03/16/18 Ethan Russo

Maricela Orozco from Caravan for Peace, interpretation by Daniel Joloy , Ellecer Carlos, of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Dr. Ethan Russo re Patients Out Of Time & Bob Wenzel of Target Liberty

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TRANSCRIPT

CULTURAL BAGGAGE

MARCH 16, 2018

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: Hi folks, this is Dean Becker, and I thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. I'm headed to Europe to gather some important interviews, getting some help this week on preparing the show.

This week, we're going to hear from the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, who just completed its sixty-first annual meeting. This information was gathered by Mister Doug McVay of DrugWarFacts.org and our other program, Century of Lies. And we also want to thank the DrugReporter and the Rights Reporter Foundation for their help in this effort.

Our first segment comes from the CND side event. It features Maricela Orozco out of Mexico, Familiares en Búsqueda María Herrera, from the Caravan for Peace, Life, and Justice, which I traveled seven thousand miles with. English language interpretation is provided by Daniel Joloy, senior policy analyst at Amnesty International.

MARICELA OROZCO [interpretation by DANIEL JOLOY]: Good morning. My name is Maricela Orozco. I come from Mexico. I am here today because, unfortunately, my kid, Gerson, of 19 years old, was kidnapped a little bit more than three years ago, and that same day, my son, Alan, who was an architecture student, and my son in law, Miguel, were also killed when they were looking for Gerson.

My son, Gerson, was disappeared in the context of the violence and impunity that the war on drugs has brought to Mexico. This war has consisted in the militarization of public security, resulting in the increase of violence and human rights violations that has reached a number of more than 30,000 people disappeared since 2006.

In the case of the disappearance of Gerson, and the killing of Alan and Miguel, are involved state and non-state actors. Even the secretary of defense has participated in covering up for the evidence of this tragic case, and judges have currently also covering for organized crime.

Because of this, I began my struggle to try to find my son. While looking for Gerson, I met other families, and I -- we gathered together to found an organization, Families in the Search María Herrera, a network of other family collectives, of people looking for their disappeared, across all the country, called the Network of National Groups.

That's how I became, from searching only for my son, to look for many other people disappeared in Mexico. This is how I became a woman human rights defender.

From these two organizations, I have joined actions to look for the disappeared alive, and also in mass graves. I also participated in the process to draft the general law against disappearances, which was recently approved in Congress, and we also resisted a recent law on interior security, a law that was sadly approved just a few months ago. I have also joined active efforts to demand a stop of this war against drugs.

Besides the damages that this war against drugs has signified to thousands of families that, as my family, have lost their loved ones, or are searching for their loved ones, defending human rights in this context, it's very, very dangerous.

In our work, for searching for the disappeared, many friends have been killed, like Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez, who was looking for her daughter, Karen Alejandra, and was killed in May of last year at her house, or our friend José Jesús Jiménez Gaona, who was looking for his daughter Jenny Isabel, and was killed in June 2016.

The search for our loved ones make us be uncomfortable, both for criminal actors, but also for the state, because evidence their omissions and their collusion with organized crime. By organizing ourselves and taking on all the other cases, as if they are our own cases, our vulnerability increases.

On the other hand, in Mexico, it's almost zero that reparation of damages or effective remedies for victims of human rights violations and human rights defenders.

I am part of the mechanism of protection for human rights defenders and journalists that has evaluated my risk as extraordinary. The mechanism has granted me some protection measures, such as a panic alert, installation of strong doors and windows, a GPS sensor, and lights across my house. However, the risk situation me and my family are facing is very, very high, and that's why the attorney general's office has been forced to intervene as well, and to give me some police to protect me and my family, because the measures proposed by the mechanism are insufficient.

The panic alert is a privatized measure that, when you activate it, it puts you in touch with a private corporation. Besides, it is inefficient, because it doesn't have the capacity to react adequately and before an emergency, and frequently the button doesn't work.

In emergency cases, the police would only send some people to police around your house, but they wouldn't be able to protect you when they are trying to kill you or to attack you directly.

In addition, being able to be considered by the mechanism is very complex, and you necessarily need the follow-up of a civil society organization that is specialized in dealing with the mechanism, just in order for the authorities to take your case into consideration, and be kept within the mechanism, and to have -- to demand constantly that the specific measures granted are evaluated and changed according to the necessities.

The mechanism will always be insufficient, while the cases of human rights defenders attacked are increasing. The mechanism does not implement measures to prevent these attacks, nor comprehensive measures to reduce the rates of impunity for these attacks. Without this, the cycle of attacks and threats against human rights defenders and journalists will definitely continue.

The cycle of impunity and corruption that fuels the war against drugs has not allowed us to find for our disappeared, and increases the risks for those of us who defend human rights. This is why it is urgent to meet the strategy and drug control policies in Mexico towards one that guarantees the full protection of human rights.

Thank you very much, and I just want to share that this last December, we found the body of our son who was kidnapped for more than three years.

DEAN BECKER: I thought it important to let our Spanish speaking friends hear the truth here on the mothership of the Drug Truth Network. Next up, we hear from Carlos Ellecer
He's spokesman for the “In Defence of Human Rights and Dignity Movement” in the Philippines.

ELLECER CARLOS: Thank you so much, Daniel. Warm greetings of human rights solidarity to all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amnesty International and the International Drug Policy Consortium for organizing this important event that further enables us to bring out the truth on what is happening in the Philippines.

I am with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, and PAHRA is the lead convenor of the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement, the one that first responded to the mass killings when they started, even before President Duterte took office in June 2016, and we're now engaged in our second international solidarity information tour.

We went all around the world last year for five months, simply because we could not see working accountability mechanisms in the Philippines and our judicial system being already under the control of this violent president, and, yeah. Essentially, we're also extending the Philippine human rights movement which was once strong outside the Philippines because of the impending dictatorship in our country.

Most of you are all aware of the drug war in the Philippines operating outside the rule of law, which has made human life very cheap, the worst human rights crisis since the time of Marcos, one that is dehumanizing us all.

As we reported constantly at the UN and the US Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte established a permission structure for mass murder, and redefined the rules, and institutionalized the rules of an institutionalized impunity in the Philippines.

He has popularized the idea that the crisis there can be solved by exterminating addicts and criminals. Conditioned our police to be quick on the trigger and routinely circumvent due process, and have a general contempt for the rule of law by promising them protection from litigation, imposing on them forced quotas, forced results, offering bounties to even ordinary citizens, and putting up a reward system.

Hitler-style, he effectively dehumanized and defined drug dependence and drug peddlers as the -- THE -- inconvenient sector worthy of elimination. Through sustained incitement to hate and violence, he has done so.

This kill society's undesired, or de facto social cleansing policy, has led to the deaths of at least 12,000, conservatively speaking, of the most neglected, beaten down, and impoverished sections of Philippine society, including children.

What civil society has offered are three basic things. One, this includes academic institutions, international experts, and of course human rights groups, is to end that clamp down, prohibitionist, and hardline approach, which never worked elsewhere, and apply compassionate, evidence-based human rights and public health centered approach to resolving the drug issue.

Of course, radical reforms in our inoperable criminal justice system so that justice can flow there. And mostly, it's an investment in a life of dignity for all, address the root cause. In the Philippines, there is a huge market of beaten down, impoverished individuals, predisposed to become exploited into a life of crime and drugs, and we would like essential services and opportunities to be democratized so that everyone can have a chance to get out of poverty, explaining to this administration the direct relationship between the decrease of crime and drug dependency with the rise of the standard of living.

Instead of consulting and listening to us, Duterte demonized us, human rights defenders, and conditioned the public to detest us. He has publicly distorted and sown misperceptions about human rights values, ideals, and principles. He has presented human rights groups as coddlers of criminals and obstructionists of justice and obstacles to development, and promoted -- sorry about that -- the narrative that the world will never be safe for us as long as these human rights groups are here to side with criminals, addicts, and so forth.

