Paul Stanford, internationally recognized drug reformer hosts Cannabis Common Sense a TV show in Portland. Last week he invited Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network host to be a guest. This audio is less than half the one hour TV program.
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Sat, 03/13/2021 - 14:24
Hi folks. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high. This is cultural baggage on Pacifica radio and the drug truth network. Last week, I was invited by Paul Stanford to be a guest on his, a television program up in Portland, Oregon. He's allowed me to take a portion of it and share it with you. Now,
I would like to introduce Dean Becker from Houston, Texas Dean is a long time activist and Dean, welcome to cannabis. Common sense.
Oh, Paul, thank you for this opportunity. It's always great to, uh, I dunno, dissect the drug war and kick it in the teeth.
That's true. You have been doing broadcast on public radio out of Houston. I know it even plays here in Portland on K P O O. You have several shows. I don't want to miss anything or mess it up. Do you want to talk about your, your broadcast on public radio?
Sure. Uh, we're based at KPF T here in Houston, one of the five Pacifica sisters, and I've been this October will make 20 years that I've been doing these broadcasts. Uh, we just went over 8,300 of my radio programs because we produce a program every day of the week called the four 20 drug war news, which is distributed. And then, uh, each week I do a half hour called cultural baggage. And for years I did another show called century of lives. But for the past, about five years, my good buddy, our good buddy, Doug McVey has been producing century of lies for us as well. Now we have interviewed well over 3000 individuals at this time I've traveled to the world. Basically I've gone to South America and Europe, uh, um, went to Canada, tried to, uh, learn from all the people, making progress, uh, the, uh, safe injection sites in Canada, the, uh, decriminalization that's going on in Portugal and the heroin injection, uh, program that's working quite well in Switzerland as well. And I got to talk to the leaders of each of these organizations and learn from them. And I, I feel, uh, I don't know, four to five to know I've learned from these thousands of people, the truth about this drug war.
Yeah. And you've recently produced a compilation of a number of these people. I think it's 19, uh, the moral high, how to win the moral high ground in the war on drugs. Did I get that right?
Well, that's close. Yeah. And claiming the moral high ground and that it does feature 19 individuals, including the drugs are a Portugal. Who's. Uh, I now consider him to be a friend we've met, uh, uh, in Portugal several times. Uh, went to dinner a couple of times, interviewed him in those offices. And then we've done a couple of videos, uh, Dr. Joel, Google out. Uh, he is the, the designer and the, uh, uh, the current drugs are a Portugal. And while I was there and I should back up just a little bit, the reason I went to Lisbon Portugal was at the invitation of the European monitoring center on drugs and drug abuse. I was invited there by their top scientist to give a presentation to, uh, the administration and the top scientists of the European monitoring center. Um, while I was giving the presentation, the police chief and the police commissioner showed up during the presentation.
And it was amazing, the Hm, the response, the embrace I got for the words I shared, the fact that the drug war makes no sense. It never has. It never will. Uh, the police chief and the police commissioner, and I stayed after my presentation and laughed and joked for about another hour, about how stupid and insane this drug war is. Um, I was privileged to then go to Switzerland where I met with, uh, uh, Dr. Kristoff Burkey, who was the designer of their heroin injection program. While there, I got to tour the heroin injection facilities, got to learn, uh, during there now more than 20 years, they have, uh, made it possible for a heroin users to inject pure heroin more than 20 million times with zero overdose deaths. Once again, proving the fallacy that the frailty, the futility of our drug policy, which ensures ever increasing numbers of overdose deaths and disease. Um, we have done it so wrong for so long. It's become a quasi religion, a belief system that so many people think is necessary and that it needs to last for eternity in order to protect our children. When the truth be told this drug war ensures that the drugs are evermore deadly, and, uh, the number of overdoses will continue to increase.
Yeah, it's clear. It was, it was misguided at best. And, uh, I've often said that the real reason behind drug prohibition is money and power and the centralization of those two. And that, uh, that seems to be the case to me. So you paint this from a different angle to the teller before you started producing media and became an activist. Tell us about your background D cause I know it's pretty, pretty unusual for many of us.
Well, I don't know, I'm, I'm, I'm a baby boomer, you know, I've, I've been everything from, uh, you know, brick layer to a roofer, to, uh, uh, machine inspector to, um, you know, uh, lave, uh, running a late, but, but I guess what maybe you're pointing to is I was a cop. Is that what you're speaking of?
