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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kinky Sex: When Did BDSM Become So Wildly Popular?

Kinky Sex: When Did BDSM Become So Wildly Popular?

BDSM, once viewed as the exclusive fiefdom of really creepy perverts, has crossed over and become quasi-respectable, stylish and safe.

Photo Credit: Chilli Photograph
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TAKE ACTION
It’s just another day at The Armory in San Francisco: A bound and naked woman is laid out on a stylish serving table. Elegantly-dressed people of both sexes gather around—enjoying the view, apparently—and take turns having their way with her. Various devices are deployed—dildos, floggers, electrical stimulators. She says “Thank you, sir” and “Thank you, madam” frequently.
Welcome to "The Upper Floor," a high-definition Internet reality show where, website copy states, “real submissive women and real submissive men become house slaves to be dominated, trained, punished, spanked, whipped, and fucked … Inspired by the legendary French BDSM erotic novel The Story of O, The Upper Floor illustrates real lifestyle BDSM as it is lived by 24/7 slaves and Masters, complete with … explicit sex in bondage, punishment, erotic humiliation, and more.”
The Upper Floor is a project of Kink.com, a thriving pornography business that was founded by Peter Acworth, a British-born entrepreneur and lifelong aficionado of BDSM (for Bondage, Domination, Submission—or Sadism—and Masochism). Kink.com sells subscriptions to websites with names like Hogtied.com, SexandSubmission.com and, yes, TheUpperFloor.com. Acworth often attends these, er, corporate events. “He’s the master of the house,” says colleague John Sander.
Only in Satan’s City by the Bay, right? Not exactly. Acworth was recently invited to speak at a summit on innovation convened by the ever-so-respectable The Economist. That’s right—the king of kink was given a place on the dais alongside a Harvard Business School professor, an Intuit business executive and other decent folk. Whether you view this as the end of civilization or a sign of progress, one thing is sure: a barrier has come down.
BDSM is all over our entertainment media, too. In her latest music video, Christina Aguilera slaps a riding crop against her palm, laps from a cat dish, and sports a rhinestone-studded ball gag. In movies like the 2005 comedy hit The Wedding Crashers and television shows like the self-consciously low-brow mockumentary RENO 911!, kinky scenes are played for laughs.
The lesson, kiddies? BDSM, once viewed as the exclusive fiefdom of really creepy perverts, has crossed over and become quasi-respectable, stylish and safe. Comical, even!
The shifting public perception of BDSM is one of those seeming overnight changes that was centuries in the making. In the late 18th Century, the Marquis de Sade put his profoundly sick-puppy stamp on kink, firmly establishing it as sex play (sex pain, really) between non-consenting adults. A hundred years later, when psychologists started studying this behavior, they found their subjects in insane asylums. “Criminals were their point of reference,” says Denver-based sex therapist Neil Cannon. No wonder, then, that BDSM meant a brute in a basement with an unwilling woman and a whip.
That’s not what healthy kink is about—not by a long shot. “Safe, sane and consensual” is the prevailing community standard. Although Ernest Greene, the executive editor of Larry Flynt’s Taboo magazine and a long-time leader in the BDSM community, has a “quibble” about the phrase—“Is it really sane to wear latex in July?”—the basic point remains. Kink done right is about sexual power games played out in circumstances that make it safe for everyone. And it’s done right by almost all practitioners.
The public perception of kink is shifting to match the reality. More and more people are coming to see your typical BDSM practitioner as the man or woman next door who enjoys consensual role-play along with, maybe, a dollop of pain on the side (or elsewhere).
It’s the more accurate view, according to sex therapist Cannon. “While every group has its outliers, kinky people tend to be well-adjusted and emotionally stable,” he says. “These are healthy, high-functioning people.”
Taboo’s Ernest Greene agrees. “Most of the people who are into kink use it as a way to enhance conventional sexual practices,” he says. “It’s not all that different from what other people do. There’s a little bit of bondage, a little bit of spanking, and then fucking.”
Our entertainment culture’s fascination with BDSM isn’t new. Early references tended to be very indirect, though. “Emma Peel’s catsuit in the television show The Avengers, back in the 1960s, is a perfect example of what would now be viewed as fetish garb,” says Carol Queen, staff sexologist and chief cultural officer for Good Vibrations, a chain of sexuality boutiques. Other benchmarks along the way include Sex, Madonna’s 1992 made-to-shock coffee-table book, the 1994 bomb Exit to Eden, in which Rosie O’Donnell garnered a RAZZIE nomination for her role as a dominatrix, and the 2002 BDSM-themed indie movie Secretary with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. “Secretary had an impact because sweet Maggie Gyllenhaal was in it,’” says Queen. “Everyone expects James Spader to be kinky.”
There’s a predictable pattern to how movies treat people whose sexual behavior is out of the mainstream. “Gays’ emergence from the closet traced a clear narrative arc,” says Queen. “Early on, gay protagonists pay a price for their sexuality. Something bad happens. They die or lose a loved one. And then, as their behavior becomes more culturally acceptable, they get to have a happy ending.”
In Secretary, submissive Maggie and dominant James get married. In The Wedding Crashers, too, “The kinky girl gets the guy,” notes Queen. Which suggests that in addition to being out of the dungeon, BDSM is out of the ‘you’ll be punished for your sins’ phase, too.
It’s not just Hollywood that’s seeing kink differently. So are professional psychologists. “Things are in a positive transition here,” says Neil Cannon. “Most sex therapists don’t pathologize BDSM behavior unless it’s having a negative impact on the patient.”
There are still some judgmental apples in the barrel, though. “A great deal depends on the therapist’s professional and religious training,” continues Cannon. “I was at a cocktail party recently and a psychologist said to me, ‘All kinky people are sick.’ When I asked how she came to that conclusion, she said, ‘I just know.’ I’ve had clients come to me because they’d been seeing a therapist who told them they were sick.”
The shifting take on BSDM will be reflected in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychiatric community’s diagnostic bible. DSM-IV, which was published in 1992, defined kinky behavior as a “paraphilia,” a fancy word for any path to sexual arousal that’s not standard foreplay. The language of DSM-IV “is unclear and sometimes contradictory about whether a paraphilia is a disorder,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for theNational Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), an advocacy group for the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. Although the language hasn’t been finalized, it’s looking as if DSM-V, which will be published in 2013, will make it clear that a person can be kinky without having a disorder.
BDSM is making the transition from creepy to okay for lots of reasons, starting with all the kinky people who are out there. The statistical studies are all over the place, according to Wright, ranging from a relatively modest 5% of the population to a whopping (or is it whipping?) 50%. It’s totally understandable if this range inspires skepticism, and in fact, research in this area is fraught with difficulties. It’s hard to get funding for this sort of study, and it’s also the case that people resist telling the truth about their bedroom behavior. There are definitional issues, too. If you ever smacked your partner on the behind (and liked it), does that make you kinky? But even if we practice safe statistics and go with the most conservative estimate, that’s still 5% of the populace—a sizable number by any measure. “On any given day,” says Taboo magazine’s Ernest Greene, “one million people are looking at or engaging in kink.”
Another reason for BDSM’s emergence is that more and more kinky people are willing to go public, or at least semi-public, with their activities. Every reasonably-sized city has its own kinky community whose members get together for discussion groups and barbeques as well as more risqué activities. There are also lots of online networks. When last checked, FetLife.com, the leading website for the BDSM community, ranked an impressive 6,061 on Alexa.com’s ratings of website traffic.
Where’s there sexual smoke, there’s also activist fire. Kinky people are a sexual minority. Organizations like the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom are working to raise people’s consciousness about BDSM. Their efforts are making a difference, in no small measure by helping kinky people feel supported and empowered.
Yet another reason why kink is making inroads is its peculiarly culture-friendly personality. It gives great image and still has shock value, qualities that make it a superb way to attract attention—just ask Christina Aguilera! With its historical link to the Marquis de Sade, BDSM is also kind of scary—another cultural winner. We’re collectively obsessed with the bogeyman under the bed—just think how much money we spend on horror movies! But kink, unlike Freddy Krueger, is also sorta funny. Who wouldn’t agree that there’s something inherently ludicrous about a naked person crawling about on all fours, barking? Scary, edgy, silly—it’s a perfect combination for a culture that hungers for an adrenaline rush yet also needs to feel safe.
And then there’s the ubiquitous Web. Says Peter Acworth, “Where it used to be hard for someone to get information about alternative sexual lifestyles, the Internet now makes it very easy.”
Speaking of Acworth, another contributor to the mainstreaming of BDSM is pornography, which is readily accessible on the Net—and increasingly kink-friendly. Sexologist Queen reports, “When I went to the AVN (Adult Video News) convention earlier this year, I was struck by how many of the clips included choking. Inevitably, some people who see these images will try it for themselves. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, because it’s something you have to learn to do safely. Still, it’s an example of a kinky practice that because of porn is becoming more vanilla.”
Ernest Greene, who in addition to his involvement with Taboo magazine produces kink-themed movies, concurs. “The legal barrier that used to keep people in the porn industry from showing BDSM has come down,” he says. “If you present kink as non-consensual, that’s a problem, but if you frame it in the context in which it belongs, as sex play between consenting adults with no actual injury, it’s totally defensible.”
In films with names like O—The Power of Submission, The Surrender of O and The Perfect Secretary Training Day, Greene depicts bondage with penetration. “We don’t have a problem with this because our performers are visibly enjoying it. These movies are big sellers, and they’re accepted everywhere. One of our main distributors, Adam & Eve, couldn’t be more conservative and markets to people in red states, where the films get great reviews.”
Where is all this headed? “Eventually,” says Greene, “we’ll reach a point where bondage in a porn movie is no more controversial than a blow job.”
No discussion of kinky porn would be complete without the academia-to-riches story of Kink.com’s Peter Acworth. In 1997, he was studying for a Ph.D. in finance at Columbia University when he happened on an article about a fireman who was making scads of money, in the words of the headline, “pushing Internet filth.” In that moment, Acworth reports, “It was suddenly clear to me that the Internet was not a gimmick, but rather a platform for genuine business and that it was going to be enormous. I realized that finance had become saturated with researchers and that the Internet was relatively untapped and under-developed. I was in the wrong field.”
Thus was Kink.com born. Thirteen years later, it has about 100 employees and is producing an estimated $30 million in annual revenue. “Peter Acworth,” declares Carol Queen, “is the Hugh Hefner of the 21st Century.”
The parallels are unmistakable. Hefner has his Playboy Mansion. Acworth bought the San Francisco Armory, a 200,000 square foot edifice in San Francisco’s Mission District that’s on the National Register of Historic Places, to house his corporate headquarters. Hef reframed our culture’s take on sexuality. Acworth is doing the same for kink, only without the sexism.
Acworth is totally committed to promoting BDSM’s consensual-sex ethos. “We go out of our way to make it clear that we are depicting play,” he says. “Each movie includes a before and after interview with the participants in order to show that the activities are negotiated and are for the enjoyment of all participants (not just the guy). In the absence of such an introduction, we feel that the activities could be misinterpreted by some people who are not used to seeing such material.”
Make no mistake about it: people tune into Kink.com to get turned on. Still, in its so-not-PBS way, it also provides a form of public education.
To be sure, it’s not all sunshine and floggers for BDSM practitioners. Discrimination and violence remain harsh realities. In a 2008 survey, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom found that 38% of people who self-identify as kinky reported being harassed, discriminated against, or treated violently against their will. In part, says NCSF spokesperson Susan Wright, “This is because the more visible we get, the more backlash we get, too.”
A BDSM community member who blogs under the name Taw Preston fell victim to this discrimination. A Texas resident, he and his wife wanted to adopt two foster children. They were model parents, carefully keeping their sex play behind closed doors. Everything was going smoothly until, reports Preston, a Child Protective Services investigator “who was plainly an evangelical” tried to pull the plug on the adoption. The sole reason: their kinky lifestyle. For a time the children were removed from the Preston home. Two high-priced lawyers later, the kids were out of custody and the adoption went through. The ending isn’t entirely happy, though. Because it was either pay the lawyers or pay the mortgage, Preston is declaring bankruptcy and his family is losing their home.
It’s not only the family values crowd that has a problem with kink. Some feminists do, too. For them it’s like porn gone bad—which makes it doubly despicable, since standard-issue porn is seen as already degrading to women. People of this ideological stripe, reports Ernest Greene, are convinced that “no one could legitimately consent to this sort of activity. They believe submissive women are ‘re-enacting a patriarchal script.’”
Greene, who’s married to the porn star and ‘out’ submissive Nina Hartley, finds this framing laughable. “Nina is an extremely strong and independent personality,” he says. “She is submissive only when we engage in dominant/submissive role-play for sexual purposes. We do this by mutual choice within negotiated limits as an expression of our sexual creativity and a way of realizing our fantasies. It has zero impact on the structure of our relationship outside its erotic context.”
Kinkiness appears to be wired very early and not susceptible to change. “From a very young age, I knew this was my sexual identity,” says Ernest Greene. “Bondage fascinated me.” Similarly for Peter Acworth, who in 2007 told The New York Times that as a child, he “would get an erection while watching a cowboy-and-Indian movie where somebody was getting tied up.”
You’d think that building an empire out of that turn-on would make him a pariah, right? Maybe back when, but no longer. For proof of this, we need go back no further than last March, when Acworth spoke at The Economist’s innovation summit.
Just imagine: Kink.com—whips, slave-games and all—treated as another leading-edge (or is it ‘cutting-edge?’) business! Twenty years ago, Kink.com would have been a Great Unmentionable in decent circles—and inviting its ‘porntrepreneur’ CEO to address a mainstream business gathering would have been utterly unthinkable.
And today? Wherever you go, there it is. Kink is in our movie theaters, on our TV sets, and all over the Internet. It’s in our communities and, for all you know, in the bedroom of the folks next door.
Hey, it’s even in our supermarkets! Here’s a recent scene from the deli section at the local Hannaford’s (and no, it’s not that kind of scene).
A woman is waiting on a customer. A co-worker comes out of the back room. He’s putting on his apron. “Sorry I’m late,” he says. “Don’t beat me.”
“C’mon,” his colleague says, “you know you love it.”
Right there, alongside the boiled ham and potato salad.
BDSM has come out of the dungeon and entered—smack!— into our lives.



