Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 26, 2020

Today, Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order and a claims advisory notice to all authorized and unauthorized property and casualty companies and licensees that conduct insurance business in Washington state.

The emergency order instructs all P&C carriers in Washington state to allow a grace period to policyholders for the payment of premiums until May 9, 2020. The grace period includes a ban on cancelations and any late or related fees due to nonpayment of premiums.

Kreidler orders property insurers to give grace periods, halt cancelations until May 9


“We squandered the first window of opportunity,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The time to act was actually more than a month ago or two months ago.”

Expand, train and deploy health-care workers
Implement systems to find suspected cases
Ramp up production of tests and increase availability
Identify facilities that can be transformed into coronavirus health centers
Develop plans to quarantine cases
Refocus government on suppressing the virus

“If there’s any lesson from this pandemic, it’s that we need stronger public health systems,” on a national and global level.”

WHO Issues a Rare Public Scolding, Saying Countries Wasting Time – Bloomberg

Military personnel and NYC Medical Examiner’s Office employees were spotted outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday as the makeshift morgue was set up
Huge white dome-like tents and multiple refrigeration trucks were set up as part of the makeshift facility
The coronavirus death toll in New York City has risen to 192 and there are now 17,000 confirmed cases, accounting for more than half the cases in the hardest-hit state in the nation
More than 2,800 people in the city are hospitalized because of the virus – double the figure from three days earlier – and more than 600 are being treated in intensive care
In New York state, there are now 30,000 coronavirus cases and the death toll is currently 285
Health officials have said morgues in New York city are expected to reach capacity within a week
Morgues run by the Medical Examiner’s office, which stretches across all five boroughs, have the capacity to hold 900 bodies.

NYC prepares for the worst: Military sets up makeshift morgue using tents and refrigeration trucks outside Manhattan’s Bellevue hospital in preparation for surge in coronavirus victims as NYC’s death toll rises to 192 and city morgues near capacity

Marshall Burke, a professor at the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University, who reviewed the data for The Independent said: “I think they show pretty clearly that air pollution has declined as a result of the epidemic.”

In an article he wrote earlier this month, Mr Burke noted that air pollution in China caused by economic disruption likely saved twenty times more lives in China than have currently been lost directly due to infection with the virus in that country.

Satellite images show emissions drops over European cities amid coronavirus lockdown

We need to whip both the virus and the carbon-fuel industries. We’re in a war against both or should be.

Good of them:

We believe that making our code available to the world will enhance trust and collaboration in dealing with a global threat that does not respect boundaries, political systems or economies. Together, we can make our world safer for everyone.

[However] There is no way to contact trace someone who doesn’t have the app installed on their phone.

Singapore Government’s COVID-19 Tracing App Is Now Open Sourced

The 880-page legislation includes direct payments to individuals, stronger unemployment insurance, loans and grants to businesses and more health care resources for hospitals, states and municipalities. It includes requirements that insurance providers cover preventive services for the coronavirus disease COVID-19.

… House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., expect the House will take a voice vote.

“Members who want to come to the House Floor to debate this bill will be able to do so. In addition, we are working to ensure that those who are unable to return to Washington may express their views on this legislation remotely,” he wrote.

… the “odds are high” Congress will need to pass more aid measures.

Senate passes $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, sending it to the House


Ban companies that take government loans from buying back stock until a year after the loan is paid back
Bar employees or executives who made at least $425,000 last year from getting a raise
Stop President Donald Trump and his family members’ businesses from receiving emergency taxpayer relief. The provision also applies to Vice President Mike Pence, heads of executive departments, members of Congress and their family members

Here’s the part gig workers should focus on.

Boost unemployment insurance, adding $600 per week for up to four months on top of what beneficiaries normally receive from states. It expands eligibility to self-employed people and independent contractors

Here’s what’s in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

Told ya so.

A Green New Deal co-author panned Speaker Nancy Pelosi for including “tiny” airline emissions standards in the House’s coronavirus response package, arguing now is not the time for token environmental provisions when Americans’ livelihoods are hanging in the balance.

Saikat Chakrabarti, the former chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called Pelosi’s idea “ridiculous” to include carbon emission language in legislation designed to keep Americans from losing their incomes, homes and businesses during the pandemic.

“Imagine if Pelosi had passed a simple, 5-page bill that just did the obvious stuff everyone knows [could] hold the economy together,” the AOC ally tweeted. “Payroll covered, debts pause[d], direct cash to people, 0% interest loans for business. Then dare the Senate to oppose it. We’d have a bill last week.”

AOC ally pans ‘ridiculous’ Pelosi claim on climate change measure in coronavirus bill

California Gov. Gavin Newsom: 5 of largest U.S. banks to suspend mortgage payments

There will be more if needed.

Cuomo slams $2T stimulus package as ‘terrible’ for New York

Help for small businesses

The bill would give small businesses access to a nearly $350 billion loan program to cover monthly expenses like payroll, rent and utilities. The loans would not have to be repaid if businesses maintained their workforce. [Emphasis added]
The eight weeks of assistance would be retroactive to Feb. 15, 2020 to help bring back workers who have already been laid off.

Coronavirus stimulus bill: what it does for Americans, small business


…we should observe that the idea of ending the nationwide practice of social distancing by April 12 is regarded by the medical and epidemiological community as insanely premature.

Signs have emerged already, in California, New York and abroad that this method is beginning to work — but only beginning. Lifting the quarantines before time would invite a resurgence of the contagion, at immense cost in lives and livelihoods.

Hume, plainly no expert on epidemiology, just doesn’t get the distinction between the flu and the novel coronavirus. The flu doesn’t create a surge of patients that overwhelms hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units to the point that its sufferers, not to mention other patients, can’t get treatment.

The flu doesn’t create a demand for life-saving ventilators for patients or protective gear for doctors and nurses that can’t be met, thus threatening providers’ lives. But those phenomena have happened in places like Italy and are surfacing in parts of the U.S. such as New York City. …

The country we live in isn’t the stock market. It’s the lives of people, their families, their aspirations. Trump and his acolytes propose to sacrifice them to save a mythical economy measured in the short-term vacillations of the Dow Jones industrial Average.

Column: Amazingly, politicians are debating which matters more — your health or the stock market

This next linked article is a small book on the subject. Here are two things that stood out quickly.

… those who are claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return also won’t be receiving a payment.

The payments will be made between now and December 31, 2020 — in many cases, it will be paid electronically if you have provided direct deposit information to the IRS on your 2018 or 2019 tax returns — but it’s important to understand that any payment you receive acts as an advance payment of a credit you will compute AGAIN on your 2020 tax return.

Congress Reaches Agreement On A Coronavirus Relief Package: Tax Aspects Of The CARES Act

… the majority of those taxpayers who received this letter should worry, particularly if (1) they are using their captive primarily as a tax-savings tool as opposed to an insurance-savings tool, or (2) they are in a risk pool regardless of their intentions.

… so far no risk pool involving predominantly 831(b) companies have survived scrutiny, and it is anybody’s guess as to whether one will. My guess is that low-deductible and first-dollar risk pools (there are only a very few of these which can even be found) that are not simply a pass-through to the insured’s captive have a decent chance of withstanding an IRS challenge, but the rest such as high-deductible risk pools, second-dollar risk-pools, or those which pass most of the risk back to the insured’s own captive, are very likely DOA.

The IRS Sends Soft Warning Letters To Thousands Of 831(b) Risk-Pooled Captive Owners

Starbucks Is Giving Free Coffee to First Responders, Healthcare Workers During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Apple will donate 10M face masks to healthcare workers

I’m on record as opposing the Federal Reserve as it is now constituted remaining the monetary authority for the United States. It should be the US Treasury that is the US Bank. In addition, the amount of money put into circulation should be democratically decided by the voters, not representatives who can “vote their consciences.”

Democrats Include ‘Digital Dollar’ Proposal in Stimulus Bills

What’s the matter with finance capitalism? What isn’t?

Fed Enlists BlackRock In Its Massive Debt-Buying Programs

The gigforce is really up against it. I’ve never liked the libertarian push to create these “jobs”/”businesses.” I think all gig workers should be employees.

