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American Gladiators

I was trying to extract some sympathy from my neighbor about jury duty, or rather, why I should be excused from it. I complied with the court order to fill out my questionnaire honestly and completely. But the court order does not prohibit one from also being candid as well as honest, since candidness is just the particular form of honesty in which you offer more information than they perhaps wanted to hear.

For instance, when they ask whether I would consider evidence legitimate if it came from a convict who is bargaining with the State, I said in no uncertain terms that I consider such evidence dubious and probably contaminated.

Why did my neighbor make such a cross face at me? He even began spouting out-dated cliches about how our Legal System was 'the best in the world.' How could he know that? It would take extensive world travel and use of various legal systems to really know that. I have read bicycle travel blogs by non-Americans about crossing into America, and being disgusted with being finger-printed by Homeland Defense goons.

My neighbor wasn't talking on the basis of evidence. He was just uncritically accepting the American Exceptionalism that his grade school teachers taught him.

When are people going to stop talking about America as if we are living in the age of Paul Revere or Thomas Jefferson? We are living in the modern Roman Empire. The other day I watched the movie Gladiator for the first time in a while. It reminded me that Caesar Augustus still kept up the form of going to the Senate for "approval" of various decrees and decisions.

We just hit the 60 day limit of our "kinetic military action" in Libya. The War Powers Resolution requires the American caesar to come before Congress for permission to keep going with the latest military reality-TV-show. Caesar Obama didn't even bother to pretend that he needed Congress's approval. A few Republicans are making some noise about it, but of course they wouldn't if the leather sandal were on the other foot.

Ancient Rome kept its mob distracted with gladiatorial games, horse races, mock sea battles, and free food. American does the same with Permanent War, food stamps, and government-guaranteed loans for houses, diplomas, and cars. "The best system in the world," you know.