The reason Why the republicans failed to locate Bin Ladin?  and what was the reason Obama had to do it for Bush?






(Reuters) - President Barack Obama said Friday that capturing or killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains a high priority as the United States marks the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2001.
"Capturing or killing bin Laden and Zawahri would be extremely important to our national security," Obama said, referring to al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri.
"It doesn't solve all our problems but it remains a high priority to this administration," Obama said in response to a question at a news conference covering a range of domestic and international topics.
As the United States has "ramped up the pressure" on al Qaeda, "what's happened is bin Laden has gone deep underground," Obama said.
The consequence, he said, is bin Laden and others "may have been holed up in ways that have made it harder for them to operate."
Obama warned "there is always going to be the potential" for individuals or small groups to carry out strikes against U.S. targets.
Ultimately, the United States will "stamp out" threats from militants, he said, "but it's going to take some time."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Republican Brain AKA the racist brain.

Chris Mooney is a journalist focused on the intersection of science and politics. An avowed liberal, he is best known for his 2005 book The Republican War on Science, which castigated conservatives for hostility and dismissiveness toward science and scientists on matters ranging from global warming to embryonic stem cell research.

Mooney’s new book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Don’t Believe in Science, seeks to ground his critique of conservatives in psychology and biology.

The right and left, he contends, diverge not just in opinions but also in thought processes and behavior. For instance, personality tests show conservatives rank lower than liberals in “openness,” a measure of intellectual flexibility and curiosity.

Moreover, an emerging trend in neuroscience research links ideological dispositions to variations in brain structure and activity. Physiological studies suggest, for example, that conservatives may be more attuned to the amygdala’s fear responses. The left-right divide, Mooney argues, reflects deep-seated (and to some significant degree, hereditary) differences in how we perceive and understand the world.

These differences, in Mooney’s telling, are not all liabilities for conservatives. He concedes that liberals have their own cognitive weaknesses, such as wishy-washiness, and that a stubborn conservative decisiveness can be valuable at times (Winston Churchill during World War II being his prime example). He disavows any assertion that conservatives are stupid or crazy.

The problem, according to Mooney, is that numerous conservatives are just plain wrong—stubbornly resisting facts the way Churchill resisted Nazis—on a broad range of issues, not just scientific ones but everything from the debt ceiling to light bulb regulations to whether the United States is a “Christian nation.” His book aims to explain, as he puts it, “how the political right could be so wrong,” and to draw out the implications of what science tells us about this pervasive wrongness.

I sympathize with Mooney’s indignation about dogmatism and factual inaccuracy on the right. That shared concern was the focus of an interview by Mooney of David Frum and me last year. The book lauds (by way of contrasting with the right overall) “the group of intellectually honest (and moderate) conservatives who have formed around former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, and who are constantly trying to keep conservatives accurate on global warming, the debt ceiling, and much more.”

Let me return the compliment by noting that I consider Mooney a thoughtful and fair-minded critic of conservatism. Let me add that I think The Republican Brain is an interesting and thought-provoking work. And now let me tell you what’s wrong with the book, as in my view there are some important deficiencies in its argument.

The central weakness is that the science involved is rather provisional. To say “the science isn’t settled” may be a misleading cliché in the global warming debate, but it’s true enough with regard to scientific understanding of ideological differences, and particularly for efforts to analyze such differences in neurobiological terms.

Neurobiology has delved into the mystery of why people prefer Coke or Pepsi, as well as why they become Democrats or Republicans. There is still much to learn about why certain brain parts are activated when you’re sipping a soft drink inside an MRI machine, and there is vastly more yet to learn about how political beliefs are formed and acted upon over a lifetime.

Denying that he is engaged in determinism or reductionism, Mooney notes that his account of conservative intellectual error combines nature with nurture. Environmental factors (such as the rise of Fox News and conservative think tanks) gave rein to reality-denying tendencies rooted in conservatives’ brains and genes. But if the results are so variable, how important or enduring are those tendencies?

Perhaps the GOP a few years hence will be as fact-oriented as Dwight Eisenhower (“a remarkably pro-science president,” as Mooney mentions).

Mooney makes various acknowledgements of scientific uncertainties and ambiguities. But such disclaimers count for little in a book titled The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Don’t Believe in Science. The book’s hedging will not prevent conservatives from reacting to the argument with outrage. Nor will it deter liberal readers from gloating that science has delivered some supposed body blow to the entire conservative enterprise.

