How Our Moron Government Bailed Out The Cocaine Trade

In 2009, as so often happens these days, a new recreational drug swept the British market. Mephedrone (also known as Meow Meow) was easily purchased online, and reportedly had effects similar to a combination of cocaine and ecstasy (MDMA), but without the comedown/hangover associated with either. With military precision the bizarre alliance of social conservatives (who fear drugs for no coherent reason) and the alcohol industry (which more legitimately fears damage to its revenues) kicked its usual anti-drugs stories into action to create a moral panic.

The anti-drugs campaign rolled out in full-force in the media, using a carbon-copy strategy to that which had labelled Ecstasy “dangerous”. In 1995, a teenager called Leah Betts died after taking Ecstasy. Although it emerged that Leah had actually died from water intoxication, the lie campaign had done its work well. This time, the deaths of two young men were used to justify a knee-jerk reaction from both the ruling Labour Party as well as the opposition Conservatives, both vying to be toughest on the new “killer drug”. It later emerged that the two men weren’t killed by mephedrone (in fact they hadn’t even taken it), but again the bandwagon was now rolling, and the drug was banned in April 2010. As ever in these cases, the Home Secretary Alan Johnson ignored the advice from drugs and medical experts against the ban, a decision which led to the resignation of a scientist from the Advisor Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

Those who were using mephedrone legally at the time reported that it was a perfect substitute for cocaine; not only was it far cheaper (at no more than £10 per gram compared to a typical £50 for coke), but it was a more pleasant experience, and it seemed to lack the comedown associated with coke. Most importantly, being laboratory-manufactured and legal, the drug supply could be guaranteed clean and pure. Cocaine on the other hand, is an expensive product imported from Latin America, requiring bribes to be paid all the way down the supply chain. Coke dealers therefore keep street prices low and maximise their profits by cutting the product with a variety of other ingredients, from caffeine (which has a superficially similar effect to coke) to the anaesthetic lidocaine. In short, mephedrone users could be far more sure of what they were buying than cocaine users.

The anecdotes of people switching from cocaine to mephedrone seemed to be confirmed by statistics published this year; one study showed that fewer soldiers had tested positive for cocaine while mephedrone was legal; another that UK cocaine deaths fell during the time mephedrone was legal.

As ever, the authorities had taken the most moronic possible approach to dealing with a drug, and the results showed it. The net effect of banning mephedrone was to push people back to the cocaine trade, an industry that was no doubt as grateful for the government help as it is for the lack of any regulation or taxation. Coke dealers get to blend and sell their product without any of the controls that are applied to legal drugs, from alcohol to aspirin.

The so-called war on drugs is among the most moronic acts mankind has ever perpetrated against itself. The immense cost, destruction and death toll it has spread around the world dwarf most of the worst excesses of humanity. Our smarter leaders know this, but are intimidated into silence by the war and alcohol industries, which profit to a huge degree. It’s time to end it – if you’re a UK citizen, please sign this e-petition to decriminalise drugs. With enough signatures, a parliamentary debate can be triggered. US readers are invited to see how many of your tax dollars are being wasted on this moronic war.

The Moron Dictionary

Afghanistan(n) – A scary place that came into existence in 2001

Armageddon(n) – End of the world. Happening any time now since 33AD

Bachmann(v) – Say the most insane thing with conviction, knowing that there’s someone stupid enough to believe it

China(n) – Evil country that lent Americans money without warning they’d have to pay it back
Climate change(n) – Dumb theory invented by evil scientists who want to stop Americans driving their cars for some reason I can’t think of at the moment
Communist(n) – An evil God-hating person who hides under your bed
Drill(v) – The solution to all our problems
Evil-doer(n) – See Communist
Fox(v) – Destroy someone’s ability to think for themselves
Freedom(n) – A nice word to put in your Twitter bio. No idea what it means
Gun(n) – Perfectly safe device, except when in the vicinity of people
Iran(n) – A scary place that came into existence in 1979Iraq(n) – A scary place that came into existence in 1990
Islam(n) – A scary religion that came into existence in 2001
Israel(n) – A great country created on a previously empty piece of land so that Jesus can come back
Marijuana(n) – An evil plant that turns Christians into Communists
Massacre(n)
1. Something bad that brown people do
2. Something sad but necessary that white people do
Oil(n) – A fantastic substance discovered by kind corporations in infinite quantities that causes no harm to anybody or anything whatsoeverPalin(v) – Make millions of dollars by pretending to be a politicianRiot(n)

1. An event of violent social unrest, carried out by evil criminals in England

2. An event of violent social unrest, carried out by good, oppressed people anywhere else

Science(n) – A bizarre set of theories designed by Communists to destroy civilisation as we know it
Somalia(n) – A scary place that came into existence in 1993
Terrorism(n) – An act of mass murder that kills white peopleTime Travel(n) – The method by which Obama caused the sub-prime mortgage disasterUS Constitution(n) – A great document that says guns are good and taxes are bad. That’s all it says, so don’t bother actually reading it

Vietnam(n) – A scary place that came into existence in 1955

Is Rick Perry A Commie?

As widely predicted, Texan Governor Rick Perry entered the race for Republican presidential candidate on Saturday, and leaped into first place in the opinion polls. Perry is a slick, young-looking 61 year-old Christian right-winger who attracted headlines by holding – in place of a political rally – a huge prayer rally in Houston a week before formally announcing his candidature.
Perry had built up strong lunatic credentials (something that every GOP candidate must establish before having a chance of election these days); in April, while wildfires burned across Texas amidst a drought, Perry (while denying that this year’s extreme weather could demonstrate any truth in man-made climate change) instead prayed for rain.
Naturally, Perry is anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage – standard check-boxes on the Republican membership form these days.
Likewise, on economic issues, Perry says the moronic and downright dangerous things that every Tea Party-supporting moron will love, such as claiming last month that a failure to raise the federal debt ceiling would be fine. (You have to feel sorry for Republicans running for office these days – say anything moronic and mainstream society will mock you; say anything sensible and you lose your electoral base).
Perry is front runner for a reason: he’s been Governor of Texas since he replaced Dubya in 2000, and he has a strong economic record. Perry fans, and Republicans in general, proudly point to Texas’s economic performance (relative to other states, at least) as proof that conservative economic policies work. After all, he balanced the budget in the tricky 2010/11 fiscal years – no mean feat. And Texas has had a strong record of job creation on his watch.
But dig deeper, and a hidden threat emerges. For while Rick Perry claims to be a poster-boy for right-wing virtues, he is hiding a sinister truth: his approach to Texan fiscal matters has been (I hardly dare type it)… SOCIALIST!
Perry consistently claims to be an enemy of big government, and was strongly opposed to Obama’s stimulus; yet he was simultaneously taking $6.4 billion in Obama stimulus money! In fact, this money nearly perfectly plugged the $6.6 hole that would otherwise have appeared in Texas’s 2010/11 budget.
Even worse, Perry’s apparent job creation record hides another terrible Socialist secret: Much of the gain in Texan employment during the Perry and Bush era comes from (brace yourself) government jobs!
So there we have it: the free market works perfectly (so long as you have access to government money when it doesn’t). Republicans beware: Perry may pretend to be a raving right-wing lunatic, but scratch the surface and he’s dangerously pragmatic. If you want to elect a real, honest moron who will stick to her guns (and destroy America’s economy and global standing in the process) I suggest you vote for Michele Bachmann.

A Neat Way To Attack Bigotry

I spend plenty of time ridiculing bigots on Twitter. Sometimes it works and makes them modify their behaviour, but some are just so thick-skinned they just won’t be deflected. Some of the worst bigots are those who believe they’re hating in God’s name – they equate the backlash on Twitter with Jesus’ suffering, and are spurred to ever-greater heights of nastiness.
One such hate-filled moron is a young woman called Raissa Nkuba, better known to Twitter users as @MissRaissa. She’s a deeply religious woman (she says) but she’s primarily obsessed with the parts of the Bible related to sex. In particular (it may come as no surprise to discover) she’s obsessed with the “sin” of homosexuality.
Debating Raissa is repetitive, and a pastime I’ve largely given up (though many brave souls still try). When picked up on a homophobic comment, she’ll quickly fall back on explaining how she “hates the sin, not the sinner”, while making it perfectly clear that she loathes both sin and sinner.
So how do you tackle someone so certain in their God-inspired bigotry without getting bored (or boring), or looking like a bully? Tweeter @Inrodeo has come up with a cunning plan: he’s set up a fund-raising page where people can donate to an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender) cause in protest at Raissa’s homophobia. The more she hates gays, the more money can be raised for a good cause.
So next time Raissa or one of her homophobic friends annoys you, please consider donating to the Miss Raissa Help A Homo fund (OK, it’s not actually called that). Click here to see the page and donate.
Miss Raissa herself has responded to the fundraiser with the following tweet:

Morons, Riots and Amnesia

In 1981 I was a pupil at an inner London comprehensive school. Around 75% of my classmates were black, and the remaining quarter were mostly white, Indian or Pakistani. Many of my classmates had been stopped and searched by the police under the infamous SUS laws, under which the police merely had to believe that a person was acting suspiciously. Many more of their fathers, elder brothers and uncles had been stopped and searched. Many of these had been racially abused, falsely arrested and/or beaten up. The police were a law unto themselves. Complaints about police behaviour were handled by… well, the police of course. And the mass media still lived in a complacent bubble dating from an earlier age where the police were never corrupt, racist or unnecessarily violent. The worst police behaviour came from a gang called the Special Patrol Group (SPG), who regularly beat up (and sometimes killed) people without fear of punishment.

