Cultural Baggage, Sep 3, 2008

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

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 phamaceutical, banking, prison, and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.
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Dean Becker: Once again, broadcasting from the Gulag Filling Station of Planet Earth, this is indeed Cultural Baggage. Here in just a moment, we'll have our guest, Mr. Peter Christ, one of the founding members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. And I got to ask you all to just listen up: there is no legitimacy to this drug war. Hopefully we can cross out all the items that you think help justify it during this program. And with that, I want to welcome our guest, Mr. Peter Christ.

Hello, Peter.

Peter Christ: How you doing?

Dean Becker: Hello, Peter. Good to hear your voice.

Peter Christ: Good to hear you too.

Dean Becker: Yes, sir. You know, it's busy for the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. We're going to various conferences, speaking to various groups and organizations, being called upon by governmental agencies around the world for our expertise. Am I right?

Peter Christ: Yeah. [laughter] On occasion.

Dean Becker: Well, I mean, Jack's going to go to England, is it? Next week?

Peter Christ: Yep. He leaves for England. Jerry Paradis, a retired judge and former mounty from up in Canada is over in New Zealand right now, as we speak, doing presentations and talking to people about this issue. And I was at the, myself and Terry Nelson, National Black Police Officers Association conference in St. Louis about a week and a half ago signing up members. And then we had a couple of bumps in road.

Dean Becker: Well, yes we did. You want to explain those for the listeners?

Peter Christ: Yeah, well, Howard Woolridge, we had been accepted at the National Association of Asian Peace Officers in, I think it was out of Virginia. And we had a booth set up and the DEA was there and I believe a couple of other agencies. And after the first day we, there was pressure put on, we were told, by those agencies, that we were there. And then we were asked to pack up and leave. So we were sent away. Now, that's not unusual, you know, when you're talking about something that's a little bit different and stuff like that. It kind of disappointed me with that organization that they felt that kind of pressure. I mean, we're also law enforcement people and, you know, we all spent time wearing the suit and stuff like that. But -- and then we just had a cancelation up in Massachusetts for the Massachusetts Chief of Police Association, we were supposed to have a booth at that and they just called up and canceled it. But these are all part of the growing pains, you know. I mean, this is the kind of thing I would imagine that the women's rights movement didn't get into the mason's meeting back in 1915 and stuff like that. [laughter]

Dean Becker: Well, sure.

Peter Christ: So it's, you know, and that's not to say anything against masons, I just, that's the first one that popped into my head. But it's -- so, these kind of things happen. It's all part of the growing process and it's nice to know that we're a threat. I mean, if what we were saying was inane and insane, you know, why would they not want us there? It would further their position to have us be there and show what idiots we are. Obviously they're threatened by this discussion.

Dean Becker: Exactly.

Peter Christ: And that makes me happy. You know, I'm glad I'm talking about, and we at LEAP are talking about, something that threatens the status quo. That makes me very happy.

Dean Becker: And me as well. Now, it's not, I don't know, the first instance of this distancing from our message. I mean, you've run into this. I've run into this. Many folks have attempted to set up a debate between some representative, representing the DEA or some other governmental agency. And they absolutely refuse, for the most part. There have been one or two or three over the years but we always kick...

Peter Christ: We've had a lot more acceptances than cancelations that we've had to date. You know, it's funny. I think what happens is they, you know, the DEA in some city will get a call from somebody and say 'we'd like to have a debate with you legalizing drugs.' And they say 'Oh, yeah. We'll be there in a minute.' You know, 'Who are we going to be debating?' 'Some organization called LEAP, Law Enforcement Against...' 'Yeah, no problem. We'll take it.' And then they go and they look at our website and they find out that the first thing that we're talking about isn't, in fact, we agree with the DEA about the dangerousness of these drugs. So we're not going to be standing there saying that these drugs are OK and that everybody should be using them. So that's the first thing they realize: their normal argument is about how dangerous these drugs are. At the beginning of the debate we're going to give them that argument. We're going to say 'Yeah, you're a hundred percent correct. They are dangerous. We agree with you a hundred percent.' And then they realize that they're going to have to be standing at the podium with not some crazy freaked out hippie at the other podium but another law enforcement professional at the other podium. And then we get a call back from them saying 'You know, we decided we can't make it.' Now that strikes me as odd because it you can defend your position --you know, it's interesting. I have, and you've heard it from me many times before, what I call my 32nd Presentation on this issue.

Dean Becker: The Elevator.

Peter Christ: And that is that we at LEAP believe that all of these drugs, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, LSD, all these drugs have so much potential to do harm to individuals and likewise to society that they must be regulated and controlled. Now almost everybody I say that, as soon as they here 'must be regulated and controlled' there heads start nodding, they go 'well, yeah.' And then I tell them the reality of our drug policy, and that is we have chosen a policy of prohibition. And this policy turns all regulation and control of these drugs over to gangsters and thugs that roam our streets. And I'll look at the person I'm talking to and I'll say 'In your community, the heroin that's being sold on the streets of your community' -- and then I always throw this little bit in, I'll say 'and your community, you live in the United States of America, right?' And they'll say 'Yes.' And I'll say 'Well then, that's the reason I say 'the heroin that's sold in the streets of your community, because this drug war's successfully brought heroin from the 50s and 60s when it was a big city drug, we now have it in every little village in Kansas now. You know, it's all over. That heroin, who determines the purity to that heroin? The Food and Drug Administration? No. The Mob. Who sets the age limits on who they're going to sell that drug to? The state legislature? No. The Mob. Who determines the distribution points for those drugs, where they're going to selling them from? The zoning board? No. The Mob. And who spends without any taxation or check by government on where their money comes from or goes to? All the profits from those drugs? The Mob.'

Now, if our choice, if our choice is that we can make these drugs go away, you know, we won the war, we defeated the enemies, all the drugs are gone, we don't have to worry about it anymore -- if that's a possibility then maybe what we're doing is the right course. But, this is from my experience and I've done over a thousand presentations on this stuff, and the vast majority of them at Rotary clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Lions clubs, I always ask my audience to raise your hand if you think we can make drugs go away and nobody ever puts their hand up. So that isn't a choice. So the other choice is these drugs, no matter what we do, are always going to be here, now we have a choice: who regulates and controls them? And currently we're allowing gangsters and thugs in our streets to regulate and control this marketplace rather than the Food and Drug Administration, zoning boards, state legislatures like we do with these other very dangerous drugs called alcohol and tobacco. So -- and that's what we're talking about. When they find out that that's what the argument, that's what they're going to have to argue against, then they don't want to debate.

Dean Becker: Well, Peter, this has been going on since December 17, 1914, the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act. And the opposition seems to cling to the idea that it's possible to stop the hundreds of millions of users worldwide; it's possible to stop the tens of millions or growers and traffickers and distributors and gangs and cartels and street corner vendors. What is you response when you get that reaction from an audience or individual?

Peter Christ: Well, my answer is that this is not unusual. You know, it's, one of the things that we have a history of in this society, and I'm not going to make us any different than anybody else, in every society that's ever existed on the planet is we've put policies, and societies that put policies in effect that were never good ideas, OK? But they got a popular support, OK, so people went with them. Let me give you a couple of quick examples. In 1920, for all the women that are listening out there in the audience today, I want to compliment them all. Because they all represent a group, the women of America, who studied real hard and finally by 1920, women became intelligent enough to vote. Now I think that's really remarkable. Now, there's only one of two possibilities. Either women were too stupid to vote before 1920 or we had a bad, stupid policy in effect that stopped women from voting before 1920. Now, I've been married to somebody for 35 years that I whole heartedly admit is much smarter than I am. So there's no doubt in my mind that women -- Eve was intelligent enough to vote. In fact, even in the Garden of Eden, Eve had a vote, OK? [laughter] She was part of the decision making process, all right? But we went a 150 years as a nation denying women the right to vote. Here's the -- and it was always, it was always a stupid idea. It was never the right thing to do.

