Maybe Grass Can Save California

Marijuana in flower.  Buds, Buds, Glorious Buds!

Marijuana in flower. Buds, Buds, Glorious Buds!

Original image

This past week, California started the process of offering $14 Billion of bonds.

It didn’t go well.

Bond yields had to rise, a lot, to move the inventory in the first tranche, and even then it didn’t all move. But the State Employees hawking this credit card load are trying to put a smiley face on it.

From: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE59766N20091008

we find that of $4.5 Billion they set out to sell in the first batch, they only got $4.138 Billion placed. Though I do have to agree with them that getting even that much placed, and at very high prices, was quite an accomplishment…

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s office said on Thursday it priced a total of $4.138 billion of general obligation bonds in its sale of the debt this week, less than the $4.5 billion it had put up for sale.

Despite falling short, Lockyer said in a statement the sale’s total was a “significant accomplishment” in what he termed a “cold and inhospitable market” this week.

Gee, trouble getting the old Credit Card Limit lifted when you are bankrupt… Who knew…

Yields ranged from 3.75 percent to 7.23 percent for the taxable debt and from 2.95 percent to 5.0 percent for the tax-exempt bonds.

Why the range? Some bonds are “revenue bonds”. If the thing that is supposed to pay them off goes under, you get nothing. Others are ‘general obligation’. As long as the State has a dime (and not in bankruptcy), you get paid. And, of course, the tax exempt bonds typically have more demand as you get to dodge the 11% State Income Tax on them.

That we’ve got State bonds running at 7%+ and tax exempt up to 5%+ when Treasuries are down in the ‘near nothing’ range is, er, startling.

Perhaps Grass Can Save Us

Recently, the voters turned down a proposition to legalize and tax marijuana. The “scuttlebutt” was that as it was already “legal” for “medical use” (say, oh, “poor appetite…”) why “legalize it”? It’s just a tax bill…

That was at the State level. At the local level, plans roll on undeterred…

Oakland, California, (Currently under the ‘leadership’ of “Governor Moonbeam” – at least until he takes over the state) can’t pay its cops. So it has a plan. Grow “industrial scale Marijuana” and use that to generate revenue. To, er, pay the cops? To, um, I suppose, guard the grass?

http://globalganjareport.com/content/oakland-approves-industrial-marijuana-farm-measure

Oakland’s City Council July 20 approved regulations permitting what the San Francisco Chronicle called “industrial-scale” cannabis farms—over the protests of small growers who fear they will be squeezed out of the industry they helped build. To address such concerns, the council pledged to create regulations for small and medium-size grow operations later this year.

“It’s really important for Oakland to be a vital part of that growth and development for licensed facilities,” said council member and mayoral candidate Rebecca Kaplan.

Why? Perhaps what comes a bit lower in the article is a clue:

The regulations will award permits to four indoor cannabis farms. There will be no size limit, but there have been proposals for farms as large as 100,000 square feet—about the size of two football fields. The regulations require applicants to have a minimum of $3 million worth of insurance, hire security and pay a $211,000 annual permit fee. The city will start issuing permits in January.

Hmmm… Buckets of Money from “fees”…. Yup, that’s a California Government…

But Steve DeAngelo, owner of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the nation, bitterly opposed the measure. His dispensary buys from some 500 different growers—meaning Harborside offers some 100 varieties at any time. Permitting only industrial operations would reduce variety, he said.

“Government should not choose the winners and losers but create a level playing field,” he said. “Some people might prefer mass production, assembly-line cannabis that costs less. Others might prefer cannabis grown by a master gardener in a smaller plot. “Let the market sort it out,” he said.

Only in California would you hear Free Market Conservative arguments from a Pot Merchant…

Ah, well. At least California is entertaining. It’s not like the Government will use its power to enforce an oligopoly for its own benefit and punish folks who don’t play along with the power structure.

While regulating approved growers, Oakland also plans to crack down on illegal grows, Arturo Sanchez, an assistant to the city administrator, told the City Counil—comments that prompted hissing and booing in the crowd.

Oh, sorry, my mistake… At least now we know what the police will be for. Tax collectors in blue…

I’m so glad I don’t live in Oakland.

I’m so sad Governor Moonbeam is going to do for the State what he’s done for Oakland…

I think I need to rent a room from my Uncle in Texas…

I just can’t see why anyone would think California is going to recover from the present path prior to a high velocity impact with the gutter.

(Sidebar on Governor Moonbeam: During his first term as Governor, Jerry Brown had some very wacky ideas. Things like shutting down all freeway construction. For this, he was christened “Governor Moonbeam”. In the end, he resulted in a conservative backlash that lasted for a decade or two. One can only hope…)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Political Current Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Maybe Grass Can Save California

  1. Soronel Haetir says:

    I have a hard time believing that even the Obama administration would look the other way when it comes to the operations that Oakland is talking about licensing. And it wouldn’t take much effort at all for a new president to get DEA rolling on the medical growers.

    I wonder if federal conspiracy charges could stick against the city officials for collecting money that they knew was produced through drug revenue. That doesn’t seem like much of a stretch at all. And it would probably be good for Oakland if everyone currently in office were suddenly staring down the barrel. And that isn’t even counting the workers, even the security guards would likely be facing serious charges. And given what I’ve read about Oakland and licensing of security firms I would have to wonder just how much the farmers would have to pay before the guards would think the risk would be worthwhile. Unless you think there can’t possibily be a retightening of the marijuana screws this just seems like it would be an incredibly risky venture.

