Watch Jewish intellectual Noam Chomsky nail how the character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn began

April 15th, 2024


VIDEO/Chomsky’s Philosophy/Youtube

Renowned Jewish intellectual Noam Chomsky has nailed how the character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn began.

Addressing the United Nations in 2014, Chomsky revealed how some Israeli politicians have explicitly sought to smear critics of Israel as antisemitic.

The character assassination

Presently, Corbyn is under fire from the press, the right of his party, and the conservative Board of Deputies of British Jews. The Labour leader has stood firm against pressure to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) examples of antisemitism in full.

Strengthening Corbyn’s position, 36 Jewish groups from around the world said on 17 July that the IHRA definition can be perceived to “intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel… with antisemitism”.

Back in 2014 at the UN, meanwhile, Chomsky showed where the smear campaign began:

(Watch the youtube video top.)

Making criticism of Israel ‘racist’

Citing an article that Israel’s then ambassador to the UN wrote in 1973, Chomsky said:

He advised the American Jewish community that they had two tasks to perform. One task was to show that… criticisms of the policy of the state of Israel were antisemitism… Second task: if the criticism was made by Jews, their task was to show that it’s neurotic self-hatred – needs psychiatric treatment. And he gave two examples of the… latter category. One was I.F. Stone, the other was me. So we have to be treated for our psychiatric disorders and non-Jews have to be condemned for antisemitism if they’re critical of the state of Israel.

Canary for more

How much vitamin D do you need to stay healthy?

April 15th, 2024


IMAGE/Zara Picken

Most people naturally have good vitamin D levels. Overhyped claims that the compound helps to fight diseases from cancer to depression aren’t borne out by recent research

For a while vitamin D was looking like a bona fide health elixir. It was recognized a century ago as the cure for rickets, a childhood disease that causes weak and deformed bones. Then, in the early 2000s, researchers began amassing a pile of studies suggesting that low vitamin D levels could be a factor in cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, fractures, respiratory illnesses and Parkinson’s disease. It seemed reasonable to think that raising our levels of this simple vitamin—one that our bodies make when lit up by sunshine and that we can get more of from supplements—could cure practically whatever ailed us.

At least two books called The Vitamin D Cure were published, along with other books and news reports whose titles include words like “revolution” and “miracle.” There was also a growing concern that we weren’t getting enough of the vitamin. Good Morning America aired a segment that began with reporter Diane Sawyer declaring 100 million Americans were deficient. Her guest was Dr. Oz, who told viewers they could determine their vitamin D level with a simple blood test. Sunshine is the best way to get this vitamin, he said. But if that wasn’t enough, he advised cod liver oil or supplements.

Numerous celebrities and vitamin companies raised hopes that vitamin D could be a panacea, says JoAnn Manson, an endocrinologist and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and a lead investigator on some of the biggest vitamin D studies to date. Sales of supplements containing the vitamin soared, as did rates of vitamin D testing.

Then the bottom fell out. Although thousands of studies had linked low levels of vitamin D to an assortment of medical conditions, when scientists tried administering it as a means to prevent or treat those problems, the wonder supplement failed miserably. The notion that our lives would be better if we all just raised our vitamin D levels began to look like a fantasy. The idea that vitamin D deficiency was widespread also crumbled. It turned out that notions of what constitutes a deficiency were based on a dubious understanding to begin with. National population sampling showed that most people were already getting enough of the vitamin.

There’s no question that vitamin D plays an important role in health. It helps your body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone. But except for a few subsets of the population (such as breastfed infants and people with particular medical conditions), most people probably don’t need supplements.

The story of how vitamin D was discovered, rocketed to miracle status and then returned to Earth illustrates the sometimes jagged path of scientific discovery. It’s also a cautionary tale about the need to interpret scientific results with humility. Ultimately it’s about the self-correcting nature of science and how knowledge becomes honed over time.

For much of human history, people got their vitamin D mostly from the sun. It turns out humans are a little bit like plants—we can turn ultraviolet light into something our bodies need in a process akin to photosynthesis.

When the high-energy rays of UV light—UVB—hit your skin, they start a chain reaction that converts a compound in your skin called a sterol into a vitamin D precursor. This molecule, after a few more steps, becomes a form of the vitamin that promotes calcium absorption from the gut and increases bone mineralization. Vitamin D also seems to bolster the immune system and tamp down inflammation. It does these things in part by influencing the production of inflammatory compounds and suppressing the buildup of proinflammatory cells. Researchers are studying whether vitamin D can prevent dangerous inflammatory reactions in people with COVID.

Scientific American for more

Weekend Edition

April 12th, 2024

He’s good but sometimes …

April 12th, 2024


US President Joe Biden shaking hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (in waist coat) during the 2022 G20 Summit in Indonesia. Behind Biden is India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and to Biden’s right is Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz IMAGE/Leon Neal/Getty Images


A South Asian joke:

In arranged marriages in South Asia, families try to find out as much information as possible about the potential candidates to be on the safe side. The patriarchal setup and the gender inequality which is biased towards females, the girl’s side of the family is particularly careful in finding out more because the girl is the one who leaves her parents home, to join her groom’s family after the wedding, a totally new environment, many a times, hostile and unfriendly.

The male elders of one of the marraigeable boys went to another town to ask for a girl’s hand for their boy. The male elders of the girl’s family started interogatting their counterparts.

“How would you describe your son?”

“He is a very good boy.”

“Does he have any bad habits?”

“No, but once in a while he smokes.”

“Any other vice?”

“No, however, when he smokes, he always drinks.”

“Anything else?”

“No, but drinking leads him to gambling.”

“That’s it?”

“one more thing, he then ends up in a red light area.”

“What else?”

“Nothing. We told you he’s a good boy.”


India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose second five year term is ending pretty soon, is running for the third term.

If Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s henchmen and Godi Media <1> were to speak truth, at least once, on Modi’s true character, the question answer session would go something like this:

“Is Modi a compassionate Prime Minister?”

“Yes, of course. Modiji never differentiates: he loves whom he loves and he despises those whom he despises such as Muslims, liberals, seculars, …”

“What else is Modi guilty of?”

“Nothing else, except he wants to get rid of Muslims first and then others whom he hates.

“Mind you, he has nothing against Muslims. You must have seen Modiji being awarded highest civilian honors by leaders of various Muslim countries and how he greets the leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and so on. In India, he avoids Muslims <2> because they are hateable.”

“Any other fault?”

“No. Modijee does everything in a legal manner. That’s why he is contesting the election. To maintain the sanctity of the 2024 election, he has personally chosen and appointed his own election commissioners.”

“What other shortcomings Modi has?”

“Modijee has no shortcomings. For that reason he has promised that his party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) will win more than 400 seats in parliament’s lower assembly, that is more than 75% of the 543 total seats. This will let us do all the things we want to without any opposition.”

“Any deceptive activity Modi is involved in?”

“Ram Ram! <3> Never. It’s a universal fact that money plays a crucial role in elections. Money has played a huge role in all of Modiji’s elections. Since 2018, secret donors, secret to the public but known to Modiji’s government, have given $1.9 billion to political parties, mostly to our party.

“If people wants to give money to Modiji’s campaign — whether out of love, fear, patriotism, sycophancy, to extrat favor(s), or whatever reason — he can’t refuse such an honor. He is innocent of the donors’ motives. The electoral bonds may give him an edge over other parties, of course.”

“Do Modi suppress his critics”

“No. But usually, you know there is always opposition when you are trying to do certain good things for the country. Stalin, Hitler, Biden, Trump, Netanyahu, they all faced or are encountering hurdles and so you have to fight back and suppress/silent those forces. Sometime they leave on their own such as Ravish Kumar; other times our people silences them. <4> Most of the news media in India support Modiji. The opposition, out of jealousy calls that media “Godi Media.”

“Anything else?”

“No, except when Modi is enraged and wants to impress Hindu fanatics he may indulge in pogrom like the one that took place in 2002. About 2,000 people, majority of them Muslims, were killed.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it. The only thing we would add is that Modiji wants India to be a
Vishwa guru, a “global professor” who will turn world into one Hindu family. So Modi could open up more mandirs around the world like Ram Mandir he inaugurated on the site of demolished Muslim Babri Masjid or Babri Mosque.”

“Anything more to add?”

“No. We told you, Modiji is a very loving, caring, benevolent Prime Minister.”


<1> The term “Godi Media” has been coined by brave Indian journalist Ravish Kumar. Godi means lap. Kumar rightly described the Indian news media as Godi media, that is, the media that sits in Modi’s lap and so keeps mum on Modi’s wrong doings: mixing politics with religion, spreading hatred, ignoring his followers’ harassment and or killing of minorities, and so on. It instead employs all its energy on going after the opposition all the time. Kumar was with NDTV , one of the last major news channel exposing Modi government’s injusties, but had to leave once it was bought by a billionaire businessman Adani, a Modi supporter and a co-Gujarati.

