05/13/12 Howard Wooldridge

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Howard Wooldridge of Citizens Opposing Prohibition is riding his bike across the US to help end drug war + Mary Jane Borden with Drug War Facts & Terry Nelson of LEAP

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Transcript

Transcript

Cultural Baggage / May 13, 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: You are listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. My name is Dean Becker. Here in just a moment we’re going to have our guest, Mr. Howard Wooldridge. He’s founding member of a group called Citizens Opposing Prohibition. He’s crossing these United States on bicycle. I’m told he’s just at or just past the elevation in the Rocky Mountains and with that let’s just bring him on. He can tell us better.

Howard Wooldridge, are you there, sir?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Dean, good to hear your voice.

DEAN BECKER: Good to hear your voice, Howard. I know you’re having trouble getting a signal on that cell phone. Where are you?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: I’m road stop called Diner Shore, Colorado. Just came in from Utah. I apologize for being late. We’ve been hitting 20 mph head winds most of the day so it slowed me down considerably.

DEAN BECKER: Now are you on uphill or downhill side of those Rockies?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: We’re kind of in the middle. We did the Utah Rockies and now we still got two big passes in Colorado out by Steamboat Springs and Winter Park at 12,000 feet.

DEAN BECKER: Now, Howard, we have talked many times in the past. Many of those were when you were riding your horse, Misty, across these United States but Misty’s back home in the pasture right now, right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: That’s correct. I’m doing this on bicycle. Basically it’s a national effort “Pedaling Against Prohibition.” That’s the theme of the ride. We’ve been able to get a couple good media hits in Oregon and Idaho and Utah. Got in the (?) Trinity Tribune the other day so getting some good coverage and helping out on a personal basis to spread the word that this prohibition needs to go into the history books.

DEAN BECKER: You’re just coming into Colorado. That’s one of the states that will be voting on legal marijuana this fall, right?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: That’s correct. In fact we have a few events planned out here in Colorado. Then Misty and I will be out here in October / late September to work the street corners like we did in California 2 years ago for Prop 19. Of course I will truck and trailer her out here – not ride her. It’s a whole lot easier on both of us.

DEAN BECKER: Well, yah, yah. I don’t envy you. Maybe the weather’s a little cooler in May than if you were crossing those Rockies in August or something.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, the weather’s been great - only three hours of rain even in Oregon. Today’s sunny and about 70 – very pleasant. Except the head winds just kick you right in the teeth and you slow right down. That’s the reason I’m late.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, Howard, folks may not be aware that your, if you will, day job is a whole other matter. You hang out in the halls of Washington, D.C., correct?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Right, representing CitizensAgainstProhibition.org. I’m normally in the halls of congress 3 or 4 days per week talking to staff of congressman, attending hearings and, basically, educating congress that we need to make the issue of drugs – starting with marijuana – a Tenth Amendment, states’ right issue so that Colorado can run Colorado as they see fit free of Washington interference.

I can tell you I hit the Libertarian country of the west. This message is being very well received. Just let Idaho run Idaho and people respond to it even if they’re not really sure of my issue.

It’s all good to tell Washington, D.C. does not have all the answers and then let Idaho run Idaho has been playing very well.

DEAN BECKER: You now, Howard, the fact of the matter is you were a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and you’ve now gone on to form your current organization. Tell me if I’m wrong but I remember the talk was when LEAP was being formed – I’m not a founder I’m just kind of a charter member in the first group hired, if you will – but in the beginning was it not to kind of parallel the Viet Nam veterans against the war?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Exactly so - the Viet Nam veterans against the war. Even if you disagreed with what they had to say you could not deny their experience of working in the rice paddies of Viet Nam. Same here. Peter Christ, one of the founding five, said even if you disagree with me or not you always get the respect of being a person who was wearing the bullet proof vests, made the drug raids, saw the damage and the carnage – the suffering and death – caused by the prohibition.

So even those who disagree with me always give me credit for the 18 years I spent in the trenches wearing a badge and a gun.

