Cultural Baggage, September 6, 2009

Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

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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.

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Dean Becker: Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. The drug war is getting about as hot as a thousand string of fireworks I suppose. The news is getting more and more responsive to the situation. The truth is finally coming forward. I want to read to you a little quote here: a radical solution to end the drug war: legalize everything. One cop straight out of the wire crunches the numbers with esquire.com's political columnist to discover that America's prohibition of narcotics may be costing more lives than Mexico's and nearly enough dollars for universal healthcare. So why not repeal our drug laws? Because cops are making money off them too. Here to talk about it is the author of that piece from Esquire, Mr. John H. Richardson. Hello John.

John H. Richardson: Hi, how are you doing?

Dean Becker: I am well, sir. Thank you for being with us. Would you concur that it's getting hot as a firecracker?

John H. Richardson: Well, it sure is. I mean, there is – the last time I checked it was six thousand deaths in Mexico and when I checked for this article it was eleven. So, that is pretty substantial that was over a year another four thousand people killed down there and then the there is the people to consider up here. So yeah, it is out of control. It is crazy and it is not actually getting any drugs off the street that I can see.

Dean Becker: Let's talk more about your piece. I mean, there is so much information contained here I don't want to skim over it all though. You have written extensively in the past about this subject as well, right?

John H. Richardson: well, it's not the only thing I write about, I have written a couple of times about it, yeah.

Dean Becker: Well, ok. You know and you are talking about the numbers of dead Americans also that the paralyzing drug laws. As you say, brings the number closer to fifteen thousand lives. Do you want to talk about that increase in that number?

John H. Richardson: Well, yeah. I mean I started thinking. First I talked to the police officer, Neill Franklin who was a Maryland state police officer narcotics officer for thirty-two years and retired as a commander. He is one of the few, well not so few, but one of the more you know less frequent high rank police officers that have come out against this. A lot of them have but generally less in the hierarchy.

And I mean he was moved to turning against the drug war after one of his best friends and narcotics officer was shot in the line of duty and he started to think what is it worth? Why is this guy with four kids who is a law abiding citizen, trying to do good in the world – why did he lose his life?

So officer Franklin started looking at the stats and he realized that a lot of people have been killed in Baltimore - a lot of officers, a lot of citizens, a lot of hapless drug addicts. He started talking about that and I asked him had anyone ever crunched the numbers on this and he said not that he knew of. And so I started looking around for a hard number on how many people in America die each year in the drug war and I couldn't find anything.

It's amazing because with so much publicity about big bad Mexico and all the terrible things that are happening there. So I looked some stats and took what Neill Franklin told me about what he thought the rate of death was which he said in Baltimore was as high as seventy-five percent so I low balled it at fifty percent and then spread that to the urban police stations across the country which he said has a similar rate. So again low balling it, I came up with six thousand four hundred and eighty-seven people who are likely to have been killed in the drug war if you figure half of the people who are killed are killed in the drug war and like I said, this guy said that it was substantially higher so it's a thumbnail back of the envelope estimate but I think it's probably somewhere in the ballpark. That is a pretty shocking number I think.

And then I looked at the people who were killed through overdoses and that number is really high too. Just in illegal – I was shocked at how many people die of legal overdoses of legal drugs which is another twelve, fifteen thousand but just and just of the three major ones, cocaine heroin and speed I think it was. It was like twelve thousand people. So adding that together it was a pretty dang high number of people that might be dying for, I am not really certain what cause.

Because like I said if, here is the number I came up with: fifteen thousand two hundred and twenty-three a year. And but for what cause. I mean if we were getting the drugs off the street or keeping them out of the hands of school kids or cleaning up corruption in our police agencies or stopping the leakage across the border or doing something it would be worth it. But none of those things are happening. In fact corruption in police office - state in police departments is out of control because of this.

People – the border is you know increasingly porous to terrorism because the Mexican cartels are figuring out every way to bring billions of dollars of drugs across. And not to say, I just saw today, some the they are puling in something like thirty-eight billion a year out of this country which can't so our balance of trade, our trade deficit, too much good. So it just seems nuts and as Larry Franklin said you have all these people who are dying – drug addicts maybe or drug users but they are also like our kids and our brothers and our fathers and it is like do we want them to die or do we want them to be treated, so...

Dean Becker: Friends, we are speaking with Mr. John H. Richardson of Esquire. We are going to be taking your calls here in about five minutes. Get your pens out. I will give you the number here in just a minute - from across North America where you can dial in toll free. John, you spoke with Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. There is a section of yr article: Why regulating legal drugs fixes the dead body problem. Do you want to tell me about that?

John H. Richardson: Well, Neill went on about this more than I was able to quote him but he talked about – he said as a police officer he asked kids which is easiest for you to get a hold of: marijuana or alcohol? And the kids all say it is easier to get pot because alcohol is a pain in the ass to get.

