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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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Immigration

Vice President reacts to Atlanta Mayor Bottoms’ move to turn away ICE detainees

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Vice President reacts to Atlanta Mayor Bottoms move to turn away ICE detainees

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made headlines this week when she announced an executive order forbidding her city’s jails from accepting ICE detainees. It was a move that drew harsh criticism from both sides. The right obviously wanted her to work with immigration enforcement to ease the already-strained detention system for border patrol and ICE. The left told her this would only redirect ICE agents to use for-profit private jails.

But Bottoms was resolute despite the criticism.

“I, like many others, have been horrified watching the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy on children and families,” Bottoms said in a statement. “My personal angst has been compounded by the City of Atlanta’s long-standing agreement with the U.S. Marshal’s Office to house ICE detainees in our City jail.”

Vice President Mike Pence brought up the issue in a speech he delivered to ICE employees in Atlanta.

Now, I know you’ve got a hard job. And unfortunately, with the debate in the public square today, sometimes it gets harder. I heard on my way down here that the mayor of Atlanta recently announced that the city government wouldn’t cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when it comes to the detention of criminal illegal aliens in this city.

And I — it is amazing to think — the mayor actually said that she would, in her words, “not be complicit in an immigration policy that intentionally inflicts misery.” Well, I would say to the mayor that criminal illegal immigrants, gang members on our streets, are what inflict misery.

The flow of illegal drugs, like cocaine and meth and fentanyl, inflict misery and wreck our families and communities. Human trafficking inflicts misery. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the men and women who enforce our laws do not inflict misery. They bring safety and security to the people of Atlanta, and they deserve the respect of every elected official in this country.

My Take

It’s one thing to object to measures put forth by the federal government. This can be a good thing as the tenets of limited-government federalism teach us. DC is far too powerful right now and cities need to be willing to stand up just as individuals and states do.

But this move by Bottoms is nothing more than political fodder. She’s trying to build a name for herself as someone who stood up to the President’s immigration policy, but is putting her own city and citizens at risk as a result. When ICE has no place to detain criminal illegal immigrants, they often have no recourse but to release them. This may seem insane, but that’s the state of our immigration system thanks to people like Bottoms.

Keep in mind, they aren’t bringing “family units” or separating children from their families, which is the premise behind Bottoms’ protest. The people ICE brings to Atlanta jails are criminals. These are people who have, in many cases, done harm to people who live in Atlanta. For Bottoms to get political while putting her own citizens at risk is ridiculous.

Such is the state of a divided America where Democrats are willing to harm American citizens if it means scoring political points against President Trump. Mayor Bottoms should not be celebrated. She should be condemned for bowing to political expediency.

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Foreign Affairs

Mike Pompeo responds to Venezuela, Biden’s world tour, Hezbollah, and Israel

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Mike Pompeo responds to Venezuela Bidens world tour Hezbollah and Israel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News last night to talk to Shannon Bream about the tumultuous state of affairs around the world and how the United States is handling them.

First, he discussed Venezuela and recent developments where Nicolas Maduro’s regime has essentially framed members of Juan Guaido’s team in an effort to jail and stop the opposition to his presidency there. The Secretary of State said they would hold Maduro’s regime accountable for their actions, but would not elaborate on how U.S. intervention in the poverty-torn nation would manifest.

He jabbed at potential Democratic 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is being allegedly courted by world leaders to run for the White House in hopes he could bring back proper relations. As Pompeo noted, our relations with world leaders is in a current state of positive action despite the President’s harsh stance with many of them.

As for Hezbollah, Pompeo said the U.S. would press Lebanon for the sake of its people to facilitate change from the anti-Israel, anti-American Hezbollah rule that has basically made the nation a pawn for Iran.

As for the Israel front. where Pompeo was speaking from, he said calls by people like Beto O’Rourke and others to undermine the conservative base shared by the United States and Israel would not help the situation. Only through the President’s peace plan can the Middle East move forward, according to Pompeo.

My Take

Until the Venezuelan government asks directly for help, there should be no action by the United States other than aid for the people. This is an internal affair. Just because the leadership is challenged doesn’t make it our problem. If there was ever a time when the United Nations should flex its puny muscles, that time is now and the place is Venezuela.

Any foreign leaders calling on Biden to replace Trump are doing so because they do not want the United States to continue to maintain and improve upon its position of strength on the world stage. They prefer the good ol’ days under President Obama when the United States was a pawn for many other nations.

Hezbollah must go. That’s not to say we need to be involved with that, but Lebanon will never be free and prosperous as long as they’re the proxy for Iran.

Lastly, the Secretary of State seemed to be echoing a notion that the President would push for a 2-state solution. If that’s the case, it’s a huge mistake. Otherwise, Pompeo is correct in asserting the backwards notions of the Democrats lashing out against President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

We’re in a time when foreign affairs are starting to take center stage. Yes, we have problems of our own, but to ignore the growing threats abroad would be a mistake. It’s good the administration is handling these issues.

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Immigration

Illegal alien Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro identified as murderer of Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Thompson

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Illegal alien Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro identified as murderer of Kittitas County sheriffs deputy

A reported “road rage incident” turned deadly for a sheriff’s deputy and the man they were trying to stop on Tuesday when the perpetrated opened fire after being pulled over. It has now been confirmed by ICE that the perpetrator was an illegal immigrant.

Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, 29, died at the hospital after being wounded in another shootout with police. He killed Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Thompson and wounded another police officer in the subsequent shootout.

“Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, a citizen of Mexico, was unlawfully present in the United States. He entered the U.S. on April 11, 2014, through a Laredo, Texas, Land Port of Entry on a Temporary Agricultural Worker (H-2A) visa. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has no record of Flores Del Toro leaving the U.S., nor extending his visa after it expired.”

My Take

Conservatives are so focused on the border crisis that we often forget the other elephant in the room – visa overstays. Del Toro was recorded as entering the country on a H-2A visa, but he didn’t leave when he was supposed to as designated by his status.

We often point to the border wall as the solution, but this criminal didn’t sneak into the country illegally. He remained illegally, and it’s a problem that requires an entire overhaul of our immigration system. If we can’t keep track of and remove those in the country illegally, then our immigration system is worthless.

Regardless of the circumstances that allowed him to stay in the country, the bottom line is he wasn’t supposed to be here and a law enforcement officer is dead because the system is broken.

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