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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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Immigration

How Beto O’Rourke could solve the migrant crisis if he wanted to

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How Beto ORourke could solve the migrant crisis if he wanted to

This is a transcript of the video above.

Let’s look at the migrant caravan crisis from a different perspective. Currently, the positions are very polarized between the two dominant political philosophies. On one hand, you have the progressives who mostly want the migrants at the border to be let into the nation, granted asylum, and given opportunities to build a better life. On the other hand, you have conservatives who want them to go through the process legally or simply go home.

Both positions have their merits, but both sides are also missing important points. The death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan migrant while in Border Patrol custody has sparked outrage from the left who blame the Trump administration’s policies for her death, while the right is equally outraged that the girl was forced to enter the country illegally when she could have received food, shelter, education, and healthcare in Mexico.

This girl’s horrible and avoidable death is now being politicized by both politicians and the media. Everyone’s pointing fingers. Nobody’s working on actual solutions.

As a sovereign nation, the government has a responsibility to its citizens to prevent foreign nationals from crossing the border illegally. As a nation that doesn’t turn its back on those who need help, the American people should have a sense of compassion for those who seek our help. We can accomplish both goals if the government does its job of defending the border while the people do our job of rendering assistance. It’s very important to note that the people, not the government, should be the ones rendering assistance to the migrants. The last thing we need is more intervention from Washington DC.

Private charities are fully capable of working with the Mexican government to provide better lives for the migrants. All Mexico has to do is continue to offer asylum to all the migrants and dramatically improve border security on their southern border. They’ve done what they can to mitigate the humanitarian crisis that is brewing even while their temporary facilities are being overrun. But combine Mexican asylum with good old fashioned American philanthropy and everyone can be happy.

It wouldn’t take much. Fundraising is easy for those who are willing to make it happen. With the funds that Democrat Beto O’Rourke accumulated during his failed Senate bid in Texas, every adult migrant can be paid the average Mexican household income for a full year. If one Senate candidate in a midterm election can raise those kinds of funds in a matter of months, surely the empathetic left and the industrious right could get together to raise even more in a much shorter period of time.

Instead of giving them food and a cot, philanthropic efforts could give these people real opportunities to succeed in Mexico. Those who still want to go through the process of entering the United States legally will have the resources to wait for it to happen in safety. Meanwhile, border patrol will be able to focus on the remaining illegal border crossings, the ones that aren’t at the border for an opportunity to earn American wages but who are trafficking illegal goods or nefarious people.

For this concept to work, both sides of the political aisle will have to abandon some of their false premises. Progressives will have to admit that our sovereignty is too important to encourage even more unlawful traffic than we already have at our southern border. They would also have to acknowledge that Mexico is offering asylum, so the notion that the migrants must be let in so they can escape their horrible situations in Central America is false.

On the other side of the aisle, conservatives have to understand that most of these people will not or cannot go back. We need to send the message to potential future migrants that they will not be able to circumvent our laws, but doing so does not require turning a blind eye because it’s not our problem. Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely not our problem, which is why I would be opposed to taxpayer-funded solutions. However, a charitable solution would allow people to willingly pitch in without condemning our own sovereignty.

If a current or near future charity launched a massive drive to give the migrants more opportunity in Mexico, and this philanthropic drive coincided with efforts by the Mexican government to stop the flow of migrants crossing into their country, neither political side in America would be completely happy about it but both sides would have their concerns essentially eased.

This bears repeating. Beto O’Rourke raised enough money for his Senate campaign to pay every adult migrant at the border an average Mexican household income for a full year.

I invoked Beto O’Rourke for three reasons. First, he’s demonstrated an ability to raise money for something of minimal importance like a political campaign. Surely he could turn those efforts towards a philanthropic campaign and achieve even better results. The second reason I mentioned him is because he lost his race. Very soon, he’ll have nothing better to do. The third reason is that for something like this to work, a network of powerful people would need to get behind it. O’Rourke’s leftist buddies on the coasts plus his friends in Texas would be perfect for a scenario like this own.

Instead of the left calling for the President to relieve border restrictions or the right saying the only solution is for them to go back to the situation they chose to leave, we should be putting together the solution as a people. The only responsibility the government has in this whole mess is to prevent illegal border crossings and commit appropriate resources to work with those who are trying to enter legally.

