Can Minnesota please join your club?

Did you hear the news? Washington, Oregon, and California have announced their independence on matters dealing with the pandemic, forming the West Coast Pact. The political fragmentation predicted in so many cyberpunk novels is actually happening! How exciting! Maybe.

COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.

We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.

While each state is building a state-specific plan, our states have agreed to the following principles as we build out a West Coast framework:

  • Our residents’ health comes first. As home to one in six Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.
  • Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities —particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.
  • Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with it’s local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.

Those are smart, science-based goals, contrary to what we’re getting from the federal government and the nest of grifters and thieves that occupy it. I can understand why they’re doing this, and wish Minnesota could join them. We’d be a real asset! We’re a center for biomedical research and industry, and we can buy our way in with corn — lots of corn. I, personally, have strong ties to the west coast, as do many of our citizens. Let us in! You know, we’re surrounded by Greater Wingnuttia, with Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas all full of Trumpkins. Maybe we can negotiate a connection through Canada to Washington?

But then I think…you know, our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin have struggled against the forces of darkness for so long. For the last election Republicans cut the number of polling stations in Milwaukee from 180 to 5, citing coronavirus fears…but then these same Republicans refused to allow voting by mail-in ballot, while all the State Supreme Court justices who rejected the notion voted by absentee ballot. It was a blatant, criminal act of voter suppression, yet the voters persevered and kicked one of the conservatives off the court and elected a liberal judge.

Jill Karofsky beat Daniel Kelly, whom then-Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed to the state’s high court in 2016. Trump endorsed Kelly and on Election Day urged Wisconsin voters “to get out and vote NOW” for the justice.

She won? In spite of all the hurdles Wisconsin threw in her way? This should be an inspiration to us all.

And then, South Dakota. Sioux Falls, SD is currently one of the hottest hot spots for coronavirus infections in the country, thanks to the Smithfield food processing plant, which responded to demands to keep the economy alive (and money flowing into the owners’ pockets) by keeping their workers toiling away. The city’s mayor did the right thing by asking to impose orders to limit the spread of the infection. He was listening to the recommendations of scientists.

“A shelter-in-place order is needed now. It is needed today,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, whose city is at the center of South Dakota’s outbreak and who has had to improvise with voluntary recommendations in the absence of statewide action.

He was overruled by the Republican governor, Kristi Noem.

But the governor continued to resist. Instead, she used a media briefing Monday to announce trials of a drug that President Trump has repeatedly touted as a potential breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

“It’s an exciting day,” she boasted, repeatedly citing her conversations with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

She was listening to the recommendations of Jared Kushner, slumlord, profiteer, con artist.

Noem deserves to rot in hell, but does TenHaken? Do the workers at Smithfield?

I’m beginning to doubt the wisdom of the Western States Pact, and I keep returning to that last statement in their declaration: “Our states will only be effective by working together.” I think that’s true, but I’m not sure what they mean by “our”. Which “our”, 3 states on the west coast? Or should we be thinking bigger, of 50 states and American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all working together to tear down one corrupt regime in Washington, DC, united to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. The problem isn’t Wisconsin, or South Dakota, or Idaho or Nevada or even Texas — it’s the incompetence and malfeasance of the Trump administration and the Republican senate. That’s what we need to work together to destroy.

Well, also, maybe Wall Street should be one of our targets.

Factio Republicana delenda est.


  1. cartomancer says

    Technically that should be “Republicans delendi sunt”.

    The periphrastic Gerundive of Obligation declines by number and gender as a 2-1-2 adjective, so you’d want the masculine plural -i (with the plural “sunt”) rather than the feminine singular -a (with the singular est). I’ve decided that Republicans get to be masculine gender, because of course they do. You could Latinise them as “Republicani”, but that would look a bit weird, since a publicanus in Latin is a tax contractor. Best keep them in their English form.

    If you want to keep the “delenda est” form, you’d have to say “factio Republicana delenda est” (the Republican Party must be destroyed).

  2. Bruce Fuentes says

    A lot of us in WI are very proud that the people of WI fought back against the forces of darkness. The Rethugicans did everything they could to rig the election and still the Karofsky won by a substantial margin. It wasn’t even close, 163k+ votes, 55%-45%. Not sure what or if this says for the larger picture, but it is a damn good sign.
    If WI did not have racist, fundamentalist, wing nuts in charge of the state legislature, we could put together an upper Midwest compact, MN, WI, MI and IL. We could even offer cities on the border to join. What is the federal government going to do about it? Like everything, nothing.
    My wife and I are starting to sketch out options if donnie wins again. If he does we will start the process of emigrating. Not sure where, but the USA I know will not exist after 4 more years. Nay, it does not exist now. But we still have a chance of developing the country we need, not the one we had or have.

