I just finished reading a piece penned by the late, great Howard Zinn entitled “Put Away the Flags,” which pretty much sums up how I’m feeling on this 4th of July.

“Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? … Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.”

Ahh, good ol’ American exceptionalism.  We were raised believing that the USA was the best nation in the world. But as I grow older and more cynical, and see the Bush regime’s empire-building practices continuing even under Democratic rule, I understand how young people of other nations see us.  And it’s not good.

Coming off of eight years of Bush/Cheney rule, we thought things would change. But we are still engaged in two meaningless wars, and our most precious commodity – our young men and women – are killing and being killed, injured and maimed.

The most patriotic thing we could do on this independence day is stand up and say “Enough!”

On Thursday night, a growing number of Congressman showed their support for ending the war in Afghanistan, but not enough to change the way things are being done.  So, come November 2, show your patriotism and vote for the anti-war candidates who can take this country back to the place Thomas Jefferson described in the Declaration of Independence on this date so many years ago when he wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If you need help finding the right candidates to support, check out Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committe and the Blue America PAC.

Randi Rhodes is enjoying another much-deserved vacation this week, and I’m thrilled and honored to be filling in for her again.

Of course, we’ll have lots of room for your phone calls and last minute guests who’ll join us to talk about what’s happening in the news. And I’ve already got some great people scheduled to join us.

On today’s show:

FireDogLake’s Jon Walker will fill us in on California’s Prop 19, in which the people of the Golden State will decide whether or not to be the first in the nation to legalize marijuana;

Author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency & Forming a More Perfect Union and Activist David Swanson will tell us which members of Congress did the right thing on Thursday with their votes on funding the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Read more about it at www.warisacrime.org;

Council of Candians’ regional organizer Mark Calzavara will fill us in on the challenges our Democratic neighbors to the north are experiencing;

Ted Glick, who will be sentenced tomorrow (for up to three years) for unfurling two banners reading “Green Jobs Now” and “Get to Work” in the Hart Senate Office Building.  Allen McDuffee of Raw Story alerted me to the story.  We’ll find out tomorrow what happened.

Amy Simon, cultural HERstorian and writer/performer of “She’s History: The Most Dangerous Women in America… Then and Now,” a new one-woman show opening in Los Angeles later this month, will give us some fun female facts about the unsung heroes– the founding mothers of our nation!

Tuesday July 6:

Greg Sargent, who writes the wonderful Plum Line blog for the Washington Post, brings us up to date on what’s going on in DC during the recess.

Jon Maddux, CEO of You Walk Away, will explain to us the pitfalls and benefits of walking away from your underwater mortgage.

Wednesday July 7:

David Cobb, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate now spokesman for Move To Amend will join us for an hour, taking calls about the need for a constitutional amendment to return democracy to the USA and make sure corporations do not have the same rights as citizens;

Commentator/author Jim Hightower will join us for a discussion about whatever is on his mind that day;

Congressman and Senatorial candidate from Pennsylvania Joe Sestak will give us the latest on his campaign.

Thursday July 8:

Former CIA Agent and novelist Barry Eisler will join us to talk about how truth is often stranger than fiction and, perhaps, a discussion about the newly discovered Russian spy ring.

Friday July 9:

Comedian John Fugelsang will help us end the week on a fun note and laugh about things that otherwise aren’t very funny!

Tonight, the Nicole Sandler Show will be guest hosted by Kenny Pick and friends…