04/07/17 Beto O'Rourke

US Congressman Beto O'Rourke now running for Ted Cruz' senate seat, Ed Rosenthal the Guru of Ganja has 2 new books, Mexican newspaper El Norte is closing, Sissy Farenthold, David Peel, the Fugs

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Friday, April 7, 2017
Beto O'Rourke



APRIL 7, 2017


DAVID PEEL [MUSIC]: I like marijuana,
You like marijuana,
We like marijuana, too!

Mari, marijuana!
Mari, marijuana!
Mari, marijuana!
Mari, marijuana!

I like marijuana like
You like marijuana,
We like marijuana too!

I want to be a hippie,
Got to get stoned on
Mari, marijuana!

I want to be a runaway,
Got to leave home for
Mari, marijuana!

Remember the teenyboppers
Sniffing airplane glue?
Mari, marijuana!

DEAN BECKER: Hi friends, this is Dean Becker. Thank you for being with us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. That intro song, I Like Marijuana, was by David Peel. David came to Houston back in 2001, 2002, from New York City, and he encouraged me to continue to promote the end of drug war. David Peel passed away earlier this week of a heart attack.

Next up, we have part of a speech given just a week ago here in Houston by US Congressman Beto O'Rourke out of El Paso, who's decided he's going to run for the Senate seat now occupied by lying Ted Cruz.

BETO O'ROURKE: I was sworn in 2013, and not a full year in, the junior Senator from Texas, who might as well have just been a full-time president -- a full-time candidate for president, shut down our federal government because he was worried that we were being too generous to too many people who needed healthcare too badly in order to live. And he shut it down for that reason, he shut it down because he put party over country, ideology over the interests of the people he served, and has used Texas for four years as a platform from which to pursue the presidency.

And I was home in the middle of that government shutdown, we had to be there in a moment's notice because we didn't know when we were going to have another vote, but there was this 24 hour reprieve and window when I could fly back to Texas and be with Amy and Ulysses and Molly and Henry, and I was putting Ulysses to sleep that night, I said, buddy, I'm glad I got to be back. You're not going to see me in the morning, I've got to get back there. And he said, to me, and it was one of the toughest questions anyone's ever asked me, he said, Dad, why did you want a job where you weren't ever going to see us?

And at that time I didn't know the answer to that, you know? Government was shut down, we were deadlocked on some of the most important issues and on some of the most basic issues to the government, and for the pursuit of someone's political career, we couldn't even function and operate, and allow those who work at the VA to serve veterans; those who are taking care of servicemembers at military treatment facilities to show up; border patrol agents, who have one of the most dangerous, difficult jobs anywhere, to go patrol along the border; customs officers who facilitate ninety billion dollars in trade at the El Paso Ports of Entry, support 500,000 jobs in the state of Texas. They couldn't show up to work.

And so I had a hard time answering Ulysses. I said, look, bud, the reason we ran and the reason I'm flying back to Washington tomorrow is we made a commitment. We want to help people. We want to ensure that we stop talking about and finally act on comprehensive immigration reform. We want to make sure that healthcare -- healthcare is not a privilege, it's not a function of what you can afford or what you make or who you happen to work for, or where you live, or who were born to, that it's a right. It's a human right that every single one of us should [drowned out by applause].

I said, Ulysses, I ran for, and I'm trying to do my best, for the veterans in El Paso who have distinguished our community through their service to this country, and yet, despite coming back with post traumatic stress disorder, or traumatic brain injury, with military sexual trauma, or traumatic amputations, the wounds of service and combat, the conditions that are unique to what they did for our country without question, that despite all of that, it takes not a week, not a month, it takes a year, if you're lucky, to get a mental health care appointment at the VA. It's part of the reason that today, in this country, we'll lose 20 veterans.

And I said, I want to help all of those people, Ulysses, and I want to do everything else that the people of El Paso depend on me for. And so we got back to work. We started to make progress. We turned around our VA in El Paso. There are 141 mental health centers for veterans in the United States. El Paso, when I was elected, ranked 141st in the nation. And we've turned that around. We brought local, private, and public providers together. We got the VA to sign off on a pilot project for El Paso that's connecting with veterans who've earned it with the care that they need, and that they deserve. We're making life better for the people that we represent.

We're supporting our service members. We're trying to make sure that we have a strategy, that we've defined victory, that in the 16th year of our war in Afghanistan, after authorization for the use of force in 2001 that has been used to invade five other countries, including Syria, where we've quintupled our force size; Yemen, where we just lost a service member; Somalia, Libya, Iraq.

We're going to support those service members who are out there by making sure that we define victory, that we know why we've asked them to fight, what our interests are, and why that, now that I'm 44 years old, one of my first memories of the middle east was as a teenager, hearing on the radio that George H. W. Bush was going to use military force in Iraq, and here we are, five presidents later, still there using military force, trying to solve the world's problems on the backs of 20 and 21 year old women and men from great states like Texas, without a strategy, and without asking the rest of us to pay a dime into their care.

Since 9/11, the wars that we have fought have been put on the national credit card. You want to know why we have twenty trillion dollars plus in debt? Don't let them blame you, don't let them blame President Obama. It's on all of us. It's the wars that we fight without paying for them, and that's why last week I introduced a bill with Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts; Don Young, Republican of Alaska; Walter Jones, Republican of North Carolina. Two Democrats, two Republicans, from the four corners of this country, that forces us to pay for the wars as we fight them.

DEAN BECKER: Sorry about the sound quality, it's hard to get good audio when there's two thousand people trying to interfere. We'll have an interview with Beto at the close of our program.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance, addiction, respiratory arrest, and death. Time's up! This drug, 80 times stronger than morphine and heroin, is available via schedule two prescription: Fentanyl, for major pain.

The following courtesy KVIA, reporting on the closure of the Ciudad Juarez newspaper, El Norte.

EVAN FOLAN: Juarez residents got a big surprise this morning. The newspaper El Norte shut down overnight, giving its final farewell on the front page. ABC7 reporter Julio-Cesar Chavez went to Juarez. He joins us to explain what happened. Julio?

JULIO-CESAR CHAVEZ: Evan, it all started when one of El Norte's Chihuahua correspondents was killed on March 23rd, just over a week ago. This morning, with almost no one knowing, the final edition of the newspaper was printed. The move was so unexpected, El Norte's own employees found out by reading about it. We spoke with the paper's owner, and this is what he had to say:

OSCAR CANTU MURGUIA: Con la muerte de la periodista, ...

JULIO-CESAR CHAVEZ: Oscar Cantu Murguia, El Norte's owner, said the decision to close came after reporter Miroslava Breach's death in Chihuahua City, since he couldn't ensure his other reporters' safety. The final edition with Adios stamped on the front page was running out quickly in corner stores and newspaper stands.

OSCAR CANTU MURGUIA: Nuestro periodico

JULIO-CESAR CHAVEZ: Cantu Murguia said the newspaper staff had been threatened before, and their offices shot up.

JEZEBEL VILLEGA LOPEZ: -- los noticias --

JULIO-CESAR CHAVEZ: One reader said she believes the newspaper should stay open and print the news, claiming informing the public is a job that should be done no matter what.

The doors are open for now, but while some employees were expecting the digital arm to keep going, Cantu Murguia said it wouldn't last.

OSCAR CANTU MURGUIA: -- que nosotros --

JULIO-CESAR CHAVEZ: He explained, if the team can't do the reporting they set out to do, then it's not worth putting lives in danger, when society doesn't value the work as part of democracy.

Now, Evan, I asked the owner if he or anyone else had been threatened since the murder, since the killing, sorry, but he denied anyone had been singled out. He said that Breach's death, the reporter who was killed in Chihuahua City, was a threat to everyone.

DEAN BECKER: Ed, you know, you, heck, you've traveled the world looking for new information, new strains of marijuana, and maybe new ways to help end this stupid drug war. Is that a fair assumption?

ED ROSENTHAL: Yeah, but I'm not doing that now.


ED ROSENTHAL: I'm investigating the terrible explosion that happened here in Naples, where a whole town was destroyed with lava.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh. That --

ED ROSENTHAL: The town of Pompeii.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, that's not exactly recent though, is it, Ed? Come on.

ED ROSENTHAL: No. No, it's a cold case.

DEAN BECKER: All right. Well, Ed, I'm proud to say, I got a couple of your new books that are just thrilling me. This Bud's For You, subtitle Legal Marijuana: Selecting, Growing, And Enjoying Cannabis, and this other one, which is Big Book Of Buds Greatest Hits: Marijuana Varieties From The World's Best Breeders. Ed, both of them are dazzling. I want to ask you about your printing process. These, these pictures of these buds just basically come to life. You can almost smell them. Do you do your own printing?

