At Harris Bricken, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the world.

In Episode #48, we are joined by Tyler LeMasters, who is currently a candidate for the Spokane City Council. We discuss:

  • The motivations behind Tyler’s candidacy
  • How COVID-19 has impacted political campaigning
  • The impact on the Spokane area of the Great Reset and accompanying shift to telework
  • What is the proper role of government and the importance of letting communities make their own decisions
  • A former resident’s view of China and its relationship with the United States
  • Tyler’s experiences in Israel
  • Listening, and watching recommendations from:

To learn more about Tyler’s campaign you can visit the following pages or reach out directly via email.

We’ll see you next week when we sit down with Esko Cate for a conversation about Vietnam!

Fred Rocafort  0:07 

Global law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business hosted by Harris Bricken International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort.


Jonathan Bench  0:37 

And I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We cover the important, the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.


Fred Rocafort  1:02 

We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. Please connect with us on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests.


Jonathan Bench  1:21 

Today, we’re joined by Tyler LeMasters, Spokane City Council candidate in Washington State. Tyler, welcome to Global Law and Business.


Tyler LeMasters  1:29 

Thanks, Jonathan. It’s good to be here.


Jonathan Bench  1:31 

We’d love to find out first of all, a little more about you. Could you give us a brief introduction, of course, we’re gonna dig in a lot into the details because you’ve had quite an interesting career already. It looks like you’re doing some interesting things in Spokane. So please fill us in on on who you are and what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.


Tyler LeMasters  1:46 

Yeah, I mean, I think the gist is that I’m a Spokane city council candidate. It’s interesting, being summed up by that, but a lot of other things as well. Yeah, I grew up in the military, military kid, all over the all over the world, really, the south, west east, overseas and Japan and Mexico and Italy, and all kinds of places. I ended up being in Spokane, and just fell in love, I fell in love with a year followed with the people and the community. It’s a really beautiful city, it’s industrial, you know, we’re 20 minutes from being out of the city to the mountains of the woods and the lakes. But also we have a really thriving city center, which is great, you know, you can go good music scene, good food, good coffee, all those things is accessible. And so, you know, I just fell in love with it out here. Because as a military kid, you’re not born into a home, you you really, you choose your home. And so 15 years ago, I chose this home. And yeah, it’s given me a stake in the community, you know, it makes me feel a sense of ownership over over being part of this place.


Jonathan Bench  3:00 

So what kind of background and interest do you have? You know, what did you study in school? When you have spare time? And you’re you’re working on projects? What do you what do you tend to focus on?


Tyler LeMasters  3:09 

Well, you know, I think we connected because of mutual friend, Fred. And, you know, we connected because of our China history together, I do take a pretty strong interest in learning Mandarin. On my own time. I’m a student of history. I like to read a lot of history, specifically, specifically US history now, but it’s been Ancient Near Eastern history and Chinese history, economics, those kinds of things. And so, yeah, I just I love learning. You know, I love learning. It’s it’s been a lifelong thing. Not lifelong. But it’s been since a certain point in my life, I decided that, you know, I needed to continue to build myself. So other than that, just the things that everyone likes, friends, play dominoes, tennis, those kinds of things.


Jonathan Bench  3:59 

Great. So now you’re running for Spokane City Council. I’d like to hear a little bit more about what motivated you to run. And what are the most pressing things that the city is looking at right now.


Tyler LeMasters  4:09 

The thing of it is, is everything because of COVID is amplified. Every decision that city officials made is been amplified. It’s kind of this interesting phenomenon. But those decisions were made and I think the healthy economy before COVID was covering up a lot of mistakes, specifically in our city, or at least slowing some of those mistakes. But our housing market out here, were up $100,000 on average home price here in Spokane. That’s a lot for us because that average home price was $205,000. So that’s a huge jump. You know, I think if you’re in Seattle or LA or Portland, where home prices have already been fairly high to us, they may not sound like a lot, but I mean, that’s intense. And then also, we have a large homeless problem, which I think a lot of people are experiencing around the country. And as well, we were just punishing our small businesses just punishing them with every decision we make, or regulations and taxes and how they are their employees and all those kinds of things. And so, you know, all that brought, those three things brought me to this place where I was just tired of watching it, I couldn’t keep watching it waiting for, for someone to do something about it. And you know, people were nudging me towards it. And so I answered the call, and here I am in this city council race that I’m very passionate about. It’s very lucrative, I’m making so much money off of it. That’s been really great. And, yeah, you know, it’s just a life of service. And it’s not really a thankless job, right? No one really likes you after you do City Council. But it’s just a service that the city needs. So that’s kind of what got me into it.


