Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 99: COVID-19(84) The Western States Pact Prison

 

Key: Red (Republicans control governorship and legislature); Blue (Democrats control governorship and legislature; Purple (divided control of executive and legislative branches)

Five states led by progressive governors and controlled by the Democratic Party have banded together in a Western States Pact to coordinate the criteria under which they will resume economic activity in their respective states. In other words, “we’ll decide together when our people can be free.” Of course, the language of the pact sounds elevated:

As part of the Western States Pact, the Governors commit to working together toward the following four goals:

  • Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
  • Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
  • Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.

When progressive governors “share best practices,” civil liberties are a secondary consideration. And doubtless, central command of the state economy will be one of those “best practices.”

Attorney General Barr issued a memo to US Attorneys around the country yesterday detailing the need to monitor state and local governments in their jurisdictions for violations of civil rights:

I am directing each of our United States Attorneys to also be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens,” Barr wrote. “As the Department of Justice explained recently in guidance to states and localities taking steps to battle the pandemic, even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers.”

“The legal restrictions on state and local authority are not limited to discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” Barr continued. “For example, the Constitution also forbids, in certain circumstances, discrimination against disfavored speech and undue interference with the national economy. If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court.”

The Western States Pact has helpfully self-identified California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Colorado as places to “be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.” Even as other states are re-opening their economies, the “Pact” states will be continuing house arrest for its citizens until their safety surveillance system is completely operational.

“Undue interference with the national economy” is going to be an interesting issue. With about a fifth of the US population incarcerated in these states, it seems that “undue interference with the national economy” is sort of a given. Powerline provides a timely reminder of how “undue interference” works:

I don’t think our political class in Washington or the state capitols have the slightest idea of how they have disrupted the workings of our economy beyond the mere measure of the (huge) number of people filing for unemployment, which they think can be fixed simply by printing more money and sending out checks.

The good folks at CEI produced [the embedded] six-minute video of “I, Pencil” a few years ago, and it makes for salutary viewing just now as our government contemplates “plans” for “re-opening” the economy. Give it a look, and contemplate the effects the shutdown is having on the millions of daily decisions made by producers and consumers alike. Maybe our political class just needs to just get the hell out of the way.

And that may happen sooner rather than later in some parts of the country. But the Western States Pact Prison is likely to remain closed for a while even as health data demonstrates that, although not defeated, COVID-19 is waning in those jurisdictions — beach parties or not.

[Note: Links to all my CoVID-19 posts can be found here.]

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  1. danok1 Member

    Would this be an Interstate Compact that requires the approval of Congress? I am not a lawyer, but since this would seem to affect the Federal power to regulate interstate commerce, I would think Congress needs to approve it.

    • #1
    • April 28, 2020, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Would this be an Interstate Compact that requires the approval of Congress? I am not a lawyer, but since this would seem to affect the Federal power to regulate interstate commerce, I would think Congress needs to approve it.

    Good question. I suspect that it needs Congressional approval to be legally enforceable. I haven’t researched the question, but I doubt that the law would prohibit voluntary collective action by states.

    • #2
    • April 28, 2020, at 8:23 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    If 50% of California ignores shelter in place what will the governor do? Arrest half the population? If he does, he will be facing recall which will end his political career ala Grey Davis.

     

    • #3
    • April 28, 2020, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Good grief. More totalitarian actions everywhere you look.

    • #4
    • April 28, 2020, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    “Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.”

    Why wasn’t this done in March and April?

    Victor Davis Hanson said ultimately it’s not Trump or the governors who will decide. It will be small business owners and people who want to get back to work who will decide.

    The original objective was to flatten the curve and not overwhelm hospitals… Mission accomplished.

    I noticed a lot of cars on Wilshire Blvd this morning (on my way to McDonald’s 2 sausage burrito breakfast combo).

     

    • #5
    • April 28, 2020, at 8:38 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Sandy Member

    Shouldn’t they, and especially California, be a little worried about what hot weather might bring? People do get a little antsy. Or will they go right up to the limit of tolerance just to see how far they can push? I’m ready to believe anything of these people, who care so little about public health that they allow large encampments of the homeless to grow on their streets, with all the dangers to health that brings. I never thought I would be thanking the Swedes daily for their courage.

    • #6
    • April 28, 2020, at 8:51 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Sandy (View Comment):

    Shouldn’t they, and especially California, be a little worried about what hot weather might bring? People do get a little antsy. Or will they go right up to the limit of tolerance just to see how far they can push? I’m ready to believe anything of these people, who care so little about public health that they allow large encampments of the homeless to grow on their streets, with all the dangers to health that brings. I never thought I would be thanking the Swedes daily for their courage.

    IHME projects Sweden still has 27 days until peak daily deaths. It will probably be sooner but even assuming IHME is correct they are projecting the last death from this outbreak in Sweden to be on July 16. After that think what life in Sweden is like compared to the Western States Pact. Any new visitor to Sweden cannot bring with him/her a new epidemic as “herd immunity” will have been achieved. In contrast, WSP populations will have been prevented from achieving herd immunity and will have had their immune systems suppressed in direct proportion to their compliance with lock down orders.

    • #7
    • April 28, 2020, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  8. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @rodin, I thank you for the wealth of information you provide on Ricochet. Even when it’s not a subject in which I have a particular interest, the insights you provide are always worthwhile. Even on the rare occasions when I don’t agree with your conclusions.

    • #8
    • April 28, 2020, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Housebroken Thatcher

    MISTER BITCOIN (View Comment):

    I noticed a lot of cars on Wilshire Blvd this morning (on my way to McDonald’s 2 sausage burrito breakfast combo).

    That used to be my favorite breakfast (I know – weird, right?) but I think they changed something recently.

    • #9
    • April 28, 2020, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Would this be an Interstate Compact that requires the approval of Congress? I am not a lawyer, but since this would seem to affect the Federal power to regulate interstate commerce, I would think Congress needs to approve it.

    Good question. I suspect that it needs Congressional approval to be legally enforceable. I haven’t researched the question, but I doubt that the law would prohibit voluntary collective action by states.

    From what I’ve seen, it is just an agreement to coordinate with each other. It isn’t a compact in the sense of a written, signed document with reciprocal promises.

    • #10
    • April 28, 2020, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Tex929rr Coolidge

    It’s been obvious since Woodrow Wilson that progressives hate the constitution in particular and individual rights in general. That so many Americans are pushing back shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is. An electorate among which at least a third appear to have been willing to vote for an avowed socialist is a very dangerous thing.

    • #11
    • April 28, 2020, at 9:38 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    Rodin: As part of the Western States Pact, the Governors commit to working together toward the following four goals:

    Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.

    There’s the rub. I recommend listening to the latest American Wonk podcast. One of the participants is a member of the California reopening task force. There are huge supply chain problems in getting adequate PCR tests. Contact tracing is a bigger problem. California thinks they need 10,000 tracers (current employees, retrained). The lockdown reduces the difficulty of tracing. Before the lockdown an average person had (I think he said) 100 contacts a day. With the strict quarantine, 5-20. So contact tracing without continued lockdown would require at least 5, and up to 20, times the number of tracers. And I’m pretty sure the 10,000 figure assumes continued lockdown. Can California afford to pay 50,000 to 200,000 essentially unproductive workers? And the tracing includes testing of all the contacts.

    Bottom line: I don’t think California is planning on lifting the lockdown any time soon.

    • #12
    • April 28, 2020, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):
    Contact tracing is a bigger problem. California thinks they need 10,000 tracers (current employees, retrained)

    B-b-b-b-ut Gottleib/Apple/Google! Aren’t we all going to be tracked on our smart phones?!