I can already hear the complaints from both sides. The left will complain that helping them build lives in Mexico goes against their desire to achieve the American Dream. The right will say there are starving Americans who deserve our charity more than the migrants. Both sides are right, but this solution really doesn’t oppose either notion. To the left, I’d say if they choose to enter legally and work through the process we have in place, so be it. They’re welcome to pursue their version of the American dream as long as they do it within our laws. To the right, I’d say the charitable efforts put towards solving American problems would not be hampered by a campaign to help the migrants. If we’ve learned anything about American philanthropy, it’s that the vast charity of our citizens is driven by a diverse range of motivations. The money that would be given to help the migrants is not money that would have been given to help Americans. No domestic causes would be harmed by aiding the migrants.

If the left stops playing the open borders card and the right stops playing the not-our-problem card, we can make this solution happen. It may not be the solution either side wants, but it may be the only solution that can actually work.

I’m JD Rucker. Thank you for listening.

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News

Latest wave of terrorism can be contained, defense officials say

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Latest wave of terrorism can be contained defense officials say

Spate of drive-by shootings sparks concerns of copycat attacks, but defense officials believe phenomenon will not spread outside Samaria • As hunt for Givat Asaf killers continues, IDF official says it is “only a matter of time” before they are caught.

 Defense officials said over the weekend that the ‎latest wave of terrorist attacks can probably be ‎contained, and that while ‎copycat drive-by shooting attacks are a matter of ‎concern, it is unlikely they will spread outside ‎Samaria. ‎

Meanwhile, the hunt ‎for the terrorists who carried out ‎the shooting attack that killed two Israeli soldiers in Givat Asaf on Thursday continued ‎on Sunday.

”It’s only a matter of time before we get our hands ‎on the cell’s members,” one IDF officer said.‎

A source familiar with the operation told Israel ‎Hayom that military activity was focusing ‎on thwarting future terrorist attacks, protecting ‎Jewish settlements and roads in the region, and ‎conducting raids and arrests.‎

The recent spate of terrorist attacks has prompted ‎the IDF to increase deployment across Judea and ‎Samaria, setting up 120 roadblocks in the area. Dozens of Hamas members suspected of terrorist ‎activity were arrested across the West Bank over the ‎weekend, the IDF said. ‎

The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet was expected to ‎devote most of its meeting Sunday to the uptick in ‎Palestinian violence. ‎

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also currently the ‎acting defense minister, has ordered the IDF to ‎expedite the demolition of the homes of the ‎terrorists involved in last week’s ‎attacks, as well as step up military ‎counterterrorism activities across Judea and ‎Samaria.‎

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‎Abbas is slated to visit Jordan on Monday, where he ‎will discuss “recent developments in the Palestinian ‎arena” with King Abdullah. ‎

An Israeli defense official told Israel Hayom that ‎Abbas has instructed Palestinian security forces to ‎crack down on the armed factions in the West Bank to avoid further escalations. ‎

As part of these measures, Abbas’ security forces ‎barred Hamas operatives in the West Bank from ‎marking the terrorist group’s 31st anniversary over ‎the weekend. ‎

In the Gaza Strip, which Hamas ‎rules, the event was marked with mass rallies.

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China is farming cockroaches by the billions

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China is farming cockroaches by the billions

It is a bit staggering to look at the history of China and see how many people have died as a result of disasters, famine, genocide, and war over the past two millennia. To be fair, death and suffering are common elements in every nation’s history. But, China’s perpetually massive population ensures that the scale of its tragedies dwarfs that of any other nation.

There are several tragic events throughout China’s history that have a death toll which exceeds the present-day population of most countries. Famine, in particular, has claimed the lives of countless people in China, and until fairly recently, were a regular occurrence there. Nearly two centuries of back-to-back famines in China ended in 1961 with the Great Chinese Famine, which caused more people to die of starvation than are currently alive in Canada.

Much of the blame for this tragedy can be placed on the astounding level of incompetence displayed by Mao Zedong’s Communist Party. However, in the decades since then the Party has put a lot of work into ensuring famines, especially of that magnitude, never happen again. The Party has actually been incredibly successful in that regard. For people living in China’s ever-growing urban areas even small-scale malnutrition is more or less unheard of, let alone famine.

To get an idea of how much the food security in China has improved, one need only look at how much food waste is currently being generated by Chinese urban areas. The amount of waste is so extreme that there aren’t enough landfills in the entire country to dump it all in. It was only a few decades ago that these urban areas were struggling to dispose of the corpses of the millions who had starved to death, yet now they struggle to dispose of the food waste created by millions of well-fed people who have more food than they can eat. The latter is definitely the better problem to have but a problem nonetheless, and it’s only going to get worse as the average income of Chinese citizens continues to grow.

The nauseating amount of food waste in the United States shows how wasteful a society can become when it’s so wealthy that food security is something most people don’t even think about. Fortunately, wherever there’s a problem there are entrepreneurs with clever (and profitable) solutions, and this is no exception.

Li Bingcai is one such entrepreneur, and he was so confident in his clever solution that he quit his job as a mobile phone vendor and invested equivalent to nearly $150,000 into what he believes will eventually become a large profitable enterprise. His belief is well-founded too, as his solution has proven to be incredibly successful.  According to Reuters, Li plans to increase the size of his operation tenfold in the near future.

So, what exactly is this seemingly incredible solution to China’s food waste problem? Has Li developed a method of turning food waste into an efficient biofuel? Has he found a way to recycle food waste into new food products, or created a system for distributing discarded food to under served communities? Not quite.

As with most entrepreneurial success stories, Li’s solution is simple – and just strange enough that most people wouldn’t have thought of it. The solution? Farm cockroaches, millions of them, and then feed them the waste. That’s it.

Li currently operates two farms in the province of Sichuan (the namesake of the heavily meme’d McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan Sauce) in southwest China where he raises 3.4 million cockroaches. But, he plans to eventually have twenty farms. He feeds his cockroaches the food waste generated by nearby cities. Once they’ve reached the end of their life, he then sells them as feed to fisheries and pig farms. He also sells them to pharmaceutical companies where they’re used as an ingredient in medicine, both real and fake.

I am sure many of us are unfortunately very familiar with how much cockroaches love to eat our leftover food – and how much of a nuisance they can be when they invade your home. However, it’s that voraciousness that makes these pests such an effective and efficient way to dispose of food waste, and Li isn’t the only person to discover this. In fact, his operation is minuscule compared to the likes of Gooddoctor, another Sichuan-based operation, which currently raises more than 6 billion cockroaches. Meanwhile, in the Shandong province on China’s east coast, Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology Co. uses cockroaches to dispose of 50 tons of kitchen waste every day. The company is planning to open three more cockroach-powered, AI-assisted food waste processing plants next year with the intention of processing a third of the kitchen waste produced by the 7 million people living in Shandong’s capital, Jinan. Just like Li, both Gooddoctor and Shandong Qiaobin sell their cockroaches as feed and medical ingredients, but even more uses for cockroaches are currently being researched.

In other countries that generate a lot of food waste, such as the United States, solutions are more focused on reducing how much food is wasted rather than finding more efficient ways to dispose of it. The problem of food waste in these countries is less of a logistical problem caused by the amount of waste, like in China, and more of a moral problem caused by wasting so much food while nearly a billion people all over the world struggle to feed themselves. The United States alone throws out 133 BILLION pounds of food each year, worth about $161 billion according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

The Trump administration is making an effort with its “Winning on Reducing Food Waste”, but there’s more that can be done. That being said, the moral situation is even worse in China, unsurprisingly.

Food waste is different in the United States and other developed nations where the vast majority of people living there are well-fed. The moral question for these nations is, “We have more food than we could ever eat, so why aren’t we sharing it with less prosperous nations?” In China, however, this isn’t the case. While the quality of life for people living in China’s cities has improved immensely, especially when it comes to food security, the prosperity of Communist China hasn’t exactly been spread equally, and its rural population has been left behind. The numbers vary from province to province, but there are currently tens of millions of people in China who are struggling to feed their families, and malnutrition is fairly common in these areas.

So shouldn’t the moral question for China be, “Our fellow countrymen are starving, so why are we feeding our excess food to cockroaches?”

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