12/18/11 Joy Strickland

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Joy Strickland, Dir of Mothers Against Teen Violence re Jan 11-13 drug conference in Texas + Project Imagin*tion, Neal Peirce OpEd & appeal to US Rep Ted Poe

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Transcript

Transcript

Cultural Baggage / December 18, 2011

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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!”

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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.

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DEAN BECKER: Ah yes my friends, this is Dean Becker. Thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. Here in just a moment we’re going to bring in our guest, Miss Joy Strickland. She heads up Mothers Against Teen Violence. They’ve got a big conference scheduled early next month in Dallas.

I think it’s time for you, dear listener, to recognize what’s going on before your eyes and going into your ears. And that is this drug war is failing in every regard. Newspapers and media all across the world are beginning to recognize this, to point it out, to bring our attention to bear on this gross failure. I’ll stop with the editorializing for now.

Let’s bring in our guest, Joy Strickland. How are you, Joy?

JOY STRICKLAND: Hi. How are you, Dean?

DEAN BECKER: I had the privilege, the opportunity last year to speak at one of your conferences there in Dallas but tell us what’s happening next month.

JOY STRICKLAND: January 11t h through 13t h Mothers Against Teen Violence is going to be hosting the first-ever Texas Conference on Drug Policy. This is really a big deal for us and we think Texas is ready for this conversation.

DEAN BECKER: Yes mam and there are some pretty prestigious individuals involved. Tell us some of the people who will be involved with this conference.

JOY STRICKLAND: To begin with our keynote speaker who will also be doing a couple of the workshops and will be keynoting at the luncheon which will close out the conference. His name is Dr. Gabor Mate and he is a physician, he is an author. His books have been best-sellers all over North America.

For 12 years he worked in Vancouver’s downtown eastside with patients who are challenged by hardcore drug addiction and mental illness and HIV. It’s enormous. I heard him in L.A. and I know you were in L.A. at the International Reform Conference sponsored by Drug Policy Alliance. I was very impressed with him.

Beyond our keynote speaker we have a host committee which is very impressive starting with Dr. Raul Caetano who is the Dean and Professor of Health Care Sciences at the UT Southwestern Medical School of Public Health here in Dallas. We have Dr. Timothy Bray who serves as Director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research here in Dallas. We have Bill Martin, Dr. Bill Martin, who is a Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute in Houston. We’ve got Royce West who is State Senator for two decades now and finally we have Dr. Marvin Dulaney who is a History Professor at UT Arlington in the Metroplex here.

We’ve got a lot of folks onboard with this in terms of wanting to see it succeed.

DEAN BECKER: Were you unable to coordinate things with Neill Franklin of LEAP?

JOY STRICKLAND: Oh, I’m sorry. How did I forget Neill? Neill is going to be the keynote at the opening plenary session which is Wednesday.

DEAN BECKER: Yes and Neill’s going to be our guest at the Century of Lies show following this program. I want to talk again, though, about…this is Texas. This is a very powerful thing. This is a very bold statement, if you will, to our politicians that we can and should hold such a conference here in Texas, right?

JOY STRICKLAND: As many of your listeners know, today and historically when we talk about drug policy we’re basically talking about a criminal justice issue because that’s where drug policy resides today in Texas. As an organization, Mothers Against Teen Violence is making that bold statement that we want to move this conversation from criminal justice to public health. In other words, we want to see a public health approach to drug use and abuse. We want to see that approach in Texas and we are leading the way toward making that happen.

DEAN BECKER: Over the last couple weeks I have been covering a debate that was held at Brown University, Glenn Greenwald vs. John Walters (the former Drug Czar). The current Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, carries the same playbook, says the same words and phrases as did John Walters. What they both are saying as of late is that, “Yes, the drug war has not accomplished everything it’s supposed to do.”

They’re saying that drug addiction is a disease. They’re saying nobody wants to lock up people in need of treatment. But the fact of the matter is they continue to do so at a record pace. Do they not?

JOY STRICKLAND: That’s right and you know it’s not enough to listen to what they say. We have to be smart enough to look at what they are actually doing. Even in states where medical marijuana is now legal the justice department continues to crack down on the legal vendors who are licensed to distribute medical marijuana.

We’ve heard many, many times from President Obama’s administration that…not only from Gil Kerlikowske but also from our Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, when she was in Mexico that drug addiction is a medical problem and we need a medical approach to it. But, again, that’s not the policy.

So it’s incumbent upon us, as citizens - and this is where the average person comes into play…you see our politicians are not necessarily leaders. They really are followers when it comes to making change. So what we have to do, as citizens, as voters, is hold them accountable by letting them know that we want to see change.

