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Would You Like to Buy Some Marijuana?



I’ll sell you some high-quality bud, without any chemicals.

I sell pot. Not a ton of it, but enough to keep a lot of people happy: about four pounds every three weeks. You want to buy some? I’ll sell three grams for $25, or five grams for $40. Just let me know.

Like every good Canadian kid, I started smoking pot in high school. I’d guess my friends and I would smoke maybe three to five grams each, over the weekend, and that became a lifelong habit. Now I smoke all day, every day.

A few years ago, I started growing my own vegetables, and I got to thinking, “I bet I could grow bud.” Sure enough, I could. Nowadays, I grow and sell what I deem is worthwhile. I have to smoke it first. If it doesn’t get me high, I’m not going to grow it for other people. I get my seeds from a warehouse, which is a logistical nightmare, but I know exactly what I’m getting. Right now I’m growing two strands, called White Russian and Green Crack. Good stuff.

I grow completely organic. I don’t use any chemicals. No fertilizer, nothing. Most of the stuff you’ll find out there now is what’s called M-39, which means it comes to maturity in 39 days. And then to help it along, the growers feed a lot of chemicals to it. But I don’t do that. I grow naturally, and the plants take eight to 12 weeks to grow. When you smoke organic bud, that stuff is so clean, so good. You can feel it.

People really like my bud. I sell to lawyers, reporters, doctors, all sorts of regular people, too. My customers range from 25 to 40 years old. Recently, there was, well, let’s say someone in the media, talking about getting high, talking about how good it is, and it made me smile, because I knew I was the source of that bud.

My customers come to me because they can count on me. They don’t want to be out on the street, trying to score some pot. They don’t want to mess around with sketchy fucking drug dealers. Most of my customers are on a regular schedule. It’s Wednesday, so I know she needs this amount. Thursday, he’s coming for that. One guy picks up an ounce at a time, because he doesn’t want to hassle with it.

I don’t make a lot of money doing this. Basically, it pays for my own bud. It’s mostly a public service. I still live paycheque to paycheque, like everyone else.

Do you have a problem with this? Do you drink alcohol? It’s the same thing. It’s just like brewing beer or making wine. I enjoy doing it, and I enjoy using it.

I’d like to see bud legalized, just like tobacco. Regulate it so that each package says right on it, “This has these chemicals, there’s this much of this, and that much of that.” Really, the stuff that’s out there now is so bad, so full of chemicals. If people knew what they were smoking, they probably wouldn’t smoke it. It’s bad for your kidneys, bad for your liver, bad for your what have you.

If you could just smoke the pure plant, with none of the chemicals added, you’d be surprised. It’s an amazing plant—you smoke it, and you can feel it running pure through your veins. That’s the stuff I sell. People keep coming back to buy it. What more can I say?

I’m not not too worried about getting busted. There was something in the news awhile back that involved someone I sold to, but it never came back to me. But even then, it’s just weed. I’ll take the charge. It’s provincial laws, not federal laws, so what could I get, two years?

And you know, we’ll need to test these laws. If you can brew beer for your hobby and your personal use, why can’t I grow bud for my hobby and my personal use?

I’m doing something worthwhile for society. I’m not hurting anyone, and I’m making sure people are getting quality bud. I make people happy. That’s a good thing.

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Our Love-Hate Relationship with Gimmicks



When Jennifer Egan’s novel “A Visit from the Goon Squad” won the Pulitzer Prize, in 2011, much fuss was made over its penultimate chapter, which presents the diary of a twelve-year-old girl in the form of a seventy-six-page PowerPoint presentation. Despite the nearly universal acclaim that the novel had received, critics had trouble deciding whether the PowerPoint was a dazzling, avant-garde innovation or, as one reviewer described it, “a wacky literary gimmick,” a cheap trick that diminished the over-all value of the novel. In an interview with Egan, the novelist Heidi Julavits confessed to dreading the chapter before she read it, and then experiencing a happy relief once she had. “I live in fear of the gimmicky story that fails to rise above its gimmick,” she said. “But within a few pages I totally forgot about the PowerPoint presentation, that’s how ungimmicky your gimmick was.”

