11/08/09 - Cliff Thornton

Cliff Thornton, director of Efficacy-online.org on alternatives to the drug war + song "Drug War on Free Will"

Century of Lies
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Cliff Thornton
Download: Audio icon COL_110809.mp3


Century of Lies, November 8, 2009

The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

Here in just a little bit, we’re going to hear from our good friend, my brother from another mother, Mr. Cliff Thornton. He’s director of Efficacy-online.org and we’re going to be talking about alternatives to the current drug war schism, if you will.

I want to talk about something. What is it that we do here? We try to educate, motivate, embolden, encourage, kick you in the butt a little bit, because the evidence is overwhelming. It’s glaring, it’s everywhere. The drug war is an abject, abysmal, absolute failure and it needs to be brought to a screeching halt.

The scope of the problems created by the drug war are too numerous and onerous to list all of them, so I’m going to focus on just a couple of those most likely to impact those out there listening in this city, state and country.

1. Drug dealers want to recruit your children to either use their products or to help them sell to other children.
2. The Mexican cartels are making their way into our state to take over the retail end of the drug distribution chain, because after all it is, if you’ll pardon me, the lion’s share of the profits.

We’ve invested more than a trillion dollars in fighting the drug war since the passage of the Harrison Narcotic’s Act back in 1914. Over that time frame more than ten trillion, trillion dollars have gone into the coffers of the terrorists’ in Afghanistan. To the cartels and paramilitaries in Mexico and Columbia and to the violent gangs in the US. That’s Crips, Bloods, Monarchs, Kings. Any and everyone of them love the drug war. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more readily available to our children than ever before.

My group, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and the Drug Truth Network are calling for an end to this ninety-plus year old effort, to tax, regulate and control the distribution of these so-called controlled substances, for adults. We’ll then have plenty of room in prison to hold anybody who would dare sell drugs to our children. It’s a win-win, win-win situation.

I have an in-depth look at veterans. It’s actually approaching Veteran’s Day and we had the horrible situation develop up in Fort Hood and we’ve got to stop pushing these soldiers past the brink.

The following was taken from a teleconference put together by the Drug Policy Alliance, dealing with Veteran’s Day and the release of a new report on ‘Veterans Battling Addiction and Incarceration’.

Nearly a quarter of a million veterans are behind bars, right now, or serving sentences related to crimes motivated, in part, by drug or alcohol addiction or mental health problems and that the average veteran is serving a longer than average sentence then non-veterans, for the very same offences.

Roughly one third of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, report symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something you’ll hear more about from our speakers. They might be referring to it in the short, PTSD, and also veterans suffer from traumatic brain injury, depression, mental illness and other cognitive disabilities, at higher rates than normal.

Left untreated, each of these medical conditions are contributory factors to substance abuse, addiction, fatal drug or alcohol overdose, homelessness and suicide, as well as a host of legal violations, particularly non-violent drug offences, which the states often treat quite punitively.

To hear more of this program, please listen to this weeks Century of Lies at drugtruth.net and check out Drug Policy Alliances’ report, “Veterans Battling Addiction and Incarceration” on their website which is drugpolicy.org.

Alright, my friends. Working on your behalf, that’s what I was talking about. I’m hoping you’ll work on my behalf. This coming week, I’m actually going to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m going to attend a major drug conference, perhaps the largest one in the world and while there, I’m going to capture some audio and video. But I do this because, I think it’s the right thing to do and I hope you see and hear the worth; the reasons.

You’ve head me attend these other conferences. I hope you’ve appreciated and valued those programs, I acquire there. Alright, now I’m going to bring in our guest, Mr. Cliff Thornton of Efficacy-online. Cliff, are you with us?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Yes, I am Dean. Thanks for having me.

Dean Becker: Cliff, thank you so much. It’s becoming a very important topic these days, isn’t it? Drug war.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Yes, it is. I recall that when I was twenty-six years old, and I’ll be sixty-five in January, that Nixon started this drug war and I’ve been doing this work for now about ten/twelve years and I’ve seen the advancement, primarily over pot. However, that’s a pretty good sign. But we need to bring all of these drugs inside the law, not just pot.

