Friday, April 05, 2013

Our Myths of Democracy and Flag

We call our nation a democracy and our leaders talk about the ‘democratic tradition’ incessantly. We even go war to ‘bring democracy and freedom’ to other nations.

But, let’s take a good long, hard look at the actual definition of ‘democracy’:

From Wikipedia:  

“a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives”


“1. by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.

3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.

4. political or social equality; democratic spirit.

5. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.”

But, are we actually a democracy by these definitions? Really? Of course not! Not even close, by any definition!

Are we all treated equally in the decisions that affect our lives? Get real. Let’s read the fine print and get reacquainted with actualities and realities! Wealthy people in our country - and throughout the world for that matter - can buy far more influence over the political decisions which affect all of us.1 Whether we like it or not, money is power, and thus it has always been so. A few powerful wealthy people working behind the scenes can and do influence and produce legislation favorable to themselves and onerous to everyone else, almost on a daily basis. Now that corporations are officially defined as ‘persons’ in the United States by the US Supreme Court, that is doubly true. In fact, corporate influence now has far more influence over the laws, regulations and political decisions than any other group of interests. There are hundreds, nay thousands, nay even more than thousands of instances of this. The total amount of public treasure expended on behalf or corporations and special interests is beyond calculation. And this has been true almost since corporations first came into existence. That is reality. Money = power = political influence. Period!

We are constantly propagandized about our ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’, none of which are actually true. We are all beholden in one way or another to those working furtively and secretly behind the scenes pulling strings which affect everyone. Most of their activity is for their own interests, with just enough benefit provided to common citizens to avoid actual revolt or revolution. Sometimes the powerful overstep themselves and heads roll, literally. History provides examples, as with the French revolution in 1789 and Russia’s in 1917 and Communist China in 1946 being noteworthy. Historians claim our own revolution of 1775 was about taxes and representation, which of course it was, but it was more than that. Our own revolution was really a revolution by the wealthy and the business entities of the day pulling the strings behind the scenes. And their coiled rattlesnake flag on a yellow field with its belligerent ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ inscription is even being fiercely recycled today by the exact same type of behind-the-scenes manipulators, i.e., the Koch brothers, et al. Yes, history really does repeat itself sometimes! The monied classes of the 18th Century were no different from any other time - and money respects no national boundaries. More on that point later.

You see this today with all the so-called ‘offshore corporations’ operating world-wide with impunity, and by their own rules, being more powerful than many nations. If there is a hassle with any government anywhere, they just paper over it with money, buying influence where needed in accordance with their objectives, with common citizens usually taking it in the shorts. 

The money invested in influencing legislation or buying favors by whatever means necessary is generally repaid back to them many times over. A corporation’s sole reason for existence is to ‘make money’ and there is nothing wrong with that as far as it goes. But, the power of money apparently mesmerizes those who wield it, and at some point often turns corrupt. Once that happens, the corruption seems to take control. That seems to be the greatest fault of the so-called ‘capitalistic system’. At some point the powerful always seem to default to a greater or lesser degree of corruption. The excuse many times is, ‘but, we have to do it to compete’. Sometimes there is serious kickback, as in the Russian revolution, and Cuba, and more recently with Venezuela. When that happens political leaders of ‘democratic’ nations go into hysteria-driven overdrive. All the propaganda organs start screaming ‘socialism!” and ‘Communism!”, which of course it usually is, thereby providing even more fuel for the hysteria, and a ‘cause’ to fight for.

It is a vicious cycle, and darned if I am not now almost convinced this is what our controlling masters have designed into the system. If we did not have those rogue nations to go into conniption fits over, they would probably need to invent them.

I am currently reading a book called ‘Critical Path’ by R. Buckminster Fuller which clarified some of these notions for me - wiped the scaled from my eyes so to speak. Fuller was definitely a ‘maverick’ type who was never shy with his opinions. He died in 1983 but left behind many unusual inventions and a large body of writing. 

Fuller had a tendency to invent words and ways of using compound words which makes him hard for many to read. He also had some quirky notions such as ‘devolution’ wherein he believed humans were first and some then actually ‘devolved’ back to the ape and monkey stages. But, he also had unusual access to economic statistics and figures on the national and international levels, and was amazingly prescient on many topics, especially energy and climate change. He was a sort of economic historian as well, tracing trends and the evolution of economic systems. One thing really jumps out to me in his book, and that is how our national flag actually came to be, and how iconic it is for what our country is today. Forget all the Betsy Ross myths - mostly due to her grandson’s claims, and stories about how George Washington ordered a flag to be made.

Hold on to your socks now, because this little largely unknown truth may short you out!  You earnestly and sincerely believe the myths and stories about our flag and its stripes being based on the thirteen original colonies? WRONG! Our US national flag is actually a corporate flag based on the British East India Company’s flag! What could be more fitting and  iconic for our *corporate ruled nation today? 

The way our flag actually came to be is this way: The  Boston Tea Party (1773) story was not really a protest by citizens as we are commonly propagandized, but by a group of Boston merchants calling themselves the ‘Sons of Liberty’. Their motivation being the tax on tea levied by the British Crown in the Crown’s attempts to derive revenue from colonial citizens - sound familiar? It so happened the British East India Company had three ships in the harbor loaded with tea at the time. The merchants first boarded a ship named ‘Dartmouth’ and threw a few cases of tea overboard. Someone noticed the company flag flying at the masthead - the traditional place for a company flag as the national flag normally flies at the stern of the ship. A man was sent to the masthead to bring down the flag as a trophy. The company flag consisted of thirteen red and white strips with a blue field in the upper left corner, with a combined St. George and St. Andrews cross in white sewn in the field - exactly like our flag today except for the cross in the place of our stars.

Don’t believe me?  Here it is:

Strange, eh?

This flag trophy was given to an officer in the Continental Army, and eventually made its way to General Washington. Washington thought it could be used as an appropriate flag for our army, while not a British flag per se, it still showed an implied loyalty to the crown which was a common hope at the time. The flag went through several iterations over time until **1777 when thirteen stars were officially added to represent the thirteen colonies - and not inspired by Betsy Ross!

What can be more fitting today than to have the flag of a corporation flying over today’s White House?

(Thanks to R. Buckminster Fuller for pointing this out to me!)

* ”Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

**Congress passed the Flag Act of 1777 on June 1: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

Interesting links: