Mid-August 2016 - Special #3

Editor's Notes

Washington's impatience to control Turkey backfires

Sending Erdoğan into Putin's open but cautious arms

Exasperated by the Mercurial Man of Europe, Washington

takes advantage of a U.S.-friendly military to inspire a coup

Now you can count on one of Washington's favourite weapons

Character Assasination: Erdoğan from political ally to dictator (More)

Canadians call for renewal of postal banking

Image: Graphic including Canada Post logo.

Canadians rally for postal banking as massive bank profits announced

Momentum builds for campaign for postal banking alternative backed by more than fifty labour, environmental, social justice, and anti-poverty organizations

Canadian Union of Postal Workers

07 September 2016 OTTAWA — Canadians have flooded their Members of Parliament with messages in support of postal banking after Canada’s six biggest banks reported a combined profit of $10.4 billion last week. Banking is the most profitable industry in Canada, but Canadians pay some of the highest bank fees in the world, averaging $185 per user per year.

Calls to bring back postal banking are gaining momentum as the Liberals’ public review of the post office enters its second phase of consultation. After bank profits were announced last week, thousands sent messages to their MPs in support of a postal banking alternative.

“These profits could be used to reduce the sky-high banking fees we pay in Canada. But because the big banks have cornered the market, they’re charging us more than ever,” said Dru Oja Jay, Executive Director at Friends of Public Services.

“Postal banking would be a powerful, low-cost alternative. And profits earned by postal banking could help keep the post office thriving as a public service and bring returns to communities,” said Mike Palecek, CUPW national president.

The action was coordinated by Delivering Community Power, a campaign backed by over fifty labour, environmental social justice and anti-poverty organizations that envisions a revitalized postal network with postal banking and expanded services to address Canada’s climate and economic challenges.

"We support postal banking for its potential to address economic inequality and climate change in Canada. Affordable banking, investment in local clean energy projects, and better services for rural communities and First Nations -- let’s make the connections and make it happen.” says Avi Lewis of the Delivering Community Power coalition.

Koch brothers reject support of Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton turns to McCarthyism

in false attempt to smear Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is engaging in over-the-top Russia-bashing and guilt-by-association tying Donald Trump to the Kremlin, a McCarthyism that previously has been used on Democrats, including Bill Clinton.
By Robert Parry
Consortium News
10 August 2016 The irony of Hillary Clinton’s campaign impugning the patriotism of Donald Trump and others who object to a new Cold War with Russia is that President George H.W. Bush employed similar smear tactics against Bill Clinton in 1992 by suggesting that the Arkansas governor was a Kremlin mole.

Back then, Bill Clinton countered that smear by accusing the elder President Bush of stooping to tactics reminiscent of Sen. Joe McCarthy, the infamous Red-baiter from the 1950s. But today’s Democrats apparently feel little shame in whipping up an anti-Russian hysteria and then using it to discredit Trump and other Americans who won’t join this latest “group think.” (More)

Crimea prosecutor general says those who seized control

of Kiev by violence are suffering from advancing senility

26 August 2016 (RT) While Ukraine’s authorities have branded the coming elections in Crimea “illegal,” the republic’s chief prosecutor noted that Kiev’s current regime, itself, was installed undemocratically, while slamming its statement as “speculative and irresponsible.”

“This is nothing but senility and we can say that their senility is progressing,” Natalya Poklonskaya told RIA Novosti. “They should rather deal with their own elections, bearing in mind that in 2014 they had an illegal armed power grab, after which they just appointed their own people to all the posts, in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution. They have plenty of things to do there.” (More)

More Hillary lies exposed

The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet

10 August 2016 — Hillary Clinton faces renewed scrutiny over her private email use after newly released messages appear to show links between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during her time as secretary of State.

In 44 emails released Tuesday 09 August, email exchanges between employees at the Clinton Foundation and the State Department appear to show the charitable group seeking influence over the actions at State. In one exchange, Clinton aides agree to help find a job for an associate of the Clinton Foundation, at the request of former President Bill Clinton’s group. In another, a Clinton Foundation executive asks the State Department for assistance in putting a billionaire donor in touch with the ambassador to Lebanon.

