Why All Of Our Self Work Isn’t Working

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A week ago, I posted this on Facebook:
“Recent experiences are teaching me that many of the women who appear to really have it together (successful, comfortable in their own skin, spiritual, confident) are often doing the worst internally.

They have a really thorough facade to cover how thoroughly horrible they feel in their spirit. Pursuing positive appearances at the expense of real inside-out healing.”

This subject has been in the back of my mind ever since. And with that in mind, I witnessed these statements made on Facebook yesterday:
“Sisters, those of us particularly in this work, women’s work – those of us who are actualizing, diligently working on becoming our biggest brightest selves, those of us who love men…I must ask to all of us WTF is going on?”

“Men have gotten greedy and manipulative, even when you support them and accept them they still do what they want.”

“I see more classes for women who want to grow, learn, become greater than they were yesterday, I rarely see classes held for men.”

“Yes, sis! I see us doing our work much more than the men. Things are off balance.”

There is more, but I’ll stop there. In addition I saw this post yesterday from my teacher, Master Yao Morris:

“Using words like ‘vibration’ and ‘goddess’ and ‘inner’ and ‘spiritual’ does not impart instant virtue. On Facebook I am seeing more and more people taking on a mantle of evolution and moral purity, when indeed they show a lack of virtue and an absence of any natural spiritual development. I have had to address this in other groups, as it seems to be an epidemic today. People seem less willing in the last decade to do the actual work of raising their vibration and dismantling their counterfeit persona. More and more it seems okay to just adopt the language, use the symbols, and hijack the title by association. You know someone who is evolved, and you speak the language now, and so POOF, instantly you are high vibration now. Sorry it does not work like that. You have to do the work first. This is dangerous. Now we have an entire sub-group of people running around thinking they have achieved a goal, when they have achieved nothing. For centuries there have been fixed and constant measures for spiritual growth. Using the Tree of Life template or the brain circuit guide, or some equal standard. a human is measured against a fixed group of archetypes. And it is seen by what a man or woman can do. In all cases it shows the complete man template, and asks what percent you have achieved that. 100% being god. I find with social media now we have an entire class of people who have no grounding in this. And more and more, people are just making things up as they go, and all standards are set aside.”

This quote from Master Yao explains the inspiration behind the picture shown above with me holding the book Metu Neter. That book contains a blueprint for changing and developing every aspect of your life. It holds up a mirror for you that you can use to know just how much real development you have done on the spirit/energy level. If you have developed to ___ degree then you’ll know because you’ll be able to do x, y, and z. It doesn’t take a lot of guesswork.

I held the book the way that I did to illustrate that I am here to help you develop spiritually by the power of my sexual energy. Our work is based on the idea that, in your DNA, there is a blueprint for what you will look like, what your potentials are, what your basic life path should be. The vast majority of us, because we live in a very unnatural world, don’t grow up in accord with that natal DNA blueprint. We end up as some version of ourselves other than the person that we were born to be. The Tantra kundalini energy healing that we do is designed to tap into that DNA blueprint and bring it back online, so that your mind and body and spirit start to move back in that direction, and you start to shed anything you’ve been holding onto that doesn’t match the real you. This process involves a combination of healing and enlightenment and pleasure, but the end result is bliss. Bliss and Power. Power to create your life in whatever way you choose to.

It is my life’s work to aid people in stepping into this bliss and power. And it pains me to see people who think they’re moving in that direction but they’re really just spinning on a hamster’s wheel. People like Shantam Nityama and Yao Morris have some very valuable insights to share with the world. I am here as a pupil and representative of the work that they have pioneered.

It is impossible to overstate how important it is that we come to understand ourselves as beings of energy, and the central role that sexual energy plays in our lives. Once we fully embrace our sexual energy then we can start using it to transform ourselves into the highest and best version of ourselves. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, waiting for you to bring it out. There are many of us who think that we are well on the road to enlightenment and we really haven’t even gotten started yet.

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The Toll of Racism on Black Relationships: Adding On

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Soundtrack: Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway “Where Is The Love”

On January 4, 2015, Rakhem Seku published a post at http://www.jujumamablog.com entitled “The Toll of Racism on Black Relationships”. This edition of Complete Constructive Change is a response to that writing from Rakhem. I was so inspired by his words that I promised myself I would devote an episode of my radio show to shining light on what he wrote. This was a few weeks before my show debuted. He starts his post by saying:

“This post was inspired by a member of our Progressive Love community.  He made various points about how White Supremacy (WS) or White Supremacy Racism (WSR) affects black men’s ability to have successful relationships with black women.  I wanted to address his point (and I have already in our Facebook group), but also make sure I was thorough enough so that all points are considered as well as the metaphysical and the feminine perspectives.  And actually, I prefer the term Institutionalized Racism (IR) over WS or WSR because IR represents a mode of thinking being a part of the culture without people’s awareness of it, which is true for 98% of Americans.  Only a small percentage of people are actually conscious of and capable of implementing a global, systematic campaigned aimed at dividing mass populations of people in the name of WS.  Everyone else is simply subject to this mode of thinking without much awareness.”

I will attempt to add something of substance to what Rakhem lays out in his writing. There are a few things he brings up that I think are worth looking deeper into.

Chancellor Williams, in his book The Destruction of Black Civilization, said these words:

“ONE OF THE MOST TROUBLESOME FACTS IN THE STUDY OF history over very long periods of times, such as several centuries, is that a truth may slowly emerge, period after period, until it clearly forms itself into a truth impregnable, a fact nowhere explicitly stated as such in the mass of data covered. As one continues to move on down through the centuries, countless events and situations may continue to make supporting additions to what has already been established as an unassailable fact. Yet that truth may be so repugnant, so utterly void of any rational or intelligent reason for its existence that hardly any historian would wish to state it in his work.

Yet I did just that when I wrote that the whites are the implacable foe, the traditional and everlasting enemy of the Blacks. The compelling reason for publicly putting this declaration in its historical context is clear: The necessary re-education of Blacks and a possible solution of racial crises can begin, strangely enough, only when Blacks fully realize this central fact in their lives: The white man is their Bitter Enemy. For this is not the ranting of wild-eyed militancy, but the calm and unmistakable verdict of several thousand years of documented history.”

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, in her works The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism as well as The Isis Papers: The Keys To The Colors, developed a theory behind the ultimate root of racism/white supremacy. Her position was and is that white people are a product of genetic mutation from the original black people of the earth. White people, some on a conscious level but most on an unconscious level, see their minority status in the world (11 people of color to every 1 white person) from a position of fear. They are afraid of the genetic annihilation they could experience if they mixed freely with the people of the world because of their recessive genes. So they operate in the world from a spirit of aggression and domineering rooted in their fear of what could happen if they allow others to get the upper hand on them.

Rakhem Seku beautifully points out the correlation between the Kemetic myth of Ausar and Auset, and the history and present condition of African people in the United States. I would like to mention another ancient story involving Egypt that has some metaphysical relevance for my people. In the Bible, the book of Exodus, Chapter 1, Pharaoh states this about the Children of Israel:

‘Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.’…Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.'”

This Biblical story has several parallels with the actual history of the American Africans. The Establishment is deathly afraid of us rising up to do unto them what they have done to us for centuries. So they take extra precautions to make sure that we don’t get too close to any of our indigenous cousins in the world who might also have a legitimate beef with them. And they favor our women over our men as a way to reduce the potential threat of Black manhood.

Speaking of Black manhood, here is a picture of the Roman God Mithra slaying a bull. This image was used in temples all over the Roman Empire where the secret fraternal cult of Mithra had their gatherings. The black bull was used frequently in the ancient world to symbolize the Black God. This was true for the people of Kemet and Babylon and Canaan and many others. The bull was honored as a representation of the Creator because of its strength and virility. Notice the scorpion with Mithra going to attack the genitalia of the bull.

mithra

I also want to bring attention to two images of the Kemetic god, Min, who was always represented with the supremely erect penis. Min’s penis, like the bull, represented his potency, his creative power, his ability to produce new life. When Europeans began to explore Egypt in depth, these images of Min brought something up in them that compelled them to vandalize the carvings of Min. The picture on the right is one of just many that you can find in Egypt where obvious attempts have been made to remove or obscure the erect penis of Min by the Europeans.

min erect    min vandals

All of this relates to the toll that racism has on black relationships. All of this is a completely logical and understandable response to the historical position of white people in the world. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that the way in which a thing is created determines its nature and function. I don’t have space here to go deep into the origin of white people. See Frances Cress Welsing’s work along with that of Paul Guthrie and Michael Bradley for details of how the harsh climate and extreme violence of early European life contributed to the cultural habits of Caucasian people.

This fear of Black manhood has consequences for black men as well as black women. Rakhem addresses that topic by saying:

“…black women are not directly attacked and seen as a threat in the same way black men are under the system of IR.  A woman is metaphorized as water and is therefore able to adjust, change, and flow with her environment.  She can become invisible (i.e. vapor) at times and take the form of what the environment demands she become to survive.

However, her indirect impact from IR is greater than the indirect impact black men would experience and that’s where the equation balances.  The things that affect a man won’t necessarily have the same effect on a woman and vice versa.  For example, a woman’s son being killed will affect her much deeper than his father because of her emotional connection to a child she carried in her womb for nine months.  Her witnessing her husband beat down, tortured, or failing affects her deeply.  This fact cannot be underestimated and to not recognize it equates to not understanding and recognizing the feminine.

Lastly, you can’t just be a woman in the midst of IR because a woman in her feminine is a goddess and powerful and therefore seen as a threat.  We all too often see women adjust their behavior, look, belief system, or inner desires to fit the limits and demands of IR.  It’s precisely the behavior that many men complain about of women that are a direct result of IR.  What you may be judging as a woman being a woman may be further from the truth.  The truth is both the IR power structure and black men are fearful of any black women fully expressing her womanhood because it would mean the end of the current paradigm as we know it and not many are ready for that kind of change, including black men.  At the end of the day, she is feared by all.” 

Now let’s look at how this played out in the past 50 years. Right now, there are more Black children being raised by a single parent than there were during slavery. Let me say that again. There are more Black children being raised by a single parent right now than there were during slavery. Slavery was the time when we were routinely traded from plantation to plantation as property, and families were often intentionally broken up so the children wouldn’t get too much of a connection with their African roots. But despite that history, there are more of our children being raised by a single parent now than there were under that system. How did that happen?

Let’s run through some history real quick. World War II ended in 1945. That war ended up being very good for the United States economically. The decade after World War II, the 1950’s, is often described as one of the most prosperous economic times in American history. With victory under their belts and money in their pockets, Americans in the 1950s could optimistically pursue the American dream. Of course, racism prevented black people and black war veterans from benefiting equally from this new American abundance. But we still got some fringe benefits.

Many American Africans (this is my preferred term for Black America) got new industrial jobs and/or moved to new cities and experienced financial gains that they had never thought possible before. This ability to provide a home for your family had a humongous impact on the psyche of many of our men at that time.

The spoils of war had a part to play in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1950’s. Households that were no longer worrying about where their next meal would come from were able to free up some space in their minds to consider their lack of social justice and equality. Our communities were able to support freedom fighters who traveled around the country organizing us to fight for voting rights and the various issues of the day. The Establishment took notice of this.

The 1970’s saw several significant things happen to us at the same time. One thing is that many of the heroes of Black masculinity were killed or imprisoned. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Geronimo Pratt, Mutulu Shakur, the list goes on. There were less heroes for the children growing up in the 70’s and 80’s than there had been for the generation before them.

Also at that time heroin swept through the American African communities. Many Vietnam War veterans came home hooked on heroin and more opium started coming into the U.S. from Thailand and Burma and Vietnam.

Simultaneously, jobs started leaving the inner cities. The industrial jobs that had sustained so many Black households for the previous 30 years started to disappear and head overseas. Less ability to earn money, less heroes to look up to, more access to drugs, bad combination for men in our community in the 70’s.

Also in the 1970’s we started to see women entering the workforce in record numbers due to the successes of the women’s liberation movement. Laws were changed that made it possible for women to compete (somewhat) equally for jobs with men. But the unintended consequence of this was that there are less jobs available due to outsourcing and offshoring, more people competing for jobs; supply and demand made it possible for salaries to decrease throughout the country. This impacted inner city communities disproportionately because they had been the location for most of the jobs that were sent overseas.

