Not Sexy: Victoria's secret 'Fair Trade' cotton
is harvested by the labour of beaten child slaves
21 December 2011 — Victoria’s Secret is in the business of selling fantasy. Its elite team of supermodels (called “angels”) are painstakingly selected and considered some of the most beautiful women in the world, and its fashion show is a major television event, this year attracting musical performances from Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj. It is about glamor and exceptionalism, and its marketing is centered inextricably around making women who wear Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie feel equally glamorous and exceptional.
But the company cannot ignore the increasing demand for sustainable products, and so when it began using “fair trade, organic cotton,” the sexy-seeking, environmentally minded could ostensibly feel better about their choice to patronize Victoria’s Secret. Little tags in tinier thongs noted: “Made with 20 percent organic cotton from Burkina Faso.” (More)
By Joanna Smith
The Toronto Star
27 January 2012 OTTAWA Canada — Canadian security forces kept close tabs on renowned constitutional scholar Eugene Forsey from his early days as a left-wing academic to his stint as a senator, according to newly declassified documents.
It was no secret to Forsey that police were interested in his socialist views and activities as a young academic at McGill University, with the surveillance becoming obvious at a League for Social Reconstruction meeting in Montreal.
That was when one informant for then-Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis
, out of what Forsey
presumed was “professional jealousy,” confessed his own duplicitous motivation for being there while denouncing other plain-clothes representatives from three different police forces. (More)
Venezuela withdraws from World Bank arm
on claim that the bank favours transnationals
By Ewan Robertson
26 January 2012 MERIDA Venezuela —
The Venezuelan government has announced Venezuela’s “irrevocable” withdrawal from the World Bank affiliated arbitration body the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID
According to an official statement released by Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday this week, the move has been taken on the grounds of defending national sovereignty and “to protect the right of the Venezuelan people to decide the strategic orientation of the social and economic life of the nation." (More)
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
On Monday 9 January The Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, issued a remarkable open letter attacking those who have called for caution in the development and exploitation of our natural resources.
In typical right-wing tradition The. Hon. Joe Oliver produced a list of fabrications and salted them with character assassination.
He said, "Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams."
The lack of truth in the above is breathtaking. (More)
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-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst. Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ...
The Binkley Report
Obama did us a favour although
only Elizabeth May seems to get it
Process the oil here and provide long-term jobs, says May
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
27 January 2011— When President Obama said no thanks, for now, to the Keystone Pipeline project to ship tar-sands oil to a Texas refinery, he did us a favour.
Sadly, not many people got it. Prime Minister Harper whined about Canada being treated as a nature preserve by Americans and vowed to sell the goop to China. That, of course, put the spotlight on the Northern Gateway project to pump the crude through a pipeline to Kitimat, B.C., for forwarding by tanker through tricky shipping lanes.
Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver tried to brand the widespread opposition to that project from First Nations bands and environment groups as anti-Canadian. Which of course leaves the environmental assessment panel looking into the proposal in an untenable position.
However, the real issue, as Elizabeth May, the Green Party leader, pointed out, is why we aren’t processing the crude in Canada and creating jobs here? Harper refers to his government’s job creation priority in virtually every public utterance. So why not in this instance? (More)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
China unveils double-articulated 300-passenger city bus
By Nicholas Maronese
24 January 2012 — High-density populations mean cramped quarters on public transit, as Toronto bus riders will tell you.
You can imagine how bad it must be in China. They've more riders than their buses can handle.
That's why China's Youngman
has come out with the JNP6250G
Superliner, a 25-metre-long
(82-foot-long) behemoth of a bus capable of moving 300 passengers
, reports Inhabitat
The bus is designed with flexibility in mind, and I mean that two ways. (More)
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective
27 January 2011 — Economics, what is it — a science, art, voodoo, all or none or much more than these? Thomas Carlyle, the 19th century essayist and historian, coined the term “the dismal science” to identify economics. That designation stuck inasmuch as economists seem prone to create despair and despondency about the global outlook much of the time. The description fits.
Adam Smith, the 18th century historian and economist best know for his classic Wealth of the Nations, believed in an “Invisible Hand” that guides and determines the markets and thus ought not to be interfered with, turning economics into a theology. The late Milton Friedman of the Chicago School and its offspring in Calgary, concurred. Our present government and buisness
elite seems to go along with this theology. Their watchword is “Laissez Faire.” Listening to the debate of the US presidential hopefuls leaves little hope as they argue for that kind of “freedom.” (More)
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
Song of my heart: Beautiful, beautiful Barbados!
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.
27 January 2012 —
I let the music speak with no restraints. I let my feelings take over, carry my soul away into the world where beauty meets the darkness of day… Where my mind is like an open window where the high and healing winds blow…” (from the song, I let the music speak
Yes, dear friends and readers, I am back from Barbados. As I wrote in the novel The Neglected Garden
published in 2005: “I’m in love with this island. I hope to return to it someday.” And indeed, this vacation was my ninth visit to the “gem of the Caribbean Sea”. (More.)
Beating the Drum
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario. She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.
By Beverly D. Blanchard
True North Perspective
27 January 2012 — One the clients I coach accused me of being a Pollyanna. It is a common label I get. My client was talking about how bad things are in the world. How there is more poverty; more violence and more rude people in this world. How the economy is in the dumpster and the whole world is getting worse. I allowed her to rant for awhile and then I did the unthinkable.
