FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How to Spite Putin

I don’t think the Russian government fooled around with the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. government won’t release its evidence so that it can be judged by independent experts — and that makes me suspicious. I am not impressed that a bunch of “handpicked” (James Clapper’s words) analysts from three intelligence bureaucracies (not 17) have moderate-to-high confidence the Russians did it. An expression of confidence is not evidence. Besides, we’ve been through this before. The evidence for Iraqi WMD was a “slam dunk,” remember? The admonition to trust the intelligence “community” makes me laugh.

Those who insist the Russians did it make two conflicting claims: the Russians are said to be incredibly skilled at cyber espionage and were incredibly sloppy in hacking the DNC and John Podesta emails. Come on, what do you take us for? What skilled criminal leaves his fingerprints all over the crime scene? Would Vladimir Putin have left his calling card like a comic-book villain? What would Sherlock Holmes, Frank Columbo (that’s the lieutenant’s first name), or Adrian Monk say about that?

 

Something else feeds my doubt. Reports that Putin didn’t expect to keep Clinton from winning the presidency, but only wanted to damage her, are hard to believe. A damaged Clinton would still be more powerful than Putin, and the public would have backed her when she retaliated for election tampering. The competing theory that Putin expected Trump to win make the Russian quite the prognosticator because no one else — including Trump, apparently — expected him to win. And why would Putin want such a thin-skinned unpredictable narcissist in the White House? Because he had dirt on him? Perhaps. But in response to a blackmail threat, a President Trump would be as likely to tweet a jpeg of an ICBM with the words “Blackmail this, loser.” I suspect Putin preferred the devil he knew.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Russians are skilled at hacking (we would never intervene in a county’s elections) but bungled this one job big time. Those who now see Russians (if not Putin himself) under every bed warn that they’ll be back, in 2018, 2020, and beyond. Our electoral system is no longer safe. America is on the brink of disaster. What to do? What to do?

I have an idea. It’s so clever and foolproof that I’m surprised no one in the ruling elite and its mass media has thought of it. We can yank the rug out from under that dastardly Putin, and he’ll never bother us again.

How? Let’s make national elections so inconsequential that he would regard meddling as a colossal waste of his precious time.

Why would he care who got elected if the government couldn’t do much? Imagine a president and Congress that could not seize what rightfully belongs to others, could not put people in cages, could not hand out booty to well-connected interest groups and individuals, could not impede trade, could not prohibit peaceful activities, could not grant privileges, could not intervene in other countries’ affairs, could not oversee a vast bureaucracy dedicated to espionage, could not start aggressive wars, could not nurture a sprawling economy-distorting military-industrial complex, and could not do all the other things governments do today.

In other words, imagine if politicians and bureaucrats were judged by the same moral standards that the rest of us are judged by. The identity of the president of the United States would matter to the outside world less than the identity of the president of Switzerland. (This year it’s Doris Leuthard.)

If all that this idea accomplished was to keep Putin out of our business, lots of people should like it. But the benefits would be so much greater. For example, the campaign-finance problem would disappear overnight. Years of campaign-finance reform has accomplished nothing but make the problem worse, if the campaign watchdogs are to be believed. So here finally is something that would work. No one will bribe politicians if they have nothing to deliver in return — just as no one shops where there’s nothing to buy. Campaign-finance problem gone! My proposal should be heartily welcomed by the anti-Citizens United crowd.

And here’s one last benefit from my proposal, which I almost overlooked. We’d be free.

More articles by:

Sheldon Richman, author of America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.  He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail