11/18/20 Brian Bennett

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Brian Bennett
Baker Institute

Brian C. Bennett is a a contributing expert at the James A. Baker III Institute at Rice University. His focus is on drug policy. We discuss the forthcoming first Evident Truth ZOOM Gathering on Sunday Nov 22 at 7PM CDT. (PLEASE READ: Transcript/Comment for details Link Below)

Audio file

Dean Becker (00:00):
I am Dean Becker. Your host. Our goal for this program is to expose the fraud misdirection and the liars who support for drug war empowers our terrorist enemies and riches Barbara's cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent, new as games who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is cultural baggage. Hi folks.

Dean Becker (00:30):
I am Dean Becker of the Reverend most high, and this is cultural baggage.

Dean Becker (00:34):
Well, it's been some time since I had the occasion to talk to one of my associates at the James, a Baker, the third Institute that, uh, rice university, uh, we're both the contributing experts to their drug policy, uh, um, organizations there. And I want to welcome my friend, my associate Brian Bennett. Hello, Brian.

Brian Bennett (00:53):
Hello Dean. Great to see you. And thanks for having me on it's been awhile.

Dean Becker (00:58):
Well, yes, sir. Um, you know, Brian, uh, the folks in Alabama in Houston based at KPF T you know, the mothership of the drug truth network, where are you based, sir?

Brian Bennett (01:09):
Yeah. Central Virginia. Central Virginia. Yeah, I'm down just South about 25 miles South of Charlottesville where the university of Virginia is located.

Dean Becker (01:19):
And tell us a little bit of a summary of Virginia's drug laws, how the drug war is panning out there.

Brian Bennett (01:26):
Well, it's, it's actually improving and got some exciting news tonight on the local news. Um, uh, after our current governor was elected, he's a Democrat governor, uh, Jim Northern and, uh, the legislature ended up being primarily democratic. They pretty much passed through a resolution to make, uh, marijuana possession, uh, kind of a low priority. And, and below a certain amount, it's not just, uh, a civil fine. So you pay your ticket. There's no record, no trial and none of that stuff. And then tonight, what we heard on the news was that the governor is extremely interested in, uh, legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. And that would make us the first state in the South today would, uh, take that action. So, man, I hope so. I mean, it works for me, but you know, it's only part of the problem. Right, right.

Dean Becker (02:20):
Uh, the news that you and I have been observing and sharing, um, it's too much to ignore there. There's too much science on our side too much. Um, positives being gained from the experience of other States where they've legalized, where they have jobs, children have less access. Um, there's no increase in the car accidents that it's none of the horrors that were portended, uh, here to

Brian Bennett (02:48):
Absolutely. And, you know, I mean, you and I have both been focused on the truth itself, you know, and the way you get at the truth is to gather data and make a hypothesis, gather data and, you know, re revisit. And if it's, uh, if you find some useful results, you publish them, you try to spread the word about it. And, uh, you know, frankly that's been a, a difficult job for us. And I believe that's primarily because out of all the problems that exist in the world and specifically in the United States, the drug war itself, uh, is, is the problem. You know, the drug use is not causing the problems. And that is pretty much amply been demonstrated by the States where they have record, uh, legalized recreational cannabis use. And this year Oregon went as far as to, uh, decriminalize all drug possession.

Brian Bennett (03:37):
And I'm sure they had certain limits on that. You know, like, you know, you can't walk around with a pound of heroin or something, but at least they're taking a different approach and it opens the door, uh, not only for, uh, you know, saving money by not prosecuting people, potentially increasing revenue by being able to, uh, you know, let people buy the products that they want to use increasing the, the health and safety of the users by having pure substances, they know, uh, what dose to take and they won't die just because somebody makes up a bad batch and put too much fentanyl in it. So those kinds of benefits are immediately obvious. And then with the situation we're in now, economically because of COVID, you know, many of these States are facing some really bad financial hurdles for supporting their own institutions and their retirement plans and things of that nature. So it's another Avenue for them to save money by not fighting the drug war and make money by having us pay taxes on the stuff we want to use. Like, Hey, here's my cigar. You know, it's like the tobacco was illegal at one point in time in the us. So here you go.

Dean Becker (04:39):
Well, you know, Ryan, what, uh, you, you brought forward, there is, uh, you know, data information you've gleaned, you've absorbed. You, you have, uh, uh, you're ready to make use of because you're not a hack and, and don't get me wrong here. Most of the reporters, I don't care if it's the New York times, I don't care if it's the Houston Chronicle or any other major paper. They have people they assigned to do, uh, drug-related stuff, crime related stuff, but they don't delve into it like you and I, they have not spent the time to years investigating, uh, gleaning the, the, the hard data, the basics of this, this process. And so they go meandering off in stories that tell of the horrors of drugs or shootouts are problems here and there without ever once mentioning it is the, the policy of drug prohibition that leads directly to each and every one of these failures, because that's what they are. Am I correct, sir?

Brian Bennett (05:41):
You're absolutely correct. And I mean, the, you hit it on the head with, you know, the reporters are reporters, they're not journalists anymore. I mean, for the most part, there are some decent journalists out there, but let's be fair. And because the drug problem itself is kind of like way down on anybody's radar. Uh, the people that are doing that work, like you said, are just kind of like phoning it in. They have a couple of contacts at the quote unquote leadership levels of the drug reform movement, and they'll ask them stuff and they'll use the same canned responses that they always use to stuff. They're not actually, in my opinion, spending enough time looking at the data itself either. And just kind of going through the motions as they've been doing for several decades. But so

Dean Becker (06:27):
They're sure to take a nice, clear picture of the cops standing around the table with the,

Brian Bennett (06:32):
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh my God. That's, that's one of the most ridiculous things that they do do and continue to do. And I've actually been doing for, you know, a century, you know, fighting the drug war for a century. And when I was doing the historical research, it's like tons and tons of pictures, same stuff. They're like, okay, well, it's a sign of intelligence to learn from experience what you're doing. It's not working, right. So it's not

Dean Becker (06:57):
Earlier, you mentioned your, your state of Virginia, there's, uh, a marijuana law in the works, a, a governor who's leaning even towards more progress. And I'm in Texas. And we have a situation here where, uh, you have to beg and kiss the ring of the Lieutenant governor and the governor to get them to move a quarter of an inch, to allow for any type of progress. Like our last round, they legalized basically a hemp products, which you have buy in, in the gas stations, you know, ended up where it was going to be in two dispensaries within the state, two dispensaries in the state of Texas, wow. Hundreds of miles to get there. But now the gas stations have better product than what's being sold in those dispensaries because of the hemp law came down from the federal government and just, you know, changed the equation.

Dean Becker (07:49):
And I guess where I'm leading with this is, you know, there are, I I'm hearing 16 or more bills now being put forward towards the forthcoming legislature, uh, marijuana related one faction, or, you know, inclination or another. And that, uh, the Lieutenant governor is going to be standing there, you know, or whatever the stern the man listen up children. And my goal is to embarrass the man to be little, the man to show his complete and utter ignorance and failure to address this situation. There are marijuana groups here I'm banned. I can't even get on their, their Facebook page, but I feel that my knowledge base, what I have gleaned in the last 20 years, traveling the world, visiting with drugs, ours, uh, heads of the global commission, um, uh, legislators and, and police chiefs, even our own, uh, district attorney here, can we read shirt?

Dean Becker (08:55):
Law enforcement can see the futility that this war on drugs has bred. That's a direct quote from my district attorney. One that I helped to educate on this subject. And I guess what I'm saying is the truth is Rick. It is large. It is being recognized around the world, Canada. Uh, they're, they're going to be buying heroin, providing it cheap to their users to save lives and great Britain. The police chiefs are buying heroin and making it available to their citizens to keep them alive. The logic of drug war is gone. It has no reason to exist anymore. The truth is writ large, and I intend to bring that truth to the legislature and in, so doing, I'm setting up a Sunday service, a zoom service, you know, I, I call myself the Reverend most high I've. I've married a few couples. I've preached from the pulpit of dozens. Well, excuse me, almost a dozen churches in the Houston area on Sunday morning with a whole congregation kids. And everybody prohibition is evil. It's easy to prove, and I'm going to prove it at the legislature. But what I need is for folks to show their support, get behind that effort. So that when I go before these legislators, I have a, if not a congregation, but supporters, people who believe Dean Becker knows his stuff and, and that they support what he wants to bring to the legislature. Your, your response there, Brian Bennett,

Brian Bennett (10:27):
Well being, I mean, I totally feel your pain on this. You've, you've done so much work. You've, you've talked to the highest level people in the world in terms of the, the drug war, uh, effort that's going on. Uh, you, you clearly know your station. You you'd think that people will start listening to you. And I mean, you, you really never know how the seeds you plant are going to grow. So, you know, and you didn't mention some of the other work that you've done too, like being a leap speaker. I mean, and, you know, driving around the, be a little or, uh, elite mobile when I was, I guess, sorry, my memory is failing me as I get older, but, uh, you know, being, right's not enough. And I think, you know, to me, the biggest piece of the problem has always been at the quote unquote leaders of the reform movement have not taken advantage of people such as yourself.

Brian Bennett (11:22):
And like I said, you know, they just go out, you know, they get a, a interview question from some reporter and they just use their free can. And the answer, instead of doing the kinds of work, like, uh, on, you know, you gotta play with ego here, the work that I've done, where it's like, I took their data and turned it into visualizations that you can look at it and you can tell that it's ridiculous. And I think my favorite one had to be when I, when I figured out based on the, uh, national, uh, uh, office of national drug control policy, they would do an annual on the cost, the economic cost of drugs. And, you know, they give you the numbers at a very, very, uh, high aggregated level. And once I was able to identify where their data sources actually were in dig down into the dirt to figure out what they were really doing.

Brian Bennett (12:10):
I said, okay, well, the basic parameter you have here is that the way you're classifying this stuff as like a cost, uh, of, of drug use is kind of wrong, because what you should be doing is making two piles. This is how much it costs us because people use drugs and this is how much it costs because we're trying to stop them from using drugs. And when the dust settled, it was like, you know what? It costs three times as much to try and stop people from using drugs as the alleged levels of damage that they were causing. And, you know, some of the stuff that came up with there, it was absolutely made up. And it even said it in the text of the report, it's like, Holy moly,

Dean Becker (12:48):
What there, in that equation, you were talking about the cost of waging war versus the cost of allowing it to unfold. Those costs of unfolding are multiplied well beyond what they ought to be. I'm thinking in your equation, because prohibition ensures that drugs are deadlier and overdoses will increase. And, uh, that children will be recruited to run drugs and on down the line, all of these other compounding issues that exist only because of prohibition and therefore, you know, uh, the cost of the drugs, you can go in Columbia, if you buy a hundred kilos, they'll give them to you for a hundred thousand dollars. Now, if you bring them North to America, suddenly each one of those becomes worth $100,000. So exactly where is the profit motive and who the heck's making that profit.

Brian Bennett (13:45):
Right. And, you know, you've been exploring that yourself. And you know, that a lot of that is because of corrupt government people, corrupt cops, they're all, you know, getting a piece of the pie. So the last thing in the world they want to have happen is to lose that money. And perhaps more importantly, to lose that power, you know, if they get this highfalutin position and we're like, Oh, Hey, you know, I'm, the drugs are well, if that's no longer a requirement, well, how are you going to go make money? So they want to keep that and they want to have that power. Um, it's been driving me crazy for decades that the, I spend obvious, right. And, you know, for whatever reason these things continue on. But I really believe that the bigger piece of it is that there's not enough. Uh, none of the average guy out there, average citizen paying attention and, and making the demands to the legislatures and saying, Hey, why in the hell are you doing this? This is so crazy.

Dean Becker (14:43):
But I, I think of 8,000 over now, over 8,000 radios shows in segments, I've done, Oh yes. Cultural baggage, century of lies for 20 drug war news and specials and dozens of, if not a hundred videos at this point. And I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I had put that information out there. You put that on your website. I have brought forward again, leaders that have government agencies in rugs, ours and scientists. And I don't know the coroners and good Lord. Every one I can think of every aspect, treatment providers, urine testers on down the line on every one of these Oh profit tiers, which is why most of them are charlatans in some cases. Absolutely. And I guess what I'm trying to say is I feel comfortable in saying I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high keeper of the morals in the drug war, because I want to decrease the deaths, the violence, the dis, the, the, uh, the empowerment of Barbara's cartels and, and vicious gangs. Why do we want to continue to do that? I feel I own that moral high ground. I claim it through my work, through my association with good folks like you and the others at the Baker Institute, that the folks at the drug policy Alliance and so many other hundreds of organizations I've worked with learn from, and, and I don't want a profit. I don't want a dime. I just want to die. Knowing this frigging prohibition is drawing to an end. Uh, your response here, Brian,

Brian Bennett (16:28):
You're, you're absolutely on the money. It is starting to change, and it's infuriating that it's taken so long and so much effort was required, but it's kind of, uh, uh, because it was going on for so long. And, and we were all spoonfed the same in, in school. And in various other ways over the entirety of our lives. Uh, first thing you have to do is get people to want to pay enough attention to what you're saying so that they can consider it and against what they think they know. And that requires effort on their part. It's way easier to just take some quote, unquote, authority, figures, word for something, and not dig into it. So you've done the hard work of establishing yourself as an expert. You're an authority. There's no question everybody who is involved deeply in drug reform knows that you're an expert.

