Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 21, 2020

Late but better than never:

On Friday morning, Gov. Cuomo announced he was putting the Empire State on “pause,” meaning non-essential workers should stay inside their homes at all times except for critical travel, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy — an unprecedented action aimed at curbing the fast-spreading coronavirus, as the number of cases in New York surged above 8,500.

In a press conference from Albany, the governor said he did not make the decision lightly, but stressed that the move was necessary in light of New York becoming a U.S. epicenter of sorts for the respiratory virus.

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo said.

President Trump, who usually has nothing but scorn for Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, welcomed the lockdowns of the coastal states.

“I applaud them,” Trump said during a White House briefing of the governors. “They’re taking very strong, bold steps and I applaud them. We’re working very closely together.”

I still think they’re not being tough enough.

Considering what China went through, I would have locked the doors before the first case. Naturally, I would have told everyone to prepare for the long haul and would have put in place a strong plan before that to prevent hoarding and to assure deliveries by tested people.

Gov. Cuomo places New York on ‘pause’ as coronavirus cases soar above 8,500

Bless their efforts.

New legislation provides manufacturers of N95 masks protection against lawsuits when selling to health care workers, Pence said.

The change means 3M will be allowed to sell 420 million masks a year to the American health care sector, he said, according to the newspaper.

Robert Kadlec, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said at a recent Senate hearing that the US could need 3.5 billion N95s during a serious pandemic, the paper reported.

3M doubles output of N95 respirator masks amid coronavirus outbreak

This is awful! Is the US going to give them all the medical help they need for free? We haven’t even taken care of Americans yet. Where is Iran going to get the money to take care of the People if the US keeps piling on? Personally, I haven’t seen a single real justification for any sanctions whatsoever. It’s all been false propaganda.

Trump will not offer Iran sanctions relief as coronavirus spreads rapidly in the country

Editorial: So, there will be lots of people who are addicted to illegal drugs who’ll be going cold turkey due to the various lock downs. People who rely on burglaries and other such crimes for a living will find themselves in real pinches. However, violent crimes will go down, even though there are plenty of people expecting more domestic violence. It’s my feeling that people will work harder at keeping their cool. Let’s just hope the wave of disease will be well over before the heat waves come and that all the lessons will last rather than fade away.

Trump just doesn’t believe in erring on the side of caution. Why is that? If he’s worried about the economy and his reelection chances, he’s way off. If he does what it takes to fund things and locks down the virus spreading further by locking down the nation, he’ll get much more deserved credit than if he continues to act as a cheerleader on the path to more people dying unnecessarily.

President Donald Trump said he doesn’t see the need for a national lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“I don’t think we’ll ever find that necessary,” he said.

State and local governments are putting in place more strict measures – like shelter-in-place orders – to restrict the the virus’ spread.

… Trump was unclear Friday about whether he had directed companies to make more masks and protective gear. At first he indicated that he had, and then said he hasn’t had to because they have come forward on their own to voluntarily produce the equipment.

“So far we have not had to,” he said. “It is an amazing thing that has happened. We are being besieged in a beautiful way by companies that want to do the work. They want to help our country with that.”

“We are not going to go for any bailouts unless they are worker-friendly. The money goes to workers, employees, and no stock buybacks ….” ….

“One of the reasons industries are so short on cash right now is that they have spent billions buying back their own stocks instead of investing in their workers and saving for a rainy day,” Schumer wrote on Twitter Thursday evening. “That needs to be addressed NOW.”

I think the Republicans should agree that the money not be used for anything non-essential to mainline operations, meaning no buybacks or the like. It’s not asking much.

Coronavirus: Stimulus talks to continue Saturday in Senate

It’s been a huge mistake of the government not to directly address the urgent needs of small businesses much, much more. Businesses need to be told that if they were making it before the pandemic, they won’t be allowed to go under: that the government will float them as long as necessary, meaning as long as it takes for the economy to normalize again. Let’s not forget that skills become rusty quickly and that supply chains will take a bit to get back up and running full steam. Governmental assistance should be lifted gradually so business can readjust without fear.

