Editorial: Time for Change

By Motorhead · Mar 15, 2006 · ·
  1. Motorhead
    US CO: Editorial: Time For Change
    (13 Mar 2006) Gazette Colorado
    Failed Drug War Should Be Re-Examined

    Border security seems to be in the news often these days. The focus usually is on the people coming into this country from Mexico and Central America. Little media attention is paid to drug-smuggling operations, so little attention is paid by the American people to a failed border policy that has been going on for decades -- border skirmishes in the drug war.

    Since January, nearly 50 people have been killed in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. On Tuesday, a state police chief was killed and two other officers wounded when their car was fired on by well-armed assailants. The ambush-style shootings are being blamed on drug lords battling over smuggling routes into the United States. These latest victims can be added to the rising costs of an American drug control policy that does little to keep drugs off the streets in U.S. cities, while racking up huge bills.

    Drug warriors in this country like to trumpet their successes in the media, posing with large caches of drugs and weapons they've taken from smugglers and dealers. And for that dangerous work they are to be lauded. But the larger picture shows that for all the foot soldiers' risky work, the supply of available drugs seems little changed. Don't blame that on the folks on the front lines; the fault lies further up the chain of command and is the result of a faulty premise.

    The drug war is based on the idea that if the government wishes something to go away, it can simply outlaw it. Apparently those in charge of the nation's drug policy were absent from history class the day Prohibition was covered. It didn't work in the 1920s and it's not working now, because it ignores one of the basic tenets of freedom: so long as the rights of others are not harmed, what one does with one's own body is not the business of government.

    An argument can be made that by spending, say, the rent money on drugs, parents expose their children to the possibility of homelessness and a host of other woes. That's true, but it's a societal problem rather than a legal one. And making drugs illegal hasn't kept people from using them.

    Defenders of the drug war will point to the Nuevo Laredo victims and ask if their rights were not violated by drug lords. Of course they were, but that's a result of drug prohibition, not drug use. Drug lords are willing to kill to protect their business because of the huge profits involved in the drug trade. Those profits are in direct correlation to the risk involved. That's basic economics.

    In the drug trade, the risk comes from dealers attempting to monopolize the market and government officials trying to close the market. In the absence of prohibition, the threat of arrest would be eliminated and danger from other dealers would be reduced because the profits would be smaller.

    In a free society, people should be free to make choices with little or no interference from government. Many, if not most, Americans don't see a need for government to meddle in their lives. After all, most of us are upstanding citizens, right? Ah, but those other folks; they need the nanny government to look out for them and limit their choices. Actually, very few of them need someone else to look out for their best interests. And in even fewer cases would the government be the proper custodian. Now might not be the time to legalize drugs, but it's certainly the time to honestly evaluate our current policy, because it's not working.

    Oh, Canada!

    Our southern border isn't the only one where drugs come into this country illegally. Thousands of Americans buy prescription medications on the Internet and have them shipped from Canada. They spend less money and most likely get medicine identical to what's available at the corner pharmacy. Everyone's a winner.

    Not exactly.

    Reimporting medicine into this country is a federal crime and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have stepped up enforcement of the law in recent years. In November, the agency added non-prescription medications to the list of items to be seized. According to an Associated Press report, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson examined Customs data and said nearly 13,000 packages of medicine have been seized since then. That's a lot of folks either doing without or paying twice for their medicine.

    The root of the problem of high prices for medicine isn't greed on the part of pharmaceutical companies; it's government meddling in the marketplace. Canada and many European nations limit the price companies can charge for medicine sold within their borders. They're not doing anyone any favors.

    Pharmaceutical companies rely on profits to fund research and development of new medicines and stay in business. Price caps limit those profits and shift the burden of R & D costs to those countries that allow the free market to set prices. That shift boosts prices in those markets, meaning those consumers subsidize the medicine costs in markets with price caps.