The word “gimmick” is believed to come from “gimac,” an anagram of “magic.” The word was likely first used by magicians, gamblers, and swindlers in the nineteen-twenties to refer to the props they wielded to attract, and to misdirect, attention—and sometimes, according to “The Wise-Crack Dictionary,” from 1926, to turn “a fair game crooked.” From such duplicitous beginnings, the idea of gimmickry soon spread. In Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Invitation to a Beheading,” from 1935, a mother distracts her imprisoned son from counting the hours to his execution by describing the “marvelous gimmicks” of her childhood. The most shocking, she explains, was a trick mirror. When “shapeless, mottled, pockmarked, knobby things” were placed in front of the mirror, it would reflect perfectly sensible forms: flowers, fields, ships, people. When confronted with a human face or hand, the mirror would reflect a jumble of broken images. As the son listens to his mother describe her gimmick, he sees her eyes spark with terror and pity, “as if something real, unquestionable (in this world, where everything was subject to question), had passed through, as if a corner of this horrible life had curled up, and there was a glimpse of the lining.” Behind the mirror lurks something monstrous—an idea of art as device, an object whose representational powers can distort and devalue just as easily as they can estrange and enchant.

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Stakeholder vs. Shareholder Capitalism: What Is Ideal Today?



Haywood Kelly: At Morningstar, we’re proud that our research teams not only operate independently but that our analysts are encouraged to explore ideas and raise contrarian viewpoints. The enemy of any research organization is groupthink. A research organization needs to hire people who aren’t afraid of challenging the status quo and who are always thinking about how to foster a culture where people feel comfortable speaking up and encouraging us all to think harder and sharper.

And we debate just about everything. Is the market overvalued? Should private equity be allowed into retirement plans? What categories are most suited to active investors? How much should an annuity cost? And I’d say one of the hottest areas of debate these days is ESG. Does ESG help or hurt investing performance? What ESG risks are truly material to cash flows? What should be included in a “globe rating,” and on and on.

Within the field of sustainable investing and with it evolving so rapidly, there is really no facet that we don’t debate. And today, we’ve asked a group of researchers from across Morningstar to represent opposing sides of a particular ESG argument. But we didn’t have to look far for one that’s taken centerstage in 2020. 

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HILL: The Great Reset



If you haven’t heard about The Great Reset yet, you will. 


Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” slogan, of which no one knew the meaning or purpose, is a direct lift from The Great Reset Manifesto, let’s call it, concocted by the dreamy-eyed elites of the world who attend annual ritzy, star-studded winter retreats in Davos, Switzerland under the auspices of the World Economic Forum.

“In short” the wealthy elites of the world proclaim to the rest of the world, “we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

To save the world, these elites demand “the world must act … to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions; …every country… must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed”.

In other words, these elites demand that the entire world embrace socialism; impose much higher wealth taxes, which they will avoid paying, that’s a given; promulgate onerous regulations on banking and industry; and pass massive Green New Deals, which would “only” cost U.S. taxpayers and consumers $93 trillion to implement.

Liberal socialists never say anything about cutting government spending, lowering government regulatory burdens on business and people, getting rid of archaic government programs that have been proven ineffective, or removing legal barriers for people who want to start a business and provide a better life for their family.

Liberal socialists simply believe a lot more government is good. Conservatives don’t. It is pretty much that simple.

Every command issued by Great Reset/One World Government proponents strikes at the core of American individualism. American individualism and self-initiative led to the creation of such ground-breaking innovations as the IPhone, Amazon and Google, nothing close to which has ever been invented under socialist or communist regimes. Wait until the Great Reset dries up American innovation; Millennials and liberals will then see the adverse side of too much governmental control of our economy, then they will be ready for more free market capitalism.

Americans should understandably feel a little queasy when they hear Prince Charles or Canadian PM Justin Trudeau gush about how the COVID pandemic provides the “perfect opportunity” to change everything. Only totalitarians at heart think a pandemic or crisis is “a great time to impose their will on the world.” Hitler took power during the post-WWI economic depression in Germany to “restore the Fatherland,” to name perhaps the worst case in recent history.

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