Four Perspectives

Here are a video and three articles of opinion related to the new coronavirus and its economic and social consequences:

(1) In an interview, Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford University emphasizes the imperative of having accurate data before making decisions. The physician and epidemiologist questions the validity of assumptions made by public figures responding Covid-19. His talk with filmmaker John Kirby took place a week or so ago.

(2) Bret Stephens includes three paragraphs on Ioannidis in a New York Times column headed “It’s Dangerous to Be Ruled by Fear.” It was published on March 20.

(3) In this post headlined “People Get Ready!,” James Howard Kunstler envisions a United States ahead that will be unrecognizable to many. He is the author of The Long Emergency (2005), among other works of fiction and nonfiction.

(4) How will the Russians pay for their government’s response to Covid-19 if President Vladimir Putin has his way? And how does that compare with how Americans will pay back the trillions the Trump administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve are doling out to address the contagion and keep the economy going? HERE is journalist Mike Whitney’s view. (A Russian ruble yesterday equaled $0.0125676 in U.S. currency, so the 1 million rubles referred to equaled about $12,568.)

Dylan on JFK Murder

In a new song, “Murder Most Fowl,” Bob Dylan puts the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy in any number of political and cultural contexts.

Edward Curtin of Behind the Curtain provides an audio of Dylan singing it and the lyrics to Verses 1 and 3.

Here is a link to it:

Dylan Sings Truth About the JFK Assassination

A phrase in the song, “Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing,” describes how although the killing was witnessed by countless people in Dallas’s Dealy Plaza and on television, it was planned and executed and covered up in such a way as to throw the blame away from the perpetrators of the coup d’etat and fool everyone for a time. In this respect it was similar to how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were planned and executed and covered up.

Another phrase, “I’m just a patsy,” refers to the denial of the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald during an interrogation, “I didn’t shoot anybody, no sir … I’m just a patsy” — shortly before he himself was shot to death by Jack Ruby while in police custody. It is worth noting that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden denied several times any involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

‘The Nobodies’

by Eduardo Galeano

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty; that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them—will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it. even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have languages, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.

Translated by Cedric Belfrage

–   –   –

“Los Nadies”

Sueñan las pulgas con comprarse un perro
y sueñan los nadies con salir de pobres,
que algún mágico día
llueva de pronto la buena suerte,
que llueva a cántaros la buena suerte;
pero la buena suerte no llueve ayer, ni hoy,
ni mañana, ni nunca,
ni en lloviznita cae del cielo la buena suerte,
por mucho que los nadies la llamen
y aunque les pique la mano izquierda,
o se levanten con el pie derecho,
o empiecen el año cambiando de escoba.

Los nadies: los hijos de nadie,
los dueños de nada.
corriendo la liebre, muriendo la vida, jodidos,

Que no son, aunque sean.
Que no hablan idiomas, sino dialectos.
Que no profesan religiones,
sino supersticiones.
Que no hacen arte, sino artesanía.
Que no practican cultura, sino folklore.
Que no son seres humanos,
sino recursos humanos.
Que no tienen cara, sino brazos.
Que no tienen nombre, sino número.
Que no figuran en la historia universal,
sino en la crónica roja de la prensa local.
Los nadies,
que cuestan menos
que la bala que los mata.

–   –   –

Cedric Belfrage’s translation of “Los Nadies” into English is  from With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century, Edited by Douglas Valentine (Albuquerque: West End Press, 2014).

Valentine is the author of five books of historical nonfiction: The Hotel Tacloban; The Phoenix Program; The Strength of the Wolf: America’s War on Drugs; The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA; and The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World. He is the author of one novel, TDY, and one book of poems, A Crow’s Dream. He lives with his wife Alice in Massachusetts.

Find “Los Nadies” with another translation and a link to Eduardo Galeano reading it, HERE.

Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015) was a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist.

Feeling Cooped Up?

Below are headlines (only) over two articles related to quarantining – from today’s editions of the French daily Le Monde and the Spanish daily El País. One report concerns official measures taken so far in France and the outlook for more. The other describes a European Space Agency experiment in which six scientists were isolated together for nearly a year and a half inside a simulated spacecraft. Click on the links for the articles.

