Weekend Edition

January 15th, 2021

World should thank Trump for exposing the real US MO

January 15th, 2021


National Guard soldiers sleep under Po’Pay statue (on left) in the Capitol building. The last time the National Guards slept in this building was during the US Civil War (1861-1865). PHOTO/Native News Online

Tlaib warned of Trump’s evil actions and speech

in her blatant description of him very early on

arguably, both parties may have such horrible people

but Trump is much more open than most

Trump lied, lied, and continued to lie

on every topic, uninhibitedly, whether important or not

but he had already showed his character when

he instigated lies to cast doubt on Obama’s birth place

his racism knew no bounds – all through his campaign

he hatefully attacked colored and disabled people

and was incredibly crude in his treatment of women

but of course, the wealthy accepted him regardless

due to his tax cuts – whether they like him or not

Trump channeled all his crooked energy

loudly and openly to win the 2020 election

he got over 71 million votes that was a record, but

still he lost because

Biden got even more, substantially more

Trump did not accept the result as

he had less popular votes than Clinton in 2016, too

but he won the electoral college and the presidency ….

Yet, the owner of all these atrocious defects

did some good things too

neither did he pretend that the US is a democracy

nor, did he preach to other countries about human rights

he spoke shamelessly and committed crimes in the open

rarely did he show any kind of sympathy to anyone

except pacify his base- mostly white supporters

unlike his predecessor Obama who got the Nobel Peace Prize

but, who warred against 8 countries,

dropping tens of thousands of bombs

but feigned a very caring and concerned tone in speech

Trump didn’t care for such niceties, or for people

he displayed extreme cruelty to immigrants

without false facade to conceal brutality

few know Obama deported more than 2 million people.

the US lists non-submissive countries as “terrorists”

de-listing occurs when certain US orders are followed

Trump used this “terrorist” weapon for Israel’s benefit

Sudan was on the terrorist list until it agreed to relations

with Israel and was then promptly removed from the list

Bahrain and UAE were also manipulated and threatened

and now have diplomatic relations with Israel too

the Palestinians are isolated from any support they had.

Trump supporters’ attack on the US Congress

was incredible and an eye opening event

the white supremacists who were never in hiding

however, came boldly out in the open

since they were unorganized and not cohesive

the harm inflicted was not as severe as could have been

luckily, the US arms manufacturers who sell

tanks and heavy artillery to other countries

don’t sell arms to the militia groups in the US

if that were so, imagine the resulting carnage of the attack

the visual of the National Guards protecting the US Capitol

is a surreal scene, like a photo from a Third World country

thank Trump for baring the US facade of greatness.

an intelligent knowledgeable civil society and

a great and caring leader make a truly great democracy

yet, that too is fragile and needs to be continually protected …

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

Why algorithms are called algorithms

January 15th, 2021

Why are algorithms called algorithms? It’s thanks to Persian mathematician Muhammad al-Khwarizmi who was born way back in around AD 780.

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Meet Baya Mahieddine: The Algerian artist who inspired Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso

January 15th, 2021

by PH

BayaMahieddineis a revolutionary Algerian Modernist painter whose paintings influenced the likes of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Baya was greatly influenced by nature, her childhood, as well as her home country Algeria. The self-taught artist preferred to chart her own path as her works did not follow any rules.

Born Fatma Haddad in 1931 to a poor family in Fort-de-l’Eau (currently Bordj-el-Kiffan) near Algiers, Baya was orphaned at age five. Her grandmother took her in and sometimes sent her to her workplace at a colonial horticultural farm.

At age 11, she caught the attention of the owner’s sister, Marguerite Caminat Benhoura, who decided to take her home initially as her servant. Not long after their arrangement, Benhoura adopted her in 1942.

Baya’s new adoptive mother’s passion was collecting artworks and painting. Some of her art collections included pieces from Georges Braque and Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miró.

Baya, while living with Benhoura, also started showing an interest in art. She made sculptures of females and animals from clay, and Benhoura encouraged her to build her craft. It was around this time that Baya got her first set of art materials and homeschooling.

Most of her work was inspired by her personal experiences and the traditional tribal art of Algeria which are recurrent in her works. Women, nature, and animals were the themes in her work.

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Winona LaDuke: Deb Haaland’s nomination for interior sec. is “important step” for Native Americans

January 14th, 2021



President-elect Joe Biden has picked New Mexico Congressmember Deb Haaland to become secretary of the interior. If confirmed, Haaland will be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet position. Haaland’s nomination was backed by progressives, as well as more than 120 tribal leaders, who sent a letter to Biden last month urging him to select her for the post. “That was a very, very important step for the Biden administration,” says Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, rural development economist and Native American activist. “Indian people know how to take care of this land.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated New Mexico Congressmember Deb Haaland to become secretary of the interior. If confirmed, she’ll be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet position. Haaland’s nomination was backed by progressives, as well as more than 120 tribal leaders, who sent a letter to Joe Biden last month urging him to select her for the post.

