Tech Platform

I’ve been involved in the internet boom ever since my 14k baud modem days back in college in the 90s.  Back in the 20th century I saw the internet’s promise to centralize information and present it easily to anyone authorized to view it.

But as someone who’s been involved in the private sector I’ve seen how lacking in competence and wisdom the public sector is.  I would like to usher in some refreshing changes on several fronts:

  1. Maintain business friendly practices to allow Silicon Beach to fully develop
  2. Push for new global opportunities in tech
  3. Hold the public sector to the same accountability that the private sector has
  4. No company is too big to fail or too small to matter
  5. Use the internet to increase public participation

A further explanation of each issue:

  1. Silicon Beach – it seemed like the benefits of the internet economy would stay limited to Silicon Valley, but in retrospect it had its limits. A combination of rent control and strict development limits have set housing costs so high in the Bay Area, tech could only realistically grow by moving south.  Here in Los Angeles, we have a liberal growth environment and market based housing.  If we maintain an approach of enlightened growth in our district, Los Angeles will continue to be a hub of new business and opportunity in tech.
  2. Seeking new global opportunities for tech – Trump’s presidency brought a lot of worry that he’d close off the US economy with protectionism. This doesn’t need to be the case.  The 37th district benefits immensely from global trade, not just from our port but from the influence of the internet economy.  People worry about jobs, businesses worry about opportunities for growth.  I will make sure world trade continues to expand and give us ever newer opportunities for fresh business and growth.
  3. An accountable public sector. Los Angeles quoted citywide free wifi at $5 billion.  There’s no way it should be that high, by orders of magnitude.  My experience is the public sector just hands out tech contracts to their friends with no oversight, or clue.  This is also how someone like Hillary could get away with a private email server for years, or Obama thought a bomb hoax was an actual science project.  As congressman I will make sure A) that the public sector has compliance standards similar to the private sector B) that the public sector adopts internet tech at some level comparable to the private sector
  4. No company is too big to fail, too small to matter. Google/YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook all have a strong presence in Silicon Beach.  They also have been in the news lately for their alleged censorship of conservative voices.  This is a dilemma.  The internet is now undeniably a part of the public sphere, and as such, is no different from a mall in first amendment protections.  Be it Google’s maldirection of searches, or Twitter’s endorsing or banning anyone who follows or contradicts their politics, this is bad for Democracy.  And these companies should be held to account.  We need to see this accountability as good for their long term health.  Companies that succeed or fail based on their political affiliations undermine both our democracy and their long term business plan.  Because when it comes down to it, politicians and social movements come and go.  We don’t want our economy to fluctuate with them.
    Meanwhile, the internet has also drastically reduced the barriers to entry.  This means that more and more independent voices are getting their say, more and more business are getting more easily heard by their customers.  As custodians of capitalism we should be nurturing this very environment.  Not regarding it with suspicion.  This leads to:
  5. Increasing public participation through the internet. Ultimately a neutral internet environment will be a place where all people have a platform and the marketplace of ideas can truly flourish.  This also means more people can have a voice in government.  I created ronfor37.org myself in a few hours.  There’s no reason all politicians shouldn’t have some kind of online interaction with their constituents.  And yet few do.  As Obama said, the Internet is a disruptive technology.  But in its disruption it yearns to create a new order, one where people will again truly have a say in their government and no ideas, people, or institutions will be above question.

All about deportations

Millions of people will be deported overnight!  Cities will become ghost towns!  Jackbooted thugs will be marching a Trail of Tears right down to the border and shooting stragglers!   You get a deportation!  You get a deportation!  Everyone gets a deportation!

Again, this is what the media would have us believe.  And it’s yet another lie about the intentions of the Trump administration.

The LA Times, in their article LA, OC home to over one million immigrants,  discusses the immigrant community’s worst fears that downtown LA could become a ghost town if everyone were deported.  Ironic considering the criticism that a wall wouldn’t work, and yet we would or could deport a million people overnight, but I digress.  Our own city leaders are certainly adding to the fire.  Police chief Charlie Beck said will not deport immigrants under Trump.  Garcetti echoes this sentiment.

This is misleading people about the point – nobody ever talked about forcing local cops to find and deport criminals.  First off, Beck is saying this right after the election.  Beyond just the overall anti-Trump posturing I imagine he has to do, he has to make assurances to a population that has been fearmongered into hysteria.

But Trump has always talked about the crime spawned by illegal immigration.  When he speaks of deportations, he speaks of deporting the criminals.  In this contentious age there’s plenty of articles pushing for any viewpoint in the spectrum.  But one University of California paper lays it all out pretty plainly, and criminal illegals is at the top.  Those without criminal records who are working are “unlikely to be a named priority for deportation.”

I’d like to find some footnotes, but Ben Shapiro claims his friends in the LAPD say large part of the gang problem is control from beneath the border.  Curbing the illegal immigration problem would help,  especially if they could work with federal agents to stop this.