At the same time, many families who were impacted by these changes had to go on welfare in order to get by. One of the peculiarities of welfare is that it focused on supporting mothers and it was mandated that if a man was present in the house then the mother was ineligible for government assistance. So there was incentive for families to keep the father out of the house in order to receive the government aid they so desperately needed. That phenomenon combined with everything mentioned before led to a lot of 1970’s households not having a man present.

The early 1980’s saw the rise of the War on Drugs. In previous installments of Complete Constructive Change we’ve dealt with how the War on Drugs was and is really a war against Black men. The War on Drugs and the criminal justice system surrounding it is the New Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander puts it. This led to record numbers of Black men being in prison, which has continued until this day.

Rakhem Seku raises this point:

“I agree with the point of a man working for another man feminizing him, but ONLY when that work is not his passion. I’ve witnessed both sides where men slowly lose testosterone over time messing with a job to just pay the bills.  It’s sad to watch.  That has less to do with IR and more to do with a man being willing to be in his WARRIOR archetype and make his OWN way in the world.  The same thing happens to boys going to public school – it sucks the life force right out of them.  Again, women are better able to adjust to both of these scenarios, but it affects them as well.  Women often have to get deep into their masculine energy to get up and go to these jobs every single day.  What’s the result?  A loss in magnetism and ability to attract the partners and life they desire.  An inability to tap into their orgasmic potential and feel the heights of pleasure.  Increased stress levels and the accompanying illnesses.”

Speaking of boys in public school, consider this:

“While the nation’s graduation rate, including that of black and Latino males, has continued to grow, the gap between black males and their white peers has widened, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

The report, “Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males,” is the fifth such study the foundation has released on the state of black males in public education.

Since the last report in 2012, the gap between the four-year graduation rate for black males and white males widened from 19 points in the 2009-10 school year to 21 points in the 2012-13 year.  For Latinos, the gap shrunk to 15 points from 20 during that same period, according to the report. 

The national graduation rate for black males was 59 percent, 65 percent for Latinos, and 80 percent for white males for the 2012-13 school year, according to the report. Particularly striking was Detroit where only 20 percent of black males graduated on time in the 2011-12.” 

Less industrial jobs available means that a higher level of education is needed to compete in the job market. Only half of Black boys graduate from high school, let alone getting a college degree. That is problematic. 67% of American African children in 2013 lived in a single parent household. 67%. All middle class and working class people are aware that many arguments in relationships have something to do with money. How are we supposed to make money if we don’t finish high school?

Women making the money. Women buckling under the stress of having to be the masculine and the feminine. Men feeling emasculated by their lack of ability to make shit happen. Men going to prison when they try the only way they can think of to create some money. None of this is by accident. All of this is directly related to Mithra and Min and the Cress Theory. This is war. This is the society and culture that we live in declaring war on us and us being too unconscious to see it for what it is.

Rakhem concludes his post by giving his bottom line:

I’m hoping that all people can take an empowered perspective on race and racism.  The truth is, a change in thinking is required to end it and heal all peoples.  It’s the same change in thinking for everyone believe it or not.  We must understand that a Progressive Way of Thinking is the Answer We all Seek:

—We individually and collectively create our lives

—The purpose of relating and interacting with one another is growth

—There are no victims in life

—There are no villains in life

—There is no need to or no way to drop out of any situation in life

—There is no need to or no way to cop out of any situation in life

—There is no need to feel shame for who you are or to you judge your past actions

—There is no need to blame others for who they are or to judge their actions

I completely agree with all of these points. This is a composite of “the highest wisdom of our Ancestors”, as Rakhem puts it. The white aggression toward African people and African manhood doesn’t make them villains, it doesn’t make them bad. It just makes them people who are acting in their own self interest. Their self interest requires them to constantly seek the upper hand, according to their way of processing the world.

What does our sense of self preservation prompt us to do in response? A living being that doesn’t have any impulse to protect itself (e.g. immune system) will surely die. As a community we seem to be functioning like a person with an autoimmune disease or a cancer. We are attacking ourselves. Rakhem Seku says:

“IR takes away role models, reduces opportunity to have self esteem, and paints a picture of black men as being lesser than other men on the planet.  At the least these factors can make it tough for a black male to become a man.  At the most it can completely break him such that he embraces his negative masculine nature (i.e. the Dark Side) or his feminine at the expense of his masculine.”

The 5th leading cause of death for American African males is homicide. 4.6% of all of our males who die, die from homicide. In 2013, that added up to 2, 491 total Black murder victims, 93% of whom were killed by another Black person. These deaths are a result of men embracing their negative masculine nature. This is related to the social media phenomenon of

niggabelikebitchesbelike

On the deepest of levels, we really don’t like each other, and we don’t like ourselves. We are suffering from self hatred, 150 years removed from the end of physical slavery. We have internalized western society’s hatred of Blackness. That is at the root of our difficulties in relating to one another. Correcting that is the only thing that can restore our relationships and our families and our communities. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to fix this for us; only we can do this for us.

Only a very foolish army would think that they can win a war by firing at each other. Yet that is the strategy that we are deploying in the war that we are engaged in everyday. It is time for us to close ranks, move closer together, and support one another; as a matter of necessity. With everything that we are up against living in the belly of the beast, behind enemy lines, in the world capital of the system designed to keep us in check, we don’t have a second to lose with battling one another.

This is why I promote Tantra so adamantly in my community. Our survival depends on us learning how to love one another and heal one another from ALL of the unhealthy crap we have internalized over the years. We have to give white people back their ideology, and especially their anti-Black hatred. It’s not doing us any good.

The more that we can heal each other in our romantic relationships, the more we’ll be able to handle interpersonal conflicts without resorting to violence, the more we’ll be able to find ways to create wealth together, the more we’ll be inspired to take ownership over making our communities decent places to live. That starts with us not feeling like we’re under siege and walking around carrying undue levels of stress. Having healing relationships with one another can get us on that road.

Having a few less “real-world” problems will make it more feasible for us to wrap our minds around the final words of Rakhem’s post:

“We must understand the highest wisdom from our ancestors:

OMNIPRESENCE: We are one with all things; although, we appear to be separate and disconnected

OMNIPOTENCE: We have the power to achieve our purpose, passion, and vision in life.  Always.  Without Exception.

OMNISCIENCE: No thing has a quality in an of itself and everything can and will be known to us.”

Many of us just ain’t ready for that level of positive thinking. But our actual survival in this world depends on us getting ready.

Is Hip Hop Too High?

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Soundtrack: Dr. Dre “The Chronic (full album)”

I remember being a high school freshman in 1993 and 1994 and being a bit of an outcast because I smoked so much weed. Most of the girls who I talked to regularly expressed some concern for my well being based on my weed habit. They just couldn’t fathom why I wanted to get high so often.

20 years later, teenagers are embracing frequent marijuana smoking on a level that was inconceivable in my younger years. The chart below shows rates of marijuana use among 12th graders in the United States from the early 90’s until today. Part of what this illustrates is the low frequency of use that I just described in the early 90’s and then a fairly sharp increase in teen weed smoking in the years after that. It also shows that rates of use have either leveled off or started to decline since 2011. It is difficult to determine what has led to that decline.

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I have a few questions about this. What caused the increase in weed smoking? Is smoking weed healthy or harmful or neither? Is any of this related to the increase in the number of Hip Hop songs and Hip Hop artists promoting being constantly high?

Like we always do about this time…let’s look at the history of the subject. Marijuana has been used for medicine and spiritual purposes in various parts of the world for thousands of years. It is important to distinguish between the two familiar subspecies of the cannabis plant. Cannabis sativa, known as marijuana, has psychoactive properties. The other plant is Cannabis sativa L. (The L was included in the name in honor of the botanist Carl Linnaeus.) This subspecies is known as hemp; it is a non-psychoactive form of cannabis, and is used in manufacturing products such as oil, cloth and fuel.

A second psychoactive species of the plant, Cannabis indica, was identified by the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and a third, uncommon one, Cannabis ruderalis, was named in 1924 by Russian botanist D.E. Janischevisky.

Cannabis plants are believed to have evolved on the steppes of Central Asia, specifically in the regions that are now Mongolia and southern Siberia. The history of cannabis use goes back as far as 12,000 years, which places the plant among humanity’s oldest cultivated crops, according to information in the book “Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years” (Springer, 1980).

world map_MarijuanaHistory_Draft

This map shows the general picture of how marijuana use spread throughout history and at what times. In 1596, famed Dutchman traveller and writer Jan Huyghen van Linschoten described the Egyptian’s use of weed (or “Bangue”) in edibles:

Bangue is likewise much used in Turkie and Egypt, and is made in three sorts, having also three severall names. The first by the Egyptians is called Assis (Hashish (Arab.)), which is the poulder of Hemp, or of Hemp leaves, which water made in paste or dough, wherof they eate five peeces, (each) as bigge as a Chesnut (and some more); such as eate it, for an hower after, are as if they were drunk, without sence, and as it were besides themselves, thinking they see many strange sights, wherein they are much pleased. This is used by the common people, because it is of a small price, and it is no wonder, that such vertue proceedeth from the Hempe, for that according to Galens opinion, Hempe execssively filleth the head.

Over the next centuries, cannabis migrated to various regions of the world, traveling through Africa, reaching South America in the 19th century and being carried north afterwards, eventually reaching North America. After this really long trip throughout the pre-modern and modern worlds, cannabis finally came to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. It arrived in the southwest United States from Mexico, with immigrants fleeing that country during the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1911.

“Many early prejudices against marijuana were thinly veiled racist fears of its smokers, often promulgated by reactionary newspapers,” writes Barney Warf, a geography professor at the University of Kansas. “Mexicans were frequently blamed for smoking marijuana, property crimes, seducing children and engaging in murderous sprees.” American laws never recognized the difference between Cannabis sativa L. and Cannabis sativa. The plant was first outlawed in Utah in 1915, and by 1931 it was illegal in 29 states, according to the report.

In 1930, Harry Aslinger became the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) and undertook multiple efforts to make marijuana illegal in all states. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act put cannabis under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Agency, criminalizing possession of the plant throughout the country. Here is some of what Aslinger preached in order to convince the country that weed needed to be highly regulated:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

Between Anslinger’s ruminations on the need to keep marijuana away from people of color — especially the entertainers! — were countless other fabrications about the health effects of pot. It was “more dangerous than heroin or cocaine” and “leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing,” he claimed. “If the hideous monster Frankenstein came face to face with marijuana, he would drop dead of fright,” Anslinger declared in a line that underscored the type of extreme anti-marijuana hysteria that served as a catalyst for the 1936 propaganda film “Reefer Madness.”

Anslinger was also fond of pulling statistics out of the sky. As the drug war got going in the early 20th century, the bureau published surveys showing its efforts to combat drug use had led to dramatic declines over the decade of the 1920s. But drug historian David Courtwright, through a Freedom of Information Act request, got his hands on the actual surveys and found the data to have been fabricated. He also found a private memo from Anslinger admitting the numbers were made up. Nevertheless, Anslinger used that success to argue for an expansion of the drug war to weed in 1937.

Meanwhile, states throughout the south began implementing drug laws as part of the explicitly racist Jim Crow system, with southern lawmakers being quite open about the racist motivations behind the laws. And though the anti-marijuana hyperbole of the “Reefer Madness” era may no longer be believable today, our current anti-drug policies remain bolstered by arguments that have little, if any, factual basis. According to federal authorities, marijuana fully deserves its current standing as a Schedule I substance, alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy and a “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas”-length list of inorganic -dines, -mines, -dols and -ates. By definition, then, the government considers marijuana to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It is among the “most dangerous drugs of all … with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Every person who has ever smoked a joint knows that this is some bullshit. This is why the movement to legalize or de-criminalize weed is quickly growing. And because of all of the evidence that marijuana can have a myriad of medicinal uses. But the extreme federal regulation of weed makes it difficult for scientists to do the level of research needed to really prove how marijuana can be used to treat diseases. To do research on marijuana, scientists need approval from several federal departments. And that approval is rare.

Most marijuana studies focus on the harm caused by the plant. The studies on its medicinal qualities are small, early stage or observational at best. Mainstream physicians won’t come near the stuff, even if they hear that it works, because without the research, without it approved in legitimate practice guidelines, they are going to worry about their license and their professionalism. Even with this situation, medical marijuana has been shown to have a positive effect on people suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s Disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis.