    • #13
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. The Reticulator Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):
    Contact tracing is a bigger problem. California thinks they need 10,000 tracers (current employees, retrained)

    B-b-b-b-ut Gottleib/Apple/Google! Aren’t we all going to be tracked on our smart phones?!

    I see standalone GPS devices making a comeback. Actually, I’ve been considering it for some time. 

    • #14
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. MarciN Member

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Any new visitor to Sweden cannot bring with him/her a new epidemic as “herd immunity” will have been achieved. In contrast, WSP populations will have been prevented from achieving herd immunity and will have had their immune systems suppressed in direct proportion to their compliance with lock down orders.

    I don’t think we know if immunity is spreading the way we hope it is. We don’t know the health outcomes for asymptomatic carriers yet.

    Mass General just launched a new study I’m excited about to determine this answer. The virus has been around the Boston area now long enough that we can get a good-sized group of test subjects together. :-)

    About 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents will be invited to participate in randomized testing for COVID-19 antibodies, the city announced Sunday morning.

    Tests will be conducted for both the COVID-19 virus and COVID-19 antibodies, officials said. Testing for the virus is done with a nose swab and antibody testing will be conducted by blood drawn through a finger prick.

    While virus tests determine whether you currently have the infection, the latter tests show whether your blood has antibodies present, which appear when the body has responded to an infection such as COVID-19.

    • #15
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Fritz Member

    Heck, Washington state has been under one-party Democrat rule for decades. The state’s 39 counties are dominated by the high liberal/leftist populations of just four, so with the Democrat-loyalists in support in those counties, the rest get overridden. Also, mail-in voting, exclusively mail-in voting, allows more than the usual amount of cheating in close elections. Otherwise, a dumb as a rock guy like Inslee could never have been elected, and re-elected.

    Just one example recently in the news: in the WA statewide shutdown, all private construction was stopped, but government projects continued; then Inslee announced last week that, after weeks of meetings with unions and contractors associations, a “deal” had been struck with Inslee allowing some private construction to resume, but not on any single-family-home projects.

    Two points: Inslee has always been in the unions’ pocket, so making a “deal” instead of making sensible public policy is in the DNA, and second, the left here has single-family-homes in their sights, with recent efforts to ban all new such SFH construction projects forever in places like Seattle. The covid-19 shutdown gives them cover to advance. Disgusting.

    • #16
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  17. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    The Reticulator

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):
    Contact tracing is a bigger problem. California thinks they need 10,000 tracers (current employees, retrained)

    B-b-b-b-ut Gottleib/Apple/Google! Aren’t we all going to be tracked on our smart phones?!

    I see standalone GPS devices making a comeback. Actually, I’ve been considering it for some time. 

    Actually, I already have one, but it’s optimized for bicycling. 

    • #17
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. tigerlily Member

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    @rodin, I thank you for the wealth of information you provide on Ricochet. Even when it’s not a subject in which I have a particular interest, the insights you provide are always worthwhile. Even on the rare occasions when I don’t agree with your conclusions.

    Same here.

    • #18
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Any new visitor to Sweden cannot bring with him/her a new epidemic as “herd immunity” will have been achieved. In contrast, WSP populations will have been prevented from achieving herd immunity and will have had their immune systems suppressed in direct proportion to their compliance with lock down orders.

    I don’t think we know if immunity is spreading the way we hope it is. We don’t know the health outcomes for asymptomatic carriers yet.

    That’s a fair point, @marcin. But unless this virus is way different from others it should be true that herd immunity is possible. The alternative is that we become “mole people” until the vaccine is tested, mass produced and mass applied — or just simply die off as a species (the recommended approach of PETA).

    • #19
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):
    Contact tracing is a bigger problem. California thinks they need 10,000 tracers (current employees, retrained)

    B-b-b-b-ut Gottleib/Apple/Google! Aren’t we all going to be tracked on our smart phones?!

    I see standalone GPS devices making a comeback. Actually, I’ve been considering it for some time.

