Enough flag waving fluff folks

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. – Clarence Darrow

The following is taken from a commentary on patriotism given by Dr. Michael Parenti.

There are two kinds of patriots in this country – there is the flag waving kind who follows the President into every war he wants to wage and who says that we ought not to criticize what our elected leaders do, and there are the real patriots who care enough about the country to want to improve it. Their patriotism has a social content.  They know that democracy is not just the ability to hold elections. Democracy must also serve the needs and interests of the people.

Real patriots educate themselves about the true history of their country, and are not satisfied with the flag waving promotional fluff that passes for history. They find important things in our past to be proud of, such as the struggle for universal suffrage, the abolitionist movement, the peace movement, the elimination of child labor, the civil rights movement, the struggle for collective bargaining, the 8 hour day, occupational safety, and the struggle for gender equality. The elements of social justice that distinguished us from totalitarian states are what have historically served to make America a shimmering beacon of hope for the oppressed and down-trodden.

In the real patriots pantheon can be found Thomas Paine, Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Jones, Eugene Debs, Big Bill Haywood, Noam Chomsky, Rosa Parks, Ralph Nader and the minions in the ranks who brought these and other champions of social justice to the fore. Real patriots do not easily succumb to the fear about external menaces that are propagated by our rulers. Instead they focus on the things that people should really fear.

These fears include but are not limited to the decimation of the environment as a by-product of our mode of existence;  the baneful and overpowering influence of money in our political life; the growing instances of electoral fraud, coercion, and thievery;  the unaccountable power of corporations; the rampant corporate crime that involves the plundering of billions from the public treasury; the underfunding and deterioration of social services;  the gargantuan, unchecked military industrial complex; the repressive laws that constrain our liberties under the guise of national security; and the petroleum driven foreign policy of illegal war and unchecked aggression that has generated global hatred of the United States.

This notion of patriotism is not merely an academic one. During the early part of the 20th Century, progressive school teachers advocated a “civic patriotism.”  Under this philosophy the work of a patriot is not to fight and die in empire building, but to live and work towards making his country a grand nation. It is important that as a community of rational beings, we ought not equate militarism with patriotism. Moreover, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us that we inculcate this notion in the minds of the young.

The global aggrandizers must be halted and this requires a re-calibration of our cultural system of values through education of the children.



Chris Hedges: The ‘Terrifying’ State Assault on Press Freedom – Truthdig

Chris Hedges: The ‘Terrifying’ State Assault on Press Freedom – Truthdig.

The systematic evisceration of the Bill of Rights continues…

Tell the children the truth…


(Photo credit – David Baldinger http://www.dbaldinger.com)

I once heard life characterized as a momentary respite suspended between two eternities and this sounds like a good place to begin.  Merriam-Webster online defines respite as “an interval of rest or relief.” As I look at the blank stare of orphaned children in war ravaged segments of the world, or the chaotic and frenzied faces of single mothers standing in line to fill a prescription between shifts at Denny’s, I often wonder whether contemplations of this nature possess any degree of validity.  Are the stirrers of our coffee or the sweatshop laborers that glue the soles of our Nikes entitled to any respite? Or are these merely bourgeois philosophical abstractions that are beyond the purview of the poor?

I contend that this moment suspended between eternities ought to facilitate the self-fulfillment of every man, woman and child. The divine right of kings may have ended with the shot heard ’round the world, but to the average single parent household, a new system of oppression predicated on finance has become firmly entrenched within the fabric of society and serves to thwart any budding notions of respite. A warning to those that decree otherwise and would seek to preserve the status quo by exercising financial hegemony, Robespierrean notions of justice have often been swiftly served throughout the saga of human history.

For every lash dealt so that Buckingham Palace could be built, or every noose tied to a slave refusing to contribute to the buttressing of the “genteel” Yankee aristocracy, historically one class has secured its position at the expense of another. Men in dresses speak of fire pits in the ground for fornicators, whilst thieves and murderers dressed in Italian, double-breasted uniforms propagate a system that seeks to deprive the weakest among us of their right to self-determination.  This extends beyond any singular segment of the globe as the system of feeding upon the blood of the poor seems to be a vestige of colonialism that transcends national boundaries.

