Drugs’r bad…m’kay?

This post over at Atheist Revolution got me thinking about Prohibition and what a monumental failure it was. So many dead, huge amounts of money & manpower wasted attempting to apprehend criminals who were, of all things, trading in alcohol. Makes you wonder how many extra criminals Prohibition created out of thin air! Now, we do have quite a few wowsers (aka “buzzkills”) in this wide brown land of of ours Down Here, however – if anyone seriously asked us to stop drinking alcohol they’d be laughed out of town. But then, the Puritans who landed in the US in the 17th century (and then almost starved to death) left a lasting legacy of, well, puritanical behaviour (Exhibit A: hysteria over Janet Jackson’s exposed boob – won’t someone think of the children??!), where we down here were founded either by reformed/escaped criminals (e.g. Victoria, New South Wales) or by free settlers from across Europe (e.g. South Australia). Either way, we retained in our genes a love for the demon drink and a deep suspicion of anyone telling us we’re not allowed to do stuff that we like doing.

Now, Vjack’s post – and the comments thereafter, including some about the US War On Drugs (can’t we go a decade without the US declaring war on poverty, terror or something else they’ll never defeat because they think all they have to do is just shoot at it?) – also got me thinking about drugs. More specifically, how drugs are demonised in this country. Not all drugs and not as much as in the US perhaps, but certainly to a level occasionally approaching hysteria.

What I find interesting is this: in my home town of Adelaide in Australia, the dreaded weed is decriminalised. You get a fine for a small amount or for one plant, i.e. a quantity for personal use (“personal use” used to cover up to ten plants, amazingly enough – trust me, noone can smoke that much before it goes all dry and shitty). You don’t go to jail unless you’re clearly growing or stockpiling for distribution, and even then you have to be in posession of quite a bit. Basically, the law is set up to punish the greedy wannabe kingpins and slap the wrist of the casual grower. Fine with me. It’s not cool to deal with guys who want to make a living out of it – who actually rent an entire house and grow weed in sophisticated hydro setups in every single room! Also, a lot of the time with guys like that it’s not just weed they’re into, and and it’s not just them or their mate that’s involved. I’m just saying, you don’t want to deal with guys who for all you know are into some shit with speed-cooking bikers. You don’t want to be around some dude’s house buying some bush in preparation for a night with the bucket and the PS2 on the same night some amped-up Bandido decides to exact some Scarface-style revenge for something that didn’t go so well. We’ve all seen those movies where a well-meaning but naive doofus gets into some serious shit and ends up dodging more bullets than a Fallujah ambulance driver. Besides, it’s just a lot more friendly to hook up via a mate, or a mate’s mate, who maybe has a plant or two in the laundry. It’s also likely to be cheaper or a more generous deal.

Anyway, bullet-dodging aside, I could grow myself a little friend, get busted and not end up someone’s bitch. However! If I were to grow my own tobacco – a legal, addictive & provably deadly drug) without government permission in the form of a producer license I could be jailed for 2 years! For one plant! OR be fined up to – well, over – $50,000. Source: Excise Act 1901.

Why? Because, as an unregistered tobacco grower, I’d be depriving the government of money. Tobacco taxes here are ridiculous – when I started smoking in 1991 at age 15, a pack of Marlboro 20s was about $4, now it’s over $11 with like half of that being the tax. To put that into perspective, a glass of beer has gone up less than a buck in that time and CDs have remained the same at $30 – in a lot of stores they’ve gone down. I’m really glad I quit 6 years ago when my Peter Stuyvesant 20s were approaching 9 bucks.

So, if I grow one dope plant for personal use, I guess the law figures I’m not hurting anyone or depriving anyone of anything. So I get a small fine, no jail, no criminal record. I grow one tobacco plant – and deprive the government of a small chunk of one of its biggest income streams (along with alcohol and gambling) and I’m instantly a criminal who deserves jail time or to go bankrupt. For growing my own cigarettes! While my neighbour with his weed crop gets comparatively nothing!

Now, to me, this is laughable – we’re expected to take drug policy in this country seriously while the government rakes in cash from the most dangerous & addictive drug this side of heroin (yet allows it to remain legal) and punishes severely anyone who tries to produce it without their approval (and associated piece of the action). This by any other name would be called a racket.

However, there’s a positive, and a model to be examined: because of the government’s racketeering, there’s no real black market for tobacco. No prohibition-style gang wars, like when the righteous banned that most enjoyable of legal drugs – alcohol. No gangland drug deal-related murder sprees like those which rocked my home of Melbourne in recent years (check out the recent TV series “Underbelly” – it rules). No wannabes growing weed in every room of a rented house using off-grid, stolen electricity.

So, now I think about it, maybe I’m backwards on this – maybe the government should apply their tobacco policy to weed & other drugs and get into all of them – they could rake in the cash, clean up the drugs so noone’s shooting drain cleaner up their arm or snorting sherbert powder & punish the hell out of anyone who gets in on their racket. At least that’d be consistent!

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The main reason, in my estimation, that tobacco isn’t trafficked like weed, or just grown in peoples’ backyards, is because the government has had its hands tight around the production & distribution for the last however, century and a bit. They control who grows it, they tax the shit out of it, they legislate where you can smoke it, they punish unregistered producers. They even publicly rail against it, banning cigarette advertising pretty much across the board and requiring tobacco companies to plaster their packages with detailed, visceral images of smoking-related maladies – all the while taking gobs of money from the afflictee and the afflictor. Now, much as they do rail against smoking in all avenues (when they know they’re being recorded) and pay lip service to various reps from the AMA and anti-tobacco lobby, the government can’t ban smoking. Yet. Mostly because there’s not yet a revenue stream that can adequately replace that of tobacco tax. Also, they’re probably aware that the trade will go underground as surely as the liquor trade did during US Prohibition, creating a shipload more criminals where there weren’t before. The effects on the economy through loss of jobs and exports would also be astronomical. At this point, it makes sense for the government to continue to tell everyone that smoking is evil but take a major cut of the profits from the activity. There are probably more reasons, maybe even more compelling ones, but those’ll do for now.

So, the government have plenty of good reasons to continue to support & control tobacco production. The main ones being that they reap taxes and that it would be excessively counterproductive, even harmful, to ban or criminalise it. As a result, anyone over 18 can go into a store and buy, consume and get hopelessly addicted to tobacco, quite probably costing themselves & us (as taxpayers) billions a year through healthcare-related costs and anti-smoking campaigns – billions which, in part, would come from precisely the tax they paid on their cigarettes in the first place.

Now, while I’d like to see weed 100% legalised nationally, attracting no penalties at all for growing or consuming and not being under any governmental oversight – which would remove the criminal element from it entirely and allow anyone to have it growing next to their tomatoes and basil, guilt-free – I understand why the government wouldn’t allow it. They would have no control if granny could pop in a couple of plants next to the petunias to help with her trick knee when the weather gets cold. It perhaps wouldn’t be like people growing their own tobacco, as weed for most people is in no way as addictive (can be strongly habit-forming though, and very hard to stop for heavy users – but so can coffee, trust me on that), so nowhere near as many people would grow it. And, well, some people just don’t like being stoned. Fair enough. Even those who do enjoy being stoned generally don’t smoke a joint three or ten or fifty times a day like cigarette addicts do.

Still, though, if the government added weed to its drink & smoke racketeering, it would corner the market on recreational soft drugs in this country. The “Big Three” would be under the auspices of the government. You’d buy your gram from a store, licensed to sell weed the same way a bar is licensed to sell liquor & the government would get its cut from the distributor. The weed would come from an approved producer who pays his annual license fee, scaled according to the size of his operation. The government wouldn’t make as much money as it does on ciggies because weed doesn’t hook you in like tobacco does, but it’d be a nice little earner and they’d retain that all-important control of the product, all the way from the go stage to the “woah” stage. Not only that, you’d keep jails and courtrooms free of smokers & growers. You’d free up drug cops to chase smack rings and speed cookers.

Of course, in a flash of blinding irony, it would mean anyone caught growing their own weed without permission, but while it was legal, would get into even more trouble than they would if they were caught today while it’s technically illegal. It may also mean that anyone wanting to get into drug distribution as a career move wouldn’t bother with now-legal & tightly-controlled weed as a stepping stone. Here’s the real “gateway” danger, kids – not that smoking weed would lead you to heroin, but that growing weed as a business venture may well lead you to thinking that dealing horse with the Triads or eckies with the Carl Williamses or speed with the outlaw bikers of this world is a quick, easy way to a pimped Hummer and a beach house with nine plasma screens and wall-to-wall hotties. Which, as any movie will have already told you, leads to ruin and maybe even an explodey, kickass death. Remember Scarface? New Jack City? Any druggie movie that ends in a hail of lead? Hell, forget fiction: Pablo Escobar, King of Medellin, the infamous godfather of all Latino smugglers, whose income once rivalled that of many multinationals, ended up with more holes in him than the plots of the Matrix & Minority Report combined.

So, in closing: perhaps it’s better to keep weed technically illegal because the penalty for growing your own without permission under some tobacoo-style, tax-heavy governmental oversight would probably be worse than it is today.

Also in closing: I don’t know what the hell to do about heroin, ice, coke, speed, eckies or any of the other shit I don’t touch with a ten-foot clown pole. Maybe the government should get into everything! Take control of distribution (like the US did with the raw materials for quaaludes), clean it all up, oust the criminal element completely and shut every skanky backyard dealer, cutting up his shit with ground glass and icing sugar, down for good.