A further weakness is that the book’s efforts to demonstrate the sheer wrongness of various conservative beliefs sometimes blur the crucial distinction between fact and interpretation. Mooney criticizes Republican congressional leaders, for example, for sending a letter to Ben Bernanke in September 2011 urging no further monetary easing. (He cites David Frum for support.) Now I too am no fan of the GOP’s current hard-money emphasis, but contrary to Mooney, that letter was neither some readily verifiable error nor the first time that politics ever intruded on the Fed.

In a concluding chapter, Mooney expresses a hope that liberals will take a tack from conservatives in becoming more cohesive and determined. I am not sure that Mooney is correct in thinking the right is more unified than the left; the Republican primary season has given reason to think otherwise. Anyway, he urges liberals to stand by President Obama, rather than indulge their supposed natural iconoclasm:

Obama needs you right now. He needs your trust, your devotion. You ought to try to show him the same loyalty that conservatives showed George W. Bush, and forget about that little issue where he didn’t do things precisely as you would have liked.

That gives me the creeps. But maybe that’s my fear-driven amygdala acting up.



The reason Why the republicans failed to locate Bin Ladin?  and what was the reason Obama had to do it for Bush?
 








(Reuters) - President Barack Obama said Friday that capturing or killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains a high priority as the United States marks the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

"Capturing or killing bin Laden and Zawahri would be extremely important to our national security," Obama said, referring to al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri.

"It doesn't solve all our problems but it remains a high priority to this administration," Obama said in response to a question at a news conference covering a range of domestic and international topics.

As the United States has "ramped up the pressure" on al Qaeda, "what's happened is bin Laden has gone deep underground," Obama said.

The consequence, he said, is bin Laden and others "may have been holed up in ways that have made it harder for them to operate."

Obama warned "there is always going to be the potential" for individuals or small groups to carry out strikes against U.S. targets.

Ultimately, the United States will "stamp out" threats from militants, he said, "but it's going to take some time."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marijuana’s Illegal Status Attained through Racism, Fraud & Greed -----Gotta love the Republicans

 

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.                                                                                                                 Harry J. Anslinger


 If the racist pig Harry Anslinger were alive today, he would no doubt be in front of a Colorado House or Senate committee on regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, imploring the gathered politicians to ignore the will of the people and ban the wicked weed outright.
“There are today 25 million total marijuana smokers in the U.S.,” Anslinger might say, “and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Indians, Asian and entertainers who are the root cause of economic downturn in America. 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.”

Actually, Anslinger did say that, and much more. With the help of the federal government, the states, DuPont, pharmaceutical companies and the Hearst newspaper chain, Anslinger sought to keep the heartbeat of Puritanism alive. He was the assistant Prohibition commissioner and then commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962.

Anslinger had a receptive audience in Jim Crow America, where apartheid was codified. Someone had to be blamed for the economic calamity that had overtaken the United States and the world in the 1930s. And Mexicans were streaming across the border, taking jobs that were scarce in states like Colorado.

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

Until that time, not much had been done legally in regard to marijuana. A few states had laws against the plant, but most were instituted as a means of keeping nonwhites down. Another means — as if they needed more tools — of making sure who knew who was boss.

A long history

A few years before the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, about 4,670 years before, actually, Shen Neng, the Chinese emperor, touted marijuana tea as a treatment for gout, rheumatism, malaria and, of all things, poor memory. Shen sounds like he could have been a pitchman on overnight cable TV with claims like that.

Even before Shen, in about 8,000 B.C.E., according to the Columbia History of the World, “the earliest known woven fabric was apparently hemp (marijuana).”

Hemp is the fibrous stalk of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is the flowers and leaves.

Hemp was used for clothing, oils, rope and many other useful items, as well as medicine and one must assume its powerful sister marijuana was used as a mood enhancer for religious and other purposes.

Marijuana is one of the five sacred plants mentioned in the Arthava Veda, a Hindu holy text. It’s certainly No. 1 for Rastafarians.

From 1,000 B.C.E. to 1883, according to “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” hemp was the planet’s largest agricultural crop, producing most of the world’s fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, paints and varnishes, incense and medicines. Marijuana also was one of the most widely used substances in many religions and cults — taken to manifest the spirit world and help users get closer to their maker.

The first hemp law in America was enacted in Jamestown Colony, Va., in 1619.

The law required farmers to grow Indian hempseed. Similar laws were enacted in Massachusetts in 1631, Connecticut in 1632, and in George Washington’s time the Virginia Constitution stated that a certain percentage of a plantation had to produce hemp.

Washington, Father of Our Country and presumably a person Harry Anslinger looked upon favorably, was said to be the largest hemp producer in the colonies. Benjamin Franklin started one of America’s first paper mills with cannabis.

According to the anti-drug Web site Narconon, “Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942 and was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea and rheumatism.”

In the 1880s, Turkish smoking rooms in the Northeast were the rage for a while. They were not smoking tobacco in these places.

