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Mon, 06 Apr 2020
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When will U.S. economy bottom? Economists hunt for the right view

© REUTERS/David Ryder
People practice social distancing while spending time outdoors in the West Seattle neighborhood during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Seattle, Washington, U.S. April 2, 2020.
The economic crisis spawned by the coronavirus pandemic has produced a wave of grim U.S. data, with likely more to come as millions lose jobs, businesses shutter and spending stops.

But at some point, the bottom will be reached.

Given how fast the situation has developed, judging when that happens in real time will prove challenging for economists who usually depend on monthly, quarterly or yearly trends in data to judge the state of the business cycle.

Comment: See also:


Russian Orthodox Church allows believers telecommunication confession during Covid-19 shutdown

russia orthodox
© Sputnik / Sergey Pyatakov
A novel way to administer some traditional sacraments, including confession, has been adopted by the Russian Orthodox Church as the country takes increasingly restrictive social distancing measures to combat coronavirus.

Strict home isolation rules adopted by authorities in most Russian regions have posed a challenge for Christians wanting to continue with their spiritual lives while the pandemic rages. With more 3,500 people infected nationwide, the Church's Patriarch, Kirill, has asked worshippers to stay away from chapels for the moment.

Instead, the Church has promptly come to the aid of its flock and offered them some rather unorthodox ways of participating in traditional sacraments. Most recently, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Synodic Department for External Church Relations, told the faithful that they can use modern technology.

Comment: Back in 2017 Patriarch Kirill made this interesting prediction: 'End Times coming, so don't get all revolutionary!'


Over half of Britons believe government was too slow enforcing lockdown

drone shaming quarantine UK

Many will have seen the films, pictured, taken by Derbyshire (UK) police drones, of lonely walkers on the remote, empty hills, publicly pillorying them for not obeying the regulations. It is genuinely hard to see what damage these walkers have done.
56% of Britons believe the government should have enforced social distancing earlier, but it's having the impact it needs to.

An Ipsos MORI poll, carried out online among 18-75 year olds between 27-30 March, has shown that 56% of people believe that the Government enforcement of social distancing measures were taken too late, whilst only 4% of people felt that they were taken too soon.

The Government enforcement has been effective though with 79% of people now saying they are avoiding leaving their homes up from only 50% before the Government's lockdown last week.

Comment: As noted in How a police state is born:
Any student of history and human nature would recognize that these are the classic symptoms of collective hysteria. Hysteria is contagious. This nation is turning itself inside out as we, thanks to the media, are exaggerating the threat and not stopping to ask if the cure is worse than the disease.


When societies lose their freedom, it is not ordinarily because autocrats or tyrants have forcibly taken it away. It is usually the result of the population willingly surrendering their freedom in return for protection against an external threat. While the threat is oftentimes real, it is invariably exaggerated.
And many will sorely regret their cries for their freedom to be taken away, because they won't get them back as easily:


Pepe Escobar: China rolls out the Health Silk Road

china medical doctors
© Facebook
Chinese doctors in face masks deployed overseas.
When President Xi Jinping was on a phone call in mid-March with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti, before the arrival of a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Milan full of medical help, the key takeaway was the Chinese pledge to develop a Health Silk Road (Jiankang Sichou Zhilu).

That was in fact already inbuilt in the Belt and Road Initiative playbook since at least 2017, under the framework of enhanced, pan-Eurasian health connectivity. The pandemic only accelerated the timeline. The Health Silk Road will run in parallel to the multiple overland Silk Road corridors and the Maritime Silk Road.

In a graphic demonstration of soft power, so far China has offered Covid-19-related equipment and medical help to no fewer than 89 nations - and counting.

Comment: See also:


Coronavirus: It's time for facts over fear

coronavirus title

"The media has provided an unrelenting diet of alarming news about the coronavirus. Get a realistic and balanced perspective of the threat or lack there of based on analysis of government data."

Why aren't people paying attention to facts, and opting for fear instead?

Comment: See also:


UK: Woman fined £660 for refusing to tell police why she was out. UPDATE: Conviction being quashed

UK police

Marie Dinou 'refused to speak to officers'
A woman arrested by police for breaking a new coronavirus law has been fined £660 by magistrates.