 (A glitch changed the appearance of one paragraph. At least it’s easier to read.)

Le Monde

France, already paralyzed for a week, awaits possible quarantine extension: Expected to last two weeks, it will be decided “in the next few days,” says the government, which modified work rules considerably to take into account “the economic and social shock.” Follow the situation live and ask us questions.

(La France paralysée depuis une semaine, dans l’attente d’une eventuelle prolongation du confinement: Le prolongement du confinement, censé durer deux semaines, sera décidé « dans les prochains jours », selon le gouvernement, qui a modifié en profondeur le code du travail pour prendre en compte « le choc économique et social ». Suivez la situation en direct et posez-nous vos questions.)

–   –   –

El País

‘Our mission as we face the coronavirus is to survive and to not infect’: A Colombian-Italian scientist who was isolated [with five others] for 520 days in an experiment simulating a voyage to Mars gives some clues on putting up with quarantines

“Nuestra misión ante el coronavirus es sobrevivir y no contagiar”: El científico colombo-italiano que se aisló 520 días en un experimento que simulaba un viaje a Marte da algunas claves para soportar major la cuarentena


News From Elsewhere

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world closer together, somewhat in the same way the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did. Below are a few headlines translated from Le Monde and El País, national newspapers in France and Spain. The idea is to supplement reports readers might already be listening to, watching or reading, to provide other perspectives.

El País

Spain decides to extend for 15 more days the state of alert in the coronavirus crisis: The prime minister has communicated it to the autonomous communities and will request Congressional authorization

(España decide prorrogar 15 días más el estado de alarma por la crisis del coronavirus: El presidente del Gobierno se lo ha comunicado a las comunidades aútonomas y solicitará la autorización del Congreso)

–   –   –

Bolivia postpones the May presidential elections: All political parties, except [former president] Evo Morales’s MAS, which leads in polls, support the suspension

(Bolivia aplaza las elecciones de mayo: Todos los partidos, salvo el MAS de Evo Morales, que encabeza las encuestas, apoyan la suspension)

–   –   –

‘There are things that have been done right [in Mexico], but that doesn’t mean everything will turn out well’: World Health Organization leaders praise sound judgment in a country with serious economic problems like Mexico

(“Hay cosas que se están haciendo correctamente, pero eso no significa que todo va a salir bien”: Los responsables de la OMS alaban la prudencia en un país con graves problemas económicos como México)

–   –   –

The embrace that is keeping Colombia in suspense: A mayor with coronavirus had close contact with President Ivan Duque and with hundreds of local mayors

(El abrazo que tuvo en vilo a Colombia: Un alcalde con coronavirus tuvo contacto estrecho con el presidente Iván Duque y con centenares de alcaldes locales.)

–   –   –

Spain already has more than 1,700 deaths and 28,500 cases: Germany to decide today whether to confine its citizens

(España suma ya más de 1.700 muertes y 28.500 contagios: Alemania decide hoy si ordena el confinamiento a sus ciudadanos)

–   –   –

Latest word on Covid-19: Italy adds 651 deaths as its death toll climbs to 5,476 | Spain’s government decides to extend for 15 more days the state of alert | Spain records 1,753 deaths and 28,572 cases | Twelve percent of the infacdted are health workers, 3,475 are workers | Distribution of 640,000 test kits begins; 8,000 are for the Madrid region | Germany prohibits gatherings of more than two persons, but is not ordering its citizens confined | Angela Merkel is in preventive quarentine

(Las últimas noticias del coronavirus Covid-19, en directo | Italia suma otros 651 muertos y la cifra de fallecidos sube a 5.476: El Gobierno decide prorrogar 15 días el estado de alarma | España registra 1.753 muertes y 28.572 contagios | El 12% de los contagios son sanitarios, 3.475 trabajadores | Comienza el reparto de las 640.000 test kits, 8.000 son para la Comunidad de Madrid | Alemania prohíbe las reuniones de más de dos personas, pero no confina a sus ciudadanos | Angela Merkel está en cuarentena preventiva)

–   –   –

Le Monde

According to the latest toll, 674 people have died in [French] hospitals of Covid-19 since the epidemic began in France, 112 of them since Saturday evening; a total of 16,018 cases have been confirmed by tests; some 7,240 persons are hospitalized and 1,746 are in intensive care.

(Selon le dernier bilan, 674 personnes sont mortes du Covid-19 en milieu hospitalier depuis le début de l’épidémie en France, don’t 112 depuis Samedi 21 mars au soir, 16 018 cas au total ont été confirmés par des test, don’t 7 240 personnes hospitalisées et 1 746 en reanimation.)

–   –   –

[French] Parliament votes to establish a ‘health state of emergency’: The text gives a legal framework to special provisions that have begun to be put into effect since March 16

(Ce que contient la loi instaurant un « état d’urgence sanitaire » votée par le Parlement: Ce texte donne un cadre légal aux dispositions d’exception qui ont commencé à être mises en œuvre depuis le 16 mars.)

–   –   –

Coronavirus epidemic in the world – Italy and Spain are the European countries most affected: Elections postponed, border posts deserted, people shut in, curfews in effect; the Covid-19 epidemic, whose toll rose to 13,000 on Sunday, paralyzes a good part of the planet

(Epidémie due au coronavirus dans le monde – l’Italie et l’Espagne sont les pays d’Europe les plus touchés : Elections reportées, postes-frontières désertés, personnes confines, couvre-feux déployés : l’épidémie de Covid-19, dont le bilan s’élevait à 13 000 morts Dimanche, paralyse une grande partie de la planète.)

Hope . . .

Hope is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me

‘Let’s Roll’ Questioned

It’s an ill wind that blows no good. — Common saying

–   –   –

One thread in the silver lining of the Covid-19 world challenge is that some people around the world who are sequestered in their homes can do some reading they otherwise would not have a chance to do. It can include works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and posts from the Internet like links contained in emails from Facebook friends and friends.

One example of the latter is THIS ONE containing a small portion of an “International Review Panel Investigation” of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is Parts 1 and 2 of “The Assumption That the Todd Beamer ‘Let’s Roll’ Call from United 93 Was Authentic.”

They are from the book 9/11 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation, which contains dispassionate examinations of 51 elements of the phony official narrative put out by the Bush/Chaney administration — the same official narrative that has not been challenged by either administration since that one.

The book is not readily available in bookstores and has gone unreviewed in the “free press” but just may be delivered, within days, to the doorstep of anyone who wants to order it from the publisher, Olive Branch Press, or from an online bookseller.

‘Sit Down. Be Quiet. …’

Here is some advice from Wendell Berry that may be particularly useful in these times of corona virus sequestration even if you don’t intend to write a poem. 

How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

San Diego’s 9/11 Nexus

Researcher Barbara Honegger of the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry spoke on March 6 on San Diego’s connections to both the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and efforts to establish the roles of perpetrators not considered in official accounts.

Among other ties, the city was a temporary base for Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, two of the five al-Qaeda operatives who reportedly hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon.

San Diego is also home to former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, who in retirement worked for passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) which removes the sovereign immunity that prevented lawsuits against governments found to be involved in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

And the FBI’s San Diego Division was where for a time Richard Lambert was assistant special agent in charge, years before becoming better known as highly critical of the “Amerithrax” investigation following the anonymous mailing of anthrax-laced letters resulting in five deaths and 17 victims sickened in the weeks after 9/11.

In Honegger’s 37-minute talk to San Diego 9/11 Truth, HERE, she also recommends a 2008 article she wrote for Oped News on connections between the anthrax scare and the September 11 attacks; and an interview HERE (one of many online) in which Gen. Richard Clarke, adviser to the White House on counter-terror from 1998 to 2002, points out federal government failures to prevent the 9/11 attacks and apologizes for them to victims’ families.

The event also featured Lawyers’ Committee president Richard D. Meiswinkle (see below) and fire commissioner Christopher Gioia of the Franklin Square and Munson fire district on Long Island. A brief summary of the event is HERE.

A board member  of the Lawyers’ Committee, Honegger was a White House policy adviser for several years during the Reagan administration. She is a journalist specializing in military affairs, and authored the 1989 book October Surprise: Did the Reagan-Bush Election Campaign Sabotage President Carter’s Attempt to Free the American Hostages in Iran?