#Novel Notes For Sept. 22, 2019: Idle Rambling About Hollywood #AmWriting #WritingLife

Shelton Bumgarner

Some thoughts.

Impeachment & The Last Days Of The American Republic

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

We, as a nation, ladies and gentlemen, are in a historic clusterfuck. This clusterfuck is such a thicket, that’s difficult to grasp what’s going on. Well, here’s my attempt to at least explain it, if not figure out a solution

The reason why this is unlike any scandal in American history is the cold hard fact that one of the two major political parties in America no longer believes in democracy. The Republican Party is pretty much a screaming white person at this point. This is important because Republicans are so unmoored on an ideological level from over 200 years of American democratic traditions as to be little more than a grunt.

We have to be honest with ourselves. Trump at this point could murder someone on Fox News and not lose a vote. He could whip out his cock and masterbate on Fox News and not lose a vote. As long as he doesn’t say “God damn” as he did it, Trump could tweet “I am the state” and within 24 hours Republicans would claim he was “joking.”

So, if you’re Nancy Pelosi, you have zero reason to what to impeach Trump. The Democrat Party is 2/3rds of the body politic and such there are a lot of moderates who would otherwise be Republicans if, well, we weren’t in a Trumpian hellscape. Her goals are simple: keep the majority in the House.

That’s it. From her point of view, there’s no upside to impeaching Trump knowing that he’ll never be convicted. What’s more, from her point of view, not only will Democrats be blamed if they impeach Trump and he loses, Trump will use his inevitable acquittal by the Senate as vindication that he can run on.

Now, if that was all that was going on, we wouldn’t be in the massive clusterfuck that we’re in. Trump would just be a chronic political problem that festered until (hopefully) he left office in 2025. (He will never lose re-election. Never. Populist autocrats never lose.)

But the reason why this is a massive clusterfuck is the longer Trump doesn’t face any political consequences for his actions, the bolder, more brazen and more surreally criminal he becomes. So, it’s not that he’s daring the House to impeach him. It’s that he knows Republicans will slob his knob no matter what he does. He will never be convicted in the Senate. If he was a normal human being, he would see this as an opportunity to grift and abuse power but in such a way that it would just be a mild nuisance.

Trump is not normal. In a sense, he sees the American government much like Hitler saw Europe in 1939. Not to have too much of an extended metaphor, but Trump believes he can invade Russia (true dictatorship) and in the end it the American system will collapse like a rotting door. At this point, he honestly believes he can “joke” his way into a life term. To date, he’s been given no indication that this is not the case.

Republicans won’t say anything and Democrats won’t do anything. But there’s a fatal flaw to Trump’s megalomaniacal dreams: himself. Trump is the quintessential self-own artist. He may be a natural when it comes to telling the disenfranchised volk what they want to hear, but he’s also a very big dumb ass.

Once this current Ukrainian scandal blows over (ETA, Sunday afternoon) he’s going to feel even more emboldened. It may not happen all at once, but in fits and starts, Trump is going to go so far beyond what any American president has ever done that we’re simply not prepared for it. Nothing is off the table. All that has to happen is a major terrorist attack or a war. In real terms, would anything happen if Trump ran for a third term? Who would stop him? Nancy Pelosi? Pod Save America?

With that in mind, impeachment grows a lot more important. But once you agree that impeachment is necessary, it’s kind of too late. If Democrats don’t impeach Trump like…NOW…the first 2020 primaries will begin and the average person’s attention will be pointed toward Nov. 2020. Our political system simply isn’t prepared for both a presidental campaign and serious impeachment proceedings.

I mean, the way things are going, Democrats won’t actually send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until August 2020. In the meantime, the average person will think Joe Biden is going to be indicted at any moment for bogus corruption charges involving Ukraine. And, really, there’s a good chance that the Democrat base won’t come out in 2020 out of a sense of disenchantment with House Democrats.

So, really, the whole thing is so muddled that it’s a lot like Brexit. Brexit it such a clusterfuck because it barely passed and was sold to the public on lies. In America, meanwhile, impeaching Trump really boils down to how strong you are on doing things on principle. If you look at the situation using strictly political metrics, then, yes, impeaching Trump isn’t a good idea. You wait for Trump to “self-impeach” one way or another.

