03/02/14 Brian C Bennet

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Brian Bennett, designer of "Truth The Anti Drug War" + Obama got high before becoming Pres, Brits condemn US drug war

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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / March 2, 2014

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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: Ah, yes, thank you my friends for being with us today on this edition of Cultural Baggage. In just a few seconds we are going to bring in our guest, Mr. Brian Bennett – a long-time friend of mine. I don’t know if we’ve ever met but we’ve certainly corresponded and communicated over the years. He, like me, is trying to end this drug war, trying to expose this fraud for just what it is.

With that let’s just go ahead and bring him in.

Brian, can you hear me?

BRIAN BENNETT: Yes I can, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: I was telling folks that you are trying to demystify, disassemble, somehow do away with this drug war. Are you not?

BRIAN BENNETT: That is correct and I think you’ve captured the phrase as best on that with “The Unvarnished Truth.”

DEAN BECKER: Tell folks about what you do, how we discovered one another and all that.

BRIAN BENNETT: I started out back in 2002 - I believe it was. I had long been interested in putting an end to the drug war for a number of reasons and it dawned on me finally that maybe it would be a great idea to try to pull together as much of the government-sourced data that I could possibly find since that’s what people were arguing about classically and still are – these little one-liner snippets about some statistic that they come up with and they never give you the reference back to the data itself where you can look at it and figure out what it means so I started doing that.

I basically took all the information from the different drug use studies, mortality statistics, traffic statistics, everything and anything that the government collects that touches in any way the War on Drugs I obtained it, graphed it out and put it up there online so people could use it.

DEAN BECKER: I have used it over the years myself. Who’s tending the fire? Who’s tending the truth? That really boils down to a bunch of profiteers who have the “official” government truth on this, right?

BRIAN BENNETT: That is absolutely correct and it’s one of the things that’s really hurting us quite a bit that authority figures still carry a lot of weight. In a lot of ways I guess that’s a good thing however with this particular topic the “authority figures” are the absolute last person that you want to be listening to.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, I wanted to share this with the listeners. This is coming from the preface of my brand new book, “To End the War on Drugs: A guide for politicians, the press and public.” It’s out there on Kindle, CreateSpace and Amazon. You can get a copy if you want. I talk about my travels around Central and South America, around the world and I’m just going to read this one paragraph.

“I did not have to travel far to meet John Walters when he was our nation’s Drug Czar. Walters gave a speech at a Houston junior high about gangs and drugs. When it was over Walters was sitting by himself packing his briefcase. I had been in touch with his office for weeks trying to arrange an interview. As I approached him I smiled, held out my business card and offered to shake his hand.

“He looked at me somewhat like a cow does when looking at a combine. Again I offered my card and he waved his hand over his head and quickly finished packing. As he stood four security guards surrounded him as he walked towards the exit.

“I kept pace with his entourage, offering my card until Walters mumbled something. One of the goons stepped in front of me, put his hand in his coat and said, ‘He doesn’t want to talk to you.’”

And this book tells you why. The point being that debate to finalize or to analyze or to correct the trajectory of this drug war seems unlikely to happen in a public venue. Your thought there?

BRIAN BENNETT: Absolutely and I agree. I’m amazed that you got that close to him in the first place and they didn’t stop you. The big problem with it is...I believe deep down inside they know that they have an undefendable position but they are being paid to maintain the position that they have. The last thing they want to do is get out in a public forum and discuss issues with somebody who really knows what they are doing.

Once in a while you see them get on little Headline News, CNN, those types of shows where they have the pre-canned set of things that they are going to say. More often than not they’ll at least be somebody representing the opposition who will do the same thing and they will talk past each other and nothing really gets resolved.

DEAN BECKER: If you’ll bear with me...just recently President Obama attended some sort of youth conference for young black kids. Let’s just hear what he had to say. I think this is something the listeners will appreciate.

This is President Barack Obama after speaking with a bunch of young black kids about how to handle situations in life.

BARACK OBAMA: I sat down in the circle and we went around led by their councilor and guys talked about their life, about their stories, talked about what they were struggling with and how they were trying to do the right thing and how sometimes they didn’t always do the right thing.

When it was my turn I explained to them that when I was their age I was a lot like them. I didn’t have a dad in the house and I was angry about it even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time.

I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.

