Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Firefighter Reaction Shows This Country Has Lost Its Soul

By Manifesto Joe

After coming home from my job very late in the evening after 19 elite firefighters were burned to death in Arizona -- the worst loss of life in a wildfire since the Great Depression -- I was channel-surfing the TV to find out the latest on this horrible development.

I was quite nonplussed to see that I couldn't find anything on it for a long time. Granted, it was all over the Internet. But even Fox News didn't have anything on it when I switched the TV channel there. Instead, they had some pasty-faced right-wingers on there decrying homosexual marriage, and then calling Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis and the Austin abortion rights protesters cheap thugs who hijacked the democratic process (if this had been the other side of the issue, of course they all would have been heroes who demonstrated the value of civil disobedience).

I couldn't find anything on the firefighters, at least not for a long time. Finally, as 2 a.m. came, my wife put the channel on CBS's Up to the Minute. At the top of the hour, there was finally an update on the 19 brave heroes who gave their lives trying to save people's homes from a raging wildfire.

CBS gave a very adequate account of the Arizona debacle. But it certainly took a long time for us to channel-surf enough to find it. This is when it hit me -- this country really has gone to hell, hasn't it?

This glaring omission by the news media, I considered, was just one of many ugly symptoms that some sort of rotten decadence has seized the very core of America. It's not ideological; it has little to do with right or left. It's more of a sense vs. nonsense question.

Something else I've been noticing is the carnage on the roads, and how many wrecks that kill and maim could easily have been prevented had the drivers used a bit of common (uncommon?) sense. In the city where I moved a little over five months ago, there are bloody wrecks on the local TV news almost nightly. People drive on the crosstown freeway here like it's the Autobahn, or perhaps even the Indy 500. They often don't even have the excuse of being drunk -- it's DWS, driving while stupid. Pickups, however shiny and new, and SUVs were not designed to be driven on freeways at 80 or 90 mph. When the driver loses control or has a blowout, the vehicle flips, and often someone, sadly in a nearby vehicle, is killed. And the police never seem to be there until it's time to pick up the pieces, and body parts.

American decadence isn't new. I started noticing it, big time, about 35 years ago, when I was still a very young man. But that's a long time, half a lifetime, for people, corporations and government entities to just keep exhibiting more and more brainlessness.

Yes, it's been happening to large institutions as well, and perhaps to them worst of all. For example, there's a general consensus that outsourcing has been a colossal failure. Jobs are being shipped to places on the planet where, quite often, English is not even the phone rep's second language, let alone their first. When I call some company for customer service or tech support, I often have to ask the rep to repeat what they just said. And it's usually the case that I have to call a second, or even a third time, to get the right thing done. Yet, despite the obviousness of this mistake, the profit-crazed corporations don't want to admit an error, and continue down this path unabated.

What we appear to be witnessing is the broad-based decline of a culture, and an empire. It can't just be something in the water -- the witnesses are drinking from the same reservoirs. The sad truth appears to be that this country has lost its soul, has become directionless. When 19 brave men die horribly in a wildfire battle, and it gets no more coverage, and perhaps not even as much, as gay marriage or a state-level abortion debate, then something has gone dreadfully wrong. It has little to do with which side of those social issues one is on. It's a very basic thread of human values that seems to have gone awry.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

13 comments:

Old Scout said...

Joe -

In sense, I knew what had happened with th firefighters: their shelters had failed because the backblast of the fire was too intense for their construction. That and no consideration that there had been no low intensity fire in the area for about 50 years led to circumstances too great to overcome, much less, manage.

No one is at fault for the coverage. There was just no information ... yet, and being polite; not embarrassing the local government, waiting for germaine facts, and reporting something other than idle speculation (CNN) or vacuous speculation (Fox/Faux) --- some of them went with silence.

You are absolutely correct about the moral decay. We will disagree with the cause and symptoms. I believe it began with Carter's amnesty for draft dodgers and war resistors. Allowing crimes at the felony level to go unpunished or un-addressed is either amoral or immoral. I was no volunteer; I was drafted, like the other guys in my platoon. Like some of them I acquired more education after the war; the greatest loss any culture experiences is social a conscience; the second greatest is loss of institutional memory. We began losing both in the Nixon era and it was completed with the loss by the republi-can'ts in 2008. At that point there was no reason for a moral basis in their management of a government they forced to abdicate its responcibilities to the governed --- since they wished to abdicate governance.

My best wishes for a continued successful career. Enjoy your holiday weekend; keep up the good work, especially that with which we don't agree.

Eternal Vigilence
(just another)
Old Scout.

