Politics (3) Colorado Cash

It does really seem that Marijuana is a gateway drug, although not in the sense that that claim was initially made.  In fact, as far as self-medication and recreational pharmaceuticals trends and causalities are concerned, it seems that cannabis in all its forms is as much of a gateway to other substances as is bubble gum.  The serious abuse gateways seem to be tobacco and alcohol.

My current claim about the gateway-ness of cannabis is more of a claim about behaviour patterns, especially as influenced by ill-considerred laws.  This was blatantly true back in the ’60s and ’70s, as so many of my cohorts mistakenly assumed that government lies (and make no mistake there — they were lies) about substance abuse were uniform.  To correct for the gross misinformation, we took to wearing buttons that said “Speed Kills” so that we were all warned that amphetamines were really and truly dangerous.  This warning also helped to establish a framework that substances being abused coverred a wide spectrum — experience with one was not a reliable indicator of how another might affect users.

Since cannabis was illegal, to get some one had to trade with people who might also traffic in other dangerous substances.  Thus marijuana openned the traffic gateway to other substances.

Today, the US federal government continues to force cannabis to maintain its role as a traffic gateway to illegal businesses even though it is legal to grow, trade, and consume in Colorado.

I suggest that it is time for Colorado to double down on its innovative policies.  I propose the formation of the Money Transfer Agency (MTA) of the State of Colorado.  The MTA would be in many ways like a bank, while being different enough to operate outside the federal banking laws.  It would operate like this:

  • Every account of the MTA must be owned by a single legal entity (person or corporation) established in the state, and have one or more registerred controllers who must have had a background check done.
  • Any entity (with or without an account) may deposit any amount of cash to any account.
  • An account controller may electronically effect transfer of funds to any other account.
  • An account controller may personally withdraw cash from the account.
  • The MTA may use money held in trust to acquire any sufficiently liquid bonds or notes issued by governments or their agencies within the state.

This arrangement would permit the following:

  • Cannabis consumers can open accounts, and make regular deposits.
  • Consumers can transfer money to retailers.
  • Retailers can transfer money to satisfy tax and regulatory demands at any level within the state.
  • Retailers, growers, and processors can transfer money to their respective suppliers.
  • Brokers can set up operations to receive money transfers, make cash withdrawals, and make payments to entities outside the state.

Such a system would simultaneously enhance growth of legitimate businesses while reducing exposure to both theft of the money and illegal transfers of product out of state.

Meta Thinking (4) Conspiracies

Given human nature and all the people who have ever lived, it seems likely that there have been millions of conspiracies spread unevenly over time, with most of them happenning recently. This means that we cannot issue a blanket dismissal of every claim to have discoverred one, even though it also seems that the majority of such claims are bogus. Thus the scorecard seems litterred with high counts of both false positives (bogus discoveries) and false negatives (undetected conspiracies).

Examining an example may provide illumination. Consider the claim that the moon landing in 1969 was faked. So many of the claims are focussed on the video images and some notion that producing fake images was some how easier than the actual effort could have been. While it is lots of fun to poke holes in these claims, it seems to be only a distraction with no hope of helping the poor fools who peddle them.

A much more complete rebuttal comes from going back to first principles. A conspiracy, by its very nature, is about secrecy, and not just at the time of the event, but forever. Secrecy is so very hard to maintain, and every additional person involved makes it harder. The moon landing event involved tens of thousands of people, regardless of whether it was real or faked; not quite enough to dump the claim yet.

Where the claim completely falls apart is in examining the audience for the event. Yes, the millions of viewers play a role, but most of them are just insignificant viewers. To understand, we need to look at the motivation for both the read event, if it happenned, and the illusion, if we were to suppose it was faked. The ordinary viewers in front of a family TV in the USA are a big part of the numbers but only a tiny part of that motivation. The principle target of the show was the masses of people around the world involved in the political competition between the USA and the International Communists. The family viewers may be easily duped (and are regularly), but the science and engineering communities around the world are much more discerning.

In this analysis, the video is actually relatively unimportant. The crux of the situation is the source of the radio (TV is just a special format of radio) transmission. Radio direction finding is technology that was already well understood in the 1930s. The spheroid shape of the earth, together with witnesses scatterred around the globe, means that faking the transmission would be detected immediately; do not doubt that the USSR would have pointed out such a glaring contradiction if the transmission had not been from the moon.

In summary, lunar landing deniers expect us to accept that tens of thousands of people worked for the USA to produce a fake video (along with the appearance of a functional rocket) that depends on a robot lander to get to the moon intact and operational, carrying either the video or a radio relay, in order to persuade the rest of the world that the USA is superior to USSR, and to reject International Communism. It seems so much more likely that the USA would risk scores of astronaut lives doing the real thing.

Politics: US VP First Thoughts

I just finished watching and listenning to this video made in Miami https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK9AmZftdWw , coverring the introduction of Tim Kaine as the VP candidate of the Democratic Party.

Midway through his speech, I was got a feeling that only got stronger as he went on.  Initially, I saw his bodily image as ho-hum, and then his voice was so much less than I had wanted.  However, instead of being underwhelmed by those superficial traits, I found they had not gotten in the way of the intellectual content he sought to present.

More than that, even as I found message behind his presentation, I found layers of message behind his message, in varying degrees of goodness.  I am very unsure that I can do justice to those messages, but they proved strongly reassuring.  What seemed the most significant to me was the return to sanity and the business of politics.  Sure, both Tim & Hil mentioned the opposition, complete with negative adjectives and adverbs, but they were mostly telling a coherent story addressed to the kind of mainstream America that I grew up with, in a way that showed that they both knew how to actually “walk the walk”.  The selection of Tim seems to be a practical choice that shifts the Dems only a tiny bit to the right while suggesting that the team is likely to deliver plenty.  A team that does not waste effort on fanatical ideologic battles but finds whatever possible cooperation in the pursuit of shared values will always get more done.