I remember when I was saying this (Christian, you may remember this) after I was finished the guy sitting next to me said, “Are you talking about you?”

[audience laughs]

I said, “Yeah.”

The point was I could see myself in these young men. The only difference is that I grew up in an environment with a little bit more forgiveness so that when I made a mistake the consequences were not as severe. I had people who encouraged me – not just my mom and grandparents – but wonderful teachers and community leaders and they pushed me to work hard and study hard and make the most of myself.

If I didn’t listen they said it again. If I didn’t listen they said it a third time. They would give me second chances and third chances. They never gave up on me so I didn’t give up on myself.

I told these young men my story then and I repeat it now because I firmly believe that every child deserves the same chances that I had.

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DEAN BECKER: Once again that was President Obama just a couple days ago advising a bunch of young kids on how to get by.

We are online with Mr. Brian Bennett. Brian, your response to the president’s words.

BRIAN BENNETT: It’s extraordinarily disappointing as it is any time a politician opens their mouth with regard to their past “indiscretions.” It’s almost like they have to sign a piece of paper saying whenever I get out in public and talk about my past I’ll make sure I tell everybody, “Oh, it was a terrible mistake. I’m so lucky.”

It’s absurd. President Obama grew up in the same generation that I did and everybody was doing illegal drugs. The reality is the vast majority of those people are successful in life. They go to college. They raise families. They pay taxes.

To me it’s so absurd that they always have to throw in that little mia culpa whenever they’re talking about it.

DEAN BECKER: I think about the CEOs and the scientists and the doctors and the past 3 presidents of the United States who had youthful indiscretions, who used at least marijuana and in Obama’s case cocaine as well. It just seems preposterous to say....A couple of things he said he sees himself in those kids so why would he want to continue locking them up for little bits of pot? Why doesn’t he change it from Schedule I to Schedule III or V or something?

He says times were more forgiving when he was a kid and that is true. We didn’t have the mandatory-minimums and all this other hoopla that we do have now. It just seems incongruous, hypocritical...The fact of the matter is there’s just no rationale for believing what he does despite the fact that he used drugs and went on to become President of the United States. Where is the failing of fallout?

BRIAN BENNETT: It’s one of the most disgusting things about it all to me. Politicians are completely sect less. It’s like, wait a minute – you are finally in a position where you can have a positive effective change – you can do this and instead they hide behind the usual claptrap about, “Well, you know, things are different now. Weeds stronger and, oh my God, this can wreck your whole life.”

And, he’s correct. This can wreck your whole life if you get caught.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, he’s lucky that he got those second chances. He had advisors and family that helped him get on track and become president. Not everybody has that means or access.

What I’m really thinking, though, is the time is now to embarrass these politicians. Sadly you weren’t there. I wasn’t there. We didn’t get a chance to do any follow-up questions to ask him, “Why are you so feckless? Why aren’t you facing down this truth on behalf of these generations you’re pretending to protect?”

BRIAN BENNETT: I have to agree and I think a lot of this is driven by degradation of journalism as a profession.

DEAN BECKER: Oh yeah.

BRIAN BENNETT: They’re not doing their job. They’re basically just doing like happy high fives or whatever with whoever it is they are talking to. They never ask the hard questions. They always softball everything.

It’s like – wait a minute – your job is to ask the hard questions. Your job is to hold these people accountable for their behaviors and for their misstatements and they’re not doing it.

DEAN BECKER: No, no. I often think about it and this is almost verbatim. I remember when the violence was escalating 2 and 3 years ago in Mexico when the numbers were just climbing sky high and they were talking about tens of thousands of people are dying in Mexico – we’ll have both sides of the story at 10 o’clock. And they did have both sides of the story at 10 o’clock...one is protect the children here as if we’ve ever kept even one determined child from getting their hands on drugs. The other is to stop the drug trade or to legalize or flip that coin. They don’t ever do that. They don’t ever look at what legalization really means.

BRIAN BENNETT: No, they don’t. In fairness, though, one of the things that I’ve been trying to focus on is that - and you actually said it in the preface to your book. You said, look, we’re operating under a pseudo-mystical-mythology here in regard to all this stuff. We’ve all heard the same clap track about it our entire lives – drugs are bad, drugs are bad, drugs are bad.

It basically becomes background noise where the average person kind of divorces logic, sensibility, ration out of it and just accepts it on face value.

