. . . the cttee members decide not to decide on the preliminaries of how to discuss the discussing of a Pacifica strategic plan (not least the need to pay $3.265m within the next six months to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC); instead they decide to decide to defer the deciding to the next meeting . . .
It was even on the agenda – it’s just that in 1½hrs they never got to it coz they had agreed (without objection) to place it as the penultimate substantive matter, & having spent almost all their time on whether to run a pilot on advertising (underwriting), the grains of time had passed thru the egg-timer. Ah well, there’s always another one in two weeks’ time. (The meeting next Monday, called on 6Sep, was cancelled on 15Sep, without explanation or subsequent comment – but then it was denoted as “Purpose: Discuss Strategic Planning”. https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20200928)
[Highlight, from Our Grace, hallow’d be Thy name. Priceless:
I’ve been hearing, um, complaints & criticisms from a number of sources that Pacifica doesn’t have a strategic plan, & I would like to suggest that we, argh, at least start talking about it & – urgh – that we – I’d like to extend this meeting for 30 minutes to start a discussion about a strategic plan.
(1:07:19) The effort to extend just withered. And died. Never put to the vote. There’s always next time.]
Apologies to the three- & four-year-olds of Tourcoing, France, on the Belgian border, 12May2020; photographer, Lionel Top.
Also recognition to the teacher, a profession much maligned by the barbarians. But much more meaningful, & solidarian, than verbal support is significant material support: here, the widespread use of daily rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. As Michael Mina (Harvard public health) et al. argued even in late June, feasible on a universal basis is a $1 test giving a result within 15mins. It’s akin to a pregnancy test: it’s non-laboratory, just saliva on a paper strip impregnated with antigen (that’s a protein from the virus – non-infectious, please note! – that triggers a detectable immune response).
. . . so much for focusing on massive vaccine development funding, moreover, providing competing pharma with the guarantee that if they fail then the taxpayer pays for their failure, & if they come up with a winner then the shareholders take the profits. Brilliant. Not the Amerikan way but the capitalist way, when capitalist interests run the state . . .
War data are notoriously inexact, & not always made public. Similarly, problems arise in attributing death to a new disease. Nevertheless, trusted sources say the last 58 001 COVID-19 deaths have occurred since Sa21Mar. So not decades or years, but 38 days, 5½ weeks, at the rate of >10 001 deaths a week. Not exactly the message coming daily from the Bleach House.
In Vietnam, the highest annual US deaths was 16 899, in the momentous year of 1968. That works out at 47 a day. Just last weekend, COVID-19 daily death was ~2 001 (three-day rolling average). That’s a difference of x~40. To repeat: the recent daily death rate for COVID-19 is x40 that for the worst year in Vietnam – for Amerikans that is.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus, did the 1968 work of the ‘VC’ in just the last eight days (Tu21 thru Tu28Apr). The shortest time it’s taken is six days, from each of M13, Tu14, & W15Apr.
Amerikans were not the only foreigners who died defending US capitalist imperialism: there were also New Zealanders, Australians, South Koreans, Taiwanese, Filipinos, Thais, Laotians, & Cambodians. A different sort of International Brigade, one could say. LBJ even asked Harold Wilson, the Labour Party prime minister of the UK, to join the invasion; a right-wing social democrat who leant to the centre, he quickly & firmly declined the offer. The ‘special relationship’ isn’t as solidarian as usually touted.
And the invisible in Constitution Gardens, the presence of absence? Estimates vary, & the wider context is the maintenance & break-up of French Indochina, & its aftermath. Think of 4 000 001. Then think again, & feel. Then act.
Another Vietnam connection with COVID-19 concerns Jonathan Van-Tam, a frequent official spokesman for the UK government. He’s the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, & former influenza & vaccine man with SmithKline Beecham, Roche, & Sanofi. It just so happens that his grandfather was the second-longest serving prime minister of the 1949-55 French puppet state in Vietnam before the US took over, & his uncle was the only head of that state’s armed forces.
Daniel Borgström is a dogged KPFA Local Station Board listener-delegate. He’s fond, & rightly so, of a personal vignette. It’s striking like a haiku, & there’s no better advocacy for Pacifica:
When people ask me why I joined the Marine Corps (at age 18, back in 1959), I tell them, “Because where I grew up there was no KPFA or Pacifica Radio affiliate.”
• Images of SARS-CoV-2 virions (complete virus) & particles: Na Zhu et al., ‘A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China 2019’, New England Journal of Medicine, 382, 8, 20Feb2020, p. 731 (e-published 24Jan2020 – article updated 29Jan). The quasi-spherical virion has a diameter of 60-140nm, nanometres (pp. 730-1). Think of a millimetre, mm; divide it into a thousand, that’s a micrometre, μm (formerly termed a micron); within this, end-to-end, one can fit ~7-16 virions.
A digression on the matter of size. Can a SARS-CoV-2 virion pass through the filter of a N95 respirator? It’s very unlikely. (I haven’t seen a paper estimating what proportion gets thru, let alone, crucially, what’s the minimum viral load sufficient for infection.) The N95’s specification is having a 95% probability of stopping a particle of ≥0.3μm (300nm). (N95 = neutralises 95%; its European counterpart is FFP2, filtering face piece, which has a 94% rating.)But as the virion is less than half this size, even a quarter, won’t it sail thru? No. And the reason is perhaps surprising.
The rating standard of a respirator (more precisely its filter) is in terms of a particle of 0.3μm for a crucial reason: it’s the MPPS, the most penetrating particle size, in conditions other than a vacuum. And that’s the clue: Brownian motion. The virion, or the particle it’s on or the droplet it’s on or in, collides with air atoms or molecules, even before it reaches the respirator. And the filter is multi-layered: its barrier isn’t a simple sieve. It means any penetrating pathway is tortuous. So for the combination of air & filter, particles <0.3μm are largely diffused, & those >0.3μm are largely blocked. It just so happens that in air, the smallest sized particle avoiding Brownian motion is ~0.3μm: this makes it the MPPS for an air filter. And that’s why the rating standard is pitched where it is.
• Windrock Coal Miners Memorial Wall, Union Valley Baptist Church, Windrock Road, Windrock, Oliver Springs, Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Tennessee (gratitude to the photographer, John Huotari). Over a 1 000 miners remembered, 13 of whom died at work. Memorial cost ~$7 000. Six years in the planning & funding. Dedicated Sa17May2014. The longest continuously worked TN coalmine, 1904-1960. Union Valley . . . Baptist church . . . the names of the ex-miners present read out by the former manager (so not a union man – yes, Union Valley refers to the Southern rebellion) . . . on 8Nov2016, TN voted Trump 61%, over 1.5m, winning 92 of the 95 counties (losing Memphis, Nashville, & Brownsville); Anderson County, where the mine was, 65%. Further into the hills, Trump was in the low 80s. As context, an excellent study of rule over workers & their families was made in a contiguous county, 40 miles to the north-east, in the Clear Fork valley: John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley, Clarendon Press (Oxford), 1980 (link below for either viewing the PDF online or downloading it).