<2> Professor Christophe Jaffrelot says the effective propagtion of “diabolical images of Muslims” is now “deeply rooted in the psyche of the [Indian] society. He uses Sammy Smooha’s term “ethnic democracy” to describe India after Modi’s election as PM in 2014, in a sense that Christians and Muslims are second class citizens.

<3> Ram Ram is a greeting/salutation but when said with a bit of shock it means “God forbid.”

<4> During Modi’s two terms, over 400 opposition leaders got harassed over corruption harges — 90% of them from the opposition. Those who agree to join Modi’s party see the chatged dropped quikly or slowly.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

Lina Khan – FTC chair on Amazon antitrust lawsuit & AI oversight – The Daily Show

April 12th, 2024

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan joins Jon Stewart to discuss her work with the “small but mighty” government agency in protecting Americans against unfair business practices. They discuss the agency’s antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, successes within the healthcare industry, and if there’s an arms race between tech companies to wield control over artificial intelligence.

Youtube for more

For-profit nursing homes are cutting corners on safety and draining resources with financial shenanigans ? especially at midsize chains that dodge public scrutiny

April 12th, 2024


The for-profit nursing home sector is growing, while placing a premium on cost cutting and big profits. IMAGE/alliance via Getty Images

The care at Landmark of Louisville Rehabilitation and Nursing was abysmal when state inspectors filed their survey report of the Kentucky facility on July 3, 2021.

Residents wandered the halls in a facility that can house up to 250 people, yelling at each other and stealing blankets. One resident beat a roommate with a stick, causing bruising and skin tears. Another was found in bed with a broken finger and a bloody forehead gash. That person was allowed to roam and enter the beds of other residents. In another case, there was sexual touching in the dayroom between residents, according to the report.

Meals were served from filthy meal carts on plastic foam trays, and residents struggled to cut their food with dull plastic cutlery. Broken tiles lined showers, and a mysterious black gunk marred the floors. The director of housekeeping reported that the dining room was unsanitary. Overall, there was a critical lack of training, staff and supervision.

The inspectors tagged Landmark as deficient in 29 areas, including six that put residents in immediate jeopardy of serious harm and three where actual harm was found. The issues were so severe that the government slapped Landmark with a fine of over US$319,000 ? more than 29 times the average for a nursing home in 2021 ? and suspended payments to the home from federal Medicaid and Medicare funds.

This excerpt from the July 3, 2021, state inspection report of Landmark of Louisville Rehabilitation and Nursing includes an interview with a nurse who found an injured resident. IMAGE/ New York State attorney general’s office

Persistent problems

But problems persisted. Five months later, inspectors levied six additional deficiencies of immediate jeopardy ? the highest level ? including more sexual abuse among residents and a certified nursing assistant pushing someone down, bruising the person’s back and hip.

Landmark is just one of the 58 facilities run by parent company Infinity Healthcare Management across five states. The government issued penalties to the company almost 4½ times the national average, according to bimonthly data that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services first started to make available in late 2022. All told, Infinity paid nearly $10 million in fines since 2021, the highest among nursing home chains with fewer than 100 facilities.

Infinity Healthcare Management and its executives did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Such sanctions are nothing new for Infinity or other for-profit nursing home chains that have dominated an industry long known for cutting corners in pursuit of profits for private owners. But this race to the bottom to extract profits is accelerating despite demands by government officials, health care experts and advocacy groups to protect the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Conversation for more

Horrors Palestinians endure should haunt us forever: Corbyn

April 11th, 2024


Jeremy Corbyn (left) with Tariq Ali IMAGE/Duck Duck Go

In its sixth month, the ongoing Israeli military offensive in Gaza has resulted in a significant loss of life, with over 33,000 Palestinian casualties, a majority of whom are children. The indiscriminate bombing has inflicted widespread devastation on the enclave’s infrastructure, including hospitals, exacerbating the region’s urgent need for humanitarian aid.

Now, experts are sounding the alarm over an impending crisis in northern Gaza, where half the population is confronting severe hunger. According to the latest report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification global initiative, 300,000 Palestinian civilians in the war-ravaged enclave teeter on the brink of famine, with as many as 1.1 million people expected to suffer severe famine conditions by July, leading to starvation, destitution, and malnutrition.

Despite mounting evidence of an escalating humanitarian catastrophe, major world powers have displayed tepid commitment to measures that could prevent further loss of life and destruction – that includes the implementation of a ceasefire. Even after a United Nations resolution last month called for an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan, mediators continue efforts to broker the first prolonged truce of the conflict, aiming to expedite aid delivery to the 2.3 million residents of the Palestinian territory.