DEAN BECKER: If you will bear with me I’m going to do a couple contractually obligated things and we’ll be right back with Mr. Brian Bennett.

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(Game show music)

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

Confusion, changes in breathing, heartbeat or blood pressure, unusual changes in behavior, agitation, irritability, worsening depression, suicidal thoughts, leaking or enlarged breasts, impotence, stroke, and death.

(Gong)

Time’s up!

The answer: Latuda from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for depression.

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SPEAKER 1: Where are 1 percent of American adults?

SPEAKER 2: I imagine we can find out. We could use Google Earth because some of them are quite big. There’s one – he’s got his own post code.

SPEAKER 1: 1 percent...what’s the population today?

SPEAKER 2: 300 million isn’t it?

SPEAKER 1: So you’re talking about between 2.5 and 3 million ...

SPEAKER 2: jail...

SPEAKER 1: Yes, G for jail – the English spelling of jail, of course, but it is G for jail.

SPEAKER 2: 3 million people are locked up...

SPEAKER 1: Well, 2.3 which is one in every 99.1 adults. America imprisons more than twice as many South Africans, more than 3 times as many as the Iranians, more than 6 times as many as the Chinese. No society in history has imprisoned more of its citizens than the United States of America.

SPEAKER 2: We serve the European League...

SPEAKER 1: We’re ahead of China, Turkey and India with 148 prisoners per 100,000.

SPEAKER 2: It’s the three strikes and they’re out.

SPEAKER 1: That’s been the problem, yeah.

SPEAKER 2: A legal system based on baseball just seems bizarre. People don’t seem to understand the law. It’s all very complicated. What’s simple? What do people like? Baseball!

SPEAKER 1: What it means is the first 2 crimes you are convicted of on the third one no matter how trivial will get a life sentence – 25 or more. So, for example, Leandra Andre is serving 2 consecutive 25 year terms for shoplifting 9 video tapes.

Kevin Weber – 26 years for stealing 4 chocolate chip cookies. It is a bit bonkers.

The racial figures are a bit worrying and the gender numbers. It’s one in 30 men aged 20 to 34 is behind bars but for black males that’s one in nine. There are more 17-year-old black people in jail than in college.

So 5% of the world are Americans – 25% of prisoners are Americans.

SPEAKER 2: It’s a business...

SPEAKER 1: Well, that’s true, as you say – it is a business.

SPEAKER 2: It’s not just license plates – they make loads of stuff.

SPEAKER 1: One of the things I should have said when talking about contraband is that you’re not allowed to bring into America anything that’s been made by forced labor or prisons but in America you can almost say (if you were so minded) that they’ve reinvented the slave trade.

They produce , for example, 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags and other items for uniforms, 93% of domestically produced paints, 36% of home appliances, 21% of office furniture which allows the United States to compete with factories in Mexico because, obviously, the workers can’t refuse to work for 25 cents an hour.

SPEAKER 2: I’d very much like to say something hilarious but something must be done.

SPEAKER 1: It is a bit amazing isn’t it?

SPEAKER 2: Extraordinary – it’s slavery by the back door.

SPEAKER 1: You get solitary confinement if you refuse to work. More than 1 in 100 American adults are in jail.

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DEAN BECKER: We do have Mr. Brian Bennett with us online. Brian, what’s your thought to that British talk show?

BRIAN BENNETT: It’s right on the money. Unfortunately it is absolutely true. The prison industry in America has become de facto slavery. They pay people ten cents an hour and then reap the profits on whatever they are making them build or put together. It’s nuts. The fact that we are willing to spend so much money jailing people for such unbelievably “miniscule” offences is infuriating.

It costs a fortune to put people in jail and keep them there. And then the worst part is that when they get out what kind of job are they going to get? You’re a felon. You’re not getting a job so, basically, we’re creating this constant cycle of sending people back in to ...what is even worse is they are becoming privatized now of all things. Prisons are there to make profits.

How do you make profits? You build things and sell them. These workers do that. Well, prisons have a boatload of people who aren’t doing anything and you don’t have to pay them. It’s unbelievable.

DEAN BECKER: The “Name that drug by its side effects” ...Latuda...I had my granddaughter staying with me this weekend and she heard that one and all the enlarged breasts and all this stuff and the suicide and she said, “What kind of medicine is that , Grandpa?”

