Category Archives: News

My thoughts on the news of the day, both local, Colorado, national and international.

Rule Five Balkanization Friday

Should we break up the USA?  I’d prefer not to, but here from the Mises Institute is another idea.  Excerpt:

Some of our assumptions are so deeply embedded that we cannot perceive them ourselves.

Case in point: everyone takes for granted that it’s normal for a country of 320 million to be dictated to by a single central authority. The only debate we’re permitted to have is who should be selected to carry out this grotesque and inhumane function.

Here’s the debate we should be having instead: what if we simply abandoned this quixotic mission, and went our separate ways? It’s an idea that’s gaining traction — much too late, to be sure, but better late than never.

For a long time it seemed as if the idea of secession was unlikely to take hold in modern America. Schoolchildren, after all, are told to associate secession with slavery and treason. American journalists treat the idea as if it were self-evidently ridiculous and contemptible (an attitude they curiously do not adopt when faced with US war propaganda, I might add).

And yet all it took was the election of Donald Trump for the alleged toxicity of secession to vanish entirely. The left’s principled opposition to secession and devotion to the holy Union went promptly out the window on November 8, 2016. Today, about one in three Californians polled favors the Golden State’s secession from the Union.

In other words, some people seem to be coming to the conclusion that the whole system is rotten and should be abandoned.

As far as how this would happen?  Author Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. doesn’t offer a mechanism, but he offers a reason:

When I say go our separate ways, I don’t mean “the left” goes one way and “the right” goes another. I mean the left goes one way and everyone else — rather a diverse group indeed — goes another. People who live for moral posturing, to broadcast their superiority over everyone else, and to steamroll differences in the name of “diversity,” should go one way, and everyone who rolls his eyes at all this should go another.

“No people and no part of a people,” said Ludwig von Mises nearly one hundred years ago, “shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.” So much wisdom in that simple sentiment. And so much conflict and anguish could be avoided if only we’d heed it.

What’s interesting is that the talk about secession these days is coming mostly from disaffected California lefties, disappointed that Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I lost the election they expected her to win.  A few surveys have up to one-third of Californians thinking secession is a good idea.

They should ask South Carolina how that worked out for them.

Seriously, the Rockwell article in discussion here is based on the libertarian argument that no people should be held in a political arrangement against their will, quoting as it does Ludiwg von Mises himself.  But the problem is that libertarians are a pretty small minority of the population, and when those 1/3 of Californians discover all of the problems they’d face in an actual secession attempt, they’d almost certainly change their minds.

I’ve discussed the idea of the United States balkanization before.  It will probably happen someday, in some form.  But I doubt it will be any time soon, no matter who is sitting at this moment in the Imperial Mansion.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Oh, for the luvva Pete.  This comes to us from Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller;  College Writing Center Declares American Grammar A ‘Racist,’ ‘Unjust Language Structure’.  The stupid, it is strong with this one.  Excerpt:

An “antiracist” poster in a college writing center insists American grammar is “racist” and an “unjust language structure,” promising to prioritize rhetoric over “grammatical ‘correctness.’”

The poster, written by the director, staff, and tutors of the University of Washington, Tacoma’s Writing Center, states “racism is the normal condition of things,” declaring that it permeates rules, systems, expectations, in courses, school and society.

“Linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent ‘standard’ of English,” proclaims the writing center’s statement. “Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English.”

In the introduction to its “commitment” section, the Tacoma Writing Center pledges to “listen and look carefully and compassionately for ways we may unintentionally perpetuate racism or social injustice, actively engaging in antiracist practices” before making nine specific promises to students.

“We promise to emphasize the importance of rhetorical situations over grammatical ‘correctness’ in the production of texts,” announces the poster. “We promise to challenge conventional word choices and writing explanations.”

These people should really see a proctologist about the gigantic sticks they obviously have jammed up their asses.

Look, every written language has rules.  Mrs. Animal is poly-lingual, speaking German, French, Japanese and a little Spanish; she knowledgeably informs me that the hardest thing about a new language is learning the various rules of grammar, without which you’ll have a hard time making yourself understood.  I am most emphatically not poly-lingual, unless you count being able to struggle along in conversational German if I’m speaking with someone who doesn’t talk too quickly.  But I do know that language, in order to transmit ideas clearly and unambiguously, needs to have rules.