The health benefits of marijuana get a bit murky when it comes to the Hip Hop community. Across the board, the studies done on marijuana use are with people smoking weed in joint papers, or from a pipe, or vaporizer. There is a pretty big difference in the chemical composition of weed that comes from a vaporizer or in edible form as opposed to what happens to weed when you burn it, but I won’t get into that right now.

I am very interested in the common practice among my people of smoking weed in tobacco papers. With whatever confusion might be out there concerning what weed does or doesn’t do, there is no confusion about the health risks of smoking tobacco.

Cigarettes are the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

  • Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is about one in five deaths.
  • Smoking causes more deaths each year than all of these combined:
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Illegal drug use
    • Alcohol use
    • Motor vehicle injuries
    • Firearm-related incidents
  • More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.
  • Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths in men and women. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
  • About 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by smoking.
  • Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.
  • The risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years in men and women in the United States.

It appears that the Hip Hop community hasn’t fully thought through the idea that blunt wrappers contain tobacco and nicotine. The same stuff that kills people in cigarettes. The whole idea which we like to promote that “no one ever died from smoking weed” is rendered null and void when you smoke your weed in tobacco. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our revered entertainers who are always seen with a blunt hanging from their lips are actually killing themselves.

How did rap and rappers become so seemingly synonymous with weed? Dr. Dre released the album The Chronic on December 15, 1992. It not only completely changed the way that Hip Hop sounded in terms of production, it also had a humongous impact on Hip Hop culture. It featured Hip Hop’s greatest producer in Dre and arguably its most charismatic rapper in Snoop Doggy Dogg. That album was followed up by the most highly anticipated debut album in rap history, Snoop’s Doggystyle, on November 23, 1993. It is not a coincidence that these dates coincide with the start of weed being consumed more frequently by 12th graders as we saw in the earlier chart.

This is ironic given that Dr. Dre said on the 1988 NWA song Express Yourself, “I don’t smoke weed”. I find it difficult to believe that a 23 year old Dre in ’88 didn’t smoke weed but the 27 year old Dre of ’92 smoked enough weed to wanna call his album The Chronic. But that’s just me.

Either way, weed has become such an omnipresent part of the culture since The Chronic that even artists like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar who admittedly don’t smoke weed have felt the need to make multiple songs about the topic. Hip Hop collectively has a marijuana obsession. So what are we to conclude from all of this?

Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Scientists have found that teenagers who smoke weed everyday for a few years end up with abnormalities in the brain’s hippocampus which leads to poor long-term memory in adulthood.  For the first several thousand years of weed’s use it was done on special occasions, in spiritual rituals and at celebratory gatherings. As with many other things in this modern world, especially food, current weed smokers are doing too much of a good thing.

I am glad to see that the statistics show that marijuana use may be leveling off after rising so much over the past couple of decades. It’s time for us as a culture to take a step back and analyze our cultural habits surrounding weed. Maybe we should do it in a way that doesn’t involve any tobacco. Maybe we should do it in a way that doesn’t involve any smoke at all since the smoke itself can have negative effects on the lungs. Given the availability of vaporizers and weed oil and weed butter and weed tinctures, there are many ways to get whatever is good about marijuana while minimizing some of its potential harms.

So if you’re going to celebrate this 04/20 maybe you should leave the Phillies and the Backwoods at the store and try the vaporizer instead. Or make some brownies to go along with the food at your party.

One more thing, if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is “where the weed at?”, that’s called an addiction. That is an unhealthy thing. There is nothing cool about being an addict. How bout we limit our weed consumption to just the weekends? Is that feasible? I’m just saying…

(Editor’s Note: I said earlier that I wasn’t getting into the details of weed from a vaporizer as opposed to burning it. Well I’m adding this addendum to get into that now.

It’s really no question: health-conscious medical marijuana patients and casual tokers expose themselves to less carcinogens, and get more THC from vaping compared to smoking.

Whenever dried plant material is burned, it produces thousands of chemical substances in the smoke. It’s true for tobacco as well as weed. Burning breaks the chemical bonds between the carbon atoms in the large, organic molecules present in plants, creating very reactive fragments called free radicals. Free radicals can combine with each other or with other molecules to produce an amazing variety of products.

Many of these products, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), are highly toxic and are known to cause cancer. (See Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Chemistry and Carcinogenicity by Ronald G. Harvey). Significant concentrations of PAH are present in the brown tar stains observed on cigarette filters and the dark tar found in pipes used to smoke cannabis.

Some scientists believe cannabis smoke is less toxic than tobacco smoke because there is evidence that nicotine which is present in tobacco smoke, but not in cannabis smoke, increases the toxicity of PAH. Other studies have shown the cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) which are present in cannabis smoke, but not in tobacco smoke, help to protect normal lung tissue cells from the effects of carcinogens like PAH.

Vaporizers use a stream of heated air to vaporize the active ingredients in cannabis without combustion. Vaporization simply converts the cannabinoids to a vapor that can be inhaled just like smoke. It has been demonstrated in a study conducted by California NORML and MAPS that vaporization of cannabis dramatically reduces formation of PAH relative to smoking cannabis.

“…vapor was remarkably clean, consisting 95% of THC with traces of cannabinol (CBN), another cannabinoid. The remaining 5% consisted of small amounts of three other components: one suspected cannabinoid relative, one suspected PAH, and caryophyllene, a fragrant oil in cannabis and other plants. In contrast over 111 different components appeared in the gas of the combusted smoke, including a half dozen known PAHs. Non-cannabinoids accounted for as much as 88% of the total gas content of the smoke.”

The authors of the study stated, “Harmful toxins in marijuana smoke can be effectively avoided by a vaporization device”. In an article in Harm Reduction Journal by Robert Melamede of the University of Colorado, the author stated, “It should be noted that with the development of vaporizers, that use the respiratory route for the delivery of carcinogen-free cannabis vapors, the carcinogenic potential of smoked cannabis has been largely eliminated.”

Another significant advantage of vaporization relative to smoking is that cannabis smoke contains many other components that do not cause cancer but do cause lung and respiratory irritation. Vaporization eliminates many of these components by avoiding combustion. Patients self-report decreased irritation with vaping, one study shows.

It should also be kept in mind that combustion of cannabis causes destruction of the active cannabinoids leading to a significant reduction in the desired effects of cannabis. The cannabinoid molecules are broken down into free radicals just like the other molecules in the plant when it is smoked. Vaporization does not break down cannabinoids. Thus, when a given quantity of cannabis is vaporized, tests show it delivers a larger quantity of cannabinoids to the user than the same quantity of cannabis when it is smoked.

So, the bottom line is that cannabis smoke appears to be less toxic than tobacco smoke. However, many of the same cancer causing PAH compounds that are present in tobacco smoke are also present in cannabis smoke. It just makes sense to avoid them by using a vaporizer. It also makes sense to avoid destroying a significant fraction of the cannabinoids by smoking cannabis. After all, the cannabinoids are responsible for the desired effects derived from using cannabis.)

(P.S. One more addition. While we’re talking about alternatives to smoking your weed, here is some information about tinctures from theweedblog.com.

“Tinctures are perhaps the least popular and beloved way of consuming marijuana. They don’t have the ritual that comes with smoking, nor the fun of edibles. Some long-term weed lovers might not even know exactly what tinctures are. Well, to clear that up, tinctures are a liquid concentration of cannabis, where the THC and cannabinoids have been leached out into alcohol. Put a few drops of this concentrated serum under your tongue, and within a few minutes you’ll be feeling the effects.

“Why are tinctures underrated, in my opinion? Unlike edibles, the effects of tinctures can be felt rather rapidly, usually within 15 minutes. Although the high varies with respect to the type of bud used, tinctures are known for delivering a peak rather rapidly and then bringing a steady high over a long period of time. Unlike eating weed, you won’t be waiting around for an hour and a half, wondering if you’ve peaked yet and if it’s safe to go about your daily activities, or if you should resign your seriously baked self to the house. Tinctures don’t have a smell (unless you open the bottle!), so you can discreetly carry some with you wherever you go, and you won’t have to worry about finding a place to smoke. Let’s face it, even with a medical marijuana card, it makes sense to avoid the stress of a run in with the law and having to explain yourself.

“And besides all those reasons, it’s just nice to have another way to medicate! You can purchase tinctures at most medical marijuana dispensaries. A small bottle of 100 drops will run you about $20, and 3 or 4 drops will deliver a moderate dose. Or, if you’re feeling creative, you can experiment with making your own tinctures at home.”)

How To Eat To Live: What’s Up With This Vegan Stuff?

how to eat to live

Soundtrack: Boogie Down Productions “Beef”

I have a lot of friends who have various “healthy” ways of eating. I don’t think I can go anywhere in my social circle without hearing about something that people shouldn’t eat or some new thing that people should eat. Whether I like it or not, I know all about gluten sensitivity and alkaline foods and superfoods and liquid fasts and such. I know that most people don’t have these things on their mind all the time. However, maybe they should.

Most people in the United States eat what is referred to as the Standard American Diet. Fittingly, when it comes to health standards, most people in this country are SAD.

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

The numbers look a lot worse for my community.

African American adults are nearly 1.5 times as likely to be obese compared with White adults. Approximately 47.8 percent of African Americans are obese (including 37.1 percent of men and 56.6 percent of women) compared with 32.6 percent of Whites (including 32.4 percent of men and 32.8 percent of women). More than 75 percent of African Americans are overweight or obese (including 69 percent of men and 82.0 percent of women) compared with 67.2 percent of Whites (including 71.4 percent of men and 63.2 percent of women).

Overweight and obesity rates also tend to be higher among African American children compared with White children, with obesity rates increasing faster at earlier ages and with higher rates of severe obesity. From 1999 to 2012, 35.1 percent of African American children ages 2 to 19 were overweight, compared with 28.5 percent of White children; and 20.2 percent were obese compared with 14.3 percent of White children.

The good old internet is providing us with plenty of ideas about how to change all of this. One of the popular things floating around is the idea of having an alkaline based diet. That means eating foods that are alkaline on the pH scale instead of acidic, thereby making the whole body alkaline and less likely to be a hospitable environment for dis-ease. I don’t think I have space in this article to really get into that topic. Suffice it to say that the human body is designed to keep pH steady, and levels vary throughout the body. Your blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Your stomach is very acidic, with a pH of 3.5 or below, so it can break down food. And your urine changes, depending on what you eat – that’s how your body keeps the level in your blood steady.

The biggest diet trend going around the internet these days is veganism. For anyone who is unfamiliar, a vegan diet is one that completely avoids animal products. That includes no dairy products, no milk or cheese or eggs. That’s different from a vegetarian diet which is strictly about avoiding meat but still allows other products from animals.

Many people feel like vegans have become a bit nazi-esque in how they promote their diet. It’s easy to find examples of people who are mean spirited in how they promote having a vegan diet. They talk about people who eat meat in a way that resembles how you might deal with a complete idiot or an ax murderer. That is what inspired this topic. The vegan propaganda has reached such a fever pitch that I decided it worthwhile to dig into this topic and see what is the best alternative to the sad Standard American Diet.

I won’t go into the environmental reasons for going vegan even though that is a very important subject. The raising of animals for food on an industrial scale is having a very adverse effect on the earth’s ecosystem and we should definitely be concerned about that. But this article is about health claims.

The vegansociety.com website says this:

“More and more people are turning to a vegan diet for the health benefits: increased energy, younger looking skin and eternal youth are just some of the claims from enthusiastic plant eaters. Well, eternal youth might be a bit optimistic, but there are certainly many scientifically proven benefits to vegan living when compared to the average western diet.

“Well-planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. The plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, helping mitigate some of the modern world’s biggest health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. For more information on living a healthy, vegan life, check out our nutrition section.” 

Ok, I changed my mind. Let’s talk about environmentalism. The vegan story doesn’t really start with seeking a healthy diet. It starts with concerns about the treatment of animals and the environment.

The word vegetarian is probably an English or American invention of the late 1830s. In 1847, an organization was formed called The Vegetarian Society. Its stated aims were:

“[To] induce habits of abstinence from the flesh of animals as food…proving the many advantages of a physical, intellectual, and moral character resulting from vegetarian habits of diet; and thus to secure…the adoption of a principle which will tend essentially to the increase of human happiness generally.”

