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Friday, May 8, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 24 — 175
"True North is for opinion makers"
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Life without medicare:

Gordon Brown abandons democracy
redefines British goals in Afghanistan

By Patrick Wintour
The Guardian

On April 28th, 2009, Gordon Brown scaled back UK strategic goals in Afghanistan, saying the objective was no longer to create a western-style democracy but simply to help set up a functioning state. The reduced ambitions were revealed as the prime minister set out new policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He described the lawless and contested border area between the two as the new "crucible of terrorism". — 473 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, May 8, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 24 (175)

Obama is sending the right troops to the wrong place

President Barack Obama has ordered the sending of another 21,000 American troops to Afghanistan. On Thursday, May 7, the Pakistan government ordered its army to eliminate so-called militants from the Swat valley where the Taliban had consolidated its power. — 482 words.

Judge Harold Wright gives the Master of Illusion and his Divas their day in court

This won't fix the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

Sylvain Charlebois may be an academic expert in food safety but he’s got a lot to learn about how government works. Charlebois, a prof at the University of Regina, told the Commons food safety subcommittee it should consider recommending the breakup of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to fix deficiencies in the country’s food safety system. — 475 words.


Education our only magic elixir

By James Travers
The Toronto Star

These are peculiar times. Pigs catch swine flu from humans, Canadians who didn't buy Chryslers (or Fiats) now own a pricey piece of the company and while we struggle to save feudal Afghanistan, nuclear Pakistan is failing. — 576 words.

Ignatieff attracts female voters

Situation differs across the country

By Bruce Cheadle
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canadian women are in the driver's seat and steering politics toward the Liberal centre, suggests a new poll of the evolving federal landscape. — 318 words.

Rally for a sustainable Ottawa

Hold the line: no more urban sprawl

Tell City Council expanding the Urban Boundary is a bad idea

By Will Murray
Coalition for a Sustainable Ottawa

OTTAWA, Canada — City residents are being called to demonstrate in favour of retaining the municipal boundary at a rally called for Tuesday, May 12 at 12 noon. The public is also welcome all day at City Hall as the committee considers Ottawa’s new Official Plan. Urban sprawl is the one of the biggest problems facing our city. Expanding the Urban Boundary in Ottawa, and creating new developments over 850 new hectares of land outside established villages on the city’s periphery, as is being proposed, will damage Ottawa economically, socially and environmentally. — 484 words.

Iggy stands for ignominious as Liberal Leader refuses to be seen supporting Tamil Community

By Steve Pitt
True North Perspective

On Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, tens of thousands of Tamil Canadians converged on Ottawa from Toronto, Montreal, London and Windsor. The Mounties set the head count at 33,000, the single largest Parliament Hill crowd they had seen in years outside of Canada Day. — 1,397 words.

$11 million settlement reached in freelancers' lawsuit

By Regan Ray
The Canadian Journalism Project

An $11 million settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over compensation for electronic reproduction of freelancers' work. CTVglobemedia Inc., owner of The Globe and Mail, Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. and The Gale Group Inc. have agreed to pay $11 million to settle the class action lawsuit, which was launched 13 years ago by Heather Robertson. — 282 words.

Canwest's Post to stop Monday edition for 9 weeks

By Wojtek Dabrowski

Toronto — Canada's National Post, the flagship daily newspaper of Canwest Global Communications Corp, will not publish a Monday edition for nine weeks this summer in its latest move to cut costs, a company spokesman said on Wednesday, April 27th. — 369 words.

Health Watch

What's behind the epidemic of family-killings?
Could it be anti-depressants?

Economic stress is usually blamed, but a bunch of government-approved psychoactive drugs have proven homicidal and suicidal side effects

By Martha Rosenberg

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist who frequently writes about the impact of the pharmaceutical, food and gun industries on public health. A former medical copywriter, her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as on the BBC and in the original National Lampoon.

The occasional Susan Smith or Andrea Yates who kills her kids has given way to the weekly child, sibling, parent, grandparent, spouse and all-of-the-above killer. — 729 words.

Health Watch

Sugar, spice and puppy dog tails

A new longitudinal study of children's personality traits and interests tells us that sex-typed characteristics develop differently in girls and boys. — 406 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.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

2010 Ford Fusion first impressions (video)

By Michel Deslauriers

Summary Ratings:

Styling (77%)
Accessories (80%)
Space and Access (82%)
Comfort (82%)
Performance (72%)
Driving Dynamics (72%)
Safety (82%)
General Appreciation (90%)

The future might be uncertain for GM and Chrysler, but at Ford, the morale must be a lot better. They started their crash diet two years ago, and they're not on the verge of destruction.

That's no reason for standing still, however, so Ford is aiming to resist the U.S. economy slump by offering solid new products, not far-away promises.

The new Fusion is exactly that, and is more than ever a serious threat to the perennial mid-size leaders, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Bolder appearance

We're not talking about a total redesign from the ground up, but the changes to the 2010 Fusion are significant.

