06/03/12 James P. Gray

Cultural Baggage Radio Show

Judge James P. Gray, Libertarian candidate for Vice President + Ethan Nadelmann, Dir of DPA speaks at Oslo, Norway forum

Audio file


Cultural Baggage / June 3, 2012


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!”

DEAN BECKER: 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.


DEAN BECKER: Hello, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I’m glad you could be with us today. We’ve got a great show lined up for you. We’re going to be talking with Judge James P. Gray, long time interviewee here on the Drug Truth Network. We began our discussion about 12 years ago on the pages of the New York Times. He’s author of a book which compelled me to do what I’m doing now. The book, “Why our drug laws have failed and what we can do about it.” Additionally he has now gained the Vice Presidential nomination for President in these United States. He, along with Governor Gary Johnson nominated for President, and it’s getting very busy isn’t it Judge James Gray?

JAMES GRAY: Yes, Dean and, by the way, good afternoon and it’s nice to be with you always.

This is the most exciting thing I think that’s happened to me since the birth of my children. Our country simply needs a different direction and Governor Gary Johnson is the most qualified to be President of the United States that I know of. I don’t mean to insult you Dean but I’ll stand on it anyway.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckles] what did I say?

JAMES GRAY: No, no, I’m just saying that Governor Johnson is even more qualified than Dean Becker which is saying a whole bunch.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckles] Oh..thanks…OK, you’re right, sir. I’ll agree with that. He’s had the time and grade. He’s had the experience. He’s done some great things for the state of New Mexico while he was governor.

One that came to mind while I was sitting here before the show is he came forward with that “Good Samaritan” bill. He signed that into law in Utah which is saving lives and now other states across the nation are starting to follow suit.

JAMES GRAY: Well, yeah, it’s New Mexico but the answer is yes. Governor Johnson is a Libertarian just like me. He is fiscally conservative and socially tolerant. He actually left the state of New Mexico after his 8 years in office with a surplus of a billion dollars. And, according to the ACLU, he has actually qualified more for what they call Liberty Torches than any of the other candidates.

Romney out of 25 scored 0. Obama out of 25 scored 16. Governor Johnson out of 25 scored 23. So he is just the right person at the right time with the right message with the right action for the right job. I’m proud to be his running mate.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir. Let’s talk about it. I was looking at ya’ll’s web page today – a list of things that need to be dealt with. Let’s just start at the top: Immigration. America is a land of immigrants. Legal immigration should focus on making it easier and simpler for willing workers to come here with a temporary job. Fill that in for me, please.

JAMES GRAY: Well and that’s right. You know people do come here to work. Yes, eventually they will bring their families and some of them end up on welfare and the rest but they come here to work. And, Dean, we should make it easier for them to get work visas that way they could be legitimate, pay their taxes, get a social security card, get a driver’s license, come back and forth across the border without all the danger and all the coyotes and the rest.

And it’s not a path to citizenship but as long as they passed our inquiry that they have good moral turpitude and no criminal convictions, etc. they could come here and work. That’s the way to do this and then you punish employers that hire people without having that work visa. A one strike and you’re out. Of course, I don’t like those types of laws very often but here after this provision goes into effect if people disobey our immigration laws they never again get a chance to come back to live in the United States of America.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Governor…sheesh….Judge…I guess I’m so excited to have you on the air. You guys have this task before you I just keep getting all mixed up here.

JAMES GRAY: [chuckles]

DEAN BECKER: The thing about it is, Judge, we have here in this country so many aspects, so many spokes on the wheels, so to speak, that meat around the subject of drug war it does impact immigration, foreign policy, civil liberties certainly, the economy – you betcha – I guess what I’m wanting to say, sir, is the acumen that you gave me through your book, the drug laws have failed, it is available to any and every politician out there. What concerns me, sir, is so many politicians play dumb in regards to drug policy and yet we see more and more newspapers, TV, other media beginning to bring focus to bear. When do you think these other politicians might begin to address this issue.

JAMES GRAY: Well, Dean, as you regretfully are also aware of politicians are really good at followership and they will follow when the votes are there. That’s, again, why I am certainly so enamored with Governor Gary Johnson because while he was a sitting governor of New Mexico all of the sudden those of us in drug policy reform (and we pretty much know each other and kind of figure out what’s going on) all of the sudden we read our newspapers about 1999 and saw, “My goodness, the sitting governor of New Mexico has said that he’s conducted his own audit. He’s looked around and sees that the War on Drugs is not working.”