The state enforced distortion of the truth and hate for human rights and human rights defenders has eroded public belief in human rights, and secured some level of public acceptance should the killings spill over to our sector. He has publicly threatened to kill us on several occasions, ordered the police to shoot us if we obstruct justice, and harvest us together with addicts, using the word "harvest".

Duterte's message is clear. All he has to do is give the orders, and we will all be killed. This situation has drastically constricted space for human rights discourse and the defense of human rights in the Philippines. Yeah, so, there's no affirmative action being undertaken to resolve the killings both by the police and two-thirds of the killings of death squads.

The design of the drug war is -- is really confining the violence and mass killings to the most impoverished urban poor communities. The lowest rungs of the drug trade, really. And the impact of the drug war is several fold. This endangers everyone. Anyone can now be accused of being an addict, or a drug pusher, in the Philippines, without having the opportunity to go to court and defend him or her self.

That general contempt for the rule of law is leading to the breakdown of our democratic institutions. It threatens to transfigure the mindsets of our entire policing establishment, transforming even the most law abiding and decent police officer into butchers.

Now we're threatened also to throw away all the human rights education work that the commission on human rights and human rights organizations have been doing, and of course the civic behavior in the Philippines, the normalization of the killings, is worsening our collective sociopathy.

Duterte, after several extensions, has finally ruled the drug war -- that the drug war will continue until 2022. And, yeah, now is -- the problem is that the dormant death squad network has been unleashed into an entire epidemic.

So what is important now is exposing his true intentions. He has no intentions whatsoever to resolve the drug issue. The Philippines' war on drugs is really nothing more than a sham war, used as a populist tool to sow a culture of fear and silence, and to advance an authoritarian agenda.

It's clear to us all that this is just part of a much bigger picture. For us, it's about the falling apart of democracy, and a retrogression into dictatorship, and the disintegration of Philippine society.

The situation today is the closest we have been to an authoritarian government in thirty years, and he's been rolling back the gains of human rights and democracy, and civil and political rights have been systematically eroded.

He has co-opted two other branches of government, and we have evaluated that his current priorities, his two political projects, charter change and federalism, is merely a realignment of the elite, and intends to dissolve nationalist, economic, and human rights provisions in our constitution and do away with the democratic safeguards and checks and balances, on terms extension and also the judicial and congressional review of martial law declaration, and intends to abolish constitutional commissions such as the commission on human rights.

He also has well-financed propaganda machinery that is effective in shaping public opinion, social conditioning, and re-echoing his anti-human rights and kill rhetoric. And of course online bullying and spreading culture of intolerance to criticism and dissent.

He has made full use of bureaucratic and political apparatuses to carry out political persecution and silence dissent and criticism, and attack through judicial harassment and misogynistic public comments, those who represent our institutions providing checks and balances, yeah, and his political critics, our vice president, Senator DeLima, the supreme court chief now facing removal, and of course our ombudsperson's chief.

He's been whitewashing the Marcos years and painting the Marcos years as the golden years. He has institutionalized vigilantism and forced organizing by forming pseudo-mass movements. These are extremist nationalist groups exploiting a distorted sense of patriotism. This has constricted space for public action for us, because these government funded public actions, rallies really, Hitler-style, they organize in the very same spaces that we do.

Yes, okeh. Yes. So it -- the challenge for us is enormous and unprecedented in the Philippines for human rights defenders, while being threatened as next targets, we must persevere to fight apathy, help Philippine society reestablish the respect for right to life, and reclaim our collective humanity.

And, yeah, basically, the difference between now and the Marcos dictatorship is, during the Marcos dictatorship, the public was sympathetic with the human rights cause, but now, a huge section of the Philippine public detests us. Duterte's still able to operate on top of a strong support base, and, yeah, we lack physical and security plans amongst human rights organizations, while government is actually upgrading its surveillance capacity and infrastructure.

And we're -- a lot of us are under the watch and persons of interest list of the Philippine National Police and the armed forces of the Philippines. So, the total crackdown of political activists started actually, and the rights of killings of activists and the human rights defenders already, and this includes the murder of eight indigenous environmental rights defenders on December Three last year.