Jonathan Bench  6:09 

And so do you feel like your your family’s military background helped instill that sense of service to you? I mean, I feel like other friends of mine who are in similar situations tend to think, you know, very much in terms of their duty and, and what is best for group of people they’re serving, and, and much less so about, about their own interests.


Tyler LeMasters  6:30 

Yeah, I think that’s, that’s exactly. And I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently, on how not just iraq react to myself, and my own expectations for life, but also other elected officials. You know, when you grow up in an environment where everyone around you is, is serving, and it really, it really is service, you know, it’s not just putting yourself in harm’s way. But it’s also the sacrifices that your family makes, you know, making new friends every two, three years. Having new church, having new schools, having new everything is new every two, three years. And so, you know, growing up around that, it creates a standard, not only my dad who just served 33 years in the Air Force, or just retired last week as a colonel, but also my uncle who served in Korea, he was shot 12 times, put on a dead pile and was actually saved. My grandfather, who was in the Air Force, my aunt who’s in the Air Force, my cousin who’s in the army, my other cousin, who’s a tank commander, so you know, it’s just I grew up around it. And so when I look at some of these people who are in office here, I expect a very high level of service as a very as the minimum, not even policies or economics, those things aside, I expect you to start with the level of service. And, you know, politics tends to draw people who have a level of ego, you know, there’s a lot of ego in politics. And I just have an adverse reaction to that. And I think it makes it impossible to serve the city, I think it makes it impossible to make good decisions, to do what’s best for what we’re talking about housing, homelessness, small business, it just makes it impossible to do that, if you don’t have a level of conviction to be of service to the community,


Jonathan Bench  8:33 

It makes quite a bit of sense. And it resonates with me as well. I think a lot of us after living through 2020 everything that went on in the US especially and I’m sure other countries that were watching the US tear itself apart. I felt like it is very hard for people who are in politics to, you know, to divorce their ego from from the issues, especially where the higher you get, the more power you have. It’s it’s one reason why I’ve been turned off of politics, but talking to people like you gives me more, you know, more hope, even just for for the next election cycle, that as we have new generation of leaders step in who, who see the vitriol on both sides, and really want to step in and say let’s get issues done. Okay, let’s, let’s put egos at the door. Even even the thoughts of re election at the door and figure out what’s going to be best for the next for the next two 510 20 years.


Tyler LeMasters  9:28 

Yeah, that’s a big thing, too. Jonathan, it’s, you know, you get into office and I’m no saint. So I feel myself battling some of these things. But I’m aware of it, you know, I’m aware of, oh, wow, look, there’s a little ego there, you know, or, wow, that felt good, you know, doing that interview and getting that attention. You know, those things are real, it’s just human nature, but, you know, you have to be aware of it and try to move forward. I think that what you said about, you know, the reason election thing is like, wow, I just worked so hard to get elected, we’re going to knock on 15,000 doors this year. So I’m going to be knocking on 15,000, I’ll probably knock on about 12, myself, and then I’ll have volunteers knock on the rest. That is a lot of walking. And that’s a lot of talking to strangers, right. And I don’t get paid for that. And so there will be something in the back of my mind, if we win this election when we win this election, that will say, you really do need to get reelected though. So maybe don’t say that, or maybe, you know, take a beat on this issue, because it’s not going to play well. But that’s not what we’re doing. Right? That’s not what we’re doing. We are here to serve. And people will decide whether or not they want you to continue to serve based off of what you do. And so that’s going to be our standard. And we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens.


