Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 25, 2020

The cost of being a capitalistic enterprise in a pandemic that doesn’t care:

Wisconsin’s insurance commissioner has directed insurers to provide insurance coverage for delivery drivers for restaurants during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, even if those drivers/restaurants previously did not have coverage for such activities. The extra coverage must be provided at no extra cost to the insured, the commissioner’s office reported.

This is the insurance industry bearing/sharing the burden. Of course, every industry is limited in terms of solvency where the federal government really isn’t. The government only needs to worry about issuing too much money that would cause inflation. There’s little to fear in that regard right now. It’s an extremely steep depression we need to avoid, not inflation.

Wisconsin Commissioner: Insurers Must Offer Free Coverage for Restaurant Deliveries

Good business:

Silicon Valley-based insurance company Go on Monday announced it is seeking approval from state regulators to offer a 50% discount on auto insurance to all essential workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Silicon Valley Firm Seeking OK to Give Essential Workers 50% Auto Insurance Discount

Buildings Damaged, Injuries Reported After Tornado Hits Northeast Mississippi

… didn’t know that there were 100,000 Chinese [people] living in northern Italy and that many of them come from Wuhan and that there was a flight between Milan and Wuhan ….

China lies about things, but that doesn’t mean one should automatically dismiss everything that comes out of China. That’s because China isn’t the only nation that lies. I’d love it if there were one nation always truthful. I know of no such nation. Do you?

China’s coronavirus blame game now shifts to Italy

A socialist, anti-Stalinist take:

The Chinese Stalinist dictatorship is, of course, hard-wired for cover-up. Whistleblowers are denounced, arrested, incarcerated. Local officials kowtow to higher officials. Everyone has instructions handed down from above. To admit problems is to admit failure. Careers depend upon cover-up.

But the pattern is similar elsewhere. State authorities and corporate executives cover up disease to protect profits. No-one wants to admit that they are responsible for the release of a new deadly pathogen.

State/corporate conspiracies of silence and obstruction mean that new viruses get a grip before any effective action is taken.

Once released upon the world, they impact upon societies eviscerated by neoliberalism – by the privatisation and rundown of public services, above all of public-health provision.

I think the article is giving the Tory-types too much credit for being able to retain power in the face of this thing, this pandemic. 2008 isn’t that long ago. People in their forties remember is very well. People in their thirties remember but have also read to fill in the gaps they had while the Great Recession was unfolding. My belief is that the “powers that be” are trying to avoid the pitchforks that will come out this time if they try anything remotely like what they did in 2008-9.

The politics of the pandemic

Total lockdown is a smart move (I’ve been advocating it) so long as he’s ready to feed everyone and handle the emergencies that will definitely come up.

“From 12 midnight today, the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown,” Modi said in a television address to the 1.3 billion people in the world’s second-most populous nation.

“To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family … every street, every neighborhood is being put under lockdown,” he added in the strictest stay-at-home order yet in the world’s fight against the deadly bug.

Indian prime minister orders 21-day ‘total lockdown’ to fight coronavirus

An examination of two recently quarantined cruise ships found traces of coronavirus on cabin surfaces up to 17 days after passengers were evacuated, according to data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Virus survived on cruise ship surfaces for more than 2 weeks, CDC reports

SEATAC: I’m hearing more jets taking off tonight than I’ve heard in many days. What’s up with that?

The CCP was aware of the reality of the virus as early as December but ordered laboratories to destroy samples and forced doctors to keep silent,” Hawley, who first called for an investigation last week, said in a press release.

China lies, and it’s lied about SARS-CoV-2 in a huge way not only to the rest of the world but to its own citizens.

Hawley, Stefanik Introduce Bill to Investigate China for Coronavirus Coverup


… it’s not too late to stop the spread of the dangerous bug, which first emerged in December.

“We are not prisoners to statistics,” he said. “We are not hopeless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

Social distancing won’t stop ‘accelerating’ coronavirus pandemic, WHO warns


… time could’ve been used to make the health care and public health systems better prepared for initiatives like contact tracing and personal protective equipment for health care workers.

