government department and at that time, the "big boss" was just another middle manager in Ottawa. But, he wanted to be able to get hold of all his lower level managers anywhere and at any time of the day. I think you get it. He was a control freak. So, before you could say "Bob's your uncle", his minions had brand new Blackberry smart phones. — 450 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Ford Escape plug-in hybrid

By Marc Bouchard

Who on Earth actually looks forward to getting stuck in downtown traffic? Probably anyone driving a Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid, the only operational vehicle of its kind currently found in Canada. Why is it so? Well, the very nature of this SUV makes it equally pleasant in the city and on the countryside. More importantly, though, low-speed driving becomes a wonderfully-refined, totally-silent experience.

The basics on plug-in-hybrids

The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is basically just a regular hybrid -- and a regular Escape for that matter. There's not much physical difference aside from the temporary stickers ... and obviously the small outlet on the left side to plug the recharge cable into.

The interior is also very similar to the traditional Escape, except for the control monitor right in the middle of the center stack. It's actually a communication interface providing information to the driver on all sorts of vehicle functions, including audio and climate control, as well as fuel economy and battery usage.

In reality, the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid merely adds a couple of lithium-ion batteries that can be charged directly from any power outlet at home or at work. A full charge takes about 6 to 8 hours and allows a range of 48 kilometres in optimum conditions.

When the battery pack runs empty, this Escape turns into a conventional hybrid, meaning it combines gasoline and electricity to move the vehicle and uses a regenerative braking system to charge the batteries on the go.

For more on this please see

WestJet fares threaten aboriginal-owned airline

By Brent Jang
Globe and Mail

Aboriginal-owned Canadian North airlines has served the Northwest Territories and Nunavut for years, but now it's worried about its very survival in the face of a threat from WestJet Airlines Ltd. — 583 words.

A Canadian reports on sex laws in America

15 shocking tales of how sex laws are screwing the American people

In the land of the free, the freedom to express your sexuality can land you in prison

By Ellen Friedrichs

Ellen Friedrichs is a sex educator based in New York City, where she teaches high school and college classes.

The older I get, the luckier I feel not to have been busted for breaking a sex law. It's not that I have been doing anything particularly scandalous. Public sex sure isn't my thing, and I'm not in the habit of spamming my friends and colleagues with XXX emails. But in a world where a teen can get arrested for texting a boyfriend her own nudie shots, I don't want to take anything for granted. — 3,034 words.

David Letterman's stupid joke trick

Why Sarah Palin's brand of bitching is great for his ratings

By Vanessa Richmond

Dave Letterman sat on a wall. Dave Letterman had a great fall. But will all the media's horses and the court of public opinion put him back together again today? The drama, of course, has been playing out for a week, ever since Letterman quipped last Monday that while in New York, Sarah Palin would undoubtedly stock up on makeup for her "slutty flight attendant" look. And that her daughter had been knocked up by A-Rod on a visit to Yankee Stadium. — 1,488 words.

Barack Obama vs. Harriet and Louise

By Dean Baker|Perspective

It may not be as exciting as the Thrilla in Manila, but its outcome will have far more impact on the lives of tens of millions of families across the country. The story is straightforward. President Obama had stepped up to challenge the insurance industry in order to reform the health care system in the United States. — 757 words.

The Obama haters' silent enablers

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

When a Fox News anchor, reacting to his own network's surging e-mail traffic, warns urgently on-camera of a rise in hate-filled, "amped up" Americans who are "taking the extra step and getting the gun out," maybe we should listen. He has better sources in that underground than most. — 1,657 words.

Did FBI informant actually inspire Bronx synagogue plot?

By Amira Hass

NEWBURGH, New York — The first time Kathleen Baines saw Maksud was on Wednesday, May 20. Like everyone else, she knew the well-to-do Pakistani by his first name only. He had started appearing here the previous September, wandering around outside Masjid al-Ikhlas (the "mosque of devotion") in town, meeting people in a popular local restaurant, paying for their meals and offering financial help. — 1,576 words.

Venezuelan women embrace community activism

By Humberto Márquez
Inter Press Service

CARACAS — In Venezuela "women have passionately embraced community activism, taking on a more committed and active role, and this is reflected in the increasing female participation in neighbourhood assemblies," Alba Rojas, spokeswoman for a community council in Tacagua, a township that spreads along the Caracas-La Guaira highway, told IPS. — 1,509 words.

Chile: Goodbye to the gender gap?

By Daniela Estrada
Inter Press Service

SANTIAGO — Gabriela, 32, is delighted with Chile's new law establishing equal wages for men and women doing the same work. But the discrimination she has experienced in the workplace makes her wary of premature optimism. — 1,238 words.

'We are fighting for our lives and our dignity'

Across the globe, as mining and oil firms race for dwindling resources, indigenous peoples are battling to defend their lands — often paying the ultimate price

By John Vidal

It has been called the world's second "oil war", but the only similarity between Iraq and events in the jungles of northern Peru over the last few weeks has been the mismatch of force. On one side have been the police armed with automatic weapons, teargas, helicopter gunships and armoured cars. On the other are several thousand Awajun and Wambis Indians, many of them in war paint and armed with bows and arrows and spears. — 1,683 words.

Giant sperm stretch back millions of years

By Ewen Callaway

There's sperm and then there's super sperm – gigantic reproductive cells many times longer than the minute crustaceans that produce them. Now, scientists have discovered that ostracods, or seed shrimp, have been cranking out these giant sperm for at least 100 million years.

The outsized cells likely increase a male's chances of impregnating a female in the face of intense competition from sperm from other males. — 461 words.

14-year old German boy hit by meteorite

By Staff Writers

A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar. "When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road," Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports. — 364 words.

Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam

By Marjorie Cohn|Perspective

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild, served as a judge on the International Peoples' Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange. She is a member of the Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and co-author of "Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent."

From 1961 to 1971, the US military sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, which contained large quantities of Dioxin, in order to defoliate the trees for military objectives. Dioxin is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects). — 1,440 words.

A world of risk for a new brand of journalist

By Brian Stelter
The New York Times

As the journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee complete their third month of detainment in North Korea, it remains rather astonishing that they were there in the first place to report for a fledgling cable channel. But their path there may explain in part why they remain in custody. — 1,254 words.

In Somalia war, children wage jihad

By Staff Writers

MOGADISHU — At the ripe old age of 13 and after two years of military training with the insurgent group Hezb al-Islamiya, Husein Abdi is proud to have been inducted into Somalia's fighting brotherhood. — 914 words.

Zimbabwe girls trade sex for food

By Mike Thomson
BBC News

MGrowing numbers of children in Zimbabwe are turning to prostitution to survive, the charity Save the Children says. — 274 words.

Gay and proud in Havana: Celebration of diversity brings out best and worst of Cuba

By Marina Sitrin

Marina Sitrin is a writer, lawyer, dreamer and translator. She has edited Horizonalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, and the forthcoming Insurgent Democracies — Latin America's New Powers. She lives in Havana.

HAVANA — We are on a main city block early Saturday morning. People gathering are high-spirited, almost giddy. As people begin to form a line, I exhale deeply, imagining it is just one of the everyday lines that are the Cuban reality. This line, however, is different. It begins to shift, snake, jump and dance. This is a conga line. There are hundreds of us, perhaps even a thousand, and we are dancing down one of the central streets of Havana. And we are not just some random group of people — we are a group of lesbians, gay men, transvestites, transsexuals and bisexuals, along with heterosexual friends, and sometimes even families, all gathering for the International Day Against Homophobia. — 1,514 words.

Cuba's sexual minorities find a champion in Castro's niece

By Marc Lacey
International Herald Tribune

HAVANA — Twenty or so transvestites sat in a circle discussing their woes: harassment, boyfriend troubles, the challenge of removing hair from their legs. Empathizing with them was Mariela Castro Espín, Cuba's premier sexologist. — 1,049 words.

New declaration says "Sexuality is an essential part of humanity"

The International Planned Parenthood Federation launched the world's first declaration of sexual rights in the Buenos Aires on Wednesday

By Marcela Valente
Inter Press Service

BUENOS AIRES — In an effort to promote the free enjoyment of human sexuality, separate from reproduction, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) launched the world's first declaration of sexual rights in the Argentine capital on Wednesday. — 879 words.

'Sexy Ukrainian women looking for love': The fight against sex tourism

Ukrainian feminists are trying to curb a growing sex tourism industry that exploits women and children

By Marina Kamenev
Ms. Magazine

Late last year, as Ukraine started getting seriously hit by the financial crisis, a man in a faux-leather jacket stood on Kiev's main avenue, Khreschatik Boulevard, strapped into a red-lettered billboard offering "Sexy Ukrainian Women Looking for Love." Next to him on a small table was a folder of pictures of potential "brides." Women walked past, averting their gazes. — 1,099 words.

From the Desk of Anita chan, Contributing Editor, Australia

China union federation as owner of hotel appears in conflict of interest as militant union chair is fired for acting on grievances

Guangzhou media goes to bat for Liu Yongyi

(Anita Chan is Visiting Research Fellow, Contemporary China Centre, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.)

In this short installment of China Labor News Translations, we bring you the story of the dismissal of a union chair from a hotel building owned by the Guangdong Federation of Trade Unions (GDFTU). This profoundly ironic and deeply troubling story exploded in the Guangzhou media last month, and in addition to some excellent reporting, there have been a number of high quality op-ed pieces harshly criticizing the behavior of hotel management and the trade union. — 638 words.