Dean Becker: Coincidentally, I just happen to have a little extract from Mr. Richard Milhous Nixon. It’s a short little piece. I want to share that and then we’ll move on from there.

Voter: Do you have a comment, sir, on the recommendation of your commission on drugs, that the use of marijuana in the home be no longer considered a crime?

Nixon: I met with Mr. Schaffer. I read the report. It is a report which deserves consideration and will receive it. However, as to one aspect of the report, I am in disagreement. I was before I read it and reading it did not change my mind.

I oppose the legalization of marijuana and that includes it’s sale, it’s possession and it’s use. I do not believe you can have an effective criminal justice, based on the philosophy that something is half legal and half illegal.

That is my position, despite what the commission has recommended.

Reporters in the background: Mr. President, Mr. President

Dean Becker: Alright, that was Richard Nixon, talking about his dismissal of the Schaffer report, a very intense, years long study done by, gosh, people high up in government, using scientists from around the country. Right, Cliff?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That is correct. But the thing I think we have to understand too is that, we’re not going to get this changed at the federal level, first. It has to be a state based initiative and that’s the way in which we should work. We can see the progress made not only in California, but Rhode Island and Connecticut and my thought has always been, that we should concentrate on the three smallest states. That way, we can build up momentum to help change these laws.

What we need is a Governor that has the wherewithal to go ahead and legalize these drugs within the state. Once that happens, that’s going to bring all types of attention, at the state level. You know how it goes, monkey see - monkey do. Once one governor attempts to do this, you’re going to have a lot of other governors looking to do it also.

But until that happens at the state level, I don’t see no real change in drug policy because there’s entirely too much money in it. You don’t expect the drug czar to come out against the war on drugs, when he has a budget of something like twenty billion dollars a year. You don’t expect Obama to come out against the war on drugs when he is supposedly the leader of the free world.

There’s just too much money involved in it and see, we don’t have the types of studies at the state based level, to show us the money that we’re spending to fight the war on drugs. Just to give you an example, here in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where I live, where thirty thousand people are, the police department in this city of thirty thousand people, spends almost two million dollars a year to fight the drug war.

That’s two million dollars that can go into after school programs and commit to the athletic program and we see what’s happening throughout this country. That more and more school districts are shutting down the athletics’ programs because they don’t have any money. Why is that? They’re spending too much money to fight this so-called drug war.

So there’s a lot to this and we, as reformers, have got to see this, and it’s not just about marijuana. It is about drug prohibition.

Dean Becker: It is indeed and Cliff, I even heard or thought that, for every one of those helicopter flights, they do out in California, the camp program where they’re tearing marijuana out of the mountainside, they’re denying funding for eighteen children to go to school.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: You’re absolutely correct and when you start talking about the money spent on the drug war, it is absolutely ridicules. What perturbs me most of all, especially in this country, in this state, in this city is that, the leaning curve about this particular drug war has been extremely slow. But now, people are beginning to wake up.

The thing that we need, is the courage to move forward, to change these drug laws and we just can’t legalize drugs. Because, let’s be realistic here, there’s been a war going on for four damn decades and you see, it’s practically destroyed the infrastructure. We’re not only talking about the roads and the buildings and the bridges, we’re talking about our public education system. We’re talking about our higher education system. I remember going to college for twenty-five dollars a credit. Now, that same twenty-five dollars is worth… maybe five hundred dollars a credit. So things are becoming much more expensive.

The other thing we have to realize too is that, this mortgage meltdown, was because of de-regulation. There’s no way in the world you’re going to give a person a mortgage where they can’t pay it and the same way with this drug market. It’s de-regulation that’s causing the problem. When people say, “Drugs are the problem”, drugs are not the problem. Drug policies are the problem.

Dean Becker: Indeed they are. Cliff, I wanted to talk about, we had touched on this last week but maybe you could… It kind of stems from what you’re saying, that this economy had been in place. It has it’s own, well, black market. The worlds largest multi-level marketing organization, right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That’s correct.

