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News ::
Culture and Life: Flying the flag
13 Nov 2001
Imperialist leaders have always "wrapped themselves in the flag" to gain popular support. They have to: their anti-people policies are hardly going to get it for them.

Whether it's George Bush, Tony Blair or John Howard, flag-waving belligerence is their favoured way of distracting people, of providing a cover under which they can continue to attack people's rights and living standards.
Since September 11, flag sales in the US have been booming, encouraged by
every sector of the Establishment. But while crowds at sporting events
spontaneously and mindlessly chant "USA, USA, USA" when the loudspeakers
announce that bombs are falling on Afghanistan, the realities of life have not
changed.

As the old saying goes, "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but
...". The people of the US still live under the reality of capitalism; they still face
layoffs, lack of full-time jobs, anti-union laws, homelessness, poverty, urban decay,
lack of health care, etc, etc.

The flag just isn't big enough to obscure all those things for too long. In fact, it had
stopped being big enough a long time before September 11. Way back during the
Vietnam War, in fact.

Remember the ingenious variations on the US flag that appeared then, with
swastikas replacing the stars in the "Stars & Stripes"? It was a potent propaganda
tool that connected in people's minds with remarkable clarity.

That particular flag appeared again at demonstrations in Europe during the
US/NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Last June, US anti-corporate group based around the magazine "Adbusters"
produced an alternative US flag in readiness for Independence Day celebrations on
July 4. This time the new flag replaced the stars with corporate logos, for Shell,
Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, IBM, etc.

Claiming that "a blast of symbolic disobedience" would force US citizens to
consider the meaning of the American Revolution in the light of the country's
"subservience to corporations today", "Adbusters" posed the questions: "What
counts as independence? And when will we win it back?"

Kalle Lasn, the magazine's editor, said at that time: "The flag is emerging as a
symbol of what is wrong with America."

It's been rather successfully obscured just lately, but just as life in the US is
returning to normal, so is the realisation that "what is wrong with America" has not
changed. It's still there, it's still wrong and the struggle to overcome it is still on.

I predict that we shall continue to see a lot of flag waving from the leaders of
imperialism and those they manage to influence or fool. But I think we shall also
see a growing number of alternative flags.

Some of these will be red, of course. In the US, I think we shall also see plenty of
"Stars & Stripes" flags with the stars replaced by corporate logos. The real flag of
the US ruling class, you might say.

Drug trafficking

Whenever the government wants to chop the pharmaceutical benefits scheme and
make people pay even more for medicines, they complain about the high cost to
the taxpayers of maintaining the subsidy.

They don't say it's caused by the greed of the giant pharmaceutical companies,
although it is. To say that would be to attack the pursuit of profits, and no one in
the Howard Government would ever consider doing such a bolshie thing.

Curiously, "The Washington Post" has no such qualms. According to the "Post",
the pharmaceutical industry is by far the most profitable in the US. (It probably is
here too.)

The pharmaceutical giants always plead in defence of their price gouging that they
have to spend so much on research and development (R&D), but the "Post" points
out that in fact they spend "two or three times as much" on marketing and
administration as they do on R&D.

The paper also observes that the pharmaceutical industry's profits are roughly
double their R&D costs.

As if that isn't enough, in the US at any rate the drug companies can also deduct
their R&D costs and their marketing expenses from their income tax. That's a form
of state corporate subsidy, to the most profitable business sector in the country!

No wonder drug companies have the biggest lobby in Washington and spend
enormous sums promoting their interests, including generous donations to political
campaigns.

Another industry that makes a lot of money pushing a drug is the tobacco industry.
A little while ago, Bill Lockyer, the Attorney General in California, made a rather
telling observation about that particular industry.

Lockyer was discussing the way the tobacco companies had resumed targeting
youth in advertisements, despite having agreed in a court settlement in 1998 not to
do that any more.

"They kill their customers every year and they need to recruit new ones", he said.

Empirical evidence here in Australia suggests that smoking is on the increase,
among teenage girls in particular. Peddling a potentially lethal, addictive drug to
teenagers - isn't that "drug trafficking"?

Should private companies be allowed to continue to profit from that trade? Or
should it be taken over and controlled in the interests of public health?

************************************
See also:
www.cpa.org.au
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Re: Culture and Life: Flying the flag
22 Mar 2005
Ive seen a flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos.What does that mean?Humm the states goal is too atract industry and create jobs for the community.The corner drug store is gone, the man behind the counter you new his name he greated you with kind eyes and sincerity is no longer there.He has been replaced by a faceless corporation chain store. you know That new development that was built on land that was farmed by three generations of people with real ties too the comunity .The old homested buried in the dirt under it.To create thet same mini mall snap shot you see going up in every boom town city in america. With the low paying high turnover no benefit jobs know one wants too keep.Another place for your next consumer fix and heart stoping fast food meal.Dont sit at the table with your kids get behind the wheel. Throw frys over you shoulder fight traffic.Dont pay too much for that new car You need the money for the mortgage on that dream home with the big screen tv.So you can get the full dose of corporate mind numming .What flag what unity.For the people and comunity ? for commerce?flag to what?
See also:
http://Fag flying
Re: Culture and Life: Flying the flag
22 Mar 2005
I’ve seen a flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos.What does that mean?Humm the states goal is too attract industry and create jobs for the community.The corner drug store is gone, the man behind the counter you new his name he greated you with kind eyes and sincerity is no longer there.He has been replaced by a faceless corporation chain store. you know That new development that was built on land that was farmed by three generations of people with real ties too the community .The old homestead buried in the dirt under it.To create that same mini mall snap shot you see going up in every boom town city in America. With the low paying high turnover no benefit jobs know one wants too keep.Another place for your next consumer fix and heart stopping fast food meal.Don’t sit at the table with your kids get behind the wheel. Throw fries over you shoulder fight traffic.Dont pay too much for that new car You need the money for the mortgage on that dream home with the big screen tv.So you can get the full dose of corporate mind numbing .What flag what unity.For the people and community ? for commerce?flag to what??
See also:
http://flag waveing