Wisdom is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective

Friday, June 4, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 26 — 230
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In the midst of ongoing economic crises ...

... Global arms spending surges
to record $1.5 trillion in 2009

  • World spending rose 5.9 percent, despite global recession

  • U.S. military spending up 7.7 percent to $661 billion

By Niklas Pollard

2 June 2010 — STOCKHOLM — Worldwide military spending surged to a record $1.5 trillion last year, defying an economic downturn caused by the global financial crisis, a leading think tank said on Wednesday. Military spending last year rose 5.9 percent in real terms compared to 2008 with the United States accounting for more than half of that increase, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its annual report on arms spending.

"The far-reaching effects of the global financial crisis and economic recession appear to have had little impact on world military expenditure," the think tank said.

"Although the U.S.A. led the rise, it was not alone. Of those countries for which data was available, 65 percent increased their military spending in real terms in 2009." — Read the full article at AlertNet.org, 493 words.

Cartoon by R.J. Matson, Comics.com, 2 June 2010.


'What is puzzling is why, at the very moment that tanker traffic is poised to increase on the B.C. coast, Transport Canada has seemingly weakened Pacific RAC's ability to monitor the shaping of key regulations, advise decision makers all the way to the top, and communicate with a worried public haunted by images of the Gulf oil catastrophe'

Harper government undercuts BC's oil spill prevention panel

Tories re-writing safety regulations with no input from their own expert panel, says member

By Mitchell Anderson

31 May 2010 — Many British Columbians watching the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are wondering what safeguards are in place to ensure such a disaster does not happen here.

What they don't know is that the federal government recently made sweeping changes to the primary advisory panel put in place to ensure that a major oil spill does not occur on the B.C. coast.

Those changes have weakened the panel's power to prevent a disaster, according to one current member, as well as other sources interviewed by The Tyee. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 1,787 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, June 4, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 26 (230)

The (almost) unbearable truth:

A culture of lies deadens our sense of outrage

The arrogance of power revealed (again)

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor

A couple of things happened this week that bring into stark relief the strange, nearly inverted, moral world in which our so-called leaders, and the media who report their words, seem to live.

The first was a happy story from the world of sports. It seems that a baseball umpire, one Jim Joyce, made a bad call ... and then admitted it! No excuses, no prevarications, Mr. Joyce simply did what most of us would do and took responsibility for his mistake. That his basic honesty and decency was international news ought to be shocking. But isn't. And that speaks volumes. — Read the full article inside, 801 words.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

"Expect the unexpected on a day trip" gave me the opportunity to relive some childhood memories, mainly the tram ride to Britannia Beach. Also, I was struck by the fact that Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's cousin's family lived on Bolton Street, three houses down from my home.

Isn't it funny to discover Lorraine is her cousin at this point in my life, in my 60s? Thank you for some wonderful memories from my youth!

— Nicole Roussin, Orléans, Ontario, Canada

"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.

Tanker traffic to Vancouver jumps 50 per cent in two years

Flow of tar sands crude to Burrard Inlet rising, and will more than double: Kinder Morgan

By Mitchell Anderson

Oil tanker nears Burrard Inlet.

3 June 2010 — The proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline to Kitimat is stirring strong public opposition to the super tankers it would attract along British Columbia's northern coast.

But a bigger risk may lie in the steeply rising number of oil tankers already plying B.C.'s coast — up nearly 50 per cent in just two years — to handle the growing flow of tar sands petroleum from Alberta.

Their port of call is the busiest in Canada: Vancouver harbour, terminus for an existing pipeline to Alberta that will more than double the amount of crude it carries if its owner makes good on its plans. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 1,182 words.

Canada's war on Islam: the case of Mohamed Harkat

'By persecuting the innocent, Canada like America, defiles its principles, laws, and fundamental human rights and values — a clear sign of emerging fascism under which all rights are lost.'

By Stephen Lendman
Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel

Mohamed Harkat and Sophie Lamarche HarkatMohamed Harkat and Sophie Lamarche Harkat

1 June 2010 — Like in America post-9/11, Canadian Muslims have been victimized, vilified, and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence, and activism. They've been targeted, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted or incriminated on bogus charges, given long sentences and incarcerated as political prisoners or deported to certain torture, imprisonment or death by so-called democratic countries that, in fact, mock the rule of law and judicial fairness.

Victims are pawns in the war on terror — how rogue states intimidate populations to accept foreign wars and homeland repression to mask their more sinister agenda. Today, it reflects unbridled militarism, permanent wars, imperial conquest, and planned economic crises causing lost jobs, homes, benefits, futures, and the greatest ever wealth transfer to the rich, largely below the radar. — Read the full article at Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel, 2,246 words.

The Rockies are important to Prairie farmers

'It's never easy to talk about climate change in Ottawa with its gaggle of deniers and advocates.'

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

The Rocky Mountains are a wonder to behold and a magnet for tourists, skiers and backpackers.

