07/01/12 Joseph McNamara

Century of Lies

Dr. Joseph McNamara author of "Love and Death in Silicon Valley" + Cheryl Shuman "takes Hollywood" & Mary Jane Borden with Drug War Facts

Audio file


Century of Lies / July 1, 2012


DEAN BECKER: 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.


DEAN BECKER: Hello. Welcome to this edition of the Century of Lies. You know the Drug Truth Network is proud of our affiliations with more than 100 broadcast radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. Each week the Unvarnished Truth about the drug war is broadcast to millions of listeners from the four corners of the United States and to four provinces in Canada. We at DTN pride ourselves on the caliber of guests willing to appear on our programs - politicians, cops, doctors, scientists, prisoners, pot growers and authors – lots of authors.

With today’s program we will interview our 137th author regarding “Love and Death in Silicon Valley", the new book by police chief Joseph McNamara. This is our 144st drug war related book we have brought to the airwaves.

Also, today’s Century of Lies show is our 261st broadcast. The Cultural Baggage show broadcast earlier today was number 547 and last week’s 420 Drug War News Report brought the total number of 420s to 3,392 broadcasts.

So, with this Century of Lies program we have reached the milestone of 420 times 10 – 4,200 radio broadcasts as of now.

OK, let’s bring in our guest, Joseph D. McNamara. He’s a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. His career in law enforcement spans a 35 year period. He began in Harlem working for the NYPD, rose through the ranks. He was a 2 time receiver of the Lattauer Fellowships (maybe he can pronounce that) from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

In 1973 he became police chief of Kansas City. A long and illustrious career and he’s author of several books, “The First Directive”, “Fatal Command”, “The Blue Mirage”, “Code 211 Blue” and his latest, a cop noirer book, “Love and Death in Silicon Valley"

He’s also a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – my band of brothers. And, with that, I want to welcome Joseph McNamara. How are you, sir?

JOSEPH McNAMARA: I’m fine. Thank you.

DEAN BECKER: Joseph, I’m not much for novels but I found myself really enjoying this book. I’ve come to appreciate a couple of the characters (Rusty and Maria) and that silly dog. It was an entertaining book.

JOSEPH McNAMARA: Well, that’s what was intended – a good read, a good summer book, in fact, people who are on vacation or headed for the beach or to relax some place. I think can you can really enjoy it if you like detective stories or police stories but it’s really a story of people and it’s also a story of the drug war because underneath the action of this page turner the fact is there’s a lot of exposure of what the drug war is doing to our communities and what they’re doing to ordinary human beings.

I think that’s what the early reviews have said was very enjoyable about the book at a couple levels. One is a good, exciting cop story and the other leaves you with a lot of profound thoughts after you’ve finished that will stay with you for a while.

DEAN BECKER: And your mention of its nexus with the drug war. It has been a problem – the corruption, the deviation from what we used to think of as justice to something less nuanced, to something more ugly. Has it not?

JOSEPH McNAMARA: It certainly has and it’s been a lifetime experience for me as a 35 year policeman and a scholar studying the drug war for over half a century now. I set this one where I spent the last 15 years of my police career as police chief of San Jose, California which is called Silicon Valley because of the silicon chip which made possible the technology industry here in the United States and in the world.

So we have this irony with the million dollar mansions of the entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley, of the headquarters of the world, and blocks away you have drive-by shootings driven by Mexican drug cartels.

All of this idea for a novel came to me through my research at Stanford University at the Hoover Institution where it’s become apparent that the Mexican drug cartels are driving the American drug market and they’re beginning to put out contracts not just in Mexico where they’ve decimated that country and murdered some 55,000 people since President Calderon declared the war on drugs in Mexico and they’re killing police officers and soldiers and mayors and governors and people, generals in the army and the whole nation of 100 million people on our border is on the brink of failure because of this crazy drug war.

I say crazy because I’ve had the pleasure of working with the late Milton Friedman who was a Nobel Laureate in Economics and he once asked me, he said, “Joe, I can understand this War on Drugs going on for a couple of years in a democracy but how can it continue because it’s so irrational? People have a demand for these substances even though we, as a society, really condemn that and criticize it. Someone will meet the supply for that demand and, in doing so, we’ve created a black market which really makes the drug cartels quite rich, buys all the guns and ammunition and bribes that they need to make to sell their product and why can’t people just realize that this will never work?”