To be honest, it’s kind of sad that the fate of the United States in a sense now rests on waiting for Trump to either lose his mind or be found to have conspired with best friend Kim Jung Un to nuke Blue State cities. Those are the only things I can think of that might cause Senate Republicans to at least mull the notion of a Pence presidency.

That’s really hanging a lot on the unknown. So, really, this current crisis with Ukraine is, in a sense, the beginning of bigger and worse abuses on the part of Trump. When it becomes obvious that the House isn’t going to do anything about it, Trump will AGAIN feel emboldened. You’re going to have to convince me that Trump wouldn’t promise Peter Thiel a pardon if he bribed the individual members of the Electoral College to vote for Trump, damn the popular vote.

What would Nancy Pelosi do about that? If she doesn’t have the backbone to impeach Trump for what he did with Ukraine, I find it difficult that she would do it for Trump buying the election. I mean, Senate Republicans aren’t going to vote to convict, are they? Nope. Trump doing that would be the final death knell of not only American democracy, but the American Republic as well. Once you can simply buy the presidency by buying off electors, either the Blue States revolt and you abolish their state governments or you break the back of the Democratic Party altogether.

Is there an answer to the impeachment imbriglio we find ourselves in? Not really. Either you’re willing to stand on principle, or you’re not. Because Trump doesn’t feel any political gravity at all, no matter what he does, impeaching him on principle is all you got. I will note how history remembers the rise of Hitler.

Would we have a better opinion of Germans if they had attempted to impeach Hitler in the early days of his rule? I’d like to think so. That in the end America was little better than the Weimar Republic is something that would give me pause for thought. It might at least make Nancy Pelosi think a little bit, too.

‘Martha Mitchell’ — #Lyrics To A Pop Protest Song

Shelton Bumgarner

If you know even a little bit about poor old Martha Mitchell, you know she knew a whole lot about Watergate long before we did. She paid a heavy price, too.

Martha Mitchell
Lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
Please give credit if you perform or produce

the truth is all around us
we all have eyes to see
these days it seems we’re all Martha Mitchell
they tell us we’re crazy when we see a fence
when they tell us it’s a wall, wall, wall

Martha Mitchell saw the truth
got a shot for her troubles
her mouth was shut for good
too bad Martha Mitchell didn’t get her chance
to save us all

Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell
what did you see
Martha Mitchell what did you know
Martha Mitchell come back
we need you can’t you tell
Martha Mitchell come and set a spell

people tell me America’s great again
they say so with a straight face
all I know is it was already great
Miller’s got a date and I can’t even
get a swipe right
Martha Mitchell how did this happen, happen, happen

the people with connections in Washington
they tell me what to think
sleepy eyes wants to split the difference
but just like Martha Mitchell I know what’s right and wrong
need her spirit it guide me in these trouble days

Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell
what did you see
Martha Mitchell what did you know
Martha Mitchell come back
we need you can’t you tell
Martha Mitchell come and set a spell

all I know is Martha got it right
she was telling the truth, yes she was
Nixon was a bad, bad, man
but they pinned her down so she was silenced
will we be any different?

Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell
Martha Mitchell
what did you see
Martha Mitchell what did you know
Martha Mitchell come back
we need you can’t you tell
Martha Mitchell come and set a spell

I Have High Hopes For Eva Victor

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Editor’s Note: I’m drunk. In fact, if I wasn’t drunk I wouldn’t be writing this. Ms. Victor isn’t famous enough yet and is very young as such it’s easy for people to think I’m some sort of crazed middle-aged loser. While I may be a loser, I’m not crazed. Just think Ms. Victor is someone to keep an eye on.

It’s rare that you notice a star about to be born. Eva Victor is an example of this however. She has the skill set necessary to join the pantheon of superstars, given the right conditions. She definitely seems to been in tune with Millennials, and perhaps even Gen-Z.

Occasionally, there’s a changing of the guard in Hollywood. It doesn’t happen very often. Maybe once a generation. Sensibilities change and a new guard has to fill the gap. There are a handful of new stars who are in the wings to do just that — Ilana Glazer, Eva Victor and Phoebe Waller-Bridge among them.