Slavery is a stupid idea. It's a stupid idea on two fundamental points. First off, obviously, the humanity of it is wrong. To treat another human being like that is, shows disrespect for them and, in reality, shows disrespect for yourself, to think you could treat another human being like that. So it's wrong there. But it's also, and I'll say this to all the parents out there, no parent I have ever met wants their children to live with them forever. They all want their children to go out, get a job, be able to support themselves, because people are too expensive to own. [laughter] You can't afford to own people. So, it's not only the humanity of slavery but economically it doesn't work. It's not a good policy. But we did it as a nation for a hundred years and then we finally got rid of the stupid policy and what did we replace it with? Another stupid policy called segregation. And who knows in that hundred years how much talent we lost because of that policy of segregation? We might have a cure for cancer today by somebody that we pushed off to the side, who might have been able to be the one that found that answer to that question. We don't know that but we followed that stupid policy until the mid-1950s when Brown vs. The Board of Education finally started to bring an end to that stupid policy. So it isn't unusual for societies to have stupid polices in effect that were never good ideas. Prohibition is a stupid policy. It never -- in the history of our species has a society pulled off a prohibition against consensual adult activities.

In fact, I mention this often. The very first prohibition failed, and I kind of alluded to it a few minutes ago, where was the very first prohibition? Why, it was in the Garden of Eden. Right? Don't eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge or we'll kick you out of the garden. Also, the first example of zero tolerance. Little bite, big bite, makes no difference, you're out of the garden. How many people had to be watched to make that prohibition work? Two. Who was the cop for that prohibition? God. Now, if it was -- and they're living in the Garden of Eden, they have everything but the inquisitiveness of the human mind to try things that are out there is always going to be there. And when you accept that reality of humanity, that we are testers, we are experimenters, that's the way we are as a species. If we weren't we wouldn't have this telephone that we're talking on. We wouldn't have electric lights in our house. We wouldn't have airplanes that we fly in. We wouldn't have cures for diseases that we have today if we didn't experiment and try things that were outside the bounds of normal things. That's what we do as a species. And what a sane society does is accept that and then regulate that in order to make it as safe as possible for the people involved. That's what we do with alcohol and tobacco.

And that's what we do with many other things, make it as safe as -- in fact, I was up in Vermont a couple of years ago and I said 'I'll tell you a crazy thing that people do. Can you imagine somebody looking at a big tall icy mountain and thinking to themselves 'you know what would be a good idea? Let's climb up on top of that mountain and then we'll tie two slippery boards to our feet and push ourselves over the edge.' Now, that's insane behavior! That's crazy. What do we call it? We call it skiing. And what do we do? Do we ban it and have people do it anyways and get hurt and killed and stuff like that? No. We regulate the slope. We try to make it as safe as possible. Every year some people get crippled for life and some people die, skiing. But not as many as if we tried to make it in the background, drive it into the underground. And then, if there's a profit in it, you have these underground markets that are going to build up... The simplest explanation for the drug war is we didn't end alcohol prohibition in '33 because we changed our mind about alcohol. We ended alcohol prohibition in '33 because we realized as dangerous as alcohol is to society, letting people like Al Capone control the marketplace didn't make the problems better and, in fact, made the problems worse. And according to the federal government, 25% of our drug related violence is due to the use and abuse of drugs, 75% of our drug related violence is due to people fighting over the marketplace. And the only reason those people are fighting over that marketplace is because we are choosing a policy of prohibition that creates that marketplace. We have to shut that marketplace down. We have to take it away from the thugs and the gangsters. We have to regulate and control drugs. We have to educate, provide treatment and then deal with our drug problem as the drug problem it is and do away with that 75% of the violence.

Dean Becker: Thank you. Once again, we're speaking with Mr. Peter Christ. He's one of the founding members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

I wanted to back up in our discussion a bit here, I wanted to just throw this in. About two years ago the local PBS station, it's fairly major here in Houston, invited me to do a debate. They said they'd find someone from the Sheriff's Department, DEA, or whatever and I said 'You betcha. I'll be there. You let me know when.' And, of course, they never found anybody. Secondarily, more recently, you were talking about the fact that 25% of the violence is due to drug use. But I would like to throw in the thought that that 25% also includes those on alcohol, right?

Peter Christ: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Absolutely Absolutely. And also, it also has to do with some of that violence, is what they consider as violence, is like overdoses and things like that. And even with the illegal drugs that comes from the impure marketplace, you don't know what you're getting on the street, you don't know the purity. We don't have people dying of alcohol poisoning as much today as we did back in the days when you had wood alcohol mixed with the alcohol and all this other stuff mixed with it. You never knew what you were getting. Yes, that's all part of it.

