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Stay in your lanes

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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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  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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Entertainment and Sports

What makes a great movie villain great?

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What makes a great movie villain great

As a lover of cinema, there are two things any “fun” movie must have: a good hero and a great villain. A good hero with a great villain works. A good example of this would be Saw. Unfortunately, a great hero with a good villain often falls flat. The Amazing Spider-Man saw a great variation of the hero mixed with a decent yet boring villain.

“Fun” movies are action/adventure, horror, thriller, or anything that pits good versus evil. Silence of the Lambs, The Dark Knight, and Star Wars are the obvious examples everyone uses when they think of great villains, but I prefer to call on a creepy villain that nobody remembers until I mention him. Taylor Negron’s Milo in The Last Boy Scout was the perfect foil to Bruce Willis, arguably better from a purely evil perspective than Alan Rickman’s baddie in Die hard.

To see if my choice stood up to the tests of video essayists characterizing the perfect villain (which all of them have at some point), I picked #Filmento to test my bad guy.

The making of a bad guy is imperative for a fun movie to really be fun. This breakdown by Filmento is a good place to start if you’re about to make your own bad guy.

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Opinions

Nature, an international journal of ‘science,’ makes ludicrous political statement on sex and gender

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Nature an international journal of science makes ludicrous political statement on sex and gender

Anyone who thinks science is objective would be partially correct. Anyone who believes scientists are objective hasn’t been paying much attention lately.

Let’s look at a single paragraph from Nature, the self-proclaimed International Journal of Science. I’m not cherrypicking a single bad paragraph. It just encapsulates the lunacy being promoted in the name of this “scientific” article.

US proposal for defining gender has no basis in science

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07238-8The proposal — on which HHS officials have refused to comment — is a terrible idea that should be killed off. It has no foundation in science and would undo decades of progress on understanding sex — a classification based on internal and external bodily characteristics — and gender, a social construct related to biological differences but also rooted in culture, societal norms and individual behaviour. Worse, it would undermine efforts to reduce discrimination against transgender people and those who do not fall into the binary categories of male or female.

Let’s start from the top and work our way down. The opinion of this “scientific” journal is that a proposed classification system designed to protect all people’s privacy and safety without the possibility for discrimination is a “terrible idea that should be killed off.” This, of course, has no basis whatsoever in the science they claim to promote. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when science and politics mix, especially when it comes to allocation of research spending. But this isn’t like saying, “Research dollars spent on curing individual types of cancer would be better used helping scientists understand the root cause of all types of cancers.” That conclusion would come from the mix of science and politics. On the topic of sex and gender, they’ve abandoned the scientific side of the argument and gone completely political.

Their next statement is incredible. “It has no foundation in science and would undo decades of progress in understanding sex.” This isn’t simply inaccurate. It’s a bald faced lie. Of course sex is based on science. In the rare cases where sex is ambiguous or indeterminable, science enables doctors to help babies move along the path of least resistance while also allowing them the ability to self-determine their sex when they are older. Exceptions can and should be made in such cases. As for undoing “decades of progress understanding sex,” this is also a politically motivated lie. The HHS proposal has absolutely nothing to do with progress understanding sex. They aren’t changing textbooks or erasing research. Again, Nature is weaponizing their scientific credentials to give weight to a purely political statement. It’s a catchy use of words that could have just as easily been written by leftist speechwriters as alleged scientists.

As for gender, we’ll give that part of the statement to them. If we are to base sex on science, then we should accept that gender is a preference. We may not agree with someone’s preference, but that’s really none of our business unless it affects us directly. Thankfully, the rules proposed by HHS pertain to sex, not gender identity.

The last sentence of the paragraph is the funny one. Any hopes the editors had of not coming across as total political hacks masquerading as scientists can be tossed out the window when we read, “Worse, it would undermine efforts to reduce discrimination against transgender people and those who do not fall into the binary categories of male or female.”

Their entire article tries to ride the scientific high horse to the leftist finish line, but they can only do so by abandoning the science they claim to uphold and embracing the politics they claim to despise. This is why their best arguments revolve around discrimination. Unfortunately for them, being their best arguments does not mean they’re good arguments.

