09/21/14 Joseph McNamara

Chief Joseph D. McNamara, drug reform pioneer dead at 79, DTN host Dean Becker guests on Voice of Russia and "Outlaw Dave" radio shows. DTN calls for courthouse rallies nationwide on Dec 17th the 100 year anniversary of drug war

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Guest: 
Joseph McNamara
Organization: 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / September 21, 2014

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DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection and the liars who support the drug war, empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels and gives reason for existence for tens of thousands of violent US gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.

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DEAN BECKER: Joseph D. McNamara was the police chief of Kansas City and then San Jose, California. He was a research fellow to Hoover Institute at Stanford University and author of several great crime novels. The following from the July 1st, 2012 Century of Lies program.

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JOSEPH McNAMARA: ...Mexican drug cartels are driving the American drug market ...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.

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DEAN BECKER: Chief Joseph D. McNamara was also a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He passed from this earth on September 19th at the age of 79.

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[music]

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These men and women have served in the trenches of the drug war as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards and wardens. They have seen first had the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition. Please visit leap.cc

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DEAN BECKER: Chief McNamara was a pioneer in exposing and helping to end the madness of drug war. We’ll miss you, Chief.

You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. We’re calling for a rally in front of every courthouse in these United States on December 17th, 2014. It’s a Wednesday. We call for this to happen from 12:15 to 12:45 to give the lawyers a chance to come out of the courthouse and lead this rally against the 100 year War on Drugs.

More details on how you can get involved and a website about ending the seemingly eternal War on Drugs in the coming weeks.

Last week yours truly was invited to 2 radio stations to give our opinions about the War on Drugs. First up the Voice of Russia.

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ANNOUNCER: Radio VR. This is the Voice of Russia.

HOST: The Global Commission on Drug Policy has proposed a non-conventional way to fight drug abuse. According to the Commission legalizing a range of drugs like marijuana and various psychedelics including cocaine and heroin is the right choice to make leaving a healthier choice that does not rely solely on punishment should be the key component of the new drug policy according to the Commission.

To discuss this I’m joined live on the phone from Houston, Texas by Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network. It’s a media production organization dedicated to exposing the fraud, misdirection and wastefulness of the War on Drugs.

Thank you so much for joining us.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you so much for this opportunity.

HOST: What’s the status quo? How much is spent on the War on Drugs and what kind of effect has the War on Drugs had? Have we seen a decrease in some kinds of drug trafficking, smuggling? Have we seen a decrease in drug abuse in any countries?

DEAN BECKER: I think the answer would have to be no pretty much across the board. There are fluctuations in drug use – cocaine use may go up, heroin use may go down, etc. – but it changes year to year, decade to decade, generation to generation but we have never really stopped the flow of drugs at all. At best we might get 10 to 15% at our borders but the other 85% comes in and it is sold at highly inflated prices which leads people to commit crimes to afford the drugs. It’s a real conundrum.

HOST: 85% get into the country despite everything that is done?

DEAN BECKER: Yes and I want to mention that I interviewed a gentleman, Anthony Pacido. He was with the DEA a few years back and he says 385 billion dollars a year flowing into the pockets of terrorists if they’ll just grow the flowers we forbid, flowing into pockets of these barbarous cartels in Central and South America killing tens of thousands of people and it has given reason here in the United States for 20, some say 30,000 violent gangs to be prowling our neighborhoods selling contaminated drugs to our kids at those highly inflated prices. It has never achieved any of its stated goals.

HOST: Well, really scary figures here. When we talk about legalizing, though, the first thing that you hear people who are for legalization say is, “We’re not going to have the War on Drugs. We won’t spend money on the War on Drugs.”

By the way, how much is spent currently on the War on Drugs?

DEAN BECKER: In the United States they don’t really batch the numbers where you can easily discern but it is somewhere between 50 and100 billion dollars per year that we spend in the United States trying to stop the flow of drugs. We’ve arrested 45 million people. We’ve destroyed whole neighborhoods, hell, whole cities like Baltimore through this destruction of community which in the United States is primarily directed at people of color, poor people, people who can’t afford good lawyers, people who wind up going to prison, people who can no longer get a job, credit, housing, you know – have a life.

HOST: Right. We’re talking about how much has been spent and how many people have been arrested. What is the current drug turnover? There are estimates...this is not an upfront figure because it is a black market business. What is the turnover?

DEAN BECKER: You are talking about volumes of drugs...

HOST: ....volumes of drugs and how much money is being made which going to the black market.

DEAN BECKER: What we can use as a benchmark is the number of drugs being busted. I’m near the Mexican border and they bust hundreds of tons of marijuana every year. They bust many, many dozens of tons of cocaine, heroin, etc. but it never, never creates a shortage in sales of these drugs. There always available no matter how much they bust and the price doesn’t fluctuate that much.