I suggested that she change her focus. Look for the beauty in the world. Try to look at what is right in this world and not what she perceives to be wrong. Spend a day seeing everyone and everything she passes as part of the same source energy. Since modern science has proven there is only one source of energy, why not look for the beauty in that energy.
My suggestion met with anger as she replied, “You are too Pollyanna. I see reality. What I see is real and I am telling it like it is. How can you look for what’s good?” (More)
Apparently dead in the U.S.A.,
SOPA's twin is being pushed in Canada
By Michael Geist
23 January 2012 —
The Internet battle against SOPA
generated huge interest in Canada with many Canadians turning their sites dark (including Blogging Tories, Project Gutenberg Canada, and CIPPIC
) in support of the protest. In writing about the link between SOPA
and Canada, I noted
that the proposed legislation featured an aggressive jurisdictional approach that could target Canadian websites. Moreover, I argued that the same lobby groups promoting SOPA
in the U.S. are behind the digital lock rules in Bill C-11.
While SOPA may be dead (for now) in the U.S., lobby groups are likely to intensify their efforts to export SOPA-like rules to other countries. With Bill C-11 back on the legislative agenda at the end of the month, Canada will be a prime target for SOPA style rules. — (More.)
From the Desk of Darren Jerome
A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency
Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.
Julian Assange to host own TV show
WikiLeaks founder says he will interview 'iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders' and 'explore possibilities for our future'
By Josh Halliday
The Guardian UK
24 January 2012 —
founder, Julian Assange
, has announced that he is to host his own TV series, interviewing "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries" from around the world.
"Through this series I will explore the possibilities for our future in conversations with those who are shaping it," Assange said.
"Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia
and how we can set our paths? This is an exciting opportunity to discuss the vision of my guests in a new style of show that examines their philosophies and struggles in a deeper and clearer way than has been done before." — (More.)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor
Labour disputes soar in Guangdong
as younger workers more aware of their rights
By Li Wenfang
China Daily News
01 January 2012 GUANGZHOU China — Labour dispute cases reported in Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse in South China, surged almost three-fold in the past four years, with the implementation of the new Labor Contract Law.
Such cases have totaled around 300,000 so far this year, 2.7 times those in 2007, said Lin Jingqing, head of the provincial court of labor and personnel dispute mediation and arbitration at a forum on Dec 26.
The surge is partly attributed to the new labor law implemented in 2008, which lowers the threshold for labor dispute arbitration, Lin said.
Another important factor behind the increase is that workers, especially the younger generations, have become more aware of their rights, said Liu Shanshi, director of the human resources department of South China University of Technology. (More)
To build a fire ...
Kanzi, a bonobo chimpanzee, builds fires, cooks own food
By David Derbyshire
30 December 2011 — Eagerly he collects wood from the ground, snaps the branches into small pieces and carefully balances them in a pile. Then, taking care not to burn himself, he gently strikes a match and gets ready for a fry-up.
Like all red-blooded males, Kanzi loves messing around with a barbecue. But then, as these extraordinary pictures show, Kanzi is no man. He is a bonobo - pygmy chimpanzee - and his love of fire is challenging the way that we think about our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.
For although bonobo
apes and larger chimpanzees use twigs and leaves as tools, none has ever shown such skill for cooking food. — (More, including video.)
Money and Markets
Fed pledges low rates till kingdom come! What it means . . .
Friday 27 January 2012
By Mike Larson
Money and Markets
Last week, I discussed how the European Central Bank has lost its marbles, launching its own version of quantitative easing. I dubbed it “QE-E.”
I also said that QE accomplishes almost nothing for the “real” economy, even if it juices asset markets. And sure enough, we got more proof of that this week (details to follow!).
Well, this week it was the Federal Reserve’s turn at the podium and what happened? Policymakers didn’t launch an official QE3 program. But they did promise to keep short-term interest rates low through late 2014 … up from a previous pledge of 2013.
Not only that, the Fed also said it would continue with its “Operation Twist” policy of selling shorter-term Treasuries and buying longer-term ones. The goal? Hold down long-term interest rates.
Noted bond fund manager Bill Gross of Pimco
dubbed it “QE2.5.” All I could do was shake my head! (More)
Obasan sleep products: Tailoring a better sleep
Canadians spend a third of their lives sleeping – yet most buy their mattresses off the rack without knowing how comfortable they are or what they’re made from.
As a result, many don’t get a good night’s sleep and often wake up tired, cranky and stiff. A new sleep solution offered by Canadian mattress maker Obasan Ltd. of Ottawa overcomes the failings of traditional cookie-cutter mattresses.
• Obasan builds only custom-made products in its Ottawa factory that deliver superior craftsmanship and individualized comfort, much like a made-to-measure suit. Obasan mattresses are an exact fit for those who sleep on them.
• Obasan’s mattresses are 100% organic, using all-natural, ethically sourced ingredients that eliminate exposure to the hidden ‘chemical soup’ contained in many conventional mattresses. No chemicals mean less chance of a disrupted sleep and no prolonged exposure to chemicals such as formaldehyde that can cause serious illnesses. (More)
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The Old Man's Last Sauna
An eclectic collection of short stories by Carl Dow that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story. The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.