You're a cop.
I was a cop, uh, I, I had the good fortune, uh, during one of my, um, junkets, if you will. I, I have been to, well over 120, uh, conferences and seminars and, you know, gatherings of drug reformers and, and, um, not so, uh, uh, drug prohibitionists, uh, over these decades. And, uh, when I was in, uh, let's see, it was New Jersey, but 2002, I was doing an interview with a gentleman named, uh, um, Jack Cole, who was the founder of law enforcement against prohibition. And in the middle of his interview, I learned that I was eligible to become a member of leap. And so I joined leap right in the middle of that interview. And th the, the, the fact is you have to have worn the badge sworn to uphold the constitution of these United States. And I'm still trying to uphold the constitution because I know this drug war, these laws are unconstitutional, irrational, and they empower terrorists.
If they're brave enough to grow flowers on some distant mountain side, they enrich these Barbara's cartels South of our border that killed tens of thousands, butcher tens of thousands of people every year. Um, and it gives reason for these violent gangs that prowl our neighborhoods with high powered weapons, selling these evermore contaminated and deadly drugs to our children had a 17000% markup. There is nothing rational, logical about this drug war. And, and I spend my time chasing down, you know, the, the, the powers that be the, uh, the attorneys general, the, uh, other drugs are the head of the DEA. Those who proclaim the knowledge, certainly, uh, who claimed the intellect, who, who claimed the ability to declare this drug war necessary for eternity. And they run from me, they run from every member of leap. There is no one who can defend this policy, and we just need the opportunity to prove that in an open public venue, in a courtroom, uh, in a major newspaper or through a debate of some kind,
Yeah, we've obviously been winning those debates. And finally, we've got a strong percentage of public opinion behind marijuana legalization. So, but back to your years, when you were a cop where you, uh, in the Houston police department or
Paul, I, I was a security policeman us air force. Uh, mostly I was guarding, uh, nuclear weapons was my main job back then. Um, but you know, gate duty and whatever I, the one thing I did learn is that drunks are the worst people to deal with people on drugs. They usually, uh, go along to get along, but drunks, they object and make your life miserable as best they can. And I guess what I'm, uh, I don't know. I, I, I don't feel I'm a complete hypocrite in saying this, but I, I feel that alcoholism is a much more deadly drug, uh, in its pure form than our heroin or cocaine in their pure form. Uh, we very seldom ever see that, in fact, the DEA says the best they ever find being smuggled into these United States is about 92 pure. Um, I often wonder what that other 8% is cause you know, that stuff's made in jungle labs and using using kerosene and gasoline and people stomp on it with their feet and squishy, squishy in the leaves to get the juice out of it.
Um, who knows what bug feces fell in that product while it was out there in the jungle, you know, uh, 8% of it is not pure. And, um, I don't know, probably not very good for you, but it's just another example of the current circumstance is used to justify doing more of the same thing. They, the overdose deaths are used to prosecute people. Uh, they're now talking about, you know, people who, uh, buy a bag and then sell half of it to their friend can be prosecuted for murder. If that bag turns out to be a fentinol and their, and their friend dies, it's a, well, there's just no justification for this drug war. There's just not. And, and we, by that, I mean, activists are beginning to develop the courage, the backbone, the stamina, to speak more boldly, to challenge the logic of these people in those public venues, in the, the, um, the sessions at the, at the house of, um, meetings and so forth, where, um, there is that opportunity, you know, and I, and don't get me wrong.
I, I smoked pot nearly every day. I love edibles. I, uh, I think marijuana is, should be forced on always, but it's not the only thing. And more and more marijuana activists need to get a little more bold leaked, need to educate themselves a little more need to, uh, use the fact that prohibition has never done anything it's, uh, uh, was, you know, set out to do. And we need to, I don't know, just challenge the logic of the drug war in general. Uh, just North of you guys. There's something going on. It really has me interested. The Washington Supreme court is now saying they no longer, uh, want people to be arrested for drug possession. Now how that's going to be nuanced and, and handled. They even told the legislature don't build another law. It's not necessary. So
Seattle department just came out and said they stopped off drug arrests. They won't be arresting people for drugs anymore in the city. Seattle. Usually it takes a little longer to get out to the, the more rural, uh, law enforcement sees.