DEAN BECKER: One of the reasons I brought that up is that I’m looking…this is a week old here…this is an article in the New York Times. “After the failure of our costly ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan our government is expanding its special operation forces in many countries. The regular army is deploying units under special ops as well and now 600 American soldiers are operating in Honduras in the name of the drug war.”

That’s scary, isn’t it?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: It is very scary, Dean. As you know the President of Guatemala is one of the first to stand up, Perez Merina, to stand up and say this American prohibition is getting my people killed and my country is being overrun with cartels. This is just, again, part of the Obama administration’s last gasp of trying to make this prohibition work.

Everybody knows that after 40 years, a trillion dollars that this is a failed policy, counterproductive, getting too many of our children killed as they have the job option to sell drugs. But the status quo of the prohibition, the fans of prohibition are doing all they can to keep it going at least a couple more years.

DEAN BECKER: The thing that just doesn’t get the focus that it deserves…I mean people have been talking about the horrors that go on in Mexico – 50,000 dead in the last 5 years. Their deaths per 100,000 is something like 4 times more than in the United States and people don’t realize that in Guatemala and Honduras it is 4 times deadlier than it is in Mexico.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Oh yeah. As I said on a program in Spanish about 2 months ago they went out to 20 million homes in Latin America called Oppenheimer Presenta I said in Spanish that as long as it’s 50,000 dead Mexicans dying for our drug prohibition we don’t care enough to change policy. There could be 100,000 dead Mexicans in Guatemala and we don’t care enough to change policy because Americans, generally speaking and especially in Washington, as long as it’s foreigners dying we don’t care enough.

DEAN BECKER: I’m proud to say that the Houston Chronicle has really begun to strongly recognize the horrors of this drug war. Of late they’ve had a couple stories. One about teenagers, 12 to 15/16-years-old, being enticed to smuggle small loads of drugs across the border. Being told that it’s easy. It’s a simple thing. Being paid minimal amounts and getting caught and tied into the criminal justice system and their lives ruined.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Yeah, Dean, as I’ve dealt with people in congress across the country now…look this prohibition offers a job option and, today, as we speak, according to the federal government about 1 million teenagers are employed as drug dealers and every week 2 or 3 are shot. That’s just in our country let alone Mexico and Guatemala. This is a disastrous policy for our children because not only do they have a job option which gets them shot we’re missing the pedophiles because they ‘re flying around in helicopters looking for green plants.

This is lunacy. The good news is across America people are responding to the T-shirts that say “Cops say legalize pot. Ask me why.” I’ve seen very dramatic thing two days ago at a Subway with a man. I said we need to chase pedophiles and get out of the helicopters. The man said, “My 14-year-old was kidnapped and raped because she met a guy online and then in real life and then the disaster of getting kidnapped and raped.”

He gave me a hug, blessed my journey and said I’m doing the Lord’s work. It’s stuff like that makes it easier for me to go into a head wind of 20 mph knowing that I’m helping people to know there are law enforcement that understand this is bad policy.

DEAN BECKER: That is true. Every once in a while you do get that little pat on the back, nudge of encouragement and it does help. I agree with you. I got to admit you’re a few years younger than me so I can just say you’re able to do that because of your youth.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: [chuckles] I’m old but I’m not dead.

DEAN BECKER: There you go. Howard, another story that broke this morning. They found between Monterey and the U.S. border they found 50 dead bodies laying on the highway. They looked like the Zeta’s had stacked them there, left them as a warning.

Them and Shorty Guzman are trying to outdo one another as to how barbarous, how horrific they can display their power, are they not?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Well, sure. This like gang symbols. You see gang symbols all over America because, as the feds report, the Mexican gangs control the drug trade in 1,000 American cities.

I was going through a little town of 3,000 in Oregon called Neesa(?) and there the gangs are controlling the drug trade in a little town of 3,200 people. There’s shootings, killings – it’s off the charts. And just like you see gangs in America tag with graffiti these Zeta’s and the Gulf cartel and all these guys they leave dead bodies in a certain way and that’s the sign that they are powerful. It’s the same concept just taken, obviously, further were they actually leave dead bodies as opposed to using spray paint.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Howard, a lot of times I call it joust, if you will, and I go on the comments section on say a story on the Houston Chronicle or other papers and make my comment. Somebody will respond and we do a little joust. What I run into mostly, the objection that most people seem to have to ending the drug war is that, “Well these cartels…take away their 50 billion dollars…it’s not going to stop them. They’re just going to get more violent. They’re going to get radical. They’re going to do horrible things.”

It seems you rob that 50 billion dollar supply chain and they’re going to be able to do a lot less I would think. But your response, Howard Wooldridge.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Dean, that’s just people who aren’t thinking clearly and they don’t want to give up their prohibition because, as you know, the hardest three words in English are “I was wrong.” It is very hard to say.

These people are coming up with excuse after excuse. They have for 40 years to say let’s not end it because of A, because of B, because of C. This is obviously nonsense. The Al Capone’s went away, we know that, after 1933. Most of the moonshine went away by 1935.

So we know that the cartel’s days are numbered once we end prohibition but the people who have been staking their egos, their political careers and everything else on the status quo – including, of course, police officers and their unions and their associations who would lose 80 billion dollars in wages – they will do anything to keep the money rolling and/or not say the three hardest words in the English language – “I was wrong.”

DEAN BECKER: Well, yeah, but slowly but surely…You didn’t get a chance to hear my editorial but I was talking about how for generations politicians come up through the ranks. They kind of take the duty pledge, “Yeah, we’ll believe in your drug war if it’ll help us get elected.” It’s done to support the legacy, the stature of those who came before and how it goes back to Anslinger and Sam Rayburn and all those people whose reputations were built on believing in this drug war. And that it’s like a bad fraternity prank they keep pulling on everybody. I don’t know. What’s your thoughts, Howard?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Well, I know I’m getting angrier, Dean. That latest thing where the kid was stuck in a cell for 4 days and nearly died. Tom Dobare, a wonderful man up in Montana, is looking at federal jail time for his efforts with medicinal cannabis. It’s completely, the feds are completely out of control and Obama is at the head of that.

I’m getting angry. It’s one of the reasons that’s put me in the saddle here to go across America on the bicycle. I see so much damage being done. I see so much hypocracy and cowardice in Washington, D.C. that I’ve got a little second wind, if you will, second charge in my batteries after 15 years of doing this to see it through to the end.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, folks, we’re speaking with Mr. Howard Wooldridge, former law enforcement officer. He is now riding his bicycle across America to educate and embolden you to the need to end this drug war.

Howard, tell us some stories…some of the farmers or passers-by. What kind of discussions go on?

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Well, like a told you about the one I had the other day at the Subway with the father who had his 14-year-old daughter with him and expressed his thanks. I’ve had this guy this morning in a little town called Vernal, Utah at breakfast who had his family with him.

I said, “Look, we need to get out of the helicopters and chase the bad people who are hurting our kids.”

He nodded knowing what I meant without using the pedophile word. Those type of stories are duplicated essentially every time I stop. Because people recognize, you know, my profession – the thin blue line – is getting thinner everywhere in America. They’re losing police officers everywhere and we have to make some tough choices. Are we going to continue flying around in helicopters looking for green plants or we going to go after the pedophiles in the chat rooms.

This message is being well received and people are understanding it and saying…they may not be happy with “legalize, tax and regulate marijuana” but they recognize the alternative is that we waste time on something which is silly and their own daughters or granddaughters might be hurt by bad guys that are going after them because we’re going after, you know, Willie Nelson and his winter supply.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckling] yeah…you know, that’s … Willie Nelson kind of stands of an example of, “What?! What are we doing going after Willie Nelson.” I mean, good God almighty.