Texas is so far behind some of the other states. It’s still illegal in Texas to setup…If I’m a nonprofit organization and I want to reach out to those people who are IV drug users and provide them with clean syringes I would be arrested in Texas for doing that.

DEAN BECKER: Just this week the U.S. Congress voted to repeal the funding for needle exchange. It had been kind of a groundbreaking change when Obama first got into office but how they’ve overturned it. The fact of the matter is they never provided one dollar for federal needle exchange programs but now they’re overturning their ability to do so if they wanted to. Your response?

JOY STRICKLAND: But at least it’s not …This goes back to listening to what they say vs, what they do. And I didn’t see any bold statements coming out in opposition to that overturn from the administration. I didn’t hear it. Maybe it happened. Did you hear anything like that?

DEAN BECKER: Not one word, no.

JOY STRICKLAND: So they’ve given this, clearly, a lower priority. It’s one thing for the funding not to be there because a state or an organization in a state can possibly find private funding. But in Texas even if we could find the funding we couldn’t do it because it’s still illegal here. Are you with me?!

DEAN BECKER: I’m with you. One person who I’m sure will be speaking at this conference in that regard is Dr. William Martin of Rice University, Baker Institute. This has been a project of his for several years. Let’s see if I can “butcher” a quote from him…”We would much rather people like you and your ilk could die than to provide any type of needle exchange.”

And that’s basically what the drug war is about - punishing people for their choice forever, really.

JOY STRICKLAND: That’s right. I just wanted to say that one of the …

DEAN BECKER: oops…looks like we lost Joy. I’m so sorry. We’ll get her back on air in just a second.

You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. This is Dean Becker. We’ve been speaking with Joy Strickland. She heads up an organization here in Texas called Mothers Against Teen Violence. They’re holding a conference that’s coming early in 2012, January 11t h through 13t h. When we get her back on air I’ll be sure to have her share the information where you can learn more about it.

I don’t care if you’re in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas…you know, any state you can think of nearby – you should come participate. You should help change things here in Texas because we really do need your help.

Alright, I’m told we do have Joy back online. Joy, I was hoping you could share the website and maybe some other information with the listeners.

JOY STRICKLAND: You can register for our conference and the costs are very reasonable. It’s a three day conference which includes a seated, formal luncheon which will close the conference.

You can register at http://www.matvinc.org/ and those letters stand for Mothers Against Teen Violence, inc. The first thing you’ll see is the conference logo and just click on it to go to the conference page information and registration page.

DEAN BECKER: There’s a lot of shows coming on TV now that are exposing the underbelly of this drug war. That are showing the frailty of its fabrication, if you will. A lot of focus has been brought to bear on those folks in California basically around that Weed Wars program. You hear from these people that are involved, that are subject to 3 life sentence, 3 death sentence for the amount of marijuana that they have handled and they’re just not going to take it anymore.

They’ve been doing it in California for decades and several other states around the country have followed suit, are doing so as well…Washington and Oregon come to mind immediately. Texas has had its attempts. I’ll somewhat feeble but I think now we have the people, we have the strength, we have the information. And I think we have the ability to make a change here.

Joy, you also mention that you have several other folks…let’s talk a little bit more about Dr. Gabor Mate.

JOY STRICKLAND: Dr. Gabor Mate is a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia. I became familiar with him when I heard an interview that he did on NPR. He was talking about this book that he had written with the subtitle, “Close Encounters With Addiction.” I don’t really have any close personal experiences with the disease of addiction so this book really helped me to understand the struggles and the challenges…the living hell that people go through when they’re afflicted with this disease and how our public health policies don’t make a difference.

In Vancouver Dr. Mate was a pioneer working with the InSight Project where individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS and mental illness and intravenous drug use can avail themselves not only to housing but also to medical help and mental counseling. So he’s a pioneer.

DEAN BECKER: I had the privilege of going to Vancouver about 5 years ago at the invitation of Marc Emery and while I was there I got a chance to take a look around the InSight facility. Was a very clean, modern with nurses standing by to help with any problems. I understand there have been a few overdoses there but no deaths because they have medical personnel standing by. A strong, powerful example of what, maybe, the rest of the world should do.

We got just about a minute or so left. One more time, Joy, please tell us about this forthcoming conference.

JOY STRICKLAND: This conference is the first-ever Texas Conference on Drug Policy. We’re bringing this discussion to Texas about moving the problem of drug abuse and drug use from the criminal justice system and into a public health model. We need to have parity when it comes to drug use.

We already have a public health model for privileged people. By in large they don’t go to prison or jail for their drug use and addiction but that’s not the case with the other 99%. So that’s what this is about. Getting informed so that we can make intelligent choices in our policy and in our public funding for this issue.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we’ve been speaking with Joy Strickland from Mothers Against Teen Violence. Once more time that website, please.

