Usher's News & Analysis for May 12, 2020

As I wrote quite some time ago, selfishness is the problem. COVID-19 is driving home the point.

I see that even former-President Obama recently employed the term. Just how genuine he was being remains to be seen. I hope he really meant it.

The most immediate ideological battle going on is between the selfish and the self-sacrificing. The self-sacrificing are willing to put up with inconveniences while hoping the federal government will fund what's needed. Those self-sacrificing ones do so for the sake of those who would otherwise get seriously sick or die due to contracting SARS-CoV-2. The selfish are protesting against being subjected to those same inconveniences and to a lesser degree, moves to get the federal government to step up with its unlimited checking account.

If we knew how to identify in advance all those who would become seriously ill, theoretically at least, we could protect them rather than "locking down" everyone. We don't know yet how to identify those who would become seriously ill. The disease has attacked and even killed thousands in ways and for reasons simply not yet understood even by the best medical and scientific minds. They are working on getting the answers; however; until they have the answers, it strikes me as small- cold- and hard-hearted to be unwilling to practice the very reasonable measures prescribed by noninvasive medicine and science.

Read it! This thing:

... attacks the heart, weakening its muscles and disrupting its critical rhythm. It savages kidneys so badly that some hospitals have run short of dialysis equipment. It crawls along the nervous system, destroying taste and smell and occasionally reaching the brain. It creates blood clots that can kill with sudden efficiency and inflames blood vessels throughout the body.

It can begin with a few symptoms or none at all, then days later, squeeze the air out of the lungs without warning. It picks on the elderly, people weakened by previous disease, and, disproportionately, the obese. It harms men more than women, but there are also signs that it complicates pregnancies.
... Experts say it will be years until it is understood how the disease damages organs and how medications, genetics, diets, lifestyles and distancing affect its course.
... two intertwined causes.

The first is the harm the virus wreaks on blood vessels, leading to clots that can range from microscopic to sizable. Patients have suffered strokes and pulmonary emboli as clots break loose and travel to the brain and lungs. A study in The Lancet, a British medical journal, showed that this may be because the virus directly targets the endothelial cells that line blood vessels.

The second is an exaggerated response from the body’s own immune system, a storm of killer “cytokines” that attack the body’s own cells along with the virus as it seeks to defend the body from an invader.
“The virus can attack a lot of different parts of the body, and we don’t understand why it causes some problems for some people, different problems for others — and no problems at all for a large proportion,” Elkind said.

Doctors keep discovering new ways coronavirus attacks body

I want to say that concerning the article immediately above that originated at the Washington Post, I've been reading "alternative" news on the subject for months and months. Much of what is in the WaPo article has been in the alternative media. Much of the alternative media coverage also explains what the alternative-medicine practitioners say may help ward off or treat the disease — not will help, but may help. A great deal of it is definitely science-based.

Nevertheless, the alternative reporting gets censored in the mainstream media because of corporate connections, sponsorships, and advertising dollars. That should be illegal.

I understand the MSM is not public enterprise. Regardless, concentration within that industry constitutes a monopoly and should be broken up under antitrust laws. It hasn't happened because we have crony capitalism in the USA and the law makers in general are captured, just as are the regulators.

What is he talking about?

“We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers’ money that we do it carefully,” Mnuchin said.

It's not taxpayers' money. It's new money, money that is not coming from taxpayers.

House Democrats readying new $1.2T coronavirus stimulus bill

Donald Trump falsely claimed the numbers surrounding coronavirus cases in the United States were “going down almost everywhere” in a tweet on Monday — despite easily verifiable data showing an increase in new infections nationwide.
The daily death rate in the US remains well over 1,000 people, as more than 20,000 cases have been confirmed each day in recent weeks. Health officials have warned those numbers are holding steady — and in some cases, increasing ....

I think he may mean the rate of increase, but even that's quite tentative because rates are going back up where lockdowns have been relaxed long enough.

Trump is falsely claiming coronavirus numbers are 'going down almost everywhere' — here's the truth

Absolutely nobody but top insiders at the Wuhan lab knows whether the virus escaped the lab. At this point, it's not right for anyone else to say it came from there or didn't come from there.

How the Right-Wing Disinformation Loop Helped Kill Virus Research Funding

While falling emissions may not have significantly affected climate change, there have been some positive environmental outcomes from the pandemic. Air quality in cities around the world has improved over the last few months, according to preliminary studies.

