Saturday, May 16, 2020

Covid Voices from the Grave: Thucydides' Lessons on the Plague of Our Times


by John Helmer, Moscow


May 14, 2020

Cardiology doesn’t expire when people die of heart attacks. Just so, no one should expect that when a man dies of the corona virus, or hundreds or thousands of men, the sociology of their pre-existing health, race, ethnicity, income, education, ideology – in short, their class in the old- fashioned meaning of the word — goes belly up at the same time. For understanding and prediction, sociology will always trump epidemiology — the basic reproductive ratio R0 of Covid-19 might run from 3 to 9, but the R0 of class struggle is many times more virulent.

It is therefore surprising that so many pundits, even the Russia-hate specialist Anne Applebaum, think to publish an interpretation of the sociology of the plague of ancient Athens, circa 430 BC; and taking Thucydides as their source, give lectures on how much the European and American societies can learn from him on Covid-19, but have failed to learn to date. At the same time as they depend on Thucydides for their lessons, they ignore the very first of his – that was his dismissal of the source and cause of the plague among the foreign enemies of the ancient Athenians. In other words, Thucydides wouldn’t be blaming China and Russia for Covid-19 now any more than he blamed the Spartans then.

Oglala Sioux Ordered to Allow Possibly Infected Passage

Checkpoint Closure by South Dakota Governor an Attack on Tribal Sovereignty


May 16, 2020

South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem publicly issued a letter to the Cheyenne River (CRST) and Oglala Sioux Tribes (OST) on May 8 ordering them to remove health checkpoints on roads crossing their reservations but did not directly deliver it to OST—“a sign of “disrespect,” according to OST President Julian Bear Runner.

The letter, which was dated May 8, was never actually received by Bear Runner, he explained during a recorded response to Noem. He learned of Noem’s letter through news reports and social media.

Getting Cold(er) on China: Stage Sets for a Next Long War

Corporate Media Setting Stage for New Cold War With China

by Gregory Shupak - FAIR

May 15, 2020

Corporate media are laying the ideological groundwork for a new cold war with China, presenting the nation as a hostile power that needs to be kept in check. 

The Washington Post (4/23/20) ran an article by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, the second sentence of which said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that, to a great degree, our very health is in Chinese hands; from medicines to masks, we are at Beijing’s mercy.” 

Rent Systems: Coronavirus Front Lines Capitalist Greed

Landlords: The Front Line of Coronavirus Greed

by Andy Worthington

May 15, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to cripple the economy, it is clear to anyone paying attention — a situation not encouraged by either our political leaders or the mainstream media — that its disastrous effects are extremely unevenly distributed.

End rent now: a protestor in Los Angeles

While some people are working from home on 100% pay, others — the essential workers of the NHS, pharmacists, those in the food industry, postal workers and other delivery people, public transport workers, and many others — have continued to work, often at severe risk to their health, because of the government’s inability to provide proper PPE or a coherent testing system. Other workers, meanwhile, have been furloughed on 80% of pay (up to £2,500 a month), while another huge group of former workers have been summarily laid off, and have been required to apply for Universal Credit, a humiliating process that also involves the requirement to try to survive on less than £100 a week.

Back into the Fray:The Risk/Benefit of Returning to Work

Between a rock and a hard place: Which workers are most vulnerable when their workplaces re-open amid COVID-19?

by David MacDonald - CCPA

May 15, 2020

With the COVID-19 curve flattening in many parts of Canada, provinces are rushing to re-open.

Quebec has already re-opened elementary schools outside of Montreal. B.C., Manitoba, and Alberta have or soon will re-open salons and barbershops. Following the long weekend, many Ontario businesses will be able to open back up.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Lindorff, Will Tell, Janine Bandcroft May 14, 2020

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

May 14, 2020

Welcome to Gorilla Radio, where we are still, as yet, NOT broadcasting live from the basement of the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria, but are instead recording live-to-Skype this day, May 10th, 2020.