They are also a vital water reservoir for Alberta and Saskatchewan's agriculture and resources industries.

The Prairies often suffer from too little snow and rain making them dependent on the water that melts from the mountain snow pack and flows eastward in major rivers, says John Pomeroy, the Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change at the University of Saskatchewan.

Without that water, the west would be a desert. — Read the full article inside, 460 words.

Deck him

What more could any man want?

By Lakshmi Sundaram
True North Perspective
First published in the West Quebec Post

4 June 2010 — It's 35°C maybe even hotter. There are no bugs, just the slightest summer breeze carrying the scent of a distant rose garden. You've found the perfect spot on your deck. You lay down and assume a transcendental corpse pose. If aroused by the desire, the book at your side may be opened, if not, a tropical drink keeps you hydrated.

No need to move, to clean, to plan, to drive, to purchase, to answer. Just relax; relax your toes, your ankles, your feet, relax your legs, your hips, your abdomen, relax your shoulders, your jaw, your tongue ... — Read the full story inside, 664 words.

Catholic Church sues victims of sexual abuse

Even after convictions, some lawsuits have dragged on for more than a decade; church official blames complexities of judicial system

By Mary Ormsby
Toronto Star

30 May 2010 — John Caruso thought his trauma within the Roman Catholic Church began and ended with Rev. James Kneale.

The St. Catharines-area priest was convicted of sexually abusing the former altar boy 11 years ago. Caruso and his Fort Erie family sued Kneale, the Diocese of St. Catharines and former bishops for $8.6 million, claiming, among other things, that church officials knew or should have known the priest was a sexual predator.

The response was an unexpected legal thunderbolt: Kneale and the diocese countersued Caruso's mother and father. They claimed the parents were negligent in failing to get counselling and medical help for their teenaged son and that Caruso's father regularly beat him, compounding his psychological troubles.

The legal hardball shattered the once-devout family. — Read the full article at the Toronto Star, 1,912 words.

Ottawa's long-awaited copyright reform plan flawed but flexible

By Michael Geist
The Toronto Star

2 June 2010 — Copyright has long been viewed as one of the government's most difficult and least rewarding policy issues. It attracts passionate views from a wide range of stakeholders, including creators, consumers, businesses, and educators and is the source of significant political pressure from the United States. Opinions are so polarized that legislative reform is seemingly always the last resort that only comes after months of delays.

The latest chapter in the Canadian copyright saga unfolded Wednesday as Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage James Moore tabled copyright reform legislation billed as providing both balance and a much-needed modernization of the law.

The bill will require careful study (suggestions that a quick set of summer hearings will provide an effective review should be summarily rejected) but the initial analysis is that there were some serious efforts to find compromise positions on many thorny copyright issues.

Unfortunately, the legal protection for digital locks — unquestionably the biggest and most controversial digital copyright issue — is the one area where there is no compromise. — Read the full article at The Toronto Star, 725 words.

The Northwest Passage? Call it Canadian

By L. D. Cross
True North Perspective

L. D. Cross of Ottawa is the author of The Quest for the Northwest Passage: exploring the elusive route through Canada's Arctic waters, published by James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Toronto. The book is available online at Chapters/Indigo.ca, Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

4 June 2010 —The British called it the Northwest Passage because for them the alternate sea route they believed would lead directly to the riches of Cathay and India was geographically northwest of London. The Spanish called it the Strait of Anian (Estrecho de Anián) referencing Marco Polo's travels in China and the province of Anan. Now an old obsession needs a new name. — Read the full article inside, 625 words.

Parliamentary budget officer probing massive summit security bill

If Parliament is on its toes we'll learn if the security circus probe is serious or just more smoke and mirrors

By Janice Tibbetts
CanWest News Service

Photo illustration by Geoffrey Dow, www.ed-rex.com.

1 June 2010 — OTTAWA — Canada's budget watchdog is putting a rush on his analysis of the nearly $1-billion security tab for the G8 and G20 summits because he says he wants to give MPs the information he thinks they need for a vote later this month on government spending plans.

"We think parliamentarians should have adequate information and analysis on 'planned spending' so they can make informed decisions," Kevin Page, the parliamentary budget officer, said Tuesday in an e-mail to Canwest News Service.

The Harper's government's estimate that the summits could cost $830 million was contained in written estimates, released last week, which require parliamentary approval.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has since acknowledged the bill could be even higher — and that his government is projecting costs of $930 million. — Read the full article at The Montreal Gazette, 625 words.

Would you be an angel?

Happiness is an inside job. It starts with you!

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

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

4 June 2010 — We have all dealt with situations that weigh us down: a spouse who drags you down with his negative attitude and keeps you in a state of servitude, a colleague who wants to be constantly rescued but offers nothing in return, a child who manipulates his parents by using guilt trips such as "if you really loved me ... ", parents who latch onto their adult child with a pay-back clause "Now you owe me!".