The new emails, released Tuesday 09 Augest by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch, have renewed questions that have plagued Clinton throughout her presidential campaign about her use of a private email account for official business. The FBI spent a year reviewing her email use, but it was unclear whether it probed a possible overlap between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

Fidel the Guerrilla in 2015–16 and Beyond

Presentation by Arnold August on the panel A Tribute to Fidel Castro on His 90th Birthday
World Social Forum Montreal 2016, August 12, 2016

13 August 2016 — During U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba on March 20–23, 2016, I was commentating on the event with Cuban colleagues for the Caracas-based teleSUR television network.

On the Cuban side, the event was overshadowed by Cuban diplomacy skillfully led, in a complex situation, by President Raul Castro and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From the Obama administration’s perspective, the trip also consisted of diplomacy. However, it was tainted by a heavy dose of speeches and talks that promoted U.S. Cuba policy, which is very self-serving.

The resistance in Cuba by Cubans and some foreigners, including myself, to this U.S. cultural, political, and ideological assault seemed to have taken a backseat. However, on March 27, only a few days after Obama’s departure from Cuba, Fidel Castro shared his reflections, ironically titled “Brother Obama.” It hit Cuba and the world like a bomb. We will analyze it below.(More)

It wasn't Russia that exposed more of Clinton's lies

It was another Whistleblower after Edward Snowdon

By James Bamford

22 August 2016 — In the summer of 1972, state-of-the-art campaign spying consisted of amateur burglars, armed with duct tape and microphones, penetrating the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Today, amateur burglars have been replaced by cyberspies, who penetrated the DNC armed with computers and sophisticated hacking tools.

Where the Watergate burglars came away empty-handed and in handcuffs, the modern- day cyber thieves walked away with tens of thousands of sensitive political documents and are still unidentified.

Now, in the latest twist, hacking tools themselves, likely stolen from the National Security Agency, are on the digital auction block. Once again, the usual suspects start with Russia - though there seems little evidence backing up the accusation.

In addition, if Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale. It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook. Once revealed, companies and governments would patch their firewalls, just as the bank would change its combination.

A more logical explanation could also be insider theft. If that's the case, it's one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can't keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us. (More)

Why Trudeau should move now

to safeguard the Northwest Passage

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.

By Michael Byers
Special to The Globe and Mail

12 August 2016 — In 1969, the SS Manhattan sailed through the Northwest Passage to test whether oil could be shipped from the north coast of Alaska to Texas. The voyage of the U.S.-owned supertanker tested then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau because it raised the spectre of many more such voyages and, at some point, a major oil spill.

On 16 August 2016, the Crystal Serenity begins a month-long voyage through the passage. The Chinese-owned cruise ship is the first large passenger vessel to take advantage of melting sea ice in Canada’s Arctic. Its voyage will test Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, because it raises the spectre of many more such voyages and, with them, serious safety, environmental and security concerns.

In 1969, Pierre Trudeau’s options for responding to the SS Manhattan were constrained by an ongoing dispute about the status of the Northwest Passage. Canada insists that it is “internal waters” subject to full coastal state control; the United States insists it is an “international strait” open to foreign vessels.

When the SS Manhattan chose not to seek Canadian permission for its voyage, Mr. Trudeau cleverly granted permission anyway, thus preventing the precedent of a non-consensual voyage. He also sent a Canadian icebreaker to assist; it freed the tanker from sea ice 12 times, making the need for Canadian support for the voyage unambiguous. (More)


By Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor, on an 'excellent adventure'

Vietnam by bicycle, rowboat, ferry, and train (Part 4)

Dennis Carr's final report on his family trip to Vietnam ends with this edition. If you missed previous reports, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 and here for Part 3.

