Cultural Baggage, February 21, 2010

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.
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Alright, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. You know, week in - week out, I interview all kinds of people. Scientists; doctors; authors; prisoners; patients; providers; but the one person who's opinions you don't get much content from, is me. So recently I appeared on the Time For Hemp program - online with Mr. Casper Leitch and his co-host. I'll let them do further introductions, but they interviewed me, for an hour.

We have to cut out a lot of his fine music and other content to squeeze his one hour program, into this half hour. But here we go. Casper Leitch, host of time4hemp.com.
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(musical introduction): Well, it's Time 4 Hemp... yeahhhh.

Thank you for taking Time 4 Hemp. This is your host, Casper Leitch. On the program today, we will be visited by... a couple of interesting characters, I must say. They have started their own organizations and that means they are pioneers; pathfinders - for some of you who are in military terms. They truly have shown us a new way to change the world around us.

First will be Dean Becker. He put together an organization called Drug Truth Network and I would encourage you to go to drugtruth.net and check out the remarkable website that they have there... and then in the second half hour we've got Chief Stroup. He founded an organization called NORML, a family member. Ed Rosenthal will be joining us on the show as always and as our joint host today, another pioneer in the world of publishing, someone who has taken it upon themselves to put together a journal called, Treating Yourself magazine. His name is Marko Renda and Marko, thank you for taking Time 4 Hemp.

Mr. Marco Renda: Oh thank you, Casper, for having me again as your joint host on your phenomenal radio program that you put on twice a week and it's a real pleasure to be on here with you.

Mr. Casper Leitch: I also have on the line our guest today, who has been working hard for the marijuana movement. Putting together the Drug Truth Network. His name is Dean Becker. He also has a great radio show that broadcasts the truth about how important it is ending this war on drugs. Dean, thank you for taking Time 4 Hemp.

Dean Becker: Casper, thank you so much for the invitation. It's always good to talk with you.

Mr. Marco Renda: How you doing, Dean?

Mr. Casper Leitch: I'm not sure if you had a chance to meet Marco.

Dean Becker: Hello, Marco. It's good to meet you too, sir.

Mr. Marco Renda: It's good to meet you. Thanks for coming and joining us this evening.

Dean Becker: I'm glad to do it, every opportunity I get. I'm trying to share the unvarnished truth, as Casper indicated, about this drug war. I'm a former cop. I'm a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and about nine years ago, I decided it's time to bring this issue to the fore.

I got with Pacifica Radio, here in Houston. They gave me a chance and we're now up to seventy-two broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada, that carry one or more of our programs.

Mr. Casper Leitch: That is amazing.

Dean Becker: Well, it's an issue who's time has come. I think that even the major media is starting to get it. They're starting to sneak up on this truth. They're kind of embarrassed they didn't get it sooner, I suppose. But I think we're going to get there, relatively soon.

Mr. Casper Leitch: I sense Marco's going to cut to the question. I'll let Marco take it over.

Mr. Marco Renda: Well, I can see a lot of changes happening in the US with the... including Washington, D.C. allowing medical marijuana, where they wouldn't even recognize it before and with the American Physicians Association, as well. Finally recognizing it as a true medicine with medicinal values.

Dean Becker: Yes, that was in Houston just this past Fall. They came out in favor of more studies and perhaps moving it out of Schedule One, where it has - supposedly - no medical benefit.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Right, right.

Dean Becker: Yeah, I...

Mr. Marco Renda: At least, in the US, you have a place where studies are being done. Up here in Canada, we can't even get the government to allow us to do studies. Anytime a study gets started, they turn around and cancel it.

Dean Becker: It's part of that same... I don't know, syndrome - I don't know what else to call it - whereby again, these politicians; these authorities, even the scientists and the doctors have told these lies for so long that now their legacy, if you will, their stature, is tied to that “belief”, that it has no medicinal value... and for them to now back down, well... it kind of ruins their stature; ruins their legacy and now they're fighting tooth and nail.

There's a very few people left in charge of this drug war and day by day, we're whittling them down. It won't be long 'til there's not going to be anybody standing there yelling, 'Lock 'em up!”, for doing something that hurts on one other than perhaps themselves.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Now, do you think that this forfeiture rule fuels this, for the police? Because being in the past you were in the police force and you get the funding. So, do you think that the forfeiture rule really fuels the fire?

Dean Becker: Oh, it does. Especially in smaller municipalities, you know... little *podunk towns, like on the border between Texas and Louisiana. They'll pull over a black couple. They'll frisk them. They'll find if they have any money. Any money, they will take it and sometimes they take the car as well, telling the people, 'We'll let you go if you'll just sign here on the dotted line.'

It's not even just raiding pot houses... or grow houses. It's just shaking down the 'average Joe', because these laws are in place and that's being brought to focus more and more. They're starting to catch these little podunk towns and they're starting to sue them. Eventually it will stop but, it's the mind set that began a hundred years ago.

Drug users are unconditionally exterminable and that they could do anything, and they have done anything. Anybody killed in custody, they could say had drugs in his system, 'Well, that was really the reason for the death...' Never mind the beating or the torture involved.

Even the US Supreme Court has said there is an exception to the constitution because of the drug war. There's no basis to it. There's no reality to it, but people just agree. Drug war is a quasi religion. It's a belief system and if they think they can get away with something, or if they think they're doing “God's work” like...

There was a situation where MPP and Students for Sensible Drug Policy were high in the rankings of a contest sponsored by Chase Bank and they were going to get twenty-five thousand dollars apiece and a chance at a million dollars. But when they did the final tally, somehow MPP and SSDP got dropped from the rankings. They were not included and again, it's part of that mind set that, 'Anything that has to do with drugs is subject to interpretation; company policy; or a re-interpretation of our constitution.'

There is no legitimacy to it, but it's kind of like the gay community was twenty and fifty years ago. That here in Houston, my God, on Saturday night there was nothing better some of these jocks liked to do, than go down on Main Street and beat a queer in the head. You know? It is the belief system. There is no legitimacy to it. No constitutionality to it. It is a belief system and we've got to break this belief system.

I want to tell folks a little bit more about where I am. I'm in Houston, Texas. I use to open one of my programs, Cultural Baggage show with the phrase, “Broadcasting from the Gulag filling station of Planet Earth. This is Cultural Baggage - The unvarnished truth about the drug war. The reason I'm bring that up is... this city arrests more people for drugs per capita, than New York City; than any city on this planet.

Why? Mainly for microscopic amounts of drugs. By that I mean, an empty crack pipe; an empty bag that's laying on the ground, suddenly gets assigned to a person, That they have the jails so over-full that they're actually shipping them to Louisiana to another jail. We're near unconstitutionally overloaded all the time.

But another reason that we are so full at the jail, is that there's a bill that was passed in the 2007 session. It's called House Bill 2391 that says, 'It's no longer necessary for the District Attorney to arrest or jail anybody for four ounces or less, of marijuana' and so far there's only one city in this state, Austin, that takes advantage of that. The rest of them go ahead and arrest people for any amount of marijuana and put them in that overcrowded jail and deny them bail.

You know Houston, your chances of staying in jail are a hundred and forty times more, than they are in Austin. They don't grant PR Bonds. Thirty-eight thousand arrest, they granted one hundred and fifty-four PR Bonds. You know, it's a scam. The bail bondsmen are making money and it costs the city an average of seventy-five dollars a day for every person that's in that jail. It is a grand theft on a daily basis from the people of this community.

I guess where I'm wanting to go with this is, if I could speak out in this town; if I can do what I do in this town - and I'm still doing it ten years later, than whoever's out there listening can do something in their town.

Just today I talked to the sheriffs office, trying to get him on my show. I talked to the mayors office, last week. You can be part of the change, my friend. Dare to do something. Because sitting and watching, is like a cow looking at a combine, is not going to get it done.

{laughter}

Mr. Casper Leitch: Waiting for other people to do the job for you.

Dean Becker: Yes.
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Alright. You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. We're extracting part of the Time 4 Hemp program from last week, featuring, yours truly. It's hosted by Mr. Casper Leitch. Let's tune back in.
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Mr. Casper Leitch: Now Dean, is what he's doing a month, you know the people in a state which was... wasn't it run by Bush?

