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

Friday, May 7, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 22 — 226
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Quote of the Week:
'I don't think anybody should be making money from delivering water because it can be done in the public sector on a not-for-profit basis. No corporation can survive on that basis ... You make decisions about life and death because you have to make a profit, and that's the issue here.'
— Maude BarlowRead the full article at AlterNet.org, 419 words.

Demonizing Iran: U.S. media beating the drums of war

By Dave Lindorff

Last month, The Wall Street Journal had a lead story about Israeli planning to possibly "go it alone" in an attack on Iran if the US were not to "succeed" in its diplomatic efforts to get Iran to "stop" it's alleged attempts to develop a nuclear weapon capability.

Aside from the fact that there is no hard evidence that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb or even to refine uranium to obtain nuclear-grade material, the paper ignored one crucial point: Israel cannot "go it alone" in any strike on Iran, since its key weapons — American fighter-bombers — are supplied to it, and kept flying, thanks to the equipment and spare parts provided by the United States. Indeed, the entire Israeli military machine is largely financed and armed by the US. — 1,232 words.

Cartoon by Mike Thompson, Comics.com, 6 May 2010.

U.S. refusal to play along with Canada's attempt to suppress evidence
confirms Canada's status as 'an outlaw among ... nations' says lawyer

'We could do basically anything to scare the prisoners,' retired soldier testifies

By Paul Koring
The Globe and Mail

Canadian defendant Omar Khadr attends a hearing in the courthouse at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base on Thursday. (Image: Reuters.)
Canadian defendant Omar Khadr attends a hearing in the courthouse at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base on Thursday. (Image: Reuters.)

Omar Khadr, then a gravely wounded 15-year-old, was routinely trussed up in a cage "in one of the worst places on Earth," according to a hulking former military interrogator nicknamed Monster who says he felt sorry for the Canadian and brought him books and treats.

Former specialist Damien Corsetti was testifying via video link to a pretrial hearing in the war-crimes trial of Mr. Khadr, now 23, on charges of terrorism and murder in the killing of a U.S. Special Forces soldier during a firefight in eastern Afghanistan in July of 2002.

"We could do basically anything to scare the prisoners," Mr. Corsetti said, adding that detainees were often chained in stress positions in cages and that constant screaming and yelling filled the Bagram prison.

He also said beating prisoners was banned but they could be threatened with nightmarish scenarios like clandestine transfer to Israel or Egypt where they would disappear. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 569 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, May 7, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 22 (226)

'Shut the fuck up on this issue'

By their words shall we know them

Harper and friends never cease playing the politics of division and fear

I would like to apologize for inflicting a four-letter Anglo-Saxonism upon you, but I can't in good conscience do it. All too often the truth is offensive and sometimes, using crude words is the best way to get us to confront the ugly truth in question.

In this case, Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth seems to have let slip an ugly truth about her party that she might not even fully understand — otherwise, if she is the pro-choice feminist she said to be, she would surely have to cross the floor — wouldn't she? — 781 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.

Letters to the Editor

Profound statements

I am impressed with the depth of your article "The good mother survives through the ages". Some interesting points were made, so I read through it three times.

Bravo for telling the story about the falcon and peasant. 'Cutting off the branch' simplifies what can be a very tough time for mothers. The letting go of a cherished child. Also, 'he learns that love is natural as breathing' is a very profound statement.

— Arline Boyd, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Hardest, yet most rewarding

Regarding "The good mother survives through the ages", parenthood can be one of the hardest yet most rewarding things a person can experience. An excellent article with a lot of truth and wisdom. Thanks to Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair for sharing her thoughts and experiences.

— Gerry Pellerin, New Tusket, Nova Scotia, Canada

Five MPs who deserve some respect

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

We all like to complain about the behaviour of our politicians but there are times when they show the kind of leadership we expect of them. So here's some praise for Harold Albrecht, Conservative MP for Kitchener-Conestoga, Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MP Joe Comartin, Michelle Simpson, Liberal MP for Scarborough Southwest, Guelph Liberal MP Frank Valeriote, and Kelly Block, Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar. — 632 words.

Sentencing reform could cost $10B over 5 years

CBC News

27 April 2010 — The Conservative government's planned series of reforms to the criminal justice system could cost tens of billions of dollars based on the estimated cost of just one of them — as calculated by the parliamentary budget officer.

Last week, the Tories introduced four crime-related bills in Parliament.

One would kill the so-called faint hope clause that allows some people serving life sentences to apply for parole after 15 years (instead of the usual 25 common for first-degree murder and other life sentence convictions). — Read the full article at CBC News, 915 words.

