Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Secret Meeting That Changed Rap Music

This is a really interesting letter that a reader named City sent which was sent to hiphopisread.com anonymously. Even though the letter has been out a couple of weeks, I have not heard that much about it. It really is a fascinating read.

Hello,

After more than 20 years, I've finally decided to tell the world what I witnessed in 1991, which I believe was one of the biggest turning point in popular music, and ultimately American society. I have struggled for a long time weighing the pros and cons of making this story public as I was reluctant to implicate the individuals who were present that day. So I've simply decided to leave out names and all the details that may risk my personal well being and that of those who were, like me, dragged into something they weren't ready for.

Between the late 80's and early 90’s, I was what you may call a “decision maker” with one of the more established company in the music industry. I came from Europe in the early 80’s and quickly established myself in the business. The industry was different back then. Since technology and media weren’t accessible to people like they are today, the industry had more control over the public and had the means to influence them anyway it wanted. This may explain why in early 1991, I was invited to attend a closed door meeting with a small group of music business insiders to discuss rap music’s new direction. Little did I know that we would be asked to participate in one of the most unethical and destructive business practice I’ve ever seen.

The meeting was held at a private residence on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I remember about 25 to 30 people being there, most of them familiar faces. Speaking to those I knew, we joked about the theme of the meeting as many of us did not care for rap music and failed to see the purpose of being invited to a private gathering to discuss its future. Among the attendees was a small group of unfamiliar faces who stayed to themselves and made no attempt to socialize beyond their circle. Based on their behavior and formal appearances, they didn't seem to be in our industry. Our casual chatter was interrupted when we were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing us from publicly discussing the information presented during the meeting. Needless to say, this intrigued and in some cases disturbed many of us. The agreement was only a page long but very clear on the matter and consequences which stated that violating the terms would result in job termination. We asked several people what this meeting was about and the reason for such secrecy but couldn't find anyone who had answers for us. A few people refused to sign and walked out. No one stopped them. I was tempted to follow but curiosity got the best of me. A man who was part of the “unfamiliar” group collected the agreements from us.

Quickly after the meeting began, one of my industry colleagues (who shall remain nameless like everyone else) thanked us for attending. He then gave the floor to a man who only introduced himself by first name and gave no further details about his personal background. I think he was the owner of the residence but it was never confirmed. He briefly praised all of us for the success we had achieved in our industry and congratulated us for being selected as part of this small group of “decision makers”. At this point I begin to feel slightly uncomfortable at the strangeness of this gathering. The subject quickly changed as the 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. Immediately, silence came over the room. You could have heard a pin drop. I remember looking around to make sure I wasn't dreaming and saw half of the people with dropped jaws. My daze was interrupted when someone shouted, “Is this a f****** joke?” At this point things became chaotic. Two of the men who were part of the “unfamiliar” group grabbed the man who shouted out and attempted to remove him from the house. A few of us, myself included, tried to intervene. One of them pulled out a gun and we all backed off. They separated us from the crowd and all four of us were escorted outside. My industry colleague who had opened the meeting earlier hurried out to meet us and reminded us that we had signed agreement and would suffer the consequences of speaking about this publicly or even with those who attended the meeting. I asked him why he was involved with something this corrupt and he replied that it was bigger than the music business and nothing we’d want to challenge without risking consequences. We all protested and as he walked back into the house I remember word for word the last thing he said, “It’s out of my hands now. Remember you signed an agreement.” He then closed the door behind him. The men rushed us to our cars and actually watched until we drove off.

A million things were going through my mind as I drove away and I eventually decided to pull over and park on a side street in order to collect my thoughts. I replayed everything in my mind repeatedly and it all seemed very surreal to me. I was angry with myself for not having taken a more active role in questioning what had been presented to us. I'd like to believe the shock of it all is what suspended my better nature. After what seemed like an eternity, I was able to calm myself enough to make it home. I didn't talk or call anyone that night. The next day back at the office, I was visibly out of it but blamed it on being under the weather. No one else in my department had been invited to the meeting and I felt a sense of guilt for not being able to share what I had witnessed. I thought about contacting the 3 others who wear kicked out of the house but I didn't remember their names and thought that tracking them down would probably bring unwanted attention. I considered speaking out publicly at the risk of losing my job but I realized I’d probably be jeopardizing more than my job and I wasn't willing to risk anything happening to my family. I thought about those men with guns and wondered who they were? I had been told that this was bigger than the music business and all I could do was let my imagination run free. There were no answers and no one to talk to. I tried to do a little bit of research on private prisons but didn’t uncover anything about the music business’ involvement. However, the information I did find confirmed how dangerous this prison business really was. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Eventually, it was as if the meeting had never taken place. It all seemed surreal. I became more reclusive and stopped going to any industry events unless professionally obligated to do so. On two occasions, I found myself attending the same function as my former colleague. Both times, our eyes met but nothing more was exchanged.

As the months passed, rap music had definitely changed direction. I was never a fan of it but even I could tell the difference. Rap acts that talked about politics or harmless fun were quickly fading away as gangster rap started dominating the airwaves. Only a few months had passed since the meeting but I suspect that the ideas presented that day had been successfully implemented. It was as if the order has been given to all major label executives. The music was climbing the charts and most companies when more than happy to capitalize on it. Each one was churning out their very own gangster rap acts on an assembly line. Everyone bought into it, consumers included. Violence and drug use became a central theme in most rap music. I spoke to a few of my peers in the industry to get their opinions on the new trend but was told repeatedly that it was all about supply and demand. Sadly many of them even expressed that the music reinforced their prejudice of minorities.