Oh, I'm sure it does. That's the same, certainly the same in Texas. And I think it, it kind of shows the unraveling of the logic, what we've been talking about, that who, who can justify what we've been doing. They can say it's, you know, it's the law, but the laws, as they say sometimes is an and, and it has proven itself to be a complete. I think over these decades, has it not?
What led you to start your media, uh, there with, uh, public radio? What, when did you, okay.
Okay. Um, well the year, let me think what it was 1998, I guess. Um, I ran into, um, a website, um, drug policy.org, I think, uh, is that, um, um, cliff Schaefer's site revising this. It is a drug Library.org.
Well, okay. But he has a website, it's a big storage site of all the archives he has. Um, and, and I ran into it. I was working at Chevron. I was working like a second shift where nobody's around. I started printing out all those documents late at night. I started reading them and, uh, you know, it had the early histories, it had the congressional hearings, the early newspaper accounts, all of this stuff that led us to this quote belief system. And I finally determined, well, it's a bunch of bull. There is no legitimacy to this. And I ran into a website, the New York times drug policy forum. It was an online forum where you would post something, someone else could respond to it. You could have kind of an ongoing dialogue, might take a day or a week. And while there, I, uh, I was the first person to use my name.
Uh, there were other people that were, you know, Jimmy, Joe, and whatever that, uh, uh, you know, posted there. But I put my name down Dean Becker, and, uh, started speaking the truth that I had learned there from cliff Schaefer's website. And I was invited by the New York times to become the liaison for their online forum. And while there, I, uh, I use that, uh, those credentials, if you will, I contacted Milton Friedman, who was the, you know, um, prize winning economist, a well-known well-respected of got him to come on, uh, then governor Gary Johnson, uh, Ethan Nadelmann, a whole list of drug reformers. I invited them to come on. They would respond to questions and, and, you know, from, uh, other, uh, participants. And, um, I built a, uh, uh, a massive booklet of those, uh, interactions. Uh, and I took it to Pacifica. When I think it was, uh, early 2001, they were having, uh, a regime change, I guess, if you want to call it that, where they were changing out the hierarchy and reinstituting new programs.
And I brought in that stuff, I said, Hey, I'd like to start a radio program about this it's time. Well, they, uh, I, gentlemen, you may have heard of Ray Hill, a big gay rights guy down here in Houston who heard me talking to the administration, said, Hey, I'll put you on here. He had a show. Uh, it was on every Friday night, still on Friday nights. So it's called the prison show where for the first half hour, they, uh, they do news. And, uh, I don't know, just discussions with people in studio. And then the last half hour, they open the phones for people to call in and speak to their, their relatives and friends that are in prison, they hundred. And I think at that time, 120, uh, prisons in the state of Texas. And, uh, Ray said, I'll give you a spot right in the middle of my show.
So I started doing a little three or four minutes segment in the middle of the prison show. It went well. They gave me a an hour show at two o'clock in the morning, uh, because I was so radical, you know, that I used to open the show with this phrase, broadcasting from the Gulag filling station of planet earth. This is cultural baggage because back then Houston was indeed the world's largest jailer. We, we had people being arrested by the hundreds every day on drug charges. Uh, every morning they would have buses pull up to the jail and ship them off to other jails and, uh, other Texas cities, even into Louisiana. Um, but, uh, they were sleeping under the bunks in the hallways. Uh, eventually it changed, uh, uh,
Yeah, I just want to throw in, you know, I think it's, uh, George Floyd moved to Minneapolis to get away from the law enforcement of Houston. Isn't that correct?
It is correct. And it was, um, uh, well, it served him for 20 years, I guess. Uh, it look, Paul is like this back then. Uh, Chuck Rosenthal was the district attorney and about 2000, 2003, I got a chance to interview him. Uh, he didn't know who I was. He had no clue. I showed up at his office downtown started interviewing him. Uh, he was obviously toothless, hopeless, had no idea how to answer my questions. Um, Mr. District attorney, do you think we made any difference in the drug war in the last five years? Well, whom, uh, I don't know. Do you think will make any difference in the next five or no, he quit, uh, about six months later due to his own drug, uh, addiction problem. Now this, this leads to now, it was a long time year. It was 20 December, 2014.