Dean Becker: …and what’s going to happen to the people that are part of that MLM, should we pull the plug on the drug war?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Well, well see, we have been at this so long. What we have done is created an underground economy, where there are literally tens of millions of people, in this country, who depend on the illegal drug trade, for there wherewithal.

We need a Marshall Plan. We need indemnification for America, in and around this drug war, and I’m not talking about an individual check to each individual that’s been hurt by this drug war, I’m talking about blanket legislation that will put money within the communities to help them come out of this malaise that we’re in, because of this drug war.

For instance. If, in fact, that cannabis becomes legal, instead of giving it to RJ Reynolds to produce the marijuana cigarettes, why can’t we go to the community and have them produce the marijuana cigarettes as opposed to RJ Reynolds? Because you know, as well as I do, is that big business has too much into this economy and we need to cut it up. Plain and simple. Because they are causing most of the problems.

You’ve got the huge pharmaceutical companies that are against the legalization of these drugs because it would just send them into a tizzy. So when we do this, we have to think about it rationally and understand that, you just can’t have a war and legalize drugs and walk away. We need a Marshall Plan to bail out America.

Dean Becker: Alright. We’re speaking with Mr. Cliff Thornton of Efficacy-online.org. We’ll be back in a couple of minutes.

{set to Pink Floyds Free Will}

He’s the king of the cowboys
Of the terrorists, cartels and gangs
He’s a purveyor of madness
Yet the masses, his praises do sing

He is our only salvation
The way and the light
Bow down before his logic
For only he knows what is right

He’s the drug czar
wages an eternal war
On free will
He knows all…..
The Drug Czar Knows all

He’s in charge of the truth
So he tells nothing but lies
He professes such great sorrow
For the thousands of his minions who die

He’s the drug czar
waging his eternal war
On our free will

Once again, we’re speaking with Cliff Thornton of Efficacy-online.org.

Dean Becker: There are signs that people are waking up. Especially in your home state, right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That’s correct.

Dean Becker: Tell us a little bit, some of the stair-steps being made there?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: The thing is, I ran for Governor in 2006...

Dean Becker: … in Connecticut here, right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: In Connecticut. That’s correct. …and we knew that we weren’t going to win. However, what we did know, is that we were going to wake the people up. That was not allowed in the debates, because they knew that I was going to expose everything that they were doing.

But in that process, we created leaders that were put forth to look at this problem. Just last year, there was a decriminalization bill issued in the state legislature, in and around marijuana, that would have saved the state of Connecticut thirteen million dollars, in enforcement of just the marijuana law. Not counting on the cocaine and heroin.

See, this is the thing, when you look at the three pillars of the drug war, the first is the greed and we‘re not just talking about the drug dealers and the drug cartel. We’re talking about the multi-billion dollar bureaucracies that have set up to fight the drug war. Both of those are dependant upon each other for their existence.

When you look at the second pillar, fear, fear is what keeps this going on…

Dean Becker: Yes.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: …with the fear tactics that they’re throwing to the public about these drugs and the third is raised in class. The glue and the stick-um that holds it together. Because, if in fact, we incarcerated whites for illegal drug use, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

But we’ve got to understand this, with the economic downturn, that middle class, which is predominately white, is now shrinking and it’s to the point now where they are in the poor class. So we have to understand what we have to do and go ahead and legalize, medicalize and decriminalize these drugs with an effective Marshall type plan, to help bail out things.

Dean Becker: I support medical marijuana, marijuana hemp, needle exchange, all phases of harm reduction, but each of these incremental steps, is only a step. The drug warriors love this incrementalism because it’s, well, it’s just not really the answer. It just prolongs the true examination of the problem, right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: You are absolutely correct. Until we, as reformers, realize that, we’re only going to win at the ballot box and we’re only going to win at the local and state level. Then we can get in there and help and be instrumental in shaping and changing these laws. We’re not going to get very far. The only reason why we are talking about cannabis now, is because the economic.

Now is the time that reformers should start running for public office. We keep expecting someone in the federal congress to push this issue forward. It’s not going to happen. Just like you are fighting for your existence with this pledge drive, that’s money in the bank for them. When people have to understand that when you look at the congressional black caucus, eighty percent of the time, they vote against bills that would help the black and brown community.

When you look at how gay’s are proliferating the governmental structure, but nothing comes out of that and gay legislation. It’s all about the money. It has nothing to do with the policy or what a person is. So reformers have to understand that if, in fact, we’re going to change these laws and end prohibition, we’re going to have to run for office ourselves and I advise them to run at the state level.

Dean Becker: Cliff, like you said, when you ran for governor, in the state of Connecticut, you were pretty certain you weren’t going to win, but you did open the dialog. You did make some progress in forcing others to examine the evidence, right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That is correct and we got a big win in Connecticut, when one of the federal judges overruled the way in which campaigns were financed and we fought that for the past three or four years. I’m very proud of that because now, until they rule on it, we have an equal playing field.

So that helps third parties to get into office and to raise money, here in the state of Connecticut. Again, I will say this over and over again. Until us reformers realize, if we really want change, we’re going to have to do it ourselves and the best way to do it is to run at the local and state level. Not federal congress. The local and the state level. Because that’s where the change is going to happen and we got to realize, real change comes from the bottom, up, not from the top, down. It never happens that way.

Dean Becker: No, it doesn’t. OK. We’re speaking with Mr. Cliff Thornton of Efficacy-online.org. Cliff, your wife had an excellent letter published a week or so ago, right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Right. Connecticut is undergoing a real intense study with cross sections of the cities, here in Connecticut, to find out what each police department is spending on the drug war and this report is scheduled to be released sometime mid next year. It’s just going to blow you out of the water.

See, those are the types of studies we need by state by state to find out what the police departments are doing as far as fighting the drug war. What you’re going to find is that their spending astronomical sums, for what? We have more drugs, at cheaper prices, on our streets than ever before.

The drug war is an obvious failure. What we have to understand is that in order for us to win this battle, we have to fight it ourselves, in each state legislature and city council. That is the way in which we are going to win this drug war. It’s not going to happen at the federal level. I don’t give a s--- what anybody says.

Dean Becker: Alright. We have to watch our language here, on Pacifica. Are you still with us, Cliff?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: I’m still with you.

Dean Becker: Alright. Help me out here. OK We have, over the years Cliff, you and I, I think, kind of progressed down the same road. There are many people who are, I don’t know, they play the part of medical reformers.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Right.

Dean Becker: But I think, behind closed doors, there’s not many of those left. Your thought on that.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: No, I agree. That was medical marijuana was a crucial wedge in the drug war, to get in the door. We’re in the door now. Now, what we have to do is expand it. Now what we have to do is to understand and when people say, ‘Legalization won’t work‘, the thing that they have to realize is that, legalization has not caused any of this stuff and we’ve got to elaborate on that so the point where the authorities are saying, they’re right.

See, there are so many people behind the scenes and in our state legislature that believe as we do, all we have to do is bring them out. Because I found out, running for governor a few years ago, that seventy percent of the people in the state legislature, think as we do. But they’re not going to move because they don’t have enough voices, within that state legislature, to come forth.

It’s all about the money. That’s all it’s about. It’s not about anything else but the money and see, when you talk legalizing, medicalizing and decriminalizing drugs, you’re only talking about one thing and one thing only. The re-distribution of income and wealth, and that’s what people are most afraid of.

Dean Becker: I even heard from Catherine Austin Fitz, come to think of it, who said something to the effect that she interviewed a bunch of stock holders one day and she said, ‘If we were to legalize drugs, that would mean an immediate downturn in your earnings from the stock market. Are you still willing to legalize drugs?’, and she said, “Not one hand went up.”

Mr. Cliff Thornton: No! No. Because, like I said, it’s all about the money and you can’t expect the authorities to say they want to legalize drugs, when you are endangering their income. The other thing with this thing in California, when they were talking about legalizing marijuana and they went to the black community and the black community gave all the reasons why not to do it, what were they offering the black community in return for their support to legalize cannabis? Absolutely nothing, with the exception of going to jail.

