Cultural Baggage, December 31, 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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Hello my friends. Welcome to this last edition of Cultural Baggage for the year 2008 and for most stations the first one of 2009. We're going to have a very fun show for you today but we're going to kick it off with a very serious discussion I had with Mr. Redford Givens about the religious implications of this drug war.

The year's closing out, a new one's fast approaching and I thought it appropriate to talk to a few folks that I don't normally get a chance to speak with. With that, I want to introduce a gentleman, Mr. Redford Givens, who I think agrees with me and sees a great evil in this drug war. Fair enough, Redford?

Redford Givens: Yep. That'd be right.

Dean Becker: Well then, tell us. I get to see a lot of your posts on a couple of different lists and I think you see this a lot like I do but, summarize it for the listeners, if you will.

Redford Givens: A lot of people look at the drug war from a factual viewpoint and it's become pretty obvious that it's a huge failure. It's counterproductive and all of that.
Over the years, I've been relating the drug war to what the Bible says, thru the teaching in the scriptures. From that viewpoint the drug war is totally condemned.

People should get their Bibles and a pen and a piece of paper out and record some of these scriptures I'm going to quote during our conversation, so they can prove this stuff for themselves. I'm not making anything up.

Dean Becker: Well Redford, we have probably both been involved in online forums and personal discussions, where people embrace the impossible, headed toward oblivion. I guess what I'm saying is that there is no substance, to continuing this. Right?

Redford Givens: Well, the first point is that there never really was any good reason for drug prohibition to begin with and when you start off with something that's a lie and a fiction, I don't know how you can ever make anything worthwhile out of it.

Let's review some of the facts of what was going on around, back around 1912. Maybe from 1905 to 1920 when the drug crusaders got all these laws on the books.

In that time period, there was no such thing as drug crime. There were no robberies, assaults, rapes, murders, embezzlements or anything of the kind associated with drug addiction in those days and another thing was that, there were very, very few accidental overdoses.

So, what do we have now? We've got crime out of control behind the drug war. We had, according to the drug czar, 30,000 accidental drug overdoses last year. Now, that's 30,000 dead people that shouldn't be dead. It's an evil, wicked system.

Dean Becker: Many people have the misconception that drugs have always been banned, that it's an eternal thing. But that's just not the case. Talk about the beginning, the 1905 to 1920.

Redford Givens: They began outlawing drugs in the modern sense in New York State around 1912 and then they got a federal law in 1914, which wasn't a real complete ban on drugs. But by 1920, through court actions and court trials, judgments and so on, they had changed it into a total prohibition on morphine and other opiates, unless you had a doctor's prescription. By 1921/22 it was all totally outlawed.

What they saw happen during that time period was, before the drug laws, there was no such thing as drug crime. Nobody was robbing, whoring, or murdering over drugs, when they were legal. Addicts could get all the morphine, heroin, cocaine or anything else they had in those days, down at the corner pharmacy, for pennies.

According to one historian, you could buy a week's supply of cocaine for a heavy addict for 25 cents in those days. Nobody had to steal; nobody had to commit any crimes, to get their drugs. It's interesting, that when the drug warriors went to the legislatures, in the early days, they never said a word about crime or very little about crime. The reason was, that they couldn't have gotten away with it.

Everybody knew, or had an aunt or somebody in their family that used opiates. The women used them for their menstrual problems and they knew that 'Aunt Maude' wasn't a criminal, so the prohibitionists didn't say that. They said instead, “We want to save these addicts from themselves.”

The policy was counterproductive immediately. They filled the prisons up in New York State with drug users within two years. When they started off, I think the sentences were fairly light, like they'd give them a few months in prison.

But when they were still addicted after a few months, that didn't work. They kept escalating the penalties. Pretty soon they were giving them a year, two years and by the 1920's I think, most of the people in prison, in a lot of states, were in for drug law violations. Women, in particular, got hit real hard in those early days because most users then were women.
Let's just review a couple of the racist things that Harry Anslinger said when he was getting marijuana outlawed.

He said, “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” And “Marijuana influences negro's to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at white women twice.'”

“Marijuana's an addictive drug which produces, in it's users, insanity, criminality and death. Marijuana's the most violent prescribing drug in the history of mankind.”

Now, all of these statements are lies and never, ever, when we were smoking marijuana, was there ever any violence. I can't even remember a big argument when people were smoking marijuana. People get along; they're peaceful when they smoke marijuana. It's the complete opposite.

So this thing is a lie.
Well, the whole Bible is against lies. Proverbs 19:9 says, “The false witness will not be freed from punishment. He that launches forth lies will perish.” and then again, John 8:44. Jesus said this, “You are from your father the devil, and you wish to do the desires of you father. That one was a man slayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition: because he is the liar, and the father of the lie.”

