Cultural Baggage, December 3, 2008

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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Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. As we indicated on this week's Century of Lies Show, we are going to provide you with some coverage from the recent Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Conference regarding the 75th Anniversary of the end of alcohol prohibition and how it coincides so well, if you will, with the need to end drug prohibition. Here to talk about it is their spokesman, Mr. Tom Angel. Hello Tom.

Tom Angel: Hey, Dean.

Dean Becker: What was the conference like? How many people attended?

Tom Angel: Well, we had pretty good turnout both in terms of law enforcement speakers, who were there to share their stories and in terms of media, who showed up to hear their stories. We had about ten or so LEAP speakers show up, including a couple new guys who this is really sort of the first time we've been able to trot them out in front of the public and they all did really, really well.

Dean Becker: Who were some of the media that attended?

Tom Angel: We had journalists from news organizations like Reuters, Agence France-Presse, National Public Radio, CBS. We had a couple of the local television affiliates. We even had somebody from Russia TV show up today.

Dean Becker: Well that's interesting. You had a frequent guest on The Drug Truth Network Program's acting as MC. Who was that?

Tom Angel: We had Neal Peirce who's a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. He's written a couple really, really good columns on this issue over the years. So, we invited him to come moderate today's event and he agreed and he did a great job.

Dean Becker: I want to commend you and all the great speakers and my band of brothers, if you will, in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. It's time to bring this issue to the fore', is it not, Tom?

Tom Angel: It absolutely is. We're starting to see a sort of jelling political consensus in this country, that the war on drugs isn't working. You have a Zogby poll from two months ago that says, '3 out of 4 Americans say the war on drugs is a failure.'

Recently, the US Conference of Mayor's passed a resolution to that effect. So, we're starting to see a bubbling up, if you will, of frustration with the current policy and people recognizing that it's not working and starting to speak out to that affect.

The problem is, of course, is that there's a big disconnect between the public sentiment and what policy makers have, so far, been willing to do. We're not going to be able to bridge that disconnect unless we get everyday citizens, like the people who listen to your radio show, communicating regularly with their legislators.

What we've done, is we've uploaded an easy alert on our website which is www.wecandoitagain.com where folks can just go and get the conversations started with their state and federal lawmakers where they can easily send a letter and just get that dialog going, which is so crucial to actually making policy change happen in this country.

If we don't start contacting our legislators and letting them know that it is safe to address these issues, then they'll continue to believe the false conventional ways to them, that it is dangerous to address these issues.
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Dean Becker: All right. With that, I thank you Mr. Tom Angel. We're going to go ahead and tune into that conference. The following was recorded at the International Press Club in Washington, D.C.

'The war on drugs is the most disastrous, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery and Jim Crow. My name is Howard Wooldridge, I'm a retired police detective from Fort Worth, Texas and I represent LEAP here in Washington D.C. I want to welcome you to this press conference this morning.

I'd like to introduce the moderator this morning, Mr. Neal Peirce of the Washington Post Writers Group. Many of his columns over the years have focused on the issues of drug prohibition and the United States penal policies.

Neal's also a lead writer among American journalists of the national and global roles of metropolitan regions. It is my pleasure this morning to introduce to you, Mr. Neal Peirce.

Mr. Neal Peirce: We have a really interesting program of speakers for you today and interesting topics to be covered and the idea that we should consider repeal, get sent the fundamental issue of what are the real purposes of our massive set of drug laws and penalties in this country.

What's the track record of the war on drugs that the Richard Nixon really got going in a big way? What would be the social and economic impacts of repeal of a good number of the criminal statutes? What are the class and race connections and implications? How is this issue really different in a way from trying to prohibit the use of alcohol?

So, writing a newspaper column about state and local issues over the years, I couldn't help but get involved and start to write pieces periodically on this issue because I think it's so fundamental to the civil order and fairness and success of our society.

You have before you, in the prepared materials, short bios on everybody and I'm not going to repeat all that because you can see, even from the quick reading, who they are. We're going to start with Terry Nelson, a man who's seen it all.
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Terry Nelson: I retired from the Department of Homeland Security in 2005 as a GS-14, Aviation Marine Group Supervisor, with 32 years of service to my country.

My responsibility at the time of retirement, was supervising an air crew monitoring the transit zones from South America to the United States. I've worked out of Mexico, including the American Embassy in Mexico City, all the Central American countries, except Nicaragua, as well as Columbia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador.

I'm very knowledgeable of all the border terrain along our Southern border with Mexico as well as the coastal regions of Florida, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the upper and lower Antilles, having worked those areas as a Border Patrol Agent, Custom's Patrol Investigator, Customs Criminal Investigator and Aviation Enforcement Specialist.