    BTW, I went shopping at Menards today and accidentally left my phone at home. Does that help? I seem to be doing that more and more.

    It was my first trip to any of the big box stores since the lockdowns started. I got there at 6a.m. for the senior hour and was the only customer I could see. My car was the only one in the parking lot, aside from the Menards rental pickups, so I don’t know where all the employees had parked.

    • #20
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:26 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. MarciN Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Any new visitor to Sweden cannot bring with him/her a new epidemic as “herd immunity” will have been achieved. In contrast, WSP populations will have been prevented from achieving herd immunity and will have had their immune systems suppressed in direct proportion to their compliance with lock down orders.

    I don’t think we know if immunity is spreading the way we hope it is. We don’t know the health outcomes for asymptomatic carriers yet.

    That’s a fair point, @marcin. But unless this virus is way different from others it should be true that herd immunity is possible. The alternative is that we become “mole people” until the vaccine is tested, mass produced and mass applied — or just simply die off as a species (the recommended approach of PETA).

    I believe it is possible, but if we are relying on light-viral-load exposure to accomplish it, it will take a lot of time to get up to 65 to 75 percent where it is really effective.

    I think we’ll find that we already have some built-in immunity to this, possibly conferred by a close relative of the covid-19 virus. I think that’s why so many asymptomatic people are not reacting to the virus with a cytokine storm.

    But if it is truly “novel,” then herd immunity will take time to come about. With 330 million people, the virus can keep moving into new areas to infect people.

    That’s basically what happened when the Europeans settled in North America. The Native Americans could not build up herd immunity fast enough even though it had been reached somewhat in Europe by then.

    • #21
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  22. MarciN Member

    I learned a lot about what the term “herd immunity” means in relation to the measles outbreak a couple of years ago. I was wondering if the few anti-vax families that existed were enough to put in jeopardy people who could not have the vaccine for one reason or another. To make it possible for a person with no immunity to move around freely in a community, the percentage of immune people within that community has to be pretty high:

    The basic concept of herd immunity is directly applicable only under very special conditions. The agents of disease must be restricted to a single host species within which transmission occurs by relatively direct contact, and infection induces solid immunity. Also outbreaks must occur only in randomly mixing populations. In free-living populations, susceptibles are not distributed homogeneously but tend to cluster in subgroups defined by age and by such factors as ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The requisite for occurrence of epidemics, namely a large enough number of susceptibles in frequent contact with each other, exists in virtually all large populations, regardless of the total proportion of the population that is immune. Experience with measles illustrates these conditions. Total prevalence of immunity of greater than or equal to 90% in developing countries does not prevent annual epidemics among the susceptibles, most of whom are children younger than three years of age. Where vaccination is widely practiced, as in the United States since 1962, measles has continued to occur in poorly immunized subgroups that are characterized by low educational level and economic status, very young age, or religious beliefs forbidding acceptance of vaccine. Ultimate success of a systematic immunization program requires knowledge of distribution of susceptibles by age and subgroup and maximal effort to reduce the concentration of susceptibles throughout the community rather than aiming to reach any specific proportion of the overall population.

    It takes a long time for that level of exposure to occur naturally.

    The needed percentages can be very high:

    For example, it is estimated that 93% to 95% of a population needs to be vaccinated to establish herd immunity against measles, whereas the threshold for polio is 80% to 86%.

    I don’t think we know yet what the needed percentage is for covid-19.

    I think we need to get started on this track to herd immunity, and I’m thrilled that so many states are “opening up,” but I think we are quite a ways away from having the protective benefits of herd immunity to this particular virus.

    • #22
    • April 28, 2020, at 11:09 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  23. MarciN Member

    This is a fascinating 11-minute video on this herd immunity subject. :-)

    • #23
    • April 28, 2020, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Would this be an Interstate Compact that requires the approval of Congress? I am not a lawyer, but since this would seem to affect the Federal power to regulate interstate commerce, I would think Congress needs to approve it.