Again, there is a huge difference between police working with immigration officials to stop crime, and working for immigration officials to deport people.  The Trump administration has always talked about the former.  His detractors always claimed he’s up to the latter.

Hopefully, in this post, I’ve given you enough information to understand the issue for yourself.  This is a real issue, and as a candidate I’d like to present such real issues to you as I see them.

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration – fact and fiction

The immigration issue is, worldwide, setting up to be the moral crux of our time.  And since it’s the most politically charged, it’s the most fraught with lies and agendas.  One thing I’d like to do is clear up the air on various aspects of the issue.  There’s endless details, endless lies circulating, so this will be the first on many articles.  I’ll try to touch on some basic issues.

The major lie out there is that Republicans are against immigration.  I hear Democrats, pundits, Super Bowl advertisers constantly repeat “immigrants made this country great!”  No shit, sherlock.  This isn’t stupidity on the part of Democrats, it’s an absolute lie.  It’s a way to frame the debate to make anyone who actually wants to return to an orderly immigration system as some sort of xenophobic bigot.

It’s a lie and a scare tactic, and so far it’s working quite well.  Beware anyone who says this line.  They have an agenda to push, and that agenda is eliminating borders and immigration law.

A subsequent issue that really made me lose my faith in the Democrats is the leftist charge against Obama having a record number of deportations.  This is a flat out lie.  It came about when Obama redefined the act of deportation to mean anyone turned away at the border.  As the article points out:

The vast majority of those border crossers would not have been treated as formal deportations under most previous administrations. If all removals were tallied, the total sent back to Mexico each year would have been far higher under those previous administrations than it is now.

Okay, so first off, this makes an absolute lie of deportations. Technically, the practice started under George W Bush to give a formal record to those caught crossing illegally.  But immigration activists have twisted it into a total lie of what’s really happening.  Deportations have actually gone down significantly under Obama.  And more so, the Democrats are increasingly backing down on immigration law.

 

We’re also constantly sold that immigration is good for our economies, that immigrants put in more than they take out, revitalise bad neighborhoods, etc.  This is true, to a point.  And I think we’re well past that point.  More people means a bigger economy provided they do find jobs and contribute.  In earlier days immigrants got very little aid, and most of it was through private and community charities.  These days the state hands off most of the aid.  We are being pushed to give driver’s licenses, benefits, we grant them virtual immunity from deportation.

It’s gotten to the point where it’s not enough to be okay with all this.  Trump just saying we want to deport the criminals is raising mountains of wild protests calling for his impeachment and his head.  And the lies and fear mongering … just endless.  There is no Muslim ban, hordes of jackbooted thugs are not amassing to run through the barrios and pull out anyone who can’t identify their papers.  Trump’s main plan is to seal the borders, properly vet those coming in, and boot out the criminal illegals.

But we can understand why this rancor over such simple things.  Because they signify an about-face from our current trajectory.  If we were to continue on this dissolution of immigration law for just a few more short years, a citizen will be indistinguishable from anyone hopping the fence.

And that’s the point.  Across the Atlantic, the refugee crisis is the biggest specific lie of our time.  The photo op of the mother and daughter fleeing persecution is absolute lie.  By the UN’s own statistics, in 2015 75% of “refugees” were adult men, 12% were women, and 13% were children.  If you figure kids had the same gender split, you’re looking at close to 90% men.  Probably even more than that if you assume the UN at least partially skews statistics to suit agendas.  The pictures of migrants streaming into Europe looks more like an invading army than a huddled surrendered mass.

I say “refugees” because they’re really not refugees.  Europe has found a lovely loophole to bring in mass of third world labor to refresh their economies.  It involves a combination of three things: 1) use the refugee status to allow anyone to come over the border from a war-torn country into a neighboring stable country 2) have zero monitoring to distinguish refugees from migrants 3) use the EU’s open border policy so that once a migrant is in any EU country, they can freely move into any other EU country.  This is how people from North Africa and the Middle East can so easily wind up all the way in Sweden.

I mention this because our immigration issue is related to Europe’s.  The people pushing for open borders for Europe are pushing for them here.  Make no mistake.  It is the most important issue of our time.  It will determine whether you have any rights and privileges as a citizen in 20 years or not.

Right now, it seems the Republicans are our only fighting chance.