While millions breathe sighs of relief as jurisdiction around the World take the first tentative steps towards reopening after the unprecedented Covid shut-downs, others dare not venture out, or allow potentially infected people cross their thresholds. From the start, this pandemic has been Janus-headed, experienced very differently depending on ones health, income, area code, and most vitally, age. For elders, especially those in care home, Covid has been more plague than pandemic.

Dave Lindorff is an independent, award-winning journalist, author, and founding editor of the news website, Among the ‘Izzy’ Award for ‘Outstanding Independent Journalism” recipient’s four books, the most cogent in this moment is his 1992, ‘Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains’.

Listen. Hear.

Dave’s recent article, published under a joint agreement between and ThisCantBeHappening!, is ‘The Nursing Home Coronavirus Pandemic’.

Dave Lindorff in the first half.

And; as bad as this pandemic gets here in the West, in the Global South, where care homes, and state supported healthcare are not an option for the majority, things are by orders of magnitude more desperate. Worse still is the situation in those countries where governments embrace neoliberal economic doctrine and care little for those at the bottom of the class and economic spectrum. In India, after more than six weeks of rigidly enforced lockdown, food and medicine supplies, and the ability for internally displaced migrant workers to get home, are priority concerns; as is getting in this year’s crops.

Will Tell is an expat living in rural southern India, where lockdown measures have been eased somewhat, but says, “Migrant workers (literally millions of them) got stranded in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore (the major cities, that attract them) when the lockdown occurred.” Adding, “…[B]orders have been closed for nearly a month now, and it looks like a lot longer before they open.”

Will Tell and the pandemic over there in the second half.

And; long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with this week’s Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Dave Lindorff and Covid-19’s expendables.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Monday, May 11, 2020

FT: All the Fit News to Print


by John Helmer, Moscow


Roula Khalaf (lead image, right) is the only editor of a major London newspaper about whom next to nothing important is obvious, not even her name. She was appointed last year by Tsuneo Kita (front row), chairman of Nikkei, the Japanese media group and owner of the paper, to succeed Lionel Barber as editor. 

On January 20 of this year, Kita assigned Khalaf a seat on the board of Financial Times Limited, the entity through which the Japanese run their marginally profitable London property. The UK company registration reveals that Khalaf is a maiden name, and that her legal name is Roula Khalaf Razzouk.

Spain Cracks Whip on Covid "Deconfinement" While Admitting Second Wave Outbreak Coming

Podemos pushes “back to work” as Spanish army expects new COVID-19 outbreak

by Alejandro L√≥pez  - WSWS

11 May 2020

Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE)-Podemos government continues to lift confinement measures, even as internal Spanish army documents forecast this will provoke new outbreaks of the disease. The state is placing the lives of millions of workers going back to work in danger, putting corporate profits above workers’ lives.
Spanish PM, Pedro Sanchez

Today, over half Spain’s population will move to the so-called Phase 1 of the government’s deconfinement plan. Those living in harder-hit areas still in Phase 0 will have stricter restrictions on their movements, as under the previous confinement policy. But those in Phase 1 will be able to visit family members, attend funerals, go shopping, go to restaurants, hold meetings of up to 10 people, and open hotels, tourist accommodations and places of worship.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

"Prison Should Not Be A Death Sentence:" Covid Death and Infectious Outbreak in Quebec Prison

Noise Demonstrations Take Place Outside Montreal-Area Prisons Following Prisoner Death, Hunger Strike

by Anti-Carceral Group

May 10, 2020

At 2pm today, a caravan of over 30 vehicles visited the Federal Training Centre prison in Laval and the Bordeaux jail in Montreal, demanding the immediate release of all prisoners in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vehicles, decorated with slogans such as, ‘Prison Should Not Be A Death Sentence,’ & ‘Free All Prisoners,’ honked their horns, made noise, and held banners in solidarity with those inside.

“We’re here today to show people inside these prisons that they’re not forgotten and that we’re out here working for their release,” said Ellie Santon, a participant in the demonstration.