Federalism

California's a Brand New Game

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Gar Alperovitz sees an upside to Gov. Arnold's increasingly statist economic agenda: a possible federalist revival.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to have grasped the essential truth that no nation—not even the United States—can be managed successfully from the center once it reaches a certain scale. Moreover, the bold proposals that Mr. Schwarzenegger is now making for everything from universal health care to global warming point to the kind of decentralization of power which, once started, could easily shake up America's fundamental political structure.

Governor Schwarzenegger is quite clear that California is not simply another state. "We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta," he recently declared. "We have the economic strength, we have the population and the technological force of a nation-state." In his inaugural address, Mr. Schwarzenegger proclaimed, "We are a good and global commonwealth."…

Regional devolution would most likely be initiated by a very large state with a distinct sense of itself and aspirations greater than Washington can handle. The obvious candidate is California, a state that has the eighth-largest economy in the world.

If such a state decided to get serious about determining its own fate, other states would have little choice but to act, too. One response might be for

bearflag

an area like New England, which already has many regional interstate arrangements, to follow California's initiative—as it already has on some environmental measures. And if one or two large regions began to take action, other state groupings in the Northwest, Southwest and elsewhere would be likely to follow….

NEXT: In the Medical Pot Trenches

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  1. I say we next start an ETA-like campaign of terrorism for independance. Viva la Cali!

  2. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=6U8HY37YPI&isbn=0895262738

    Enemy Within:
    A Novel of the Next Civil War
    by Caspar W. Weinberger, Peter Schweizer

    # Hardcover
    # ISBN: 0895262738
    # Pub. Date: May 2000

    Product Details

    # ISBN: 0895262738
    ISBN-13: 9780895262738
    # Format: Hardcover, 380pp
    # Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc., An Eagle Publishing Company

    From the Publisher

    For more than a century, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has been the place where the United States prepares its most promising commanders to prepare for the next crisis. Increasingly, they anticipate a domestic role for the military. This year military leaders conducted a hypothetical wargame called Prairie Warrior. The scenario: a rebellion in the continental United States. From this true beginning, best-selling authors Caspar Weinberger and Peter Schweizer spin off the political thriller of the year.

    State leaders in Idaho, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas have launched referenda in 2012 to reject widespread federal authority. When the initiatives pass with narrow majorities, and governors sympathetic to the movement are elected in these states, a constitutional crisis develops. Newly elected President Morgan Boyd must deal with a Union that appears to be dissolving. Sensing the opportunity to make trouble, America’s friends and enemies get involved, looking for an opportunity to benefit from the domestic political turmoil and the uncertainty in the armed forces.

    This book will not only provide plenty of action, it will also address some profoundly important questions concerning the role of government, and warnings about the apparent trend toward a greater domestic role for the armed forces.

  3. Anyone who can write a book called America Beyond Capitalism automatically nominates himself for the position of human pinata at my next family reunion.

    In a rational universe, this guy’s political opinions would be only slightly less consequential than those of the famed comedian Carrot Top.

  4. Wasn’t this tried once before? Sometime in the 19th century?

    I seem to remember a PBS series about it.

  5. All the contiguous 47 have to do is turn off the water and power and California will collapse.

  6. I’m all in favor of California seccession. It would be worth it just to get Barbara Boxer out of the Senate.

  7. Actually, one of my favorite methods of ignoring much of the federal government was proposed out west a few years ago. South Dakota? Utah? I don’t remember, but the Governor had good support for raising the speed limit above the 55 MPH federal limit and waive federal highway funds when the feds threatened to withold them.

    A few years later a Political Science instructor told our class that the feds were goign to tie other funds to the speed limit, funds that State actually used, so it was dropped, or something like that.

    Anyway, turning down federal funds so that you can run your own State sounded like a pretty good idea. However, I doubt that the feds would stop at cutting off funds and resort to police power.

  8. California Hater:
    “All the contiguous 47 have to do is turn off the water and power and California will collapse.”

    Well then, I’m afraid you’ve left us no choice but to invade those states and annex them by force to ensure our own existence. Kalifornia ?ber Alles!

  9. Well then, I’m afraid you’ve left us no choice but to invade those states and annex them by force to ensure our own existence. Kalifornia ?ber Alles!

    You really expect us to believe that the LA and SF Leftists are going to invade us? ROFLMAO!

    From what I have heard from the rest of the State, those folks might just join up with any State east of them.

  10. All the contiguous 47 have to do is turn off the water and power and California will collapse.

    More upside: all of the places that grow food in CA fall into the group I mentioned in my previous post.

    Free strawberries for Vegas!

  11. Don’t piss off California; they might retaliate by cutting off our supply of shitty movies.

  12. I’d make another quip about the hipocrasy of the left wing and how they’re only one step away from Stalinist control freak-ery, but I might get sued by Jello Biafra for copyright infringement, that money-grubbing bastard.

  13. “More upside: all of the places that grow food in CA fall into the group I mentioned in my previous post.”

    Ahh, but you forget the oppressed proletariat immigrant masses that pick those grapes, marginalized by their right-wing opressors, who will stand up and fight for their worker-paradise! Free corn tortillas and a Chevy Suburban for all!

  14. A champion of federalism–I suppose that’s one way to interpret Governor Schwarzenegger taking on national issues. Another explanation might be that he’s running for President, if not this go ’round, then maybe next time.

    …and I’ve always been a fan of Occam’s razor.

  15. I’d make another quip about the hipocrasy of the left wing…

    Then you’d just look even dumber…it’s spelled ‘hypocrisy’ you moron.

    And thank God there are no hypocrites on the right…Oh wait…there are! Lot’s of ’em, even.

  16. Another explanation might be that he’s running for President

    Wouldn’t that require a slight modification to the Constitution?

  17. “Wouldn’t that require a slight modification to the Constitution?”

    Easy to get around that. Just annex Austria.
    [Hey! That’s been done, too!]

  18. Ahh, but you forget the oppressed proletariat immigrant masses that pick those grapes, marginalized by their right-wing opressors, who will stand up and fight for their worker-paradise! Free corn tortillas and a Chevy Suburban for all!

    Do you bother to process any of this moronic drivel before it makes it to your keyboard?

    Most of the ‘oppressed proletariat immigrant masses’ picking grapes in California would outwork your smug, lazy, sorry ass in a heartbeat.

    Racist dumbfuck.

  19. Another explanation might be that he’s running for President, if not this go ’round, then maybe next time.

    Well, you have that pesky Constitutional hurdle. Glad I hit preview! That annexation thingie is a great idea 🙂

    BTW, I think it a bit funny every time I hear of an amendment to remove the born American requirement as if it is brand new. My sister was all in a tizzy about it over Gov. Schwarzenegger just because he has an R behind his name. This was not that long after George F. Will, and others, were advocating it because of that Michigan(?) Governor who was born in Canada and is a Democrat. All this is long after it was advocated by some for Henry Kissinger.

    There an’t much new in the world and this ain’t an exception.

  20. Eddy:
    “Wouldn’t that require a slight modification to the Constitution?”

    I remember when he was first elected governator, Republican senators were already campaigning for just such a change in the constitution, when Ahnold seemed like the perfect vote-generating familiar face/name(ala George Bush Jr.), that would tow the party line.

    Now that he has apparently grown a mind of his own and is even cavorting with the treasonous, terrorist-loving liberals, I’m not so sure.

  21. Fun thought experiment: if 75% of the residents of a coastal state or a portion thereof wanted to secede, what exactly could the rest of the U.S. do about it? Would the Constitution apply in that case, or would some other law apply?

  22. Easy to get around that. Just annex Austria.
    [Hey! That’s been done, too!]

    Hmm… that’s a Godwin’s Law gray area. Be careful…

  23. madpad:
    “Most of the ‘oppressed proletariat immigrant masses’ picking grapes in California would outwork your smug, lazy, sorry ass in a heartbeat.”

    No argument here. Anything else?

  24. madpad:
    “Then you’d just look even dumber…it’s spelled ‘hypocrisy’ you moron.”

    Thanks. I knew it didn’t look right. *embarrased*

  25. Fun thought experiment: if 75% of the residents of a coastal state or a portion thereof wanted to secede, what exactly could the rest of the U.S. do about it?

    Are you kidding, or did you recently have your brain sucked out and replaced with rat droppings?

  26. Would the Constitution apply in that case, or would some other law apply?

    The Constitution did not apply the last time, it won’t the next time and the response would probably be about the same as before.

  27. No argument here. Anything else?

    Nah…at least you’ve got a good humor about being called out.

    Now that he has apparently grown a mind of his own and is even cavorting with the treasonous, terrorist-loving liberals, I’m not so sure.

    Just when I was starting to think you might not be a waste of skin and brain cells…

  28. Wait, there might be one of those pesky amendments in there now, like that quota amendment or the abortion one.

  29. I see your “Enemy Within” and raise you a “Molon Labe!”.

  30. Guy Montag,

    I can see Bush issuing a proclamation granting amnesty to the illegal aliens in CA in the hopes that they take up arms against their rebel gringo oppressors.

  31. Wouldn’t that require a slight modification to the Constitution?

    He wouldn’t be the first Austrian born populist to tweak the rules that way!

    Anyway, the Constitution can be amended. And he’s presumably got the Kennedy’s on his side–and if he’s running as a Republican…

  32. Are you kidding, or did you recently have your brain sucked out and replaced with rat droppings?

    crimethink…that’s not a bad question.

    Though the Civil War set a precedent, what exactly is the mechanism that makes statehood irreversable?

  33. what exactly is the mechanism that makes statehood irreversable?

    The same as before. An Executive who wants it irreversable and Congress that agrees with him.

    The States wishing to leave would make a mistake of boycotting the Congress this time, but it might not have been obvious the last time.

  34. madpad, I’m not sure we disagree as much as you are taking my exagerrated stands at an attempt at humor much too literally. An old addage applies here: Don’t feed the trolls. 😀

  35. Eh, If the Kalifornians want their own country, I say let them have it. Maybe, they will stop bringing their statist shit to Arizona.

    Nick

  36. And that last bit commentary I made about Arnold is true. How they(replublican party) feel about him now remains to be seen.

    Did you object to my statement because you don’t believe that liberals are “traitorous, terrorist-lovers”(Ann Coulter would like a stern word with you), or because I equated this to Ahnold having a mind of his own, thereby implying that he is really a liberal?

    Anyway, I hope we can get back on track to the important and interestinbg issue of state vs. federal govt. rights.

    I personally applaud Schwartzenegger’s move, in particular the healthcare stuff, and think it’s pretty balsy. Or is it an attempt to get lefty votes? Either way I think it’s good. Of course, socialized medicine is apparenty Satan to Libertarian’s.

  37. As a recent ex-Californian, I’ll defend you in this thread, Jobriath. I had to take issue w/ you before since I was from up north. But we have to stick together if secession is to succeed, right?

    When I was a student several years ago (this was just before we discovered we couldn’t govern ourselves and had all those electricity and and tax-shortfall and Gray Davis problems), even the right-wingers I knew liked the idea of California seceding, if just for something to do, apparently (and probably because of the fact that CA sends away more tax dollars than it receives in federal funds). All this talk ceased abruptly when all those aforementioned events showed us that we were even more screwed up than the feds. Apparently this has receded a bit as minor, actual issue-avoiding reforms and a rising economy has sorted things out. So we (you) can move for independence again!

    A friend and I had a several month long conversation about what the response would be if CA attempted to secede. I claimed it could be done peacefully, if because of the deterrent of CA’s inherent nuclear capability and aerospace industries, she said US self-image would force a military option. California has almost 40 million people only some of whom are irredeemable pacifists, plus the advanced infrastructure, so there would be hurting on both sides. Somehow all these conversations became pretty absurd at some point.

    Anyway, one other area I give CA “big ups” for sticking it to the feds is that it refuses education money it would receive for teaching abstinence. Not on the level of refusing highway money, but still something not many states apparently have the balls to do. An actual, hypothetical, nonsecession crisis could come from CA doing something that makes the feds want to pull highway funds, wherein CA retaliates by refusing to allow any transfer of money from within its borders to the US govt.

  38. There are a lot of good ways to work this state’s rights thing. Don’t secede, nullify!

  39. The wind doth taste of bittersweet,
    Like Jaspar wine and sugar
    I bet it’s blown through others’ feet,
    Like those of…Caspar Weinberger

  40. You really expect us to believe that the LA and SF Leftists are going to invade us? ROFLMAO!

    California could easily put together a thug army from the inner cities. Have you seen some of the monsters coming out of CA high schools for football?

    As for cutting off Cali’s water, I’m sure American business would do fine sans their server farms, fresh fruit and other agriculture, etc. Not to mention the significant imports from the Far East that pass through Californian ports. How’s this sound, California exchanges goods and services to the old US for water? It’s the free market at work!

    Not to mention, since CA is a net loser in the taxes for federal funds, every Californian would see their tax bill go way down, while all other Americans would see their taxes (or the deficit) go up*.

    * And that is why the US would never let California secede.

  41. “A friend and I had a several month long conversation about what the response would be if CA attempted to secede[…] she said US self-image would force a military option.”

    I hoped you banged her. 😀

  42. Some James,
    Urban warfare in LA and SF would make Iraq look like a playground. Imagine if Pendleton, and its armory, became property of the Republic of California.

  43. California could easily put together a thug army from the inner cities. Have you seen some of the monsters coming out of CA high schools for football?
    =========================
    Wow.

    Racist much?

  44. “Urban warfare in LA and SF would make Iraq look like a playground. Imagine if Pendleton, and its armory, became property of the Republic of California.”

    Ya right. Depending on if those peacenik, anti-gun hippies even know how to use a firemarm!

    Man, whose side am I on?

  45. firemarm, lol

  46. “Racist much?”

    He could’ve meant “monsters” as in those huge, white, frecklely fuckers with polish last names.

    Now whose the racist??

    Someone get back on topic. >_

  47. My “monsters” comment wasn’t due to their race, but their freakish size and athleticism. A 6’6″, 300 lb dude that can run a 40 in under 5 seconds is freakish. Not to mention totally unfair. You get to be big or fast, not both.

    In fact, definition 3b in Websters confirms my point; “one unusually large for its kind”. That pretty much describes any lineman or linebacker in the NFL.

  48. Moreover, the bold proposals that Mr. Schwarzenegger is now making for everything from universal health care to global warming point to the kind of decentralization of power which, once started, could easily shake up America’s fundamental political structure.

    The resulting collapse of California’s economy will doom any attempt at secession.

  49. He could’ve meant “monsters” as in those huge, white, frecklely fuckers with polish last names.

    Now whose the racist??

    The Chinese are dislocating the dead-enders on LA’s skid row by renovating old textile plants into $400k+ luxury lofts. They even have the police fully on board to help them make room for more improvements.

    Whites are fleeing California because their kids can’t compete with the Chinese kids in getting into good colleges.

    It’s those damn Chinese. How’s that for racist? But its true.

  50. Or the non-collapse of California’s economy will make universal healthcare that much closer to reality for all Americans.

  51. “thug army from the inner cities”

    Oh come on, that’s pretty blatant.

  52. You bunch of idiots…EVERY post has some indoctrinated slant full of mindless oft-repeated mass media drivel in support of the: status quo, the establishment, federalism,…basically everything that is abhorrently anti-democratic and anti-liberty. Do you feel that insulting California makes the mechanized tit of the oppressive American Empire taste better? Morons, even a rat knows when the ship is sinking…guess you are no better than.

  53. California would already be NYC but we have better weather.

  54. You bunch of idiots… Morons,

    The terms idiot, moron, and imbecile used to be accepted psychiatric terms to decribe the IQs of the mentally retarded (or whatever the accepted term is now). An idiot has an IQ less than 20, a moron has an IQ from 50 to 80 or so, an imbecile’s IQ is between the two. I have no problem you calling me or anyone else either an idiot or a moron, but you can’t call anyone both.

  55. So, like, when does California get involved in the Persian War? 😉

  56. “So, like, when does California get involved in the Persian War? ;)”

    I’m like totally down with Xerxes, dude.

  57. “”thug army from the inner cities”

    Oh come on, that’s pretty blatant.”

    Not really. he did not say they were shuffling and talking in rhyme.

  58. The terms idiot, moron, and imbecile used to be accepted psychiatric terms…

    The semantic police is at its best when it trots out obsolete 19th and early 20th century definitions and archaic grammar rules. You, my friend, are an idiot, a moron, and an imbecile — all at once. You’re also a retard.

  59. Man, whose side am I on?

    I’ve been trying to figure that out. I assumed you were an extreme conservative wanker hence my willingness to give you a thrashing.

    Did you object to my statement because you don’t believe that liberals are “traitorous, terrorist-lovers”(Ann Coulter would like a stern word with you), or because I equated this to Ahnold having a mind of his own, thereby implying that he is really a liberal?

    Let’s just say I don’t see conservatives who adopt plainly non-conservative, needlessly belligerent, anti-democratic postions as any better than unrealistic, liberal loonies.

    And Ann Coulter probably needs a stern (or was that ‘stiff’) something or other.

    As for Arnold’s being a liberal or having a mind of his own, he’s doing what he needs to do to be a successful leader. In in his first year in office, it was plain that the extreme (and not so extreme) conservatives in California were not going to help him do anything meaningful other than tilt at conservative windmills.

    He figured out that being an onbstinate prick in an attempt to rally a shallow base is a losing proposition when your surrounded by Democrats.

    Successful politics is not a zero-sum game. Push things too far to the right or left and push too many people out of consensus-building and it will bite you in the ass…hard.

    Ahnold figured that out while the Republicans in the 109th Congress didn’t.

    In any case, I shouldn’t have been so harsh. If I pegged you wrong, please accept my apologies.

  60. You, my friend, are an idiot, a moron, and an imbecile — all at once. You’re also a retard.

    You’re being a little hard on jkii, there chris s. The fact that jkii is even aware of those rules suggest some intellectual facility.

    As a result, jkii’s issues is NOT one of intelligentce but in how he or she chose to use it. Scolding people based on arcane or anachronistic usage makes one a wiener.

  61. Sorry for the misspelling…not enough coffee…yet.

  62. You can take the boy out of Austria, but you can’t take the Austrian out of the boy.

  63. “As for Arnold’s being a liberal or having a mind of his own, he’s doing what he needs to do to be a successful leader.”

    If, by “leader”, you mean incumbent.

  64. “thug army from the inner cities”

    Oh come on, that’s pretty blatant.

    Matt, your world view is adding words to the original post that aren’t there. Your truth isn;t THE truth.

  65. If, by “leader”, you mean incumbent.

    A bit cynical but not undeservedly so. Getting re-elected is usually seen as a sign of success where politics is concerned.

    In Arnold’s first 2 years, he was pissing off teachers, nurses and the Democratic representatives AND he was watching 4 conservative ballot measures he sponsored go down in flames.

    Fellow Republicans weren’t helping and were arguably making things worse. Gridlock is usually good but not when the state is already in an economic crisis. To get anything done, Arnold had to comprimise and get consensus with Democrats.

  66. In Arnold’s first 2 years, he was pissing off teachers, nurses and the Democratic representatives

    I loved that, but knew it couldn’t last long. As a lifelong Californian, I know how deeply indoctrinated the vast majority of Californians are (due to the public schools, natch). Except for the DMV, state government workers are practically worshiped here by most.

  67. If certain US states became independent (enough) the rest of the world would be delighted. Until it is reminded to them that these states will have additional votes in the UN.

  68. Matt, your world view is adding words to the original post that aren’t there. Your truth isn;t THE truth.
    ======================================
    And what, pray tell, are the added words in my mind?