Anonymous said...

re:
>>Carter's amnesty for draft
>>dodgers and war resistors

This wasn't what was wrong. What was wrong was the Vietnam War itself. It was a war that was based on lies, every bit as much as the Iraq War.
I read the recent book, "Kill Anything That Moves," and it reminded me, once again, at how evil this war was. Sure, all wars are bad, really. But this war was particularly evil.
Note that I'm not attacking those troops who served. Most of them did no crimes. And many of them believed they were doing the right thing.
But they weren't.
They were lied to. The crooked politicians (and their corporate puppet masters) that got us into that war are the real villains.
It's hard for me to have any negative feelings about Carter's amnesty. The war itself was wrong. Not everyone was like George W. Bush and had a rich and powerful daddy who could pull strings to make sure junior didn't see combat.
It's a shame that America didn't learn any lessons from Vietnam. That's one reason we got into another unnecessary war in Iraq. (And I'm now fearful that we've not learned any lessons from that either and will likely wind up in more unnecessary wars in the future).

Old Scout said...

Your comment is anonymous and so is your moral values system. Neither has a name.

You hide behind the solipsis that you attack no soldier, while you belittle them with your abandonment of the outcome of their service. What have you ever done for a drafted veteran? What is your attitude about draftees who attended officer training; gave orders; organized soldiers; sustained discipline amoung soldiers and prosecuted those who resisted?

The liar was JFK and his band of Ivy League brudders with pompadours, 3-piece suits, 2-kids, convertibles and estates on Martha's Vineyard. They lied to LBJ as well as the public. JFK & Nixon got us into the quagmire and then tied Johnson's hands with the original "Southern Strategy".

We did learn lessons from VietNam, but none that you've studied or would accept; none of them is in-line with your republi-can't strategy of letting the other guy always pay the bill while you raid the till..
.

Anonymous said...

re:
>>Your comment is anonymous and so
>>your moral values system

I'm not sure I follow your logic here.

re:
>>The liar was JFK

With all due respect, JFK was a true American hero. He was a patriot who bravely served his country and was severely wounded and lived the rest of his life in extreme agony. JFK wasn't the liar. The CIA lied to him. So did the Military Industrial Complex, whose growing power Ike warned us about. I don't believe JFK wanted war in Vietnam. Indeed, his reluctance to go to war (along with his vow to "shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces" probably got him killed. (Anyone who think Oswald acted alone probably thinks Dick Cheney was an honest man).

Manifesto Joe said...

Old Scout, you're a cool dude, but I have to agree more with anon on this one.

Vietnam and Iraq were both essentially invasions (yes, I said invasions) of foreign countries by the U.S., with no provocation.

I know that Saddam was a bad guy, but we've dealt with assholes like that before, many times, with containment policy. I think the Iraq war, in hindsight, was speculation that the U.S. could just go in there and steal their oil (of course, it didn't turn out to be that simple).

Vietnam was an invasion of a foreign country, unprovoked. The 1954 Geneva Accords called for a plebecite in the country. The Eisenhower administration nixed that, because they were afraid that Ho Chi Mihn would actually WIN. The war ensued after that.

The U.S. folly in Vietnam was more understandable, in that the world had seen what Stalin-type communism was like, and there was a perception that it had to be fought militarily, by any means necessary. People didn't have the hindsight at the time to know that it was an unworkable economic system that would implode on its own.

But I would have to agree with anon that both were hideously unnecessary wars.

Old Scout said...

No one around here is as cool as you. But thanks ... high praise, in deed, coming from you.

Since we're disagreeing with each other and with respect for the others' experience, education and perspective ... this argument should be required reading for republi-can'ts. The 4100 character limit requires that I split this submission; please copy both into an editor before reading the whole.
Now, on to the points ...

Before changing one's mind on an issue, one must first understand to unlearn what came before is more critical than accepting the new facts or perspectives. What I'm going to demonstrate over the course of this discussion is going to be hard for defenders of the Kennedy family to accept. JFK's Naval record was superior to his political estate. Politically - today - he would be anti-choice, anti-tax and somewhere to the right of randpaul.

As extensions of statecraft and diplomacy both wars were unnecessary and inappropriate. The entire Iraq operation was an exercise in apartheid by a minority of the political party in office through juridical chicanery. The parallel with VietNam doesn't exist.

VietNam, on the other hand, was the personal province of dicknixon. His Chairmanship of the National Security Council was the price Eisenhower paid to keep nixon from running against him in '56 primaries. Nixon's intent in VietNam was to treat the Sov's as a bully, a playground bully, and face off against it. He also believed a bully learns more from winning a playground fight, if damaged, than if it was put in the posture of continuously ramping up its involvement and having to commit to defending its home turf. So his intent was to bloody the Sov's nose and quit - losing the military war but winning the political dialectic. He was so convinced he was winning the Presidential election of '60, that he neglected to close the back door of his political game.
Kennedy arrived with the Bay of Pigs in the open and VietNam hidden under the blankets of the Cia. He also saw VietNam through the same lens as nixon's. It was a classic case of Catholicism vs. Mystic Oriental Spiritualism, and the Vatican was pushing hard because of the self-immolation of the monks.

