The Narrative For A Trump Coup Attempt

by Shelt Garner

A Twitter thread by Bill Kristol finally gives me a handle on what Trump might do between now and, say, January 7th. It goes something like this.

The anniversary of the Soleimani assassination is Jan 3rd. It’s easy to imagine a situation where there’s some significant attack against Israeli and American interests in the Middle-East and Trump uses that to escalate things on the eve of the January 6th vote by Congress to certify the vote. That makes Trump a “war president.”

Next, the Proud Boys in D.C. for the Congressional certification freak the fuck out and start blowing shit up to the extent necessary to give Trump the excuse to use the Insurrection Act in D.C. In that context, he does something extra-political or extra-legal by pretty much just waving his hands about the details and doing something so he “wins” the election when Congress discusses the issue.

This would be a massive clusterfuck and I honestly don’t see how Trump would be successful. But such a sequence of events could, in itself, be the “political 9/11” I’ve been worried about and lead to a secession crisis and subsequent civil war.

It’s Almost Inevitable At This Point That Trump Pardons Himself

by Shelt Garner

There’s a very specific reason why I believe Trump is going to pardon himself at some point before January 20th — the conversations on the codeword classified servers.

Trump is such a fucking idiot — an a paranoid one at that — that it’s easy to imagine a situation where he panics at the thought of anyone not beholden to him seeing whatever it is he told Putin — and others — on those transcripts. So just before he legally leaves office — on way or another — he pardons himself knowing Pence is unlikely to do it for him.

Now, Trump pardoning himself will be a curious situation. In hindsight, there is some merit to the MAGA people who saw my fears about Trump as entirely abstract. Outside of a few real dick moves, Trump hasn’t really a lot of the tyrannical things I — and people like me — have feared. He’s just a big old ding-dong, not an autocrat.

But for him to pardon himself would be next level. It would be something concrete that people like me could point to and say, “That’s the mark of an autocrat.”

I’m well aware that even that would be a lulz in real terms, given that Trump’s about to leave office. But, here’s the rub — it’s still very possible that Trump could go grow so fucking deranged post January 6th that he completely changes the context of his era in the closing days of it.

If Trump pulled something extra-legal or extra-political — like pardoning himself (to name just one thing) then the very people who have poo-pooed the anger of people like myself when it comes to Trump will have to at least confront that he’s done something difficult — but not impossible — to defend.

And, really, if you think about it — Trump pardoning himself is not even as bad as it could get if he really fucking flipped out. I still think Trump might start a war out of the blue against Iran (or the DPRK) or figure out a way to frogwalk Joe Biden (or Obama!) in his final days.

But, really, who knows when it comes to Trump at this point. Anything is possible.

It’s The Human Element Of Screenwriting That Appeals To Me

by Shelt Garner

By pretty much any metric I’m a failure and a loser. But there is one metric under which I excel — if you get me liquored up at a cocktail party I usually chat up the best looking woman in the room and start some pretty thought-provoking conversations about a wide-ranging series of topics.

Now, let me stress, I’m well aware that every drunk is the “funniest guy in the room” but it does appear from my time in Seoul that I actually was extremely interesting in that specific situation.

With that in mind, I find myself this New Year’s Eve mulling tipping my toe into screenwriting because I’ve reached a pretty stable point in the development of the novel I’m working on and need the rush of a big, new creative “track” to keep things interesting as I plunge into writing a serious first draft of this novel that won’t, at last, embarrass me.

I have specific conditions going forward towards my ultimate goal — hitting the pavement in LA at some point to see if I can sell a script. My biggest self-imposed condition is I have to have three completed scripts before I’ll do any such harebrained thing.

I listen to the “Script Notes” podcast and realize — oh boy — how cutthroat the screenwriting business is even if you’ve actually gone the traditional route and are, like, a normal human being. I’m about 20 years too old to be doing any of this, but I’m creative and — under the right conditions — reasonably charismatic.