Vietnam Part 4

Train to Hanoi; back to Canada

Dennis defends an Australian woman

Image: Detail of exterior of the 'Ga Da Nang', the Train Station in Da Nang, Vietnam, featuring a steam locomotive on display. Photo provided by Dennis Carr.

Final thoughts about Vietnam

From American devastation to recovery with pride intact

By Dennis Carr LEED® AP
True North Perspective Contributing Editor

Those who made it to the end of the previous installment of this travelogue will recall some cautionary words from Joe Nguyen, our Vietnamese bike tour guide and cultural advisor regarding train travel in his country.  He was very clear. “Trains in Vietnam are bad” he said, “very bad”.  

This trepidation was fresh in my mind during the drive from Hoi An to the Da Nang train station. The 45 minute drive retraced the landscape of hotels, villas, gated communities, golf courses and failed development projects represented by skeletons of buildings hiding behind plywood hoarding; all blocking the view of the beaches and ocean. Like other countries, the economic meltdown of 2008 had affected Vietnam but my guess is that it was only a temporary bump on the road to comprehensive commercial exploitation of the beautiful South China Sea coastline. (More)

Domestic violence in Canada is a billion dollar business

More than 40,000 arrests on behalf of women, children

17 per cent of those complaining of violence are men

Ontario Non Profit Housing Association

25 August 2016 — Each year, more than 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence — representing about 12 per cent of all violent crime in Canada. This does not accurately reflect the occurrence of violence because domestic violence is often unreported. A 2004 study reported that less than one-third (28%) of spousal violence victims reported violence to the police, and before they did, almost two-thirds (61%) had experienced more than one violent incident.  In 2009, 83 per cent of those reporting abuse were female. (More)

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Sex • Murder • Politics

(and heart-warming narratives about children)

An essential eclectic collection of stories

to satisfy the minds of sophisticated readers

The Old Man's Last Sauna
'Life is scary, frustrating and sometimes funny. All of these themes are explored in Carl Dow’s collection of short stories, told with the pristine elegance that we haven’t seen since the likes of Stephen Leacock or even Pierre Berton.'
— Award-winning author Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Image: Cover of The Old Man's Last Sauna, by Carl Dow.

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

True North Perspective
Vol. 12, No. 12 (372)
Special Edition 03 - 2016

Editor's Notes

Washington's impatience to control Turkey backfires

Sending Erdoğan into Putin's open but cautious arms

Exasperated by the Mercurial Man of Europe, Washington

takes advantage of a U.S.-friendly military to inspire a coup

Now you can count on one of Washington's favourite weapons

Character Assasination: Erdoğan from political ally to dictator

Image: True North Perspective Editor and Publisher Carl Dow. Photo by the Phantom Phographer.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been all over the political map while enacting laws and supporting causes that have endeared him to a majority of Turks, resulting in a show of public support that was key to defeating the military-led putsch on July 15.

For example, Erdoğan's government introduced several liberal economic reforms, improved the Turkish economy, lifted restrictions on religious expressions, and succeeded in resolving the Turkey–Kurdistan Workers' Party guerilla war by allowing restoration of the use of the Kurdish language and Kurdish names to cities and towns. Erdoğan was able to curb the political power of the military through the ‘Sledgehammer’ and ‘Ergenekon’ court cases.

His government also increased the quality of healthcare by introducing the ‘Green Card’ program that gives health benefits to the poor. Transportation problems were alleviated when high speed railway lines were constructed. (More)

Op Ed

Payday loan companies are the poster-child

for what’s really wrong in Ontario today

You have to pick up what Pope Francis calls the Devil's Dung

By David McLaren
True North Perspective
If you’ve ever walked into a payday loan company to get something to tide you over to the end of the month, you’ll know you’re lucky if you come out with your shirt. It takes less than half an hour to get a $300 loan, but it can take years to get it all paid off. Ontario allows interest at 21% over the short duration of a payday loan. Add in fees and interest over a year and you’re paying north of 300%.