According to police, Marie Dinou, 41, refused to explain to officers her reason for essential travel when they found her on a platform at Newcastle railway station.

She was arrested for breaching the new Coronavirus Act and ticket fraud and appeared in court two days later, where she denied both offences. She was found guilty.

Comment: See also: UPDATE: From the Independent:
Coronavirus: How woman 'loitering' at train station was wrongfully convicted in shambolic case
Lizzie Dearden April 2, 2020

No one knows why Marie Dinou was "loitering between platforms" at Newcastle Central railway station on Saturday morning.

She did not tell the police who questioned her, the lawyer who saw her in custody, or the court that found her guilty of an offence under new coronavirus laws.

The 41-year-old is not believed to have spoken a word between the moment of her arrest and the moment she was fined £660 in the first known case of its kind.

Her conviction is to be quashed after police admitted that the wrong law was used to prosecute her, and the case "shouldn't have happened".

The Independent has learned that Ms Dinou was not even in the courtroom when a judge found the offence proven after reading statements from British Transport Police (BTP) on Monday.

She was in the cells of North Tyneside Magistrates' Court as punishment for refusing to give her name and address, after spending two days in police custody.

Ms Dinou is not known to have undergone a mental health assessment, and a nurse was not present at court because of coronavirus.

The court made to formal effort to confirm that she spoke English.

"Defendant refuses to identify herself, sent back to cells and proved in absence," read a short official account of the hearing.

Ms Dinou was convicted of committing an offence under Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Despite having no record of her income or means, the judge fined her £660 and ordered her to pay a £66 victim surcharge and £85 in costs.

The charge sheet said Ms Dinou had "failed to provide BTP officers with [her] identity or reasons for [her] journey", and "failed to comply with a requirement" under the new law.

"Officers approached Ms Dinou and engaged with her in an attempt to understand her reasons for essential travel, but following several more attempts by officers to explain and encourage she refused to speak to officers," a BTP press release said on Wednesday.

"Having explored all options, Ms Dinou was arrested on suspicion of breaching the restrictions imposed under the Coronavirus Act 2020."

But official guidance issued to officers by the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs' Council states that "there is no power to 'stop and account'" under the new laws.

New guidance on the Coronavirus Act 2020 is to be published on Friday.

It came into force on 25 March and had been drafted at a time when the threat was perceived to mainly come from people entering the UK from abroad.

The law enables health officials to direct people to hospitals or testing centres, and gives powers for police to enforce their instructions.

Schedule 21 creates an offence of "failing without reasonable excuse to comply with any direction, reasonable instruction, requirement or restriction" imposed as part of the act.

But the law can only apply to "potentially infectious persons" and is separate to the newer Health Protection Regulations that allow police to enforce the UK lockdown.

Matthew Scott, a criminal barrister at Pump Court Chambers, told The Independent that both the charge and court procedure may have been unlawful.

"I do not understand how they can say that she has committed an offence under the Coronavirus Act because that act doesn't require somebody to give their details to a police officer, and doesn't require them to state the purpose of their journey," he added.

Mr Scott questioned why police could not have fined Ms Dinou for being away from home without a reasonable excuse under the Health Protection Regulations.

"If the district judge decided the case on the basis of written statements because she refused to say anything in court, that on my view is procedurally irregular and incorrect, particularly on a first appearance."

More than half the court buildings in England and Wales have been closed because of coronavirus, and those still operating are only dealing with urgent matters including remand hearings and coronavirus-related cases.

Police have been instructed to use enforcement as a last resort as they grapple with the rapidly drawn up new laws, which underwent little parliamentary scrutiny.

A legal firm routinely instructed by police forces, 5 Essex Court, said in its guidance that the Coronavirus Act only creates a criminal offence if people refuse a direction to a "place suitable for screening and assessment".

The document says that officers identifying a "potentially infectious person" must have regard to public health guidance on symptoms - which Dinou did not have - or contact with infected people.

On Thursday evening, BTP said it had conducted a review with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that "established that Marie Dinou was charged under the incorrect section of the Coronavirus Act 2020".

In response to questions from The Independent, the force said it had asked North Tyneside Magistrates' Court for the case to be relisted and the conviction to be set aside.

"Having reassessed the matter, BTP will not pursue any alternative prosecution," a spokesperson said.