The London of 1981 was far less racially mixed than it is today – black and Asian people were concentrated into certain areas, and white estates were no-go areas for them. The far-right fascist National Front (NF) would march through racially mixed areas as a provocation, and in any resulting violence, the police always took the side of the NF.
It was no surprise to me or my friends, but a huge shock to most of the UK, isolated from the black inner city, when the Brixton riot erupted in April 1981. Brixton had been subjected to “Operation Swamp”, during which the number of stop-and-searches rocketed. Ostensibly this was an attack on crime; in reality it was the invasion of Brixton by a racist, violent gang. Of the many stories circulating at the time, a minor one stays with me for some reason: during a raid on a black house, the police smashed a guitar and a TV set, claiming they were looking for drugs inside. The people of Brixton (and other black areas around the country) were being deliberately wound up into a rage, which became all the more consuming for lack of any means of dealing with it. There were few black or Asian people in the police force or media, and even the most well-meaning news outlets had no idea what was going on. When Brixton exploded, so did other areas of London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and other cities. A few blocks of Brixton became a police-free zone for three days, defended at “the front line” on Railton Road. At the front line, people defended the area. Inside was a carnival, celebrating freedom – a police state had been temporarily liberated. Some of my older friends travelled to Brixton to witness or join the festival. People of all races partied and battled the police together; despite propaganda at the time, this was no race riot – it was a community uniting against the police. Yes, there was mindless looting and burning, despite the efforts of older community leaders. Once all respect for law and order has collapsed, this can only be inevitable.
After the dust had settled, the government response to the riots was very British and remarkably level-headed. An inquiry was called under the leadership of Lord Scarman, and later the same year, the results were delivered. Scarman found clear evidence that the police were using stop-and-search powers indiscriminately against black people. The law was changed in 1984, putting new controls on police behaviour, as a direct consequence of the Brixton riots.
Other incidents, most notably the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence (which the police barely bothered to investigate) changed the public and media perception of the police, and things slowly changed for the better as scrutiny and control improved. By the late-1990s, the street confrontations of the 80s seemed to have faded into history.
Then came 9/11. One of the many after-effects of those attacks (although Britain at that stage had never been under threat) was a massive increase in stop-and-search against young men, primarily black and Asian (though affecting whites as well). Within months, the friendly new face of the police had morphed back into something resembling that of the 1980s. I noticed an increase in sirens – and since there was no terrorist threat until after the Iraq invasion, I wondered what all those police were doing with their new-found anti-terrorist powers. The answer: they were stopping and searching hundreds of thousands of young men. In all this time, not a single terrorist suspect has been caught using stop and search. But the result has been an increased hatred for the police among young Londoners. Stop and search is often accompanied with verbal abuse and heavy-handed treatment. The old, violent SPG was dissolved in the 80s, but its successor, the Territorial Support Group (TSG) was becoming known for the same tactics.
Incident after incident has come and gone in the past decade; hundreds of people have died at the hands of the police, and countless thousands have been verbally, racially and physically abused. A young relative of mine was assaulted twice by the police: once slapped across the face, the second time thrown against the side of a van. In neither case was he accused, formally cautioned or arrested for anything. To middle-class Britain, these are just unlinked, isolated events. To people in the inner city, the reported incidents are the tip of the iceberg. Over 300,000 black and Asian people were stopped and searched in the UK during the 2008/09 reporting year. At what point does normal policing activity tip over into the directed acts of a police state? I’d guess it lies at somewhere much less than 300,000 stop-and-searches in a single year.
Deaths at the hands of police come and go, in their hundreds, usually with little mention, but one death did receive media attention: the curious “self-stabbing” of reggae star Smiley Culture in March (which I blogged at the time) led to a march in London, and the uniting of various family campaigns, each one having been previously isolated. The death of such a high-profile black man led to a massive increase in community anger. If they could get away with this, what couldn’t they get away with?
And then last Thursday, Mark Duggan was shot dead. The Metropolitan Police immediately reported that there had been an “exchange of fire”. Yesterday, this was revealed to be untrue – not for the first time, the police had leaked a false story, only to have it overturned days later. Only two shots had been fired, both by police officers. On Saturday, a peaceful protest march was held; peaceful, that is, until a 16 year old girl who confronted police was attacked with batons and riot shields. That was the trigger for everything that followed.
Incidentally, look at how effectively the police lie-machine works. Below are tweets from two police officers. I’ve no doubt that these individuals genuinely believed what they were tweeting – but they were part of an effective propaganda operation that is put into action every time the police kill somebody.
For those that point out the shooting of Duggan or the attack on the girl are no excuse for the destruction that followed: please stop stating the obvious. Everybody realises this, especially the people who live in those areas. The vandals, looters and muggers must be caught and face justice – that goes without saying. But Londoners also know the rage that exists against the police, on a huge scale. It’s inevitable that mindless morons will take advantage of chaos and begin looting and burning. It happens whenever a riot starts, for whatever reason. It’s a symptom of the situation, not a cause.
I’ve been deeply disappointed with the number of suburban progressives and middle-class Londoners who have swallowed the media spin completely. The looting is a side-product of a much bigger story, the descent of post-9/11 Britain into a form of police state, at least for its poorer populations. Last week’s shooting wasn’t the reason for the uprising. It was simply the last straw. Now we have to defend against our moron government giving police even more leeway to “restore peace” in London. Stop-and-search, coupled with abusive policing, got us here, as it did in 1981. Don’t let them justify even more of the same by the use of fear tactics.

Restore The Death Penalty? Guido Is A Moron!

Paul Staines (who is better known as the right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes) has hit the news this week by launching an e-petition calling for the restoration of the death penalty.

Last used in 1964, and abolished in 1968, the death penalty is a topic continually revisited by the right-wing media, populist MPs and morons trying to get quick publicity – in this case, Guido Fawkes. The UK has among the lowest rates of murder in the world, running around a quarter that of the United States, the last enthusiastic user of the death penalty in the Western World.
Guido has, of course, attracted the usual supporters to create the illusion of a groundswell of public demand: tabloid newspapers (which continually try to create the illusion of the UK as an increasingly lawless society) and a handful of Tory MPs. See for example this article by right-wing Tory MP Sir George Young in today’s (you guessed it!) Daily Mail.
We can’t stop morons from flocking to sign the e-petition. What we can do is try to strike back.
So if you’re a twitterer, please make good use of this hashtag whenever you reference this issue: #GuidoIsAMoron. Twitter has given us a tool to bite back against the old moronic monopoly over news. Let’s use it!