Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 24, 2020

Criminals can use email, websites, phone calls, text messages and faxes to sell false insurance deals. Phishing scams mimic reputable organizations. There’s no magic medical protection against corona infection. Your best vaccine is wariness, healthy skepticism and a smart awareness of insurance cons that may come after you.

Let’s vaccinate against corona insurance scams

China lied. They stalled for time. After that, they’ve pretended how well they did controlling the virus spreading.

December 6: According to a study in The Lancet, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified was “Dec 1, 2019 . . . 5 days after illness onset, his wife, a 53-year-old woman who had no known history of exposure to the market, also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.” In other words, as early as the second week of December, Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

January 21: The CDC announced the first U.S. case of a the coronavirus in a Snohomish County, Wash., resident who returning from China six days earlier.

By this point, millions of people have left Wuhan, carrying the virus all around China and into other countries.

Did she eat food from that market without visiting it? Even if she did, there were many following situations where human-to-human contagion was obvious while the Chinese authorities were still insisting there was no evidence of it.

The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies

This doesn’t excuse the US not instantly locking down Snohomish County. If it had, if the Governor here had, and if all other pockets that presented had also been totally locked down/quarantined, we’d not be facing anything remotely as disruptive as we are. Everyone quarantined could at that moment have been guaranteed full compensation for all losses due to the quarantine. That would have been a drop in the bucket relative to the “costs” we’re now incurring.

Such measures must be written into national and local law at the soonest opportunity after urgent emergency legislation is passed and signed into law.

This China-Italy pattern will obviously repeat nation after nation until the virus has run its course. The more we lock it down, the sooner it will be over.

Coronavirus: Italy Sees Slight Slowdown In Deaths And New Cases

Progressives know this “liberalism” is not the way to handle the pandemic.

The article drones on and on pretending that the deficit matters. It doesn’t. Given the authority, I could pay it off in a fraction of a second and with a one-off moderate increase in inflation that I could then rein in, in a flash.

Pelosi’s coronavirus stimulus includes return of ‘Obamaphones,’ other unrelated items, GOP says

I wrote the following before reading the article just so I wouldn’t be prejudiced by it. Now is the time to get help to the poor, the lower economic-classes no matter how much the upper economic class may benefit and no matter how many things on the “liberal” wish list do make it into emergency relief/stimulus legislation. First you get the relief out the door and into the hands of the needy. Once it’s been shown to work, then you turn around and point to it with the statement that it work to meet the emergency and we can repeat it to eliminate poverty and to put into place the Green New Deal, etc. That’s what progressives know, and that’s why they aren’t with Nancy Pelosi’s tactics that serve to delay relief. Sure, they aren’t on board with the certain Republicans out to benefit the corporate CEO’s over the working class either.

Pelosi gives ammo to the Anti-Progressive Movement.

Nancy Pelosi’s supposed ‘relief’ bill has provisions for ‘corporate board diversity,’ student loans, and a Postal Service bailout

Sen. Kennedy slams Democrats: ‘Some of my colleagues are acting like a-holes’

Sometimes, Lindsey Graham can be an extreme airhead/corporate shill.

“Democrats are trying to reduce student loans by $10,000. What the hell has that got to do with the virus?” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News on Sunday.

What is needed right now is not solely “virus” oriented but stimulus and general-relief oriented.

Student debt has been a real drag on the US economy. Creating student debt was the dumbest, most anti-educational thing in my lifetime. Right now it the perfect time to get rid of it all, not just $10K or $30K but 100% of it.

House Democrats unveil bill to cancel $30,000 in student debt per borrower amid coronavirus

It’s about time!

The state of Washington on Monday issued a stay at home order effective immediately, Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a series of tweets.

The order says Washingtonians must stay at home except for essential activity, which includes grocery shopping, doctor appointments and essential work duty, Inslee said. People can still go outside for a walk, a bike ride or to garden, but they must remain six feet away from others at all times, Inslee said.

“This order is enforceable by law ….”

“… must remain six feet away from others at all times ….” Six feet is no a magical boundary. Wind direction and speed are critical. A sneeze in still air can often carry particles 50 or more feet.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issues stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus outbreak

Certain investment bankers belong behind bars. They are as bad as war-profiteers.

Banks Pressure Health Care Firms to Raise Prices on Critical Drugs, Medical Supplies for Coronavirus

“The health risks in a natural environment can be made much worse when we interfere with it.” Exactly!

Increasingly, says Jones, these zoonotic diseases are linked to environmental change and human behaviour. The disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before, she says.

The resulting transmission of disease from wildlife to humans, she says, is now “a hidden cost of human economic development. There are just so many more of us, in every environment. We are going into largely undisturbed places and being exposed more and more. We are creating habitats where viruses are transmitted more easily, and then we are surprised that we have new ones.”

… human health research seldom considers the surrounding natural ecosystems, says Richard Ostfeld, distinguished senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. He and others are developing the emerging discipline of planetary health, which looks at the links between human and ecosystem health.

“There’s misapprehension among scientists and the public that natural ecosystems are the source of threats to ourselves. It’s a mistake. Nature poses threats, it is true, but it’s human activities that do the real damage. The health risks in a natural environment can be made much worse when we interfere with it,” he says.

‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?

… U.S. surpassed 35,000 on Monday, making it the nation with the third-highest number of infections in the world, behind only Italy and China.

The death toll in the U.S. from the COVID-19 virus reached 471 ….

That’s 1.35%

US coronavirus cases surpass 35,000, now the third-highest infected nation in the world

$2.1 trillion is below where I’d start and with an eye on doing twice that much and again and even again because doing that will be necessary to put the US on a really solid footing.


… even well-targeted stimulus could end up being underpowered. The optimistic scenario for coming months is that a fast, large, and well-targeted fiscal response combines with progress on public health interventions (testing, testing, testing) to allow the economy to start growing rapidly starting in July. If many workers laid off in the previous three months have received federal support and businesses have been given loans and other aid to get through this quarter, then many labor market matches that existed at the beginning of March can be reestablished. Shuttered restaurants, for instance, can open back up and be largely staffed with the same people who were staffing them in February.

But the longer workers and businesses have to go without aid and search desperately for other economic coping strategies, the harder it will be to reestablish these matches, and the longer recovery will sputter.

The coronavirus fiscal response should be as big as needed—but current forecasts indicate at least $2.1 trillion is needed through 2020

Trump offers Kim help but not Maduro. Why? Kim is an undemocratic “socialist” leader. Maduro is an actual democratic-socialist. Maduro doesn’t have nuclear weapons or the missiles to deliver them. Kim does. Any questions?

Smart move and ethical too:

… Kaspersky decided to facilitate the protection of medical institutions against cyberthreats. We’re offering free six-month licenses for our solutions to health-care companies around the world. This offer applies to the following products:

Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Advanced — our main solution for protecting workstations and servers;
Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud Plus — a cloud version of the solution for workstations that protects your business without placing additional load on IT resources;
Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365 — comprehensive protection for Microsoft Office 365 collaboration services;
Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security (Enterprise Server) — a product that allows you to secure virtual and cloud environments.

Protecting health care

If we completely lock down pockets extremely early and trace, quarantine, test, and treat everyone who may have been infected, barring almost unimaginable diseases, we won’t have to go through what we’re going through now ever again.

Supply Chain Problems Move from China to U.S. and Other Nations

Tornado-Bearing Storms Spread Damage Across Parts of Arkansas, Texas

If Poland did this, it was bad.

Aleksey Pushkov, a Russian Senator and a former chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, said on Monday that Poland refused to let Russian military aircraft carrying aid to coronovirus-hit Italy use its airspace.

Russian Planes Carrying Aid to Italy Blocked From Using Poland Airspace – Russian Lawmaker

Not for the faint at heart:

Slow Wi-Fi? 8 ways to boost your home network

… some users state that they had remote access to the router enabled with a weak admin password.

Hackers Hijack Routers’ DNS to Spread Malicious COVID-19 Apps

The Italian Institute of Health moreover distinguishes between those who died from the coronavirus and those who died with the coronavirus. In many cases it is not yet clear whether the persons died from the virus or from their pre-existing chronic diseases or from a combination of both.

… the most important indicator for judging the danger of the disease is not the frequently reported number of positively-tested persons and deaths, but the number of persons actually and unexpectedly developing or dying from pneumonia (so-called excess mortality).

A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19

I know it’s common knowledge that Bernie Sanders is better on everything government and the People than is Joe Biden. Joe Biden would not make a good President and will not win against Trump if Joe’s the nominee.

These two, Krystal and Saagar, are really on a roll.

Bernie Sanders raises $2 million for charity while Biden is nowhere to be seen

I opposed NAFTA. I opposed “opening” China with no strings attached. I was right.

Krystal and Saagar MOCK Clinton advisor’s [Larry Summers] embarrassing ‘crisis self own’

Saagar Enjeti BLASTS GOP corporate giveaway as workers suffer

Trump intensifies murderous Iran sanctions during COVID-19 crisis

Pushback with Aaron Maté

As Iran struggles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has imposed new sanctions that further weaken the Iranian economy and health system. Assal Rad of the National Iranian American Council discusses the sanctions’ toll on Iran and how the Trump administration’s regime change agenda could lead to bigger catastrophe.

Here’s Kim. My commentary on her commentary is below her video.

South Korea was prepared with testing and surveillance. The US was not prepared. The US can get prepared with tests and tracking. When being prepared is coupled with locking down small pockets, that’s a plan. Being a democratic republic doesn’t preclude quarantining citizens. The quarantining is democratically decided. You already can’t do whatever you want in South Korea. Democracy isn’t anarchy. It’s not statelessness.

The problem people have with being locked up is that being locked up is typically done in awful surroundings. However, if where you’re quarantined is as good as the best facility, isn’t something people should complain about if they, the quarantined, are helping to prevent the spread of diseases that get into society because somehow society has put its nose where it shouldn’t, has done thins it shouldn’t have, often out of ignorance but that also leaves the times it’s deliberate.

There’s a link above about planetary health and how humanity is causing the problems. I agree with that concept.

I also understand the “science” of exposure and immunity, but we humans have been causing problems where “naturally” improving our immunity isn’t the simple answer it was just a few decades ago. We don’t have the knowledge to immunize ourselves naturally or otherwise against every virus and form of bacteria we keep under tight lock and key in high-tech facilities.

We don’t live in a “natural” environment anywhere on the Earth. It has been totally contaminated by humanity’s industrial system.

Also, we can handle the economic consequences, but we can’t retroactively fix society. We can only fix things going forward.

There is no immediate happy balancing of “rights” right now concerning this particular virus. We don’t know enough about this virus yet. We will. Then we can decide. That’s the precautionary principle, and it’s right to apply it right now.