History Reruns

Today’s foundational texts are the famous Marx quote about history repeating itself first as tragedy and then as farce, and Santayana’s axiom that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

On the first, we have the ever-farcical liberals going from stepping on rakes to stepping on land mines. Or in this case, Vice President Kamala Harris telling the people of West Virginia that they need to clean up the “abandoned land mines” in the state. Somebody alert the estate of Princess Diana, who made abandoned land mines her global social cause.

It’s actually even worse than this, as Harris made her comments in an appearance in West Virginia that appears to have been, as Politico describes it, a ham-handed attempt to pressure West Virginia’s dissident Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, but, to continue with Politico‘s account:

It only antagonized him. “I couldn’t believe it,” Manchin said in a video that went viral Saturday. “No one called me [about it]. … We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward … but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together, what was done.”

I’m told Manchin also conveyed his displeasure privately to senior White House officials late last week. Another head-scratcher in all this: Harris isn’t exactly popular in West Virginia. And in the interview, she referred to “abandoned land mines” instead of “abandoned mine lands” in West Virginia, a slip-up sure to cause eye rolls in the state.

This reminds of me of the first week or two of the Clinton Administration in 1993, when an “anonymous senior White House aide” (who was likely either Stephanopoulos or Rahmbo Emanuel) told Time magazine that they’d simply “roll over” Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had expressed initial skepticism about the Clinton plans for health care reform. President Clinton had to ring up Moynihan to apologize and smooth things over.

You’d think the Biden White House, given his long years in the Senate, would be more politically astute than this, but then. . .  Well, let’s just say these particular “land mines” blew up in their face.

In the “doomed to repeat itself” department, I see that this week’s target of the Reddit Revolution is silver, whose price is soaring on the market today, reaching $30 an ounce at one point this morning.

Once again, I am old enough to remember the last time someone tried this—Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brother in 1979-80, when they attempted literally to corner the market on silver, accumulating an estimated third of the world’s physical supply of silver, and running the price from about $6 an ounce to $50 an ounce in the space of a few months. Then the inevitable happened: it all crashed back to earth in March 1980. And because the Hunt brothers had bought much of their silver on margin, the crash cost them billions.

Most of today’s Robber-Redditors have probably never heard of the Hunt brothers or their great silver escapade. It’s a fine line between a short squeeze and losing your shorts. But they’ll find this out eventually.

Meanwhile, a chart of long-term, inflation adjusted silver prices, where you can see the Hunt bubble bursting:

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