I officially quit the music business in 1993 but my heart had already left months before. I broke ties with the majority of my peers and removed myself from this thing I had once loved. I took some time off, returned to Europe for a few years, settled out of state, and lived a “quiet” life away from the world of entertainment. As the years passed, I managed to keep my secret, fearful of sharing it with the wrong person but also a little ashamed of not having had the balls to blow the whistle. But as rap got worse, my guilt grew. Fortunately, in the late 90’s, having the internet as a resource which wasn't at my disposal in the early days made it easier for me to investigate what is now labeled the prison industrial complex. Now that I have a greater understanding of how private prisons operate, things make much more sense than they ever have. I see how the criminalization of rap music played a big part in promoting racial stereotypes and misguided so many impressionable young minds into adopting these glorified criminal behaviors which often lead to incarceration. Twenty years of guilt is a heavy load to carry but the least I can do now is to share my story, hoping that fans of rap music realize how they’ve been used for the past 2 decades. Although I plan on remaining anonymous for obvious reasons, my goal now is to get this information out to as many people as possible. Please help me spread the word. Hopefully, others who attended the meeting back in 1991 will be inspired by this and tell their own stories. Most importantly, if only one life has been touched by my story, I pray it makes the weight of my guilt a little more tolerable.

Thank you.

114 comments:

  1. Oh, the old "The Jews invented rap music to destroy black people" thing was big in the 90s. The largest market for "gangsta rap" was always white audiences, though -- so it only makes sense that there were white record company people interested in selling images of black people to white people. Was it as nefarious as these paragraphs suggest? Hmm. Probably not.

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  2. This does seem to support the notion that many of the gangsta rappers are actually middle class kids from the burbs...

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  3. God Enty, if you're going to publish ridiculous horseshit, can it at least be less TL;DR.

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  4. Sounds crazy enough to be true!

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  5. i'm doubting this, NWA was around making controversy in 1986.

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  6. If this is true, this guy who wants to remain anonymous, yet blow the lid off this at the same time, is still putting himself at risk.

    The fact that he said he was one of four people escorted out, probably won't make it all that difficult for the bad guys to figure out who he is.

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  7. Go read "The New Jim Crow", and then tell me that this is far-fetched.

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  8. Exactly what Surfer said. A music executive from Europe would not be that hard to figure out. This is total bs on many levels.

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  10. Hello are you there Snopes.com?

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  11. I was in my late teens in 1991, and I remember wondering why all "Rap acts that talked about politics or harmless fun were quickly fading away", that's quite true. This is sad. Prisons and hospitals should not be private businesses. I believe we were all very manipulated by "the powers that be".

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  12. I agree. It would be so easy to figure out which of the four this was, by shaking down all four, as if their names were not noted. What crap. Sounds like someone wants a John Grisham screenplay. Then this bold anonymous whistleblower will come shrieking out of the bushes with binoculars around his neck and a yellowed copy of the Periodical Guide. Antipsychotics will spill out of his pockets. He will babble things about the illuminati and rated M video games. I was a Player in the Industry for 1.5 years, he'll shout. We will later find out he was in the mail room steaming letters open over a tea kettle on his lunch break.
    What a round about way to fill prisons. Come on now, how silly is this? Plenty of people to fill prisons.

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  13. Surfer and Lauren, if the story is true, adding a false detail like "being from Europe" is a good way to detract attention.

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  14. our whole justice system is based on anglo-saxon law. Law's written by white men to benefit white men. So, just from that standard alone, things are pretty clear. Not to mention that if the most arrests nationally (more than half of all arrests actually), yearly are for marijuana, with the majority of those arrests being of black males, although the MAJORITY if marijuana smokers are white, I'd say something's askew. Whether it's just simple-mindedness on the white man's part when the laws were written and the nation conceived, or actual hidden terrorism on the Zionists part, it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that we acknowledge the error, so we can embrace it, own it and then change it.

    Godbless (and Happy Mother's Day ladies)

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  15. Hmmmmm. I don't know what to think about this, but it's plausible.

    I've been in a similar situation where I've had to sign a confidentiality agreement when I worked for a company, and had the same feelings he described after a disturbing meeting, so while I want to dismiss this as a hoax, part of me wonders...

    I can say that what was discussed in this meeting actually happened a couple years later, almost to a "T".

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  16. If the labels are public, couldn't we learn about their investments through SEC filings?

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  17. NWA *and Public enemy were gangster rap and were well before 1991. "911 is a joke" and "Fuck the police" are proof

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  18. Interesting read and something to think about.

    It never hurts to have a reminder that sometimes companies don't have our best interests at heart and to really think about what is being sold to us.

    Don't be so quick to buy into what is being fed to us, whether it's news, new gadgets, trends or even celebrity gossip.

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  19. I didn't want to share this with anyone, but two decades ago I ran a chain of fast food donut stores. Several of us were invited to a private residence, along side a few people who owned health food stores and smoothie chains. There were several people there I didn't recognize who had nunchucks and medicine balls. We were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and then told we were to start upping the fat content in our products that we sold to schools and craft services. It turned out our host sold VHS exercise tapes and needed more customers. The smoothie and health food sales people argued but were nut punched by nunchucks till they agreed. I lost all interest in the donuts I now saturated with lard and fried in motor oil. I saw people ride by my business on expensive road bikes and I knew I was being watched. My cholesterol shot up to 188. Things were rough until DVD's came on the market.

