05/09/10 - Cliff Thornton

Cliff Thornton, Dir Efficacy discusses drug reform in Connecticutt & need to hold official accountable, Barry Cooper speech in Austin challenging officials & Mary Jane Borden of Common Sense re changes following med MJ laws

Century of Lies
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Cliff Thornton
Download: Audio icon COL_050910.mp3



Century of Lies May 9, 2010

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.

Alright, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. I’m glad you could be with us. Here in just a moment, we’ll hear from our guest, Mr. Cliff Thornton. Who heads up a group up in Connecticut, efficacy-online and perhaps Cliff‘s going to chastise me a bit. We’ll see about that, because I’m always welcome to criticism.

I’d like to hear what he has to say, in that we have been bringing on the DA, the Sheriff, the Constable, the City councilman. To this program over the last six or eight weeks, shows that change is afoot. Doesn’t mean that we should quit now. Because now is when we need to ratchet up our efforts. Now is when we need to buckle down and really get the job done. With that, let’s go ahead and bring in our guest. I cringe a little bit. But Mr. Cliff Thornton, are you with us, sir?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Hey, I’m with you, Dean.

Dean Becker: Alright, Cliff. You gave me a call last week and kind of chastised me for not being a little more bold or forthright, in some of these interviews I’ve been doing with these elected officials. Your thoughts, sir.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Yeah, and this is not criticizing you, Dean. Because in many respects, I realize you may feel and may be, one of the lone voices in the South, aggressively attacking prohibition and all that it entails. However, when these politicians and these former police chiefs and whatever, come on your program and they say that we have to study this problem and they’re not going over the line for legalization, my first question is, “If you’re not for legalization, than what are you for?”

We just can’t talk to these politicians and ask them, what to do about the problem. We, as reformers, understand it and know what we have to do. We have to bring all of these drugs inside of the law, plain and simple. They are not stepping up to the plate to take the responsibility for what has ensued, for almost four decades.

Dean Becker: Right.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: This is the problem I have. I’m not chastising you. Because you are a true reformer and I understand that you have to lead them by the hand, to get them on the show and to talk about this issue and hopefully let your audience chastise them. I’m the audience, so I would definitely chastise them.

Dean Becker: {chuckling} Friends, if you don’t know Cliff Thornton, he’s my brother from another mother.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That’s correct.

Dean Becker: We see this, just so much alike. Twins almost, if you will. I think about it like this, Cliff. When I was starting to get these interviews with these elected officials lined up, I sat down and tried to set a game plan. How am I going to make these interview work? What am I going to do? The main thing was, I wanted to make some progress. I realized that…

Mr. Cliff Thornton: You’ve made tremendous progress, Dean.

Dean Becker: Thank you for that. Also, I kind of chastise some drug reformers for being incrementalist. for just talking about a little piece of the pie, if you will, when there’s such a big pie to deal with. I guess what I finally decided was, I’m going to become, at least for these interviews, an incrementalist. I hate incrementalism. I think incrementalism is a killer. I think it will prolong the agony; the death, disease and destruction of this drug war. But to make that bit of progress, here in Houston, I decided to proceed incrementally.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Dean, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly understand that. During my ten/twelve years of doing this type of work, I see that this has to be a multi-pronged approach and you’re one of those prongs with the approach of getting these people onto the program. However, I just get infuriated when they say, I think it was the former police chief now a city councilman or whatever, he said, ’We’ve got to talk about this issue. We’ve got to change it. But I haven’t crossed the line to legalization.’

Right then and there, I’d have to just stop him and say, ’Well, what are we going to do with this?’ ‘We’ve got to do something with this.’ ‘We just can’t leave it like it is.’ ‘If you’re not for legalization, what are you for?’ We just can’t have treatment and education. Because that’s not going to work. When people talk about treatment, and I’m for treatment and I’m for education. But when they talk about treatment and the person goes through the six to twelve weeks that they go through to try and kick the habit, where do they go?

They go right back to that drug dealing and drug taking infested area and nine out of ten times, they relapse. So what are we doing? We’re looking and acting like a dog chasing it’s tail. So when they say that, I put them immediately on the spot. I don’t care what it is and they have to answer to it.

Dean Becker: Well Cliff, you ran for governor in Connecticut, a few years back. You have been involved with, if you’ll pardon the stuffed shirts of your community and your state, in bringing focus to bare on this situation…

Mr. Cliff Thornton: That’s correct.

Dean Becker: …and making great strides. You want to kind of summarize where things are in Connecticut and those strides we’re talking about?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Well, four years ago when I ran for governor, what I found out, because I ran into every single person that was running for office and every single person that was in the state legislature. What I found is that, a little over seventy percent of those people, think as we do. But they’re afraid to come out. Fear is one pillar of the drug war. The other two are greed and racism.

Fear is just what’s holding them back. That’s what disturbs me most. Because when you have fear in you, fear promotes intellectual dishonesty. That’s what I was hearing on the last show that I listened to with those three people. Even the individual that was semi in our corner, I think you were interviewing him, he was somewhere at the border; near the border of Mexico.

Dean Becker: Yes. Beto O’Rourke.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Yeah. When he talked about how drug dealers were the pariah, so to speak, of the drug war. We’ve got to understand, the laws created and sustained this policy and they pushed people into doing that. A lot of these people are selling drugs because, they’re not selling drugs to buy the bling-bling and the big cars and whatnot. They’re selling drugs to make money to buy diapers for their children.

This is the state that we’re in and we can no longer go with this incremental path. We need know where we have to go. The money is there, for the shift in drug prohibition to a peacetime economy. It’s just weaning it out and talking about it at length. For instance, Connecticut has a population of three point five million people. Seventeen thousand prisoners. Seventy percent of them being there for drug related charges. We have almost an eight hundred million dollar prison budget.

Now if drugs were legalized, medicalized and decriminalized, we’re talking about almost two thirds of that money, not needed for the prison system and that money has to go back into the community for education, healthcare, building a structure so we can create jobs and so forth and so on and looking at the hemp industry and how we’re going to utilize that. These are the things we have to do and we have to start doing them now.

Dean Becker: You know Cliff, I’m not going to name names, I’m just going to say this. That when I talk to these elected officials, not in the studio - just hanging out in the lobby or something, the discussion is a lot broader. The possibilities are a lot bigger. You know what I’m saying? That once that microphone is turned on that it tends to shut down their capability to talk about these things they already know. Your thoughts?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: This is what I’m talking about with the fear. Fear and the dishonesty that fear promotes. They’re worried about what people are going to say about them being ostracized. Then they’re worried about their monetary wherewithal. We can no longer do that. Because we can’t sacrifice for one or two people, literally tens of millions of other people.

You know as well as I do, that when you study this drug war, you see that the drug war is two degrees from everything in society. There is nothing you can bring up that you can’t directly or indirectly relate to the drug war. So this thing has to be stopped and these people have to talk frankly about it and move on.

Dean Becker: Alright. We’re speaking with Mr. Cliff Thornton of Efficacy-online. Cliff, you and I have been looking at this for well, you a couple years longer than I, but it seems that possibility is opening up like a flower. That there is a chance to change this now, if people will just get on board. If they’ll “do their part.” Right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Last year, two state senators issued a decrim bill. Just this year a state senator issued a bill to legalize marijuana and I have to say this, is that we as reformers in the state of Connecticut, had absolutely nothing to do with that. They did it on their own. I think Matt Elroy hit the nail on the head when he said, ’There are strong economic things that are pushing drug prohibition to the forefront.’

When you look at Connecticut in the next two years, they’re going to be over three billion dollars in the red. That can be directly traced back to the late eighties, early nineties, when Connecticut spent over a billion dollars constructing prisons here, in the state of Connecticut and everything flows from that. We look at our education system. Sure, they get a little more money, but they need more money. We need to look at our education and revolutionizing.

Of course, we can compete with the world militarily. But our ability to compete economically through the things that we invent, that’s slowly diminishing. Because our education system is not producing what it needs to produce, as far as the people to take over the economic situation. We need to look at how we can create K - 8, having one teacher, one assistant for every ten pupils, to get us rolling.

We have to massively fund our higher education system. So they can produce the people we need, to be able to compete economically. If we don’t, we’re going to fall under the rug, so to speak. These are the things that we have to look at and we could effectively, in Connecticut if we legalize, medicalized and decriminalize these drugs, have a million dollar health policy for every single person in this state.

We just issued an economic report, for the state of Connecticut, with the focus on Hartford, the capitol of the city. What we found, was that the City of Hartford Police Department was spending a hundred and forty-one million dollars a year, to fight the drug war and they showed that Hartford had over forty-one million dollars in illegal drug sales. We know that was grossly understated because over the last four to five years, Connecticut has seized over twenty-five million dollars in illegal drugs.

Dean Becker: Cliff, I want to back the truck up here. You’re talking about the economic impact; the cost of building the prisons. The fact of the matter is, Texas had a decades long prison building effort and we find that now, we can’t afford; or no longer afford to “subsidize the colleges and the universities.” That they’re raising the tuition, thus denying more and more people the ability to get a good education.