So lying never has any approval from The Almighty in the Bible. Lying is condemned and in the Ten Commandments, the commandment doesn't say, 'Thou shall not lie', what it really says is, 'Thou shall not commit false witness against your neighbor.' In other words, you won't go into court or somewhere like that and lie about your neighbors.

Dean Becker: A few months back I got a chance to interview Dr. Donald Vereen. He's with NIDA and I went round and round with him about, he talked about the harms of drugs and so forth, and I brought back the situation regarding alcohol, the true killer. The true destroyer of families and futures and he kept saying, 'Well, it's part of our diet.” Your thoughts on that comparison.

Redford Givens: There's no doubt that alcohol is the most dangerous drug. Alcohol can destroy any organ in your body. It's causes brain damage. It causes kidney failure. It causes liver damage. It causes heart failure. Alcohol is a very dangerous drug.

But, the Bible does not forbid the use of alcohol. Instead, it gives warnings about it's dangers. It says, 'Don't be drinking too much, it'll make you crazy. Don't be drinking too much 'cause you'll go out and get in trouble. You'll get into fights and violence and all kinds of stuff and it's not good for you. Don't do it.'

At the same time, the Bible also mentions some of the benefits of alcohol and it talks about the new wine and the blessing of wine. It says, 'Wine makes the heart of mortal man rejoice and so on.' But, there's advice given, 'Don't do too much of it. It's ok, get a little buzz on and enjoy it but don't get falling down drunk' is more or less the message I get from the Scriptures.

There's a lot of warnings about alcohol in the Bible but there's never any prohibition against it, ever. Being a drunkard was condemned in the Scriptures. But there is no punishment ever authorized for a drunkard. The reason for that is, that The Bible doesn't consider it to be a sin if you injure yourself.

Self harm or self-injury is not a crime in God's eyes and that's proved by when Jesus told people, he said, 'If your eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it away. If your hand offends you, cut it off and throw it away.” He said, “It's better to enter into paradise maimed than not to get in at all.” He was speaking figuratively, of course.

But, he couldn't have said that if it was against the Law of Moses. The Bible doesn't tell believers to go out and make other people behave properly. The Roman Empire was one of the most corrupt...... I don't even call it a civilization. It was so corrupt, so rotten, so wicked. Every vice that you could imagine in the world, the Romans did it and they did it ten times more than anybody else and they bragged about it, on top of everything. Everything from baby raping to killing people just for the pure hell of it out in the arenas.

So, this was the world that Jesus lived in and when he sent his followers out into the world, he didn't tell them, 'Go out and reform this wicked Roman Empire, these people are terrible sinners and you got to save them from their evil ways.' That wasn't what he said at all.

What he said was, “Go out and find my lost sheep.” He said, 'Go out and find people that will believe and bring the truth to them.' But there's nothing in the scriptures where anybody's ever forced to adopt Godly behavior or Godly beliefs.

We're speaking with Redford Givens out of San Francisco. Redford, we're going to have to wrap this up. Is there a website you'd like to point folks towards or any closing thoughts?

Redford Givens: Yeah, there is something I want to say before we finish. I want to just mention, the idea of The Bible standard of justice. In the Bible, the criminal law in The Bible is handled in the Prophets in the Old Testament, as it's called the Law of God and it says there, “An, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” That's in Exodus 21:24.

At Leviticus 24:20 “Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he has disfigured a man, he shall be disfigured, and so on.” That's the Bible's standard for punishment. Whatever you did to another person and injured them, that was done to you. I think that's a really fair punishment. But, in the drug laws, they punish where there's no injury to anyone. No teeth knocked out, no one is blinded...... there's no victim.
So, they're in violation of the Bible's standard of justice, right there; and they can't have God's approval for this drug war right there, on that alone.

But there's at least 20 other Bible doctrines that the drug war violates consistently and all I have to say: If you believe in the Bible and you want to please God, you're going to have to give up this drug war. It's offensive. It's an abomination. It's a blasphemy against God.

When Anslinger said that marijuana was an evil, wicked plant. Guess who made that “evil, wicked plant?” The Almighty made it and He might not appreciate being insulted for His master craftsmanship, you know what I mean? He's certainly not going to bless somebody that's running around doing that sort of stuff.

The drug war is based on lies. It goes on because people have their own self-interest involved. They make money doing it and they've got more blood on their hands than they're piling up over there in Iraq. Thirty thousand needless dead every year.
I researched the archives (deep into them) and I can't find accidental overdoses from heroin or morphine or anything, before 1914. I have only found a couple of accidental deaths in a 25 year period and some of those looked like they were really suicides but, it was real hard to tell.

