Transcript

Cultural Baggage / October 31, 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!”

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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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Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I’m so glad you could be with us. We have with us in studio, a reporter for the Houston Press, Mister John Nova Lomax.

We’re going to talk about Houston’s stature within this Drug War and it’s stasis, if you will, within these United States and it’s comparison to, perhaps regimes like that in Red China, but we are getting a little better. We’ll talk about perhaps some off those improvements as well.

But first up, I want to share with you what I think is a very important message and something that I hope you will listen to. I’m hoping that you will do your part by signing the petition in question.

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It’s a Drug Truth Network editorial.

For decades, those who seek to reform the drug laws have been known as drug reformers and our name for those seeking to continue our failed policy, to keep throwing our treasury into the drug war wishing well is “drug warriors”.

No more! They have seen the evidence, the horrors, the blowback, the death, disease, and corruption, and yet they seek an eternity of these horrors.

Obama does not have "legalization" in his vocabulary. Mexico's President Calderón says, "with absolute certainty, that it is possible to defeat the criminals." Afghan President Karzai knowingly allows his brother to make millions from the opium trade.

No, these are not warriors; these are addicts.

Addicted to the $385 billion dollars per year in profits from the black market. Forever associated with the lies that unnecessarily arrested more than 39 million of their fellow citizens. Their alliance, cop and criminal, government scientist and inept media has for a century wreaked enormous harms on the people of Earth.

From this day I forward, I shall strive to focus more succinctly and correctly on the perpetrators of this enormous fraud, this sickening deception, this barbarous and horrific affront to dignity. These are not drug warriors, these cops and DAs, judges and elected officials who stand for eternal Drug War.

Through feigned ignorance and vacuous superstition and through outright complicity with the drug traffickers these proponents of everlasting war, of filling the prisons with another generation of children set up like bowling pins are addicts, drug war addicts. Like all addicts their pleas for support, to help them get their next fix must be directed towards rehabilitation and harm reduction.

After devouring more than ONE TRILLION US taxpayer dollars while drugs remain freely available to our children, we must examine this policy in the bright light of day.

Despite years of attempts in garnering an interview with the Federal officials, the heads of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration remain aloof, unavailable to be our guest on the Drug Truth Network.

Like most addicts, they avoid discussing their addiction, at any cost.

It's time for an intervention. Please help us to wrangle an interview with Gil Kerlikowske, the head of the DEA and with Michelle Leonhard at the ONDCP.

Please sign our petition demanding they visit the Drug Truth Network.

Visit petitiononline.com/dtn. Do it, for the children!

deanbecker@drugtruth.net

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Alright, here’s hoping you will indeed do that. We are only up to about fifty signatures thus far. It’s at petitiononline.com/dtn. Please sign up and show your support for the Unvarnished Truth for wrangling that interview, as we said.

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Dean Becker: Now, as I indicated, we have in studio Mister John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press.

I’ve been a big fan of yours and your newspaper over the of years. You guys are not part of the inept media that I was talking about in there. You guys have focused on this Drug War and I think helped create some room for discourse within this gulag city of Houston, your thoughts?

John Nova Lomax: Well, thank you. I think we do a pretty fair job of covering this story.

Dean Becker: Right, I was looking back at the one about the time we got ripped off at the NORML festival and –

John Nova Lomax: (Laughs) Leguizomoed.

Dean Becker: Yeah, that was – again it was a classic example though of drug users are second class.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: They don’t have the right to take it to court. It just doesn’t happen.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: Yeah. Now, John, you guys have over the years, as I said, brought focus to bear on the symptoms or the problems associated with Drug War. You’ve got one that’s on the burner – I guess maybe the back burner now, talking about that stuff, K2, right?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, K2. That story will be out in a few weeks. It’s sort of an interesting – I know your views on it are pretty succinct and I think I kind of agree with yours.

Dean Becker: Right.

John Nova Lomax: So, I’m going to right four or five thousand words on why that succinct statement of yours is pretty wise.

Dean Becker: Well, I appreciate that, John.

John Nova Lomax: Yeah.

Dean Becker: Alright, you are listing to the Cultural Baggage show on the Drug Truth Network. We’re here in the studio with John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press.

John, I want to ask you for your perceptions. You’ve been looking at the criminal justice system. You’re not like, well, I think, like most reporters. You do a little bit of everything these days because… Well, I don’t know, the print media is having a few problems here and there but you look at the music industry. You delve into all kinds of endeavors but you have been looking into this criminal justice system here in Houston for quite a while, right?