  3. cartomancer says

    It’s my compulsive need to correct people’s Latin grammar that makes me such a hit at parties.

    Back on topic, I’ve often said that the best thing to happen to the USA would be to stop being one united country and revert to being fifty separate states. Then the sensible people could run things sensibly and the wingnuts could do their thing without ruining it for the rest of you. Mind you, as a European I am predisposed to think that countries really ought to be about the size of Britain, France or Germany. That seems about right to me, and anything else is far too large and unwieldy.

  4. DonDueed says

    There is a similar initiative forming here in the Northeast. It includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

  5. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Yeah, I’m gonna get grammar corrected, as I have before, but I prefer the sound of my version (which is mine):

    GOP napalma est

  6. raven says

    Instead, she used a media briefing Monday to announce trials of a drug that President Trump has repeatedly touted as a potential breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

    One of the clinical trials has already been modified due to cardiotoxicity and patients dying of heart rhythm problems.

    Trial of chloroquine to treat COVID-19 stopped early due to Heart Complications Livescience Rachael Rettner – 18 hours ago
    In the Brazilian study, some patients taking a high dose of the drug developed dangerous heart rhythm problems.

    Chloroquine is known to be cardiotoxic in high doses.
    The sickest of Covid-19 patients often have underlying heart problems, a risk factor.
    The virus infection itself can damage the heart.

    So they are adding a potentially cardiotoxic drug to patients with heart problems infected with a virus that can cause permanent heart damage.
    What could go wrong here?

  7. birgerjohansson says

    OK. I am off to get anti-depressants or booze or something
    ”Uh-Oh: Biden And Trump TIED In Key Demographic” at YouTube
    Can you maybe tow away the west coast from the Mad Max hellscape of Trumpland?

  8. raven says

    One of the strange things about the chloroquine protocol, is that they added an antibiotic, Azithromycin to the mix.
    This is to prevent any bacterial secondary invaders.
    Aithromycin itself can cause cardiac rhythm problems.

    Azithromycin and Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death: Guilty as … › pmc › articles › PMC3906667
    by JR Giudicessi – ‎2013 – ‎Cited by 21 – ‎Related articles
    Azithromycin is a broad-spectrum macrolide antibiotic, marketed in the United … and non-modifiable (e.g. genetic disposition, female sex, structural heart disease, …
    these tragic albeit rare drug-induced sudden cardiac deaths can be reduced.

    Given the Covid-19 patient population and the viral infection targeting the heart, this probably wasn’t the best choice.

    At the least, they could have chosen a different antibiotic.
    In fact, some doctors have done exactly that, substituting antibiotics that aren’t known for producing sudden cardiac death.

    I’m not seeing that the chloroquine/azithromycin idea was all that well thought out.

  9. says

    DonDueed @ #7:

    There is a similar initiative forming here in the Northeast. It includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

    Delaware, too.

  10. Ed Seedhouse says

    I wonder how long your Republic can last? I’m sort of half expecting succession attempts from West Coast states if Trump wins, or a succession attempt by the south if Biden wins. I’d support the first and oppose the second (sort of). But I’m just an old idiot so what do I know.

  11. says

    @#6, cartomancer

    Back on topic, I’ve often said that the best thing to happen to the USA would be to stop being one united country and revert to being fifty separate states. Then the sensible people could run things sensibly and the wingnuts could do their thing without ruining it for the rest of you. Mind you, as a European I am predisposed to think that countries really ought to be about the size of Britain, France or Germany. That seems about right to me, and anything else is far too large and unwieldy.

    There are several problems with that. Just off the top of my head:

    The US has much lower population density on average than the EU, and the density is much lumpier than that of the EU, so if you split the US into separate states, either you would have to redo the state borderlines to get populations approaching those of European nations or else most of the states would have so little economic and military capability that they would get invaded or otherwise absorbed right away. The US has something like 5½ times the population of the UK, but it’s spread over something like 40 times the area. (And although in many cases the tensions which created state boundary lines are relaxed to the point of near-nonexistence or just plain irrelevant, any attempt to redraw state lines would absolutely rekindle them.)

    Who would get control of the currency? Suddenly creating 49+ new currencies with varying exchange rates would hobble the economy of the States Formerly Known As United for decades, but nobody in their right mind would trust New York or whoever-got-Washington-DC with control over that.