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  20. This idea is complete bullshit and at it's heart very racist.

    First of all there is no such thing as a "privately owned" prison. There are private corporations (CCA being the largest) that contract with States to OPERATE prisons. Yes they get compensation on a per capita rate but there are also COSTS associated with carrying each inmate. CCA tries to create savings and margins by cherry picking inmates. They limit how many inmates with chronic health conditions (like DRUG ADDICTIONS, hepatitis, HIV, etc) they have to manage because healthy prisoners are cheaper than sick ones.

    If someone can point out how rap music would create a larger population of HEALTHY inmates, particularly since the whole drug issue is such a big part of it, then you MIGHT have a viable theory.

    Secondly, this whole idea is very racist because it makes a blanket assumption that young black males are helpless automatons with no intellectual capacity for self-determination. It assumes they will just fall in line with the music and become DRUG USING criminals like children following the Pied Piper to their own destruction.

    What's next? A letter from an ex-CIA employee detailing how HIV was created in a lab to kill off gay men?

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  21. misspoppypants: Love love love!

    I call BS. We've seen this writing style before in similar posts on this blog over the years. Exactly this style.

    "Please help me spread the word." Right. To what end?

    Oh CDAN, you used to be way more fun back in the day.

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  22. Thank you, Middle-aged Diva. If just one person knows about the motor oil donuts and nut busting fitness gurus, my guilt will be alleviated, I pray.

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  23. Hahaha@misspoppypants!!!

    Tara17-good point. It just seems that the "host" of the event clearly knew everyone he invited and they all signed confidentiality agreements, so it shouldn't be too hard to narrow down who this could be. I just don't buy it.

    Do I believe that corporations have our best interests in mind...no. Do I believe that product placement doesn't exist everywhere...no. Am I naive enough to believe that companies don't spend millions on marketing...no. I just think this story sounds a fishy.

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  24. Yeah, I can believe it. After the guys were kicked out the next question would have been "how much money are we talking about?"

    If you got the opportunity to sell crap to idiots for, say, 2m a year, would you do it? That's your kids college education, e nice house you always wanted, vacation homes, etc. And who's going to get hurt anyway? They're already buying that junk.

    Actually, that's totally out of the box marketing for those prison guys. Whoever thought of that's a genius. An evil genius, but a genius nonetheless.

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  25. Sound fishy, not "a fishy.". Damn autocorrect.

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  26. That's hilarious, misspoppypants!

    And really, OMAMA is BROKO, the zionists? Are you really going to go there?

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  27. @Lauren, hahaha! I had to turn autocorrect off my phone. It was obscene. Texts to boss, then the inevitable apology for previous auto corrected text and then an ensuing one for quoting my first text resulting in same error as second text.

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  28. Hey, but don't you like the idea of a prison filled with b boys flash mobbing to Getto Boys 4 Life? Like in China? Ever see those flash mobs on you tube? Everyone in orange doing the funky chicken (keeping it in the milieu of the post) like a Gap ad?

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  29. Hey DueDiligence,

    How's the weather in Nashville? Were you at the stockholder's meeting?

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  30. This is as likely as someone accusing metal music of turning boys into murderers and cultists.

    Oh wait, Tipper Gore did that in the 80s against bands like Metallica.

    Thugs become thugs because they are thugs, not because of the music they listen to.

    Kids aren't mindless drones waiting to be filled with ideas from music. Agree with someone above who said this scenario is blatantly racist.

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  31. Sounds like something Alex Jones would say...

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  32. Oh no, no, no, you better believe there is such a thing as private prisons. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn't paying attention.

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  33. The entertainment industry has been called 'evil' for decades and now people are calling BS on this story? White kids from suburbia being the largest buyers of rap/hip-hop shows just that...that they are the largest group of buyers. Buying music and listening to (and emulating) the lifestyles depicted are very different things. Having the most basic experience with NDAs would help you to ignore the purposely misleading identifiers; no one who works with them would even dream of breaking one, especially if the other party is as ruthless as described. Take out anything that would be able to identify the author and look solely at the facts and you should be afraid. Not because of the prisons being backed by the entertainment industry but because we are constantly being told about the dangerous world we live in but we choose to miss the forest for the trees.

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  34. Total and complete B.S. I've worked in the music industry since 1985, and this sounds exactly like a coked-out paranoia story by some low-level employee. Which, trust me, is much more likely.

    Music executives are greedy and opportunistic, but they do not now, nor have they ever, have that kind of control over what the public decides it wants to hear. They mutate to the demands of the public--not the other way around. Boy, they WISH they could create trends.

    Happy 80s pop music needed an antithesis, therefore, rap exploded in the 90s--much like punk killed disco a decade before, and arena rock blew away the folk star before that.

    There ain't no conspiracy. Music execs don't trust each other enough for that.

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  35. @JP Ha Ha! No, not a stockholder, but I used to live next door to their Corporate HQ. They used to be a frequent news item here.