 

Free Trade

Free trade has to be the issue that puts Trump most at odds, not only with the GOP Establishment but with practically the entire world economy. And yet it doesn’t have to be. The next generation of leaders can either see this as a setback or as a teaching point, and a chance to earn their keep as leaders of the free world.
Talk about the drawbacks of free trade in any established circles and you will immediately be shunned with a chorus of boos and slurs. Protectionist, Mercantilist, trade wars – free traders hurl all these slogans and I wonder how much thought even goes behind them. To the point where people try to avoid the charge by using weird terms like “fair trade”. Which doesn’t really help the discussion.
Of course we know, free trade benefits both parties to the trade. Expanding trade grows economies. Los Angeles is a major benefactor of expanding trade in the Pacific Rim, and I want to stay on top of our privileged status.
But regulations are also a part of a healthy economy. Not too many, not too few. The problem is we’ve set immense regulations on our internal activity but practically none on anything coming in. One almost hears the chuckles of politicians who think they found some brilliant loophole – instead of polluting or exploiting here in the USA, we just export it to some country that doesn’t care as much.
This has to stop. Either by easing regulations here at home, or by tightening them on imports. This should be basic policy – if you can’t produce it here, you can’t import it either.
I think this is what Trump is getting at when he talks about trade policies that don’t screw over our citizens so much. And I do think he’s pushed the envelope a bit on this. I don’t think government should be putting personal pressure on companies. Government should set a policy, and then get out of the way. But whatever policy we set, should be fair. Snickering about loopholes will only lead to backlashes down the line.

Foreign Policy

If immigration was the most contentious issue of the 2016 Presidential Election (“Build The Wall” being the most popular catchphrase), foreign policy had to be close behind.  It was certainly a factor in me flipping to the Republicans.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit Israel wasn’t a major factor in this.  Up until a couple years ago, I assumed support for Israel was a bipartisan issue.  And it wasn’t just some Israel favoritism.  I thought the USA wanted to ally and protect itself with any country that could rise out of the morass of anarchy and provide prosperity and freedom for their people.

So it wasn’t just Israel’s conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank these past couple years, and Obama’s anti-Israel activity at the UN, that perturbed me.  It was the entire Arab Spring and our laissez-faire attitude towards it.  I do commend the Obama doctrine that states governments need to stand on their own two feet without us propping them up.  But if governments ask for our help against terrorism and anarchy, we DO NOT just stand idly by and say “well maybe you should be nicer so people won’t be terrorists.”

Terrorism and fundamentalism do not exist because we’re not nice enough.  They exist because governments are not strong enough to handle them.  So the forces of anarchy, fundamentalism, separatism, and all the other heads of the hydra of chaos see an opening.

This is how we let the Arab Spring decay into a riotous summer and a winter of discontent.  We could have done so much better.  In Libya, in Egypt, Tunisia, and I dare say Syria, Yemen and even Europe.

Because it seems like the Obama adminstration wasn’t just taking the side of terrorists against Israel, aiding and abetting them with UN resolutions and rebukes of Netanyahu.  It was an overall policy approach that actively supported terrorists all over the region.  And ultimately, supported them in Europe with such a reckless dismantling of European immigration laws.

I’ve called myself a proud imperialist before.  And it’s worth expanding on.  By this I don’t mean sending our military to strong-arm our positions all across the globe like some stereotypical leftist’s portrayal.  I mean taking the side of our friends and helping them defeat mutual enemies.

It’s a policy Putin has made in the Middle East, and why he’s managed to gain ground in that region while our influence has waned.  We’d be wise to revisit it.

So, how does this percolate into individual positions?

Benghazi – I thought this was an absolute travesty, and is so symbolic of our failed policy in the Middle East.  If Bush erred on the side of too much heavy handedness, Obama’s failure here is in turning his back.   If we can’t even protect our own ambassadors, if we have to make stupid excuses for why they died and legitimize the ones who killed them, this isn’t just a foreign policy failure.  This is a failure of our own government and those who swore their lives to serve it.

Israel – our embassy needs to be moved to Jerusalem immediately.  Israel has proved over decades it has full rights to everything from the Jordan River to the sea.  We need to stop paying attention to threats from terrorist regimes.  I philosophically oppose the idea that people turn to terrorism because they have no hope.  It’s quite the opposite – the more concessions we give them, the more hope they have of annihilating Israel, the more Israel suffers at the hands of terror.

Arab Spring – Sissi’s coup against the Muslim Brotherhood reflects the deep conflict at the heart of this movement.  And there’s hope in seeing so many Egyptians come out in support of him.  But we need to stop being on the wrong side of this.  We need to publicly support him, and work with him, as well as work with Egyptians who are ready to maintain a secular order.

I speak of Egypt first because it is the lynchpin of the Arab Spring.  If Sissi fails the whole enterprise fails.  His dictatorship is a temporary stop-gap, true.  But we need to see a proper secular democracy as the permanent solution.  Egypt has the will to do this.  So long as we don’t get in their way, they will achieve it.

Europe’s immigration crisis is a direct result of our failures in the Arab Spring.  Of course it’s compounded by this boneheaded idea of using the refugee loophole to dismantle Europe’s immigration law to let in anyone and everyone.  But that I will discuss more fully in my immigration section.

But the foreign policy aspect is, we need to be helping people thrive where they live.  Not undermining their governments, and only claiming to take their side when they have to move.  That seems like a very silly way to build an economy.