  2. gnomish says:

    Lol – one of my adventures recently was working on a licensed grow op in the emerald triangle.
    One of the chores was to pluck the fan leaves and i filled a big yard waste bin and put it on the street like normal yard waste for the city disposal company to collect. I put a few ‘courtesy buds’ on top of the pile.
    It’s already lega, therel – prop 19 is just to limit, tax and regulate it harshly.
    The present growers don’t want it because it would limit them to 25 sq ft area.
    I couldn’t smoke anything at all for days – the fumes (which is actually drifting beads of resing that fall off the plant) of ripening weed are doggone potent.
    There were 7 different varieties, so I made a xmas sampler for a friend that was very much appreciated. Some had fruity flavors but the one favored by the clinic this year is more like turpentine or something.
    So sad that so many people are in prison over a condiment, eh?
    Bless the disobedient, for they are the backbone of the nation and always have been!
    I made a vid while I was there but I don’t want to make it public, however it is unlisted on youtube. It’s not that interesting, really, but it records a pleasant memory.
    Make memories while you can, for the day comes when it will be what you are left with.
    No fear, no guilt, no shame – that’s the way to live a life.
    :)

  3. Peter Offenhartz says:

    First, let me quote your title:

    “Oakland sees grassy meadows in it’s future… ”

    PLEASE. Incorrect use of “its” is, for me, like a fingernail on a chalk board.

    The rule is simple. Please re-learn it. The contraction “it’s” is just that: a contraction (of ‘it is’.) It is not ever ever a preposition. NEVER.

    But otherwise I enjoy at least some of your writings, even though I find them largely misguided (or guided by misanthropy and excessive political simplicity). Keep up the work. I do find it amusing.

  4. George says:

    It is absolutely idiotic that our state must look to drug dealing for its revenue supply.

    I am moving out of this state at the first practical opportunity.

  5. Malaga View says:

    It is absolutely idiotic that our state must look to drug dealing for its revenue supply.

    Mmmmm… but there are taxes levied on alcohol and nicotine… both are very addictive drugs… both of those drugs are damaging to your health… seems like a huge disconnect to me.

    For me it is absolutely idiotic for the state not to legalise and tax drugs… the benefits to society are enormous… so off the top of my head:

    a) Less deaths and medical problems through controlled purity, dosage and hygiene

    b) Less street crime and burglaries through controlled pricing.

    c) Less users for the police to chase so they can concentrate on real crimes.

    d) Less offenders passing through the legal system.

    e) Less criminals idly cluttering up the prison system.

    f) Less income for organised crime and fewer dealers on street corners.

    g) More employment and commerce.

    g) More tax income for the state.

    The same can be said for: prostitution… and in large part gambling… and if you don’t like it then simply don’t participate – simple.

  6. Malaga View says:

    PS: Prohibition doesn’t work… it never has… it just morphs the market into a black market… just look at the history of Alcohol Prohibition in the USA… prostitution is also usually criminalized but it has never been eradicated… that is why it called the oldest profession.

  7. Malaga View says:

    PPS: America’s largest penal colony is a New York jail.
    http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/archive/index.php/t-31172.html

    In 1969, there were 150,000 individuals incarcerated. By 2001, that number had mushroomed to 2.1 million. That’s 7 out of every 1,000 U.S. residents, a higher rate of incarceration than any other nation in the world, a ignoble distinction previously held by Russia.

  8. pyromancer76 says:

    I agree with Malaga View. Legalize Mary Jane,, regulate it, tax the hell out of it, and levy fees as well. If people want to use — like cigarettes and alcohol (my delight, in “proper” forms)– let them.

    Perhaps some of the taxes can go to end-of-life illness care. My father had some 6 years of end of life horrible illness — emphysema, congestive heart failure. We, especially my mother, had a hellacious time caring for him. Nearly destroyed her; she was committed to her man and he wanted to stay at home. Trouble was we come from a family line of octo- and nona-generians. His heart went on and on and on, even in its greatly enfeebled state with very little oxygen to pump with.

    Prohibition never works; it only gives black “free market” opportunities to those who enjoy illegal gains — and there are many such thugs. Then they move into legit enterprises, engaging in nefarious purposes with the profits. I would legally unentangle heroin and cocaine, too, with even more regulation and restrictions. Do not let the big money go to the drug lord-thugs — even though our politicians seem very little different.

    Maybe kids will suffer. Maybe. But the ravages of illegal cocaine on families and society was and continues to be a tragedy. Could it be much worse? At least the number of thugs would greatly decrease, or at least their access to bundles, suitcases, train-loads of dough.

    I must admit, I hate to see Moonbeam’s city getting rich from the drug.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW: I find it amusing that a contract for one night for $100 is not legal while a contract for an indefinite period of years for $1,000,000 of income is legal. As soon as someone can clearly define how one is different from the other in some way other than duration and payment, I’ll be more interested in the ‘morality play’. As it is, I just don’t see how a “Trophy Wife” is that much different in concept. Laws against prostitution just look a whole lot like a union shop trying to keep “prices” up… at least structurally. ( I know, economists with a “social sciences Martian View” sometimes have a strange outlook on things… ;-)

    And, frankly, I’m getting tired of funding all those folks being housed in prison (and all their union prison guards with retirement packages – Sorry Uncle Ken…) for exactly what again?