So, how can you fly when your wings are constantly weighed down by your love and faithfulness, commitment and sense of responsibility towards these people? Read the full article inside, 874 words.

Spirit Quest

'Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief'

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

4 June 2010 — He walked slowly from the hangar out onto the tarmac and stood looking into the distant northeast. He was wearing his best windbreaker, a very recent haircut was apparent. Somewhere out there his brother was returning from the land of dust, dirt, and danger, returning home the way no one hoped he would. — Read the full article inside, 1,155 words.


Watch that seat!

Defiant teenager turns to smiles on subway car

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Photo by Geoffrey Dow, www.ed-rex.com.

4 June 2010 — Stepping onto the subway car I looked around for a seat. I noticed a young teenage "with it" girl with her back to the window and her street-soiled shoes planted firmly on the seat beside her.

As I sat down across from her, I pointed out the footprints she was leaving on the plush seat.

She looked at me with a know-it-all smirk on her face and said, "Do you have to clean it?"

I replied, "No I don't, in fact nobody cleans them, that's the problem." — Read the full article inside, 323 words.

Stand out from the crowd:
How to publicize your work

By Karen Allen
Ottawa Independent Writers

4 June 2010 — The room was packed for publicists Randy Ray and Elaine Kenney at the Ottawa Independent Writers' May 27 meeting. Elaine and Randy spoke about how to get media publicity for both writing and business ventures. — Read the full article inside, 1,236 words.

Stanley Cup Quiz

By Mark Kearney and Randy Ray
True North Perspective

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa, have written nine books about Canada, with total sales of more than 50,000, including The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which was published last May. Their web site is: www.triviaguys.com.

4 June 2010 — The Stanley Cup, the supreme trophy in hockey, has been hoisted by some of the most famous names in the history of the game. And any day now, it will be hoisted again.

From fairly humble beginnings, it has become one of the most coveted prizes in the world of sport. As fans tune into the final days of this year's playoff thrills and excitement, we've come up with some questions to test your knowledge of the Cup, which is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes.

Forget sharpening your skates; sharpen your pencils, slip into Cup mode, and get ready to score. — 514 words.

Reality Check

Stupid drug story of the week

The Associated Press on the arrival of 'deadly, ultra-pure heroin'

By Jack Shafer

25 May 2010 — Yesterday, the Associated Press moved a story completely devoid of historical context. The piece, titled "Deadly, Ultra-Pure Heroin Arrives in U.S.," claims that in "recent years" — a time frame that goes undefined — Mexican dealers have started peddling "ultra-potent" black tar heroin and are selling it for as little as $10 a bag.

In alarmist prose, the article asserts that the ultra-smack's purity ranges from 50 percent to 80 percent heroin, up from the 5 percent purity of the 1970s, and this potency is "contributing to a spike in overdose deaths across the nation."

But reports of high-potency heroin being sold in the United States are anything but "recent." My source? The AP itself.

Over the decades, the wire service has repeatedly reported on the sale of high-potency heroin on the streets. Here are a few examples of AP coverage culled from Nexis. — Read the full article at Slate, 1,189 words.

Health Watch

WHO under fire over handling of H1N1 pandemic

UN agency exaggerated virus’s threat and played down scientific advisor’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry, European reports allege

Caroline Alphonso
The Globe and Mail

4 June 2010 — The World Health Organization is facing criticism of its handling of the H1N1 pandemic as two new reports accuse the global health body of failing to disclose possible ties with the pharmaceutical industry and of pushing countries to waste millions of dollars by overstating the threat.

The reports from Europe were released on Friday, at the end of a week in which the WHO said that the H1N1 pandemic is not over, although its most intense activity has passed in many parts of the world.

The health committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe accused the WHO of exaggerating the threat of H1N1, unnecessarily scaring the public and causing countries to waste millions of dollars fighting it.

A report by BMJ, a prominent medical journal in Britain, said the WHO relied on advice from scientists with ties to pharmaceutical companies when it developed guidelines on the use of antiviral drugs, and it asked why the names of those who sit on the WHO’s emergency committee are shrouded in secrecy. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 448 words.

Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'

Creativity is akin to insanity, say scientists who have been studying how the mind works

Michelle Roberts
BBC News

29 May 2010 — Brain scans reveal striking similarities in the thought pathways of highly creative people and those with schizophrenia.

Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought.

It could be this uninhibited processing that allows creative people to "think outside the box", say experts from Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

In some people, it leads to mental illness.

But rather than a clear division, experts suspect a continuum, with some people having psychotic traits but few negative symptoms. — Read the full article at BBC News, 633 words.

'Ask Carole'

Why do men find blonde women so very attractive?

Carole Jahme shines the cold light of evolutionary psychology on everyday life. This week: The allure of blonde women

By Carole Jahme
The Guardian UK

4 June 2010 — From an anonymous male: Dear Carole, I am attracted to women with blonde hair. This seems to be true of a lot of men. Is there a biological/reproductive explanation?