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  36. private prisons are a corrupt danger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_for_cash_scandal

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  37. http://fourstory.org/posts/post/private-prisons-hip-hop-conspiracies-and-truths/ this site has a bit more on this, if only with graphs and opinions and such. I could certainly see this as plausible. Gangsta rap was just becoming popular then and really took off in the early/mid 90's, and this is also when modern US private prisons were taking hold as well. Can't say it's any more than one person noting these facts, putting them together, and spinning a tale of a secret plan behind it all just to point out that there may be an intended connection. And yeah, big businesses do have shady confidential meetings you might not be able to fathom. I know someone who was put in a similar situation but in a different business (harmless tech company secretly developing weapons of war). This person quietly left not long after the confidential meeting, and no news ever broke about it.

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  38. @Vicki Cain. Totally agree with you Vickie. I know plenty of folks in the County Business and it's like any other genre. No one really knows who or what is going to catch on. It's all a crap shoot. The best indication any label has of an artist's future success is whether they have managed to create their own following.

    The music business is NOT predicated on ORIGINALITY. One person hits to EVERYONE'S surprise and then there are a million copycats trying to put a slightly different spin on it. In a post-modern world, that typically moves in the direction of nihilist cynicism typically described as being "edgy".

    The earliest hip-hop I remember was The Sugar Hill Gang in the 70s. They were very innocuous and amounted to "urban bubblegum" music. But it was a hit and new acts followed the path I described of getting more edgy. But I can assure everyone there is no conspiracy. People in the music business aren't THAT smart. They are just trying to figure out what the next teen fad is going to be.

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  39. There are should things as privately owned prisons. The conditions and running of these "prisons" has always been highly questionabul and sometimes downright criminal. The guards that work in private prisons ungo very little training. State controlled prisons such as Michigan you have 6 months of training and come out making good money. Private prisons training may be as long as 2 weeks and guards make minimum wage. A lot of the private prisons have gotten in trouble for= prisons dieing, serving moldy, turned bad food, bad to NO health care, criminal activities taking place with guards and inmates or guards with or guards such as baiting inmates to fight and betting on it. I could go on with details for hours. Private prisons exsist to make money. How spent as little as possible to house, feed and guard inmates. At the same time they do away with needed health care, guard training, activities such as school and work for inmates. I know horror stories. Right now the Republican Govenor of Mich and Mich Legis. is trying to privatize the Mich sys. The new head of the Corrections Dept might be a man who ran a private prison where he got in serious trouble with the Feds. for his treatment of inmates. But he made a profit so the Republicans Love him. Sorry for the spelling etc., but I fell and broke my shoulder last week.

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  40. I've gotta clear up a misconception posted by another poster: Public Enemy was not a gangster rap band.

    Chuck D, the founder of PE, consistently had the some of the most thoughtful lyrics of any rap artist at that time focusing on the challenges of being African American. "911 is a joke" was about the fact that it took a lot longer for emergency personnel to arrive to a black neighborhood than a white one.

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  41. I forgot to add that prisoners are placed in prisons according to their sucurity level that is judged on 25 different factors they are not "Cherry picked" for good health reasons its all about the security level. Private companies try to get states to sign contracts to take over there prisons and run them as "PRIVATE PRISON". There have even been times when these "PRIVATE PRISONS" have refused to let the Federal Inspectors" BIG NO NO, but the private prisons do it over and over then wonder why the Feds go after them.

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  42. Well, if Vanilla Ice's rhyme had been a drug he'd have sold it by the gram. Good thing it wasn't though because, as he astutely observed, anything less than the best is a felony.

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  43. I stand corrected on the ownership issue. I looked at CCA (market symbol CXW) and they do own SOME of the prisons they operate.

    But the issue here is NOT whether private prisons are a good or bad idea. It's whether there was a conspiracy to use rap music to fill them up.

    I still say BS. If you wanted to clean up in publicly traded companies by influencing behavior through music, you'd be putting out music promoting whole life insurance and allergy medication.

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  44. True or BS? Whatever. BUT white suburban kids can listen to rap and think its cool, go to college and have a nice life. Whereas a black kid in the inner city listens and sees/thinks that is the only way he can survive or be sucessful. He goes to a crap school and lives in a dangerous neighbourhood. So lets glorify guns n drugs and keep these black kids down, dead or in prison. Political rap will make them see the real enemy. I.e. not the rival gang, but the ruling capitalist classes.
    Generalised i know- but sooo over hearing about how rich white kids listen to rap! Different!

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    1. Thank you! I lived in the projects of north Philly, born and raised. I never listened to rap. My mother didn't allow it. But my neighbor did and her children did and grandchildren did. I can believe it because I've seen it. Lived it.

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  45. @thetruth - "ruling capitalist classes"?

    Tell that to Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

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  46. OH SHIT NEW WORLD ORDER

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  47. @krk67 - I disagree. Which genre would you say they fall into? I think they were a gangster rap group, but that doesn't mean that they weren't talented songwriters or performers.

    I agree with everyone who is calling major bs on this story. Like a previous poster said, what about NWA? They weren't rapping about sunshine and puppy dogs prior to the 90's.

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  48. Just talked about the prisons because I worked in them for 20 yrs. and still have a lot of friends still working in them.
    I do not believe this letter at all. I am seriously leaning to the guy that works in the mail room. He sat at home one weekend and decided to write this letter after making up this conspiricy and is floating it to see if it sells. Besides, breaking my shoulder they gave me some wonder meds. Maybe this guy is on the same.

