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Untitled Document

Rush to judgment

By G. Patrick Callahan, Prisoner of the Drug War

I was channel surfing recently on the AM radio bands and caught one of the rabid right wing talk show hosts interviewing that paragon of moral virtue, Mr. William Bennett. What drives a blatherer like Bennett to stink up the air with the same tired, old marijuana propaganda, the same old get tough horse manure that has made America the vast prison camp it is today?

I had thought Bennett -- a one-time, part-time U.S. Drug Czar - was now passe, since his own addiction was revealed, a craving for gambling which cost him several million dollars. It is difficult to imagine an urge so powerful a man would sink the equivalent of many men's lifetime earnings on cards and dice, a truly mind-boggling proposition. Imagine the virtuous things such vast sums of money could have set in place. The talk show hosts, however, gave their blessing to Bennett -- it was, after all, his own money they said, rallying around another naked icon, cloaking him in rationalizations. It is 'do as we say,' not 'as we do' with that crowd, over and over again.

The latest fraud is Rush Limbaugh, who for years over the radio has spewed right wing, hard line rhetoric embracing the virtues of lock and key for any and all malefactors, rhetoric that includes unfounded, endless reminders of the danger of legalizing marijuana. He extols family values (without having a family himself, or real friends, for that matter) and the entire panoply of inflexible, self-righteous dogma, all while being a drug addict hooked on OxyContin, an opiate, the so-called 'hillbilly heroin.'

Limbaugh allegedly is a long time user with a prodigious appetite for the stuff, and ordered his maid into the streets to purchase it for him. For a heavy fellow, once exposed, he moved with remarkable speed to the obligatory treatment center, which in cases that involve the 'rich and famous,' is usually a 'sentencing alternative' because 'icons' have this automatic option, and the money to afford it.

There is so much hypocrisy here it simply cannot be parsed. Limbaugh, whose father is a federal judge, shamelessly began his daily acidulous scouring of anything remotely "liberal" by proclaiming he did so with "half his brain tied behind his back." I always thought he had half a brain, but now we know where the other half really was, and it wasn't tied behind that hefty back.

While pounding his desk espousing the wretched, insensitive policies that have imprisoned tens of thousands of his fellow countrymen, Rush Limbaugh was cynically breaking the law -- the drug laws. And yet this was a fantastically successful person despite his alleged addiction. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? An aspect the talk-show pundits have yet to touch upon.

It has been dismally amusing to hear the devotees Rush to his defense, megadittoheads to the last. While such impetuosity might be expected of dittoheads everywhere, the truly entertaining moments came when Limbaugh's talk show avatars and imitators -- Michael Savage among them -- said, "Perhaps now it's time to rethink the war on drugs."

I think it would be a real treat to see Rush among us, among this number and assigned a number. He could use a dose of prison -- just a typical dose would suffice, say, 120 months in federal prison. That would teach him (something). He wouldn't be blasting the hard line through the atmosphere after that, and I'll wager Orrin Hatch would never be a guest on his future radio show should the dittoheads welcome him back.

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