While Montanans Are Dying, Montana Republican Legislators Are Posting Deadly Misinformation

virus infection 3d illustration
viral infection in green background, 3d illustration

Representative John Fuller (House District 8) has penned a piece that consists of a series of hot takes about the Governor’s decision to order Montanans to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and prevent our medical system from becoming overwhelmed.

Fuller writes, echoing the racist language of the President, that this is just like the flu:

Acting upon incomplete and probably inaccurate information, our government has embarked upon a spending spree and encroachment on the liberties of Americans of massive proportions. Logic would dictate that from now on, every flu season, our economy must shut down and the government print, thereby inflating, more money and spend it on non-productive transfers. The sphere of liberty shrinks as the size of government grows. The current response to “Chinese flu” has led to policies unheard of in American history with yet unknown consequences.

All due respect to Representative Fuller, but the experts at the World Health Organization don’t agree. Neither do the ones at the Centers for Disease Control. Neither, finally,  it seems, does President Trump.

But John Fuller from the Flathead somehow knows more about this crisis than the leading medical minds in the world.

He continues by misrepresenting the order and arguing that it’s really no big deal that one percent of the population could die:

Being told that 1 million Montanans are under “house arrest” and that every “non-essential” business must close its door is an irrational response to save the lives of a few. The logic displayed during this current “pandemic” would necessitate that nothing ever be allowed that would put more than 1 percent of a given population at risk. So, driving cars must be banned, no American lives can be risked defending freedom, and high cholesterol foods taken off the shelves.

No one in Montana is under house arrest because of the governor’s order, which balanced the perspectives of health care experts with the needs of the economy. And I’d argue that the death of 3.3 million Americans, which would be roughly one percent of the population is a crisis worth demanding that we stay home as much as we can, to keep ourselves and our vulnerable populations safe.

One has to wonder whether Representative Fuller agrees with those who argue the elderly should die for the sake of the economy or whether he just doesn’t know what 1% of 330 million is.

Fuller returns to the idea that it is mere hysteria that has killed over 10,000 people in Italy, a number the US will almost certainly soon pass:

We did not vote on the “shelter-inplace” dictum. We did not vote on the shut down of all “non-essential” businesses. Hysteria leads to a dismissal of the factual. And the factual analysis of this current “Wuhan flu” is that many of the policies enacted here in Montana are irrational and insulting. Does anyone believe that the “vulnerable” (such as this mid-70s old man) are incapable of taking appropriate precautions on their own without the governor destroying the livelihoods of all our fellow Montanans?

It seems that perhaps someone who is arguing against hysteria should avoid the histrionic claim that the governor is “destroying the livelihoods of all our fellow Montanans,” but the evidence across the globe and the United States has been pretty clear: it takes government action to prevent people from engaging in dangerous social gatherings. Witness the mega-churches still meeting this

Their claims spread just as insidiously as the novel coronavirus, damaging the rational capacity of those who believe and share them just as surely as the virus damages the lungs of those it affects.
weekend across the country and the spring breakers “boosting the economy” and mortality rates of Florida in the counties that left their beaches open.

Fuller’s essay, posted on Facebook by anti-vaxxer Annie Bukacek, has received likes from no fewer than a half dozen legislators, including such medical luminaries as anti-public schools Representative Greg DeVries and militia fan Tim Ravndal.

It’s more evidence about just how unmoored from reality the right-wing has become in this country. They oppose science, they oppose expertise, and they oppose rational policy because somehow they have convinced themselves that they know more than medical doctors and public health experts who have devoted their lives to the study of diseases.

Their hyperbolic, unevidenced claims don’t just rest in their Facebook feeds. They spread just as insidiously as the novel coronavirus, damaging the rational capacity of those who believe and share them just as surely as the virus damages the lungs of those it affects.

When will reasonable Republicans stand against these people? When will they challenge the lies that will cost lives?

I think we all know the answer.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • I see the gun stores are still open. So, Rep. Fuller’s Second Amendment rights are still intact. I doubt he’s worried about any of those other constitutional rights.

    • You can always count on the NRA ‘gundamentalists’ to protect their divine right to be stupid. I see where the NRA is suing the state of CA for not declaring gun stores as “essential” so they can keep selling more guns & ammo to brain-dead idiots.

  • https://northbethesdamagazine.com/winter-2020/f/the-media-and-the-state-fan-coronavirus-hysteria?fbclid=IwAR3DtXJ3VrgrpQX30t9dWczJdEJYZufjynEIUKQ0k52tHCF9BNYZX3xfzig
    HeyJohn Fuller,
    Covid-19 is neither a Chinese or Wuhan virus.
    “One variant in the wide spectrum in the family called coronavirus is patented as ”Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus,” which means it is a man made virus. According to the Bethesda, Maryland-based U.S. National Library of Medicine, SARS coronavirus was patented as US2006257852 on April 9, 2004. The patent owner was Emeryville, California-based Chiron Corporation.”

    • You know, it just makes me feel so tired when I see the gullible paranoia of the people who suck up this sort of garbage, and then pollute a comment forum with it.
      “The sequencing was done at the CDC during the SARS outbreak and they were the ones that filed the patent,” Matthew Frieman, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Maryland, explained in an email.

      The CDC told the Associated Press in 2003 that the agency was claiming ownership to ensure access, and to prevent others from controlling the technology.

      • Hello, Can’t find a specific reference for the patent U.S. 2006257852 in your provided link. I read the whole article and checked each internal hyperlink. Could you guide me where to find your info? I’m interested to learn more.

        • @L Overturf – Not sure what you’re looking for. The patent referred to was https://patents.google.com/patent/US7220852, and was originally filed in 2003 to insure control of research, treatment, and possible vaccines remained with the CDC – PERTAINING TO THE SARS VIRUS. What you seem to be pursuing is based on the sort of reasoning that, “I can’t find any proof of conspiracy, SO THAT MUST MEAN “THEY” ARE EVEN MORE DIABOLICALLY CLEVER THAN I REALIZED.”

          • The patent I referenced was for SARS-CoV. Isn’t SARS-CoV2 also the other name for Covid-19? I do agree the original source was animal….be it birds, bats or pangolins. Does the spiked virus have to jump back and forth between from animal species to humans between mutations? …or can a mutation happen within the human population or a petri dish? Sorry if my knowledge is so basic but I’d really like to understand. Thank you for sharing your time.

            • @L Overturf – “ICTV announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus on 11 February 2020. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different.”

              • Good Morning Claudius, Thank you so much for shedding a huge beam of light on my newly improved understanding. I regret popping off on the original post. This whole situation has me anxious, up in arms and basically pissy. Sorry.
                Hope you and your family are well and stay that way.

                • @L Overturf – I understand and sympathize. Unfortunately, in the most critical issues there are interests who inevitably politicize the national discussion and shovel out murderously false and distorted claims. I leave it to your own judgement where the preponderance of those interests are most active.

                  I submit that the most effective thing you can do to maximize the value of the information you look for is to rely most heavily on scientists and reputable professionals. Use your innate, well-honed skepticism to assess their veracity, and above all, compare the credibility of competing voices. I think you’ll end up with a pretty solid view of reality.

        • If you are looking for a patent numbered 2006257852, you will not find it. There is nothing sinister about this. The present system for numbering patents began with 1 in 1836 and has continued numbering consecutively. The latest patent numbers are above ten million. See https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/issuyear.html
          The number you have is 2,006,257,852 which is more than two billion. I don’t that a couple billion patents were issued in the past 15 months.

          I will spare you a lot of searching but, I think, the number you cite really means to refer to an application for a patent. You can go to the Patent Office website at http://www.uspto.gov and do a search for patent applications by choosing APP/Ft from Patents on the upper right side of the window but you won’t find one with 2006257852. However, if you insert a zero after the 6, and search, you will find an application for “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus”. I think this is what you are looking for.

          Here is the abstract from the application:
          “An outbreak of a virulent respiratory virus, now known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), was identified in Hong Kong, China and a growing number of countries around the world in 2003. The invention relates to nucleic acids and proteins from the SARS coronavirus. These nucleic acids and proteins can be used in the preparation and manufacture of vaccine formulations, diagnostic reagents, kits, etc. The invention also provides methods for treating SARS by administering small molecule antiviral compounds, as well as methods of identifying potent small molecules for the treatment of SARS.”

          The USPTO website also provides the ability to check the status of a patent application here: https://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair Enter this number: 10/822303 and you will find that the application was “abandoned for failure to pay issue fee”. So, no patent issued.

          It appears from your post that you got “the patent U.S. 2006257852” from “The Media and the State Fan Coronavirus Hysteria” by Peter Hebert, North Bethesda Magazine, March 5, 2020, to which you provided a link. Now, I may be naïve about this but I expect news articles to be fact checked, that is, if the article asserts there is a patent with a certain number, I can go to the USPTO and find it. If I cannot, then I begin to think that guys like Hebert are just repeating what they have read elsewhere.

          I think you are doing something good by looking for more information rather than just accepting what has been written. For example, if you can’t find what I have found or find something different, please let me know.

          • CCB,
            Thank you so much for the information and kind words at the end. I really do try to pay attention to what I repost. Caught me at a week moment. I’m not really an idiot but I do put my foot in my mouth and then change feet 🙂
            Laura O.

  • “When will reasonable Republicans stand against these people? When will they challenge the lies that will cost lives?”

    There is no longer such a thing

  • So Don, when will you apologize to Mr. Fuller and admit he was correct, and as usual the big government leftists were wrong.

    By your math we should have 10,000 dead in Montana, last i checked the tally at 17. Who got it right?

      • And your comparison of deaths would show Montana vs Wyoming as nearly indistinguishable rates at roughly 2 per 100k population.

        How about comparing the rates in Florida ( pop 21M ) with New York state ( pop 19M ) and explaining the fact that NY has eight times the cases.

        Without fail, wherever the left controls government, personal liberty is destroyed in order to empower the state. “Never let a crisis go to waste”

        • There are 100,000 dead Americans because President Trump mismanaged this crisis from the outset. There are 100,000 dead Americans, in part, because we did not act swiftly enough to stop the spread of the disease.

          I was willing to give up a haircut for a few weeks to keep my neighbors safe, but apparently the hyperbolic right just can’t see that way.

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