Almost a hundred years later, there were rumblings among many vegetarians that their philosophy wasn’t going far enough. They didn’t like the fact that most of their vegetarian brethren ate eggs and drank milk. In November 1944, a gentleman named Donald Watson called a meeting with five other non-dairy vegetarians, including Elsie Shrigley, to discuss non-dairy vegetarian diets and lifestyles. Though many held similar views at the time, these six pioneers were the first to actively found a new movement – despite opposition. The group felt a new word was required to describe them; something more concise than ‘non-dairy vegetarians’. Rejected words included ‘dairyban’, ‘vitan’, and ‘benevore’. They settled on ‘vegan’, containing the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’. In the words of Donald Watson, it marked “the beginning and end of vegetarian.”

Most people who are vegans today are completely unaware of this history, however this is the origin of their way of life. The first manifesto from the newly formed Vegan Society in 1944 stated:

“The Vegan Society seeks to abolish man’s dependence on animals, with its inevitable cruelty and slaughter, and to create instead a more reasonable and humane order of society.”

Donald Watson posited that “our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of [nonhuman] animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of [human] slaves”. Obviously this group felt very strongly about their cause. They were highly motivated to find every possible means of convincing other people to join their cause. As admirable as that may be, once we start getting into the realm of health and science, that zeal becomes dangerous. The first rule of good scientific research is that you must suspend your judgment until you have all the data that you need to draw conclusions. Going into the process of research already knowing what you hope to find will generally lead to you finding what you wanted, whether it is true or not. This is usually what we find with those who seek proof that a vegan diet is the healthiest option.

Two of the most popular sources of research that is used to support vegan diets are 1) the China-Cornell-Oxford Project and its corresponding book called The China Study and 2) the studies done at Loma Linda University owned by the Seventh-day Adventist religious group. I want to, as briefly as I can, examine the evidence these teams have offered for why being vegan is the healthiest diet option.

The China Study is a book by T. Colin Campbell, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. It was first published in the United States in January 2005 and had sold over one million copies as of October 2013, making it one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition.

The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel. The authors conclude that people who eat a whole-food, plant-based/vegan diet—avoiding all animal products, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates—will escape, reduce or reverse the development of numerous diseases. They write that “eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.”

They also recommend sunshine exposure or dietary supplements to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D, and supplements of vitamin B12 in case of complete avoidance of animal products. They criticize low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, which include restrictions on the percentage of calories derived from carbohydrates, which they say would reduce the benefits of complex carbohydrates. They are also critical of reductionist approaches to the study of nutrition, whereby certain nutrients are blamed for disease, as opposed to studying patterns of nutrition and the interactions between nutrients.

The book is loosely based on the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, a 20-year study – described by The New York Times as “the Grand Prix of epidemiology” – conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University and the University of Oxford. T. Colin Campbell was one of the study’s directors. It looked at mortality rates from cancer and other chronic diseases from 1973–75 in 65 counties in China; the data was correlated with 1983–84 dietary surveys and blood work from 100 people in each county. The research was conducted in those counties because they had genetically similar populations that tended, over generations, to live and eat in the same way in the same place. The study concluded that counties with a high consumption of animal-based foods in 1983–84 were more likely to have had higher death rates from “Western” diseases as of 1973–75, while the opposite was true for counties that ate more plant foods.

(Disclaimer: THIS is the 1788th word in this post. It would take me about 9000 more words to fully get into the statistics cited in The China Study and why the book does a poor job of drawing conclusions from the raw data. I will simply give a broad critique of the book and leave it up to you to go look into it further if you’re interested. I’m refraining as much as I can from sounding overly technical, but it’s difficult when dealing with this kind of subject matter.)

Campbell cherry picked the data from the study to support his conclusions and ignored the data that didn’t fit. Campbell presents evidence incriminating animal products as the cause of nearly every disease. He cites several health care practitioners, including Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. and Dr. Dean Ornish, who claim to have been able to reverse heart disease with plant-based diets, and cites the Papua New Guinea Highlanders as an example of a traditional society without the occurrence of heart disease.

Yet the pages of The China Study make no mention of George Mann’s and other researcher’s extensive study of the heart-healthy Masai or the healthy primitives of Weston Price, who relied extensively on fatty animal foods.

That the programs of Ornish and Esselstyn involved more than abstention from animal foods– especially the program of Ornish, of which diet is only a small part– is not seen as a confounding factor that detracts from our ability to incriminate animal foods in heart disease. Nor does he bother to mention the cannibalism or the swollen bellies of children that accompanies the protein-starved diet of the New Guinea highlands. In The China Study’s discussion of diabetes, Dr. Campbell concludes that “high-fiber, whole, plant-based foods protect against diabetes, and high-fat, high-protein, animal-based foods promote diabetes.” He discusses the possible role of cow’s milk (an animal food) in causing type one diabetes via an autoimmune reaction, but makes no mention that wheat gluten (a plant food) has been implicated in Type 1 diabetes by a similar process. He similarly fails to mention the role of fructose consumption (from plant foods) in causing insulin resistance, and the increase in high fructose corn syrup consumption that has paralleled the increase in diabetes.

Campbell discusses the suspected role of animal foods in causing prostate cancer, but makes no mention of the potent preventative role current research is attributing to vitamin A, a nutrient found in animal foods. He devotes 19 pages of The China Study to discussing the role of cow’s milk in causing autoimmune diseases, but zero pages to the role of wheat gluten in causing autoimmune diseases.

Campbell reiterates the myth that dietary fat and cholesterol contribute to Alzheimer’s and discusses the potential protective effects of plant foods, but makes no mention of the protective effect of DHA, an animal-based nutrient, that is currently being investigated and has been known about for years.

The China Study frequently ignores the contribution of animal foods to certain classes of nutrients, such as B vitamins and carotenes. Both classes of nutrients are assumed to come from plant foods, despite egg yolks and milk from pastured animals being a good source of carotenes, and the high B vitamin content of liver.

The most curious of such statements is one found on page 220, where Campbell declares, “Folic acid is a compound derived exclusively from plant-based foods such as green and leafy vegetables.” (My italics.) This is a fascinating statement, considering that chicken liver contains 5.76 mcg/g of folate, compared to 1.46 mcg/g for spinach. A cursory look through the USDA database reveals that the most folate-dense foods are organ meats.

The China Study contains many excellent points in its criticism of the health care system, the overemphasis on reductionism in nutritional research, the influence of industry on research, and the necessity of obtaining nutrients from foods. But its bias against animal products and in favor of veganism permeates every chapter and every page.

Less than a page of comments are spent in total discussing the harms of refined carbohydrate products. Campbell exercises caution when generalizing from casein to plant proteins, but freely generalizes from casein to animal protein. He entirely ignores the role of wheat gluten, a plant product, in autoimmune diseases, so he can emphasize the role of milk protein, an animal product. The book, while not entirely without value, is not about the China Study, nor is it a comprehensive look at the current state of health research. It would be more aptly titled, A Comprehensive Case for the Vegan Diet, and the reader should be cautioned that the evidence is selected, presented, and interpreted with the goal of making that case in mind.

Moving on.

A couple of weeks ago, March 16 2015, an article was posted on the Seventh-day Adventist website (http://news.adventist.org/all-news/news/go/2015-03-16/vegetarian-diet-cuts-risk-of-certain-cancer-adventist-study-finds/) with the headline “Vegetarian Diet Cuts Risk of Certain Cancer, Adventist Study Finds”.  I have to quote some of it:

A vegetarian diet may reduce your risk of certain kinds of cancer by 22 percent, according to a new analysis from the Adventist Health Study-2.

Researchers at Loma Linda University Health found that eating a plant-based diet offers significant protection against cancers of the colon and rectum, the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer.

The findings, published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine this week, are the first to emerge from the university’s multimillion-dollar Adventist Health Study-2 investigation that links diet to specific forms of cancer.

“The balance of scientific evidence seems to implicate red meat and processed meat as being linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer, whereas a diet rich in fiber — not fiber supplements — is linked with lower risk,” the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Michael Orlich, said Tuesday. “The vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and pescovegetarians in our study all avoid red and processed meat and eat an increased amount of a variety of whole plant foods.” 

The study, which tracked the food questionnaires and medical records of 77,659 Seventh-day Adventists over seven years, determined that vegetarians are 22 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancers than non-vegetarians.

Of those vegetarians, vegans were 16 percent less at risk of cancer, and lacto-ovo vegetarians, who eat milk and eggs, were 18 percent less at risk, although results for these groups did not achieve statistical significance.

The least at risk of the vegetarian groups were the pescovegetarians, or vegetarians who eat fish. They were 43 percent less likely to develop cancer. 

Dr. Gary Fraser, principal investigator for Adventist Health Studies-2 and a co-author of this week’s report, cautioned against interpreting the results as a message to eat more fish.

“The main message is to avoid all meats, as the main result was that all vegetarians as a group did better than the non-vegetarians,” Fraser said in an e-mail interview. “Thus from this paper alone what one can really say is that replacing meats with vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fruits will most likely decrease risk of colorectal cancer.”

The logic here mirrors the work of T. Colin Campbell. “Statistical significance” means that the correlation is high enough that it couldn’t possibly have come from mere chance. The results for the vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians were not statistically significant. The results for the fish eaters were very significant, at 43%. With those numbers in hand, these researchers jump all the way to the conclusion that there is a statistically significant correlation (22%) between being vegetarian and avoiding colorectal cancers. They had to lump in people who eat fish in order to achieve that number but then turn around and say this does not mean that eating fish is a good idea. There would be nothing to talk about here if we couldn’t claim the fish eaters as part of our team, but it’s not the fish that’s protecting against the cancer, it’s the veggies. C’mon, son!

This is a perfect illustration of the general pattern of those who claim that science supports the idea that being vegan is the healthiest diet option. They jump over logical hurdles that would make an Olympic champion proud. The raw data collected in the China-Cornell-Oxford Project is a goldmine of information. It allows us to see that there is no direct relationship between consuming meat or animal products and the most commonly occurring diseases. Where there appears to be correlation between animal proteins and disease risks in the study, there are always other variables like schistosomiasis infection, industrial work hazards, increased hepatitis B infection, and other non-nutritional factors spurring chronic conditions.

 There are plenty of people who have switched to a vegan diet and can report having wonderful improvements in their health. What usually doesn’t get talked about in these scenarios is that besides no longer eating animal products, these same people make complete lifestyle changes that support their health. Usually these people are avoiding added sugars and processed foods and they stop smoking and start exercising and doing yoga and thinking more positively and any number of other things that generally health conscious people do. It is impossible to determine which lifestyle change or set of changes is having the most positive effect; we definitely can’t assume that it’s only avoiding meat that is making them feel better.

__________________________________________________________

PART 2

group eat

Soundtrack: Jay-Z “Forever Young”

Now that we have determined that we can’t assume that being vegan is the most healthy way to eat, how should we eat? What evidence is available for a way of eating that really will lead to a longer and more healthy life?

 A centenarian is a person who is a hundred years old or more. There are some societies where people routinely live to be centenarians and are still healthy enough to move around and enjoy life. National Geographic sponsored a study of these societies and the team of people doing the study called these places Blue Zones. The study of these Blue Zones was designed to find out what they all had in common that led to their people living such long and productive lives. They came up with nine characteristics that they all share. I won’t get into all nine, we’ll just focus on the ones that have to do with diet.

PLANT SLANT: Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.  Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.

These diets also incorporate a lot of fresh vegetables, olive oil (or something  similar), fish, nuts, and whole grains. Notice that “meat” here, refers to land animals. 4 out of the 5 Blue Zones is an island or peninsula. These people are surrounded by fish and they eat fish often. Besides that they pretty much only eat what they grow out of the ground. You can’t find fast food restaurants and packaged junk food in these societies. They are almost completely devoid of processed foods. The term ‘processed food’ applies to any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience. That pretty much means anything made to be able to “last” in the store or any juice or milk that has been pasteurized.

It doesn’t take a lot of statistics to realize that if you eat the way centenarians eat then you’re probably doing it right. These people are not vegans or vegetarians, they don’t have any ideology about what they eat. They just eat what’s naturally found around them. Food comes out of the ground in abundance, almost everywhere on the Earth. You can plant a few seeds and end up with more vegetables than your whole family is able to eat. It is a lot more difficult to naturally shepherd enough cows or sheep to feed your family everyday. So natural eating means that meat is not going to be something you eat everyday, most definitely not multiple times everyday.