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  49. Totally OT - but my eyes hurt so much from reading the white text on black background. PLEASE Enty change your layout?

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  50. we should privatize as many government entities as possible - mail, trash, jail, police, utilities, healthcare, water, sewage, libraries, schools, etc.

    When companies have to make a profit they are efficient. Government is not efficient because they don't care or have a goal.

    I would take the CEO of Chevron as my President any day over all the political hacks combined. That's how you balance a budget and only spend what you earn.

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    1. Privatizing education is, quite possibly, the worst idea. Charter schools have been proven to be no better, and many times worse, than their public counterparts. What our nation needs is more dedicated and sensible employees in all arenas.

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  51. Obviously the people who comment on these posts are regulars, have been to the site frequently and keep coming back to the site. So we all know how corrupt and f-ed up the entertainment industry is.
    Do I think this went down exactly like Fabio says it did? Probably not. Especially because if he really is european, one of four kicked out, and now talking you can bet those man gorillas will have his ass on a platter.
    Do I think that what he is saying about he purpose of the meeting, and targeting a certain group is true? HELL YES.
    Most head honchos in the entertainment industry know how to manipulate, influence, and get what they want.
    And for those of you who will say "not everyone in the industry is like that...you don't know...etc" I do know and those that are at the top didn't get there by making everyone cookies and send edible arrangements.

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  52. Obviously the people who comment on these posts are regulars, have been to the site frequently and keep coming back to the site. So we all know how corrupt and f-ed up the entertainment industry is.
    Do I think this went down exactly like Fabio says it did? Probably not. Especially because if he really is european, one of four kicked out, and now talking you can bet those man gorillas will have his ass on a platter.
    Do I think that what he is saying about he purpose of the meeting, and targeting a certain group is true? HELL YES.
    Most head honchos in the entertainment industry know how to manipulate, influence, and get what they want.
    And for those of you who will say "not everyone in the industry is like that...you don't know...etc" I do know and those that are at the top didn't get there by making everyone cookies and send edible arrangements.

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  53. This sounds like some conspiracy theorist and the BS they make up to promote their idea. Just like everyone on MediaTakeOut think the Illuminati controls raps music - there is always someone saying they witnessed something secret that proves it, blah blah blah. If any of those morons understood what the Illuminati was, they would realize how stupid they are. "Jay Z mades a triangle symbol with his hands! He's Illuminati!"

    Morons.

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  54. I believe it. Nothing surprises me anymore.

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  55. How many of the guys in these privatized stock holder prisons cited the crippling influence of rap music in their defense I wonder. Nice that all those music lovers would get routed to a record label's secret prison as if, say, Tommy Mottola, for lack of the actual name left off by our vague informant, intercepted 911 calls, drove to the crime scene personally, picked up the perp in his tinted window limo with brochures and flyers while slipping his colleague a one dollar bill while wearing an elitist smile on his face.

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  56. I call b.s. on this. A European who was in the biz in the 1980s wouldn't write "80's" and "90's" but rather the proper '80s and '90s(and Enty always seems to screw this up, even when he's writing about That '70s Show). Obviously it's my big pet peeve and it drives up me up the wall and if some successful European is gonna screw that up in a letter than whatever he's saying is b.s.

    god, I hate my logic but there it is.

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  57. This seems like someone trying to lay the groundwork for an urban legend that will still be talked about decades from now. I can seem them sitting back all proud "Yeah - I wrote all that crap!" Society was going to go in the crapper anyway and as long as I have The Chronic by Dre and Doggystyle by Snoop, I'm happy. Those are great albums.

    Nobody's writing an expose about how the mid 90's ska rock boom made suburban kids 30% more obnoxious, but it really happened.

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  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  59. HA! And I wrote "90's" right after shopgirl's rant. She must hate me!

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  60. @duediligence
    Wow- you really think 2 black people in the top 1% is a fair representation of balance and opportunity in our society. It feels good to be white in this country, not because I am prejudice, but because I don't have to face the prejudice of my skin on a daily basis.

    The fact is that prisons are modern day slave labor camps with a profit margin to defend. I have worked in the music industry for over ten years and I can say with much confidence that the market is controlled to the best of their ability. It's all about what money they dump into which artists and what images they decide to promote with what genre of music. Advertising and pr is a big part of it. I highly doubt anyone would sell a single record with allergy medicine as a theme, but cocaine, that is gonna sell.
    Life insurance, what poor person is going to be able to buy life insurance-that's a commodity for the wealthy. Music is about your angst, your passion, your hopes and dreams, your rebellion, your fun-not about your health.

    There are many demanding divestment of private prisons--so that's a good sign.
    http://www.salon.com/2012/02/20/the_end_of_the_for_profit_prison_era/

    BTW-NWA didn't hit platinum with Straight Outta Compton until 1992. The record was released in 1988. Think on that.

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  61. Totally believe it. Years ago I worked in an unrelated field, but had a couple of experiences that were similar in being outrageous, unbelievable, frightening, dangerous, etc. From plain old fear, I won't even name what field it was, though I’m sure few would be surprised. Money is #1. Get in the way and you WILL be taken out.

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    1. Exactly. You can promote a talent all you want ( Leyna Del Ray and I use the word talent loosely there) but you can't make the public accept them.

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    2. @Chilie Would this be Irving?