    The overwhelming majority of banking is now controlled by a handful of huge conglomerates — the “Too Big To Fail” Banks that over 90% of the country felt Obama should have broken up immediately in 2009, but which he bailed out instead and which Biden and Hillary Clinton are buddy-buddy with; those would either have to be forcibly split at the same time or else the states which didn’t get the headquarters would be at a massive disadvantage.

    Who would get control of nukes?

    Most federal regulatory systems exist precisely because the states love to cheat and defraud each other if left to their own devices. It would take decades to build up alliances to regulate things, and meanwhile either free trade would continue between states with boatloads of fraud due to mutually-exclusive jurisdictions, or else free trade would be basically cut off and a lot of states would be put in dire straits almost immediately.

  12. says

    @#13, Ed Seedhouse

    Why would the south be upset with a Biden win? He’s planning to give away the store to the Republicans anyway.

    (Well, okay, throwing a tantrum when you’re already getting everything you want is a Republican quality, but Biden is the Democrat that Trump supporters like, so I don’t see where they’re going to have problems.)

  13. raven says

    FWIW, the Smithfield pork plant employs 3,700 people.
    They have 240 Covid-19 cases among them.
    That is a lot.
    We are in cruise ship or aircraft carrier territory here.
    They really had no choice except to shut it down.

    We really need to develop procedures so that we can operate plants like this without them becoming petri dishes for viral transmission.

    While it had to be shut down, it is definitely going to be a huge problem.
    This plant processes 4-5% of the pork in the USA.
    Since it is shut down, the farmers who supply the plant with pigs have nowhere to bring their animals. So the supply chain backs up here.
    If they can’t sell their animals, their banks and employees end up broke.
    Then the state ends up paying unemployment instead of collecting income taxes.

  14. Rich Woods says

    @Cartomancer #6:

    Mind you, as a European I am predisposed to think that countries really ought to be about the size of Britain, France or Germany. That seems about right to me, and anything else is far too large and unwieldy.

    The UK consists of three regional governments and one national government, while Germany consists (I think) of 16 federal states, so you could say France is the largest in terms of government.

    It’s centralised government which I think is the problem, when too much power is drawn in to the centre (as we’ve seen develop over the last 40 years within England even though the trend has been in the opposite direction for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). There needs to be a sensible balance between ensuring basic standards across the regions so that no-one faces a postcode lottery for public services along with ensuring service organisations are large enough to have stability, economy of scale and buying power. It doesn’t help when governments make changes for purely ideological reasons, such as the expansion of academies and free schools to the detriment of LEAs, or the funding of local government by taking much of local taxation (not to mention council housing sales) into the centre and then only handing a proportion back according to how close the political alignment of the local authority is with the government of the day. This is arguably undemocratic, given that local council elections take place by thirds each year rather than the five-year one-shot cycle of national government.

  15. says

    Another problem with breaking up the states is that it would reinforce inequities. Mississippi is 38% black and dirt poor; shall we abandon them because they have a lot of white Republican assholes? The Repubs would just see it as an opportunity to pick up the whip again and build up an overt system of apartheid.

  16. Jazzlet says

    Whatever groupings of states that end up seperating could share the dollar currency the way most of Europe shares the Euro. I don’t know if the US shoud split up, but you have serious problems with states being left behind, and the more populous states not being adequatly represented as it is, so you need some kind of change.

  17. Ishikiri says

    @chrislawson, #4:

    I’d prefer shot, but yes. The conservative wing of the SCOTUS deserves it as well. We can’t know exactly how many people got infected on election day, but it’s all but certain that those judges have blood in their ledgers.

  18. says

    @#19, Jazzlet:

    That’s a hand-waving solution, though. Using another country’s currency is a tricky proposition. In your hypothetical broken-up US, who controls the dollar — which of the new countries gets a bank which can issue a valid dollar, and if there’s more than one how do they come to an agreement about which dollars are valid and which aren’t? (What happens if one of the banks decides to perform “qualitative easing” and the others don’t agree?) The dollar is a fiat currency — who determines how many should be in circulation in the first place? How do we guarantee that there isn’t a shortage of physical currency in the countries which don’t get a central bank? What happens if the economy of one of the new State-Countries has massive inflation/deflation compared with the country with the central bank, the way Greece did with respect to Germany a few years back? For that matter, how do we divide up the US gold reserve to the new countries — or do we just leave it with the central bank(s)? If my country decides that the laws in the country(s) with central bank(s) are causing havoc to the economy, what recourse do we have?

    It’s all a huge mess — the Euro took over 2 decades to start being used at all (the initial proposal for a unified currency was in 1969, it was notionally created in 1992, but didn’t have fixed exchange rates with any of the old currencies until 1998)… if the Formerly United States share a currency, it will presumably take at least a decade to hammer out the details — what do we do until then?

