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Today's News (2020/5/10): Republican Sabotage Edition

UPDATED: If you see fewer than 13 stories, refresh this page.

This section of the update is only about Republican and other fascist efforts to sabotage and/or discredit efforts to contain COVID-19, as I outlined back on April 21st.

I am assuming you have already heard about the anti-vax propaganda video Plandemic, which says all this is intentional, COVID-19 isn't real, vaccines in general and against it in particular are bad, and so on and so forth. That pseudo-documentary is being leveraged heavily by Trump and Trump-aligned groups to attack attempts to control the viral outbreak. One America News (OAN) has leaned particularly in with a 'story' amalgamating 30-60 years of conspiracy theories into one big "Only Trump can Save Us from the Communist Chinese Democrats Population Control Dictatorshop" propaganda exhibition, and it is really out to lunch. But Donkeyballs Donald continues to promote the network, of course, because it's supporting him and his re-election.

Also of interest are how the Washington State and Oregon Republican parties, having briefly flirted with sanity, are jerking hard to the Trumpist mainstream. The GOP are opening more lawsuits to try to shut down disease control efforts, and their paramilitaries - the Three Percenters in particular - are threatening violence against people reporting businesses not complying with health measures.

It's only going to keep getting this year, kids. The Conservative Movement is a death cult, and there is no United States government, only a Republican government, by and for them - and, mostly, their donors. Cascadia Now.

  1. Churches sue Gov. Brown over Oregon coronavirus restrictions
  2. At a Republican candidate forum for Washington governor, the coronavirus barely exists
  3. Reports: Deep State, China use COVID-19 for population control
  4. Timeline: Tracking Trump's rising coronavirus death toll estimates
  5. Sioux tribe rejects South Dakota governor request to remove Covid-19 checkpoints
  6. Column: America’s tolerance for mass murder is the coronavirus’ best friend
  7. Washington residents threatened after naming open businesses, as protesters gather at Capitol to assail coronavirus closures
  8. Selah mayor: City won't enforce Gov. Inslee's stay-at-home order
  9. Federal judge halts Kentucky temporary ban on church mass gatherings
  10. They Are Giving You Death and Calling It Liberty
  11. In Yakima County, tensions grow as some want life back to normal while agricultural workers want more protection amid coronavirus
  12. Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along.
  13. Multiple White House Staffers Diagnosed With COVID-19 as Trump, Pence Hold Photo-Ops With the Elderly

----- 1 -----
Churches sue Gov. Brown over Oregon coronavirus restrictions
May 8, 2020

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/churches-sue-brown-over-oregon-coronavirus-restrictions/

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some churches are suing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, arguing her coronavirus stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the lawsuit by the churches, including Elkhorn Baptist in Baker City, are being led by Common Sense for Oregon, a nonprofit led by former Republican candidate for governor Kevin Mannix.

The Pacific Justice Institute is arguing the case for the plaintiffs. It says it “seeks to invalidate” three orders, starting with Brown’s initial emergency declaration, signed on March 8.

Lead attorney Ray Hacke said plaintiffs are all over the state.

“There’s a rising tide of churches and churchgoers wanting to push back against Governor Brown’s oppressive executive orders, and this case will hopefully remind her that she is not free to dispense with constitutionally protected liberties, even in emergencies,” Hacke said in a statement.


----- 2 -----
At a Republican candidate forum for Washington governor, the coronavirus barely exists
By Danny Westneat
Seattle Times columnist
May 8, 2020

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/at-a-republican-candidate-forum-for-washington-state-governor-the-coronavirus-barely-exists/

I have been coming down a bit hard on local Republicans recently. After a promising start to the crisis response, it has seemed to me the party lost patience with how hard it is to navigate through a pandemic and began flirting with quick-fix denialism instead.

So I went, virtually, to a forum this past week of the five main GOP candidates running for governor. I’ve argued in the past that the incumbent governor, Jay Inslee, should step aside for new energy — that two terms is enough. So I wanted to see if maybe I’ve been selling the Republicans short.

Turns out I haven’t been coming down hard enough.