    Good question. I suspect that it needs Congressional approval to be legally enforceable. I haven’t researched the question, but I doubt that the law would prohibit voluntary collective action by states.

    It’s a political matter not a legal matter. Lawyers view every issue through a legal lens for better or worse.

     

    • #24
    • April 28, 2020, at 11:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    It would be nice if May 1st could be changed into a globally celebrated day of liberty.

    • #25
    • April 28, 2020, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Colorado’s probably the outlier in this group, in terms of both not being a deep, deep Blue state and in the lifting of some restrictions as of this Friday by Gov. Polis:

     

    Under the new public health order, restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, concert halls, casinos and off-track betting facilities will remain closed. Restaurants and bars can continue to offer take-out and delivery only.

    Retail shops can open for curbside delivery now and to in-store customers starting Friday, with strict social distancing and precautions in place for employees, including face coverings and gloves. But shops are encouraged to continue curbside pickup for as long as possible. Services done outside of offices, such as real estate showings, can restart, as can elective or voluntarily medical procedures.

    Personal services, like hair salons and massage parlors, can open Friday, so long as the provider and the customer wear masks, no more than 10 people are in the business, and the location is not above 50% of its total occupancy. Services that require a person to remove his or her mask cannot be performed, according to the order.

    That sort of puts Colorado somewhere between Texas and California on the COVID-19 easing scale, with the state’s more progressive counties remaining far more limited in their relaxation actions (Texas sort of has that, too, but it’s based on coronavirus infections — counties with five or fewer cases can jump right to Phase II reopenings on Friday, and those counties tend to be more rural and conservative).

     

     

    • #26
    • April 28, 2020, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Locke On Member

    It’s going to be interesting if the red states that reopen fire up their economies while Dem governed ones stay locked down. It will probably result in supply chain hell in the short run, but could result in more business and family migration in the mid-term. There’s also a reasonable chance that the leftists’ torpedoes will circle around (as Instapundit puts it) and deliver an object lesson in free markets versus tyranny, just in time for November.

    • #27
    • April 28, 2020, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Locke On (View Comment):

    It’s going to be interesting if the red states that reopen fire up their economies while Dem governed ones stay locked down. It will probably result in supply chain hell in the short run, but could result in more business and family migration in the mid-term. There’s also a reasonable chance that the leftists’ torpedoes will circle around (as Instapundit puts it) and deliver an object lesson in free markets versus tyranny, just in time for November.

    States staying on lockdown that are next to states doing targeted easing will create a pretty easy contrast, as compared to states surrounded by like-minded ones, or states with little population adjoining the areas next to states that are easing (as with Arizona and the eastern California desert). It’s hard to see people with lockdown govs, like Kentucky or Micighan being happy with a summer of severe limits if Ohio and Indiana are opening back up and seeing only minor upticks in COVID cases due to the summer heat.

    • #28
    • April 28, 2020, at 12:32 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Old Bathos Moderator

    What kind of a mindset wants to join a collective policy manifesto instead of an information exchange or resource sharing?

    Controlling the narrative, suppressing dissident voices, expanding control, demonization of sources of disagreement—all of that is required to prevent a widespread perception that the control freaks are overreaching wildly. The Green New Deal, government healthcare, mandatory election fraud, complete economic redistribution authority and yet another few hundred million dollars for Planned Parenthood and vote harvesting gangs could not happen if democracy and unfettered public discourse were sill permitted.

    As soon as it is obvious to everyone that the bug has peaked and further economic suicide of little or no benefit, the Blue State Governors will unite to fight the Second Wave indefinitely.

    • #29
    • April 28, 2020, at 2:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m not sure what this means in a practical sense, since Colorado just loosened restrictions on Sunday. I finally got my hair cut today and lost 3 pounds. Neener, neener, neener. 

     

    • #30
    • April 28, 2020, at 3:05 PM PDT
    • 4 likes