Carole replies: Ten years after he published On the Origin of Species in 1859, Darwin started to research the sexual selection of blonde hair in women in preparation for his book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, which was published in 1871. Unfortunately he was unable to find enough data to support his theory that blonde hair is sexually selected and had to drop the subject.

Today there are plenty of theories about the evolution of blonde hair and the science of genetics has furthered the debate. Research on variation in human hair colouration has shown that mutations in genes that are involved in the synthesis of melanin pigments are largely responsible. Individuals with lower levels of a melanin pigment called eumelanin are likely to have blonde hair. — Read the full article at The Guardian UK, 991 words.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

Winston Churchill: Give us the tools and we'll finish the job

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.

The decline of the West?

Third World diplomatic cooperation and the future of U.S. empire in the Middle East

The Brazil- and Turkey-brokered deal with Iran on its nuclear impasse just might herald the begining of the end of the western world's strangle-hold on the Middle East — and the rest of the world

By Stephen Maher

4 June 2010 — Last week, Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Reccep Erdogan announced a breakthrough agreement on the Iranian nuclear impasse that they claimed would make further sanctions on Iran "unnecessary." The agreement, accepted by Iran, was immediately rejected by the US and its European allies, who chose instead to continue the three-decade long US effort to strangle and isolate Iran by all means available.

In what Graham Fuller, a top-ranking former intel official, called "a stunningly insulting response," Hillary Clinton proudly announced consensus for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran days later, which she called "as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Iran in the past few days as any we could provide."

With multiple aircraft carrier battlegroups right off Iran's coast and threats of attack emanating from Washington and Tel Aviv on a regular basis, the US is literally demanding at gunpoint that Iran surrender a large portion of its enriched uranium in exchange for delivery of nuclear fuel for its reactors to be supplied by Europe or Russia and cease all enrichment activities at once. Meanwhile, Iran has insisted that it cannot trust the West after decades of aggressive and hostile US policies — including the overthrow of Iran's democratically-elected government in 1953 — and that, consequently, the uranium should be exchanged on Iranian territory and only after it receives the nuclear fuel. Under the Lula-Erdogan agreement, the swap would take place on Turkish soil under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 2,380 words.

Did a North Korean torpedo really sink that South Korean military vessel?

Doubts emerge over South Korea and the US's version of events


4 June 2010 — Editor's Note: It's emerging that the South Korean and US Government's official story that North Korea torpedoed the Cheonan submarine may not be entirely true. The following is a compilation of a blog entry from the blog Brewerstroupe that discredits the official line, and a recent article posted on New America Media that explores whether the Cheonan was sunk by an American mine.

The sinking of the Cheonan: Accident, false flag or enemy attack? — from Brewerstroupe.

On March 26 this year, the Cheonan, a South Korean Corvette, sank in waters off Baengnyeong Island. Initial reports from Naval and Intelligence chiefs ruled out foul play: — Read the full article at AlterNet.org, 2,335 words.

China bans evidence from torture

BBC News

31 May 2010 — Evidence obtained under torture cannot be used in China's courts, the government has said, weeks after a convicted murderer was set free because his victim turned out to be alive.

Laws banning torture are already in place, but analysts say they are widely disregarded.

Officials were embarrassed by the case of Zhao Zuohai, who spent 11 years in jail for a murder that never happened. — Read the full article at BBC News, 286 words.

From the Desk of Anita Chan, Contributing Editor, Australia

Against a publicly-exposed background of suicides and cruelly exploitive working conditions Foxconn offers 20% pay hike for Chinese employees

'... rumour has it on English tech blogs that one of Foxconn's major buyers Apple has pledged to direct between 1 and 2 percent of its profits back to Foxconn workers in the form of a direct subsidy (a very unusual corporate social responsibility strategy that defies the normal relationship between buyers, suppliers and labor in a global supply chain).'

China Labor News Translations

3 June 2010 — Foxconn has been notorious amongst Chinese labor activists for years. Its enormous size, the strict discipline imposed on its employees and its cramped dormitories with 3-tiered bunk beds make it stand out from other Chinese IT factories — not to mention the fact that it is the biggest manufacturer of electronic and computer components in the world. But never has this Taiwanese corporate giant had to deal with a scandal as big as this. A spate of 12 suicide attempts in less than five months (nine successful) has thrown the international spotlight on Foxconn and the big-name brands that buy from it. A lot has been written in English already. So in this edition of CLNT, we will supplement the extensive English language coverage with three articles which convey some of the Chinese responses to the suicides.

The last time Foxconn was shamed widely in the international media was in June 2006, after British tabloid the Daily Mirrorran a story about workers' cramped living conditions, low pay and long working hours. Foxconn fanned the flames by launching an absurd defamation case against two Chinese journalists who followed up the story, demanding 30 million RMB (US$3.7 million) in damages. In the end, Foxconn settled for a symbolic one RMB payment from the journalists. — Read the full article at the China Labor News Translations, 1,077 words.

Honda says China factories back to work Friday but some workers still want higher pay

The Associated Press (CP)

3 June 2010, BEIJING — Honda Motor Co. says it will resume production Friday at four assembly plants in China after employees at a parts factory ended a strike over pay but said some might walk out again to press for more money.

"This issue is not solved yet. Whether it will spark more strikes we cannot guarantee," a Honda spokeswoman said Thursday. She would give only her surname, He.

The two-week strike highlighted tensions between workers and foreign companies that look to China as a source of cheap labour and a fast-growing market amid weak demand elsewhere.

Employees of the factory in Foshan, near Hong Kong, agreed to a pay raise of 366 yuan ($53.60) per month for each full-time worker, which would increase the monthly pay for a new employee to 1,910 yuan ($280). — Read the full article at the Yahoo News, 396 words.

North Korea strikes back

Mrs Clinton's foot stamping won't achieve much. Unless Beijing squeezes North Korea, the only option may be putting up with the annoying "Dear Leader."

By Eric Margolis

31 May 2010 — The two Koreas are once again in a dangerous confrontation after the sinking on 26 March of a South Korean Navy corvette that killed 46 sailors.

Korea is traditionally known as the "Land of the Morning Calm." This week, as so often, there is nothing calm about the KoreanPeninsula.

South Korea insists it has found parts of a North Korean torpedo fired by a midget submarine that sank its corvette patrolling the disputed Yellow Sea maritime border. The two Koreas have had numerous clashes there, most recently last fall, when a North Korean gunboat was sunk by the South Korean Navy. — Read the full article at the EricMargolis.com, 1,159 words.

China rewards online porn surfer

BBC News

11 January 2010 — A Chinese student who says his studies suffered because of viewing pornography on the internet has won a contest for helping reduce sexual content online.

State media said the unnamed student, from northern Shanxi province, reported a total of 32 porn sites. — Read the full article at BBC News, 168 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

GM invests $245M in Ontario powertrain plant

Announcement is on top of $235M investment announced in April

CBC News

1 June 2010 — General Motors is investing $245 million in its St. Catharines, Ont., powertrain plant in a move that the automaker says will secure 400 jobs at the factory. GM Canada president Kevin Williams made the announcement Tuesday morning at an event with Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza. — Read the full story at CBC News, 474 words.

The Wind storm has arrived and is blowing at full force

By Carl Hall
True North Perspective

The protests of the public against the high-priced established cell phone providers are finally being heard.

Since December 2009, a new national mobile network provider has been shaking up the wireless industry as we know it.

Wind Mobile, a joint venture of Globalive (Originally known for its well used Yak long distance calling service) and its principle financial backer Orascom Telecom. — Read the full story inside, 609 words.

'"Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed'

Bush brags about torture, says he'd do it again


3 June 2010 — Speaking to a crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday, former president George W. Bush told onlookers that his administration did in fact waterboard alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and suggested that his action saved American lives.

"Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," Bush said, according to a local newspaper. "I'd do it again to save lives."

Bush's Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel orally advised the CIA on July 26, 2002, "that the use of waterboarding was" legal, and put it into writing in August of that year.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in March, 2003.

Two psychologists were paid to devise the waterboarding program, which "fake" drowned detainees in an effort to produce vital information. The United States prosecuted Japanese soldiers for doing the same thing after World War II. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 308 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Bush said, 'the best way to revitalize the economy is war' — Argentina's former president

By Stephen C. Webster

29 May 2010 — Legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone is by no means done exploring the administration of George W. Bush.

While producing new material for his upcoming documentary South of the Border, which explores the history of political and social movements in Latin America, Stone sat down to interview former Argentina president Néstor Kirchner.

The subject inevitably turned to George W. Bush, the subject of Stone's creative nonfiction feature W. In front of a film crew, Kirchner confided to Stone that the former U.S. president once directly told him, "The best way to revitalize the economy is war." — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 513 words.

Tropical Storm Agatha blows a hole in Guatemala City

Hundreds dead as torrential rain sweeps Central America. Sinkhole in Guatemala swallows three-storey building

By Peter Walker
The Guardian UK

1 June 2010 — Tropical Storm Agatha swept across Central America yesterday, bringing torrential rain that killed more than 100 people and opened a 60m-deep sinkhole in Guatemala City which reportedly swallowed up a three-storey building.

The first named storm of the 2010 Pacific season dumped more than a metre of rain in parts of Guatemala, also hitting El Salvador and Honduras.

At least 113 people were reported killed, with around 50 missing in Guatemala alone as rescue workers searched through the rubble. — Read the full article at The Guardian UK, 209 words.

'Small government would be in thrall to big business'

Obama's Katrina? Maybe Worse

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

28 May 2010 — For Barack Obama's knee-jerk foes, of course it was his Katrina. But for the rest of us, there's the nagging fear that the largest oil spill in our history could yet prove worse if it drags on much longer. It might not only wreck the ecology of a region but capsize the principal mission of the Obama presidency.

Before we look at why, it would be helpful to briefly revisit that increasingly airbrushed late summer of 2005. Whatever Obama's failings, he is infinitely more competent at coping with catastrophe than his predecessor.

President Bush's top disaster managers — the Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff, as well as the notorious "Brownie" — professed ignorance of New Orleans's humanitarian crisis a full day after the nation had started watching it live in real time on television. When Bush finally appeared, he shunned the city entirely and instead made a jocular show of vowing to rebuild the coastal home of his party's former Senate leader, Trent Lott. He never did take charge. — Read the full article at Source, 1,599 words.

Google phasing out use of Windows over security concerns


1 June 2010, LONDON — LONDON — Web search group Google Inc is phasing out internal use of rival Microsoft Corp's Windows operating system because of security concerns following a Chinese hacking incident, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing several Google employees, the FT said the decision to move to other operating systems including Apple Inc's Mac OS and open-source Linux began in earnest in January after Google's Chinese operations were hacked. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 220 words.


The psychology of disgust:
Why the things that make you sick, matter

What does disgust have to do with politics? Everything

By Joe Brewer

31 June 2010 — Are you someone who struggles to understand why people behave the way they do in politics? Perhaps you've been confused by all the fervor against gay marriage. Or maybe you're taken aback by the strong emotions waged against government-sponsored health care.

To understand political behaviors like these, you'll need to become familiar with the psychology of disgust. Researchers have learned a lot about it in recent years, such as:

So what does this have to do with politics? In a word, everything. — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 1,399 words.

Russia launches 520-day mission to nowhere

Endurance trial will simulate 250-day flight to Mars, surface stay of 30 days, then 240-day return trip to Earth

By Tariq Malik
Christian Science Monitor

Photo-illustration by Geoffrey Dow, www.ed-rex.com

3 June 2010 — Scientists in Russia launched an ambitious Mars spaceflight simulation Thursday — one that will lock six volunteers away for a record-setting 520 days to practice every step of a mission to the red planet without ever leaving Earth.

The Mars500 project, a joint experiment by Russia, the European Space Agency and China, began at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) as the hatches to the mock Mars spaceship were shut at Russia's Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow. Three Russians, two Europeans and one Chinese volunteer make up the experiment's six-man crew.

"Goodbye Sun, goodbye Earth, we are leaving for Mars!" wrote French engineer Romain Charles, one of ESA's two crewmembers in the simulation, in a mission diary on Wednesday. — Read the full article at The Christian Science Monitor, 989 words.

Australian vets treat hundreds of 'drunken' parrots

Phil Mercer
BBC News

1 June 2010, SYDNEY — A mystery illness resembling human drunkenness has caused hundreds of native birds to fall out of the sky in the tropical Australian city of Darwin.

The brightly-coloured lorikeets are receiving treatment at an animal hospital with symptoms similar to alcohol abuse in people.

It is unclear what is causing Darwin's inquisitive and gregarious lorikeets to unceremoniously fall to Earth. — Read the full article at BBC News, 232 words.

Annals of Education

To improve girls' science scores, show them women scientists

By David Berreby

Madame Curie.
Madame Curie.

26 May 2010 — Standardized tests are supposed to measure innate abilities. The subject of your last conversation, the lead story on the news last night, the pictures on the wall at the test site — this trivia is presumed to have zero impact on your score in geometry or chemistry. Trouble is, it's increasingly clear that this presumption is simply false. Case in point: This study, published in last month's Journal of Social Psychology, which erased the usual gender gap in high-school chemistry tests. All it took was a change in the illustrations in a textbook.

Jessica J. Good, Julie A. Woodzicka and Lylan C. Wingfield of Rutgers University gave a short chemistry exam to local 9th and 10th graders — 29 male and 52 female.

The students read three pages of a chemistry text and then took the test on the material. All the texts were the same, but they were illustrated differently. One third of the students saw pictures in which everyone was a man. For another, there were only women in the illustrations. And a third group had a text with pictures of both male and female chemists. — Read the full article at BigThink.com, 421 words.

Looking forward ...

'Next hand, baby, next hand'

War as compulsive gambling:
Why the U.S. refuses to fold a losing hand

By William J. Astore

3 June 2010 — As Congress moves toward rubber-stamping yet another "emergency" supplemental bill that includes more than $33 billion for military operations, mainly to fund the latest surge in Afghanistan, maybe we should take a page from the new British government. Facing debilitating deficits, the conservative Tories and their Liberal Democrat partners are proposing painful cuts to governmental budgets, including military operations in Afghanistan. As the Independent put it, quoting a senior military source, "Essentially, the Americans know we are broke and we are getting blokes killed for no good reason. Whatever the [British Ministry of Defence] says, it absolutely isn't business as usual." In other words, an overstretched government, low on chips and recognizing a losing hand in Afghanistan, is finally moving to cut its losses, perhaps even to walk away from the table.