Fred Rocafort  10:58 

So Tyler running in the midst of a pandemic must, at least in some way, impact away that that you carry on, I’d like to know, how is COVID-19 impacting the way that you reach out to potential voters? You just mentioned the knocking on doors, right? I mean, I’m sure that even at a very practical level right there, there must be precautions that that you have to take, I’m assuming that there will be people that will be skeptical or wary of opening doors to strangers. But I’m sure that there’s going to be other other implications as well. Can you tell us about that?


Tyler LeMasters  11:36 

Yeah, that’s definitely a factor running with COVID restrictions and regulations, is going to change the way that we campaign, definitely. Mostly in bigger events, right? Normally, you could plan a big party and have a bunch of people show up and reach a large amount of people all at once. But I am not going to actually say that too much has changed. It’s 2021. So we have technology that’s big. I can reach people in their homes through marketing and targeting and those kinds of things. And I’m young, so I know how to do those things. I’ve done it before with my podcasts that Fred helped me with a couple times. Yeah, about China. You know, we did targeted marketing and that kind of thing. And then as far as door knocking, which is a big part of our campaign, it’s pretty easy to follow the guidelines and be safe, but not on 1000 doors so far. And you know, you just knock on the door usually takes people 1015 seconds to get to the door. So you just take a couple steps back, you messed up, you know, and you know, there’s no physical contact. And that’s that it’s that easy to, you know, keep from spreading COVID But yeah, you know, I think it’s a good example of just a challenge. And I think it’s very appropriate that we’re facing campaign challenges in a year where we’re going to need someone who can really, economically face down some of the challenges that we’re seeing in Spokane. I think it’s a good litmus test, to see who’s able to adapt, and who’s able to win in this kind of environment.


Jonathan Bench  13:25 

So, Tyler, you mentioned that housing prices in Spokane have spiked recently, I assume it’s due to the mass exodus that’s occurring in a lot of places, a lot of big Metropolitan centers, where people are looking to get more rural, but maybe not extremely rural. So I’m curious what’s going on in eastern Washington as a whole, you know, what are you hearing? What are you seeing? And not just the challenges, but what what kind of opportunities are happening for businesses and individuals? And is that is that a function of what remote work has been doing to a lot of people who can work remotely?


Tyler LeMasters  13:57 

I think you’re right, people are moving to Spokane, from Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Those are our main cities that are feeding into us. And last year, we got 10,000 people. I think the year beforehand, we got 10,000 people, and the figures aren’t out on this year, but we know it’s going to be higher, right? The population of Spokane is about 250,000 people, the greater populations may be around three. But we can’t blame. We can’t blame our housing prices on this because this has been happening. This has been happening. People have been moving from the cities to Spokane for a long time now, I did real estate for about four or five years here in town. And, you know, we were warning the City Council and the mayor and the zoning Commission’s saying, Listen, we have a housing shortage. We need to meet the demand, the demand is going to continue to rise. And so please loosen zoning. We’re directions, and specifically what that means. And what we were asking for was loosened zoning restrictions in the downtown area, the areas just surrounding downtown, create more opportunities or multi multi use zoning, for residential, commercial, industrial, all those things combined new condos housing at every price point from entry level homes to luxury homes. You know, this is what we we wanted more dense populated downtown area. They refused, the City Council has has tightened zoning restrictions. Since then, they have essentially stopped all development in the city of Spokane. And they’ve offered it to our surrounding communities Spokane Valley, what we call the West Plains, which is just outside of Spokane, they’ve picked up the slack and trying to meet the demand. But it just goes to a bigger question that we’re seeing in not just Spokane, but cities around the US, which is what is the role of the government? What is the role of the government? Is it to control things? Or is it to get out of the way and allow people the free market to take its course. The government doesn’t trust us anymore. That’s just all there is to it. The government does not trust people to make decisions. It doesn’t trust developers. It doesn’t trust renters. It doesn’t trust homebuyers. They want to you know, stop people from moving in the cities. And you know what, you can’t do that people move where they want to move. They want to live where they want to live, I think, you know, we got Fred on here, me and Fred are somewhat China hands. And when I lived in China, I recognized a similar policy where the government controls where people live and what see they go to pay, you know, because they know what’s best. And we just feel like that’s that is just in its nature. It’s really unAmerican. And it’s, it goes against everything that the country was supposed to be. It’s bigger than COVID. And it’s bigger than migration. It’s his policy.


Fred Rocafort  17:14 

It’s interesting. You mentioned this just the other day, maybe yesterday, I was reading an article in a newspaper here in Florida, we’re where I’ve been during the past few months, talking about a very similar issue in this particular issue involved cruise ships. And I believe it was in Key West that the people of Key West essentially voted for some curbs on on cruise ships, they they were concerned about the very high number of tourists that were coming in, they wanted that, you know, they they want tourism, but they wanted in a more in a more managed fashion. And and this article talks about how at the state level there were there were people pushing back lobbyists, special interest, and the person writing the the article essentially said this, this whole something very similar to what you just said, this all boils down to people elsewhere, telling the people off keywest you don’t know what’s good for you, you don’t know, what’s what’s really what’s really in your best interest. And so I take a look at what’s happening here. And you know, most of our interviews were intro, we’re interviewing people who are living in other countries, right? So it’s not very often that we get to have some introspection about what’s happening in the US. But as I look around, I think that it is essential, in fact, for us to start moving in that direction of letting people handle their own affairs, let every community figure out what’s what’s best for them. Because, frankly, we’re not going to be able to find common ground, at a national level, even at a state level, our nation, our states are just too diverse. And not only that, who is better placed to know, what is best for their community than the people who actually live there than the people who actually know it. So so this is a very, very interesting point that I’m glad you made it.


Tyler LeMasters  19:07 

I think you touched on it. And there, there are multiple reasons why people are better at making decisions in their own personal lives and in their communities. You know, you could just focus on one reason, but there are so many reasons. One, what you’re you’re pointing to is just the creativity that people have in the knowledge of their, their communities. And so who better to make the decisions than us about what’s best for our community? Right? If we want our community to grow and to welcome in people from other city, then let’s do it or not? Well, we can we can decide on our own. But also, I think another reason why we’re so much better than the government is your government is just in its nature. It’s slow. It’s a machine. It gets tied up in bureaucracy and rules and all this stuff. This is illustrates this perfectly. I went to The city hall the other day, to get my fingerprints done. And I’m filling out the form I get all the way through, it takes me 10 minutes to fill out this form. And they go, Okay, great, you filled out the form. Now what time we’d like to schedule our next date. It’s in September, I go September, what, I need this tomorrow, you know, I can’t wait till September to get my fingerprints done. They were just booked up, because they didn’t have enough man hours, they only working three days a week, they take an hour lunch every day. You know, they are using for other services underfunded so many reasons. I said fine. Whatever. I help online, I book a fingerprinting session on a private private entity, I’ve got a scheduled for next morning at 805. I walk in, I fingerprint, a walkout. That’s it. That’s the difference between the private sector and government, government will always be inefficient. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in office or someone else’s in office. But the key is to minimize the areas that we go to them for health and maximize the areas that we go to our community and ourselves for help. Because we’re just better, we’re better at it.


