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Friday, November 21, 2008 Vol 3 No 36 (150)
"True North is for opinion makers"
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This is change?

20 hawks, clintonites and neocon gunslingers
to watch for in Obama’s White House

The dream of real change offered by Obama
may turn sour for the millions who believed

U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good. — 5,634 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.

Leaders of Detroit's Big Three meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, November 6. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Corporate Welfare Bums

Leaders of Detroit's Big Three meeting with House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, November 6.

Ford and GM leaking cash as Big Three
go cap-in-hand for Washington handouts

By Bill Vlasic and Nick Bunkley

DETROIT (Reuters) — General Motors is edging closer to running out of money after slumping sales and deteriorating economic conditions pushed it to a larger-than-expected loss of $4.2 billion in the third quarter, excluding a one-time gain. — 840 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, November 21, 2008
True North Perspective
Vol. 3, No. 36 (150)

Auto Big Three leaders fly to Washington in private jets to beg for money
Thereby displaying a heritage of stupidity that reaches back to the 19th century

As soon as time allows I’ll publish a piece that tracks the dumbing down of America that began in the late 19th century and culminated in the election of George W. Bush, the disintegration of the American auto industry, and then the American economy itself. It would have happened sooner were it not for the lush profits that made the country so rich during World War 11. Enough found money to slow the inevitable slide to ruin. — 590 words.

In a novel theory of mental disorders, parents’ genes are in competition

By Benedict Carey
The New York Times

Two scientists, drawing on their own powers of observation and a creative reading of recent genetic findings, have published a sweeping theory of brain development that would change the way mental disorders like autism and schizophrenia are understood. — 1,310 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

2009 Ford Flex SEL AWD Review

Avant-garde AJAC winner

By Rob Rothwell

The minivan craze has abated, replaced largely by SUVs and CUVs; but the shine is fading on these family workhorses as well. Recognizing the creep of boredom, Ford performed a "re-think" of the segment and came up with the Flex; a fairly radical, somewhat nostalgic looking, six-seater featuring front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations. — 992 words.

The Great Pacific garbage dump

By Ian Covey
True North Perspective

‘Pretty soon, you’re eating that pair of Crocs you lost at a Victoria, B.C. beach a few summers ago.’

What is the largest structure created by man? Is it the Hoover Dam? The Great Wall of China? The Mubarak al-Kabir Tower proposed for Kuwait? Nope. Chances are you are unfamiliar with this behemoth, and for good reason. Stop and gain your composure, because this is likely the biggest thing (on earth) you’ve never heard of. — 380 words.

$100 million secret loan to private Olympic developer backfires

Vancouver votes for ‘Change’ but what will 'change' mean?
A city where politics plays out in a tough frontier atmosphere

By Geoff Dembicki, Irwin Loy and David Beers

VANCOUVER — The party promising "change" won by a landslide in Vancouver on Saturday. Just what measure of change the voters demanded wasn't immediately apparent, however. — 2,344 words.

Canadian native group negotiates major
China investments on resource-rich reserves

QUEBEC — When it comes to foreign investment, Canada's aboriginal leaders like to think of themselves as the hidden wolf behind the crouching Chinese tiger. — 399 words.

Spirit Quest

With an explanation by ‘The Great Randy Ray’

Invisible Hand

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Two small boys on their way home from school were overheard bragging about their respective fathers. One proudly announced that his father makes $100,000 a year. The other, not to be outdone, stated, “ Aw that's nuthin’, my father lost that much just yesterday.” Many little boys and girls if they listen at the supper table hear much about financial woes experienced by their parents. It came so fast; our times turned tough. — 563 words.

Dowd: Team of frenemies

‘Appointing a Clinton in the cabinet would be so un-Clintonian’

By Maureen Dowd
Op-Ed columnist

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — It's a cool idea, Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

At long last, the feminist icon would represent the feminist ideal of getting a room of her own, all on her own. Running for the Senate and the presidency, Hillary felt entitled to get money, endorsements and support because she was the wife of Bill Clinton - and at times the victim of Bill Clinton. — 864 words.