Those rules are called spelling and grammar.

 It’s disheartening to see the horrible written communications skills demonstrated by so many people today.  I do not exclude people my age and older in this, but the younger generation, particularly in various internet venues, seem to be pretty bad, and I can tell you in part why – none of my four kids, who went to school in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, were taught the parts of speech, or how to diagram a sentence.  They were not taught the basic rules of English grammar.

When you remonstrate one of these folks, they tend to react loudly, accusing you of being a grammar Nazi (of which I cheerfully plead guilty) and asking why, if you can make out what they are saying, that their presentation should matter.

Well, here’s why:  On an internet forum, how you present yourself in writing is the only thing readers have with which to judge your intelligence.  A bad argument presented well is often more persuasive than a good argument presented badly.

The folks at the Tacoma Writing Center are presenting an absolutely horrible argument and doing it not only poorly, but stupidly.  The jackwagons proposing this travesty have no business working in education at any level.

Animal’s Daily Environmental Mess News

There’s already a huge environmental disaster up at the site of the proposed Dakota Access pipeline.  It’s awful, an actual, for-real disaster – and it was caused by the protesters, claiming to be “environmentalists,” who camped there to protest the pipeline.  Excerpt:

North Dakota’s Republican governor issued an order Wednesday night mandating that all those occupying campsites along the Dakota Access Pipeline evacuate the area immediately.

Gov. Doug Burgum issued the order to accelerate cleanup efforts to avoid a possible ecological disaster from the 4.5 million pounds of garbage protesters have left behind. Unseasonably warm temperatures, the note states, prompted the need for protesters to evacuate the flood-plain areas in Morton and Sioux counties by no later than Feb. 22.

“All persons occupying or residing in the evacuation area shall immediately begin efforts to remove their person property and possessions from evacuated area,” Burgum’s order states. It allows for protesters to return and remove the rest of their things once temperatures drop and the area is cleared.

Sanitation crews have been working around-the-clock to clean up the debris from the DAPL construction site.

Yes, True Believers, you read that right; 4.5 million pounds of garbage was left behiind by “environmental” protestors.  They are concerned that the pipeline will damage the environment – even though there are millions of miles of pipelines in the country and those millions of miles have a very, very good safety record.  But they are obviously not concerned that their own mountains of garbage won’t cause such damage.

I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of used condoms and other body-fluid-bearing items in the trash as well, adding a spice of possible biohazard to the mix.

Remember the mounds of garbage left behind after Tea Party rallies?  No, neither do I.  Everyone involved with those events has observed that the Tea Partiers, agree with their agenda or not, were at least considerate of the grounds on which they rallied; they generally left their areas at least as clean as they found them.

Not so the “environmentalists” protesting the Dakota Access pipeline, who left behind them an actual environmental catastrophe.

The irony, it is strong with this one.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Our undying gratitude once more to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the President’s Day Rule Five links!  Be sure to check out the extensive totty compendiums at the links.

 Now, on to some science – new technology, it seems, might make brain implants practical.  Not surprisingly, this news comes out of MIT.  Excerpt:

Researchers at Harvard Medical School will use a new kind of implant that will go beneath the skull but can rest on the surface of an animal’s brain, instead of penetrating inside the organ. An array of microscopic coils inside the hair-like device can generate powerful, highly targeted magnetic fields to induce electrical activity at particular locations in the brain tissue underneath. The implant will also be tested when placed inside brain tissue. 

The device will be used to stimulate the visual cortex of the monkeys to try and re-create the activity normally triggered by signals from the eyes—creating the sensation of sight without the eyes’ input. Ultimately, the goal is to use the implant to convert signals from a camera into brain activity. Unlike conventional electrodes, the coils’ effectiveness shouldn’t degrade over time. Magnetic fields aren’t impeded by tissue forming around an implant as electric currents are.

I’m certain this tech will never be used for nefarious purposes, of course.

 While this technology might (literally!) allow the deaf to hear and the blind to see, it’s unclear whether it could be used to, say, restore motor functions.  I would tend to think it’s possible, but back when I studied biology my area of focus was behavior, not neurology, so I will be the first to admit my understanding here is limited.