And not only recognizes it, like you say – which many politicians do, but he actually spoke about it and then he did something about it. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do and that’s the type of person he is. He has no ego. I’ve gotten to know him quite well since then. He is just a good person who will do the right thing for the right reason just like he did with regard to drug policy.

And, you know, I’ve been doing this now for more than 20 years - talking about this publicly. Like you’re saying pretty much everything that’s going wrong in our country and in the world today our drug policy of prohibition has its tentacles in those things that are going wrong.

Juvenile gangs with most of their funding comes from the sale of illegal drugs. Immigration, you have a lot of people that are preyed upon to actually strap some cocaine around their legs as they come into the country. And, of course, more than 50,000 people in Mexico have been killed ever since President Calderon started his own war on drugs. Of course that having nothing to do with drugs whatsoever – at all. It has everything to do with drug money and it’s our drug money that has killed those folks in Mexico.

Corrupted, basically many of their governments, etc. It just goes on and on. It is time to look at this, to manage it instead of moralize about it and change it. We couldn’t do it worse if we tried so any change would be better than what we are doing today.

DEAN BECKER: You betcha. Again, we’re speaking with Judge James P. Gray. He’s the Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate this coming election.

Judge, coming down the list: Foreign Policy. You served in the U.S. Navy. You, more than most, are aware of what’s involved in maintaining our strength, if you will, in this nation. I would submit that we have squandered hundreds of billions - I don’t know if we’re at how trillions – on these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and even more than that. I hear that more than a dozen of our soldiers are committing suicide these days. It makes me wonder what in the heck were they up to over there. Your response on foreign policy, Judge.

JAMES GRAY: Well, Dean, it’s horrendous. We have a policy of non-intervention, Governor Gary Johnson and me. We shouldn’t have troops in Somalia. Yes, some bad things are happening and happening in Libya and we should do what can to ensure human rights everywhere around the world.

But to put our troops there simply doesn’t work. I believe that Iraq was the biggest mistake of my lifetime. Yes, they have a fragile democracy of some form there but so many thousands, tens of thousands of people have lost their lives because of that. They have put in a government that may or may not last. Now we’re talking about bombing or going to war with Iran for heaven’s sake.

The answer is no and our position is that we would not bomb Iran under any circumstances unless, of course, they were a threat to us – unless they were attacking us. Let’s just stop this interventionists stuff and focus on what works.

We can look at China for just a minute. China is trading very well with people all around the world. And, by the way, there is an old maxim, “You don’t shoot your trading partner.” They don’t have military bases in the rest of the world. We do and are spending huge amounts of money and making people mad at us. In the meantime China is beating us at our own game by trading with the world. China is doing it much better than we are.

These are things that we simply need to reassess, to go back to what makes America great which is our ability to work, our work ethic, our liberties, our freedoms and equal opportunity for all. That’s what Governor Gary Johnson will bring to us.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, Judge Gray, coming down the list. Due to our limited amount of time I’m going to combine a couple of these. I’m going to talk about Internet Technology and Civil Liberties because the intrusion in both of those areas. Was there originally, I don’t know….the pump was primed via the drug war in that need to circumvent our constitutional rights through the drug war.

Anyway, sir, Internet Technology and Civil Liberties, your response, please.

JAMES GRAY: We need to maintain and safeguard our civil liberties, Dean. What makes us great, our soul is our civil liberties and our freedoms. Our soul today is under attack by our very own government.

The internet is a revolution. It is something, of course, the government savors and wants to control and tax and the rest. The answer is No. We need to get away from that sort of thing. It encourages entrepreneurship. It encourages creativity and the rest.

As I say our liberties are at risk. The so-called Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act – these things are attacks on our civil liberties. Who would have ever thought that we would allow, much less condone any form of person in our custody being there in eternity without even bringing any charges and affording them a trial?!

That is not what we stand for. And now, of course, we have our NSA (the National Security Association) putting in huge computers to tap into telephone calls and internet transactions, email, etc., keeping huge records of all this to interfere into our freedom once more.

This is not what the United States of America must do. We must get back our freedoms and our liberties. That’s critically important to Governor Gary Johnson and me.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Judge Gray, after 9/11 the media picked up the mantle of fear, in my opinion, and carried it forward, shown a great light on it, expanded it as best they could and kept it alive and thriving, so to speak. It seemed, almost, as if America was frightened into submission by this avalanche of fear.

JAMES GRAY: Honestly, Dean, I think that’s right. The Patriot Act, so-called, was already written before 9/11. They just used this as an opportunity through fear to interfere with our civil liberties and intrude upon our rights.

DEAN BECKER: OK, going down the list from the website of Governor Gary Johnson and Judge James P. Gray, the Libertarian candidates for President and Vice President. Next up here is Education and School Choice. Your thoughts on that, sir.

JAMES GRAY: It’s clear to me that our schools well around the nation have been failing our children. If you think about it the clothes that we are wearing right now they were purchased by us. They were purchased from the ground up. We look at what is available. We decide how much we want to spend, what color, what size, all of that sort of thing. Basically, Dean, we get the clothes that we want for the price that we’re willing to pay.

In schools it’s completely different. It’s funded from the top down. The federal government gives money to the states, of course after keeping some for themselves. Then the states keep some for themselves and give it to the school districts who then give it to the administration and eventually it trickles down to the teacher.

What we need to do can be answered by one simple question and that is “Who’s in a better position to decide how and where the children should be educated? Their parents or the government?”

I think the answer to that question is really straightforward. Allow the parents to decide where their school monies are going to spent. Then they will demand excellence. They will take their child to a school that performs, that meets their needs. If the school they’re going to now doesn’t - they’ll move to one that does.

What will happen? Well, the school that’s losing all these students will either get better or will go out of business or sell it to somebody who will come in and do a better job. You bring in that school choice issue – I don’t care what you call it, a voucher, a scholarship, doesn’t matter – you will allow the parents to see how that money will be spent and allow their children to be educated. We will bring back excellence to our school system within four years. That is a promise.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, Judge, I’m going to skip drug policy for now. We’re going to close out the show with that. I want to jump to Spending and the Deficit though I got state first up that the drug war has cost us a lot of money hasn’t it?

JAMES GRAY: Oh, yes. Well, Dean, that can be addressed critically by saying the fact that the federal government for each dollar that it now spends is borrowing 43 cents. I mean imagine that. No household could do that. No company could do that.

The federal government borrows 43 cents of every dollar it spends. It either borrows it or prints paper for it. We’ve got to change that and Governor Gary Johnson will, in effect, submit a balanced budget to congress in 2013. We will reduce our government spending by 43%.

Now, in addition to that, of course, we have to regain prosperity, gain jobs and business climate and right now the government is standing in the way of that. First of all through its tax system and, secondly, through all these regulations that now they have poured on these banks. Banks don’t even want money anymore.

Even though you or others come in with a good business plan and a good track record from a financial standpoint the banks cannot loan money to them because of all of the federal regulations.

One bank manager was talking to me about three weeks ago saying, “Judge Gray, 30% of my employees do nothing but attempt to comply with government regulations. They’re strangling us.”

It’s the government that stands in the way of prosperity. We need to bring in Governor Johnson to do this.

By the way, let me quickly say that our strategy for our government – because I’m not naïve and I know that we’re never going to have the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars that the Democrats and Republicans have. I know that. Of course there’s a hook in that. As soon as the election is over all these people that gave those big amounts of money are going to want their investments back and that won’t be true with us.

We’ve divided the remaining of the election into two phases. The first ends at the end of September. If we are polling nationwide at 15%, Dean, by that time we will be a part of the three Presidential debates in October and the one Vice Presidential debate. If that happens all the rules will change. People will see what we talk about, see what Governor Johnson has done, see what we will do for the United States. I think we have a very excellent chance of winning the election if we get into those debates.

If not I acknowledge that we’re in real trouble. So when people have pollsters call them don’t hang up, for heaven’s sake. Tell them they’re going to vote for Governor Gary Johnson. At the very least that’ll make the campaign much more interesting and fruitful and we will be a part of that. We will show folks that there is a third way and that is fiscal responsibility unlike what the Republicans and Democrats have done. And social tolerance which is also not what the Republicans and Democrats have done.

We will bring our country back to being the proud America that we know and love so well.

DEAN BECKER: Well said, my friend. We’re speaking with Judge James P. Gray, Vice Presidential candidate for the Libertarian party.