All politics on the national level ... since 1935 has been push back against a social net developed by FDR by the Republican Party. All was polite and genteel until nixon was disgraced by a few SOUTHERN DEMOCRATS whose vision of the Constitution wasn't as predictable as their support of "Jim Crowe". JFK wasn't married to the NewDeal. If he had been, there would have been no need for his "New Frontier". All he had to do was endorse FDR's initiatives and commit to the incomplete elements of FDR's vision.

Old Scout said...

After the fiasco at the Bay of Pigs, JFK was cornered. If he didn't escalate in VietNam, he would have to run from behind in '64. So Eisenhower's education and training program was ramped up to include working combat advice during the combat from "on-hand" advisors and advocates of nixon's "initiative to give the commies a bloody nose, fat lip, black eye and then BACK OFF militarily." " ... Our mission is to lose the military confrontation so we may win the political battle ... " was the the mission statement taken from Nat Sec meeting minutes of September '57; reiterated again in '58, '59, '60, and in later invited visits with the Nat Sec Council during JFK & LBJ tenures as President. These meeting weren't briefed 'on the record' to others in the administration. All briefings outside the Council were to the Pentagon, CIA & select staffers at Foggy Bottom.

VietNam was a conflict designed to lose militarily and that failed. We actually won militarily. More crically we lost politically, socially and spiritually. Everything done poorly in the VietNam period was enhanced by political chicanery in Iraq. In VietNam all the graft I saw was by VietNamese, like in Afghanistan. Iraq was an excuse to transfer wealth from tax-paying and largely unemployed families bouyed by the safety net --- to wealthy and politically connected former draft-dodgers and graft-codgers. Oil was the Magician's "look at this" open hand, while all the real graft was transferred through no-bids, circumstantial condition exceptions and other artifices designed to separate USAn's from their tax dollars and their future earnings. They leveraged our future to pay for their largesse.

In VietNam we were entangled in a military confrontation abroad that was designed to lose, which we won, ensuring a peace at home which we would never win. This discussion, 40 years after we pulled troops (but not advisors & trainors)is an excellent example of the infinite bifurcation of our society.

Do you teach English or History?

Manifesto Joe said...

Naw. Those were both good subjects for me. I have 42 hrs. of college English, and I won two history prizes in HS and took a test that placed me out of 6 college hrs. of U.S. history.

I ended up being a newspaper copy editor. Not a good pick in this time. That's why I got laid off and had to relocated to a different city. This business is likely to last just about long enough for me to collect S.S., provided it's still there.

Your responses are intriguing. One point on which I'm not much aligned with anon is Kennedy idolatry. From what I understand, JFK reveled in "the game" of geopolitics and was quite a player. Like anon, I sincerely doubt that Oswald acted alone, but I never saw JFK as quite the hero that so many thought he was.

Old Scout said...

Off the record, deep background and not for attribution ...
Copy editor! hardest job on a paper. Every reporter believes it's an amalgamation of Shakespeare and Hemingway. And ... more erudite than Einstein. And every managing editor wants more details, while the publisher wants copy cut back for more ads.

As for the Warren Report ... I was busy ducking bullets, not parsing data to which I wasn't a party at its presentation.

LBJ is a great example of education producing liberals.

LBJ was last true liberal President. Kennedy's cabinet lied to LBJ from Day-1; McNamara's Band as they were affectionately known in the Pentagon and at Langely did as much to redistribute wealth from taxpayers to contractors and manufacturers.

Anonymous said...

How's all that hopey changey stuff working out for you Libs? LOL

Manifesto Joe said...

About as well as Il Doofus worked out for right-wingers. More on that to come.

Old Scout said...

To address US' changes as "that hopy changey thing' is an insult, not a thesis statement. You're not here to participate in a discussion. You're here to hurl insults, try one-liners and divert our attention from issue that matter to dealing with your puerile mind.

When you have ceased using your navel for a periscope, you may return.

Employment is up.
Confidence is up.
Untaxed profits traitorously shipped offshore are up.
Tax collections of payroll deductions are up.
Quarterly reported Income and taxes paid by patriots are up.
Missy Mcconnell is running for its life.
Other republi-can'ts are jumping off his re-election train
You may laff all yew want, but come January2015, the laughter will be silenced.
Fortunately it takes no real time allocation or intellectual effort to trash you.

Rachelle said...

Cool!