    I spend tons of time on this board defending people who I feel are wrongly accused of racism, but that makes me feel even more obligated to criticize the real article when it rears it’s head.

    One annoying thing that libertarians picked up from conservatives is the habit of saying almost-overtly racist things and waiting for someone to call them on it. Then, if someone does, it’s time to laugh at how PC they are. It’s a fun game, no question, but it keeps the freedom movement small and marginalized.

    Hope you think it’s worth it.

  69. If certain US states became independent (enough) the rest of the world would be delighted. Until it is reminded to them that these states will have additional votes in the UN.

    Actually, they would be thrilled when they have a bigger voting block than the Cuba/Iran/Venezuala/China/etc. one they have right now. Just look at the States murmering about becoming independant.

    On a different note, that business of Californians “fighting” for independence, I believe that they would have a draft quicker than ink dries from a Sharpie. That army of slaves would have to contend with an army of volunteers (who knew how to use guns before they were old enough to spell gun) that will have no problem recruiting, especially if it is to go invade Palo Alto.

    Just my take.

    OT: Has anybody seen that book about a civil war between LA and SF? I heard the author on NPR a while back and it sounded great, but have not had much luck finding it. At least, whenever I find something like it the description is not like NPR described it.

  70. One annoying thing that libertarians picked up from conservatives is the habit of saying almost-overtly racist things and waiting for someone to call them on it.

    I tend to notice more of the Leftist flavor of the bogotry and the ‘play’ goes about the same way, except the Leftists whant to scream and throw food instead of laugh.

    Look back over at the Washington marriage challenge thread and see what I mean. Or just wait for Burr and Dave W. to cruise by here.

  71. “Well then, I’m afraid you’ve left us no choice but to invade those states and annex them by force to ensure our own existence. Kalifornia ?ber Alles!”

    Uh…Cali’s already been doing this for the better part of a decade.

    Welcome to Colorado. Now Get Out!

  72. Has anybody seen that book about a civil war between LA and SF? I heard the author on NPR a while back and it sounded great, but have not had much luck finding it.

    Are you talking about In Smog and Thunder? I haven’t seen the book version, but the movie is hilarious.

  73. Are you talking about In Smog and Thunder? I haven’t seen the book version, but the movie is hilarious.

    YES! YES! YES! THANK YOU!

    In the interview the author talks about his experience moving from LA to the Bay and how people, discovering he was from LA, would get in his face, shout and scream talking about how everybody in LA is “just about the money” with a smattering of “they are hate, no love” at full volume. Something like that anyway.

    It reminded me of when I visit protests in DC and some people scream at me that I can not silence them. Or when Burr accuses me of calling him nasty names 🙂

  74. I apologize for sending this thread down a rathole.

    As for the likely “Second War to Preserve the Union” scenarios …

    The federal forces will almost certainly remain loyal – Cali will not have an Air Force or Navy and thus no communication (in the sense of significant movement of people and resources) with the outside world.

    The Asian trade will flow to other ports and with the loss of Colorado River water and Hoover Dam power the economy of Cali will collapse.

    Cali would have to attack, at least to seize Hoover Dam*. Their forces would be annihilated somewhere between Primm and Las Vegas.

    After about 12 months of air and naval blockade (a year of greatly reduced harvests), resistance would collapse.

    *The only worthwhile objective within the operational reach of the mechanized forces of the CAARNG.

  75. Jobriath,

    California’s Philip of Macedon will clearly arise out of British Columbia. 😉

  76. Jobriath | February 12, 2007, 10:48pm | #
    madpad:
    “Then you’d just look even dumber…it’s spelled ‘hypocrisy’ you moron.”

    Thanks. I knew it didn’t look right. *embarrased*

    Jobriath: don’t you mean embarrassed?

  77. Eh, If the Kalifornians want their own country, I say let them have it. Maybe, they will stop bringing their statist shit to Arizona.

    If they keep Jeff Gordon and Tom Cruise in there then I am all for it.

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