It's in liquor stores; they won't sell it you without a license. You have to lurk outside the liquor store and like try to inveigle some adult in to buying it for you or getting an older brother. Your parents sure aren't going to do it.

It's not like sold on the street corners. There is no bathtub gin being sold as hooch in like you know bottles with you know jug handles any more. That went with prohibition. In fact in prohibition, kids could probably get it pretty easy because it was like this fun crime thing and everybody was against the government because the government was telling them what to do and people don't like that.

So Neill's argument is what we need to do is not like throw open the gates and say, hey everybody take drugs. It is more like make it illegal to kids and make it and then you have a much more limited pocket of people that you have to control it. And there is a system of regulation and there becomes a real onus instead of something like, cool everybody is taking drugs and the government is trying to you know control us and we're free and we're libertarian and all that.

It's like the only dealers would be selling to school kids. The only illegal drug dealers would be selling to school kids and a little bit of you know, granted a little bit of illicit drugs just like there is in legal drugs that are sold under the table. But it makes it much more easy to control. It makes it much more and of course the other part is to make it much more of a medical problem rather than a criminal problem.

Which I was surprised at how Franklin, how sympathetic Franklin was to junkies and I asked him, you know don't these people deserve what they get? And he was like no. They are people who have a weakness or an illness and they need to be treated. They don't need to be like murdered by a system that throws them on the refuse heap and I was kind of touched by that because I didn't expect that from a police officer.

Dean Becker: Exactly right. Well, my friends I tell you what do get out your pens now, here is the number where you can call in and participate in this discussion. Anywhere in North America you can dial in toll free to 1 877 9 420 420 or locally you can call 713 526 5738. That is locally 713 526 5738 and in North America toll free 1 877 9 420 420. We are going to be back in thirty seconds to carry on our discussion with John H. Richardson, columnist for Esquire.

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[PSA]

Announcer: He once won a debate with the drug czar with a single word
Man: Recognize.
Announcer: When quizzed about the use of clandestine methodry, he has a strong opinion. Man: No.
Announcer: He is the most interesting man in the world.
Man: I don't always do drugs but when I do, I prefer marijuana. Stay informed, my friends. drugtruth.net

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Dean Becker: You are indeed listening to the Drug Truth Network. My name is Dean Becker. This is the Century of Lies show and our guest is John H. Richardson, columnist for Esquire. John, while we are waiting on calls, again folks, lines are open. Give us a call 1 877 9 420 420. Locally 713 526 5738.

The third section of this column: A Radical Solution to End the Drug War: Legalize Everything, is: Why cleaning up the justice system solves the wasted money problem. Let us talk about the money problem.

John H. Richardson: Well, again, I was sort of shocked at what Neill had to say. He said that pretty much a third of his police department was dedicated towards narcotics crimes. So again I sort of said, a third? And this isn't counting the DEA or the forest eradication programs or all that other, or the federal government particularly or anything like that.

But America's local police budgets alone are forty three billion dollars so a third of that is twelve, thirteen billion dollars. That is a lot of money. So I also crunched the domestic and international law enforcement and it is nine billion. So the total was twenty-one billion, almost twenty-two.

Then there is the American prisons which is seventy percent drug incarcerations. And overwhelmingly and immorally biased against black males because as well all know, crack gets a prison sentence and cocaine, you know you get off because it's a white person's powdered cocaine in the suburbs or in the office suites or in the discothèques.

So again crunching the numbers on the prisons which are like forty-nine billion for the state prison budget leaving out the federal and you have got... I went with fifty-five percent and that is another thirty billion. So you know you are just adding all these billions up and it came up to a total – and this is again, I just came up with the basic stats on prisons and made a rough estimate of what, again, low balling it at fifty-five percent in the prisons... and came up with fifty-two point three billion dollars a year.

Now it is interesting next week in esquire.com I have got another stat which, here let me look it up – which came from a actual professional organization which is called – hang on a sec, let me pull this up for you – the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse which is you know the head of the US Conference of Mayors and the Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and all sorts of responsible citizens are members of this group. So the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse came up with the costs of not just the drug war but also alcohol and tobacco all the things that we get addicted to. Four hundred and sixty-seven billion a year! That is unbelievable and here is what they say

Again, you can read this next week in esquire.com because I have got a little bit. They run my column when it is on Tuesday. So anyway they said of every federal and state governments spent on substance abuse and addiction in 2005, ninety-five point six cents went to shoveling up the wreckage: accidents, hospitals, police, prisons and only one point nine percent went to prevention and treatment. So and they said this is a searing indictment of the policies of the government at every level that spent virtually all of the funds in this area to shovel up the wreckage of substance abuse and addiction and practically nothing to prevent and treat it.