I am not here today to attack our law enforcement community. They're doing what they are required to do to support policy. I am here today to discuss options for positive change. What we've been doing for three plus decades is not working.

LEAP believes that it is the policy that has failed and not the efforts of our police. Consequences relating to this failed policy include marijuana, cocaine, heroin and meth, being stronger and more available then they were at the beginning of this war on drugs.

We have an increase in overdose deaths due to the unregulated quality of street drugs. Our prisons are overcrowded and the growing segments of drug ex-convicts are treated as social outcasts.

A system of regulation rather than prohibition is less harmful, more ethical and a more reasonable public policy approach. While the human and economic cost of the drug war on America are huge, the cost worldwide are significantly higher. Both in dollars and human life.

Prohibition is a luxury we cannot afford. Legalization will result in immediate savings of billions of dollars. A Harvard study just out today revealed that, ending today's stale prohibition would boost our ailing economy by at least $76.8 billion a year. That's a lot of change and that is a conservative estimate, as you'll hear more about that later on.

From my experience, legalizing drugs will reduce the crime and violence associated with drug dealing, by an estimated 80%. As most of the crime and violence associated with it occurs in the distribution network and those fighting for control of the streets, in this street corner, that street corner or that smuggling corridor, as they've exemplified in Mexico today.

LEAP recognizes that legalization will not fix our drug problem. We believe that drug use and abuse are best dealt with by treating it as a medical or social issue instead of a criminal one. We will not arrest our way out of the drug war.

In the 20's and 30's, we had Al Capone and his gangsters getting rich and shooting up our streets. Today we have criminal gangs, cartels, the Taliban and Al Qaeda profiting from the prohibition of drug sales and wrecking havoc all over the world.

The correlation is obvious. As Einstein is reported to have said, 'To continue doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity.' We repealed a failed and expensive prohibition once and we can do it again.

Let's put the money into education, research and treatment, instead of jails and prisons. We all want a better future for ourselves and our children. We must show our elected officials that this can be accomplished. If you agree, go to www.wecandoitagain.com.

Thank you very much. {clapping}

Howard Wooldridge: Stay with us for a minute. I have one question. Could you comment a little bit on what the implications of this are with what's now happening in Mexico, where there've been now over 3,000 deaths this year in drug wars there and how were formed here might affect that situation.

Terry Nelson: Yes, of course. The numbers in Mexico are all over the board. Mine are a little higher than yours. In the eighteen months since Calderón took office, it's reported almost 5,000 people killed in that drug war, five Hundred of them, police officers.

The question I always ask people is, 'What happens if Mexico doesn't win the war we helped them start? Where are we then? What do we do now?' From all indications, it's a toss up right now.

If we legalize drugs and take the profit out of it, almost instantly the crime and violence will go away, because there's no reason for them to do it anymore. That could perhaps help save Mexico from further violence.

I'm not trying to indicate that the country will fail. But from further and continued violence it's just inhumane and it's inevitable that it will spill across the border into the United States and it already has begun to do so, but not in the numbers that we could see, if this continues in it's present path.

Mr. Neal Peirce: Thanks so much. From what I've seen, coverage would suggest civil society is really in peril in Mexico and this is clearly a direct connection.

Next, we're going to hear from Richard Van Wickler, twenty year veteran of work in the criminal justice field. I hope he'll be able to give us a little bit of a background on some of the fiscal and human impacts of sending so many people to prison.
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Richard Van Wickler: I too, very much appreciate your time today, to hear this important message.

After 21 years in law enforcement, primarily as the warden of a county jail in New Hampshire, it was a challenging decision for me one year ago, to decide to become a LEAP member and end drug prohibition.

College textbooks, that I was teaching from, proposed that the war on drugs was a failed policy. As I began to research the issue, the more convinced I became that the war on drugs was a national tragedy and it demanded immediate reform.

I now encourage every legislator that I talk to and every tax payer that I talk to, to research why the drug war should continue versus why it should end. The evidence in support of ending the current drug war is overwhelming. Evidence that would suggest that the drug war continue, is virtually non-existent. A great way to start one's research would be to go to www.wecandoitagain.com .

The United States currently incarcerates around 2.2 million people. Over 114 million Americans have admitted to trying an illegal drug in their lifetime. Over 35 million Americans admit to having used an illegal drug in the last 12 months.

If the drug war is at all to be considered a success or if it's goal of creating a drug free society is possible, then we have an enormous amount of jail construction ahead of us. Currently the United States builds over 900 jail beds, every two weeks.

We have kept that pace for more than 20 years. This, while violent crime is at a 30 year low. The United States builds significantly more prisons than we do Universities. Why shouldn't that be considered a national tragedy?

