Saturday, March 28, 2020


This isn't a lead story at the websites of The New York Times, The Washington Post, or CNN, though it is getting prominent play at, um, Crain's Detroit Business:
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suggested Friday that a growing rift with the White House is affecting shipments of medical supplies to Michigan amid exponential growth in confirmed coronavirus cases.

"When the federal government told us that we needed to go it ourselves, we started procuring every item we could get our hands on," Whitmer said Friday on WWJ 950AM. "What I've gotten back is that vendors with whom we had contracts are now being told not to send stuff here to Michigan. It's really concerning."

Whitmer didn't say who has told vendors to stop sending medical supplies to the state, but strongly implied the order came from President Donald Trump's administration....

During a Friday evening press conference, Trump said he's instructed Vice President Mike Pence, "don't call the woman in Michigan."

"If they don't treat you right, I don't call," Trump said of Whitmer.
Paul Campos is right:
This story is getting no real coverage ... because the American media don’t have a “the POTUS is a murdering fascist” setting. It’s not a story they can cover, because none of their normal framing devices (“two parties bicker over policy details, blame on both sides” etc.) fits this fact situation at all. So it’s like it’s not happening.
But one national news site is playing the story prominently:, where it was the lead story all morning -- with Trump portrayed as the hero.

President Trump took aim at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday night, claiming in a Twitter message that the Democrat was “way in over her head” amid the coronavirus outbreak and “doesn’t have a clue.”

As of late Friday, Michigan had more than 2,200 confirmed cases of the virus, ranking fifth in the nation, and had seen at least 43 deaths. On Friday, Trump approved a disaster declaration for the state, ordering federal assistance to support state and local efforts.

“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic,” the president wrote. “Yet your Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude! #MAGA” ...

The Twitter message followed Whitmer’s accusations Friday that medical-supply vendors were being told “not to send stuff here to Michigan” – and her insinuation that the alleged orders were coming from the Trump administration.
"Insinuation" -- that's not a loaded word, is it?

Apart from Trump, other right-wingers are attacking Governor Whitmer for allegedly banning the use of chloroquinone and hydroxychloroquine in covid-19 treatment, an unproven therapy that's being touted by the president and his allies. Twitter deleted a Rudy Giuliani tweet:

RedState went further, alleging in a headline that Whitmer has banned hydoxychloroquine. The RedState story cites an op-ed in The Detroit News by Kathy Hoekstra, which accuses Michigan of Nazi-like tactics:
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs literally threatened all doctors and pharmacists in the state who prescribe or dispense hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

The agency’s March 24 letter warns physicians and pharmacists of professional consequences for the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine (and chloroquine).... the letter deviates into open threats of “administrative action” against the licenses of doctors that prescribe hydroxychloroquine.
No! Please! Not the administrative action!
...Even worse, the letter indicates health care providers are “required to report” their fellow physicians who are prescribing these medications. This draconian measure carries ominous Gestapo-like overtones of neighbor reporting neighbor to “authorities.”
Here's what the letter says:
Prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without further proof of efficacy for treating COVID-19 or with the intent to stockpile the drug may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments. Reports of this conduct will be evaluated and may be further investigated for administrative action. Prescribing any kind of prescription must also be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated. Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19.
(There are now shortages of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in some parts of the world because it's being prescribes for covid-19.)
Michigan pharmacists may see an increased volume of prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and should take special care to evaluate the prescriptions’ legitimacy. Pursuant to Michigan Administrative Code, R 338.490(2), a pharmacist shall not fill a prescription if the pharmacist believes the prescription will be used for other than legitimate medical purposes or if the prescription could cause harm to a patient.

It is also important to be mindful that licensed health professionals are required to report inappropriate prescribing practices. LARA appreciates all licensed health professionals for their service and cooperation in assuring compliance in acting responsibly while continuing to provide the best possible care for Michigan’s citizens during this unprecedented and very challenging time.
This isn't a ban. It's a warning, with only a mild threat of enforcement. The latter paragraphs refer to existing law, not some new Gestapo regime.

Hoekstra, you may be interested to know, is the development communications officer (whatever that is) at the Pacific Legal Foundation, a right-wing, pro-corporate organization originally funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, who later became a prominent Bill Clinton antagonist, and subsequently funded by at least one Koch-related group. Hoekstra has also written for Townhall and The American Spectator and was the media relations director for Herman Cain's 2012 presidential campaign. She's an operative. Read her op-ed accordingly.

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