So our work now is how to expose the duplicity of Duterte, claims to be anti-poor but really has no social agenda that will uplift the lives of the poor, whose economic policies will only deepen inequality.

So, yeah, that basically, our role is now to make sure that our fellow Filipinos will not behave like the good Germans of the Nazi era, and of course, accountability and how to protect, provide sanctuaries for the courageous families of victims of extrajudicial killings. So, yes. Thank you very much.

DEAN BECKER: Again, I want to thank Doug McVay, DrugReporter and the Rights Reporter Foundation. Thank you.

It's time to play Name That Drug By Its Side Effects! Rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, yellow eyes, swelling of the tongue, hoarseness, dark urine, fainting, fever, irregular heartbeat, mental or mood changes, seizure, and death. Time's up! The answer, from the UCB Group: Xyzal, for asthma.

Last week we had the privilege of speaking with the director of Patients Out of Time, Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre, about the forthcoming conference May 10 through 12 up there in Jersey City, New Jersey, and one of the featured speakers of this conference is joining us now to talk about what's happened, what's, I don't know, the regression and the progress over the past year, and I want to welcome Doctor Ethan Russo. Hello, Doctor Russo.

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Hello, thanks for having me.

DEAN BECKER: Well, yes, sir. You know, progress, regression, it seems the science is moving forward but the propaganda and the hysteria is still trying to drag us backwards. Would you agree with that?

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I'm afraid I have to agree, yeah. I mean, it's one of these situations that we clearly see progress, but it's occurring extra-USA, I'm afraid, and although science marches on, we have a situation where it's still extremely difficult to do meaningful scientific, clinical research on cannabis in this country.

DEAN BECKER: Right. And they keep saying we need more studies before we can do progress, but the same people saying that are helping to delay that progress, in my opinion. Would you agree there?

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: I, again, you're correct about that. There is an overwhelming body of evidence behind the clinical efficacy and safety of cannabis for a variety of illnesses. Figure this much: we have a situation where a cannabis based medicine is approved for treatment of spasticity in MS in 29 countries, but it doesn't include the US.

And we also have a situation in which a cannabidiol based cannabis extract is about to be FDA approved, but that has not led to progress on other fronts, in terms of availability or of acceptance of cannabis as a bona fide medicine.

DEAN BECKER: Now, it's my layman's understanding that there was either late last year or this year an approval of a synthetic marijuana, you know, pharmaceutically made and so forth. Is this a new development, or am I off base there?

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, let's look at this historically. Way back in 1985, the Food and Drug Administration in the USA approved synthetic THC, Marinol, for treatment of nausea associated with chemotherapy. One of the ideas behind that was, well, now we've used this and people won't need to use cannabis. But that obviously didn't happen.

What they didn't understand was that THC by itself is nothing like herbal cannabis, with its full range of other ingredients that contribute to both the therapeutic benefits of the medicine as well as reducing side effects associated with THC.

So the synthetic THC has never been a popular medicine, hasn't been much used clinically, but we have millions of people around the world using cannabis, in contrast, and anyone who has tried both will tell you that they're not at all the same.

It still is the case that many companies are interested in trying to make their own synthetic molecules that might mimic some of the things that cannabis does, but I have to say that the chances that they're going to be better in any material way is extremely slim.

We have the added benefit of thousands of years of experience with herbal cannabis, and we know exactly what to expect with it. This is not to say that people cannot take too much, or get into trouble with it, but with judicious approaches to dosing, it is a very safe medicine.

DEAN BECKER: Doctor Russo, I was talking about, you know, progress and regress and in the state of Texas, we had a situation just earlier this month where a couple had a daughter who was approaching 18 years of age, and they were re-defining her guardianship, and the judge determined that the parents, who had been giving her doses of cannabis medicine, were the best guardians for that youngster becoming an adult, and I guess what I'm saying is, even in Texas, the truth of this matter kind of sneaks into the courtroom, sneaks into the legislative offices.

The truth of this matter is known, but not recognized. I think I'm saying that right. Your response there, Doctor Russo.

