What would your reaction be if scientists were suddenly to come out with the recommendation that we need to encourage the spread of the COVID-19 virus by concentrating human populations in extremely tight quarters while allowing them minimum sanitation facilities in order to incubate the disease. You’d most likely speculate they’d been recruited by the present administration as publicists.
In fact that misguidedness is exactly what we confront in the United States and in other parts of the world as well, namely the concentration of humans that allows the wildfire spread of a disease that affects certain at risk populations severely and at times fatally. In the U.S. we are talking about the most obvious: prisons, jails, detention centers, homeless encampments and shelters and homes for the aged.
Abroad, we are talking about places like Gaza which has the most concentrated human population in the world, the West Bank, and countries like Iran and Venezuela on the U.S. economic war sanctions wish list, and Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, and a number of others on the Pentagon wish list of countries convulsed by shooting war. And there’s the White House revenge list which among others includes Italy whose population is fairly concentrated, and extended-family oriented.
The U.S. has the highest percentage of incarcerated people in the world.
•Prisons and Jails: (“Elected Prosecutors Call for Dramatic Reduction in Prison Populations”) There are 2.2 million people locked up in American jails, and 11 million go through prison or jail gates every single year as a result of more people being prosecuted for minor offenses. Many of these people are there because they cannot afford bail. Already prisoners or guards have tested positive in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Washington, forcing inmate quarantines. Social distancing is not possible in American jails where many are double, triple and multiple bunked. This is catastrophe waiting to happen. Some elected officials, even prosecutors remind us of that. Punishment may not be such a good idea.
•Immigrant Detention: (“Because Anne Frank Did not Die in a Gas Chamber, Jewish Activists Cite Disease in Nazi Death Camps in Call to Free Detained Immigrants”) As the N.Y. Subway ad read: You don’t have to be Jewish to like rye bread, and you don’t have to be Jewish to see the obvious: there are 52,000 undocumented immigrants detained in ICE jails. Concentration camps run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) threaten to become de-facto death camps for all their inmates, many of them children, and pregnant mothers. In New Jersey, detainees staged a hunger strike for soap. Activists are surrounding Governor’s residences in California and that immigrant jail in New Jersey demanding immigrants’ release. Fanatic, racist-based border control may bite Americans in the butt while they’re scrambling for the last roll of TP.
•Homeless shelters and homeless encampments: (“Governments Say Stay at Home, but thousands don’t have a home”) Fear of contagion would not apply if as a society, we had understood that the human biome knows no borders. We are all one flesh. Literally. Fear of contagion would not apply if we still enjoyed a family structure that took care of its aged as it still manages to do of its infants.
There are some bright lights:
In LA, Justice LA managed to get hundreds of people released from LA jails. In Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a shut down well ahead of all other states. In New York and California Governors Cuomo and Newsome respectively are marshaling resources, negotiating directly with private companies to plug gaps in medical supply chains, ordering creation of additional hospital spaces, and housing the homeless in SROs and trailers. Read State Governments Step in as Trump Makes Lethal Mistakes at https://truthout.org/articles/state-governments-step-in-as-trump-makes-lethal-mistakes-in-covid-19-response/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=a7cd6c1a-f174-4d2f-901b-375479054f94.
Designing our wars to kill others might kill us instead
Abroad, President Assad decreed a general amnesty for crimes committed before March 22, and Iran, with its bloody history of incarcerating and torturing political prisoners (Read: Ghosts by Shahla Talebi) temporarily freed all its prisoners, including political prisoners.
U.S. led coalition troops pulled out of a base in Western Iraq, France has withdrawn all its troops, and thanks to activists, many of them Physicians for Social Responsibility, Congress passed legislation in both houses on a War Powers Resolution that requires congressional approval before Trump can OK further military action against Iran. Citing the folly of war in a time of contagion, UN Secretary General António Guterres called for a Global Ceasefire.
End Yemen war now before COVID19 strikes at
Demand COVID19 sanctions on Iran be suspended immediately at
Release Julian Assange from Belmarsh prison before C-19 spreads at
Stop the asylum ban and deportations at https://lawg.salsalabs.org/stopdeportations/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=9be78402-d3da-4ca6-a0ae-a5244b2f2b6a
Release incarcerated people before infection rates rise further at
#EndCOVIDSanctions on Iran at
Protect incarcerated loved ones at:
Demand Israel release all Palestinian child detainees mid COVID19 at:
President Assad decrees general amnesty for crimes committed before March 22.
UN Secretary General António Guterres calls for a global cease fire.
Eights countries (Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela) write to UN chief demanding lifting of unilateral illegal sanctions which, along with Zimbabwe, are impeding their efforts to battle pandemic.
London rough sleepers given hotel rooms.
UK pledges to pay up to 80% of individuals’ wages during shutdowns.
UK holds mass applause for NHS staff fighting C19.
Denmark pledges to pay 90% of hourly workers loss of income.
Ireland nationalizes hospitals for duration of C-19 crisis.
France pulls their military out of Iraq.
Although French strike wane, outrage burns bright.
Cuba leads world in fight against C-19 (practice makes perfect.)
China joins Cuba providing international aid.
Germany extends arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.
Norway workers win struggle against bosses, refusing to pay for C-19 with layoffs.
Just think: a year of U.S. nuclear spending could provide 300,000 ICU beds, 35,000 ventilators and 75,000 doctor salaries.
Magic: #45 uses Defense Production Act to force General Motors to make ventilators—without a contract.
40,000 N.Y. health professionals volunteer to join healthcare force.
US-led coalition transfers second military base to Iraqi forces.
Iran’s army set up hospital for C19 patients in 48 hours.
San Francisco DA joins calls to release ICE detainees during pandemic.
JusticeLA gets hundreds of people release from jails in response to threat of C-19 spread.
Judge urges release of migrant children after 4 test positive for C-19 in detention.
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in LA issued temporary restraining order requiring administration to release all minors and unaccompanied minors from detention and from the HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Standing Rock Sioux tribe wins as federal court rules DAPL permits violated law.
Conflict brewing in N.Y.C. over lawyers’ committee grand jury petition to hear evidence of federal crimes involving the use of explosive and incendiaries at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
N.Y.C. plans city-wide clap for essential workers.
Activists force minimal amendment giving assistance and access qualifying 140 million poor folk for health care, paid leave, and living wages.
Scientists said to discover property of coronavirus that will make a long-term vaccine possible, but not necessarily affordable.
In face of federal vacuum and #45 blunders, some state governments respond to C-19.
Seattle NPR station announces no more airing of #45 press briefings.
House and Senate pass War Powers Resolution enjoining #45 to seek Congressional OK for any further military action against Iran.
PEN’s lawsuit against #45 in the defense of journalism can proceed.
New “stimulus package” (highway robbery) would enjoin #45 or his offspring from lapping up any of that bailout money, if Mnuchin agrees.
Writing for Popular Resistance, Michael Hudson suggests a debt jubilee is the only way to avoid world depression.
Pitzer College students call for university divestment from BlackRock.
Microsoft divests from Israeli facial- recognition startup.
In Pennsylvania township Rights of Nature law forces revocation of fracking permit.
S.F. Gate publishes 23 pieces of good news about COVID19 but blocks reading about it.
Detroit bus drivers win protections against virus through strike.
Boston school bus drivers win emergency full pay during school closure.
Strikes and protests spread as U.S. workers demand protection from C-19.
Colorado repeals death penalty.
Before selling out, Sanders fought for worker protections in gonzo $2 trillion “stimulus” (highway robbery) package.
Parents of son who died of cancer open their restaurant to School kids who depend on school for food.
Worker strikes over concern about spread of C-19 reported: Fiat Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant; Pittsburgh garbage collectors; Chipotle employees; Perdue university workers, and Whole Foods.
And here's to the spring we're missing while we stay at home:
Mexican protesters try blocking Americans from entering Mexico on Arizona border.
Unclogging toilets at $400,00 a pop hits Navy in the pocket.
Old chestnut plane with five aboard, #45, the Pope, Dr. Fauci, Oprah Winfrey and ten-year-old school girl. Only 4 parachutes aboard. Plane is about to crash.
Dr. Fauci: "I certainly need one. I’m on my way to deliver a cure for the global health crisis." He helps himself and jumps.
Pope: "I need one, too. I have to guide the flock through the pandemic." He helps himself and jumps.
#45 says: "Gimme. I have to have one because I am the smartest man in the universe." He helps himself and jumps.
Oprah turns to the ten-year-old: “Take the last one, dear. I’ve had a life, yours hasn’t even started.”
Says ten-year-old: “No worries. There are 2 chutes left. The smartest man in the universe took my backpack.”