    I’m not particularly secretive about the fact that in the late ’60s early ’70s I tried grass. Interesting effects, but aside from a higher restaurant bill at 2 am, not much long term harm from it. The biggest issue for me was that my perfect memory became more ‘normal’. I’d forget things. After a few months, a lot of things. Where I’d had near photographic memory, it became more eidetic and then just ‘pretty darned good’. I have no idea if this is an idiosyncratic effect or not. But the bottom line was that I realized if I was going to make a living with my brain, I needed it working full speed. So I just walked away from it. About 6 months later my memory function was (almost) back to normal. This has left me wondering, though, if it would make a usable treatment for Asperger’s Syndrome as it does suppress some of the “symptoms”… and I was more ‘normal’ after the experiment and with somewhat better social skills.

    (There were not many folks in the “summer of love” generation who did NOT try grass at one time or other, and yes, they DID inhale…)

    I’ve known a variety of programmers, lawyers, etc. who can smoke and not have any memory or performance issues. That leads me to think my response may be a minority one. ( I’m a metabolic minority on other things as well, so no surprise there if true… I remember hearing the Doctor say “If we give him any more, it will kill him.” just before asking me if I could just lay still during surgery… I said yes, that I was feeling no pain at all, and he could go right ahead… which he did… and which I remember in detail… that ‘Redhead anesthesia resistance gene’… )

    So I’ve no problem with other folks deciding that it ‘works for them’ even if it doesn’t work so well for me. Just as I can drink a 6 pack of beer and barely notice (and just wish we didn’t have a “one size fits all” blood alcohol level law as I am feeling exactly NOTHING at 0.8 … or even 1.6 for that matter… yes, I have a meter and I’ve measured… but the law is sized for ‘ Asian women’ not redheaded men. A very racist and sexist law. My performance goes UP until about 2.0 as I’m less prone to ‘analysis paralysis’ and just do the right things.) Frankly, I just wish grass DID work for me. Some of the effects are very pleasant and far less damaging than a bottle of tequila…

    FWIW, I’ve tested the effect of Nicotine as well. Didn’t smoke it (as I’m allergic to tobacco) but made an extraction for topical application. Very interesting drug, but even one use gives a week or so ‘negative shift’ of performance in response. Yeah, a heck of a ‘lift’ to brain function for about 1/2 hour. Then back to normal… then the next day it’s “Stooopidsville” as performance and sharpness are way off. Taste and smell is down. Thinking is cloudy. Energy is low. That state lasts for a couple of days returning to normal by about one week. Applied for a couple of days, the ‘rebound’ lasts for a week+ with persistence beyond that during full recovery. Not an acceptable trade off at all. Does a good job of killing bugs, though…

    Anyone who did the drug for more than a week is probably just screwed if they don’t detox over a month or so. Yeah, that drug we make legal…

    If I were ranking them in order of “most evil” on top I think I’d do it as:

    1) Tobacco – incredibly attractive effect with incredible additive power, and high damage levels when smoked.

    2) Alcohol – what it does to a liver is ‘not pretty’ and for some folks can be very habit forming.

    3) Medical opioids & others – I’ve only ever had the legal stuff, so I don’t know what the street stuff is like. But I’ve had codeine, vicodin, demerol, valium, nembutal (pentobarbitol) and probably a couple of others (several surgeries) and often in a ‘cocktail’ mix. Very pleasant drugs that do a number on pain. Not much entertainment value as they mostly make me sleepy in a pleasant kind of way. Very easy to just walk away from them, even after a couple of weeks of use (post surgery). Not much physical impact from them. I see no reason for them to be illegal. When I was a kid you could by Codeine over the counter. If anything, abuse has gone UP since that was made illegal, not down.

    4) Stimulants like caffeine. I’ve fought a life long on again off again running battle with caffeine. Sporadically stopping for a year or three, then starting up again. Wonderful effects, but over months a tolerance builds up and you have to ‘dry out’ to regain some ‘punch’. On the other hand, ‘damage’ is nearly zero from them. ( I include the theobromine in tea in this group… for those wondering what ”like caffeine” might include).

    5) Marijuana. Interesting fun drug. Can use any amount and just stop and walk away. No real physical impact from short term use (don’t know about longer term, though I’d expect smoke to be about the same damage as tobacco smoke). Other than idiosyncratic memory impact, I just don’t see the problem. Would not advise operating machinery or doing very highly skilled manual work (i.e. doctor, dentist, bomb disposal..) when high or even in the following day or two, but that might just be me as I’ve seen other folks do Just Fine…

    Why #1, 2 & 4 are legal while #3 & 5 are persecuted is beyond me. Mostly it seems to be racist leftovers from when Chinese smoked opium and Mexicans & Blacks smoked “Reefers” and the power structure wanted differential laws to selectively put them in jail / disenfranchise a group.

    I have no comments nor opinions on methamphetamine nor hallucinatory drugs like LSD as I’ve never been willing to ‘go there’ to find out. I would just note in passing that various forms of ‘speed’ have been used by military services around the world to good effect; while inducing a lot of addiction. I suspect that much of the insanity of Hitler in W.W.II was due to the aggression effect from speedballs with which he was injected. Meth was a common drug then, including in Japan, and may have significantly contributed to the destruction of the world at the hands of “cranky” leaders…

    Cocaine? Not much to add. Never did much for me and was not willing to pay for it. Some folks seem to get addicted quickly. For me, I’d rather have a large mug of strong Irish Coffee… I get the same “happy and wide awake” feeling, but for $10 instead of $100. Never saw the point in ‘snow’… just politely accepted it once or twice at parties (lived with a jazz musician in the late ’70s for a while… it’s a different life). Again may be idiosyncratic as the other folks were quite thrilled with the effects and I did get the ‘numb gums’ when rubbed on – I was testing to see if this ‘dud’ was really anything… It was from a ‘known good source’ so I’d not suspect dilution. In the late 1800’s cocaine was a common drug over the counter and used by a lot of notable and accomplished folks. (Look up the history of Sherlock Holmes and Freud). I don’t see a big improvement since then from making it a crime.

