Korean War 2.0: DPRK, TrumpRussia, Ukraine & A Possible WWIII

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Something’s up. My spidy senses are tingling. I have grown very jaded and cynical about anything having to do with North Korea, but the curious statements coming out of the Trump Administration the last few days about the DPRK make me scratch my head a little bit.

I see the North Korea situation as a major gimme for Trump. It’s his huge backup fail safe should the TrumpRussia problem finally go China Syndrome and look like it’s going to end his administration. It may very well be that nothing happens. It could be that Trump will leave office in four to eight years and the DPRK will still be there and this long-term problem we have with them will be kicked down the road for another long bit.

Or…the Trump Administration is singling that they’re going to strike the DPRK in some way and let the chips fall where they will. Now, remember, the DPRK is very unpredictable and they very much want to survive, so the States might do some limited bombing and, well, nothing might happen.

Or, all hell will break loose and 500,000 people in Seoul and beyond might die in the first month of the conflict. Such an enormous regional war would have a dynamic all its own and some pretty amazing things might happen. It doesn’t take too much to think maybe Trump might use the DPRK to wag the dog. He might attack the North Koreans, sit back for them to freak out and in the ensuing chaos use pardon the hell out of people left and right and maybe even fire Bob Mueller along the way. There simply would be so much going on in Washington D.C. and beyond that the press wouldn’t be able to keep up. Add to this the possibility that Trump doing this might be seen by Russia as a green light to attack Ukraine in a big way — not to mention whatever Iran might cook up — and you have the makings of something that would be marketed by the American press as WWIII.

Or not. I am so jaded that I have a feeling the whole kick-the-can-down-the-alley option is what is going to happen with the DPRK. It would be so callus, so transparent if Trump wagged the dog with the DPRK at this point that, well, I don’t quite know what to think of that prospect. That Trump would use the potential death of half a million people — at least — as political cover to save his own presidency kind of blows my mind. But it would make a lot of sense. By the time the States finally got around to winning the war in three to six months, TrumpRussia would be a forgotten scandal and Trump would be in a strong position to win the mid-terms and potentially a second term.

But so much could go wrong with a war with the DPRK that I just don’t know. I just don’t know if I’m reading too much into all of this or what. I can’t get a handle on it. I think everything is going to work itself out and nothing is going to happen. The alternative is to horrible and bloody to brood on for too long. I mean, the Chinese and the Russians could get involved, the DPRK could attempt to bomb Japan. Or they could attempt to nuke Seoul in some sort of blackmail situation. Wars are easily started and difficult to end as the old adage goes and Korean War 2.0 would be no different.

Only time will tell, I guess.

Let’s Talk Trump, Collusion & What Happens Next For The Resistance

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It pains me to say this, but the Right is, in real time and right in front of our eyes, processing the fact that Trump probably really did collude with the Russians and by the time the process is over they will say they’re cool with it and we should just move on.

Let that sink in for a moment.

So, if you think that when and if collusion on the part of Trump and or his “satellites” is proven that we’re all going to hold hands and collectively get rid of Trump, you got another thing coming. There won’t even be a moment of silence on the part of assholes like Sean Hannity. They won’t even skip a beat. They will have their talking points prepared, they will rationalize it out of existence and for them, at least, there won’t even be a hiccup.

Let that get through your haze of fury when it is one day — maybe sooner than you think! — proven that Trump is, relative to previous standards of such things a fucking traitor. The Vichy Republicans are going to suck Trump’s treasonous cock so hard that they’re going to gag. All they care about is power. All they care about is winning the argument of the moment. They don’t care about the country, they don’t care about you and your patriotic feelings. They just care about keeping Trump president for as long as possible.

I used to think that there would be the Pence Pivot if Trump was proven to be a traitor. But given what’s going on with the Right right now, that won’t even happen. They’re going to stick with Trump until the sun burns out. And, given the evils of gerrymandering, it’s possible nothing will ever happen to Trump. He will not only survive, but prosper.

He will prosper because people like me will waste months of our time being furious about Trump’s collusion as he pushes through insane Federal judges, even more insane legislation and executive orders. So, really, we’re fucked. The only fucking thing that’s going to save our sorry asses is some sort of magical Blue Wave in 2018. Think of all the horrific damage Trump and his ilk can do to the nation between now and — at the earliest 2019. That’s only if we’re able, as The Resistance, to overcome some big hurdles.

And it’s very possible that should we manage to get anywhere close to impeaching and convicting Trump that the real crazies will pop out of the woodwork, go mainstream and demand a few states leave the Union. I’m being completely serious. It’s possible that, like President James Buchanan, Trump’s the only thing stopping a real secessionist movement from happening now instead of later. In hindsight, just like the late 1850s, we will say that the late 2010s were obviously the moment in time when the nation was about to tear itself apart, it was just a matter of the conditions being right.

