Descent Into Madness

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I think we have all seen this. An institution has gone off the rails. It started with one their members going in the wrong direction, ignoring ethical standards, taking shortcuts, causing harm. Because they were doing their job, but not very well, they were accepted. This person or group of people might be called “pushing the envelope” but not in a favorable way. The rogue elements are stretching the standards. When there is a failure to enforce the established standards in an organization, unethical behavior becomes acceptable. If known, nothing is done about the bad behavior. But let’s be clear; the insane are never aware that they are insane, it’s always everyone else that is insane to the insane person.  

 

Let me describe the descent into madness, step by step. First, behavior by some members that is borderline unethical or just barely acceptable. Second, the rationalization of said behavior, in that the mission is so important that disregarding ethical standards, while not encouraged, is understandable, at least to the members of the organization.  Third, the gathering of support, which is usually rationalized by the “us or them” mentality, where the members of the organization take the stance that they are unique and everyone is against them, and that their mission should be granted ethical or moral exception. Fourth, the silent treatment, where none of the group or organization will criticize another member, only exacerbating the misconduct, as well as increasing the mistrust of the public.

 

The people who stray from the ethical standards often do not understand what they did wrong. The mentality of getting the task done takes over and the idea of standards goes away. The television networks for years said that the news department had no responsibility to generate revenue. News reporters became icons, and they became as trustworthy as your mother of father, at least in the era before cable television.  Eventually, some of the cable networks abandoned any pretense of objectivity and, while, of course, never mentioning their preferences, still tried to give off the impression of objectivity. I have no objection to following a certain ideology; I just resent claims of objectivity when it is clear that the information is not being presented objectively.

 

Justice has become twisted in this descent into madness as well. The term for the degeneration of justice is called “mission creep,” with the application of greater and greater force, and eventually using military equipment against civilians becomes de rigueur. Where members of the justice system who are not held legally accountable imprison innocent civilians, not in the name of justice, but because of their own ambitions. As a nation, we, the people, have incarcerated and even executed innocent people. While one might argue that this would be inevitable, there is no accountability for the egregious crime of incarcerating the innocent.  We have degenerated to the point where only ambitions matter, while the people who represent us consistently claim that accountability would disrupt the process. For the record, I am not only for disrupting the process, but for ex post facto accountability for those who have violated the rights of citizens, knowingly or unknowingly. Ignorance of innocence is no excuse. The personal freedom of individual citizens is not something to be treated with reckless disregard, by authorities of any nature or stature.

 

Whether this descent into madness was predicable remains to be seen. Institutions, or more precisely the people who run institutions, end up so caught up in their mission that they think that anything they dream up becomes sacrosanct, and that any outside review, perspective, or investigation is unwarranted. Historically, there have been institutions that went off the rails into uncivilized and unwarranted behavior in the firm belief that they were “doing the right thing.” In many cases, it took an objective perspective from outsiders and no small measure of force to correct the situation. As I have been given to understand, along with my anecdotal evidence and experience, most institutions do not appreciate outside opinions, and deeply resent people who change how things are done; no matter how unethical the previous practices. As an example, in the late nineteen century, before the Progressive Era, it was not unusual for city officials to hold meetings at brothels or in the back rooms of taverns.

 

I have advocated for a new progressive era for some little time now. Societies change, and institutions change. I am not calling for a civil war, or a Balkanization. I am calling for a reasonable examination of some of the institutions of America. In the late nineteenth century, businesses formed “trusts” that controlled markets and cheated customers. While I know that some would say the trusts simply had a competitive advantage, there is a distinct difference between a competitive advantage and excessive charges, and or fleecing someone. Our government has consistently rejected the idea of only a few firms controlling a market for good reasons, with only a few exceptions. Cornering a market and fleecing customers has been illegal for a long time, since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

 

At present time, the five largest banks own forty-five percent of the industry; we should question whether that is a good idea, and the same goes with other firms that have such a prominent position in the market. We experienced what happens when a few firms control a large part of the market in 2008, and we do not need to see it again. The best way to prevent another meltdown is to have assets distributed throughout many entities, so one entity cannot crush the market. In case you think 2008 was an anomaly, Google the Panic of 1907.

 

I am not in favor of suppressing the media, and will not advise it. However, the media, which are all competing for attention, have become corrupt, misleading, and at times, outright liars. I am not in favor of “official” government media that corrects false reports, and it appears that even the president has been reporting things that did not happen. It seems that the government is scrambling to uncover the truth more and more with Russians hacking, or not, and Trump campaign officials making deals with Russians, or not. Journalism can and does use websites for evaluating the truth, and establishes measures for the accuracy of reporting.

 

This is the descent into madness of journalists, most recently led by the ideologues of the Clinton Syndicate, especially Donna Brazile, whose degenerate practices and outright deception of the public should be addressed by the journalists themselves; or at least the organizations who consider themselves populated with journalists. Until now, the credentials of journalist were mostly just academic, but in the age where you can become a certified hypnotist, (one of my favorite websites, just look at all the credential that they offer) perhaps we need to certify journalists and remove their credentials for unethical behavior. At least if someone was a certified, credentialed journalist, we could make some kind of determination if they were ethical. As it is, every neo-progressive alt-reality quasi-historical neoliberal who has a blog considers themselves an expert and a journalist as well, and the equine excrement that they are expelling is misleading many people. Of course, as is so typical of the conspiracy theorists, they viciously attack anyone who proposes a reasonable objection or presents any alternative theory or explanation of their propaganda. 

 

I am afraid that we are watching this society’s descent into madness. We are seeing professionals that compromise their integrity because of ideology. We are watching the ambitious run roughshod over their fellow citizens, believing that they are somehow exempt from accountability; hopefully not for much longer if we choose to remain a free society. As a society, I am not recommending that people take up religion, but there are some that would say a lack of religion is why we are in our present situation. It is not that I do not like the technological advances that we have made, and certainly technology has made all of the flaws in our society much more visible. Technology, however, is not an excuse for unethical behavior. As institutions get bigger, fewer and fewer people consider themselves responsible, as they consider themselves just a cog in a great big machine. It is the big technology that has made the scrutiny of the smallest of things observable, and it seems that personal ethics, doing the right thing as an individual, has become devalued.

 

Credibility is becoming harder and harder find, as almost everyone has an ulterior motive; a goal that they will compromise the most precious of their ethics to attain. The rationalizations are becoming more and more Byzantine, and can be described simply as greed. Perhaps there weren’t any ethics before, and we just live in an Information Age that is revealing all of the slimy characteristics that were hidden before. I would like to think not. I would like to think that we are an honorable people who wish to do the right and the best thing, but those examples are becoming scarce. The descent into madness is obvious, and the solution difficult, but we have had harder times. The choices are still ours to make.

Comments

Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 7:16am
Your articles illustrate a descent into a need for order - worse, a need to order the world around you. That is a very common form of madness. More rules, regulations, laws and cops won't get that for you. 
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 25, 2017 - 8:39am
Nope, not at all Jeffry. Reread the essay. The essay states that people violate rules  ALREADY IN PLACE.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 8:53am
Doesn't change my premise Jeff, whatever rules there are your investing so damn much faith into them is madness. I'm keeping in mind that you work(ed) in education and as such your primary job isn't teaching biology or whatever its inculcation of the supremacy of the state. So. Very. Sad. For those in your charge. 
 
Political authority, or the authority of State, or the authority of Government, is something the average person virtually never questions. Almost everyone goes through their entire life believing that the Government – although it’s almost always composed of provable criminals, cheats and liars – still has a solid basis for its political authority. Many people, whether left, right or anywhere in between on the political spectrum, are Statists: they think that Government has an inherent right to rule, using coercion if necessary. Yet, even a cursory examination shows that if a normal person acted like Government, they would characterized as cunning, secretive and manipulative, and either be diagnosed as insane, or locked up as a danger to society, or both. So why do people allow and consent to such a situation?
 
Finally: Those things ALREADY IN PLACE are there to keep you and yours in their place and afraid of misstepping they are never followed or enforced upon those you are so anxious to follow. 
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 25, 2017 - 9:00am
"I am afraid that we are watching this society’s descent into madness. We are seeing professionals that compromise their integrity because of ideology. We are watching the ambitious run roughshod over their fellow citizens, believing that they are somehow exempt from accountability; hopefully not for much longer if we choose to remain a free society. "

It is a matter of accountability that already exists that is not being followed. Suppose those who are abusing power gave orders and those doing the actual grunt work said that they would not do it because it was unethical. It's happened. There have been times when people refused to follow commands that were unethical.
 
Illegal restraint already exists; prosecute them for it. The only thing that needs to be removed is the exception that those responsible cannot be prosecuted for it, but the government could get around that by financing and even legally representing in civil litigation against those who violated the rights of the innocent. We have the rules. We can disbar prosecutors who abuse the office, so that they cannot practice law anymore. We have the rules and ethical standards. The descent into madness is the observation that the rules and ethical standards are not being followed.
George N Romey Added Mar 25, 2017 - 9:12am
Everything in our lives has gotten bigger-companies, government, media, etc.  With big comes corruption and any sense of responsibility other than to those very few running the show.  For example, decades ago your grocery store was local and the person that own the store realized he/she needed to provide decent customer service, good products and a steady place of employment. Today people shop at Wal Mart and we all know how Wal Mart management looks at most of the human race.  Look at media, you have a nine figure entertainer pushing the neoliberal agenda at you, and too many dumb people sallow what is being fed to them.
 
Technology was suppose to improve our lives by allowing us to work less and spend more quality time with family and community. Again, the only thing technology has done has made a few advantaged far richer while impoverishing millions of others and making 80% of Americans economically unstable.
 
Unfortunately legislating such mammoth entities becomes impossible because they have the resources and power to buy off the politicians. Only a collapse of the system and a restart will sole the problems.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 9:12am


The descent into madness is the observation that the rules and ethical standards are not being followed.
 
 
Saying the same thing twenty different ways doesn't change its basic wrongness.
 
YOU are creating the madness you feel by striving so hard to make YOUR inculcators do what they make you do and the world doesn't work that way. They do whatever the fuck they want and laugh at you for believing the shit they have fed you your entire life.
 
You don't want to feel like its gone mad around you? 
 
Stop giving a shit about their rules. Oh, you'll give the appearance you give a shit because it makes it easier on you to do so but when they aren't in your face you'll do whatever YOUR sense of the way the world should work dictates to you. 
 
Suffering is caused by selfish craving and personal desire.


 
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 25, 2017 - 9:36am
So. Very. Sad. That I teach young people to think critically and question what the state does, and not to just accept things on face value. How that could be sad, creating citizenry able to think logically and ethically, unless those things didn't mean anything to you, as in people apparently such as Jeffry.
 
So I guess in Jeffry's world we all do whatever we please, as ethics, be they rationally based or religiously based, such as an ethic found in almost every religion ever, to "treat people the way you would like to be treated." Yes, the madness is that we cannot follow a simple rule of ethics. We incarcerate people every day for violating the rights of others. It is the idea of immunity of the state, (and yet only criminal immunity, not civil immunity) has created a state that, as stated, runs roughshod over the people. Ethics are about accountability. I am accountable for what I say and do in classrooms. I accept that as part of the job, not being able to be unfair or unethical.
The word ethics keep coming up. My fellow teachers know that they must behave ethically. If we have to imprison government authorities, or remove them from office (which happens all the time) for unethical behavior, and we do it. The decent into madness is the notion that too many people have, that they are not to  be held accountable. I do not see how wishing for people to be ethical is a selfish craving; that is a perverted interpretation, and I do not see my wishes as suffering, as much as you would like to see that.
Stephen Hunter Added Mar 25, 2017 - 9:37am
Jeff, I do agree with most of your thoughts and you have made some interesting observations of human behavior. You are right, we need to learn from the patterns of our history so we can diminish future human suffering. 
One interesting thing is how groups see themselves as special or different from the rest. So they change the rules to suit their situation. How do we as a society deal with this human behavior phenomena? 
Steve Bergeron Added Mar 25, 2017 - 10:20am
Hey, Jeff!
 
From reading your article, I get a sense you were, at one time, a member of the military.  I could be wrong, though.
 
That being said, I wholeheartedly agree that there is much madness in our culture at present.  A good working definition of insanity is to be separated from reality/truth.  And what is the ultimate reality or truth?  God.  Our country has declined steadily in many areas, especially belief in God.  And just like in Physics, that says nature abhors a vacuum, if you throw God out, something has to take its place.  Something has, for many in our culture.  Self.  They become their own gods, giving primacy to their autonomous will.  Their thoughts, their goals, their plans, their perceived needs, their morals, etc.  What results is exactly what we're seeing in our society.  Sharp decline in morality and ethics.  The moral decline of a nation  always precedes its ultimate demise.  I don't think we're that far from falling over the precipice.  We have basically a two-party government.  One is abjectly evil (Democrats), and the other is totally inept (Republicans).  One has absolutely abandoned any sense of morality while the other stands for nothing.  Both have the same goal, however.  Power!  Neither is in the least bit interested in what is best for the citizens of this country, except as it increases or helps them retain hold on the power they want.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 10:26am
So I guess in Jeffry's world we all do whatever we please, as ethics, be they rationally based or religiously based, such as an ethic found in almost every religion ever, to "treat people the way you would like to be treated."
 
Ethics in religion? THAT's funny. 
 
You presume because I disagree with you it must be binary. That's sad and certainly devoid of "critical thought". Hmm?
 
You presume I don't treat others as I want to be treated from what I have written herein? You're going to hurt your back jumping to conclusions Jeff. 
 
In Jeffry's world I do EXACTLY as I please. I'm a free man living in a free country that gives two shits about me beyond do I renew my visa every year and report my address every 90 days. I have lived here for 18 years without any problems from the government or the Thais themselves. All the additional years I lived in several other countries across the globe had the same result. One doesn't do that by not treating others well. 
 
Religion didn't teach me that. 
 
Guys like you didn't teach me that.
 
I do not see how wishing for people to be ethical is a selfish craving
 
Its selfish for you to crave that which has never been and never will be. Its selfish and its unrealistic. You suffer under the yoke of dismay because you won't get beyond your inculcation. Officials who don't follow the law aren't magically going to start doing so tomorrow for any reason. Fuck'em! 
 
You have no control of the government despite what you've been taught. They don't care about you and never will. Fuck'em. 
 
I posit that you are among the 26% of people world wide that suffer from Authoritarian Follower's Syndrome. The NEED you have for the system to work the way you were bullshitted into thinking it works is shared by billions. 
 
May 4, 1970 forced me to examine the lie that is DUHmerica, part of which is the lie that DUHmericans are equal - they aren't as Nixon proved. Rocked my world. Pissed me off. It forced me to act. I never made the mistake of believing in any system again. Outwardly I gave those who could harm me the appearance of believing their bullshit but they never got my heart and soul again. 
 
But hey, I'm just some dying retired ship driver what the hell do I know compared to an educator. 
George N Romey Added Mar 25, 2017 - 11:08am
Organized religion is part of the corruption.  Like Jeffry said the system only cares about the rich and powerful. We the people are chumps in their little games.  Eventually like Roman, Ottoman and British empires ours will crash.  When empires are done destroying the innocent victims (in this case the fast dwindling middle class) they move onto cannibalism because by nature they thrive on more and more.  The 1% will begin to destroy the other top 9%.
 
I see a huge market and economic crash coming and those titans holding paper wealth might find that paper not worth wiping their butts with.
Mircea Negres Added Mar 25, 2017 - 11:30am
Jeff, you've got to see South Africa, a country where a cabinet minister can ignore the ruling of the Constitutional Court (the equivalent of the U.S Supreme Court) to the benefit of a company which was wrongly awarded the contract to make welfare payments on behalf of government, where power struggles are all too common and top political and business figures are routinely accused of plotting the overthrow of the government, where banks and cellular networks routinely treat their customers with fraud and disdain, people lay thousands of charges of torture against cops every year, the office of the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court was burgled last week (I wonder what would happen if somebody tried that with the Supremes) and 15 computers containing sensitive data on judges was stolen, where the president has dodged 783 charges of corruption and racketeering for over 5 years and then...
 
Then there's Vlad Basarab III, aka Vlad the Impaler. He didn't like Turks and impaled around 20.000 for sultan Mehmed II to see upon invading Romania, impaled many of the nobles who had killed his father and disliked him then had the rest used as slave labor to build a fortress. After his coronation, the story goes that beggars and petty thieves were complaining about how Vlad didn't follow coronation precedent by throwing them a party; after hearing of this, he invited them all to a feast. As the beggars and pickpockets partied and praised the new king's generosity, he showed up, took a look, then exited and ordered his troops to barricade the doors and burn down the building- crime problem solved...
 
Sometimes hard measures are necessary when the rules of law, decency and accountability break down. I'm with you on this one. 
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 25, 2017 - 1:45pm
It is too bad that some of you run away when you are faced with unethical people, but I guess that is the measure of your character. You're right, we cannot teach character, we can only provide examples of it. I feel sorry for people who grew up around people who behaved unethically. My family certainly weren't saints, but they were ethical and taught me to be as well.
I frequently visit a place where you can leave your keys in your car, or leave expensive equipment out, because the likelihood of them being stolen or tampered with is zero. So what you describe as will never be  actually exists, even if that is in several places. I am sorry that could not find such a place in America, but they exist and the people there are happy. They have a nice place and they keep it nice, they behave ethically.
There are places like of which I speak, where there the people are "ethical" and they do not take what is not theirs, and it is in America, but I will say that from the other places that I work, it is the exception. There are many people that take what they do not deserve, the rich as well as the poor. But as a famous Frenchman once said "The rich as well as the poor are forbidden to steal bread and sleep under bridges, but we all know who does it." Morality is expensive. Another French saying: "Those who are destitute cannot afford the luxury of morality." Many of the immoral are far from destitute, but they choose to be immoral anyway, out of greed.
What I am suggesting is that can make a difference, and should, before corruption causes our descent into madness, and running away will not solve the situation.
The government just before the Progressive Era was quite corrupt, and measure were taken, people were removed from office, and standards were established, like civil service tests. They may not have been the ultimate answer, but they changed things for the better for the citizens. We can change things, but running away from them will not solve it. The officials who rode roughshod over the citizens were removed, maybe not all of them but enough of them.
As Mircea says, measures can be taken, even if we have to storm the Bastille, we can win. We faced a king that rode roughshod over us, and it was the greatest power in the world. We defeated them, and established an ethical government. We can again. Members of Congress have been motivated to take pledges on ethics outside of their normal pledges. I see the power to change things in the election of a president who was rejected by the established party members; is that not a demonstration of the power of the people? Was not the voting out of incumbents on a massive scale another demonstration of the power of the people? You underestimate yourselves and the people of this nation. Vote, don't run away. If the people voted in aren't effective, vote them out. We get the government we deserve by ignoring the corrupt or allowing them to continue.
George N Romey Added Mar 25, 2017 - 2:00pm
Jeff first the two party system needs to go.  Its too corrupt and self serving to be reformed.  Second, there needs to be massive economic and social pain, beyond what we have now, to the point people will install change.  In the past election we got Trump and Clinton, clearly a sign of a broken and irrational system.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 2:22pm
Two things Jeff, and let's be crystal clear here. 
 
1) I did not run away as you characterize. Pretty fucking arrogant accusation. I'm certain I won't see you repeat that mistake. Nothing there is worth remaining there for. Zero, zilch, nada. 
 
What I did do is see 45 years ago the system you so badly want to work never has as advertised and never will. It will never change. You claim voting changes things, it doesn't. DUHmericans keep re-electing the same assholes every time. 91% of incumbents are re-elected. Let's not ignore that there is only one party in DUHmerica - The Corporate Party, where GOP and DEM are mere warring factions to give flag waving true believers like you Jeff the illusion of choice. There isn't any. Who you get to vote for is decided long before you get any where near a voting booth. 
 
Your contention that there are places in DUHmerican where you can leave your car unlocked is as preposterous as it is hilarious! So fucking what? I swear I must be talking to a mud fence when talking to the likes of you! That has nothing to do with this thread!!!
 
What doesn't exist and never has with but a few examples is a world where the rich and powerful are held accountable. Shit in one hand and wish in the other - which one fills up faster Jeff? Hmmm? 
 
2) Your inference that I have no character is equally out of line. I'm a very respected Master Mariner. A position that demands character by its very nature. I'm equally certain I'll never see you make that mistake ever again either.
 
Mine has been a life of success and excellence with the professional and personal recognition that comes with it. I have lived and continue to live a life you don't have the imagination to conceive of Mr. Educator. Those who can do, those who can't teach. 
 
I don't underestimate DUHmericans by any stretch of the imagination Jeff. Nosiree.  DUHmericans are, with very few exceptions dogshit stupid, ignorant, illiterate, uninformed and worst of all damn proud of it. 
 
Off you go now, mind the gap between train and platform. BUH-Bye.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 2:24pm
Mircea- DUHmericans don't have the stomach for revolution they're much too absorbed in inanities like having places you can leave your car unlocked and who's going do whatever the hell it is they do on the Voice. 
George N Romey Added Mar 25, 2017 - 2:32pm
Americans continue to be slaves to the masters that enslave them. We keep electing the same people, working for the same kind of people, none of which care about us. Then we wonder why we can only get crummy jobs that keep getting worse and worse.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2017 - 2:39pm


Then we wonder why we can only get crummy jobs that keep getting worse and worse.
 
Or we teach.


 
George N Romey Added Mar 25, 2017 - 3:48pm
Everything is a cost/benefit analysis and we are not included.  A bunch of consultants tell a company it will cost them "X" to move a factory to Mexico and it will have a NPV of "Y". If the result is positive the US facility gets closed down. Never factored in are the lives ruined, families destroyed, or communities weaken.  Some will die by suicide or at least early death from financial stress. People will never be the same.  So where are they in the morality of the equation?  Nowhere.  And no one in power really cares.
 
And we wonder why morals and ethics matter no more. Remember the fish rots from the head down.
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 25, 2017 - 6:20pm
Precisely my point George. The loss of ethics involves representatives who no longer represent the people who elected them. The "leaders" are no longer looking to do anything for the workers, clearly not the path of being ethical. We see the greed take the place of ethical conduct. We are no longer treating those around us as we would like to be treated. There are some, though. Starbucks offers all of their workers health insurance, and they encourage them to go to college. There was another business owner who declared that all of his employees will make $15.00 an hour.
As for teaching, I went to graduate school, and I started with two undergraduate degrees and while taking full-load and it was still almost four years, not to mention standardized tests that a significant amount of people that were trying to be a teacher failed.When I went on to grad school, some didn't join me because they couldn't pass the entrance exams.
I scored very high on most of them, the upper 15% on the biggest entry exam. Becoming a teacher in some states might be easier, but my teaching license cost me 4 years and over $30K, but then, my license will work in any state in this nation. If that was an alternative, it would have been easier to become a plumber.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 26, 2017 - 12:25am
Only a small number of the thousands of applicants are accepted to the school I attended. I went there on a full boat academic scholarship. I struggled but got through and passed my 3rd Mate's test with one wrong answer. Five modules to the test normally taking two days to complete I finished all on the same day with an hour to spare. A test where 90% is a passing grade. I sat for three more professional exams once I acquired the sea time to qualify where 90% was a passing grade as well before earning my Master Mariner ticket. Despite being at sea 6 months a year I went back and got my MS. I was the first in my class to get his own ship. Only 40,000 of us at any time world wide Jeff. Rarefied air we breath as opposed to the millions of you achieving questionable success with your product. 
 
I could have gone the easy route and become a teacher but I needed a bigger challenge.  
Mircea Negres Added Mar 26, 2017 - 3:00am
Jeffry: Americans aren't the only ones who are too self-absorbed to do something about their God-given right to a decent government and society. For the most part it's true of today's Romanians and South Africans too. The former got complacent immediately after the 1989 Revolution and allowed neo-communist apparatchiks to rob them blind and undermine the effectiveness of the government. The latter did pretty much the same thing by voting into power a party of corrupt a-holes for nearly 23 years.
 
Sometimes running away is the only option left, because truth-tellers and those with the determination to behave with integrity are marginalized and maligned until they leave or are murdered. A good case in point is South African sports journalist Graeme Joffe, who had to run for his and the family's lives to the U.S. after he got credible warnings that assassins were coming for him. His crime? Wanting clean sports and investigating corruption. These days he works for CNN in Atlanta, while our politicians are too obsessed with racial quotas in sports teams to care about what's happening to the system and people in it. The result is that like Mr. Joffe, athletes are leaving in droves, mostly rugby and cricket players. The country basically burns while the fat cats fiddle- and I wish I had enough money to emigrate because the stories in The Darkness Under The Brightly Shining Sun and The Long Short Story are true, they happened and I'm tired of being the only one who gives a damn.
Mircea Negres Added Mar 26, 2017 - 3:10am
Jeff, I often tell my relatives "back home" that if I ever returned and entered politics, it would be on a platform of cleaning up the government and getting impaled would be the least of every corrupt motherf%^&er's problems, because I won't hesitate "to open the East European book of horrors" on their rear ends. Freedom without fear, competence, dedication to duty, decency and accountability are ideals worth achieving, for without them we are lost and so are the sacrifices and dreams of those who risked everything to give us a chance, and who these days lie in their graves betrayed by multitudes of cowardly inheritors.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 26, 2017 - 3:40am
Mircea, I would have a lot more respect for DUHmericans if they did less pontificating and more doing something about it. They have exactly the government they deserve. In their heart of hearts they KNOW they live in a shithole yet reflexively wave that red white and blue rag as though it and they mean something. When the excrement hits the oscillating air current distribution equipment guys like Jeff will be the first to perish. 
 
If anyone doesn't think so you need simply review video of the aftermath of Andrew and Katrina. Shining examples of just how exceptional DUHmericans really are. 
 
Hope, desire and so-called intellectual debate are useless against the scum that have usurped power for millenia. Systematic individual effort on an ongoing basis by motivated patriots against those who have demonstrated a lack of accountability whether they be elected, appointed, hired, self-appointed, inherited, entrusted or otherwise is the only solution. A piece of pipe wrapped in friction tape behind the ear of the offender and an ability to keep quiet about it afterward are what will solve the "madness". 
 
That's just me, I could be wrong. 
Bill Kamps Added Mar 26, 2017 - 6:03am
George, technology is what we make of it.  There are countless positives in technology including mobility, longer life span, higher standard of living.  You constantly focus on the negative, but there is no doubt almost everything in our lives is better now than 50-100 years ago.  Quality of health care, our homes, the internet, our cars, our ability travel cheaply on jets, the list goes on.
 
The fact that people choose to be part of the rat race, is their choice. 
 
I dont have email sent to my phone, I dont look at email 18 hours a day, I dont text while I drive, I dont belong to Facebook or Twitter,  I do take vacations where I dont work,  I do work from the beach multiple weeks of the year ( technology allows that ), etc.   These are all choices I make.
 
Technology can work for us or against us, it is our choice.
 
 
Mircea Negres Added Mar 26, 2017 - 7:28am
Jeffry, I agree with you insofar as my knowledge of what happened during and after the hurricanes you mentioned applies, it being quite sketchy to say the least. My point is that Americans are not the only ones in this feces-smeared boat. I've been wracking my brains for a way to fix the cowardly indifference of people for a long time. The only thing that might work seems to be a universal tragedy so big and affecting that individuals finally wake up on a mass scale from the slumber-inducing arms of apathy.
 
Yeah, there's almost nothing worse than cowards waving the flag while a few fight without fanfare in trenches the ignorant don't even see. There's one benefit of Trump's "America first" idea, and that is the possibility Americans will find themselves facing the accumulated problems of a country ignored for decades so that the rest of the world could have an easier ride (think U.S. contributions to NATO among many other things), and perhaps lead to an improvement in the social, political and economic situation of the country and its people.
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 26, 2017 - 8:17am
Mircea has the point-if America spent some of the blood and treasure on itself instead of helping out the rest of the world (especially the Middle East) it could straighten out many of its problems. Perhaps more Americans would be concerned with its problems if our leaders were to concentrate on the problems instead of trying to bring peace to countries that have done nothing but fight each other for centuries and have no interest in resolving them peacefully.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 26, 2017 - 8:20am
Mircea, more truth than poetry there. When the financial collapse occurs or the nuclear war started to hide it only then will DUHmericans stop complaining and do something. For me it was Kent State that opened my eyes, it seems for most it will take a much larger calamity. As I've indicated elsewhere I hope I live to see their reaction. It will give me no pleasure to say I told them so. 
George N Romey Added Mar 26, 2017 - 9:33am
Jeff remember the Middle East is not about brining peace and democracy to that part of the world.  Its about keeping the dollar as the world's reserve currency (petro dollars) and defense companies having plenty of lucrative contracts.  I agree with Jeffry its going to take an economic meltdown that even the Federal Reserve can't paper over for real change to occur.  Only with massive economic and social upheaval will Americans finally throw out the current crop of public and private leaders. Until then Americans are just sheep being led to the slaughter. 
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 27, 2017 - 10:35am
George I do not disagree that we are supporting a petrodollars economy. One of the unethical aspects is that we are defending the rich at the expense of the poor. If they wish to continue the game where they get rich, then let's make them pay. In this position, and let me say again George, I don't disagree, the government is just a mercenary, making sure that the people who have it keep it. Mercenaries have existed for centuries, when the wealthy (sometimes called aristocracy) hired warriors to ensure that they kept their comfortable lifestyle (and their money, of course.) 
George N Romey Added Mar 27, 2017 - 11:04am
Jeff I am reading a book called Every Man A Speculator by Steve Fraser written 2005. The book is a chronology of Wall Street from its early days up to what will be the present time of the book, pre-crash.  Wall Street was just as disgusting and immoral in the 1800s (that's as far as I've got reading the book) as it is today albeit on a much smaller scale.  Even more sickening was the government compliance and adherence to Wall Street demands.  We have been here before.  Now we have the military industrial complex colluding with Wall Street, something we did not have in the 1800s.
 
History shows two successful revolts against the Wall Street and corporate state, in the early 20th century which brought about the first worker reforms and then in the 1930s which created the union movement.  The question is will America have another period of reform?
 
Interestingly, the author lays the foundation and belief that another 1929 style Wall Street induced crash would occur again, which happens three years from publish date.  Smart people foresee another crash coming soon, far worse than 2008 and possibly even 1929, and I wholly agree with their premise.
 
Sadly Americans no longer read, particularly younger Americans. When I was young my father forced me to go to the library, check out books and read.  He had his Saturday quizzes in which I had to explain what I read and what I learned. 
 
Even more sickening is that this kind of intellectual curiosity no longer has value in the job market.  Its nothing more than how many Excel spreadsheets can one crank out in an hour.  If you want to know why the US (and European and Japanese) economies are doing so poorly (fake and misleading stats aside) therein lies the answer.  Intelligence, reasoning, logic and understanding are out, being a good little clueless technocrat is in.  Same goes for the loss of morality.
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 27, 2017 - 11:34am
I'm with you George. The good news is that yes, there have been revolts and Wall Street was forced to give up things. The unions, for all of the corruption and organizational problems, had a good thing at heart, and brought the middle class into the American economy. The military-industrial complex kind of started with the Civil War, with Hormel, (rations) and others who produced war goods who got rich providing for a war (things don't change much do they?) 
The Fed is holding several hundred millions (I forget actual figure but it is staggering) in financial instruments they bought during the meltdown, that they pretend are actually worth something, and they are likely not worth much of anything. They say they will release them slowly, yeah, sure.  The Securities and Exchange Commission, Wall Street's regulatory agency, has been in bed with them for a long long time. If they don't want to be ethical, then legislate or regulate them into it. I am not suffering, but I would like to see some ethics before the whole thing blows up like a hand grenade. 
George N Romey Added Mar 27, 2017 - 2:01pm
The Fed is not required to comply with any means of accepted standardized accounting.  They can hold worthless securities on their balance sheet until the cows come home.  Moreover, they steadfast refuse to open their books to anyone.  Could you imagine if the Post Office got that deal?
Thomas Napers Added Mar 28, 2017 - 3:13am
“I am afraid that we are watching this society’s descent into madness. We are seeing professionals that compromise their integrity because of ideology.”
 
So it’s your assertion that journalists of the past didn’t compromise their integrity because of ideology?  I think the difference now is that for the first time you’re realizing that journalism was never an unbiased profession.  In other words, journalists have always compromised their integrity because of ideology.  Thanks to the internet, it’s much easier to out these “journalists” when they expose themselves as ideologues.  But that doesn’t mean they weren’t ideologues before the internet.
 
As it relates to Donna Brazile, she’s a political analyst and Democratic operative, so her ideology is a part of her profession.  I’d argue she’s more politician than journalist, seeing that she’s been the head of the DNC twice in her career. 
wsucram15 Added Mar 28, 2017 - 3:29am
Good article...George as always great comment and I agree.
Jeffry..perhaps for some, but dont bet on that, seriously.  Not sure about guns and stuff like that, but people are not going to wait for the militarization.
 
