Usher’s News & Analysis for Dec. 22, 2020

To self-identified progressives:

We do not need to cut military spending or increase taxes on the rich to pay for every American to have a high quality of life (economically speaking). Cutting military spending is a political hurdle. I'm anti-war, but that doesn't alter the fact. Increasing taxes on the rich is also a political hurdle. I'm anti-excess, but that also doesn't alter the fact. Creating a universal living-income doesn't need added hurdles. It needs to get passed and signed into law. The way to pay for it isn't via governmental borrowing but via the government simply issuing the money without issuing debt instruments of any kind. Even without cutting the military or raising taxes on the rich or increasing the national debt or budget deficit, a universal living-income would be difficult to get done because it would free the poor for the first time in human history. You'd think everyone would be for freeing the poor, but you'd be extremely wrong.

Nearly all of the rich are smart enough to publicly avoid the subject. Privately, most of them work together, many of them very consciously and deliberately, to keep the poor right where they are. There's your issue, your battle, the fight you must win, not reducing Pentagon spending, not raising taxes on the rich.

Focus on educating the masses that governmental borrowing is the scam that it is. Explain supply and demand and price inflation to eliminate that canard of the libertarians. Get the People clamoring for a universal living-income with no strings attached, and win!

The door will open. Democracy will have proven itself. There won't be any going back. It will only get better no matter how hard they try to kill it.

The very institutions that we are told exist to keep Americans “safe” have, in fact, worsened the most dangerous and frightening pandemic of our lifetimes. And a government that prioritizes allocating funds to this “security” state has strangled the actual social programs that would have allowed us to mitigate and contain the harms of this crisis much more effectively. The best way to get the crisis under control would be to simply pay people to stay home—i.e. give them a way to pay rent, eat and avoid economic destitution while surviving the pandemic. But, from the beginning, the idea of robust monthly payments was ruled out by both Democratic and Republican leaders alike. Meanwhile, Medicare for All—a universal, single-payer healthcare system—has been declared out of bounds by an incoming Biden administration over “deficit” concerns, even as tens of millions of Americans are forced to go through the pandemic with no health insurance. Stimulus spending has brought some relief, including expanded unemployment insurance and one-off checks. But this relief spending has been a small pittance compared to what’s needed. A federal government that has no problem churning out massive military budgets year after year has not been able to come together to fund a genuine humanitarian response to the Covid-19 crisis that has left more than 300,000 people in the United States dead.

2020 Exposed the Myth of American “Security” - The “security state” not only failed to keep us safe, but worsened the coronavirus pandemic and unleashed violence on the people hardest hit.

Who's right?

Before the liability issue was set aside, the discussion focused on immunity for businesses except in cases of “gross negligence,” something trial lawyers criticize as a fancy way of dressing up full liability from virus lawsuits. ...
“If a business is complying with the requirements, doing the best they can, making the effort to keep employees and guests safe, then there should be some liability shield,” Brown said. “If they’re working hard and trying, they shouldn’t be penalized for something that’s really outside their control.”

Businesses, Lacking Legal Immunity, Fear COVID-19 Lawsuits

... misrepresented the number of his employees and the total amount of payroll, the D.A.’s office said.

The alleged fraud resulted in $176,265 of underpaid insurance premiums to the State Compensation Insurance Fund and another $39,608 in underpaid taxes to the State of California Unemployment and Disability Insurance Tax Program.

Local contractor pleads guilty to fraud

Throwing the tern "progressive" around loosely:

Progressives Win Key Appointments To Biden’s Economic Team

Good move:

In 'Important Step Forward,' Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee Removed From U.S. Capitol

Very true:

For the past four years, the U.S. media have regularly peddled sensational claims of Russian malfeasance, from alleged interference in elections, to alleged assassination programs against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, among many other such tall stories. Never has any verifiable evidence been presented to back up these lurid allegations. The cyber domain is a particular favorite for such anti-Russia claims, most likely because these stories are handily told without any real evidence. All that is required is for anonymous cyber security agents to be quoted.

Here's more.

Lamentably, it looks like Biden’s hands are being tied even before he is inaugurated. The image of Russia as “evil enemy” has been burnished by this week’s media onslaught over hacking claims. And Biden has responded in appropriately gas-lit fashion.

The question to be asked is: who gains from this? Certainly not Russia.

U.S. Deep State [neocons] Preempts Reset in Relations With Russia

The other economically illiterate US Senator from Kentucky:

Rand Paul TRASHES fellow Republicans in FIERY Senate floor speech

The debt does not have to increase when the government issues more money. If supply and demand are matched, there is zero price inflation. Everything else is just noise.

The birthplace of democracy doesn't like it.

Turn on CC.

Unprecedented: MeRA25 MP has immunity stripped and is prosecuted for criticising the police | DiEM25

Authors: How Bush Family, Western Elites Corrupted By Chinese Communist Party Money

Clive Hamilton & Mareike Ohlberg share the inspiration for their book, Hidden Hands: Exposing How The Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping The World, and explain what went into writing it.

As many as 433,700 excess cases of the virus and 10,700 additional deaths were caused by states lifting their eviction moratoriums between March and September, one recent study found.

"When you're looking at an infectious disease like Covid-19, evictions can have an impact not only on the health of evicted families, but also on the health of the broader community," said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the study's authors and a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

National eviction ban will be extended through January in stimulus deal

This will not work unless the federal government steps up and pays the back rent.

New WA program plans to help curb conflict after eviction moratorium

Covid relief bill offers 11 weeks of extra unemployment benefits, $300 boost and a supplement for some gig workers

This is a shocking indictment of bad government!

Cummings joins millions of workers in the U.S. who filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits and never received a payment or even a reply since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as the virus forced people to stay home, shuttered businesses and sent millions of Americans into unemployment. Nine months into the pandemic, lack of unemployment checks has forced people to move out of their homes, borrow money from friends and family and deplete savings.
Stettner of the Century Foundation said the federal government could help by offering states technology, expertise and funding to secure unemployment systems and devising a single national system of unemployment benefits rather than leaving it up to individual states.

Streamlining unemployment payments would not only help millions of Americans survive the pandemic but also fuels the economy, he said.

“We haven’t let the economy spiral out. We’ve kept consumer spending strong,” Stettner said. “A big part of that is unemployment benefits.”

Millions of Americans unemployed because of COVID-19 are still waiting on unemployment money