Dan’s Notes

This is a section for stray thoughts, comments, observations, answers to readers' questions, whatever. Consider it a blog without the obligation to post five times a day. For those who want more, please take note of the little blue bird below: one click and you, too, can be subjected to an incessant barrage of Gardnerian thoughtlets.

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Shameless braggery

Monday, 16 January 2012 16:57

My mother would be horrified but I have to brag. Brag, brag, brag. It seems Silicon Valley legend Vinod Khosla is a big fan of Future Babble!

His verdict: “If you read one book this year, Future Babble should be it – it’s a fresh conventional wisdom-busting book that will have you questioning all the so-called ‘expert advice’ you’ve followed over the years.”


On Faces and Veils

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:50
After the jump, a thoughtful email I received in response to this column. My response follows.

Some Days I Think There's No Hope

Monday, 14 November 2011 15:13

One of the few responses I got to this column about marijuana potency:


You must have been stoned when you wrote your article 'The myth of the potent pot'  Pllllllease!  I am from the 70's generation who did smoke the best ... B.C. Bud/Okanagan Gold.....  So do the math... I am in my 50's and no I don't smoke anything anymore but have tried a bit and have friends who still smoke occasionally and say that the pot now is EXTREMELY strong...even for some old pot heads.   You say you have personal experience ......what is your experience?  To advocate that pot is not harmful is just totally irresponsible and frankly laughable. Hey, have another joint and write something like....hmmmmm ...acid or mescaline was really  OK ..... oh you know those crazy 70's.

The Answer Is 42

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 10:04

Responding to this column, a reader straightens me out:

Dear Mr. Gardner…I have some news for you.  History is simple; it is not the mystery that you claim it to be.   It’s called follow the money. The banks made the past, they own the present,  and they control the future. They always have and always will. The banks ruined Rome and Greece. It took them a couple of hundred years to do so, but they eventually either killed all the Kings of Europe or reduced them to puppets.

The banks created Oliver Cromwell, they had Charles the First murdered; they sponsored the so called French and Russian Revolutions, and they created WW1 and WW2 , and all the little wars and revolutions since the beginning of time.    When Paul Warburg and Nelson Aldrich, acting on behalf of the Rothschilds, created their Central Bank called the FED in 1913,  they essentially took control of the world most of the world. The rest would soon follow.

The banks have fought every US President since 1776. The Presidents they could not buy or control, they murdered, or at least tried to murder.

You are amazed at the rise of China and the downfall of Europe and America. Wonder no more. No country can complete with the banker’s retooling of industrial China and its slave wages. During the worst depression in the world, the 1930’s, the banks put their money into Nazi Germany and it flourished while the rest of the world was being choked by the bankers who had simply restricted the flow of money world -side.   When the banks decided to destroy Hitler and make billions of dollars in doing so, and to rearrange the world to their liking,  they then created secretly sponsored Stalin and the USSR for 60 years, ( they even gave the USSR the atomic bomb). They did this until the US tax payers became so hopelessly in debt that the bankers had to finally pull the rug on the USSR and it collapsed in months. The banks then created the perfect boogey man- the terrorist- through cute little tricks such as 9-11- and they have been happily destroying country after country that refused to let them in to control their economy through the IMF, World Bank or through a central bank. That's what the destruction of Yugoslavia, Iraq, now Syria, Afghanistan, The Sudan, Somalia, of course Libya,  and soon to be Iran is all about.

I hope this helps you in your understanding of the world. But you knew all this before.

Mandatory Minimum Muddle

Saturday, 15 October 2011 09:04

The government's omnibus crime bill is enormous and difficult to read, as it mostly consists of scattered amendments to this or that legislation. But after some time struggling through it, I've found several instances where the government's public statements about what's in the bill do not entirely capture what's in the bill. I'll have more on this in a column to be published Monday.

In the meantime, I tweeted some of what I've found -- including the fact that someone who grows even a single marijuana plant in a rented apartment, with the intention of sharing it with a friend, would be hit with a mandatory minimum of nine months in jail.

The press secretary to the minister of justice emailed to tell me I was wrong. So I had another look. And I consulted with some people far more capable than I. And I became even more strongly convinced I'm right -- and the press secretary to the minister of justice doesn't know what is in her government's bill.

The legislation can be found here. See section 41(1).

Following is my correspondence with the minister's press secretary.


From: Gardner, Daniel (ott) [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
Sent: 2011-Oct-14 1:32 PM
To: Stephens, Pamela
Subject: RE: your comments on Twitter

Thanks for this.

But I had a close look at the legislation as it is now drafted. I've also conferred with someone who will be testifying at the committee hearings Tuesday. And with respect, I think you're wrong.

First, I did not refer to possession. I referred to someone growing a plant for the purpose of trafficking. In public, your minister has consistently represented "trafficking" as some sort of large-scale selling of marijuana for profit. But the legal definition -- as the minister should certainly know -- includes selling, giving, or even offering the prohibited substance. Thus, anyone who grows a plant with the intention of sharing it with anyone else is doing so with the intent of trafficking. And will be subject to the mandatory minimum.

Second, the mandatory minimum you refer to is not the only one in the bill. There is another mandatory minimum, for nine months, which applies in certain specified circumstances. One of those circumstances is where the growing is done on real property which does not belong to the grower. Hence, a rented apartment qualifies. Furthermore, there is no "more than five" cutoff on that mandatory minimum, so it applies even if someone grows a single plant.

All of which demonstrates that if your intention with this legislation is to "disrupt criminal organizations," it has much wider application than you intend. And will inflict punishments which I think the great majority of Canadians would find grotesque.

Of course my interpretation may be wrong. If so, please have one of your lawyers contact me to explain how and why based not on a backgrounder but the precise wording of the legislation.

I do appreciate your reaching out like this. Would you mind if I posted this exchange on my website?


From: Stephens, Pamela [ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 12:13 PM
To: Gardner, Daniel (ott)
Subject: Re: your comments on Twitter

Hi Dan,

I saw your tweets earlier today and I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify some of the points you make with regard to Bill C-10's provisions regarding mandatory penalties for serious drug crimes.

Contrary to your assertion, Bill C-10 would not result in a mandatory penalty for someone who "grows even a single pot plant in a rented apartment." The proposed mandatory sentences apply for the production of six or more plants and only when the offence is carried out for the "purpose of trafficking". Simple possession offences would not be subject to any mandatory penalties.

Please refer to the attached backgrounder which contains a chart outlining the sentences proposed in the legislation.
<<110920 - Organized Drug Crime BKG E FINAL.docx>> Again, the Safe Streets & Communities Act is carefully targeted at disrupting criminal organizations who supply illicit drugs, which is without a doubt the most significant source of money for gangs and organized crime. Police and fire chiefs have long called for increased sentences for this kind of behaviour, as grow ops and meth labs constitute a significant hazard to the community. Landlords are increasingly fed up with the damage caused to their dwellings by pot producers.

Drug producers and dealers who threaten the safety of our communities must face tougher penalties. Our message is clear: if you sell or produce drugs, you'll pay with jail time.

I hope this clarifies things for you.  If you have further questions, our office is here to assist.


Pamela Stephens
Press Secretary / Attachée de presse
Office of the Minister of Justice / Cabinet du ministre de la Justice and Attorney General of Canada


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