Usher's News & Analysis for May 13, 2020

Americans have become more critical of President Donald Trump over the past month as the coronavirus outbreak in the country has deepened, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows 56 percent of those surveyed now disapprove of Trump, up five points from a similar poll in mid-April. Trump's approval rating slipped four points to 41 percent.

What took so long?

Trump support ebbs as coronavirus death toll climbs


The health department at California's Alameda County said it received a prevention and control plan from Tesla for restarting its factory in Fremont, a key requirement for resuming production beyond minimum basic operations.

"We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla's representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations," the health department said in a statement.

"If Tesla's Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week," it added.

Tesla employees returned to work at the car plant this week, which was reopened despite local health orders.

In its statement, the health department said it will work with the Fremont Police Department to verify Tesla adheres to the health and safety measures agreed upon.

Alameda County health department says it recommended additional safety measures to Tesla


This one is particularly important.

More than one million people around the world have been deemed recovered from the coronavirus, but beating the initial sickness may be just the first of many battles for those who have survived.

Some recovered patients report breathlessness, fatigue and body pain months after first becoming infected. Small-scale studies conducted in Hong Kong and Wuhan, China show that survivors grapple with poorer functioning in their lungs, heart and liver. And that may be the tip of the iceberg.

The coronavirus is now known to attack many parts of the body beyond the respiratory system, causing damage from the eyeballs to the toes, the gut to the kidneys. Patients’ immune systems can go into overdrive to fight off the infection, compounding the damage done.

Virus Survivors Could Suffer Severe Health Effects for Years


A foreign policy built upon facilitating terrorists is one evil foreign policy.

US anti-ISIS chief says his goal in Syria is to create a ‘quagmire’ for Russia, not battle terrorism


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both said the legislation in its current form is too aspirational. McConnell said the bill doesn't "deal with reality," while McCarthy referred to it as a "liberal wishlist."

Democrats and Republicans, including at the state and federal levels, have been divided over providing funding for state and local governments. Tax revenues have dried up across the country as communities cope with the economic ramifications of the lockdowns intended to slow the spread of the virus.

McConnell and McCarthy don't know what they're doing. They don't grasp the seriousness and urgency. The US will go into a deep depression unless the federal government spends our way out of it.

It could easily take more than anyone has estimated, and I've already said I was shooting for $15 trillion, with the vast, vast majority of it to be handed right to individuals who need it the most. That was before the recent bad news about the virus doing a great deal more damage than initially thought.

Nobody knows if a vaccine that actually works will be developed before the virus rips through again and maybe again. Nobody knows the virus will simply die of old age. We haven't seen everything possible under the Sun. I hope it will die, but it's dumber than a doorknob to play politics with it.

McConnell and McCarthy want to err on the side of wild gambling rather than be sensible and take actions that will work whether the virus lets up or gets worse. They want the government to fail so concentrated wealth in private enterprise can move in and buy everything up at pennies on the dollar.

The Pelosi bill doesn't go nearly far enough, yet the Republicans are complaining it's too far to the left?

Go ahead and hold out against it. If your crapshoot fails and the economy tanks (including the stock market), the real left will come roaring back and steamroller both the neoliberal conservatives and so-called moderates. You're teaching the next generation that caving in and cooperating doesn't work.

The only thing that works is taking over.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill is a 'big ticket' for a 'big problem'


Krystal Ball: Pelosi rolls the left, they meekly protest

Krystal Ball discusses the $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill House Democrats unveiled that adds no funding for additional healthcare, no paycheck guarantee, and blasts progressives for relying on the "next time" narrative to get their provisions included in relief bills.


During the interview with FBI agents Strzok and Joe Pientka in the White House, Flynn said "not really" when asked if he had sought to convince Kislyak not to escalate a brewing fight with the U.S. over sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, according to a contested FD-302 witness report prepared by the FBI. Flynn also demurred when asked if he had asked Russia to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, according to the FBI. The Obama administration abstained in that vote.

At various points, Flynn also suggested to Strzok and Pientka that such conversations might have happened or that he could not recall them if they did, according to the 302. The 302 indicated that Flynn apparently was aware his communications had been monitored, and at several points he thanked the FBI agents for reminding him of some of his conversations with Russian officials.

That's the whole ball game.

Flynn also suggested to Strzok and Pientka that such conversations might have happened or that he could not recall them if they did .... The 302 indicated that Flynn apparently was aware his communications had been monitored ....

He should never have been charged. It's as clear as can be.

Flynn judge to allow 'amicus' submissions, delaying immediate resolution and drawing planned ethics complaint


More than 50 kids in New York City have coronavirus inflammatory syndrome, mayor says


... Social Security needs more money now, not less.
Will President Trump's plan devastate Social Security?
...
... Cutting payroll taxes simply isn't a great way to get extra cash into the hands of people who no longer pay them since they no longer have jobs.

Does Trump want Wall Street to takeover after he bankrupts Social Security? He's said that he'll always protect the federal program. Well, what's his plan to fund it if he slashes payroll taxes?

Trump's Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Would Reduce Social Security Funding When It Needs It the Most


While there was no hit to his credit score, the note on his credit report saying the loan is in forbearance makes it impossible for him to refinance. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which, along with the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, fund or insure the vast majority of mortgages from lenders, do not allow borrowers with a loan in forbearance to either refinance or obtain a new loan until one year after the loan payments are up to date again.

Some homeowners are getting mortgage bailouts [forbearance] by mistake, and it's keeping them from refinancing


Kroger to end 'Hero Pay' coronavirus bonus ...


“The nature of the U.S. economy is that the Fed, and maybe the Treasury, or Congress, may borrow money to bail out those in distress, partly because the U.S. economy is so indebted, that they can’t let debts be liquidated, lest we have a depression,” he wrote. “Thus, low interest rates, low marginal productivity of capital, and low GDP growth.”

Warren Buffett’s ‘outdated view’: One longtime fan is considering dumping his entire Berkshire stake


In the most sweeping sign yet of the long-term impact of the coronavirus on American higher education, California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, said Tuesday that classes at its 23 campuses would be canceled for the fall semester, with instruction taking place almost exclusively online.

Fearing a second wave, California State university system will keep classes online in the fall


When a person tests positive, they will receive a phone call from a contact tracer, Inslee said. The tracer will ask where the person has gone and who they’ve been in contact with. They’ll then call those people — ideally within 48 hours — telling them they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive, and asking them to self-quarantine until they can be tested themselves and test negative.

Washington has 1,371 people trained and ready to begin tracking down the coronavirus


... one of the biggest drivers of soaring rents of the past ten years — the so-called “Airbnb effect,” which has removed millions of properties from global cities’ long-term rental markets — is losing its power.

City mayors and city councils will try to take advantage of its waning power to ensure that vacation rentals return to the traditional rental market. For tenants who’ve had to endure years of soaring rents as wages have generally stagnated, it’s good news at long last, assuming they’ve still got jobs with which to pay the rent.

Airbnb Gets Disrupted. Hosts, “Super-Hosts” Try to Survive. Apartments in Prime Locations Suddenly Flood Rental Market


A four-year mapping study found fault lines surrounding Utah’s most populous region are capable of producing devastating earthquakes.

Researchers Find Utah Fault Lines Bigger, More Dangerous Than Thought


Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Lee Zeldin

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) tells The Hill’s Steve Clemons that it is absolutely imperative that Congress moves further to shore up finances of state and local governments that should not be blamed for pandemic consequences, argues U.S. must rethink supply chains and dependence on Chinese manufacturing and technology.