So you know it's crazy. We have got to change this punitive, failed effort. It is you know it is bizarre that this continues so much. And a lot of my readers off this first column have written to me about the experience in Portugal and I suggest people look that up and check it out because they decriminalized and they have less crime and less HIV from shared needles and a lot of good outcomes.

They don't have a decrease in addiction and some people are pointing to that and saying, ah well see, they are not reducing addiction which sort of shocked me because they overlooked the human suffering of the people in prisons and the injustice of this – singling one drug out and leaving another drug that is more popular amongst old folks or something – alcohol. And saying well that is fine we are going to put you in prison for yours

Dean Becker: Well, and that is so true. We are speaking with John H. Richardson of esquire.com. John, you know it occurs to me we probably ought to jump on these phone calls. I appreciate we have got more lines open. Our number 1 877 9 420 420 or locally 713 526 5738. Let's go to Mr. A on line one. Hello sir, you are on the air.

Caller: How are you doing?

Dean Becker: Good, well you have a concern?

Caller: Yes, basically... prison are pretty much there for black males for more or less population control. Because most of them if you look at the age groups – you are looking at between seventeen to twenty-five primarily. And by the time they come out of prison, if they didn't have children you know, they already behind. You take away the time when they are most in the age best to produce children.

So when you come out, you are already behind. You are behind that way and you are behind financially because when you come out man you are not going find work. Because if you have any kind of record – I mean they have even changed deferred adjudication down here now in Texas. Well you know it used to be deferred adjudication you plead guilty, it was kept secret and you did the probation, you didn't have to put on the application when you was through.

And this is basically just a hypocritical justice system because if a person does their time, you know, why you keep it? Unless it's some kind of heinous crime and I don't know who the people are who define heinous, but to me it's like child molestation, things, of that nature; rape, murder, things like that. But like for petty things like drugs, I mean if I went ten years straight, I have paid my debt back to society. But society won't let me forget it.

John H. Richardson: You know, I think you are making some really good points and I wrote a column about the California prison system last, like two weeks ago where the experts I talked to there say that one of the main reasons, or one of the reasons that they are so over crowded is that they violate people on parole for like bring in the wrong place or for having a dirty drug test. When it's like minor, it is something they would not have been sent to prison for before and now they are going back and serving hard time and people are paying forty-nine thousand dollars a bed for it.

Caller: OK, can you clear this something up, did you hear forty-nine thousand dollars a bed, that's one. Alright, we are paying like sixty-five thousand dollars for some kids in juvenile institutions. Was it Colorado? I am not sure, but it's like sixty-five thousand dollars per child. You are looking at an industry that has been created that does not want them to do better because you have created that does not want them to do better...

John H. Richardson: ...You are right about the industry thing. I hate to think about the population control argument that I hear a lot because I don't think the government is quite that devious or intentionally evil. I think it is just like a stupid thing that developed and developed and now has so much inertia.

And as you say, there is a lot of money involved now and there are prison guard unions and there's a whole sort of philosophy of punishment that people buy into that I think... you know. I understand why people want to control the streets. I live in a real nice town. I don't want to see chaos and madness on my streets. I don't want to see people getting gunned down. I believe that this will be - will help the problem, rather than hurt it.

Caller: But before I go, let me say this right quick. Do you know when customs comes down and does big drug busts it's a big dog and pony show they have got. You either have a tanker, a truck or a house that full of – you know, they make this big seizure. What you never see is the people that they busted. You never see them.

And right quick, And we talked about this. I used to be over a drug crime prevention program – it's a jobs program. This ain't nothing but a dog and pony show. When I started asking about the money and started wanting to do what it was geared for, the money would go to the general funds. These people take it and do all everything else with but what they are supposed to do with it.

And when you start, you know doing the right thing with the money. You know taking it and spending it for drug crime prevention, things like that, security... all of a sudden you become enemy number one because you are doing your job. It is like they don't... they say they want you to do it. They say they want these programs to succeed, that they want this to happen. But you know it is just totally hypocritical because the ones who do... It's just like a good teacher. Most of the good teachers get, you know get ostracized and pushed out of schools because they don't want them. It seems like they don't want the kids to learn. They don't want a good teacher in the class...

Dean Becker: Mr. A, I want to interrupt you sir. We have got have got some other callers I want to get. We thank you for your concerns. I want to move on. I want to kind of close out this thought. You were talking about the imprisonment of the black population and I am quoting from your article here, John.

The prison population is off the hook in this country. Franklin says, in 1993 at the height of apartheid in South Africa the incarceration of black males was eight hundred and seventy per one hundred thousand. In 2004 in the US for every one hundred thousand people, they were sending four thousand nine hundred and nineteen black males to prison. Let's go ahead and go to Mike on line two. Your concerns, please. Hello, Mike, what have you got to say?

Caller: I agree with John on a lot of the issues. But don't nobody wakes up in the morning and says, I want to be a crack head. I mean, the churches are not doing their job. And spiritually, I mean from the White House all the way down. You can go out and find one of these young guards... At some point we have to remove the profit from drugs. You know, in Asia, it's a natural resource. We have to get them to export something besides drugs.

[laughter]

John H. Richardson: Yeah, well, you know, I don't know. I think personally I think like people have been getting high since the beginning of time. Animals get high, you know. Crows go after those fermented grapes like crazy. And I think man is born in sin and you know it is not likely that we are going to create the, you know, heaven on earth. I mean we just sort of have to accept that there is people are kind of you know...
...Addiction ...with alcohol, the stat is ten percent, right? Alcohol, ten percent of the people who drink alcohol develop alcohol problems. I think that is like probably what it is. Ten percent of the people are going to get out of control with it.

Dean Becker: OK, gentleman. We thank you. We are going...

Caller: Thank you for taking my call.

Dean Becker: Thank you, Mike. Thank you for your call. Folks you are listening to the Century of Lies show on the Drug Truth Network. We are speaking with John H. Richardson of Esquire. And John, if folks wanted to read this article, it is pretty easy to find. Go to esquire.com, is it The Side/Richardson Report: Drug War Facts article, right?

John H. Richardson: Yes, I think right now it is towards the bottom of the Esquire front page and on Tuesday I update it and then there's links on the bottom so... There will be, this Tuesday I have got comments from a lot of readers some of them are really smart. So yeah, there's this week and last week and then at the bottom there's links to other columns and stuff I have written about this topic.

Dean Becker: OK, real good. I tell you what; I want to thank you for joining us. I hope you will join us again before the year is over because what you have to say is very profound and it needs to be reiterated, underlined and shouted from the rooftop. Thank you very much, John Richardson.

John H. Richardson: Thanks a lot.

Dean Becker: Alright.

John H. Richardson: Bye bye.

Dean Becker: Bye bye.


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[PSA]
It's time to play Name That Drug by It's Side Effects!
Light headedness, nausea, vomiting, headache, malaise, fatal disturbance in brain function, imbalanced electrolytes, over dilution of sodium in the blood plasma, osmotic shift and pressure ruptures, cerebral edema, seizures, coma and death...

Times up!
The answer and before I give you the answer, let me tell you a little bit more about this product. It is found in baby food. It is a major component of the explosives used by the terrorists and it is freely available in the hallways and used in the classrooms of every school in our nation. Prolonged exposure causes severe tissue damage. Inhalation of even a slight amount can be deadly.
Dihydrogenmonoxide is a killer, otherwise known as water.

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[PSA]
This is Gustavo De Greif, former General Attorney of Columbia talking about the drug problem to the Drug Truth Network.

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[PSA]
Prohibition.
Take a pee.
Realize you are just not free.
Osama sells us opium and makes heroin to buy his guns.
I injected to kill the pain because the price is so insane.
I imagine a better way
Pee, then trillions thrown away.
I investigate the intervention of official eternal inquisition.
Never more.

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Throwing Down the Gauntlet.

This is the first edition of a new segment designed to embarrass and impugn the integrity of the criminal justice system of the United States of America. That means you Mr. Street Cop. It means your chief of “please believe me.” I mean the district attorney and his gluttonous minions feeding at the public trough and dispensing lies at the other end of their anatomy.

I am talking about the cretinous judges who sit behind their bench dispensing so called justice in he drug war pretending to understand the problem all the while prospering via the misery that flows before them like a river. Talking to you Mr. Congressman and Senators too. And I am talking about you President Barack Obama, the hope of America, the former pot smoker and coke snorter who will not allow the word legalize into his vocabulary and who now sit and watches while economically disadvantaged drug users are continually ground up like hamburger.

I challenge you Mr. President, every congressman and senators, governors, judges, DA's, police chiefs, prison guards and cops on the beat to defend this policy of drug prohibition. To spend thirty minutes live on the air telling the populace; of the great success of the drug war of defining the many ways in which the horrible repercussions of the drug war are justified via the policy of drug prohibition.

I don't expect an answer but I want you drug warriors to know the end of prohibition is at hand and I will be waiting down by the river to baptize you in the river of reform. Until that day, I am calling you a coward, an ally of the barbarous cartels. I am throwing down the gauntlet!
Dean Becker, drugtruth.net

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[PSA]
This is your drug czar. Do not listen to the Drug Truth Network. It is evil. Pure evil.
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[PSA]
Opening up a can of worms and going fishing for truth, this is the Drug Truth Network.
drugtruth.net
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Dean Becker: Well, I hope you enjoyed this show. I once again want to thank John Richardson for joining us. Be sure to stay tuned on most of the Drug Truth Network affiliates when you will hear from Mr. Russ Jones, former narcotics detective on the Century of Lies show and once again I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag, please, be careful.

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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.