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Stay in your lanes



An old joke about the Irish goes like this. The Irish once tried to convert to right-side driving, but it didn’t work. They wanted to ease into it, so they drove on the right every Thursday, but only for trucks.

A lot can be said for staying in your lane.

Jonah Goldberg made this point vividly clear last Friday in his normally meandering (but particularly covfefe) “news”letter.

Still, even as a generalist, there are some topics that aren’t a natural fit for me. I rarely write about sports. I can’t remember the last time I weighed-in on relations between Peru and Singapore or why I might spare One Direction’s lives if I were czar. I don’t review video games, miniature-horse rodeos, or Canadian pornography. But I will confess that, if I wanted to, I could. And, if someone out there wants to pay me to share my musings I will be happy to discuss terms. 

Money is fungible—it is mutually interchangeable for any purpose in any viable denomination. If you want to pay someone to wash your car, or fix your roof, or to sit on your porch and do nothing, nobody will stop you.

Yet not all activities, goods, services, or purposes for which money can be exchanged are fungible. Life works best when people stay in their lanes.

Government and society in America was purposely, thoughtfully, and creatively constructed with lanes. We have three co-equal but separate branches of government. We have a free press. We have a basic law preventing government from intruding into religion or spiritual questions.

We have a right, as individuals, to assemble, present our grievances to government, and to vote for representation in that government.

In America, we even have rights that, if they were legal in driving, would result in chaos, injury or death. We have the right to get out of our lanes.

Our government is badly out of its lanes. We have given the judiciary power to drive against traffic in the executive and legislative lanes. We have given the executive power to bulldoze practically every lane, and we have created traffic jams in the legislative lanes to the point of complete stoppage.

Worse, we’ve given government power over our personal lanes, and allowed personal lanes to intrude into proper governance.

When late-night comedians and talk show hosts influence political opinion more than professional news organizations, they are out of their lane. When news organizations—the First Amendment-protected press—take partisan positions at the expense of truth, they are out of their lane. When politicians play for pay with lobbyists as a rule, to keep themselves elected, they are way out of their lane.

When the President of the United States slams the mayor of a foreign capital for his reaction to an attack on his own city, he’s out of his lane. When a former president acted to try to influence a foreign election because he personally hated its prime minister, he was way out of his lane.

When illegal aliens stand up in the Texas legislature and proudly admit they are here and not leaving, and legislators nearly come to physical blows to protect them from being potentially deported, they are out of their lane. When American servicemen are murdered on U.S. soil (on Army bases and in recruiting centers) by men shouting “God is great!” in Arabic, and the sitting president wouldn’t acknowledge the attackers’ motivation, we’re out of our lanes.

When Americans have to take sides over Russia’s proven and documented efforts to improperly influence our elections using propaganda, lies, and cyber-warfare, we are out of our lanes.

When “nuclear family” has become a forbidden phrase, and “gender roles” are a matter of making statements against biological facts, our society has totally abandoned lanes.

This country was planned and can only be maintained if, in general, people stay in their lanes. The federal government should be small and unobtrusive. State governments should have the power to regulate activities of citizens, not because we derive our rights from the government, but because our rights are innate and must be protected.

Other countries should stay in their lanes and manage their own affairs. When there is conflict or war, we should use our power with purpose and determination.

It has never been America’s purpose to spread “Americanism” around the world, or to defend the whole world from others who wish to spread their own –isms. That’s not to say we are isolationists—we have real friends, allies and national interests to protect. But we should stay in our lane as a nation.

Countries ruled by dictators have no lanes—the dictator speaks and all other voices are equal in their irrelevance. Countries like the U.K. with all-powerful parliaments have fewer lanes than America. America has political, governmental, and social lanes which were created to allow a pluralistic, immigrant society to exist in relative harmony without destroying itself.

Lanes are the “how to” behind our national motto “e pluribus unum”—from many, one. But we’ve all moved out of our lanes, into everyone else’s, which is why we see so much chaos, violence, and hate today.