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Yeah, I agree, it's unfortunate that this is one of those issues in which real progress doesn't seem to occur until a politician has retired, and then says, well, you know, actually cannabis probably is a good idea.

Or, the other situation, this is also unfortunate, is that people don't change their minds until they're touched by it directly. That they get cancer, and get cannabis to help them through it, or a family member has it, or another dread disease that's aided by cannabis, and then they see the light. It's really unfortunate that this kind of direct slap in the face, if you will, is necessary for people to realize the utility of this drug.

DEAN BECKER: Well, you know, my city of Houston, we have a new sheriff, police chief, district attorney, they've all come on my show, and talked about, they have friends, associates, family, they know people who benefit, and they have eased up. They have a new Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program here, where nobody gets arrested for under four ounces. And I guess what I'm saying is, politicians and law enforcement, in many locales, are doing what they can, despite the law.

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Yeah, that's true. But we've got a situation, we've had a huge step backwards on the federal level.

DEAN BECKER: Oh yeah.

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Just due to old attitudes that really are based on ideology rather than science, medicine, or anything else. To me, this is a medical issue between patient and doctor, and when people try to inject moralism into it, it really is not going to work for other people.

Moralistic attitudes that are fine for oneself, to set a person's own standards, but by imposing that on others, particularly when it comes to medications that patients may need, that approach just doesn't work.

DEAN BECKER: No. Well, friends, once again, we've been speaking with Doctor Ethan Russo. He's going to be one of the featured speakers at the Patients Out of Time conference. Please go to that website, PatientsOutOfTime.org, and sign up for their conference on May 10 through 12. You'll get the best science information from around the country, heck, from around the world.

And I don't know how else to say this. This is one of the conferences I go to each year that just fortifies me with information that helps to negate, to knock down, the hysteria, the propaganda, of those like our attorney general Jeff Sessions, who, he seems like he grew up with Harry J. Anslinger. Your thought there, Doctor Russo.

ETHAN RUSSO, MD: Well, I can't deny it. I hope eventually that people will see the light on this. Certainly, for everyone in this country to have the availability of cannabis as medicine's going to require a change in federal law, but certainly that could happen in the future. I keep waiting, each day I get a little grayer, a few less hair follicles on top, but still hopeful that this can change in this country.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I'm with you, sir. I look forward to us meeting again, having a more indepth discussion there at this conference. And again, folks, Patients Out Of Time. It is the most prestigious marijuana conference you can go to, and I highly recommend it. It's going to be May 10 through 12, and you'll get a chance to meet Doctor Ethan Russo.

So, after all that good common sense, it's time for some government bullshift.

VOICEOVER ANNOUNCER: Marijuana use during adolescence can lead to serious long term cognitive impairment, and an increased risk of severe psychiatric disorders, according to new research from the lab of Doctor Asaf Keller at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

ASAF KELLER, PHD: Children who start around pre-adolescence, thirteen to fifteen years of age, tend to develop very serious deficits, and these include a very high incidence of neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and attention deficit disorders as well as longterm and permanent reductions in intelligence as measured by IQ tests.

VOICEOVER ANNOUNCER: In this study, researcher Sylvie Raver measured the brain activity of mice after exposure to low levels of marijuana during adolescence. Cortical oscillations measured in adulthood reveal the impact on the adolescent brain.

ASAF KELLER, PHD: It is very worrisome, and it seems to be very specific to that age, because when we repeated that experiment in older animals, that were beyond their period of adolescence, these animals had no permanent deficits.

DEAN BECKER: Okeh, to close out this edition of Cultural Baggage:

If you will, please, introduce yourself, tell us about the work you do.

BOB WENZEL: Okeh, hi, Dean, my name is Robert Wenzel, I'm publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com, and also Target Liberty, and what I do is I write about the economy at the Economic Policy Journal, and at Target Liberty I cover topics that are a little bit more broad with regard to what's going on in the country as far as government operations, and developments in the libertarian movement.

So, that's the best way to find out what I'm doing, and I've got some other books out, things like that, but if you go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com or TargetLiberty.com, you will be able to find what I'm doing from there.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Robert, I was, you know, on the internet, somebody posted a link to one of your stories from last year, it was titled up, The Insane Take By Attorney General Jeff Sessions On Recreational Drug Sales. And, you know, I'm a former cop, I'm a speaker with a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, now Law Enforcement Action Partnership. I like the old term better.

But, this coincides directly with my feelings, that we couldn't do this any worse if we tried. Your thought there, please.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, basically what's going on is you've got a situation where the attorney general said that there's something naturally inherently violent about drug sales. And that's really not true. You could make coffee a violent business if you made it illegal, and if you made the penalties for selling coffee extreme enough.

In such a case, a coffee dealer would be willing to shoot and kill people if he thought it would protect him from going to jail, or if he would want to expand his territory, what happens is you tend to get more violent people in that industry.

But if there were no regulations against, you know, if we're talking coffee or drug use, you could walk into any drug store and buy them, and a grandmother would sell them. So, you basically have a situation where the problem is not that there's something inherently dangerous or evil about drug sales in the sense that people are always shooting each other when it's -- when a drug sale is involved, it's the law which makes this illegal. And we see this perfectly when we look at what happened with prohibition.

We had Al Capone and everybody else selling alcohol illegally. There were a lot of murders and shootouts and all that sort of thing. As soon as prohibition was eliminated, and sales of alcohol were allowed in the open, you basically had a situation where those murders and the violence disappeared.

So Sessions is completely inaccurate when he says there's something inherently dangerous about selling drugs. That's not the case. That kind of violence occurs only because of the legal structure and the prohibition on drug sales.

DEAN BECKER: You know, Robert, I pretty much weekly preach the thought that if these drugs were made by Merck or Pfizer, sold at a reasonable price in the drug stores to adults, that we would have basically zero overdose deaths, except for those too unintelligent to realize what they were up to, and that it is, if you want to call it violence or the deaths from drugs, are basically, again, because of this prohibition.

Because with Prince, with Tom Petty, with, what did they say, 60,000 people last year died from overdose, and most of them didn't know what they were taking, often taking pills they thought were legitimate that were counterfeit, and just never knowing quite what they were injecting or, you know, ingesting, I guess I should say.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, you know, you're absolutely right there. I mean, that's a very, very good point. What happens is, when you have a free and open market, you know, people know where they can go to count on for quality drugs and buying what they want. You know, if you go to a CVS, a Walgreens, Rite-Aid, any of these stores, you're going to pick the Bayer aspirin off the shelf, and you know exactly what you're getting.

And in Bayer aspirin, CVS would get in a lot of trouble if they sort of labeled something else Bayer aspirin that was killing people. The same thing with any other, any other type drugs that are now prohibited. If you could pick them off the shelf, the violence would disappear, you'd have grandmothers behind the cashier station selling them to you, and the people buying them would be knowing exactly what kind of quality they're getting.

All prohibition does is eliminate that freedom and the lack of violence, it's a very, very dangerous business, because these guys, who are risking their lives to be dealers now, know that if they're caught, they're facing very serious time in jail.

So, what happens is that you sort of draw the people that are most violent into the business, who aren't afraid to, you know, plug somebody if they're going to squeal on them or whatever, and then consequently these guys are also the type that will try and expand their territory, so, that -- violently expand their territory.

But all that would end, we saw it in prohibition, and every other product out there that's on a free market on a shelf, you have no problem with.

DEAN BECKER: Well, and one other true complication is the fact that were these drugs made, like I said, by Merck, Pfizer, sold at the drug store, the price would be so low, they wouldn't have to go out and break into houses or knock people in the head or shoplift or all of these other things to afford their drugs. They would be one percent the cost that they are today, roughly.

I did a study last week of dentists, right here in the United States, currently are buying cocaine at $30 an ounce, and, you know, compared to the price in the black market, and the contaminants in the black market, it's a hell of a better deal. Your thought there please, Robert.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, Dean, again you're absolutely correct. See, when the market is, again, free and open, you've got major, major competition, and the people that are offering these services don't have to be afraid about going to jail, so consequently there isn't that risk premium involved.

Someone that's going to be selling a drug, where they face significant jail time, is going to be -- want to be compensated a lot of money for selling that. And that doesn't happen in CVS, that doesn't happen in Rite-Aid, because that -- the risk of getting arrested for selling something in a Rite-Aid or a CVS is zero. I mean, it's not going to happen. So people are much more willing to work for a lower wage.

But the guy who's going out on the street in a dangerous business because of the regulation, and has to know that he could be arrested at any time, and serve a long prison sentence, he's going to be wanting to be compensated an awful lot for that, so the price goes very, very up. You're eliminating the low cost providers by this, and consequently increasing the crime in the country because these people want to get these drugs, and they'll steal anything they have to to get them, which would not be the case if the drugs were allowed to operate on the free market.

DEAN BECKER: You know, another complication that used, that's turned on its head to justify more drug war, is, you know, the, we're empowering terrorists, we're enriching these barbarous cartels, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and we give reason for these violent gangs to be out there prowling our neighborhoods selling these contaminated drugs to our kids.

And that, all of that, the horror, the fear, is used to justify more drug war, when in truth, it just makes it worse. Your thought there, Robert.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, you're absolutely right. And you know, you've got two things going on. First of all, the drug business will attract the most violent people, but it also creates violent people, because you have young kids, whether they're gang members or wherever they're coming from, they basically see the guys that have the money in the inner city are the guys that are selling the drugs.

And then they see these guys have to be violent, and so it encourages them to be violent. It's a very, very dangerous thing, that, when you sort of press on a bunch of people and violently, which is really what the police do when they bust these guys, you can get the blowback, which you're getting, you know, people who do not want to deal with the police and risk getting arrested move away from that, and the only ones that stick around are the really tough guys that are very, very violent, and it teaches that to the young kids who want to make money in those areas, that they have to be tough and violent, and it's just terrible.

DEAN BECKER: Now, just a few days ago, our resident, Trump, gave a speech, and talked about deadly drug dealers, that you can shoot somebody with a gun and you might go to prison for life, might get executed, but these drug dealers, he says, kill two thousand, three thousand, five thousand people with their contaminated drugs and get away with it and he thinks that's wrong. He thinks we should follow China and the Philippines and Singapore and start executing drug dealers here in the US. Your response there, Robert.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, again, you know, you're basically you're getting a situation where that's a very naive way of looking at the situation. You're basically threatening to kill people because they're trying to provide a service where there's a black market and it's difficult to provide that good, and instead of understanding that the way to solve the problem is to remove the prohibition on it, you're going to press these guys, the dealers, even more, which is only going to a, jack up the price, and make them even more violent.

If they know they're going down for a life sentence, I mean, these guys are violent enough now. They're going -- you're going to start having real drug wars where they'll be shooting police because they have nothing to lose. I mean, it doesn't -- it doesn't take into consideration all the consequences of an act.

Yeah, you could -- you can sort of have this dream utopia world where, okeh, I'm going to kill all the drug dealers and then there won't be any more drugs, and the world will be wonderful, but that's not the way the world works. As long as there's demand, there's going to be people that are willing to take the risk to supply the demand. These are not the sort of closed cultures where, in Singapore and China, it would be extremely difficult to do that in the United States, and all it does is, it would create more violence in the drug world.

DEAN BECKER: Exactly right, Robert. Once again, we're speaking with Robert Wenzel, he's an author, an activist, an intelligent human being, who has examined this drug war in great depth. Robert, I want to continue on that thought for a minute, that, you know, were these drugs made by trained chemists, and were not so deadly, the pronouncements of Trump and Jeff Sessions and all of the other prohibitionists would be just in an echo chamber.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, Dean, I mean, what's really going in is, you're absolutely right. All the arguments they're making, they don't realize the arguments they're making are there because of the prohibition. The quality of the drugs would be much more consistent, you wouldn't have these dangers of people mixing, I mean, you know, people are desperate, in this underworld market where nobody really knows who anybody is and they buy stuff like, as you've pointed out, from people they don't really know, and it can be bad stuff.