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 28, 2017 - 7:42am
I accept the premise that Brazile is a Democratic operative and a full-blown member of the Clinton Syndicate. Why, then, with all of the journalists out there, did CNN hire her to work on the debates? Ms. Brazile brags that she was proud to give HRC questions before the debate so she could look like she could handle off-the-cuff questions when in fact she was forewarned. I did mention that corruption might be just more visible nowadays, when the article states: "Perhaps there weren’t any ethics before, and we just live in an Information Age that is revealing all of the slimy characteristics that were hidden before." I do not accept any explanations for corruption then or now from people who were bound to behave ethically. 
Mike Haluska Added Mar 28, 2017 - 2:38pm
Jeffry - your accomplishment as a Master Mariner is impressive.  I applaud any profession where that person holds the lives of a crew and passengers in their hands and always accepts responsibility.  Is your certification based on the gross tonnage of the vessel?  How much has your profession changed with the advent of GPS navigation, radar and other technologies?
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 28, 2017 - 3:46pm
Haluska - MASTER OF STEAM & MOTOR VESSELS OF ANY GROSS TONS UPON OCEANS. 
 
Much changed before I retired. We saw ARPA and GPS, and other technologies simplify and enhance watch standing. In those days a Sperry ARPA radar would cost tens of thousands where today I have better technology albeit a smaller screen on my boat for less than $2000. GPS were multiple thousands too. They have chart plotters and all that happy stuff now. Its nice but I maintain my paper charts and use them the rare times I can take her out. Celestial Nav is no longer required for Oceans endorsement I assume because of GPS. Idiotic decision that. All the bullshit the puddle pirates piled on after I retired and the additional bullshit post 9/11 would have chafed me raw so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. They've taken all the fun out of it I hear. Just like everything else. Damn I hate those fuckers.
mark henry smith Added Mar 28, 2017 - 5:20pm
If you haven't noticed the world's crazy, you haven't been paying close enough attention.
 
Jeff, this world has been nuts for ... The US is just another example of how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We were the absolute power in the world after WWII, although some might say that the Soviet Union was a player, but I think they were just a bit player compared to us. What was their economy at the time 1/5 of ours, perhaps?
 
Let's not forget that American values are based on Puritanical principles. Were the Puritans insane? Fuck yeah. Fanatical in their desire to control every facet of behavior. Then the land of freedom and liberty is a slave state where human value is based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion.
 
Does anyone here think we've ever truly gotten past that? No, just look at our educational funding. Look at health care. Just look around.
 
People like Jeffry are insane. This belief that government is some monster, but people aren't responsible for government is madness. We make the government. Yeah, these corporations, the military, elites have all kinds of influence that average citizens don't, but why? Is it just because we're afraid of them? What they'll do to use if we rebel? Hell no. The insanity here is that we teach every kid that they can grow up to be president, and get a fortune if they work hard enough, and if they don't, it's their own damn fault. Total bullshit repeated generation after generation and then the blacks are given Obama thinking he's black, when he's really just another really tan white dude with rhythm. What shocked the black community about Obama was how truly un-black he turned out to be. Who does he play golf with now? It not black boys from the hood. It's the rich Jewish and white  guys he went to law school with.
 
You wanna really understand how sick this system is? Look at OxyContin. Here's a drug that was marketed for one reason. It was supposed to be a less addictive opioid, that for some reason turned out to be a more addictive opioid. What a product. Patients kept coming back for more and more because their pain just wouldn't go away and doctors just kept feeding it to their patients without a second thought, and that company made billions and billions. In my trash pick-ups I find scripts for the drug all over.
 
So who's responsible for causing a massive spike in addictions? Who's responsible for the new heroin crisis because now they've stopped being so profligate with oxy? Who's responsible for those OD deaths?
 
Do you think the executives of the company should go to jail? What about the people at the FDA who gave the drug a green light? What do you think our local congressman wants to do about it? Get tough on crime.
 
I'm not fucking kidding you. That's the insane answer to every social problem in America. Get tough on crime. At the bottom.
 
Thanks Jeff. Keep up the good work.         
Jeff Jackson Added Mar 28, 2017 - 6:48pm
Well thank you Mark Henry, i appreciate your vote of confidence. Some interesting points there and certainly some insightful truth in there that I;m sure more than a few people have not considered. Thanks.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 29, 2017 - 12:28am
People like Jeffry are insane.
 
You being the poster boy for insanity I'll have to bow to your diagnosis. 
Mike Haluska Added Mar 31, 2017 - 2:46pm
Jeffry - thanks for the commentary.  I saw the same thing in land surveying.  I used to work for a surveyor during the summer while at Purdue and back in those days there were no laser measuring devices, GPS, etc.  You had to find the nearest survey monument (could be 1/2 mile away) and take a 100' metal tape, a transit, a survey notebook and a rod and away you went! 
 
Now all you have to do is set up the multi-station, push a button and the machine locates itself on the Earth within a centimeter and collects all the elevation, distance, range, heading data into the computer which you take back to the office.  At the office you plug in the survey computer to the Computer Aided Design (CAD) system and it draws the survey for you automatically!