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  63. Best blind ever

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  64. I had to throw in my two cents worth on this topic, so here it goes:

    Do I think this open letter is true; yes. Why? All executives have made their climb up the ladder due to compromise. Someone or something is sold to achieve a particuliar goal. Do I believe the general public, or a singular group has been targeted for a profit margin, yes, I do.

    Take for example: Grocery store executives spent huge moneys on psychologists to analysis the common shoppers spending patterns in the '60s. They designed stores to encourage and maximize impulse spending (hence why milk is located in the back of the store while candy is near the registers).

    If there is a profit to be made, never underestimate the capabilities of the "powers that be". So, yes, I do believe that there is correlation between a certain music genre and private jail facilities, all under the basis to create a profit line.

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  65. What a line of hooey this is. My bullshit meter went off the scale immediately. Do I think African American males get more time for lesser offences. That's a highly documented fact. However it has nothing to do with their musical preferences.

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  66. The drug usage in rap music started to disturb me years ago. I wondered what record executive approved this mess?

    I told my kids when they were young that rap was a trap set up for young black kids to fall into.

    They also seem to glorify loose women hence the prolific rap song "I'm in love with a stripper".

    Disgusting.

    I believe this story it makes total sense. If not true it certainly rings true.

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  67. What a line of hooey. This sent my bullshit meter off the scale immediately. Do I believe African American males get harsher sentences than their white counterparts? There's highly documented evidence to prove that. However it has nothing to do with their musical preferences.

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  68. brakewater said...
    we should privatize as many government entities as possible - mail, trash, jail, police, utilities, healthcare, water, sewage, libraries, schools, etc.

    When companies have to make a profit they are efficient. Government is not efficient because they don't care or have a goal.

    I would take the CEO of Chevron as my President any day over all the political hacks combined. That's how you balance a budget and only spend what you earn.

    ........................................

    Damn! I thought I clicked on CDAN not drudge report.

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  69. Damn! It didn't post so I reposted and now I can't delete the duplicate.

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  70. To those "insiders" who say the music industry isn't controlling are full of shit.

    The biz has rolled on for years on the back of bribes, payoffs and the like. Go read a book called the Hitmen about CBS Records before they became Sony you will be shocked by the manipulation of music charts, sales, etc.

    Someone mentioned Tommy M. Its a well known fact in the industry that Tommy Mottola is mafia. Hell they built Vegas a few prisons don't seem out of the norm.

    Combine this power base of forced cooperation with shady Govt types pushing their own racial agenda, I would say its possible.

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    1. Um, anyone who truly worked/s in the music industry in a high level capacity would say the complete opposite b/c we all know that the industry started out as a racket back in the Tin Pan Alley days and has always had one foot in the criminal world but people like to pose as though they're connected which only reveals how unconnected they really are. Experience and access results in great knowledge and history but there's enough out there in books as you've stated to give an idea of how illegitimate the industry really is. I got out of the music industry b/c it was corrupt to the core with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and I got tired of the fauxness of it all. Film, as ridiculous as it may sound, actually has a lot more integrity even if it is populated by mega assholes. However, I still think this letter and basic conspiracy is bullshit. The law is already set up to take down minorities, especially AAs and industry players have always been corrupt so they hardly needed to pair up. The reason why every label started putting out gangsta rap is the same reason they always churn out the same crap at the same time, one artist hits the top 40 so they go looking for carbon copies in hopes that whatever they can throw at the wall will stick. A stupid 'business plan' that has never evolved.

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  71. Here is link to the book if anyone is interested.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hit-Men-Brokers-Inside-Business/dp/0679730613

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  72. A nauseatingly honest and therefore controversial expose of the base beings that inhabit the higher levels of the music industry. Filled with horror stories that will confirm your worst suspicions about the toxicity of what my friends and I call "Planet CD Wood."

    From Publishers Weekly
    English rock group Pink Floyd was one of the hottest bands in 1980, with an LP shooting up the charts and a concert tour that sold out within hours. But the group was unable to get airplay for its latest single, at least not without engaging the services of a nascent breed of freelance promoters whose practices ushered in a new era of payola. These promotors, dubbed "indies," used illegal methods and had suspected mob connections. That the recording industry not only tolerated but embraced the indies is indicative of the questionable tactics now employed in this high-stakes arena, charges Dannen in a sharply critical study. At its center is industry leader CBS records, whose president Walter Yetnikoff is depicted as a bully of Machiavellian proportions whose style set the tone throughout the business in the '80s. Dannen, a reporter for Institutional Investor , mixes the skills of an investigative journalist with the gifts of an expert storyteller in an expose that will intrigue and appall readers with its disclosures. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair; author tour.
    Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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    1. Girl this indeed points to the crap that does occur in the music industry. I think Vicki prolly would agree with that but is there (or was there) a plan to fill prisons with Black men through a musical conspiracy plan? Still not buying it.

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  73. the US has the highest documented Incarceration rate in the world., yet only 5% of the population. 70% of these people are non white.

    Why is this statistic so skewed? Was the 3 strikes law designed to jail black men, usually for minor drug offences?

    I see the effect and have to wonder the cause??

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  74. I LOL at these comments. Some of your naivete is the reason it works. There's so much misdirection in the world. All of these distractions. Most books have a seed of truth. My husband has done things he won't discuss with me for people he can't tell me about. He has nightmares about his past. Once you get kicked by your husband in your sleep because he's "working"in his sleep, you start to believe in a different level of evil. And not everyone in the industry are part of this inner circle. Just because you've worked in it for xx amount of years, doesn't mean you know diddly squat.