Bolivian president puts watchful eye on CIA

LA PAZ, Bolivia — President Evo Morales said that he will continue the struggle for the defense of the sovereignty and dignity of the Bolivia. He said he has put careful watch on CIA activities that may lead to attempts to destabilize his government. — 197 words.

A view from the political right

The CenterRight nation exits stage left

‘Conservative or Liberal: the labels remain the same but the views behind them have certainly changed’

By Tod Lindberg
The Washington Post

Here's the main thought Republicans are consoling themselves with these days: notwithstanding President-elect Barack Obama, a nearly filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate and the largest Democratic majority in the House of Representatives since 1993, the United States is still a center-right country. — 1,350 words.

No dancing in Tokyo streets to celebrate Obama victory
as Japanese engage in current round of America bashing

By Ayako Doi
The International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON — Like millions of Americans, I watched the scene in Chicago's Grant Park on election night, as President-elect Barack Obama delivered his victory speech, with a real sense of hope that something fundamental was changing. — 1,411 words.

In shift, conservatives in Iran back Ahmadinejad
after hammering him for congratulating Obama

By Nazila Fath
The International Herald Tribune

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received praise from Iran's reformist politicians and withering criticism from its conservatives after he sent Barack Obama a letter congratulating him on winning the American presidential race. — 695 words.

Fidel Castro welcomes China President Hu Jintao who
began his Latin American tour with a first stop in Cuba

By By Arnaldo Musa

HAVANA (Granma) — Tuesday, November 18, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, had a fraternal meeting with Hu Jintao, president of the People’s Republic of China, and members of the Chinese delegation. — 1,304 words.

US in recession, jobless to peak at 7.5%: survey

China Daily

WASHINGTON — The US economy is in recession and will contract at a faster pace in the fourth quarter, extending the decline into early 2009 as high unemployment crimps consumer spending, a survey showed. — 635 words.

Venezuela ready for first completely automated election
as equipment is delivered to all 34,662 voting centres

By James Suggett

Mérida, Venezuela — Tibisay Lucena, the president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), confirmed Sunday that voting equipment has been audited and delivered to all of the 34,662 voting centers across the country in preparation for this Sunday’s regional and local elections, which are the first elections in Venezuelan to be 100% automated. — 647 words.

Raped in the U.S. Military? You may have to pay for your own forensic exam kit

by Penny Coleman

Sarah Palin's decision not to pay for rape kits when she was mayor of Walsilla was an issue in the campaign for the White House. But allow me to introduce the large pink elephant that has been sitting quietly in the corner of the room: — 1,389 words.

The CIA is worried: will Obama actually hold them accountable

The Torture Memo of 2002 was written at the CIA's request that Bush "get their backs." Now they're asking if Obama will. — 615 words.

A sea of unwanted auto imports

by Matt Richtel
International Herald Tribume

LONG BEACH, California — Gleaming new Mercedes cars roll one by one out of a huge container ship here and onto a pier. Ordinarily the cars would be loaded on trucks within hours, destined for dealerships around the United States. But these are not ordinary times. — 1,180 words.

Social smoking takes a lasting toll

by Tara Parker-Pope
The New York Times

Among the 45 million smokers in the United States, about 19 percent don’t smoke every day. These occasional smokers — people who smoke only on the weekends or just a few times a week in social situations — often believe they are avoiding the health worries typically associated with smoking. — 378 words.

Argentine government moves to take control
of privately handled workers’ pension funds

By Joaquin Rivery Tur

Havana, Cuba — THE GREAT SCANDAL has been dominating the Argentine press. On television, the frequency of comments on the state takeover of pensions is constant. On the radio, almost all programs mention it. The Cristina Fernández government has decided that the state must take control of the private companies that handle workers’ pension funds. — 662 words.

Greek and Armenian monks brawl at Holy Site in Israel

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity’s holiest churches Sunday, November 9, and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus’ tomb. — 497 words.