“While this can’t be detected everywhere quite yet, there are signs in India and California, for example, that air quality improvements have been dramatic,” said Desai, the UW-Madison climate scientist.
While it is unclear how large carbon emission reductions will be for 2020, it is certain that the overall amount of carbon in the atmosphere will increase this year. Emissions have not fallen significantly enough to remedy any of the impacts on the climate, and current drops are unlikely to continue.

Fact check: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t slowing climate change

... President Barack Obama, in his final days in office, played a key role in fanning the flames of phony scandal. Fully briefed on the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation, he knew the FBI had come up with nothing despite months of work starting in July 2016.

Well, this is still a question. Was he literally fully briefed? We know he taught constitutional law, so he won't be able to plead ignorance about the law. What we need to know is the degree to which his administration and he went to give him so-called "plausible deniability."

Can he deny he was informed that the basis upon which the investigation had been predicated was totally unsubstantiated? Can he deny he was informed that the investigation had come up with nothing?

The investigation never should have taken place and wouldn't had, had I been the President. Can Obama get away with playing dumb? He should have asked the right questions and demanded truthful answers. Had he done that and made it stick, he would have had no choice but to tell his administration to drop the investigation.

At the very least, he did not do the right things and he knew he wasn't doing the right things.

It looks like President Obama ordered up phony RussiaGate scandal

So, this is the exact opposite of Trump saying he won't "bail out" states that supposedly have been poorly managed. In this case of the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, the issue concerns only the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

Trump is accusing Democrats of deliberately keeping things locked down for political purposes. To be honest, the thought never entered my mind concerning the Democrats. I've detected not a shred of that the entire time I've been reading and reading and reading the moves of various Democratic and Republican leaders. Also to be honest, I've wondered the degree to which Trump is looking out for the nation versus his own poll ratings heading into the election. I've given him the benefit of the doubt on it. I think he's erring on the wrong side. He wants to rush reopening when everything I'm seeing is screaming that doing that is in-your-face foolish. If he keeps it up, and I think it's already too late, he won't get away at all with claiming he wasn't pushing to "hurry up" and reopen. Yes, he'll be able to claim he meant reopen with a certain degree of restrictions still in place, but that won't save him. The "reopening" has been, and remains, grossly premature.

Pennsylvania governor threatens to withhold coronavirus aid to counties that defy lockdown orders

These guys are anarchists, armed, and dangerous. They may think they're doing the right thing, but they are definitely not. They are being hugely selfish and for no good reason at all. They're doing harm.

If this sort of thing keeps up, the governor, Gretchen Whitmer, will be justified under the secular law and the US Constitution in calling out the national guard if she has to, to restore law and order. As far as I'm concerned, she's shown great restraint.

'Police will have no entry': Michigan militia vows to protect barber refusing to close business

In apologizing for the mistake, NBC tweeted that it “inadvertently and inaccurately” cut the video.

“Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis. The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.said that “the remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error,” the tweet said.

If that's true, who's been fired for gross ineptitude.

How could anyone run with the cut and couch it as "He was almost admitting that, yeah, this is a political job." Even if Barr hadn't made any further comment, it would still remain totally illogical to conclude "this is a political job." Democrats write history too. They win too. The story, the reporting, was a smear no matter how one spins it after-the-fact .

NBC News Apologizes for ‘Inaccurately’ Quoting William Barr

This issue really is whether Tesla is practicing all of the necessary safety and health protocols.

Parking lot appears full at Tesla after CEO Elon Musk sues over shelter-in-place

If Elon Musk has simply reopened without the proper precautions, he too is an anarchist and endangering his employees and the community at the very least. I would consider it a criminal act.

“It’s good government to put out a message prophylactically that warns off would-be fraudsters or would-be ne’er-do-wells who don’t really need the money, and basically say, ‘We’re putting our eagle eyes out and we’re going to take a hard look,’” said Zornberg, now a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Davis, the Digimarc CEO who’s counting on his loan, had a different view.

“Nobody wants to go to jail. I mean, that’s a big hammer,” he said. “It’s really insensitive to the well-intentioned leadership of these small public companies to scare the daylights out of them when they have a need.”

I agree with both of them, so it's important that government assure people that the government would have to prove fraudulent intent.