JOY STRICKLAND: http://www.matvinc.org/ just click on the icon and please go and register because we really need to have a good turnout for this.

DEAN BECKER: Joy, I wish you the best and with any luck I should be there reporting on it for the Drug Truth Network and I hope to see you then.

JOY STRICKLAND: And I look forward to seeing you. Thank you so much.

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(Game show music)

It’s time to play: Name That Drug By Its Side Effects

Flying projectiles, flu like symptoms, itching, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, low blood pressure, may affect heart function and immune response, should not be used by pregnant or breast feeding woman nor children by children under the age of twelve.

(Gong)

Time’s up!

(Kissing sound)

The answer: mistletoe. The American mistletoe is poisonous; deadly in fact, the European mistletoe is in clinical trials because it had been shown to kill cancer cells.

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us courtesy of Project Imagin8ion.

ANNOUNCER: Now in a desperate attempt to fill 24 hours with some bullsh*t that happened somewhere today. We’ve got the footage here of the bullsh*t that happened just after 3 o’clock this afternoon when residents in this neighborhood were shocked to see this fairly common thing happening. An attractive witness described the event in breathless terms.

AN ATTRACTIVE WITNESS: I went to my window and I was like, “Whoa, there’s some bullsh*t happening.”

OLDER MAN WITNESS: It happened right over there. I’m an older man so you can trust what I say.

ANNOUNCER: Authorities in special uniforms rushed to the scene to stand around while our cameras filmed them. Our reporter, Keith Collins, joins us now live from the scene of the bullsh*t through the use of expensive technology.

Good to be with you again, Keith. We have colorful graphic here that shows instances of bullsh*t are on the rise, right?

KEITH COLLINS: Yes, although why is unclear. Some say it’s because one bullsh*t reason while others say it’s because of some other bullsh*t reason.

I talked to this random expert on the subject who told me this thing you are about to hear him say right after he points at a piece of paper.

RANDOM EXPERT ON THE SUBJECT: (pointing at a piece of paper) I spent my entire life attending the world’s most prestigious schools to talk about bullsh*t like this. I’m really just happy to be on TV.

ANNOUNCER: Let’s see if we can drag this out a little bit longer by showing emails written by some of our viewers.

A VIEWER EMAIL: I once saw some stuff kind of like the bullsh*t you’re talking about happen. I have nothing more to add.

ANOTHER PERSON: I am angry that things like this happen. I get mad about every little bullsh*t thing I see.

ANNOUNCER: So, obviously, a lot of opinions there to make this story seem somewhat meaningful.

KEITH COLLINS: Absolutely. This story has some broader implications. Here’s some tips on how avoid this bullsh*t from happening to you.

ANNOUNCER: And here’s some footage of congress…

KEITH COLLINS: Yes, I see that.

ANNOUNCER: Let us know if there are any updates on this bullsh*t story from there.

KEITH COLLINS: There’s no way there will be.

ANNOUNCER: Very good. We’ll check back with you in an hour anyway.

KEITH COLLINS: I’m just some bullsh*t guy.

ANNOUNCER: When we return we’ll look at live footage of a car chase taken from a helicopter and free associate about what’s going on.

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DEAN BECKER: The following is the latest column from Neal Peirce of the Washington Post Writers Group. It’s titled up, “Drug Reform: Obama’s chance to reignite youth support?”

"Dance with the One that Brought You" is the title of a well-known song. But the Urban Dictionary offers a deeper meaning: "The principle that someone should pay proper fealty to those who have gone out of their way to look after them."

Barack Obama should pay attention. In 2008, young voters were enthused and turned out for him by the millions.

But now? The campus/youth enthusiasm factor has declined sharply. The deficiency seriously imperils Obama's re-election effort.

There's one issue, though, that might reignite youthful enthusiasm. That issue is marijuana -- partly its medical use, but especially Americans' right to recreational use free of potential arrest and possible prison time.

Today's grim reality is that police continue to arrest youth for marijuana possession by the hundreds of thousands. But each arrest is a red flag of danger, threatening life prospects for a young man or woman suddenly saddled with a permanent "drug arrest" record that's easily located by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks.

Small wonder then that 62 percent of young Americans (ages 18 to 29) now favor legalizing marijuana, as a Gallup poll reported this October.

And it's not just youth these days. Gallup this year found 50 percent nationwide support for legalizing marijuana use -- the most ever, up from a measly 12 percent in 1969 to 30 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 2009.

A ballot measure to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana received 46.5 percent of the vote in California last year. Parallel measures are likely to be on the 2012 ballots in Colorado and Washington. Odd political bedfellows -- Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas -- recently introduced a legalization bill and now have 19 co-sponsors. Paul even gets applause advocating legalization in Republican presidential debates.

