04/15/12 James Gierach

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James Gierach, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition re Obama saying no to ending drug war + Guy Schwartz, Texas musician re 420 fests

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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / April 15, 2012

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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!”

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: Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. This is Dean Becker. We have with us in studio Guy Schwartz. He of the Jack Hippies. We’ll have him on here in just a minute.

First I wanted to alert you to the fact that we’re going to have Mr. James Gierach, a former prosecutor in Chicago, a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He who attended the UN Convention on Drugs and testified earlier this spring. We’re going to be talking about his journey to Vienna and we’re also going to be talking about Barack Obama and his journey to Cartagena, Colombia to the Summit of the Americas.

But we’re going to slow it down just a little bit and talk music, talk about 420 which is fixin’ to happen all across America – hell, around the world. Guy you’ve been doing this with us here at Houston NORML for quite some time and we want to thank you for that.

GUY SCHWARTZ: I thank Houston NORML for fighting on the front lines.

DEAN BECKER: Guy, you know, you have made quite name for yourself. You’ve got your musical venue each spring which you bring forward many great acts here - all that good entertainment to the state of Texas. Tell us quickly about that, please.

GUY SCHWARTZ: That’s South by Due East and what it is is a 3 or 4 day video shoot that we do every year. We set it up to look like a music festival full of local and regional, original artists. Once in a while, every couple years, we include poets and comedians. We make television programming, radio programming and various media out of it to help promote the individual artists and the Houston music scene itself and give all the bands great sounding video for free so that they have that to help promote themselves as well.

DEAN BECKER: You know I don’t Houston or Texas, for that matter, gets the recognition that it deserves within the music industry or on the national press, if you know what I’m saying…

GUY SCHWARTZ: It’s true.

DEAN BECKER: We’ve got a lot of great talent down here. The…

GUY SCHWARTZ: Always have.

DEAN BECKER: The event here in Houston is going to be on 4/21. That’s going to be at the last concert…

GUY SCHWARTZ: I love it when we have the 420 celebration on 4/21 because I get to celebrate 2 days.

DEAN BECKER: We won’t quite have a smoke-in like, well, like they won’t have up in Boulder Colorado this time.

GUY SCHWARTZ: No, the school called it off.

DEAN BECKER: The school called it off. They’re going to arrest anybody without a student ID. In years past it’s been more than 10,000 attendees and, quite literally, a cloud of marijuana smoke enveloped the campus.

But they’re going to have police patrolling that campus…

GUY SCHWARTZ: So they’ll probably have a smoke-out down by the river in Little Rock where it’s illegal but where they got medical marijuana kind of passed and in pretty good shape in Colorado. The people in Boulder are walking backwards.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckles] So, here in Houston it will be at the last concert. I’m sure you folks at the different affiliates around there will have it in your area as well. I urge you to attend. It is important to show your support for NORML or whichever organization is trying to educate and embolden you.

We’re going to have speakers like Buford Terrell, now retired college professor. We’re going to have Couger Texas playing. We’ll have speakers from the Green Party. I think David Courtney is going to be there. Tom Loud is speaking. Of course I’ll be speaking. I’ll be co-hosting a bit.

We’re going to have Tory from Anarchitects and, of course, our good friend and a friend of NORML and Common Sense, Mr. Guy Scwhartz and his New Jack Hippies. A speaker from the Houston Free Thinkers. Yellow Echo will be playing, Generation Landslide and lots of good folks will be in attendance.

It’s worth your while. The weather is perfect. I understand there’s little chance of rain on that day. This time of year, last concert it can be just look up at the stars and listen to the music…

GUY SCHWARTZ: They told us that it rained on us at the 420 Fest a couple years ago but nobody seems to remember.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckles] I remember the wind blowing but…

GUY SCHWARTZ: It was a sweet wind.

DEAN BECKER: Can you play a song for us? What do you got.

GUY SCHWARTZ: Sure, it’s part of what I do. Let me start out with a weed song.

[guitar]

Soon as I smoked it
I couldn’t find it.

I checked my pocket
She checked her lunch kit.

We looked all over
For that bag of weed.

But the only thing I found
was this here tray of stems and seeds

That missing weed
That missing weed

We keep looking ‘round and ‘round
For that missing bag of weed

But all we find is
This bag of stems and seeds

We keep looking for
That missing bag of weed.

Soon as we saw it
We pulled right over

I had to pick some
Kentucky wild flowers

An hour later
There was nothing there to roll

So we drove back 50 miles
And searched the whole field
Until we found that bag of weed

That missing weed
That missing weed

We keep looking ‘round and ‘round
For (that was a true story)

All we find is this bag of stems and seeds
We keep looking for that missing bag of weed

[speaking]
Now it seems that the troopers, they don’t have this problem.

We stashed it out in back of the van and those guys they just zoned right in .

[singing]
They took it all away
And sent us on our way

With a couple of citations
We’re still paying on today.

That missing weed
That missing weed

We keep looking ‘round and ‘round
For that missing…[it was so good. It was from Colorado]

All we find is
This bag of stems and seeds

We keep looking for that
Missing bag of weed.

We keep looking for that
Missing bag of weed.

We keep looking for that
Missing bag of weed.

[guitar stops]

Roger likes to say, “Only users lose drugs.”

[final chord]

DEAN BECKER: Guy Schwartz, my friends. Thank you, Guy.

You know, there’s a lot of humor involved in people’s perceptions about weed. Not just from our side of things but from the inaccuracies and the fallacies that the other side seems to cling to. That somehow it’s like getting drunk.

GUY SCHWARTZ: I remember on my first wedding night we had a party back in our tiny apartment and this one booking agent came to pay his respects and be nice but he wasn’t part of our crowd. We were all sitting there getting high and listening to, I think it was the “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” that Michael Canust had given me as a wedding present.

The smoke was real thick in the room and this booking agent is looking all wide-eyed around the room and I said, “Well, what do you think?”

He said, “I don’t know.” I said, “Well, you know…we seem normal don’t we?”

“Yeah.”

“What are you expecting? Are you expecting us to start walking on the ceiling?”

He says, “I was waiting….”

[both chuckle]

It just distracts me enough to not think about the chronic pains that I’ve accumulated in 60 years of life.

DEAN BECKER: In California I ran into some lotions that totally non-psychoactive that help the shoulders, that relieve rheumatism – whatever I got in there. I can’t afford to go to the doctor to find out. So who are they to say that I shouldn’t try to…

GUY SCHWARTZ: Local growers who might be listening right now…well, not local, Dean, you’re worldwide. Growers who might be listening – if you’re not hip to this…those fan leaves that you cut off…as soon as you start drying those plants can be juiced and made into a real nice little drink that a lot of people swear by for keeping your general health and even making some conditions go away.

It’s a super plant and we haven’t put the money into researching it like we should. We don’t use it because too many businesses would be out of business.

DEAN BECKER: You know what the real problem is…and I’ve interviewed a lot of folks…it boils down to this. It’s not that there’s no research it’s that the U.S. government won’t pay for any U.S. government research because they don’t want to hear the answer they know they’re going to get.

GUY SCHWARTZ: They got to protect their corporations.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, those profits because if I could grow it in my backyard Pfizer and Merck would just have to go and ‘suck it’.

GUY SCHWARTZ: Since I’m getting foreclosed and losing my home I am going to be moving to a state where I’m legal. I’ll maintain residence in Houston as well but from now on I’ll be in a state where I am allowed to grow a few plants and I don’t have to worry about the legal ramifications and it doesn’t cost me anything and I don’t support the cartels and …

DEAN BECKER: Man, we’re zooming right through this. We’re speaking with Mr. Guy Schwartz of the New Jack Hippies. We’re talking about 420 Fest. I hope you’re having one in your city. We’re having one here in Houston. The last concert is going to be on April 21st…

GUY SCHWARTZ: Saturday…this Saturday.

DEAN BECKER: at Last Concert Café…

GUY SCHWARTZ: in the Warehouse District in Houston on the lower, northeast side of downtown on Nance Street.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Guy, can you play us another song? We’re running…

GUY SCHWARTZ: Well, I could but I was thinking…you know, I like to do spontaneous stuff with the New Jack Hippies so why not do it here.

There’s a song that you and I recorded of yours years ago…

DEAN BECKER: Are you talking about Eternal War?

GUY SCHWARTZ: Yes. Do you know it enough so we could try to fake it?

DEAN BECKER: Well, I fake it…

GUY SCHWARTZ: Nobody’s listening…it’s just us three here in the studio…

DEAN BECKER: Well, alright….let’s give it a shot.

[guitar]

DEAN BECKER: If they stop Afghanistan from growing opium
And they cut down the Colombian cocaine

When Mexico runs out of marijuana
They think we’ll quit getting high
But the drug store on the corner is standing by

Pfizer and Merck kill more of us
Than the cartel’s crack ever could.

They thank us for our silence
And each year’s hundred billion dollars
And a chance to do it forever more

Drugs, the first eternal war

Cut me lose…set me free…
Judge what I do…not what I put inside of me

Why do you pick my pocket
Just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?!

Get out of my life
Let me be.

Are we just peasants in the field?
Well, let’s stand for truth or forever kneel.

Every 16 seconds we hear the slamming door
And we owe it all to eternal war.

The first eternal war…

[final chord]

Thank you, Guy.

Alright folks, forgive me. Applause should be for Mr. Guy Schwartz. Guy, could you play us one more song. Kind of walk us out of here.

Folks, please come to the Last Concert Café next Staurday, 4/21 about 8 o’clock. Speakers, a lot of great bands including our good friend here, Mr. Guy Schwartz.

Guy, take us out.

[ sliding guitar ]

GUY SCHWARTZ: I roll my own and I smoke my own.
That’s the way the lord planned it.

I roll my own and I smoke my own
I wish they’d all understand it.

I like my reefer like I like my fun
But the government’s part of a great big conspiracy

The rich man come with his money and gun
And say you can’t get high unless you buy from me.

That’s why I roll my own and smoke my own
The stuff I grew last summer

I roll my own and I smoke my own
I’m down to the seeds and it such a bummer.

[speaking] and if I had the the big bend with me right now it would sound something like…

[humming bending guitar part]

Hey Mr. President listen to me
It’s time to set ol Mr. Joe man free

It’s time medical use and hemp products too
The treasury could sure use some dope revenue.

That’s why I roll my own and I smoke my own
The stuff I grew last summer

I roll my own and I smoke my own
I’m down to the seeds it’s such a bummer

I roll my own and I smoke my own
That’s the way the lord planned it.

I roll my own and I smoke my own
I wish they’d all understand.

[final chord]

DEAN BECKER: Right! Guy Schwartz, thank you so much.

GUY SCHWARTZ: Thank you, Dean. Thanks for all you do.

DEAN BECKER: Folks, Guy Schwartz and the New Jack Hippies.

GUY SCHWARTZ: Keep fighting the fight, people! You got to stand up. You got to let them know how you feel. It seems futile but it won’t happen unless we stand up every day.

DEAN BECKER: There you go, my friends. Alright, Guy Schwartz. We’ll be back in just a couple seconds with Mr. James Gierarch of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Thank you, Guy.

GUY SCHWARTZ: Thank you, Dean.

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(Game show music)

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

Changes in sex drive, pounding heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, difficult speech, dizziness, seizures, believing things that aren’t true, feeling suspicious of others, hallucinating, mania and hostile behavior….

(gong)

Time’s up!

The answer from Shire-Richwood Incorporated: Adderall.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright, my friends, thank you for being with us here on Cultural Baggage. This is Dean Becker. We just had Mr Guy Schwartz here in studio.

Right now we have a former prosecutor based in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. James Gierach. Quick quote from him, “The War on Drugs puts more drugs everywhere and is at the heart of American crisis.”

James, are you there, sir?

JAMES GIERARCH: I am, Dean, good to be with you.

DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us. James, you…there’s much to talk about here. Much is happening in the drug war in recent days. You were an attendee to the UN Convention on Drugs this spring, correct?

JAMES GIERARCH: Yes, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs met last month in March in Vienna. I and several other LEAP members and speakers were there.

DEAN BECKER: There was discussion on the sidelines…much discussion about the need for change, correct?

JAMES GIERARCH: Well, individually the delegates from these almost 200 nations who are members of the three prohibition treaties that the United Nations has passed with the aid of its member states and they put prohibition in place. The delegates who came to the 55t h session of the Commission in Vienna were basically sent with marching orders to support prohibition even though all of the reports that came from the secretariat regarding drug use were negative.

Drug use is up. Drug trafficking is up. Therefor what do we do? More of the same.

The United States introduced a resolution to celebrate the Hague Opium Treaty, the first international prohibition treaty against opium which was passed in 1912 so this was the 100-year anniversary so the United States introduces a resolution that says, “We should reaffirm this prohibition treaties.” – Three of which are in place and nail, really, all the countries of the world to the cross of drug prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: And that seems to be our role. We are the guys who tell everyone to take the “silver or the lead.” President Obama had something to say…listen up here…it’s about a minute…we’ll be right back.

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DEAN BECKER: Speaking at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, this is U.S. President Barrack Obama.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are ones that are doing more harm than good in certain places. I, personally, and my administration’s position is that legalization is not the answer. That, in fact, if you think about how it would end up operating, the capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally without any constraint could be just as corrupting if not more corrupting than the status quo.

Nevertheless, I’m a big believer in looking at the evidence, having a debate. I think ultimately what we’re going to find is that the way to solve this problem is both in the United States – us dealing with demand in a more effective way – but it’s also going to be strengthening institutions at home.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright, we’re speaking with James Gierarch, former prosecutor, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. James, what did you think of the President’s speech?

JAMES GIERARCH: The President is obviously dead wrong. Prohibition is the most effective way to put more drugs everywhere. In February I was in Mexico City and Antonio Mazzitelli was the representative of the United Nations. We were there at a drug policy conference. Mazzitelli gets up and say, “We can’t legalize drugs because it would make the problems of health around the world worse.”

I was the speaker who followed him and I turned to him and I said, “Well, how is it that this policy, this Al Capone, UN-policy paradigm that we have in place now (prohibition) it has resulted in 50,000 murders here in Mexico since Calderon took over in 2006. How is that good for the public health?!”

.And then I said to him, “While were here, we got 38 speakers from around the world and you’re saying we’re worried about the health, this drug policy just resulted in the seizure of 15 tons of meth while we’re here giving this speech. How is that good for public health?!”

President Barrack Obama just refused to take up the subject of legalization saying it’s not his policy, it’s not the U.S. government’s policy and the fact is that’s the policy that’s turning American cities into jungles. Where you can have safe streets or drug prohibition and we keep choosing prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, James, I picked up from him that he said it’s time to have a legitimate conversation but he’s worried about certain places where, you know, the large drug trade would dominate countries. And the fact of the matter is if it were legal, nobody’s going to dominate because we’d grow it in our backyard if we want to. The price would drop to a penny on the dollar. It has no basis in reality, does it?

JAMES GIERARCH: Dean, Al Capone was in favor of the prohibition of liquor because the prohibition was the foundation of his business. Today the drug cartels are in favor of prohibition because it’s the foundation of their business. Yesterday when President Obama made his statement that he was opposed to drug legalization, control and regulation of substances he was siding with the drug cartels. He was siding with the street gangs. He was siding with the murder cases, with the overdoses, with the bullet holes, with the addict crime, with the building of America with prisons…

DEAN BECKER: Young girls in prostitution…the list just goes on.

JAMES GIERARCH: Public enemy #1 in America and the world is the War on Drugs and we have a president who, thus far, has said he supports prohibition. Inexcusable.

And these Latin American leaders are putting Obama’s feet to the fire, as they should be, and the American people should be putting Obama’s feet to the fire because he is leading our country right into the mouth of the dragon of “public enemy #1” which is the War on Drugs, prohibition.

He’s making war on people who need medical marijuana in the marijuana states where the people themselves in this country have voted in favor of it and have declared that it’s medicine. He has sicked the DEA, the Internal Revenue Service and federal agents on Oaksterdam and these other sites in California, Washington, Oregon and the western states of our country. It’s outrageous and it’s inexcusable for a president who cares, proportedly, about the public health, safety and welfare.

DEAN BECKER: James, also President Obama says that he wants to deal with demand. He’s talking about American demand. I would just postulate…let’s say everyone in America quit using drugs. The rest of the world would still be buying from and encouraging, if you will, these cartels and bad actors all over the planet. It makes no sense. I’m sorry.

And then he closed it out by saying it’s time to strengthen institutions at home. Those same institutions that were at Oaksterdam, I suppose – the DEA, the FBI, the Justice Department – to go after people deciding for themselves what they want to put into their own body. There is no justification. He will not be able to cling to his fabrication, his hysteria for much longer, will he?

JAMES GIERARCH: Dean, this business about reducing demand is a bunch of poppycock. We have the president of the United States who accompanies him with the Secret Service to go down to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia and while they’re down there because of the temptation of women, because of the natural attraction of men to women these agents get in trouble. So now how are we going to reduce the demand of the agents for female company…

DEAN BECKER: …beautiful Colombian women…

JAMES GIERARCH: …outlaw female company, I suppose…we can outlaw drugs be you can’t eliminate something that’s inborn with man. You can encourage him to do the right thing but prohibition then puts the price so elevated that it tempts people to go into the business and to do these things they certainly would not be doing on the scale that they are in this War on Drugs.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, the Guardian newspaper had an article today taking about Colombia calls for global task drugs task force. Let me read a bit from it.
Quoting the president, “Why is Colombia leading this? Because we learned the hard way and we have the moral authority in the 1980s. We failed to face reality and as a result our society was taken to the brink and almost destroyed by violence and cartels. We do not want other places in Central America or Africa to go through the pain we went through. They and all of us have to act fast because the many-headed monster grows very fast and destroys very fast.”

Very profound words, aren’t they?!

JAMES GIERARCH: Well, they are. This War on Drugs is number 1 the most effective way to put more drugs everywhere. Number two it’s the heart of whatever crisis you want to name in America or in the world, virtually. The problem of guns, gangs, crimes, prisons, taxes, deficits, AIDS, health care, trade imbalance, corruption, no money for schools, job programs, the funding of terrorism, the corruption of the kids, the corruption of the police…and why has this war been in place so long when it’s failed so mightily as the people of the world overwhelmingly conclude?

The answer is the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are both on the same side of the line of scrimmage – both in favor of drug war. Both because they’re riding the drug war gravy train though in different ways.

Prohibition puts money into the cartels’ pockets. If you legalize any substance and you make the substance available in a regulated way it takes money out of the cartels’ pockets.

On the other side of the coin you’ve got Clinton who says we have to hire 100,000 more policemen because we’ve got so much crime and violence. Well, we did – why? Because of prohibition.

Then we build prisons to the point where it’s the fastest growing housing in the United States in the 1990s. Where the United States – the “Land of the Free” – is now the prison capital of the world with the highest rate of incarceration than any country in the world.

We take black people and put them in jail and hire white people to run the prisons and it’s a racist, just absolutely indefensible policy which the United States is the primary component of.

DEAN BECKER: James, I got to stop you there. We’re flat out of time. We’ve been speaking with Mr. James Gierarch, a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Please check out their website, http://leap.cc.

Got about 30 seconds left here. James, thank you so much.

JAMES GIERARCH: Well, Dean, a pleasure to be with you and your listeners.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, be sure to check out this week’s Century of Lies show. It features an interview with Dudley Althaus, a reporter with the Houston Chronicle. Again talking about President Obama and his “Just say no” to ending the funding of terrorists, cartels and gangs.

And, as always, I remind you, my friends, 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 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