Haaland responded in a statement, quote, “As our country faces the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice, the Interior has a role and I will be a partner in addressing these challenges by protecting our public lands and moving our country towards a clean energy future,” she said.

Journalist Julian Brave NoiseCat tweeted, “After four years of fossil fuel executives and lobbyists opening up Native lands and sacred sites to industry tycoons, the next Secretary of Interior will be a Laguna Pueblo woman who went to Standing Rock in 2016 and cooked for the people,” unquote.

Deb Haaland’s appointment comes as the struggle against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline continues in Minnesota after construction began two weeks ago. Indigenous and environmental activists have been holding daily protests against the project, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, cutting through Indigenous territory and running under more than 200 streams. On Monday, 22 water protectors were arrested in the freezing cold at a Line 3 construction site.

Well, for more on Deb Haaland’s historic nomination and the ongoing resistance at Line 3, we’re joined in Sandy Lake, Minnesota, by Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth and rural development economist. She is the author of the upcoming book, To Be a Water Protector. Winona lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Winona, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you start off by talking about the significance of Deb Haaland to be the first Native American to head the Interior Department, if approved by the Senate — not to mention to be a Cabinet member, as far as we know? You are a longtime supporter of her, back to when she ran for Congress.

WINONA LADUKE: I just want to say one thing: [ululation]. That would be an affirmation from all of us over here in Indian Country.

You know, that was a very, very important step for the Biden administration. You know, Indian people know how to take care of this land. And Deb Haaland comes from Laguna Pueblo, which has one of the largest uranium mining histories in this country. And I just want to really — you know, the Anaconda uranium mine destroying so much of their territory.

Really grateful for this and this new — this vision that we’re going to have. There’s a lot of work to do to undo what the Trump administration has done. And we are really, really grateful that the Biden administration has taken these steps.

AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about what Deb Haaland stands for — she is a congressmember from New Mexico; she talked immediately about sustainable development — and what the Interior Department does?

WINONA LADUKE: Well, the Interior Department is kind of like the “Great White Father” of Indian people. And so, mines and Indians are both in the same department. And what’s happened is, is that the Interior Department and the federal government has basically given away so much of the land, water and resources of Indian Country under the Trump administration and previous administrations. And so, you know, let’s just say the public lands and the Native lands should be protected for the public and the Natives, not necessarily some mining corporations.

Deb’s history here with a vision that she and other leaders have had in Washington with a just transition and the Green New Deal is exactly what we need in this country. We don’t need any more fossil fuels. We’re done. We’re done. What we need is the vision and a just transition.

AMY GOODMAN: And who has run the Interior Department before? I mean, what have been the policies before? And what are the pressures she’ll be under? Many have talked about Joe Biden’s Cabinet being largely still from corporate establishment America, and certainly Deb Haaland comes from a very different place.

Democracy Now for more

China – a Marxist analysis

January 14th, 2021

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Helping the NYT understand its reporting: China’s coverup was not the cause of the worldwide spread of the Coronavirus

January 14th, 2021


The NYT had a very interesting piece on efforts by China’s government to conceal and downplay the threat posed by the coronavirus. The piece reports on a number of Chinese government documents and directives that sought to minimize the threat posed by the pandemic.

However the paper seriously misrepresents the meaning of its research, telling readers:

“It may never be clear whether a freer flow of information from China would have prevented the outbreak from morphing into a raging global health calamity. But the documents indicate that Chinese officials tried to steer the narrative not only to prevent panic and debunk damaging falsehoods domestically. They also wanted to make the virus look less severe — and the authorities more capable — as the rest of the world was watching.”

The pandemic had already spread to Europe before the end of December. There is nothing in the NYT’s piece indicating that the Chinese government had a clear understanding of the nature of the coronavirus before the beginning of January. The documents referred to in the piece were drafted in January or even February. This means that the spread of the pandemic to Europe preceded any efforts by China’s government’s to minimize the threat posed by the pandemic, therefore there is nothing here to suggest that a freer flow of information would have prevented the coronavirus from becoming a worldwide pandemic.   

Center for Economic and Policy Research for more

Karl Marx is the only dead person who stopped Trump

January 13th, 2021


Mural by Diego Rivera showing Karl Marx, in the National Palace in Mexico City PHOTO/Wolfgang Sauber – CC BY-SA 3.0

I keep writing the same anti-populism piece in a different way. Until the disdain for the American people changes I think I should keep writing it. There’s talk about dead people electing Joe Biden. It’s fake news and anyone who peddles such nonsense should be ashamed. The only dead person who propelled Joe Biden into office was Karl Marx. Like Donald Trump, Joe Biden will be forgotten. Just as Trump is a means to stop Marxism, Biden is a means to stop Trumpism. They will be used and discarded, and rightfully so. Both men have egos disproportionate to their worth.

Despite his frequent denials of being a Marxist, Joe Biden was constantly called one. Biden is a career dud on a national scale. Biden only became a winner once he started to get compared to Karl Marx. Any person should deny a comparison to Marx, but only out of humility. Biden denied Marxism because he hated it. Still that didn’t stop the association being extremely positive for him, including an offbeat assertion from Bernie Sanders that Biden would be the next FDR.

By the way how about an election analysis that actually makes sense? Ralph Nader said that this election was a big loss for the left because Sanders and Warren types were boxed out completely of Biden’s election. Why? Because these people bowed to the Democratic Party. Most on the left did actually. It might be worth it to rid ourselves of Trump. But I don’t think so. Biden is damn lucky a man named Karl Marx lived a life worth remembering many years ago. Biden and Trump may be old demented men but they just got beat by a dead man.

Like it or not the idea of abolishing property isn’t a radical idea. I thought I was more or less cancelled from the left when I defended looting. Many “anti-racists” said people of color could never loot (a fairly obvious point about Black Lives Matter, a peaceful organization for many years prior). But my point was simply that a theoretical looting by poor people should be defended even if it’s only a thought exercise. Abolish property and house the homeless.

The number of people in the Twin Cities boarding up their property with Black Lives Matter signs was frankly disgusting. These same people who said people of color could never burn down buildings (yes it was white supremacists who did the destruction) also made the assumption that Black Lives Matter must be the ones during the looting and therefore to protect property they should pretend not to be racist.

They completely missed the point. So did the Minneapolis City Council who just voted to bring in out of town police for a half million dollars. The council said they were going to defund the police during mass demonstrations. But liberals and lefties (this is why I contested there was no left) insisted that the demonstrators were either not Marxist (absurd given their supposed attitude towards property) or not left (the alternative being theoretical rather than direct action). Let’s face it. Most people opposed to these protests didn’t want to be shot or get a criminal record that would endanger their ability to make a living. Just admit that and stop this racist bullshit embedded in white guilt. Being a human being in all its complexity is courageous. If you want to do more, great, but don’t undermine others if you don’t.

If you are against racism, but don’t support the riots against white supremacy, then you are living in contradiction. I think this is a key point.

Counterpunch for more

When our gaze is a physical force

January 13th, 2021


PHOTO/Klaus Vedfelt Getty Images

Research documents a strange illusion

Have you ever sensed that someone might be watching you? You get a prickly feeling at the back of your neck and turn to see a stranger staring at you across the room. It sometimes seems that we can feel a person’s gaze as a physical sensation. And, from a single glance, we can tell a lot about a person, such as their moods, intentions and focus. Is their gaze dangerous, interesting or attractive? Do they stare directly or glance to the side? If “eyes are the window into the soul,” then a glance reveals far more than we know.

Recent studies demonstrate that humans attribute gaze with physical properties. We create tacit mental schemes in which the visual attention of others is computed as a forceful beam emitted from the viewer’s eye and directed at the object of interest. These mental schemes allow us to take cognitive shortcuts to process peoples’ visual attention quickly and efficiently.

Gaze is an elemental form of communication that can coordinate activities and convey social dynamics without a gesture or spoken word. It requires a rapid interpretation of the meaning behind another’s gaze, but the trade-off for the speed of that interpretation is the mistaken understanding of gaze as something that can move things in our environment. These studies show that this interpretation is subconscious and automatic, and that it occurs even in those who would consciously deny that vision exerts any force.  

You might expect that such an erroneous interpretation would be detrimental. In fact, while there seem to be few if any adverse consequences these findings may underlie rich and diverse cultural references to the outward force and power of the gaze. The results of the experiment demonstrate an ancient human idea linking gaze with physical properties. This notion, as old as the Greeks, is known as the “extramission” theory of vision. Extramission literally means “sending out,” and the extramission theory is the belief that vision is a force emitted from the eye. It is an intuitive understanding of vision common among children that persists among many adults. In contrast, the modern visual theory is called “intromission,” and is based on the notion that vision results from light entering the eyes. 

Using a series of ingeniously simple experiments in one study, researchers found that subjects associate gaze with a physical force. Subjects viewed a computer display that had an image of a tube, roughly the size of the end of the paper towel roll, standing vertically on a table. At one end of the table was an image of a face gazing at the tube (researchers dubbed the face avatar Kevin). Subjects were instructed to tilt the tube towards Kevin’s image using specific keys on a keyboard until they felt the tube had reached the critical angle at which it would tip over. The critical angle reported by subjects depended upon whether Kevin was blindfolded. If Kevin was perceived as gazing at the tube, the critical angle was greater than when Kevin was blindfolded, suggesting that his gaze was impressing some force upon the tube that needed to be overcome for the tube to fall.

Scientific American for more

Why are Israel and Arab states getting friendly?

January 13th, 2021

Arab countries were once united against Israel in their support for the Palestinians. But some relationships have been quietly thawing for years. Now they’re talking normalisation. But what does that even mean? What’s in it for the countries that sign on? And what about the Palestinians?

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