26 October 2015

Doomed to Repeat

Continuing last entry's theme of insanity:

  • The current US political scene is more and more resembling 1971, with the parties slightly inverted. But only slightly. Ever since 1971, both parties have been almost relentlessly center-right in their orientation, mostly distinguished by rhetorical flourishes (often based on a single issue dubiously tied to "morality") and the particular personae of their public leadership. Take a look at the de facto one-party rule in Chicago and New York and San Francisco — and the chummy relationship of both parties (and their leaders) with the banking/investment and insurance industries — before you too blithely dismiss this...

    The McGovern wing of the Heffalumps is, at present, in the ascendant — within the Party (at least as measured by the volume and intolerance of the rhetoric). Just witness the problems with selecting a Speaker of the House (disturbingly paralleled by the 1969-73 struggle below Speaker among the Jackasses). <SARCASM> At least then-Senator Eagleton admitted both that he had had significant psychiatric intervention, and had needed it; would that the current slate of presidential "candidates" (both parties) would do the same, if only regarding narcissism and self-awareness. </SARCASM> Unlike virtually all of the current candidates, though, Eagleton actually participated in national service (and interrupted his upper-middle-class educational trajectory) before seeking a close personal relationship with The Button. Even if these days The Button more likely concerns the opening bell for the securities markets than it does silos in North Dakota filled with something other than grain.

  • More insidiously, there's a feature of the prized American jury system that simply must be eliminated: the exclusion of potential jurors on a peremptory basis. I've had a personal taste of this myself, having been stricken many times from courts-martial and administrative panels because I was a sitting commander (and under the mythology of the military defense system, therefore overly predisposed — even more than military officers as a whole — to believe the worst of the accused and not listen to the evidence). But it's only a taste, and I don't pretend to have fully internalized the costs of being tried by a jury of one's social superiors. I can only emphathize; but that's part of the point and function of the jury system in the first place.
  • At last, the leadership wanted (and arguably deserved, just like in Chicago) in Eastern Europe. Which is slightly less disturbing than another legendary leader of that ilk. It looks like the Empire really is pretty evil.
  • Sometimes athletes are smarter than the politicians. Of course, given that some of those politicians would have us believe that an open-ended, no-periodic-payments, well-below-market-interest loan of $1 million (plus a substantial inheritance) in the early 1970s doesn't indicate privilege, that's not a very difficult standard.