Medvedev warms up at GM Russia plant opening
as faltering company rises to first place in Russia

By Maria Antonova
Staff Writer
The Moscow Times
A Division of The New York Times

ST. PETERSBURG — After including a chilly, anti-American message in his state-of-the-nation address Wednesday, November 5, President Dmitry Medvedev was on hand to offer a warm welcome Friday as U.S. automaker General Motors officially opened a new plant in St. Petersburg. — 644 words.

Ally of CIA and U.S. proconsul McCarry sentenced to 30 years
for real-estate fraud — but not for crimes against humanity

By Jean-Guy Allard

NEW YORK — Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, chief of a CIA-backed Haitian death squad that massacred, tortured and terrorized thousands of his compatriots, and whose accomplices later collaborated with another agent — the U.S. proconsul for Cuba, Caleb McCarry — has just been sentenced in New York to 30 years in prison. — 452 words.

Cuba passes the two million visitors mark

Canadians are majority holidayers in Cuba

By Jean-Guy Allard

ON November 14 and for the fifth year in succession, Cuba passed the two million mark with respect to foreign visitors, according to the Ministry of Tourism, in a statement that highlights the fact that on this occasion, that significant figure has been reached at a much earlier date than in previous years. — 312 words.

Varadero anticipating one million tourists

By Ventura de Jesús

VARADERO — Cuba’s top beach resort has received more than 700,000 tourists to date and the conditions exist for the year to end with a total of one million visitors for the first time in the history of tourism in that province. — 265 words.

A shattering moment in America's fall from power

‘The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over.’

'It is America's political class that, by embracing the dangerously simplistic ideology of deregulation, has responsibility for the present mess.’

By John Gray
The Guardian/UK

Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over. — 1,262 words.

Putin sets sights on the real economy
shifting from banks, stock exchanges

By Anatoly Medetsky
Staff Writer
The Moscow Times (A division of The New York Times)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed off on a program to help the Russian economy battle the global financial crisis as part of a promised shift of focus from the banking sector and stock exchanges to the country's real economic sector. — 625 words.

Are Oil-Rich Sheiks Being Scared Into Gold?

by Sean Brodrick
Money and Markets

Our oil-rich friends in the Middle East are scared. How do I know? Because they are buying gold like crazy! — 2,012 words.

Books to lure reluctant readers

By Barbara Florio Graham

One of the challenges of teaching middle grades is getting kids to read. Boys are particularly resistant to the usual fare, so there’s an ongoing effort to find worthwhile books that they will both enjoy and learn from. — 562 words.

Booksellers and Publishers Nervous as Holiday Season Approaches

By Motoko Rich
The New York Times

For the book industry the question for the forthcoming holiday shopping season may be whether more people are like Francisco Clough or like Jacqueline Belliveau. Both were browsing in the Barnes & Noble on Union Square in Manhattan late last week, but Mr. Clough only looked, while Ms. Belliveau bought her second book in two days. — 1,362 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

By Mike Heenan, Literary Editor, True North Perspective

Cultural communities in Canada’s capital say
City mayor must continue financial support

In a foolish attempt to redeem himself from an even more foolish & failed election promise: “Zero means Zero,” Mayor Larry O’Brien and his minions attacked the Festivals, Arts & Culture communities this week. — 424 words.

Did You Know?

Quiz — by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

To be eligible for a seat in Canada’s Senate, a candidate must be a Canadian citizen, at least 30 years old, a resident of the region the appointment represents and own land in that region with an unencumbered debt of at least $4,000. He or she must also have a net estate of $4,000.

Randy Ray of Ottawa and Mark Kearney of London, Ont. are the authors of seven books, including Pucks, Pablum & Pingos, a Canadian trivia book, published in April.  Visit their Web site at:

New web site may be path to success

for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a new Web site to promote his publicity services, which he offers to authors, publishers and companies. Mr. Ray has helped many clients get their message out across Canada on CTV, CBC Radio, CH-TV, A-Channel and Global TV, and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers. Mr. Ray's web site is: He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

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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
Randy Ray
Harold Wright