One interesting thing about Ms. Victor is she’s very into oversharing. No aspect of her life is off limits. For an old guy like me, this can lead to the occasional eye-popping event on her social media feed. But Ms. Victor has “it.” She’s a star, it’s just a matter of the universe catching up. She already has a cult following on Twitter.

Regardless, I wish her well. I just hope she’s able to exploit her coming opportunities to the fullest extent possible.

Trump Isn’t Taking The Ukraine Scandal Seriously Yet

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Whoa Buddy. As I keep saying, this weekend is make or break. If Trump can make it through this weekend without the Ukraine story getting any unusual traction, then he’s in the clear for his second term. And, honestly, I don’t see him having any reason to be concerned. This scandal not only is playing out like all his other scandals, the attention the press is giving to the Joe Biden – Hunter Biden big lie is actually a net gain for him.

So, as of right now, Trump is probably feeling pretty content. He was all smiles at last night’s state dinner. Rudy went on CNN this week, did his usual schick of putting the facts out there in a way that makes people shrug when it’s all confirmed.

So far, so good.

But just for fun, let’s imagine something about this scandal is different. Let’s suppose it shifts gears and it become existential. Let me be clear — this is never going to happen. Trump is now America’s Caligula. So this is more a matter of venting on my part that any belief that any of this might happen.

The first sign we might get that Trump is taking this seriously is he will shift gears on Iran pretty dramatically. He will pull out the stops to start a war with Iran. He has to time it just right so people are humming Lee Greenwood when they go to the polls in 2020. Another tacit he might use is begin an aggressive investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. He’s established that he believes they did something. And such an investigation in itself is news and The New York Times will cover it extensively, even if the whole thing is politically motivated bullshit. Doesn’t matter. It’s all about the big lie and branding.

That’s just Trump clearing his throat. His more diabolical move would be to dox the whistleblower and “joke” that someone should do something about it. Shades of, “Won’t anyone rid me of this meddlesome priest.”

So the guy gets murdered by an angry mob of MAGA people. Sure, Twitter is upset for a day, but Nancy Pelosi won’t impeach Trump because it makes the moderate members of her caucus nervous. At this point, she is the only obstacle to impeachment.

But should impeachment take on a life of its own, Trump’s already deranged behavior will take a turn for the worst in a very dark way. Remember, he does often rage tweet. So, if he’s in actual risk of being impeached — even if the Senate will never convict him — he’s likely to say and do some pretty astonishing things.

And should he be convicted, he will never leave the Oval Office. It will be a 9/11-sized event. But that will never, never, never, NEVER happen.

Let’s Be Frank About What’s Going To Happen Next With Trump

Shelton Bumgarner

By Shelton Bumgarner

This is what’s going to happen unless something I can’t predict happens.

Nancy Pelosi, concerned about the moderate members of her caucus, refuses to budge on impeaching Trump.

Trump sees this as the final confirmation that he can do whatever he wants. He kicks off his re-election campaign on Twitter by talking about Joe and Hunter Biden non-stop. The New York Times begins to write story after story about this situation, leaving the lingering suspicion that Biden or his son — or both — are about to be indicted.

Trump’s reckless and illegal extortion of Ukraine will fade. But the Joe Biden “scandal” will only grow. Trump will direct Bill Barr to look into the situation at some point in early 2020. Probably just about the time Biden successfully secures the nomination. Or no later than when he makes his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention.

In the lead up to November’s election, there are a series of leaks from the Justice Department about the investigation into Joe Biden. The October surprise is Hunter Biden is indicted. (If Trump’s feeling really bold, he’ll indict Biden himself.)

We have a replay of 2016, with Biden winning the popular vote and Trump winning the Electoral College. If Trump doesn’t win the Electoral College, he doxxes them all on Twitter or a plutocrat bribes them. They throw the election to Trump. Given that nothing is impeachable, we spend a few months fighting over how American democracy is dead. Maybe there are riots in a few Blue States.

But nothing’s impeachable, so he weaponizes the existing ICE camp infrastructure. He “disappears” thousands of people. Trump pardons a few dozen people. The battle between Don Jr. and Ivanka to succeed Trump reaches a boiling point.

House Trump now begins The Thousand Year Trump. Taxes are cut to such an extent that we have to gut social programs to prevent bankruptcy. Gradually because of all the young, hack MAGA judges on the Federal bench freedom of assembly and speech are gradually worn away.

