Mulling A Quick Trip to #Miami

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s cold here in Richmond, and my 45th birthday is coming up, so I thought I would do something interesting like take a quick trip somewhere hot. After a lot of mulling over different places, I think I’ve come to the conclusion of where I want to go: Miami Beach.

V-Log: A ‘Drama Queen’ Speaks Out About Victor Cha #DPRK

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am a little upset about what’s going on with the DPRK and here are some words on the matter.

Sean Hannity’s Twitter, ‘Form Submission 1649’ & The Trump Base As Cult #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner

So, the latest weird, surreal conspiracy theory is something to do with Sean Hannity’s Twitter account vanishing after tweeting something about “Form Submission 1649” three times. Apparently, this has something to about theft of government property. Or something. Though, I have to say, it Hannity may have come up with a new type of rage quitting Twitter, whereby you say something really dramatic and then quit, leaving people to focus on the last thing you tweeted.

This is mysterious to say the least, but at this point, Trump has so proven himself to be a monster — if an incompetent one — that I’m fed up with any arguments about how we should “lock her up.” Clinton lost. She’s not president and likely never will be. So, in a sense, the numbnuts of the Right have won that particular argument. And, yet, because they can’t in good faith defend the actions of their God-king Donald Trump, they bob and weave, they rhetorically shadowbox every which way in an effort to avoid directly addressing what a shit person and president Trump is.

What’s worse, sometimes instead of shadowboxing, they pull the most ridiculous argument out of their ass. In my view, that’s the most dangerous aspect of all of this. It’s like the Trump base is a cult. That’s the only word for it I can think of. It’s a cult. The Trump base is so completely detached from reality that there’s no debating anything with them. They simply refuse to admit any flaw with their God-king and they’re willing to take the entire country down with them in an effort to see their agenda implemented.

Something pretty epic is going on in American politics that we are lurching towards a Russian-style authoritarian “managed democracy” so quickly. I just don’t get it. I just don’t get what’s going on. One possible explanation is the Great Man theory of history. That all of this is a fluke caused by some extraordinary circumstances. It is very similar to what happened with Hitler, sad to say. While Trump is a strangely adept politician, he’s really shitty, really incompetent at governing. So right now that’s the only thing protecting us from a bull-bore fascist take over.

This is happening because all of the usual suspects on the Right who would otherwise scream bloody murder are completely co-opted, completely complicit. The entire system is out of whack. It’s really sad. It’s really tragic. There are no easy answers. I don’t know what happens next, honestly. Even if Mueller manages to find actual wrong-doing on the part of Trump, America is so divided that I honestly can’t see any scenario that includes Trump resigning or being impeached and convicted. So, as such, we’re fucked. We’re stuck with him at least four, if not eight years. The only question is, what will be his ultimately legacy?

Either the next president is a real leader and cleans up this mess, or the entire process is officially broken and we’re never going to have another free and fair election, at least as long as I’m alive. That seems like a very real possibility, sad to say. Remember, the Reagan Revolution lasted for 12 years and only then ended because Bill Clinton was such an expert politician that he was able to slip through using the Third Way political ideology. So, there is a real possibility that because of the quirks of the Electoral College the Trump Revolution could last at least as long as that.

Again, I just don’t know what happens next. The Trump base has some legitimate complaints, but they take what they’re willing to do to address those problems with the modern world to completely bonkers lengths. It is a very real possibility that instead of the usual ebb and flow of politics on a macro level that we’ve entered a new age where there’s no longer free and fair elections and there will be a complete disconnect between the will of the people and the government. It has already happened with the smash and grab tax cut the Republicans passed, so there is no reason to think they won’t do it with everything else they want in the future.

The Trump base is such a fetid, rancid thing on an ideological level that it was inevitable that they would gain power and fuck things up. It is up to all of us, now, to see what we can do to mitigate the damage they inflict on the nation before it’s too late.

V-log: Trump Supporters Are An American Embarrassment

by Shelton Bumgarner

I could go on at great length about how angry Trump supporters make me, but here’s a video that does just that. Trump is tearing this great nation of ours apart and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it. It’s all very sad. Very tragic.

Far Worse Than Watergate, My Ass: How I Quit Worrying & Learned To Love Fuckwits

by Shelton Bumgarner

For otherwise grown adults, the Republican Party sure does collectively act like a bunch of little kids. They know the only way to get anyone’s attention is to cry and say this or that dumb conspiracy theory is “far worse than Watergate.” Republicans know they will catch liberals attention by invoking Watergate, even if it, in fact, has nothing to do with what’s going on.

I had a long, painful and weirdly insightful discussion with a Trump supporter recently that at first left me seething and now leavings me somewhat resigned. Talking to him about Trump was a textbook case of gaslighting and rhetorical shadowboxing. Even when I landed punches, he wouldn’t admit it. It was extremely frustrating.

