Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Whose Life Is Expendable, Whose Is Not? More on Tacit Agenda of the "Pro-Life" Party Supported by White Christians to "Re-Open" US

Two days ago, I wrote

What most "pro-life" white Christian Republicans will not say out loud right now — though an increasing number are doing just that — is that they consider some human lives expendable when it comes to generating income for those who are already rolling in money. 
This pandemic is disproportionately killing the elderly, those with pre-existing medical challenges,  members of minority communities including notably African Americans and Hispanics, and those in prison.  
For "pro-life" Republicans, some lives are expendable.

On the same day I wrote those words, David Frum and Jennifer Rubin wrote the following:

Not all backs are equally exposed to the whip of immediate necessity. Trump can readily enough impel office cleaners back to the bank towers; he will have a harder time with the bankers themselves. Administration officials speak of a "phased reopening." But if the reopening starts in May, it will be phased not by medical advice, but by the hard grammar of wealth and poverty: poorest first, richest last. … 
The plans for a May return imply acceptance of significant infection and higher casualties. Pro-Trump talkers boast that they will volunteer for these risks themselves. Broadcaster Glenn Beck said on March 25: 
"I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working even if we all get sick. I’d rather die than kill the country."
Those words were spoken from Beck’s home studio. The day before, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (also a former radio host) said something similar on Fox News to Tucker Carlson, who was broadcasting from his home studio. 
"My message: Let's get back to work, let’s get back to living, let's be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we'll take care of ourselves."
But that is not how the pattern of sacrifice will be felt in real life. … The political calculus of Trump's Plan A depends less on containing the total number of casualties than on confining the casualties to people deemed expendable.

Could Trumpers protesting in crowds without masks, Floridians heading for beaches and Texans visiting parks in metropolitan areas spark new outbreaks, leading to more hospitalizations and deaths? Quite possibly, yes. Those who congregate for protests or recreation endanger not only themselves but also others. Elderly Americans and those with compromised immune systems (including from cancer treatment and heart and lung disease) remain among the most vulnerable. What is most disturbing, however, is how little Republican leaders and their cult followers seem to care about protecting life. Some in the self-proclaimed pro-life party are being anything but protective of innocent life.

And now this news in the last two days:

Florida released the names of 303 nursing homes where staff or patients have been tested positive for the coronavirus. 
The seven-page list released Saturday evening names nursing homes and long-term care facilities in 45 of the state’s 67 counties, including 10 in Sarasota and eight in Manatee.  


"The count of coronavirus-infected inmates at Cummins prison has risen to roughly 600, with testing of all inmates nearing completion. 
Also from the coronavirus briefing today: Deaths attributed to the virus by the state have risen to 42. At least. We still have no indication of whether virus-related deaths have occurred outside hospitals among people who have not been tested.  ... 
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has indicated he prefers not to include prison figures in the state total, because they "skew" the figure.

"It dwarfs what we’re having statewide," he said. He called that a "reason" not to include the number from the prisons in the overall state total. He didn't explain further. Are prisoners not people? Are the people who care for them and circulate in the free world not also a part of the whole state picture?

Nearly 100 employees at a Tyson chicken plant in Tennessee have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

As cases of COVID-19 spike in Black Hawk County, Iowa, the local sheriff [Tony Thompson] is blasting Tyson Foods, and local officials are calling for the company to shut down its plant in Waterloo, raising concerns for the community's safety and the continuity of the nation’s meat supply. ...
Thompson’s statement came shortly before the state released figures Friday that showed 138 people had tested positive for the virus and one person has died with the virus in Black Hawk County. Amid more testing, the number of positive cases has nearly doubled in the county this week, according to state figures.

After weeks of avoiding an exponential jump in COVID-19 cases, North Dakota appears to have its first significant flare-up. 
Gov. Doug Burgum announced Saturday that 110 people associated with a Grand Forks wind turbine manufacturing plant have tested positive for the illness in the last week. Sixty-six of the 90 new cases announced Saturday are tied to the outbreak at the LM Wind Power facility. 
Of the positive tests among workers at the plant and their close contacts, 102 are North Dakota residents and eight live across the border in Minnesota, Burgum said. Only one person tied to the plant has been hospitalized so far. 

The White House has been scaling back U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams’ media appearances after he commented on the health disparity between white Americans and racial minorities with regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. 
Two unnamed officials told Politico that the White House had rejected numerous "high profile" (in Politico’s words) media invitations extended to Adams last week.

Coronavirus has claimed more than 45,000 lives in the US as of Tuesday – especially those of older Americans, who represent 91% of all Covid-19 deaths. 
Within that vulnerable population, older black people are more likely to die of the virus than their white counterparts. And among those lost are prominent black pastors, performers, and practitioners who lived through struggles for civil and cultural rights in their communities.

In just weeks, covid-19 deaths have snowballed from a few isolated cases to thousands across the country each day. 
The U.S. surgeon general had warned that last week would be like Pearl Harbor as he attempted to create context for the threat — but it turned out that more than five times as many Americans died from covid-19 last week than were killed in the World War II raid.  ... 
[L]ast week, covid-19 killed more people than normally die of cancer in this country in a week. Only heart disease was likely to kill more people that week. 
Some experts had predicted that the deaths could peak last week, but there is no decline this week, with new high tolls Tuesday (2,369) and Wednesday (2,441) and another 2,206 on Thursday. That means covid-19 is on pace to be the largest single killer of Americans this week.

To repeat what I said two days ago: The burden of this pandemic in the US is being borne by the working poor, by members of minority communities, by the homeless, the imprisoned, and the elderly.

These are the people that those pushing to "re-open" everything consider expendable. The push to "re-open" things tacitly assumes that if these people, many of whom have no choice except to keep working in dangerous conditions, die, then they are being sacrificed for the important cause of serving the capitalist economy.

Money as god — a value system that is shocking to discover among those who have, for years now, shouted that they are "pro-life."

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