back to article Silicon Valley VCs: We're gonna make California great again – on its own

With protests against Donald Trump's US presidential election victory turning violent in California, a group of venture capitalists from Silicon Valley are funding an initiative to allow the Golden State to secede from the US. Dubbed Calexit, the movement has found a sponsor in Shervin Pishevar, MD at Sherpa Capital – an early …


  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    but all remain fringe groups due to a very simple fact – states can't cede from the union

    Indeed. Welcome to the Hotel California. You can check out any time of night, but you can never leave.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Well other than Texas (and California now I guess) most of the other places talking about succession if were allowed to do so would just end up being yet more failed states in our hemisphere full of them.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Wouldn't matter. If California took it upon itself to declare itself a Sovereign State, then can pull up the necessary resources to assert and defend itself, then the Constitution becomes irrelevant to California.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        That's just it. California can't pull up needed resources because the state can't survive on silicon valley alone and they aren't likely to ever do the smart thing and start a desalination plant to get a useful amount of water. The Colorado River supplies most of the water in the southern part of the state so the southland and surrounds will have to renegotiate their water deal with what they consider a hostile nation.

        Also, they can kiss goodbye all that lucrative federal government work. JPL goes away, Boeing goes away, all the defense contractors go away, the US military bases go away. How big is that economy really when you take away the federal government? The California economy is the result of vast amounts of federal investment including silicon valley. I'm sorry but the reality is that the federal government is so deeply entwined with the Californian economy that to speak of them being the 6th biggest economy in isolation only shows a deeply flawed analysis as does the simplistic measure of "taxes out" vs "welfare back" definition of being a "net contributor".

        It is pretty arrogant to think nothing changes should California prove itself to be nothing more than just another unstable country. Any place that wants to change its entire government simply because the elites didn't get their way is the very definition of unstable.

        In the end, a Cal-exit would serve to weaken the U.S. but it would likely be fatal to California. Finally ask yourself this, if California can support itself agriculturally why does more than 80% of the produce in my local LA area market come from Mexico?

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          Why does most of the produce I get in Alabama says from California ? Yes California can support it self agriculturally. California gives more to the federal gov then it gets back.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Why does most of the produce I get in Alabama says from California ?
            Marketing? Dunno about the US, but here in Tasmania we grow a huge amount of fresh produce that gets shipped across the Bass Strait to the wholesale market in Victoria. Tasmania's needs are then shipped back to Tasmanian supermarkets (The "Fresh" Food People). My farm used to grow "Collinsvale" swedes (rutabagas) because everyone knows the bestest swedes come from Collinsvale. So the swedes from Franklin used to be trucked to Collinsvale on the opposite side of the city before delivering them to Hobart.

            Apropos secession, it amused me that when I first arrived in Tasmania in 1970 there was much talk of this. Our political masters told us it would never work because Tasmania was a net sink for taxes. Closer investigation revealed that many of Tasmania's major businesses had registered head offices in Victoria and New South Wales (because taxes), so income actually earned in Tasmania was deemed to be earned interstate.

            It's a strange world.

          2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            @kain preacher Perhaps because you're a hypocrite who lives in NorCal?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's the wrong flag for the New California Republic. It has to depict a mutant two-headed bear born out of the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland from the China-United States war of 2077.

    See the following encyclopedia entry about it:

    In other words: that's exactly how seriously this proposal needs to be taken.

    1. PhilBuk

      The stags and cows have two heads. The bears only have one.

      (In 3, New Vegas and 4 anyway).


    2. itzman

      surely the correct flag is the ManBearPig?


    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "That's the wrong flag for the New California Republic."

      it needs a hammer and sickle as well. And a LOT more red in it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wait, wait...

        California is too commie for the rednecks. OK, got that.

        Rednecks want more regulation and redistribution of wealth ('make 'em pay taxes") from the big companies that make so much money and don't pay enough tax. That's a typical socialist idea. A Commie idea, in other, more Trumpy words.

        I guess you have to be a university student to be a real Commie. Just wanting stuff from the richer is OK if you are a redneck. Not Commie then. Simples.

        However, the real Commie revolutions were always underpinned by the uneducated lower classes...

  3. Bloodbeastterror

    If only it were possible for the rest of the world to secede from Trump's America, protecting our future generations from the disaster of global warming, which he dismisses despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, we'd all be a lot better off.

    Alas, we're all stuck here on this rock with the calamitous buffoon, and our descendants will die with his, probably a lot earlier than we otherwise would have. A bitter-sweet outcome...

    All great empires eventually fail. Rome, Greece. Now China, India, Brazil are replacing the US, and Trump and supporters are driving the nails in.

    What a pity. Once a nation we could all admire and aspire to, now in such a decline with a leader driving us to moral (waterboarding**) and physical (warming) destruction that we need to look elsewhere.


    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      ha ha ha ha ha (oh, you were serious?)

      "If only it were possible for the rest of the world to secede from Trump's America, protecting our future generations from the disaster of global warming,"

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh... you were serious?

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: ha ha ha ha ha (oh, you were serious?)

        "Oh... you were serious?"

        Oh, you again. I feel no need to respond.

    2. Sirius Lee

      Prisoners of Geography

      Do yourself a favour. Go buy (and read) Tim Marshall's excellent book Prisoners of Geography to get just one reason why your analysis is bullshit.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Prisoners of Geography

        Do yourself a favour. Go buy (and read) Tim Marshall's excellent book...
        Hmmm, I have two of Tim Marshall's books: Weed and Composting. The latter is inscribed "From one rotter to another". I must read this book whereof you squeak.

  4. Don The Elder

    The nation of Texas

    Texas entered the United States with a contract that says it can exit at any time. This would be highly inconvenient, since the national power grid would be split in twain, but legal.

    We should allow California to split into three, as the northern part wants, and lose the bottom two, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to see if anyone notices they're gone before they starve.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: The nation of Texas

      Texas actually has its own isolated power grid, so that's not a concern.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Don The Elder, re California splitting.

      With Californias multiple attempts to split itself into upwards of four separate States (Northern, Southern, Eastern, & Seaside IIRC) that have all failed, it comes as no surprise that this old turd has resurfaced from the toilet once Trump won. It seems it floats to see some sunshine after every major event, flails, then sinks back down to pout in the depths from whence it came.

      I don't believe it will happen this time either no matter HOW badly those disconnected VCs from Silicon Valley may want; they may bankroll another initiative to get it to the voters, but the voters will slap it/them down once again as the idiocy it is. Split off? And what about all those Federally Matching Funds the State gets for all those pork barrel projects the electorate likes to start? Will those same VCs instead pay to keep those projects funded, or will all those FMF vanish like every other fly-by-night shit-for-brains idea to come out of SV?

      I fully agree that California should split itself into Northern & Southern States, that way us Northerners can stop sending all the water^1 & food^2 to Los Angeles/Hollywood to leave us high & dry.

      ^1: Northern California sends the bulk of the water we receive from mountain run off to the South, thus making olympic swimming pools & mansion lawn overwatering to the tune of a million gallons per month possible, all while the REST of us are dealing with a multi year drought.

      ^2: We may be the agricultural breadbasket of the State, but the bulk of everything we grow is sent South to feed LA/Hollywood. What they use in a *DAY* could feed the rest of us for a *YEAR*.

      So splitting California into North & South makes sense, especially if the North then stops exporting all our resources South to feed the beast that is home of the MPAA/RIAA.

      But California splitting off entirely from the USA? I don't see that happening unless we all line up on the San Andreas Fault with prybars & turn the State into an island... Lord knows we Northerners want to do that with SoCal badly enough!


      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: @Don The Elder, re California splitting.

        "And what about all those Federally Matching Funds"

        Last I checked, the rest of the US returned 96 cents on every dollar that California contributed to the federal coffers ... A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.

      2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: @Don The Elder, re California splitting.

        Central Valley as well. Hell, just create a Seaside that contains: San Francisco, the People's Republics of Santa Barbara and Santa Monica, and Los Angeles and put a Wall there too! /sarc

        San Diego would stay. It's the major cities against the rest of the state when you look at all the data anyway. [That's true of the country as a whole as well.]

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: @AC food embargo

        If N California stops sending food south, then S California stops sending the money to pay for it back north. After a moment of thought, each side decides a trade deal is a really good idea. I have no idea if such a deal would be better or worse than what is happening at the moment, but the starvation and poverty plan does not sound like the best idea in the world.

      4. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: @Don The Elder, re California splitting.

        "And what about all those Federally Matching Funds the State gets for all those pork barrel projects the electorate likes to start?"

        Well the same situation doesn't seem to have stopped the Brexiteers from convincing the UK to cut its nose off to spite its face with the EU funding its now going to lose.

        1. OurAl

          Re: @Don The Elder, re California splitting.

          It is hard for a nett contributor to lose money when splitting away.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          @nematoad - comparison with Brexit

          There's one HUGE difference between the UK losing EU funding and California losing US funding. The UK is paying the EU a pittance, while California pays more federal taxes than any other state. If they lost the federal funding but also lost the federal taxes, they'd come out ahead. The same can't be said for the UK WRT losing EU funding and losing the money they pay the EU.

          Of course, as an independent country next door to an aggressive military power like the US, California would have to start its own military. They could pay them in pot though, which should keep the cost down :)

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: @nematoad - comparison with Brexit

            They could pay them in pot though, which should keep the cost down :)
            Dunno about being paid with drugs, members of the US military certainly subsidise their income with drugs. When the USS Enterprise visited Hobart in 1976 the city was flooded with LSD (branded red,white and blue) and cannabis in several forms. Hobartians were also introduced to smack and speed that had hitherto been rarely used here. I remember thinking: "These fuckers are in charge of nuclear weapons and flying supersonic aircraft while they are completely shit-faced". It was an interesting week to say the least.

    3. SavageMind

      Re: The nation of Texas

      Texas power grid is independent, ERCOT Electric Reliability Council of Texas.While it can provide surplus and often does during the summer to the national power grid. It's not regulated by the US government like the rest of the nation.

    4. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: The nation of Texas

      That is not true. Texas has a clause where it can split into five states without the approval of Congress to get more power in the senate but there is no get out of the union free clause.

      If it is true then GCP Grey has been lying to me all this time.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The nation of Texas

      Texas just voted Republican, unlike California. It doesn't look like they are now in a big hurry. Before the election, possibly.

    6. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: The nation of Texas

      We should allow California to split into three, as the northern part wants, and lose the bottom two, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to see if anyone notices they're gone before they starve.

      I've long thought New York State needs to kick NYC out. Would be a much more reasonable place without that lot.

  5. DougS Silver badge

    What about Texas?

    I thought when Texas joined there was some sort of written agreement that allowed the state to secede? Or was it just to be able to break up into five smaller states?

    Things are becoming way too polarized though. Every election it seems the losing side becomes more extreme in their discontent. I think the internet is a lot of the reason. It used to be you didn't have much choice in your media so you couldn't help but have some understanding how the other side thinks, now you can get it slanted to fit your preferences and people doing that isolate themselves from the other half of the country (or in more extreme cases, even from most of their own party)

    I think the modern world probably lends itself better to a coalition form of government with more than two parties, instead of trying to shoehorn it into our antiquated system where it is see as the end of the world to a democrat if a republican wins, or vice versa.

    1. jgarry

      Re: What about Texas?

      First hit on a google, no, they can't secede:

      Of course, "What's the point of a revolution without general copulation copulation copulation " - The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade

  6. asdf Silver badge


    Gee those douche canoes see no problem with multi billion dollar companies having only 40 employees with a CEO on the Forbes list but then wonder when Zed on welfare and oxycontin in Appalachia doesn't share their world view. I understand its not up to the companies to be there to provide jobs but considering Silicon Valley has probably done more than anywhere else outside DC or Wall St. to fuel this the Gilded Age 2.0 its pretty rich of them to complain now.

    1. Kernel

      Re: hypocrites

      " Zed on welfare and oxycontin in Appalachia"

      I presume that as we speak Zed and his buddy Cooter are screwing the lids firmly back on their jars, packing away the still* and heading for Silicon Valley to take up all those soon to be vacant technical jobs - or maybe they (and a few others) need just a tad more education before the golden dream of a great 'murica with jobs for all comes true..