Tory G8 abortion stance 'hypocritical and unjust': medical journal

CBC News

7 May 2010 — Canada's position against funding abortions abroad is 'hypocritical and unjust,' a medical journal editorial says.

"The Canadian Government does not deprive women living in Canada from access to safe abortions; it is therefore hypocritical and unjust that it tries to do so abroad," the Lancet says in an editorial Saturday.

"Although the country's decision only affects a small number of developing countries where abortion is legal, bans on the procedure, which are detrimental to public health, should be challenged by the G8, not tacitly supported. Canada and the other G8 nations could show real leadership with a final maternal health plan that is based on sound scientific evidence and not prejudice." — Read the full article at CBC News, 585 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Environmentalists want investigation of toxic waste in Georgia Strait

The federal government is not enforcing its own laws, coalition says

By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail

A coalition of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups have asked an international body to investigate allegations the federal government is allowing a Metro Vancouver sewage plant to regularly discharge toxic waste into Georgia Strait.

In a submission, nine groups ask the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America to document "the failure of the Canadian government to adequately enforce its environmental laws."

Douglas Chapman, a spokesman for Fraser Riverkeeper, the lead environmental group in the action, said he hopes the CEC will investigate why the federal government took over and stayed a private prosecution of Metro Vancouver in 2006. — Read the full story at The Globe and Mail, 594 words.

As Mother's Day approaches, Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair continues to reflect on life as a daughter, a mother, and a grandmother

"Once a mother, always a mother!" (You may want to set some rules)

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.

As a young teacher, I remember one of my students and his sister being raised by their grandparents. Both parents had been killed in a car crash. At parents and teachers' night, the grandmother looked exhausted and overwhelmed. I felt sorry for her. Not only had she lost her own child but she was left with two young children to raise. — 1,051 words.

Learning from our past:
Genealogy and non-fiction research

By Karen Allen
Ottawa Independent Writers

Karen Allen is a senior communications consultant and founder of The Written Edge. She holds a Master of Journalism from Carleton University and has won numerous work and academic awards for her writing, project management and leadership.

At the Ottawa Independent Writers' April 29 meeting, Glenn Wright gave an interesting talk about his experiences in genealogy and non-fiction research. Glenn is a former archivist who worked for many years at the Library and Archives Canada, the very location of our monthly OIW meetings. He has published articles on genealogy and history and co-authored an academic book. — 1,045 words.

Google buys Canadian 3-D desktop startup

BumpTop price said to be as much as $45M

CBC News

Google has acquired BumpTop, a Toronto-based tech startup that built a 3-D computer desktop that makes files behave like physical objects.

Neither Google nor BumpTop disclosed details of the deal, but the Globe and Mail said the purchase price was believed to be between $30 million and $45 million.

In a post on its website, BumpTop announced it had been acquired by Google and thanked users for their support. Read the full story at — CBC News, 280 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Strict labour regulations raise construction costs in Quebec

Montreal Economic Institute

MONTREAL — Strict regulation of the construction trades is artificially raising construction costs in Quebec, according to an Economic Note published today by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and prepared by its researcher David Descôteaux. — 565 words.

Spirit Quest

'Stranger in my own home town'

Disturbed ground

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

It was just a pile of logs of odd sizes, gray with age and rotting away. What had once been a wall now propped up part of a collapsed roof. A long time ago this had been my home. More than fifty years ago it had been little more than a log shanty. "Primitive" best describes it. but now it was nothing but a memory.

I confess that I am periodically overcome with a desire to go back to places where I had lived years ago. This, I understand, is not unusual among those who have attained a certain age that can be classified rudely as "old." I have reached that happy time when I am assured that I shall not die young, be cut down in the midst of life with all sorts of potential left unrealized.

Three years ago I had the wonderful opportunity of "going back" in time. I had been invited to come to Euirope and participate in making a documentary about the Sudeten tragedy. — 777 words.

Shory allegations 'personal': Tories

Baird accuses Liberal MP Lee of lobbying, cites law firm's website

CBC News

The Conservative government is dismissing comparisons between a Calgary MP's alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme and allegations facing former Tory cabinet minister Helena Guergis.

And the Conservatives are raising questions about a Liberal MP's work for a Toronto law firm, saying a description of his activities on the firm's website constitutes lobbying. — Read the full article at CBC News, 794 words.

Office worker fired for being a sex-blogger on the side

A St Louis blogger thought she went to great lengths to keep her office and her personal life separate — but then it all went wrong. A cautionary tale of using Twitter, Topsy and other social media

By Courtney Rubin

4 May 2010 — A St. Louis-area nonprofit has fired a 37-year-old office worker — after discovering that in her own time, the woman blogs about her polyamorous escapades.

The blogger — a single mother whose blog is called "The Beautiful Kind" — told St. Louis's The Riverfront Times she "really was Clark Kent" about keeping her office and her extracurricular life separate (and the extracurricular life was anonymous).

But she made one fatal mistake: Using Twitter.

TBK, as she's known, refers to what happened to her as a Twitter "glitch." But her webmaster clarified to Inc. that her downfall was really "in the failure of how third party search/archiving sites work." — Read the full story at Inc.com, 1,080 words.

The six strangest things men do to their penises

From the skins of cadavers to herbal injections to tiny soldier costumes,
men use all sorts of bizarre and sometimes dangerous methods to 'improve' their penises

By Andy Writer

Kanamara Matsuri fertility festival (photo: Yuki_K_).
Kanamara Matsuri fertility festival (photo: Yuki_K_).

5 May 2010 — You can't really say the penis doesn't get enough attention. There's a fertility festival in Japan called Kanamara Matsuri that celebrates the appendage, there's the Icelandic Phallological Museum, and a Chinese penis restaurant where diners can sup on the wangs of various animals. At one point, a luxury car manufacturer scrapped plans to produce an SUV upholstered in whale penis due to pressure from environmentalists.The only place where penises seem to go overlooked is at the drugstore. While entire sections are devoted to the de-scenting and cleaning of women's genitals (most of which do more harm than good) there's no "masculine care" aisle. Men just aren't expected to put as much time and thought into maintaining and modifying their junk.

But that doesn't mean men haven't fallen prey to unattainable standards of perfection as well, going under the knife and performing dangerous procedures at home, to attain the perfect penis. And by "perfect," I mean huge. The majority of services available to men in the genital upkeep department promise to make their penises bigger and thicker. But while medically questionable procedures to enhance the penis abound, it's only one of the many things men can do to their nether regions in the name of perfection. Read the full story at AlterNet.org, 1,528 words.

'We know for a fact that ... Canada has the wherewithal ... to build crude nuclear weapons'

Americans warned:
'We cannot tolerate a nuclear Canada'

By Tom Mysiewicz

Hearing all the justifications for an attack on Iran, many of which seem to be recycled justifications (that turned out to be sheer fantasy) for the $1 trillion war against Iraq, it just occurred to me that the same hypothetical arguments apply equally to our great neighbor to the North.

We know for a fact that, under the guise of peaceful nuclear research, Canada has the wherewithal and technical know-how to build crude nuclear weapons and dirty bombs. Their potential missiles are minutes away from hundreds of strategic targets in the U.S.

So Pres. Obama should not be constrained to limit his use of the "nuclear option" to Iran and North Korea. A much closer threat deserves equal attention: — Read the full article at LewRockwell.com, 458 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

The degrowth movement is growing

More than 300 people gathered in Vancouver to envision a healthy society without an expanding economy

By Derrick O'Keefe

Vancouver-based social justice activist and writer Derrick O'Keefe is co-author, with Afghan MP Malalai Joya, of the recently released A Woman Among Warlords (Scribner 2009).

As rain splattered the windows of a small studio on the edge of Vancouver's port last Sunday, a cluster of people listened to Rex Weyler describe the early days of Greenpeace, the global green organization he and a handful of others launched in this city 40 years ago. — 1,379 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.

Bolivia throws down gauntlet,
demands real climate action

By Max Ajl

It was a rounding error: 3, 3.5 million dollars, the amount of funding in climate aid that the United States had taken away from Bolivia, in explicit retribution for Bolivia's filibuster at the Copenhagen Summit this past December, when along with Venezuela, the Sudan, Nicaragua and Ecuador, it effectively scuppered the Copenhagen accords.

Remember Copenhagen? The Copenhagen treaty would have locked what passed for agreed upon terms into a legally binding agreement. An agreement that wouldn't have bound anyone to do anything at all except toss around a couple billion dollars in transfers from the developed to the underdeveloped world, a thousandth of what we spent on bank bailouts. The negotiators mumbled about a "goal" of keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius, but without enforcement mechanisms, without specifying emissions cuts, without apportioning responsibility and without adequate financing mechanisms. A vague, do-nothing treaty would have been fantastic for an American government that has categorically "reject [ed] [any] sense of guilt or culpability or reparations" for past emissions, in the words of climate envoy Todd Stern. — 1,382 words.

Report from Obama's America ...


