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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump

The Limitations and Liabilities of American UX

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“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
— Roy Trenneman, The IT Crowd

In 1752, a few decades before our founding fathers set down the terms and conditions for the American experiment, Benjamin Franklin harnessed electricity. But it would be the next century before the first machines ran on electric power and perhaps a century more before anyone devised a concept resembling what we now know as a reset button. Otherwise, the founders might have enshrined something like a reset button in our Constitution. Instead we’re left with mere checks and balances, which, while not too shabby as founding ideals go, nonetheless run on slow, outmoded processors and are largely ineffectual for the work that lies ahead.

Checks and balances, when properly employed, can preclude abuses of power — provided they are wielded by people who themselves are not party to those abuses — but only a reset button can reverse the consequences of those abuses once they’ve occurred. And we don’t have a reset button.

A reset button is what this nation will need after the current occupant of the White House is shipped off to the supermax in Florence, Colorado, where he deserves to die eventually. In a cage, separated from his family.

A reset button could in some measurable way undo the damage caused by the lies and crimes and general fuckery of those who have enabled him after they too become guests of the American penal system.

A reset button could invalidate everything that has happened since he took office and send us back to a clearly defined Square One — which, for the sake of argument, could be the state of national affairs as of, say, 9 p.m. Eastern, November 8, 2016, or 11:59 p.m. Eastern, January 19, 2017 — the beginning of an alternate timeline of sorts that allows us not merely to imagine but to experience our nation and the current American moment as it might have been had a narcissistic sociopath, compromised asset and treasonous con man not benefited from and in all likelihood directly participated in the intervention of a foreign enemy to install him as our leader.

But there is no reset button.

Because even if he is ultimately exposed, charged, tried, found guilty and punished for his crimes against America — this man who, ironically, will have benefited from perhaps more measurable, quantifiable due process than has ever been accorded to a convicted felon in this country — he will still have a judicial legacy which cannot be undone. As will the complicit Senate majority leader.

Even if he takes dozens of accomplices down with him — family members, advisors, campaign operatives, political appointees, even other elected officials — there will be limits to what damage can be undone and how. Legislation will still exist that cannot easily be reversed or revised; structures will still be in place that cannot easily be dismantled.

Even when he is replaced by someone more closely resembling an American leader, statesman and public servant, we will still have damaged relations with other nations and their leaders that cannot easily be repaired. Even our allies, as forgiving and understanding as they may be under the circumstances, will still have reason to trust us a little less and be more guarded about our intentions going forward.

There has been willful damage done to our environment that is likely beyond repair.

There are billionaires and corporations — including this alleged billionaire and his foreign creditors, as it were, who benefit from his money-laundering operations because he can’t pay them back any other way — further enriched at the expense of the middle class, the working class, the poor and the weak, for whom there will be no restitution or reparation.

There are lives that have been carelessly or even deliberately harmed by this administration that can’t and won’t be made whole again. There are dead who cannot be brought back to life.

We can’t just revert to the factory default settings that were in place when we first unboxed this corrupted product, this administration that has malfunctioned and deviated from specifications since the moment we bought it.

We aren’t entitled to a replacement under the warranty. At best we’ll end up with a refurbished product and occasional updates to the operating system.

There is no command-Z to undo what has already been done.

There is no reset button.


Written by Shepcat

July 17, 2018 at 11:59 am

Posted in Politics, The Nation

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Donald Trump Dreams

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Donald Trump dreams
of a refrigerator door in hell
(only the door, because hell),
festooned with executive orders —
seemingly reams
of the unseemly things,
inhumane, punitive,
overreaching decrees,
unconsumed by flames
of a thousand degrees —
each brandishing his half-cocked Hancock,
his erratic, seismographic,
autocratic autograph.

But there is no such door,
no magnets, no tape,
no prideful presenter,
no ostentatious display.
For neither the heights to which
Donald ascends at others’ expense
nor the depths to which he stoops to conquer
will matter in the end,
because Fred Trump never loved his son
and isn’t about to begin,
not even beyond the end of time,
not even after Donald arrives
at his rightful place by his father’s side.

Written by Shepcat

June 26, 2018 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Politics, The Nation, Writing

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The Long and Short of It

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On the April 7 episode of her podcast With Friends Like These, journalist Ana Marie Cox and her guest, author and political commentator Thomas Frank (What’s the Matter with Kansas?), briefly digressed in their conversation to talk about Donald Trump’s sartorial habit of wearing his ties so long that he has to Scotch-tape the narrow end that isn’t long enough to go through the loop in back.1

That’s the how of the Scotch tape, but it doesn’t address the why of Trump wearing his ties so long.

Naturally, I point to writer-director David Mamet’s 2000 comedy State and Main, in which drunken town doctor and bow-tie aficionado Doc Wilson (Michael Higgins) promotes the following thesis to dissuade someone from taking his advice:

It’s the truth that you should never trust anybody wears a bow tie. Cravat’s s’posed to point down to accentuate the genitals. Why’d you wanna trust somebody’s tie points out to accentuate his ears?

I mean, think about it: This is a man who attempts to dominate everyone he meets with a weird, jerky alpha-male handshake that puts his counterpart off balance and yanks him toward Trump, in whose mind this practice — what? makes him appear stronger than the other guy? This flabby asshole who eats KFC on his private jet and doesn’t get any exercise aside from walking to and from his golf cart after hitting a 7-iron shot on the fairway? He’s precisely the kind of asshole who would want your eyes drawn toward his junk.

So yeah: Good luck keeping that thought out of your head next time you look at Trump’s necktie. Go with God.
1 It’s also notable that the ties Trump wears in all likelihood come from his own eponymous menswear line. I mean, they’re certainly not bespoke, but it’s his name on the back of each one. So why does this couturier, this clothes horse, this man of fashion not have his own personal neckties customized with the loop stitched a few inches higher to accommodate his preference for unwieldy length?

Written by Shepcat

April 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Movies, Politics

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