And it's very, very risky. And that would change completely if it was legalized. You know, no one's dying from a beer overdose or a vodka overdose or any of that [sic: not true. According to the CDC, thousands of people in the US die every year from alcohol overdose, and alcohol-in-combination with other drugs is a contributing factor to thousands more deaths annually].

And, none of those products are mixed with poor quality ingredients, and that's because the free market sort of has a consumer protection part to it, where people know where they're going to buy things, they know what brands they're buying, and they know that the brands will be consistent.

And when you have that black market, where you have to worry about the government cracking down on these dealers, which again brings out all the violent guys and crazy, you don't know what you're buying, and no one's out there with a brand, it's very, very dangerous to sort of have a brand and say yes, this is me, come to my corner, because that's the first guy that's going to get arrested, if he's there all the time and people know he's consistently there.

I mean, people will try to do that, but it's -- it's much more complex to do that versus being able to walk into a package store and pick up some alcohol.

DEAN BECKER: No, and --

ROBERT WENZEL: Where they're -- go ahead.

DEAN BECKER: I just wanted to throw this in. You said folks wouldn't be dying from beer and alcohol. That's a pretty good rarity. It does happen, especially with vodka or something like that, that people can kill themselves, and I would imagine in a true regulated environment, we would have those few who would die from these drugs, take too much.

ROBERT WENZEL: Right.

DEAN BECKER: And especially if they combine these drugs with alcohol, because that's where most of these overdoses are happening to this day, is through the combination of alcohol and, you know, the downer drugs, heroin, barbiturates, and so forth. And, we need to educate better, we need to truly pull the lid off of this and examine the whole innards of intake of substances, because Americans are ignorant. I mean, I've got to admit that we don't quite have a grasp on, especially combination of alcohol and heroin. Your thought there, please.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yeah, there's no question, but you know there's another point I want to bring up here, and that's -- you know, we're dealing with a drug enforcement industrial complex.

DEAN BECKER: Oh yeah.

ROBERT WENZEL: That's a huge, the DEA is a huge multibillion dollar agency that is out there that's supposedly, you know, fighting drugs, but really what's going on is their survival is based on the drug industry really continuing, because then all these guys would have to find new jobs and everything else.

And so, then there's the question of, you know, why are you taking my tax dollars and spending it on this kind of stuff, which makes the entire drug situation worse? And at the same time, you know, somebody wants to take drugs, let them take drugs. Why are you taking my money to try and stop this? And then you're living off this, and creating a career for yourself, on something that I don't care about. I mean, it's, from that perspective, it's a terrible thing.

DEAN BECKER: It's a great waste of resources, manpower, and focus. It really is.

ROBERT WENZEL: Right.

DEAN BECKER: Well, I tell you what friends, once again, Robert, pronounce your last name for me so I get it right this time.

ROBERT WENZEL: Sure, it's Wenzel. You've got it correct. And if people want to find out more about the things I write, they can go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com, or TargetLiberty.com, and I write and post there seven days a week, so there's always something new coming up.

DEAN BECKER: Well, once again, I want to thank you for your writing, for, I don't know, I mean, sometimes I get pretty lonely, I realize people are moving more and more towards the stance I have taken, that you have taken, but, again, the ignorance of America, to just believe that the DEA has their -- has good intentions, that this whole drug war is worthwhile, and that we should continue funding terrorists, cartels, and gangs, forever. It just blows my mind that this is so, this potential is so invisible to so many people. Your thought, Robert.

ROBERT WENZEL: Yes. Yeah, there's no question, there's two people who really want this drug war to continue: the DEA, and the gangs. The DEA, because it provides them with long term careers, and the gang members who know they would be out of business in a minute if the drugs were legalized and you could open up stores and provide it at a much lower price, with better quality and much more safety. So it's very, very bad. And Sessions and Trump do not see that.

DEAN BECKER: I ask you to please visit our website, DrugTruth.net, and remember, because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful. And pay no mind to this gentleman who's going to close out our show.

donald trump: If we catch a drug dealer, death penalty. That's all.

Dean Becker Wants YOU to Call the Drug Czar