Cultural Baggage, August 2, 2009
Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.
It's not only inhumane it is really fundamentally Un-American... "NO MORE" "DRUG WAR" "NO MORE" "DRUG WAR" "NO MORE" "DRUG WAR" "NO MORE" "DRUG WAR"
My Name is Dean Becker. I don't condone or encourage the use of any drugs - legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.
Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Please be advised that Cultural Baggage is now immediately followed by our other half hour chow, Century of Lies, on many of the Drug Truth Network Stations. With this new Drug Truth Network hour, we will be taking your calls during Century of Lies with a new segment we call Face the Inquisition.
I learned that KWMD is to soon start broadcasting our two shows live in the five cities where they broadcast in Alaska to coincide with the fact that you can now call in live, toll-free from anywhere in North America by calling 1 877 9 420 420. Also want to belatedly welcome WCSD in Cleveland, Ohio to the Drug Truth Network. It seems they have been carrying Cultural Baggage for years, I just did not know.
There is no fee, there is no penalty, no paperwork, no reason not to broadcast our nine programs per week that present the unvarnished truth about the drug war. It would be nice if you programmers would send me an email to let me know so I can add you to the sixty-nine known affiliates of the Drug Truth Network. Welcome to those in Anchorage, Wasila, Eagle River, Casiloff and Seward, Alaska and to the good folks at WCSD in Cleveland.
A couple of small segments and we'll bring in our guest.
This is the Abolitionist's Moment
Today, I want to read a quote from retired judge Dennis Challeen about sending the addicted to prison.
“We want them to have self-worth, so we destroy their self-worth. We want them to be responsible, so we take away all responsibility. We want them to be positive and constructive, so we degrade them and make them useless. We want them to be trustworthy, so we put them where there is no trust. We want them to be non-violent, so we put them where violence is all around them. We want them to be kind and loving people, so we subject them to hatred and cruelty. We want them to quit being the tough guy, so we put them where the tough guy is respected. We want them to quit hanging around losers, so we put all the losers in the state under one roof. We want them to quit exploiting us, so we put them where they exploit each other. We want them to take control of their lives' own problems and quit being a parasite on society, so we make them totally dependant on us.”
The violin solo by Drug Truth Network guest, Professor Arthur Benavie, author of “Drugs, America's Holy War.”
Last week, our guest on both Century of Lies and Cultural Baggage was Mr. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the NORML organization. And just this week, Paul had a major piece, which I think addresses many of the concerns I received from emails and phone calls following his visit.
Dean Becker: Paul, you want to outline that piece for us?
Paul Armentano: Sure. There was a study that actually was published online - fairly common now for scientific journals to post the abstract and the text of forthcoming studies online well before they appear in print. But, in this particular study, it was a multi-state research team that were investigating whether there was an elevated risk of head and neck cancer associated with individuals who regularly or over the long term have smoked marijuana.
What they found was that individuals who had a ten to twenty year history of using marijuana actually had less of a risk of developing cancers of the head and neck compared to individuals who did not use marijuana at all. A significantly reduced risk associated with the use of marijuana.
Dean Becker: Now, Paul, this follows on the heels of studies coming out of Israel that people suffering head injuries or stroke were found to be able to alleviate some of that pressure on the brain through the use of cannabis as well. Have we not shot ourselves in the foot with a machine gun over the years?
Paul Armentano: In that case we are talking about two very different methods of action. Clearly marijuana and the compounds in marijuana have been known for some time to have anti-cancer properties. That is what the individuals - the investigators in the former study were looking at.
Regarding the research you mentioned in Israel, that has to do with the fact that compounds in marijuana also have neuro-protective and antioxidant properties. Those have been identified for many years as well.
Hypocritically, the federal government right now, the United States federal government, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, has a patent on the intellectual use of naturally occurring cannabinoids as neuro-protectants, as anti-oxidants. In other words, the federal government has patented the use of marijuana to treat just those sorts of head injuries, just those sort of brain injuries associated with stroke that you mentioned.
Dean Becker: Paul, I look forward to seeing you next month at the NORML conference.
Paul Armentano: Read all about it at www.norml.org. It's the last weekend in September in San Francisco. We hope to see you there.
Dean Becker: Alright, my friends, this is the Cultural Baggage Show. My name is Dean Becker. Here in just a couple of seconds we are going to bring in our guest, Professor Arthur Benavie. That segment with Paul brings to mind something I want to elaborate further.
This is a clearing house. This is the number one show on the planet dealing with the subject of drug war and it's my hope that many of you stations – affiliates across the continent actually, will get on board with this and we will allow you to send emails to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can ask questions if you are unable to call in - you hear this at a later state, you can call in or email me and we will contact Professor Benavie and answer a question next week on the Drug Truth Network hour.
With that I want – I am proud, I am happy, I am thrilled to have with us Professor Arthur Benavie, author of “Drugs, America's Holy War.” Are you with us Mr. Benavie?
Arthur Benavie: I am and I am delighted to be with you and I enjoyed those statements and I have enjoyed everything that I am hearing so far, including the violin, I might add.
Dean Becker: Well, yes sir, and I was going to ask you what was the name of that piece you were playing?
Arthur Benavie: It was [ ] by Fritz Chrysler. It's for violin alone.
Dean Becker: I thought it went well with that reading of the judge's thoughts.
Arthur Benavie: I thought so too.
Dean Becker: But, thank you so much for being with us. Now, Professor, you are not necessarily what one would call a drug reformer. You don't have a history of drug use. You are an economist, right?
Arthur Benavie: Exactly. In fact, I don't even drink alcohol, so I am a perfect person to write about the drug war. I had marijuana a couple of times back in 1971 or something and it did not agree with me at all.
Dean Becker: Well and sometimes it doesn't. That's to each his own, as they say, right.
Arthur Benavie: Exactly.
Dean Becker: Now, Professor, this book is very fresh. It's just hitting the shelves this summer, right?
Arthur Benavie: That's right. It just came out a couple of months ago.
Dean Becker: And the point that I gleaned from it... I mean, this is a very bold but not radical. Nothing in here is screaming like I guess I would if I had written this book. But what you have done is calmly approach the subject and delve into it and finds it totally lacking in substance. There is just no traction for this drug war to exist in actually, right.
Arthur Benavie: Actually, on the contrary, I think it's – I mean, the two conclusions that I drew from years of several years of researching it, are in fact the same kinds of conclusions that every drug researcher has drawn. Namely, number one, it doesn't work by arresting people and putting in prison. You are not going to make those drugs safer and you are not going to curb the use rate of those drugs.
And the second thing, which the public doesn't seem to know a lot about, and this is the reason I wrote the book, is that the harm that the drug war is doing to this country is enormous. I mean, in terms of causing AIDS, in terms of causing homicides, in terms of causing enormous property crimes and in terms of erosion of our civil liberties and the corruption of pubic officials and the idea that it costs an enormous amount. We are talking about just the enforcement cost is forty-four billion dollars a year and the taxes we could raise if we had some legalization system would be thirty-three billion dollars a year and that been just recently has been estimated by economists.
What I draw from that is the fact there would be enormous benefits if we had the state governments and the local governments, as we did with alcohol, take over the control, the regulation and the taxation of these drugs – take it away from the mobsters. That is where the benefit would come.
If you did that and the people had some kind of legal access to these substances, where – I am talking about all the street drugs – if they had some kind of legal access, you would dry up the market for these violent, mob-controlled drug cartels. They couldn't exist in terms of the drug activity which is their most profitable product.
Dean Becker: You know, Professor, there are several instances, I have flagged a few, that talk about the hypocrisy, the [ ] these guys do. In the introduction, there was a situation about gentleman who was accused or actually set up for selling crack near the White House.
Arthur Benavie: A young kid.
Dean Becker: Yeah, you want to tell them about that story?
Arthur Benavie: Well, he was an eighteen year old kid and this was when Bush senior held up this bag of crack and said this is really terrible, I mean, they are selling it around the White House. So, the DEA and the treasury officials went out and tried to find somebody and they couldn't find anybody.