Dean Becker: Yes, it was. {chuckling} I have to admit it... , if he was and look. It's been a whole host of one just as bad as another. We've had a series of district attorneys that brought us to this point, where we are the worlds leading jailer. They don't care for evidence. We've had, I think, five scandals about our crime lab, where the finger prints was bad; the ballistics was bad; the DNA's bad and then a second round where the DNA's bad. You know?

I mean, it's just crazy and yet the people here trust, too much, the justice system and they don't necessarily understand that it's not working. They have the mind set like Judge Roy Bean, “Lock 'em up, throw away the key or hang 'em.”

We have an ongoing series of police killing, here. They never get indicted, let alone go to trial. The good 'ole boy system just makes sure that they are always exonerated.

Mr. Marco Renda: Isn't the fact that a lot of the jails in the United States are now becoming privatized? That it's a cash grab and it's just another way for everyone to be paid off?

Dean Becker: Oh, it is. The thing that I saw - gosh, I can't remember. The Washington Post / New York Times just in the past few days had a story about, they're going to redefine how they tally the census. Are they going to include the prisoners in the county where they are locked up? Or are they going to include them in the cities from which they came.

Because these small towns love that fact that up till now, these prisoners get counted as living in that podunk town and they get all kinds of government money, with which they can buy police cars and new buildings and... I don't know... take care of their needs. Whereas the people in the cities, where these prisoners came from, do not get those tax dollars and their infrastructure is crumbling. So it's a mighty machine, this prison industrial complex.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Boy, your not kidding and as so many people rely on it, not just for a living, but for a future.

Dean Becker: Yeah.

Mr. Casper Leitch: They're in debt and they realize that if they can stay employed as a prison guard or if they could stay employed by building fences or supplying food for prisons, they've got an opportunity to take care of themselves and their kids could take care of themselves. It's almost becoming a place where you're either going to be a prisoner or a guard or a member of the prison system.

Dean Becker: Exactly, and we've had a situation where... In Houston we've had an ongoing series where measures put on the ballot, “Do we want to build more jails?”, and thankfully; luckily, the people of Houston had voted them down.

The people of Houston; the people of Texas; the... hell, the people of this country, understand this drug war is not working. They're ready for a change. It's these cowardly quaking politicians that are just so afraid to speak the words that need to be said. That, 'There is a better way', and they don't want to appear soft on crime, though they certainly appear stupid on crime for long enough.

Mr. Casper Leitch: You're not kidding... {laughter} ...and as you pointed out too, it is causing quite a problem along the border there and...

Dean Becker: Just this past weekend I posted a blog on the Huffington Post. It's titled, “Drug War, Mistaken” and it's talking about that situation. *It says, “Despite the horrors the US inflicts on its own people in the name of drug war, it is the citizens of Mexico that bear the deadliest weight of this prohibition.

“Thousands of Mexicans are butchered each year in the name of fighting this first of America's eternal wars. The drug war is the pipe dream of men who have long since died and whose followers continue those efforts to destroy the law of supply and demand.” They think they can, “...stop 100's of millions of users, they could prohibit the tens of millions of growers and millions of criminals from seeking their cut of black market profits. America is addicted to drug war.”

Mr. Casper Leitch: Dean I tell you, it's amazing all the hard work you've done out there and your estate. You really have raised your voice out there. Haven't you been afraid of having your door kicked in or problems land on your doorstep that you really just could not handle?

Dean Becker: In the beginning, I worried that the front door would be kicked in, either by the cops or the cartels. 'Cause we're pretty close to Mexico here and neither one of those guys want this to end. It is an absolute gravy train. It's the easiest way to make money, bustin' heads or selling to heads. It's a way to...

Well, it's four hundred billion dollars a year, according to the UN Drug Czar and that's a lot of money. That's a lot of surreptitious goings on. It leads to so much corruption and bribery and it's ... just such an easy thing to do to continue this. Because the cops get seventy billion dollars a year, the criminal justice system does and nobody wants that to stop.

Pothead, in particular, are easy busts. I know that from experience. You'd rather bust a hundred potheads than one drunk, I'll tell you that. Because the drunk, at the very least, will throw-up in your car. Otherwise you might fight or pull a knife or other wise... stink up your car, whereas potheads tend to be fairly nice and clean people.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Yeah, and they're pretty mellow, you know. We don't put up a big fight and we just kind of go, 'Oh well, I guess I'm going to be buying a lawyer and ...'

