Republicans Are Desperate To Change The Narrative

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Now that we’re in the “total war” phase of the impeachment imbriglio, Rudy has been invited to testify before Lindsey Graham’s Senate Committee. What they want to do is spend as many hours as necessary to to the attention to the Bidens’ involvement in “corruption” in Ukraine.

I dunno.

If a Senate Democrat asks a pointed question, Rudy either flips out or Graham turns the guy’s mic off. There goal is to completely muddle the situation to such an extent that the average person “doesn’t know who to trust.”

Will it work? It has a good shot of doing so. Republicans have finally decided to go the gotterdammerung route and destroy everything in order to protect Trump. Either Democrats radicalize momentarily to do something about this, or they don’t.

Trump & Republicans Finally Have A Strategy: Total War

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Editor’s Note: If you LIKE the idea that the Republican Party is now a criminal fascist enterprise that wants to destroy the Republic, well, fuck you.

I have written about this strategy before. In more informal terms, this is the “Fuck you, see if you can convict me in the Senate” strategy. Trump simply hunkers down and refuses to budge on anything.

TrY AnD SeE If YoU CAn ConVICt Me.

They have also tried to suggest that what’s going on is a “Kangaroo Court” but that’s more base messaging than anything else. The base has no idea what a Kangaroo Court is, but it gives them something to throw about in a conversation to “own the moment.” Also, it’s just a Big Lie and Republicans have started to use it gratuitously in a desperate attempt to get the notion to stick.

He won’t let anyone testify. He won’t give over any documents. He whips up the base on Twitter and demands absolute devotion from Republicans. All things being equal, this is a smart strategy. Republicans have stuck with him this long through some pretty horrible things, so he has ever reason to believe they will continue to do so. Apparently the base is flipping out to 2016 levels which they were going to do anyway in 2020, so maybe they’ll just stay riled up until then.

The only weakness with this strategy are really more observations that the best laid plans of mice and tyrants don’t always go according to plan. One possible weakness is, as always, Trump himself. But he’s held up pretty well. He’s still cogent. He comes off as mad as hell, but not so bonkers that Republicans begin to feel nervous having to defend the indefensible.

Another potentially problematic aspect of this strategy is its extremely high stakes. These are the highest stakes possible. Trump risks radicalizing House Democrats to such an extent that they start to use inherent contempt knowing they will face only minimal blowback from the public. But given that Moscow Mitch has indicated that he will single handedly kill an impeachment trial in the Senate, I guess Trump figures it’s all worth it.

Once Trump is acquitted, then the Constitution is a dead letter and Trump is free to become the Putin-style tyrant he always wanted to be. Anyone who thinks we’ll be afforded the opportunity to “let the people decide” in a free-and-fair 2020 election should Trump still be in office is a fool.

Get Ready For Trump’s ‘I Am The State’ Tweet

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I aM tHe StAtE.

We were so busy worrying about the views of drunk guys at a honky tonk just outside Phillie that we totally missed what was going on in the highest reaches of government.

It’s now clear that there is only one endgame — should there ever come a point when Trump faces a final defeat at the hands of SCOTUS (debatable that will ever happen, but you can dream) Trump is simply not going to comply.

He will simply allow that — obstruction of SCOTUS — to be added to his impeachment charges. In a way, this plays in to Trump’s general strategic goal of forcing a terrified Republican Party to bring down the entire Constitution to protect The Dear Leader. Or, put another way, this is the effect of it. Trump is too stupid to think in those terms, but that’s how it will shake out.

And, honestly, Trump has a twitter feed, there’s little to stop him from telling MAGA people to pick up their AR-15s and disband Congress. If there’s any civil disturbance, he uses that as the legal excuse to disband Blue State governments and establish military districts like during Reconstruction.

Nothing has happened to lead me to be any other endgame is possible. The rot on America’s civil society was far more extensive than any of us could have possibly imagined. The Republican Party sees democracy as purely transactional. In other words, they only believe in democracy when it afford the option of them getting back in power. Otherwise, fuck you.

When one of a nation’s two major political parties systemically doesn’t believe in democracy then, well, that’s all she wrote. Moscow Mitch squashes an impeachment trial in the Senate and Trump is free to do whatever the fuck is necessary to win the 2020 election. In his second term, he goes full tyrant more than he already has.

People — like me! — start to “disappear” into ICE camps across the country. Late night talk show hosts crack wise about it but nothing, really, is done about it.

I guess there’s a chance Trump will finally completely lose his mind, but there’s just as much chance that he will go bonkers and Republicans won’t blink an eye.

Prove me wrong.

Why Republicans Are ‘Kavanaughing’ With Trump

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I don’t know what to tell you folks. We’re definitely in an unprecedented political crisis that could go either way, but the fact that Republican thought leaders are Newt and Graham are now attempting to “Kavanaugh” the current Trump situation is telling.

I dunno.

As you may recall, back in the quaint olden days, there was something called “borking.” This was the successful effort to paint Bork as too extreme for the Supreme Court on the part of the Democrats. Flash forward about 30 years and we now have entered the age of kavanaughing. I feel this is more of a Republican thing than Democratic thing because of how significant the sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh affected them. They are still seething over all that because they felt as though they were forced to address something other than Kavanaugh’s policies, which they love. They had to address things about his character that happened when he was significantly younger man. So, in their eyes, to kavanaugh someone is to attack someone’s character when political reality puts you in a losing situation.

But there’s another way to look at kavanaughing. And that’s from the Republican standpoint. To kavanaugh from the GOP’s standpoint is to reference what happened to Kavanaugh as kind of an updated version of “waving the bloody flag” that happened in post-Civil War America. Whenever someone got in a bind, they would tout their courage in the Civil War.

So, for Republicans, kavanaugh is code for the Democrats going after someone not on policy, but on character. But in the specific instance of Trump, they want to switch out policy for facts. Their message to Republicans is this exactly what happened to Kavanaugh. We won that battle, so we can win this one.

I guess they can win. They seem to win every other battle. But there are two issues for Republicans like Newt and Graham going forward. One is that Trump is likely to go completely bonkers and the other is policy is not fact. Facts are harder to deny and harder to spin as a simple disagreement. When you start denying facts that are provable and equating whistleblowers with women accusing someone of character flaws you got a massive messaging problem ahead of you.

It’s easy to get an angry, white middle-aged man feeling “economic anxiety” that a young Kavanaugh sexually assaulting someone is just another attempt by “woke” #MeToo radicals out to ruin the career of someone whose thought on abortion they disagree with. It’s a lot more difficult — but hardly impossible — to tell that same angry white middle aged man that a whistleblower documenting “light treason” on the part of the president as an adult is the same thing.

I dunno. This is now the biggest political crisis in American history since late 1860. I have no idea what is going to happen. Republicans are going to ride the Trump Train all the way down to a Singularity. So, in that sense, they’re likely to win from a long-term strategic standpoint. All they care about is power for power’s sake. Their first task is to acquit Trump in the Senate. Their next step is to get him re-elected using whatever means necessary.

Once he’s safe in his second term, then they can sit back and relax. They can start fighting over who’s the biggest racist or misogynist. They can begin to jockey for their position in the Politburo. There are at least six would-be God King Trumps lusting after the throne. And those guys have to get past Don Jr. and Ivanka first.

The good guys don’t always win.

Why The ‘Let The People Decide’ Defense Of Trump Is Abject Horseshit

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

In normal times, Republicans would have a reasonable case to make that given how close we are to the 2020 election that we should “let the people decide” Trump’s fate.

Alas, we are not in normal times.

Can lose an election if it’s not free-and-fair.

Remember, the whole reason why Trump is in trouble is that 24 hours after he got an effective pardon due to the “bad optics” of Mueller’s testimony to Congress, he was on the phone with Ukraine looking for dirt on Biden. So, if we let Trump off so the “people” can decide, it may be a Russian person who makes the decision.

What’s more, this is another attempt to move the goalposts because if Trump wins the election on strictly Constitutional grounds — that is the actual humans who make up the Electoral College vote for him, no matter why — then they will say Trump won legally and why we even talking about this anymore.

Or, put another way, election meddling is obviously Trump’s thing. It’s his jam. Why give him a THIRD chance to fuck with an election? Why not let the people decide through their elected representatives as is stated in the Constitution?

Unless someone, somewhere, starts showing some courage, it looks like that’s exactly what is going to happen. Moscow Mitch blocks a trial in the Senate and Trump gets off so he can rig the 2020 election. Remember, Republicans no longer believe in liberal democracy and crave power for power’s sake.

If Trump turns the United States into a Russian-style “managed democracy” after the 2020 election, it’s a win for Republicans. And, really, the only potential flaw in this long-term strategy is Trump may go bonkers during the process that leads up to him having a 10 minute trial in the Senate.


The Best Laid Plans Of Moscow Mitch…

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I take Mitch McConnell’s threats to derail any attempt to have a impeachment trial in the Senate very, very, very seriously. He has proven himself to be an astonishingly destructive Constitutional force and all things being equal, he’s got about a 99% chance of coming out on top.

But for one thing….Donald Trump.

Now, it is imperative that we impeach and convict Trump as quickly as possible. As I’ve said for three years now, he’s an existential threat to the Republic. And, in a sense, both he and Moscow Mitch are more avatars for how fucked up things are in the States than they are any sort of evil on a personal level.

What I mean is, if it wasn’t them fucking up everything else, it would be someone else. The Republican Party on an institutional level no longer believes in liberal democracy and so fuck you. So, in a sense, if Trump survives, then the last vestiges of the Republic fall aside. We are simply a Russian-style managed democracy and that’s that. Republicans flip a switch on the existing ICE camp infrastructure and people like me conveniently “vanish.”

That’s got about a 99% chance of happening at this point, matter how much liberals may think we “finally got” Trump.

That sole percent is a powerful one, however. Trump is so bad at his job, so erratic and such a monumental self-own artist that there’s a 1% chance that by the time the issue of impeachment finally get to the Republicans, the possibility of bringing down Trump won’t be a liberal fever dream. It will be a force of history.

We’re likely to know one way another how things are going to sort out when Trump actually is formally impeached. If he finally cracks under the pressure then, well, oooooooh boy.

But don’t get your hopes up just yet. Sometimes, the bad guys win and you just have to figure out how you’re going to survive.

The Crisis Of Anglophonic Democracy

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I don’t know what’s going on with the two major Anglophonic democracies right now, but someone needs to to the LHC on and off again or something. But let’s step away from the ginormous clusterfuck that is whatever it is that’s going on in the United States right now.

I dunno.

The limeys across the pond also have a crisis coming to a head. As I understand it the other blond fascist doofus in charge of an Anglophonic democracy is now challenging the Queen to fire him. He’s not so much challenging the Queen to fire him, he’s really threatening the very existence of the Monarchy itself. The moment she does it — and I think she will — she becomes exactly what she’s work so hard not to be: a political figure.

Once she’s a political figure, then Brexiters will want to get rid of her and Remainers will want to keep her. And, really, there’s one simply solution to all of this — abolish the Monarchy. I simply don’t know enough to give you any opinion that isn’t simply for entertainment value, but it seems the moment she does fire Boris, her fate is sealed.

It’s eerie that things seem to be careening to a solution on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s likely to happen by Halloween, too. If I hadn’t gone through three years of Trump, I would be naive enough to believe firing Johnson might be just the catharsis needed to balm the problems in Great Britain. More likely, the bolts are going to pop off. I don’t know, I just don’t know. It definitely seems as though the Brits are careening towards a solution, I just struggle to figure out what it is and exactly what it will look like.

At least in the States, we’re beginning to have some sense of the crisis going down a well-trod path. That Trump will panic enough to attempt to pin the blame on Rick Perry of all people is all anyone needs to know the state of things right now. I don’t know what’s going on, but there definitely does seem to be some sort of direction towards an endgame in both the States and the UK.

#RadicalResistance: If You See A MAGA Leader In Public — Blow A Whistle

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Trump was greeted today by a woman blowing a whistle. If enough of us follow her lead, we can save the United States from a Russian-style “managed democracy.”

Put your lips together and blow.

Whistles are an effective direction action form of protect because they’re non-violent, but annoying as hell. And, really, all you have to do is be anywhere near Moscow Mitch or Steven Miller or Dracula for it to be effective. And you could also just use your fingers in your mouth — or just your mouth — to whistle. That’s really hard to control. You don’t have to be in their face and risk arrest. Just blow anywhere near them and the idea of a whistleblower will be stuck in their mind.

If they can’t go anywhere, be in DC or a Congressional Town Hall meeting in their home district, without someone, somewhere blowing a whistle, that might at least, if nothing else, remind them of their failure to live up to their oath of office. And, you will have the satisfaction of making their live miserable.

Will this work? I don’t know. It does risk an escalation because MAGA may, in turn, just start murdering people with AR-15s. By as my Dad always says, no one ever got anywhere in this world without taking a risk.

It’s up to you if you feel having some agency in the fate of your nation is worth the risk or not.

America’s Mad King

We got a problem.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

No is going to save us. I guess the case could be made that the military might step in, but even that is a questionable line of reasoning. These days I swing wildly between assuming everything is going to work out and knowing that in the end I’m going to be just another of the “disappeared.” That House Trump would be acting so blase about what’s going on indicates to me that Trump, himself, is a coup.

What this means is Trump is the worse case scenario. The Republican Party doesn’t believe in liberal democracy or the rule of law — or the Constitution for that matter — and so, really, the entire fate of the nation hangs not on our political process but Trump’s likely continued mental decline.

Or, put another way, darkness has fallen. We pinned all our hope on Mueller saving the day, which only gave Trump time to learn how to use the levers of power. With the House under Republican rule for two years, he was given absolute power. It wasn’t until he was finally give a political pardon by the “bad optics” of the Mueller’s congressional testimony that he finally self-owned to the extent necessary for the House to get some backbone. But by that point it was too late. That Trump was so arrogant as to think that releasing what he did about the phone call to Ukraine would exonerate him gives us all the insight we need into the worldview of House Trump.

I find myself thinking how, exactly, America will finally descend into tyranny. It seems that what will happen is Trump will not be convicted by the Senate and then he will turn around and make absolutely sure that there is no free and fair election in 2020. It doesn’t matter how it happens, it will happen. If all else fails, he’ll get Putin to directly hack into the election. Trump’s failsafe will be doxing or bribing individual Electors. He pardons everyone as needed and then that’s that.

The next logical step will be to weaponize the existing ICE camp infrastructure. In his second term, he will grow so brazen as to be darkly comical. He will simply round up anyone he doesn’t like and either murder them or put them in a camp. All Trump really needs is a war or a major domestic terrorist attack to make this a reality. All things being equal, as of October 2019, Trump has an open road to finally getting what he wants — the right to be a fascist autocrat.

Again, like I said, there’s only one likely to make this difficult — Trump himself. If Trump finally snaps or does something so completely indefensible that he finally loses Republican support, I honestly don’t know what will happen. Republicans already are effectively using the, “Ok, so convict him and fuck you” defense. They don’t say it — yet — but that’s the effective consequences of their behavior.

Moscow Mitch has already suggested that he will actively squash any real attempt to try Trump in the Senate. So Trump even make it absolutely impossible for Republicans to defend him and still get away with it all. I always thought Trump would snap and there would be some sort of Regency. Now, I realize I was being surreally naive. Trump’s going to lose his shit and do it all in public. No one is going to say anything. Nothing will be done — at least within Republican circles.

So, it’s completely possible that Trump will escape justice AND be completely bonkers. He will be nothing more than King George III. A mad king. Very serious people will have spent so much time bickering about the subtle re-election strategy genius Trump has been playing that they will barely realize it when the are stood in front of a ditch and shot in the back of the head by an ICE agent.

The crux of this is we were so busy studying the exact nature of MAGA’s support for Trump that we completely overlooked that the entire Republican Party was being held hostage by Mad King Trump. When all of this first came out, I could not believe it. It seemed a little too on the nose. While it’s still possible Bill Barr is Q and he’s going to pop out and say “baba booey” that it hasn’t happened yet is a very dark sign. If this is all true and Barr and Pompeo are STILL looking for the supposed sinister origins of the Mueller investigation that will clear Manafort so Trump can pardon him then we are in very, very dark times.

And our only possible rescue is not anything we might do, it’s Trump finally going batshit insane to such an extent that Republicans finally, finally buckle just enough to convict Trump in the Senate. Then any number of potential would-be Trumps can jump into the arena and do it all over again. Only this time they will be younger, more focused and more passionate.

Prove me wrong.

We Are Living In A Political Horror Movie

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I hate horror movies. But we’re living in a political one right now. The end of Drag Me To Hell — a movie I’ve never actually seen — seems to fit what’s going on. Or maybe Deliverance. Any movie where one “subverts” the expectations of the audience.

I mean, we got Trump red handed and…nothing. Nothing’s happening. Barr, Pompeo, Mulvany, et al are still in power, still setting policy as if nothing has happened. The enormous abuse of power associated with trying to undermine the basis of the Mueller Report continues unabated. It’s all happening in broad daylight and there’s no sense of shame, no sense of the nation being in an existential crisis.

Things are weird.

This is a seriously fucked up situation.

What’s worse, even if we somehow magically extricate ourselves from the political cancer that is House Trump, there are a half a dozen would-be Trump’s in the pipeline who are younger, more focused and even more passionate in their hatred both of liberal democracy and brown people. In fact, I would go so far as to say what would have to happen to “save” us is so horrific that I don’t even want to think about it.

Let’s just say — it’s really bad. It’s so bad that, well, let’s just hope that doesn’t happen.

Anyway, now what.