To compound the tragedy, a devastating airstrike this week resulted in the loss of seven members of World Central Kitchen (WCK). José Andrés, the founder of the relief organisation, has pointed fingers at Israeli forces in Gaza, alleging a deliberate targeting of his aid workers ‘car by car.’ Israeli authorities, however, have dismissed the incident, referring to it simply as a ‘grave mistake,’ despite the loss of WCK workers hailing from Australia, Canada, Poland, the UK, the US, and their Palestinian colleague. This latest attack on humanitarian workers has prompted several charities to halt food deliveries to Palestinians teetering on the edge of starvation. Reports from Cyprus reveal that ships carrying approximately 240 tons of aid from the charitable group were denied entry to Gaza just a day after arrival. Furthermore, other humanitarian organisations have ceased operations in Gaza, citing concerns for their staff’s safety.

Amidst these complexities, the protracted conflict in Gaza has become a litmus test for leadership, diplomacy, and commitment to peace among some of Israel’s key allies, particularly the US and UK. Despite voicing concerns over mounting civilian casualties, these nations seem hesitant to back their rhetoric with substantial action, underscoring the delicate balance between expressing humanitarian concerns and maintaining strategic alliances amidst the escalating crisis.

Recent reports from US media outlets indicate that the Biden White House has authorised the transfer of a substantial $2.5 billion weapons package to Israel. Similarly, Britain has pledged comparable commitments, with its Conservative Prime Minister staunchly affirming his government’s unwavering support for Israel.

Express Tribune: There has been overwhelming support for Palestinians in the streets, yet the UK government displayed unresponsive to calls for a ceasefire. Why has the British government not been paying attention to public opinion?

Jeremy Corbyn: Hundreds of thousands of us have demonstrated week after week for a ceasefire in Gaza. Our marches are made up of every faith, every language and every background, united in a demand to end human suffering. The government knows it does not have the support of the British people when it refuses to call for a ceasefire. That’s why it is deliberately distorting our demands for peace. We saw the same thing in 2003, when a million of us marched against the Iraq War. We were ignored. We were demonised. Unfortunately, we were proven right. Today, the government of the day is ignoring the popular demand for peace once more, showing contempt for both the Palestinian people and our democracy back home.

ET: What does the British government gain by minimising Palestinian suffering? What prevented the Sunak government from calling out Israel over its actions in Gaza?

JC: The failure to bring about a ceasefire in Gaza represents a catastrophic failure of political leadership, and has exposed a British foreign policy that is inconsistent, unethical, and immoral. That’s why so many of us campaigned – and continue to campaign – for a foreign policy that puts peace-building at its core.

ET: The British government recognises Israel but not Palestine. What are your thoughts on this policy? How can Britain believe in a two-state solution without acknowledging Palestine?

JC: It is laughable for the government to insist it believes in a two-state solution when they consistently refuse to recognise one half of it. The ongoing denial of justice, human rights and freedom to the Palestinian people is an utter disgrace. That’s why, when I was Labour Party leader, I vowed that one of the first things we would have done if elected would be to immediately recognise a Palestinian state. And that recognition should be made by any elected representative who is serious about bringing about peace and stability to the region.

ET: Israeli forces have killed over 33,000 people, most of them children. Can Israel bring back the 1,400 people killed by the bombing of hospitals? What are your thoughts on Israel’s justification of its actions?

JC: The attack on October 7th was horrific and wrong. That cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Over the past few months, human beings have been forced to endure a level of horror that should haunt us forever. Grieving mothers, obliterated neighbourhoods, doctors performing amputations without anaesthesia, and thousands of orphaned children, the world has witnessed it all. That’s why I have consistently called for a ceasefire, and it is unconscionable that so many of my parliamentary colleagues refused to do the same. A ceasefire is the most basic demand for an end to the killings — and it is a demand that should have been made by any representative that believes all human life is of equal worth.

The Express Tribune for more

Americans more miserable than people in Zimbabwe and El Salvador: Global report says erosion of family values, working from home and junk food are depressing the West

April 11th, 2024


The US ranked 29th out of 71 countries in terms of mood, outlook and self-esteem in 2023, while Canada ranked 40th and the UK 70th
  • Nigeria had a mental wellbeing score of 83, while the US had a score of 72
  • The UK had an even lower score of 49, and Australia only managed to reach 54

Americans are more miserable than people in Zimbabwe, El Salvador and Armenia, a ‘worrying’ global report has found.