So, I know if the issue is more a matter of how personable I can be in a social setting rather than my age or experience, that I have a decent shot at getting a lot closer to selling a script than you might think. I love to talk and tell stories and if I actually have a few scripts to hand someone given the opportunity, then, well, who knows.

But I have to have paper. I have to have actual completed scripts to hand to people. And that’s going to take work and, most of all, time. I’m hoping there might be some cross-pollination between the novel track and the screenplay track. One will help me look at the other in a different way.

My main focus will continue to be, of course, the novel. I guess, however, that I feel enough self-confidence that things are pretty stable on that front that I can turn my attention to a second “track.”

I just wish I wasn’t so fucking old.

Are We Going To Have A Civil War?

by Shelt Garner

Short answer: No, probably not right now.
Long Answer: Yes, probably in a few years. Let me explain.

There’s one major issue whenever you try to game out a Second American Civil War and that’s Trump. On one hand, Trump has done everything in his power to destabilize the United States the last five years.

On the other hand — he’s just a ding-dong.

What I mean by that is, he was handed everything necessary to destroy the United States in a one-two punch…and he went golfing. So, for the time being, we’re an autocracy without an autocrat. If Trump really was some sort of American Putin, he would have thought six or seven steps in advance and goaded the Blue States into leaving the Union at some point, so he could destroy them and remake them in his own MAGA image.

But, to date, he’s not do anything like that.

Yet, this has not stopped a lot of people on both the Left and the Right to begin talking outloud about some sort of civil war. On the Right, it seems to be them grasping at abstract straws in desperation. They feel that because of cancel culture and various other faux controversies that they REALLY HATE liberals, so a civil war is the worst thing they can think up in that line of thought. But, to date, their rage against “libtards” has been exclusively been abstract. They just hate liberals, but don’t really have any concrete, specific things they are going to do to them in the real world.

So, for the time being, because we’re an autocracy without an autocrat, we’re going to be in a very surreal situation where all the conditions are there for a civil war of some sort…and nothing happens. We will drift for about two years then gradually things will reach a crescendo around 2023 – 2025 and some sort of secession crisis will happen and that will be that.

It seems as though because Trump is NOT the guy from The Apprentice in real life, that we’re going to punt this particular problem down the road a few years.

And, yet.

This is Trump we’re talking about.

So, it’s within the realm of possibility that starting around January 6th , Trump’s sense of self-preservation will grow so much stronger than any political considerations that he will attempt something extra-political or extra-legal and that, in itself, will be such a massive clusterfuck that Trump will destroy himself politically and redefine the entire Trump Era.

That, in itself, will punt America’s lurch into autocracy down the road not just one presidential cycle, but a generation. Just about then, of course, the youngest of the Baby Boomers will be dying off at last and so, who knows. But remember, this is not going to be some sort of liberal fever dream — for this to happen, it would need to be a “political 9/11” whereby Trump scares the shit out of all of us and takes a political pound of flesh.

Anyway. I can’t predict the future.

I May Start A Second Creative Track: Screenwriting

by Shelt Garner

Let me be clear — I keep talking about looking into screenwriting only to realize I really have to focus on the novel. So, this could be another one of those instances. And, there are a lot of reasons why me writing screenplays would likely be quixotic. I’m too old and where I live to name a few.

But now that I’ve reached a point where the novel is going really really fast, I find myself, again, thinking of a second track — screenwriting. It would be nice to have a second creative track where I start from scratch and head towards a goal, just like I did with this novel about three years ago.

There are two other reasons why this appeals to me — one, I can leverage what I’ve learned about storytelling from working on a novel to any effort to write a screenplay and this element of Hollywood:

I’m old, but something about randomly going to LA with a few scripts under my belt and hitting the pavement is very appealing to me. But I’m really going to focus on the novel for the time being. What I hope is there might be some cross-pollination between the two tracks.