We have for years; decades, squandered this money on the “luxury of drug war.” It’s time to realize what the heck we’re up to. Right?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: You’re absolutely right, Dean. See, this is why I say, these people that come on your show that are tied to the bureaucracies that created this dangerous drug war, they have to be accountable. If they are not willing to accept or admit that they’re the biggest part of this problem, then they have to get out of the race.

Dean Becker: Yeah.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: We just can’t discuss it. We as reformers know what we have to do and we know how we have to do it. These are the things that we should perpetuate and some of the people that you mentioned as being guests on your show, reformers so to speak, don’t even talk about legalization. They talk all around the issue.

What I get from the crowds that I’ve spoken to, and I’ve spoken to hundreds of thousands of people, is that if you don’t say what you mean, than you’re not going to get it. You have to talk about what you want and how you want it. Many of the reformers don’t. They talk all around the issue. We have to get rolling.

I am very excited about the Restorative Justice Program we have put together that’s bringing in all of these people. We’re getting into places like the Teaches Organization, the Nurses Organization, the Doctor’s and they’re starting to talk about things like heroin maintenance and stuff like that. Because things are getting so bad.

We’ve got to understand and understand it’s an economic thing. Because people really don’t care about other people, unless it’s their children. The thing that we have to do is press, now. Now is the time to press. Not relent.

Dean Becker: Cliff, I tell you what. I’m going to have to cut it short here. We’ll be in touch with you as this year enfolds and we appreciate all the good work you do. Please point folks to your website, before we go.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: It’s efficacy-online.org.

Dean Becker: Alright, my friend. Thank you, Cliff.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Hey, Dean.

Dean Becker: Yes, sir?

Mr. Cliff Thornton: I’m not criticizing you. You are doing yeoman’s work, down there in Texas. Keep it up.

Dean Becker: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Cliff Thornton: Thank you.

I am the Reverend Dean Becker, of the Drug Truth Network. Standing in the river of reform. Baptizing drug warriors to the unvarnished truth. drugtruth.net

Hello, drug policy aficionado’s. I’m Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts. I’d like to address one of the issues that has been raised, concerning Medical Marijuana. It’s been suggested that teen use of marijuana is higher in states with Medical Marijuana laws, than in states without them.

The Congressional Research Service took a look at this issue in it’s April 2010 report entitled, Medical Marijuana: Review and Analysis of Federal and State Policies. The report stated, and I’m quoting,

“A statistical analysis of marijuana use by emergency room patients and arrestees in four states
with medical marijuana programs—California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—found no
statistically significant increase in recreational marijuana use… after medical marijuana was approved.”

The CRS report referred to, “Another study (that) looked at adolescent marijuana use and found decreases in youth usage in every state with a medical marijuana law. Declines (in usage) exceeding 50% were found in some age groups.”

The CRS report added, “California, the state with the largest and longest-running medical marijuana program, ranked 34th in the percentage of persons age 12-17 reporting marijuana use in the past month…”

Finally, the CRS report concluded that, “No clear patterns (concerning teen use) are apparent” (state to state) and that “more important factors are at work in determining a state’s prevalence of recreational marijuana use than whether the state has a medical marijuana program.”

The Federation of American Scientists maintains a collection of congressional research service reports on it’s website at www.fas.org. You can find this extensive fifty-one page overview of Medical Marijuana there, by searching on a key word, Marijuana. Of course, you can also find facts concerning Medical Marijuana, like these from the Congressional Research Services, at Drug War Facts, in the Medical Marijuana chapter. That’s www.drugwarfacts.org. So remember, when you need facts about drugs and drug policy, you can get the facts, at Drug War Facts.

Five times as many people die from alcohol each year, than from illicit drugs and the misuse of legal pharmaceuticals.

Fifteen times as many people die from poor diets and activity patterns.

Twenty times as many people die from tobacco.

Why arrest one point six million people each year for drugs? Does jailing drug users make more sense than jailing overweight people and smokers?

Let’s keep America’s drug problem in perspective.

Common Sense for Drug Policy. csdp.org

On May 1st, hundreds of Marijuana Marches were held around North America and around the world and one such event took place in Austin, Texas in front of the State House where Barry Cooper, a former narc, gave the following speech.

Barry Cooper: The building behind me should be seen as a monument of freedom to all the wonderful non-violent pot smokers of this Nation. {applause} But instead, this building stands as an eyesore to all those who are reminded of the daily injustices pouring from her halls, in the name of this insane drug war. {applause} When I see this building, I don’t see justice.

I don’t feel justice, when the police raided my house, for catching a cop stealing drug money. But I have hope. I don’t feel justice when the court took my son because of my activism and my political views. But I have hope. {boo’s}

I don’t feel justice when I hear about one of you being locked up for pot. But I have hope. {cheering and applause} We don’t feel justice when we have to be paranoid because of the baggie in our pocket. We don’t feel justice when we are forced to spend our last dollar each month on probation fees. {cheering}

We don’t feel justice when they force us to urinate in a cup and separate us like animals and place us in this cage and that cage. But I have hope! {cheering and applause} We have hope because we are here and we are breathing and we’re still alive.

We have hope because we have each other and we have numbers. We have hope, because we have courage and courage is contagious. We have hope because we have dreadlocks. {cheering}

We have hope because we are Americans and we’re not going to stop until every single prisoner of war is released and we get a formal apology from those in charge of this justice center that stands behind me and stands in front of your freedoms. {cheering and applause}

There is a real sociopathic enemy out there who cares nothing about humanity. Nor the suffering they cause in the name of morality. Any person who believe we should be thrown in a cage for a non-violent drug crime, or any person who supports those behaviors in any way, should be avoided and protested against at all cost! {applause and cheers}

These heartless people hide behind antiquated religious and racist laws, to appear as being honest and right, as they openly and aggressively pursue, capture and imprison thousands of good Americans each day. These men and women cannot be reasoned with. So be well advised, they are your enemy. {cheers and applause}

They may hold the bullets to their guns and they may hold their nightsticks to your heads. They may hold the taser and they may hold the keys to their jails, but they don’t hold the keys to me and you! {cheers} They don’t hold the keys to our determination and civil disobedience. They don’t hold the keys to our minds and they damn sure don’t hold the keys to our patriotic spirits that drive us daily, to fight them back with every ounce of our beings.

{cheering, applause and a call of ‘Marijuana!’ which insights more cheering}

There will be a day in America when we can light a joint together. {cheering} There will be that day in America when thousands of prison doors swing open and our loved ones are set free! {cheering} There will be a day in America when the ‘potheads’ run this country instead of the alcoholics. {applause and cheering}

There will be a day when we are safe to choose. There will be a day when our military soldiers are safe to smoke their medicine without being jailed! {cheers} There will be a day in America when pot is made legal. {cheers}

God bless every freedom fighter in America! God bless Martin Luther King! God bless Marc Emery! God bless John Lennon! God bless Ron Paul! {cheers and applause} …and in closing, don’t look to one savior to bring us to redemption and don’t look to one person to set us free. Don’t look for a prophet and don’t look for a hero.

Look to yourselves! Look to yourselves to bring your well deserved Civil Rights. Look to yourselves to keep protesting like determined patriots. Look to yourself to question authority and remain disobedient. Look to yourselves to end this suffering and finally, look to yourselves to help yourselves! Because it’s the people who have come to make themselves free!

{amidst cheering…}

Thank you very much. I’m Barry Cooper. God bless all of you for being here!

Barry Cooper, formerly known as a Texas narcotics officer extraordinaire, has changed his ways. He’s produced videos on how ‘not to get busted‘. He set up ’stings’ against a couple police departments and a couple of month back, one of those police departments kicked in his door, found a couple of grams of marijuana and took his son. Claiming that he was an irresponsible parent, who taught his children to disrespect authority. Barry will be our guest on next weeks Century of Lies show.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Abolitionists Moment.

How is it possible to believe that we can control other people? How is it possible to conceive that a significant enough portion of non-drug users would become users and that through that use of a well known and reasonably priced commodity, that more horrors would ensue that are now in existence?

To believe that adults cannot be trusted. To think that Bayer or Merck, producing a safer version of heroin, cocaine or meth at one cent on the dollar of what the cartels are demanding, would be worse. That it is OK to fund Osama Bin Laden. To empower the cartels and paramilitary and to give reason for the violent gangs in the US.

It’s absolutely outrageous for anybody to assume they can control the appetites of their fellow man, that they can undo eons of history of accepted and sometimes exalted use of drugs. To believe we could change the minds of hundreds of millions of users worldwide. To stop the demand and to control the supply, you can dissuade tens of millions of coca, opium and marijuana growers from making a livable wage. Or that you can stop the millions of traffickers, distributors and retail vendors from playing, ‘Who wants to be a billionaire‘.

These people live with death, daily. They bet their lives everyday, that they will get these drugs across and our laws mean nothing to them. Who do you want making and distributing the drugs? Who do you want deciding, who to sell to? At what age? Who do you want making that four hundred billion dollars per year? The only choices are the gangs or government and legitimate corporations.

It’s up to you. Please visit our website, endprohibition.org. Do it for the children.

As always, there’s no truth, logic, no reason for this drug war to exist. Please visit our website, 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