Ms Dinou had been suspected of a railway ticket offence, but the Coronavirus Act was used to prosecute her instead.

Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: "There will be understandable concern that our interpretation of this new legislation has resulted in an ineffective prosecution.

"This was in circumstances where officers were properly dealing with someone who was behaving suspiciously in the station, and who staff believed to be travelling without a valid ticket. Officers were rightfully challenging her unnecessary travel.

"Regardless, we fully accept that this shouldn't have happened and we apologise. It is highly unusual that a case can pass through a number of controls in the criminal justice process and fail in this way."

The senior officer added: "BTP and the CPS will undertake a more detailed review of the case to ensure that any lessons to be learned are integrated into our shared justice processes."

BTP said it has shared official guidance on how to enforce the new laws with officers "to help them interpret the new legislation".
So essentially, the police could have hauled her in, but they charged her under the wrong act. Very reassuring. They probably won't make this mistake again, so UK citizens can look forward to people being arrested for the 'crime' of leaving their house.


Have we all become Nazis? Americans snitch on local businesses & neighbors amid shutdowns

bar restaurant
Scott Horton at the Libertarian Institute is alarmed at how fast the rise in corona-moral shaming is translating into Americans snitching to police and town authorities on local small businesses and neighbors...

"Umm, umm, ummm! I'm telling on you! I'm gonna get you in trouble!" - Nickie and Melissa, Mrs. Tuttle's kindergarten class, 1981.

Now look here, I think everyone who can possibly stay at home to try to "flatten the curve" and short-circuit this novel coronavirus, the better. But do you people really have to turn America into North Korea in the process?

Mere hyperbole perhaps? Well, take a quick look at these tales from Middle Amerika amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Apparently the Associated Press notices enough of a rising trend to profile the emerging numbers of what it bluntly dubs "snitches":
Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. They're phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media.
"In some places, investigators are patrolling the streets, looking for violators," AP notes. "In some cases, residents are turning on neighbors."

Comment: As Peterson has described, given the right 'motivation' - you would have been the Nazi. See also:

Cell Phone

Police app encourages people to report neighbors who violate stay at home orders

MyBellevue app
How do you encourage people to turn against each other during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The answer is not that complicated, especially if you live in the City of Bellevue, Washington.

Four years ago, when the city created the MyBellvue app, it was touted as being a quick and easy way to report things like downed street signs, potholes, street light issues and noise complaints. Fast forward to 2020 and public fears of COVID-19 have encouraged law enforcement to turn neighbors into government snitches.

Geekwire revealed how the Bellevue Police Department has turned a public service app into a report on your neighbors app. You can report these incidents through the MyBellevue app on your electronic device or the MyBellevue portal.
"Police in Bellevue, Wash., are asking residents to report violations of the state's "stay home" order online in an effort to clear up 911 lines for emergencies."
A recent Associated Press article revealed that people are all to happy to report on their neighbors.
"Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. They're phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media."

Comment: See: UK police creates hotline for people to snitch on their neighbors


Hydroxychloroquine rated 'most effective' coronavirus treatment, poll of doctors finds

© REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
An international poll of thousands of doctors rated the Trump-touted anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as the best treatment for the novel coronavirus.

Of the 6,227 physicians surveyed in 30 countries, 37 percent rated hydroxychloroquine as the "most effective therapy" for combating the potentially deadly illness, according to the results released Thursday.

The survey, conducted by the global health care polling company Sermo, also found that 23 percent of medical professionals had prescribed the drug in the US — far less than other countries.

"Outside the US, hydroxychloroquine was equally used for diagnosed patients with mild to severe symptoms whereas in the US it was most commonly used for high risk diagnosed patients," the survey found.


Federal Prison system goes into lockdown mode to prevent virus outbreak

Action plan phase V
The Bureau of Federal Prisons (BOP) issued an order this week, directing all prisons to lockdown facilities and keep inmates in cells for two weeks. The order will affect 122 federal prison facilities across the country.

Bureau of Federal Prisons (BOP) issued an order
Bureau Director Michael Carvajal activated "Phase 5 of its COVID-19 Action Plan" on April 1. Here are the following "Phase 5" actions that BOP will conduct to "further mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19:"

Comment: See: Doctors warn of COVID-19 wave racking US prisons