From accounts by older Puebloans, their mothers and grandmothers would pick the ubiquitous weed along riverbeds and railroad tracks and use it as a cold medication and pain reliever.

The age of reform

It is estimated that in 1900, 2 to 5 percent of all Americans were addicted to opiates. Opiates and opium-based products were sold over the counter, and even soft drinks, such as Coca-Cola (cocaine), were loaded with what would now be considered Schedule 1 narcotics.

The “aughts” were a reformist, trust-busting age, the beginning of true regulation in the United States. The food industry was exposed by Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” and even college football caught the eyes of reformers, or “muckrakers” everywhere, in the spirit of improving the lot of ordinary Americans.

Over-the-counter medications and intoxicants were not spared from reform and banishment and, eventually, the U.S. launched into the ill-fated Prohibition period, from 1920 to 1933. All Prohibition did was make ordinary Americans criminals and give rise to real organized crime in this country.

But Prohibition sure made Harry Anslinger happy.

When the ban on booze finally ended, guys like Anslinger and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover needed something to keep them in work until they could conjure another menace to society.

Demon weed

Marijuana, which was largely used by minorities and musicians then, became that menace.

And William Randolph Hearst, who helped spark the Spanish-American War in 1898 with sensationalized reporting by his newspaper chain, helped Anslinger and others demonize marijuana.

The result was the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which Anslinger arranged to push through Congress after a single hearing. The only dissent heard in that session was from the head of the American Medical Association, who disputed Anslinger’s characterizations of the plant’s effects and the AMA’s position on it.

The act stated that to grow and sell marijuana, one must pay taxes. The first person arrested under the law, the day it was enacted, was a Denver man who was sentenced to four years of hard labor in Leavenworth (Kan.) Federal Prison for selling a couple of joints. The man who bought the marijuana served 18 months in prison for his part.

A now-hilarious but then-serious movie, “Reefer Madness,” helped scare the public further. But the movie fizzled and only became popular (especially with marijuana fans) when rediscovered in 1971.

Hearst also had financial and racial motivations. His hatred of Mexicans, whom he considered to be marijuana users to the man, was well-known. Pancho Villa had taken Hearst’s Mexican forests during the Mexican Revolution, and hemp also was a threat to Hearst’s U.S. forests as means for paper production.

Not everyone agreed with Anslinger and Hearst. New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia commissioned a study by physicians and scientists that disputed Anslinger’s claims. It is documented that Anslinger hunted down each copy of the report and had it destroyed.

Red Scare practices

DuPont sparked legislation to outlaw hemp in the 1950s. DuPont had developed nylon in the mid-1930s and wanted to eliminate the use of hemp as a base for rope and clothing. Growing hemp is illegal in the U.S. under federal law due to its relation to marijuana, and any imported hemp products must meet a zero-tolerance level.

During the 1950s, Anslinger used Red Scare tactics to further demonize marijuana, saying the Chinese Communists were sending joints into the country to spread immorality among America’s youth.

“Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing,” Anslinger said.

Anslinger finally retired in 1962, but his attitude about marijuana remained prevalent in the United States.

Until the late 1960s.

High times again

The times were changing indeed, and in the previous decade the Beats, the daddy-o’s of the hippies, used marijuana as part of their lifestyle. When, because of the Vietnam War and other reasons, much of the Baby Boom generation revolted, weed, pot or grass, or any of the many names marijuana was called, became a common part of their everyday life.

This development was not taken lightly, and President Richard Nixon lumped marijuana into the same category as heroin and LSD, much stronger drugs. Nixon had Mexican marijuana fields sprayed with paraquat, an herbicide that kills green plants on contact and also is toxic to humans.

Nixon ran as a law-and-order president, and he pushed for a war on drugs.

That war lasts to this day, costing the taxpayers billions. Marijuana is part of the war, even though polls now show that more than half of adults believe marijuana should be legal. That positive response is even higher in Western states.

Presidents since Nixon have followed his opposition to legalization, from Ronald Reagan’s wife Nancy’s “Just Say No To Drugs,” to Bill Clinton, who lawyerly said he didn’t inhale when he tried pot. Fourteen states have made medical marijuana legal, and the current president, Barack Obama, has ordered the Drug Enforcement Agency not to raid dispensaries in those states, a rare bit of states’ rights trumping federal power.

The battle rages and the result is unclear. It’s another cultural thing, apparently.

But one thing is clear: Marijuana was made illegal by subterfuge, racism, corporate greed and coercion.

Mostly led by a guy named Harry.