In case you missed it ...
The Old Man's Last Sauna, a collection of short stories by Carl Dow

The short story, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story, in the Friday, April 24 edition of True North Perspective, concludes the collection titled The Old Man's Last Sauna, written by Carl Dow. On Friday, April 17, you'll find O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series began Friday, February 20, with Deo Volente (God Willing). The second, The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Friday, February 27. The third, Sharing Lies, Friday, March 6. The fourth, Flying High, Friday, March 13. The fifth, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, Friday, March 20. On Friday, March 27, One Lift Too Many, followed by The Model A Ford, Friday, April 3. The out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only, Friday, April 10. The series closed Friday, April 24, with the collection's namesake The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may be found in the True North Perspective Archives. — Mike Heenan, Literary Editor.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, sez:

"Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie."

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

Another first for Winnipeg

Canada’s first automobile accident was recorded on May 1, 1900 in Winnipeg involving a horse and a car.

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

Michael Moore's new movie to be 'more like a vampire movie'

The still untitled film, which opens Oct. 2, will zero in on the corporations and politicians he says caused the global financial crash.

Wall Street robber barons are Moore's new on-screen enemy.

"The movie is not going to be an economics lesson; it's going to be more like a vampire movie," the filmmaker jokes. "Instead of the main characters feasting on the blood of their victims, they feast on the money. And they never seem to get enough of it."

When the collapse walloped the country last September, Moore says he knew not only that it would matter to regular people, but also that the inherent decadence was ripe for his style of satire.

"If you go to see my movies, even if you don't agree with everything in the movies, you're going to have a good laugh," Moore says.

"I want them to walk out at the end saying ‘Wow, that was something!' And in this case, maybe they also walk out asking the ushers, ‘Um, excuse me. Where are the pitchforks and torches?'"

Money and Markets

This recession is far from over

By Claus Vogt

JUPITER, Florida — The crisis is over, or nearly so, say Wall Street and the huge majority of bulls. All those economists, central bankers and analysts, who didn’t see this crisis coming and who underestimated its severity all the way down, are sure that the worst is over now. — 805 words.

Spirit Quest

Thomas Berry: World traveller, writer, lecturer, theologian and indefatigable champion of the environment

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Thomas Berry was a Catholic priest and according to Time magazine, one of the top 100 thinkers of the 20th century. Father Berry died on June 1, 2009 at the age of 95 at Wellspring in Greensborough, North Carolina. — 727 words.


Asleep at the switch

By Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective

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

It happened again today. A national network TV program included a segment on fashion. As the model stood centre stage, the camera switched back to the host of the program and the commentator. But those of us watching at home wanted to see the outfit! In a similar segment a week ago, the commentator described what the model was wearing, from head to toe, but the camera stayed in a long shot, without focusing in on the jacket, then the pants, then the shoes, so we could see these in close-up. The commentator spoke at length about the shoes, but we could hardly see them since the camera was so far away. — 677 words.

Changing channels: What's up next for TV

The king of convergence

Is Pierre Karl Peladeau a friend of Canadian content or a fox in the henhouse?

By Patricia Bailey
CBC News

Pierre Karl Péladeau is one of the most influential and controversial figures in Canadian broadcasting. His fans view him as the shrewd mastermind behind a profitable model to deliver Canadian content in this bewildering digital age. Péladeau's critics see him as a cable mogul bent on pressuring Heritage Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) into executing his vision of how TV should get made. Under his influence, his detractors argue, Quebec television could lose its distinct character and become a French-language copy of the worst type of American TV. — 1,442 words.

Book Review

Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi

Book review by Sigrid Macdonald
True North Perspective

More by author and editor Sigrid Macdonald may be seen by clicking

Vincent Bugliosi is an acclaimed criminal lawyer and author, best known as the Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted the Manson family and for the fascinating book that followed called Helter Skelter. He's written numerous other books, including Till Death Do Us Part and The Betrayal of America, but Bugliosi's role as a television prosecutor in the 1986 simulated British trial against Lee Harvey Oswald is less well known. Yet, this performance firmly established him as an assassination buff, with a strong leaning against conspiracy theories. — 2,706 words.

Women fight for peace

By Bill Moyers

Instructed by a dream and organized in prayer, Leymah Gbowee and thousands of everyday women in Liberia — both Christians and Muslims alike — confronted warlords and a corrupt president to successfully fight for peace and dignity in their war-torn nation. — 139 words.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia now in stores

Ottawa author Randy Ray and his co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth Canadian book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which is now available in stores and on the authors' Web site at:

The latest Ray-Kearney effort is best described as a "greatest hits" book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus a considerable amount of new material.

In one big book readers will find all the trivia and facts about Canada they need to know: there are stories of important Canadian artifacts and history including what became of Canada's World War II spy camp.

All regions and provinces are covered, as well as important Canadian figures like John Molson, Elizabeth Arden and Russ Jackson.

If that isn't enough there will also be pieces explaining whatever happened to such Canadian icons as the last spike, labour leader Bob White, hockey tough guy Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, the first skidoo, swimmer Marilyn Bell and the first Tim Hortons donut shop.

Some items are "classics." Others are little known facts. Approximately 25% of the material has never before appeared in print.

This fascinating Big Book brings together for the first time in one package the most notable facts and trivia from the archives of the trivia guys' collection.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia is published by The Dundurn Group of Toronto.

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