I’ve been on the bus with him and it is good smoke. I’ll agree. But he’s never harmed another person. I just don’t get it.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: I wouldn’t know, Dean. I haven’t smoked in 33 years so it’s been a long time for me but I certainly recognize, as a law enforcement professional, that my job should be public safety, catching bad guys, and your personal safety – no matter what it is – should be for family and friends.

And, again, that’s a message well-received and in the halls of congress that the government can’t fix stupid and they gotta stop trying and that we…the police needs to focus on protecting the public not individuals.

The good news is many more Republicans are agreeing with me in private but in public they’re still voting to keep the federal prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Well, it is coming around. I mean here at the station I’ve talked to law enforcement or criminal justice officials that before the show sounded like they could join LEAP. When that microphone came on…wellll…it’s a whole nuther story. That’s where we got to break that disconnect or however you’d say it.

Well, Howard, we’re going to have to wrap it up there. I do wish you wind at your back at least part of the way.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: Thanks, I could use it. These bones are getting a little bit older at 61 but we’ll persevere. Misty and I did 6 months across America. I’ll be doing it in about 2 months. Like a Paul Revere I’ll be back in the halls of congress until I go out to Colorado and really push hard for Amendment 64.

All hands on deck, Dean. All hands on deck in Colorado in late October.

DEAN BECKER: You betcha. Howard, your website, please.

HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE: http://CitizensOpposingProhibition.org 501c(3) non-profit. It helps keep a police voice in the halls of congress to help them shape policy every day in the United States Congress.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, Howard Wooldridge, God speed my friend.

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(Game show music)

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

Thirst, obesity, high fever, rigid muscles, shaking, convulsions, sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, uncontrollable movements, stroke, diabetes, coma and death.

{{{ gong }}}

Time’s up!

The answer: from Bristol-Meyers Squib Aripiprazole or Abilify for psychosis and schizophrenia. Probably for use after you smoke some of that high-grade marijuana the government keeps talking about.

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DEAN BECKER: The following audio is taken from a television commercial produced by “Yes on 64” campaign in Colorado to legalize marijuana like alcohol. It shows a young girl sitting out under a tree with her computer typing a letter to her mother.

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GIRL READING HER TYPED WORDS: Dear Mom,

When I was in college I used to drink a lot. It was kind of crazy. But now that I’m older I prefer to use marijuana. It’s less harmful to my body. I don’t get hung over and, honestly, I feel safer around marijuana users.

I hope this makes sense but, if not, let’s talk. I love you.

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DEAN BECKER: The closing frames show a graphic: TalkItUpColorado.org

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[monkey noises]

DEAN BECKER: Place 12 monkeys in a room. Place a ladder in the middle of the room and hang a bunch of bananas from the ceiling over the ladder. Leave the room and watch through a 2-way mirror.

When the first monkey starts climbing the ladder, seeking bananas, whack the monkey with a broomstick. Whack additional monkeys as necessary. Prevent them from reaching the bananas.

Continue this effort until the monkeys until the monkeys begin stopping one another from climbing the ladder.

Remove one of the original 12 monkeys and replace with a monkey who has never been whacked with a broom. Watch as the original monkeys keep the newbie from climbing the ladder.

Replace the original monkeys one-by-one. Watch as a roomful of un-whacked monkeys keep one another from the ladder and the bananas even though none of them know the original reason to refrain.

Observe the perfect example of the mechanism of drug war in action.

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MARY JANE BORDER: Hello drug policy aficionados! I'm Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts.

The question for this week asks, Which drugs impair driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other sources, many do. Let's take a look:

Alcohol "reduces the ability to see distant objects ... Blurred and double vision can also occur. Alcohol may also create a sense of overconfidence, with the result that people are prepared to take greater risks."

Amphetamines "have been associated ... with driving impairment both in the stimulation and withdrawal stages; in the latter case especially as the drug interacts with fatigue."

Antidepressants "can cause impairment, especially in circumstances where extremely high blood concentrations are measured ... There is also an additional risk of impairment associated with combined use with alcohol."

Antihistamines, "such as diphenhydramine, cause sedation, [which is] distinguished as ... drowsiness."