1910: “Marihuana is the most frightening and vicious drug ever to hit New Orleans.” —New Orleans Public Safety Commission
1920s: “Makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” —H.J. Anslinger, Bureau of Narcotics
1930: “Marihuana is responsible for the raping of white women by crazed negroes.” —Hearst Newspapers Nationwide
1932: “Hasheesh goads users to blood lust.” —Hearst Newspapers
1935: “Marihuana influenced negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows, and look at a white woman twice.” —Hearst Newspapers
1937: “Marihuana is the most violent drug in the history of mankind.” —Congressional Testimony, H.J. Anslinger, FBN
1938: “Marihuana is more dangerous than heroin or cocaine.” —Anslinger, Scientific American, May, 1938
1938: “If the hideous monster of Frankenstein came face to face with marihuana, he would drop dead of fright.” —Anslinger, FBN, quoted in Hearst newspaper
1937-50: “Negro entertainers with their jazz and swing music are declared an outgrowth of marihuana use which possesses white women to tap their feet.” —statements to Congress by Anslinger, FBN
1945: “More harmful than habit-forming opium, inducing fits of temporary insanity.” —Newsweek, 1-15-45
1946: “Marihuana is an important cause of crime.” —Bureau of Narcotics, Newsweek, 11-18-46
1948: “Marihuana leads to pacifism and Communist brainwashing.” —Anslinger, before Congress
1973: “Marijuana increases breast size in males.”
1974: “Permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana.” —Ronald Reagan, LA Times
1974: “interferes with reproduction, disease resistance, and basic biological processes.” —Daily Oklahoman, 11-19-74
1980: “Marijuana leads to harder drugs.” —Reagan Administration
1985: “Marijuana use makes you sterile.” —Reagan Administration
1980s: “Marijuana leads to heroin; marijuana causes brain damage.” —the 17-week D.A.R.E. Program
1986: “Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and therefore to AIDS.” —Carlton Turner
1990: “Marijuana makes you lazy.” —Partnership for a Drug-Free America



Marijuana: Should it be legalized? Part I – The Story Behind our Current Prohibition