The question is: Why can't we join them? We're losing even more chips (adding up to a staggering $299 billion for the war in Afghanistan, and counting) and "blokes" (more than 1,000 U.S. troops killed, with their average age dropping). Isn't it time to know when to walk away, as Kenny Rogers sang in The Gambler, before we have to cut and run? — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 1,026 words.

Annals military intelligence

CIA drone operators oppose strikes as helping al Qaeda

By Gareth Porter
Inter Press Service

3 June 2010, WASHINGTON — Some CIA officers involved in the agency's drone strikes programme in Pakistan and elsewhere are privately expressing their opposition to the programme within the agency, because it is helping al Qaeda and its allies recruit, according to a retired military officer in contact with them.

"Some of the CIA operators are concerned that, because of its blowback effect, it is doing more harm than good," said Jeffrey Addicott, former legal adviser to U.S. Special Forces and director of the Centre for Terrorism Law at St Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, in an interview with IPS.

Addicott said the CIA operatives he knows have told him the drone strikes are being used effectively by al Qaeda and Taliban leaders to recruit more militants. — Read the full article at Inter Press Service, 1,109 words.

'Although many of the network's members have been incorrectly reported dead in the past by U.S. and Pakistani officials, al-Qaeda's official announcements regarding the "martyrdom" of its senior leaders have been highly reliable'

Washington Post: Qaeda 'martyrdom' statements more 'reliable' than US officials

By Ron Brynaert

1 June 2010 — Ever since the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, critics have suggested that reports of deaths of key al Qaeda figures have been — as Mark Twain might put it — "greatly exaggerated."

Many times, terrorists reported killed — usually by Predator strike, but hardly ever acknowledged — by Pakistani or US administration or Pentagon officials on and off the record later show up in videos "back from the dead."

Tuesday's Washington Post reports, "Al-Qaeda's third-ranking operative, an Egyptian who was a founding member of the terrorist network and a key conduit to Osama bin Laden, has been killed in Pakistan, according to a statement Monday from al-Qaeda that U.S. intelligence officials believe is accurate." — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 669 words.

Money and Markets

You need a raise — in fact, we (almost) all do

Entrepreneurial myths aside, there's no such thing as a self-made man

teamwork is fundamental to just about every product and service sold, so why aren't we paid accordingly?

By Moshe Adler

1 June 2010 — Bon Jovi charges $1,875 for a front row seat and fan Jim Leaman bought a ticket. "I have money," Leaman told The New York Times, "and I don't care if it costs $100 or $1,000." But is it his money?

Leaman apparently makes his money from a propane distribution company that he owns. Of course, Leaman does not produce propane. By himself, he most likely does not produce anything else either.

Such a company no doubt employs workers who fill the propane bottles, phone operators who take orders, technicians who maintain the equipment, forklift operators who load the bottles on trucks, drivers who distribute them to customers, and a manager who coordinates these activities. — Read the full article at TruthDig.org, 905 words.

The Euro is washed up — but the dollar is no better

By Claus Vogt
Money and Markets

2 June 2010 — Greece has made it obvious: The euro is doomed. This fact had been obvious to all the euro critics from the very beginning. All the arguments against the possibility of a common currency for very disparate countries had been raised, but brushed away by overzealous politicians.

They'll learn their monetary lesson the hard way in the coming years.

Unfortunately the current discussion about Greece, Spain and all the other PIIGS countries is very superficial ... Greece is everywhere! In fact, the whole western world and Japan are over indebted ... — Read the full article at Money and Markets, 709 words.

'I do not need the musing of the philosophers to tell me what I am doing. It would be more interesting to let me know why I am doing it.'

Obituary: Louise Bourgeois

Spiders, sex, rage and fear fuelled artist's greatest work

By Adrian Searle
The Guardian UK

The giant sculpture Maman, by Louise Bourgeois, at the National Gallery of Canada's outdoor plaza in Ottawa.
The giant sculpture Maman, by Louise Bourgeois, at the National Gallery of Canada's outdoor plaza in Ottawa.

1 June 2010 — The art of Louise Bourgeois puts the feeble one-hit wonders, the diamond skulls, the next-big-thing careerist chancers and the defenders of this or that latest tendency in their place. Her work sees off all the dumb arguments about whether contemporary art is worth looking at, or whether it is about anything. Her art is full of content and meaning. It demonstrates all kinds of skills and inventiveness. Her art is full of variety and it is utterly consistent.

Bourgeois's work refutes all the complaints people make about recent art. Her art is poetic at a time when the word has become debased. She could carve a pair of marble hands or make a little figure from the most wretched and raddled scraps of old cloth. She happily used ready-made objects — mirrors, laboratory glassware, old clothes, bits of machinery. Her art is about jealousy and sex and the things that make life worth living and, at times, make it unbearable. Her art is full of subversive humour, dangers and fears. And there was something about this little old French lady living in New York that was as tender and ferocious, as indomitable and as canny, as the things she made.