Barbiturates "are associated with delayed reaction times and possibly loss of concentration."

Benzodiazepines (such as Valium or Xanax ) "... desired/therapeutic effect ... is sedation, n, which would obviously have a detrimental effect on driving."

Methadone, "a narcotic analgesic, ... may have differential performance effects in naïve, recreational users versus tolerant therapeutic users ..."

Opiates are narcotic analgesics ... [that] "After an initial rush, ... act as CNS depressants and certainly could have performance-decreasing effects."

Sleep aids, such as Ambien , "cause drowsiness and may cause dizziness. If consumed with alcohol, there is an increased likelihood of these symptoms. Sleep aids alone or in combination with alcohol could have a detrimental effect on driving ability."

Cannabinoids "experimental and epidemiologic evidence [of their] ... effects on driving are mixed. When marijuana is found in drivers, ... it is often in conjunction with alcohol, where an impairing effect is more likely."

Quite a long list for a simple question.

These Facts and other can be found under Impairment in the Drug War Facts Drug Testing Chapter at www.drugwarfacts.org.

If you have a question for which you need facts, please e-mail it to me at mjborden@drugwarfacts.org. I'll try to answer your question in an upcoming show.

So remember when you need facts about drugs and drug policy, you can get the facts at Drug War Facts.

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DEAN BECKER: Opening up a can of worms and going fishing for truth. This is the Drug Truth Network, http://drugtruth.net

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TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Many of you may remember the old TV show, Let’s make a deal. That is what our current drug policy is modeled after or so it sometimes seems. If you are arrested and have something to trade then you can bargain for a lighter sentence or “make a deal” with the prosecution. If you are arrested and don’t want to trade or have nothing to trade then you will get the maximum. This means that you can easily get life behind bars for a crime against the state that was a non violent offense. There are people in the US now serving life sentences and there are major cartel members that are serving half that time or even less. Now who would you rather have behind bars the violence driven cartel members or some non violent offender that got caught up in this web of deceit and intrigue?

It may be that our criminal justice system is so frustrated at their inability to stem the crime associated with probhibition of drugs that they just strike out against anyone that does not “play the… let’s make a deal game”. When I was working in this game I often said to the person arrested “you can share the pain or play the game”. This meant you can give me information and get a lesser sentence or you can do the whole bag all by yourself. Not many chose to dance alone. However, I have also had people that cooporated with me assinated by the cartels that they informed on. So the drug war is not a “lets make a deal game” but is instead a very dangerous game to play and no one should even think of playing in that arena unless you are willing to risk death or life in prison if you are apprehended.

But our criminal justice system spends way too much effort and resources in this failed public policy. There are many crimes against people out there that are going unpunished because resources are tied up in the drug war. It is, I guess, sexier to work drugs than murder, robbery, assault, etc. For one thing it is a lot easier to make an arrest and the resulting overtime in the drug war than it is in the real crime arena.

Senator Webb of Virginia tried but was not successful in getting a blue ribbon panel established to study our criminal justice system. He said “either America has the most violent people in the world or there is something seriously wrong with our system”.

This is an election year and it is imperative that you vote and let your representatives know what you think about the drug war policy. We at LEAP call for a policy of regulation and control coupled with education and treatment to deal with our drug abuse issues. We know that we will never arrest and incarcerate our way out of the drug mess that we are in.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc signing off. Stay safe.

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[ guitar ]

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.

Cut me loose, set me free
Judge what I do not what I put inside of me
Why do you dip in 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.

Pfizer and Merck kill more of us
Than cartel’s crap ever could.
They thank us for our silence
Each year’s hundred billion dollars
And a chance to do it for ever more.

Drugs…the first eternal war.

Cut me loose, set me free
Judge what I do not what I put inside of me
Why do you dip in 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
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.

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DEAN BECKER: Well, that’s about it. Please be sure to check out the most recent Century of Lies show which features segments from Dr. Melamede, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Barney Frank, an editorial.

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