I had the pleasure of answering this great intellectual that it’s because it wasn’t based on rationalities. Just about 100 years ago in 1914 (98 years ago) the United States passed something called the Harrison Act which the first time outlawed opium and this was the first start of America’s War on Drugs which we’ve spread throughout the world in a kind of arrogant and foolish thought that we can somehow control the world’s production of these crops, these cheaply produced crops that become so profitable because we’ve made them illegal.

We can control production. We can control shipment, that we can seize shipments through interdiction, that we can arrest people who use drugs in our country. We can put drug dealers in prison for life. It just simply hasn’t worked for 100 years and the more we try to do it better the worse it gets.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed. Friends, we’re speaking with Joseph McNamara, author of “Love and Death in Silicon Valley"

Joe, you know, you talked about speaking with Milton Friedman and I was luck enough to have his home number and I would call him about every 6 months. I didn’t really want to bug him but up until his passing, you know, we would do little segments on the Drug Truth Network.

You’re so right, Joe. How in the heck are we going to overcome the law of supply and demand? It is preposterous to think it possible, isn’t it?

JOSEPH McNAMARA: It is. It’s far older than any law that congress or any government can pass and it’s simply a fact that we have to learn to live with. It doesn’t mean that we are oblivious to the damage that drugs do. It simply that the prohibition of drugs is worse than the problem was. And that’s why I’ve worked with LEAP for so many years, the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, because it’s people on the front line, more and more, that begin to realize that what we are doing actually, as we try to enforce these laws, is creating more violence, more corruption and, actually more drug use because we’ve generated this vast illegal market which is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest markets in the world’s economy.

Yet we face the foolishness of the United Nations which has as its slogan “A Drug Free World” and the United States government which has “A Drug Free America” and we’ve never been drug free. We never will. It’s a question of how do we sensibly learn to deal with this and to minimize the damage and to try to make things better.

So I’ve written endlessly and spoken about this all the time and this time I decided to do it through an exciting novel, a detective thriller which really shows how even in prosperous Silicon Valley, here in California, the damage it can do and tremendous ethical problems that arise in the lives of the police, themselves, and how it affects their love lives, their families, their very safety and we’ve created the situation by pushing the police into a war that they didn’t declare and that they can’t win.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. This has some similarities to the war in Vietnam. We sent those guys to win a war they never could win. And, speaking of Vietnam, I think it’s 55,000 dead there…58,000 maybe – and, you mentioned the number in Mexico – 55,000 dead in just the last 5 or 6 years. Some estimates are that it’s as much as 70,000 dead at this point. And what have we gained?! What have we gained?!

JOSEPH McNAMARA: Yeah, it’s simply unbelievable. In the midst of my police career I was very fortunate when I was with the NYPD on the east coast and I got a fellowship to Harvard University and ended up getting a doctorate from Harvard. I did my doctorate dissertation almost accidentally on the criminalization of drugs in America which, as I mentioned, took place in 1914.

For the first time I was thinking more as a scholar, as an analyst and as a police officer because I was a good police officer doing my best (like most police do) and we kept arresting people in the drug war. When that didn’t work we arrested more people in the drug war and we campaigned for longer drug sentences. We campaigned for to be allowed to seize the profits that people had from illegally dealing in drugs and we did one thing after another and we failed.

There’s a recognition, well, law enforcement that the drug war has failed. If you ask people, “Well, suppose we keep doing what we’re doing. In ten years will we have won the drug war?”

And people just laugh and say, “Of course not.”

So then the question arises of why we keep trying to do something better that shouldn’t be done in the first place. And the reason for it is emotional because the people that lobby and got drugs criminalized really were well intentioned for the most part and felt that drug use was sinful and the way to stop it was to punish people through our criminal law for using these substances.

And that really doesn’t make sense in a nation where the first amendment calls for the separation of church and religion. We shouldn’t put someone’s religion into the penal code and the results were predictable.

In 1937 we followed the Harrison Act which taxed opium by placing a tax on marijuana called the Marihuana Tax Act and marijuana is now the number one drug target for American law enforcement even though, by all accounts, it’s the safest drug. I don’t advocate using any of these drugs, personally, but, in fact, marijuana has never killed anyone but we apply the same penalties to marijuana as we do to so-called Schedule I drugs…the federal government calls Schedule I and we send people to life in prison or even to federal death penalty based upon trafficking marijuana which has never killed anyone because a whole bunch of myths about the drug.

