Having myself been a manager of people in my professional life, I have occasionally asked myself the question that must be a perennial favorite of school teachers and parents of small children: why do cheaters work so unnecessarily hard at cheating? Isn’t it easier to do it right the first time?
I occasionally compare and contrast Warren Buffett and Bernie Madoff as quintessential examples of both types. Both are men in their 80s. Both started their professional lives as investors and financial advisors. Each is roughly as intelligent as the other.
But I can’t help but think that Madoff’s life’s “work” was materially harder than Buffett’s. Imagine having to print out phoney financial statements every day on outmoded printers with dummied-up numbers to convince the suckers who invested in you that you really are “managing” their money. Imagine the sleepless nights. Imagine living with the knowledge that one day you’re going to be arrested and probably spend the rest of your life in jail. Now contrast all that with Buffett’s life. He’s one of the world’s most respected men. Certainly one of the richest. He’s a free man, not a pariah.
The life of the cheater is far from easy. It’s ironic, then, that so many cheaters are lazy. You’d think they would be the most industrious of all, given that their cheating invariably leads to more (and less rewarding) work.
You’d think, in a world where grifters are so frequently and publicly defeated by their cheating, cheating would be less popular. Yet nowhere is the attraction to cheat more manifest than in the person of Donald John Trump. We now know Trump’s proclivity for cheating is nothing new, and we know it straight from someone who’s known him all her life. In her new book, “Too Much and Never Enough,” Mary L. Trump tells us that cheating was a way of life for Donald Trump. It was an ethic upon which he was raised.
So, Trump cheated about coronavirus. He told us it would go away “magically” in the spring. It did not. He told us it was down to fifteen cases and soon it would be zero, when there are now, in fact, three million cases, and soon there will be four million. He told us that it wouldn’t get above 60,000 deaths and now it’s more than twice that.
As is known to many of you, Trump is now trying to hide the coronavirus statistics. He’s using the crudest, most shopworn technique known to cheaters — the coverup. He’s asking hospitals to stop reporting coronavirus data to the CDC and report instead to Health and Human Services, overseen by Trump bootlicker Alex Azar.
No such move is necessary, because the CDC has been transparent with all data it has received. Their data are available to everyone, Including Health and Human Services. Clearly the motive for the change is that Trump, through Azar, wants to hide the data from the American people. There can be no other reason for such an abrupt and unnecessary interruption of a smoothly operating protocol during a global pandemic. Otherwise it makes as much sense as selling beans from behind the Resolute Desk.
In order to understand why this is happening you have to understand the logic of the cheater. Trump blew it on coronavirus. He had his chance to follow the science and instead he at once ignored it, called it a hoax, or claimed to be smarter than the scientists, medical doctors and other epidemiology experts. Now that he’s presided over the greatest number of per capita coronavirus deaths in the world thanks to his intractable stupidity and incompetence, he needs another way to get out of the mess he’s in. Changing course and doing everything right would be the obvious course. Better too late than not at all. Instead Trump chooses to cheat again to cover up for his previous cheats and blunders.
One reason why this is a losing strategy, among almost too many reasons to count, is because other countries rely on the transparent data available from the CDC for the compilation of their worldwide coronavirus statistics as well. Here in Britain, where cheating is equated with being ill-bred and vulgar — and it is still a fairly useful form of damnation — there are grumblings that Trump is a serial cheater and is not to be trusted in anything.
Meanwhile British labs and facilities at Oxford, in feverish pursuit of a coronavirus vaccine, have undergone a recent cyberattack by Russia. It appears the Russians want to cheat their way to finding a vaccine in order to artificially bolster their national esteem. Russia denies this, of course, but the evidence is overwhelming.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Britain is increasingly looking at Trump with the same jaundiced eye they view Putin. It’s easy to see why. Trump and Putin are two cheaters in a rogue’s alliance. Indeed, the growing feeling in the European intelligence community at large is that the United States is not to be trusted at all with sensitive intelligence, and Trump himself is seen as a security risk.
Trump cheats at golf, he cheats on his wives, he cheats on his taxes, he cheats on polling numbers, he cheats on contractors, he cheats, in short, on everything and everyone — and he will never stop. There are a million reasons why Donald Trump is unfit for the office of president of the United States, this has been another one. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.