Dean Becker: And the government kind of obfuscates the specifics on that. I mean, it's well known that the products made by Pfizer and Merck kill a whole lot more of us than the cartels' product ever could.

Peter Christ: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and I am not recommending that we ban those drugs because then that would only make the problem worse. So at least we don't have, with the products with Pfizer, at least when Pfizer has a dispute with a pharmacy because they didn't pay for the drugs they sent them, at least Pfizer doesn't send off three guys with a shotgun and two baseball bats.

Dean Becker: Right.

Peter Christ: You know, they get a hold of an attorney, they take care of it in a legal court system, because that's it. And if you get pharmaceutical drugs that are somehow tainted there's a recourse for you to sue the manufacturer, you can sue the person that gave it to you, where ever it's misprescribed, hold the doctor responsible for what you did because it's all out in the open. None of that exists in this illegal market.

Dean Becker: Well, we got just over a minute left here and I want to turn it over to you, Peter. If you would, give a pep talk to those officers out there, maybe still on the force or recently retired and tell them why they ought to join forces with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Peter Christ: Well, you know, it's interesting. The reason that they ought to join is because, if they're like me, they care about their brothers and sisters that are wearing the badge with them or still wearing the badge after they retired. And this creates a much more dangerous and hazardous workplace for our law enforcement in this country. And, if for no other reason than that, it's a reason to shut this thing down. And it's also safe talk. You know, I have people say to me all the time 'You really think this is ever going to happen?' And my answer is 'Yeah, I'll bet you a lot of women were asked that back in the middle eighteen hundreds when they were fighting for the right to vote, do you really think it's ever going to happen?' And they said 'yes' and everybody thought they were crazy and finally it did. So, yes. It will. Because we, as a species, are too smart to continue with a bad policy. And if anybody out there is interested, the website is LEAP.cc. You can sign up. It costs nothing to be a member of our organization. You're just putting your name on our mailing list. And that, just that, helping us grow as an organization, can help change this policy, if you think it's important. And, if you think we're wrong, go to the website and send us an email and tell us why you think we're crazy. You know, I mean I am not afraid about having a discussion on this issue.

Dean Becker: All right. Well, once again, Mr. Peter Christ, thank you so much for being with us on this Cultural Baggage.

Peter Christ: Thank you, Dean, and thanks for sharing your audience with me.

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[LEAP PSA]

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These men and women have served in the trenches of the drug war as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards, and wardens. They have seen first hand the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition.

Please visit LEAP.cc.
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Dean Becker: I know you can get this one. It's on the TV every day.
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It's time to play 'Name That Drug by its Side Effects.'

Runny nose, skin rash, swollen tongue, dizziness, vertigo, fainting, abnormal ejaculation, priapism, a persistent painful penile erection leading to permanent impotence.

Times Up!

The answer! From Boehringer Ingelheim--Flomax®, for male urinary problems.
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[Pseudo-Gilbert and Sullivan accompaniment]

Pfizer and Merck kill more of us
than the cartels' crap ever could.
They thank us for silence,
Each year's hundred billion dollars,
And the chance to do it for evermore.

Drugs: the first eternal war.
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Dean Becker: That's the intro from a new song and video produced by the Drug Truth Network, Eternal War. It's kind of done in recognition and remembrance of Tom Crosslin and 'Rollie' Rohm, gunned down seven years ago by the FBI for growing marijuana.

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Terry Nelson spent thirty-three years working for the U.S. government as a customs, border and air interdiction officer. He retired about two months ago as a GS-14, the equivalent of a bird colonel.
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Terry Nelson: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition becomes the latest victim of government censorship.

Retired police detective, Howard Wooldridge, representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition ( LEAP ), was ousted from the National Asian Peace Officers Association ( NAPOA ) Conference in Crystal City because he was representing a view contrary U.S. government policy.

LEAP is a 10,000-member organization of police, judges, prosecutors, DEA & FBI agents, and others who know ending drug prohibition will reduce death, disease, crime, and addiction, while saving billions of our tax dollars each year.