There are so many similarities between alcohol prohibition of the 1920's and the current policy of drug prohibition. Prohibition does not prevent it's use, it does not regulate the product, it contributes to significant social harms and provides an enormous profit motive for anyone willing to cater to the inevitable market.

Prohibition is a wonderful opportunity for organized crime. Criminal cartels hope and pray that the United States drug war will never end. Imagine, a multi billion dollar business with no regulation, no oversight, no Board of Directors, no taxes and nearly all profit. Best of all, for them, there's no accountability for all the harms that they produce.

Drug abuse is not a criminal justice problem. It's a public health problem and a social problem and it should be managed as such. Drug addicts are everywhere, after more than a three decade war in this effort.

Addict's are famous radio personalities, spouses of major candidates. They're in corporate America, they're in Hollywood, they're your neighbors. Of course drug war sanctions are not applied evenly, in this war. While 72% of all drug users are white and 13% are black, black Americans will account for nearly 60% of those in federal prison for drug violations.

If somebody reputable stepped up here in front of you today and said, 'For your children's sake, will you help close the drug houses? Will you help abolish the corner drug dealer? Will you help put drug cartels out of business? Take the profit out of crime? Restore respect, for law enforcement?'

Well, you can. You can do that by working and voting for repeal of national prohibition. That's exactly what the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform said about alcohol prohibition in the 1920's.

Prohibition was repealed. Life and prosperity went on and as it turned out, the women were right. Al Capone was out of business. Alcohol was regulated, controlled and it was taxed. Everybody won, except the gangsters. The terrible evils that were said to occur, like an epidemic of alcoholism, didn't.

We did it once. Please visit: wecandoitagain.com

To create a drug free society is not possible. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Our goals at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is to reduce death, disease, crime and addiction. This will happen as soon as the insanity of this drug war ends.
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Dean Becker: All right. You are listening to The Cultural Baggage Show on The Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. We're tuning into yesterdays press conference, held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Featuring speakers from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Again, the MC of this conference was Mr. Neal Peirce of the Washington Post Writers group.

Neal Peirce: ... you're all here. We're getting some very strong statements this morning that the only statistic I think you have missing there on incarceration was the one that always strikes me is that, we now have more people incarcerated in this country and a higher per capita incarceration level of any nation on the face of the globe.

That being the case, there is a major problem and I think you all are trying to point your finger at where the major problem really exists.

Next, we're going to hear from Eric Sterling. He's a man who's helped me and I imagine many other reporters in covering on this issue and his role as President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, which is co-sponsoring this event today with The Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Eric's history goes way back to this issue including working in the House Judiciary Committee in the 1980's when some of today law's were written, which he knows the base of. But I'm sure he'll have a good message for you, Eric Sterling...
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Eric Sterling: Good morning everyone. I'm Eric Sterling. I'm President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and I'm proud to be a speaker on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the 1980's I was council to the House Judiciary Committee and I helped congress build what we now call the war on drugs. Many of the approaches that we took directly mimicked the approaches that were taken for alcohol enforcement in the 1920's.

We're stressing this because in a few days, on Friday, we will mark the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the 18th Amendment. We will mark the 75th anniversary of the rejection of prohibition by the American society, December 5, 1933.

In March 1980 I set up my first congressional hearing and the head of DEA testified about DEA's goal. He said that the goal and the proof of the effectiveness of DEA is that, they raise the price of illegal drugs.

What struck me was that no member of congress recognized the elementary economic fallacy. That is, with higher and higher prices, more and more people are going to enter into that business. They're going to enter into that market.

What we have seen now, in the 28 years since, at least that congressional hearing, the drug supply has been uninterrupted and yet, we arrest and incarcerate and convict more than 300,000 people for drug felonies every year.

This demonstrates that there is always a supply of new people willing to enter into this extraordinarily profitable business, to seek the DEA prohibition created profits.

We want safe streets. We want safe neighborhoods and that's why we're here. We're not here because we want better drugs. We want to protect addicts from dying. We want to protect them from overdoses. We want to eliminate the stigma's and the barriers that interfere with their ability to get the help that they and their families need.

In 1932, the majority of the congress recognized that prohibition was ineffective. In 1933, more than two thirds of the congress sent prohibition repeal to the states for ratification. We ended prohibition then and we can do it again, now.

Congress embraced the term, the war on drugs, in the early 1980's. At that time the Columbians were driving the Cubin's out of control of the cocaine traffic, with machine gun battles in South Florida, on the streets and in the malls.

The violence, of course, mimicked the battles to dominate the beer and the liquor trade in American cities in the 1920's. Exemplified by the 1929 Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago.

In 1929, the ruthless violence of Al Capone was fueled by alcohol prohibition profits. Maintaining our current approach, we have to fear that in 2009, the violence of Al Qaeda will be finance by drug prohibition profits. We have to stop this violence, as we did 75 years ago.