Dean Becker: Yeah.

Mr. Casper Leitch: ...stuff, you know. We're a pretty mellow group of people, for real. It doesn't make sense.
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Alright. You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. We're tuning into a recent addition of Time 4 Hemp, hosted by Casper Leitch. You can check out their website at time4hemp.com
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Mr. Casper Leitch: Hi! I'm spending time with my friends here at Time 4 Hemp live, all around the... ...right on my joint host today - I love saying 'joint host', it rocks - Marco Renda, Treating Yourself Journal and one of my good friends and somebody who I admire as a hard working activist in the marijuana movement as a guest today, Dean Becker.

Dean now, what made you really get so agitated that you decided to start this wonderful organization of yours? What was the turning point that made you say, 'That's it! I'm doing this now.' ?

Dean Becker: Well, it's kind of a compound thing. It started thirty years ago when a friend of mine got busted and wound up killing himself in his tree house. Seventeen year old kid, right? 'Cause he was fixing to go to prison here, for a joint. Alright? Didn't do a hell of a lot for ten/fifteen years, but about twelve years ago / ten years ago, a gentleman name of Judge James P. Gray wrote a book. Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do about It: A Judicial Indictment of the War On Drugs.

I read that and I realized that this judge 'get's it'. He understands it and he's written what I consider to be the Bible, in this regard. I read it and re-read it and I contacted him. We became friends. He was my first guest on my radio show. That kind of gives you and hint and since that point in time, I now have dozens of judges I consider to be friends. Others, you know, the congressmen who take my calls. Gosh, while he was alive, I use to interview Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate, regularly and people 'get it'.

As I said earlier, people 'get it'. They're just afraid to speak that truth and I urge them to do so in their town, whether they're in a little village or they're in a big city. It can and it must be done. You have to do your part. If you know the truth and you're not speaking up, then you're part of the problem. That's the heart of the matter. When you know the truth, do something about this. Don't just sit and watch it, like I said earlier, like a cow looking at a combine. Because, for too long, that's what we've done. Just marveling at the machinery and we've got to break down that machine. We've got to do something about it.

I want to let folks know that I have hundreds of my programs available on my website, with those same judges and scientists, prisoners, patients, providers, you name it, at drugtruth.net and... Check it out. I think you'll enjoy what you hear there.

We're not just marijuana centered though. I believe in marijuana more than you might think. I am a minister. I believe it's a sacrament. I know it's a medicine and I use it for recreation when I damn well please and the government has no business of making that decision for us. When I grew up, church was always preaching free will. It's your will. You get to decide and yet, we have these drug czars and see all and know all and they're trying to tell us how to live our life. No. It's not their right. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Mr. Casper Leitch: That's where my program focuses strictly on marijuana, hemp, cannabis sativa; that wonderful plant that we all, oh my God. I sit underneath one in the sunlight and in the moonlight, it is so nice. Your show has an array of topics talking about the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the deterioration of the freedoms in our country. Isn't that right?

Dean Becker: It is. We deal with the prison industrial complex. Occasionally, I'll bring somebody on to talk about treatment. I think treatment should be available to those who need it and want it, immediately. But as far as it being forced on anybody, what a joke. They say sixty percent of those in treatment now, are there for marijuana. Such an absolute joke, that there's anybody. I guess there's a random few for whom it becomes obsessive compulsive behavior. But as far as being addictive...bull-shift. OK? It's just not true.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Dean, we've only got a couple of minutes. Marco, you got any final questions you want to get in before we go to break?

Mr. Marco Renda: Yeah, I'd like to find out if Dean would maybe like to write and send in an article to Treating Yourself, sometime.

Dean Becker: Well, you bet I would. I tell you what. My email is dean@drugtruth.net and that's for you, Marco or anybody out there who has some thoughts they'd like to share; some guest's they'd like to recommend; anything of the sort. I'm very open to suggestions and I look forward to hearing from anybody who bothers to write.

Mr. Marco Renda: It was nice speaking with you, Dean and I'm sure you and I will be talking more.

Dean Becker: You bet we will. Marco, thank so much and I appreciate so much, Casper, the invitation. What you do is God's work. You keep it up, my friend and we're going to whip this thing soon. Right?