But what about President Obama? In 2004 he endorsed marijuana decriminalization. He was candid about his early pot use and in 2006 told a group of magazine editors: "When I was a kid, I inhaled, frequently." By his run for president in 2008, he was slipping away from decriminalization but at least talked of a "public health" approach, emphasizing drug treatment instead of prison, giving drug reform advocates hope for a new day in national policy.

But Obama as president has been a clear disappointment to reform forces. In White House-initiated electronic town halls, respondents -- heavily weighted to original Obama supporters -- have repeatedly put marijuana at the top of their issue lists. But the White House has either laughed off or provided dismissive retorts.

Obama's Drug Policy Office claims the drug war is over, replaced by a focus on shrinking demand, "innovative, compassionate and evidence-based drug policies." But Obama has not once singled out marijuana -- a substance arguably far less harmful to the human body than alcohol -- for special consideration. Nor has he spoken to the harm to youth caused by 800,000 yearly arrests. Or moved to stem the billions of dollars a year still being spent on marijuana-related arrests.

He reappointed, in fact, a Drug Enforcement Administration head, Michele Leonhart, who has refused repeated requests to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a category supposedly reserved for drugs with "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use." That makes it much harder to test the initial indications that marijuana offers powerful relief for our ex-warriors suffering severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

This is clearly not the "change" Obama's enthusiastic supporters of 2008 expected. And it's deeply ironic. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance notes that if local police departments had been enforcing marijuana laws as harshly in the early 1980s as many do today, "there's a good chance a young Columbia student named Barack Obama could have been picked up -- and not be in the White House today."

Nadelmann suggests that both the White House Drug Policy Office and the Justice Department enforcement divisions have been "co-opted" by holdover appointees deeply invested in anti-marijuana rhetoric and "let's just bust them" drug enforcement.

Facing the 2012 election, Obama is not likely to advocate, suddenly, marijuana decriminalization. But he could announce that it's time for a serious national dialogue on the issue, and that it will be a hallmark of his second term. He could express his dismay that 800,000 people, mostly young (and heavily black and Hispanic), are being arrested each year for marijuana possession -- even as 50 percent of Americans favor legalization. He could focus on the massive costs of enforcement, the deep social costs of imprisonment. Let all America, youth included, join in the debate, he could urge.

A new openness to marijuana reform could help to reignite, on campuses and among high numbers of young people, the hope for "change" that really means something.

Perhaps even prospects for the president's own re-election.

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DEAN BECKER: This is a message I sent out today to the Association of Reform Organizations. I titled it up, “Zero Respect, Infinite Outrage.”

For me, and I hope for some of you, 2012 is the time to throw caution to the wind.

I will retain an attorney, set up bail arrangements and set to work challenging as directly and as often as possible those who are fully informed who know about the truth of drug war and still continue to ensure funding for cartels and gangs who sit idly by sucking on their dream pipe while children die and families desintigrate.

I will demand the answer to just one question that given all the harms of prohibition has no credible answer. What is the benefit of drug war?

Reform owns the moral high ground, the fiscal forum, the intellectual arena and the rational rodeo for how long must we argue over the proper naming of plant species, wonder about potential “Waterloos” and nash our teeth over incremental adjustments to irrational laws and precepts.

I will begin with Ted Poe. I went to high school with Ted – now a U.S. Representative from Texas. He was a prosecutor then a judge for 20+ years. I spent a couple hours with him in his judge’s chambers back in 2002. I gave him a copy of the Schafer Report, the Jamaican Report, a dozen CDs and a couple of books and reminded him of Judge James P. Gray’s talk that we had both recently attended. When our discussion ended he agreed that the concept of drug war was irrational, illogical.

Today, as a U.S. congressman, he pretends to have forgotten our discussion. His office is only 40 miles away - his district within spitting distance. And all his constituents within range of 4 of Drug Truth Network’s 95 affiliate broadcast stations.

And so far as changing my evaluations of Ted from zero respect, infinite outrage to one of respect and less outrage – I’ll keep you informed and please wish me luck. Hey Ted, let’s talk.

Dean Becker, drugtruth.net

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The following message is brought to you by the US Ministry of Homeland Security:

(Sung to the music of Deck the Halls)

Fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear….

(Music stops)

Never forget fear!
And hatred.
Or lies.
Or deception.
Big brother says, “The war of terror will last forever.”

(Massive crowd cheering… with sheep sounds)

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DEAN BECKER: Alright, be sure to check with us next week as you’ll be hearing the best of 2011. This week Century of Lies features Neill Franklin, President of LEAP.

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

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DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth 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.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.