The US ranked 29th out of 71 countries in terms of mood, outlook on life and self-esteem in 2023, while Canada ranked 40th and the UK 70th.

By comparison, impoverished African and Latin American countries scored highest, with the Dominican Republic ranking first and Tanzania third.

Researchers at the nonprofit Sapien Labs said the pandemic saw mental health plummet in the Western world and there is no sign of recovery five years on.

They have linked the lower mental wellbeing scores in affluent countries to multiple factors, including smartphone addiction, junk food consumption, the erosion of friendships and the family unit, plus the rise in working from home.

Daily Mail for more

What washing machine settings can I use to make my clothes last longer?

April 11th, 2024


Orbiting 400 kilometers above Earth’s surface, the astronauts on the International Space Station live a pretty normal social life, if not for one thing: they happily wear their unwashed clothes for days and weeks at a time. They can’t do their laundry just yet because water is scarce up there.

But down here on Earth, washing clothes is a large part of our lives. It’s estimated that a volume of water equivalent to 21,000 Olympic swimming pools is used every day for domestic laundry worldwide.

Fibers from our clothes make their way into the environment via the air (during use or in the dryer), water (washing) and soil (lint rubbish in landfill). Most of this fiber loss is invisible—we often only notice our favorite clothing is “disappearing” when it’s too late.

How can you ensure your favorite outfit will outlast your wish to wear it? Simple question, complex answer.

Washing machines are not gentle

When you clean the filters in your washing machine and dryer, how often do you stop to think that the lint you’re holding was, in fact, your clothes?

Laundering is harsh on our clothes, and research confirms this. Several factors play a role: the type of washing machine, the washing cycle, detergents, temperature, time, and the type of fabric and yarn construction.

There are two types of domestic washing machines: top-loader and front-loader. Mechanical agitation (the way the machine moves the clothes around) is one of the things that helps ease dirt off the fabric.

Top-loaders have a vertical, bucket-like basket with a paddle, which sloshes clothes around in a large volume of water. Front-loaders have a horizontal bucket which rotates, exposing the clothes to a smaller volume of water—it takes advantage of gravity, not paddles.

Top-loading machines tend to be more aggressive towards fabrics than front-loaders due to the different mechanical action and larger volumes of water.

Washing machine panels also present many choices. Shorter, low-temperature programs are usually sufficient for everyday stains. Choose longer or high-temperature programs only for clothing you have concerns about (health care uniforms, washable nappies, etc.).

Generally, washing machine programs are carefully selected combinations of water volume, agitation intensity and temperature recommended by the manufacturer. They take into consideration the type of fabric and its level of cleanliness.

Select the wrong program and you can say goodbye to your favorite top. For example, high temperatures or harsh agitation may cause some fibers to weaken and break, causing holes in the garment.

PhysOrg for more

I Grant You Refuge

April 10th, 2024
by HIBA ABU NADA (trans. Huda Fakhreddine)

(It is our great honor to publish this translation of “I Grant You Refuge” by Palestinian poet, novelist, and teacher, Hiba Abu Nada. “Refuge” was written on October 10th and is among the last pieces she composed before being martyred by an Israeli airstrike on October 20th. We are beyond grateful to Huda Fakhreddine for her incredible translation from the original Arabic. (Editors at Protean))

I grant you refuge
in invocation and prayer.
I bless the neighborhood and the minaret
to guard them
from the rocket

from the moment
it is a general’s command
until it becomes
a raid.

I grant you and the little ones refuge,
the little ones who
change the rocket’s course
before it lands
with their smiles.

I grant you and the little ones refuge,
the little ones now asleep like chicks in a nest.

They don’t walk in their sleep toward dreams.
They know death lurks outside the house.

Their mothers’ tears are now doves
following them, trailing behind
every coffin.

I grant the father refuge,
the little ones’ father who holds the house upright
when it tilts after the bombs.
He implores the moment of death:
“Have mercy. Spare me a little while.
For their sake, I’ve learned to love my life.
Grant them a death
as beautiful as they are.”

I grant you refuge
from hurt and death,
refuge in the glory of our siege,
here in the belly of the whale.

Our streets exalt God with every bomb.
They pray for the mosques and the houses.
And every time the bombing begins in the North,
our supplications rise in the South.

I grant you refuge
from hurt and suffering.

With words of sacred scripture
I shield the oranges from the sting of phosphorous
and the shades of cloud from the smog.

I grant you refuge in knowing
that the dust will clear,
and they who fell in love and died together
will one day laugh.

Protean for more