Thursday, August 27th, 2009
August 27, 2009 – People have used marijuana since before the beginning of recorded history. It is known to have been used thousands of years before the birth of Christ and its use was legal for the vast majority of that time. It was legal in the United States until the early 1900′s, when a campaign of lies and propaganda brought about its prohibition. Recently many prominent people, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo have advocated the legalization of marijuana, or at the very least having a national discussion on that possibility.
Many people have come to realize that if marijuana were legalized, regulated, and taxed many of the problems caused by its prohibition could be erased, and tens of billions in revenue could be generated. Thousands die yearly in accidents or due to health related problems resulting from the use of alcohol, yet it is legal, and it should be. It is the responsibilty of those who choose to use it to do so responsibly. Shouldn’t the same common sense rules apply to marijuana?
This is the first article in a series which will expose the truth behind the passage of our nation’s foolish laws governing the use of marijuana, the harm those laws cause, and why it should be legalized. In this article I’m going to look at the reasons marijuana was outlawed in the U.S. One might imagine that solid scientific evidence was used, or that factual accounts of criminal activity attributed to its use and a legitimate concern for public safety may have compelled our government to criminalize marijuana. Not so. In fact much of the so called evidence that was used had no basis whatsoever in fact. Racist propaganda was used to stir up anger. Incompetent and corrupt politicians and government officials spurred by greed, the prospect of personal gain, and the hope of career advancement were a major force behind the movement to ban its use, possession and cultivation. Horrible tales of ruthless violence, including brutal murders and vicious gang rapes were totally fabricated in order to frighten the public and gain support for anti-marijuana laws.
The first marijuana law in America was passed more than 150 years before we declared our independence, but it wasn’t intended to restrict marijuana. In 1619 a law was enacted at the Jamestown Colony in Virginia that actually required farmers to grow Indian hempseed. Over the next 200 years there were several laws passed making its cultivation mandatory. In fact between 1763 and 1767 you could be jailed in Virginia for not growing it.
Of course it was not being grown just so early settlers could get high. Hemp had many uses at the time. It was used for rope, clothing, and food, among other things. The census of 1850 showed there were more than 8,000 hemp plantations in the country that grew a minimum of 2,000 acres of the plant.
It was the early 1900′s before marijuana began to be seen as a problem. California was the first state to pass a law outlawing the “preparations of marijuana, or loco weed.” At the time there was tension near the Mexican border due to the revolution in that country. Violence as a result of the revolution sometimes spilled over the border. Many people in the American west were also angry that large farms were using cheap Mexican labor which hurt smaller farms. The fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana was used to help pass the law in California, not based on facts or science, but on the anti-Mexican sentiment that existed among many people at the time. The law was intended more to target Mexicans than to protect the public from marijuana’s “harmful” effects.
At around the same time Utah also outlawed marijuana. According to Charles Whitebread, a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law School, Mormons returned to Salt Lake City from Mexico with marijuana in 1910. Church leaders were not at all happy with its use by members of the Mormon Church. Whitebread speculates that may be one of the reasons Utah outlawed marijuana, althought some members of the Mormon community dispute his theory.
Several other states used the racial prejudice towards Mexicans to help pass laws against marijuana. Wyoming was first in 1915, followed by Texas in 1919, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Arkansas in 1923, and Nebraska and Montana in 1927. In Texas a State Senator promoted the outlawing of marijuana by saying, “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff is what makes them crazy.” The Butte Montana Standard quoted a Montana lawmaker’s statement on the floor of the Montana Legislature: “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.”
In the eastern states racist statements were also used to turn public sentiment in favor of making marijuana illegal. It was said by one newspaper editorialist to “influence black men to actually look into the eyes of white men, and look twice at white women.” Oh, the travesty!
In the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote that “Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp.” Within a very short time, marijuana started to be linked to insanely violent behavior.
In 1930 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established as a new division of the Treasury Department. Harry J. Anslinger was named as its first director. Anslinger’s ambition rather than facts was behind his campaign to outlaw marijuana. He saw it as an issue that could be seized upon to further his own career. Anslinger knew he could create a national crisis by using racism and claims of brutally violent crimes to draw national attention to the “horrific problems” caused by using marijuana.
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US,” said Anslinger, “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.” This wasn’t Anslinger’s only completely ludicrous statement. He also claimed that “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” If you do a little research into Anslinger you will find many such ridiculous statements.
As late as 1961 Anslinger spoke about his efforts to outlaw marijuana, and still used propaganda and completely false stories to justify them:
“Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado a husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded by the smoking of one or more marijuana “reefers.” As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 under my direction, the Bureau launched two important steps. First, a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, on radio and at major forums, such that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts. I believe we did a thorough job, for the public was alerted and the laws to protect them were passed, both nationally and at the state level. We also brought under control the wild growing marijuana in this country. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting along the roadsides.”
Randolf Hearst, owner of chain of newspapers, also campaigned against marijuana. While Anslinger’s motive was ambition, Hearst’s was profit and bigotry. It is fairly well known that Hearst held strong anti-Mexican views. This was probably due to his loss of more than 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa during the Mexican revolution. He had also invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and wanted to stop the development of hemp paper. Spreading terrible lies about Mexicans, and claiming marijuana caused extreme acts of violence sold newspapers. That not only made him money, but helped insure that hemp production would be halted.
Some of Hearst’s newspapers made ridiculous claims about marijuana. One column in the San Francisco Examiner said that “Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days, Hashish goads users to bloodlust. By the tons it is coming into this country, the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”
Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that the claims made by Anslinger and Hearst are far more dangerous than marijuana could ever be. Such statements themselves encourage racist views and could have easily incited acts of violence against blacks and Mexicans. Since it is impossible to overdose on marijuana, and not a single death has ever been cited as the medical cause of any person’s death, there is one absolute and undeniable certainty. More violence has been caused, and more lives have been destroyed by the campaign against marijuana, and the laws that came about as a result of it, than by the drug itself.
If you want to point to the crime and violence surrounding the drug trade in America, you can trace it all right back to the beginning of the war on marijuana that was started during the first half of the 20th century by dishonest politicians, corrupt government officials, and the greed and racism of figures in the corporate world.


The Drug War is a Race War
Liberals need to keep pounding on the fact that the Drug War is a Republican instituted race war.


Criminalizing drugs has always been a means of targeting and controlling racial, ethnic, and social minorities.


The Chinese laborers who came to California to build the Transcontinental Railroad smoked opium. Negroes in the old south sniffed cocaine when it was cheaper than alcohol. Mexicans brought their marihuana with them when they migrated into the Southwest. And, according to Smack: Heroin and the American City, heroin was "Originally popular among working-class whites in the 1920s."


They've all been criminalized.


The biggest racist of them all was Harry J. Anslinger.


Anslinger was Assistant Prohibition Commissioner when he saw the future in 1930: repeal of alcohol prohibition meant repeal of his job.


A career tax-sucking bureaucrat, Anslinger was desperate to find himself another cushy government ride.


What he found was marijuana. His strategy was to get the government to criminalize the Devil Weed and his tactic was blatant fear-mongering racism.


He toured the country preaching social Armageddon wherever he could raise a white audience.


"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others." - Testimony to US Congress supporting Marihuana Tax Act, 1937.


Other documented Anslinger racist quotes are:


"Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice."


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


"Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with female students (white) smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result pregnancy."


White America pressured the government into outlawing this "most dangerous and deadly drug known to man" and Anslinger's bureau-buddies got him appointed America's first Drug Czar.


The racism continues today.


"While drug use is consistent across all racial groups," says the Drug Policy Alliance, "Blacks constitute 13 percent of all drug users, but 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of persons convicted, and 74 percent of people sent to prison. Nationally, Latinos comprise almost half of those arrested for marijuana offenses."


The racist drug war must end!  Republicans must be put down.