I went and dug it out and she and I worked up that “Name that drug” together but it’s just one of well over 100 of those “Name that drug” that I’ve done that includes such horrible consequences that they make heroin look safe and yet it is sold over the counter. Your thoughts on that?

BRIAN BENNETT: Yes, I agree 100%. You can see them on TV every night. You can watch the drug commercials and what do they say? “Well, it may have this side effect, this side effect, this side effect including,” and I love this one when they do it, “unanticipated death.”

Like out of the blue...you’re taking this to handle depression or whatever it’s for and, “by the way – you might just drop dead.” Without any warning...

DEAN BECKER: It’s so off of the case. This drug Latuda is for depression but it may give you so much depression that you kill yourself. Probably it’s one of those that you have to be careful when you quit taking it because then you might get even more suicidal.

BRIAN BENNETT: That’s absolutely true and that’s one of the dangers of playing around with brain chemistry. If you ever get a hold of the package inserts for those things before they get out to the general public and they’re doing the post clinical testing where they put them out in the field through free samples at the doctor’s office if you ever read the fine print on one of those things you would never, ever take any of them.

One of the first things they say is they don’t know how they work.

DEAN BECKER: [chuckling] Well, yeah, or it’s not for the purpose it’s being used for...I don’t know....cross-intended...what is that phrase they use?

BRIAN BENNETT: Oh, yeah, I know what you mean because they ....what do they call that because they can prescribe it for anything once it’s legal for something. I can’t remember the term off the top of my head.

DEAN BECKER: If you would point folks to your website. Tell us what’s up on the page right now.

BRIAN BENNETT: The website is http://www.briancbennett.com/ There’s a way easier way to find it. Just Google and search for “Anti-drug war” It used to be number one but somebody bought a domain name that put me down in like second or third place so now I’m upset. Look for anti-drug war or truth, the anti-drug war is really a great way to get there.

Now, in terms of what’s on the site as I mentioned earlier I’ve got all the different data’s and it’s all graphed out so you can see what it looks like. One of the things I’ve done is to put it all into perspective and basically instead of showing you all this really crazy jagged line chart showing you ups and downs of use of drug x or whatever I normalized all of that and put it on a scale where it makes sense...Like, OK, you’re recording this in percentages so let’s show the graph as a 0 to 100%. When you do that you get to see how minimal some of these things really are.

The bad news is that because I’ve been so busy and don’t get paid to do any of this stuff I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of work on keeping it up to date. I think the last major updates I did were probably around 2010 but the good news on that is it’s all the same. It really hasn’t changed significantly over the last couple of years so it’s still highly relevant.

I also started doing research into some of the historic information on the War on Drugs. I initially started with doing headlines from major news magazines and any kind of magazines dating back into (believe it or not) the 1950s and what my point on that was to show people that this is the same, silly merry-go-round over and over again. It’s the same idiotic arguments decade after decade for literally a century.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, yeah. One of the first things I did back in 98/99 is write a screen play called “Century of Lies”. It was maybe ten years early but it was making a statement and I guess that’s what people don’t realize that they think the drug war has been here since God invented earth or something. They think it’s part of the constitution. It’s the way America has always been and it’s just so wrong isn’t it?

BRIAN BENNETT: It is and that’s why I try to continue to tell people that, “Look, this is mythology and it has that level of power over people.”

It’s very difficult to counter a lot of that no matter how big of a job that you do with the actual data, all the evidence and truth...saying it the right way. Our job is huge in trying to convince people to stop “drinking the Kool-Aid”.

DEAN BECKER: That’s it isn’t it, Brian? I think about the broadcasters and the newspapers are really starting to go after the marijuana laws. They’re really sinking their teeth into what’s happening in Colorado and Washington and starting to speak a little more boldly. They’re not saying the whole truth but they’re getting up to 80 or 90% now, aren’t they?

BRIAN BENNETT: They are and that’s a very encouraging sign. That at least a lot of this stuff is finally being questioned in mainstream media. I’m in complete agreement with you that it’s not fast enough and not hard enough but little bits and pieces are certainly helping but I think the biggest chunk of that is basically all the old people that were responsible for doing this to us in the first place are dying.

Those of us who grew up in the era of “free love and sex, drugs and rock and roll” and know from our own experiences that it was all a bunch of bologna and now we’re finally getting in positions of power where we can have the vector for creating a difference.