    As you can see from the above, I have a curious and experimental nature. Never ended up ‘addicted’ to anything other than strong coffee… which I think I’ll go make now… the morning tea is wearing off…

    But if it were up to me, I’d simply remove ALL “possession” and drug laws. I don’t care what you have, I care what you do with it… Yes, even explosives. When I was a kid, farmers often bought explosives over the counter. Makes taking out a tree stump a whole lot easier. During the War Between The States (there was nothing “Civil” about it…) folks could own their own canon, and did. It’s not about the “stuff”, it’s about what you do with it… The number of explosives related ‘incidents’ has gone up post criminalizing, not down.

    (And yeah, I’m very aware of how “useful” it is as a “tool” for law enforcement. Making it easier to bust people who have not done a bad action is a very mixed “blessing”…)

    Could I be wrong on this? Sure. Might just be an artifact of a shift of the society rather than the change of the law. Which is cause and which is effect? Would decriminalizing make for even greater abuse? Depends on which way causalities arrow runs, and we simply don’t know. The presumption is that the law restrains increased use. I suspect it stimulates increased use by making it ‘forbidden’… ask any 10 year old about forbidden fruits…

    But I’m a “conservative” according to the Left Wing Democrats because I think the government ought to be much smaller and liberties much larger… Sigh… And the Radical Right Wing would lynch me for the above ‘experimentation’. It’s lonely in the middle of the bird…

    At any rate, back at California:

    At least it’s fun to watch…

  10. Soronel Haetir says:

    In regard to your question $100/night vs. $1mill for an indefinite period, the question I prefer is about the kept woman, no marriage needed. A mistress can be completely dependent upon her benefactor for every bit of income and upkeep, living space, food, expensive gifts, whatever, yet does not trigger the law’s wrought. Or even at the low end of the scale, the woman who goes out with a man letting him pick up the tab for the entire evening in return for her favors. And there you could tie the specific payment to the night’s performance.

    Given the way the laws against prostitution seem to work I am surprised that there aren’t ways to structure the transaction to make it legal, certainly by the time you are talking about folks like Spitzer in New York I am surprised.

  11. David says:

    Intresting thoughts from all. As usuall a truly educated society and culture is the only solution that works better in all systems. ( I mean educated, where the ability to think and the importance of discrimination is taught at home and in school. I do not mean indoctrinated)

    In Calif , I do not know what, if anything will work. Hell E.M., in Calif they often pass bonds not having a clue that they are debt obligations, really I have asked many people at work and they simply do not understand this.

    Give a population of non thinking, often government dependent non or little working, often willess people access to any drug they fancy and watch the results, a curious experiment, yet not necessarily a bad one as I would expect accelerated failure of such a state, and such a state needs to fail, and sadly but true, failure is often the best educator and pain is a prod to remembrance.

  12. PhilJourdan says:

    Governments are notorios for being ignorant of the law of Supply and Demand. One would think that when projecting revenue from a new venture, they would see how an increase in supply would drop prices, while an increase in price would decrease demand.

    Yet consistently we are regaled with stories about how they are “surprised” when revenue projected does not materialize. I guess it is kind of like how the press is always surprised when Unemployment has not dropped to 0 (after being over 9.5% for almost 2 years). The only surprise is that people continue to pay them for their incompetence.

    Oakland will find out that their idea of a pot fortune is nothing but a poop in a pot.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Peter Offenhartz:

    I’m well familiar with the rule, don’t need it quoted. Usually get it right, but frankly, often just don’t give a damn. I write phonetically. That’s just the way I am. Get over it. But yes, I usually take care to ‘get it right’. But if I don’t, doesn’t bother me much. Its not such a big deal after all ;-) FWIW, I usually ‘catch it’ on the 3rd or 4th proof reading when I’m back in ‘editor mode’ and out of ‘creative mode’. It hinders ‘creative mode’ too much to be that rule bound then…

    Per “misanthropy”. Sirrah, you are grossly mistaken. I am a positive admirer of the human race and think us among the best things ever evolved on this planet. I just like to admire our foibles and failures are much as our successes (and Lord Knows we’ve got a lot of failures to laugh at…)

    To quote the distinction from the wiki:

    Misanthropy has been ascribed to a number of writers of satire, such as William S. Gilbert (“I hate my fellow-man”), but such identifications must be closely scrutinized because a critical or darkly humorous outlook toward mankind may be mistaken for genuine misanthropy. Jonathan Swift is widely accused of misanthropy (see A Tale of a Tub and, most especially, Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels).

    Another example of mistaken misanthropy is Jean-Paul Sartre’s quote “Hell is other people.” On the face of it, this looks deeply misanthropic, but actually Sartre was making an observation about the tendency of human beings to lack self-knowledge. We tend to project our worst fears, and our most deeply disliked personal characteristics, onto other people, rather than look inside and face them within ourselves. Thus, when we look at other people we often see the worst of what is in our own personality.