Fred Rocafort  21:14 

Well, don’t get me started on on government and speed, both as a as a former bureaucrat, but also as a as a consumer of government services, but also in the course of my own representation of clients. Right, it can be extremely frustrating to see this absolute mismatch, if you will, between the speed at which business needs to operate, and the speed at which government agencies operate to just to give you one example, and you know, the the government agency in question will, will remain on named but there is, you know, this is this isn’t the regulations. I mean, this is not some sort of practice that has been that has developed over time, this is what the law provides, you know, there’s a certain government agency with which we deal on a regular basis, they have two years by law, to respond to petitions. Two years, I mean, that that’s a that’s the kind of timeframe that in our own lives, we think of as you know, that you can get a degree in two years, right, you can, you know, you can you can go from from not having a child to having a toddler in two years, yet, businesses are expected to wait two years for, for decisions that are, quite frankly, if you had the proper resources, you could crank these things out in a couple of weeks. I mean, it’s it’s not something that inherently should, should take that long. And, and, and I experienced this directly when I was working in the government myself, there’s a, a certain refusal to, to stop and understand the the real world impact that that this kind of attitude has, I mean, there are things that if you’re looking at it from a bureaucratic lens, it might make a lot of sense. But there are people out there that are trying to get on with their lives, right, that really can’t afford to wait, again, my wife is currently applying for her green card. And that’s another nightmare. And you know, I don’t mean for this to turn into a whining session about the government. But the reality is, I mean, in all seriousness, this has an economic impact. This drains productivity, and this is a real issue. Right. And I think that until you’ve experienced that until you’ve been on the receiving end of the the crippling effect that such and such lack of speed, unless you’ve been on the receiving end, it’s just impossible to appreciate how much of a real issue it is beyond the simple inconvenience.


Tyler LeMasters  23:58 

That’s a big part of our campaign is we’re trying to educate people on how to think about the government. You know, we think that the government is unanimously thought of the same way by everybody. Doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. You know, you ask people. Do you think the government is good at this? Do you think the government is good at solving problems? Do you think the government is good at helping people? It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle they’re on? People don’t trust the government. But there’s a breakdown somewhere there where a large portion of the population still takes that knowledge and then wants to trust the government. And yeah, it’s just the wrong move. It’s just the wrong move. Economically, it just never works. And we just think it’s important to to decrease the size of the garden. I think a lot of people would run and try to think convince people that they can make the government more efficient. That’s just not how things work. It’s not designed to be that way. You know, like I said earlier, I’m I was student of history. And the way that these governments were designed was to be slow. It was intentional, is intentionally designed to be slow, because they did not want, especially the founding fathers, they didn’t want the government to be able to enact massive amounts of change quickly. They were not found a big amounts of change. So they tried to make sure that that was going to happen. And it’s been successful, I worked in the House of Representatives, and man, nothing gets done there. So, you know, it’s, it’s interesting look behind the glass.


Fred Rocafort  25:48 

So pivoting in a in a different direction, we’ve already had some mentions of China, in during the interview. And you already mentioned the podcast as well, that had a strong focus on, on on China. So let’s talk about your experiences living in China. This is this is a shared experience between you and Jonathan and me. So so it’s always good to to compare notes. But of course, we’d like to go a little bit a little bit further, and explore how you see the the US China relationship developing, obviously, most of the action takes place at the federal level, but I’m a strong believer in in this sort of unitary theory of foreign relations, right, where there’s a place for for state and local governments to play a part as well. And and then you if you’re looking at the at the big picture, that’s that’s part of it, too, right. So it’s not, it’s not as if we can say, well, that’s only the feds responsibility. So please, whatever, what are your thoughts about your experience in China, and about where the US China relationship is heading?


Tyler LeMasters  26:58 

I have made it my goal to separate myself from it’s unrealistic for me to want to separate myself from that just because I’ve been so involved in China, Chinese society, culture and politics. So yeah, you know, I, I personally liked the direction that our relationships with China were going. I think, first off, I love Chinese people. I think that they’re great people just like everywhere, you’ll find good people. And we found a lot of hospitality and kindness in China, we made lots of friends, their friends that we love and stay up with and care about. But again, their government is, is a dumpster fire. They are in stark contrast to, to what we believe in our values in America. And I think the last administration, you know, regardless of how people feel about them, or their false, their China policy was consistent. And one, one aspect I like was their focus on the leaders and the Human Rights there. And Hong Kong and the human rights for the people in Hong Kong, you know, I think turning a blind eye to those things is bigger than just turning a blind eye to something that’s happening in another country. Because we’re so intertwined, US and China in the United States and China, we really need to use our influence to to encourage a better world there, at least human rights at the very least human rights, right. I can’t say that I’m hopeful for the relationship. Just because we’ve had so many presidents who have gotten it wrong thus far. Going back to, you know, I would say going back to Clinton, when we let them into the the trade organization, you know, it goes Clinton, Bush, Obama, all these presidents, they were trying to walk all over these guys in different ways to it’s almost it’s a very interesting case study if you get into it, but try and treat each of them differently. And the Presidents treat each other differently in each time kind of one. It wasn’t until this last administration that that we saw some, I think positive change in intellectual property rights, human rights in rallying other world leaders to pressure China to you know, abide by some type of rules. So we’ll see what happens. I don’t want to judge before before we get any results from, you know, the Biden administration, and I’m praying for them and I hope that they can be firm with China and set some real standards, but we’ll see the jury’s out.