In every country that has embraced the top-down, pyramid model of power and governance, a small group seems entitled to this “respite” while the majority of people toil incessantly to keep food on the table.  Wait! I know, it must be that the people are poor because they don’t work hard enough. That’s gotta be it. After all, LeBron James was not born wealthy and look at him.  The system loves to spotlight the occasional rags to riches tale, even if we neglect the minutia like physical attributes or natural endowments. Trust me amigos, the myth that poverty exists because of a lack of effort is an absurd proposition grounded in neoliberal b.s. After Uncle Sam takes a bite out of the hourly employee to fund its war apparatus, it is near impossible to support a family of four on $10/hr, even when you work 2 jobs and almost 90 hours a week. And poundin’ 5 hr Energy ain’t gonna help.

Rousseau wrote that man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. This aphorism seems to elude the compost heap of history as it’s no less meritorious today. At what point does the dream, the beautiful experience orchestrated by the field responsible for the complexity of the DNA code become a hollow experience of involuntary servitude? The purpose of this divine experience of reality is not to facilitate Lloyd Blankfein’s home in the Alps with the rest of the banksters regardless of what the cultural cues may imply.

In 3rd World ghetto parlance, this system of mandatory servitude to eke out a meager existence is referred to as “Babylon System.” In essence, a system that allows for selective application of the rule of law. A system that imposes punitive measures on the network of social services while redirecting public funds to the pockets of the criminals and architects of wars of aggression. A system that overthrows democratically elected world leaders in favor of puppets who dance to the beat of the imperial drum. A system that rewards commodities traders who manipulate the price of basic necessities in countries where the leaders have been bribed to stifle local agriculture. A system that provides billions in munitions to dictators who would drive indigenous peoples off their lands so that Rio Tinto and Shell can bleed the country of its natural resources and pollute with no fear of retribution. A system that forces young Asian girls under fifteen into the sex trade to facilitate the sexual perversions of steak fed American and European businessmen.  I think you get the idea.

An unintended consequence of experiencing great travail is sometimes a realization of the unity of all things.  You no longer see people as different but as all possessing the quality of bleeding when pricked.  We differ in appearance merely due to the exertion of dietary and environmental pressure upon evolutionary processes. Injustice anywhere becomes a call to action and the vampires who hide behind police forces and corporate veils must be exposed. This Babylon system is seen as the shell game that it really is, a facade orchestrated by those who seek to muddle the minds of the young and keep the working stiff mired in perpetual stress and confusion.  A clandestine plot to brainwash the youth into picking up arms to murder other youth to facilitate accumulation of wealth under the guise of nationalism, terrorism, or any one of the other multitude of “isms” penned by bored aristocrats.  Not one gun was ever manufactured in Watts, Soweto, or a Rio favela, yet children born here are compelled to exist in a perpetual state of fight or flight while the invisible hand of Adam Smith crushes their wind-pipe.


In a 1963 address to the United Nations, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia stated, “[w]e must look into ourselves, into the depth of our souls. We must become something we have never been and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us. We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.”  Fifty years later and it seems like a re-introduction of this philosophy is in order. Justice demands that we be bigger in the sense that every child must be viewed as the product of each and every one of us. Bigger in the sense that food, healthcare and education should be basic rights and not privileges. An egalitarian approach to resource allocation versus a competitive model buttressed by birthright is long overdue.

Can a world where no child goes to bed hungry or homeless exist? Truthfully, I can’t answer that with any degree of certainty. However, I can say that our present method of societal organization ensures that it will not occur. Basic human rights must be guaranteed to all.

One love,


P.S. Dickens is often an unsettling reminder to conscientious objectors to the status quo of the futility of writing to effectuate meaningful change within the established order. However all we have are words, and as I’ve said in the past, the pen must be exercised to maintain any positional supremacy over the sword. When conducting any type of institutional analysis it inevitably becomes somewhat disheartening. It’s at these moments that I sometimes resort to the Gospels of Marley for inspiration. I hope you enjoy this vid of Bob’s track “Babylon System.”

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