      In the meantime, while Zed and Cooter are finishing their education and completing their engineering degrees, perhaps some of those nice, qualified, people from overseas can keep the industry going until our two friends are ready to take over?

      If a company only needs 40 employees it only needs 40 employees, regardless of the size of its balance sheet or how wealthy the owner is - it is not the role of a commercial company to create unnecessary jobs just because they can. In most countries that's a government function realized via publicly funded infrastructure projects, but for some reason the average US citizen appears to consider this to be a blasphemy and dang it, nobody better be thinkin' of taxing me to pay for it!

      If you're really concerned about providing long term, viable and local jobs for Zed and Cooter, start pushing for taxpayer funded research on things that will drive industry in their locale that they actually have a hope of being able to work at - clean ways to use coal for energy, so that mining can restart, would be a good beginning for a lot of people in that part of the states.

      * Yes, I'm sure that not all of Apalachia is populated by Zed and Cooter, but after watching a few episodes of 'Moonshiners' .........................

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: hypocrites

        >In the meantime, while Zed and Cooter are finishing their education

        Ha good one. Ok hyperbole point taken.

        >If a company only needs 40 employees it only needs 40 employees,

        Which is fine but the owners complaining about the unwashed masses when they are giving king's sums to influence government often in a way that disadvantages everybody but them and their country club buddies comes across as less than genuine. A lot of these asshats are ones you read about doing everything in their power to keep the public away from the beaches they aren't allowed to own. No one drop thinks its responsible for the flood and there is a hell of a lot of Zed and Cooters out there.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: hypocrites

          I guess disruptive is only good when you are flouting local laws, getting people to work without the protections of being a employee in the gig economy, and jacking up housing prices due to short term rentals and other gentrification bull crap. Why would the proles not think like you (granted they just shot off their balls to prove a point)?

    2. cd

      Re: hypocrites

      A short time before the election, several articles appeared about self-driving commercial trucks being tested. The most popular refuge job for working persons being openly touted as expendable. And partly by companies like Uber, who are already famous for ripping off drivers.

      Links to those articles appeared all over the online trucking forums and news sites. These are people who know how to fix one, but not enough to know that the tech is basically at the level of a Popular Mechanics future-thingie-flying-car cover story, not a real imminent possibility.

      Silicon Valley, far as I'm concerned, can just fucking soak in it. It's one of those "what you mean, *we're* surrounded, kimosabe?" kind of moments for me.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: hypocrites

        Yep maybe one can make an argument technological change is inevitable but don't be surprised when your wonderful new disruption has unintended consequences. Its how we got the Nobel committee.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: hypocrites

      "Gee those douche canoes"

      WTF does that mean? Is it a euphemism? Or one of those weird things that sounds vaguely like a swear word but allows the person saying to pretend they aren't swearing? Like "bull pucky", "golly gosh" etc?

  7. PacketPusher

    Last time

    What happened the last time a democratic state tried to secede from the union controlled by a republican president?

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Last time

      Well considering we store most of our nukes in BFE red(ish) states I wouldn't bet on blue or the human race surviving. Beware of trash can man bearing gifts.

      1. Stoke the atom furnaces

        Re: Last time

        The US Pacific Fleet is based at Naval Base San Diego, CA.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Last time

          There you go. It's the US Pacific Fleet not the VC California Fleet.

        2. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Last time

          Well unless their first act was to successfully nuke all the minutemen silos in Wyoming, ND, and Montana (which I assume we have made fairly hard to do for obvious reasons) before retaliation it wouldn't much matter.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Last time

            Regardless of where you think you stand on any of this, don't forget that the bulk of the fallout from nukes used in California would wind up in the so-called "heartland"... The jet stream is kinda funny that way.

  8. W4YBO

    I'm going to take my ball and go home!

    Not an exact analogy, but close enough. Maybe it comes from too many "everybody takes home a trophy" ball games, rather than learning how to win or lose graciously.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: I'm going to take my ball and go home!

      time to let the spoiled rich children fail at controlling the game. let them take their ball and go home. we will wave buhbye to them and do something else. not worth playing THEIR game by THEIR rules any more...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are they going to do when all the money from the US tax payers stops supporting all their green schemes and they have to either pay for them themselves or dump them?


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