Pot Profiteers

Cops opposed to marijuana legalization are true profiteers of pot cops against pot 2and other illegal drugs.

In an article of The Intercept, “Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California, published May 18, 2016 the author, Lee Fang, points out how opposition to Marijuana legalization in California is coming from certain law enforcement and prison guard organizations who fear a significant loss in revenue due to losing federal grants from thefederal grants Justice Department which has financially incentivized drug arrests at the local level in addition to the asset forfeiture laws which allows police agencies to confiscate money and property from citizens as a result of those drug busts for their own personal use; no conviction is required.

Paul Curry, a lobbyist for the California Correctional Supervisor’s Association, told The Intercept.  “The membership of the CCSO opposes the full-blown legalization of marijuana,”

Curry said prison guard supervisors do not want to see a society that encourages pot use and said many of his members are grandparents who are concerned about their children. “If marijuana is not a dangerous drug, the federal government would have made a change, but the fact remains that it’s a federal crime,” he added.

First of all if these grandparents who don’t want their kids and grand-kids smoking pot then they should teach them not to which no doubt they are already doing for it is well known that criminalization has very little impact on whether kids smoke pot or not.

By asserting that they want the law to teach their kids what is right and wrong regarding self-destructive behavior they are abdicating their responsibility of raising their children and foisting it onto the state which is antithetical to Republican-Conservative and even Evangelical-Christian values.

Secondarily if the federal government says something is bad it must bad because the federal government says so right?  The government would never lie to the people, right?

If the federal government says something is good then it must be good because the federal government knows everything and therefore knows what is good and what is bad so we should always believe what the federal government tells us, right?

At one time the federal government, the United States Supreme Court, stated that African Americans could not become U.S. citizens because they were either slaves or the descendants of slaves: Dred Scott v. Sandford

Forty years later the federal government stated that segregation was morally good and that desegregation was morally bad:  Plessy v. Ferguson

It took another 58 years for the federal government to change it fickle mind and decide that segregation was bad:                    Brown v. Board of Education The federal government is no different than any other person in the nation.

The federal government is made up of fallible and prejudiced human beings who come to every issue with subjective goals and agendas in mind and this includes the final arbitrators of American morality, the members of the U.S. Supreme Court who consistently disagree with one another based upon political and personal ideological lines.

“The Constitution on this hypothesis is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”  Thomas Jefferson

Another long time law enforcement lobbyist representing the law police chiefsenforcement and prison guard groups is John Lovell.  In 2010 Lovell, just as he is attempting to do this year, successfully organized a campaign to defeat a marijuana legalization measure.  Lovell not only raised funds from police unions and local prosecutors but the California Beer and Beverage Distributors Association.

The damage that alcohol does to families and society needs no statistical support, hence when it comes to prohibition of marijuana it’s not about morality or the safety and well being of society; it is about power, control and making money evidenced by Lovell’s and his supporters’ hypocritical actions.

Last year Lovell helped defeat Asset Forfeiture reform, Senate Bill, (SB), 443. 

Asset Forfeiture’s roots reside all the way back to the Papal and Spanish Inquisitions.  A person accused his neighbor of being a heretic or a pagan which in turn allowed the Church/State to confiscate the accused’s property whether guilty or innocent.  Regardless of the outcome of the proceedings the accused would most likely never regain his property.

Asset Forfeiture is antithetical to the Protestant Reformers; to the creators of democratic principles such as those found in the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, precisely the 5th and 14th Amendments.  Asset Forfeiture is a complete contradiction of the inalienable right to, “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness/property.”

There was a story in the local paper the, Daily Post, on May 21, 2016 pages 4 & 70, “Pot dealer goes berserk,” in the courtroom as he is led to jail.  This man is due to be sentenced up to 5 years and 8 months in state prison for possession of two pounds of marijuana.  According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office it costs $19,663 a year to pay for security for one prison inmate.  The total cost to house an inmate in a California prison for one year is $47,102.

This man is going to cost California citizens up to $114,045 dollars over 5.8 years to pay prison guards alone.  The citizens of California will have to spend a total of $273,191 on housing, feeding, clothing and babysitting this grown man for 5.8 years because he wanted to sell a little weed.

Who is actually being punished here, the man with two pounds of pot or the California citizens who are being forced to pay for his living expenses?

In 2010 there were approximately 26,600 people in prison on drug offenses.  26,600 times $19,663 = $523 million dollars to prison guards for one year.  The total cost for housing, feeding, clothing and babysitting these grown men and women for one year amounts to $1.25 billion.  That is one billion, two-hundred and fifty million dollars spent on people who did not steal dime or harm anyone.

