Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: What do we have in common anymore?


In a rare television interview with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas echoed a cornerstone tenet of the California Calexit Campaign, saying he doesn’t know what we as country have in common anymore.

Laura Ingraham: “Are you surprised that — how things are still so rancorous in the United States today about foundational issues?”

Clarence Thomas: “No, I’m not surprised. I mean, what binds us? What do we all have in common anymore? I think we have to think about that. I think this is — when I was a kid, even as we had laws that held us apart, there were things that we held dear and that we all had in common. And I think we have to — we always talk about E pluribus unum. What’s our unum now? We have the pluribus. What’s the unum?”

Justice Thomas is right. Things have changed in this country and we are no longer united by lofty ideals or principles that supercede the partisan and ideological differences that divide us. Nostalgic attachments to the unity of the United States are just that – nostalgia.

This is one of the reasons the California Calexit Campaign exists – more and more, people in California are realizing that the best people to govern California are Californians – not Texans, Wisconsites, or Georgians, or the people of the other states with whom we share less and less in common every day.

Later in the interview, Justice Thomas reiterated his comments saying, “I don’t know what it is that we have, we can say instinctively, we have as a country in common.”

We paid $103 billion more in federal taxes in 2016 than we received in federal funding


In 2016, Californians paid $422.7 billion in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. This amount broadly includes individual income taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, business taxes, as well as estate, gift, and excise taxes. This information can be downloaded and reviewed from the IRS Data Book for 2016.

California as usual paid more federal taxes in 2016 than any other state in the Union. It also received more dollars in federal spending than any other state. Both of these points make sense considering California is the most populous state in the Union. Although California ranks first in the sheer amount of federal tax dollars received, on a per capita basis California ranks 36/60 (including U.S. territories) — at $7,373 federal dollars per Californian.

In terms of how much the federal government spent in California in 2016 – a combination of Social Security payments, payments for veterans, farms, sole proprietors, federal contractors, small business loans, insurance, assistance to state and local governments, medicaid, medicare, local school districts, public and private universities, research, student aid, social services, and other types of federal spending representing just 8% of the total — California received $289.4 billion, according to data available at the new beta version of USAspending.gov.

That represents a loss of $133.3 billion dollars. In other words, California paid over $133 billion more to the federal government than it received in 2016. In the interest of fairness, the $289.4 billion in spending in California does not include salaries and benefits of federal employees located in California, nor does it include other costs associated with running the federal government nationwide — a figure that represents 21% of the entire $3.85 trillion federal budget, or approximately $808.5 billion across all fifty states and U.S. territories.

According to Governing Magazine, “the nation’s leading media platform covering politics, policy and management for state and local government leaders,” California had 141,158 federal employees as of December, 2016, excluding postal service workers, and an additional 190,160 active duty and reserve U.S. military personnel. Perhaps the $133.3 billion in taxes California lost last year can be reconciled by accounting for federal salaries? Perhaps if the average federal salary were $402,719 a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, though, the average federal salary in 2016 was much less — $80,384 a year (navigate to Table 6.6D here if the link doesn’t work)

If we apply the average federal salary to the federal employee population in California of 141,158, that amounts to an additional $11.3 billion in federal spending in California. Meanwhile, according to the Defense Spending by State report by the Office of Economic Adjustment, the total payroll for defense personnel in California was $14.6 billion. You can download their snazzy state-by-state defense spending analysis PDF here. Combined, $11.3 billion for federal civilian workers and $14.6 for defense personnel, we can estimate federal salaries in California to be about $26 billion — let’s just say $30 billion a year.

The bottom line is California paid about $103 billion more in federal taxes than we received in federal funding in 2016 alone, and as a reminder, that federal funding includes Social Security payments, payments for veterans, farmers, sole proprietors, federal contractors, small business loans, insurance, assistance to state and local governments, medicaid, medicare, money for local school districts, funding for public and private universities, research grants, student aid programs like the Pell Grant, social services, and… salaries for federal civilian workers and defense personnel.

What does that mean? It means with all the taxes you currently pay to California and all the taxes you currently pay to the IRS, we would have enough to continue paying for every state government service, agency, job, program, grant, and salary, and start paying for everything the federal government pays for in California, and still have an extra $100 billion, for say, establishing a universal healthcare program, creating a debt-free college program, and building a military — or all three of them because the estimated cost of those three budget items is, ironically, about $100 billion annually.

Hedge Your Bet: Qs and As about the new Calexit independence ballot measure


This winter the California Calexit Campaign under Yes California is submitting a new, updated version of our independence referendum ballot measure to give you the chance to vote for or against the independence of California from the United States. It is a short, simple, and to the point. We had earlier talked about a larger, more comprehensive hard-hitting ballot measure, however, after polling the Calexit community, we decided to remove controversial aspects of the measure in the spirit of building the biggest tent possible. Now our ballot measure is a California version of Catalonia’s Self-Determination Law that established and governed their recent independence referendum held on October 1.

WHY WAIT UNTIL WINTER TO FILE?

We are waiting until late-January or early-February to file our ballot measure because there is currently another initiative on a similar theme circulating petitions for signatures and we don’t want to intrude on their efforts to collect signatures for their ballot measure. There is also another independence-related ballot measure which is set to start collecting signatures soon. By filing this winter, we will avoid creating confusion among the public, or stepping on any other pro-independence groups’ toes.

WHEN WILL THE INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM BE HELD?

Since we are waiting until winter to file our new ballot measure, we unfortunately will not have enough time to collect the signatures we need to qualify it in time for the 2018 ballot. That means the earliest our initiative can be put on the ballot is November 2020. If the voters approve our ballot measure on Election Day 2020, an independence referendum will take place in California six months later on May 4, 2021.

WHY WON’T WE HAVE TIME TO QUALIFY FOR 2018?

In order for the State of California to have enough time to count and verify petition signatures, the Secretary of State says April 24, 2018 is the last day to file petitions. Theoretically it would be possible to submit our initiative in January and start collecting signatures in March, but that would leave us just weeks to collect the signatures we need to qualify instead of the six months permitted by law.

HOW MANY SIGNATURES DO WE NEED TO QUALIFY?

Here’s some good news. In the past we had a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution and therefore required 585,407 valid signatures to qualify. The autonomy initiative which is currently circulating requires that many signatures because it includes a constitutional amendment. However, our new initiative does not amend the state constitution and therefore only requires 365,880 signatures.

WHAT DOES THE INITIATIVE ACTUALLY DO, IF IT DOESN’T AMEND THE CONSTITUTION?

It simply requires the California Secretary of State to conduct a statewide vote on May 4, 2021 asking voters if they want California to become an independent country in the form of a republic. The results of the vote are binding insofar as the Legislature is required to take action to implement the results if there are more affirmative votes than negative ones.

WHY SHOULD SOMEBODY VOTE FOR THIS IN 2020?

The best reasons are because you love California and want her to excel and be all that she can be; because you know California is more than just a state and can do more good in the world as a country; and because you support the right to self-determination and self-government. But we also understand that California’s electoral votes have not changed the outcome of an election since 1876, so our votes don’t matter. We voted against Trump and we got stuck with Trump. This campaign believes Californians deserve to always have a president we voted for, never one we just got stuck with. So, what we are telling people who are unsure or noncommittal about Calexit is this: hedge your bets: vote against Donald Trump for President in 2020, but down ballot vote for our initiative, too. That way, whether he is reelected or not, we will have already proactively voted to schedule an independence referendum. Then you’ll have six months to decide how to vote in the referendum — but at least you’ll get to vote in one!

WHAT IF [INSERT POPULAR PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATE HERE] WINS THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

Well, if your support for Calexit ends with the election of a particular candidate to the presidency, then you can vote no in the independence referendum on May 4, 2021. But let’s work to qualify and pass the initiative so the independence referendum at least gets scheduled. After all, what happens if Donald Trump is reelected? Can you imagine what he’ll do in his second term? You have nothing to lose by voting for our ballot initiative in 2020.

I WANT TO HELP, WHERE CAN I SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER?

Great! We’re organizing volunteers to get ready for our signature collection campaign. You can sign up here.

