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Reason Alert: War on Drugs, Oil Profits, Farm Bill

May 8, 2008

Drew Carey Reason.tv Video: The War on Drugs Is a Failure
Drew Carey's newest Reason.tv video tells the tragic story of Cory Maye and Ron Jones. Maye was in his home late at night with his one-year-old daughter. A stranger kicked down his door and barged into his daughter's dark bedroom. Maye shot and killed the intruder - just as millions of other Americans would. But it turned out the intruder was actually Police Officer Ron Jones, raiding the home for drugs. Maye had no criminal record or past. The police did not find any drugs in his home at the time, but a few days later claimed to have found small amounts of marijuana. Police found marijuana, crack cocaine residue and scales at Maye's next-door neighbor's home, but never charged that person with a crime. Instead of the cops admitting they had the wrong part of the duplex, received bad information from an unreliable confidential informant, and that Maye was protecting his family and acting in self-defense, they charged him with capital murder. Maye was convicted and sentenced to death. Thanks in part to the reporting of Reason magazine's Radley Balko, Maye's sentence was later reduced to life in prison. "Despite 100 years of heavy social and financial costs, and no indication that victory is attainable, the U.S. government continues to wage its war on drugs," says Drew Carey in the Reason.tv video. Carey calls Maye and Jones "two of the countless casualties of the war on drugs."
» Full Video
» Archive of Reason.tv Drew Carey Videos

Windfall Profits Tax Actually Increased Dependence on Foreign Oil
Exit polls show voters in Indiana and North Carolina weren't fully buying the gas tax holiday gimmick being pushed by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain. Reason magazine's Ronald Bailey details why the holiday is a sham and why a windfall profits tax is the wrong prescription: "The last time the United States imposed a windfall profits tax on oil companies was in 1980 and it lasted until 1988. The result, according to a 1990 Congressional Research Service analysis, was that the tax on oil company profits decreased domestic production by 3 percent to 6 percent and increased dependence on foreign oil by 8 percent to 16 percent. Keep in mind that the big private oil companies actually control only about 6 percent of the world's known oil reserves-the rest are owned by gigantic foreign national oil companies. And just where do private oil companies get the billions they invest in projects to increase supplies? That's right; their profits. In other words, Clinton actually ends up sticking it to consumers when she tries to stick it to Big Oil."

Farm Bill Follies
"Last year, net farm income reached a record level of nearly $89 billion due to high crop prices. Farm household income averaged $84,000 in 2007, according to the Environmental Working Group (the 2006 average for all U.S. households was $66,000). Despite such good times, the federal government showered $5 billion in direct payments on 1.4 million farmers. These direct payments have nothing to do with crop productivity or a safety net in case of low prices-they are basically gifts to farmers just because they are farmers. In fact, farmers with gross incomes up to $2.5 million have been eligible for these payments. President Bush wants to cap that at $200,000 in income, but the House is considering a cap of $500,000, and the Senate voted to cap the payments at $750,000 per year in income. Overall, Congress shaved just 2 percent off of the direct payments of $5 billion per year over the next four years. While this is a barely discernible improvement, one would think record high farm incomes combined with a world food crisis would make this a good time for Congress to scrap farming subsidies altogether." - Ronald Bailey examines Washington's desire to shower farmers with subsidies.

Drop Barbies, Not Bombs, on Iran
"Iran is terrified of Barbie, the tiny polyvinyl sex bomb who loves shopping, pizza, and brushing her hair, but has few satellite-guided missiles at her disposal. According to Iran's Prosecutor General, Ghorban Ali Dori Najfabadi, a loosely organized coalition, led by the world's most impeccably accessorized mercenary but also including additional combatants like Harry Potter and Spider-man, is doing 'irreparable damage' to Iranian children...In the long run, of course, a Barbie revolution would be more devastating-and humiliating-to Iran's theocracy than a nuclear strike. Fundamentalists of all stripes inevitably fear homegrown dissidents more than foreign aggression: The prospect of annihilation is more palatable than the specter of choice...Mattel doesn't officially deploy its unlikely freedom fighter to Iran; the Barbies who show up in Tehran shop windows are smuggled into the country, the victims of international doll trafficking. Once there, however, they make the best of it, embodying the traditional American values of self-determination and haircare-and potentially exposing impressionable Iranian minds to phenomena as diverse as Frank Sinatra, the occult, investment opportunities involving miniature dog poop, and who knows what else. Contemplating such matters, an obvious question arises: If Barbie's marginal and haphazard presence in Iran is so disruptive, what kind of impact might she have there if a more orchestrated effort to put additional sexy white boots on the ground was implemented?" - Reason magazine contributor Greg Beato on how to win the culture war in the Middle East.



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