Bourgeois was a wise old bird, and she had a dirty mind, as her work demonstrated over and over again, since she began in the 1930s. — Read the full article at The Guardian UK, 1,324 words.

Third Ways

Your book's never out at this library

BC Books Online takes the idea of a digital public library to a whole new level

By Shannon Smart

4 June 2010 — Your paper is due tomorrow, the grade is do or die, but the book you really need to finish it is checked out at the library. And we wonder why binge drinking is so much a part of the college lifestyle...

Such crises for students and academics may become a thing of the past wherever libraries follow the lead of BC Books Online, an ebook collection released May 12, 2010. The database, though currently still in a one-year beta period, aims to deliver a digital collection of B.C.-published non-fiction books to the entire province, without any barriers.

Unlike some digital libraries, which consider a book "checked out" when another library patron is using it, BC Books Online makes full use of digital book technology by offering unlimited copies for "borrowing" of each book in their holdings. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 1,051 words.

Karen Solie takes home Griffin

By Zoe Whittall
Quill & Quire

Pigeon, by Karen Solie

4 June 2010 — The crowd leapt to their feet as though someone had scored a winning goal when juror Carl Phillips announced Karen Solie as the winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize at last night's gala in Toronto's distillery district.

Solie, 43, won the $65,000 award for her third collection of poetry, Pigeon, published by House of Anansi Press. It was Anansi's second Griffin win in a row.

Solie hugged her mother before walking calmly to the stage to accept the prize, fighting back tears as she began her acceptance speech. "I see so many people here whose work I have read and who made it possible for me to live," she said.

"I'm very grateful to have found something that — while it doesn't always make a living — is a way to live." Solie thanked her family who had traveled from Saskatchewan and Alberta to attend the ceremony. — Read the full story at Quill & Quire, 529 words.

The Glass Teat

The Pacific — $150 million mini-series a recruiting poster for more war?

Can you make an anti-war statement, and pay tribute to the courage of soldiers in the Second World War at the same time?

By Clancy Sigal

31 May 2010 — I love war movies. Scenes of fighting men shooting the crap out of other fighting men nails me to the seat, goggle-eyed and excited as a kid.

No matter how grisly the soldiers' wounds, how suffocating the jungle heat and nasty the maggots crawling over their shattered bodies, I'm seduced. Whether it's the seemingly unsentimental but ultimately glamorous Hurt Locker or John Wayne in that recruiting poster for the military, Sands of Iwo Jima or the faux-realistic Saving Private Ryan, I can't look away.

It's a blood-and-guts thing, like the emotions evoked by Patton (Ronald Reagan's favorite movie).

As the old TV beer commercial used to say, it reaches parts of you that others don't. Specifically, the bowels not the mind. — Read the full article at AlterNet.org, 835 words.

Annoyed Grunt — Homer Simpson tops survey of best film, TV characters

Dim-witted alcoholic, abusive father, neglectful husband chosen as favourite movie/television character

CBC News

1 June 2010 — Homer Simpson, the hapless, doughnut-loving patriarch of the animated series The Simpsons, has been named the greatest TV and film character of the past 20 years.

"People can relate to Homer because we're all secretly propelled by desires we can't admit to," creator Matt Groening told Entertainment Weekly, which created the survey.

"Homer is launching himself head-first into every single impulsive thought that occurs to him ... His love of whatever ... is a joy to witness." — Read the full article at CBC News, 208 words.

Lonely? You're not alone

Sex and the City a lie to salve our aching solitudes

By Dorothy Woodend

4 June 2010 — Every time I see a Sex and the City 2 poster, I feel like throwing up. It's not just the aging Barbies' dress-up routine, nor the gross, grasping, naked greed of the thing. More gewgaws, more men, more babies, more stupid shoes, more everything!

The fact that the film has been almost universally condemned is actually rather heartening. I did actually try to watch it and gave up midway through in nauseated horror.

In Sex and the City 2, Mr. Big has morphed from a rather caddish predator into something approaching a defanged, declawed lion. It is a sad sight to behold. In his original depiction, he was actually something of an asshole, creepy, self-justifying, more like a real person.

But then again, Carrie Bradshaw was also a bit of a jerk, not a treacle-sweet stick figure in a turban. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, words.

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

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

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: www.randyray.ca. He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or rocket@intranet.ca.

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  chall2k5@gmail.com , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Yvette Pigeon, 1934-2010, National Editor, 2006-2010

Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Publicity

Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia

Alex Binkley, Ottawa
Dennis Carr, Vancouver
Tom Dow, Sudbury
Bob Kay, Montréal
Randy Ray, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, Ottawa
David Ward, Ottawa
Harold Wright, Ottawa