Who is being punished here, modern day moonshiners or taxpayers?  Whose making out like a bandit; pot pushers or prison guards?

If $500 million a year were spent on treating drug addiction perhaps there would be significantly less people using drugs in the first place and therefore a corresponding drop of those same people in prison. It truly comes down to where you want to spend your money, on health care professionals or prison guards.

By spending it on prison guards you not only lose the costs due to incarceration but also the loss of income and sales tax revenue that those incarcerated would potentially be generating if living on their own and or with their families while working at a job.  Additionally the families whose bread winner is incarcerated are often forced to go on public assistance to survive further depleting the State’s financial reserves.

A recent scientific study concluded that the sale and use of medical marijuana did not exacerbate any other criminal activity countering those unsubstantiated arguments that suggest legalization poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.

Ultimately the fight over marijuana legalization has little to do with the morality of pot use and the safety of society and in actuality has much to do with special interest groups attempting to monopolize a revenue stream.

If there were no financial incentive to law enforcement agencies and prison guards to criminalize pot then they would not be clamoring for it to be so, just like they are not clamoring for the criminalization of beer and wine.

Related Article:  Cops For Pot

High Speed Rail – Built To Fail

What happens when California’s High Speed Rail, HSR, is completed in 2029 or so and at the same time becomes outdated and obsolete technology due to the rise inCalifornia hsr Maglev use around the world?  The current cost to build HSR in California is $64 billion down from $68 billion however this estimate can change at the whim of more delays, legal costs and investor’s desires not to mention the consequences of every increasing inflation over longer construction times.

The current electrified technology will transport riders from Los Angeles to San Francisco, a distance of 380 miles, at speeds up to 220 miles per hour.  This trip will take approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes one way.

Maglev 3Japan is leading the way when it comes to Maglev trains having set a world record speed of 374 mph in its development and construction of a new Maglev rail system from Tokyo to Nagoya covering a distance of 200 miles.  Top speed will be limited to 310 miles per hour resulting in a travel time of 40 minutes.

Japan has offered to help fund a Maglev train in the U.S. to promote it’s technology.  At a cost total cost of  $8 billion the train and rail line would connect Baltimore to Washington, D.C, a distance of 37 miles yet cut commute time down from an hour to 15 minutes! Maglev 2

If Japan partnered with California to build a Maglev train it would cost a little more than the current version of HSR however the jump in speed from 220 mph up to 310 mph would cut the travel time from L.A. to S.F. by at least a third based upon the time reduction of the Tokyo to Nagoya line and perhaps as much as fifty percent bringing travel time down from 2 hours and 40 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes!

Why bring this up given that Governor Jerry Brown’s electric train has already left the station?  I bring this up because the citizens in 2040 who will be saddled with the debt of HSR and its failure to deliver the intended goals will be questioning present day leaders’ decisions.  Martin Wachs, professor emeritus at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs is quoted as saying, “Nobody’s putting up money. Why wouldn’t they? Because the private sector is risk averse,” he said. “The unknowns are more than the knowns.”

The closed minded approach of the California High Speed Rail Authority, HSRA, and Gov. Brown reveal that they are unwilling to evaluate better alternatives to the current version of HSR.

The current version of HSR possesses much of the same inherent flaws that plagued the Space Shuttle program.  No I am not saying that there are design flaws that will result in catastrophic failures of the train; what I am saying is that the current HSR will not be an economically viable system in 2040/50 just as the Space Shuttle program became non-viable exposing the true the reason why Governor Brown and the HSRA are unable to secure the investment money necessary to complete the current version of HSR.

The Columbia Accident Investigative Board stated in 2003,  “The increased complexity of the Shuttle, designed to be all things to all people created inherently greater risks than if more realistic technical goals had been set at the start.”  The board continued, “Designing a reusable spacecraft  that is cost-effective is a daunting engineering challenge; doing so on a tightly constrained budget is even more difficult.”

One thing is abundantly clear, HSR and Brown are trying to build an expensive piece of transportation infrastructure on a budget.  A budget that is incapable of meeting the quality requirements of the system nor achieve the economic viability required of such a business plan.

They sold the people of California on the idea that HSR could be built for $40 Billion knowing full well that the true cost would be much more.  If they lied about that then surely they are lying about the capabilities and costs today.