ED ROSENTHAL: Oh, no, no, most publishers go to printers and the printers are very specialized. So much more realistically than they have ever been able to do before.

DEAN BECKER: I agree with you, Ed, and what's also special is the information contained therein about the strains and how to grow it and just the variance between the strains, it's pretty amazing.

ED ROSENTHAL: Yes, well, especially with This Bud's For You, which is a first post-prohibition book, so to speak. And that book has -- it's mainly for the connoisseur, and for the person who is -- really enjoys marijuana, because it has a lot of information for them, not just for cultivators.

DEAN BECKER: Again, friends, we're speaking with the Guru of Ganja, Mister Ed Rosenthal, who's investigating a cold case in Pompeii right now, but you have some other ventures you're going to do there in Europe, do you?

ED ROSENTHAL: Yes, in Berlin, there's an ICBC, that's International Cannabis Business Conference. There's a conference there and I'm on a panel, and I think I'm also speaking at it, so, should be very exciting.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and Ed, this brings to mind, even here in Texas, in Houston, we're starting to have scientific and medical gatherings at the Texas Medical Center, we're starting to have seminars about cannabis growing, and our legislators are even contemplating lowering the bar, so to speak. The truth is getting out around the world, isn't it, my friend?

ED ROSENTHAL: Well, at least in the United States and in most of the Americas. You know, there's legalization efforts going on all over South America, and Mexico has, is changing, so I think it's happening first here in, you know, in North America, and Europe, different countries in Europe are also changing their laws. But I think that the United States has, from what I've seen, in terms of having a culture around cannabis, I think that the United States and Canada are the countries that are most deeply committed that way. I mean, in terms of the population.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and I would say that, you know, you mentioned the Americas, I think it was Argentina that just voted to legalize medical marijuana, right?

ED ROSENTHAL: Well, all these countries have different -- have either legalized it or, or legalized it medically, or are in the process of it. Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and as you mentioned Argentina. It's happening all over the Americas. I think Brazil is a little behind, but a lot of those other countries are changing rapidly.

Now, we think of the United States as so advanced and other countries as not having technology, but when you travel around the world, you know, everybody has smartphones, everybody has access to information, and so, somebody could be in a really remote area and still be in contact with everything that's going on. And that's really -- it's changed the world. We're a global community, whether, you know, Trump wants to -- and his allies realize it or not, we can't separate ourselves, we can't just put up a wall. It doesn't work. Information travels. It's hard to have censorship now.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we're speaking with Mister Ed Rosenthal. Ed, you know, this is, these two recent releases, This Bud's For You and The Big Book Of Buds Greatest Hits, these are books, gosh, what are they, eleven, twelve, nineteen and twenty. You've had a series of books in this regard. Correct?

ED ROSENTHAL: The Greatest Hits book is from The Big Book Of Buds series, and we have some new articles in there, and also new, some new varieties, but mostly it's what -- it's material that we've covered, and we've condensed it down to the best of the four in the series. So, that's Greatest Hits, yes.

DEAN BECKER: And, Ed, if you could, tell us a little bit more about this conference you're going to. Who's going to be there, what might be the topic of discussion?

ED ROSENTHAL: Well, it's, you know, in the United States, there are literally, every week, there's several conferences on marijuana and investing in marijuana, or marijuana, some aspect of the marijuana industry, and it brings together both, a varied group of people who have some sort of economic interest in the, in it. And it also brings, we also have seminars for the three days of the conference, and so there may be thirty or forty speakers on all different aspects, and the least important aspect at these conferences is the cultivation, because everybody's more interested in either processing it, packaging it, selling it, developing a place to sell it.

DEAN BECKER: Making money.

ED ROSENTHAL: So. Making money. It's all about making money. And, the reason that I'm there is because they think that I'll -- they think that I have information to offer in terms of cultivation, especially industrial cultivation, and also, they think that I'll draw people.

DEAN BECKER: Well, folks, once again we've been speaking with Mister Ed Rosenthal, the author of two brand new books: This Bud's For You: Legal Marijuana: Selecting, Growing, And Enjoying Cannabis; and the other great book, Big Book Of Buds Greatest Hits: Marijuana Varieties From The World's Best Breeders.