    It is important to distinguish between philosophical pessimism and misanthropy. Immanuel Kant said that “Of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing can ever be made,” and yet this was not an expression of the uselessness of mankind itself. Similarly, Samuel Beckett once remarked that “Hell must be like… reminiscing about the good old days when we wished we were dead.” — a statement that may, perhaps, be seen as utterly bleak and hopeless, but not as anti-human or expressive of any hatred of mankind.

    So, lacking from my basic nature and outlook are The Key Features of misanthropy:

    Misanthropy is a generalized dislike, distrust, disgust, contempt and hatred of the human species, human nature, or society

    I like people in general and most individuals a great deal.
    I trust most folks ‘up front’ but have learned that some folks can not be trusted. That’s reality, not misanthropy.

    I’m not disgusted by people nor do I have contempt for them at all. I am disgusted by the actions of some people and have contempt for some individual behaviours (often while holding that the person may be a fine person at heart. Take the actions of Madam Hillary, for example…)

    Observing the evil things some people do, or the hopelessness of some of our stupidities is NOT misanthropy, it is being an honest recorder of the facts; as much as I might wish them to be otherwise.

    Per “society”: That’s more of a mixed bag to me. I’m somewhat from the school that thinks Civilization would be a fine idea, if we ever develop it…

    I’ve seen an awful lot of harm done in the name of “society” and I’m painfully aware (literally and personally) of the harm that societies can do to individuals it does not favor. But “hate society”? No. Just wish to polish it up a bit and fix the broken bits. Not real interested in the alternative of a world populated by single anti-social uni-bomber types living alone. (Though I do respect their right to so live, so long as they don’t hurt others.)

    I’d love to have a “private retreat” (that would be characterized as a “compound” if I was socially out of favor…) but would periodically (monthly?) have a party for friends and family and would likely invite in any stranger within shouting range. (We presently have a once a week dinner party at home for friends and family and visitors…) Hardly the actions of someone who “hates society”. Or is the “Kennedy Compound” indicating something anti-social I don’t ken as I’m too ‘simple’?

    So please learn the definition of “Misanthropy” prior to misusing it so badly. It’s rather a “thing” for me when folks use the language wrongly. ;-)

    BTW: “Political simplicity”? Really? FWIW, the word “nuance” has come to be “fingernails on a chalkboard” for me when used by Dimocrats. It is largely just code words for “I think you are stupid AND you are interfering with my deception and graft scam”. (As when last used by Kerry, IMHO). So when taking the opposing position from “simplicity” please use care to avoid “nuance”…

    There is a place in the world for a straight forward and direct statement of facts and intentions. Yes, it’s often harder than the path of deception and manipulation favored by our political system. That does NOT make it wrong, nor “simple”. The major advantage I see to a “simple” political approach is that it’s clearly visible to all when others try to use it for personal gain. I’ll take a simple and understandable system over of one full of nuance that is incomprehensible any day. For the simple reason that it’s much harder to corrupt, if nothing else.

    There are some simple truths that form the foundation of my beliefs. They are, in the end, truths. That fact just is. And the simple truths are the most valuable ones. The least likely to be wrong.

    So, for example, I believe that people can improve. But the fact is that history is littered with the remains of human imperfection, graft, greed, and power abuse. That history is just a fact. A simple, clear, and very direct immutable fact.

    So I’m in favor of a system that strongly limits the opportunity for such graft, greed, power abuse, et. al. As were The Founders when they made the constitution. (Or are they “simple” and “misanthropic” too?…)

    From that comes the necessary conclusion that the smaller a government is, the less its power can be abused. Now that seems a bit too ‘nuanced’ for some folks on the Loony Left to get (especially Socialists, who seem to have an unexamined faith in the perfection of man… ALL of history notwithstanding…) but that is simply not a ‘simple’ idea. In many ways, getting it across to folks is very hard as they love to embrace the simpler idea of a Nanny State and a Daddy Leader. (Thus we get the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, and even the Roosevelts of the world… and the present enthusiasm for the Obama Nation, thankfully fading as folks gain some experience with it.)

    I believe that some small percentage of folks can be truly evil and do some truly bad things from time to time (and simply point at the history of theft, murder, etc.). So as a necessary consequence follows the benefit of a Police Force. Yet an inspection of history finds that Police Force has often been used for evil by strong central governments with a political agenda. And then, most often from the socialist side of the fence. Nazi is National SOCIALIST Party, after all. And USSR is Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics. So I conclude that we need a police force, but of limited scope and controlled as locally as possible AND that handing one over to a socialist state is a Very Bad Idea.

    Not from any ‘misanthropy’ but from a direct inspection of history. As “simple” as that approach may be.

    (If you want to argue that Nazis and the USSR are NOT socialists, then please take it up with them. They chose their names.)

    But I can understand someone being strongly rule driven and an admirer of strong social controls. Someone who wants perfection in the world and is ‘nuanced’ enough to think they can get it, if only they had enough social and political control.

    I can even understand some folks wanting to be spelling or grammar nazis…

    I just don’t have to accept it as right.

  14. Verity Jones says:

    It really is a magnificent looking plant. I know a farmer who grows industrial hemp under license in the UK. Useless for narcotic effects, although that doesn’t stop the odd idiot trying ;-) Great fibre (the navy used to rely on it for rope) for paper and textiles and the oil is a source of Omega oils.

    My abhorance of smoking meant I never tried tobacco or pot, but I learned alcohol early, although I was trusted to ‘be sensible’ and (mostly) learned my limits and stuck to them. Caffeine is another story and yes I’ve given it up several times too only to come back to it again. Strong coffee – ah! I go for quality rather than quantity now.