John Nova Lomax: Well, my hand was sort of forced by the milieu I grew up in, let’s just say.

Dean Becker: Right, right.

John Nova Lomax: Well, there was – my father smoked openly, in front of me, basically my whole life and he – one of the reasons we moved from Houston to Tennessee was a bust that he had in ’73. The sort of tight probation officer that he got here and he was able to get one up there that was a little more –

Dean Becker: Flexible?

John Nova Lomax: Flexible and would allow him to do his job, that kind of thing.

Dean Becker: And that’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about. I mean, the agents of government going around saying, “Well, people don’t go to prison for weed. They don’t suffer many consequences.”

The fact is that 850,000 arrests is saying something pretty loud, if you ask me. Ok, most of them, they do probation. They do some sort of community service or whatever but they still wind up with that on their record. It’s still a big stigma, a big red “A” that complicates their life.

From what you are saying, your father was finding a better environment, a better situation for himself.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: But I am sure it still a complicated his life, your thought?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, it did, I don’t know that he necessarily wanted to move to Tennessee. He grew up – he was a Houston kid from birth, if not for Word War II, he was born on a military base during the war. He doesn’t like to admit that. (Laughs)

Dean Becker: Yeah.

John Nova Lomax: It was in New York State. But anyway, yeah, I think he probably, maybe would have moved to Tennessee at some point because the music industry is up there but this kind of forced his hand. Where you had a very tight probation officer here and the threat of Huntsville hanging over his head, if he slipped up on the probation.

Dean Becker: Well, sure. You said ’72? ’73?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, ’73, I think.

Dean Becker: Back then; it was the biggest, badest inmate that ran each of the prisons.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: And the people under him were just not quite as bad and Lord help those smaller, younger, less experienced folks –

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: That, who – well, we won’t get into that but it was ugly folks. I’m gonna say that.

John Nova Lomax: Yeah.

Dean Becker: And something else that most people don’t realize. Ok, most of these people do their community service and whatever and they get that slap on the wrist or across the face but what is never noted by these government officials when they are touting the voracity of this, is the fact that more and more, in fact a huge chunk of those that go to prison now have a bad urine test. A what’s in that urine? It’s marijuana.

John Nova Lomax: Um, hum.

Dean Becker: It’s a trap. What do you think?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, that’s something I’ve heard from convicts, that unfortunately marijuana stays in your system longer than any other drug when you pee. So, some of them will turn to much harder drugs that will flush through the system quicker so they can get through – slip through the net of the drug testing. Which brings us back to the K2.

The K2 is all about avoiding drug tests. There’s really not much other reason to dabble with that stuff for those of you – I’m sure most people what K2 is. It’s legal fake weed that you can at a convince store here in Texas, for the time being.

It’s going to be banned here shortly, I would bet dollars to donuts. The vast majority of those people are probationers. People who have those kind of bosses who drug test you regularly. It’s very expensive and the quality of what you buy varies widely, in the limited testing that I’ve done of it.

I’ve tried two different kinds. One didn’t do much of anything and the other did pretty much did everything you would ask. However, the inventor of the synthetic cannabinoid in the product says he wouldn’t try it himself.

Dean Becker: Right.


John Nova Lomax: Also, it has been found to specifically give lung cancer to lab mice, specifically lung cancer, not any other cancer.

Dean Becker: Well, that’s scary and the point being, at least for the time being, here in Texas and probably most of the rest of the states at this point, it is a preferred option alternative to smoking actual weed because those people that are on probation and parole are don’t want to fail that urine test and don’t want to be sent to prison, right?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, I smoked some on the street at work. It was part of my job a few weeks ago with a couple of guys we had met. We were standing there smoking one and a cop rolled by and we didn’t know what the etiquette was on either of our parts (laughs).

Dean Becker: (Laughs)

John Nova Lomax: It’s a synthetic and I wonder where the real money is behind this synthetic cannabinoid. Who is – where that money going and who’s marketing that. It’s interesting. It would be interesting if I could get to the money trial on that level.

Dean Becker: Well, you know, there is a situation out in California. Where they’re probably – they’re going to do away with K2 altogether if this ballot measure passes with Prop 19 this coming election.