But I’m very old. And, yet, if you get a few drinks in me I can be quite entertaining at a cocktail party and I’ve seen LA LA Land enough times to delude myself into thinking maybe, just maybe, if I just show up in LA that I can somehow, somewhere get invited to a cocktail party and have someone of note notice me.

And, yet, this won’t work unless I have more than one screenplay already written. I have three sold screenplay concepts in my head right now that I just have to map out and develop. The thinking is — if I can just finish three, I can fly to LA and see if I can work my old drunk Seoul expat scene magic. But I’m not going unless I have a few screenplays already written.

It just seems as though I might fit the metrics of Hollywood a bit better than the literary world. I can see why Twitter liberals might see me as something of a kook if they do due diligence on me via, say, the Internet Archive.

And I’m really too old — and live in the wrong part of the world — to even think about such things.

But I’m kind at the Singularity of loserdom right now, so I really don’t have much to lose at this point.

The Internet Archive & A Value Free Novel From An Internet ‘Crank’

by Shelt Garner

Someone, again, poked around this site using the Internet Archive. Whenever this happens, it feels like I’m on a date against my will. Someone was doing “due diligence” on me for some reason. I have a feeling I know who it is and I fear I may have, yet again, failed whatever test the person had for me.

No matter what, I always fail if there are metrics involved. I just don’t do well with metrics for various reasons. If you judge me on my merits, then I do fairly well. But if you have some sort of Twitter liberal metric that you’re judging me against — then I’m just an Internet crank.

So, I find myself worrying a great deal about the novel I’m developing. Will literary agents judge me strictly on what I write, or will they, too, do “due diligence” on me and dismiss me as a Internet crank no matter how good the actual copy is?

This is something that has begun to suck up a huge amount of mental energy because it would be so typical of me — I do really well at something, only to fail not because of what I wrote, but because I don’t fit the Twitter liberal narrative. I will, tragically, just be another Ken Bone. (Though, to be fair to myself, my politics fall well within the Twitter liberal spectrum and his did not.)

Anyway, things are going really well with the novel. Things are moving very, very quickly. I hope to wrap up a first draft early 2021. After that, we’ll just have to see exactly how things work out. But I’m really thrown myself into this novel and I’m finally, at last, feeling pleased at what I’ve managed to come up with.

A huge amount of things can still go wrong, from someone stealing a march on me to the coming Biden Era making the whole thing moot. But the point of writing a novel — proving to myself I can do it — will have been achieved, even if those things unexpectedly happen.

Trump Is Not Well

by Shelt Garner

I have long been ranting about the implications of Trump being a deranged ding-dong, but we’ve reached next-level crisis because after January 6th, Trump isn’t going to have any political or legal options left. So, it’s very possible he’ll explode, instead of implode mentally.

If he were to implode mentally, then we probably wouldn’t know. He just would be catatonic in the White House and we just wouldn’t see him for a few weeks until he mysteriously popped up a few months from now tan, ready and rested. So, it’s very possible Trump will explode — he may very well go completely insane after Congress meets on January 6th.

Did Stephen King predict our fate?

My fear is, of course, that Trump will finally snap but we won’t realize what’s going on at first because he’s been acting crazy for so long that his sudden decent into crazyland will at first be just a matter of degree. But I think one way we will really begin to know Trump has snapped is a combination of him going transactional on Twitter and him growing extremely passive-aggressive there as well.

He’ll not only start to tell MAGA to do things for him in the real world, he’ll also start whining about how liberals “hate him and want him to kill himself” or even out of the blue talk about how he controls our nuclear arsenal. It will be talk like this that might — might — finally scare the shit out of Republicans enough that they decide to do something about it.

But, alas, I think even then, they’re going to sit on their hands. Trump would really, REALLY do something completely insane for Republicans to do anything at this late date in his administration. The only thing I can think of is Trump somehow goes way out of his way and starts a war with the DPRK which involves a limited nuclear exchange.