I WANT TO CONTRIBUTE, WHERE CAN I MAKE A DONATION?

Thank you so much for your generosity. If you would like to make a financial contribution, you can donate here.

Yes California: The Russia/Calexit issue is dead, it’s over


FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – Marcus Ruiz Evans, the President of the Yes California Independence Campaign, released a statement this morning regarding the pending return of the organization’s co-founder, Louis Marinelli. Marinelli has been living in Russia for the past year but recently decided to return to California. Marinelli relocated to Russia in September last year because, as he recently explained in a personal letter to the Calexit community, he and his wife decided to try a trial separation after years of immigration struggles with the federal government damaged their relationship. “Instead of throwing in the towel,” Marinelli wrote, “we decided to try a trial separation. Now, I realize a lot of people don’t like where I have been living — but living in Russia makes me a fan of Vladimir Putin just as much as living in the United States makes you a fan of Donald Trump — it doesn’t.”

However, due to the impact Russia is believed to have played in the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Marinelli’s choice in residence there, where he took on a job teaching English, caused a rift between various organizations working to achieve California’s independence from the United States, a rift both Evans and Marinelli regret and are committed to reconciling upon Marinelli’s return from Russia this winter. “Marcus and I are both committed to mediating the conflicts that exist between the independence groups out there, to building a bigger tent, building a consensus, and working cooperatively to put an independence referendum on the ballot as soon as possible,” Marinelli said, adding that it was important for the Calexit movement to have speak with a united voice when possible, while allowing each of the various groups to maintain their unique identities and independence from one another.

Prior to the announcement, Yes California conducted some internal polling of its members in order to get a sense of how the Calexit community is reacting to Marinelli’s decision to return to California. “We realize — Louis and I realize — whether justified or not, that he is a fairly controversial figure,” Evans said. “That’s why we wanted to get a sense of what our supporters thought about the idea of him returning to California — before any final decisions were made. And Louis was insistent upon that, too. If the Calexit community didn’t support his return, he was prepared to accept that. As it turns out, the opposite is true: thousands of Calexit supporters have weighed in on the matter and 63% say they want Louis to return to California and launch a new independence referendum. Louis says its a mandate, and he may be right.”

The results of the internal poll seem to jive with another poll the organization recently conducted on Twitter, which asked Calexit followers whether or not they believed Russia was actively supporting the Calexit movement. More than two-thirds (67%) of the respondents said they didn’t believe the propaganda about that, while another 12% said they believed the stories they had heard, but that it didn’t matter to them. Only 22% said they believed the stories and were turned off by them. “What this means — as far as Yes California is concerned — is that the Russia issue is over, it’s dead,” Evans said, explaining that most people he talks to now just simply do not believe or do not care about rumors of Russian connections, and that they are more interested in where they can sign a petition to put Calexit on the ballot. “That’s what people want to know more than anything else.”

The organization also pointed to a recent column written by Marinelli in The Union of Grass Valley, which was shared extensively on the campaign’s social media platform. “Nobody had a problem with [Louis’ public involvement],” Evans said. “Nor did anyone have a problem with an article the campaign posted from Russian state media RT reporting on Governor Jerry Brown’s own recent trip to Russia where he spoke of opportunities for cooperation between Russia and California. “People were more upset that we called [Governor Brown] ‘President Brown’ than the fact that we posted an article from RT that had to do with cooperation between Russia and California. Louis had been talking about that for months and now he’s feeling a bit vindicated that the Governor is saying the same thing,” Evans joked.

Meanwhile, Marinelli responded to vocal critics on social media who have been critical of his decision to return to California. “Almost three-quarters of Calexit opponents who took part in our internal survey say I should stay in Russia. They don’t want me to come back. In other words, my vocal critics on social media share the same opinion as those who would prefer California to remain a state, so it makes you wonder whose side they’re really on,” Marinelli said, explaining that many people are more interested in fueling past personal grudges than anything else. “Social media is not and never has been an accurate reflection of reality, and they represent a minority opinion within the Calexit community.”