“They have failed to disclose huge cost overruns and after they boasted private firms were interested in funding this project, we now know these firms are unwilling to put up any private money,” State Assemblyman Jim Patterson said. “What’s worse, we have learned that the [rail authority] ordered its own experts to keep their findings secret from the public.”

They are trying to build a machine and implement a business model by cutting corners in order to get it up and running for they mistakenly believe that a flawed system is better than no system at all.  The same kind of misguided egos that launched a failed shuttle system created with inherent flaws are now pushing for HSR because they don’t want to admit they are wrong.  If you are going to do something do it right or don’t do it at all.

The question is not what the older generation would ask the leaders to do today regarding HSR, the question that the leaders at the HSRA and the state need to ask themselves is what would the people, those people who will be 20 years to 50 years old in 2040 ask them to do today?

I bet the people in 2040 who are -5 to 25 years old today would say to build an economically viable Maglev train, the trains of the 21st century or don’t build one at all for building an $80 billion dollar money pit is a waste of their money and an impediment to future progress of implementing up to date technology.   Everyone in Sacramento knows this to be the truth, because everyone who is currently 20 to 50 years old today knows that BART should have been built around the entire San Francisco Bay back in the 1960s and 70s, yet the leaders chose not to and the result is a failed commuter system.  Every day on every highway at rush hour that failure is self evident.

Had BART been built around the bay back in the late 60s and early 70s the cost would have been significantly less than what it costs today to do the same and thus the benefits to the people today would far exceed the relative costs associated with its construction in the 60s and 70s.  This same practicality should be employed to HSR now.

Is there anyone at the HSRA who has the intestinal fortitude and integrity to put a stop to HSR and build something that will truly benefit the people of California?

Rather than selling the people on getting something for nothing and producing a shoddy product with a losing business concept why not build something that venture capitalists would want to be a part of funding, something that would truly transform travel and transport in the state?

Presently HSR is built to fail, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Build Maglev and if not Maglev build a scaled down version of Maglev at a fraction of the cost that could remove 5 times the cars from the roadways that HSR can, Skytran.

A Link to differences in costs between conventional HSR and Maglev.

Time is money.  HSRA should incorporate freight trains on its rail line for if it did then it could possibly acquire investment money from companies like: ups, FedEx, USPS, amazon, etc…  If not investment money, HSRA will no doubt be able to rent space on its trains to transport parcels and other products and thereby generate more revenue to recoup startup costs as will as to turn a profit sooner rather than later.

 

How to Extinguish a Forest Fire

This article that was first published in August 2013 related to the Rim Fire in the Sierra Nevada becomes relevant once again given the recent forest fire in Canada that destroyed 2,400 homes and businesses in addition to damaging another 500 buildings.  Not only did the Canadian fire destroy millions of dollars worth of infrastructure but it also resulted in an estimated $450-million loss in oil production revenue.

Rob Evans a spokesperson for ConocoPhillips is quoted as saying;  “If the fireliquid nitrogen fire eliminator comes through, there is nothing we can do.”  “We don’t have any fire suppression for forest fires; there are no external defenses.”  Actually there is something that can suppress any fire anywhere and that is Liquid Nitrogen.

Not much has changed in the last twenty to thirty years in forest fighting technology even though the eight worst wildfire seasons since 1960 have all occurred in the last 12 years. (1)  The U.S. Forest Service spent nearly $300 million battling blazes from the sky in 2007. (2)  The federal government spends $3 billion a year fighting wild fires. (3)

The Rim fire has burned 187,000 acres of forest at a cost of $33 million.

Other than sure manpower battling the blaze from the ground the best the forest service has are aerial drops of water and fire retardant.  Fire retardant is little more than a mixture of water and fertilizer that clings to vegetation in the hopes of diminishing the combustibility of the fuel source, the trees, as the blaze rushes on.  Water evaporates quickly having only short term benefits.

The U.S. Forest Service has a total of eight retardant dropModular Airborne Firefighting Systems ready for operational use that can drop 3,000 gallons of retardant on a fire in less than 5 seconds.  (4)

Our national treasures are going up in flames because we toss a few drops of water in the direction of our forests when they come under attack from a fire.

Retardant alone is not enough to squash an inferno that is creating its own weather.  (5)  Instead of eight C-130s dropping retardant around the country there should be thirty C-130s dropping retardant on the Rim fire from the moment it became a threat.

In order to get the upper hand quickly and decisively a crown fire needs to be knocked down to the ground.  This can be accomplished liquid nitrogenwith an abundant and relatively inexpensive product, Liquid Nitrogen, LN2.  Nitrogen is non-toxic, odorless, and colorless.

