Archive for July, 2010

Should societal institutions dictate the way we live?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Various institutions in our society shape the way we live. They become so ingrained in our everyday lives that society, as a whole, accept them without much thought. That being said, institutions do serve a needed purpose, but I think we need to seriously challenge some of our long held beliefs and try to get some insight as to how these institions could have a better impact on society at large and the individual. In the next few posts I well explore some of these institutions and hopefully inspire some of you to do some critically thinking on this subject.


Was Goldman Sachs let off the Hook?

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

After benefiting from a government bailout which was orchestrated by former employees Goldman has continued to make record profits.  However, CEO Lloyd Blankfein says that the company was simply doing “God’s work.”  The company agreed to pay the SEC $550 million (less than 4% of 2009 profits) for the ability to tell the public that they did nothing wrong.  Is this fair? Watch this riveting account of how Goldman makes its profits which recently aired on PBS.


Is the Pledge of Allegiance Brainwashing Your Children? Part II

Monday, July 12th, 2010

One nation under God…


The pledge has been changed four times since the original version was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892.  The most recent addition to the pledge was adding the words “under God” in 1954.  We are supposed to be a nation with a separation of church and state.  The pledge is a way to get the populace to associate the state with the hand of god.  It is an old political trick that harks back to the days when the rulers claimed divine powers in order to control their populations.  But in a nation with a separation of church and state and an increasing number of atheist and agnostic citizens there is no place for this outdated strategy.  Every child should have the freedom to form her own opinions about spirituality.

The pledge is part of the totalitarian practice of putting interests of the state over the dreams of the individual.  Institutionalized nationalism drives human beings to hate and strive to gain at the expense of others simply because they are citizens of other nations.  It drives a wedge between brothers.  Unexamined national allegiance has the power to convince men to put the greed of the wealthy war mongers ahead of family and self.

Is the Pledge of Allegiance Brainwashing Your Children? Part I

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…

My schoolmates and I were required to repeat this phrase at the beginning every school day. If a student refused to rise and say the Pledge of Allegiance he or she was punished, usually with detention. I remember one day, when I was in fifth grade, the only Jewish boy in my class refused to stand for the pledge. The teacher walked over to him and said, “You have to stand and say the pledge.” When the young man refused, she pulled him out of his chair by the arm and forced him to stand and say the pledge as he choked back tears.

And to the republic for which it stands…

Chairman Mao made a similar pledge mandatory for his group of Young Pioneers which stated, ”I am a Young Pioneer. I pledge under the Young Pioneer flag that I am determined to follow the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party, to study hard, work hard and be ready to devote all my strength to the Communist cause.”

From a young age it is drilled in our heads that we must speak this pledge of our lives to the nation. Shouldn’t children have the liberty to make their own choices in their pursuit of happiness?

U.S. Funds the Taliban

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Recently it has been reported that U.S. tax money is being used by private security companies, who have been hired by the U.S. government, to pay off the Taliban to not attack armed convoys in Afghanistan.  This means that U.S. dollars have been used to fund both sides of the war effort in Afghanistan.  If the U.S. government is willing to fund our enemies, which has the result of prolonging this bloody and expensive conflict, then there is little respect for nationalism.  No longer is war us against them.  It is a business design to enrich the few.  It seems that in this complex new world of modern warfare where private companies profit from war, there is no longer fighting for one’s country but simply feeding the war machine which makes fortunes for private citizens. 

Is the U.S. war machine a result of a propaganda campaign that begins in the hearts and minds of future soldiers and patriots in grade schools across the United States?

When I was growing up we were taught that the flag meant something and that we were to pledge our allegiance to it.  Now our own government does not honor the same oath which I was forced to speak every day in school, without failure, a practice which was designed to drill the Pledge of Allegiance into my brain. Today, the Pledge of Allegiance seems to be little more than a relic of a day gone by where children are indoctrinated into serving a flag without considering the consequences.  As a result, our blog will feature a three part series exploring the legitimacy of the Pledge of Allegiance.  The first part will be published tomorrow July 11, 2010.

Is the United States a Police State?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

See police spraying pepper spray into the eyes of unarmed protesters.