  15. tckev says:

    Misanthropic?
    Sorry but the old joke just has to be said –

    “Misanthropic Self Help Group (MSHG) meeting is canceled this week due to a lack of unawareness with every stinking one of you ba&$%@*ds!”

  16. gnomish says:

    This is very old stuff for me and I’ve been over all the ground too many times to be interested in another tour.
    Suffice it to say that RIGHTS are what matters.
    OWNERSHIP – it begins with your own body, your own mind and the fruits you produce therefrom.
    There’s no excuse for threatening, impeding or damaging the rights of the individual.
    Our founding fathers were clear on that.
    I’ve made a special study of how and why renaissances fail, btw.
    It is because the individuals lose the ability to explicitly state a standard of values appropriate to a human being.
    So it’s not pot that’s the problem – it’s the lack of ability to clearly state in a single sentence what is good – to label the standard of values appropriate to man qua man- not qua slave, victim or dog.
    Work on that and we might resume civilization.
    It does no good for me to do it for you, either, if you can’t do it yourself, for it’s only by your own reason you can arrive at that. It’s not an article of faith, it’s not a legal construct and it’s not a rule – it is a principle.
    If you fail, you fail yourself and your humanity.
    It is that simple – black and white.
    As for ethics, the only valid concepts are ownership and damage.
    You don’t need to return to morality- you need to discover it!

  17. Peter Offenhartz says:

    Anyone who calls Democrats ‘Dimocrats’ is insulting about half the US population, hence my charge of misanthropy. And the charge of political simplicity stands.

    My, my, you are long-winded. Try for a little brevity. A touch of civility would help, too.

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Peter Offenhartz:

    Perhaps you have not read what I’ve posted prior. I make a distinction between the whole body of Democrats (including my “Democrat Texas Uncle” and “Dimocrats”, the less bright ones who follow Pelosi et. al. Catch up on your reading, please. So no, I’m not insulting ‘about half’, I’m accurately describing a (hopefully small) minority of the most Dim. I suppose it would also surprise you to find I was a registered Democrat for a few years and that in the last primary in California I voted in the Democratic side.

    But that aside, “insulting” someone is not misanthropy in any case. Re-read (or perhaps read for the first time) the definition above. You are simply misapplying the word, even given your (wrong) assumptions.

    Charge all you want. Means nothing. With no arguments nor evidence presented, a “charge” is void. I might just as well “charge” you with being a child molester or “charge” you with being a witch. “Charges” are nothing.

    Long winded? Hey, guess what, this is my blog. It’s where I get to say what I want. The whole PURPOSE of a blog is for the author to write. Don’t like it? There’s the door…

    Now you accuse me of being uncivil to boot? OK, here, I’ll hand you a clue: Insulting the host is a bad way to behave at a party. You are now in ‘time out’.

    If all you can do is name call and offer no discourse, there no value add.

  19. David says:

    EM states…” BTW: “Political simplicity”? Really? FWIW, the word “nuance” has come to be “fingernails on a chalkboard” for me when used by Dimocrats. It is largely just code words for “I think you are stupid AND you are interfering with my deception and graft scam”.

    Dennis Prager did a great take on the “nuance” claim of the progressives. In example after example he showed how the progressives were in fact not nuanced, but simplistic.

    Take the GZM controversey for instance, to the left it was simply a matter of freedom of religion and bigoted Americans creating more terrorists, to the right the reasons to oppose the mosque were numerous and a great deal more nuanced.

    1. The injured parties from the 9/11/01 attack consider this location hollowed ground dedicated to the memory of those who died here, and therefore, due to the reasons outlined below, not the appropriate location or manner for Muslims to make a political case of Islamic moderation.

    2. Americans feel there is significant support within various sects of the Islamic world and among Islamic populations and terrorist groups for such acts of terror as epitomized by 9/11/01. Americans against this location for the Mosque feel that Islam must acknowledge what should be it’s own civil war and failure to police itself of violent extremist activity which occurs regularly in the name of Islam on every continent. All of Islam must show humility and accept some responsibility for the terrorism and unbridled violence that has infiltrated it’s teachings almost since its foundation. Islam must acknowledge that this violence has surged worldwide in recent decades and must clearly state that terrorism is unacceptable and without excuses, and further, Islam must do more to help the world to clearly distinguish between radical and moderate Islam.

    3. Americans are understandably fearful of Muslim extremist and their proclaimed intifada on the west.

    4. Islam must recognize that if they themselves are often incapable of identifying radical extremist within their own Mosques and in leadership positions of their own community, then it is likewise not easy for the rest of the world to recognize and differentiate between extremist and moderates.

    5. Many Americans as well as several respected Muslims also feel that this Imam and his co-developers have made many questionable statements, and may not be true ambassadors of moderate Islam.

    6. Most Americans and many moderate Muslims also feel that this Mosque, built as close as possible to ground zero, and arguably a part of ground zero as this building was severely damaged by the landing gear of one of the hijacked jets, will be used by radical Islamist to symbolize Islamic supremacy and victory over the west.

    Prejudice can be fairly defined as expressing a pre formed view without consideration of facts or circumstances. Any honest research of all six reasons given will show that “prejudice” is a false label applied to logical and understandable reasons. Labeling those with whom one disagrees as stupid and biggoted is an avoidance of any nuance to any subject.