This is the way most human beings have evolved to eat over our millions of years in existence. A diet high in fruits and vegetables with an occasional serving of meat. As the centenarians in these Blue Zones show, (land) meat once a week is about right. Just as important as the types of food they eat is the fact that they grow their own food and eat it with minimal processing. They eat it the same way that it comes out of the ground.

WINE @ 5:
 People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly.  Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day, with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.

A lot of my religious friends hate to hear this but the facts is the facts. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.

It is important to stick to the dosage when it comes to drinking alcohol though. Anything more than 1-2 glasses in a day starts to have very negative effects on your health. The purpose is absolutely not to get drunk. This is about enjoying the company of your loved ones, relieving stress (which is also good for your health), and strengthening the heart. It’s possible that antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have heart-healthy benefits.

There is some evidence that red wine has even more heart-healthy benefits than do other types of alcohol, but it’s possible that red wine isn’t any better than beer, white wine or liquor for heart health. There’s still no clear proof that red wine is better. Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart.

80% RULE:  “Hara hachi bu”  – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in some Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day. Another approach is to not eat breakfast and to get most or all of the day’s food in one large, late afternoon meal.

A study done in 2013 found that diabetics got better results from one meal a day with red wine based on the Mediterranean diet than from a low-fat or low-carb diet spread over three meals per day.

The study, which is published in the journal PLoS ONE, sought to quantify the effects of certain diets on blood glucose, blood lipids, and other hormones in diabetics. Three diets were considered: a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet, and the Mediterranean diet –– a meal plan that emphasizes whole grains, legumes, fish, herbs, and nuts.

“We found that the low-carbohydrate diet increased blood glucose levels much less than the low-fat diet but that levels of triglycerides tended to be high compared to the low-fat diet,” the researchers wrote. “It is very interesting that the Mediterranean diet, without breakfast and with a massive lunch with wine, did not induce higher blood glucose levels than the low-fat diet lunch, despite such a large single meal.”

The results were derived from a randomized cross-over trial in which 21 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes tried all three diets in varying orders. During each test day, the researchers collected six separate blood samples from each subject.

According to co-author Fredrik Nyström, the study’s methodology recalls the original version of the much-praised diet. “[The outcome of the study] suggests that it is favorable to have a large meal instead of several smaller meals when you have diabetes, and it is surprising how often one today refers to the usefulness of the so-called Mediterranean diet but forgets that it also traditionally meant the absence of a breakfast,” he explained. “Our results give reason to reconsider both nutritional composition and meal arrangements for patients with diabetes.”

This last point of limiting the amount of times you eat or limiting the amount of calories you take in corresponds with another interesting set of studies. David A. Sinclair of the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School published a paper in 2005 that said this:

“The diet known as calorie restriction (CR) is the most reproducible way to extend the lifespan of mammals. Many of the early hypotheses to explain this effect were based on it being a passive alteration in metabolism. Yet, recent data from yeast, worms, flies, and mammals support the idea that CR is not simply a passive effect but an active, highly conserved stress response that evolved early in life’s history to increase an organism’s chance of surviving adversity. This perspective updates the evidence for and against the various hypotheses of CR, and concludes that many of them can be synthesized into a single, unifying hypothesis. This has important implications for how we might develop novel medicines that can harness these newly discovered innate mechanisms of disease resistance and survival.”

A paper from B.J. Merry of the University of Liverpool School of Biological Sciences published in 2002 said this:

Calorie-restricted feeding retards the rate of ageing in mammalian and invertebrate species. The molecular mechanisms underlying this effect include a lower rate of accrual of tissue oxidative damage that is associated with a significantly lower rate of mitochondrial free radical generation in rodent species. To identify the important sites of control and regulation for mitochondrial free radical generation during ageing and calorie-restricted feeding, metabolic control analysis is being applied to the study of mitochondrial bioenergetics. With ageing an increase in the mitochondrial proton leak is observed in mouse hepatocytes and in rat skeletal muscle. Limited data suggest that calorie-restricted feeding lowers the inner mitochondrial membrane potential and this may explain the reduced rate of free radical generation. A lowered unsaturation/saturation index is observed for mitochondrial membrane lipids in calorie-restricted rodents resulting in an altered membrane structure and function. Plasma concentrations of insulin and triiodothyronine are significantly lower under calorie-restricted feeding conditions and these hormones exert transcriptional control over desaturase enzymes that are important in the control of membrane lipid unsaturation. A loss of double bonds should make the mitochondrial membranes more resistant to peroxidation damage and would also reduce the proton conductance of the membrane, raising the membrane potential at a given respiration rate. This effect however, appears to be offset by other membrane changes that may include increased activity of uncoupling proteins. These unidentified adaptations increase the proton leak in calorie-restricted animals resulting in a lowering of the membrane potential and ROS generation.

All of that basically means that they have found that restricting the amount of calories you eat can slow down the processes within the body that cause aging. Whether you do this by limiting the amount you eat per meal or by limiting the amount of meals you eat, the Blue Zone studies show that the results appear to be the same.

So how do we summarize our findings about how to eat?

  • Eat what you can grow from the ground, mainly beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and the occasional meat. In a modern American context that means buying as much of your food as you possibly can from local growers, at the farmers market, organic. Develop a personal relationship with the people who grow your food and/or grow it yourself. If you don’t know exactly where your food came from then it is probably doing you harm in some kind of way.
  • Have a glass of wine or beer with your dinner. It’s good for your heart, literally and figuratively.
  • Don’t eat with the goal of staying full all of the time. Your body actually thrives on you being hungry for a certain amount of time everyday. How you want to approach that is up to you but keep the overall principle in mind.

Simple enough, right? One other aspect of diet shared by the Blue Zones is that they all eat their meals in groups. They are surrounded by friends and family when they eat. Meal time is a social bonding ritual. There are other characteristics of the Blue Zones but when it comes to eating, if you adopt these principles then you will definitely add to your life.

The Unfulfilled Orgasmic Potential of Today’s Woman

hysteria

Soundtrack: R. Kelly “The Greatest Sex”

Expanded Sexual Response (ESR). Ever heard of it? It’s something that scientists have been formally studying for a few years now. They define it as “being able to attain long lasting and/or prolonged and/or multiple and/or sustained orgasms and/or status orgasmus that lasted longer and more intense than the classical orgasm patterns defined in the literature”. They have written in their findings:

“During our detailed preliminary survey to investigate the claimed ESR phenomenon in some particular women, we also investigated the subjective feelings and altered states of consciousness (ASC) during very intense and prolonged orgasms in the women with ESR. During our preliminary survey 72 types of different subjective feelings and ASC patterns were described in the 47 women with ESR. Among these were: depersonalization; out of body experience; flying; dying feeling (petit morte); ecstasy; rapture; explosion feeling; quivering, earthquake feeling; flooding; absorbing; spurting; blessed; shuddering; intense love; unreal; surreal; voyage to nature; seeing light flashes, color flashes, geometric shapes, figures; peacefulness; physical and spiritual warmth; loss of control; spreading; flowing; mystical experience; unification with the partner and/or the universe; de ja vu; crying etc…Pudental, pelvic, hypogastric and vagus nerves play major roles in the development of single or ESR orgasms, as well as at least two oxytocin pathways may contribute to it. In blended, ESR orgasms and/or status orgasmus, more than one ‘orgasm reflex arch pathway’ may trigger the orgasm at the same time, while other pathways play a supplementary role.” 

What this basically means is that women have been shown, under the weight of scientific scrutiny, to be able to have orgasms that last for 30 minutes or more, and when this happens they are having altered states of consciousness similar to being high on mushrooms or LSD or Molly.

Why are most women not having anything near this kind of experience? Let’s talk about it. Let’s look at the history of the female orgasm. Lord Acton was only repeating what everyone knew in 1875 when he declared, “The majority of women, happily for them and for society, are not very much troubled with sexual feeling of any kind.” You can draw a straight line between that and the whirlwind of social media talk surrounding Amber Rose’s planned #SlutWalk.

Women are not supposed to enjoy sex as much as men. Women are not supposed to have sexual urges. Women are there simply to satisfy the sexual urges of their husbands. Women have to put up with sex in order to keep their husbands happy and have children. This was the dominant belief in western society for as far back as the mind’s eye can see. And although things have changed ever so slightly in recent decades, slut shaming is still very much a Thing.

This belief was behind the psychological diagnosis of “hysteria” that so many women received in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Women of this era complained to doctors of anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, erotic fantasies, feelings of heaviness in the lower abdomen, and wetness between the leg. Many 21st century women could easily recognize this as sexual frustration but back then this syndrome became known as “hysteria,” from the Greek for uterus.

Documented complaints of female hysteria date back to the 13th century. Doctors of that era understood that women had libidos and advised them to relieve their sexual frustration with dildos. In the 16th century, physicians told married hysterics to encourage their husbands’ lust. For hysteria unrelieved by husbandly lust, and for widows, and single and unhappily married women, doctors advised horseback riding, which, for some, provided enough clitoral stimulation to trigger orgasm. But riding provided many women little relief, and by the 17th century, dildos were less of an option because the arbiters of decency had succeeded in demonizing masturbation as “self-abuse.”

Fortunately, a reliable, socially acceptable treatment appeared. Doctors or midwives applied vegetable oil to women’s genitals and then massaged them with one or two fingers inside and the heel of the hand pressing against the clitoris. With this type of massage, women had orgasms and experienced sudden, dramatic relief from hysteria. But doctors didn’t call women’s climaxes orgasms. They called them “paroxysms” (a sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity) because everyone knew that women were incapable of sexual feelings, so they could not possibly experience orgasm.

Unfortunately for doctors, hysteria treatment had a downside—achy, cramped fingers and hands from all that massage. In medical journals of the early 1800’s, doctors lamented that treating hysterics taxed their physical endurance. Chronic hand fatigue meant that some doctors had trouble maintaining the treatment long enough to produce the desired (and lucrative) result.

Necessity sometimes being the mother of invention, physicians began experimenting with mechanical substitutes for their hands. They tried a number of genital massage contraptions, among them water-driven gadgets (the forerunners of today’s shower massage devices), and pumping, steam-driven dildos. But the machines were cumbersome, messy, often unreliable, and sometimes dangerous.

Then in the late nineteenth century, electricity entered American homes, and the first electric appliances appeared: the electric fan, toaster, tea kettle, and sewing machine. In 1880, more than a decade before the invention of the electric iron and vacuum cleaner, an enterprising English physician, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville, patented the electromechanical vibrator.

Fast forward to 2015, for most people, knowledge of female orgasm is limited to the various ways to stimulate the clitoris. The general public’s knowledge of what is possible, men and women, is extremely low. We know only what porn and our uninformed friends have told us.

The pleasure range and orgasmic potential of women is immense. Some women tremble and shake in pleasure from nearly every part of their body being touched, some orgasm from their Achilles heel being massaged, or from a hand pressing their lower belly, some orgasm from their ears or breasts being licked, some orgasm the moment they are penetrated, some women orgasm solely by contracting their vaginal muscles, some orgasm with no physical stimulation, just by focusing their awareness on their sexual energy, magnifying it and pulling it up. Some women orgasm while meditating, practicing Hatha yoga, singing devotional songs, or looking at the sunset. Some women orgasm when they go on a roller coaster or bungee jumping. Some women orgasm when their partner tells them he loves them, or when a powerful man holds their hands and looks them deep in the eyes with love and presence. Some women don’t experience an actual orgasm, but rather go into a state of Bliss within moments of penetration.

And yet, most women don’t experience whole-body orgasms during penetrative love-making, many can only orgasm by masturbation, and some don’t experience orgasms at all. Some women don’t even consider the subject of orgasm because they don’t  experience any pleasure at all during sex.

Modern science has measured and quantified a number of symptoms and conditions that occur while a woman is being aroused and when she’s orgasming. Arousal includes increased muscular tension, increased heart beat and respiration rate and depth, increased blood flow to the genitals, which causes the swelling of the clitoris, labia (outer and inner lips around the entrance of the yoni/vagina/pussy), and the vaginal walls; “ballooning” of the deep vagina and mild shifting of the cervix and womb towards the back of the body and slightly upwards, secretion of lubrication fluid from the walls of the vagina; increased sensitivity of the nipples and other erogenous zones.