Then, maybe, #MoscowMitch might do something about Trump.

Otherwise, lulz, nothing matters.

Or, put another way, Trump has his fate — and the fate of humanity — in his hands for the time being and there’s nothing we can do about it.

The Value Free Trump Era

by Shelt Garner

In the end, what will decide Trump’s fate will be, as always, Trump. If he can just behave for a few more weeks, he’s going to get away scot free with everything he’s done. Everything. There simply will be no political will do do anything about any of his crimes.

What’s more, he will be in a position to not only be a king maker in Republican Politics for the rest of his life, but come roaring back in 2024. There may even be talk of naming him Speaker of the House in 2023 when Republicans take over again.


Trump is not the political genius that everyone –including me — has thought he was over the years. His actual political ability is little more than a grunt. While he is an avatar for the rot and rage in the American political system, that’s all he is. He doesn’t have any innate political leadership ability. So he pretty much just thrashes around, destroying things and being corrupt without any overall strategy.

As I’ve said before, we live in an autocracy without the autocrat. The only thing stopping the United States from being a Russian-style autocracy at this point is Donald Trump. That’s it. If there was virtually anyone else in his position right now, we would be an autocracy.

The most surreal point of all of this is Trump isn’t going to behave. He probably is going to do some dumb self-own move that redefines his era to such an extent that he destroys himself politically. Whatever extra-political or extra-legal thing he attempts, may finally, at last, give us the political will to do something about the Trump cancer.

But it will come at a cost.

He’s likely to extract a pound of political flesh from us along the way. It could be a war, or him going transactional on Twitter. Nothing is off the table. So, it’s not going to be some sort of liberal fever dream where Rachel Maddow becomes president.

Nope, it’s going to suck.

‘Night Monsters’ — #Lyrics To A Pop-Rock Song About #Covid19 Symptoms

I know nothing about music. I’m just letting off steam. This would be a slow, dark, methodical pop rock song.

Night Monsters
lyrics by Shelt Garner
please give credit if you produce or perform

night monsters
night monsters
come out at night
just out of sight
night monsters
night monsters

night monsters
knock you out for delight
the aches are there
the fear rears its head
at night with all its might
what are you going to do
when they’re let out of the zoo

night monsters
night monsters
comout out at night
just out of sight
night monsters
night monsters

night monsters
stare at your body
make you can’t move or make a sound
you feel like a clown
won’t allow a twitch
without some sort of hitch

when dawn arrives
we let out a sigh
hoping they’re gone
knowing they’ll be back
leaving us out of whack

night monsters
night monsters
comout out at night
just out of sight
night monsters
night monsters

The Trump Era Can Be Value Free If Trump Just Behaves Himself

by Shelt Garner

Because Republicans have no shame, all Trump has to do to be in a decent position to make a come back in 2024 is simply behave. He just has to still keep political considerations in mind between now and January 20th. If he can just do that, he probably will remain a Republican Party king maker for at least a decade to come.

Yet, as we know, Trump is a willful child.

So, it’s fairly possible that Trump is going to attempt something extra-political or extra-legal in a desperate attempt to stay in office. He could do something so bad that for a bright, shining moment a lot of America will, at last, be on the same page about Trump: he’s gotta go.

I honestly don’t know what exactly he might do. But one thing is clear — it’s not like Trump has hidden his slide into insanity. He’s been quite open about it. He’s bonkers and there’s a decent chance that he’ll do something in the last few days (hours?) of his administration that redefines the whole five year experiment in political terror.

What, exactly, it might be, I don’t know.

But whatever it is, he will be doing it from a position of weakness. And there’s still a decent chance that after January 6th, he won’t have any hope anymore and he’ll finally flip the fuck out in a pretty massive fashion. He could grow extremely passive aggressive on Twitter. Or he could grow transactional.

Anything’s possible when someone’s lost their mind.

I guess only time will tell.