It’s possible for us to return to our lanes, little by little. We have to start with a return to a federal republican form of government (small “r”). If we remove the enormous power of the administrative state, restore the proper venue and jurisdictions of the federal courts, and re-empower states to govern their constituents, we will then see how much better things function.

When we, beginning with our government, return to our natural lanes, and recognize that not everything is fungible, we will be a happier and more prosperous nation. That was the way the founders designed it.

Managing Editor of NOQ Report. Serial entrepreneur. Faith, family, federal republic. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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  1. Doug Olson

    June 7, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Outstanding. Underlying all lanes are the concepts of “respect” and restraint. If you do not respect others, it is far too easy to stray over to other lanes. If you do not practice restraint, you will soon be out of your league. Pay attention Swamp… get out of my lane!

  2. Suni Leinart

    June 8, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Great article, G!! ?

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Guns and Crime

My city is conducting covert taxation by shaking us down. I bet yours is too!



Most of us remember the Disney cartoon movie when we were kids, Robin Hood. Various animals played the characters. The movie opens with the Sheriff of Nottingham bullying the poor into giving him what little money they have as “taxes.” He even took from the old and infirm. This was done to show that he clearly was a bad guy. We wouldn’t imagine that this would happen with our modern police today, right?


As I wrote about a couple of months ago when illustrating how judicial tyranny could affect all of us, whether it be in big ways or small ways, back on November 10th I received a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. I was not driving too fast, swerving, texting while driving, or anything else that could possibly endanger any other person. I was simply going home for lunch from work. It’s a 3 minute drive. This cop was hiding under the overpass and decided to pull me over, because in a large city that is a conduit for drug and human trafficking, this is where the San Antonio Police Department’s resources are best spent, apparently.

Now, a little background. The SAPD’s Chief, William McManus, is currently under investigation for having let more than a dozen people being trafficked go without so much as identifying them. The driver of the truck carrying them was arrested and charged, but his human cargo was just released into the winds. This is the man running the department that decided that my not wearing a seatbelt was worthy of a day’s pay in a tax.

Of course, that was just an excuse. Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t wear their seatbelts. I in fact DO wear my seatbelt 99.9% of the time. I didn’t have it on at this particular moment because I’d taken it off to reach down for some water. I suffer from migraine headaches and had a bad one on this particular day. I was on my way home for my lunch hour just to get a few minutes of peace and quiet. This police officer decided to ruin my day and didn’t even bother to ask the circumstances.

Now, without a doubt, many of you reading are saying “well, you should have worn your seatbelt!” Fine. But how many of you saying that are fine with motorcyclist riding without helmets. Or bicycles without helmets. Or having an abortion? Yes, I went there. After all, it’s MY BODY isn’t it? I should be able to decide what I want to do with MY BODY, shouldn’t I? I promise you the government lawyers I had to deal with felt that way. And yet, they had no problem telling me what to do with MY BODY when it came to wearing a seatbelt.

I could have paid the ticket and moved on with my life. And if I’d been speeding, or if I’d had my KIDS in the truck without seatbelts I would have (would never have happened) I would have paid the ticket and moved on. But this felt too much like the Sheriff of Nottingham shaking me down for money. I showed up for court and asked for a jury trial. The government lawyer sneered arrogantly at me. I was undeterred. I was assigned a court date nearly 2 MONTHS later. I showed up for that date only to have the prosecutor ask for a continuance because the police officer was “in training.”

And this is where the scam becomes obvious. I argued to the judge that this shouldn’t be allowed, that the police department and the prosecutor’s office could have coordinated and informed me this was going to happen so I didn’t have to take a day off work. I was told “that’s not how it works.” So the trial was reset for 5 March.

A few weeks later I got a notification in the mail that the trial date had been reset AGAIN for 19 March. Wait, huh? I thought that’s not how it worked?

