We have become a nation obsessed by often-hollow symbology, and as this week’s frothy contention over San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest refusal to stand for the national anthem, that obsession by corporate media and the public comes at the expense of confronting real issues for the purposes of reform.

In fact, the decision to sit out the Star Spangled Banner has a pointed nuance even Kaepernick and his supporters might not realize — Francis Scott Key’s song, penned during the war of 1812, glorifies slavery and oppression. Its rarely-sung third verse, as noted by the Intercept, states:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Kaepernick has been ignorantly and aggressively lambasted beyond reason by the media this week — largely in ways that prove racism still thrives in this country over 200 years after the writing of the slavery-cheering national anthem — as hollow patriotism and nationalism suddenly seemed to become legitimate ideologies to live by.

While it seemed the entire country stumbled over each other to see who could chastise Kaepernick most acridly — while also ignoring or deriding the subject of his protest, police brutality and systemic racism — a number of additional equally worthy topics of protest hit headlines this week.

On Monday, an unnamed official from a major lender intimated the failed financial recovery is about to critically worsen, saying banks worldwide are “preparing for an economic nuclear winter situation.”

Years of giveaways to the Big Banks, known euphemistically as ‘quantitative easing’ have propped up the institutions with predictably perilous consequences likely to come to fruition soon. Speaking on condition of anonymity — necessary considering the number of inexplicable banker ‘suicides’ in recent years — the official told CNBC ‘that financial services firms have put together a strategy in place that takes into account the worst-case scenario that could happen by the end of this year.’

Predicting the coming of this exact crisis last year, former Congressman and presidential hopeful Ron Paul aptly summarized:

“The credit and new money, when created by a central bank, is delivered to the market in a political fashion for which the one percent receive special benefits. It allows the pyramiding of debt to fractional reserve banking, which compounds the long-term problems.

“It may be fun while it lasts, but it always ends with a crash.”

Amid an ongoing corporate media blackout of swelling protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and thousands of other Native American supporters and activists, the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed Energy Transfer Partners — the company responsible for pipeline construction — does not have a written easement from the agency to build on Corps property.

“That’s true they don’t have the easement that’s required to install the segment that’s across the Oahe project” just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, said Larry Janis speaking for the Army Corps of Engineers, according to KFYR.

With over 4,000 irate protesters now on site, developers agreed to at least a temporary halt in construction of the four-state, $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline project.

A federal judge will determine the legality of the dubious pipeline on September 9.

Then, on Wednesday, more leaked documents courtesy of DCLeaks revealed billionaire globalist George Soros sought a “national movement” to, in essence, create a federalized police force in the United States.

As The Free Thought Project reported, the document shows Soros’ Open Societies Foundation “saw the killings of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray as an opportunity to implement this mission of federal police guidelines. OSF, according to the documents, then held a meeting titled, ‘Police Reform: How to Take Advantage of the Moment and Drive Long-Term Institutional Change in Police-Community Practice.’

“The memo further documents that Soros-financed groups and personalities influenced a Task Force on 21st Century Policing, created by President Obama. Last May, the task force released a final report consisting of 60 recommendations recommending protocol to local departments on how to modify policing practices.”

Soros, who manages to maintain control with a degree of anonymity, has long been rumored to have his hands issues of U.S. domestic and foreign policy — something DCLeaks’ sizable document cache has repeatedly confirmed.

Although perhaps giving the outward appearance of laudable intent, it could be easily said the vast majority of police reform advocates would prefer not to have the globalist’s personal agenda involved in any overhaul of American policing.

Some of Kaepernick’s most bombastic critics at one time focused their venom on State Department’s handling of attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya — but in fury over the athlete’s quiet protest, seemed to miss the revelation the FBI discovered 30 emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal email server pertaining to Benghazi.

Clinton, of course, failed to turn over these clearly work-related Benghazi documents, despite her continued insistence all work-related emails had been offered to investigators for perusal.

Reported the Associated Press, “Government lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta Tuesday that an undetermined number of emails among the 30 were not included in the 55,000 previously provided by Clinton.”

Mehta, skeptical of the month State Department lawyers claimed would be necessary to thoroughly examine and redact these documents, ordered an explanation of the end of September estimate be provided to the court in one week.

One of Judicial Watch’s ongoing lawsuits to force disclosure of Clinton’s personal emails was the subject of the hearing in which the new document cache became known — but until finishes applying its notorious black highlighter, the content remains the subject of conjecture.

On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Agency once again proved its war on drugs has everything to do with protecting Big Pharma and nothing at all to do with the health and safety of the American public when it announced kratom — a highly promising plant material often used to relieve opioid addiction and more — would join cannabis, heroin, and cocaine as a Schedule I substance.

In its notice of intent to schedule yet another beneficial plant as a dangerous substance with no medical benefit, the DEA laughably cited the need to “avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.”

Were the DEA being honest in its statement, the agency’s unofficial proxy employment by pharmaceutical behemoths would have been semantically evident, since anecdotal and longstanding evidence shows kratom to be effective for releasing the bonds of addiction to prescription opioids like Oxycontin, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as for reducing chronic pain — all in a non-addictive, natural way.

“As far as the DEA is concerned,” wrote Jacob Sullum for Forbes in a rare and scathing mainstream condemnation of the agency’s absurd reasoning, “the fact that people have used kratom in other countries for centuries to ease pain, boost work performance, and wean themselves from opiate addiction counts for nothing. All the DEA needs to know is that our shores have been invaded by a foreign drug that is increasingly popular among Americans as a home remedy and recreational intoxicant. From the DEA’s perspective, that is intolerable, regardless of the drug’s hazards or benefits.”

Considering the DEA’s July refusal to reschedule cannabis in the face of a preponderance of evidence of its innumerable medical applications, perhaps the move to criminalize this beneficial plant cum medicine should come as no surprise.

After all, the government’s ridiculously failed war on drugs has been marked only be a few sweeping successes: revenue generation, the expansion of the police state, and the inculcation into the court system of otherwise law-abiding citizens who committed no crime of harm against anyone.

Kaepernick has been joined in his protest of the national anthem until significant changes come to American policing — but excoriating the athlete’s choice ignores both his right to take that stance and the reasons why he did. And if people claim not to relate to those reasons, the aforementioned topics are only a sampling of myriad reasons blind nationalism obfuscates the very real problems continuing to scar the Stars and Stripes in the eyes of the world.

Claire Bernish began writing as an independent, investigative journalist in 2015, with works published and republished around the world. Not one to hold back, Claire’s particular areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, analysis of international affairs, and everything pertaining to transparency and thwarting censorship. To keep up with the latest uncensored news, follow her on Facebook or Twitter: @Subversive_Pen.