Pfft, whatever. If I wasn’t at work I’d go have a smoke right now. My brain’s a little hepped up on caffeine right now and I’m not thinking straight. Could use a chillout.

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Vatican Watch: pretend country opposes decriminalisation of homosexuality

From [Reuters]:

VATICAN CITY, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Gay rights groups and newspaper editorials on Tuesday condemned the Vatican for its decision to oppose a proposed U.N. resolution calling on governments worldwide to de-criminalise homosexuality.

The row erupted after the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations told a French Catholic news agency the Holy See would oppose the resolution, which France is due to propose later this month on behalf of the 27-member European Union.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because it would “add new categories of those protected from discrimination” and could lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.

“If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations,” Migliore said. “For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure,” Migliore said.

Migliore, you stupid little shit, it’s not about (ooh booga booga) gay marriage. People are being KILLED because they’re gay and being gay is against the law in some countries. Killed fucking dead. Because they’re gay. And you don’t seem to give a shit about putting a to stop that. Which doesn’t surprise me, considering that, when it comes to most of the rest of the developed world, including pretty much all of your European neighbours including the country that fucking well tolerates your presence in its capital, you are completely arse-backwards on basically every point relating to human sexual freedom. Sex before marriage? No, what if you liked it? You’d want to do it a lot but maybe not to conceive new Catholics, all fresh, branded with an Original Sin they had no fucking control over and ready to be “saved”. The simple act of contraception? Hell no, then there’d be no abortions to wring your hands over and no fresh marinated Catholic bums on pews (and what precise passage forbids contraception anway? Did the ol’ Jews know about the pill?). Homosexuality? Bah, give me strength. Sure, we don’t execute them anymore but it’s still wrong. And don’t even get us started on female priests. Well, look – considering you’re a pack of repressed virgins (except for the ones that rape children and are allowed to get away with it), I don’t think you’re any more qualified to hand out dictates about sexual behaviour than I am to hand out instructions on how to orbit the fucking Moon. If you don’t know how it works, if you haven’t had sufficient experience, don’t goddam well presume to hand out an instruction manual. I wouldn’t tell people how to “Shut The Fuck Up” unless I knew how to do it. Well … I’ve got a fair grasp on the theory, so shut the damn hell fuck up.

Does anyone take these Papist fuckers seriously anymore? If so, why? Exactly what function does the Papacy serve at the UN? Precisely what is accomplished by giving this pretend country/museum of iniquity and horror a vote equal to that of other nations who actually contain real people and not glorified statue-polishers? These Janitors for Jesus seem to do sweet fuck all except provide enough soundbites to show the world just exactly how out of step they are with evolved modern societies. There’s a reason Europe & the world shunned the Papacy and its Inquisitions & Dark Age in favour of democracy & knowledge and the Papists show this to us all at every opportunity with statements like those of Migliore. What, if anything, does the Vatican contribute to the UN except embarrassing anachronistic remarks? Who exactly does the Vatican represent? A billion Catholics? No! They’re all citizens of the other 190+whatever proper countries with seats at the UN.

Seriously, what it is going to take for the UN to realise that the Vatican should be seen and not freaking heard? It’s like the embarrassing great-uncle at Christmas time whose rude, racist, homophobic & generally offensive remarks everyone tolerates because he’s been around forever, has tons of cash & everyone knows he’s losing his mind. Everyone knows he won’t be around forever, including him, so everyone’s just holding their tongue until he pops his clogs. Noone really knows (or cares) how he fits into the family tree except for the oldest rellies, but they don’t like him either.

So, yes, SIGH, Mandy’s got another frickin Catholic hate-boner. Again, I must point out it’s not actual Catholics that inspire this rage. From any post on this blog marked “catholic” it should be pretty clear it’s the administration, the empire and its spokes-idiots that raise my bile. I know full-well that there are plenty of other religious organisations that deserve at least equal loathing & dark wizardry, but there really are none that compare to the Vatican – the 1500 year old Christian empire, constant enemy of knowledge, science and societal evolution, constant defender of gender/sexual inequality & child-rapists. No other religious organisation has been around for as long & has its own pretend country & corresponding seat at the fucking UN. For every Catholic city mission, nobly handing out blankets and feeding the homeless, there’s a statement from some senior manager, laying out the official policy that anyone who’s not a Catholic male is basically fucked. No other nation/empire has as lengthy or as reprehensible a history when it comes to human rights. Crusades, Inquisitions, Nazi appeasement, enabling child-rapists, lying about condoms & AIDS (condeming untold numbers to death), railing against masturbation, contraception AND abortion (effectively a three-pronged attack against sexual freedom of choice of any kind) and now, effectively condoning the executions of gays in tin-pot shitty little theocracies across the world.

Seriously, what the fuck is going to wake the UN up to this antiquated museum masquerading as a nation? Do they just keep them around to piss the Arabs off?

Bah, whatever, Merry fucking Christmas. Fuck the Pope and all his little wizards.

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Ray Comfort is a fucking idiot

“Fucking” being the operative word in this case. That is, he reproduces, or can or will reproduce (oh god, I sincerely hope not) sexually. With another person.

However, he is under the following mistaken impression about Darwinian evolution (a mistaken impression about evolution? Ray? Say it aint so!):

Darwin theorized that mankind (both male and female) evolved alongside each other over millions of years, both reproducing after their own kind before the ability to physically have sex evolved. They did this through “asexuality” (“without sexual desire or activity or lacking any apparent sex or sex organs”). Each of them split in half (“Asexual organisms reproduce by fission (splitting in half).

Ray Comfort, you are a fucking, fucking, FUCKING idiot. At no point, ever in human history, or even pre-human history, have “we” (bipedal apes) reproduced via splitting in half. At no point, ever in Darwin’s history, did he “theorise” that humans ever could or ever did reproduce asexually. That is possibly the most unimaginably, mind-bogglingy brain-rapingly stupid thing you’ve ever written on your blog (which is really, really saying something).

OK then, I shall attempt to be charitable. If you’re not simply a fucking clueless idiot, then you’re one of the following: (a) laughably, pathetically ignorant, (b) in complete understanding of what you read but flat-out lying through your teeth about what evolutionary theory says, for some reason, (c) unable to read & comprehend words of your own language that are put in an easily decipherable order that clearly & unambiguously describes a concept or idea or (d) deliberately baiting atheists with what you know to be complete falsehoods in order to rile them up and expose to your loyal cadre of credulous Raytheists exactly how unpleasant atheists are, all of the time (not just when responding to such blatant falsehood). It could even be (e): you’re a cynical charlatan who takes great delight in simultaneously pissing off & misrepresenting atheists & scientists while taking the money of history’s easiest, softest, most stationary targets: hardcore evangelists who take the Bible literally.

If it’s simple ignorance or carelessness at the root of this ridiculous error, that could be excused – except that you frequently present yourself as some kind of authority or expert or, at the very least, a knowledgeable & educated layman in the areas of evolution and the development of life, all in order to lend credence and credibility to your supposed debunkings of it, which eliminates (a). Obviously you can read & write English and I’ve even seen you speak it on youtube while masturbating a banana, so (c) is out. Option (b) – you’re a bald-faced liar – is very likely, I think, as is (d) – you just like baiting atheists or just anybody who believes evolution is a well-supported theory backed by literally millions of pieces of evidence gathered over 150 years by humans (including so many transitional fossils that it would pretty much require a textbook to list and describe them all), but amassed over the past 3.7 billion years by the natural processes of our planet, with much still waiting to be discovered. Option (e) – that you’re a charlatan, ripping off credulous idiots in the full knowledge that what you’re peddling is bullshit – is very, very possible (because you wouldn’t be the first) but I don’t think it’s likely.

It’s hard to tell which of those it is. You appear earnest and stupid and ignorant enough to believe what you’re saying (which would require of even the most cynical of charlatans and gifted of actors a Herculean effort to either not burst out laughing at the idiocy of your statements and gullibility of your patsies or to simply not choke on the vomit that would arise in most rational people were they to attempt to portray your fantasies as truth) and you display a deep misunderstanding and dislike of people who aren’t religious, or who just understand what science is (which would explain why might enjoy baiting them with your fabrications and seemingly deliberate misunderstandings on a website called ‘atheist central’). Flat-out liar? Well, only if you know what you’re saying is bullshit – you don’t seem to know much at all that’s useful, which really just leaves my original position: that you’re a fucking idiot. Oh, and a charlatan – because you do take peoples’ money – the fact that you believe your own bullshit doesn’t change the fact that you are indeed a peddler of complete bullshit. And you’re an ignorant cretin – the evidence you seek is all around you, yet you refuse to read & understand it. So, I suppose you’re a mix of all of those … you’re a standard-issue creationist evolution-denier, ripping off the faithful and spreading ignorance, while simultaneously demonising anyone who disagrees with your narrow, literalist reading of the Bible, while at the same time completely misrepresenting the arguments and points of view of your opponents in order to argue against them (because I think we all know if you attacked the arguments of evolution as they actually are – and not how you see them – you’d fail dismally). So, you can add fucking liar to that list too.

A lot of the time, Australians are quite happy to claim New Zealanders as their own if they’re successful: Russell Crowe (though we’re happy to give him back after hearing his band) and Phar Lap the legendary racehorse are just two. In this case, I’m sure I speak for all of rational, unretarded Australia when I say “America, you can keep him.”

Found via Raytractors. Go there 🙂

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