To Make the Internet Great Again, Trump Must Smash Facebook and Its Tech Oligarch Friends

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Even as many Americans look with horror on the authoritarian blusterer in the White House, we are slowly succumbing to a more pernicious, less obvious and far more lasting tech oligarchy gaining ever more control over our economy, culture and politics.

“We are certainly looking at” bringing antitrust cases against Amazon, Facebook and Google,” Trump said in an interview just before the election, adding that he’s had “so many people” warning him about their overwhelming power.

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Here’s a Suggestion for a New Cabinet Post: Secretary of Initiatives

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

As governor-elect Gavin Newsom considers positions in his cabinet he might think about creating a new cabinet post and officer: Secretary of Initiatives. With the Democratic dominance in the capitol the initiative process may gain even more influence as a method to bring ideological balance to policy discussions.

Not only that, the voter registration superiority of Democratic voters will encourage liberal interests to go straight to the ballot with measures that might find treacherous shoals in navigating the legislative process because some Democrats will support business interests.

A governor wants to be on top of the actions and counter moves that initiative opponents are considering. A Secretary of Initiatives can be the eyes and ears for the governor.

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Statewide Polystyrene Ban Would Bring Unintended Consequences

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a senior fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

Supposedly civic-minded prohibitions on consumer conveniences always have unintended consequences. California’s single-use plastic bag ban, for instance, has led to a surge in E. coli infections, created a swarm of thicker plastics bags that are a greater environmental hazard than the outlawed single-use plastic bags, boosted shoplifting, and been the cause of countless broken eggs fumbled by shoppers trying to carry too many groceries in their arms.

The growing prohibitions on polystyrene, known to most by its brand name Styrofoam, will too yield unpleasant unintended consequences. The ban is not yet statewide, but legislative proponents will surely try again in 2019 to outlaw it in all of California after legislation failed in each of the last two years.

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Jerry Brown Creates a New Industry

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Jerry Brown has a mixed record when it comes to business policy. But he has definitely created a new industry all by himself.
It’s the Suck-Up-to-Jerry-Brown Retrospective.

That’s right. America’s media – and indeed, the international outlets as well – have been producing, at a rate of each least one a day, a piece looking back at Jerry Brown’s long career in California. These pieces are almost always positive.

And we haven’t really gotten to the deluge yet. He has another seven weeks before he leaves office.

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Renewables Aren’t Up to the Task

Ronald Stein is Founder of PTS Advance in Irvine. Todd Royal is an independent public policy consultant in Los Angeles focusing on the geopolitical implications of energy.

All 7.8 billion people on this planet want affordable, scalable, reliable electricity. And for countries like the United States, China, India, most of Africa and the European Union, the cheapest way to produce electrons is by burning coal.

Carbon dioxide emissions are rising because the world will need more energy in the decades ahead in order to raise the living standard for the 1.3 billion people living in energy poverty according to the International Energy Agency. This poverty is particularly acute in Africa; the above-mentioned nations and continents are using coal to escape this crippling poverty.

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California Tragedies

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

From a land named Paradise to a bucolic community called Thousand Oaks, California has been visited with unspeakable tragedy this past week. And the danger remains.

When California’s new assemblage of policy makers meets next month, they will try to make sense of the tragedies and find solutions with new laws. Sometimes well-intended laws don’t succeed.

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California Legislature is Turning Many Shades of Blue

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

The California Legislature, controlled by Democrats for decades, is likely to become even bluer when the new class is sworn in next month. Exactly how many more Democrats have been elected is still not certain; it takes a long time to count votes in California. But all signs point toward growing Democratic caucuses in both the Assembly and the Senate, and strong odds of a supermajority that sidelines Republicans to near irrelevancy.

That means the prevailing tension in the statehouse probably won’t be between Republicans and Democrats—but between different shades of blue. It could make for some counterintuitive outcomes, once the results are tallied, including a Legislature that skews more toward business on some fights.

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Probing the Dozy DMV: State Auditor, Not Department of Finance, Is Best for the Job

Lloyd Billingsley
Policy Fellow with the Independent Institute (Independent.org) based in Oakland, CA

Californians can wait for hours outside Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices, and once inside it only gets worse. As Patrick May notes in the Mercury News, the massive state agency, with a budget of more than $1 billion, “is unable to accept credit cards for payment.” DMV problems run much deeper, but a solution may be at hand.

As it recently emerged, DMV employees can sleep on the job for hours a day, over a period of years, and still keep their jobs. This type of sloth, coupled with inherent bureaucratic inefficiency, has led to a 60-percent jump in wait times. 

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The Battle is Over—Now for the War?

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 

The talk here amongst the natives in this balmy laid-back paradise—a favorite for sun-seeking worry-escaping Americans— is not of politics, but about the adequacy of today’s tuna catch and tomorrow’s weather.

A fresh supply of fish is the bigger concern. What Democrats and Republicans are plotting as we begin preparing for the 2020 elections is considered a private matter.

So long as the wall Donald Trump wants to build at the Mexican border doesn’t discourage tourists the mounting troubles for its querulous neighbor are of little moment.

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2020. Already?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

At the Capitol Weekly post-mortem on the 2018 election, discussion of the 2020 election broke out. Apparently, it’s never too early to talk about a coming election, especially one that concerns the presidency.

Paul Mitchell, the stats guru at Political Data, noted that it was only 14 months and 23 days until mail-in ballots for California’s March primary go out. 

Both a lifetime and a small window in political terms.

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