Nevertheless, Yes California plans on submitting its new independence referendum after the circulation deadline has passed for the autonomy initiative currently being circulated. The initiative calls for a vote six months after the 2020 election, on May 4, 2021. “Our initiative will be a way for Californians to hedge their bet,” Marinelli explained. “Our votes don’t count in California – we all know that. We as a state collectively voted against Trump in 2016 and what happened? We got stuck with Trump. I sure bet a lot of Californians wish we had an independence vote coming up right about now. Unfortunately, we don’t. Our initiative will offer Californians that insurance policy the next time around. We’re telling people this: In 2020, vote against Trump. That goes without saying. But down ballot, vote for our initiative to schedule an independence vote — you’re going to want one if Trump gets reelected. Can you imagine what he’ll do in a second term when he won’t need to worry about getting reelected? What we’re seeing right now is Trump-light.” Marinelli said.

Calexit Campaign Draws Parallels Between Self-Determination for California and Catalonia


SAN FRANCISCO — On Saturday, some supporters of California independence gathered at the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco to protest Spanish regression of democracy in Catalonia, and to support the planned independence referendum the Catalan people intend to hold on October 1.

It is at this same location (1405 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA) that supporters of California independence from the California National Party and the Calexit Campaign, and others, plan to meet at 2:00 PM on October 1, 2017 to support Catalonia on the day of their independence referendum. The Calexit Campaign is calling on all supporters of Calexit and the broader right of self-determination to attend.

“What happens in Catalonia will be important, will impact what we’re trying to accomplish here in California. As supporters of self-determination, one of the rights enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, we support Catalonia’s right to hold a referendum and to vote,” the organization’s president, Marcus Ruiz Evans said. “We actually have a lot in common with Catalonia — we share similar economic, fiscal, and taxation reasons for seeking independence, and California and Catalonia have both been occupied territories for centuries.”

Going into more detail, the Calexit Campaign brought attention to a recent proclamation made by the Governor’s office.

In this proclamation, the Governor acknowledged that the arrival of foreigners to California brought “utter devastation of the native peoples, their families and entire way of life,” and that the arrival of gold-seeking Americans later brought “a wave of new diseases and wanton violence which reduced the Native population again, this time by more than 80 percent…. The newborn State of California actually paid for the killing of Native peoples and tolerated or encouraged policies of warfare, slavery and relocation that left no tribe intact.”

“This is important for understanding California’s unique situation in the United States, and for justifying California’s right to self-determination. It is understood that the the United Nations Charter was intended to support the right to self-determination for those peoples annexed, conquered, and colonized by other powers. This is why the Catalan people have a legitimate case to vote on October 1. If what the Americans did to native Californians isn’t the definition of conquest and colonization, and doesn’t justify our right to self-determination, then I don’t know what those two words mean,” one of the movement’s founders, Louis Marinelli, said.

The organization is planning to submit its new Calexit independence referendum to the Attorney General of California immediately following the referendum in Catalonia. “Whatever happens, we’ve been inspired by the Catalan people to push forward with a new independence referendum of our own. We’ll either be following in their footsteps, or picking up the torch where they left it,” Marinelli said.

Secession doesn’t cause civil war, attacking a military base does


Here at the Yes California Calexit Campaign, we often hear people rhetorically ask us if we remember the Civil War. Others insist the issue of secession was decided by that war 150 years ago. While the North indeed won the war and the Union was preserved, it is wrong to tie a state’s unilateral secession to the outbreak of civil war in the 1860s and by extension it is also wrong to assume that upcoming California’s unilateral declaration of independence would cause another American Civil War.

The American Civil War started on April 12, 1861 when Confederate military forces attacked Americans at Fort Sumter. That is when the fighting began. It did not begin on December 20, 1860 when South Carolina passed its ordinance of secession and declared the union between it and the other states dissolved. The fighting did not begin four days later on December 24, 1860 when South Carolina issued a proclamation entitled the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” In fact, four days after that, President James Buchanan met with delegates from South Carolina at the White House.

Nor did fighting ensue in the month of January, 1861 when Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama seceded from the Union January 9, 10, and 11, respectively. By the second week of 1861, four states had declared their unilateral secession from the Union, and yet there was no Civil War. Throughout the month of January, politicians in Washington tried to sooth things over but, as you could expect, only made things worse. Meanwhile, Georgia and Louisiana unilaterally seceded on January 19, and 26, respectively, and Texas followed suit on February 1 that year.

A conference was called and it convened in Washington on February 4, 1861 at the Willard Hotel. Representatives of 21 of the nation’s 33 states at the time attended to negotiate. California did not participate in the conference, and it ultimately failed to produce any results. More than two months later, and 114 days after the first state declared its independence, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, and the Civil War began.

California’s independence referendum, which we plan to hold on November 3, 2020, and the subsequent declaration of independence, will not cause a civil war, just as it didn’t in 1860 when South Carolina proclaimed its union with the other states dissolved. What will happen, if history is to repeat itself, is a delegation of Californians may be welcomed to the White House to discuss the issue, the politicians in Congress will likely discuss and debate the issue, and perhaps another conference will be convened to open negotiations between California and the United States. What will not happen is California won’t attack Camp Pendleton, or some other American military institution, sparking another Civil War.

Statement on Catalonia


In response to recent events by the Spanish Government to interfere with the upcoming independence referendum scheduled in Catalonia for October 1, 2017, the California Calexit Campaign released the following statement:

“Spain as a member of the United Nations and signatory to the United Nations Charter must respect the right of all peoples to self-determination, including the people of Catalonia who have lived under its rule since 1714. The people of Catalonia have every right to determine their political future through the democratic process. The California Calexit Campaign urges the Spanish Government to immediately withdraw armed police forces interfering with the democratic process in Catalonia, and allow a fair and honest referendum to proceed as scheduled. We further urge the Spanish Government to relinquish control of websites related to the planned referendum which have recently been seized under a judicial warrant and are now under Spanish administration. The right of people to free and unfettered information is a critical component of fair, honest, and democratic voting process that must be respected.”

“In California, we are watching Catalonia with great anticipation and deriving from them great inspiration as we, too, aspire to one day hold a fair and honest independence referendum to determine the political future of California. We hope that the October 1 referendum in Catalonia proceeds as planned, and is conducted freely, fairly, and in accordance with internationally-accepted democratic norms, and that the results of the referendum be accepted by the Spanish Government, the European Union, and the greater international community.”

Respect our veterans by respecting what they fought for


Last week, Gary Smith, a resident of northern California, expressed his opinion that Calexit is disrespectful to veterans in a recent submission to his local newspaper.

In his submission, he wrote that the Yes California movement is an insult to: “…all veterans who defend America, especially our California Veterans. Our veterans fought for our rights, one of those rights is to speak out. But some speech and ideas cross the line of common decency and should be kept to yourself.” Mr. Smith also said that those who support California independence should “renounce their citizenship and move to another country.”

Our response:

Dear Mr. Smith, The United States of America exists today as a product of secession. About forty percent of the American colonists supported independence from the British Empire and they ultimately decided what country the other sixty percent of the colonists would live in. Today about a third of Californians support independence from the American Empire and that support is growing as the fiscal, political, and cultural situation in the United States deteriorates. History repeats itself.

Declaring independence is about American as it gets. It was the first act of the United States of America as a nation, and supporting the right to self-determination has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for over a century, since the time of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Over the course of this time, our servicemen and women have fought and died for the freedom of other people in other nations, since our freedom here at home has never been under any direct threat. No foreign power has ever deprived American citizens of their liberties, let alone occupy any of our cities.

In fact, the only country that has ever deprived us of our liberties has been the United States. This is especially true today with the PATRIOT Act, the growth of the police state, and the destruction of federalism in favor of a strong, centralized national government in Washington, D.C. – something our first veterans fought to replace with decentralized power. If we truly want to respect our veterans, we should respect what they fought for. The first veterans fought a war for independence and self-government. Let California have independence and self-government. Later veterans fought in World War I to make the world “safe for democracy”. If California holds and fair and honest referendum on independence, let democracy prevail. In World War II our veterans fought against the spread of fascism, yet fascism has now taken root in America. Let’s allow Californians to reject fascism.