But, there weren't many accidental overdoses. Now we have 30,000. That's blood on their hands. They caused that with their policy. So, I say again, it's a wicked, evil policy and the sooner we get rid of it, the better off the whole country will be.

Jesus had one very telling point to make about the idea of criminalizing drug use. Matthew 15:10-11, 17-20 Jesus said, “Listen and get the sense of it: Not what enters a mans mouth defiles him; but it is what proceeds out of his mouth, that defiles a man.” Like lies.

Says, “Are you not aware that everything entering into the mouth passes along the intestines and then is discharged into the sewer? However the things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart and these things defile a man. Out of the heart come wicked reasoning's, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things defiling a man.”

So the drug war is wrong, right on it's fundamental idea, that they would be saving somebody by getting the drugs out of their life.

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It's time to play: “Name That Drug - by its Side Effects”

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cirrhosis, psychosis and dementia. The number one contributor to domestic violence and deaths on American highways.

(((gong)))

Time's up! The answer: Beer.

Taxed, regulated and freely available in all non-Muslim countries.
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Alright. Now for the fun part of the show, at least for me. I just learned that High Times Magazine has on their website now, a write-up about The Drug Truth Network.

They have a link to a video I did at Seattle Hempfest and they have a selected excerpt program from The Drug Truth Network. It runs about a half hour and I'm going to share some of that with you here.
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Pfizer and Merck kill more of us
Than the Cartel's crap ever could

They thank us for our silence
Each years hundred billion dollars

And the chance to do it,
Forevermore.

Drugs! The first eternal war.
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This is Dean Becker. A former cop and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and I am the Producer of The Drug Truth Network programs for 55 affiliate in the US, Canada, New Zeeland and Australia.

We report the unvarnished truth about the drug war. We hope to educate, embolden and motivate YOU to do something; to help end the madness to everlasting drug war.
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OK, my friends. I've invested 20,000 hours investigating this policy of drug war.

To me the truth is obvious, glaring as hell and it needs dealt with immediately and as I said, I'm going to try to educate you and I can think of no other person who best exemplifies that truth, than Judge James P. Gray, author of, “Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and what We Can Do About It: a judicial indictment of the War on Drugs”, currently working as a Superior Court Judge.

This was recorded in October 2008 at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies:

Judge James P. Gray: “In my view, the issue of drug policy is probably the most important critical issue facing our country today. I know that sounds like an exaggeration and as we go along, I think you will agree with me that drug policy of the United States of America, namely drug prohibition, has it's tentacles in just about everything that's going wrong, in our world today.

How many of you here feel that we, in the United States of America, are in better shape today, than we were five years ago with regard to the critical issue of drug use and abuse and all of the crime and misery that goes with it?

OK. I see one hand, which is about normal. At most, that is what I will see and if that is based upon education, I think you're right. I think we're making progress with regard to educating our people. But otherwise, I really don't think it's even in dispute that we're not making progress; that we're not in better shape today than we were 5 years ago, as to this critical area.

Well, what's the first realization that we come to, after we understand this proposition... and that is straightforwardly that, 'We have no legitimate expectation of being in better shape next year then we're in today, unless we change our approach.' Doesn't that make sense?

Well, if that's the case then, what shall we do as a seemingly, intelligent, caring society? The answer to that is, 'Let's look at what we have done over the past 5, 10, 50, 100 years that has been successful and not successful, and hopefully gravitate over toward what works.

But, let's take that a step farther in, 'Why should we be so myopic about it?' Let's look and see what other countries have done in this area, that have been successful and unsuccessful and learn from their experience.

Because if you look at it from our standpoint, The United States of America, probably among all of the Western industrialized countries, has the most radical, harsh drug policy of any other county and we also have a worse drug problem than any other country. There may be a connection there.

The United States of America leads the world in the incarceration of our own people. Both in sheer numbers as well as per capita and here I assure you, 'We're number one!' does not make me proud. Does it make you proud?”
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Dean Becker: As I said in my intro, I am a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and so too, is Judge James P. Gray.

Each week on The Cultural Baggage Show, we feature a LEAP report from Terry Nelson, who has 33 years working for the United States government as a Customs, Border and Air Interdiction Officer, and he retired earlier this year as a GS-14, the equivalent of a Bird Colonel.
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This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. As a federal officer, I participated in the war on drugs from 1974 until 2005. I find it amusing how many times I have seen a similar story to the one recently posted on the DEA website claiming that, 'Progress is being made.'

In .... Washington D.C., the price of cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States has risen significantly over the past twenty-one months. While the purity of the drug has decreased according to continued analysis of cocaine and methamphetamine seizures by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

They report, that from January 2007 to September 2008, the price for a pure gram of cocaine increased 89%, from $96 to $182. Even if the numbers are correct, the price is still less than they were when I began my participation in the war on drugs. In 1974, a gram of cocaine was $125, at about the same purity, 46%, as the DEA reports that a street gram is today.

However, they report that a gram of pure cocaine increased to $182 in '96 and they went on to say, purity has decreased from 67% to 46%. But, did not give the price of a street gram. Not that their reporting is misleading, just that it's misleading.

The irony of it all is that reducing the supply and driving up price, has done the exact opposite of what it was intended to achieve. Driving the price up and the supply down will only make the drug trade more lucrative and dangerous to those in it and those around it.

So, drive-by shootings, home invasions, killings and turf battles will just go on and on. Just look to Mexico, as the example. Calderón's offensive has help fueled a major increase in drug violence. More than 5300 people have died so far this year. Over twice as many as in 2007, according to the Mexican Attorney General's office.

As rival traffickers fight each other and the government; as the killings of police and rival gang members increase, as well as the beheadings, the police say it is a sign of weakness in the cartel. It takes a real send out to fulfill that twisted logic.

To me, it looks more like the killers are not worried about the police or our government. A more sensible policy than prohibition, is total legalization, coupled with a system of regulation control over the purity and who can sell the product.

Then focus on prevention and cures for all addiction. The money wasted on the current failed policy will be much better spent on cures for the medical problems of addiction. Let's spend the money on education, research and treatment instead of incarceration.

Speaking for LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, at www.leap.cc, this is Terry Nelson. Signing off.
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Next up, let's hear from Officer Eddie Ellison, former head of the Drug Squad for Scotland Yard.

Officer Eddie Ellison: ...worked on smuggling at Heathrow Airport and then on major distribution in London and followed it up later on by being the operational head of the Drug Squad in London at Scotland Yard.

There's a total difference between the English and the American approach to all this. In England, we kind of look at what we're trying to achieve and we're trying to achieve a reduction in the problems and the dangers that drugs cause. We're not in the problem of trying to look at any section of the community, or not try to eradicate drugs. We're trying to reduce the problems that drugs cause.

I'm over here with an organization called LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prosecution. I have a very real problem, cause I don't consider I'm a law enforcer. I consider I'm a policeman and for me, 90% of the time in the police service, is working with the community, trying to deliver what they want, working out what sort of policing they want.

Working on the service side, the traffic, schools, children, advice, everything like that, and I only have recourse to law enforcement when all that fails. Law enforcement is an admission, to me, that everything else, proper policing, has failed.

There's a big difference between the bottom end, where the person's a user and I have never, I can never and I will never see a user as committing a crime, simply by their use of a drug.
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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 had the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition. Please visit leap.cc
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We tend to run one or two such Public Service Announcements, on each show, for LEAP, for NORML, for MPP, for The Drug Policy Alliance and for others who are trying to expose this fraud of drug war and we do a few that are just, outrageous.
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This Bud's so good,
That when I smoke it
The government freaks out.
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Next up, we hear from the guru of ganja, Mr. Ed Rosenthal.

Ed Rosenthal: Most people in the United States, outside of California, don't realize that the medical marijuana distribution facilities are going strong and that they're doing well and that they're providing services for sick people all over California. The federal government would like to keep that quiet.
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Hi. This is Willie Nelson for NORML. For 30 years, NORML has provided a voice for the millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly.

Thousands of sick and dying patients find marijuana effective as a medicine including cancer, MS and AIDS patients. *Nine states have legalized it's use.

To learn how you can help. Contact NORML at www.norml.org or call toll free: 888-67-NORML (1-888-676-6765)

*more states have since legalized or decriminalized medical marijuana since the recoding of this PSA
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Again, I request you visit hightimes.com and comment on The Drug Truth Network's story.
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(Sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne)

Should old war criminals be forgot
And never brought to trial,
Or should we try them and convict
And hang their heads on pikes,

For old war crimes, my friend,
For old war crimes
Let's drain the cup of kindness now
And destroy the bushy swine.

For old war crimes, my friend
For old war crimes
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My friends, this new year portends good things for America, with the new administration and the awakening of the American people. There is a chance. We can, at least, begin to end the madness of drug war.

But it's really up to you. Your participation, your willingness to speak the truth, your willingness to do your part is what will really get it done, in the long run.

...and as always, I remind you, that because of drug prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. I urge you to 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