02/03/09 - Cliff Schaffer

Cliff Schaffer of DrugLibrary.org re financial impact on waging the drug war & Radley Balko on Michael Phelps, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts, Phil Smith on cartel support of banks & Winston Francis with the Official Government Truth

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Guest: 
Cliff Schaffer
Organization: 
Marijuana Business NEWS
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Century of Lies, February 3, 2009

The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

The following message comes to us from change.org Yes, we can.
________

I’m a doctor.
I’m a lawyer.
I’m a journalist.
I’m a student.
I’m a teacher.
I’m a representative.
I have cancer.
The outdated laws of prohibition are more dangerous than the plant itself.
I lost my scholarship.
I was fired.
Twenty million arrests since 1965. This is getting ridiculous.
Our prisons are over crowded with non-violent offenders.
We have the opportunity to change.
This is costing our country billions of dollars.
Making my family and I fight in a courtroom is difficult enough, when I’m already fighting from chemotherapy.
There’s no reason to be scared by tradition anymore.
We can stop this.
We can stop this.
We are the American people.
We can stop this.
And you have our support.
We are old
Young
Straight
Gay
We’re every race and nationality
And we’re not going to give up!
You can tax it.
You can regulate it.
Apply age restrictions.
You can create millions of new jobs.
We can save our economy.
President Obama,
It’s time for legalization.
Legalization.
Yes
We
Can.
________________

Alright my friends, Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. Today we’re going to talk about money. Boatloads of money and where it’s going, maybe where it ought to go and to talk about this subject, we’re tuned in with our good friend from California, Mr. Cliff Schaffer. How are you with us, Cliff?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: I’m with you Dean.

Dean Becker: Hello, my friend. Yes, Sir. I think it ironic that we have quite literally sent trainloads of cash to these failed institutions. Meantime, the states and in particular California, is undergoing a financial turmoil. Right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Oh, it’s worse than turmoil. As of this morning, the state of California will not be issuing tax refunds to the people who are due tax refunds. They will get IOU’s instead. They are cutting back on payment of anything but what they say is essential services and that includes, they’re cutting back on all kinds of school lunches for children; all kinds of welfare programs that provide food to kids; just about everything they can push off till March, they are not going to pay in February.

They are going to be $41 Billion in debt over the next seventeen months and as Arnold Schwarzenegger says, ’There just aren’t enough cuts in the budget to make it. They’re going to have to cut as much as they can and then raise taxes.’ Well, guess what? This drug war is collapsing because of it. We’ve spent too much on prisons and jails. We’ve spent too much on a failed policy and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Dean Becker: You know Cliff, I’ve been watching this, the financial bail-out. The ‘tarp’ put in place over this ‘leaky roof‘, I suppose, and it strikes me as the billionaires and the millionaires taking care of themselves.

John Stewart has this outlook that I think makes a lot of sense. He says, ’We give the money to the home owner’s who are defaulting on their loans, they then pay the banks, the banks wind up with the money just the same and the homeowners can survive.’ It’s, I think, better than what we’ve got going. What’s your thought, Cliff? Is this making any sense?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Well, I honestly don’t know what the right answer is to that. I think that any answer you pick is going to be wrong for some reason and that’s just because we’re in the midst of a major disaster already and so none of the choices are good. But from this point, we have to start digging out of it and we have to start digging out of it by first cutting all of the crap, all of the wasteful stuff, all of the stuff that is absolutely useless, from the government budget. The first thing that comes to mind is expenses for the drug war.

These things actually cost more to society than the money that is spent on them. When you put somebody in prison for marijuana, you not only have the cost of putting them through the court system, which is $125,000 on average right there, but then you have the cost of jailing them at $30,000 a year for how many ever years. As likely as not, their family went on welfare. He was no longer earning an income and paying taxes and this sort of thing. You have a whole series of losses that come from this, which is why the Land Corporation says that, ‘Every dollar spent on enforcement, actually costs about another $7 in related social costs.’

