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.

Technology

As a college kid way back in the 90s I saw the tremendous potential of this Internet thing to centralize information and ease communication.  It’s why I got into IT.  And I wanted to get as deep into it as possible.  I didn’t just want to make websites or design video games, I wanted to be on the backend, handling major enterprise servers and “mainframes”.  I wanted to be where the real action was.  Massive databases, enterprise e-mail systems, massive interactive websites.

Turns out that was a good instinct.  Even now as so many smaller enterprises are getting hosted by larger enterpises, I’m still running the servers on the backend.

It’s also given me some insights as to what’s possible and necessary for our political life.

Because while the private has grown by leaps and bounds, the public sector is just embarrassing.  Hillary’s e-mail scandal is a facepalm, from a techie’s perspective.  Then there was the Obamacare website fiasco.  And I wrote about LA’s bid for citywide free wifi, something they posted at $5 billion.  I said I could easily take a couple zeros off that price.

See, the internet is cheap.  It’s just servers and wires.  In the private sector we work miracles on a shoestring budget.  It’s what we do.  Government doesn’t seem to get the hint.   It all seems so insular, they just hand contracts to people they know who aren’t really good at what they do, and nobody has a clue how to do it.  There’s no competition, so there’s no innovation.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles it’s really easy to feel disconnected from politics.  Politicians seem so abstract and detached in such a huge city, we wonder what we have to do with them, if anything.

So when politicians like Barack Obama or Donald Trump show a flair for reaching out to people over the internet, they have a decided advantage over those who are still relying on 20th century methods.  There is no reason we can’t catapult our entire political system into the age of the Internet.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit are only the beginning.  We can easily make government sites more interactive, make town hall meetings online, send out more services online so people no longer need to trek to City Hall to be heard.

I want to spearhead this movement in government.  I know I can do it better than anyone.

Immigration

Of all the issues of the 2016 election, immigration had to be the most contentious. The 37th is a diverse district, many people have come here escaping violence and poverty to seek a better life, some under duress where a legal channel wasn’t available. And the Democrats took advantage of this, sinking to their lowest with smears and slanders about “sending people to camps” or “kicking out the foreigners”. None of that is going to happen, none of that was ever to happen.
What Trump, and myself, are talking about, is the need to reform an immigration plan that hasn’t been a plan. Rather than having proper legal channels for people to come in, we just let people come in under the radar and let them live in the shadows. This is not a long term strategy, unless you’re looking to get rid of borders entirely and let everyone just come in.
This is something I vehemently oppose, I took for granted everyone opposed this, and yet in 2017 we can no longer take this for granted. It really seems the new liberal plan is to scrap borders, scrap immigration law, and let anyone who wants to come into our country vote, get protections, get benefits.
What we need to do is find a way to bring people out of the shadows in a way that doesn’t mock our immigration laws. The bottom line is, it needs to be harder to come into our country illegally than legally.
That means there I have no problem with building a wall. My share of the US/Mexico border is San Diego / Tijuana, which already has quite a sturdy wall. You can’t even cross back to the US without a passport anymore. I assumed this was the case all along the border, but I guess it’s not. I also have no problem vetting people from dangerous areas.
I also don’t have a problem with deporting those who come here illegally and commit crimes. This is another issue the Democrats have slandered the GOP about. Nobody wants to find and deport people here illegally who are otherwise hard-working. We want to find a way to bring you out of the shadows. We want you to be safe. Together, we will find a way. We will not throw you under the bus.
But there are people who don’t fit this description. A lot of them. The ones who come here with no intention but to cause trouble – is those we want to go after.
And we want to reach a place where everyone who is here, is here legally.

My platform

Two of the major arenas I want to make a difference in nationally are Law and Order and foreign relations.  Obviously I have sympathies towards Israel, but it’s part of a much larger issue I have with our foreign policy.  I’m what you could call a proud imperialist, in the tradition of Gene Roddenberry.  We need to stop apologizing for our quest for freedom around the world.  We need to stop coming up with excuses for terror regimes and undermining legitimate and orderly governments.  The fact is, we’ve been a force for good in the world.  Shirking that destiny has only led to increasing chaos in the past few years.

Law and Order is also an issue at home.  I gave Black Lives Matter the benefit of the doubt for a while, but the fact is it’s the worst kind of race baiting I’ve ever seen.  We need to stop second guessing and undermining our brave men and women in uniform.   If someone resists a cop or picks a fight with them, there is no longer a debate about “excessive force”.