Friday, October 30, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 49 — 200
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Cartoon by Mike Thompson, October 29, 2009 (

In a changed world, still stuck in Bush mode:
Why Obama's Iran policy will fail

By Dilip Hiro

Dilip Hiro is the author of Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources (Nation Books), among other works. His forthcoming book, After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World, will be published in January 2010, also by Nation Books.

While the tone of the Obama administration is different from that of its predecessor, and some of its foreign policies diverge from those of George W. Bush, at their core both administrations subscribe to the same doctrine: Whatever the White House perceives as a threat - whether it be Iran, North Korea, or the proliferation of long-range missiles - must be viewed as such by Moscow and Beijing. — 1,889 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, October 30, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 49 (200)

While U.S. plays world cop China builds hospitals, railways, roads
and wins valuable investment contracts to American cries of 'foul'

'One can hardly blame the U.S. for sour-grape declarations. The Americans continue to spill blood and money in the "graveyard of empires" while China, without firing a shot walks away with a juicy plum, one of the largest copper fields in the world.'

George W. Bush, with the help of Osama bin Laden, suckered the West into an invasion of Afghanistan October 7, 2001. Bristling with arms, the military industrial complex that runs Washington was convinced that movie actor John Wayne (in real life a cowardly two-time draft dodger during World War II) would continue to win all wars everywhere. Hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of dead and wounded later, the U.S. has been outfoxed in Iraq (although it doesn't know it yet) and is up against the wall in Afghanistan where the U.S. military has just suffered the highest monthly number of dead since their attack. — 1,102 words.

Letters to the Editor

California reader appreciates increasing outreach

True North Perspective has been landing regularly in my in-box. Some weeks I read every word — such as all the essays/articles you sent out during the "hiatus" in the summer. Other weeks, I skim and regret not having more time. I really appreciate True North Perspective, however, and am glad for what seems to be increasing outreach.

Best wishes.

Ann Tompkins
California USA

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

The shrinking of China
High-speed trains compete with air travel

By Duncan Hewitt

For decades, rail travel in China meant an arduous overnighter in a crowded East German–designed train, riding along a rickety old track. Now China is undergoing a rail revolution. Over the next three years, the government will pour some $300 billion into its railways, expanding its network by 20,000 kilometers, including 13,000 kilometers of track designed for high-speed trains capable of traveling up to 350kph. Result: China, a nation long defined by the vastness of its geography, is getting, much, much smaller. — 1,792 words.

World will need more food despite cutbacks on greenhouse gases

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

Amidst all the debate about how much humans are responsible for climate change, there're a few sensible voices that keep pointing out the need for mankind to adapt to a warmer world, which is coming regardless of what we do to stem greenhouse gases. — 554 words.

Conservative family values

No help from Ottawa for woman imprisoned by husband in Saudi Arabia

'I cry, he hits me. I laugh, he hits me. I talk, he hits me. I get angry and he beats me'

By Staff Writers
CBC News

The Canadian government says it cannot bring home a Quebec woman who claims her husband is refusing to allow her and her three children to leave Saudi Arabia. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon discussed the case of Nathalie Morin with his Saudi counterpart during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday. After his return from Riyadh, Cannon said he considered the case to be a private matter that must be resolved by Saudi officials. — 370 words.

No broken guitars this time, but
United Airlines loses bags of Nova Scotia's broken-guitar singer

By Staff Writers
CBC News

After famously breaking his guitar, United Airlines has managed to cause further trouble for David Carroll by losing his luggage — just as the Canadian singer-songwriter was en route to deliver a speech about customer service. — 396 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Economy still not recovering: study

By Kerri-Anne Finn
CCPA News Release

OTTAWA, Canada — Canada's economy is still mired in recession and a long way from recovery, despite months of ‘green shoot' speculation, says a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). — 357 words.

Historical facts presented (not under oath) in the Court of Judge Harold Wright

'Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.'

The anals of human history or

Mr. Peter Decker, who for many years was Editor of the JOURNAL published by the SCCC (Montreal) Inc., kindly provided this article taken from the March 1, 1993, issue of the National Review. It is a delightful collage of student bloopers and is sure to provide some chuckles.

Richard Lederer, who teaches English at Sr. Paul's School, is the author of Anquished English (Wyrick Dell), from which this piece is excerpted.

It is truly astounding what havoc students can wreak upon the chronicles of the human race. I have pasted together the following history of the world from genuine students bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States from eight grade through college level. Read carefully and you will learn a lot. — 1,863 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.

Dalhousie, U of T ranked among best places for scientists

By Staff Writers
CBC News

Two Canadian universities — Dalhousie University in Halifax and the University of Toronto — have been named to The Scientist magazine's 10 best places to work in academia outside of the U.S. Dalhousie placed fifth on the list, while U of T squeaked in at 10th. — 227 words.

Health Watch

What's so scary about Michael Pollan?
Why Corporate Agriculture tried to censor his university speech

Agribusiness is trying to combat Pollan's message of sustainable, healthy eating

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.

Even if agribusiness could shut Michael Pollan up, the outspoken author of Omnivore's Dilemma and a journalism professor at University of California, Berkeley, it still has the Los Angeles Times to contend with. Last week, the Times blasted California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo for downgrading a scheduled Pollan lecture because it received pressure from David E. Wood, a university donor who happens to be chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Co. — 739 words.

Stem cell research could provide stroke breakthrough

By Judy Monchuk
Troy Media

CALCARY, Canada — A new hormone treatment stimulating stem cell growth in immediate stroke victims could provide a breakthrough in repairing brain damage caused by stroke and offer hope to millions suffering its debilitating after effects. — 1,311 words.

Why H1N1 panic is not the answer

By André Picard
The Globe and Mail

The deaths of two young, previously healthy children are bound to terrify families, and to ramp up the fear related to H1N1 influenza several notches. Many parents are now wondering: Should they keep their kids home from school, should they keep them away from hockey practice and gymnastics and should they — horror of horrors — put the kibosh on Halloween? The answer to those questions is no — an equivocal no. — 794 words.

He's in the Army now
Wife's cancer prompts man to enlist

By Mark Johnson
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

56 days . . . 55 days . . . 54 days . . .

Chelsea Caudle began signing her text messages this summer with a countdown. At 14 years old, she knew no better way to express what was coming. Day Zero was to be Oct. 7, the day Dad left for Army basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. He was moving 950 miles from their home in Watertown, 950 miles from Mom. He was leaving, even though Mom was sick with ovarian cancer. Even though he had been at her side through two long, miserable rounds of chemotherapy. Even though she now faced the likelihood of a third. In fact, Dad was leaving because Mom was sick. — 3,882 words.

Why are fat people abused?

Shouted at, spat at and even attacked, overweight people are campaigning for laws to protect them. Why is "fattism" seen by many as an acceptable prejudice?

By Denise Winterman
BBC News Magazine

"You big fat pig" is all Marsha Coupe heard before she was kicked in the stomach and punched in the face. The 53-year-old businesswoman says she was sitting in an almost empty train carriage in the early evening when she was kicked, punched and shouted at for taking up two seats. Her attacker was pulled off by another passenger and restrained, but got off at the next stop before the police arrived. It might surprise some people that the person doing the kicking and punching was a middle-aged woman, who was also travelling alone. — 1,051 words.

Honduras' Zelaya set to return to power

By Staff Writers

TEGUCIGALPA — Honduras' de facto government buckled under international pressure on Thursday and agreed to allow the return to power of President Manuel Zelaya, who was toppled in a military coup four months ago. — 454 words.

Creeping coup in Venezuela

By W. T. Whitney Jr.

U.S. measures for resisting progressive changes in Latin America have included funding of rightwing opposition groups, military deployment throughout the region, and the Fourth Fleet for monitoring a continent. This year seven new bases have been announced for Colombia, one in Peru and two in Panama. — 776 words.

Obama urged to fully implement anti-torture treaty

By William Fisher
Inter Press Service

NEW YORK — The fifteenth anniversary of the U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Torture passed last week with little fanfare and virtually no press attention from the mainstream media here. But according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), "U.S. policy continues to fall short of ensuring full compliance with the treaty." For example, the organisation said that an appendix to the Army Field Manual (AFM) can still facilitate cruel treatment of prisoners and detainees at home and abroad. — 991 words.

World in our hands: China US officials

By Li Xing and Cai Hong

China and the United States must push beyond bilateral issues to deal with more pressing matters of global impact. That was the theme echoed by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Jon Huntsman, US ambassador to China, in their keynote speeches yesterday in defining the China-US relations currently and in years to come. — 471 words.