Dean Becker: It’s never ending, right? OK. There was some breaking news, I think it was yesterday / day before, that kind of proves the lie, especially in regards to marijuana. That it’s not just a tempest in a teapot, it’s a hurricane in a thimble and I had a chance to speak with Radley Balko about this. We got just about a minute and a half, that’s good. We’ll be right back with Mr. Cliff Schaffer.
________________

Dean Becker: I recently had a chance to speak with Radley Balko of Reason Magazine about an article he recently put together about Michael Phelps, for having been caught smoking marijuana; and the thoughts of the US office of National Drug Control Policy.

You know they have this series of ads, you can be a Couch Surfer or a Remote Control Operator. That’s the best you can hope for, yet Michael Phelps has certainly proven that’s a lie, right?

Radley Balko: Well, not just Michael Phelps but we saw last year in the NBA, with Josh Howard. He admitted that he regularly smokes marijuana, in the off season. This is a guy who is an All-Star in the NBA. He’s a world class elite athlete and he smokes regularly.

Our last three presidents were at some point in their lives, pot smokers. Several Supreme Court Justices, a good number of members of congress, Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer prize winners give us this idea, that if you smoke marijuana you’re doomed to a dead end life as a; I mean, it’s ridiculous. The worst thing basically, that can happen to you for being a pot smoker, is what the government will do to you if it catches you, not what the drug itself will do to you.

Dean Becker: Radley, is there a website where folks can tune into this full article?

Radley Balko: Sure. Later in the week it will be up at reason.com and you can also catch it right now at my website which is theagitator.com

Dean Becker: We’ll have more from Radley Balko on this weeks Cultural Baggage program.
________

Alright, we are speaking to Mr. Cliff Schaffer, producer of druglibrary.org, creator of marijuanabusinessnews.com. Cliff, the business of marijuana growing / dispensing is enormous. Let’s talk about that.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Oh yeah, it, well; nation wide, I think the best estimate for the marijuana market as a whole, is a little over $100 Billion, about the same as beer. Now, if you use the same tax paying calculations that the beer industry pays, that the beer industry uses to show the taxes they’ve paid, they say about 44% of their retail price goes to taxes somewhere along the way; payroll taxes or taxes on the vehicles they drive or something like that.

Now, if we did the same thing with marijuana, this is potentially $44 Billion a year in new income to the government and none of these people are going to complain. I mean, when was the last time you found any group of people who were volunteering to pay more taxes? We’ve got to do this. We could cut the expenses on Law Enforcement. We could raise the taxes, hugely and we’d get better control in the bargain.

Dean Becker: That piece with Radley Balko talking about Michael Phelps; again, we have to pull our heads out. We have to quit believing in this now 100 year old, hysterical ‘madness‘. Time to look at reality itself. Right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Oh, yeah. The drug laws always were complete idiocy. If you read the history of these laws, it is absolute lunacy. When I give speeches on this and I tell people what the history of the laws was and how they originally came out, they just laugh. I just provokes laughter. It’s incredible to believe that they would pass laws based on that kind of reasoning and the reasoning continues today about this ’couch potato’ thing. As I was listening to Radley Balko, I was thinking, ‘Now you’ve named all these athletes, how about naming oh, maybe half a dozen billionaires that are regular pot smokers,’ because they’re out there.

Dean Becker: Well, and again, it’s just that… I figure world wide, there’s a billion people that use recreational drugs, “illegal drugs” and yet they remain silent because, it’s kind of a conundrum. It’s a box; a wall that keeps people from speaking the truth. That they use it, happily. It doesn’t create a problem. What’s your thought on that?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Well, my first thought is that your estimate of a billion worldwide is probably low.

Dean Becker: {chuckling} Alright.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: {also chuckling} The second thought is, is that most of these drugs, for most people are used pretty much in the same way they use alcohol and that is, they use ‘em to have a beer and relax on Saturday night. That is the vast majority of the marijuana use and marijuana use is the vast majority of the illegal drug use. It’s just a choice of which particular intoxicant they like but they all use it for basically the same thing. It’s nice to relax. Same way you do with a cup of coffee maybe or a cigarette or any number of other things.

Dean Becker: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. Now, we were talking about the history of it all, that it’s approaching 100 years, maybe a little more when you talk about just the propaganda war that brought this about and keeps it together. But, there have been many people along the way that we have observed becoming successes. You know, you’re talking the billionaires but, there’s many other people in other avenues of endeavor that have succeeded as well and I think it important; I have a little clip here I want to share with you and let’s talk about those other people, who use drugs.
________

A doctor closes the door of his office and removes a large hypodermic syringe from a drawer. He fills the syringe and then injects himself, with pure liquid morphine. This Doctor then hurries quickly to an operating room to remove a patients gall bladder. Who is this doctor? Would you want him to operate on you?

He’s considered to be the most innovated, influential and important surgeon America has ever produced. One of the founding members of Johns Hopkins. Dr. William Hallstead, a lifelong user of morphine.
________

Dean Becker: I don’t know if you could hear that well, but we’re talking about Dr. William Hallstead, the…

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Oh, yes. Quite familiar with him.

Dean Becker: He show’s that it is possible to do even morphine, on a daily basis and to succeed. We’ve been duped, haven’t we?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: We have, terribly. Now, this is something the people really don’t understand is, they look at heroin and they say, ’Well, heroin is evil but morphine, which is used everyday in medicine, is good.’ Ah, well. The difference between heroin and morphine, the only difference, is that heroin is that heroin is three times stronger than morphine, by weight. In other words, one grain of heroin equals three grains of morphine. Otherwise, they are identical and they are both converted to the same form of morphine within the body. Medically, there is no difference between them.

Now, in the United States right now, people don’t realize this but, there are millions of people using morphine on a daily basis, with no problem. My mother was one of them. Pain patients, throughout the nation, take morphine on a regular basis and the vast majority of them have no problem.

The rate of problems with medical use of morphine and other drugs like this, for people who have never had a drug problem is between 0.14% and 0.19%. The first study was done by Johns Hopkins and the second study was done recently in the U.K. But, the rate of people who actually have problems with these, this is a people who haven ’t had any other drug problem, is tiny. They’re not a major risk.

Dean Becker: Cliff, I know there is no manifesto, there is no document which can verify or prove that there is this conspiracy. But I see it! I feel it! I know it! Involves the banks who launder the money. Good God, Antonio Maria Costa, just last week, was saying how the banks were the only solvent means that the banks could survive during the first part of this downturn and the pharmaceutical companies, they’ve got their interest. The alcohol, tobacco, of course the prison builders, the DA’s and Judges who made their bones. It’s going to continue until the people rise up. Till they speak up. Till they do their part. Right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: I think that’s happening now and as I see it across the nation, people are becoming increasingly disenchanted with this drug war. They’re seeing it for what it is. If you look on the internet, there is more and more protest against it and if you look at the media over the last ten years, the drug warriors have just been clobbered in the media.

So, I think this is happening and I think the current budget crisis is really going to be the ‘straw that breaks the camels back.’ Because at this point, they don’t have the money to put the gas in the helicopters to go look for marijuana in California; and if they can’t fly the helicopters, then they can’t even make a pretense anymore. It didn’t work when they did fly them, now they can’t even fly them.

Dean Becker: If they would dare to do so, they’re taking away hundreds of kids’ lunches. Alright, as I understand it California, you’re going to have a shorter school year, the community colleges are foundering, the jobless benefits are being denied, the illegal immigrants are creating financial burdens, as well…

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: The illegal immigrants are going back to Mexico.

Dean Becker: Well, ok. {chuckling by both} But I’m just saying, everyone of these problems or situations is an impact on that physical burden; that fiscal burden that California’s enduring. Texas has a small surplus, at this time. But they realize it’s not going to last very long in this current situation. Property taxes, sales taxes, everything is going down and it won’t be long till it’s gone as well.

As I understand it, the local; the county governments are considering ways to decrease the number of arrests, perhaps no longer arrests for crack pipes, you know, the miniscule; the microscopic amounts.

My friends, we’re speaking with Mr. Cliff Schaffer, he of druglibrary.org and marijuanabusinessnews.com. Cliff, it was about 8 / 8 ½ years ago that I was working at a major oil company and I had a T1 access and I started delving into drug library and I was astounded. I mean, I’d always felt it, pretty much believed it but, finally I understood it and knew it, that there is no basis for this drug war at all. It is a scam. It’s witchcraft, I think you told me once.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: It is. Like I said it‘s, when people read the history of this, they just laugh. They’re absolutely amazed, that collectively we could do anything that stupid. I mean, it’s just nuts. One thing on the financial thing I’d like to add is, right now in California, we have a choice.

We have a choice between flying helicopters and feeding kids. Now, for every day we put the helicopter in the air, we can provide a free lunch for 1360 kids, who don’t get any other hot meal. Which is more important? Come on, folks.

Dean Becker: Yeah and again, it isn’t like they stopped the marijuana trade.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Yes. There was a show on CNBC the other night where the sheriff of Mendocino County estimated that 60% of all the people in the county were involved in the marijuana trade. OK, you’re not going to stamp that out. It’s gone beyond the point where you can do anything about it, but regulate it and license these people.

Dean Becker: Yeah and it is hundreds, at least more than a hundred billion dollar in turn around. Stop the enforcement side. Stop spending money there and then the tax side, to replenish the state’s coffers. It’s a huge turnaround, right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: It would make a huge impact on our current fiscal problems and the beauty of it is, that nobody would be complaining. If you ask the marijuana growers and the marijuana dealers and the marijuana users, they all say the same thing. Yes, tax it, regulate it, we would be happy to contribute more money to the general fund.

Dean Becker: Right. We have those few entrenched and I think at this point, it’s the few who have made the most bones, if you will, from this policy; the one’s who proclaim the necessity for so long; so voraciously, right?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Oh, absolutely. These… well, I’d call these people crooks but, that’s probably too good of name for them.

Dean Becker: {chuckling} Well, ain’t that the truth. Ain’t that the truth. Cliff, I want to thank you for being with us today. We’re going to bring you back here soon and there’s going to be much more to report, I’m sure, in California and just your observations of the Nation as it endures this fiscal crisis. Any closing thoughts you want to relay?

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: No, I just… Well, this year it’s going to be over. You can guarantee it. It will collapse in California this year. They don’t have the money to pursue any part of it and if it collapses in California, then it is just a matter of time before the other states wake up to reality.

Dean Becker: Well, that’s the heck of it, right there. Cliff Schaffer, thank you so much.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Thank you, Dean.

Dean Becker: Alright. Bye-bye.

Mr. Cliff Schaffer: Bye-bye.
________________

This is Phil Smith from Drug War Chronicle, with a story from the U.N. for you this week.

The U.N. Drug Chief says, ‘Black market drug profits propped up the global banking system last year.’
________

Profits from the global illicit drug trade helped keep the international banking system afloat during the crisis that swept the global financial system during the second half of last year, the UN's leading drug fighter said in an interview with the Austrian magazine Profil.

Drug money was almost the only available capital for banks, said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

"According to our calculations, the wholesale value of illegal drugs is more than $90 billion, in the range of the world meat and grain trade. The street trade, we assess at a volume of over $320 billion,” he said.

While profits from the illegal drug trade fund political violence by the likes of the Taliban or Colombia's leftist FARC insurgents and rightist paramilitaries, they are also finding their way into the coffers of the world banking system at a critical time, Costa said. The drug business is one of the few global growth industries right now, he noted.

"The drug trade at this time could be the only growth industry, with little unemployment," he explained. "The money that is being made is flowing only partly back into illegal activities, in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America, where it is used to bribe politicians, buy elections, or finance insurgents

The rest of the profit, Costa said, "is fed into the legal economic circulation through money laundering. We do not know how much, but the volume is imposing. As such, seen from the macroeconomic effect, this is simply bringing in investment capital. There are indications that these funds also ended up in the finance sector, which has been under obvious pressure since the second half of last year. In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital, to buy real estate, for example." "In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor."

When pressed on just how this was accomplished, Costa responded: "It appears that interbank credits have been financed by money which comes from the drug trade and other illegal activities. It is naturally hard to prove this, but there are indications that a number of banks were rescued by this means."

Costa noted that money laundering controls put in place to stop drug trafficking have "ironically" resulted in drug traffickers sitting on large stashes of cash -- the ultimate liquid financial instrument. "To get around the electronic surveillance of bank transactions, now criminals stash their funds in cash sums which can be up to hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the way they try to hold these funds liquid."

There go those drug dealers propping up the global economy.

Again, this is Phil Smith with the Drug War Chronicle. We’ve got more news for you online at www.stopthedrugwar.org
________________

You know, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then, you win.”

Well, when it comes to drug legalization, they have been either ignoring you or laughing at you for over 90 years. First they ignored you. Then they laughed at you. Then, they ignored you again. Both the American government and the American people have grown tired of your incessant whining about your rights and state’s rights and what the Constitution says.

Even the great Franklin Roosevelt knew that the Constitution was never intended to stand in the way of governments ability to protect it’s people, calling the document “quaint” and “written in the horse and buggy era.”

Not allowing the government to enforce our Nation’s drug laws because something the Constitution says, is like letting a child molester go free because the cop forgot to tell him to watch his head when he put him into the patrol car. Common sense eventually has to prevail.

It is common sense that tells us, that if we just allow people to have potentially deadly narcotics, people will potentially die and nobody, that anybody listens to, disagrees. So, sit down and shut up. Or, if you’re already doing that, good work and keep it up.

This has been Winston Francis with the Official Government Truth.
________________

We all love Big Brother,
He protects us from the evil one
Bow down to Big Brother
To his satellites and gun
We need him and adore him
Freedom is so over-rated.
________________

Losing Afghan hearts and minds.

The head of the US European Military Command, General John Craddock, recently stirred up a furor within NATO. In a letter to German General Egon Ramms, head of the NATO command center responsible for Afghanistan, Craddock said that it was, “No longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective.”

The German news magazine Der Spiegel broke the new about the letter and also the negative responses by General Ramms and by General David McKiernan, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. According to Der Spiegel, “The Taliban are still responsible for the majority of civilian victims in Afghanistan.

According to United Nations report, ‘More than half of the approximately 2000 citizens killed last year, died as a result of suicide attacks, car bombs and fighting with extremists.’ Nevertheless, relations between the American’s and the local populations are extremely tense, due to the rising number of US led air strikes and the dramatic increase in the number of civilian casualties.

Afghan villagers complained of the increase in the deaths of relatives, who were mistakenly killed during military operations carried out by the Americans and their allies, such as the one carried out recently in Masmo, a village in the Eastern Afghan province of Laghman.

The US Army announced that it had eliminated 32 Taliban insurgents. However, survivors claim that thirteen civilians had been killed during the search for a Taliban commander. In the eyes of many Afghan’s, the former liberators have long become ruthless occupiers.”

Unsurprising really, as Der Spiegel reported, “According to the new rules, US forces can now bomb drug labs, if they have previous analysis that the operation would not kill more than ten civilians.”

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay, editor of drugwarfacts.org
________

{music plays in the background}

What gives the drug war life?
Is it the cartels?
Maybe it’s the Baptists.
The bankers.
The gangs or the cops.
Who’s in charge of it?
Which politicians?
Peasant farmers? Big pharma?
Is it the street corner vendor?
Is it you? Is it me?
It is FEAR that gives the drug war life.
________

Yes, it is fear that gives the drug war life. It’s also your silence. You know, Cliff Schaffer and I were talking about the billion, or more happy drug users out there, that remain silent; that are scared. They’re afraid to speak up. Your boss might do urine tests. You know, there’re treatment providers that might want to get you behind their doors and charge your insurance company a fortune. There’s many ways that you can lose by speaking up in this regard.

But there’s only one winner if you do speak up in this regard and that’s America. That’s the World. That’s truth. That’s logic, proportion, reality itself. We all win, if we’re able to bring that about.

Please do your part. You know, you guys are the answer and as always I remind you, there’s no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data, in fact no reason for this drug war to exist.

We’ve been duped. The drug lords do indeed control both sides of this equation. Please visit our website, endprohibition.org

Prohibido istac evilesco.

For the Drug Truth Network this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston

Transcript provided by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org