As orgasm becomes imminent, the outer third of the vagina tightens and narrows, while overall the vagina lengthens and dilates and also becomes congested from engorged soft tissue; the nipples become erect. The main symptom of a female orgasm according to modern science is a series of involuntary contractions or pulsations of the pelvic floor (also known as the PC muscle or pubococygeus muscle), the vaginal walls, uterus and anus. However, some of the orgasm symptoms occur to some extent also before and after the actual “peak” of an orgasm.

What is the difference between the woman who never has an orgasm and the woman who has more than she count? Relaxation. For women, sex is first and foremost about turning off the “thinking” button and turning on the “feeling” button. You can’t think and feel at the same time. These processes come from two different parts of the brain that don’t work well together. If you are feeling something intensely, whether it be pain from an injury or extreme hunger pangs or a need to urinate or the pleasure of your lover kissing your neck, it becomes almost impossible to do something like study for a test at the same time. The reverse is also true. If your brain is focused on thinking about something, then your sensitivity to feeling things is seriously dampened.

The main idea or attitude that can improve the pleasure range and orgasmic experience of every woman is the following:

Every pleasurable sensation, every small wave of pleasure, is a mini orgasm, because for a brief moment, there is slightly decreased mind activity, decreased sense of personal “I”, and increased present moment awareness,  focus, surrender, dissolution and dissolving into the sensation.

Imagine someone is touching your exposed back with a feather, or blowing air gently on your neck, or tickling you, or hugging you, or gently caressing your face or hair, or moving his hands along the side of your torso, or touching your nipple, or gently brushing the back of his hand against your pubic hair.  All these sensations are portals into pleasure, then into greater pleasure, then into actual orgasm. At the moment of orgasm, for that (usually) brief moment, you become One with the universe. You lose your sense of being separate from anything else, time stands still and you are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. You are simply feeling.

Most men and women tend to view an orgasm as a single separate discernible peak aka “The Big O”, or, at best, a few peaks of orgasm, known as a multiple orgasm. The problem is that they miss out on a range of sensations, pleasure and orgasmic experiences. By changing your attitude and enjoying the inherent joy and pleasure in every moment and every kind of touch or sexual interaction, a woman can gradually experience deeper and greater and more varied kinds of pleasure and orgasmic states, and then an expanded awareness and higher states of consciousness.

In quality, every pleasurable sensation is a mini orgasm, an orgasmic moment, and the “quantity” of the pleasure can increase as you bring your attention into it. Learn to focus your attention on every pleasurable sensation, to bring awareness into every part of your body which feels pleasurable, to go deeper into the sensation, deeper into the present moment, and then to intensify these sensations and pleasure. That can’t happen if you’re thinking about whether you look fat, or is he gonna call you the next day, or any of that other shit that women obsess about. Turn off the thinking and turn on the feeling.

The other part of this picture, for most people at least, is the role of the man. Women need time; time to get warmed up, time to get out of the mind and into the body, time for the clitoris and labia to swell, time for the G-spot to descend down into the vaginal canal. Women can’t fully feel everything they are capable of feeling until all the machinery has gotten warmed up. Because men aren’t trained to appreciate this, most men are over and done before the woman is even ready to get started. Women are not experiencing the fullness of their orgasmic potential because both men and women are ignorant of what women need during sex.

Men have to be taught how to appreciate what they can receive from a fully sexually fulfilled woman. This is where those altered states of consciousness (ASC) come in. The vagina is directly connected to the brain in what I call the Brain-Vagina System. The cervix in the vagina is connected to the spine by the pelvic neural network. The spine leads directly to the brain stem. The reason that expanded sexual response (ESR) leads to ASC is because the nervous system is stimulated in very interesting ways. Usually unused parts of the brain are opened up and very cool chemicals get released.

There is a substance called DMT, produced in the pineal gland in the brain, which can also be found in at least 60 species of plants worldwide. One of these plants is ayahuasca which is popularly used in rituals to induce trance states and receive messages from other realms of reality. Well, you don’t need to drink a nasty brew or smoke anything to get DMT, your brain can make it by having awesome sex. Women who spend some time in ESR can get access to information that wasn’t available by other means. If you want to know how to get a business off the ground, how to solve a complex math problem, or any other mental hurdle, the answer just might be found in a woman’s orgasm.

Along with that, ESR produces the exact opposite of the hysteria women go into from sexual frustration. Deep calm, deep relaxation, deep contentment means no more of the incessant nagging that keeps so many men from wanting to go home after work. A woman who is truly sexually fulfilled is able to trust that everything will be alright. Everyone wins when the woman gets what she needs, above and beyond what she thinks that she wants.

This means men learning how to truly do foreplay, as well as learning how to delay ejaculation for up to an hour or more. Foreplay means so much more than just licking or fingering a woman’s so-called erogenous zones. I say so-called because a woman’s entire body becomes orgasmic once she is opened up properly. I don’t have the space to go into details about foreplay here but I think it is extremely important for men to learn how to do energy projection as well as yoni massage.

By energy projection, I mean bringing your energy field (aura) into contact with another person’s energy field or aura, and touching each other without contacting the skin. Men and women can be brought to orgasm in this way, without physically touching at all; and it is extremely healthy for the mind and body. Yoni massage is a more healing version of what is commonly called “finger fucking”. Yoni massage involves truly massaging the whole pubic region, inside and outside. It can undo damage done to the anatomy of the vagina by chronic stress from living in a world that is anti-woman in so many ways.

At least an hour of various kinds of foreplay combined with at least an hour of penetration is a good recipe for ESR and ASC. Women and men who experience the glory of truly fulfilling sex will never want to go back to the old way of doing things. It’s time for a real sexual revolution. Clitoral orgasm should be known as the “little girls” orgasm. Any person with a clitoris can orgasm from rubbing it against something. Sexual maturity comes with knowing that that is only a small fraction of what sex can and should be. It’s time to demand more from ourselves.

Remember When The Nation Of Islam Was Relevant?

mmm2

Soundtrack: Public Enemy “Don’t Believe The Hype”

Let me start by saying why I care about this subject. The Nation of Islam saved my life. When I was in the streets, in the 90’s, it was Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam that gave me a way to turn my life around. I care very much about today’s youth and future generations getting the opportunity to be touched by the Nation of Islam in the same way. The last twenty years have seen a steep drop in the Nation of Islam’s visibility and level of influence in the streets and among the youth. I want us to examine why that is the case.

To properly put the Nation of Islam’s current position in context, we have to go back 40 years, to 1975. In that year the
Nation of Islam was destroyed. The FBI’s attacks on Black Nationalist groups had succeeded in getting rid of the
organization. A January 7, 1969 FBI internal memorandum, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, stated:

“Although the Nation of Islam (NOI) does not presently advocate violence by its members, the group does preach hatred of the white race and racial separatism. The membership of the NOI is organized and poses a real racial threat. The NOI is responsible for the largest black nationalist newspaper, which has been used by other black extremists.

The NOI appears to be the personal fiefdom of Elijah Muhammad. When he dies a power struggle can be expected and the NOI could change direction. We should be prepared for this eventuality. We should plan how to change the philosophy of the NOI to one of the strictly religious and self-improvement orientation, deleting the race hatred and separate nationhood aspects.

In this connection Chicago should consider what counterintelligence action might be needed now or at the time of Elijah Muhammad’s death to bring about such a change in NOI philosophy. Important considerations should include the identity, strengths, and weaknesses, of any contenders for NOI leadership. What are the positions of our [BUREAU DELETION] informants in regard to leadership? How could potential leaders be turned or neutralized?

The alternative to changing the philosophy of the NOI is the destruction of the organization. This might be accomplished through generating factionalism among the contenders for Elijah Muhammad’s leadership or through legal action in probate court on his death. Chicago should consider the question of how to generate the factionalism necessary to destroy the NOI by splitting into several groups. [BUREAU DELETION]”

With Elijah Muhammad no longer running the show, his son Warith Deen Mohammed took over and made the group one that sought the approval of the white world and the Arab world. That is until September 1977 when the man who had been the group’s national spokesman, Louis Farrakhan, decided to rebuild the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Now we have to look at the psychology of the two opposing groups here. We have the United States government Intelligence and National Security apparatus working to achieve the aims of the 1% (the super rich). They don’t wanna see any shift in wealth distribution or power distribution in this country. That is clearly the Nation of Islam’s aim. They have already succeeded in getting rid of this group. Now they see a man rising up to attempt to undo what they have done. Of course, they don’t want to see him succeed.

On the other side you have Farrakhan who in 1977 is motivated solely by love for Elijah Muhammad and love for his people. He believes that his teacher is dead, which shifts some of his thinking about what had motivated his work pre-1975. It was and is the position of the Nation of Islam that Elijah Muhammad was taught by God Himself and charged with leading the mental resurrection of Black people in America and warning of the destruction of the old world order. 1977 Farrakhan still believes that his people must be resurrected and the program of Elijah Muhammad is the best way to do it, so he commits to rebuilding Elijah Muhammad’s work.

Consider the audacity of this man Farrakhan to even attempt to rebuild this thing. An organization that had all this real estate and bakeries and schools and printing press and trucking system and bringing fish in internationally and so on. Almost everyone has either gone with Warith Deen or walked away from Islam altogether. He and a handful of other people are gonna rebuild this enormous organization. He either really believes in his God or in himself or a combination of the two.

Also at this time the people are becoming aware of exactly how far the government had gone with its Counter Intelligence Program (CoIntelPro). The info has become public so he knows of a surety that the weight of the whole US government can and will be brought against him in attempting to rebuild what they have already torn down.

So now the stage is set. Farrakhan spends 1978 and 1979 doing a large amount of paid speaking engagements, largely at
universities, raising the money to get his organization off the ground. He is talking to some of the old ministers about
joining him to rebuild. He has Muslim stalwarts like Tynnetta and her sons, Jabril, Khallid, Abdul Allah, Akbar. In 1980 he has attracted enough old followers back and got enough new ones to announce the 1981 Saviours’ Day celebration (the Nation of Islam’s annual convention honoring its founder). Jabril has convinced him that Elijah Muhammad is alive (if you don’t know about that, another subject for another time). Now his self concept has changed. He isn’t just a man acting out of love for his teacher. He is the fulfillment of prophecy. It was destined for him to step into the role of Paul to Elijah’s Jesus. It is his job to let the world know that Elijah is alive and that Elijah was the Messiah and to finish Elijah’s work of resurrection.

Now it’s ’83 and ’84. He’s helping Jesse Jackson campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for president. Jesse slips up and makes the hymietown remark. Now the white community is moving against Jesse but especially the Jews. Farrakhan goes into war mode, warning them not to touch Jesse, and speaking on their hypocrisy and their dirty religion. Now the sights are set on him.

Once Jesse turns away from him then he is able to focus his attention completely on Elijah’s program. A black man named Al Wellington out of Philadelphia was promoting this idea to tap into the huge amount of money spent by the Black community on beauty and hygiene products. Farrakhan became the face and the spokesman of this idea. The plan was to use underutilized Black-owned manufacturing plants to produce a line of beauty and hygiene products and establish a home delivery system where Black households order products every month directly from a catalogue. Farrakhan secured a $5 million loan from Colonel Muammar Qaddafi to get the program off the ground in February 1985. The program is called POWER (People Organized and Working for Economic Rebirth) and the product line is called Clean n Fresh. Now things are really heating up. Again the 1%’s main objective is to prevent any change in the economic status quo. You got this man Farrakhan who is speaking to thousands of poor people at a time and is now threatening to turn their attention completely toward economic self-sufficiency. It’s crunch time.

They go to work seeking to assassinate Farrakhan’s character, at the very least. And they are simultaneously working to
destroy the program he is building. Farrakhan and Wellington had negotiated for a Black-owned bank to house the seed money for the program. The Johnson Products company was to serve as the primary manufacturer. The Johnson Publishing Company, owners of Ebony and Jet magazine, were to provide advertising space for the program. And before things could get going, all of that dissolved. Pressure applied from the Jewish community made everyone afraid to stand next to Farrakhan.