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  77. "The "War on Drugs" has had a devastating impact on the African American communities, on a scale entirely out of proportion with the actual dimensions of criminal activity taking place within these communities. In less than three decades the US prison population exploded from 300,000 to more than two million."

    Before such policies could be put into place jails had to be built etc, it would be interesting to look into the financials of these companies who operate private jails and their major shareholders.

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  78. I'm a huge fan of rap music and yet haven't felt compelled to commit a crime. Hmmmm...

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  79. I don't know how much of this story is true, but I've read enough now to believe that the CIA was involved in spreading drugs in the inner cities, and there is plenty of evidence of massive corruption in the private prison industry. They've even begun the next level of using the huge (minority) inmate population as a cheap workforce. Because people are fallible, the conspiracy theories aren't as elaborate and controlled as some would make them out to be, but there are definitely people working on plans like these. If you don't believe there's a kernel of truth to all this, you aren't paying very close attention. Money is God, and it has plenty of worshippers.

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  80. Illuminti obv. Have u woken up yet?

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  81. Illuminti obv. Have u woken up yet?

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  82. This is an urban legend! I know this letter came up in one of my undergrad mythology/legends class about ten years ago. It comes out every so often changed a bit here and there. There is another one about gays being targeted for AIDS and crack and the CIA.

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  83. I believe this. Why? If there was money to be made, it happened. Done

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  84. The exact same thing happened with REM and indie rock in the 1980's. The Introvert Shoegazing Industrial Society funded the whole movement. We would still be buying hair metal if that conspiracy hadn't gotten off the ground.

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  85. Can't add much to this except that gang-bangers would be an inexpensive inmate to have. Ours are usually young, fit, non-smokers with only old gunshot wounds and high blood pressure. As long as they weren't down for life sentences. It's the old guys, the mentally ill and HIV+ who are expensive. I don't see how you'd encourage crime but get them to stop before catching a life sentence. I work in max security and most of our guys are 20+ to life. Clearly no industry investors at my camp!

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  86. @Sherry, I agree that this whole conspiracy thing is a little off-based and needless. The disproportionate sentencing in criminal justice existed long before rap, and far outside of rap. Judges and DA's and police always use maximum levels of violence and prosecution against black men. Courts enforce criminal sentences -- often adult criminal guidelines for juvenile offenders -- with a fierce and unrestrained hand when young black men are brought into the justice system. It didn't start with a bunch of Hollywood types and music moguls trying to steer blacks toward criminality -- the system was already functioning as a huge anti-black structure anyway. I think the letter is hooey, but the anti-black tendency of US law enforcement is a reality.

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  87. Reads like a Himmmm missive.

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  89. What our nation needs is more dedicated and sensible elected officials in all arenas and about a 50% reduction of federal employees and agencies. But, that is up to us to demand.

    Re Rap, listening to music is a personal choice. Are you saying blacks cannot make that choice for themselves? They are not sheep. Rap moguls should be examined for their enormous money laundering. They are the major profiteers.

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  90. Miss Poppypants kills me.

    I guess this is the Protocols of the Ancient and Learned Elders of Def Jam.

    BTW, the white man is also putting sterility drugs in the malt liquor.

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  91. Me and my pillow are looking at each other in confusion. Sometimes I think being a fly would be the ultimate species. Of course, you'd die before you could share any gossip you learned. ;)

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  92. Hey @Brakewater, the Nazi prisons were very efficient, too. Nuff said on that.

    Privatization of prisons is a growing and unconscionable problem.

    This rap conspiracy is BS, but the prison problem is not.

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  93. Have to disagree about white kids not getting into rap until 2000 and Slim Shady. I am in my late 50's and in the late 80"s I got into rap heard it all the time at work. Then I heard in at home very white town. I am not white (mixed NA/B/W). Nobody said anything about my race in this little town because they were all scared of my Husband. White and Blond with Blue Blue eyes. Rap was being listened to and enjoyed by white kids in the 80's & 90's. Even my Mother listened to it and she died in 1990 and where did she first hear it? The white town she lived in, not the same town as me.

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  94. i interviewed NWA when they were still underground and doing shows at venues like the sacramento elks lodge. (which they never played because someone stole the cash box!) they were managed by jerry heller, a jewish guy who i contacted to arrange the interview via his number on a cassette, that no one liked except eazy. he was the reason they broke up as he was allegedly robing them blind. he was also portrayed in the first video after the break up. interesting side note, eazy carried a gun in his nuts, which he pulled out and showed me after i asked if they packed. i also asked if they wore condoms and eazy said that they used lamb skins (HIV is known to pass through the membranes)

    way fucking out there but not impossible. very halliburton-esque...

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  95. Bullshite! And anyone who thinks white kids didn't get into rap until Eminem came along was either too young to remember or not paying enough fucking attention. Wiggas existed way before Slim Shady made it onto the scene.

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  96. Mmmmm...kinda tastes like ALEC.

    http://alecexposed.org

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  97. please go sit in the corner if you think NWA was manufactured!!

    I read Ice T's book and he talks a lot about the early days.

    I believe this happened and I bet Suge was in that meeting.

    he'd sell his Mother for a dollar.