Brian Bennett (17:19):
So you're making an impact way, the hell slower than we would like. Uh, but it's kinda like if you're trying to change the direction and an aircraft carrier, you tweak it a little bit. And then, you know, 2000 miles later, you're on course where you want it to go, uh, it's infuriating, but encouraging at the same time, simply because, well, there's other things that have been going on that are interesting in Washington, DC, they decided that, uh, hallucinogens and organic hallucinogens are no longer illegal. Uh, did same thing in Oregon for us. And Mexico itself is legalizing recreational marijuana. So progress is being made. It's painfully slow. And a lot of had to do with having the wrong people in charge. And frankly, the old guard, the old people as what I've observed really is the most of the change that has come about. And especially in the marijuana laws is because all the old people really believed in all the reform and this . They were like adults at the time when they were exposed to it are dying off. So that means the younger people who have more experience directly with it know that it was all bolts are in a position where they can say, Hey, you know what enough is enough? And you know, slowly but surely we're getting there.

Dean Becker (18:37):
You know, you mentioned, uh, Oregon's progress. And I came up with this phrase, I want to use here in Texas, it's time to organize Texas drug laws. Boy, it, his time to, in essence, decrim cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, I don't know all the pills. People like to take hallucinogens to LSD. You know, all of them. Yes. Because it's not doing us any good to put these people in a cage. It just ruins their life, their reputation, their future income. It does nothing positive for the state or the neighborhood or that family. Nothing. So what we need to do is organize. I like it now that's to be followed as soon as possible, as soon as possible by outright legalization. My last discussion with dr. [inaudible], the drugs are a Portugal, just a couple of months back now. I got him to admit it is time to legalize.

Dean Becker (19:36):
You know, he has been slow. He's allowed his has, um, process to show its viability and workability provability, right? But he now realizes that we need to go further. But what he understands is that it's going to take the world, understanding this let's go full legalization, because we want Merck to make these drugs. We want Pfizer to make these drugs. We don't want some half-assed scientist in a cave, somewhere making heroin over in Afghanistan. We don't want some Yabu in Columbia, mixing it with his feet in some little, out in the middle of the Amazon jungle. You know, we want this stuff made pure so that when people take it, they know exactly how much they want to take. And that the overdoses will basically go to zero. The money saved the lives saved because once people are unafraid to seek help, then they will seek help. They will help. They will, they will improve. But once this paranoia, this, this delusion, that drug user bad, and actually they're better off dead because at the heart, that is what holds the drug war together. That all, at least he's not suffering anymore. And we've got to change that whole picture.

Brian Bennett (21:02):
And over time I've found that, you know, being intelligent about it and talking about it, matter of faculty only works for a certain kind of person and that the numbers of people that we need to get involved, we got to come up with other ways to get their attention in the first place and then get them to spread the message with us. And it's tough for them to do it with all the data and the numbers, because that takes a lot of work, but maybe we can come up with things like your, your phrase, right. Organize around it. Right. And I always correct people in conversations when they say it's like, you know, people are out there doing drugs and alcohol, is it drugs and alcohol that's like saying dogs and German shepherds it's it doesn't make sense. So if we can add comedy into some of it, not the, you know, the, the stoner comedy, which hurt us a lot, I mean, did Cheech and Chong stuff, God bless him. Uh, it didn't do a lot of good for creating an image of like, Hey, these are just your neighbors. And, uh, you know, there are ways that we can create comedic commentary.