Visually, the three-bar chrome grille is even more prominent, while the lower front bumper looks more dynamic. At the back, there are new taillights, decklid and bumper, too.

Inside, the Fusion gets a new instrument panel with blue illumination that replaces the old green and red setup. The seats, whatever the trim level, are also new and proved wonderfully supportive through the whole day of driving.

What really impressed us is the level of fit and finish inside the car. The Fusion feels solid and well screwed together.

For more on this please see

Ford auto sales up in China

China Daily

Ford Motor Co's car venture in China sold 33 percent more vehicles in April from a year earlier, its Chinese partner said on Wednesday. — 232 words.

Iraq: Laying the groundwork for renewed violence
In the tradition of conquering what became the U.S. of America
The U.S. in Iraq makes treaties and then betrays them

By Dahr Jamail|Perspective

Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist, is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from occupied Iraq for eight months as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last four years.

Throughout history, those who collaborate with the occupiers of their country tend to end up hung out to dry, or dead. The occupation of Iraq is no different - collaboration and the poison fruits that come of it are on full display for the history books once again. Only now, the rapidity with which this is happening is staggering. — 1,145 words.

Revealed: U.S. interrogators may have killed dozens of detainees

By John Byrne

United States interrogators killed nearly four dozen detainees during or after their interrogations, according a report published by a human rights researcher based on a Human Rights First report and followup investigations. — 1,045 words.

Will Afghanistan be NATO's downfall?

On its 60th birthday, Nato faces a crisis. If Europe does not invest in the war effort, the transatlantic alliance will cease to matter

By David Paul Kuhn
The Guardian UK

As Afghanistan goes, so goes Nato. Interviews across the US foreign policy establishment reveal a unified belief that the authority of the transatlantic alliance will be won or lost in the Afghan war. — 1,322 words.

Kabul stories

The Taliban are resurgent, President Karzai is falling out of favour and another 20,000 US troops are on their way. But what do real Afghans think about the state of their country? Louis Quail took to the street to find out

By Louis Quail
The Guardian UK

Like most capital cities, Kabul works differently from the provinces. If London and Washington are relatively progressive, then so is Kabul. Changes in Afghanistan's society are noticed here first. Since the Taliban's removal, the capital has enjoyed new freedoms and prosperity, and is functioning for the first time in 30 years — there is a film and television industry, the museum is open and the old centre is being rebuilt. — 1,367 words.

Ecuador's election shows why Left continues winning in hard times

By Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian UK

A few months ago I ran into an economist who was formerly head of the Bolivian Central Bank in the La Paz airport. He had been reading Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist whom the media has nicknamed "Dr Doom", and was predicting a very gloomy economic future for the hemisphere, the region and especially his own country. — 990 words.

Burundi child soldiers stage mutiny

Independent OnLine News

BUJUMBURA, Burundi — Hundreds of former child soldiers for Burundi rebels staged a mutiny at a demobilisation camp to demand better conditions, an official said on Tuesday. — 275 words.

FIJI: Women sidelined by military regime
While UN money finances world class military not at war with anyone

By Anne S. Walker
Inter Press Service

MELBOURNE — Fiji, a multi-racial, multi-cultural country of 300 islands in the South Pacific, has undergone another coup —binkle the fourth in 22 years. The women of Fiji want their voices to be heard as they work on ways to bring peace back to their country, and they are asking for the United Nations to support their efforts. — 1,083 words.

Peru backs Venezuela thug

By Les Blough

"Peru is prostituting the principle of asylum" is the headline of a story re-published today in Axis of Logic's WorldNews. The Peruvian government stands accused of degrading the conceptand practice of political asylum by granting it to one of the most well-known crooks in Venezuela. — 727 words.

Washington agency creates neoliberal university in Venezuela

By Eva Golinger (Translated by Tamara Pearson)

A United States institution linked to security and defense agencies in Washington, D.C. has established a program in Venezuela to train youth in the principles of "individual liberty, free markets, and limited governments." — 989 words.

Compañero Obama? Obama Mends Fences with Latin America

The last time George W. Bush went to Latin America, protesters flooded the streets. Things have changed quite a bit since then

By Benjamin Dangl

When George W. Bush went to Latin America, Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona called him "human trash," and protesters flooded the streets. Now, when Barack Obama visited, leftist Venezuela President Hugo Chavez wanted to shake his hand, the right-wing president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, asked for his autograph and the anti-imperialist book Open Veins of Latin America made an unlikely journey to the White House. — 1,389 words.

Korean homeless man dies rich

China Daily

SEOUL — A homeless South Korean unable to withdraw his life savings because he could not remember his real name has died in poverty, officials said. — 237 words.

Georgia says it halts army mutiny

China Daily

TBILISI, Georgia — Georgia said hundreds of rebellious soldiers surrendered Tuesday after a brief mutiny the government described at first as part of a plot to disrupt NATO exercises that have angered Russia. — 848 words.

Medvedev promises increased social spending

The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — This year's federal budget, along with the planned budget for 2010 to 2011, will be amended to strengthen spending on programs for social welfare and economic development, President Dmitry Medvedev told a group of lawmakers on Thursday. — 182 words.