The other side of that coin, with the black leaders in the community, their saying that ‘things will get exceedingly worse‘, says to the community, ‘they don’t have any faith in them’. We know, as well as everybody else does, the illegal drug market regulates itself. When you have a bad product floating through, the word passes quickly and nobody touches that bad product. Am I lying?

Dean Becker: No, you’re absolutely right. Cliff, we had a horrible story happen here, now about four summers ago, where a batch of cocaine came through. It went to just two neighborhood distributors. They sold the product, I think on a Thursday evening. By Saturday morning, fourteen young people where dead, here in Houston, because the product was not cocaine. It wasn’t the ten percent solution they were expecting. It was eighty-five percent heroin and it killed them dead, the first time they used it. That’s a result of prohibition.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That is correct. Every time you see a junkie in the doorway; another death from these drugs that the authorities are fighting, that is the effect of drug prohibition. That has absolutely nothing to do with the legalization of drugs.

Dean Becker: No, not at all. Friends, we are speaking with Mr. Cliff Thornton of Efficacy-online.org.

It is the pledge drive. Our last one of the three shows we have to do. We really need to hear from you. I have missed you these last few weeks. I don’t know if you were watching the Oilers or the World Series or what you were doing, but now’s the time to, please, catch up.

I know you enjoy our shows. When we take your calls, the phone light up like a… jar full of lightening bugs. I need to hear from you now. Give us a call. (713) 526-5738 and you can call, toll free, anywhere in North America, 1-877-9-420-420, paid extra for that. 420, 420, come on, my friends. Give us a call right now. I need to hear from you.

Cliff, you know, you talk about more of us reformers need to get involved; need to get politically active. By gosh, I wish I could. I think they’d kick me off the airwaves though, if I would run for office. I think I’m going to have to stick with this, for now. But hopefully there are others out there who will get the bug. Because, you can make a difference. Right, sir?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Well, you can make a difference and we have to make a difference, unless we’re going to be sitting here ten years from now, talking about the same thing. Because it’s not going to change until we change it and we’re not going to get anywhere at the federal level. If we do, great and I’ll be wrong and I’ll stand up and I’ll be the first one to say I was wrong. But I don’t believe it’s going to pass at the federal level, because there’s entirely too much money in that cesspool, called the Federal Congress of the United States.

Where we can change it is at the local and state level. We’ve seen the initiatives in Colorado. We’ve seen the initiative in Connecticut and Rhode Island and places like that.

Dean Becker: …and Maine.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: …and Maine and Massachusetts. What we need is people reformers to run for public office at every single level and I guarantee you, things will start to change. Because once they see that we’re serious about this, then the government will slowly but surely turn over.

We can’t blame the authorities because when you look at the last ten presidential elections and you see forty-two percent, all the way up to fifty-four percent this last election, voted of the registered voters, not counting the tens of millions of people that have dropped out all together, that sends a strong message to congress that says, ‘The people don’t care, we can do what we want to do’, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Dean Becker: Exactly right, my friend. Well Cliff Thornton, I appreciate so much you being with us. All the great work you do and the waves you make, that the rest of us can surf on, because you are a heck of a reformer, sir. I appreciate you being with us on both our programs.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Dean, it’s an honor and a pleasure to serve you, in anything that you do. Because you have the right stick and I’ll stick by you.

Dean Becker: Alright! Cliff Thornton. Thank you so much.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Thank you.

Dean Becker: Alright.

You know, those in positions of power, who embrace the policy of eternal drug prohibition are the best friends the drug lords in Columbia could ever hope for. Their work enriches Al Qaeda and ensure continual funding for the violent gangs that prowl our streets.

Drug war is a killer. It is a destroyer of nations and basic human rights. Drug abuse is not a criminal matter. It is a medical problem. We lost the drug war on the day it began.

Let us stop the lies. Let us embrace the facts. Let us do it, for the children.

Again I remind you that there is no logic; no reason for this drug war to exist. We have been duped. The drug lords run both sides of this equation. Please visit our web site, endprohibition.org.

Prohibido istac evilesco.

For the Drug Truth Network this is Dean Becker, asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston

Transcript provided by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org