Saturday, July 1, 2017

The More I Look at Trump...

...the more I`m reminded of past experiences with a certain former employer.

In all fairness, Trump himself is more intelligent than the creature for which I worked back then.  That said, that`s not a major achievement.  As I've said on prior occasions...  the notion that Hillary would have been better than Trump is a similarly meaningless statement.  So, too, would a sentient turnip.  #Turnip2020

Comey's prepared remarks alluded to the fact that he felt compelled to record his conversations by typing them down immediately after they occurred.  This is in fact, a feeling I remember too well.  I did the exact same thing with the creature for which I worked back then.  In my case, though, it wasn't so much the disturbing ethics of the conversations, but the outright stupidity of them.  In Comey's case, he only had to deal with his creature for a few months.  I had to deal with mine for just about a year and a half.  As a result, while Comey has a handful of conversations transcribed based on his short-term memory retention...  I have a friggin' gigabyte of raw text.  Portions of this have been shared on the Beyond3d forums and have become the stuff of legends.  Now I've mentioned this creature on a few occasions throughout this blog, but never really elaborated that much because it wasn't all that relevant to the subject matter herein.  This time, though...

Okay, Trump vs. The Creature, as I refer to it, is probably not a perfect analogy.  For instance, I think it's safe to presume that Trump knows how many sides there are in an octagon (yes, that was an actual point of contention).  It's safe to say that Trump is not quite the idiot that The Creature is.  That said, there are a number of important parallels.

The ego, the narcissism, the over-inflated self-importance, the Dunning-Kruger gone wild, the B.S. bragging, the lack of scruples, the simple-mindedness, the Midas complex, the building of wealth through not-entirely-legal means, the relishing of fortune and glory, the latent racism and sexism, and the ostentatious caricature of wealth that they both lived...  There are even quotes that show much similarity.  Trump claiming that his IQ is "off the charts" where The Creature claimed to have an IQ of 1000.  Trump speaks entirely in hyperbole about himself (that he's the "greatest", "best", "smartest", "fittest", etc...  "of all time"), and The Creature called itself the world's best attorney (in spite of never studying law) and even claimed to have turned down a Nobel Prize in Physics stating that it was "beneath" its level.  There's just too much not to notice.

Those of you reading thus far have probably noticed that I have not only been referring to my former employer as "The Creature", but I've also not used any humanizing pronouns ("he" or "she"), but referred to it as "it".  That should give you an idea just how loathsome that thing was, especially after living through it for a year and a half.  Ah, the things a crappy economic state will make one do.  And while Donald Trump is ostensibly a more successful person with a better sense for brand management, (and sadly, Trump is actually less of a blatant sexist than The Creature), he is in many ways significantly worse, and not just because he has attained a far more powerful position.  Trump is largely worse because many of the characteristics that made The Creature loathsome are magnified on account of the scale of Trump's wealth.

People sometimes joke that I took the Trump thing a little too seriously when I moved to Canada.  It's true that I, like many, said that I'd move to Canada if Trump won, but even though I actually did it, I'd still freely admit that I was largely blowing smoke at that time.  The real danger of Trump lied not in Trump himself so much as the combination of Trump with a Republican-dominated Congress.  That effectively gives a deplorable idiot a window through which to push even doubly deplorable policy.  Hillary Clinton with a Republican Congress would have resulted in deadlock that surpasses even that which Obama faced.  But that only means that Hillary would have been a completely useless president (not that she wouldn't have been otherwise), and in the end, one still has to prefer an ineffectual leader to a disastrous one.

Like some, I had a little ray of hope during the campaign period in the way Republicans were briefly trying to distance themselves from the original Annoying Orange...  But that quickly evaporated the moment more history of his philandering came out and the GOP went back to defending the swine.  It basically screamed out that the power of the party was more important than anything and everything.  Not that this is surprising since both parties acted entirely on that.  The only difference is that one is a party made up exclusively of insufferable assholes dedicated exclusively to doing unlimited harm in the interest of fattening their wallets and the other is a party made up exclusively of worthless creampuffs dedicated exclusively to maintaining a status quo in which their wallets perpetually grow larger.

When I hear things like the Trump's line about "grabbing [women] by the pussy"...  In the same video, he very clearly talks about how he can "get away with things like that"...  that doesn't set the image of a guy who actually thinks it's okay to do that...  but a guy who only knew a lifestyle in which okay or not, there are no consequences for him.  That's the life he knows.  When he does things like skimming millions from his own so-called charities to his own pocket, the price of his crime is a fine that is small enough that he still comes out ahead.  When you look at the kind of business he does, he is not the sort to just dive deep into a venture and personally invest himself in it -- he is the type to shield himself from the downside as much as possible while making it look like he's deeply involved.  A sizeable chunk of the businesses labeled "Trump" are really ventures in which he has licensed out the use of his name and brand...  shielding him from failures and allowing him to benefit from the successes.  This is a guy who defrauds people out of the tiniest amounts of money while simultaneously cornering them in such a way that they can't afford to fight back.

The Creature was a much smaller player in less than scrupulous means of making money.  Bear in mind that The Creature made it big in construction and thought video games was something it could do well because it was successful in one business, therefore everything it touched turns to gold.  Sound familiar?  During my time there, The Creature was charged with running a racket involving the theft and illegal resale of fire hydrants.  Now if this sounds weird, consider it from the point of view of a construction company.  Steal hydrants...  the city needs them replaced...  and because you stole them, you can afford to underbid your competitors, and so, you win the contract from the city to replace them.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Now in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty small potatoes.  Still, it's the sort of thing you can get away with for a very long time, and even if you're caught, the fines will be less than what you made over time.  The Creature itself would brag about projects in which it bid below others for a major project, and then sued the clients making it look like the original specifications of the build were different from what was asked, thereby making more than they could have if they'd given a legitimate rate in the first place.  And in the context of where I was working, this same Creature believed that some guy in an alley could crack dongle protection on software and it would be "totally legal."  Really, it's just that it thinks it can get away with anything because...  well...  it always did before.  Sound familiar?

Trump is not simply a child or an idiot or an egomaniac.  He is all of those things, but he is also someone who only knows a life in which he always gets anything and everything he wants and equates all wealth and power with that.  Getting the presidency was, to him, nothing more than a prize he was grabbing for.  Yay!  I'm the most powerful man in the world.  Now I can do anything and everything!  Sure, it might be illegal, but "when the president does it, that means it's not illegal."  Okay, quoting the wrong guy, but definitely not the wrong sentiment.  In the course of his campaign, Trump rather infamously stated that he could walk up and shoot somebody without losing a vote...  The sad part of that is that he was right about that one, but that was just the beginning.  For Trump, the ultimate negative of the Presidency is that it isn't a bed of roses...  There are actual responsibilities that he does not have the luxury of shirking.  And unfortunately for him, his intrinsically unlikable nature will come to the forefront.  This is a man-child who simply believes that nothing undesirable could ever possibly apply to him, and a world in which that's not the case can't be real.  All that crowing about fake news, the "mean" media, the inventions about things that opponents have done, the insults hurled about at anyone who criticizes him rightly...  it's no different than a religious fundamentalist...  It's easier to leap through an endless series of mental gymnastics and construct the most esoteric of contrivances to make yourself right than to ever face up to reality.  That's why the nose on every face in Trump's cabinet is tinted the deepest shade of brown.

The greatest danger of Trump's existence is not just a delusional megalomaniac in power, but that every single transgression that organism in the White House commits is protected by the living disgraces unto humanity that are in Congress.  Republicans in power with an flagitiously moronic boor like Trump at the top means carte blanche to push any legislation imaginable, and there is nothing more valuable than that.  Of course, I left the U.S. for other more immediately practical reasons, and there's still a mess trying to make those count again.  But I'm given pause to wonder at times whether there will still exist an America to which I can return.  Yes, I'm referring more to the philosophical "America" than the physical one, of course.  While that might be an exaggeration in the literal sense, it is meant more as a political climate signal -- a well-deserved one.