Dropping Liquid Nitrogen, LN2, into the heart and periphery of a crown fire will reduce the heat slowing down the rate at which the fire consumes the fuel, the trees.  Secondarily, when Nitrogen converts to a gas it will temporarily deplete the immediate area of Oxygen starving the fire of the second ingredient required to burn at a high intensity.  (6)

liquid nitrogen dewarsUsing altitude detonators to rupture canisters of LN2 tree-tops can be targeted to reduce the intensity of crown fires and prevent forest fires from turning into hurricanes of flames.

A three step strategy to knocking out a crown fire:

Step One:  Carpet bomb the heart of the fire liquid nitrogen bombsas well as the immediate fuel sources with LN2.

Step Two:  Saturate the heart of the fire as well as the immediate fuel sources with conventional fire retardant and water.

Step Three:  Bring ground forces in to confine the heart to its location.

$33 million is the cost of fighting the Rim fire so far, what is the economic loss of the 292 square mile ecosystem and the timber that could have been harvested for a number of industries and products; hundreds of millions of dollars?

Liquid Nitrogen, LN2, costs approximately 80¢ a gallon.  (7)

Had ten times as much fire retardant been used a week ago all at once in conjunction with a million gallons of Liquid Nitrogen at a cost of three to five million dollars perhaps the fire would’ve been contained several days sooner preserving tens of thousands of acres of forest and saving millions of dollars.

True the initial cost might seem out of proportion to the size and scope of a wildfire with several uncertainties in the balance yet when the total loss and cost of all the fires of any given fire season is averaged out it appears that using a sledge hammer to squash an ant in this instance would be the most efficient and cost effective method of controlling forest fires.

Youtube video of bombing runs demonstrating the viability of the concept:

Youtube video of Liquid Nitrogen extinguishing fire by eliminating oxygen:

Replace the explosives with Liquid Nitrogen.

The Canadian oil companies escaped relatively unscathed this time, but what happens the next time when a fire comes barreling down on their production facilities?  What about this fire season in the United States; is the U.S. Forest Service going to do what it has been doing over and over again the last 30 years and watch millions of acres of forest and U.S. dollars go up in smoke or will it try something new, something outside of the box?

One thing is for certain, doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different  result is insane according to Albert Einstein.  If you don’t try something new then you can expect the same result and in this case that is more toasted trees and U.S. dollars turned to ash.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Cops For Pot

Before we delve into the dilemma facing the prohibitionists lets clear up some of the misrepresentations promoted by the pro-pot club.  The people backing the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” have obtained the required signatures to place it on the November ballot.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the 62-page initiative will make it harder for people under 21 to obtain pot and easier for police to crack down on illicit sales.

Both of these assertions are unsubstantiated assumptions that are contradicted by the history of alcohol use.  Presently kids can readily avail themselves of their parent’s liquor cabinets something they cannot do of Marijuana.  Given the increase in pot possession that will result from its legalization those components of the Act that outlaw specific transactions will not be any more accessible to law enforcement than they are presently but more likely less accessible.  (It should be noted that legalization will significantly reduce the incentive of large scale black market deals for drugs thereby reduce crime.)

Does either one of these scenarios justify the perpetuation of prohibition, no.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states in part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;….”

Freedom of religion is not exclusive to thought life.  Freedom of religion entails practice; freedom to what one puts in his or her body just like the bread and wine performed in the Catholic ceremony of the Eucharist.  You cannot have one without the other for prohibiting the expression of thoughts through practice is the prohibition of religion.  Prohibiting the use of marijuana is prohibiting freedom of religion.

Despite this fact the most ardent advocates of prohibition have been bible toting Republican law makers and law enforcement control freaks.  As it has been in the past so it is today.

The California Republican Party voted to oppose the measure at its convention last month. On Wednesday, the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Hospital Association, the Teamsters Union and other groups also said they would be campaigning against it.

The primary argument espoused by these groups is that the use of marijuana, drugs, is harmful to individuals, families and society as a whole.

Granting them this assertion the fact remains if the American people are to be free than that freedom must include the choice of indulging in practices that are harmful to themselves.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Benjamin Franklin

Why is it that the Republicans repeatedly and loudly clamor for small government and then immediately turn about face desiring to create a nanny state when it comes to the consumption of marijuana but not Big Macs and Coca-Cola?  Their hypocrisy knows no end and reveals an ulterior motive behind their agenda of “The War on Drugs.” 