  19. unclefrogy says

    no I find the whole idea of groups of states forming pacts to deal in a coordinated way with this problem a very positive sign. I see no need to break up the country into new separate smaller countries. There has been this tendency for more power to be surrendered to Washington and to the presidency . In this case with this president it is clear that some coordination is needed so forming regional pacts and basically ignoring the inconsistent and chaotic leadership is a very positive. All governments govern by the consent of the people, all authority likewise. there no divine rights or magical power rings or title that insures that people will be compelled to follow any authority. It is completely voluntary. I think the direct challenge to presidential authority in this question is a very nice and unexpected outcome. The possibility of re-balancing the power to the people is there as well as danger, but what choice is there to stay the same and do nothing waiting for this fat crazy old man is more dangerous.
    uncle frogy
    uncle frogy

  20. says

    The way I see it, when the conversation is about women’s/minoritie’s/or social justice in general Republicans think the states have the right to decide. Now that we’re in a national emergency they want their guy in Washington in charge? Fuck that. We’re pulling states rights because we can’t trust him to do the right thing and make “re-opening” a gradual and science driven process.

    Simply put, whenever they decide to start opening things up again, we need to do it very carefully. I think the first thing that needs to happen here (Portland, OR) is the grocery stores lift the limits on people allowed inside. We try that for two weeks, if cases don’t spike we can move on toward further openings. Maybe allow bars and restaurants to re-open but at 10% the fire code capacity. Two weeks. No spike, we can start bumping things up a bit more. Gradually and methodically is the way forward.

    Trump wants to throw open the door and scream “AMERICA IS BACK IN BUSINESS!!!!”. You just know he’s going to use those exact words. Those who follow his path will experience more death and more sickness. The blue states on the coasts are taking the lead on this one because we have to. Do what we do and we’ll make it out of this. Follow Trump and walk barefoot into hell.

  21. says

    @PZ Myers:

    Another problem with breaking up the states is that it would reinforce inequities. Mississippi is 38% black and dirt poor; shall we abandon them because they have a lot of white Republican assholes?

    No. We should/would have an open door policy to folks who wish to emigrate from the South (or whatever regions / jurisdictions the new Republican States of Dystopia might include). If you had a US passport as a Permanent Resident or as a citizen, you have PR/Citizenship in the new Pact. If you had a visa with the old USA, you have a visa with the new Pact. If you had neither but were living in either the old US or the new Pact, we will regularize your status immediately, with a review within 24 months of the creation of the new Pact or within 12 months of your move from Old USA but non-new Pact areas to the new Pact, whichever comes later.

    The biggest problem I see is not people, whom we could easily accommodate, but tribal lands and sovereignty. Letting states go and/or forming a new Pact would really, deeply, thoroughly fuck over indigenous people. We could welcome the individuals, but how would they preserve their nations?

  22. daverytier says

    Re. @26

    We should/would have an open door policy to folks who wish to emigrate from the South

    Fair enough. But how do we prevent the following scenario. They **** up their part to the point of uninhabitability, then they just emigrate too and the process repeats with our new country, again splitting it again in half, destroying their part and coming over for another round until nothing is left.

  23. magistramarla says

    Cartomancer @ #1
    “factio Republicana delenda est” I want this on a bumper sticker!

    Ray Ceeya @ #24
    I really like your plan. Your lips to our wonderful blue-state governors’ ears!

  24. birgerjohansson says

    I just learned The Idiot (TM) has stopped payments to WHO, presumably as part of his tactic of making WHO and other foreign entities scapegoats.

  25. rpjohnston says

    Sure, we’d be FAR more effective with all 50 states working together. But they won’t. Your own citation of the Governor of South Dakota proves that. Those 3 formed the Western States Pact not to take away from 50, but to add from 0 – even 3 of them coordinating together is better for the nation than none coordinating, and it’s better for each of those states individually. Hell, take some Eastern states + Virginia for another pact, Marshall Plan in Minnesota and any other states in the middle that actually can behave in good faith, you have, what, half the country? Half the country together + 25 broken plague dens is better than 50 broken plague dens.

  26. birgerjohansson says

    Pompeo has set up a Theocracy Comission (officially the Universal Human Rights Comission) led by three fundie bellends.
    Yet another reason to secede.