Russian public not impressed by graft measures

By Anna Malpas
The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — When senior officials declared their incomes and those of their wives and children last month, some claimed that they owned tiny apartments and ancient cars — while others said they earned as much as $11 million and owned snazzy Porsches and Lexuses. — 772 words.

'Russia's Obama' offers change Kirov can believe in

By Nadia Popova
The St. Petersburg Times

KIROV, Russia — It's only been four months since liberal politician Nikita Belykh became the governor of Kirov, but local businessmen say the difference is like night and day. — 1,898 words.

Newspaper death foretold by Warren Buffett

In 1992, the oracle of Omaha predicted the decline of newspapers, magazines, and TV

By Jack Shafer

In our Web-obsessed era, some folks—especially folks in the newspaper newsrooms—regard newspapers as victims of the new technology. But back in the mid-1960s, well before the first big Internet pipes were laid, the newspaper was already in crisis. The population was growing faster than newspapers were adding circulation, a trend that executives saw would spell slow death for the industry. In ensuing decades, newspapers have tried almost everything to reverse their decline. They've attempted to make coverage more local or relevant. They've set lures and hooks to snag minorities and young readers. They've followed readers into the suburbs. They've spiced up the design, added color, and allowed readers to "sound off" in special sections. They've increased lifestyle, weather, sports, consumer, and news-you-can-use coverage. They even tried to invent the Internet. All to no avail. — 726 words.

South Korean warship rescues North Korean vessel

By Hyung-Jin-Kim
The St. Petersburg Times

SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean navy warship warned Somali pirates away from a North Korean freighter Monday by threatening to open fire, the South Korean military said. — 130 words.

Minding your money and markets

Economist James K. Galbraith says Bush and his rapacious cronies
engineered the deregulation conspiracy of fraud that crippled the American economy

'It is clear that the culture of the Bush administration was a culture of debt predation, a culture of complicity. The boom that was associated with subprime mortgage securitization - the housing boom - served very particular purposes and there is no doubt that those purposes lined the pockets of the friends and supporters of the Bush administration. The Bush administration's method of operating was to place friends and allies of the most aggressive and rapacious parts of the financial sector in charge of the regulation of that sector. I would call attention to the systematic deregulation of commodities futures trading, which underpinned the pillage of California in 2000 and 2001, a la Enron, a Texas corporation headed by the largest contributors to George W. Bush. There was very strong reason for suspicion that this was a politically sanctioned raid on the state of California.' — Economist James K. Galbraith.

By Matt Renner

Economists go to work every day at universities, financial institutions, think tanks and government offices prepared for battle. They fight using historical models, statistics, public statements and complex computer algorithms. Their war is the war; they fight to influence world leaders who command the course of history. — 3,289 words.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, sez:

"The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work."

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

Fishing boats brought dandelions to Canada

Dandelions, the yellow-flowered weed common in many lawns, first arrived in North America in the early 1600s aboard fishing vessels from Europe.

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

Spirit Quest

The role the spirit imposes

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

As Canadians we like to pride ourselves on our antiracism and to a considerable extent this is valid. However, there is always room for improvement. Those improvements are not easy to come by. A news story has recently come out of the small Ontario community of Keswick, north of Toronto. In the local high school an Asian and a white student became involved in an altercation that left the latter with a broken nose. — 719 words.

It's evolution, not termination

By Regan Ray
The Canadian Journalism Project

The 2009 issues of the Ryerson Review of Journalism were launched in last month at a gathering in Toronto and the Spring edition of the award-winning mag is now available on newsstands. — 449 words.

PublishAmerica presents Matt and the Wonder of Wishes by Bobby Hawley

FREDERICK, MD — PublishAmerica is proud to present Matt and the Wonder of Wishes by Nepean, Ontario author Bobby Hawley. In this masterfully written book, Queen Zephania is the ruler of the fairy realm and can be found in the forest glade not far from a magnificent landscape of flowers. Should you become one of the chosen, you might even be given a wish. The fairies were attracted to this location by the display of colors and the heavenly scents coming from a beautiful garden right at the forest's edge. — 310 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

Henry Lawson: Australian poet

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

Here's a favourite of mine from our cousins in Australia. I chose it today because it's a dead ringer for much of Canadian poets Al Purdy & Milton Acorn's work & feelings during "hard times. — 681 words.


Thinking of Summer

By Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective
First published in The West Quebec Post

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

I just read that only seven percent of Canadians own a vacation property of any type. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Citizen's annual section describing summer camps for kids contains a huge assortment of day camps and more than a dozen overnight ones, offering experiences ranging from zoo-keeper, science, circus, radio, and leadership, to international languages, art, dance, theatre, and every sport a kid could want, from golf to soccer. — 506 words.

Music Review

Pete Seeger celebrates 90th with a concert

By Jon Caramanica
The New York Times

NEW YORK — The celebrator who made the most noise and aroused the strongest sentiment during Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday party at Madison Square Garden Sunday night was the one who couldn’t make it. — 764 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