Good riddance, Confederate flag. Now here’s five more toxic symbols America can do without

June 26, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

America’s leading merchants have spoken: The Confederate flag is coming off the shelves. Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Sears all announced bans on the sale of Confederate flag merchandise, amid an intensifying national debate over the use of the controversial flag. –CNN

Thumbnail for 40041) Fox News. Representing: Dumb fear
There’s a reason Fox News, more than any other media entity in modern history, has been the foremost and favoritest target of intelligent media critics and savvy satirists like Jon Stewart for going on two decades: No other news outlet has done more to mock, cheapen and furiously dumb down the American conversation than Roger Ailes’ unstoppable vomitorium of right-wing propaganda.

Fox News’ greatest achievement is also its most despicable: it pioneered modern fear-mongering, leveraging bloviation, false equivalencies, reverse-spin, and plain ol’ lying to Keep America Stupid and scared of everything from gays to Muslims, feminism to gun control, a black president to improved women’s rights. It’s the ‘Sharknado’ of media, the shiv in the gut of intellectual curiosity. Its demise would raise the national IQ 50 points, instantly.

nra2) The NRA. Representing: Consecrated violence
A true marvel of despicable messaging. No other group, not even Fox News, can claim the same furiously bleak, anti-human success as Wayne LaPierre and his army of terrified white males in creating/perpetuating what is easily the most destructive, bloodstained lie ever foisted upon a civilized nation.

It is this: The answer to American’s brutal gun problem? The “solution” to more than 30,000 gun deaths per year, ongoing mass shootings almost exclusively at the hands of white males, hundreds of dead children, black congregants massacred in church, dead students, military personnel, wives and congresspersons and moviegoers, on and on, in the only “advanced” country where such a problem exists? The best way to solve America’s lethal gun obsession, according to the NRA?

That’s right: More guns.

They are a national disgrace.

scalia3) Justice Antonin Scalia. Representing: Acidic ideology
Obamacare’s (and gay marriage, imminently) recent SCOTUS success aside, admiration for the Supreme Court has rarely been lower, in large part due to a recent spate of septic decisions (Hobby Lobby, Citizens United) that have never seemed more regressive or wrathfully partisan.

While John Roberts may be the mild-mannered face of this ultra-conservative court, it’s Scalia, with his gleeful mockery of progressive ideas, his clear detestation of gays, immigrants and women’s right, his surprisingly nasty dissentions freely detailing his prejudices, and his love of heartless monsters like Dick Cheney, who’s turned the nation’s highest court into the place where real progress goes to die. Oh, and Clarence Thomas? Right there with him, silent but mean.

monsanto4) Monsanto. Representing: Nature as whore
Can you trademark the food supply? Force poor farmers worldwide to use your seeds by strategically transfiguring local ecosystems? Can you carefully rebrand yourself from a longtime manufacturer of all kinds of horrible chemicals (DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, aspartame, bovine growth hormone) into a vast, “do-gooder” seed conglomerate, the Church of GMO, begging everyone believe there’s only one way to “feed the world,” and you just so happen to own all the patents?

Forget Exxon and Walmart; Monsanto remains a deeply terrifying seed monster, their multi-billion cash cow, RoundUp, currently on the hook for being one of the nastier, potentially honeybee-destroying chemicals currently poisoning the world. Not that Monsanto dares let that truth be told.

But is hating on Monsanto fully justified? GMO uncertainty aside, the debate over Monsanto’s “true” motives and dubious corporate ideology is surprisingly heated. Many very smart people have defended them, but millions find them creepy and suspect beyond normal bounds. Maybe that’s because, if their product and corporate history is any sort of guide, premeditated gruesomeness is very much in their company DNA.

koch5) The Koch Brothers. Representing: The end result
This is what happens. This is what you get when a cold-blooded, Scalia-led SCOTUS majority declares that corporations are people and political donations are limitless; when old white male billionaires can now legally hide their motives behind bogus nonprofits to advance their narrow ideology, when extreme libertarianism gets to tap the Devil’s own coffers with zero moral (or legal) restraint.

The Koch boys, David and Charles, along with their billionaire cronies, will reportedly spend more to rig the next election – nearly $1 billion – than either major political party, which is unprecedented in American history, all to force their inbred, anti-union, Tea Party-inventing, environment-hating, EPA-killing, worker-despising, Obama-loathing, regulation-destroying ethos down the throat of the country. The Koch flag isn’t racist, per se. Their flag is simply an angry, white, wrinkled middle finger to life itself.

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Mark Morford

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