Let’s be clear about the charges the left likes to make about discrimination. By definition, there is nothing discriminatory about basing decisions surrounding sex on the biological physical components that determine sex. In fact, it’s the only way to NOT discriminate because it puts all people on equal footing. There are no advantages given to those who choose a non-biological sex as their gender and there are no disadvantages to people who abide by the sex they were born into. But the left loves throwing “discrimination” and “bigotry” into the mix any time there’s a perceived threat to their all-encompassing supremacy over accepted cultural norms.

Political statements disguised as science hurts both sides of the coin. It confuses the politics and dirties the science. Shame on Nature for weaponizing their credentials to push a political ideology. The credibility of this “scientific” journal is gone.

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Democrats

Democrats flip Utah House seat as McAdams tops Rep. Mia Love

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Democrats flip Utah House seat as McAdams tops Rep Mia Love

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Democrat Ben McAdams has flipped a U.S. House seat in deep-red Utah, defeating incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mia Love by fewer than 700 votes in a race that took two weeks to settle.

McAdams defeated Love by a margin barely over what would have been needed to require a recount, according to final results posted Tuesday.

McAdams’ victory adds to the Democratic majority in a year when they’ve flipped more than three dozen Republican-held seats across the country to win control of the House of Representatives.

The race had been too close to call for The Associated Press until the final votes were tallied. State election officials will certify the results next Monday.

McAdams declared victory Monday night after a release of ballots gave him a margin his campaign believed was insurmountable.

“This race was about connecting with Utah,” he said. “This race was about who was best positioned to serve Utah and working to not get it caught up in a national, partisan election.”

Love, the first and only black female Republican in Congress, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She was seeking a third term.

Love finished about 20 votes short of being able to request a recount in a race where about 269,000 votes were cast.

This is the second time she has lost a bid for Congress by a razor thin margin. In her first run in 2012, Love lost to incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson by 768 votes. She went on to defeat Democrat Doug Owens in 2014 and again in 2016.

For McAdams, it’s a victory that validates his reputation as an emerging political force in Utah.

He pitched himself as a solid moderate, and not a typical Democrat, while calling Love a partisan who almost always votes with President Donald Trump. The strategy was aimed at independent voters who account for nearly four in 10 voters in the largely suburban district, and designed to overcome his built-in disadvantage in a district where registered Republicans in the district outnumber Democrats by nearly 3-to-1.

He is an attorney who graduated from Columbia Law School and practiced in New York before returning to his home state of Utah. He has been a political figure in the state for a decade. He was elected as one of the few Democrats in the GOP-dominated state Legislature in 2008 and successfully ran for the Salt Lake County mayor’s seat four years later.

He became known for working with the state’s Republican leaders on issues like homelessness, where he backed a narrow Medicaid expansion to cover treatment and once went undercover as a homeless person when the issue reached crisis mode downtown.

Though solidly conservative, Utah voters have long been uncomfortable with Trump’s brash style and his comments about women and immigrants. That anxiety is especially pronounced in the suburbs of blue-leaning Salt Lake City, and McAdams’ mayoral position gave him solid name recognition with voters.

McAdams said during the campaign he would not support California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and insisting he’d be able to work with the president. He has already signed a letter along with 15 other Democrats vowing to oppose Pelosi.

He sharply criticized Love’s support for the GOP-backed tax overhaul and said she had not been available enough to her constituents at town halls. Love pushed back hard, saying the tax overhaul has been good for people in Utah and defending her approach of meeting with voters in smaller groups, on the phone or online.

She highlighted the times she’s stood up to the president, like when Trump used an expletive to describe her parents’ home country of Haiti. She tried to separate herself from Trump on trade and immigration.

Trump didn’t appreciate her approach, calling her out by name in a news conference the morning after Election Day, where he also bashed other Republicans who he said lost because they didn’t fully embrace him.

Love seemed to struggle to find the right balance among conservative voters as she tried to keep her distance but stopped short of disparaging the president, said Damon Cann, a political science professor at Utah State University.

“It became very difficult to satisfy everyone,” Cann said.

Voter turnout among registered voters was the highest for any midterm election in Utah since 1962 at about 74 percent, according to Justin Lee, the state elections director.

McAdams was an excellent candidate and also probably benefited from displeasure with Trump and the Republican party, Cann said.

“The winds were all at McAdams back,” Cann said.

____

Associated Press writer Lindsay Whitehurst contributed to this report.

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