Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Getting Their Marching Orders

The GOP is on the move getting out talking points to state-level Republicans to convince voters to go back to the charnel house and work themselves to death in the name of The American Economy. Louisiana is of particular note:

An internal memorandum from Mandeville-based GOP political operative Jay Connaughton, addressed to Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt of Slidell, and privately circulated among GOP state legislators outlines a series of talking points to use in a coordinated campaign aimed at politicizing and undermining the emergency orders issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards in curtailing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Edwards’ orders are in conformance with the guidelines issued by the White House and follow the recommendations of public health experts and medical professionals. The Bayou Brief obtained a copy of the document earlier this evening.

Among other things, the memo advises legislators to avoid “trap words” like “death/die,” “politics/political,” “models,” and “hoax.” The very first “trap word” on the list: “Republican.”

It cautions lawmakers to anticipate questions about whether or not “reopening too early (will) cause the virus to rebound” and whether a “virus respects parish borders.” Taken in its totality, the document reads like a guide to subverting public health policy and reframing the efforts to curb the pandemic, which has already claimed the lives of at least 1,800 Louisianians, as an “economic shutdown.”
Covid-19 has now killed more people in Louisiana than those who perished as a consequence of the Federal Flood after Hurricane Katrina. More than one out of every 1,000 residents of New Orleans have died from the virus, which had been disproportionately affected when the novel Coronavirus was first reported in the state. Since then, the pandemic has spread to all 64 parishes.

Gov. Edwards announced Monday the extension of the state’s emergency “stay at home orders” until May 15th. “While this is not the announcement I want to make, I am hopeful, and all of Louisiana should be hopeful, that we will enter into the next phase of reopening soon, in mid-May,” he said. ”I am anxious to get all areas of our economy reopened, but if we accelerate too quickly, we may have to slam on the brakes. That will be bad for public health and for businesses, bad for our people and bad for our state.”

The GOP memorandum contains a series of factual distortions about the state’s response and falsely claims that Gov. Edwards’s order was made against the advice of the Trump White House. The White House actually recommended Edwards take the exact approach that he’s now implementing, telling governors to ensure their states have satisfied a set of criteria before ordering a “phased reopening.”

Again, the whole point is massive gaslighting on the part of the Trump regime, to sell the utter failure of the federal response to the virus, with deaths now topping 60,000 and growing, as a "success".

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday expressed optimism that much of the country could be "back to normal" by June as several states prepare to lift restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I think what you’ll see in May as the states are reopening now is May will be a transition month, you’ll see a lot of states starting to phase in the different reopening based on the safety guidelines that President Trump outlined on April 19," Kushner said on "Fox & Friends."

"I think you’ll see by June that a lot of the country should be back to normal, and the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again," the president's son-in-law continued.

The ambitious timeline could be politically risky given that cases in the U.S. are still climbing and health experts have cautioned that parts of the country will have to alternate between imposing strict social distancing measures and easing them back until there's a vaccine in order to avoid new outbreaks.

"Back to normal by June" is not only a sick fantasy, it's a dangerous one.

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