    Rising medical costs tempt some to call for laws that allow cheaper medicines from overseas or price caps in the United States. Both are bad ideas. Allowing Americans to purchase medicine from foreign stockpiles would limit the medicine available in those countries. Canada and other nations aren't going to allow their citizens to go without medicine, so they'll likely pass laws banning such exports. And the pharmaceutical companies aren't fools; if they see U.S. sales dip as foreign sales rise -- and the resulting profit loss -- they'll cut back on the amount of medicine sold overseas. After all that, Americans will be right back where we are now.

    A better solution would be to get the rest of the world to pay it's share of R & D costs by eliminating price caps. Then the market could set prices, rather than government. Price caps don't limit profits; they simply shift them to other consumers.

    Share This Article


  1. Richard_smoker
    This is a great article. I like how many of the "same old arguments" are sorta revamped to fit today's date. I was totally unaware of the fact that it has become illegal to import OTC's. What are they going to come up with next!? For what possible reason does customs have to seize otc medicine? Let me guess--because terrorists could put a bomb in the alka-seltzer? or worse yet, slowly poison the elderly with tainted baby aspirins?
  2. napoleon in rags
    How about the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids?

    Purity of Essence
  3. Richard_smoker
    Napoleon, I must say that your post did not go unnoticed!

    It took me a while to notice, but when it hit me, that shit is HILARIOUS!!! How appropriate is that quote with your pic being Kubrick's psycho Peter Sellers's character!??

    I think that when you get the chance to change your title (when you're platinum??), your name should be:
    "Napoleon in Rags: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb"

    I was reading my DVD insert to Dr. Strangelove written by Roger Ebert and here's a pretty good quote from it:
    "Dr. Strangelove's humor is generated by a basic comic principle: People trying to be funny are never as funny as people trying to be serious and failing. The laughs have to seem forced on unwilling characters by the logic of events. A man wearing a funny hat is not funny. But if the man doesn't know he's wearing a funny hat--now you've got something."
  4. napoleon in rags
    brava!.... glad someone noticed :)

    [after learning of the Doomsday Machine]
    President Merkin Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you *build* such a thing?
    Ambassador de Sadesky: There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.
    President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.
    Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times.
  5. Richard_smoker
    Haha, that's great. I love just about EVERYTHING about that movie! Stanley Kubrick was one of the standout geniuses of our time. Without a doubt. He was also hands-down the most obscessive-compulsive director that Hollywood has ever seen. Supposedly, he would make his actors keep repeating the same scenes over and over and over and over again so many times that they would very often lose it and flip their lid. There's a part on Dr Strangelove where one of the guys (can't remember which one--either the president or the general) is so fucking pissed off at Kubrick for making him do the scene over again for the 40th time or something that he was genuinely PISSED while he was doing his scene--all bug-eyed and about 2 inches from completely losing his mind, and then he tripped (for real) on the set and Kubrick kept that take in final editing because the acting was so genuine, the emotion was so real, and also because the trip-and-almost-fall was actually a real trip and fall that was caused by anger/frustration! So he kept it in the movie because it showed the genuine state of what his actor was trying to convey.

    One time I saw Nicole Kidman say on a documentary that Kubrick was such a genius that he was the one director that EVERYONE in Hollywood was dying to work for, but anyone who worked for him only worked for him one time. because after he got thru with you and after you were driven to madness with his unforgiving eye for perfection and his notorious 100's of takes for each scene that no actor could stand the fucking sight of him after having worked with him once! :) pretty funny if you ask me. I know some people who are that OCD and I totally relate to being driven crazy by having to be around them too much--or especially when I have had to work with them on projects. Smart and thorough, but oh-so-fucking-annoying!

    One rumor I've heard from someone I trust is that in Kubrick's attempt to make certain that his actors were really REAL in their acting, he never told the pilot that the movie was a comedy. So, the whole time he was acting on the B-52 set, he thought that his role and the movie in general was a very serious action flick. Apparently, when the movie came out that guy was PISSED when he realized that he was the butt of the joke after having ridden the A-bomb down like a cowboy! :D

    Oh yeah, and one more thing about that movie that I find absolutely amazing--both because it speaks volumes about how shoddy our government's intelligence has proven to be as well as volumes about how much of a perfectionist that Kubrick really was--was the fact that the CIA actually launched an investigational probe into Kubrick and his techniques for researching the movie. Wanna know why?

    Hold onto your seat--it's VERY disturbing! Because they thought he was just a little too close to being accurate for them to believe that he hadn't gotten hold of some classified documents and they were certain that he had revealed top-secret documents to the public via the cinema!Makes you wonder which part(s) of the movie they were referring to!! I mean, how fucking insane would that be if the initial 90% of that movie's plot was essentially a historical fact?? I wouldn't be surprised for a second, but just imagine how close we would all be to non-existence right now if anything even remotely close to that story had ever unfolded in real-life behind a veil of secrecy!? Pretty crazy to imagine!

    I mean--why else would they launch an investigation into Kubrick for making that movie for being too uncannily realistic??? What could he have possibly 'known' about that they considered classified? If you aren't shaking in your boots right now or at least shaking your head in utter disbelief, then you obviously need to watch the movie again! Admission that ANY of that shit was realistic or classified = admission that the world is lucky to still exist. That's what I think anyways.
  6. Sklander
    I don't think it gets any better when you're talking about Kubrick. His vision in A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove are without comparison. What a wonderful Director.
  7. napoleon in rags
    Great post, but i gotta disagree with the "realism" factor.... The movie was a comedy, pure and simple. it grossly exaggerated the arrogance of the US government at the time, and it has been known for a while that there has NEVER been a "loophole" that would allow nuclear war to be started by the actions of say, an insane General. I saw the picture as not a denouncement of the United States, but rather as a BROAD satire of the pissing contest we all call the Cold War. As the film's disclaimer states:

    "It is the stated position of the U.S. Air Force that their safeguards would prevent the occurrence of such events as are depicted in this film"

    The producers were forced to add this disclaimer after a few people became panicked after watching the film.
  8. Richard_smoker
    Actually, I wasn't even thinking of the central event--the general going crazy and causing the nuclear assault as a lone renegade.

    What I meant about realism was in reference to all of the outlying, residual details mentioned in the movie. The way that the codes were transmitted to the planes, the behind-the-door communication (or lack-therof) w/the soviets, the war-room, the concept that there were nuclear-armed B-52's in 24hour/day high-altitude flight over air-space adjacent to targets, basically the background-noise detail that permeated the movie...

    Sorry, I guess I should have specified. The reason I was on 'high-alert' for possible top-secret realism in the movie is because of the documentary I watched. In it, they specifically referred to Kubrick's obsession to details and how many volumes of texts that he devoured researching for his script, and how that his research findings were so accurate and extensive that he caused the military to actually question his sources.

    At the moment (in the documentary) when they said that some military officials found the movie 'too realistic' and the CIA probe was launched, they were showing the scene where the paratroopers were reviewing all the drugs they had on their person--morphine for pain, speed for exhaustion, sleeping pills for sleep, etc. etc. So, perhaps they were simply referring to the uncanny similarity to the military's REAL personal drug stash that each soldier would be given...(?) I wasn't sure what the hell the narrator was referring to exactly; whether it was to that one part or to just lots of different details in general.

    But regardless, since I watched the documentary FIRST--later, when I actually watched the movie, I noticed tons of times when specific details were thrown out in regard to the military and protocols, that I am still not sure which ones were just fictional statements and which details were actually true.

    But I agree. The movie is perfect. Also, I think I made an error in history... I just realized that I have been under the impression that all this U.S. bullyism and cowboy bullshit leadership was something recent.. Probably because I was too young or sheltered (during cold war) to notice or ever realize that the US has been this way for a long, long time.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!