‘Are we going to be left behind?’ Where small business owners can go for help during the coronavirus shutdowns

Coronavirus Outbreak: Pence Says Companies Now Allowed to Sell N95 Masks to Hospitals to Fight Virus

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) is afraid that the American people will catch on that money can be created and simply given to them without causing inflation. He’s afraid of that because once the people do catch on en masse, those people will demand economic democracy so they, not Senator Graham, will decide how much money is created without raising taxes and without governmental borrowing and where that money is spent without causing inflation.

The people will work for the people. Lindsey Graham works for the corporate powers against the people.

Lindsey Graham, Mark Meadows Pushing Trump to Oppose Cash Payouts for Coronavirus Relief: Report

Good point:

On the bright side, those same pundits who screamed themselves hoarse warning that Gabbard was working for Vladimir Putin to sow discord among the American electorate and swing the nation to Trump now have to quietly revise their apocalyptic visions. Will they admit the congresswoman is not the Russian wrecking ball they claimed she was, or will they carry the fantasy to the finish line and say Gabbard has infected Biden’s campaign with Russian ‘malign influence’?

Look, it’s not that she endorsed him but when. She said all along that she’d support the Democratic nominee. Should she have held out longer? It depends upon what she got from Biden in return for doing it now. If she extracted nothing from him on behalf of progressivism, she’s made a huge error. She’s shown herself to be pretty savvy, so I’m thinking she got Biden to agree to something progressive he would otherwise not have.

Was Tulsi the be-all and end-all for the Progressive Movement? No. However, Bernie and she were as close as it’s come in terms of gaining real power in a very long time: like the Kennedy administration.

Of course, the enemies of progressivism knew that going in. That’s why they stomped on both of them as much as possible. Tulsi had less following than Bernie, so she took hits Bernie’s followers would never have tolerated without burning down the house.

Tulsi Gabbard lost her political future & moral high ground with Biden-2020 endorsement

Have to hand it to Tucker Carlson. He’s what’s called a principled conservative.

Tucker Carlson Calls For Burr To Resign: “No Greater Moral Crime Than Betraying Country In A Time Of Crisis”

Inslee was once out front. He’s fallen significantly behind in very short order.

Whereas Washington has urged all businesses to allow employees to work from home, New York and California have ordered it. Whereas Washington officials continue to plead with residents to stay home as much as possible, New York and California have ordered it, albeit with those exceptions.

He’s trying to be “nice.” Now is not the time for nice. Now is the time for giving hard orders and backing them up with whatever it takes. That’s how to get this thing over with as quickly as possible and with the fewest deaths. That’s his job!

While other states order residents to stay at home to stem coronavirus, Washington resists; here’s why


The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 23,000 deaths from flu, 38 million flu illnesses and 390,000 hospitalizations.

And the same things that work against getting COVID-19 work against getting the flu. Therefore, we should learn to quarantine the flu much more dramatically to shut it off before it gets rolling across the globe and the US. Vaccines are not, repeat, not the solution. Maybe someday but not right now.

US flu activity up, death toll reaches 23K

They hope the tests can help alleviate the anxieties of the worried well and keep them out of health care facilities already crippled with coronavirus-related demand.

“It’s a nice way to tell people: Stay away from your local health clinic until it’s safe to come out,” Caesar Djavaherian, the co-founder and medical director of primary care startup Carbon Health, told STAT.

The United States remains the furthest behind on testing of any comparable country in the world, according to a regularly-updated data visualization from the New York Times.

There remain some important concerns about how well the tests will work, according to Topol and Greely.

Timing, for example, is key: Someone who takes a test too early may later come down with Covid-19 but wrongly believe they are free from the virus, something also known as a false-negative. That person might be more likely to go out and socialize, unknowingly infecting others.

At-home tests for coronavirus are here. Should you take them?

Policyholders facing an event cancellation due to COVID-19 should assess, as quickly as possible, (a) the extent of any anticipated losses and (b) the scope of coverage for those losses. Some insurers will likely request a detailed proof of the loss claimed under the policy and require various forms of corroborating documentation of the expenses incurred in connection with that loss. Policyholders should fully understand the scope of coverage afforded by their policies in order to maximize their potential recovery.