“When I hear a press conference … not focusing on scaling up our ICU capacity or systematically organizing emergency production of masks … this is not a way to run a railroad,” Frieden added.

Former CDC director: China travel ban ‘made a difference’ but US didn’t prepare enough for coronavirus

The total number of confirmed cases hit 69,176 on Tuesday, but with Italy testing only people with severe symptoms, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said the true number of infected people was probably 10 times higher.

“A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible,” Angelo Borrelli told La Repubblica newspaper, indicating he believed some 700,000 people could have been infected.

However, there was reassuring evidence that Italy’s coronavirus infection rate was slowing.

Latest Italian coronavirus death toll dashes hopes worst is over

Look, I agree that the Democratic leadership is demonically holding people hostage. However, it’s idiotic to say “windmills to kill the birds and ruin the real estate.” His carbon burning has, and still is, killing more birds than all the wind turbines would kill in a thousand years. What does he want to do, fit all of them with little gas masks instead of MAGA hats? That wouldn’t save them from carbon-burning-caused global warming anyway.

Trump: “No Way I’m Signing” Pelosi’s Coronavirus Plan With “Green New Deal” In It

$6T coronavirus stimulus is more like it, but …

Speaking at Tuesday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing, Director of the U.S. National Economic Council Larry Kudlow specifically said the new coronavirus bill working its way through congressional gridlock would total $6 trillion: $4 trillion in liquidity from the Federal Reserve and $2 trillion in new money. Typical annual appropriations from Congress in a given fiscal year are around $1.2-4 trillion, with total expenditures roughly $4.3 trillion.

All $6T should be new money and with no borrowing attached! Borrowing is a scam, and they all know it.

Trump says there’s ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as White House pitches $6T coronavirus stimulus package

Pretty good estimate, as they should err on the side of caution (you know, be conservative in the real sense):

Top Pentagon officials estimate coronavirus outbreak will last 3 months

It will take some time for everyone to get better who will ever get better.

… borrowers need to request the suspension of payment, called a forbearance, from their loan servicers online or by phone. This can help free up cash for other bills or financial obligations during the coronavirus crisis.

You can now pause payments on your federal student loans for 2 months. Here’s what experts say to keep in mind

“As we do all we can to fight this pandemic, we should make sure we don’t lose the most important part of our birthright as Americans … the right to think and say what we believe is true,” he added.

“Freedom of conscience may be undervalued right now, but it underpins everything we have. It is the foundation of a free and decent society.”

“It’s not a small thing. It’s a trend, collusion between big multinationals and authoritarian governments to make you obey,” Carlson concluded. “t’s not paranoid to talk. It’s real. And you should worry about it.”

Tucker warns America will face these three dangers after coronavirus pandemic passes

This also means that if we quarantine it to death, we may not need a vaccine. Even if it survives, we can change the timing and degree of our quarantine efforts so we lock down pockets before any wider spreading while we trace everyone who may have been infected. It would be a better approach than a vaccine, as we often have vaccines pushed on us that aren’t very efficacious at all and come with negative side effects.

Scientists say the coronavirus is not mutating quickly and might respond to a single vaccine

West Virginia Couple Get 3 Years in Renter’s Insurance Fraud Case

The Texas Department of Insurance reports that insurance claim-handling deadlines have been extended for 15 days as of March 20 to help insurers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Texas Extends Insurance Claims Handling Deadlines for 15 Days

We live in a mixed economy: socialistic aspects and capitalistic aspects. Right now, it’s clear that capitalism, per se, could never take the place of government. The laissez-faire capitalists are the ones who equate government with socialism. I’m not saying they’re wrong. I will say, however, that the government we have is not a socialist government. That’s another editorial, though.

If we are to have a mixed economy going forward, what is the right balance? Clearly, the balance has been skewed to the laissez-faire for decades, and only recently has socialism started gaining real traction. This pandemic is being used by some to suggest that authoritarianism is better than democracy. To me, they’ll lose the debate and hugely. Many former Tea Partiers are tripping all over themselves trying to outdo the “liberals” in getting money directly to the poorer classes. That didn’t happen in 2009. It was avoided as much as possible, and we paid the negative price for their shortsightedness.

If anyone tries to cling too much to the way of 2009, to neoliberalism, to corporatism over the People, that one will find that this linked article will resonate with the young as never before and whether Bernie Sanders leads or not.

Eight theses on Covid-19

… Intensive Use of the Internet and Gaming During Coronavirus Lockdowns Affect Broadband Infrastructure

Editorial: If the object of delaying lockdowns is to prep the People, to condition them, so authoritarianism can flourish and so vaccines can be mandated for all, then I will protest via the facts. Not delaying, having tests ready, being able to trace people, being ready to fully fund people who are in quarantine, having excellent facilities ready for quarantining those form pocket of breakouts, these are the answers to authoritarianism and to mandated vaccines that can, and sometimes do, even kill people.

Bad approach:

Use the power of the Federal Reserve to support state and local governments. Through the power granted under section 14(2)(b) of the Federal Reserve Act, the Fed will buy short-term municipal debt securities. This will help stabilize state government finances and provide states and localities the financial support they need to address this health and economic crisis.

The last thing we need to do is reinforce the moronic governmental-debt cycle. Simply issue the money and give it directly to state and local governments on an as-needed basis.

An Emergency Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, by Bernie Sanders


While the globe is facing an unprecedented crisis, this is a moment to come together as human beings and call on the Trump administration to end its illegal participation in the war on Yemen and to lift the blockade that is choking its people.

5 Years of U.S.-Saudi War Have Left Yemen Highly Vulnerable to a Coronavirus Outbreak

True at least to a degree:

Billionaire rhetoric about protecting jobs is a smokescreen. There’s no reason to believe that the Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs, or Donald Trump actually care about the well-being of ordinary Americans. If they did, they would have already supported Bernie Sanders’s plan to issue monthly cash payments of $2,000 to every person in this country and grant paid sick leave to all, or propose something like the United Kingdom’s plan to cover 80 percent of all citizens’ income.

Instead, corporations are profiteering off the crisis and the Republicans are proposing a trillion-plus bailout for corporate America.

They don’t care if we lose our jobs — and they don’t care if we die. As always, all that matters for them is their bottom line.

Trump and Wall Street Want to Send Us Back to Work. They Don’t Care If We Die of Coronavirus.

The following is an unusual thing for me to write: Go on YouTube and subscribe to their channel and also click on the bell next to the Subscribe button if you don’t get on YouTube often or don’t look at your Subscription feed regularly. You’ll get emails telling you about the videos the channel has posted. You can pick and choose which ones to click through to watch. Also click the like button on the videos you like. Tell your friends and family and coworkers to do the same.

It’s amazing corporatist YouTube hasn’t tried to shut these two down.

First he ripped the Republicans. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

Saagar Enjeti: Pelosi’s corporate BS bill tanks immediate payments to workers

Saagar Enjeti talks about the coronavirus relief package including GOP stock buybacks, and Dem amendments that will fund corporate boards.

I must say that Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball could head the US government better than all the current batch of people at the White House and US legislature put together. What Saagar and Krystal know is that the People themselves could do a much better job than the White House and US legislature. It’s well beyond the time for that to happen. What we need is democracy, something we’ve never had.

So, I’m not for any one-party dictatorships anywhere. That said, I agree with Bernie Sanders that Cuba has done somethings very well. Here’s a prime example.

Cuba saves Italians from coronavirus despite US blockade

Red Lines host Anya Parampil provides a coronavirus update, highlighting the heroic work of Cuban doctors who have traveled to Italy to fight the virus. Anya looks at the US government’s war against the doctors and explains the concept of “Cuban medical internationalism”. She also notes how the US medical system is underprepared to manage the impending crisis.