When justice devolves into a show of force
Where has the moral palpability of the government gone?
Today, an indictment was announced by the Justice Department of the two co-creators of Tornado Cash, an Ethereum application that obfuscates cryptocurrency transactions using a decentralised algorithm. It seems that they are being charged fully as money laundering criminals, even though a year ago the sanctions imposed by OFAC were legally questionable because they were not sanctioning any persons or legal entities, but rather a piece of computer software. A court rubberstamped that legal fiction though, so I guess we’ll just roll over. What?
It should go without saying that I’m not, nor have ever been a serious fan of cryptocurrency. If I was, I would almost certainly be Bitcoin rich from being an early adopter, because I am a bona fide informatician (also known as computer scientist). I would have known if that was my forte, but at the time I was more into video game fanhacking.
And further, I do agree with every moral premise being levied against the scourge of money laundering on its face. But, I have to ask, what good are the morals doing us these days? We have these rules in order to protect the integrity of our society. If, somehow, it were practical to cheat the moral codes, then they would stop serving as a real check against the behaviour they proscribe, and more of a tar pit trap for chumps to get stuck in and sociopaths to manoeuvre around.
I don’t know the answer to this question, but I gander it isn’t an easy one, nor a pretty one. The political career of Donald Trump has served as a huge wake-up call to the epidemic of corruption on Capitol Hill that, until he came along, huge swathes of right-leaning and outright Conservative Americans have been blissfully unaware of, sold on the lie that the courts flushed all of it down for good with Nixon’s impeachment. They thought that the liberal bias of the media was just a bias, and that if the truth became hard to ignore, they would regrettably report on it. The Steele dossier, January 6th and Hunter Biden showed them dead to rights from stem to stern about that. Not only will they invent whole cloth fictions about regime opponents, they will relentlessly cover for regime allies and confidants. We’re hearing about a gun charge that the DOJ was trying to parry into blanket immunity in a phoney-ass plea deal because God knows what the man was actually up to with Chinese spies or anything else that they’re not even trying to bring to light. It doesn’t get any more blatant than this.
Meanwhile, RFK Jr. is stirring a conversation on the left about these very same themes, leveraging his legacy in the Kennedy family to hearken to the values in governance and society that Americans seem to have lost lately, for one reason or another. He takes global geopolitics more seriously than most in Washington apparently do, because he understands the long-term reality that an America that abuses its privileges as world police and world purse is an America that eventually loses all of those privileges, one way or another. He finds the neoconservative impetus to annihilate Russia because we ‘won’ the Cold War rightly unconscionable, and is trying against great public inertia to steer the US back into the position it needs to be in to maintain the right to rule. As much as I like that idea, I am very doubtful that he will be able to pull it off. Time will tell.
For as much common sense as RFK talks about foreign policy, I like to think I have him one-for-one with domestic policy in the very same vein. Because at the end of the day, we’re asking the same difficult question out of America: can we show the compassion, restraint and better judgement necessary to wield the levers of the world? It’s not optional – with great power comes great responsibility.
Why wouldn’t BRICS redouble its efforts when we just sent an astronaut up to the ISS against probably thousands of individual denials of better judgement and common sense who proceeded to trash the place with biowaste and ruin the only working bathrooms on a warpath to be let back down to space? These were actual Russians on board, discreetly loaning their bathroom on guard to former Air Force captains and Navy commanders, because they were stuck in fucking diapers thanks to a mental nutcase drilling a hole in their bathroom compartment. That person single-handedly ruined 30 years worth of scientific experiments and cost an estimated $1 trillion dollars in economic damage to the programme. And when it came time to report on this, how was it spun? Oh, we just want to crash the ISS into the ocean now, it’s time to retire the program really, we’ve done all of the science up there so we’re good now, just gonna call it a wrap okay? Isn’t that weird?
You can’t fucking run the world like this, lying to people’s faces and being completely full of shit to the bitter end. Something has to give, and if you can’t find it within you to be mean and tell people ‘No’ sometimes, then that thing that gives will be your nation and its credibility. How much longer are your righteous sanctions against Putin’s illegal war going to matter? To be completely clear, I agree with the sanctions, but that isn’t going to matter much if they don’t fucking work. Are we better than this or should I pack my shit?