Monday, March 16, 2020

Last Call For Table For Zero, Con't

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is joining neighboring Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and is ordering dining areas of restaurants and bars closed until further notice as of tonight.

You won't be able to sit and dine in your favorite Northern Kentucky eatery due to novel coronavirus concerns.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday morning that dine-in options at restaurants will cease after 5 p.m. But, since takeout and deliver is still an option, Northern Kentucky officials encouraged residents to grab a to-go order of their favorite sub or dish to support businesses.
Beshear is a Democrat, but - like his Ohio GOP counterpart Mike DeWine - he earned praise from both parties.

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann, a Republican, told The Enquirer he planned to order the same amount of food from local restaurants as he did pre-pandemic to support the establishments.

“From all the experts’ opinions, it seems like (Gov. Beshear) is doing the right thing,” Knochelmann said. “He’s not overreacting.”

Boone County's Republican Judge-Executive Gary Moore also agreed with the governor’s decision, adding that “we do not want to look back and say we should have done more.”

For Gary Moore to praise Andy Beshear is about as deep into the Upside Down as you're going to get in local NKY politics, and a very good sign that all the local politicians realize that they won't be employed as politicians anymore if they don't get behind Beshear's efforts to flatten the curve.

I don't think it will keep hospitals in Kentucky from being overwhelmed in 2-4 weeks, the cuts in America's health care infrastructure over the last 40 years are just too deep, and the sheer number of untested and unconfirmed cases in Kentucky and other rural states is just too high.  People are infected now, they are sick now, but they don't think they have COVID-19.  The ones who do are going to be filling ERs and hospitals very soon.

The results of a busted virus curve scenario won't be limited to red states either. Some 90% of America was never equipped to handle a local epidemic, let alone a national or global pandemic.  Large cities like NYC and LA would be to an extent just from scale, but elsewhere it would have bitten into the already unethical profits of the health care and hospital chain industry. 

Medical supplies, hospital beds, and contingency plans for emergencies that don't get used don't make profits. Local, rural hospitals have been ravaged in just the last three years by Trump.  Even a cluster of a dozen cases that require hospitalization in some rural counties in Kentucky would be a nightmare that would cost lives.

What few resources that are going to available will be consumed by the end of the month in most places.  After that, it's the mobilization of the National Guard, FEMA, and the US Army in setting up temporary medical facilities and field hospitals to handle the triage in April and May.

A lot of people will recover from the illness, but will still be contagious and could possibly catch a different strain of COVID-19.  It will take several months for us to get to the herd immunity stage and several more for an effective vaccine.

In the meantime, it's going to be like wildfire containment.  Pockets are going to be burned down as containment measures are put into place.  Those people inside the pockets are going to have to deal with the spot shortages brought on by quarantine/lockdown/containment.

I don't know how bad it will be in Kentucky, but we're nowhere near starting from an optimal position.

Trump Goes Viral, Con't

There is a panic component, and a mistrust component to COVID-19, especially in the markets.  The Federal Reserve has dusted off the 2008 playbook, starting with cutting interest rates back to zero as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell puts on his Helicopter Ben Bernanke hat and is dropping $700 billion on the markets.

The Big Casino is open for business again, gang!

The Federal Reserve, saying “the coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” cut interest rates to essentially zero on Sunday and launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus.

The new fed funds rate, used as a benchmark both for short-term lending for financial institutions and as a peg to many consume rates, will now be targeted at 0%-0.25% down from a target range of 1% to 1.25%.

Facing highly disrupted financial markets, the Fed also slashed the rate of emergency lending at the discount window for banks by 125 bps to 0.25%, and lengthened the term of loans to 90 days.

The markets said "Thanks, I hate it" and immediately went limit down on futures, because the Fed agreeing to blowing all of its ammo this early in the proceedings (when the economy was in record low unemployment/record high markets territory just 30 days ago) now has everyone truly scared.

Powell added that the Fed would be "patient" before raising interest rates again thanks to COVID-19's massive downward effects on the economy.

But nobody's buying it (quite literally, everyone is selling it off).  Trump's press conference yesterday was an absolute disaster.  Again. Nobody believes him anymore, and the markets absolutely tanked as a result.  The Dow was down 12% this morning, some 2,700 points, when trading resumed after the circuit breaker kicked in at the open.

Now the Trump regime is blaming the market losses on "foreign disinformation".

The Trump administration is alleging that a foreign disinformation campaign is underway aimed at spreading fear in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, three U.S. officials said Monday.

On Sunday, federal officials began confronting what they said was a deliberate effort by a foreign entity to sow fears of a nationwide quarantine amid the virus outbreak. Agencies took coordinated action Sunday evening to deny that any such plans were put in place, as they tried to calm a nation already on edge by disruptions to daily life caused by the virus.

The three U.S. officials did not name the foreign entity they believe to be responsible. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

“Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE,” tweeted the National Security Council Sunday night. “There is no national lockdown.” The NSC encouraged Americans to follow official government guidance.

The Trump regime is bound and determined to escape any responsibility for this, aren't they?

It won't work, though.  Trump spent the day telling the nation's governors that they were on their own and that they needed to "do more"  Trump especially singled out NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo to attack.

President Trump on Monday chided New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) following a call with governors across the country on the coronavirus, saying the New York governor "has to 'do more.'"

The president swiped at Cuomo in a tweet in which he declared that the teleconference "went very well."

Just had a very good tele-conference with Nations’s Governors. Went very well. Cuomo of New York has to “do more”.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020

Cuomo, who has at times been sharply critical of the administration's handling of the pandemic, quickly hit back, tweeting that Trump is the one who is "supposed to be the president."

As I said before, Trump is going to dump the blame for this on as many blue state governors as he can, and I'm convinced Fox News State TV will be calling on all of them to resign by the end of the month.

How bad are things? This bad.

The math doesn't lie.  Add at least one zero, if not two, to those numbers for the true figure.

It's going to be bad within weeks, if not days, not months.

Trump's daily COVID-19 "task force" press conference held a few minutes ago in another effort to try to salvage the markets failed spectacularly as the Dow crashed by 3,000 points at closing. He dragged out the experts and finally let them speak, and they basically scared the crap out everyone.

It was needed.  But it came at a price, just like Trump's years of lies and attacking the media.

The grim reality is here.  We're now at a net loss in the markets for the Trump era.  Things are not going to improve soon.

Buckle up, and buckle in.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Donald Trump could be about to pardon convicted former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn using the COVID-19 pandemic as political cover. 

President Trump said Sunday that he is considering pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The tweet from Trump came as the country is in the midst of a national emergency as officials work to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, with schools, businesses and other institutions shutting down.

“So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has ‘lost’ the records of General Michael Flynn,” Trump said in a tweet. “How convenient. I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!”

It is unclear what records Trump was referencing when he alleged that the Justice Department had “lost” material related to the case.

Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney, has argued in court that prosecutors have failed to turn over certain documents to Flynn and his legal team that might be exculpatory, but her allegations have been disputed by prosecutors and rejected by the federal judge overseeing the case. In any case, there have been no new filings in the case in several weeks.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. But in a stunning reversal two months ago, Flynn asked a federal judge for permission to withdraw his plea, alleging that prosecutors breached his cooperation agreement by demanding false testimony.

The judge later canceled a sentencing hearing for Flynn that had been scheduled for late last month.

Trump pardoning Flynn would be about the most corrupt act of his regime so far, and that's absolutely saying something. Doing while using COVID-19 as cover would be jaw-droppingly evil, and yet there's every indication that Trump will do it and get away with it without a scratch.

Trump is ignorant and has no empathy, but he's not stupid and he's shamelessly crafty.  It would a another total win for him and he knows it.


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