So, for the duration we are stuck with Trumplandia. We live in a dystopian present. Nothing is going to happen. And it’s very likely possible that it could be four or six or maybe never before Trump is impeached and convicted. And if he is, there could be consquences far beyond what we ever imagined.

I don’t have much hope in the short term. We’re fucked. Even if there is proof that Trump colluded in some way, the Right will have already processed it and moved on to something else. This is not fiction, this is reality. This is what’s really going on in America right now and there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it for the time being. I would thus suggest we all take a deep breath and figure out ways to engage, not rage.

There doesn’t seem to be much other course of action for the time being.

Wayward Sisters, Part In Peace, Redux: What If You Held A Civil War & Nobody Came?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Oh boy. All signs are pointing towards the dissolution of the American Union within, say, 10 years. No later than maybe 2025. Whenever we have another center-Left president, I’d say.

But the question is, is there any center left to hold? Is is possible that we’d go the route of the Soviet Union and split into our individual tribes peacefully? Is there really anything, at this point, that would cause the central government to attempt to keep states that want to leave, like, say, Texas or California, from doing so?

Is it possible that there would be a “wayward sisters, part in peace” movement like there was in 1860? Is it possible that we’ll wake up and the South will have risen again and no one will give a shit? I find that specifically, to be kind of doubtful because of race, if nothing else, but it’s possible that other, less complicated states may bolt the Union successfully.

It seems to me that the upper West is the most likely to leave the Union en masse because there’s not the race issue. But I could also see center-Left “Blue” states leaving and joining Canada, maybe. A United States of Canada? Regardless, unless we come up with some leadership, the United States looks pretty finished.

Only time will tell.

Watch & See, Trump Is Totally Going To Fire Bob Mueller

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

All the conditions are there for Donald Trump to fire special council Bob Mueller. Trump is laying down the groundwork to do it, at least. He’s complained that Mueller and former FBI director Jim Comey are too close. And he’s generally made it clear that he’s thinking about it.

I am not one of those who thinks anything will happen should Trump fire Mueller. Though there would be an instant Constitutional crisis, as I understand it, it was about a year from when Nixon did something similar to the point when things came to a head in the Watergate scandal. And that was at a point when things were a lot less partisan than they are now and generally both sides did the right thing when they were called to do so.

So, there will be a lot of gnashing of teeth. A lot of people like me be furious. But, in the end, this bloody, pitched political battle will continue. It could be years and years before the right thing happens and the Special Prosecutor law is brought back again, and that point, Trump could almost be out of office.

And, so, in effect, he will win.

A Second American Civil War Is Coming…

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The conditions are right for second American Civil War. I am thinking it’s going to happen between now and 2025. I say this because to me it seems pretty obvious that Donald Trump as president may be the firebreak between us and this event. What I mean by this is not that Trump is some sort of great leader holding the country together — I think he’s a shit leader — no, it’s that the insane, surreal Right is itching for a fight and only because they have one of their own as president that they don’t act.

So, once Trump is replaced by a center-Left president, it seems obvious to me that the call for secession will grow unbearable. But unlikely 1860-1861, it is more likely to be states in the West that bolt first, not the South. I say this in large part because of race. It just can’t see African Americans voting en masse for secession in South Carolina or Alabama. I can, however, see the residents of, say, Texas or Montana do it.

Of course, there is the opposite possible scenario. It is possible that center-Left states may be the ones, in fact, to leave the Union simply because they don’t feel they’re being listened to. In a way this makes a lot more sense given historical trends, but we’ll just have to see.

One issue is how messy a secessionist movement would be. Would the central government even care, or would it pull a “wayward sisters, part in peace” move and the country would split peacefully a la the USSR in 1991. It pretty much depends on leadership. If there is leadership that demands the nation stay together, then things could get bloody and messy pretty quickly. But if there isn’t the leadership, then the nation is so divided that it’s very possible that the split will pretty much be peaceful.

One interesting issue is what would the respective nations look like post-split. There is the very real possibility that because the center-Left states wouldn’t be contiguous that they would form sort of union with Canada in an effort to fix that problem. Meanwhile, the center-Right states would likely go completely bonkers and push through every insane policy that they’ve wanted to initiate the last 30 odd years. But like I said, only in states like Montana would the split be clean. In the Deep South, any attempt for the state to hold a Secessionist Convention would cause blood to run in the streets.

Should there be a real movement to impeach and convict Trump, should such a move get traction, then that might be the tipping point that causes states to begin to leave the union. So it might not be 2020-2021 or 2024-2025 when all of this happens but 2018-2019. It’s possible. Not probable, but possible.

I think we risk a second American Civil War in part because the views of the insane, surreal Right drift down to the “normal” Right gradually over a few years and so it makes sense that by no later than 2025 what seems insane will be taken as normal by the Right.

All of this doesn’t even take into account a very troubling thing that I don’t really know enough about — Donald Trump is cramming the judiciary with young, insanely conservative judges. So, that’s another thing that might placate the Right and postpone or eliminate the need for them to press secession from their point of view, but make the center-Left feel emboldened to do just that. We may look back on this present era much like the late 1850s, where in hindsight it is obvious that the country is tearing itself apart, it’s just matter of how exactly it’s going to happen.

Adding more fuel to these flames are titanic shifts in our economy. The process of AI, automation and other aspects of the drifting march towards the technological Singularity that we’re now experiencing will bring enormous changes to our society in ways that probably will only hasten or division. Throw in the growing sophistication of AR and VR into the mix and things grow really interesting really quick.

This is the point when I’m supposed to offer up some solutions. Alas, I honestly can’t think of any. That’s why it seems pretty inevitable — at least at this point — that there will be again be Civil War bloodshed shed in the United States within, say, 10 years. I could propose, maybe a “Twitter killer” that might force us to interact with each other in longer than 140 characters, but no one listens to me and I don’t have the skill to design such a service myself, so that’s kind of pointless.

It’s all very sad. I wish there was an easy answer to it all, but there isn’t. We need to engage each other more, need to talk to people we disagree with. But that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. So, as of right now, it seems as though all trends point towards us being doomed.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

The Elements Of Trump

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

One of the things that makes Donald Trump so difficult to understand is he has all kinds of influences and elements that are rolled up into one flaming dumpster fire full of shit that can be difficult to understand. Here is my modest attempt to make sense of it all from my novice presidential historian point of view.

1. President James Buchanan
Trump definitely has elements of President Buchanan to him. He seems like the kind of guy who would let states peacefully leave the Union simply because he felt he didn’t have the power to stop them legally. He seems like on a basic level, his presidential instincts really are that bad. And, given the rhetoric of some of the surreal, extreme Right wing people, should Trump lose in 2020, he definitely might have the opportunity to prove one way or another if he would let states leave the Union.

2. President Richard Nixon
Trump has a heaping helping of the self-defeating paranoia and tendency to double down and triple down in the case of a screw up. Especially in the case of the non-existent tapes Trump definitely has a Nixonian tendency to shoot himself in the foot. One aspect that Trump doesn’t have is the smarts that Nixon had. Trump has Steve Bannon, but that only goes so far. A fish rots from the head and Trump for the most part is way, way, way, way in over his head with regard to most issues.

3. President Bill Clinton
One thing Trump shares with Bill Clinton is his willingness to admit defeat in an effort to save his skin. So, it is very possible that should in a few years it look like Trump’s goose is cooked, he could very well say he’s sorry and save his own political hide. Nixon would never say he was sorry, so he lost the presidency. But it’s very possible Trump could save himself on a political level by simply admitting his “satellites” did, in fact, collude with the Russians.

Of course, there is a little bit of Chauncey Gardner from Being There in Trump. He’s just the right dude in the right place at the right time. And he absolutely refuses to give up, no matter what. So, I suspect barring something really awe inspiring politically, that we’re stuck with Trump for four to eight years. We just have to accept that.

Is Trump The Only Thing Stopping A Second American Civil War?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am concerned that in hindsight, this decade will be look back upon as the same as the 1850s. During that decade, the United States was tearing itself apart slowly and in hindsight it seemed obvious that a Civil War was in the making.

I worry that maybe the only thing stopping a bloody Second American Civil War is the simple fact that the surreal, extreme bizarre Right is content with the president. If something happens to Trump politically, is it possible that all bets are off? Is it possible there will be real bloodshed?

It definitely seems as though should a center-Left person win in 2020 or 2024 (more likely) that the same forces that elected Donald Trump in the first place will destroy the United States. And, really, at that point it’s a question of if our elected leaders are up to the challenge or not.

Nothing indicates right now, alas, that they are .

Snark, Trump Era Zeitgeist & The Resistance’s Need For An Anti-Axios

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Sometimes, the absence of something can oddly be just as noticeable as the presence of something. It wasn’t too long ago — less than 10 years ago — when the nattering nabobs of the New York media world were aflutter over snark, smarm and the the difference between the two.

At the center of this debate was the late, sometimes-not-so-great Gawker Media. It is interesting that Gawker was at its best in the 2003-2004 era when it was new, just starting and was commenting on the early George W. Bush era. It was the age of the Second Iraq War and for people like me, Gawker.com really tapped into the zeitgeist.

It did, at least, for people like me.

In those early years of Gawker as we settled into the long war of Iraq, the site was a place to go and get a good chuckle over the foolishness of it all. In 2004 Wonkette was still under the Gawker Media umbrella at it, too, was really cool. It was really snarky and fun and was talking about stupid shit that the Bush Administration was up to.

But gradually, things changed. Some of it had to do with the loss of focus on the part of Gawker Media founder Nick Denton and some of it had to do with, well, Obama being president. It was difficult to be snarky and mean about how stupid The Powers That Be were when, like, we had a Cool Dad as president. The battle over snark versus smarm was joined and the issue became so muddled that eventually the lights got turned on, the beer drained and the party was definitely over.

Flash forward to now and it seems as though we’ve entered the post-snark era. This is really, really odd because there’s so much to be snarky about. If ever there was something to be unabashedly snarky about, Trumplandia is definitely it. The absence of any real snark as practiced by Gawker.com and before that Spy Magazine and Late Night With David Letterman is a quite a head scratcher.

Some of it, probably has to do with demographics. The people who most likely be the generators of snark — young people — are probably just a little bit too young to reach that 20-25 age era of their life when they want to crack wise at everything. Or not. I don’t know. It is interesting that the closest thing to any kind of protest or snark in pop culture is the pretty bland “woke” pop music you hear every now and again. Pop culture in general really hasn’t changed much since Trump’s victory. There are a few pings here and there of Hollywood getting its act together and helping people process Trump’s ascendance, but not nearly as much as you might think. Some of it is that it takes time to develop scripted material, I know, but still. You’d think they’d fast track that shit or something. Times are kind of desperate.

But there’s no site right now that is tapping into the anger that a lot of people are still feeling from the events of November 2016. What’s weird is, we have Axios. Axios relies upon “access journalism” for its scoops on the Trump Administration and it plays it right down the middle. No snark, no quips, no figurative raised eye brows, no anything. Just plain, boring facts about the insane clown shit-show that is the Trumplandia era. I guess what I’m suggesting is that The Resistance needs it’s own version of Axios. An anti-Axios. Something that does for The Resistance what Axios does for Trumplandia. It would be irreverent, snarky and cool like Spy Magazine was 30 years go.

You’d think that someone, somewhere would see what I see — that there is both an audience and a market for a snarky site like the old Gawker or Wonkette. Something for people like me to read and have the occasional cathartic laugh through. The closest thing we have right now is the podcast company Crooked Media. The only problem with Crooked Media is it always leave me wanting more. I listen to Pod Save America or Pod Save The World and I get so stirred up, so angry that I want to read articles about what they’ve been talking about. But, to date at least, they haven’t started to generate that kind of content. That would be the obvious thing for them to do to take their site to the next level, I must note.

This brings up the interesting idea of what my would be neo-Gawker would be like. In my imagination, it would be a lot like the Gawker.com of 2003-2004, but with a lot more video. Like, I would like most blog posts to have a 2 minute clip from the writer of the post explaining what they have written. I would also like regular video podcasts. Though Trumplandia has caused me to become addicted to podcasts, I think video podcasts are the future. I used to do one on the now defunct Blab platform and it was a lot of fun. If you’re all that interested in what I did, you can samples of my “show” on my YouTube channel.

I have suggested on more than on occasion that of all the existing media companies out there, that Playboy has the biggest vested interest in re-tooling itself as something of a neo-Gawker. I’m sure it’s a lot more difficult for them to do this than I think, but they have the means, motive and opportunity to do as I suggest. They are a legacy brand with a history of progressive leanings and they’re desperate to be relevant again. It would make a lot of sense for them to poach lot of Jezebel.com writers and completely retool Playboy.com to become the site that people like visit to process what is going on with Trumplandia.

Another thing I might suggest is having someone, say, Ilana Glazer, be a roving reporter for the site. I really liked what Gawker did with Julia Allison way back when and it would be fun to recreate that silly experience of having a young, attractive woman running around the streets of New York City having zany hi-jinks. I just think that’s really cool. I really like the concept.

Regardless, maybe the media world has changed to such an extent that what I want simply isn’t possible. It could be that the amount of money needed to start a major blog is now such that the whole endeavor is cost prohibitive. That makes me sad. It would be so much fun to have one site that was the go-to site for The Resistance. Something that really tapped into this anger that many of us are feeling.