The GOP debate, hosted by the Eastside Republican Club, captured why the party has become increasingly irrelevant to any governing decisions in this state. And also why it’s on the verge of going extinct around here.

The five candidates acted like they were running for governor of Oklahoma. They ritually bashed Seattle, and all raised their hands to affirm they were pro-life, pro-traditional-family-values guys who all strongly endorse the re-election of Donald Trump.

That’s all GOP boilerplate, I guess, but it’s also committing electoral suicide in this particular state.


----- 3 -----
andrew kaczynski
twitter.com/KFILE
May 9, 2020

[EDITOR: This is batshit insane. Literal use of illuminati, literal clips from _Plandemic_, the fraud conspiracy theory blames mainland China, Bill Gates, the WHO, "the Clintons," Dr. Anthony Fauci and the NIH, and George Soros. Today, Donkeyballs Donald tweeted more material from OAN.]

https://twitter.com/KFILE/status/1259165591052550144

Just watched one the most batshit crazy things I've seen from OAN.

https://twitter.com/KFILE/status/1259166225478955008

I can't describe how nuts this package is from the TV network the president keeps promoting.

[EMBEDDED VIDEO]

Reports: Deep State, China use COVID-19 for population control

Emerging reports have suggested further links between China and anti-Trump groups in the U.S. One America's Kristian Rouz examines the claims.


----- 4 -----
Timeline: Tracking Trump's rising coronavirus death toll estimates
By Daniel Dale and Christopher Hickey, CNN
Updated 5:34 PM ET, Mon May 4, 2020

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/04/politics/trump-rising-coronavirus-death-estimates/index.html

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's coronavirus death toll estimate keeps rising.

Trump said during a Fox News "virtual town hall" event at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday night that the final US total could be as high as 100,000 deaths. At a press briefing on April 20, conversely, he predicted a total between 50,000 and 60,000.

It's difficult even for experts to predict the death toll from a pandemic; statistical models produce new forecasts as new information comes in. (The people behind one prominent University of Washington model announced Monday that they were adjusting their modeling strategy and that their estimated death toll would be revised upward to about 135,000 deaths from a previous estimate of 72,433.) Still, the regular increases in the President's own estimate -- even as he and his aides continue to tout their response as a success -- are noteworthy.

A more conventional president might avoid making any estimate to avoid future criticism if they turned out to be wrong. Trump, who often seems more concerned with shaping perceptions in the current moment than with how something might be perceived in the future, instead keeps offering projections that seem unrealistically low from the moment he utters them.


----- 5 -----
Sioux tribe rejects South Dakota governor request to remove Covid-19 checkpoints
By Chris Boyette and Deanna Hackney, CNN
Updated 5:45 PM ET, Sun May 10, 2020

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/09/us/south-dakota-sioux-tribes/index.html

(CNN)The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has rejected an ultimatum by South Dakota's governor to remove checkpoints on state highways within tribal reservations or risk legal action.

Gov. Kristi Noem sent letters Friday to the leaders of both the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe demanding that checkpoints designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus on tribal land be removed, the governor's office said in a statement.

"We are strongest when we work together; this includes our battle against Covid-19," Noem said. "I request that the tribes immediately cease interfering with or regulating traffic on US and State Highways and remove all travel checkpoints."

In response, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said in a news release Friday that while he agreed it's important to work together, "you continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation."

"Ignorant statements and fiery rhetoric encourage individuals already under stress from this situation to carry out irrational actions," he said. "We invite you to join us in protecting the lives of our people and those that live on this reservation. I regretfully decline your request."
The purpose of the tribe's actions, Frazier said, is to "save lives rather than save face."


