Attorney General Bill Barr is all but promising federal legal action against states that don't "reopen their economies" by the end of the month.
The Justice Department will consider taking legal action against governors who continue to impose stringent rules for dealing with the coronavirus that infringe on constitutional rights once the crisis subsides in their states, Attorney General William Barr said.
Blunt means to deal with the pandemic, such as stay-at-home orders and directives shutting down businesses, are justified up to a point, Barr said in an interview Tuesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Eventually, though, states should move to more targeted measures, Barr said. He said he supports the approach laid out by President Donald Trump.
“We have to give businesses more freedom to operate in a way that’s reasonably safe,” Barr said. “To the extent that governors don’t and impinge on either civil rights or on the national commerce -- our common market that we have here -- then we’ll have to address that.”
Barr’s comments come as the Trump administration and states are struggling -- and at times fighting with each other -- over the best approach to deal with the crisis. Trump has stoked tensions with some Democratic governors who are dealing with protests against stringent social-distancing rules, even as his administration backs guidelines that call for states to open up gradually.
Trump tweeted over the weekend that his supporters should “liberate” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia -- three states with Democratic governors and strict stay-at-home orders. The move came just a day after Trump outlined the return-to-work guidelines contingent on states meeting specific benchmarks on testing and a decline in Covid-19 cases.
This is all part of Trump's plan to shift blame for the COVID-19 death toll to Democratic governors, of course. The ones who maintain social distancing measures will be sued by Barr.
But let's not forget the "back to work!" push by the GOP is far more sinister, especially since it's black and brown faces who are the essential workers.
The lieutenant governor of Texas, who was criticized last month for saying it was worth risking lives to return to work if that meant saving the economy, has doubled down on his comments.
Dan Patrick, who turned 70 this month, faced a social media backlash in March for telling Fox News that many of his generation were willing to "take a chance" and return to work because an economy that was shut down by the coronavirus would harm future generations.
As parts of Texas started to reopen this week following weeks of restrictions, Patrick defended his comments on Monday, telling anchor Tucker Carlson again that the recent economic hardship had left him "vindicated."
"When you start shutting down society and people start losing their paychecks and businesses can't open and governments aren't getting revenues...I'm sorry to say that I was right on this," he said.
"I'm thankful that we are now beginning to open up Texas and other states because it's been long overdue."
Questioning the shifting projected death toll over the last few weeks he believed that "we have the wrong numbers, the wrong science."
Comparing the death toll in Texas with its population, he went on to say, "every life is valuable but 500 people out of 29 million and we're locked down and we're crushing the average worker, we're crushing small business, we're crushing the markets, we're crushing this country."
Using data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Tribune reported that as of Monday, the death toll in the state stood at 495, with 19,458 positive tests.
Patrick went on: "There are more important things than living, and that's saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us.
Once again, American history can be reduced to "black and brown people need to die to keep white people happy, healthy, and well-fed." COVID-19 didn't change that one bit.
You can see how eager Republicans got to start feeding people to the furnace of industry when those people primarily turned out to be not white ones.
Oh, and for some unknown reason, a major breach of email, password and privacy data just happened to hit major health organizations and non-profit health foundations over the weekend.
Unknown activists have posted nearly 25,000 email addresses and passwords allegedly belonging to the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, the Gates Foundation and other groups working to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremism and terrorist groups.
While SITE was unable to verify whether the email addresses and passwords were authentic, the group said the information was released Sunday and Monday and almost immediately used to foment attempts at hacking and harassment by far-right extremists. An Australian cybersecurity expert, Robert Potter, said he was able to verify that the WHO email addresses and passwords were real.
The lists, whose origins are unclear, appear to have first been posted to 4chan, a message board notorious for its hateful and extreme political commentary, and later to Pastebin, a text storage site, to Twitter and to far-right extremist channels on Telegram, a messaging app.
No doubt we'll see a whole bunch of out-of-context emails and attacks on these groups this week that just happen to get leaked at the exact time when Trump and other Republicans need to start discrediting health officials by justifying reopening of businesses during a pandemic to save his own ass. FOX State TV will be back to "the COVID-19 hoax" by the end of the month.
And Barr will have his "reason to investigate" these non-profits.