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  98. uh...BEASTIE BOYS anyone?
    Eminem is HARDLY the first white man in rap...FUCK Kid Rock was in it before he was! And he doesn't even rap! lol!

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  99. @krk67- Chuck D wasnt lying, "911 is a joke". I learned that when I moved from Napa to Oakland. In Napa, I accidently hit 911 when attempting to call someone (because have to press 9 & 1 at work) and cops were there in less than 5 minutes. I called 911 when someone was actively trying to break into my house in Oakland (off of MLK) and noone showed up for almost 3 hours. Similar thing happened when I lived in Vallejo, just a block from the police station.

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  101. I don't care if you agree or not, the truth speaks for itself. There were NOT ten tons of white kids into rap before the early 2000's. Now it's balls out, but it was not like that in 90's...there were some white kids into it, but it was not as large as it has become over the last 12 years or so.

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  102. spent a fair amount of time mulling this. clearly bullshit--not that the corporate world, America or otherwise, is not capable of this--but it clearly did not happen; so why the angst? I think it has to do wit5h facing reality. We were violent, drug fueled and sex obsessed long before rap. Sure, interests used us (gun lobby, racial divisiveness, hedge fund tax advantages, anti-socialism, anti-unionism, etc.) but it has been and continues to be our dysfunction. They used and continue to use us despite basic human decency and the health of our society for the almighty dollar. All that said, the truth is powerful and rap spoke and continues to speak the truth to power. So, maybe it will help us turn to the light and save ourselves. "It's a jungle out there..."

    for our children.

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  103. Personally, I see this story as a glib attempt to summarise a broad truth about the prison industrial complex and I think it's fair enough. There is enough underlying truth. It kind of lost me at the guns, though. Too dramatically pulpy. ;P

    It is SO not uncommon for industries to capitalize on our basest instincts, and for us to willingly go along.

    The same thing is happening in other industries, like education these days...privatization, charter schools et al - marketing a disaster scenario before pulling back the curtain on snakeoil solutions which not only enrich the usual suspects (oh hi Bush family-owned standardized testing companies!) but in fact play our fears like so many fiddles, contribute to the end of social integration, keep poor communities as a sustainable profit center for hedge funders and sustain the school-to-prison pipeline portion of the aforementioned prison industrial complex.

    Many of us justify daily contributions to and certainly DO demand aspects of trends that damage society, denying our role in and guaranteeing continuance of seemingly intransigent social failures (which we shrug off as culturally rooted in Others of whom we are too afraid or prejudiced or both - hey, me too - to face head on).

    And if you don't think there are multiple layers of creepy meetings happening to ensure we keep it all up, you're totally naive. TBQH, a lot of the decision makers have good intentions and are in the thrall of profiteers who know just how to play to them. Now I also sound totally schizo, but I've seen micro versions of it and it's just the way it is...and will continue to be as long as the average citizen remains too distracted, afraid and self-interested to investigate and stand up to it.

    We're very easy...it doesn't take a lot of education and pushback to turn tides. Because it's not Satan or the Illuminati who do these things. It's just savvy opportunists getting away with what they can get away with, capitalizing on the slackjawed pseudo-skepticism that we apply so liberally to stars of reality TV but little in the world that actually matters.

    P.S. It is not racist to make the overarching argument of the story. Please. I am sick of people defending institutional racism by arguing that criticism of its impacts are somehow racist. Jeebus. It tends to be poor people who get screwed by this stuff, more than anything. Who are disproportionately minorities but there are plenty of white people in the mix, influenced by modern urban gangster culture (and who perpetuated the earliest forms of American gangster culture from which it evolved). Young, poor men are easily lost, easy targets in this society, for all sorts of cultish nonsense. Not that I feel sorry for them, we all have choices in life. But I do believe in teaching them to make better ones (do it for a living).

    P.P.S. Privatizing does not improve anything, even bottom lines. (There's some great material on Colorado Springs municipal practices showing this.) And even if that claim were true, society has more at stake than bottom lines. And IMO that's what government is for - to stand guard over citizen vulnerability and society's progress.

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  104. The government needs to be afraid of it's people, not the other way around.

    re "Government is for - to stand guard over citizen vulnerability and society's progress".

    -we are becoming a nanny nation, from womb to tomb and that is not the role of the USA government.

    re"pulling back the curtain on snakeoil solutions which not only enrich the usual suspects (oh hi Bush family-owned standardized testing companies!) "

    -What do GE, NBC, Obama and electronic medical records have in common?$$? Me thinks there is a fishy smell to that. Really nasty.

    I do agree that we all have choices in life and I sincerely applaud your actions in teaching people to make better ones. I think we agree that if more people put their time and effort into actions such as yours we might have better days ahead of us !

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  105. @Agent**It - OMG yes abuse of corporate profiteering is a totally bipartisan adventure - I was only referencing the policy to profit tie with which I am most familiar - NCLB and standardized testing industry. (Obama's RTTT isn't heaps better, either.)

    And as for the nanny state thing - when I say safeguarding our vulnerabilities & human progress, I am not at all saying to encourage entitlement culture or spoonfeeding of unearned benefits. That's no good for anyone - whether it's being done for top %-ers or bottom %-ers. I do think we have to pay attention to civil rights violations and protect the rest of us (and especially the least of us) from exploitation and harm, even/especially when that harm is market-driven (often as a result of manipulative practices, marketing, etc.).

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  106. @Selock - well expressed ! !

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