I would start such a media company myself — The Trumplandia Report is kind of my vision of what it would look like — but, alas, I don’t have any money and generally no one listens to me. But I need somewhere to vent, so I write here whenever the mood strikes me. I hope that doing my little part for The Resistance helps in some way.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

It Was Inevitable That Obamacare Was Doomed

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While Obamacare was a bad bill from the beginning, it was for most people at least a lot better than what existed before. But I’m enough of a student of history to know that it was inevitable that it would be repealed.

Republicans are so surreal in their hatred for everything connected to Obama that once they got power — however long it took — they were going to get rid of the legislation. So, we are on the cusp of just that happening.

So, I don’t know. What will be interesting to see is if once they do repeal it if the pendulum will swing by the other direction and we’ll go to a single payer format. That’s a very real possibility. Though, it’s also very real that we’re just doomed and we’re stuck with this soft dystopia for a few years.

History does not go in a straight line. The good guys don’t always win. So, this could be it. This could be the end of not only Obamacare, but the end of America’s liberal democratic republic. At least, for as long as I live.

When Our Cold Civil War Turns Hot: The Scalise Attack As New Harpers Ferry

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I saw on Twitter that someone out there in the surreal alt-Right echochamber is now openly talking about secession. I have seen several incidences where the bizarre Right that lives beyond InfoWars as suggested that the attack on Rep. Steve Scalise is up there with the Battle of Fort Sumner. That is, at least at this point, kind of grasping at straws. What these people are TRYING to say is that the tragic Scalise incident is something like John Brown’s attack on Harpers Ferry. That makes much more historical sense than the Battle of Fort Sumner, at least at this point.

What’s even more weird is that these bizarre, surreal Right wing nutjobs as blathering about this at a time when they have unprecedented power. There is effectively no check on the presidency and Trump is packing the judiciary with insane, young, whackjobs. So, really, the very people who are so upset with liberals have a vested interest, at least right now, in keeping the Federal government together as-in.

It makes me believe that maybe the only thing stopping open secessionist talk is the fact that Hillary Clinton lost. It makes me think that had Clinton won, one of the first crisis she would have had to address was a honest-to-God secessionist movement. What’s so troublesome is this problem isn’t going away. If you wanted to make a real historical analogy of all this, I might propose that we’re in, say, the 1857 era. We’re in that era of American history where the nation was tearing itself apart. So, should Trump lose in four years, watch out.

So, for the next four to eight years, we’ll be in a slow-mo Cold Civil War that will, in fits and starts, grind towards an actual secession of a few states. The actual make up of such a secessionist crisis is kind of puzzling.

Which states would bolt and why? Would it even be states at all, but rather some sort of coup in a few states? The reason why I suggest the latter is it is much more difficult for, say, South Carolina to bolt the Union because of, well, race. I just can’t see African Americans willingly joining disgruntled whites to leave the Union through some sort of secessionist convention. That leads to the idea of something a bit more violent and scary.

If not some Southern state, then which states would want to leave the Union? My guess is some state in the upper West where there aren’t any minorities. They would do it just out of spite. Though Texas is careening towards a bizarre enough Right wing hellscape that maybe they would be the state to do it.

Really, I just can’t see the Right being able to get enough leverage to start a secessionist crisis because Trump has a vested interest in keeping the government together. He’s much more likely to bend over backwards to give the insane, surreal 35% of the population that would be the most interested in secession everything they wanted. That would then make the whole situation moot.

That raises the issue of the center-Left seceding. I just don’t see that happening. While there was talk of California bolting the Union, that has subsided dramatically. That, then, raises the issue of why would the surreal Right be so fixated on leaving the Union despite getting everything they wanted.

That’s a tough one. I don’t have any answer to that. It would be a great historical irony if there was a secessionist crisis under Trump. The most likely scenario of that happening would be if in four or eight years a center-Left presidential candidate won. THEN, I could see Trump presiding over the dissolution of the Union quite easily.

But would there be a Second Civil War at all? Is it possible that we’re so divided that the “wayward sisters” that wished to leave the Union — whichever states they may be — would be allowed to “part in peace?” So, a lot of it would boil down to leadership. It could go either way. Either the Blue states bolt and join Canada or the Red states blot under a center-Left president and there (might) be a “hot” civil war. I’m not suggesting that a center-Left president would be more bloodthirsty, but I do think a center-Left president would be more likely to fight for the survival of the Union.

Regardless, we should all keep an eye on the surreal, bizarre extreme Right. That’s where tomorrow’s talking points for the Republican Party come from and before you know it secessionist talk may be something we all have to deal with.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.