ED ROSENTHAL: You know, as much as you'll enjoy these books, I know that if you listen to this show, that you appreciate KPFT, and we have a sister station, KPFA. It's a lifeline. It's a lifeline for me. Just to hear a different point of view, and all the cultural programs, and all of the local things that are produced there. So, the books are the smallest part of that contribution. The biggest part is that you're helping to preserve KPFT and to keep it going.

VOICE: Okeh, let's say drug prohibition does support terrorism.

DEAN BECKER: And murder.

VOICE: And murder.


VOICE: And torture.

DEAN BECKER: Corruption. Bribery.

VOICE: And whatever.

DEAN BECKER: What's your point?

VOICE: Change the law.

DEAN BECKER: I got you. Make it cheap, more available, everywhere. Like soda, or cheesy puffs.

VOICE: Exactly.

DEAN BECKER: Cocaine at the playground, crack stands at the laundromat, heroin at the minimart. Like that?

VOICE: Face it, old man, that's what we've got now.

DEAN BECKER: Please, visit the website of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP.cc

Last week, the Rothko Chapel and Saint Thomas University held a conference on undoing the legacy of mass incarceration.

ALLISON FRANKLIN: My name's Alison Franklin, I'm with CEASE, which is a national anti-trafficking network, and then I'm also a board member on Texas Jail Project.

Actually, I went to prison prior to being trafficked. I had an awful drug habit, I suffered from childhood sexual abuse that launched me on a journey of self-destruction, and spanned over 34 years. I got on drugs, and it was an easy way to manage my flashbacks and PTSD, and that actually my addiction is really what put me in contact with violent crime gangs, prison, and of course human trafficking.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And you heard my comment in there, that it is the heart of this aberration to our criminal justice system is the drug war.

ALLISON FRANKLIN: Yeah, it actually fuels human trafficking as well. Sex trafficking. Absolutely.

DEAN BECKER: Right. The same people are involved.

ALLISON FRANKLIN: Oh, of course they are.



DEAN BECKER: What are you learning from this conference, what would you like to take from here?

ALLISON FRANKLIN: That people care enough to, you know, create some type of reform. So I think that's a positive.


ALLISON FRANKLIN: Positive outcome.

SISSY FARENTHOLD: Sissy Farenthold.

DEAN BECKER: Now, Cissy, we're here at Saint Thomas, part of this examination of our criminal justice system. I think I know what brings you here, but are there any specifics that attracted you?

SISSY FARENTHOLD: The whole subject, because it's been such an appalling failure, and it's created so many additional problems.


SISSY FARENTHOLD: That I just think it's imperative to move on it, and there's been more attention given to it, I'd say in the last year, so that's where we are now.


SISSY FARENTHOLD: But it speaks to every level of government. We have plenty to do on the state level and the local level as well as the federal.

DEAN BECKER: Now, I'm very proud thus far of our new district attorney, Kim Ogg. What's your thoughts in that regard?

SISSY FARENTHOLD: Well, I think it's wonderful she's in office, and I'm very hopeful. I haven't followed it recently, I've been out of the state, but I'm -- we'll work together, many many people did, so we'll see.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Now, I hope you heard my thoughts in there. I didn't really have a question, I was just wondering, or wanting to point out that it is the mechanism of drug war which has definitely helped to escalate the draconian policies of our criminal justice system. Would you agree with that thought?

SISSY FARENTHOLD: Yes, and it's gone to every level. I mean, it's affecting a whole new generation, even starting with children and what they're living through in these places. So, it behooves us, all of us, to take some -- give some attention and take some action.

VOICE: No more oppression. We as American adults with free will have the right to use marijuana if we choose to. Enough government profiteering under the guise of morality. Enough with this phony war on drugs.

SECOND VOICE: You know you're going about this all wrong. If you want to win people over, you can't just drone on like Ben Stein, you've got to have a little more showmanship. Here, watch.

[music] Now, everybody gather around and listen if you would,
When I tell every person needs a way of feeling good.
Every kitty needs a ball of string and every dog a stick,
But all you need is a bag of weed to really get a kick.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,
A bag of weed, a bag of weed,
Oh everything is better with a bag of weed.
It's the only help that you'll ever need
Because everything is better with a bag of weed!

