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The “Freedom” Foundation Attacks Public Health

With its attempted attack on labor unions stalled out, billionaire-funded “Freedom” Foundation panders to the lunatic fringe.

The group that once said fighting unions is “the only thing we do” has apparently changed its tune, in a desperate attempt to gain relevance after years of no traction in their feeble attack on working families in the Northwest. They’ve taken their place back in the sub-culture where they belong – the COVID conspiracy theorists. The “Plandemic” crowd is a perfect fit for an organization whose CEO attends a church where the pastor compared environmentalists to Nazis and two of its former key staff are now writing violent prepper novels under pseudonyms.

As states like Texas and Florida have to shut down again because of an increase in COVID cases, the right-wing “Freedom” Foundation is using their out-of-state dollars to bring the same anti-science agenda to Washington State. If they weren’t so inept and we didn’t have a governor who was leading the way on the COVID response, we would be much more worried.

It would be just another reason to mock the failing front group if the misinformation they were spreading wasn’t so dangerous. Their so-called “policy” staff, their right-wing attorneys and their “outreach” department (which doesn’t do much outreach at all) appear redirected to a new mission – put as many people into harm’s way of the COVID-19 pandemic as possible, and hope to raise money off the unsuspecting fringe, right-wing activists.

By weaving conspiracy theories to shake faith in public health officials, the so-called “Freedom” Foundation is blatantly disregarding the actual numbers of infected and dead, not just in our state but nationwide. By trying to camouflage the dangerous reality of this pandemic, they are discouraging safety measures that protect the elderly, front line workers, and communities of color.

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Their “legal department,” meanwhile, is waging an inexplicable war against the health of people in the “Freedom” Foundation’s own backyard, Thurston County, and beyond. Their latest lawsuit hopes to cancel any mask-wearing directives that could slow down viral transmission. When Thurston County ceded authority to Gov. Inslee’s statewide mask mandate, the “Freedom” Foundation ridiculously took credit. Now, the group is blustering and fundraising over a possible lawsuit against the state mask directive, channeling the anti-science backlash and shameful disregard for others’ well-being during a pandemic.

The science is clear – wearing masks may not protect you perfectly, but it definitely protects others. Asking everyone to wear masks is a simple ask, but “Freedom” Foundation attorney Shella Sadovnik feebly complains that it’s awkward telling your employees to wear them. Meanwhile, mountains of scientific reports are pointing to masks slowing the rate of transmission at an encouraging rate. Over in Chelan, their attorneys are also suing Washington State to block any public health oversight of a water park that wants to open up to thousands of customers this summer, a potential super-spreader event for the virus and a major threat to the water park’s staff.

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Their “outreach” team (which would have been fired a long time ago if they did outreach for any progressive organization) has also been struggling to undermine public health measures, both in public and online. Hoping to turn this deadly virus into political capital, the “Freedom” Foundation has been coming after Gov. Inslee’s health mandates with airplane banners, billboards, and an anti-quarantine rally at the Capitol building. Their new fundraising pitches request donations to do more of the same. Their social media staffer has been reposting misleading information about the supposed danger of wearing masks.

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When an organization’s mission bottoms out, it can make sense to pivot, and apparently, the “Freedom” Foundation has done just that. Organized workers, the “Freedom” Foundation’s dreaded foe, have only become stronger and more energized in the last two years, no matter how much money the anti-union group pours into their regressive campaign.

Now the “Freedom” Foundation is spending its cash on downplaying the dangers of COVID-19 while preaching the dangers of wearing masks and listening to health officials. In doing so, they send a clear message they don’t care how many of us die, as long as they can get another few minutes on Newsmax or some other right-wing internet site. The only “hoax” is the Freedom Foundation, itself, as it regurgitates hazardous right-wing conspiracies in a quest for membership in the lunatic fringe.

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