Fighting Trolls With Trolls

Russian interference in our elections — is it really a bad thing? Yeah, it is, but since the federal government so far seems to be doing very little about it, maybe we ought to encourage interference in our elections instead — by everyone.

We could pass a lot of laws and spend a lot of money and still not stop the Russians, or we could relax and let someone else do the work for us.

Let’s assume that for some weird reason the Russians want to support Donald Trump. But the Chinese certainly don’t want to support Donald Trump. They’re as capable of trolling and hacking as anyone else. Why not invite them to join the party to counteract the Russians?

You’re thinking now that this would encourage other countries to interfere too. Of course it would. The more the merrier — or scarier.

Saudi Arabia, say, would hack in for Trump, but then Iran would hack in for the opposition. Brexiteer trolls could do battle with Mexico. Norway could take on an offended shithole country.

It even works domestically (and probably already does) — the Koch Brothers could take on Tom Steyer and George Soros.

At some point, not only does everyone cancel each other out, but the internet and every other media outlet will be so clogged with politics that we’ll have to ignore it to maintain our sanity. Order and balance will be restored.

The concept is not dissimilar to what’s happened in the aftermath of Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that unleashed torrents of money into the political system. A lot of people think this is a bad thing, and it does seem wasteful and undemocratic. But you can’t argue that just one side has all the money. The Kochs and the Mercers are offset by the Steyers and Soros and millions of small donations. We’re all in this together.

All that political money is vital to the economy of the future. When technology takes all of our real jobs, we’re going to have to figure out a way to distribute the fruits of all that robot labor. There are two obvious things we can pay each other for: personal entertainment and personal lobbying.

If you can put together a hilarious, yet meaningful one-person show defaming politicians, you’ll be fixed for life.

So, as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, such as Russian interference or massive political spending, combine them with limes. It could be delicious.

An alternative. There is, of course, another way to offset Russian election interference — interference in Russian elections. If they can hack us, certainly we can hack them.

Consider the scandals that must be hidden in Vladimir Putin’s emails. Putin is divorced — there’s got to be a reason why. Even if there isn’t, we can make one up.

Are those anti-gay laws in Russia a distraction from Vlad’s real proclivities? We’ve seen that shirtless horseback picture. Surely, we can Photoshop someone onto the next horse.

All we need are people who can fake Russian accents and tell us about Putin’s non-disclosure agreements and murder conspiracies. Some of them could even be true.

If we do this well enough, there could be an internet nonproliferation treaty in the offing.

Cat profiling. At last we have a judicial ruling that not all cats are alike. An Arizona Court of Appeals panel has ruled that feral cats are not the same as domestic cats — even though a lower court ruled they “were acting as if they were domesticated.”

I have a few favorite sentences from this ruling.

“While not common, one can imagine an insured keeping a nontraditional animal such as a snake, cougar, monkey, or even a bear in the home or in an associated structure.”

One can, but I’m not sure one should.

“At oral argument, however, State Farm asserted that a species-based definition of the Exclusion would exclude coverage for damages to a dwelling caused by a wild horse, but allow coverage when the damages are caused by a skunk an owner keeps as a pet …”

There must be some weird pet owners out there.

And my favorite, from a footnote: “But Smith involved a cow kept by the insured that fell into the insured’s swimming pool …”

Imagine being the lifeguard.

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