Was April 7 the Day that Sealed the Fate of America?

Thom plus logo On April 18, Bob Woodward recorded Jared Kushner saying that Trump had taken control away from the doctors and was going to open the country back up. But why then? What was happening right around that time?

Trump's official national emergency declaration came on March 13, and most of the country shut down or at least went partway toward that outcome. The economy crashed and millions of Americans were laid off, but saving lives was, after all, the number one consideration.

Trump put medical doctors on TV daily, the media was freaking out about refrigerated trucks carrying bodies away from New York hospitals, and doctors and nurses were our new national heroes.

And then came April 7, 2020, when the New York Times ran a front-page story with the headline: "Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States."

Across the American media landscape, similar headlines appeared at other outlets, and the story was heavily reported on cable news and the network news that night. White American conservatives responded with a collective, "What the hell?!?" Rush Limbaugh declared soon after that "with the coronavirus, I have been waiting for the racial component. ... The coronavirus now hits African Americans harder-harder than illegal aliens, harder than women. It hits African Americans harder than anybody, disproportionate representation."

It didn't take a medical savant, of course, to figure out that would be the case. African Americans die at disproportionately higher rates from everything, from heart disease to strokes to cancer to childbirth.

It's a symptom of a racially rigged economy and a health care system that only responds to money, which America has conspired to keep from African Americans for more than 400 years. Of course they're going to die more frequently from coronavirus.

But the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously publishing front-page articles about that disparity with regard to COVID-19, both on April 7, echoed across the right-wing media landscape like a Fourth of July fireworks display. Tucker Carlson, the only primetime Fox News host who'd previously expressed serious concerns about the death toll, changed his tune the same day, as documented by Media Matters for America.

Now, he said, "we can begin to consider how to improve the lives of the rest, the countless Americans who have been grievously hurt by this, by our response to this. How do we get 17 million of our most vulnerable citizens back to work? That's our task."

White people were out of work, and Black people were most of the casualties, outside of the extremely elderly. And those white people need their jobs back!

Brit Hume joined Carlson's show and, using his gravitas as a "real news guy," intoned, "The disease turned out not to be quite as dangerous as we thought."

Left unsaid was the issue of whom it was not "quite as dangerous" to, but Limbaugh listeners and Fox viewers can hear dog-whistles.

More than 12,000 Americans had died from coronavirus by April 7, but once we knew that most of the non-elderly victims were Black, things were suddenly very, very different. Now it was time to quit talking about people dying and start talking about white people getting back to work!

It took less than a week for Trump to get the memo, presumably through Fox and Stephen Miller. On April 12, he retweeted a call to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci and declared, in another tweet, that he had the sole authority to open the United States back up, and that he'd be announcing a specific plan to do just that "shortly."

On April 13, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a policy paper titled "Implementing a National Return to Work Plan."

Unspoken but big on the agenda of corporate America was the desire to get the states to rescind their stay-home-from-work orders so that companies could cut their unemployment tax losses.

On April 14, Freedomworks, the billionaire-founded and -funded group that animated the Tea Party against Obamacare a decade earlier, published an op-ed on their website calling for an "economic recovery" program including an end to the capital gains tax and a new law to "shield" businesses from lawsuits.

Three days after that, Freedomworks and the House Freedom Caucus issued a joint statement declaring that "it's time to re-open the economy."

Freedomworks published their "#ReopenAmerica Rally Planning Guide" encouraging conservatives to show up "[i]n-person" at their state capitols and governors' mansions, and, for signage, to "Keep it short: 'I'm essential,' 'Let me work,' 'Let Me Feed My Family'" and to "Keep them homemade."

One of the first #OpenTheCountry rallies to get widespread national attention was April 18 in New Hampshire. Over the next several weeks, rallies had metastasized across the nation, from Oregon to Arizona, Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois and elsewhere.

One that drew particularly high levels of media attention, complete with swastikas, Confederate flags and assault rifles, was directed against the governor of Michigan, rising Democratic star Gretchen Whitmer.

When Rachel Maddow began reporting on meatpacking plants that had become epicenters of mass infection, the conservative Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court pointed out that the virus flare wasn't coming from the white "regular folks" of the surrounding community.

The conservative meme was now well established: the risk to white people was small, so let's get back to work.

It came to Trump's attention that the biggest outbreaks were happening in prisons and meatpacking plants, places with few white people (and the few whites in them were largely poor and thus seen as disposable).

Trump's response to this was to issue an executive order using the Defense Production Act (which he had hesitated to use to order the production of testing or PPE equipment) on April 28 to order the largely Hispanic and Black workforce back into the slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.

While April 18 was the day Woodward recorded Jared bragging about how they were going to start ignoring the doctors, April 7 was the date that sealed the fate of America.



DrRichard 3 years 33 weeks ago

A little too dramatic an ending. If Biden wins we may have turned the nadir on this dreadful period. People may be expecting too much from a vaccine, but at least we have someone who won't go out of his way to lie to us, and who betrays everyone who trusts him. (Apparently McConnell and Graham never read Frankenstein.) But this throwing the poor (who were not discussed in the debates) and people of color under the bus is nothing new. When he was killed MLK was beginning to link poverty, racism and the Vietnam War together. I'm sure environmental issues would eventually have gotten in there too.

In fairness perhaps all this is moot; a recent article that I've seen no follow-up on noted that Russian scientists were seeing methane bubbles coming up from the Laptev Sea's continental shelf. If that is accurate and the release continues to accelerate then it's game over, or at least the surviving people of a near-extinction climate change event will be living like 12th century European peasants, if not worse. Trump's continued shennanigans as a chaos-inducing scientific illiterate will only bring that day closer. Maybe it can be turned around, maybe not.

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alis volat 3 years 33 weeks ago

Is much of anything caused by one factor? I definitely believe Thom is onto something, but as we well know Trump is crazy and disorganized. Surely by then, they were already experiencing buyer's remorse concerning the quarantine effect on the economy.

I wonder if Trump and his crime family thought the left would actually back off him in the time of a national emergency. That might have happened to a certain extent if he had created an actual logical national plan to fight the virus. He just pitted the Governors against one another purchasing PPE. It would also have required him to quit Tweeting vitriol, act presidential, listen to the scientists, and get to work for us. Instead he whined, pissed and moaned, and bragged.

Sane people should not support crazed leaders, so we didn't. This could have been his ticket to re-election by picking-up the uncommitted in a WWII type moment. Some karma comes 'round sooner rather than later. His hatred, racism, and lack of decency is about to bite him and his associates right in the ass. Some have already paid. It's time for a metaphorical Red Wedding not a Red Wave.

Legend 3 years 33 weeks ago

I have said it earlier that the Covid virus is almost the perfect virus for the Republicans, in their eyes. It eliminates the elderly (Social Security) and blacks (welfare). Let it run its course is their attitude. It is obvious that they rally's are meant to spread it. The disdain for masks (proven effective) is meant to spread it.

jastroeve 3 years 33 weeks ago
  • I'm watching Les Miserable for the 4th or 5th time. History repeats itself. Workers are commodities to be priced like cattle or hogs, and it doesn't matter to the ruling class if they get sick and die in their workplaces. This is America! Where did this hatred of workers come from? I have no idea, but I'm guessing it goes back to slavery where labor is free and allows one to be worked literally to death. And now we read that in 2020 a state Supreme Court Justice is telling us white people don't get sick because we have the "others" to work where we won't. What exactly is the price of a healthy worker versus a dying one? What exactly is the price of a pandemic that causes a quarter million deadly infections in just one country yet calls us to go to work so we can get sick and die? I'm here to make a moral case that the men and women who are telling us to go to work no matter the consequences are not worthy of their wealth and power. We must turn this around. I don't want my grandchildren to grow up in a national/global economy that considers them without worth as human beings.
jastroeve 3 years 33 weeks ago

I've been concerned about this very thing for some time. There's a Minnesota black conservative named Qualls who defies every notion of a working class American. Luckily, he's running against someone who is far brighter and qualified than he.

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deepspace 3 years 32 weeks ago

It's ludicrous for Trump's apologists to argue that his bungled approach to curbing the pandemic is not a deliberate political tactic, however foolish and bound to fail. Welcome to Trumpworld where spectacular failure is a feature, not a bug.

There are simply no innocent excuses left in his bag of lies after nine months of unfounded denials and ineffectual policies. The hard-to-refute evidence of Trump's criminal intent is being splashed across all of our devices 24-7: pushing to reopen the economy and schools too soon without adequate safeguards, with virtually the entire scientific community screaming NO!; refusing to set a good example by not wearing a mask and not social distancing in the White House while holding super-spreader rallies with his adoring subjects, spreading the plague throughout the kingdom; ridiculing those good citizens practicing his own CDC's guidelines; not taking seriously -- in fact, actively resisting -- the dire need for a cohesive national policy, including the emergency production and acquisition of enough PPE to meet the demand, quick-turnaround testing, early contact tracing, isolating, surveilling, and monitoring; and of course, lying about everything constantly.

The king has no clothes. Trump is fanning the flames of a deadly disease on purpose, sickening millions, killing hundreds of thousands. The endless psychobabble analyses of such heinous behavior can be expounded upon later; for now, he just needs to go -- resoundingly defeated, ignominiously dethroned, duly tried and convicted in court, then thrown unceremoniously into the dungeon where he most assuredly belongs. Civilized justice for a bloodthirsty barbarian.

82 days to go. Bon appétit! And now comes the best part, just in time for the holidays: watching the ragtag army of Trump wingers lose the election ... and then totally lose it in a fit of blind hate, rage, and savagery -- the only language these murderous bastards living a twisted fantasy seem to understand. Vive la révolution!

May they too all rot in jail, never to own guns again. 'Tis the season for peace on earth and goodwill to all ... except to unhinged Republicans ruining lives, inciting violence, and wrecking democracy. Amen.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 years 32 weeks ago

“What hath God wrought?” That is the first message sent with electronic media. With apologies to Samuel Morse and God, the message should be updated to "What hath Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh wrought?"

These two clowns, and all their lesser empty-suit spinoffs "flooding the zone with shit," have confirmed to the world beyond a doubt that dumbing down Republican voters to the lowest common denominator isn't really that difficult or, in most cases, even that necessary. The crazed propagandists on wingnut media platforms mindlessly repeat provably false Republican talking points over and over and over until their parallel universe of wholly unsubstantiated "alternative facts" becomes God's honest truth in the willing minds of the faithful and the foolish.

Legend 3 years 32 weeks ago

The only solution to Fox News and right wing radio is for the other networks to report on the false lies and methods that Fox and others use. The only media that really pushes back is Mediamatters.org. It is just getting worse with Breitbart, Sinclair Broadcasting and a host of others. To me it is blatantly obvious how bad it is. If I watch Fox News (about 1 time per year) I am outraged in a matter of minutes at the techniques and lies that it employs. I guess that some are blind. Meanwhile, they are making Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and many others super wealthy.

This election should not even be close. The Republican Party lies constantly. It is lead by the greatest liar in history. Some have called Trump followers deplorables. I think that gullible is a much better discription. They know that he lies. And they double, triple, down on it. The right wing media lies to them constantly and they love it. It is comforting to them. Some will say that both sides lie. It is not even close. There is no ligitimate comparison. Post one if you think that there is.

"A group of Stanford University economists who created a statistical model estimate that there have been at least 30,000 coronavirus infections and 700 deaths as a result of 18 campaign rallies President Donald Trump held from June to September." Gullible is not a strong enough word to describe their stupidity.

If Trump wins what have the Trumpsters suceeded in doing? Keeping him out of jail. Cost? Social Security for one.

"During President Barack Obama’s final year in office in 2016, the US deficit was $585 billion. Here’s a look at how it has changed under Trump:

  • 2017: $665 billion

  • 2018: $779 billion

  • 2019: $984 billion

  • 2020: $3.7 trillion"

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 years 32 weeks ago

Damn, the Ruskie trolls sure are kicking up a storm lately. Must be the election right around the corner. Once they pass basic training at the troll farm, the next step is to learn a little bit of English so as to appear slightly less stupid.

Yeah, this election should not even be close. And it wouldn't be if it's actually conducted freely and fairly, if voters aren't illegally purged from the rolls, if whole categories of ballots aren't rejected en masse for frivolous reasons like slightly mismatched signatures or (intentionally) slow postal delivery, and if all votes are ultimately counted regardless of how many days or weeks it might take (until the certification date) and in spite of all the other voter-suppression tactics dreamed-up by freaked-out Republicans going down with the ship. Accuracy is more important than speed.

Unfortunately, in American-style "democracy," pollsters and the media normally can't or won't factor into their prognostications the true magnitude of corruption, massive election fraud, and all-out cheating in every way possible by one major political party and its authoritarian leader desperately trying to cling to power in the face of dwindling odds. No one on the planet today doubts which party that is except of course its own brainwashed cult members.

Legend 3 years 32 weeks ago

It seems like the media makes it a closer and closer race as it dwindles down to the end. Watching Steve Kornacki on MSNBC play with his touchscreen yesterday put me in panic mode. Joe is going to win the popular vote by a lot. Something that will make Hillary's 3 million look small. The Electoral is all that counts. And when Kornacki clicks on the various states (I have worked in most) you start thinking about the quality of education, The media that they watch, their well proven inability to conduct an election, The Racism and (as you say) magnitude of corruption. Look at how Georgia fits that. Or Arizona with its well oiled Republican control in a state that should be heavily Democratic. Florida with its huge senior population that will lose their Social Security if Trump is re-elected and still wave his flags. Or Pennsylvania with Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other and Alabama in between. Kornacki shows the model of Trump winning the Electoral. It is very possible that we will still have Trump after Tomorrow.

Or it is Joe. Last election was very close and somehow they managed to call it by 11 PM RMT. But this one will go on for weeks and months. The next 2 months 20 days will be pure chaos. I heard that Costco is a mob scene again. They say it is because the virus is surging. It also has the election results factored in.

As Bill Maher closed his show on Friday "I'll see you on the other side".

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