DEAN BECKER: What year was it? 88 or 89/90 when AIDS got discovered and HIV started being noticed and that kind of ended that (well, it was tailing off anyway) but it ended the free love era I guess.

BRIAN BENNETT: That was the final nail.

DEAN BECKER: Brian, we got a couple minutes left here. What is your projection? I think that if enough people read my book the drug war is going to be over that much sooner but I think we are on an upward trajectory...downwards trajectory – however you want to say it – but we are on the way to ending this drug war. I just don’t want it to take one hundred years to get undone. Your thoughts?

BRIAN BENNETT: Absolutely. I made a quasi-prediction about 4 or 5 years ago. I was doing another radio show called “The Opium Den”... Ed Williams put that out. He also wrote a really incredible book called “The Naked Truth About Drugs”.

In that show we were talking about...I guess it was about when Obama was half way through his first term so we’re looking about 6 years ago and I said that we had it within our grasp to make the War on Drugs if not the central issue of the 2016 election then one of the biggest issues and I still think we are on course to make that happen.

The big downside on all that is that there is still too many people who have the mentality that, “Well, I can see legalizing pot but I don’t know about all these other drugs – that just doesn’t seem like a good idea.”

We have to overcome that resistance. One of the things I like to remind people of all of the time is right now, today, methamphetamine and cocaine are more “legal” than marijuana is. Cocaine is a Schedule II substance – it’s a medically useful product. Methamphetamine is a medically useful product and I think that’s all the way down on Schedule III. You still have to get a prescription to buy it but you don’t have to go to jail if you have a prescription. If you don’t have a prescription you go to jail. It’s a useful drug. Believe it or not they use it for military pilots when they have to do a long haul flight like moving a bunch of fighter aircrafts from somewhere to bomb some nation. Those are really long, grueling flights and for the most part fairly boring. All they do is fly at high altitude in a straight line and refuel once in a while and trying to stay awake in that environment is kind of tough so a long, long time ago they decided that the best thing to do was to give them Dexedrine which is the non-generic name for methamphetamine.

People don’t understand that. They don’t realize what is going on. So when they say a lot of these absurd things I try to point them back in the right direction.

This is not what you think it is.

DEAN BECKER: Here in Texas before this prohibition got ratcheted up – I’d say in the 60s, 70s maybe into the 80s – you could pull into any truck stop in Texas and for one dollar you could buy 10 Benzedrine tablets in a little foil wrapper and that was for truck drivers...like you say, you want these people who are driving heavy machinery or airplanes or whatever to be awake, to not just veer to the side and kill you or your family.

One other thing I wanted to bring up here. Most people don’t realize that in 1900, the year 1900, one and one-half percent of Americans were addicted. Now, in 2014, one and one-half percent of Americans are addicted.

Here’s the other thing that must be brought forward. Let’s boil our US population down to 400 people – that’s everybody in America – one and one-half percent of those (that means 6 people) have a problem. Of those 6 people 4 of them have a problem with alcohol, one has a problem with drugs and one more has a problem with alcohol and drugs. We’re fooling ourselves aren’t we?

BRIAN BENNETT: Totally, totally. In fact you just led into a nice segway for me...one of the things that I’m trying to get people to understand is that we have to change the way that we talk about these things.

One of the things that I like to point out to people all the time is if you say something like alcohol and drugs that’s the same thing as saying dogs and German Shepherds. Alcohol is a drug. It’s the worst drug there is. I’m with you on that. We absolutely have to talk about all of that stuff completely differently than we do.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, folks, we’re going to have to wrap it up here. We’ve been speaking with Mr. Brian Bennett. One more time – point them to your website.

BRIAN BENNETT: http://www.briancbennett.com/

DEAN BECKER: We’re going to have to do this again soon. I thank you my friend.

BRIAN BENNETT: Thank you for having me on, Dean. I’m always happy to be on your show.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, we’ll talk to you soon.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright, folks, I got to ask you what have you done to end the drug war? What are you going to do to end the drug war? One of the things I would highly recommend is picking up a copy of my new book, “To End the War on Drugs: A guide for politicians, the press and public.” I’m holding a copy in my hand right now. It is real. It is available. You can get it on Kindle. You can get it on Amazon and on CreateSpace. I urge you to pick up a copy. Read it. Share it with your friends, your family, your brother, your mother and 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 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