US, Cuba meet but reach no deal on Haiti aid: Cuban official


21 April 2010 — Cuba and the United States have held a series of unprecedented talks to coordinate aid to earthquake-stricken Haiti but so far have failed to reach agreement, a top Cuban official said on April 21st. The two longtime foes, which have had no diplomatic relations for half a century, have met three times so far to discuss cooperation on Haiti and could meet again soon, said Jorge Bolanos, who heads the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.

"We have to continue because we have not produced any agreements" on how to coordinate bilateral aid to impoverished Haiti after it was devastated by a massive earthquake that killed an estimated 220,000 people in January, Bolanos said. Read the full story at TerraDaily.com, 537 words.

Venezuelan woman: Invincible, never again invisible


Pielrroc Montenegro (photo: ABN).
Pielrroc Montenegro (photo: ABN).

8 March 2010, CARACAS — "I'm a woman with a new life since the Bolivarian Revolution knocked on my door," said Pielrroc Montenegro, Maracaiban[i] by birth and Andean by tradition, with glazed eyes full of nostalgia and gratitude.

She described herself as a "dignified mother of the neighbourhood" since the mission of that name[ii] enabled her to realise one of her dreams: enrol in university.

Years ago, Pielrroc didn't think much of it when, barely aware of its existence, she signed up with Mission Ribas [high school level education program]. When she was young she had been forced to leave high school just one year before finishing it.

"My mum got sick and because of economic difficulties I had to work," she recalled, and said that once she graduated from high school through the government program she seriously considered her options of continuing her studies through Mission Sucre [government university education program]. — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, 951 words.

Interview: Interviewee

ABC TV's Stephanopolous asks a stupid question and gets a clever answer
Iran's president Ahmadinejad says bin Laden, an old Bush friend, is hiding out in Washington


26 little-known facts about America's number one 'enemy'

By Jeffrey Rudolph

24 April 2010 — What can possibly justify the relentless U.S. diplomatic (and mainstream media) assault on Iran?

It cannot be argued that Iran is an aggressive state that is dangerous to its neighbors, as facts do not support this claim. It cannot be relevant that Iran adheres to Islamic fundamentalism, has a flawed democracy and denies women full western-style civil rights, as Saudi Arabia is more fundamentalist, far less democratic and more oppressive of women, yet it is a U.S. ally. It cannot be relevant that Iran has, over the years, had a nuclear research program, and is most likely pursuing the capacity to develop nuclear weapons, as Pakistan, India, Israel and other states are nuclear powers yet remain U.S. allies—indeed, Israel deceived the U.S. while developing its nuclear program.

The answer to the above-posed question is fairly obvious: Iran must be punished for leaving the orbit of U.S. control. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Shah was removed, Iran, unlike, say, Saudi Arabia, acts independently and thus compromises U.S. power in two ways: i) Defiance of U.S. dictates affects the U.S.'s attainment of goals linked to Iran; and, ii) Defiance of U.S. dictates establishes a “bad” example for other countries that may wish to pursue an independent course. The Shah could commit any number of abuses—widespread torture, for example—yet his loyalty to the U.S. exempted him from American condemnation—yet not from the condemnation of the bulk of Iranians who brought him down.

The following quiz is an attempt to introduce more balance into the mainstream discussion of Iran. — Take the quiz at CounterCurrents.org, 3,574 words.

One million march in May 1 pro-government Venezuela parades while 200 appear at protest rally

By Tamara Pearson

May day in Caracas, 2010 (photo: ABN).
May day in Caracas, 2010 (photo: ABN).

2 May 2010, MERIDA — Venezuelans marched yesterday to celebrate the International Day of Workers. President Hugo Chavez also implemented a 15% wage increase, and the government broadened social security entitlements.

The main national march was in the capital Caracas, where people chanted, danced, waved placards and banners and played music as they marched towards the presidential palace Miraflores.

While there were no official or police estimates, various participants in the march told Venezuelanalysis they estimated that "hundreds of thousands" of people turned out, celebrating the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution and its promotion of wage increases, better working conditions and better life conditions for the poor majority. — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, 805 words.

German man 'marries' his dying cat

BBC News

A German man has unofficially married his cat after the animal fell ill and vets told him it might not live much longer, Bild newspaper reports. It says Uwe Mitzscherlich, 39, paid an actress 300 euros (£260,$395) to officiate at the ceremony, as marrying an animal is illegal in Germany.

Mr Mitzscherlich said he had wanted to tie the knot before his asthmatic cat Cecilia died. The cat and groom have lived together for 10 years.

"Cecilia is such a trusting creature. We cuddle all the time and she has always slept in my bed," Mr Mitzscherlich, a postman from the eastern town of Possendorf, told Bild.

Actress Christin-Maria Lohri, who officiated the ceremony, was quoted as saying: "At first I thought it was a joke. But for Mr Mitzscherlich it's a dream come true".

Virginia wines meet Cuban cigars


Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who lost that state's 2009 Democratic nomination to Creigh Deeds, launched his own trade mission to Cuba last week with several Virginia businessmen.

McAuliffe journeyed to Cuba from April 12 through 15, where he persuaded the Cubans to accept more Virginia poultry, apples and soybeans -- and, for the first time, Virginia wine. — Read the full article at CubaHeadLines.com, 478 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Wind power soars

In 2009, global wind power capacity exceeded 150,000 megawatts

By J. Matthew Roney
Earth Policy Institute

Even in the face of a worldwide economic downturn, the global wind industry posted another record year in 2009 as cumulative installed wind power capacity grew to 158,000 megawatts. With this 31 percent jump, the global wind fleet is now large enough to satisfy the residential electricity needs of 250 million people. Wind provides electricity in over 70 countries, 17 of which now have at least 1,000 megawatts installed.

China led the way in 2009 with an astonishing 13,000 megawatts of new wind capacity, the first time any country has built more than 10,000 megawatts in a single year. With 25,000 megawatts overall, China has doubled its total installed wind capacity in each of the last five years, bringing it into third place behind the United States and Germany. (See data). And considering the ambitious projects already in its development pipeline, it is not likely to stay in third place for long.

China's unprecedented Wind Base program helps explain why. Six wind-rich provinces across the country's northern half—from northwestern Xinjiang to eastern Jiangsu—have been selected to host seven wind mega-complexes of between 10,000 and 37,000 megawatts each. When complete, these "wind bases" will boast close to 130,000 megawatts of generating capacity, which is more than the entire world had at the end of 2008. — Read the full article at Earth-policy.org, 1,267 words.



Crops at risk in America as figures show scale of bee die-offs

The world may be on the brink of biological disaster after news that a third of US bee colonies did not survive the winter

By Alison Benjamin
The Guardian Observer

Honey bees are vital insect pollinators, responsible for the healthy development of many of the world's major food crops. (Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images.)
Honey bees are vital insect pollinators, responsible for the healthy development of many of the world's major food crops. (Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images.)

Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country's estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy. — Read the full story at The Guardian Observer, 1,017 words.

Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' keeps growing

Experts who assessed the Exxon Valdez disaster describe how the Gulf oil spill could affect birds, reptiles, shrimp, fish and other wildlife

By Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News

A small dead crab lies in hypoxic sediments off the coast of Louisiana. (Photo: AP Photo/Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Undersea Research Program and the Louisiana University Marine Consortium, N. Rabalais.)
A small dead crab lies in hypoxic sediments off the coast of Louisiana.

7 May 2010 — An over 7,000-square-mile wildlife "dead zone" located in the center of the Gulf of Mexico has grown from being a curiosity to a colossus over the past two decades, according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and scientists are now concerned the recent oil spill and other emerging chemical threats could widen the zone even further.

The NWF describes the dead zone as being "the largest on record in the hemisphere in coastal waters and one of the biggest in the world."

During the summer months, it is nearly devoid of wildlife, save for the dead bodies of crabs, shrimp and other marine species that succumb to oxygen depletion in the polluted water.

Animal toxicology experts believe the Gulf dead zone is a man-made monstrosity. — Read the full story at The Guardian Observer, 691 words.

The not-so-blank slate

The Moral Life of Babies

By Paul Bloom
The New York Times Magazine

3 May 2010 — Not long ago, a team of researchers watched a 1-year-old boy take justice into his own hands. The boy had just seen a puppet show in which one puppet played with a ball while interacting with two other puppets. The center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the right, who would pass it back. And the center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the left ... who would run away with it. Then the two puppets on the ends were brought down from the stage and set before the toddler. Each was placed next to a pile of treats. At this point, the toddler was asked to take a treat away from one puppet. Like most children in this situation, the boy took it from the pile of the "naughty" one. But this punishment wasn't enough — he then leaned over and smacked the puppet in the head.

This incident occurred in one of several psychology studies that I have been involved with at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University in collaboration with my colleague (and wife), Karen Wynn, who runs the lab, and a graduate student, Kiley Hamlin, who is the lead author of the studies. We are one of a handful of research teams around the world exploring the moral life of babies.