So, they went several blocks away and they managed to pick up this kid who is selling it in a very – a neighborhood, and they said that they tried to get him to come there and sell it around the White House. He didn't want to do it. So, they had to actually make this thing up – make up this story – and, of course, the fact that the government actually fabricated and made up this whole story and sort of set it up and trapped the kid.
The Washington Post and other news media found out about it and it was an embarrassment, as it should have been, for the Bush people and when this kid was taken into court for this particular incident of actually being sort of made to sell crack cocaine at the government's behest, the judge threw it out. Now, of course, some time later, they caught this kid and they put him in jail for ten or fifteen years.
Dean Becker: As so often happens. Now, another one. It's not an exact parallel, but there was a situation where Dr. Daniel Ricarte works for National Institute on Drug Abuse and he said about to prove just how dangerous ecstasy was and he – well, they injected the brains of monkeys with MDMA repeatedly and did...
Arthur Benavie: They claimed they thought it was ecstasy, exactly right, and they had papers that came out, this at Johns Hopkins University. They had referee papers that this thing was published in. And, after several papers came out, and the government suddenly increased the harshness of their penalties for ecstasy on the basis of this testimony even though other scientists who were there were attempting to refute what he had found.
They said that they didn't agree with it, they hadn't found anything like that. So, ultimately, Dr. Ricorte claimed that he had actually was using, you know, MDMA and not ecstasy and he retracted it and you can actually read the retraction.
Dean Becker: Now, I want to interject a thought, I think you misstated it, if I am right, it was actually methamphetamine, MDMA is ecstasy.
Arthur Benavie: Correct. Methamphetamine, I meant to say meth. That is right.
Dean Becker: They were shooting the monkeys up with methamphetamine into their brains...
Arthur Benavie: In gigantic doses...
Dean Becker: Yeah, and then...
Arthur Benavie: If you use gigantic doses of methamphetamine and use enough of it, you will destroy the person's body.
Dean Becker: Well, yes and it just goes on and on - the hypocrisy of this whole thing.
Arthur Benavie: Well, that's right.
Dean Becker: Even in recent days the US drug czar has come out saying there is no legal or no proper medical use of marijuana and yet the list goes on for pages upon pages of those medical organizations that stand in support of medical marijuana.
Arthur Benavie: Exactly. If you look at the National Academy of Sciences, I don't have the quote right here with me, but if you look at the National Academy, they say very clearly there are medical benefits from using marijuana and every other scientific organization says the same thing.
Dean Becker: Yeah.
Arthur Benavie: It is one of the safest substances. I mean, everybody knows that you can't overdose on it. It has never killed anybody. It doesn't cause cancer. It is a very safe drug and yet they call it a Schedule I drug, which means that it is dangerous and has no medical value and that is just a plain lie.
Dean Becker: It is, indeed. I was able to find, it's on page 51 of your great book: numerous organizations have endorsed medical access to marijuana, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Public Health Association, British Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine.
Arthur Benavie: That's right.
Dean Becker: The list goes on and on.
Arthur Benavie: Absolutely, absolutely. It's just like clean needles, you know, the needle exchange. You have every organization, not to mention every country, wants to be proactive in getting needles out there so you don't have the spread of blood borne diseases through people sharing needles and using dirty needles.
This is one of the major things we could do in this country. Now Obama, President Obama has already made some noises on this issue and Kerlikowski, the new – he doesn't call himself the drug czar - the new director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy behaved very well in Seattle on this issue by keeping the police from bothering the health associations that were actually giving people clean needles.
But, nothing has happened yet on the federal government. The government, the federal government won't even agree to subsidize this even though it is causing people to die. You know that because of the drug war and the shared needles of addicts out there who can't get a fix, we have one, you must have read that in the [ ], one out of four AIDS cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is caused by dirty needles and nine thousand children under the age of thirteen have AIDS because of dirty needles according to the Centers for Disease Control. You can look that up.
Dean Becker: Well, I tell you what we are speaking with Professor Arthur Benavie, author of “Drugs: America's Holy War.” Professor, hang with us just one minute and we'll right back.
Arthur Benavie: OK.
The wars of eternity must be kept alive at any cost. The war of terror IS the war on drugs with afterburners. Untrustworthy snitches lead to chemical weapons and eternal wars causing endless and needless hardship, disease and death. The government attack on the evil ones - mostly people of color – purported to possess these weapons of mass destruction which threaten our very society. Freedoms, supposedly fought for are eroded, denied, and held in abeyance until that magical day when all druggies, terrorists and evil ones are dead and nobody will ever again use drugs or make a chemical compound not approved by the president. Then, we will once again ring the bell of liberty for all.
Dean Becker: Alright, my friends, this is the Cultural Baggage Show, I'm Dean Becker. Our guest is Professor Arthur Benavie. Professor, I hope you got a chance to hear that, but it kind of pointed out the underlying, the hypocrisy of all this. That this is designed to somehow protect our children, protect the neighborhood, and protect the nation. Yet, it's not doing any such thing at all, is it?
Arthur Benavie: No, on the contrary, I think our children or the young people are in much more danger because you have – you know, you have these drug peddlers that are trying to convince young people to use some of the hard drugs and if we had some sort of controlled and regulated legalization of this, you wouldn't have that. We don't have alcohol pushers out there trying to sell alcohol to young people.
Dean Becker: Right, right. Well, now, in reading your book, I perceived kind of a – not necessarily an anger, but an understanding that there is something needs to be done, right?
Arthur Benavie: Well, there is an anger too. I mean, the idea that you would take a young person, you know, who is in a depressed area and the only industry you have got there is a drug industry, you know, and they are selling or they are possessing drugs and you put them in jail for ten years – I mean, that to me is brutal.
Think about Barack Obama, for example. You know, in his book, Dreams from my Father, he talks about the fact, not only that he used marijuana, but that when they had a little money they would buy some blow – that's cocaine. Well, if they had caught Barack Obama doing that, he could have been in jail for ten years. I mean, is this the way our society should be when we are supposed to have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Do you know, I am sure you do, you probably know it every bit as well as I do, what the penalty is if somebody with the federal penalty is for somebody that is caught with drugs? Caught with cocaine, for example? Think about this. Let's say that you are a person who has never had a problem with the law and you are caught in possession of five grams of crack or five grams of meth. Do you know what the penalty is under federal law? It is five years mandatory in a federal penitentiary without the possibility of parole.
And the same thing holds, believe or not, for one gram of LSD. Five hundred grams of powder cocaine and one hundred grams of heroin. All of those possession penalties will put you in a federal penitentiary for five years without the possibility of parole. You want to know what is even more astounding? It's not five grams of crack - it's five grams of a substance which contains crack. That is really insane.
Dean Becker: Yes, it's approximately – if you use a pure gram of cocaine to make it, and then you broke it down into – it's actually one-eighth percentage of cocaine within that gram.
Arthur Benavie: Right. You could have ninety-five percent of legal stuff and if you have some crack – some cocaine in there, they count the entire gross amount. Very few people know that.
Dean Becker: My boss, if you will, Jack Cole, director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, tells the story of when they first started the drug war that they would go out and they would find a bag of, say a half ounce of cocaine, they would throw it in a bigger bag of full of baking soda, give it a good shake, and suddenly they have got a major felony.
Arthur Benavie: Exactly right. That's right. That's terrible, but you are exactly right.
Dean Becker: Well, I tell you what, professor, we are going to take a couple of minutes. You can get you a drink or something and we are going to come back here in just a few minutes and take our listener calls.
Arthur Benavie: Oh, I'd love that. Yeah, that's great.
Dean Becker: If you will, just bear with us, sir. We have got a couple of messages I want to share with the listeners and then we'll be back in a few with Professor Arthur Benavie.
Arthur Benavie: I hope somebody – I hope people will call in. I'd love that.
Dean Becker: I tell you what. Let me finish my phrase: he is author of “Drugs: America's Holy War.” Our number that you can call in locally is 713 526 5738 and anywhere in North America, listening on kpft.org, you can call in toll-free to 1 877 9 420 420. We will be back shortly with Professor Arthur Benavie.