Our goal is a system that educates, regulate, taxes and controls. We see in Columbia, for more than two decades, the way in which drug prohibition has financed terror. We see this in Mexico with the slaughter of prosecutors, police officers, journalists, soldiers, as well as drug cartel members and many innocent bystanders.

If you saw today's paper, you saw the economic news that we are in a deep recession. Perhaps the worst since the 1930's. In the early 1930's, banks and businesses were failing. Local and state government, tax revenues were falling and unemployment was spreading down every street and every lane in America.

In order to create ten's of thousand's of new legal jobs and to raise the taxes to pay for the economic recovery program, the society repealed alcohol prohibition. Today we face these same kind of economic nightmare, unless we change course.

We're going to hear in a few minutes from Professor Jeffrey Miron, of Harvard University, who's done a very elegant but simple kind of analysis of the kind of revenue that we are currently throwing away.

I suggest that today, as governors and majors and county executives start preparing notices to firefighters, to police officers, to school teachers and millions of public employees who provide vital public services, that they're going to be furloughed; they're going to be laid off. Their families are going to face homelessness and the loss of health insurance. Perhaps, even poverty.

Well, before they get fired, those governors and those mayors ought to say how much revenue from the taxing of the currently illegal drugs they're throwing away. Are their jobs worth sacrificing, to maintain a failed policy that almost everyone knows is a failure? Three quarters of the American people tell our pollsters, 'We know that our policy is a failure.' You know what? So does our elected officials.

When I worked for the congress, members of the congress would confess to me that they knew that prohibition didn't work. That it cannot work. They recognized the implausibility of prohibition as a control mechanism.

Twenty-five years ago in Peru, we were watching DEA contractors chop down Cocoa bushes. A member of congress leaned over to me and he said, Eric, now I know the meaning of the word 'pissing into the wind.'

It's time to stop 'pissing into the wind' with the war on drugs. We repealed prohibition 75 years ago and we can do it again.
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Dean Becker: We're almost out of time. We'll have more of this in the coming weeks. But if you'd like to do your part to help bring about the end of drug prohibition, please visit the LEAP website, where you can get involved and that is: wecandoitagain.net
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It's time to play: Name that Drug by it's Side Effects.

Liver problems, change in body fat, nausea, gas, rashes, diarrhea, high blood sugar, diabetes, inability to stop bleeding, Cancer.

(((gong)))

Time's up. The answer from Hoffman-La Roush. Viracept, for AIDS

According to the Guardian in the U.K. it seems that their Swiss lab contaminated three months worth of Viracept with a genotoxic additive. Cancer.
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Poppygate. Bizarre news about the US policy on controlling heroin. Featuring Glenn Greenway.

This week the UN Drug Czar announce that Afghan narcotics have completely saturated the worlds underground market place. In Afghanistan, the farm gate price for fresh opium has fallen 20% this year and it is believed that major stockpiling is now underway in an attempt to preserve prices.

The UN furthermore claims that the Taliban earned as much as $300 million from the opium trade last year alone.

Fairfax County, Virginia is perhaps best known as the home of the CIA. Last week, authorities in the wealthy, Washington suburb arrested ten people, most aged either 19 or 20 for their roll in a heroin ring, which was allegedly responsible for the fatal overdoses of 18 area young people so far this year.

The group of friends frequented a local Starbucks and included members with names such as Tayler, Ashleigh and Skylar.

In this year's presidential elections Oklahoma, perhaps the reddest of red states, was carried by presidential hopeful, John McCain by 65.6%.

Shortly after the election, authorities near Oklahoma City arrested a young woman for the transportation of 25½ pounds of pure Afghan heroin, said to be worth $5 million.

Using that price estimate, a pound of Afghan smack is now valued at about $200,000 per pound. Given that under US proxy governance, Afghanistan has produced nearly one hundred million pounds of heroin. The entire value of the 7 year harvest therefore approaches $20 Trillion.

This week in heroin ravaged Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan took a bite out of crime with her successful prosecution of plastic penis manufacturers.

The two California businessmen, who marketed the 'Wizinator' as an aide to subverting drug testing, were found guilty of conspiracy in federal court and face sentencing of up to 8 years in prison, a half million dollar fine or both.

Attorney Buchanan is best remembered for her prosecution of comedian Tommy Chong on drug paraphernalia charges. $20 Trillon of 'Bush White' later, Mary Beth has now moved from bongs to dongs.

This is Glenn Greenway. Reporting for the Drug Truth Network.
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Be sure to join us on next weeks Century of Lies when our guest will be Colonel Jim Ketchum, talking about the CIA's distribution of LSD and Cultural Baggage will feature Martin Lee, author of “Acid Dreams.”

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