HOST: Right. When we talk about legalizing how do you see what would be the right way to legalize because obviously you’d have government control. Would government corporations or private corporations start producing these drugs? What drugs would you legalize? Would some drugs still remain illegal?

Crystal meth, which has been a big problem in the United States, would that be legal as well?

DEAN BECKER: I think it’s going to be an incremental thing. Incrementalism will leave cartels and gangs in charge of distribution. Of course marijuana is on its way to legalization here in the United States...

HOST: Right. That’s a done deal I think in a lot of states.

DEAN BECKER: I think probably the next step would be the psychedelics, the mushrooms, the LSD – the stuff that has gotten a bad rap over the years. Then I think we’ll probably head towards heroin, cocaine, etc. but I want to say this. I’m for legal coca leaf. I spent some time in Bolivia. I chewed the coca with a justice minister, with a church minister, with a prison warden. Everybody down there chews coca and there’s nobody much doing cocaine except maybe some young people experimenting but it is a norm there.

I would like to see opium available for smoking or ingestion rather than the more dangerous heroin and that’s the real problem that because of this prohibition people don’t bring coca to the United States. They don’t bring opium. They bring the harder drugs, the more dangerous drugs because it is easier to smuggle.

HOST: But those are also the more addictive drugs and here’s the problem. If you just allow coca nobody is going...everybody chews coca, yes, in certain South American countries it is not a big deal but it doesn’t have the same effect that cocaine has and we’re talking about addiction. That is what makes it such a profitable thing because people make money by selling people a drug that they can’t live without.

DEAN BECKER: Sure and I understand that but the point I would like to make is that if coca were available there would be fewer people taking that wrong turn down the cocaine path. It would be an option at least.

HOST: But should cocaine also be available? You’re still going to have people selling...people who have been on cocaine. There’s already a thriving, I think, business in cocaine in the United States.

DEAN BECKER: But, again, cocaine...

HOST: Those people aren’t going to start chewing leaves.

DEAN BECKER: I would but OK. The point I would like to say...coming back to my point the most dangerous products are brought to the United States. If it were made by Merck or Pfizer it would no longer be cut with everything from baby powder to rat poison to this lamithal, a cancer causing agent that is so shiny and sparkly they put it into the cocaine to help sell it so we would, at least, have a decent product. We would have available help without stigma for those who did run into problems and we would have a lot less corruption and destruction of communities.

HOST: I think a very interesting issue touched upon a little bit earlier when you talked about where that money, the drug money, is going now. I think that a lot of Americans even if they are against drugs...you don’t have to actually be pro-drug to be pro-legalization but I think a lot of people would be much more open to this if they realized that this money was not getting to the terrorist’s organizations.

DEAN BECKER: Sure and that’s the whole point. Over the years we’ve given well over 10 trillion dollars to the terrorists, cartels and gangs if they’ll just provide these drugs that we so desperately want. I guess what we have to do is stop and think about it. We have never stopped even one determined child from getting their hands on drugs. What, exactly, do we think we are up to?

It is a profit maker for the banks who launder the money, for the prisons who hold the prisoners, for the cops who get awards and grants for the arrests they make, for the prosecutors who want to get lustrous reputations for being tough on drugs. It has never accomplished any of its stated goals – none – and yet we continue to believe in it. It is a quasi-religion at this point.

We have to stop and take a look at what do we get out of this and there is nothing we get from the policy of prohibition.

HOST: But you have to be very careful about how you go about legalizing. I mean how would that be done? Who would be in control of making those drugs? Who would be able to decide how they would be sold? What education programs would you have in the schools about...

DEAN BECKER: I understand. I think what we have to do is take a new look at this. We want to educate children on the dangers of these drugs, the combination of these drugs – especially mixing alcohol with any of the downer drugs can kill you. We need to be able to stop and think about what we want to do with these drugs. Make them available for adults. Maybe you have to take a course that shows you know the dangers inherent in this and sign off that you are going to use them anyway.

We need to educate people fully to what these drugs are, what they do and what they cannot do and especially, like I said, not to mix them in combinations.

HOST: What happens when you mix them in combination – you sue Pfizer for billions ...because they made the drug that killed you.

DEAN BECKER: There is always litigious people everywhere and I think probably we would have to deal with that but right now we don’t have a situation where you can sue the local neighbor drug vendor for your wife’s OD or something.

We have to find a better way and certainly what we are doing is just not working.

HOST: Right. Can you talk about...A lot of states currently have legal medical marijuana. Some allow for recreational marijuana for personal use. Can you talk about the impact that that has had on the marijuana trafficking. There are examples of places in the states where some drugs have been legalized. What impact has that had so far?

DEAN BECKER: They are seeing that the rate of violent crime is going down in Colorado. They are seeing that the rate of overdoses is going down because people are switching to marijuana, a safer alternative, or using less of their hard drugs in combination with weed.

I guess we would have to think about where is this leading us to. It is leading us to the recognition that we have been wrong. We were wrong about weed. We were wrong about heroin just as well.

Before this prohibition Bayer heroin sold on the grocer’s shelf right next to Bayer aspirin at the very same price. Then, as now, aspirin was giving heroin a run for its money in so far as overdose deaths. We have to realize no one was whoring themselves, no one was killing or stealing to get the heroin because it was costing 2 cents per pill.

We have to look for a better means of delivery, a better means of distribution and a new attitude towards these drugs.

Alcohol is the killer of all...well, tobacco gives it a good run for its money but alcohol as far as a drug is much worse than any of these that are prohibited.

HOST: Well, tobacco, I think, would also be responsible for a higher number of deaths and tobacco is a legal drug. There is not a lot of experience in selling these drugs and how to do it safely and that is something that has to be addressed by organizations prior to saying, “Let’s just make it legal.”

There may some benefits as you mentioned. There’d be less money getting to the drug cartels, the terrorists and so forth but ...

DEAN BECKER: Given the opportunity to truly regulate the distribution of these drugs... we could reach back to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act which said that for any drug being sold you had to have a label listing every component in that package. If we were to just do that people would be able to know what they are buying and know the quality and quantity they want to use.

It is the “hot shot”...we could get 6% heroin this week and next week it’s 40%. You do the same little pile of heroin and you are going to die when it’s at 40%. If we know what’s in the bag we can better control and, in fact, almost eliminate overdose deaths because then the only people dying would be those committing suicide.

HOST: It’s certainly controversial but, once again, you’re saying that there has been some progress. Currently how many states have legalized marijuana?

DEAN BECKER: It’s hard to keep up. I think we’re right at 25 that for one fashion or another. Some have legalized it but years later the law is still not put in place or implemented fully – no distribution yet.

I’m in Texas. We have a law on the books that says you don’t have to arrest or jail anybody for under 4 ounces of weed. It has nothing to do with medical but they continue to arrest people under the old law because they can, because they want to fill the jails and get those government grants and look good because they are “tough on crime.”

HOST: This would have to be a federal situation to make an impact because in the neighboring states you don’t have a problem at all...you can smoke it or grow it or just buy it in a little shop.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, yeah. I was up in Denver a few months back and it was amazing the openness and just the breathing space that was there. They didn’t have this complication involved in their criminal justice system or in their daily lives. It is a breath of fresh air.

HOST: Thank you so much for joining us.

I’ve been talking to Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network. It is a media production organization dedicated to exposing the fraud, misdirection and wastefulness of the War on Drugs.

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(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Responsible for countless overdose deaths, uncounted diseases, international graft, greed and corruption, stilled science and events, unchristian moral postulations of fiction as fact.

(Gong)

Time’s up!

The answer: and this Drug is the United States’ immoral, improper, bigoted, unscientific and plain F-ing evil addiction to Drug War.

All approved by the FDA, absolved by that American Medical Association and persecuted by Congress and the cops and in abeyance to the needs of the bankers, the pharmaceutical houses and the international drug cartels.

$550 billion a year can be very addicting.

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DEAN BECKER: For a huge swing in perspective we tune in to the Outlaw Dave show on KPRC.

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OUTLAW DAVE: It is always fun here at Outlaw Dave’s headquarters. Joining us this evening is a man who participated in a discourse with our Craig Lovette from the Houston Chronicle and News Fix for a piece you did on the website.

CRAIG LOVETTE: Yes, http://chron.com.

OUTLAW DAVE: What was the title of the story?

CRAIG LOVETTE: Me and Dean were talking (Dean Becker)...

OUTLAW DAVE: Dean Becker from the Drug Truth Forum, former head of the Houston National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and an advocate as well as a crusader here in our community. The piece was...

CRAIG LOVETTE: We were talking about the other side of all these big, multi-billion dollar pot busts that are going around the Houston area.

OUTLAW DAVE: Has there been a lot of those happening?

CRAIG LOVETTE: Very much so. Right Dean?

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, what is it? 6 or 7 major sites.

CRAIG LOVETTE: Polk County, Fort Bend...where else are we looking at?

DEAN BECKER: Sugarland...but, yeah, they find a thousand, ten thousand plants. Some say there are Mexicans up here doing it for the cartels. It’s hard to know that for sure but it’s everywhere. The fact is what’s not being recognized or realized is there are thousands of small gardens, backyard gardens in and around Houston, Harris County. A lot of people are growing it. It’s a...

