Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 27, 2020

Mini editorial: Look, bail everybody out. Everybody’s being hit. The proper ideological approach will prove everyone can be bailed out. What more do you want? Do you want that message diluted?

We can rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic later. Let’s focus on the highest priority and get that done. Let’s save lives.

Who cares if the richest guy on Earth gets richer while we do it? We can turn our attention to him later.

Let’s save the people handling the food supply and all the others on the frontline!

Let’s imagine … that Bezos, who accumulates $9 million an hour, lived in a world with Bernie Sanders’ 8% wealth tax (just on fortunes over $10 billion). A single year would see $9 billion flow from Bezos’ treasure trove into government coffers, more than enough to cover the 10-year cost of Elizabeth Warren’s universal child care plan ($1.7 billion) and maintain safe drinking water under Sanders’ plan ($6 billion).

Know Your Billionaire: Jeff Bezos

They have about as much proof that Maduro is a narcotrafficker as they have that Trump was ever Putin’s puppet, which is exactly zero.

Warning, neocon/liberal nonsense ahead: Venezuela President Maduro wanted by DOJ for drug trafficking, Barr announces

It’s charges such as those that show just how corrupt our government is. Are there no honest people in US leadership? William Barr picks and chooses where he’ll apply the truth. He’s picked wholesale lies and utter fabrications concerning Maduro. He’s done it for empire as a servant of the plutocracy, not the people.

Trump also appears to have missed an opportunity to make a deal with President Moon to provide millions of COVID-19 test kits to the United States in exchange for dropping outrageous military burden-sharing demands in Special Measures Agreement (SMA) negotiations.

… The Trump administration’s removal of a Center for Disease Control representative in Beijing and disbanding of a National Security Council office in charge of global health and security and bio-defense have become political liabilities.

Unmasking Differing U.S. And South Korean Approaches To COVID-19

China reports one new local coronavirus case in three days …

The total number of cases in the U.S. reached 82,404 Thursday evening, eclipsing China’s 81,782 cases and Italy’s 80,589, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

US now has more coronavirus cases than either China or Italy

It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if all of them were to get the relief.

“Shamefully, several million immigrants and their families across the country who are working and paying taxes will not receive a dollar from this COVID-19 relief package,” the National Immigration Law Center said in a statement. “Immigrants are on the front lines confronting this virus in our health care sector, harvesting food for our tables, and caring for our loved ones. We had hoped our congressional leaders would have done the right thing and included them in this relief package.”

Millions of immigrant families won’t get coronavirus stimulus checks, experts say

America’s Banks Are Here to Help: The Industry Responds to the Coronavirus

What I’ve been saying since the beginning and even though I’m for total, quick, local-pocket lockdowns before things ever spread:

Coronavirus: Why is there still no toilet paper in stores?

“There is no model right now — no reality on the ground where we can see that 60% to 70% of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks. I want to be clear about that.”

Dr. Birx: Coronavirus Data Doesn’t Match The Doomsday Media Predictions

Duh! and I mean it.

… a 2016 White House playbook has come to light detailing how a federal procurement response should have begun two months ago.

The 69-page National Security Council document, revealed in reporting by Politico, outlines a full set of strategies for dealing with a pandemic — from detecting outbreaks, to securing funding, and making use of the Defence Production Act.

The playbook even asks government officials to consider: “Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?”

Trump administration ignored pandemic playbook which would have secured ventilators and masks for hospitals two months ago

The libertarian-right is just worried that the wage slaves will catch on. Let’s not lift the lockdowns prematurely.

… there is no evidence to suggest suicides would outnumber coronavirus deaths. This talking point allows the very politicians who would send workers into perilous conditions to posture as responsible public servants who just want to save lives. Such false branding is especially nefarious because these same politicians oppose the very social programs that are vitally needed to reduce such deaths of despair during a recession.

Studies show that strong social programs and spending help reduce the devastating lethality of an economic downturn. A study published in February in the journal Social Science & Medicine analyzed welfare state policies across all 50 states from 2000 to 2015. It found that higher participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, “is associated with lower overall and male suicide rates.” According to the study, increasing SNAP participation from 2000 to 2015 “could have saved the lives of approximately 31,600 people overall and 24,800 men.”

… if we collectively mustered the political will, we could create robust emergency social programs to keep the millions of people in free fall right now from crashing to the pavement. What kind of relief and mental solace could it bring people struggling with despair if they knew that, during this crisis, they would receive sizeable government checks every month, a moratorium on rent and water shutoffs, and free and universal single-payer healthcare? Providing these things is within our power.

But it is not within our power to keep people from dying if Trump gets his way and restaurants and bars reopen and schools re-start their classes come Easter.

The GOP Is Exploiting Fears of Rising Suicides to Protect Wall Street Profits

… “[b]usiness interruption policies were generally not designed or priced to provide coverage against communicable diseases” and that any proposals to require the payment of claims that are not covered “would create substantial solvency risks for the sector, significantly undermine the ability of insurers to pay other types of claims, and potentially exacerbate the negative financial and economic impacts the country is currently experiencing.”

… the damage this would cause to the broader economy. NCOIL noted that legislative action to require payment for such losses would destabilize insurance companies, “render them unable to pay claims for which they did accept the risk,” and “jeopardize the solvency of any number of insurers.”

If the insurance industry is to bail out businesses that did not purchase coverage for the pandemic, then the government should stand ready to bail out the insurance industry. I don’t think it’s ready to do that.

The entire industry runs on the fact that it will be solvent in the face of claims. If the government undermines that, the industry will collapse. Will the government then stand in the place of the insurance industry to supply all the coverage the industry is currently supplying? By definition, that can’t happen in a mixed economy.

Coronavirus: State, Federal Officials Eye Business Interruption Intervention

If the article has properly characterized what happened, I’m with the nurse and figure the hospital will reverse its decision.

In Suit, Nurse Says Chicago Hospital Fired Her for Warning About Masks

Insurance is a very heavily regulated industry.

Florida Regulator Outlines How Industry Can Help Insureds During COVID-19 Response

Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers last week, with the Labor Department reporting Thursday a surge to 3.28 million.

The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982.

… People need to understand, this is not a typical downturn,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier Thursday on NBC’s “TODAY.”

“At a certain point, we will get the spread of the virus under control. At that time, confidence will return, businesses will open again, people will come back to work,” he added. “So you may well see a significant rise in unemployment, a significant decline in economic activity. But there can also be a good rebound on the other side of that.”

However, the near-term damage will be dramatic.

Jobless claims soar past 3 million to record high

The EPA is currently led by anti-environmentalists.

“This EPA statement is essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future. It tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way ’caused’ by the virus pandemic. …

“It is not clear why refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities that continue to operate and keep their employees on the production line will no longer have the staff or time they need to comply with environmental laws,” Eric Schaeffer, a former director of civil enforcement at EPA who is now with the Environmental Integrity Project, wrote in a letter signed by a number of environmental groups in anticipation of the memo.

EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

Just hold it a second “liberals,” the jury is still out.

Bahrain, Belgium report coronavirus treatment touted by Trump is working for patients

More Studies Show Warm, Humid Weather Could Slow The Spread