Archive for January 20, 2003

“No country has ever profited

January 20, 2003

“No country has ever profited from prolonged warfare.”

~Sun Tzu
The Art of War

A very informative series covering the history of America’s war on drugs is showing on the ABC at 8:30 Mondays. Tonight’s episode covered the rise of the Columbian cocaine cartels in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Next week will deal with the rise of crack cocaine from the mid 1980’s. The series, by American “Frontline” makes no attempt to hide the utter failure of Reagan’s policy of “interdiction”.

Whacking Day present their case for legalisation of all drugs, based on the increasingly common argument that this a war that does more harm than good. I agree with those sentiments 100%.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt of the adverse affects of illegal drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy and even Marijuana. I have seen enough university and school friends lose all direction and energy due to excessive pot smoking to know that it is hardly benign. My support for legalisation is based on two fronts:

1. People should have the right to do whatever stupid shit they want to themselves, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else by doing it. This should be no different for illegal drugs like ecstasy, as it is for the legal ones like Alcohol, Tobacco, Poker Machines and Lotto. Most drug-related crime is a result of the prohibition, not the drugs themselves.

2. The obvious effect of banning drugs is to hand their control to criminals. In Western Australia, large scale drug rackets run by organised crime bring otherwise law-abiding young people into contact with the shit-filled dregs of society. Outlaw bikie gangs run speed and marijuana, and are beginning to set up more chemical labs around the state. Vietnamese gangs and John Kizon’s local thugs deal in Heroin, Cocaine and Ecstasy.

Legalised drugs would take the profits out of the hands of organised crime, and into government coffers, just like tobacco and alcohol. Money could then be spent on health care and education, or “harm minimisation” as drug activists call it. A huge amount is wasted, every year, on drug law enforcement which has virtually zero effect on the problem. In fact, drugs are more prevalent in society with each passing year.

It is my guess that most of our politicians privately agree, but drug reform has always been something that is unsellable to the general public. Demand for drugs is the proverbial irresistable force, while drug enforcement is hardly an immovable object. This is a war that we lose a little more each year, it’s time we surrendered.

WA farmers could be growing

January 20, 2003

WA farmers could be growing Genetically Modified salt-tolerant wheat within this decade, The Countryman reports:

The wheat, believed to be able to withstand salt concentrations up to a third the level of sea water, is being developed Grain Biotechnology Australia, at Murdoch University. It may also be tolerant of frost.

Scientists in the eastern states have been experimenting with interbreeding of the traditional hard Durum wheat with primitive varieties from the mediterranean.

They found one ancient variety, from what is today Iran, which fitted the bill and then crossed it with modern durum wheat over four generations to get a new salt-tolerant variety.

Ravaged by drought and salinity, Australia imported grain today for the first time in nearly a decade, only to be met by idiotic anti-GM protestors.