I did some research and looked at the San Antonio City Budget. The last one available was from 2016. It showed the city planned to make approximately $12.2M in fines and forfeitures, meaning they were COUNTING on citizens being fined to make the city work. Well, they only collected about $10.7M, which is a shortfall of $1.5M. They couldn’t let that happen again. So they’ve got cops out there shaking down honest citizens for money. Why go that route? Because as most people I know admitted to me, they would have just paid it and moved on. That’s what the city of San Antonio is counting on. They have a money-making factory that they COUNT on to make the city work. They can’t raise taxes because they’d get voted out of office, so they come up with this covert form of taxation, knowing most people will just pay it and move on.

My 19 March court date arrived and the charges were dropped because “the officer didn’t remember enough about the incident.” Well, maybe if he wasn’t out giving so many bogus tickets he’d remember more of the ones that matter. Several other tickets from the same officer were also dropped. The city didn’t want to spend the money on my constitutional right of a trial. They count on most people just paying and moving on. The certainly didn’t want me making my case to a jury and nullifying their money-making scheme.

The upshot.

Well, sad for them they didn’t know who they were dealing with, and I don’t mean ME, I mean YOU, dear readers. I urge you to look into this in your own communities. Most police officers are great people who work hard to protect them. But if some are being used to shake you down for money so that liberal mayors and city councils (like the ones here in San Antonio) can spend more money paying their campaign donors back, maybe something needs to be done.

I know this seems like a small thing. It was pointed out to me “it’s worse most places in the world.” Well sure it is, but you can’t wait for things to get that bad before we do something about it. You have to stop this kind of police state in it’s tracks and do it while we still have the power to do so. Look to your local communities and see how they are collecting their money and then spending it. Hold your local leaders accountable. It’s not just Congress that shakes you down for money. And you can’t count on the national or even local media to report on this. They LIKE big government, which this supports. Make it happen, Patriots. I have faith in you.

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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail



Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Michigan’s Tenth Amendment defiance of Trump and the GOP



In the name of “fixing” the illegal immigration problem and improving national security, Trump and the GOP have advanced a host of legislative initiatives that even Barack Obama would love.

One such initiative was the re-authorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) back in January. Forced through Congress by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, FISA 702 was renewed for six years, despite concerns that, according to Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), it allows the government to conduct warrantless electronic searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Thought originally originated during the Cold War, FISA has grown since 9/11 into a weapon used by agencies such as the NSA to spy on anyone, anytime, anywhere. Even though these abuses were common knowledge—leading to the passage of the USA Freedom Act to rein in the government’s abuse of power—big government progressives within the GOP joined hands to let the feds keep their unconstitutional power.

Though Amash’s efforts to protect our Constitutional rights failed in Congress, local leaders in his home state recently exercised their Tenth Amendment rights by passing a law telling Trump and the GOP where they can get off when it comes to FISA 702.

This past Monday, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill prohibiting the state from providing “material support or resources to a federal agency to enable it to collect, or to facilitate in the collection for use of person’s electronic data” unless one of five conditions are met:

(a) The person has given informed consent.
(b) The action is pursuant to a warrant that is based upon probable cause and particularly describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.
(c) The action is in accordance with a legally recognized exception to warrant requirements.
(d) The action will not infringe on any reasonable expectation of privacy the person may have.
(e) This state or a political subdivision of this state collected the electronic data or metadata legally.

State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R), the sponsor of HB4430 which passed 108-1 in the House and 37-0 in the Senate, explained the bill:

“This reform safeguards the fundamental rights of all Michigan residents, who are guaranteed protection of their property and privacy rights by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. Michigan will not assist the federal government with any data collection unless it is consistent with the Constitution.”

FISA 702 empowers a secret court to rubber-stamp general warrants that authorize spying on broad swaths of Americans without probable cause. Typically, this authorization lets the government spy indiscriminately on all landlines, mobile devices, and desktop computers in a given area.

Obviously, Trump and the GOP can’t be trusted to protect and defend the Constitution. It’s up to the states to exercise their Tenth Amendment rights to do what Trump and the GOP are unwilling to do.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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