Dean Becker (22:05):
I, I agree with you that it wasn't the helpful that's for certain, but I would also say this, that it was, it was just having fun is really all it was. And then the, the prohibitionist took that and twisted that and made it into something hurtful to, if you will, that were stoners, lazy and competent that are often dead in the long run, because that's where you go with that direction. And that's what happens when you have the no-knock warrant and you have the barge in with the guns and frightened the children and shoot the dog and just did what used to be America. Yes, it is this fear of drugs, fear of druggies dilemma, might they do my God they're on drugs. Right. And the, the, I don't know, just the, the setting free of this fear that, that causes the cop finger to twit that causes that, that needless death.

Dean Becker (23:18):
Right. And, and I don't know, I I've, I've got to wrap this up, but I want to come back to folks that this Sunday coming up, uh, it's going to be November 22nd, 7:00 PM, central daylight time. We're going to have the first evident truth, zoom service. They, in a church, we may be believers and I may be the Reverend most high, but it's a gathering of people who want to examine and redirect our efforts in this drug war. And perhaps who can trust me to be speaking on their behalf to challenge the leaders in the Texas Senate and house, the governor and Lieutenant governor to embarrass be little, hopefully start out just informing those people to the full truth and that the truth is coming after their . Um, Brian Bennett, your closing talks too well.

Brian Bennett (24:17):
Well, it's important to expose the fact that these folks typically don't really know what they're doing. Sometimes it's more useful instead of hammering them dead on with what you want to say with turning questions back on them, that, you know, the answer to that they can't answer. And that if they had to admit it out loud, you know, you get that little look on their face. Like, Oh my God, this guy just asked me something about what I just said. And I don't know. So maybe what we want, what we trying to do is build a bunch of people and work in a common direction instead of like, you know, all the fighting all the time. So I think maybe we can come up with ways of like putting stuff together on a YouTube channel or something just like hit little things at a time and, and slowly but surely build up the, the, the large number of people who we need to say, yeah, enough is enough. And I love your idea of going in there and hammering them, especially with them in a public forum, if you're going to do it in the legislature, that is awesome. Uh, but, uh, it might be more effective instead of hammering them to ask the kinds of questions that you know, are going to embarrass them to try it again.

Dean Becker (25:28):
I, I don't know if you're aware. I, uh, back before the pandemic, I used to go to the courthouse every week and hand out these cards.

Brian Bennett (25:37):
Uh, so you're posting on it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dean Becker (25:39):
Conscientious objections to drug war, or the other side kind of facetious work. Part-time make big bucks work. But, um, I I'm, you know, I'm going to do something similar to this prior to my most speaking to, or about them to educate them, to let them know what's coming to, um, uh, make them realize they don't know squat, that they are they're clinging to anxious, hysteria and propaganda stuff that was handed down from great-grandpa that has no logic, no relevance to today's America to, to reality actually has no, no reason to exist and that we need to, uh, realize that to grow up. Every day, I drive by a hundred outlets, selling my drug of destruction. They're selling alcohol and everyone. Right. And I, I spent 35 years and I've avoided it. I, I, I'm proud. I'm proud of it. And, uh, and the fact of the matter is that the same holds true in Switzerland, where they, the government provides heroin.

Dean Becker (26:51):
People don't go out Robyn and Horan and shoplifting, right? They, they get a job, they take care of their kids. They go to school, they don't have to worry about finding the money or finding a dealer, finding the drugs. They have a normal life. And I don't know, I guess we're going to have to wrap it up, but one more time, folks, please join us. This coming Sunday, 7:00 PM, central time, uh, I'll send you an invitation and, uh, do the zoom get together. And I'll just do kind of an intro, you know, maybe five, 10 minutes to talk to you, and then we'll open it up and hell maybe we'll start doing the radio shows that way. We'll start hearing your thoughts, your concerns, what we can tell these politicians. Um, it's a means to hopefully create some progress and I'm, I'm hoping it works.

Dean Becker (27:46):
So Brian , I thank you, sir. I thank you, Dean. Once again, we were speaking with Brian C. Bennett website, Brian C two ends two T's okay. I call myself the Reverend most high. So here's my religious beliefs. I believe that truth is God and I worship reality. Hell of this all works out. Maybe you'll be the star on next week's cultural baggage. And once again, if you want to be invited to the zoom service of evident truth, please send me an Once again, I remind you because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful

Dean Becker (28:33):
To the drug truth network listeners around the world. This is Dean Becker for cultural baggage and the unvarnished truth. Cultural baggage is a production of the Pacifica radio network. Archives are permanently stored at the James A. Baker, the third Institute for public policy, and we are all tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.