We are no longer America, we’re Trumplandia.

Trump’s Infection On American Politics Has Gone Septic — ‘The Sandy Hook Analogy’

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

After the mass murder at Sandy Hook there was a lot of outrage. For a day or so, it appeared as though there might be some sort of common sense gun control enacted in the United States. As we know, of course, the NRA stepped in and it was over.

That’s the only comparison I can make to the most recent scandal involving Trump and Ukraine. Really, if you can’t impeach Trump over this, then impeachment is a dead letter. It’s over. Not only will we never impeach Trump, he’s made it clear that he will grow ever more embolden if he doesn’t sense there are any consequences.

That’s the real existential threat of all of this. That Trump would have initiated a call with the president of Ukraine took exort him into investigating Joe Biden the day after Bob Mueller testified to Congress is all the proof you need that need that Trump is not only a lawless tyrant but that he’s going to get worse.

I honestly don’t know what to tell you. The forces aligned that keep impeachment from happening don’t appear to be weakening. Nancy Pelosi continues to play six dimensional chess in a strange obsession with protecting the more modern members of her caucus. That the entire country itself faces an existential threat does not appear to concern her.

So, really, we will know in a few days if this scandal is Trump’s Sandy Hook or if it’s something different for once. He definitely seems to be using the Stormy Daniels playbook. He has no reason to think this is any different than the last six mind blowing scandals he’s been involved in.

While I generally think Trump’s won and will consolidate his power in the coming days, I would note that if he does feel this is an existential threat that he will provoke a crisis in the United States not seen since 9/11. It will be an American Brexit.

Everyday we don’t impeach Trump is a day he gains power.

Trump’s Stormy Daniels ‘Playbook’ & How To Combat It (Sorta)

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m not suggesting I have any type of panacea when to Trump’s skullduggery, but I do have some observations about how he’s going to handle the Ukraine whistleblower situation.

Ok, first off, this weekend is critical. If nothing new happens between now and, say, Sunday afternoon, then Trump’s in the clear as best I can tell. He then does the following things:

Wrap the entire complain against him in Executive Privilege. At the same time he sends Rudy out every once in a while to babble manically about what’s going on. Rudy will occasionally “slip up” and tell the truth. Everyone laughs at this, but the facts of what happen will be out there. We spend months and months in the courts trying to get the complaint. In the meantime, Trump attacks the credibility of the whistleblower on Twitter day after day.

By the time the case gets to the Supreme Court, even if the complaint is released and we know what happend, the average person will have moved on. They won’t quite know what happened. And, besides, the case has lost its sexiness. We all know what happened, so what.

And given that the 2020 campaign will be in full swing, people will just assume Trump will “self-impeach.” When he doesn’t we all realize maybe we should have done something about Trump before. But by that point it will be too late.

We will have moved on to something else. Trump “jokes” about never leaving office. And then he never does. Lulz!

And, let me note, this is if things go the traditional route. If this particular case gets any existential momentum, Trump’s probably going to get the whistleblower murdered through one of his “jokes.”

How do you combat that? It’s pretty tough. In fact, really, the conditions are there for Trump to use the whole thing to his advantage because everytime it comes up, he’ll rant about Joe Biden’s son. So, ultimately, from a branding point of view, most people will be more concerned about THAT and not what Trump did. Trump gets what he wants:

Biden, like Hillary Clinton in 2016, will have an air of corruption about him. Trump can start a war if need be to wag the dog. He can work actively with the Russians to hack the election. (I mean, he’s faced no consequences to date, what’s to stop him?) And, really, he always has the ability to attack individual Electors post-election if he loses in any way.

If I was a Democratic strategist, I would suggest Radical Resistance. If you want to save America, you’re going to have to, on an ideological level, radicalize. Trump plays dirty, you play dirty. Shut the government down until you get the complaint. Throw money and resources at impeachment.

But the clock is ticking. Speed is of an essence. If the impeachment hearings don’t start by the end of September, what’s the point. Once October rolls around, people are thinking about the holidays. You won’t really be able to start up again until just about the same time the first 2020 primaries start. And by that point the Stormy Daniels Playbook will have worked.