Gig workers have been on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic. They drove travelers coming from around the world before the extent of the crisis was understood. And now, they shop and deliver food to those who’ve been quarantined and often take sick people to hospitals. California, along with several other states, has recognized gig workers’ importance, deeming their labor “essential” — meaning they can continue to work even as the virus spreads.

… Because gig workers are classified as independent contractors, they lack the same benefits as employees. Drivers and delivery people for these services don’t have company health insurance, sick leave, family leave, disability or workers compensation. They don’t qualify for unemployment. And they haven’t been provided protective gear since the outbreak erupted.

Sick pay for coronavirus is hard to come by, gig workers say

A sign of a deflationary recession on the horizon if the fiscal stimulus remains insufficient:

Negative rates come to the US: 1-month and 3-month Treasury bill yields are now below zero

Totally wrong:

Does this mean the U.S. government can spend an unlimited amount of money?

No. There is only so much the government can borrow without raising interest rates and crowding out private investment. …

At some point, if central banks create too much money, they will produce an increase in inflation ….

The US government can’t spend an unlimited amount of money without causing inflation. Creating money and spending it are two different things.

The government doesn’t have to borrow a dime to issue a dime or a dollar or $10T, and the two authors for the Brookings Institute know it. They aren’t telling you that. Ask them why that is, as if you don’t already know.

As for crowding out private investment, what’s that to do with anything? The government can fund private investment via fiscal stimulus if that’s what the people want. We didn’t go to the Moon solely via the public owning the means of production. We went to the Moon by letting contracts out to bid, which private enterprises bid on.

It’s article such as this one that holds back the People, nation, and world. Articles such as this one are written by people paid to omit. It’s lying by omission as directed by the plutocrats who fund the Brookings Institute.

Where is the US government getting all the money it’s spending in the coronavirus crisis?

Four Seasons Provides Free Rooms to NYC Coronavirus Doctors – Bloomberg

“FireEye observed APT41.” Exactly how did they know it was APT41/China? They claim it was via FireEye’s telemetry. That’s not convincing proof.

[Alleged] Chinese Hackers Use Cisco, Citrix, Zoho Exploits In Targeted Attacks

This is QE all over again only more.

“It is unprecedented for the government of the United States to own the corporate debt obligations of the private enterprises in this country. That is new territory,” Dave Nadig, chief investment officer and director of research at ETF Trends, told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Monday. “Short term, of course, we know what this means: buying pressure that’ll bring up the price of the ETFs.”

It’s not the US government owning them. It’s the Fed. The Fed is not the US government! If you doubt it, just start mentioning how the Fed has been nationalized. You won’t hear that the Fed was already part of the government. You’ll hear that the Fed has not been nationalized. It’s still private. It’s not even a GSE.

How the Fed’s bond-buying stimulus could affect ETFs

I first read about this back in the 1960’s and 70’s when Dr. Linus Pauling was a leading advocate for vitamin C. I used vitamin C myself to whip pneumonia when I was in college. The amount of C I took would shock you. It was a buffered powder I took orally. It did cause diarrhea, but that was over quickly after I stopped the treatment. This is anecdotal, and I’m not practicing medicine here as a licensed physician.

New York hospitals treating coronavirus patients with vitamin C

While it’s unclear exactly which treatment is the most effective, my guess is that Dr. Paul Marik’s intravenous vitamin C protocol for sepsis would be a good starting point, seeing how sepsis appears to be what kills those who succumb to a serious COVID-19 infection.

Marik’s retrospective before-after clinical study14,15 showed that giving patients IV vitamin C with hydrocortisone and vitamin B1 for two days reduced mortality from 40% to 8.5%. The precise protocol used was 200 mg of thiamine every 12 hours, 1,500 mg of ascorbic acid every six hours, and 50 mg of hydrocortisone every six hours.16 Importantly, the treatment has no side effects and is inexpensive, readily available and simple to administer.

How Can We Best Prevent or Treat COVID-19 Infection?