Still.  It’s an amazing modern era we live in.  At least in the Western world, it is; large parts of the globe are still struggling out of the Dark Ages.

Maybe we can come up with a brain implant for that?

Rule Five Asian Alliances Friday

Last weekend, President Trump spent the weekend with the one man that represents America’s best and truest ally in the Pacific save only Australia – Japan.  The Japan Times had this to say about their meeting.  Excerpt:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might have got exactly what he wanted in his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Abe’s three-day visit to the United States, the first since the inauguration of the Trump administration, was marked by friendly overtones and included two nights of dinners in a row and golfing in Palm Beach, Florida, where the president hosted the Japanese leader at his winter estate. Trump gave assurances to Abe over the bilateral security alliance while remaining silent over his earlier aggressive criticism of Japan over trade and currency issues.

But if Trump had merely tamed his protectionist pitch to play up his friendly rapport with Abe, those issues may have just been set aside to be taken up later in the “bilateral dialogue framework” that the two leaders agreed to create to discuss trade and investment matters. A close aide to Abe reportedly said the two leaders confirmed that the trade disputes of the 1980s were a “thing of the past.” But Trump’s remarks before the meeting had been enough to raise the specter of the bitter trade friction between the two countries. It’s not clear whether Abe succeeded in changing the minds of the U.S. president during the talks. The government needs to hold Japan’s ground in the upcoming dialogue.

But here’s the real money (hah) quote – bear in mind this article is written from Japan’s point of view:

What’s worrisome about Trump’s views on trade issues is that they may not be shaped by a correct understanding of the relevant facts. In singling out Japan — along with China — as countries that engage in trade practices that are “not fair” to American firms during his earlier talks with U.S. business leaders, the president reportedly claimed that countries such as Japan “charge a lot of tax” on U.S. products and said that “if they’re going to charge tax to our countries — if as an example, we sell a car into Japan and they do things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan. … It’s not fair.” Separately, he effectively charged that Japan and China manipulate the exchange rates to drive their currencies lower against the dollar — on which he blamed the U.S. trade deficits.

Japan needs the United States, probably more than we need them.  I’ve done a fair amount of business there, and all three companies I’ve worked with sell over half of their output to Americans and American companies.   That makes us their most important market.

It’s odd to my WW2-generation parents – they’ve told me so themselves – but it’s in America’s best interests to maintain a solid working relationship with Japan, not least of which is because of the stare-down our island allies are having with China.  Two major trade partners are snapping at each other, which puts President Trump in a damned delicate situation.

Here’s what I found encouraging about last weekend’s events, at least as far as American-Japanese relations are concerned – the President and Prime Minister Abe appear to get along very well personally, playing golf together and by all appearances enjoying a fine dinner with spouses and aides at Trump’s Florida resort.

Why is that encouraging?  Because of something I’ve learned over almost fifteen years of self-employment:  People do business with people they like.  A good personal relationship with Prime Minister Abe will make it easier for President Trump, a man of business, to do business with Japan.

I confess to some selfish motive here.  I’ve done business in Japan, have lived and worked there, and I have had and always will have a very real fondness for the place and it’s people.  I want to do business there again.  I hope President Trump and Prime Minister Abe agree on a trade deal to make that possible.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Ever tried an Airbnb stay?  I haven’t, even in all my travels, but I’ve considered it, and would avail myself if the housing matched the site where I was working.  But around the country, the hotel industry is engaging in the Aristocracy of Pull to shut Airbnb down.  Excerpt:

New York officials are on the job, protecting the world from the likes of Hank Freid and Tatiana Cames by slapping the two with a combined total of $17,000 in fines.

What threat to life, liberty, and property did this dastardly duo pose?

They were renting rooms to willing customers, the bastards. Fried and Cames were slapped for violating laws prohibiting apartment owners from renting rooms for less than 30 days if they’re not living on the premises, and a further law passed last year that banned advertising such rentals. It’s a direct strike at innovative home-sharing services like Airbnb and the people who use them that parallels similar attacks around the country.

“The law signed today will provide vital protections for New York tenants and help prevent the continued proliferation of illegal, unregulated hotels, and we will defend it,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) trumpeted last October.