Judge, coming to drug policy. I want to preface this with a thought. Yesterday I learned that the Mexican farmers high up there in the Sierra Madres who have been growing marijuana for about a hundred years now. These are very primitive ranchitos. They don’t even have electricity. They burn pine sap for light. They don’t have running water.

I learned that the Zetas are now storming into the ranchitos killing off the male growers, if you will, and driving thousands of them north at this time. We have 40 million arrests here in these United States. We have police kicking in the door. We have no-knock warrants – you name it – mandatory minimums, on down the line and yet this struck me. The plight of these farmers living a very primitive life, getting 1% of that black market.

I guess, sir, it hits me right between the eyes that this is so ludicrous to keep doing what we are doing. Anyway, sir, Drug Policy Reform…

JAMES GRAY: It’s probably the most critical thing that we can do for the country we love, Dean. As I said earlier it has its tentacles in pretty much everything that’s going wrong both here and around the world.

Let’s face it this way. In any program that you’re going to put in there’s some winners and some losers. Who’s winning today with regards to War on Drugs? I have 6 groups and quickly go through them.

The first is the big time dealers, you know, the Mexican cartels, the Zetas, whatever. The second is the juvenile gangs in our country. All of them make pretty much their primary source of money from the sale of illegal drugs. The third are the police that fight against the first two groups and it’s kind of an amazing partnership. They both have a vested interest in the status quo. That’s not say the police have failed us. It’s the system but, nevertheless, their administrations keep getting larger and stronger.

The fourth group are the politicians that talk tough on the War on Drugs and we elect them and reelect them because they do that. That’s, of course, our fault. The fifth group are those in the private sector that make money because increased crime - people who build prisons, people who staff prisons, pretty much all around the country. The Prison Guards Unions are one of the strongest lobbying groups. People who sell burglar alarm equipment, security services – they’re doing very well, thank you very much.

The sixth group are the terrorists of the world. Afghanistan, you can go back to Manuel Noriega in Panama, Erch Honecker in Eastern Germany, Fidel Castro…it doesn’t matter…North Korea…all of these rogue regimes make huge amounts of money by selling illegal drugs.

Who is losing? Everybody else - particularly our children. Our children are put in harm’s way because of prohibition. Ask any teenager you find, the first ten, whether it’s easier for them to get marijuana or alcohol and they’ll all tell you it’s easier to get marijuana because those dealers don’t ask for ID.

Secondly, the adult drug dealers will use kids as a cheap source of labor. I was in juvenile court for quite a while and you see this every day that they will use them as gophers, lookouts, couriers, whatever and then as soon as their reliability is established, Dean, they will trust them to go out and sell small amounts of drugs in their community.

Who do they sell to? You have a 15-year-old selling drugs they are not going to sell to you or me they are going to sell to their 14,15,16-year-old peers thus recruiting more children to this very lifestyle of usage and drug selling that, at least we say, we’re trying to keep away from them and it is caused by drug prohibition.

It’s the biggest failed policy in the history of the United States of America second only to slavery. It must be repealed. Governor Gary Johnson is going to do that and so am i.

DEAN BECKER: Alright. Well, friends, we’ve been speaking with Judge James P. Gray. As he said, he along with former New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson, are running for President, Vice President of these United States.

Judge Gray, we’ve got just a couple of seconds here. Please share your website with the listeners.

JAMES GRAY: It’s http://garyjohnson2012.com. That’s our campaign website – http://garyjohnson2012.com. You can also find information about me at http://judgejimgray.com.

You can even communicate with me at my website. This is something that while I’m proud to be involved it is critically important and I think we’re all going to look back and be horrified that we could have perpetuated this War on Drugs for so long. That we could have mortgaged our children and grandchildren’s future by borrowing 43 cents on every dollar.

It’s time for fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. That’s what we’re going to do and, Dean, thanks for the opportunity to talk with you again.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you my friend, Judge James P. Gray.

JAMES GRAY: Good luck to us all.


It’s time to play: "Name That Drug - By It’s Side Effects!"

Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, face chomping, lip eating, brain slurping, ecstasy, suicide, zombieism….


Time’s up! The answer according to law enforcement from some crazy-ass chemist somewhere – methedrone, otherwise known as bath salts.


DEAN BECKER: The following was recorded in Oslo, Norway at a major forum. The speaker, the director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann.