The shock of the initial story will have long faded. People won’t care. “Everyone does it, right?” they’ll say. “And, besides, Joe Biden colluded with the Ukrainians for the benefit of his son, right? Or something like that. I can’t remember. “

If we’re honest with ourselves Radical Resistance’s moment is long past. There’s just not the political will on the part of House Democrats to play dirty. They’re pretty much complicit in Trump’s tyranny. I wish I had more answers, but I don’t.

Review: Ad Astra

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner


Ad Astra is a good movie, not a great movie. The closest movie I can compare it to in spirit is Ex Machina. Both movies linger in the mind after you watch them. But Ex Machina is a far better movie.

I get the vision of the movie intended by this Brad Pitt vanity project. It’s supposed to be a melancholy rumination on the human condition and a man’s relationship with his distant father. Ok, I get it. And I get why they kept talking about aliens only for there to be no aliens.

And, yet, the movie is a little too subtle for its own good. It might benefit from the very thing didn’t want to have — aliens. I say this because the movie is obviously inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though the more astute of you will notice an homage to the campy space classic Dark Star. (In Dark Star an astronaut rides a piece of his ship into a planet’s atmosphere like a surfboard. Pitt does something a little similar at one point.)

In a sense, I think the lack of aliens is kind of a cop-out. Much of the rest of the movie was serviceable adult-oriented entertainment. It wasn’t hackish at all. It’s just the whole thing could have been a whole lot more…profound. The whole thing was so slight, so subtle that it felt lacking.

I have to be a nerd and point out the producers of the movie apparently are completely oblivious to the difference in the gravity on the moon and Mars compared to earth. But you can’t have everything, I guess.

But I did honestly like the movie. It’s going to be a great on-air entertainment for people flying to Walla Walla.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Is Complicit In Trump’s Tyranny

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I don’t often get angry enough to yell at my Congressional representatives. But when it became obvious that the Inspector General wasn’t going to follow the letter of the law when it came to the whistleblower situation, I lost it. I popped a gasket. I called all the offices of my Congressional delegation.

I was so mad, in fact, that I also called the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That did not go very well. I tried to yell at an actual human being, but they just put me on hold after I started talking.

Anyway, I would like to note something. It definitely seems as though because Speaker Pelosi wants to make sure polls indicate the populace supports impeachment, she’s pretty much carrying water for Trump’s re-election campaign. As I understand it, the current thinking in the upper echelons of House Leadership is they can’t impeach Trump because if he loses, then MAGA will blame them for it. They also can’t impeach him because given that the Senate will never convict him, they don’t want to give Trump vindication and something to run on.

In a sense, this is simply the pussy ass bitch version of the Republicans’ political thinking about Trump. Republicans won’t do anything about Trump because they find tax cuts and young hack MAGA judges on the Federal bench so absolutely intoxicating that they are willing to ride the MAGA pony to the bottom.

Meanwhile, I don’t know what the fuck is going on with Democrats. When the final history of the United States is finally written — sooner rather than later, I’m afraid — the sheer callow, feckless nature of House Democrats during the Trump Era will be at least a chapter. They are so wrapped up in policy and throwing money at people in different ways that they are apparently completely oblivious to something very basic — Trump is a lawless tyrant.

They are so busy drinking lattes and smelling their own farts that they don’t realize this is a war. Under no scenario will Trump not do everything in his power to paint himself as a victim. Democrats are fighting the last war. The problem is, if they don’t get their act together, they may not have a next war to fight.

As of right now, impeachment is a dead letter. Not that it won’t come back the moment there’s a Republican House and a Democratic President. It will and with a vengeance. I don’t really think that will ever happen because, well, we have The Thousand Year Trump now. House Trump will rule the country for the next 20 years — if not more. Their power should theoretically wane about the time the youngest of the Baby Boomers die and the Browning of America kicks in. But even that is simply theory. More likely at some point Tiffany Trump will tweet “I am the state” and that will be that.

That Speaker Pelosi would put crass political considerations ahead of the fate of the nation is just as bad as the abject lack of backbone displayed by Republicans. And, honestly, I don’t see anything changing. The same playbook used by Trump and Rudy with Stormy Daniels and the Mueller Report will be used here and that’s it. It’s just another big scandal in the Trump Era that fades into oblivion until the next, even bigger scandal.

Prove me wrong, Nancy.