I'm interviewing then, uh, police chief, uh, Charles McClelland. And I, I have this way of doing interviews where if a is true, then B certainly has to be true. And if B is true and C and I got to about, if L is true, then M it has got to be true. And he says, you know, this is just a conjecture, but he said, you know, you're absolutely right, Dean, the drug war is a miserable failure that night, the six o'clock news in and around Houston carried that segment. The only time they've ever done it from my radio show, the newspaper carried it six different times. Op-eds editorials, et cetera, talking about what the police chief had said to the police. Chief was named head of the nations, uh, police chiefs. He was quoted internationally on that one, quote, that drug war is a miserable failure.
And every district attorney, every police chief, every sheriff since has come on my show and has embraced that very idea. And it was now two years ago, three years ago, then now current district attorney when she took office. So I'm not no longer going to arrest anybody for a marijuana under four ounces. She says, I'm not going to arrest anybody for these minor. The minuscule portions of cocaine or heroin had left in a bag. We're going to do away with that. And she's saved the city tens of millions of dollars in doing so. Um, she's been respected other DA's around Houston. Um, excuse me, around Texas are doing the same thing now. And, um, you know, it's, uh, it feels good to know that as of now, last time I've talked to a Kellogg or da, she said there's been 14,000 of these people that did not get arrested for those, uh, four ounces or less that were found in her car. And I only wish that the, the 14,000 of them would join forces with me and help move this even further down the road because they ought to be thankful. Uh, I know I would have been if I had avoided my 13 arrests that I got busted for when I was a kid,
Let's go back to your show, claiming the moral high ground in the war on drugs. We talked about some of the people that were interviewed, and I know we wanted to focus on a couple and show a couple of excerpts from that. And the person that came to my mind was Kevin Zeese.
Kevin actually is the first one in the video. Um, he it's odd. I talked to him about me being older and near to death than him and yet, uh, it was him that not that long after our interview, that he did die. Paul Stanford inserted this discussion with Kevin [inaudible] into our video.
Well, you went from town to town in Texas from prison town, prison town, towns that were based on prison populations for their income. And we had the jail sale behind the trailer. We also had medical marijuana users in the trailer in, in the, in the van people using marijuana medically in 2000 in Texas, pretty amazing. So we had many conflicts with the police during the, during that tour. And I'd get out and talk to the police, of course, keeping them out of our RV because we didn't really want them coming into the marijuana smoke. Uh, and, uh, no one was arrested. And in fact, we've discovered along the route, there was one moment where we had, I was taking a break and our crew went out to tour a town and they got pulled over and someone was, I got a call that someone was in a police car. So I went out to the event, talk to the police, said, look, we're just doing first amendment stuff. This is our right to protest or right to organize, you know, to raise these issues. And then over the microphone of the cop was, um, uh, someone says is that those people with marijuana leaves on their car, if it is leave alone, let them go. And we realized, we realized in the midst of the presidential race that George W. Bush did not want a focus.
I I'm going to back up to the beginning when I first got into being an activist, not just online activists when I started being on the, in the marches on the, you know, in the streets, so to speak was because of Kevin. Um, uh, again, I guess the years, maybe 2000, there was a situation in Tulia, Texas, where a, uh, a rogue cop, uh, Tom Coleman was his name. He busted about 40 black individuals for cocaine. Uh, he set each one of them up. He, he planted the drugs. He made the whole thing up basically is what it turned out and Kevin and a group of, uh, Momo, I think mostly Floridians, Jodi James, others, uh, Michael crowds, a lot of other folks showed up in Texas and they had a couple of vehicles. One was an RV with a, on the side, a big banner of people smoking weed.