ETHAN NADELMANN: We’re fighting here. All my previous speakers, my brothers and sisters, against tyranny, against justice, against discrimination, against religious minorities and women, against slavery. And, yes, the War on Drugs is an inherent part of that.

Now I have to say as an American, as a very proud American, who loves my country dearly and who rues and fears the day when us America is no longer the clumsy, super-power but replaced by another super-power that may be far more venile and have far less regard for human rights.

But I can tell you that in my own country the War on Drugs represents the greatest source of violation of human rights and freedom in my own country. The United States of America, my country, we have less than 5% of the population. We have almost 25% of the world’s incarcerated population - 300 million out of 7 billion, 2.3, 2.4 million out of 10 million people incarcerated.

This is not traditional in American history. In 1980 we had 500,000 people behind bars now we have 2.4 million behind bars. Our rates of incarceration of African-Americans make the rates of incarceration of apartheid South Africa and the Soviet gulags look like nothing in comparison.

African-American men age 20 to 35 – 1 in 9 is currently behind bars. 13 million Americans have felony convictions. America, my country, has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

The Russians and the Belorussians (the second and the third) are huffing and puffing to keep up with us but, no…America is number 1. And we lock the people at 5, 6, 7, 10 times the rate of other societies around the world. And mind you, yes, we use drugs a little more than others but we are dramatically higher in our rates of illegal drug use. We are not dramatically higher in our rates of non-violent crime but what we do…what we do is we are faster to arrest people, when arrested we are more quickly to put them behind bars. When we put them behind bars we keep them there for longer. When they get out there we make it easier to catch them with a urine test or something else and throw them back behind bars. Then we treat them as second or third-class citizens for the rest of their lives. In many places depriving them of their right to vote, to get a license, to be in public housing, to get scholarships to university…what have you.

And, unfortunately, this American policy is one that we are promoting to the rest of the world. Why? Because we’re America. We can promote and we will promote. And you know something? It makes us feel better when we see our own punitive policies mirrored by everybody else.

Many of you have laws against cannabis that were enacted when nobody in your country actually knew what cannabis was. You have laws to prohibit the other drugs that you signed onto because of pressure from my government decades ago and nobody knew what it was and nobody imagined that it would ever become something commonly used. But now you have the prohibition laws and you have people using these things and you are caught in a prohibitionist framework.

And it’s not just the criminalization and all of the prisons. When HIV/AIDS began to spread around the world in the1980s and not just through the hetero-sex in Southern Africa but by drug users using drugs, injecting drugs….drugs do not spread AIDS. Needles do not spread AIDS. It’s sharing dirty needles.

The countries that adopted intelligent, harm reduction policies, needle exchange programs, treating addiction as a health issue – those were the ones – Australia, the Netherlands, even Margaret Thatcher’s England – that kept the HIV/AIDS very low. Those that did the opposite to continue with the policy of criminalization, abstinence only – those were the ones that saw HIV rates rise that.

In my country a quarter of a million people are dead today who would not be dead if we had adopted the policies of other civilized nations back in the 1980s. That is the cost of our prejudice. That is the cost of our prejudice.

So I’m asking you here to understand that when we criminalize our fellow human beings because of what they put in their bodies, when we accept that prejudice, that that prejudice and that discrimination is every bit as bad as vino or other forms of prejudice against people for activities that do no harm to others – but that, in this case, it generates the crime, the violence, the corruption, the mayhem that we see in the newspapers every day all around.

I plead with you to accept this cause of reforming our drug laws and our drug policies. The cause of treating addiction as a health issue and of regulating these drugs sensibly as part of the human rights community.

Ultimately we need to evolve from the failed prohibitionist policies of the 20t h century to a new global drug control regime grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

Thank you, very much.

AUDIENCE: [applause]


DEAN BECKER: Again, that was Ethan Nadelmann, the director of the Drug Policy Alliance speaking in Oslo, Norway at the Oslo forum, if I remember right.

I hope you enjoyed our interview with Judge James P. Gray. As I said he is running for Vice President along with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson under the Libertarian banner.

It is time for a change. It is time to break the two party system if you ask me. I can’t tell you who to vote for. I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for. But it’s time to, I don’t know, change things up a bit. Don’t you think?

I appreciate you all listening in. Hopefully you’re going to have a good week. We’ll see you next week. As always, I remind you, because of prohibition - you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.


DEAN BECKER: 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… of an abyss.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org