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”  Abraham Lincoln

 “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”  Thomas Jefferson

It’s legal to worship Satan in America but it is illegal to ingest a naturally occurring plant.

It’s legal to drink a glass of wine or two after dinner in America but it is illegal to inhale some smoke from a weed.

The Fact is:  “Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.”  William F. Buckley, Jr.

Mr. Buckley’s assertion is supported by “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition,” (LEAP), a drug policy reform group made up of current and former law enforcement professionals from the U.S. and other nations.  LEAP does not promote the use of drugs however statistical and real world historical data supports LEAP’s conclusion that prohibition causes more harm than good to individuals, families and society as a whole than legalization.

According to LEAP, “there have been more than 39 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses in the last 40 years. Those incarcerated over a 20-year period quadrupled so that now more than 2.3 million US citizens are in prison or jail. The US spends 70 billion dollars a year on incarcerating 22.5 percent of the entire world’s prisoners even though the U.S. only has 4.6 percent of the world’s population.  LEAP has concluded that not one U.S. drug policy goal of lowering crime, addiction, drug availability or juvenile drug use has been achieved over the last 40 years, but rather the drug war has exacerbated all of the problems associated with drug use in addition to destroying families by removing parents from the home. Drugs are cheaper, more potent and more accessible to adults and juveniles then what they were 40 years ago.  Powerful drug cartels and inner city gangs are created due to the illegality of the drug trade which is beyond authorities’ supervision.  These cartels and gangs perpetrate all kinds of violent crimes against each other as well as innocent bystanders to maintain control over regions and aspects of the black market.   Most of these unnecessary secondary crimes would disappear if drugs were legalized and regulated reducing the incidents of addiction in the process.”

“The drug war wreaks havoc, funds terrorism, and causes major corruption around the globe. This is the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!”  LEAP

Legalization will help keep families together enabling more people to get off public assistance due to one and zero parent households.  Legalization will not only make average citizens’ lives safer but police officers’ lives as well.

“Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes crimes out things that are not crimes.”  Abraham Lincoln

Make no mistake, for a lot of people, regular pot use will turn them into sluggards diminishing both motivation and energy.  I have not once met a person who uses pot on a daily basis in which that use has not diminished his intellectual capacity and has not been detrimental to his ability to achieve his goals and dreams; his ability to succeed occupationally and or his ability to create a happy and healthy family.  But that should be his choice, for it is clear any dictatorial mandate levied from above will not affect his outcome.  It is much cheaper and safer for society to treat this person’s addiction as a health problem rather than a criminal problem.

The argument that prohibition makes society safer is a fallacy.  Prohibition is a violation of the 1st Amendment of the United States.  No God fearing, economically conservative or libertarian American should ever be in favor of prohibition for it cuts against the grain of his values.

A few more notable quotables:

“A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”  Abraham Lincoln

“If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel.  That’s literally true.”  Milton Friedman

“We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don’t. There is no middle ground.”  Leon Panetta

“Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.” Al Capone

“He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it.”  Baruch Spinoza

“Drug prohibition has caused gang warfare and other violent crimes by raising the prices of drugs so much that vicious criminals enter the market to make astronomical profits, and addicts rob and steal money to pay inflated prices for their drugs.”  Michael Badnarik

The 21st Century Electric Bike

The 21st century electric bike isn’t a bike, it’s a wheel.wheel 2
Imagine changing your pedal powered bike into an electric bike in 60 seconds; an electric bike with enough power to propel you to 20mph in 6 seconds over a distance of 20 miles using the battery alone and up to 50 miles with pedal assistance.  It’s as easy as swapping out your front wheel with the GeoOrbital wheel.  That’ it.

The people at GeoOrbital have created a hub-less, orbital wheel that houses the entire power supply within the wheel.  Well hub-less isnt’ entirely accurate, there is no center hub as the middle of the wheel houses the 36V Lithium-Ion battery which powers a 500W Brushless DC motor.  The motor is attached to a roller at the end of an arm that presses up against the underside of the rim at the tire.  This roller pushes the tire forward.  Two more arms extend from the midpoint of the wheel to two rollers that provide stability.  The tire is solid foam which performs like an air inflated tire yet eliminates the hassles of flats.

wheel 3No doubt about it the GeoOrbital is a game changer when it comes to electrified transportation.  Given the popularity of electric bikes, scooters and skateboards around Palo Alto we will soon see the electrified wheel zooming up and down our streets.

The company is taking orders as a part of its Kickstarter campaign; place your order today to electrify your bike by Nov. 2016.