They have a lot of negative adds, if you will, coming out from the anti-Prop 19 folks but I want to share with you this one that I think clarifies it best of all. This is from the pro-side, if you will.

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(Serious music)

Commercial announcer: They are hoping we don’t vote this year. That’s why they don’t talk about Prop 19. How it will enforce the government to stop wasting money on outdated pot laws. How it would let police spend more time locking up real criminals. How it will bring up to $2 billion dollars a year to California.

But the biggest thing they did not tell us about Prop 19 is that the polls show, that if we vote, we win.

So vote and we win.

YES on 19.

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Dean Becker: That ad, in support of Prop 19 was produced by the Drug Policy Alliance.

You know that the point being here and once again, we’re speaking with John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press. John, the point being, that there are phone banks all around – not just in California but all around this county with people calling voters on behalf of Prop 19, my fellow drug reformers, if you will. That is the point.

If the people that believe this needs to change, get out and vote: it will win. Though, currently the stats are something like 47-to-41%, against it.

John Nova Lomax: Uh, hum.

Dean Becker: I have high hopes. You know, one of the things that they talk about in California is that they can’t legalize it because more people would be driving and smoking or whatever.

John Nova Lomax: Uh, hum.

Dean Becker: This despite the fact that people are already driving and smoking and not creating a whole host of wrecks.

John Nova Lomax: Uh, hum.

Dean Becker: They talk about that they wouldn’t be able to tell if the people are high.

John Nova Lomax: (Laughs)

Dean Becker: I’ve often though on that little scenario, that if you can’t tell if they’re high, then what is the problem? That’s kind of what it really boils down to, that again, it’s fear, the fear that somehow people will be high and we won’t know it and they’ll get away with something. It’s –

John Nova Lomax: Yeah.

Dean Becker: It’s something that is jealously of some type. Your thought there, sir?

John Nova Lomax: It kind of reminds me of some wise man’s definition of the Puritan. The Puritan is defined as someone who fears that someone might be having a good time somewhere; that sort of sounds like these people.

For some people, it’s not about having a good time. It’s about coping with life. It’s about creativity. It’s about curing an illness. Speaking on behalf of my dad, it’s a way for him to just sort of unwind, not so much on a daily basis anymore but just every now and then, just from the pressures of life. It’s just to be able to laugh at some of the things that would otherwise make him tense and raise his blood pressure and things like that.

Dean Becker: Sure, maybe it would lead him to hard drinking. Who knows?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, exactly.

Dean Becker: That’s a – well, I don’t consider it an excuse, I consider it a reason for me to use cannabis because now it’s been more than twenty five years since I’ve had a drink and trust me folks, you don’t want me drinking. (Laughs)

John Nova Lomax: (Laughs)

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Commercial announcer: Some of the most dangerous drugs aren’t on the street. They’re under your sink… household products that kids sniff to get high. Protect your kids. Tell them to never sniff inhalants because the first time can kill.

A message from the Partnership for a Drug Free Texas and America.

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Dean Becker: The Partnership for a Drug Free America is an enormous fraudulent enterprise but in this one instance, they did get it right.

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(Game show music)

It’s time to play: Name That Drug By It’s Side Effects

Permanent damage to the liver, eyes, bone marrow, heart and blood vessels, convulsions, impaired mental function, neurological damage, kidney damage, irregular heartbeat, unbearable stress and a sudden sniffing death.

(gong)

Time’s up!

The answer: Lucy gasoline. There’s a vending machine in your neighborhood.

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(Scary music)

For more than 172 years, one organization has been responsible for educating more US presidential candidates than any other.

Skull and Bones.

Purveyors of fine opium products since 1832.

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(Sounds of a speeding train)

Try and picture the Drug War as a freight train more than nine miles long and cars ten feet wide, sixty-three feet long and fifteen feet high, filled with hundred dollar bills.

4,400,000 cubic feet of hundred dollar bills. More than 1,100 tons of sweet Benjamins.

(Speeding train sounds continue)

More than $11 TRILLION dollars frittered away in this Drug War.

Hell, I guess everybody loves trains.

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Dean Becker: You know, that little PSA was produced some three years ago and I’m sure that we’re somewhere around $13 trillion dollars and that train is more like eleven miles long at this time. I need to revise that thing, I think.

We have with us in studio, John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press.

