Sunday, 14 November 2010

Cracker Comments: Oct - Nov 2010

Welcome to the latest instalment of Cracker Comments. Where self appointed experts, finger waggers and anti-science proponents assault us with their own, unique brand of moral imperativeness. 

Every week, we are treated to mind-bending analogies that defy logic and there’s no better topic than illegal drugs for these self proclaimed oracles to apply their craft. 

Brendan O'Connor
Role: : Home Affairs Minister (ALP)
Date: October 2010

With almost half-a-tonne of cocaine worth over $160 million being seized in Brisbane, the authorities are jumping for joy. It’s emotional times like these that provide a perfect environment for over zealous authorities to open their mouth before engaging their brain. 

Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O'Connor would have been told on dozens of occasions that organised crime dealing in drugs would have their main source of income removed if illicit drugs were regulated by the government. Not only would this strategy be devastating for criminal gangs but it would most likely reduce about 80% of all crime. It would be like stamping out all future cases of theft in our community. Almost too much to comprehend.

It’s really simple - remove the profit incentives and crime stops. The problem is our current approach that tackles the drug trade just isn’t working and the massive profits remain. You see, we only capture about 10-15% of all imported drugs at the moment and that’s according to the authorities. The real figures are unknown and probably much smaller. By having the knowledge that drug regulation would wipe out most criminal organisations in Australia but deciding instead to settle on stopping only 10%, is not a very logical choice. All the rhetoric in the world is not going to change the situation especially when we have heard the same old line for nearly 50 years.

"What we do know is, that if we want to dismantle organised crime we must attack the money flow, we must attack their income source"

The police were very lucky to find the boat with $160 million worth of cocaine. They were tipped off by US authorities. Without this tip, there would be another multi-million dollar load of illicit drugs in Australia. Although $160 million is a lot of money on the streets, the actual value to the crims is minute. Heroin and cocaine is marked up by about 17,000% by the time it is consumed. Add to that the built in loss factor at a ratio of one in ten and the bosses aren’t too worried at all. You have to wonder if claims of upsetting the drug kingpins is really necessary or an attempt to be seen to be doing something.

"This is a great blow landed this week by our law enforcement agencies"

A “great blow” to who? Brendan O'Connor really means, a great PR exercise.

Steve Price
Role: : Shock Jock and Opinion Writer 
Source: HeraldSun
Date: October 2010

Steve’s love affair with booze once again portrays drug use as the villain for crimes that are mostly caused by alcohol.

"Paedophiles roam the streets looking for victims, while bullies and teenagers high on drugs are desperate to rob any defenceless kid of their mobile phone or runners, or both"

How many cases have you read about where “bullies and teenagers high on drugs” have robbed a “defenceless kid of their mobile phone or runners, or both”? Let’s see, mmm, oh yeah … zero. That honour goes to bullies and teenagers pissed out their minds.

News Ltd Reader
Source: PerthNow
Date: October 2010

An article titled, Brazen Street Prostitutes Working Close To Perth Police HQ from Perth’s The Sunday Times attracted some bizarre comments. None so more than this cracker.

"Its a very dodgy area around there. Wouldn't surprise me if most of them were druggies financing their habit. Its when local residents get propositioned that it becomes bad. How about some undercover policewomen around there?? This is what they do in the movies & it seems to work!!!"
--pinkmini of Perth

Yes, it’s real.

Bob Falconer / Russell Armstrong
Role: : Former West Australian Police Commissioner / West Australian Police Union President 
Date: October 2010

As the use of tasers by police becomes more common, it seems the reasons become more fanciful. Bob Falconer rejected the idea that it is because there is no longer minimum height and weight standards for police but had his own explanation.

"Years ago, heroin was an analgesic -- they got sleepy, they got dopey. Now they're using drugs that give them the strength of five human beings and make them extremely unpredictable and violent"

Incredible … some drugs give you the strength of five human beings! Not to be left out, West Australian Police Union president Russell Armstrong added this:

“People fuelled by alcohol and drugs can't control themselves and start punching police”

Well done Bob and Russell.

Remember PCP? It too had the magically ability to give people super-human strength. Incredibly it was completely debunked by science. Who would have thought that some people would exaggerate the effects of drugs?

Sophie Mirabella
Role: Federal MP (Lib)
Date: November 2010

We all know that Sophie Mirabella can be a goose but blatantly misleading the public, time and time again is just going too far. Sophie’s anti-drug sentiments might be well known but they are not based it on anything factual. Repeating the same old line which is devoid of the truth isn’t winning Sophie any credibility.

“The Greens like to hide what they are really about. They have a motherhood statement about not legalising illegal drugs but they contradict themselves on their own website, in their own policy by saying they support prescribed heroin trials, cannabis use”

Like so many other anti-drug zealots, Sophie misses the point of the Greens’ drug policy. Medical marijuana and prescription heroin are medical programs and have nothing to do with legalisation. The Greens make it quite clear that they don’t support the legalisation of any illicit drugs but they do support Harm Minimisation and evidence based policies. A far cry from making all drugs legal.

Michael Mischin
Role: : Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General; Minister for Corrective Services (Lib) 
Source: Mischin.Blog
Date: October 2010

As we all know, WA are changing the state’s cannabis laws. Many people including experts, argue that they are not making these changes based on any evidence but purely for political and ideological reasons. The fact is, the previous policies were working while all others states with harsher laws, similar to the proposed changes, were continuing with increased drug related problems. But don’t let science, history and evidence get in the way of a good political spiel.

“Cannabis is not a ‘soft’ drug.

It is not a ‘recreational’ drug.

It is not a harmless drug.

It is a gateway drug.

Use of cannabis also increases the risk of mental illness such as schizophrenia.

It is a drug that ruins lives and I am proud that we have reversed the failed policy of the previous government.


Yes, these are tough moves but we need strong laws like this that send the right message about cannabis – that it is dangerous.”

You have to laugh. Sanctimonious boneheads frothing at the mouth because of a relatively harmless drug (for most adults) but saying very little about the carnage caused by their favourite drug … booze. Selective facts mixed in with exaggerations and lies. Claims that tough, failed and outdated law are necessary to 'send the right message'. Yes, it would be funny except these self-important, agenda driven politicians cause more pain, more carnage, more misery and more problems than cannabis ever will. 

Barry O'Farrell
Role: : NSW Opposition Leader (Lib)
Source: ABC News / Hansard
Date: October 2010

One of the true joys in life is watching politicians make an ass of themselves. It’s especially sweet when they make some grandiose proclamation to make an important point but it completely contradicts the facts. When this happens, I immediately have visions of 17th century religious leaders proclaiming the earth is flat and we should be thankful they are protecting us from falling off the edge of the world.

We got to see this during the MSIC debate in the NSW parliament last month where we heard from some politicians who opposed the safe injection centre. Although most of those present in parliament during the debate were wise enough to accept the overwhelming evidence and advice from experts. some were working on their own “flat earth” theories.  But regardless of their impassioned views that MSIC was “encouraging drug use” or ‘sending the wrong message”, none of them focussed on the extensive evidence that proved the effectiveness of the clinic. One of those politicians though - Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell - did seem to grasp the importance of evidence based policy. 

“It’s not the way to run drug policy, where policy and programs should be evidence-based, not based on the views of 12 people sitting in a marginal seat”.

The problem was that Barry had just finished denouncing the MSIC program and all the evidence that formed the government’s drug policy concerning the centre. Maybe, the evidence was not the evidence he wanted? Who cares, he had his own theory.

“I oppose this legislation because it fails to meet both the goals set down by the government when it started it

I oppose it because of my concerns the state's harm minimisation policy pays too little attention to advocating no drug use, to rescuing people from their terrible addiction, and pays too much attention to trying to manage those addictions.

Thirdly, I oppose it because I don't believe there is any safe level of drug abuse and I think it does send the wrong message.

Ahead of next year's election campaign I would encourage the premier to put funding into services that will enable those who use this centre, who want to beat this addiction, who want to get access and are prepared to pursue access and treatment through drug rehabilitation services, to get the help they deserve to rid them of their addiction.”

Ironically, Barry O'Farrell accused the Premier of playing politics over the issue.

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Anonymous said...

Not to be a downer or anything but does it not just utterly destroy your hope for change, reading all these completely fucked statements?

Not to say we should give up. But damn, this world man...

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.

Although they make me angry, they also make me laugh sometimes. They also clarify how utterly stupid some people really are - especially politicians.

Once you get past the seriousness of how these people ruin the lives of so many, you just can't help but shake your head in disbelief. How do these people take themselves so seriously and expect to have credibility? Sometimes it's sad and other times, it's hysterical. And they do it with a straight face!

The catch is, they know they are lying so they are corrupt or they are so stupid, they think what they're saying is true. Not an ideal situation for so our called leaders.

Gledwood said...

If drug therapies were evidene based they'd be dishing out morphine pills and diamorphine amps. Instead look where we are. Nowhere.

I know you're on those pills, and the're national health in Austria too. But the dose you get is capped at 1000mg daily if I remember right, which I was told was not necessarily enough.

When I tried it, albeit a couple of times as linctus, I found it way more effective than methadone, and 1000mg, if that figure was right, would easily equal 100mg meth

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Gleds.
I don't think there is a limit here but they are not usually prescribed for addiction management.

And you're right. It's a 10 to 1 ration e.g. 100ml methadone = 1000mg morphine.

The oddity is that some doctors say 700mg of morphine is such a huge dose and dangerous but they have no qualms about prescribing 140+ ml of methadone.

I would rather die than go back to methadone!

BTW, if I had been prescribed diamorphine years ago, I would probably be clean now.

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