Establishment politicians and strategists in the Democratic Party have long fixated on the necessity of winning the swing vote. And there’s one principal way they believe such swing voters can be won over: by moving rightward.

These Dems would love nothing more, they assure us, than to put forward a bold, progressive agenda—but, they explain, “electability” requires we listen to a small but mighty group of swing voters who make up the margin of victory, and who will run into the GOP’s arms if spooked by policies they consider too radical. So don’t scare them: Split the difference between what you really believe and whatever barbarities Republicans are advocating, and keep your policy proposals safe and centrist.

But this logic has been proven spectacularly wrong, as recently as 2016.

The centrist argument for Hillary Clinton in 2016 was that, while she may have been compromised by her political history of pro-corporate and pro-war policies, her political “moderation” would endear her to swing voters who would spare us a President Donald Trump.

However, it’s too late unless Bernie Sanders stops being so damn “nice” to Joe Biden and his ilk, which isn’t going to happen. Therefore, there’s only next time. Progressives will have to put up and back a super-tough candidate, one who’ll call out the fakes and phonies for what they are (including all the establishment Democrats).

BTW, I’m not looking at AOC right now. She’s been into identity politics way too much; however, she could change. Regardless, I’m holding out for an economic-democracy advocate.

Everything else is just so much noise by comparison. Economic democracy will lead the way to fixing everything fixable. Nothing else will.

The Swing Voter Chimera

How to keep your smartphone coronavirus-free

The next few months — and maybe years — likely will be the most challenging for the fraud-fighting community. Are you ready for it?

The article mentions “What’s different this time.” I didn’t see it mention that the fiscal stimulus will be bigger and faster and repeated as needed. That will help keep people above water. Hopefully, they’ll be less likely to commit desperate fraud.

Preparing for the worst of times


Uber’s proposal drew sharp criticism from labor unions. “A ‘third way’ is just a euphemism for creating a new underclass of workers with fewer rights and protections,” said Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation.

As Coronavirus Threatens Gig Workers, Uber Presses for New Worker Classification

A tanker truck overturned down an embankment, spilling up to 6,000 gallons of crude oil into a river that flows into a dam and reservoir near the city of Santa Maria, authorities said.

Overturned Tanker Yields Large Oil Spill Near California Dam, Cleanup Needed

Statement by an industrial capitalist, not a finance capitalist (notice the difference):

… aside from generating fees for Wall Street, share buybacks do zero for the economy. What would have happened in the US economy if that $4.6 trillion in capital that companies incinerated by buying back their own shares since 2012 would have been invested in equipment, structures, expansion projects, and people, or would have been used to reduce debt so that companies, such as Boeing and the airlines, wouldn’t be in such a precarious situation today?

That capital that was incinerated by companies buying back their own shares would come in handy for companies that are now begging for and getting mega-bailouts from taxpayers and to an even larger extent from the Federal Reserve.

Share Buybacks Are Toast for 2020: Oops, that was the $4.6 Trillion Driver of the Stock-Market-Bubble

If they look carefully, they’ll see that the US sanctions are completely illegal under international law (an impeachable offense by the way) to which the US is signatory, making that law part of the highest law of the land per the Constitution.

“We also agree in supporting the request by Iran and also by Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund to have financial support,” he said further but without disclosing details.

European officials consider the situation as urgent and see the US pressure campaign as greatly exacerbating the death toll given Iran lacks much of the basic medicines and equipment to treat at-risk patients and mitigate the outbreak.

EU Shrugs Off US Sanctions, Gives Millions In Coronavirus Aid To Iran

Altındiş said that South Korea was successful in restraining the pandemic because it was testing 20,000 a day, and that China reduced transmission by shutting down the infected city of Wuhan – but he said that there had not been widespread testing or strict lockdowns of major cities in Turkey.

The Health Ministry has tested more than 24,000 people, but this number may quickly rise after the arrival of 50,000 quick diagnostic kits from China on Monday. A further 300,000 are expected to arrive on Thursday, the ministry said.

China’s with Syria against Turkey, so what did China extract from Erdogan, anything?

Turkey’s coronavirus situation is out of control – health experts