Thursday, April 19, 2012

A tough list for climate change sceptics to deny

Even climate change sceptics probably like biodiversity, which has
already fallen by 30% in the last 40 years - a yellow dragonfly I snapped
in our back garden in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.
Climate change sceptics never mention the alarming data below, one of the best summaries of the pain our children will face if we don't act now to seriously remedy the problems being caused by our attachment to the fossil-fuel economy. Climate change sceptics also conveniently gloss over the credibility of senior scientists like NASA's Prof James Hansen, hardly a "tree-hugging hippie greenie" as they like to typify renewable energy supporters and conservationists. The following is the must-read introduction to

The world’s best climate science from NASA (Prof James Hansen), the Potsdam Institute (Prof John Schellnhuber- chief climate adviser to the European Community), the Tyndall Climate Research Centre (Prof Kevin Anderson) is now telling us desperately urgent action needs to be taken within 5 years to avert a global catastrophe taking place as early as 2040. If the Federal Government along with other Governments of leading polluting nations don’t act quickly enough, billions of people lives will be put at risk.
AUSTRALIA: In the last three years Australia has experienced an avalanche of extreme weather, including record heat and fires in Victoria with 374 fatalities, a record two years of rain, repeated “1-in-a-100-year” floods, record heat waves in Adelaide and Perth, and Cyclone Yasi, all following a devastating decade-long drought.
GLOBAL: It’s happening everywhere, with record global temperatures, more than 15,000 temperature records broken in the USA in March this year, devastating floods in Pakistan, fires in Russia, record heat and drought in Texas, and what the Europeans are calling “weather weirding”. Most of these changes and extreme events have a direct link to climate change.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to criminalise children

'Childsplay' in London [Pic: Mirror]
Meanwhile, as Sydney weathers its hail of bullets, children in England are being recruited en masse into gangs and a life of crime, according to this graphic Mirror article.  The harms of the War on Drugs are greater than the harms of drugs.

Sydney's shooting spree brings back the Al Capone days

Guns confiscated by South Australian police in
a "bikie-related" raid - plenty more where these
came from thanks to the War on Drugs.
Suburbs in the south and west of Sydney seem criss-crossed by a hail of bullets as gun-toting gangsters sort out their disputes without recourse to the law. The SMH reports another four incidents last night alone, with a tattoo parlour in Baulkham Hills targeted for the third time in a city that is awash with thousands of illegal firearms.

These gangsters must operate outside the legal system because they trade in prohibited drugs, just as Al Capone dealt in sly grog during his prohibition era and delivered justice from the barrel of a machine-gun. As usual however, the media do not link today's violence to its fundamental cause - prohibition. They and the police ignore the causes and carry on as if treating the symptoms of the War on Drugs will do anything besides stuff our jails with prisoners kept by the public purse.

Bullets are flying and people are dying across the world in their tens of thousands, but still prohibitionists bang on as if the harms of drugs are the real issue. The whole debate about decriminalisation carries on in a separate compartment of the official mind with prohibitionists including Julia Gillard droning on about drugs "killing people and ripping apart families". In fact only one or two percent of drug users ever have any significant problems (check the statistics) and many of those exist only because the drugs are illegal and therefore supplied by criminals. Most of the drugs themselves are in fact clinically safer than alcohol or tobacco.

Let's hope none of their friends or family members ever stop a gangster's bullet. That's what rips families apart.
Bullets fly in the 'burbs, getting uncomfortably close to
someone's home. [file pic]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Guardian explains again why the War on Drugs has failed

Prohibitionists have railed and rallied against the Australia 21 Report with the likes of Andrew Bolt using a combination of mockery and selective facts to slam it. But such people always ignore facts such as the following, published by the Guardian/Observer - and the immense collateral damage wrought on families by prohibition:
It hasn't even worked well in America, its birthplace. When Nixon announced the war on drugs in 1971, the US kept just 0.2% of its population behind bars. Today, it incarcerates close to 0.8% of its population – 2.25 million Americans. A further 5 million are on parole or probation. In total, more than 7 million people in the US are under correctional supervision. If they were all gathered together they could form the 13th biggest state of the union by population.
This is the highest percentage of adults imprisoned anywhere in the world. These figures matter because the mandatory sentencing for drugs misuse has contributed hugely to the rise of the US prison population. In 2006, nearly one in eight prisoners was behind bars for marijuana-related offences. By 2003, more than half of females in US prisons were serving sentences for drug convictions. Approximately half-a-million people are in prison for a drug offence in the US today compared with 40,000 in 1981.
In the US, it isn't a war on drugs any longer – it has become a war on drug users.
On the bright side, shock-jock Alan Jones has apparently come out in favour of decriminalisation. The prohibitionists' ranks are dwindling under an onslaught of sense. If only the politicians would get with the program!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Julia Gillard comes out against drug law reform

Today's push by the Australia 21 group to wind back the War on Drugs has at least smoked out the opinions of heavy hitters like Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon. Gillard came in particularly hard, apparently ignoring the facts and arguments in the Australia 21 report and reading straight from the prohibitionist hymn-book, as reported by the SMH:
My view about drugs is clear. Drugs kill people they rip families apart, they destroy lives and we want to see less harm done through drug usage," the Prime Minister said.
She repeated one of the basic fallacies of prohibition propaganda - that the one or two percent of drug users who have significant problems represent the whole, and that all drugs are addictive:
Ms Gillard said she wanted to help people to break out of the addiction cycle, while police should enforce drug laws.
Not only is this a hopeless generalisation, it ignores that the problems that do exist do so under prohibition and are in fact evidence of its failure. Points to Foreign Minister Bob Carr for speaking out in support of reform. Heaven help any of these prohibitionists who take him on in debate over the subject.

At least the battle lines are now clear and Gillard has nailed her position to a mast of fallacy. If you agree with reform, go to the Australia 21 site and 'Like' their facebook page. If you don't agree, please trawl this blog - you'll find a sound rebuttal for whatever your objections are. I hope you can be open-minded enough to change your mind.