OUTLAW DAVE: When you were talking about these smaller gardens are these people that are potential distributors or people who are using it for their own recreational or medicinal use.

DEAN BECKER: I think for the most part it’s for personal use...maybe enough for a neighbor or two but, you know, just trying to not pay those black market prices.

OUTLAW DAVE: Does the law view it differently whether it’s a major distribution outlet as opposed to a neighborhood grow? Does the law look at it differently?

DEAN BECKER: I think they give it a little bit of a nod when it’s a small garden. It still would qualify for time in the penitentiary but I think it’s seldom that they go after....well, white folks in that regard.

OUTLAW DAVE: When it’s grow like that does that become a federal crime?

DEAN BECKER: Well, it could be but typically unless it’s over I think it’s 10,000 plants the federal government doesn’t even...heck, they can bring hundreds of pounds across the border and the government will just kick those Mexicans back across, take the weed and no charges are brought.

There is too much weed around. It’s just a fallacy that we need to run this law.

OUTLAW DAVE: You pointed out the ethnicity of some of the growers, consumers here by admitting that they were white, Caucasian, European descendants...Is it important to note that?

DEAN BECKER: It is. Across the nation, even in Texas, your chances of being arrested, going to jail, getting convicted, going to prison are up to 8 times as high for black people as it is for white people.

OUTLAW DAVE: This disparity in drug enforcement and sentencing has long been lauded by some pundits and advocates when it pertained to cocaine – powder cocaine as opposed to crack cocaine. Jesse Jackson certainly railed about that and there is certainly some level of discrepancy and you said also in the world of marijuana.

DEAN BECKER: Sure...with all drugs. I mean it’s like you can demonize certain people easier just because they’ve been demonized for 100 years. That’s the truth and it carries on.

OUTLAW DAVE: Is it important to acknowledge? Will that help lead the fight to decriminalize it or to see the medicinal application of it?

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Great stories coming out of the New York Times and the Washington Post dealing with that very specifically talking about how it’s an imbalance that needs to be addressed. The New York Times is talking about it’s time to legalize weed. The Washington Post is talking about we’re overdoing it, that we are not recognizing that fact that in those states where marijuana is legal (Washington and Colorado) the rate of violent crime is down, the rate of overdose is down some 25%. It is a great alternative to alcohol and pills.

OUTLAW DAVE: I think a number of years ago....I don’t know if it came from you...Roy Jones, the retired law enforcement guy...

DEAN BECKER: Russ Jones...

OUTLAW DAVE: Incredible interview. Here’s a guy who dedicated over 4 decades of his life to the enforcement of the drug policy of this country and at the end of the day, at the end of his career he said, “You know what? The whole thing has been a sham. It’s misplaced.”

He can go by the numbers as well as the ideology and say this is where we failed, this is why it is wrong.

DEAN BECKER: Just last week another friend of mine, Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle, was on the Colbert Report talking about his book, “Breaking Rank” but he was telling Colbert how the forfeiture laws, the usurpation of people’s rights has started with the drug war and then it escalated once the war of terror started and we now have a situation where we’re just running off the rails like what happened in Ferguson.

OUTLAW DAVE: Haven’t we seen the assertion from somebody’s or some drug policy forums where they say, “If you are buying drugs you are funding the terrorists.” Which is complete misdirection. It’s just another way to vilify drugs that have a long history of being erroneously misplaced by the vilification of them.
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DEAN BECKER: I want to thank Outlaw Dave and Craig for their invitation to be on their program. It’s such a shame that the major players, the TV stations (ABC, NBC, and Fox) don’t invite yours truly to speak about the drug war because I’m going to show they are very much culpable for continuing this madness.

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DEAN BECKER: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Abolitionist Moment.

Prohibition is an awful flop. We like it.

It can’t stop what it’s meant to stop. We like it.

It’s left a trail of graft and slime. It don’t prohibit worth a dime.

It’s filled our land with vice and crime…nevertheless, we’re for it.

Franklin Adams, 1931

Through a willing or silent embrace of drug war we are ensuring more death, disease, crime and addiction.

Some have prospered from a policy of drug prohibition and dare not allow their stance taken to be examined in a new light.

But, for the rest, ignorance and superstition will eventually be forgiven.

What Houston has done, in the name of drug war, will never be forgotten.

Please visit http://endprohibition.org Do it for the children.

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DEAN BECKER: For now that website, http://endprohibition.org is just a sign post for those who will be protesting on December 17th against 100 years of drug war.

We’re going to close out now with the thoughts of Chief Joseph D. McNamara.

As we close I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.

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JOSEPH D. MCNAMARA: ...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.

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Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org