Maybe I’m the suspicious type, but I think those “vital protections” Schneiderman refers to are against competition to the established old-school hotel industry. Just last summer, the Office of the New York State Comptroller fretted that the hotel business in New York City wasn’t doing as well as hoped. “Despite impressive gains, the average room rate (i.e., the average cost of renting a hotel room) has not yet reached its prerecession level” and, in fact, “room rates declined slightly in 2015.” This bums officials out, because “New York City collected a record $1.8 billion in tax revenue from the hotel industry in fiscal year 2015” and officials want to keep scooping up that revenue and maintain close, personal friendships with the people who generate that kind of cash.

Look carefully, True Believers, at that last bit.  New York City wants to prevent homeowners from voluntarily leasing a portion of their home to willing short-term renters, in a purely voluntary transaction in which both parties realize a gain.  Why?

Tax dollars.  The City of New York, it seems, is of the opinion that those tax dollars are theirs by right, and that the Airbnb renters are defrauding them of their due.  Why, it’s damned near medieval.

Incidentally, the same thing happens with the taxicab companies when they campaign against ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.  They can’t compete in the open market, so they enlist government cronies to shut their competitors down with excessive regulations.

The only open and fair competition is in the open market, where business models succeed or fail for the only reason tolerable in a free society – because they succeeded or failed in attracting customers.  President Trump has vowed to reduce business-killing regulations that add no value.  He should look into this.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Sub-Saharan Africa is pretty much synonymous with hunger and poverty.  Ever wondered why?  The Dark Continent is rich in resources; plenty of mineral wealth, timber, beautiful country attractive to tourism, and some of the world’s richest farmlands.  So why are the African nations poor and starving?  Here’s a possible explanation.  Excerpt:

With every last bit of fertile land spoken for, Uganda’s only path out of mass hunger is intensification—getting more food out of the same amount of ground. Back in the 1960s and ’70s, high-yield varieties of wheat and rice revolutionized agriculture in Asia and Latin America, freeing up to a billion people from chronic hunger. But the Green Revolution skipped Africa. I had come to Uganda to try to figure out why.

Nakkede’s laboratory gives me my first clue. Ensuring that farmers have access to good seed should be at the forefront of Uganda’s fight against hunger, and a sample of each lot of agricultural seed produced in the country is supposed to be tested here. But the lab barely functions at all.

Is insufficient funding the problem? Not quite. Expensive-looking machinery is all around us. Yet none of it, I slowly realize, is plugged into the wall.

“Oh, yeah,” an aid official tells me days later. “All the equipment at the Kawanda lab is fried.”

Between 2003 and 2008, a $1.9 million project by the Danish International Development Agency fully equipped this lab and trained staff to work here. But blackouts are frequent in Uganda. When the power comes back it often returns with a surge, and the Danes apparently forgot to put surge protectors in the budget. As a result, Danish taxpayers have paid top dollar for a collection of finely engineered paperweights.

The Danes were just one of a string of donors to come in, commission an assessment of Uganda’s food security problems, zero in on seed quality, and spend a lot of money on “technical assistance,” only to see virtually no bang for the development buck. Writing for the World Bank, the agricultural economist James Joughin reviewed 20 substantive studies of the Ugandan seed industry conducted between 2003 and 2013. Everybody who is anybody in African development has done one: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the African Development Bank, the European Union, the United Nations, and various NGOs and academics.

“The reports invariably recommend how to repair these problems,” Joughin concludes. “Rarely do they ask why earlier recommendations have not been acted upon.”

The problem here is threefold:

  1. Agribusiness.

    No security in private property rights.  Farmers can grow crops, but there is no guarantee they will be able to sell them.

  2. Rampant corruption due to a failure of rule of law.  The kind of fraud described in the story is a long-standing legacy of Africa, but there’s no reason that should be the case.
  3. Extensive subsidies for agriculture in the Western nations, which artificially depresses crop prices and denies African farmers access to world markets.

Western-style republican government with robust rule of law and free, unfettered markets can fix Africa.  Probably nothing else can.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Since I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Japan, I found this interesting but not surprising; Japan Refuses Refugees, Will ‘Prioritize Its Citizens First.’  Excerpt:

Yes, leftists are still recoiling from the Donald’s “Muslim ban.” Which isn’t a Muslim ban, by the way. Read more about it here. Since news of it broke, there’s been a lot of silly talk about violating human rights and such. You know, typical leftist claptrap. But as it turns out, not everyone hates the “ban.” Apparently the Japanese drew some inspiration from Trump. Their Prime Minister laid down the law on refugees, Samurai-style…

Japan’s prime minister said Tuesday that his nation needs to attend to its own demographic challenges posed by falling birth rates and an aging population before opening its doors to refugees.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the U.N. General Assembly that Japan… will provide $1.5 billion in emergency aid for refugees and for stabilization of communities facing upheaval. But speaking to reporters later Tuesday he poured cold water on the idea of Japan opening its doors to those fleeing.

He said Japan first needed to attend to domestic challenges which he proposes to tackle under a revamped economic policy that aims to boost GDP to a post-war record level, while bolstering the social security system to support families.

Good job, Japan. You said something that doesn’t suck. Keeping your people safe and secure should always be priority number one. You know, because the open-borders way? Doesn’t work out too hot. Just ask Europe (see Dear France: How’s That ‘Multiculturalism’ Working Out For You?). If they have a moment to spare between bombings, that is. It appears Japan got wind of all the terrorism and would rather focus on one of its many other problems before adding to their plate. Can’t say I blame them.

Now, folks that are more familiar with Japan and its unique culture won’t be surprised by this.  Japan, open and friendly as I’ve always found the place, is still a rather insular society.  They welcome visitors, but immigrants, not so much.  Obtaining permanent residency is Japan is difficult, and citizenship is extremely difficult.  Japan is still mostly a racially and culturally homogenous society (one of the requirements of gaining citizenship is taking a Japanese name; just for fun Mrs. Animal and I figured ours out.  Our family name would be 廷吏, or Takasato, my given name 神将  [Kotaka], hers 朝日[Asahi}.)

More to the point, Japan has much the same attitude President Trump has been voicing since the primaries in the summer of 2015.  They put Japan’s interests ahead of those of other countries; and Team Crowder is right when they point out that the American Left has been silent on that score.  To be fair, they think they can influence American policy, but there’s no chance they can influence Japan’s.

Still.  Sauce for the goose, eh?

Animal’s Daily 2nd Amendment News

Well, whattya know; the second guy from the top at BATFE wants to roll back some gun restrictions.  Excerpt:

The second-highest ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently authored a proposal to modify and reduce gun regulations in the United States.

The 11-page “white paper,” obtained by the Washington Post and drafted by the ATF’s associate deputy director and chief operating officer Ronald B. Turk, includes but is not limited to the following proposals: removing restrictions on the sale of suppressors; conducting a study concerned with lifting the ban on imported assault weapons; and requiring a higher amount of crime guns to be traced back to specific dealers before the federal government asks for additional information from those dealers.

Turk writes in the introduction to the paper, entitled “Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations,” that “these general thoughts provide potential ways to reduce or modify regulations, or suggest changes that promote commerce and defend the Second Amendment without significant negative impact on ATF’s mission to fight violent firearms crime and regulate the firearms industry.”

“This white paper is intended to provide ideas and provoke conversation,” Turk continues, “it is not guidance or policy of any kind.”

Turk also reminds that while his paper does not focus on enforcement or regulation, those are still “extremely important” parts of the ATF’s mission.

The Washington Post reports that ATF spokeswoman Jan Kemp said Turk’s proposals do not represent the views of the agency.

“It’s simply his opinion,” said Kemp, “and it’s to generate dialogue.”

Well, it would seem to have succeeded in generating dialogue – I mean, here we are, dialoguing.   So while we’re here, let’s look at the proposals.

  1. Removing restrictions on the sale of suppressors.  Hell yeah – we just discussed this recently, so I won’t repeat the arguments, but this is a good idea.
  2. Conducting a study concerned with lifting the ban on imported assault weapons.  Also a good idea – the fact is that crimes are almost never committed with rifles of any kind, and isn’t ‘crime’ always the argument of anti-gunners?  Except, of course, when it’s ‘need,’ as in “nobody needs an assault rifle!”  That last is an argument (whether it be made about guns, SUVs or steaks) that is antithetical to liberty, and should be rejected out of hand.
  3. Requiring a higher amount of crime guns to be traced back to specific dealers before the federal government asks for additional information from those dealers.  Again, a good idea; gun dealers are already the subject of an extensive background check before becoming gun dealers and periodically again while gun dealers.