----- 6 -----
David Wallace-Wells
twitter.com/dwallacewells
May 9, 2020

https://twitter.com/dwallacewells/status/1259283767220371458

“It was widely observed following the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary that if America would tolerate the slaughter by gunfire of 20 children aged 6 and 7, it would tolerate anything. Nothing proves it more than our response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Column: America’s tolerance for mass murder is the coronavirus’ best friend
Chris Christie
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie thinks you should take “reasonable risks” to reopen the U.S. economy.
(Jim Cole / Associated Press)
By Michael HiltzikBusiness Columnist
May 8, 2020
11:23 AM

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-05-08/coronavirus-and-american-tolerance-for-mass-deaths

It was widely observed, following a certain event in a Connecticut elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012, that if America would tolerate the slaughter by gunfire of 20 children aged 6 and 7, it would tolerate anything.

Nothing proves the truth of that observation more than our response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At this moment of maximum peril, we’re tolerating the turning of workers in meatpacking plants and grocery stores, seniors in nursing homes and heedless churchgoers into sacrificial offerings to the gods of “freedom” and “choice.”

Grandparents are being counseled to give up their lives “in exchange for keeping the America that all Americans love for your children and grandchildren.” Those are the words of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who added during an interview on Fox News: “If that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”

Of course, Patrick wasn’t “all in.” He gave the interview from the security and safety of a sequestered location, not while helping nurses struggle in close quarters, without adequate protective equipment, to pass an oxygen tube down the trachea of a COVID-19 patient.


----- 7 -----
Washington residents threatened after naming open businesses, as protesters gather at Capitol to assail coronavirus closures
By Joseph O’Sullivan and Jim Brunner
Seattle Times staff reporters
May 9, 2020

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-residents-threatened-after-naming-open-businesses-as-protesters-gather-at-capitol-to-assail-coronavirus-closures/

OLYMPIA — As demonstrators of Washington’s stay-at-home order to slow the new coronavirus converged Saturday on the Capitol campus to again protest the restrictions, opposition has taken a darker turn online.

Two Facebook pages during the past week posted names, emails and phone numbers of state residents who had complained to the state about businesses allegedly violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order. Some of the complainants say the Facebook posts have generated threats of violence and harassment against them.

One group publicizing the names, the Washington Three Percenters, has promoted the stay-at-home protests, and one of its leaders spoke at Saturday’s demonstration.

On its Facebook page, the far-right group of self-described “God fearing Patriots,” had this message: “Want to snitch on your neighbor? Don’t expect to hide behind you (sic) computer screen.” With the message, the group provided a link to a spreadsheet containing the names and contact information of people who made reports to the state.

Gathering in defiance of the stay-at-home order and against the guidance of state and federal public health officials, Saturday’s rally drew roughly 1,500 people, according to the Washington State Patrol. That was fewer than the more than 2,000 who attended a similar protest last month.


----- 8 -----
Selah mayor: City won't enforce Gov. Inslee's stay-at-home order
9 May 2020
The Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/coronavirus-daily-news-updates-may-9-what-to-know-today-about-covid-19-in-the-seattle-area-washington-state-and-the-nation/

The city of Selah will not participate in enforcement of Gov. Jay Inslee’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" emergency order, the mayor said in a proclamation.

“...The employees of Selah do not work for the governor,” the proclamation reads. “Those wishing to operate or patronize a business, to conduct or attend religious services, to use park facilities or to take any other action that was lawful prior to the Governor’s Proclamations, will not be harassed, investigated or punished by any City of Selah employee.”

The proclamation represents the latest swipe at the governor's emergency authority, which has prompted a court challenge and other defiances by local leaders.

Selah is a city of more than 7,000 people in Yakima County, a county that has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the West Coast.


----- 9 -----
Federal judge halts Kentucky temporary ban on church mass gatherings
By Marina Pitofsky - 05/09/20

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/496983-federal-judge-halts-kentucky-temporary-ban-on-church-gatherings

A federal judge blocked Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) temporary ban on mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic from applying to religious services.

U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove issued a temporary restraining order Friday evening against Beshear’s ban on large gatherings at “any in-person religious service which adheres to applicable social distancing and hygiene guidelines,” The Associate Press reported.

The ruling will allow Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Ky., which filed the lawsuit, to meet in person during services Sunday. The ruling also applies to any other Kentucky congregation.

Two other federal judges had previously ruled that Beshear’s ban was constitutional.

The news comes following a ruling by U.S. District Judge David Hale on Friday that granted Maryville Baptist Church the option to hold in-person services. The ruling only applied to that specific church, and it had to abide by public health requirements, according to the AP.


----- 10 -----
They Are Giving You Death and Calling It Liberty
The reckless Republicans opening America up to a deadly pandemic want us to risk sacrificing our lives for their power
By Jamil Smith

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/coronavirus-reopen-states-death-liberty-trump-994421/

Since when should dying be the price of freedom? What kind of liberty could be won? And when we hear authority figures saying that we should accept that risk, should we feel liberated? Or just the opposite?

Perhaps if one might answer that question in a certain way if they volunteered for the armed forces. But even then, they risk life and limb for others’ independence, not their own. Certainly, they don’t do so for the fortunes of their commander-in-chief. However, this is what Donald Trump asks of Americans, speaking of them on Tuesday as “warriors” while acknowledging that some will be “badly affected” as the country opens up.” Casualties of an invented war, dying all the same.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NIH epidemiologist working alongside the White House, asked an essential question on CNN Monday night. “How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be, some form of normality, sooner rather than later?” Judging by the demand for exponentially more human sacrifice from Trump and many in the Republican Party of late, the number seems unquantifiable. They actually seem to have actually stopped trying to fight it with the required urgency. Releasing a triumphant and militaristic campaign ad Tuesday that paints his virus response as unfailingly effective, Trump all but declared victory over the ongoing pandemic. He clearly wants to look like a wartime president, and a winning one. He is neither.

In less than three months, COVID-19 has killed more than 62,000 people inside the the United States. The White House expects the disease will kill up to 3,000 people in the U.S. daily by June 1. That’s more than a 9/11, every single day. The model projects that more than 134,000 total will die, per a New York Times report on Monday. Less than three months after the first fatality, we have seen macabre reports of bodies stacked in U-Hauls and warehouses and cities burying unclaimed dead in local parks. But despite the federal government itself buying 100,000 body bags last week, White House advisers like Steven Moore appear more concerned about dead companies.

Speaking about businesses closed due to stay-at-home protocols throughout the United States Moore, a member of Trump’s council on “reopening” the country, told Politico on Monday that “if they stay closed for another month, month and a half, you’re gonna have body bags of businesses that will never recover.” Quite the word choice.


----- 11 -----
In Yakima County, tensions grow as some want life back to normal while agricultural workers want more protection amid coronavirus
By Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporter
May 10, 2020

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/in-yakima-county-tensions-grow-as-some-want-life-back-to-normal-while-agricultural-workers-want-more-protection-amid-coronavirus/

YAKIMA – Several hundred people gathered May 1 on a lawn near the county courthouse to call for the easing of stay-at-home restrictions imposed by Gov. Jay Inslee. They stood shoulder to shoulder, many not wearing masks. They carried American flags and a yellow one that declared “Don’t Tread on Me.”

“Most of us just want to get on with our lives… Nobody is asking for anything special. Go back to work,” declared Jason White, a Yakima city councilman who has garnered support from some local business owners with strident calls to get their doors reopened to customers.

Days later, a rebellion of a different sort unfolded as some 50 men and women walked off the job Thursday at an apple packing plant north of Yakima. They cited a scarcity of masks, and bore placards crafted from cardboard boxes calling for hazard pay as they labor through the pandemic.

These two protests reflect the escalating tensions in a Central Washington county that has emerged as a key battleground in ongoing state efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Cases here have surged in recent weeks amid growing unease in the agricultural workforce and vocal protests against Inslee’s policies.

Yakima’s economy is dominated by agriculture, an essential industry that, for the most part, has kept operating this spring and thus transformed thousands of employees, many of whom labor close together in packing plants, into front-line workers.

“Until this is over, we are just asking for $2 an hour more,” said a young worker at the Allan Brothers apple packing plant and warehouse operation, the site of Thursday’s protest. She makes $13.85 an hour to help support her son, mother and little sister. She asked to remain anonymous for fear of workplace retaliation.

Yakima County has the highest per capita rate of the COVID-19 disease in Washington as well as Oregon and California. That rate of more than 65 cases per 100,000 residents as of Friday is more than twice the statewide average, and in some lower-income Latino neighborhoods, where many work in agriculture, the rates range even higher, from 950 to 1,200 per 100,000, according to a map published by the health district. While COVID-19 hospitalizations have been declining throughout much of the state, they have been on the rise this past week in Yakima, and positive test rates of more than 20 percent are nearly triple the state-wide average.


----- 12 -----
Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along.
By Margaret Sullivan
Media columnist
May 10, 2020 at 4:00 a.m. PDT

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/trump-wants-america-to-normalize-coronavirus-deaths-its-the-medias-job-not-to-play-along/2020/05/09/72de4c32-9090-11ea-a9c0-73b93422d691_story.html

Comparing the number of deaths from covid-19 to those caused by car crashes never made any sense. But the gimmick caught on anyway.

“We don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “It’s a risk we accept so we can move about.” President Trump also took up the bogus argument while deploying his trademark exaggeration, insisting that car-related deaths are “far greater than any numbers we’re talking about.”

In fact, cars kill about 40,000 people a year. Virus-related deaths hit 70,000 in only two months and are growing fast — and yet this comparison still doesn’t even take into account its disproportionate toll on health-care workers, nor the thousands of survivors who will suffer poor health for years, nor, oh yeah, the fact that car accidents aren’t contagious.

These discrepancies were glaringly obvious to Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez, who wrote an entire book, “Carjacked,” about our nation’s fatal romance with automobiles. But more than that, they see Trump and his allies attempting to foist onto Americans the same kind of stew of rationalization and magical thinking about the coronavirus that the automobile industry has cultivated around car-crash deaths for many years.

In short, they see an attempt to normalize the hideous toll of the coronavirus — just as we long ago came to accept 40,000 car-crash deaths a year as “normal” — and they are afraid the media is only going to help Trump’s case.

“The problem with normalizing deaths,” they wrote in a recent essay for the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, where Lutz is an anthropology professor, is that “it allows more deaths. It makes it easier for the horrors of virus deaths to fall off the broadcast news chyron, to divert resources away from public health and for future politicians to treat the next pandemic even more glibly.”


----- 13 -----
Multiple White House Staffers Diagnosed With COVID-19 as Trump, Pence Hold Photo-Ops With the Elderly
By Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 8, 2020

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/05/multiple-white-house-staffers-covid-19-trump-pence-meet-elderly.html

On Thursday, CNN reported that one of Donald Trump’s White House “valets”—a member of the Navy who serves him food and beverages—has tested positive for COVID-19. On Friday, Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reported that one of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff members has also tested positive. (Update, May 8, 2020, at 3:10 p.m.: Politico reports that the staffer is in fact Katie Miller, Pence’s spokeswoman, who is married to top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, which puts the ring of potential infection even tighter around Trump than it was previously.)

The White House subsequently announced that Pence, Trump, and other staffers will be quarantined to the greatest extent possible, and that they will wear protective masks and gloves while attending meetings that are too critical to cancel.

No, I’m kidding! The president and vice president continue, instead, to carry out public events in the service of their economy-oriented (i.e., reelection-oriented) push to reopen a pandemic-stricken nation as quickly as possible. On Thursday, Pence delivered supplies to a nursing home, and on Friday he is scheduled to meet with executives from the Hy-Vee grocery chain in Iowa—which, if you think about all the people that grocery executives interact with, and who those people interact with, and so forth, seems like one of the most efficient ways possible to spread an infectious disease. Some vice presidential staffers who were thought to have had recent contact with the infected individual were pulled off Air Force Two before it left for Iowa, but the trip appears to be otherwise proceeding as planned. (CNN cites a “source familiar” who says the COVID-positive staffer was never on board the plane on Friday.) For his part, Trump is scheduled to hold a photo opportunity Friday with eight World War II veterans who are each 95 years old or older, aka the most vulnerable people imaginable.

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Tags: cascadia now, covid19, politics
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