Like many scientists and humanists, I have long been fascinated by the capacities and inclinations of babies and children. The mental life of young humans not only is an interesting topic in its own right; it also raises — and can help answer — fundamental questions of philosophy and psychology, including how biological evolution and cultural experience conspire to shape human nature. In graduate school, I studied early language development and later moved on to fairly traditional topics in cognitive development, like how we come to understand the minds of other people — what they know, want and experience. — Read the full article at The New York Times Magazine, 6,086 words.

Reality Check

No one cares

Why the enlightened liberal class is complicit in America's Downward Spiral

The voices of sanity, the voices of reason, those who have a moral core have little chance now to be heard. Peace has almost no audience

By Chris Hedges

U.S. troops board an airplane headed for Afghanistan.
U.S. troops board an airplane headed for Afghanistan.

We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps.

Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent.

Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead.

No one cares. — Read the full article at TruthDig.com, 1,826 words.

Macao moves to regulate local mortgage market

China Daily

7 May 2010, MACAO — The Monetary Authority of Macao has said that it would further regulate the local mortgage market by setting a lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and adopting other more prudent requirements for the sector, the Macao Post Daily reported on Friday.

The LTV ratio guideline, which the Monetary Authority was drafting, would help local banks to maintain continued stability in the face of market competition, the daily quoted a statement from the Monetary Authority as saying. However, the Authority did not say when the new guideline will be announced.

The LTV ratio expresses the amount of a first mortgage lien as a percentage of the total appraised value of the property.

The Monetary Authority said in the statement that mortgage-related credit accounts for a significant part of local banking business, because of which Monetary Authority requires and reminds banks to stay vigilant and remain prudent.

Meanwhile, unspecified events in the past in the mortgage market have caused concern, such as the lowering of interest rates and the granting of credit at 90 percent or above the LTV ratio, the Authority also said.

Macao's newly approved residential mortgage loans reached 18. 99 billion patacas (US$2.37 billion) by the end of last year, while newly approved commercial real-estate loans stood at 14.21 billion patacas (1.78 dollars), according to the figures from the Monetary Authority.

South American countries call for
dialogue with the United States
condemn Arizona immigrant law

By Kiraz Janicke

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the UNASUR summit (Photo: Prensa MPPRE.)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the UNASUR summit (Photo: Prensa MPPRE.)

5 May 2010, CARACAS — The final declaration of the summit of presidents of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), held in Argentina yesterday, condemned the recent immigration law SB1070 passed by the U.S. state of Arizona on the grounds that it criminalises people on the basis of race.

The South American presidents "reject the criminalisation of migrants" contained in the law adopted on 23 April, which allows for the "detention of persons on a discretionary basis by racial, ethnic, phenotype, language and immigration status considerations, through the questionable concept of reasonable doubt," the statement adopted by the summit said.

The statement determined that the law could lead to "the legitimisation of racist attitudes in the host society and the latent risk of regrettable incidents of violence due to racial hatred, of which many South American citizens have already been victims." — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, 694 words.

2.5 million Venezuela Socialist party members
elect candidates for September 26 elections

Chavez: 'Electing candidates in this way guarantees a much deeper connection between the National Assembly and the country's base."

By Tamara Pearson

Voters revise lists before voting in PSUV primary elections. (Photo: Manuel Sarda.)
Voters revise lists before voting in PSUV primary elections. (Photo: Manuel Sarda.)

3 May 2010, MÉRIDA — Yesterday 2,589,852 members of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) went to the booths to elect their candidates for the National Assembly elections to be held on 26 September.

From 8am, or even earlier in some cases, registered members voted at 3,820 booths, selecting from a total of 3,527 nominations, though only voting for candidates that corresponded to their regional area. Any registered member could nominate themselves, for no charge.

The elections were managed by the National Electoral Council (CNE), an independent national electoral body. According to Justice Minister Tarek El-Aissami, the voting was quick, there were no irregular incidents, and all was done with in "complete normality."

As President Hugo Chavez cast his vote, he said, "Electing candidates like this, we're guaranteeing a much deeper connection between the National Assembly and the bases country's base." — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, 594 words.

Boy saved his sister from drowning — with his teeth

By Evgeniya Chaykovskaya
The Moscow News

29 April 2010 — A five-year-old boy in Buryatia, Siberia, got his teeth into a courageous rescue bid after his sister fell into a freezing river.

Danilla was walking across the frozen water with his sister and a friend when the ice cracked and his sister, aged six, fell through.

Danilla reacted instantly, grabbing the hood of her coat between his teeth and holding her head above water for half an hour, while the other girl ran home to fetch their older brother Ivan, 15.