The untold story of the Cuban Five
Washington not only breaks international laws but it breaks its own laws

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

Venezuela's formal request for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles was well founded. There is an Extradition Treaty between Venezuela and the United States, ratified by both countries in 1922, which has been implemented for a century. The Venezuelan government formally transmitted its extradition request to the United States government on June 15, 2005. According to the Treaty, Washington should have immediately detained Posada and submitted his case to a federal court for an extradition process in which the Secretary of State would have the final word. But nothing of the sort has happened. — 815 words.

Shanghai luxury hotel market heats up

By Staff Writers

The world's leading luxury hotels are rushing to expand in Shanghai ahead of next year's World Expo, with hopes high for the upscale travel sector in the Chinese financial hub despite the global downturn. The opulent Peninsula, the only new building on the main part of Shanghai's historic Bund in 60 years, just opened, embracing the city's Jazz Age heyday with a chauffeur-driven 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom and a Great Gatsby-esque pool. — 799 words.

China, Afghanistan vow to promote practical cooperation

By Staff Writers

BEIJING — China will continue to support Afghanistan's reconstruction, and make efforts to expand bilateral cooperation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday. Meeting with Afghan Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili, who attended Wednesday's eighth prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states as guest of host country China, Wen said China would continue to encourage qualified and reputable companies to invest in Afghanistan, and to strengthen bilateral practical cooperation in fields such as trade, economy and agriculture. — 236 words.

Nigeria signs $875 million railway deal with China

By Staff Writers

ABUJA — Nigeria on Monday signed a deal worth almost a billion dollars with a state-owned Chinese engineering firm to resuscitate part of its dilapidated railway system, the transport minister said. — 235 words.

Trial of 31 opens in Chongqing on organized crime charges


CHONGQING — Thirty-one people went on trial Monday on charges of gang-related crimes in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. The trial, which is expected to last 5 days at the Chongqing No. 5 Intermediate People's Court, is one of a series of organized crime trials resulting from investigations into 14 alleged mafia-style gangs in Chongqing. — 251 words.

Modernization from below

By Vladimir Ryzhkov
The Moscow Times

In his September "Go, Russia!" article, President Dmitry Medvedev lashed out angrily at those who oppose his impassioned call for modernization. He wrote, "Influential groups of corrupt officials and do-nothing 'entrepreneurs' are well ensconced. They have everything and are satisfied. They're going to squeeze the profits from the remnants of Soviet industry and squander the natural resources that belong to all of us until the end of the century. They are not creating anything new, do not want development and fear it." — 904 words.

Russia struggles with 20th century history
as Lenin again praised in Moscow metro (Stalin might be next)

By Staff Writers
The Moscow Times

MOSCOW — City Hall has returned Lenin's name to artwork in the Kurskaya metro station and might restore a monument to Stalin there as well. — 151 words.

Stasi files still haunt some Germans

By Staff Writers

BERLIN — For decades, Joachim Fritsch struggled to understand why he was being denied access to higher education and passed over for job promotions again and again. Then he got hold of a 400-page file East Germany's dreaded secret police had compiled on him. The Stasi had arrested him back in the mid-1950s when he was just 17 years old and branded him a "provocateur" for failing to produce his identity card. — 607 words.

Putin orders back wages paid

By Staff Writers
The Moscow Times

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Kaliningrad's governor to pay wage arrears to employees of the bankrupt airline KD Avia, hours after angry workers staged a protest. — 260 words.

From the Desk of Anita Chan, Contributing Editor, Australia

The Wenling model of collective bargaining

By Staff Writers
China Labor News Translations

Much is written about the trade union in China, but how much do we know about how it actually operates inside workplaces, and how it negotiates with private enterprises over wages and conditions for workers? The Wal-Mart company-wide collective bargaining agreement was one such insight into the All China Federation of Trades Union's (ACFTU) approach to collective bargaining. But as CLNT has documented in the posting of May 2009 it was not much more than a window-dressing exercise. — 1,512 words.


Smart rat 'Hobbie-J' produced by over-expressing a gene that helps brain cells communicate

By Staff Writers

Over-expressing a gene that lets brain cells communicate just a fraction of a second longer makes a smarter rat, report researchers from the Medical College of Georgia and East China Normal University. — 910 words.

Become a True North 10 per center

With this issue of True North Perspective we invite our readers to join us in celebration of our 200th edition.

While most of our readers are in Canada and the United States we are being read in growing numbers in as many as 88 countries and have this month, (so far, with still two days to go) received a record of 53,965 hits. Ever more high-end readers are finding satisfaction in what we publish. However, we're operating at a severe financial deficit. That's why we're asking readers with this, Edition 200, to become True North Perspective 10 per centers.

Ten per cent of 200 is $20. If all readers were to send in $20, it would help ease us back from the edge of financial desperation. We need the nourishment. We are happy to rely on our readers to provide. Please take time to give this request a key moment of attention by mailing your 10 per cent to:

Carl Dow, True North Perspective, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.


A baby glows in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Istvan Sebastian Kruger Keresztesi was born 26 March 2009

Gabriel and Mette, with baby Istvan Sebastian Kruger Keresztesi
Gabriel and Mette, with baby Istvan Sebastian Kruger Keresztesi.

Parents Gabriel and Mette, welcomed Istvan Sebastian Kruger Keresztesi into their lives in Sudbury on March 26th, 2009. The birth was at home with the helping hands of Sudbury midwives.

Gabriel and Mette moved to Sudbury in 2007 where Mette was offered a librarian position and they have settled happily into the city, enjoying its rich labour history and its beautiful natural environs.

Grandparents Marilyn and Soren Kruger have far to travel, from their home in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, to see little Istvan. Grandparents Marion Endicott and Nick Keresztesi are somewhat closer in Toronto.

Note: Istvan is pronounced "eeshtvan" It is the Hungarian equivelent of Stephen.


Panel calls for big detour in NASA's moon plans

Asteroids, Martian moons suggested as alternate destinations

By Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — NASA needs to make a major detour in its effort to return astronauts to the moon, a special independent panel told the White House Thursday. Under current plans, NASA has picked the wrong destination with the wrong rocket, the panel's chairman said. — 1,162 words.

Too big to fail?
Why the big banks should be broken up and
Why the White House and Congress don't want to do the job

By Robert Reich

Robert Reich was the 22nd Secretary of Labor of the United States and is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. His latest book is Supercapitalism.

And now there are five — five Wall Street behemoths, bigger than they were before the Great Meltdown, paying fatter salaries and bonuses to retain their so-called"talent," and raking in huge profits. The biggest difference between now and last October is these biggies didn't know then that they were too big to fail and the government would bail them out if they got into trouble. Now they do. And like a giant, gawking adolescent who's just discovered he can crash the Lexus convertible his rich dad gave him and the next morning have a new one waiting in his driveway courtesy of a dad who can't say no, the biggies will drive even faster now, taking even bigger risks. — 919 words.

Want to avoid the November blues?

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

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

Dear friends, I turned 60 last Tuesday, October 27th. I was spoiled and feted for three days, first by friends and family, then by my writer friends and finally, a more intimate dinner with the grandkids and immediate family. It felt really good! — 635 words.

Spirit Quest

On Hallowe'en, let us pause and celebrate the saintly

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Loud and repeated knocks on the door although we had am illuminated door bell, revealed a horde of creatures dressed in a variety of scary attire waiting impatiently under our porch light. But, now no more. Living in a condo, a controlled access building, certainly has its advantages but also a downside. One of the latter is manifested at Hallowe'en. — 774 words.

'Erotic' Russian TV show moved from 9 to 11 p.m. slot
'What the show is really like is an hour-long ride on a school bus'

'Erotic or not, the main problem with the new 11 p.m. slot for me was that I couldn't keep my eyes open…On Wednesday night, the censors ensured that our morals were uncorrupted by replacing the 9 p.m. showing with Bruce Willis in The Whole Ten Yards.'

By Anna Malpas
The St. Petersburg Times

Last week, TNT television lost an appeal and was forced to shift its long-running reality show Dom-2 (Home 2) to an 11 p.m. slot because it has been officially classed as "erotic." The show is nominally about young people working together to build a house, which will then be the prize for a couple that falls in love on the show. However, it's fair to say that the contestants do not have the gnarled hands and sunburn of people who actually work on a construction site. — 643 words.

In The Begining was The Word - now it's poetry

Riches I hold in light esteem (March 1, 1841)

Emily Brontë

Riches I hold in light esteem
And Love I laugh to scorn
And lust of Fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn–

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is–"Leave the heart that now I bear
And give me liberty."

Yes, as my swift days near their goal
'Tis all that I implore
Through life and death, a chainless soul
With courage to endure!

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.

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: 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
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Manager, Business and Publicity

Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia

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