Small Firms Join Rush to Return Loans After Rules Revisions

Environmental groups including the Western Watersheds Project and Basin and Range Watch have been trying unsuccessfully for years to persuade the Bureau of Land Management to build the project elsewhere.

The article doesn't say where the environmentalists suggest it should be built.

When I read about such huge projects, I often wonder whether smaller, local efforts would be better. It's the direction I lean. Also, what about the entire supply chain, from cradle to grave? Lastly, how much and how effective is the recycling associated with the project?

Biggest US solar project approved in Nevada despite critics

Coronavirus cripples millions of Americans’ ability to pay mortgage loans

Yes, electric cars are more emission heavy in the initial production process than a traditional gasoline car, especially ones with large battery packs like a long-range Tesla or a Jag iPace. However, as we continue to convert our power grid to more efficient and zero-emissions practices like wind, solar, and hydroelectric that initial penalty is rapidly made up for by a wholesale lack of tailpipe emissions.

Electric Cars Are More Green Than Ever As Coal Declines

What mismanagement?

"Even states that began the year in a strong fiscal position are facing staggering deficits amid growing costs of responding to the crisis," the letter from the five Western states says. "Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions – like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders."

Coronavirus daily news updates ...

With deaths mounting at the nation’s nursing homes, the White House strongly recommended to governors Monday that all residents and staff at such facilities be tested for the coronavirus in the next two weeks.

Why the government is not ordering testing at the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes was unclear. Nor was it clear why it is being recommended [only] now, more than two months after the nation’s first major outbreak at a nursing home outside of Seattle that eventually killed 45 people.
Washington state officials said Monday that their goal is to test all long-term care residents and employees but did not provide specifics. A spokeswoman in Gov. Jay Inslee’s office said completing testing depends on the timeliness of the federal government in providing promised testing supplies.

White House recommends tests for all nursing home residents

Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association, said officials were slow from the start to help prepare and protect the country’s skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. While the initial focus was on urgent hospital needs, workers in these centers struggled for weeks with a lack of personal protective equipment and limited testing.

“The inability to access a sufficient supply of masks has made it virtually impossible to stop the virus inside of buildings,” Parkinson said.

The organization is also pushing for expanded, rapid testing for all facility residents and workers because many can still carry the virus without showing symptoms.

Focus on Nursing Home Workers Amid Continued Virus Outbreaks

“It’s a lack of resources that is really contributing to and exacerbating the issue in these nursing homes,” he said. “They have to be fully resourced and they aren’t, which is why it is spreading like wildfire there and these [residents] just can’t take it.”
“My concern is that the nursing home space is going to continue to have a deteriorating reputation as a result of this and their occupancy rates are going to be way down – therefore making less money – and they are already not able to pay their insurance premiums,” McNitt said. “Their insurance isn’t going to go down, in fact, it’s going to go up and they already can’t even afford it. It’s going to be a bad time to be a nursing home operator.”

... “How many families are going to want to put their families in a nursing home after what just happened? And staffing is going to be a huge issue for them, and it was already an issue before. ...
... Whether it’s healthcare or it’s non-healthcare, there is a standard of care that is the measuring stick upon which liability is established. Given the unique set of circumstances that this virus provides, how do you measure or hold accountable an organization against the standard of care that really doesn’t exist?” ....

COVID-19 Hits Already-Troubled Nursing Home Insurance Market; Brokers Try to Help

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has ordered all nursing home staff to be tested at least twice a week for the virus and is barring hospitals from discharging any COVID-19 patient to a nursing facility until that individual tests negative for infection.

If a nursing home is deemed unable to provide proper treatment and support for a recovering resident, that person is to be transferred to the care of the state, which Cuomo said now has ample hospital bed capacity for such patients.

New York Strengthens COVID-19 Safety Measures for Nursing Homes

The Seattle City Council passed legislation Monday to protect renters, ensuring evictions that occur during and six months after the COVID-19 crisis can not be used against renters in the future.

Seattle City Council legislation protects renters evicted during COVID-19

What happened to New York shock the residence into cooperating with authorities to slow the spread.

... New York City, ranked first in most-quarantine compliant in the survey of U.S. cities. Overall travel in the city dropped 71.37% since the start of the outbreak, and the city has experienced the largest decline in public transit ridership of any U.S. metro: 81.89%.

Study: Seattle is one of the most quarantine-compliant cities in the nation

"Our team has shown that administering a specific spectrum of UV-A light can eradicate viruses in infected human cells (including coronavirus) and bacteria in the area while preserving healthy cells," Dr. Mark Pimentel, executive director of the Medically Associated Science and Technology Program at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, said in a news release.
It's premature to say at this point that the technology is "to be used" as a treatment for COVID-19, as the Hollywood LA News headline states. The Healight technology is in pre-clinical stages of development and has not been tested on humans. It is among many potential treatments being researched.

Fact check: COVID-19 UV light treatment is being studied — not yet in use — in Los Angeles

A Cedars-Sinai research team is in the pre-clinical stages of developing a technology that harnesses intermittent ultraviolet (UV) A light for treating viruses and bacteria. The technology has not been tested or used on patients. Cedars-Sinai has filed for patents related to the technology and has signed a licensing agreement with Aytu BioScience with the aim of potentially enabling near-term use as a COVID-19 intervention for critically ill, intubated patients.

Cedars-Sinai Statement on UV (A) Technology

In February, President Donald Trump released his federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, calling for a cut of more than $693 million at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as a $742 million cut to programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. Overall, the president’s budget proposes a 9% funding cut at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a 26% cut at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, massive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid spending, and funding decreases for safety net programs such as food and housing assistance.
On the flip side, the president’s budget requests an additional $231 million for HHS’ Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative, $50 million more for global health security, $40 million more for flu planning and response, and more than $13 million in additional funds for vector- and tick-borne disease. It also proposes an additional $48 million for infectious disease and opioid addiction, $50 million more for CDC’s Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, and an extra $10 million for public health lab capacity. The budget proposal also calls for an increase of $12 million to support CDC’s work to expand Maternal Mortality Review Committees to every state and Washington, D.C.

Trump budget proposal a disinvestment in US health: Cuts to CDC, HRSA

Factoring in the Employment Discrepancy

Unemployment Rate = ((23.078 + 6.431) / 156.481) * 100 = 18.6%
The BLS is very aware they published a bogus number.
Here is the pertinent BLS statement.

If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to “other reasons” (over and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical April) had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher than reported (on a not seasonally adjusted basis).

However, according to usual practice, the data from the household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity, no ad hoc actions are taken to reclassify survey responses.

Data Integrity

To maintain “data integrity” the BLS reported a number known to be bogus.

A 6.4 Million Descrepancy In The Employment Report - RIA

Finally! I've been waiting for this for months.

Doctors have reported that adding zinc sulfate, a dietary supplement, to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit patients with coronavirus disease, adding a twist to the controversy over the rationale for prescribing hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19.

Doctors at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine have found that adding zinc sulfate to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin already given to Covid-19 patients decreased the need for ventilation or admission to intensive care units, and lowered mortality.

Zinc hope in coronavirus fight

Told ya they didn't have any evidence.

... last Friday, after years of being hidden by corrupt lying Representative Adam Schiff in Congress, a number of testimonies related to the Russia collusion sham were unveiled after Schiff received pressure from Richard Grenell, the Acting Director of National Intelligence (ADNI). One transcript was from Crowdstrike’s Shawn Henry who stated under oath that Crowdstrike had no evidence that Russia even “exfiltrated” the emails from the DNC. The whole ‘Russia stole the DNC emails and sent them to WikiLeaks’ story was a fraud.

I didn't need his testimony to know it. All I had to do was read CrowdStrike's report.

As for Clevenger's alleged allegations, we'll have to wait for any actual evidence.
Clevenger Alleges Office of DNI Has Communications Between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks

Bombshell: Crowdstrike admits 'no evidence' Russia stole emails from DNC server

Crowdstrike, the firm that accused Russia of stealing DNC emails in 2016, has made a bombshell admission. In newly released Congressional testimony, Crowdstrike president Shawn Henry said that "we did not have concrete evidence" that alleged Russian hackers actually took the emails from DNC servers. "There's circumstantial evidence, but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated," Henry said.

Aaron Maté breaks down Henry's testimony and why it adds new doubt about the core allegation at the heart of Russiagate.

US Commercial Real Estate Prices Plunged in April, Mall Prices Collapsed

Saagar Enjeti: Media faces 'Extinction Level Event' as Russiagate, #MeToo IMPLODE

Saagar Enjeti discusses the media's partisan coverage of Russiagate and the 'Believe Women' movement during the Trump era, highlighting their failure to cover Flynn’s recusal.