Ivan got the girl out of the ice-cold water, brought her home, gave her first aid and warmed her up. The accident happened on April, 5, but became known only recently. The school where Ivan and Danila are studying is applying to Emercom for an award for the heroic brothers, reports Interfax.

Victory Day parade Sunday May 9

Russians call it 'The Great Patriotic War' as
they celebrate victory over Nazi Germany in May 1945

Two American military historians compare the devastation with the U.S. being flattened from the Atlantic to the Mississippi (see below, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, by David M. Glantz and Jonathan M. House.)

By Alexander Bratersky
The Moscow Times

Russian World War II veteran Sayara Shestopalova, 83, center, holding flowers and standing near the Marshal Zhukov monument and State Historical Museum, just outside Red Square, Thursday, May 6. (Photo: Mikhail Metzel/AP.)
Russian World War II veteran Sayara Shestopalova, 83, holds flowers near the Marshal Zhukov monument and State Historical Museum, just outside Red Square, Thursday, May 6. (Photo: Mikhail Metzel/AP.)

7 May 2010 — More than 10,500 Russian soldiers will march for the first time alongside troops from the United States, France, Britain and Poland in a larger-than-life parade to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany this weekend, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Thursday.

The Victory Day parade, which will start at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 9, will also include servicemen from nine other former Soviet republics, and 25 foreign leaders are to join President Dmitry Medvedev in the stands to watch the procession on Red Square.

The one-hour parade will feature six types of defense equipment for the first time — the Pantsir-S1 and Buratino air-defense systems, the Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile, the Yak-130 trainer and the Mi-28 and Ka-52 helicopters, Vedomosti reported.

A total of 161 tanks and missiles will roll through the square, and 127 aircraft will soar over it, Serdyukov said.

Rehearsals for the parade have been going on for the past week, shutting down traffic in downtown Moscow for several hours every day. — Read the full article at The Moscow Times, 526 words.

Russian marines overwhelm pirates

Hijacked tanker freed in 22-minute gunfight

By Natalya Krainova
The Moscow Times

Moscow University oil tanker, as seen in port about 100 kilometers from Vladivostok in December 2009. (Photo: Yuri Maltsev/Reuters.)
Moscow University oil tanker, as seen in port about 100 kilometers from Vladivostok in December 2009. (Photo: Yuri Maltsev/Reuters.)

Russian marines on Thursday freed a Russian oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates a day earlier in the Arabian Sea in a 22-minute gunfight that saw one pirate killed and 10 others arrested.

The 23 Russian sailors on the Moscow University tanker — who cut power to the vessel and spent the 20-hour ordeal holed up in the engine room — emerged unharmed, a Navy spokeswoman told The Moscow Times.

President Dmitry Medvedev praised the marines for their quick and professional work and ordered that they be decorated with state medals.

He promised that the captured pirates would be punished "under the full force of naval law," Interfax reported.

Russian officials have not decided whether to bring the detained pirates to Moscow or hand them over for trial to an African court.

The state-owned tanker was attacked about 350 nautical miles from Socotra, Yemen, in what was the first hijacking of a Russian-owned ship with a Russian crew in the pirate-infested waters off the coast of lawless Somalia. — Read the full article at The Moscow Times, 905 words.

Rear-view Mirror

When Saigon fell

By Amy Davidson

North Vietnamese tanks roll into Saigon, 04/30/70. (Photo: ITN.)
North Vietnamese tanks roll into Saigon, 04/30/70. (Photo: ITN.)

30 April 2010 — Today is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the fall of Saigon.

The Vietnamese government staged some reënactments today, minus the mortars and deaths and panicked evacuation.

Some of what happened that day can be seen in this ITN news clip, which begins soon after the last helicopter has left the American embassy, which is where the story, for Americans, tends to end.

There is a certain amount of talk, when pictures from that day are replayed, of regret and abandonment, of things we left undone in Vietnam. Some of it is meant as a subtle admonishment not to "abandon" Afghanistan — which is odd, given that those who favor an expansion of troop levels there often strenuously reject parallels between the two wars. — Read the full article at The New Yorker, 466 words.

Money and Markets

The end of the Euro?

A currency too far

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

6 May 2010 — So, is Greece the next Lehman? No. It isn't either big enough or interconnected enough to cause global financial markets to freeze up the way they did in 2008. Whatever caused that brief 1,000-point swoon in the Dow, it wasn't justified by actual events in Europe.

Nor should you take seriously analysts claiming that we're seeing the start of a run on all government debt. U.S. borrowing costs actually plunged on Thursday to their lowest level in months. And while worriers warned that Britain could be the next Greece, British rates also fell slightly.

That's the good news. The bad news is that Greece's problems are deeper than Europe's leaders are willing to acknowledge, even now — and they're shared, to a lesser degree, by other European countries. Many observers now expect the Greek tragedy to end in default; I'm increasingly convinced that they're too optimistic, that default will be accompanied or followed by departure from the euro. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 793 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Wagons for all tastes: Golf Wagon, X6 M, Sorento, Flex and Commander

By Rob Rothwell

It's the right size for many, and with the comeback of the station wagon, Volkswagen has a winner on its hands with the introduction of their Golf wagon.

Jetta's loss is Golf's gain

The Jetta lineup is now sans a wagon while the lineup of Golfs now includes a wagon—go figure. I guess it's possible to have too many wagons unless you're a kid yearning for yet another Radio Flyer. In Volkswagen's case, a Jetta and Golf wagon would be duplicating services to an unacceptable, or perhaps unprofitable, degree.

Although I didn't move house during my time with the Golf Wagon, I found its size to be perfect for most wagon-related chores—not too big and not too small. As well, the "right-sizing" of the Golf Wagon makes it a snap to park; a wonderfully tight turning radius and good rearward visibility further aid that task. — Read the full story at Auto123.com, 854 words.

Annals of Education

US school for disabled forces students to wear packs
that deliver massive electric shocks

By Diana Sweet

4 May 2010 — Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Center for the disabled, located in Massachusetts, violates the UN Convention against Torture.

The rights group submitted their report this week, titled "Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center," after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students. — Read the full story at RawStory.com, 979 words.

Looking back at Progressive Rock

Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds revisited

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

No one would have believed, in the last years of the 1970s, that musicians' affairs were being listened to from the timeless realm of cyberspace. No one could have dreamed that they were being scrutinized as an archaeologist with brush and chisel studies the shards of and middens of forgotten civilizations. And yet, across the gulf of decades, minds not measurably more arrogant than their own regarded those years with the condescension of history and slowly, and surely, passed their judgements upon them. — (With apologies to the shade of H.G. Wells)

Sometimes we outgrow the art we loved in our childhood or youth, but sometimes we lay aside a book or an album without fully intending to, until it is simply forgotten, like an old cup left outside and covered with the detritus of years. But every once in a while, and more as if remembering a box long stored in the attic than unearthing something buried in the back yard, we come upon something we'd very nearly forgotten and find that it is unbroken, just waiting for re-connection.

And so it was that I recently re-connected with both Jeff Wayne and H.G. Wells — not to mention with the genre of 'progressive rock'. One of the fundamental roots of modern science fiction and one of the bizarre mutant descendants of rhythm 'n blues — how could I resist?

And how can you? But be warned: there is a sample on auto-play in the main story. If don't want to listen to it, look below the image at the upper left for the "off" button.1,707 words.


The Reading Room

When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, by David M. Glantz and Jonathan M. House

It cost the Red Army 10 million casualties to stop the Hitler invasion, 10 million to hurl them back, and another 9 million to take Berlin, for a combined total of a staggering 40 million casualties for both sides

Two American military historians compare the devastation with the U.S. being flattened from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. By the time Pearl Harbor had ripped apart America's peacetime pretensions, the German blitzkrieg had already blasted the Red Army back to the gates of Moscow. Yet, less than four years later, the Soviet hammer-and-sickle flew above the ruins of Berlin, stark symbol of a miraculous comeback that destroyed the German army and shattered Hitler's imperial designs. — 330 words.

The Stage

Russian Army Theater revives wartime classic

By John Freedman
The Moscow Times

'Alive Forever' was written during World War II and later made into the award-winning film 'The Cranes Are Flying.' (Photo: Russian Army Theater.)
Alive Forever was written during World War II and later made into the award-winning film The Cranes Are Flying.' (Photo: Russian Army Theater.)

6 May 2010 — The name Viktor Rozov is enough to conjure up an entire era in Soviet and Russian theater, film and culture in general. His first play, written during World War II and reworked in the mid-1950s as "Alive Forever," was a landmark among landmarks.

The brand-new Sovremennik Theater opened its doors with this play, which was an enormous hit, and shortly thereafter Rozov rewrote it as a script for the film The Cranes Are Flying, which won the Grand Prize at Cannes in 1958.

Virtually everyone from World War II and Thaw-era generations of Russians saw themselves reflected in Viktor Rozov's plays.

Later generations have moved farther and farther away from Rozov's earnest and touching explorations of morality and social conscience. So much so, in fact, that I cannot remember the last time a major revival of one of Rozov's key plays was mounted. — Read the rest of the story at The Moscow Times, 746 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 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