Of course, this is just one BATFE guy’s personal opinion, and will likely come to nothing.  Still – it’s nice to see some common sense coming out of the massive Imperial bureaucracy for a change.

Rule Five CalExit Friday

Could California leave the union?  Well, since I’m on an extended project in Silicon Valley right now, I sure hope that if they do, they give me some time to scoot for home before sealing the borders.  There is some talk about a tax revolt on the part of the California state government,

 As a practical matter, though; could California leave the Union?  Probably not.  (Even though there are days when I think it might just be a good thing for the rest of the U.S. if they did.)  There are an awful lot of details that the CalExit proponents aren’t thinking about.  Let’s look at some of those details.

  1. Federal land in the state.  Almost half of the state’s area is Federally owned; National Forest, BLM, military bases, and so forth.  What would become of those Federal lands?  Would the new California national government pay the United States fair value for those lands?  Or would the state just seize the properties?  If so, how?  Which brings us to:
  2. The military.  Never mind for a moment that the several military bases in California are Federal property, and that the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen on those bases work for the Federal government and are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the state of California.  Would California start their own military?  Their own army, navy, and air force?  How would they pay for it?  More to the point, who would serve in it?  Who would lead it?  There is no Lee in California; no Longstreet, no Jackson.
  3. Water.  California doesn’t have enough native water to support its population.  Instead, they depend on water from the Colorado river.  If California secedes, how will they pay for this water?  Rivers can be dammed and/or diverted.  Colorado, Nevada and Arizona could certainly find good use for the 4.4 million acre-feet of water that go to California every year.
  4. Electricity.  California imports about 1/3 of its electricity from its neighboring states.  Given that the state is not fond of building new power plants – at least, the wealthy coastal elites who effectively run the state are not fond of building new power plants – what will California do for power?  Will the continue to pay to suckle at the United States’ power grid?  If so, how will they pay for it?
  5. Currency.  Will California start coining money?  Who will set monetary and fiscal policy for the new nation – the people who are running California’s economy now?  Welcome to the Greece of the West, folks.
  6. Politics.  California is a big, sparsely populated red state dominated by a few densely populated bright blue population centers – primarily Los Angeles and San Francisco.  The state’s farmers and tradesmen are ruled, effectively, by a well-off coastal elite.  Suppose rural northern California, the Central Valley, and maybe Orange County refuse to go along?  What if those areas vote to stay in the United States?  Will the new California national government stick to their newly found principles of self-determination and allow those areas to remain?  And if they do, how will a tiny coastal nation consisting of a couple of major cities and a few hundred miles of coastline feed itself?  Speaking of which:
  7. Food.  California is largely desert.  The fertile Central Valley produces less and less food all the time, strangled by excessive rules and regulations from the state and (to be fair) the Imperial government.  Should the secession prove acrimonious, could California find the wherewithal to release Central Valley farmers (if there are any left) to start producing grain and truck crops?
  8. Foreign Affairs.  Who would California’s international allies be?  The most obvious one is the mother country – the United States – but just as in the first time this was tried, it’s likely there would be some hard feelings.  Nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests; who would serve California’s interests in an alliance?  Mexico?  China?

There’s also the 1861 question; should California announce their secession, would President Trump send in the Army to force them to remain?  If so, California wouldn’t be able to resist the way the old Confederacy did.  It’s highly doubtful half the professional U.S. military would defect to fight for California.

Honestly, the folks agitating for a secession of California aren’t thinking this thing through.  The one thing California would have to do to make it as a separate nation is to switch political philosophies and adopt personal liberty, free markets, and minimal intervention by government in the economy and the property rights of its citizens – and this, True Believers, is everything that California is not.  It would be a matter of decades at the most before California sank into a Venezuelan quagmire.  We don’t need that on our western border, and California’s citizens don’t need it in their bank accounts.