WASHINGTON, June 24, 2013 ― Jesse Ventura is a former professional wrestler, actor, Mayor, Governor of Minnesota, and author of “Democrips and Rebloodlicans”, now out in paperback. He is also the author of “They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There Was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK”, which is slated to release in early October.
In part one of our interview, Governor Ventura discusses his book, the war on drugs, Cuba, guns, and the disturbing revelations of the NSA’s covert data mining program.
Kevin Kelly: In the introduction to “Democrips and Rebloodlicans,” you’ve praised Colorado and Washington for legalizing recreational marijuana use. Do you believe that more states will begin to push back against the federal government’s war on drugs?
Jesse Ventura: I hope so. The war on drugs has been a miserable failure. It’s resulted in thousands upon thousands of deaths. My mother even told me she lived through the prohibition of alcohol, and before she passed on she told me that the war on drugs was identical to the prohibition of alcohol, that all you do is make criminals rich and powerful. Which is all that it does do, and if you look at it from a philosophical viewpoint, all of these people who are in jail for drug usage … well, we’re supposed to be a free country, and in a free country how can you go to jail for committing a crime against yourself? I don’t understand that. How can you commit a crime against yourself?
Now, I’m not advocating drug usage; it’s stupid. It’s stupid, but the point of the matter is how can you go to jail for committing ― now if you take drugs and rob the bank, fine prosecute you for bank robbery. I don’t care what motivated you, but you should be held accountable. To me it’s ridiculous in a free country that somebody using drugs ― look how many people died from medical prescription drugs. Way more, and yet there’s no problem with the pharmaceuticals. Watch TV every day, watch in the afternoon and see how many drug advertisements there are. Then they have to name the side effects, and the side effects usually take thirty seconds of the commercial.
Here’s my final answer on the drug situation, and I’m quoting Bill Maher here. The Beatles took LSD, and all were on LSD when they wrote “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which is arguably one of the greatest rock and roll albums ever written. They all admitted they were on LSD when they did it. Anna Nicole Smith took six medical prescription legal drugs, and she couldn’t even dial 911 to save her own life. Now, what does that say to you?
Kelly: Well, not only that Governor, but look at the explosion in the prison population since the war on drugs began.
Ventura: Absolutely, and here’s part of that; they’re always telling you we need to privatize more government. Not when it comes to providing services because now they’re privatizing the prisons. That’s the big thing now, private operation of these prisons. Well, once you privatize something it becomes a for profit business. Now, it’s inherent for all of our prisons to have at least eighty percent occupancy in order for these corporations to make a profit, and I don’t think we should be putting people in prison just so corporations can have a good bottom line or make profit.
Kelly: Also in the introduction of your book you discuss an appearance you made on Fox News which you speculate may have gotten you permanently kicked off the network. You were arguing about the policies of the United States towards Cuba. Could you expound upon that?
Ventura: Absolutely, what happened was I said, why should we be surprised as the United States that we would get attacked by terrorists? I said we’ve been out practicing terrorism for fifty years, and the Fox guy got all indignant with me and he said give me an example of the United States practicing terrorism. I said easy, Cuba. I said the country of Cuba has never done one thing to us. Yet we have blown up ships in their harbor, we’ve attempted to assassinate their president on multiple occasions, we’ve attempted to destroy their economy, we’ve attempted to burn their cane fields, and best of all ― I don’t know if you’re familiar with this character, I think he’s dead now, but his name was Orlando Bosch.
Kelly: He blew up a Cuban airliner and George H.W. Bush pardoned him.
Ventura: Yeah. Exactly. He blew up a Cuban airliner with like seventy three civilians on board, and George Bush Senior pardoned him. Now is that not an act of terrorism? I think it is. I laughingly say we do terrorism too, but our terrorism is called foreign policy, it sounds a lot better. Look what we’re doing now. We fly drones all over the world killing people, and we’ve even killed American citizens and not given them a trial. We’ve killed them simply because of things they have said. Well, don’t we have the First Amendment here? Now you can be put to death for what you say?
Kelly: It was recently revealed by The Guardian that the government has been operating a covert data mining program in which they forcibly extracted phone records from Verizon customers. You have a chapter in your book entitled “Is the Bill of Rights in the Shredder?” Do you believe that this is another assault on the Bill of Rights and our civil liberties?
Ventura: No doubt about it. It’s horrible. Senator Lindsey Graham defended it saying we need this to fight terrorism. Well, you know what that’s telling you and me? It means that Lindsey Graham and his ilk think that we are all potential terrorists, that every person in the United States is a threat to them. Therefore, they have to listen in to our phone conversations, they have to read our emails, and they have to keep tabs on all of us. It’s outrageous is what it is. How dare them.
The First, Second, and Fourth Amendment are gone. Now they’re attacking guns too. They want to disarm us. Well, people need to understand on that aspect, there’s been six genocides roughly committed in the last century where governments have massively killed their people around the world. Every place it’s happened, it’s happened where guns are outlawed because the people have no way to fight back.
I guess we’re to believe that the U.S. government wouldn’t do that. People need to understand that governments are made up of people, and evil bad people can get into power. If you don’t believe me, go talk to the Germans, the people that lived in Germany during the ‘30s. They can tell you they love their country, but not their government because evil people can come to power because government is only made up of people. It’s our own creation.
Kelly: On the subject of guns Governor, when people say the American citizenry would never be able to withstand the force of their government if it decided to turn against them, what about the example of Vietnam?
Ventura: Exactly. That’s the point I make all the time. Vietnam didn’t have a navy; Vietnam didn’t have an air force. Vietnam was a bunch of rice farmers with AK-47s, and we dropped more ordinances on them than World War II, and we could not defeat them. We could not defeat their will to govern, and let themselves choose what they want to be. Let’s go back to Cuba; Cuba has done nothing to us. The only thing Cuba has done, they have a government we don’t like. Isn’t that the Cuban’s people’s choice? If the Cuban people are going to rise up and overthrow Castro it’s up to them, not us.
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