It's time to play Name That Drug by its Side Effects!
Swelling of hands and feet, rash, hives, blisters, swelling of the face, lips, tongue and neck, trouble breathing, changes in eyesight, muscle pain, fever, skin sores, dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, feeling high.
The answer: From Pfizer, Lyrica, for fibromyalgia.
Dean Becker: I myself have been arrested twice when police planted drugs in order to obtain an arrest. Here is a story out of Cookville, Tennesee that shows they are still at it.
[police yelling and cursing in background]
Reporter: Their own dashcam camera was rolling when Cookville police caught up with a man that was wanted on a domestic assault warrant.
[police yelling and cursing in background]
Reporter: According to this federal lawsuit, Carlos Farol's ex-wife, Tiffany, called police when she spotted him. She was there, standing in the background when police officer Chris Melton ordered Farol out of his car.
Officer: Put your hands up and get out of the car!
“Mr. Farol gets out of the car, obviously hands raised.”
Reporter: Ben Winters, and attorney Blair Durham are representing Farol. They say police used excessive force in June of last year when they arrested the twenty-eight year old. In the video, a police K-9, being held by Officer Jeff Johnson bites what appears to be a compliant Carlos Farol.
[police yelling and cursing in background]
“One of the officers who has control of the dog allows the dog to attack Mr. Farol, even after he is on the ground.”
Reporter: The attorneys also accuse Cookville police officer Chris Melton of planting drugs on their client.
“Now, the cops leave, here is the hand signal.”
Reporter: Officer Melton searches Farol's pockets at least a half dozen times. Then, Durham says, another officer appears to give a signal with his hand. Melton reaches into his own right pocket, looks into the camera and, Durham says, that's when Melton puts a bag of marijuana into Farol's pocket.
[police officers yelling about finding weed]
Reporter: Five Cookville police officers are named in the suit. Melton is on administrative leave with pay.
“If they can tell each other to plant drugs with just a hand gesture, just doing that, you have got to wonder how many other people have gone through this.”
The following audio was gleaned from youtube. It's produced by Wisconsin medical marijuana activist Gary Storck, S-T-O-R-C-K.
I was born with glaucoma and began losing my sight rapidly as a small child. In my teens, I began to hear that cannabis might be something that could treat glaucoma. When I was seventeen, I smoked some cannabis before going to see my eye doctor and he found that my usually elevated eye pressures were normal. I made the connection that day, October 3rd, 1972, that cannabis could save my eyesight from glaucoma.
It has taken decades, but I believe we have now reached a point where Wisconsin is ready and that if, we, the people make our voices heard through our state assembly representatives, our state senator and governor, that the Jackie Rickart Medical Marijuana Act can pass this session. But, only if everyone gets involved. Here's how you can help pass the Jackie Rickart Medical Marijuana Act. It's time.
[cuts to song]
Dean Becker: Alright, when are you going to make the medicine I take legal medicine? Anyway. You are listening to the Cultural Baggage Show. We are fixing to move to the Century of Lies program on many of the Drug Truth Netowrk stations. This will be your chance to ask your questions, present your comments to Professor Arthur Benavie, author of “Drugs: America's Holy War.”
It really boils down to this, my friends, you know, you heard the request from Gary Storck. You have got to get involved. If you know the truth and you are not doing anything about, well, shame on you. Shame on us all for just allowing this to continue to devour generations of our children – to empower criminals world-wide, to, you know, contribute to more overdose deaths and as the professor was saying, to contribute to more instances of AIDS and hep C, to, you know, take away our children's easy access. Isn't that supposed purpose of all this? Well, that is what we have got to do and it's going to take you getting involved.
Now, as I said, on most of the Drug Truth Network shows, you will next hear the Century of Lies program. You can call in by dialing, locally, 713 526 5738 or you can call in toll-free from anywhere in North America, our number, to reach us here is 1 877 9 420 420. That number, again, 1 877 9 420 420. It's about time to wrap it up but as I always do on this show, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag, so please, be careful.
To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.
This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.