Jonathan Bench  29:55 

I think we could talk about China for a long time but for a night, talk about Try it out quite a bit, I think that you hit on some really great points about, you know, certainly about the people about the relationships we built over there. And, you know, each different times different places, but consistent across the board, right. And I think, you know, the Xi Jinping rule is, is starting to look pretty absolute. So, it will be very interesting to see how the Biden administration can can deal with with that, and, and, you know, like you said, China is not Russia, it’s a lot easier for us to ignore Russia and stick them in a box, deal with their their tantrums once in a while, and Putin’s tantrums once in a while, or assassination attempts, and then it is, with China’s, you know, very broad statecraft and they’ve got certainly a lot more resources in terms of people and money to throw after, you know, their their 100 year marathon against, you know, against the US.


Tyler LeMasters  30:54 

Yeah, you know, I, we could talk about China forever. But if I could just bring it back to Spokane, you know, in the US, China to me, and I’m, I might be alone on this, I don’t hear very people say this. But to me, China is much more similar to the US than almost any other country. It’s much more similar, especially than Sweden or Denmark that we get compared to a lot when we talk about the pros and cons of socialism and capitalism and democracy. And, and, yeah, we’re much more similar to China. Because we have the technology, we have the influence, population, size, land, all those things. And so where I do want to bring China into the conversation in the next eight, nine months, is just showing people Hey, this is this is the direction that we’re going if we continue to give the government control over every aspect of our lives, if we continue to rely on the government to, you know, close the wealth gap, if we continue to rely on the government to make decisions for our housing, or our homeless for our small business. This is this is what it will look like. And the reality is, is that in China, there isn’t some type of utopia going on. I know, we see a lot of positive stories about infrastructure, and those things, those things are good. There’s good aspects of the infrastructure and some some good aspects of city planning and those kinds of things. But when it comes to quality of life, man, I don’t think people realize what it really means to live in a country like that. I don’t know if people fully realize, you know, what it is to live in a building that looks like you live in the projects, and not to be upper class living, the grass is always greener. And I think just a lot of Americans, a lot people in Spokane, in general, a lot of them haven’t been able to go to these countries where life is very different. And so they think that everything’s just rosy for some reason. And it’s just not the case.


Jonathan Bench  33:11 

So on your CV, it looks like you had some really interesting experiences or all around the world. We’d love to hear about what you did in Israel. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?


Tyler LeMasters  33:23 

You know, what’s funny about that is now that people are starting to get to know me more they want to they want to put me into one or two categories. And that’d be my narrative. And then they start looking in and they say, Oh, my gosh, you’re all over the place. And it’s true. I’m all over the place. Yeah, Israel was. Israel was great. I was in Israel, studying Hebrew. I used to want to be a pastoral ministry. And so I actually was a Biblical Studies major. I started my MD program at fuller Theological Seminary. And yeah, I learned biblical Hebrew. I actually got to translate original dead sea scrolls. No one had seen them before. They were hiding in someone’s bank vaults. And they’ve been hiding since the 40s. Right? And so maybe the 60s I’m Rusty now 40s, the 40s. And so they were they were hiding in the bank vault and no one knows what to do with them because they didn’t trust people. So finally, they brought them out and brought them onto the market and we picked them up and we didn’t know whether they were cooking instructions or original manuscripts of the Bible, and it turned out to be original manuscripts of the Bible, that we were able to translate in dates and do all the things but yeah, you know, Israel is a really great experience. It’s a beautiful country. The people are fantastic. You know, Israelis are a little rude, which Love, you know, it’s almost like being in New York. And, yeah, love it. So it’s good. It’s really interesting,