The POWER program is now seriously crippled because the Nation isn’t big enough to push this thing all on its own just going door to door. Though they attempt to do just that. And also it becomes a top national security concern to kill Muammar Qaddafi. In the summer of 1985 the Reagan Administration plans his assassination. On February 5, 1986 Farrakhan participated in a press conference, organized by Kwame Ture, with the theme of HANDS OFF LIBYA. Later that night he embarked on a world tour starting in the Caribbean and then moving on to Africa. The Africa portion of the tour was cut short as he realized that a war was being planned against Libya, and he went to Libya to warn Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan people.

The realization of these war plans came from him reflecting on a vision that he had on September 17, 1985. Again, that’s another subject for another time. Then he spends a few years focused internally on the Nation of Islam. He is teaching like
no one has ever taught before in Black America and his ministers are working to grow the mosques and build new ones. Then around 1988 a new phenomenon starts.

Rappers are causing people to want to join the Nation of Islam. After Elijah was gone, the only people really talking about
Elijah’s teachings were the Five Percenters. They were gaining tremendous amounts of influence over youth culture throughout the Northeast but especially New York and New Jersey. When Hip Hop came out of this area, those youth started speaking the language of the 5%. And Farrakhan was their hero because he was the only national leader who spoke their language. Farrakhan and his young national spokesman named Khallid. The rappers started putting Farrakhan and Khallid in their songs and videos and all of a sudden a whole lot of children born somewhere around 1970 were joining the NOI (Nation of Islam) with youthful exuberance and a love for the teachings (of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad) instilled in them by Hip Hop.

In 1989 Farrakhan gives the announcement that the war in Libya was a sign of a war against him and Black America, especially Black youth. And that war was very real as we discussed in our writing about Hip Hop. Based on his insight from this vision, in 1989 he starts his Stop the Killing Tour (immediately after announcing his expanded understanding of his vision). In December 1993, he starts his Let Us Make Man tour, speaking to audiences of men only. Thousands upon thousands of people filling up arenas all over this country to hear him speak.

Also in 1993 the FBI tries to take advantage of the popularity of Spike Lee’s movie X to fan the flames of hatred for Farrakhan in Malcolm’s children and get Malcolm’s daughter Qubilah to work with a guy to kill Farrakhan. Ultimately, that plan fails.

In 1994, the Let Us Make Man tour turns into plans for a Million Man March. Now let’s look at the two opposing sides.
The 1%’s biggest fear is for the millions of angry black youth to get linked up with a charismatic black nationalist leader
who can turn all that anger and potential for violence against them. From that perspective this possibility of a Million Man
March is especially troublesome. In February 1995, Farrakhan gives a speech called Jesus Saves in which he mentions the
members of the 1% by name and puts the focus of “ENEMY” clearly on them. Then he goes around the country building up
support for the Million Man March.

October comes and the 1% and government are scared as s*@t. They shut down the government that day. President Clinton gave some excuse about why he had to leave town. The military was waiting in the tunnels for a war. And 2 million men showed up in response to Farrakhan’s call. And we were the most peaceful and loving group of Black men that any of us had ever seen. And we were down to do WHATEVER Farrakhan would’ve asked of us.

The 1% has been doing everything they possibly can to get rid of this man. Slander, attempted murder, attempting to neutralize his power base among the youth and hip hop. Nothing has worked. He keeps coming and getting more powerful. Now he has this army standing in front of him on the steps of the US Capitol, as loyal to their General and as motivated as any army in the world.

Farrakhan is scared. He has actually achieved what he has been working toward for almost twenty years. He is standing as
Father over the house which is Black America. The eyes of the whole world, literally, are on him. He knows that the military
wants to wipe us out. He feels his own doom pending. He feels like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He has told his
followers that him going to DC is like Jesus going to Jerusalem. His crucifixion is on the way. He feels it. So many things
to weigh. What does he do?

He gives the most politically correct speech of his career. He tries not to get us all killed. He tries not to give them any
reason to bring those tanks out of the tunnels. He acts more out of fear of the enemy than he does out of faith in his
backing. The end result is that those two million men return home that night and the next day not really knowing what to do.
They have this vague sense of duty to be a good person. They’ve pledged to not fight each other and all that. Good stuff.
But not exactly marching orders for an army. The army energy that had been built up quickly dissipates. There is no
organizational follow-up on the march. Farrakhan goes around the world on a World Friendship Tour and doesn’t do anything to directly connect the Million Man March, those two million men who attended, with these heads of state who he is meeting with.

The 1% breathes a humongous sigh of relief. They’ve been faced with the moment they feared. The most perilous situation they’ve ever faced. And Farrakhan doesn’t pull the trigger. Hip Hop is becoming increasingly inept. It isn’t driving people toward Farrakhan anymore, it is driving people away from Farrakhan.

Farrakhan has separated from Khallid. The man who was his link to the youth. The link is gone. Hip Hop isn’t connecting the masses to Farrakhan. Khallid isn’t connecting the masses to Farrakhan. The masses are upset at Farrakhan for wasting their time.

Then Tupac is killed. Tupac was Farrakhan’s last hope of maintaining relevance. He has made an album called Killuminati and has kept with the tradition of quoting Farrakhan and Khallid. He is personally moving back toward the black nationalist
people who are his closest family. He was in prison on the day of the March. But now he is out and he is the most famous rapper in the world and he is serving to keep the threat alive (black youth + black nationalism). But less than a year after the march, Tupac is dead.

Now Biggie is the biggest rapper left. He would be dead in less than six months, replaced with a slew of copycats who are
all about getting money. Our gang peace treaties around the country are losing their grip. The angry white male has been
unleashed all over the country under the leadership of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. Farrakhan gives a one year march anniversary speech about world leaders and avoiding a war of Armageddon that fails to make a splash among Black America. The man who was crowned King of Black America just a year before is now quickly becoming a thing of the past.

There had been a lack of appreciation for the marriage between Farrakhan and the NOI and Hip Hop. Hip Hop music and culture throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s was keeping the topics of freedom, justice, and equality in the front of the minds of Black youth. And Farrakhan was the real life Black Nationalist Hero who could give them something to do with that energy that Hip Hop was producing. With Tupac dead, Ice Cube back in NWA mode with a new group called Westside Connection, Public Enemy had fell off, Tribe Called Quest and the Native Tongues were breaking up and falling off, and Khallid trying to figure out his life after being separated from Farrakhan…there was no longer any glue between the masses and a now 63 year old Farrakhan. The youth were trying to get jiggy, get money, get high. Fighting the power and yelling fuck the police just wasn’t important anymore.

So the energy dissipated. It became less and less common to see the Muslims on the block in Any Ghetto, USA selling bean pies and The Final Call newspaper. The mosques stopped growing as quickly, if their numbers increased at all. And Farrakhan became a man dealing with a crisis of self identity.

Remember this is a man who believes himself to be an extension of the Messiah, chosen by God to lead the resurrection of the mentally dead and to be a driving force behind God’s Judgment and Destruction of the former world order. He worked tirelessly from 1977 until he saw the climax of his work coming in 1995. He was absolutely convinced that with the Million Man March he was walking into his own crucifixion and ultimately being saved from death by God. That didn’t happen. He was told in his September 1985 Vision that he had to do one more thing then he could see his teacher, Elijah Muhammad, face to face. He just knew that the one more thing was the Million Man March. But nothing happened. Now he becomes a man who is frantically searching for the “one more thing” while appearing to calmly guide his followers. He is the leader of the faith for thousands of people while battling to not fall victim to a crisis of his own faith.

Farrakhan becomes desperate and vulnerable. Every year or two he gets an idea or someone comes to him with an idea that sounds like it might be the One More Thing. And every time he tells his followers that this is it. He won’t have much longer to be with them. After a while, he becomes a bit like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. One More Thing has happened at least a dozen times and Farrakhan is still here. Desperate and Vulnerable. Needing something to be the thing that works.

It’s 2015. There was a time when the barbershop and beauty shop conversation was about how there were no Black leaders left except Farrakhan. Now the conversation is about how there are no Black leaders left, period. Farrakhan is almost 82 years old. He has almost died multiple times in the past 10 years from prostate cancer and complications in the treatment of it.

When he first stood up in 1977 it was Farrakhan and Tynnetta and Jabril. Tynnetta died recently. Jabril has been seriously
sick for quite some time now. The Nation has been recently attempting to return to where it all started with a focus on
economic development. Unfortunately, that effort has yet to gain any traction among the masses of the people. The only
movement energy that we have right now centers around protest politics and that has no real connection with Farrakhan or the Nation of Islam. Those who aren’t in the streets protesting are at home watching reality TV. The prospects for a Nation of Islam resurgence are bleak.

It is my belief that Minister Farrakhan is held hostage by his own sense of destiny. His belief in what his life is supposed to produce, combined with his own sense of mortality, hinder him from instilling the best possible habits into the Nation of Islam under his leadership. The Nation could have a very long-term view toward achieving its aims; determined to chip away, a little bit at a time, at a mountainous goal of restoring Black people to our former glory. One fundraiser, one workshop, one new member at a time. But what the Nation has seemed to do for a while now is to swing for the fences; searching for the One More Thing. As time moves on, a slight shift in the group’s ideology/theology could serve to relieve some of this pressure which causes some desperate moves.

There are a couple of reasons for optimism regarding the relationship between the Nation of Islam and the Black youth of 2015. They are named Jay Electronica and Wesley Muhammad. These two men have been friends for over 20 years. Jay Electronica is a Hip Hop artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation record label. He was the most buzzed about rapper in 2009 and 2010, working closely with Diddy, Just Blaze, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Nas, and others. He has still yet to release a full-length album and his fans are beginning to wonder if he ever will. Yet he still has a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding every move he makes in the public eye. He might be the might famous rapper in the world to have never released an album. Wesley Muhammad is a historian of religion with a PhD in Islamic Studies. He is one of the founders of The Allah Team, a group that straddles the fence between the Nation of Islam and the Five Percenters, of which Jay Electronica is a former and newly reinstated member. He works in Chicago directly for Minister Farrakhan as an in-house scholar.

These two men and the team that surrounds them have the potential and ability to inject a large dose of intellectualism back into the Hip Hop conversation. If Jay Electronica releases an album and does the full gamut of promotional activities that should accompany that. It could be a spectacle of Hip Hop culture the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the heyday of Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and Tupac. We shall see what happens with that.

Kanye West had these words to say about Minister Farrakhan a couple of weeks ago:

“Right now I’m working on a documentary with him, about him, and about his music. He’s a classically trained violinist. In the same way my wife got stamped with a sex tape, the Minister was stamped with [bigotry], and it’s important that while he’s still alive he sees the people appreciate his message. If you ever hear him talk, it’s about humanity, it’s about one race.”

Kanye West is a pretty big deal. If anyone can shine a positive light on Farrakhan where the youth are concerned, it is Kanye. Kanye’s words lead me to my conclusion. Louis Farrakhan is not receiving the level of appreciation that he deserves from the community that he has worked to serve for the past 60 years. No other organization destroyed by CoIntelPro has reached anywhere near its former level of glory, besides the Nation of Islam. He has built an organization that gives our people something to be proud of and a sense of hope for our future. Whatever the weaknesses of the Nation of Islam may be, its level of organization and dedication give it a chance to make monumental moves on behalf of Black America at any given time.

In the 2014 Major League Baseball season, Derek Jeter received what many called a Farewell Tour. It was his last season in the league at the end of a historically great career and everywhere he went in the world of baseball he was praised and celebrated and thanked for his achievements. Farrakhan deserves a similar round of applause at this time in his life. For however much longer he has to be among us, he should see his people celebrating his life and devoting their energy toward helping him achieve his lifelong goals.

THE THREE YEAR ECONOMIC SAVINGS Program was established by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1964. This program called for black people to pool their resources by contributing $10 a month to help fight against poverty, want, unemployment, abominable housing, hunger and nakedness of the 40 million black people in America. Minister Farrakhan re-established this program in October 1991 because we still continue to face these same problems today. The Program’s name might imply that it was to last for only three years. However this will be an ongoing program until the problems of our people are eradicated.

Every Black person in America should be encouraged to give $60 to this program in honor of the past 60 years of Minister Farrakhan’s work on behalf of our people. The billions of dollars raised in such an effort could start a program of long term development that carries us through the rest of the 21st century, taking us from a powerless people to a powerful people. We deserve it, and Minister Farrakhan’s legacy deserves it.