CANCELED: Guidance for Policyholders on Event Cancellation Insurance in the Wake of COVID-19

No matter what any entity reports, there are people harmed by vaccines all the time. This is completely documented by the government. Vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Last year, Facebook announced a policy intended to combat misinformation about vaccines, which health organizations worldwide have determined as safe.

As for Nick Catone’s case, one would have to see the evidence he has to support his view that vaccines contributed to his son’s death.

Anti-Vaccine Ex-MMA Fighter Sues Facebook For Kicking Him Off

Read the third paragraph of the block quote below over and over and over until you have that completely front and center in your mind and keep it there.

“The more rapidly you want to contain the virus, then the more severe the lockdown has to be and the more severe the disruption to economic activity is,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. “The hope is, the more severe the lockdown, the sharper the rebound will be.”

The “Lockdown Paradox,” he calls it.

Much will depend on how swiftly and aggressively the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Trump administration deliver financial aid to tens of millions of economic victims — from hourly workers with no more income to suddenly furloughed employees to businesses with loans to pay but no customers.

Look, a “recession” is absolutely nothing if everyone is safe, healthy, well-fed, clean, can exercise, and can keep his or her mind occupied with fruitful and fulfilling activities. Those things can take place for the duration if the government will supply the necessary funds and can focus on the personnel to supply the goods and services required.

Panicking is not the answer. Dreading a “recession” is not the answer. Getting the disease over with is the answer. Funding everyone is the answer.

Funding can, and should, occur without raising taxes and without governmental borrowing. Drill that into everyone’s mind, and we’ll be out of the woods in no time and better than ever; and, I really mean ever.

Cruel Paradox: Beating Virus Means U.S. Recession

This is why I’ve continued to emphasize the food-supply chain as being extremely important. The government must mandate that all food handling, including packaging, be done in a way to prevent contamination. It’s consumer protection and should be at the top of the list if we’re going to quarantine everyone and whip this thing in short order with as few casualties as possible.

Coronavirus Remains on Plastic & Stainless Steel for Up to Three Days

According to the measure, no executive at a company receiving money may make more than $425,000 in total annual compensation for two years, retroactive to March 1.

… Democrats have warned against any corporate aid that appears to be lining the pockets of executives. Republicans have worried about the appearance of flagrant spending.

“We are talking about loans, which must be repaid, for American employers whom the government itself is temporarily crushing for the sake of public health,” he [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] said.

Democrats have said they may push for more restrictions, like forbidding stock buybacks. Trump himself said he would be “OK” with such a stipulation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement: “Any economic stimulus proposal must include new, strong and strict provisions that prioritize and protect workers, such as banning the recipient companies from buying back stock, rewarding executives, and laying off workers.”

I’m fine with what Pelosi and Schumer are pushing but not if it means nothing gets done immediately. I’d rather the rich get too much than the poor having to wait right now. We can always claw things back from the greedy. That’s always been there to do.

Senate GOP coronavirus bailout bill caps executive pay

Expert: US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela during pandemic could be genocidal

Pushback with Aaron Maté

Iran has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and new US sanctions are making it worse. Alfred de Zayas, a former UN Special Rapporteur, says that intensified US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela during the crisis are “insane”, and possibly genocidal.

Guest: Alfred de Zayas, former UN Special Rapporteur and law professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.

Annalise Hofmann – She Comes and Goes

As I’ve said on this blog before, where are they getting the extremely high estimates for how many in the US will get sick and how many will die. I compared what happened in China to where we are and what we’re doing and didn’t, and still don’t, see the actual numbers justifying the extreme estimates. It took a while for China to lock down. We may even be doing it much earlier than they did, relatively speaking, but not early enough.

So, here’s Kim Iversen’s take. She mentions plenty of good points, but my understanding concerning South Korea is that they could follow the sick via the great deal of surveillance equipment everywhere there.

Her point about the higher test rates skewing the percentage is very valid.

Fact Vs. Fear: A Look At The Numbers