Dean Becker: John, I hear that story about that kid that was caught for burglary and the cops chased him down and they beat the crap out of him in the parking lot. The DA is not allowing that video to be seen until those cops go to trial.

Houston has gotten better. We used to drown inmates in the bayou and I got kicked in the head at least a dozen times back in the day when they were thinking that I was a drug kingpin.

It’s gotten better but it hasn’t lost it’s – I don’t know, ugliness, has it?

John Nova Lomax: No. Part of my job, as I see it –I read the arrest reports every single day at work. People here talk a lot about jail overcrowding and what are we going to do. The sheriff’s answer is always, always, always to build yet another jail.

I would say that a good 20% of the people they haul in there have every single day have less than two ounces of pot.

Dean Becker: Right.

John Nova Lomax: Which is just folly to me to be jailing people for that when we have this problem of jail overcrowding, this chronic problem. Then there’s cars getting broken into all over the city, that kind of nuisance crime that really lowers the quality of life in this city.

Dean Becker: Well, right. It’s like – everywhere there is enhanced enforcement, there is more violence. There is more other crime that spins off from the situation. A classic example is what’s going on in Mexico, where now two and a half to three years ago that Calderón has said that he’s going to bring an end to the violence.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: He’s going to do away with the cartels but it has not accomplished its goal, has it?

John Nova Lomax: No. I’ve been studying the border war and that’s just one of the most frightening stories that I’ve even contemplated covering. What’s going on down there is just terrifying. Whole institutions have been corrupted and are not really worthy of being called institutions, as we know them anymore.

Dean Becker: Right and those that are not specifically indictable are very suspect. Unless, I mean –

John Nova Lomax: And that goes on the Texas side too, I believe.

Dean Becker: Sure.

John Nova Lomax: At this point, the closer to the border you get, the more – it’s already spilled over – I’m talking about corruption from the sheriff on down.

Dean Becker: Yeah and it has to be that way. I was in a conference in El Paso, just about a year ago when Anthony Placido, the Assistant Head of DEA stated during his presentation that of the – and here’s a guess they have – the $15 to 50 billion dollars per year that these drug traffickers bring in, about half of it goes to corruption of officials on both sides of the border to grease the wheels and make sure that this continues.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: It’s a preposterous notion that we are going to –

John Nova Lomax: Win. (Laughs)

Dean Becker: (Laughs) Isn’t that the truth?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah.

Dean Becker: John, I want to share with you. Here’s a report that we do every week. It’s from Mary Jane Borden. She – this week she is talking about, well, the end of this month, which is devoted to paying attention to breast cancer awareness. It’s the [unintelligible].

We want to share that with you and it was a – nobody knows if cannabis cures cancer. Nobody know if it helps to prevent nausea – well, they know it helps nausea but they don’t know if it’s good for schizophrenia or dementia or any of these other areas where some studies have shown it to have positive effects.

The reason why is because these same government officials refuse to allow the studies to be conducted to determine if it is true or not. Hey, here’s this report from Mary Jane Borden.

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Mary Jane Borden: Hello Drug Policy Aficionados, I’m Mary Jane Borden, editor of Drug War Facts.

This week’s question asks: Could legalizing marijuana help cure breast cancer?

This was the title of an article that I composed which recently received top placement on alternet.org. October has been National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Scientific journals like Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Molecular Cancer have all published fairly recent pre-trail studies concerning the potential of cannabinoids as treatments for breast cancer.

These studies also extol the safety of cannabinoid therapies. The human body contains an internal system interrelated with molecules in the cannabis marijuana plant. A neurological signaling structure called the endocannabinoid system is now known to govern numerous body processes like appetite, pain and even the birth of new brain cells.

Cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 are located on various cell membranes and activated by the body’s own cannabinoid molecules as well as those unique to the cannabis plant, THC, CBD or synthetically derived.

The latest research is proving that cannabinoids are part of this bodily system and plays a mitigating role in breast cancer.

A breast cancer diagnosis will confront about 1-in-8 American women this year and some forty thousand will die from it. Therapies include involve surgery, heavy radiation and toxic chemotherapy.

Over the decades the labyrinth of governmental agencies with multi billion dollar budgets have enforced marijuana laws while thwarting clinical research and reinforcing anti-marijuana stereotypes.

Numerous efforts have challenged the US government’s monopoly control over cannabis but they haven’t dislodged the federal government’s grip on this policy to accelerate the clinical trials that will develop positive cannabinoid based breast cancer treatment.