And, um, uh, they pulled behind that a quasi jail cell, kind of a cage looking thing that people would be in and, uh, Stripe suits and, you know, protesting. And they made a tour of, I think it was eight different of, uh, Texas prisons, um, protesting outside the prisons with bull horns on top of their RVs. And when they went to Austin to do the parade, uh, I, I met up with him again there that I saw them first in Houston, marched with them here. But in Austin, I drove that, you know, three hour drive. I, uh, I committed to becoming an activist and that they, uh, it wasn't that big 150 200 people in the March, but I felt it, I knew it. I had to do it. And from that day forward, I have been an activist. I, uh, I thank Kevin. I thank him in that video. I thank him for being so brave because that's what it took back then. It Texas, my God,
Kevin Z S a also got me kind of involved in activism. I first went to a, uh, marijuana event of the Washington smoke in, in Washington, DC in 1978. But then, uh, that linked me up with the Yippies. I became the Washington state normal coordinator in, uh, like 1981. And then I wrote a letter to normal. And Kevin was the executive director of normal at the time in Washington DC. And he pointed me the Washington state director of normal as a student at evergreen state college and normal sent me a big 16 millimeter reel of reefer madness. And I went to campus to campus showing that, talking about how we should do an initiative petition to legalize marijuana. And then it did eventually. That's what happened there in Washington and in Oregon.
No, this is we, we mentioned earlier, uh, Washington state's Supreme court, but what, uh, we didn't delve into much, and I'm not sure if it's going to be necessary or how it's gonna interact with this, but I've been speaking with Roger Goodman. He's a representative up there in the house of the state of Washington heads up their, uh, public safety committee or criminal justice committee, basically who they are. And they've been talking about, uh, decriminalizing all drugs to put forward a new law to do so. And, uh, the Supreme court may have beat them to the ticket, but the, the point, I guess, I'm trying to get to is that, you know, Roger's been on my show a couple of times in this past month, we even last week, was it, uh, in the last two weeks anyway, had one of his sessions within the house there in the state of Washington, uh, about this effort to decrim all drugs.
And it's, uh, you know, we don't have that, that option here in Texas. We, we have the most ignorant and bass ackwards set of politicians. Not all of them. There are, there are at least a half dozen, maybe a dozen that are putting forward bills, this session to legalize marijuana, to diminish the punk penalties, to nuance things that you know, in, in the right direction. And, uh, chances are pretty slim. Uh, earlier today I called, uh, the, uh, uh, uh, state house and tried to see if it's there now, allowing people in. Cause the governor just took away the, uh, open up all buildings and take away the mask, which is the craziest fricking thing you ever heard. But if they're doing that, then I can get in the Capitol. Uh, last time I was there, I'd knocked on 72 doors, you know, and one day, and I gave him, I was wearing my shirt, legalized heroin to save lives. Um, you know, it was a marijuana day, but that's, that's me. I there's enough people working on marijuana. I'm sorry. But, uh, I, I want to legalize heroin. I don't like heroin. I tried it a couple of times. I don't want anybody else to do it, but if it's going to be around, let's make it be heroin instead of fentinol or some mixture of who knows God only knows. And, uh, and
For that these days, it's really tragic. I know we all have been touched by this fentanyl, uh, opiate, uh, crisis where you know, this, this deadly drug is laced into Xanax or heroin or anything else.
Now it's, it's in cocaine. It's my summation of the drug war prohibition. All right. Prohibition is racist. It's stupid. And it at its heart, it's just evil. It's just a pretense. It's a hope for a better day. That's just never going to come.
So we're about running out of time here. Let's what would you like to say in closing Dean?
Well, okay. Um, given the opportunity to speak to everybody in America, I guess here's what I'd say. You own the moral high ground, you know, the truth of this matter, you have the, uh, the facts and the ammunition, so to speak, to contact your legislators, to, uh, any cop on the beat, to any, and everyone in a position of authority to let them know that, you know, the truth that the drug war has not worked is never going to work is a failure, is a fiasco and it needs to be ended forthwith. And, um, you know, the, the information is there, you know, go to my, my website, drug truth.net, as I said, more than 8,300 shows that are available, um, over the years, um, go to Becker's buds on YouTube. You can access many of my videos there as well. And, um, just in general, you know, stand tall, speak from the heart, speak with the knowledge that you gained and realize that there is nobody going to, uh, quash or counter your position, because there is no legitimacy to this drug war. None never has been, never will be. And, uh, we own the moral high ground that's out there at Becker's bugs as well.
All right, well, thank you, Dean. It's great to have you on the show. After all these years, we're going to have to have your back more often. I urge people to go check out that video that we've had clips of claiming the moral high ground and check out Dean Becker's website. Thank you, Dean. And thank you viewers, and help us restore him.
You can access my video on Paul's program and all of his programs by going on Facebook slash restore him. And again, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.