28 October 2003

Oxycontin, Pharisaicalness and Rush

KFYI listeners are sticking with Rush and sending him well wishes in reaction to his admission that he was a practicing drug addict, reportedly scoring 4,350 OxyContin pills in a 47-day period. 95% of his listeners believe he is entitled to what others who are convicted under American drug laws are routinely denied - a second chance with a clean slate. And seemingly, this compassion is applied in a most prejudicial fashion, considering Limbaugh's past remarks on drug users:
What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with illegal drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with using and trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.

Of course, Rush Limbaugh's entire life is the epitome of right wing hyprocrisy, so this recent development should shock nobody. Limbaugh has heralded himself as a self made champion of the heartland when in fact he is from aristocratic origin. He's been a fervent hawk, pleading for war, while he himself evaded the Vietnam War because of a pimple on his ass. He decries liberals and their lifestyle yet he shuttles back and forth between Paris and New York, soaking up the culture, quaffing $2,000 bottles Chateau Haut Brion and smoking fine Cuban cigars. The OxyContin addiction is merely another in a long stream of Limbaugh's hypocritical exhibits.

But now, the latest contradiction serves as a glaring example of how flawed our so called "War on Drugs" is. Rush Limbaugh, no doubt, will escape unscathed from his latest trangression. Sure, he's serving time in a new age like Tucson rehabilitation center, but I would wager any amount that he won't be seeing any hard time, at least for this incident. Others, guilty of the same crime as Limbaugh, but devoid of his celebrity status and riches, have encountered a less fortunate fate. Oh, but the Limbaugh loyalists will retort that drug possession and drug trafficking are two different offense. Not so in today's drug war landscape - any amount in the quantity that Limbaugh is reported to possess could be construed as "intent to distribute". The crime and sentence are both in the decree and judgement of the prosecutorial agents, one of the tragic unintended consequences of the travesty of the so-called "War on Drugs". If you are politically connected, you will skate free, receive probation or serve a minimal sentence. Regular folks get shafted and pay a heavy price. Or you can end up dead like this Chandler woman, whose attempt to illegally obtain a pharmacy prescription resulted in death.

4 October 2003

Unintended Consequences: Five Years Under the DMCA

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a report detailing how the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been used to "stifle a wide array of legitimate activities" and has developed into "a serious threat"...