The untried question might be asked. Could legalized marijuana help cure breast cancer?

These and other facts like them can be found in the Medical Marijuana chapter of Drug War Facts at www.drugwarfacts.org. If you have a question for which you need facts, please email it to me at mjborden@drugwarfacts.org.

I’ll try to answer your question in an upcoming show. So, remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.

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Dean Becker: Alright. I want to thank Mary Jane Borden for that. This is Dean Becker and you’re listening on the Drug Truth Network. I have with me in the studio, Mister John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press.

John, I’m thinking that after this election cycle, we’re going to be headed towards the next presidential cycle.

John Nova Lomax: Uh, hum.

Dean Becker: That is probably going to have a Republican Congress and a maybe a Republican Senate, who knows? I’ve heard some say that this is going to be good for the battles. It’ll give Obama a different kind of advantage. He’ll have an enemy to work against.

John Nova Lomax: Uh, hum.

Dean Becker: What do you see on the horizon either for Texas or for the nation? What is your perception there?

John Nova Lomax: Well, I’m hoping that some of the polls might be skewed by the fact that they are only reaching people with land lines which is becoming harder and harder to find.

Barring that, I have been to Colorado since they passed the legislation up there and I have to say that I have kind of a conflict of interest here because the quasi legalization they have done up there has done wonders for our sister paper there, where they are getting tons and tons of advertising dollars from dispensaries and pot clubs and things like that.

Dean Becker: Sure, a free joint with your first purchase and all that kind of stuff.

John Nova Lomax: Our sister paper, The Westward, up there had hired a Pot Critic.

Dean Becker: (Laughs)

John Nova Lomax: He’s the first of his kind in America. He’s reviewing and it’s been a big success. So, if you like your local alternative weekly, we need new legalization. (Laughs)

Dean Becker: You can use the revenue. Sure and that’s part of the presentation, if you will out in California. That, hey, we’re going to create twenty thousand new jobs. We’re going to tax it. We’re going to fund $1.8 million – maybe $2 million per year in taxes, plus the swing of a billion less or two billion less in enforcing the marijuana laws.

John Nova Lomax: Right.

Dean Becker: Given California’s enormous problem, that’s not going to fix it but it could make a difference and why not take advantage of it. Your thoughts?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, I totally agree with that and I see that as something that Texas would do well to emulate. We’re tightening our budget here and all this.

Like I was mentioning, about the problems here in Houston with the perpetually overcrowded jail full of people who got caught with a roach, it’s just – why not turn that red ink into black ink?

Dean Becker: Sure. It seems to me that the print media and broadcast media are all beginning to move towards this whole “Unvarnished Truth” that I have been trying to express over the years.

John Nova Lomax: Uh, hum.

Dean Becker: I know that the Houston Press has been in the forefront, certainly within the city of Houston but what’s your observation? Are you seeing that change as well? Are people more willing to talk about the potential?

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, I think so, especially as these western states have gone. The medical marijuana was huge. I think as more people see and travel to places like California and Colorado and see that the world has not collapsed around those states.

Dean Becker: Right.

John Nova Lomax: Than they come back to their home towns and it opens new realms of possibility in their own mind and that goes for writers too and editors.

Dean Becker: Once again folks, we’ve been speaking with Mister John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press. John is there a website or a blog or something that you would like to point folks toward.

John Nova Lomax: Yeah, houstonpress.com. Our blog is called Hairballs, that’s our news blog.

Dean Becker: Well, we’re running out of time and I know most of the folks on the network will hear this AFTER the vote is taken but I thought you should hear this nonetheless.

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(Upbeat music)

Commercial Announcer: Are you Black? Are you Brown?

Then my brotha, then you’re a target for the cops. You’re four, five, even thirteen times more likely to get busted for weed in California than a white person.

California’s marijuana laws waste money that can go for things we really need in our neighborhoods… like better schools and better hospitals and money that can go towards fighting real crime.

Prop 19 would change all that. Prop 19 would make it legal for adults to possess marijuana. No more locking up people for weed.

The drug laws aren’t fair. They aren’t working and we’re paying the price. So on Tuesday, vote for change.

Change the law. Vote YES on Proposition 19.

If you vote, we win.

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As always, 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.

Drug Truth Network programs are archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: Ayn Morgan of www.eigengraupress.com

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.