Jonathan Bench  35:07 

I tend to think that religion has a place, you know, in a lot of our lives. And when you’re running for political office, it tends to be, you know, a very sensitive divisive topic, you know, no matter what religion, which side of the aisle you’re on, right? And so, I’m of the mind that, you know, if you’re a religious person, you you say it, right. And it’s okay to say that, and if you’re not you say it, and it’s okay to say that as well. But anyway, fascinating background on, on what you were doing in Israel.


Tyler LeMasters  35:35 

I’m getting that vibe from a lot of people, I don’t understand why a lot of people do feel like, it’s a sensitive thing. For me, it’s really not, I’m a Christian. And, you know, it’s where I get my values, and it’s what makes me a better husband, and, you know, helps me respond to people with compassion. And, you know, we talked about service, that’s where I, you know, get called to service. And so, you know, for me, all this other stuff can fall away. Faith is number one, for me, it’s good to have something to believe in, you know, it’s good to have something guiding you.


Jonathan Bench  36:09 

I think that those who aren’t particularly religious, have their own moral code. And if they can articulate it, that’s great. And I think people who are religious tend to be able to use their religion as a as a shortcut to their moral code. And I don’t, you know, I certainly don’t see anything wrong with that wrong with anybody saying this is, you know, if you want to know what I believe, here’s Here it is. It’s encoded, you know, in this kind of language. And, you know, I think at the end of the day, it’s it’s important for people to understand, you know, where you stand on on a lot of things, right. Do you think that, that people are important? Do you think that it’s important to take care of everyone? Or do you think that there’s certain groups of people that are better than others? Right, I mean, that’s, it’s part should be part of the discussion early on. So you can frame your your conversation with other people and understand where they’re coming from, not from a place of judgment, just from a place of pure, basic understanding about how their brains work.


Tyler LeMasters  36:57 

Right. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a good framework to help people understand, you know, where I come from,


Fred Rocafort  37:04 

This alone would probably be worth a separate podcast. But you both bring up excellent points. And taking this a step further. I think that this idea of codes and how your religious beliefs can really play a critical role. And in setting those codes. In my own case, I went to Catholic school, basically, my whole life went to a Catholic law school as well. And one thing that I see with with many of my classmates is that even though in some cases, the sort of let’s say, theological connection to the code might sort of dissolve over time or weaken. In some cases, the code itself remains a very strong influence on one’s own life. And I think that there’s, in some cases, and I think this is something that perhaps we don’t contemplate, as often as we do the the fact that you can, of course, believe in certain ideas and adopt certain codes of behavior, because you think that there’s a divine component to it. But often, the rules are valuable, even if you extract them from that, right. So I think that I think sometimes people don’t quite see this and they might get a little bit mixed up as to what it means to follow these these tenets. Right. So I think it’s important to understand that there’s that dimension as well. And in fact, so much of our law, especially when it comes to to criminal matters, when it comes to individual rights. So much of it has a foundation in in the same principles, right? We’re gonna have to prepare particularly well for that one, Jonathan, but I think it’s, it would definitely be a good idea to have an episode where where we talk about these these issues, talk about ethical and moral codes.


Jonathan Bench  38:46 

Yeah, I think it’d be interesting. We could have a roundtable even two or three different religions represented, that would be that’d be very interesting, you know, maybe, you know, totally agnostic, and then a couple of different religious viewpoints would be it’d be a pretty cool discussion, I think.


Fred Rocafort  38:57 

So we’re gonna sign you up Tyler for that one. Tyler, before we let you go, we’d like to ask for any recommendations you might have for for our listeners.


Tyler LeMasters  39:06 

Yeah, I just finished Road to Serfdom by Hayek. It’s very relevant. It’s it’s awkwardly relevant for today. And so it deserves a reread. For those who are listening.