And after the Korean War, one could argue that our veterans haven’t really fought in any legitimate wars. That’s no fault of their own, but it does speak a lot about the country we live in today. It is not the same Union founded by Washington, Jefferson, and Adams. It is not the same Union preserved by the Civil War. It is not the same Union that helped save the world from Nazi domination. No, that Union is long gone and it is time for us to formalize that reality by political divorce, or independence.

On a final point, Mr. Smith, many colonists loyal to the British Crown fled north to Canada after American independence. For those Californians who remain loyal to the United States, if history is to repeat itself as it so often does, it seems it you will be the ones relocating.

Calexit Campaign Endorses Proposal Calling for Article V Constitutional Convention


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The Yes California Calexit Campaign announced its support for a recently-submitted ballot measure that, if passed by the voters in 2018, would add California to the growing list of states looking to amend the U.S. Constitution through a convention of states.

The proposal, submitted last week by a new pro-independence group led by Clare Hedin, contains language the California delegates to an Article V constitutional convention would work to achieve. While the organization said it does not take a position on each and every item in the proposal, it decided to endorse the measure for three reasons.

“The proposal’s text has two important sections that are relevant to the Calexit campaign,” the organization’s president, Marcus Ruiz Evans said. “We think it would be great if the U.S. Constitution were amended so that state taxes were superior to federal taxes. It’s an interesting idea that we at Calexit certainly couldn’t oppose. Secondly, and most importantly, the proposal contains language supporting a constitutional amendment to make a clear path for state secession.”

However, a separate statement from the Yes California Calexit Board of Directors reiterated that the Calexit Campaign has already taken the position that state secession is already constitutional and that there are various paths a state may take in order to peacefully legally secede from the Union even without such an amendment.

“This proposal supports a constitutional amendment to spell out in clear and concise terms exactly how a state would secede from the Union. That is not to say that a state could not secede without such an amendment but we recognize that today there is a debate on the constitutionality of secession, that there are various interpretations of the Supreme Court’s 1869 ruling on this matter, and that there is a kind of national amnesia about the Tenth Amendment which today empowers states with the right of secession. So, it won’t hurt to end the ambiguity and get this process spelled out.”

Additionally, the campaign polled its followers over the weekend and a whopping 77% of respondents voted in favor of California joining a constitutional convention to pursue a secession amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “It seems to be a popular idea among those who are following this movement,” Evans said.

Although the measure has been endorsed as is, the organization said it intends to collaborate with the initiative’s sponsors over the coming weeks to offer practical suggestions to reduce the number of signatures required to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Three Californias? No, one California for all Californians


FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – The Yes California Independence Campaign responded to Silicon Valley executive Timothy Draper’s newly-filed ballot initiative that would split California into three states this morning, pointing to the proposal as a real example of divide and conquer. “And our opponents say Calexit is a divide and conquer campaign? Well, you can’t get much closer to divide and conquer than Mr. Draper’s new plan to take California and divide her into three,” the organization’s president Marcus Ruiz Evans said.

“Dividing the state into three doesn’t just break the state up,” Evans continued. “It would add two new states to the United States, both of which would send mostly Republicans to Washington to represent them in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Let’s not forget: Mr. Draper first planned to break California up into six in order to give his home of Silicon Valley its own state and ignore the five others, even leaving one of them without any state universities based on how he drew the lines. The first plan was very poorly thought out and, judging by the text of the initiative Mr. Draper just submitted, this new plan doesn’t seem to be very well thought out, either. How do you expect to be taken seriously when your ballot initiative to divide California into three new states forgets to list Tulare County in any of them, but lists Imperial County twice? Just goes to show that again Mr. Draper doesn’t care about California.”

The organization intends to inform its growing base of supporters of Mr. Draper’s plans and provide an extensive list of reasons to reject it. “We believe in one California for all Californians. In fact, one of our first campaigns as an organization back in 2014 was to oppose Six Californias. We were the only organization actively working in opposition to it and we’re glad it failed to qualify. There are Calexit supporters in every county of California and we’re going to be actively opposing this initiative, so that California may stay together as one people and one nation,” Evans said.