Mr. Casper Leitch: I think so. It looks like they are taking the war on drugs apart, brick by brick, very quietly. Don't you think? They're quietly ending the war on drugs?

Dean Becker: Yes. I think you're right about the quiet, brick by brick. They don't want a big rumble, because then their reputations are ruined. Yep, yep.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Well, that and I think, you know, when Carter said he was going to end marijuana being outlawed, all of his advisors jumped onto it and two days he turned around. I think the Obama administration is just quietly doing it, before anybody realizes that it's done. Don't you think so?

Dean Becker: I think so. I'll be glad when he starts changing out those US attorneys, so the focus can change a little faster. Because that's part of the problem. There's still too many of those Bush US attorneys in place doing the same ole', same ole'.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Absolutely. Now, we've only got about a minute left. If you have just one more thing to say to the entire marijuana movement, what would that be?

Dean Becker: OK. All that is necessary for change, is that we open the dialog. There's not one bit of justice, logic, scientific fact, or even moral clarity involved in this mechanism of drug war and to destroy the drug war monster, requires nothing more than the truth and the courage to speak it, because the drug war monster's no more than a shadow puppet on the wall. It is a joke.

Mr. Casper Leitch: Thank you, Dean...

Dean Becker: Thank you.

Mr. Casper Leitch: ...and we'll have you back sometime soon here, at Time 4 Hemp.
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Alright. Once again, that was Casper Leitch, host of Time 4 Hemp and yours truly, as his guest. His website is time4hemp.com.
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It's time to play: "Name That Drug - By It's Side Effects!"

Light headedness, shakiness, headache, nausea, tiredness, fluid retention, anemia, pregnancy - for premenopausal women, bone factures, dark urine, yellow skin, angina, myocardial infarction, heart failure and death.

(((gong)))

Time's up! The answer from GlaxoSmithKline:

Avandia! For Diabetes.
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Please be advised. Avandia now has a black box warning label, per the dictates of the FDA.
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Abolitionist's Moment. It's so sad that Americans are clinging to the belief that anything is justified, if we say, 'it is necessary'. Torture by Americans, that is what the US Attorney General is concerned about.

I summit that we have been practicing the philosophy for a hundred years of saving one child, by destroying the lives of millions of adults who use drugs. Lots of believers buy the idea, to this day. Believers think it proper to kick in the door, throw in some 'flash-bang' grenades, maybe set the place on fire; shoot the dog and maybe the kids. Ransack the place to look like a tornado aftermath. Arrest the parents for possession of plant products. Send the kids to foster care. Forfeit the home to state coffers. Take all the worldly goods in cash, for the same purpose.

Convict and send to prison the parents, for sentences longer than for violent crimes. Then turn away when the parents and children are raped and beaten by fellow inmates or guards and then once they are released, we send them forth and demand that they prosper, while we deny them housing, education, professional licenses, credit or even a job.

Is that torture? Or is it just the American way?

Please do your part to end the madness of drug war. Visit our website, endprohibition.org

Do it for the children.
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I have an announcement to make on behalf of a market research company who works with pharmaceutical houses.

Their client is working on developing a new line of pain medications less addictive and less likely to be abused than the pain medications currently on the market. They want to conduct an anonymous telephone interview with people who have abused opiates, or are currently abusers.

Because of the sensitive nature of this work, they are engaging the help of intermediaries, such as the Drug Truth Network. They would like to speak with people, male or female, on the telephone about their experiences. They will pay each participant who completes the questionnaire a tidy sum. The amount will be routed through the Drug Truth Network, who will cut you the check.

Residents of the US and Canada who use drugs like Oxycontin, Heroin or other opiates should contact me, via email, dean@drugtruth.net, to verify the nature of their use, to make the arrangements for the interview, to set the timeframe and to obtain the number to call anonymously.

Questions include: history of use, when started, how started, acquired, etc. You will also be told about a hypothetical new pain medication and ask your opinion, about certain features of this new formulation. If you qualify, please email dean@drugtruth.net.
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My friends, I urge you to please do your part to bring this drug war to an end. As always I remind you, because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. 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.

Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org

* podunk - any small and insignificant or inaccessible town or village
* Huffington post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-becker/drug-war-mistaken_b_461317.html