Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 23, 2020

Don’t panic. Don’t listen to the fearmongers and crisis profiteers. Just be careful. We can whip this thing and learn from it so we can set up a vastly better system.

PERSPECTIVE:
** The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic killed 675,000 out of US population of 103,268,000 or about — 1 in 200
** The 2020 Coronavirus has killed 396 (so far) out of a population of 333,546,000 or a little more than — 1 in a million

As we have reported several times now — the Director of the World Health Organization created an international panic when he miscalculated the coronavirus mortality rate at 3.4%.

This doesn’t mean lockdowns are a bad idea but quite the contrary. If we do them early and locally and enforce them and if we trace people who may be spreading diseases, we’ll be able to stop things long before they reach the epidemic stage and long before any vaccines are needed, some of which come with serious side effects, including death for some. We’ll save lives and reduce stress for everyone, even the quarantined.

As TGP Predicted: Coronavirus Mortality Rate in US Dips to 1.2% of Confirmed Cases — When Will WHO Be Held Accountable?


Russia delivers over 100,000 Covid-19 test kits to 13 states, including Iran & North Korea

The US media chooses to cast a sinister light on it.

Putin Flies Help to Virus-Stricken Italy, Exploiting EU Fumble


‘They could work’: Coronavirus drug trials to begin in N.Y. state, Cuomo says


What I’ve been saying:

… folks needed to be jolted. I — I — you mentioned in the tape that it’s no time to panic, but just as — just the same, it’s no time for business as usual. We won World War II not because we panicked. We were smart. We were aggressive. We worked hard. That’s what you’re going to need right now.

… the more aggressive we are on the front end, and social distancing, the better a shot we have on the back end of keeping more people alive and safe.

They needed it back in early January when the US government knew full well what was happening in China.

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy on State Shutdown: “Folks Needed To Be Jolted”


… we must make structural longterm changes to redesign our systems so that everyone’s basic needs are met, the planet is protected and we end gross inequality.

Response to the pandemic and economic collapse are already showing change is possible. As part of what may be nearly a $2 trillion stimulus, even Republicans are urging cash payments to most people in the form of a short-term universal income, providing businesses with financing so they do not go bankrupt, and the government taking an equity share of large industries that seek financial support. … evictions and water and power shutoffs are being stopped. It is our responsibility to push for what we need and to ensure these crises are not used to put harmful policies in place.

In the longterm, we need to demand that we do not go backward. This includes creating a universal, publicly-funded healthcare system that is free at the point of service, ….

We can make the 2020’s a decade that completely transforms our healthcare, economic, and environmental systems and more.

The Decade Of Transformation Is Here: Remaking Health Care


Any changes need to be written in a way that directly address all reasonable concerns. However, I see in the requests a sense for the need to be out front: to be ready rather than caught without a plan in place. If the requests cause concern over potential abuse, then offer up modifications so the plan protects against abuse but doesn’t rest on the inadequate status quo.

DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic


Anyone who whines about ransomware but doesn’t advocate for banning cybercurrencies used by the evil criminals is being foolish.

The Maze ransomware group has published personal and medical details of thousands of former patients of a London-based medical research company after failed attempt to disable the firm’s computer systems.

Cyber gangsters hit UK medical firm poised for work on Coronavirus with Maze ransomware attack


Trump seems to hate nature. He appears to be a city slicker who loves money more than anything else.

As the U.S. faces an unemployment crisis, economic meltdown, and a public health emergency with the coronavirus, the Trump administration moved quietly on Friday to further threaten dozens of endangered species in the southeastern United States by proposing the planting of genetically engineered crops on wild public lands.

“It’s a no-brainer that this kind of pesticide-intensive agriculture shouldn’t be allowed on public lands that are critical to wildlife conservation and preservation of the unique ecosystems of the southeastern U.S,” said Hannah Connor, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement.

By the way, if you still think Trump is a Putin-puppet, Putin banned GMO crops in Russia.

With Nation Distracted by Public Health and Economic Crises, Trump Moves to Allow GMO Crops in Wildlife Refuges


Agreed:

Keeping families stable requires universality and equity, which can be corrected later through progressive taxation. Forcing people to contend with administrative quagmires in the midst of a crisis guarantees that far too many fall into the cracks. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has presented a bold $2 trillion plan including direct monthly cash payouts of $2,000 to every household, 100% payment of unemployment benefits for everyone who loses their job as a result of the crisis as well as moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures, utility shutoffs and loan payments. A similar set of proposals was put forward Wednesday by House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, including billions of dollars in grants to small businesses.

These are the types of policies begin to meet the scale of the crisis—and represent the clear way forward for a party that claims to represent working people.

Nevertheless, the Republicans should do their best to extremely quickly create legislation that will pass by being sure that the legislation states that the rich and super-rich will face the consequences of a large majority wanting at least a more fair distribution of wealth. Personally, I’m for a fair distribution not just a more fair distribution.

However, if legislation needed by the poor doesn’t pass while the Republicans are willing to make sure the poor are not left behind but the Democratic leadership is standing in the way because the rich and super-rich will also get some of the same pie, then I will hold those Democrats more responsible for the pain and suffering of the poor.

While Mainstream Democrats Fumble, Bernie Sanders Is Modeling a Serious Response to Coronavirus


Good point:

… while targeting based on income may seem like a smart move, it carries significant risks in unintentionally leaving out people who should be included, particularly given how many are losing their jobs right now.

Let me also remind everyone that debit cards are vastly better than paper checks in the mail.

The Right Way to Give Everyone Cash in the Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis