Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prohibition corrupts cops - here's a great short history

Malcolm Brown in The SMH today describes a litany of police corruption scandals in Australia without even mentioning the recent Mark Standen conviction in NSW. And these are only the ones we know about.

Apart from the problem of of big drug money tempting otherwise good officers onto the slippery slope, there must be many injustices done to others along the way as the legal process is tampered with.

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced – Albert Einstein.

Prohibition does not work and should be ended in favour of tightly regulated legal supply.

PS (11/9/11) The stench emanating from the NSW Crime Commission is widening now its former senior member Mark Standen has been convicted, reports the SMH. It seems the drug money flowing into the Commission was being well and truly taxed by its financial analyst and his solicitor girlfriend who acted for the crooks doing deals. She was regularly overpaid with no accountability, according to my namesake, Jeremy Gormly SC who is acting for the Police Integrity Commission. Prohibition brings a spreading cancer into law enforcement, eating away at the very foundations of our civilisation. Why do Australian media and governments ignore this?

WA cops use technology to persecute people with drug convictions (but not other criminals)

WA police are using number plate scanning to identify drivers with previous drug convictions, pulling them over, searching their cars and testing their saliva, reports The West Australian.

In a recent trial 4,000 cars were pulled over and four people were found in possession of drugs. Another 18 drivers were either unlicensed or were driving unregistered vehicles - and I have no problem with this as the scanning revealed an offence being committed, and one that potentially created danger to others.

But searching people because they have a prior drug conviction is wrong for two reasons.

First, having a prior conviction is clearly not the grounds for suspicion normally required to justify a search. Presumably the convicted person has paid their 'debt to society' and should be treated with the rights of a normal person. This is why prior convictions are not revealed to juries in a trial until after a verdict has been reached.

Second, targeting people who have been found guilty of a crime which is not only victimless but in the opinion of many should not even be a crime, is a strange priority. If you were serious about using this technology to protect the community, why not pull over convicted drunk drivers, pedophiles, murderers, thieves and hitmen?

No, it's another example of the obsessive anti-drug ideology driving the WA Liberals government into a systematic campaign of social persecution.

Four out of 4,000 is 0.001% - hardly an effective use of police time and resources.

As there is not a single valid argument for prohibition, persecuting a sub-culture in its name is pernicious.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Climate change deniers disappear up their own propaganda

Professor Ian Plimer, a rock star of the climate sceptic
movement - rebutted but keeps on keeping on.
Photo by Spainy via Flickr
Rupert Murdoch's minions continue their shameless and nonsensical propaganda against the carbon tax. Janet Albrechtson in the Oz today  recycles the old "Australia is so small we won' t make any difference anyway" furphy.

A correspondent on one of my email lists rebutted it this way:
When my dog shits in the park, why should I pick it up? My costs are quite high - you tell me how big the benefit is for the Australian dogshit problem. It's 0.00001 percent. I'm not doing it!

Albrechtson trots out some remarkable fallacies, for instance that Henry Ford didn't need a Horse Tax to usher in the age of the motor car.

But even more amazingly she again trots out the repeatedly discredited Ian Plimer, apparently ignorant of the many rebuttals to his work and apparently too poor a journalist to do the research.

So here's a helping hand for Janet (and anyone else interested in grounding the debate in fact instead of fiction): Just Google 'Ian Plimer rebuttal' and you will find a wealth of links doing just that. Perhaps the best collection (from Wiki) is here.

I have not seen Plimer or his mates rebutting these rebuttals, but rather continually reverting to their discredited positions, indicating they are simply trying to convince the ignorant. Therefore any argument or event that features these people is similarly discredited.

Oh wait: Plimer has replied to a series of sharp questions from George Monbiot about his nonsense. Tellingly he didn't answer any of the questions but posed a list of technobabble questions in return. A very patient scientist took the time to unravel Plimer's questions here. Warning: the technobabble here will make your eyes cross.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Prohibition fuels crime wave in the north

Armed robberies on 'soft targets' in northern NSW have risen alarmingly as Gold Coast police crack down on violent crime there, reports the Sun Herald today.

The crime wave is linked in the report to post-GFC hard times, rising unemployment and drug addiction.

Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Wilson attributes the crime wave to "desperate gun-wielding drug addicts targeting convenience stores, bottle shops and chemists."

This is what happens under prohibition, you see, but as usual both the newspaper and the plod see the problem only in terms of more police crackdowns. Don't mention the War.

With the world seemingly on the brink of the mother of all recessions, expect more of the same. Yet the War on Drugs is so precious to most governments they don't even consider it in their search for spending cutbacks.

Meanwhile another bikie-criminal story in the same paper tells of the ransom-kidnapping of a Greek Orthodox priest caught unwittingly in a dispute among bikies over drugs. Truly the harms of prohibition are greater than the harms of drugs.

PS (11.8.2011) It seems the men who kidnapped the priest also kidnapped another man and shot him in the leg during an interrogation. Sweet.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Retro a go go reference

Found an awesome blog thread tonight, the most incredible collection of '60s arcana, mostly not on iTunes. I mean, how quaint is retro erotica? WARNING: Anyone watching this might be corrupted into a world of SIN! If you are under 18 years old, DON'T show this to your parents. It might remind them of something. If you are a moralist who likes underground '60s music (is that an oxymoron?) just close your eyes and listen.

Some samples:

This is enough to turn my gay friends straight - or vice versa?

And saving the best till last:

Forbidden images found cut from old film reels in a Pennsylvania cinema. Why does censorship always date so quickly? Some lovely scenes here.

And if you're not totally corrupted by now, this will do,it:

Great soundtrack to this Bettie Page tease

More hot Bettie Page:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Funniest letter ever

In comment on Tony Abbot's crusade against the carbon tax, this letter in today's SMH:

Tony Abbott can relax. If he's right, and the gas is ''invisible, odourless, weightless, tasteless'' as he claims, our entire output of it will weigh nothing. At the very reasonable $23 per tonne, none of his polluting friends will ever have to pay a cent.

Terry McGee Malua Bay

Why didn't I think of that?

Policing Kings Cross goes private

Do we want Bobbies on the Kings Cross beat - or bouncers?
Despite a long-standing offer from Kings Cross venues and businesses to fund extra police on the late night weekend beats, it seems the only extra policing will come from a privately funded security force.

The private force will have limited co-operative links with the Police.

An editorial in today's Sydney Morning Herald documents the risks of giving private businesses and nightclub owners the power to exile certain people from their "feifdom". This informal business group intends to formalise an existing database of troublemakers it has compiled to protect each other from hosting violent incidents and attracting government sanctions. The SMH lists other concerns:
Yet many will wonder about the wisdom of setting up a private security service to carry out normal policing functions. What are the powers of the roaming guards? How are they selected? What privacy rules cover the troublemaker database? How will the information on it be used, or secured?
This raises the question: Why have the state government and the police refused to consider the long-standing offer to fund "DIY Policing" using the Police force. I'd rather have them, for all their faults, than another army of bouncers pushing people around.

The informal database of troublemakers began after Newcastle instigated its early pub shutdown and venue managers noticed a spike in violence in Kings Cross. They realised groups of young men were taking the train down from Newcastle, arriving drunk and then behaving badly. It's a perfect example of the balloon effect - the displacement of problems often caused by prohibition strategies.