Fred Rocafort  39:18 

Thank you for that. I think it’s sometimes easy to take certain readings for granted, in the sense that we feel well, obviously, people will have read that or they’ll be familiar with that. Let’s just recommend something that maybe they haven’t picked up on. But I think it’s that’s not always the case. I think it’s important sometimes to to remind people of these fundamental readings that that they should be doing so. So so thank you for that.


Jonathan Bench  39:46 

So my recommendation this week is an article that appeared in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, The Remi Wang, they have an online version in English through their shihuang net, and so on. Make sure we drop the link for you in our blog post about this episode. But the focus is on Xi Jinping leading the fight against poverty. That’s the title of this article. And the subtitle to that is no letting up until a complete victory is secured. And so this, this article is interesting, because it really focuses on not the Communist Party, but on Xi Jinping himself, of being the Crusader against absolute abject poverty, right, alleviating abject poverty in China. And so it said that he started, you know, started that eight years ago. And now that he he not the Communist Party, and not the Chinese government, not the Chinese people, right. And he personally has acted to eradicate extreme poverty for the 100 million rural people who were affected. And so I mean, there’s some other credit as well given given to the people in the rural communities, right. But the interesting thing that is that she is the focus of this, right, it’s not the Communist Party. It is it is she himself, and this is, along with the trend that we’ve seen recently, in that, you know, she did away with his term limits, so he could remain in power for the rest of his life. And then the rhetoric that’s coming out of out of the Communist Party, is to continue to elevate him. I like this article, because it’s very clear that she is not going away. And that he is purposely taking the credit. I mean, you know, he, he’s the head of the Communist Party. So certainly, he gets to dictate what’s on the front page of the Communist Party newspaper. So it’s interesting, you know, alongside the eradication of poverty, which certainly is a very worthwhile thing to work toward, and congratulations to China for for doing this through, through force of will force of Might and otherwise, because it can only be good, although there’s always a lot of backstory to it. And we won’t get into it any more today. But I think it is interesting to see you know it with the quick US election cycle and other US other election cycles around the world. What China’s doing with this consolidation of power, and, you know, she is probably still got another 20 years to live, I would think if he if he takes care of himself. Fred, what do you have for us today?


Fred Rocafort  42:03 

My own recommendation this week is an article that came out, I guess, three years ago, January 25 2018, in huffpost, most specifically in Highline, which I believe is one of their sub publications. This was written by Kent Russell. Every once in a while, I’ll go back and read this article, because it’s just so good. And in fact, last night, I went a step further and actually looked at some of Russell’s other writings and actually ordered one of his books online. It talks about a walking tour that he did across the state of Florida. So I’m looking forward to that. But the disaster terrorist, it’s number one very well written. I mean, the guy just has real real talent for writing. But the topic itself is as fascinating he picks up after the death of Otto warmbier, the American student who who died after he came back from from North Korea, after having been accused by the North Korean authorities of having stolen a propaganda poster or something like that. And Russell basically decided to look into the company that organized the tour, and found that they’re one of the most infamous exemplars of this brand of tourism that we could call the sastra. Tourism or there’s other there’s other names for it. So he decided to sign up for one of their tours in the Caucasus, so he went to Chechnya, and South SETI are one of these places, and but it’s really well done really humorous, not just some of the stories that he tells even some of the very language that he used, just stuck with me, you know, and three years later, it’s still with me, he does such a great job of it. So if you’re looking for a relatively light yet stimulating read, definitely the sastra tourist will fit the bill. And with that, Tyler, I’d like to thank you once more for coming on the podcast. It was a real pleasure.


Tyler LeMasters  44:03 

Yeah, definitely. And just so people know how to find me, they can go to Tyler Steve LeMasters on Facebook. If they want to follow the campaign.


Fred Rocafort  44:11 

Excellent. Well, good luck with that as well. Good luck with the elections.


Jonathan Bench  44:17 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. We look forward to connecting with you on social media to continue discussing developments in global law and business. This podcast was produced by Harris Bricken with executive producer Madeline Williams music composed by Stephen Schmid. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.


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