As with all things, this kind of appreciation will only go as far as the youth (and Hip Hop) push it to go. I fast and pray that I see a time in the very near future where a proper conclusion is given to Minister Farrakhan’s career, for the benefit of all of us.

What the Hell Happened to Hip Hop?

death certificate

Soundtrack: KRS ONE “Ova Here”

Let me start this by saying that I am writing a book on this subject. This writing is a super-condensed and probably oversimplified version of what the book will look like.

I am Hip Hop. Hip Hop is my life. I am very, very emotionally invested in the state of Hip Hop music, culture, and politics (word to the Source Magazine).

I am not the only person in the world who feels that something went wrong somewhere along the road in Hip Hop’s journey. It was really good, then it became something else. What the hell happened?

When Hip Hop started in the early to mid 1970’s, it had a few major themes driving its development. Afrika Bambaataa was a street gang leader. Once he became one of the first Hip Hop DJ’s, he saw an opportunity to use these Hip Hop parties as a way to bring peace to the streets. So members of rival gangs would cross turf boundaries and be able to stand in one another’s presence because of their shared love for the music and the energy of these parties.

Also, the art forms of Hip Hop appealed to the sense of competition of these Black and Latino youth in inner city New York. Their competition based on neighborhoods came to be channeled into new competitions based on who could dance the best, deejay the best, emcee the best, and do the best graffiti art. The competition was fierce, almost violent in its intensity. These young men and women were frighteningly determined to gain bragging rights for being the best at their crafts. But the important part was that actual physical violence declined dramatically.

These things pushed Hip Hop through its first decade of existence. From the late 70’s through the mid 80’s, the music industry brass paid very little attention to this budding art form. That opened the door for small, independent record labels to step in and cash in on what the older traditional industry execs thought was a passing fad. Sugar Hill, Tommy Boy, Def Jam, Profile, and Jive were some of the small record labels that released the vast majority of the Hip Hop records in the early 80’s. Most of these labels happened to be owned and/or managed by young Jewish guys who desired to buck the trends of the music industry. As such, they let these young unseasoned rappers do pretty much whatever they wanted to do. And it worked.

Once these labels and their Hip Hop releases started making millions of dollars, predictably, the major labels started rushing to sign their own Hip Hop artists. At that time in the 80’s there were six major record labels who controlled almost all of the music released in the United States: Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony, BMG, Universal Music Group, and Polygram (now that six is down to three). Because these labels initially didn’t know what to do with Hip Hop, they also allowed the artists almost complete creative control. That is, until 1989.

On October 24, 1989 Minister Louis Farrakhan gave a press conference at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington D.C. He said these words on that day:

“I am here to announce today that President Bush has met with his joint Chiefs of Staff, under the direction of General Colin Powell, to plan a war against the Black people of America, the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan, with particular emphasis on our Black youth, under the guise of a war against drugs, drug sellers, drug users, gangs and violence — all under the heading of extremely urgent national security.”  

I can imagine how these words sounded to most people who heard them at the time. I was in elementary school. I didn’t know any of this was going on. But there was a lot going on.

In an article, “Street Gangs: Future Paramilitary Groups?” by Robert J. Bunker, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, National Securities Studies Program, California State University, San Bernardino, published in the June 1996 edition of the Police Chief we read:

“Military scholars recognize that a new form of soldier, with no allegiance to the nation-state, is developing in much of the non-Western world. Major Ralph Peters, U.S. Army, who is responsible for evaluating emerging threats for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, terms this threat, The New Warrior Class. It is being taken seriously enough by the U.S. Army to be included in its perceptions of early 21st-century Army operations.

“This type of soldier, which has developed as an outcome of a breakdown in social organization in many failed nation-states, operates in subnational groups such as armed bands, private armies, crime networks and terrorist organizations. Debate in professional U.S. military and affiliated journals over the past two years has dealt with concerns that this new form of soldier may be developing within the United States.

“Street gangs would be one logical source from which this new form of soldier could emerge in this country. These gangs have developed in failed inner cities, where poverty and crime run rampant and family social structures have been severely eroded.

“Drawing parallels between a city such as Beirut and some U.S. inner-city cores, where many gang members grew up, is not overly difficult. The threat of death or physical harm is significant for a young male growing up in both surroundings, and both fail to provide educational opportunities that can allow for the transformation of this segment of the population into productive and responsible citizens. Today’s pre-teenage inner-city children, termed the ‘super-predators’ by Dr. John J. Dilulio, Jr. of Princeton University, bear a striking resemblance to the child soldiers found in numerous private armies throughout the non-Western world.”

Consider these words from Cedric Muhammad:

“Under the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), in an August 25, 1967 memo it is written that no political activist or individual with an ideology that was perceived as a threat to the establishment should have access to a ‘mass communication media.’

“What is Hip-Hop, if not ‘mass communication media’?

“One of the highest concerns of today’s national security apparatus is the role the rapper serves, in their view, as the spokesperson for the gang.

“Why else has intelligence been gathered and compiled on rappers by agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and even the White House through the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)? The letterhead on many of the documents of the infamous, “rap binder” maintained by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and shared with others like the Miami and Miami Beach Police departments, including the portion pertaining to Jay-Z, is that of The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/hidta/).

“If you look at the surveillance of rap artists from the perspective of COINTELPRO and the current thinking in gang intelligence and military think tanks the words of Miami police Sgt. Rafael Tapanes, in a March 9, 2004 Miami Herald article that ‘A lot if not most rappers belong to some sort of gang,’ is more significant than one might initially think.

“The amount of resources the federal government and some outside of it are devoting to depict Hip-Hop artists and their relationship to crime and street organizations as a threat to the establishment national security is staggering.

“The best example I could give is the joint task force effort against Scarface, James Prince, and Rap-A-Lot Records last decade.

“Had I not personally attended the Congressional hearings regarding them, I would not have believed the extent of the effort myself. One of the most striking things revealed in the hearings was the extent to which the federal government had placed federal informants in not just Rap-A-Lot Records but throughout Houston’s 5th Ward section.”

In the year prior to that Louis Farrakhan press conference there were two parallel rap songs released that really caught the government’s attention. Both of these songs had titles with the initials F-T-P: “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy and “Fuck The Police” by NWA. These groups were the biggest rap acts in the world by the summer of 1989. Their collective message was to fight back against the system, even if it means physical retaliation against the rampant police brutality being experienced by their target audience.

That 1967 FBI memorandum also stated:

“The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder.

“Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups.

“Prevent the RISE OF A “MESSIAH” who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement.

“Prevent VIOLENCE on the part of black nationalist groups.

“A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth.”

Black youth being spurred to unite around their Blackness and being willing to use violence in retaliation against the State, and having a national voice who could speak to and inspire all of these Black youth at the same time, that was the government’s worst nightmare. Hip Hop showed them what they were most afraid of. So once things turned in the direction they did by 1989, it makes perfect sense that the highest levels of the government’s national security apparatus would be used to either steer Hip Hop in a different direction, or stop it altogether.

This fear of the government is what led to a partnership between the criminal justice system and the giants of media in this country. The early 80’s saw the Reagan Administration formally declare the War on Drugs. This was already being used to imprison Black youth in record numbers before Hip Hop exploded the way it did later in that decade. It was simple social engineering for them to take the framework they had from the criminal justice system and the War on Drugs and use it to turn Hip Hop against itself.

A few years ago there was an open letter floating around the internet which was claimed to have been written by someone who was a “decision maker” in the music industry in the early 90’s. The authenticity of this letter has never been proven or disproven. However, there is strong circumstantial evidence to believe that it is at least partially true. The letter describes a meeting that allegedly happened in 1991, in a private residence, with representatives from the major record labels.

[T]he speaker went on to tell us that the respective companies we represented had invested in a very profitable industry which could become even more rewarding with our active involvement. He explained that the companies we work for had invested millions into the building of privately owned prisons and that our positions of influence in the music industry would actually impact the profitability of these investments. I remember many of us in the group immediately looking at each other in confusion. At the time, I didn’t know what a private prison was but I wasn’t the only one. Sure enough, someone asked what these prisons were and what any of this had to do with us. We were told that these prisons were built by privately owned companies who received funding from the government based on the number of inmates. The more inmates, the more money the government would pay these prisons. It was also made clear to us that since these prisons are privately owned, as they become publicly traded, we’d be able to buy shares. Most of us were taken back by this. Again, a couple of people asked what this had to do with us. At this point, my industry colleague who had first opened the meeting took the floor again and answered our questions. He told us that since our employers had become silent investors in this prison business, it was now in their interest to make sure that these prisons remained filled. Our job would be to help make this happen by marketing music which promotes criminal behavior, rap being the music of choice. He assured us that this would be a great situation for us because rap music was becoming an increasingly profitable market for our companies, and as employee, we’d also be able to buy personal stocks in these prisons.” 

Again, this meeting may or may not have ever actually happened. But the information presented is real. The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past thirty years. While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. The U.S. imprisons its citizens at a rate of about 716 per 100,000 of its national population. Compare that 716 figure with 117 in Canada, 154 in England, 133 in Australia, 159 in Spain, 59 in Japan, 178 in Saudi Arabia, 577, in Russia, and 400 in Kazakhstan. These last two countries brag about having a zero tolerance policy for drugs and crime and how many people they lock up. They still can’t compare with the United States.

It costs a lot of money to lock up this many people. State and federal budgets for prisons can’t handle these rapidly increasing numbers. So that opens the door for privately owned companies to build and manage all the new prisons that the United States needs. Who owns these private prisons?

According to public analysis from Bloomberg, the largest holder in Corrections Corporation of America is Vanguard Group Incorporated. Vanguard also holds considerable stake in some of the media giants. In fact, Vanguard is the third largest holder in both Viacom (owner of VH1, BET, and MTV) and Time Warner (owner of Warner Music Group). Vanguard is also the third largest holder in the GEO Group, whose correctional, detention and community reentry services boast 101 facilities, approximately 73,000 beds and 18,000 employees. Second nationally only to Corrections Corporation of America, GEO’s facilities are located not only in the United States but in the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.

Adding on to that, the number-one holder of both Viacom and Time Warner is a company called Blackrock. Blackrock is the second largest holder in Corrections Corporation of America, second only to Vanguard, and the sixth largest holder in the GEO Group. You get the picture.

The people making money from the huge number of privately owned prisons are the exact same people making money off Hip Hop. When the Powers That Be saw that Hip Hop was becoming a voice for inner city angst and rage, they used their influence to change Hip Hop from a constructive force to a destructive force.

“For every song that’s recorded we ask for copies of the lyrics from the artist,” Paul Atkinson, former Zombies guitarist and then head of A&R at MCA told the New York Times in 1990. “The recording then gets listened to not only by the A&R department buy by someone in business affairs.”

In a mid-April 2007 interview of Young Buck by Angie Martinez on New York’s Hot 97, Buck told Martinez that Interscope had refused to allow him to include the track “Fuck tha Police” on his new Buck the World album. Buck said “they blamed it on the lyric committee, so I researched to see if it was a real lyric committee. The lyric committee is in Interscope’s building.”

An elaborate plan to dictate the content of rap music was enacted in 1990. I’ve made this too long already so I’ll state this very quickly. By the end of 1992, the witch-hunt for politically provocative rappers and rap lyrics had affected dozens of major-label rappers. Kool G Rap and DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die album was withheld. Tragedy was forced to drop a song called “Bullet,” about a revenge hit on a killer cop. Almighty RSO saw their single “One in the Chamba” lose its promotion budget after protests from the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association. The centerpiece of a Boo-Yaa Tribe EP, a song called “Shoot ‘Em Down” that condemned the acquittal of a Compton policeman who had killed two Samoan brothers with nineteen shots, was shelved.

You wanna know why every rap single these days is about drugs and strip clubs? This is why. Those are the subjects that the music industry (and government) Powers That Be are comfortable with hearing from their rappers. There is a lot more that needs to be said on this subject including the rise of Death Row Records, the government assassination of Tupac Shakur, the boring aftermath of Hip Hop’s Golden Era, and the recent resurgence of good music precipitated by the music industry losing its power.

This is a real deal conspiracy. Think about that the next time you sing about how you’re in love with the Coco.