Issues

COVID-19 and China

 

As an USMC fighter pilot, I was regularly briefed by our Aviation Intelligence Teams about the emerging threats of the People’s Republic of China. As a regime and as a government, China’s ruthlessness truly knows no bounds. As far as the Chinese government is concerned, it is China vs. the world. The Chinese regime believes it has received a mandate from heaven to dominate the world. Their regime embodies the worst of cronyism, communism, and capitalism. With our increasingly globalist economy, China has positioned its politburo as heads of all major corporations within China to take advantage. Its government-owned corporations give little thought to innovation or efficiency as it relates to the production of domestic goods and services, content to knock off previously-invented devices through aggressive copyright infringement and reverse engineering efforts. The PRC has shown no regard for the quality of life of its own citizenry. It has relied on currency manipulation to convince international trade partners to buy Chinese materials, because as the Chinese Yuan depreciates relative to other nations’ currencies, these currencies will go further in China. It also means that Chinese non-politburo citizens have fewer opportunities to advance their positions or quality of life. If China is callous enough to virtually enslave its own people, should we really be shocked at the lengths to which it has gone to hide its culpability regarding COVID-19?

 

For all of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, China downplayed the threat of COVID-19, claiming that it was not contagious, claiming that it was contained, etc. This was made all the more sinister by the fact that the Chinese government had been brought, it had seemed, to heel through the trade agreement with the Trump Administration. This would curb China’s copyright infringement practices, and hold China to a commitment to buy a certain number of products from the United States. This agreement, when finalized in December, after COVID-19 had broken out, but BEFORE the world had become aware of the danger of transmitting this disease, contained a clause exempting China from its commitment in the event of a pandemic or an act of God. China already knew that COVID-19 could become a pandemic. China’s toadies within the WHO continued to downplay this threat as well, ensuring that the finalized version of this trade agreement would go forward with this clause listed. Nikki Haley is right in demanding that China and the PRC be held accountable. Ted Cruz is right in spearheading the effort to increase our relationship with the State of Israel for our medical needs. Lastly, President Trump was right in his efforts to curb the threat of transmission, and his orders to the states to come up with state-specific plans to reopen their respective economies.

 

As a Californian, I have seen the ravages of Democrat programs in our state. Affordable housing and gas are distant memories, as are the days when we could take our children to the park without worrying about their safety from criminals, drug needles, and human feces. These Democrats are now holding our economies hostage so they can try and cram down ever more control over our economy. I do not doubt the severity of the virus, nor is there any doubt that the fear and uncertainty accompanying this virus are being used to cow our populace and stifle our freedoms. Every power grab throughout history has been justified as being for the greater good. As a US Marine, I lived and was willing to die by the maxim, “Not on my watch.” I cannot and will not watch our government strip away our constitutional rights.

Veterans

 

California is home to 2,000,000 Veterans. President Trump’s Forever GI Bill was enacted in 2017 and was supported by every member of Congress. In other words, both major parties, Republicans and Democrats, agreed unanimously to support our Veterans nationwide in all arenas of life: healthcare, housing, employment, education, to name a few. We must ensure the proper enforcement and efficiency of this bill in order to serve the ones who have served us. The VA has made significant improvement since the Trump Administration; nonetheless, there are some key areas where we can improve.

Mental health disorders such as PTSD and depression are among the top contributors for the decline in the overall well-being of a Veteran. Suicide rates have increased among the Veterans and non-veterans at the same level, i.e. approximately 20 suicides per day. However, the suicide rate increased among Veterans who failed to receive quality healthcare compared to Veterans that did receive healthcare.

To properly help the Veterans assimilate in the civilian life, we must hold our government accountable to do its job. We must hold ourselves accountable by allowing a smooth and effective transition for all Veterans into civilian life. If we believe that healthcare is something that should be made a priority for all Americans, then certainly, Veterans should not be alienated from this top-level healthcare. Most importantly, it is our civic duty to ensure that Veteran care in all arenas of life is one of the top priorities.

Orange County Veteran Cemetery

 

Orange County Veterans do not have the option of choosing Orange County as a place to be laid to rest. I am advocating we build a Veteran Cemetery at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine. Our neighbor counties: Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego, all have a veteran cemetery; it is time we build one for Veterans here in the 45th Congressional District. I will work with the Irvine City Council and the California State Legislature to expedite the creation of an Orange County Veteran Cemetery.

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Economy

 

California is the highest taxed state in the Country. We have given $419 billion to the state of California and another $370 billion to the Federal Government while both the state and federal government run billions and even trillions in deficits and debt. Since the 2018 election, taxes have gone up in Orange County cities by 3%. If the taxes we pay can’t even be used effectively or efficiently, why should we give the government more?

The last thing an average middle-class family needs is an increase in taxes. We need a tax break with a cut in both state and federal spending. We must help families stay out of poverty or becoming homeless by reducing the tax burden many families are saddled with. Over 50% of the average Californians income goes to taxes, and the state and federal governments are still running deficits! I oppose any and all tax increases. We need to spend our money more effectively and efficiently, and stop burdeining our citizenry with unncessary taxes.

Our national debt has doubled since 2009 and is projected to exceed annual GDP by 2026. It is unacceptable to borrow from future generations. If our debt continues to increase, we face higher interest rates that will reduce investment and damper economic growth permanently. Our credit will also significantly suffer as foreign investors will be less likely to purchase our debt, causing the value of the U.S. dollar to collapse. It’s time to start making some common-sense decisions about our nation’s financial obligations before it is too late. And we can start this by making effective choices in Orange County.

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Border Security

 

The government is neither a humanitarian agency nor a non-profit religious organization; it is solely responsible for the people who reside within its’ borders.

Our country, our local economy, and local culture have been enriched by those who come to our country seeking the American Dream and a chance at a better life. But millions of illegal immigrants continually crossing our border without our knowledge, thus threatening our national security. I oppose amnesty. Those who are not American Citizens or legal immigrants, do not have a right to our services. We must secure our borders and stop playing games. Legal immigration is a tremendous benefit to our country. But in order to protect our nation and reform the immigration process, we must know who is and is not entering our country. That cannot be done without securing our border.

Make no mistake –I am empathetic to the obstacles of our neighboring nations; however, it is my civic duty to serve the people in our country first. Serving the people of the United States of America is my number one priority; similarly, it is my recommendation that other nations should step-up so that their vulnerable population is not forced to break our laws, such as crossing the border illegally.

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Healthcare

 

Since the inception of our nation, healthcare debate has always followed economic debate, making it one of the top two issues near and dear to all Americans. For as long as I can remember, I was taught to serve and to never leave a fellow American behind. I hold the same values when it comes to healthcare and its relationship to people. Everyone has the right to affordable healthcare no man or woman should be left behind. While there is no doubt that every individual should have access to healthcare, the solutions to achieving this goal is subjective, i.e. it varies from group.

  • Insurance
  • ·Veteran Healthcare
  • ·Small Business Employer-Employee Healthcare
  • ·Corporate Health Care
  • ·Student Healthcare
  • ·Disabled, Vulnerable Healthcare
  • ·Crisis Mode Healthcare
  • ·Senior Healthcare
 

The needs of each group is specific and too large to generalize it under one-plan-fits-all approach. For example, an annual blood screening is enough for a typical college-age student; however, this is not the case for our seniors and at times, among the vulnerable and disable population. I will work to tackle healthcare one group at a time.

Mental Health
Psychiatric hospitalizations have increased in Orange County in the last five years. Anxiety and depression are the leading mental health diagnosis among teenagers. Typically, patients go through 5-6 psychiatric hospitalizations before they are stabilized. Finding the right medication is challenging and a journey in itself. With proper guidance and effective advocacy, mental health issues can be resolved; however, if left unchecked, it can add to homelessness and rise in crime.

Prescription Drugs and Pharmaceuticals
We must carefully assess and enforce effective prescribing procedures. Opioid addiction is an epidemic across the nation and Orange County is not an exception. Approximately, 130 people die in America daily due to opioid overdose. One answer to this is to hold doctors accountable in their prescribing practices. Another answer is to generate innovative methods to dispose unwanted medication, thereby, preventing unethical distribution of drugs. We must also work with the FBI to go after the criminal elements that are distributing prescription opioid drugs through the dark web and inside the US postal system.

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National Security

 

As much as I am passionate about Veterans, healthcare and our economy, we will not be able to talk about them if we overlook national security issues. Given that I know my way around the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. and Congress it should not come to you as a surprise that I am well versed in national security issues. Homegrown terrorism, international terrorism, manufactured global health crisis, nuclear weapons across the globe are problems that must be addressed. Issues in the Western Hemisphere, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Eastern-Europe are all the regions that affect Orange County directly and indirectly when it comes to implementing strategic domestic and foreign policy. My world and national experience make me a perfect fit to go to Washington, D.C. to work on these critical problems.

 
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Israel Policy

 

Prospect of a Nuclear Iran

Far and away the greatest issue of our time is the threat of Iran’s nuclear program which has been widely acknowledged to constitute an existential threat to Israel, and a grave threat to the United States and its allies. It is our moral obligation to meet this threat with courage and decisively vanquish it. My position is clear – no deal is better than a bad deal. Period.

 

Any deal with Iran must focus on essential, and nonnegotiable metrics – and then, and only then should we move forward. Those metrics must include the following:

  • a) Random, un-announced inspections of any location, at any time, without haste. Anything less would likely allow Iran to simply hide material or move it to another location. These inspectors must remain in place with no end date.
  • b) Iran must also come-clean; Iran must honestly detail its current and previous weaponization attempts. They must abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and comply with what has already been demanded of them.
  • c) Immediately dismantle nuclear infrastructure and ensure uranium is turned over to inspectors.
  • d) Rewarded only after compliance, not before or during. Period. Sanctions remain in place until 100% verification is achieved.
 

Iran’s nuclear program first came to light in 2002. Under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran had made a binding pledge never to pursue nuclear weapons capability. When it became clear Iran’s enrichment of uranium was intended for nuclear weapons, economic sanctions were imposed by the UN Security Council. Four times since 2006, the UN Security Council has ordered Iran to cease all uranium enrichment, and it has refused. While continuing enrichment activities, Iran has also pursued long range missile capabilities. Iran’s current missile designs are capable of reaching Israel and Europe, and its space program, which recently placed a monkey in orbit, is designed to develop ICBM capability for reaching America in less than a decade.

 

The former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made the Iranian government’s intentions explicitly clear when he threatened to use nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. Ahmadinejad’s threats were motivated by religious fanaticism shared by the ayatollahs who groomed and installed him in power. The ascent of a new president, Hassan Rouhani, in August of 2013 did nothing to change the intention of the power brokers in Iran’s government. Yet, America and the P5+1 group of nations offered Iran sanctions relief without demanding that it cease enrichment, resulting in recovery of Iranian currency in international markets, a 30% increase in Iranian oil exports, a doubling of Iran’s stock market, and a massive increase in international trade according to the organization United Against Nuclear Iran. The Obama/Kerry brokered deal was a huge mistake. It remains to be seen whether a deal can be reached with the current Trump Administration. Any agreement violating the steps outlined above is unacceptable, and I will loudly oppose it at all costs.

 

I will support Israel’s right to a preemptive strike at its discretion to cripple Iran’s program, and will support a blockade or declaration of war, if necessary, to prevent Iran from fulfilling its nuclear aims. It’s that important to the survival of Israel, and the rest of the Free World.

 

Hamas: A Terrorist Organization

Hamas has no intention of creating peace with Israel. Hamas is a known terrorist organization. I will work to ensure that Hamas remains on our national and international rosters of terror organizations. Each day that passes, Hamas continues to grow. They have adapted warfare techniques that shake at the very foundation of civilian life through tunnel building and kidnapping plans.

 

In the past several years, Hamas has been involved in major conflicts in the region. Between each, Hamas is permitted to re-supply and rebuild for its next battle – this is unacceptable. Because of my background in the military and with drug cartels in Mexico, I am all too familiar with techniques used to enter another nation. Hamas is no different – yet their tunnels are not built for human or drug smuggling, but rather to bring terror upon a civilian population. It is only a matter of time when Hamas strikes again, and when they do, America must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel providing all support necessary to one-day defeat Hamas and bring true peace and stability to the region.

 

Israel: The Jewish Homeland

Israel was established as the Jewish State and must remain the Jewish Homeland. Recognition of Israel’s Jewishness is not only recognition of the Jewish people’s historic attachment to the land and to its holy places, it is affirmation that the “right of return” to Israel applies only to the Jewish people. Any peace negotiations must include recognition of Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish Homeland.

 

Israel: A Nation Beloved in America

Polls consistently rank Israel among the most popular nations in America, yet these polls don't tell the whole story. Among Americans who do support Israel, their devotion is greater than to that of any other nation. I have seen the Star of David worn proudly in city council meetings by American veterans, and displayed in the front yards of community leaders. Many Americans who proclaim their support for Israel are not Jewish.

 

We in America are a constitutional republic that separates church and state, but this is done to preserve the right of citizens to aspire to the highest dictates of their conscience, and for many Americans, particularly Christians and Jews, their conscience leads them to support Israel as a Jewish state, both politically and charitably. As a Christian, I count myself among their number. While I aspire to help Israel in my private life, as a public representative I will work to secure the right of our citizens to contribute to Israel in any way that they can.

 

The moral case for the state of Israel is drawn from history, and should be comprehensible to any objective person capable of reason, regardless of background. During World War II, Nazi Germany committed the worst crime in human history by murdering over six million Jews. Western nations still have much to learn in light of their failure to prevent this crime, but one thing immediately grasped at the war’s end was that the civilized world could no longer turn a blind eye to the obstruction of Jewish national aspirations. Israel was born in 1948 despite the continued refusal of Arab and British leaders to recognize the civil rights of repatriating Jews. It was the demands of overwhelming justice that won the Jews the right to their sovereignty in Israel, and failure to fully recognize that sovereignty is a failure to embrace that justice.

 

Foreign Aid:

The United States must continue foreign aid to Israel. These funds are essential to the security of Israel and national security for both our nations, including overall stability in the Middle East. The U.S. has provided Israel with $151 billion in bilateral assistance. Today, the majority of this aid is in the form of military assistance, but there also has been significant economic assistance. I will work to continue to ensure that Israel receives this aid, and that it is done so in a speedy fashion that continues to allow for research and development in the U.S. for “military purchases from Israeli manufactures.”

 

Current funding levels include $3.3B, plus another $504M for research and development, to include anti-rocket systems in joint coordination with the U.S. I will ensure assistance to Israel remains a top priority. I will also be a vocal advocate of helping to educate the public and my fellow legislators on the importance of this military aid.

 

Israel: The Smallest of Nations, Forever Unsurpassed in Stature

The book of Deuteronomy states that Israel was not chosen for its size, because it was really the “smallest of nations.” Rather, it was chosen because of God’s love and fidelity. The insight of Moses that justice and love outweigh population is easily forgotten by the mighty nations of our era, thus the United States must remember this. In the interest of embracing a just relationship with the people of Israel, I subscribe to what I call “The Principle of Sovereign Equivalence:” Israel’s sovereignty is morally equivalent to that of the United States. Planning for an eternally free and sovereign Israel is the only option under this principle.

 

In America’s dealings with Israel, we must not pressure them to sign treaties or dictate how to manage Israeli territory. We must make clear to our partners within the framework of international security and economic organizations that we expect Israel’s sovereignty to be respected. Finally, although our two nations interact closely, we must vigilantly guard against the prospect of American economic, academic, political, or intelligence assets being used to inappropriately influence Israeli internal affairs.