So this whole irrationality of thinking in a democracy that the way to help people who are using drugs is to put them in jail becomes a monstrous thing and in my novel I’m really able to show that on all different levels - how it creates and finances drug gangs, American drug gangs, how it endangers the police officers and how the Mexican cartel has actually put out contracts to conduct hits on law enforcement people as they do every day in Mexico and how that has spread over the border here in the United States.

So it’s fiction but it’s not a big stretch of the imagination to see the potential for what’s happening. In fact, today the Mexican people are electing a new president and one of the number one issues is the tragic results that have plunged the nation of Mexico to crisis and to near to failure.

I mention that because I also study government and war and terrorism and I think the gangs of Mexico becoming a failed nation is far more dangerous to the security of the United States than anything happening in Iran which is, after all, far away. Mexico’s right on our border and if we should find hostile government taking over Mexico say as the government of Cuba or Venezuela or other countries throughout the world, that would constitute an incredibly serious problem.

DEAN BECKER: A real threat, yes, sir.

Folks we’re speaking with Joseph D. McNamara, author of “Love and Death in Silicon Valley.” It’s a cop noirer book. I urge you to pick up a copy. It’s a good read. It’s informative. It does show the involvement, the collusion, the corruption that sometimes occurs between law enforcement and these bad actors – the gangs and the Mexican cartels.

Joe, I wanted to bring up the thought. We were talking about politicians that voted for this who, through their ignorance, allowed this tragedy to unfold. I would say that many, if not all, politicians come up through the ranks and they make their bones, so to speak, by being tough on crime, by being tough on drugs. It’s hard for them to back down, isn’t it, Joe?

JOSEPH McNAMARA: Yes it is and I think the only chance we have of that is something you mentioned earlier that the people, the voters, have to make their voice heard.

Here in California I was happy to work for propositions on the state ballot that would legalize the sale, tax and regulation of marijuana which I think is the first step towards some common sense approaches to changing the laws that have been around for a hundred years.

DEAN BECKER: I guess the point I was trying to get to is we are beginning to see some governors, some state and federal representatives begin to crack this door open, to begin to talk about that need to, at least, reexamine what we’re doing, right?

JOSEPH McNAMARA: Yes we are and I think the reason for that, for example, is in the last election here in California we managed to get over 4 million votes to legalize marijuana and …

DEAN BECKER: You’re fading on me, Joe.

JOSEPH McNAMARA: No one thought that was possible. We came very close to victory and it’s quite possible in the November election that we will end up legalizing marijuana. I think that might be an excellent experiment for the nation and, indeed, the world to see that by regulation and control we do a better job controlling and handling our drug. We have some evidence that this will work.

Of course in the Netherlands which does make marijuana and hashish available through government run coffee shops and guarantees the product and safety of marijuana and yet they have a lower per capita teenage use of marijuana than we do in the United States where we provide the death penalty and life in prison for selling, trafficking in marijuana.

We have here in the United States the University of Michigan runs studies year after year monitoring the future which shows that it’s easier for high school students to buy marijuana than it is to buy a six-pack of beer. What is the moral of that?

Well, it shows that by making the sale of alcohol legal, taxing it, regulating it, issuing license to dealers and enforcing the law we can prevent a lot of young people from using the substance but if we continue to make it illegal we make it easily available to them and they can go to professional criminals who will also be happy to provide them more dangerous drugs than marijuana.

Look at the rationality of it – it just doesn’t make sense and I had some fun in my book having the characters confront the situation in a very real story of how lives can be lost and communities irreparably damaged.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed and it should be obvious to everybody across America by now how true that is.

Joe, we only got about 10 seconds left. Is there a website you’d like to point folks towards?

JOSEPH McNAMARA: Yeah. You can go to my website, http://www.hoover.org/fellows/10420 both at the Hoover Institution and my private website just by punching it up on the internet. You can also get the book from xlibrus.com and from http://amazon.com. You can have access to all my other detective novels (which I’ve sold over a million copies in seven different countries as best sellers) and have a lot of fun reading and find out the problems of local law enforcement trying to work with federal law enforcement and international law enforcement and wonder why did we get into this in the first place.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed. Once again, Joseph D. McNamara, “Love and Death in Silicon Valley.” Thanks Joe!



CHERYL SHUMAN: Hi, it’s Cheryl Shuman.

DEAN BECKER: Cheryl, you’ve got a couple of new projects in the works. Do you not? Why don’t you tell us about them, please.

CHERYL SHUMAN: There’s actually four or five different things. We’ll start with one of the most exciting things. I just signed a contract to work with RSMK which has a new product called the CANNAcig. It’s an electronic delivery system for medication that specifically uses cannabis oil, the Rick Simpson oil and especially with Tommy Chong making the announcement recently that he has prostrate cancer.

This is a new medical device that’s on the market that specifically used for the cannabis oil that treats cancer patients and a number of other ailments so that’s one of the things I’m very excited about. It’s publicly traded under the RSMK stock symbol. We just launched that product at the High Times Cannabis Cup in San Francisco.

I’ve also just wrapped up on the second season of Wilfred which Robin Williams is guest starring in that episode. I work as the marijuana expert on that show and provide all of the various props and vaporizers and so forth. I was very proud to get CANNAcig into that which was great.

I worked with Scott Bates and those companies because my expertise is really product placement and celebrity and branded integration of products.

I’m also working on a new cannabis news platform called “Smell the Truth” with Hearst Mitchell Media out of San Francisco Gate. And I’ve also signed with William, Marks and Dever as representation with Mark Ipkims to represent me and negotiating projects with 4 new reality series - all revolving around the cannabis industry.

I am working on a book and a feature film that will be optioned to tell my story to the masses.

And my contract was up with Kush magazine on February the 15th and kind of like being an NFL player I was free agent and one of the things I was talking to my business partners is that it seems like the minute my contract was up with Kush on February 15th I started getting all of these other offers for TV shows, for other news platforms, for other celebrity related projects.

DEAN BECKER: Cheryl, is there a website where you could point folks and they could learn more about all these endeavors you’re working on?

CHERYL SHUMAN: Absolutely. They can go to http://vinhaler.com. They can also go to http://blogs.sfgate.com/smellthetruth


[sound effects]

For more than 100 years the United States has been the lead proponent of eternal war. The justification for this ever-lasting prohibition has been steeped in puritanical posturing, hysteria and blatant lies.

The drug war is destined to last forever and so America’s politicians desperately cling to the lies, fabrications and their constituents literally be damned.

Every day in ever court room in every city in America the implementation of justice is shown to have no nexus with reality and is, in effect, the modern day equivalent of the Salem witch trials.


(to the tune of: 500 Miles Away from Home)

A hundred years, A hundred years
A hundred years, A hundred years
You can hear the drug war blow, A hundred years.


MARY JANE BORDEN: Hello drug policy aficionados! I'm Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts.

The question for this week asks, What is DUID?

DUID stands for "driving while under the influence of drugs." Some reports have called this "OUI" or "operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs (OUI drugs), also called drugged driving." Other common terms still include DWI (driving while under the influence) or OMVI (operating a motor vehicle while under the influence).

According to a Western New England Law Review article, "Nationwide, three different standards have been drafted in legislation defining what constitutes OUI drugs: two "effect-based" laws and one "per se" law. The first effect-based law requires that an OUI drug motorist be rendered incapable of driving due to drug use. The second effect-based law requires a demonstration that an OUI drug motorist's ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired or that the motorist is under the influence or affected by an intoxicating drug while driving. Some per se laws set a limit on the amount of drug or drug metabolite in the driver's system at the time of the arrest. However, there was a lack of consensus as to the particular levels. As a result, states with per se laws now employ a "zero tolerance" per se law. This zero tolerance per se law prohibits motorists from operating a motor vehicle if there is any detectable level of illicit drug or drug metabolite in their body, regardless of whether the motorist operated the motor vehicle in an impaired manner."

A 2009 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded, "State-by-State analysis indicates there is a lack of uniformity or consistency in the way the States approach drugged drivers."

These Facts and others like them can be found under DUI in the Drug Testing Chapter of Drug War Facts at www.drugwarfacts.org.

If you have a question for which you need facts, please e-mail it to me at mjborden@drugwarfacts.org. I'll try to answer your question in an upcoming show.

So remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy, you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.


DEAN BECKER: Alright. Thank you, Mary Jane. Once again I want to thank Dr. Joseph D. McNamara, a fellow at the Hoover Institute, author of “Love and Death in the Silicon Valley.” Check it out. It’s a good read.

You know, the fact of the matter is the truth is coming forward and you see it. You know it. You acknowledge it. I urge you to please do something about it, to educate yourself a little more, to stand forth boldly and proclaim the end of the need for drug war.

Please visit our website, http://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: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org