  27. wzrd1 says

    I incessantly hear the same bit, “We can’t abandon them”, never learning or realizing a painfully learned lesson that EMS had to learn.
    A man enters into a confined space, a vault for wastewater management. Some time later, he’s noticed via a glimpse through the manhole to be prone in the water.
    The trucker that observed him through the manhole summoned help from the plant personnel.
    A shipping supervisor climbed down into the vault in order to rescue the downed man.
    He was shortly followed by a maintenance man.
    Police arrived and had to be assisted out of the manhole.
    EMS arrived, with the same debacle, both police and EMS nearly passed out inside of the vault.
    Fire personnel arrived and using self-contained breathing apparatus, removed the three men. Only the last to enter remained alive, due to the dumb luck of collapsing into a seated position against the wall, the others collapsed face down in the water. The maintenance man was hospitalized in serious condition, the contractor that initially entered the vault and the shipping supervisor died.

    One can keep on helping and dying or one can stop, contain the problem and situation and wait until capable help is available to help.
    So, I say, let the NE and west coast form a nation, which will have a full 80% of the US GDP, the rest can stay in their hole with 7% oxygen and wait for federal funding that will be impossible to provide, but the federal government would lack enough military and civilian personnel combined to halt cessation.

  28. Becky Smith says

    Oh dear. Oh dear. I live in Georgia. I’m afraid the South may try to form a Confederate Pact, and we know how well that went the first time around.

  29. xohjoh2n says

    Well, gee, I don’t know whether this guy is on the level or not or know anything, but he appears to make some good points:

  30. nomaduk says

    There is a similar initiative forming here in the Northeast. It includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

    That’s fine. Vermont can secede and join Canada, as we should have originally, and New Hampshire can keep right b on living free or dying whilst avoiding taxes.

  31. birgerjohansson says

    USA is not the only place with a crap government
    New Covid Ventilator Delays
    “With the NHS desperately short of ventilators, to say nothing of a lot of other equipment, the UK government, rather than simply buy established designs, opted to get untested manufacturers to design and build some simpler ones instead. The only problem is that these simpler designs have still not been cleared for clinical use after a month, and we are no nearer actually seeing these ventilators in hospitals.”

  32. wzrd1 says

    @34, what I love is that the one mouthpiece went on and on about “many” studies, the majority of which were retracted quickly.
    If that nosebag knows statistics, he sure as hell should recognize poor study design (such as a nebulous (and in one case, no) control group), one study where all save three patients dropped out or died during the study (and oddly, not counted as either having any effect or no effect. Seriously, start with 100, get to 40, end up with 3, call it a successful study?!
    Frankly, I’d not trust him to read me the frigging weather!
    Trump and his crime family are heavily invested in hydroxychloroquine, but there is no conflict of interest, just ask the IG. Oh yeah, the IG was fired and replaced with a human version of a potted plant.

    Don’t get me wrong, hydroxychloroquine is an excellent drug and has a handful of niche uses, but antiviral activity is not one of the uses for a damned good reason. What studies suggested a possibility involved patients that likely were in cytokine storm and that is one treatment of a handful that would be of use.
    Diagnosing a cytokine storm, well that’s essentially a physician’s opinion, as we really don’t have a lot of things we can test for, save some research tests, such as for complement I levels and that’s not an exceptionally helpful test in and of itself for a number of confounding reasons.

    In other news, the FBI is investigating what was uncovered during an investigation on how to hijack a shipment of N95 masks that were destined for hard hit hospitals. It seems that the quantity that the seller alleges is twice what 3M’s annual output of N95 masks is.
    So, the FBI was investigating on how to help FEMA to steal paid for property, to be resold back to the poor saps that already paid for them, then realized that the quantity was utterly impossible without the use of a time machine.

    Just the sort of things one should expect from a God-King Emperor.
    I suggest giving the God-King, Emperor Trump another place to firmly stay in history – impeach him again, so that he’d be the only President in US history to be impeached twice.

  33. Kagehi says

    While I hate to agree, about anything, with the conservatives around me, one thing California isn’t doing is stopping people from just happily wandering into other states, like all the morons we still get coming to the lake here, to party it up. I don’t believe for one moment that the virus only got here from such people, or would have never gotten here, but a few of the cases where a direct result of stupid people coming from California, and dropping into the middle of our community instead, infecting local family members (one of which is on the list of people that ended up dying from it).

    Though, I will say that I blame the Arizona governor and our own mayor by a wide margin too, since California was saying, “Stay at home!”, while all the idiots traveling from California to here during this where, for months, being told, “Welcome! Go boating!”

    I suspect that their working together to stop Covid-19 will work about as well as having saner gun control laws – “When every other idiot state refuses to do the same thing, how the F do you expect any sort of ‘control’, at all?”