 

The Principle of Sovereign Equivalence is intended to apply exclusively to Israel, and to safeguard the quality of our relationship as a superpower with that small nation to which we owe a tremendous moral obligation. It will be difficult to fulfill that moral obligation unless the Principle of Sovereign Equivalence is adopted on a bipartisan basis, and I intend to apply this principle as a cornerstone of my work as a representative.

 

Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel Forever

Jerusalem is the undivided and eternal capital of the nation of Israel. I was pleased to see President Trump finally made that happen on December 6, 2017. The United States started immediately accepting official Israeli correspondence originating from Jerusalem.

 

The Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement (BDS)

I strongly oppose the methods and goals of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, and in response to it I will work for an unfettered exchange of ideas and commerce between Israel, the United States and her allies. Israel’s vibrant, growth-oriented economy and superb institutions of higher learning are an inspiration to Americans. Our two nations must grow together, not apart. The BDS movement has no place in our institutions of higher learning, on Wall Street, on Main Street, or in our politics.

 

The BDS movement has swept through many institutions in the United States and Europe in the past years. It is the outgrowth of a ruthless Islamist nationalism that seeks to confiscate the territory of Israel through academic and economic warfare, while turning a blind eye to the persecution of Jews and Christians throughout the Middle East. Riddled with self-contradictory hypocrisy and hatred, this movement could never be taken seriously on its own merits, but it must be taken seriously because of the institutions it has influenced.

 

I will not remain silent when government officials overstep their bounds and threaten Israel in any manner, whether they are members of another party or my own. In Congress, I will also serve as a strong voice reminding our allies that such behavior does not comport with our vision of the future global economy.

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Israel and America: Oceans Apart, Standing on Common Ground

The Hebrew tradition is foundational to American culture. Our common understanding of universal human rights and a just rule of law are tenets that make our societies receptive to democratic institutions. As the Middle East’s most well-established democracy, Israel shares with America the common goal of democratizing the region through persuasion and support of forward-thinking initiatives. Coordination is essential if the glimmers of hope we witnessed in past uprisings are to be truly nurtured into regional transformation. Such glimmers will disappoint us if we do not dare to search for partners in the region who can be associates with Israel also, making close cooperation all the more important.

 

We must also recognize the sobering setbacks that have occurred in recent uprising in Arab states. Security cooperation and intelligence sharing will be ever more vital when the inevitable changes we expect destabilize powers in the region. Beyond our common regional interests in the Middle East, the United States must invite Israel to join it in exploring the frontiers of human knowledge and developing new potential from a deeper understanding of our world.

 

Studying nature can help us find rest from its forces, and also our enemies. Contributions from American Jewish scientists to American security, from the Cold War to counterterrorism, can’t be overstated. Silicon Valley itself owes much of its genesis to such contributions. Both nations would benefit if such breakthroughs in the future could be achieved by Israeli and American scientists working together. Increasing collaboration between business and academic ventures can be facilitated in the future. For these reasons I support and intend to sponsor additional future legislation which would declare Israel a major strategic partner that will enable greater cooperation in intelligence, security, defense, and energy policy. If possible, I will author an amendment to streamline security requirements for researchers in universities or affiliated national laboratories to collaborate with researchers in Israel.

 

My Role in Congress as it Relates to Israel

We live in dangerous times. ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabab, Hamas are on the move and growing. Russia advances in Europe. China ramps up its military capabilities and expands into the South China Sea. North Korea remains highly unstable. Iran has infiltrated the Iraqi government and continues to threaten Israel while covertly growing its nuclear potential.

 

When elected to Congress, I will use my real-life experiences to guide national defense and foreign affairs legislation. And because of my personal experience combating and studying terrorism, I believe I can convince other members of Congress who may initially feel differently on many issues addressed in this paper, to eventually agree with me, and our coalition of supporters because they trust my guidance, value my opinion and see that my intent is honorable. Peace does not preserve itself. America must lead.

 

Thank you to my friend Paul Chabot for your assistance in writing this policy paper.