There you go, you're all getting it now.

DEAN BECKER: The presentations over, the 2,200 people, or at least a thousand of them, had their chance to shake the hand of US Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who's running for Ted Cruz's Senate seat. Beto, are all the stops like this?

BETO O'ROURKE: You know what, there's been a ton of energy throughout the state so far. We're only 48 hours into this, but in El Paso, in Dallas, in Waco, in Austin, now here in Houston, folks are turning out, and they're not waiting for anybody else, and they're taking it upon themselves, and they're going to get behind the guy who showed up to make a difference and take back this state and take back this country.

And it's on all the issues, it's on reproductive rights, it's on jobs, it's on education, it's on our national defense, it's on taking care of veterans, and Dean, I tell everyone about you, the issue that you really led on, far longer than I've even been aware of it, is the need to ensure that this government treats everyone with respect, that we're not prosecuting a war on drugs that we'll never win, that's wasted a trillion dollars and so many lives, imprisons more people in this country than any other country on on the face of the planet, where more than half of the states in this country, through popular decisions, have already ended their war on people through marijuana, through legislatures, through statewide referendums, to medicinalize, decriminalize, or outright end the prohibition.

We can wait for Texas to do it, or we can elect a Senator from Texas who will do it, and I think that's exactly what we're about to do right now, and that will allow us to keep marijuana out of schools, where it's one of the most rapidly expanding markets today, away from kids whose minds are still developing, the profits away from criminals and cartels, and allow us to focus on real national important public health problems like the opioid crisis and epidemic, and abuse, and death, hundreds of thousands of Americans who've lost their lives in this, who need our help right now, they don't need us fighting a failed war on drugs, so my gratitude to you, you've been an inspiration to me, you were there for me when I first got involved in this issue, and I'm grateful, I'm so glad to be in Houston with you right now, man, it makes my day.

DEAN BECKER: Well, thank you, Beto. One last thought, you know, it does need to be changed at the federal level, I'm with you 199 percent there, but we did make a change here, starting the First of March, we stopped arresting kids doing stupid things, being out on the streets with marijuana.

BETO O'ROURKE: That's right.

DEAN BECKER: And, our district attorney I think has certainly gained my respect. What's your thought in that regard?

BETO O'ROURKE: Yeah, I'm so proud of, and impressed by Houston. Again, not waiting for outside money to figure it out, not waiting for the state-wide leadership to tell them what to do, taking matters into their own hands, knocking on doors, organizing, putting up great candidates, supporting them. That's the model for the rest of the state. And so the leadership here, while it's important for Houston and we're glad for Houston, it's going to be critical for the state of Texas. So we're, believe me, we're going to follow your lead.

DEAN BECKER: All right, Beto. One more time, if you would share your website, folks need to get involved, those $35 donations, they're going to have to offset the Koch Brothers hundred million to lying Ted. Your thought there, sir.

BETO O'ROURKE: BetoForTexas.com. If you sign up, if you make a donation, whatever size, if you then share that with your friends and family and coworkers, and even strangers on social media, that will ensure that the only campaign for Senate not funded by corporate cash, no political action committee money, only through Texans and real working people, that that campaign, which so many people have thought is impossible, will be possible, it will be possible if you go to BetoForTexas.com.

DEAN BECKER: Well, as we're wrapping it up, I want to remind you once again that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag, and to please be careful. We're going to close with a song from the Fugs, Kill For Peace, which is kind of where we're at. Reminds me a lot of the Vietnam War, and just what in hell's going on.

FUGS [music]: Kill, kill, kill for peace.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.

Near or middle or very far east,
Far or near or very middle east.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.

If you don't like the people
Or the way that they talk,
If you don't like their manners
Or they way that they walk,
Kill, kill, kill for peace.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.

If you don't kill them
Then the Chinese will.
If you don't want America
To play second fiddle,
Kill, kill, kill for peace.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.

If you let them live
They might subvert the Prussians.
If you let them live
They might love the Russians.
Kill, kill, kill!

"Kill 'em, kill 'em, strafe those gook creeps!"

The only gook an
American can trust
Is a gook that's got
His yellow head bust.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.
Kill, kill, kill for peace.

Kill, kill, it'll feel so good
Like my captain said it should.
Kill, kill, kill