There’s a word for that: “usury” and it’s a practice that should have disappeared with the fourth century. Pope Francis calls it something else from the fourth century: “the dung of the devil.”

He puts it into this context: “The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ that always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.”

He’s talking about the unfettered pursuit of money world-wide and its consequence: the subordination of the sovereignty of nations to multi-national corporations. But he knows it’s always a short step from the global to the personal.

Colonized, or at least indentured, is how you feel when your two or three part-time jobs leave you in poverty; when even the food banks don’t have enough on their shelves; when you’re spending nearly half what you earn on a crappy basement apartment. (More)

From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor

So long, Marianne

Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death

'Leonard Cohen managed that rare thing: to talk with clarity about death'

By Suzanne Moore
the guardian.com

08 August 2016 — A short goodbye. A few sentences. But words of such clarity, simplicity and beauty. Many of us have by now read Leonard Cohen’s letter to a woman he once loved, Marianne Ihlen, on her deathbed – and those who didn’t know it already have seen that Cohen is a class act, a man you don’t meet every day.

He heard that she was dying and two hours later he wrote to her that he too was old and his body failing. He had, of course, written for her before, with the lyrics of So Long, Marianne and Bird on the Wire. This time he told her: “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”

Slipping into unconsciousness, her friend said that Marianne did reach out her hand. Cohen’s letter also stated that he didn’t need to talk about her beauty and her wisdom, “because you know all about that”. The 10 years they were together on and off, their intimacies, their passions, their endings, those – despite the songs – are all a part of their own personal story. Now he wishes her endless love on her journey – to death. It is everyone’s journey, but few speak so directly of it, not even while whispering in the waiting rooms. (More)

Global community ignores slaughter of Yemeni children

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam.
By Catherine Shakdam

14 August 2016 (RT) Since March 25, 2015, when Saudi Arabia unilaterally declared war on Yemen, an entire nation has been subjected to unfathomable abuses – so unfathomable in fact that the United Nations even kept mum to avoid facing the consequences of such human rights abuses.

US approves $1.15bn tank sale to Saudi Arabia

I remember still how quickly UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had to reinstate Saudi Arabia after labeling it a war criminal in its annual Children and Armed Conflict report. I remember how an allegedly impartial party was brought to a standstill after Riyadh threatened to withdraw its financial contributions.

“The report describes horrors no child should have to face,” Ban Ki Moon said in July. “At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs.” (More)

The Binkley Report

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alexbinkley.com. Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. In this edition ...

Churchill closure catches

governments and business by surprise

Image: Cover of Humanity's Saving Grace, a novel by Alex Binkley. Click to purchase at Amazon.caBy Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

21 August 2016 — An unexpected announcement by American shortline operator OmniTrax in early August to immediately close the Port of Churchill produced plenty of hand-wringing by governments but no plans to resume grain shipments through it.

“I am deeply disappointed by OmniTrax’s decision to issue layoff notices to its employees,” Regional Development Minister Navdeep Bains said in a statement. He was assigned lead minister on the file over Transport Minister Marc Garneau. “I am in ongoing discussions with my cabinet colleagues and local leaders. I will continue to monitor the situation closely.” (More)

Mexico roundup by Isabella Tandutella, Contributing Editor, Mexico City

Military strategy won’t stop cartel violence

Security forces commit crimes against humanity

Links between authorities and crime gangs also must be addressed

13 August 2016 (Mexico Daily News) Arresting drug cartel bosses isn’t enough to rein in organized crime, members of the Guerrero state Congress were told Thursday 11 August because nothing will change as long as there are links between authorities and crime gangs.

Ina Zoon of the Open Society Justice Initiative said as well that impunity must also be addressed, because it allows officials to commit excesses while fighting crime and the collusion of officials with criminal organizations.

Zoon was presenting state lawmakers with the initiative’s June report on possible war crimes by the Mexican government and the Zetas cartel, the result of a three-year study that found security forces and cartels were responsible for committing crimes against humanity. (More)


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From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

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