Acting under pressure from unnamed federal officials, Reagan Fong, President of the NAPOA, insisted on the immediate removal of LEAP from the conference vendor roster. It appears that some of the event's other exhibitors took exception to the LEAP message and put pressure on the event organizer to expel LEAP from the event. While the incident was civil and took place prior to the second day's session it represents a serious violation of Constitutional rights as cited within the First Amendment.

Federal agency representatives manning booths at the conference included DEA, Federal Air Marshals, NCIS, and Coast Guard. The prior day LEAP's spokesperson had visited the DEA booth and described the agent as "decidedly unhappy" with an opposing viewpoint. In sharp contrast at 37 national and international law enforcement conferences where LEAP has been allowed to exhibit, 80 percent of booth visitors agreed with LEAP's stance for ending this failed drug war.

As for the Crystal City NAPOA incident, the appearance of impropriety is almost as bad as the real thing. LEAP has attempted to establish contact with Mr. Fong, NAPOA President, to confirm the details of the incident but we have received no response so we can only conclude it is blatant censorship originating from a judgmental "Big Brother" mentality. LEAP believes that this group owes us an apology. We ask that Mr. Fong identify the individual, agency or group that lobbied for our eviction from the event.

If this was an independent effort then he or she was acting outside the scope of authority and should receive administrative punishment for unprofessional actions. If this action was sanctioned by upper level management then the managers need to explain their behavior in an open forum. If this was sanctioned official action by the U.S. Government it is a serious matter which requires serious and immediate attention.

Sustaining the current drug war policy and essentially supporting drug cartels is ludicrous. It's time to openly discuss the issues and create a strategy for success. We all want a better future for ourselves and our children.

This is Terry Nelson at www. LEAP.cc signing off.
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Dean Becker: Poppygate. Bizarre news about the U.S. policy on controlling heroin, featuring Glenn Greenway.

Glenn Greenway: Early last Friday morning Marzell 'Wu Tang' Turner was arrested outside a night club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Strip District. The operation involved 41 federal agents and Pittsburgh police and was orchestrated by U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan. Attorney Buchanan is well know for her earlier high-profile prosecution of comedian Tommy Chong in 2003 as part of Operation Pipe Dreams targeting purveyors of drug paraphenalia.

'Wu Tang' Turner offered no resistance as officers and agents took him into custody on federal charges relating to the possession with intent to distribute of 115 grams of uncut heroin. The potential penalty is a minimum of five years and a maximum of forty.

Last Wednesday in New York City, the United Nations published its 2008 Afghanistan Opium Survey indicating that because of falling prices and a particularly harsh winter Afghanistan's opium harvest dropped by six percent from 2007's record smashing bumper crop. The UN claims that Western Occupied Afghanistan produced 827 tons of pure heroin this year and that a mere three percent of its poppy fields had been eradicated at a cost of 77 anti-drug worker and police lives.

Back to Pittsburgh, according to police, 'Wu Tang' Turner was a 'very dangerous man.' That may well be the case but consider, by the UN's new figures from Afghanistan, the amount of heroin involved represents less than five seconds of this year's Afghan production. Forty-one cops and DEA agents, federal grand juries and U.S. attorneys; hundreds if not thousands of law-enforcment man hours to bust a mere five seconds of occupied Afghanistan's narcotics bonanza. Imagine the cost! And, of course, Mr. Turner faces forty long years in prison for the same measly five seconds of Afghan H.

With all respect for U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's position, may I suggest that her latest efforts to take a 'bite out of crime' are hampered considerably by the toothlessness and will-not-see blindness of U.S. policy makers vis-a-vis occupied Afghanistan's drug industry. Without real change from the top, the costly arrest of 'Wu Tang' Turner is like bailing out the muddy Mississippi with a diamond dixie cup.

This is Glenn Greenway reporting for the Drug Truth Network.
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Dean Becker: Yeah, someday we'll arrest all them druggies, all hundreds of millions of them. Uh-huh. Yeah.

Be sure to check out this week's Century of Lies. It features Richard Van Wickler of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. And LEAP is willing to talk to your group. Please contact us at LEAP.cc. We will be there. And, 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.

Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.

Transcript provided by Gee-Whiz Transcripts. Email: glenncg@zoominternet.net