  20. gnomish says:

    Peter Offenhartz said

    “Anyone who calls Democrats ‘Dimocrats’ is insulting about half the US population, ”

    Peter – the average IQ of the population is 100. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? I’d try to explain it but one thing i have learned is that you can’t explain to a moron that he is a moron because – well, if he were able to understand it – that would be oxymoron. :)
    And they can vote, too.

  21. PhilJourdan says:

    Peter Offenhartz
    Anyone who calls Democrats ‘Dimocrats’ is insulting about half the US population, hence my charge of misanthropy. And the charge of political simplicity stands.

    Awfully conceited of you. For the record, Democrats make up about 30-35% (not 50%) of the US Voting population. Another 30-35% are republican, and the rest are “Independents”. Or did you think independents were Canadians?

  22. tckev says:

    IMHO everyone is still free to be as stupid and uncaring to any fellow human being as they negligently are.

    All too often they are.

    Other times there’s Random Act of Kindness.

  23. DirkH says:

    Pot deletes your 3D perception. Expect more road deaths when legalized. Flashbacks can strike days later while you’re going full speed. First give every potsmoker an automated google car.

    Not only my perception – see Sam Burroughs’ “Junkie”.

  24. @E.M.Smith I include the theobromine in tea..
    Theobromine it is NOT found in Tea but in CHOCOLATE, that is why its high addictive power, specially in women (Remember “Time of Wine and Roses”?).
    In Tea there is Caffeine, the same as coffee.
    You forgot Hot pepper which contains Rutin, a heart and circulatory apparatus stimulant which is also addictive; not forgetting Peyote, Datura Inoxia, Datura Ferox,etc.,etc.
    Guess, under the effects of all these drugs, California will take off and disappear among the clouds…. :-)

  25. Marijuana and hashish are widespread drugs of abuse that contain Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a bioactive ingredient best known for its psychotropic effects. Remarkably, THC also produces multiple nonpsychotropic effects: for example, analgesia, hypotension, modulation of bronchospasm, and reduction of inflammation (1–6). That THC also influences sexual behavior was clearly demonstrated for the first time in the early 1980.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/98/3/793.long

  26. George says:

    I have a friend up in Northern California that legally grows pot. The last word I got was that the market is currently so flooded with pot that the prices are coming down rapidly.

    I actually favor legalization of pot for a couple of reasons. The current drug interdiction “industry” only does two things as far as I can tell:

    1. Allows politician another money basket to draw from to bring pork to their constituencies.

    2. Provides a barrier of entry to competition in the drug market from organized crime. It keeps the price up and keeps legitimate operators out of the market providing organized criminal cartels with a corner on the market.

    If it is legalized, you would see the situation we are now seeing in California where prices begin to drop. If they “tax the hell out of it”, they artificially inflate the price and allow the criminal cartels to again compete against the legitimate operators because they are not going to pay their taxes on their product … because they are criminals.

    So I would continue to ban the sale of anything other than small amounts but legalize home growing.

    You want pot? Fine, grow some or buy an ounce from someone who does.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo: Um, theobromine is more widely present that you think… (You have some new grounds to explore ;-)

    From the wiki:

    Theobromine, also known as xantheose,[1] is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, found in chocolate, as well as in a number of other foods, including the leaves of the tea plant, and the kola or cola nut. It is in the methylxanthine class of chemical compounds,[3] which also includes the similar compounds theophylline and caffeine.[1] (In caffeine, the only difference is that the NH group of theobromine is an N-CH3 group.) Despite its name, the compound contains no bromine—theobromine is derived from Theobroma, the name of the genus of the cacao tree, (which itself is made up of the Greek roots theo (“God”) and brosi (“food”), meaning “food of the gods”)[4] with the suffix -ine given to alkaloids and other basic nitrogen-containing compounds.[5]

    but then again, you’ve pointed me at the active ingredient in the hot peppers that I keep putting in my chili that has a certain addictive quality to it ;-)

    Per grass and "sexual behavior"… "was clearly demonstrated for the first time in the early 1980." Pardon? Um I can attest to the 1970s at a minimum… Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "some researcher finally caught up with everyone else in 1980" and got published, being a mere 100 years+ on the slow side of The Public? ;-)

    Not that I'm advocating anything… just fond remembrances is all… (There was this blond moved in next door to visit her relatives one summer.. and we were both college kids with nothing to do for that summer… and… the mind regresses… but I make that 1972 at the latest…)

    @Those who know statistics and that 30% is less than 50% and especially those who've followed along enough to know that I voted Democrat in the presidential primary (yes, I'll admit it. Even in public… I voted for Obama… I was an ABC voter. Anyone But Clinton… then he went and pulled her 'into the tent'… what a pisser…) and that I reserve "Dimocrat" for the 5% to 10% that are from the Loony Left (much as I reserve "Radical Right" for the similar 5% to 10% from way out in right field…):

    I thank you for your support.

    It's one of the minor plagues of having a blog. Folks who feel compelled to tell you that they don't like what you say, who you are, what you do, how you run things, what you believe; etc. You'd think they would just go find a place to be happy, but no. They want a place to piss in the punch bowl. When I filter them, I get complaints of "censorship". I'm “good with that”. I want a positive place to be. Disagreement is welcome, but not when delivered with unpleasantness. There is only one of me, so sometimes a comment will sit in moderation for a while until I have time to deal with it. ( I actually have a couple from a few months back that I've not deleted, but I'm not willing to let through as they are an "I accuse!" tone and I haven't had time to put into the "Here is where you are wrong" yet… I feel guilty about that, but such is life… Oddly, I'm hearing the French forms of "I accuse" and "such is life" but typing the English… )

    There are a lot of folks who like a fight. I'm not opposed to that, but see no reason to encourage it on my blog. They can go pick a fight somewhere else. At this point in my life I'm much more interested in finding basic truths (even if they be 'simple'… Oddly, the Amish ancestry makes being accused of being 'simple' a complement to me… and I have to remember to "work through" that others might not see it that way. But to me "simple" has the highest of praise in it… the closest to God and truth are implied…) So folks who are full of piss and vinegar don't like it when I toss baking soda on them. C'est la vie..

    @Gnomish:

    Yeah, that artifact of statistics explains a great deal, and causes me some angst. Then again, most of the "Aw Shit" that I've seen has come from the Best And The Brightest as they are most easily enamored for some intellectual stupidity or another. It's a sad truth that being smarter does not make your opinions better… Visit a Mensa meeting and this will become very clear.

    @tckev:

    I love to do 'Random Acts of Kindness'. It's great fun. Particularly when some stupidity or another has me bummed out.

    Oh, and love the joke too…

    @George:

    I still have difficulty with the concept of making a PLANT illegal. God made it, get over it. (Or evolution made it, and it needs to be protected from extinction ;-) so get over it…)

    Might as well make squirrels illegal…

    Your economic / political grasp is quite sound. Read "Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations". It's always about attempts to restrict free trade and rise prices via various conspiracies to reduce supply and raise prices. That pot would be different falls into the (ludicrous) rule / saying "This time it's different!" that is a key to ALL traders to run like hell as it's a scam… It is NEVER different “this time”…

    So yes, THE single thing that would do the most to eliminate "drug crime" would be to make growing your own legal. Overnight, the market would collapse and the cartels with them (along with all the load on the prisons). This is not a hard concept to grasp.

    That we do not do this speaks volumes…

    Lets see… Fewer cops, prisons, prison guards needed. Less lawyers and courts and judges. Drug dealers lose big time as do pushers. "Ministries" that rant about sin lose donations and a topic. Politicians lose a money making talking point and The Left loses a distinguishing topic. The Booze industry takes it in the shorts from competition and Doctors have a home grown competitor to Valium et. al. Don't see much of a constituency developing to legalize…

    Who wins? Some guy / gal who likes a simple smoke and relax moment and a bit of time away from the world. Folks with medical needs. No way that they can stand up to the opposition…

    FWIW, Adam Smith explains a great deal… I'd like to think we are relatives, but have no idea. My family does have the "Smith Nose" (you'll have to read about him to find out) but I've managed to avoid it… I suspect it's a Neanderthal trait, but who knows…

    Then again; I'm "simple"… I'm just in keeping with Adam Smith, The Founders, and a few dozen other folks of central character to our society… and what did they know… (Including, IIRC, that George Washington grew hemp). No, nothing complicated in that… ;-)

    Sidebar: I did find it humorous that I was simultaneously being whacked for being too prolix and being too simple at the same time… So let me get this straight: Long answers are not acceptable and short answers are too simple? OK… Sometimes you just gotta say: What? Were you thinking? And other times it's "What were you thinking?" ;-)

  28. George says:

    “George Washington grew hemp”

    Yes, but a different variety. It was grown for industrial use in making rope, netting, etc. Most of the ships of that day used hemp rope and rigging.

    That variety still grows wild in that area (called “ditch weed” by the locals) and you can smoke a ton of it and all it will do is make you cough. The birds spread it. It is amazing, though, that you can still get busted if you posses it even though the content of THC is nearly nill.

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    @George: Do we know it was a THC free variety? I thought that the THC free variety was a relatively new invention? I’d love to explore hemp genetics, but not with the present ‘legal entanglements’… I do know that each variety has significant differences in activity. Some are more ‘visual’, some make you sleep more, some are more ‘munchies’ inducing. It would be a fascinating way to find out what was the receptor site for each activity, and what proteins normally bound there.

    At any rate, I’ve not had the time / interest to dig into it and my last “look” was nearly 35? years ago. What I remember from then was that there was a ‘problem’ with some sailors smoking hemp during the 1700’s. Leads me to think the variety or varieties grown might have been highly variable in activity.

    So basically I’m saying “could be”, but would be interested in a pointer to how we know it was ‘non-active’.

    Maybe I ought to apply for a job in Oakland, get a nice government paycheck and retirement package for growing / managing pot growers ;-)

    I’m sorry, but the humor potential in this situation in Oakland are just too hard to ignore…

  30. PhilJourdan says:

    @Those who know statistics and that 30% is less than 50% and especially those who’ve followed along enough to know that I voted Democrat in the presidential primary (yes, I’ll admit it. Even in public… I voted for Obama… I was an ABC voter. Anyone But Clinton… then he went and pulled her ‘into the tent’… what a pisser…)

    I see we have something else in common as well! I knew I was not the only one, but hey, I got your back on the east coast! ;)

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan: Thanks for that!

    Oddly, I find it harder to admit in public that I voted for Obama (even if only in a primary) than to admit I’m skeptical of AGW… What can I say? I had “hope” and thought I could believe in spanking the Republicans … and was dreadfully tired of the Bush / Clinton / Bush treadmill. We’d had something like 5 terms of that stuff (more if you count VP gigs…) and no way I wanted 2 more (assuming Madam Hillary would get re-elected…) I wanted “Change”. Little did I know it would be ‘spare change’…

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