But I did learn something about how to debate a Trump cult member. You have to give them specifics. You have to be prepared. If you’re going to engage, not enrage a Trump cultist, you need to be prepared. This is a really big mistake I’ve made in the past. Just because it’s self-evident to you that Trump and his ilk are bigoted, racist misogynists, doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to prove it to a Trump cult member.

The sooner we admit to ourselves that Trump supporters are in a deluded cult, the sooner we will better understand how to address them. They don’t see the fetid, rancid ideological dumpster fire of MAGA as that at all. All they care about is that the economy is “humming” and that ISIS has been largely defeated. It’s really weird that otherwise conservative people would embrace moral relativism in their efforts to support the Dear Leader, while a liberal like me has to stand on principle to get anything done.

Anyway, I guess the point is if you’re going talk to a Trump supporter, you can’t just yell at them the way you want to. You’re going to have to have cold hard facts — lots of them — at your disposal that you can throw at them. They will shadowbox, they will rhetorically bob and weave, but find your hill and die on it. Don’t get distracted by what a target rich environment MAGA is. Find a specific thing that really pisses you off about Trump, learn as much as you can about it and attack, attack, attack.

But we’re all doomed. I need some hope.

Mulling The Political Psychology Of A Trump Supporter

by Shelton Bumgarner

I had a long a painful discussion with a Trump supporter that just left me furious. It’s like they were living in a different universe than me. Their argument boiled down “Lulz, nothing matters” with a heavy dose of “the economy is doing well” and “Trump defeated ISIS” along with a side dish of “he’s securing the borders.”

What made me so angry was I would present the person with number of insane things Trump had done — things that would destroy any other politician — and they either lightly admitted it was outrageous or rationalized it out of existence.

The whole thing left me white hot angry that otherwise sane people could believe such stupid shit. It makes me so angry. I want to make Trump supporters furious. I want them to hate me. But weirdly enough they’re so numb to any disagreement that it’s like talking to someone in a well-medicated cult.

That’s really the only thing I can compare it to — a cult. Trump supporters are in a cult and they’re holding my country hostage. All I can do in response is vote. Maybe engage in some political activity to get help my little corner of the world.

But as of right now, things are looking kind of grim.

‘Shithole’ — The ‘City On A Hill’ No More: Reagan As A #NeverTrumper

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am not that old, but I am old enough to remember with the Republican Party was the party not only of Lincoln, but of Ronald Reagan. I came of political adulthood in the mid-80s, the height of Ronald Reagan as a near demi-god in Republican circles. I’m no conservative Republican, but I do remember some of the basic tenants of Reagan Republicanism.

Reagan was pro-democracy around the world, no matter what the costs. He saw the Soviet Union (Russia) as our chief geo-political foe and he had, first and foremost, principles he was willing to stand and die for in an ideological, rhetorical way. Or put another way, Reagan had an actual ideology, a vision, of America as “a city on the hill” that was a beacon to people around the world no matter what type of “shithole” they came from.

Even the most ardent Trump supporter, I suspect, would have difficulty telling me what Trump’s ideology is other than “make America great again” and building that fucking wall. The idea of American exceptionalism, that we are a city on the hill that not only defends freedom around the world but is a place open to people from any “shithole” around the world seems to have been cast aside like so much unwanted trash by Trump people.

It all kind of boggles my mind. The whole thing is bizarre. If you have any the tiniest bit of historical perspective on things, Trump’s rise is such an aberration relative to the previous path of the modern Republican Party that it’s enough to leave you a bit stunned. Republicans as recently as 20 years ago, were a party that had, like, principals and stuff. The were the comfy home of “values” voters who supported a witch hunt against Bill Clinton because, well, they hated his guts on a personal level because they felt “character” counted enough to warrant looking for something, anything to impeach him for. They got their wish, of course, be he managed to escape conviction.

Now, I don’t know what the fuck is going on. Everything is turned upside down. Things are surreal. Republicans are soft on Russia. They scoff at the notion that America not only would defend freedom but that our doors would be open to outsiders who are the lifeblood of our continued prosperity. It’s all very surreal for someone like me who actually has enough personal memory to remember the Cold War.

The question, of course, is what the hell happened?

The only answer I can think of is, maybe, Trump is an example of the “Great Man” theory of history at work. I struggle to imagine this clusterfuck happening without someone like Trump being the unique vessel of the resentment of the common man against the evil liberal elites. But Trump is so unhinged, so erratic and so devoid of any type of specific ideology that even though I fear he will be a two-term president, there is a chance he may be the historical equivalent of a Chinese food. Soon enough, we’ll struggle to remember exactly what all the fuss was about.

That’s not to say that, in a way, Trump is already America’s political-historical herpes. All those insane, young judges he’s appointing aren’t going anywhere. They are going to do real harm to the American body politic for decades to come and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. I am still unconvinced that there will be a “Blue Wave” in 2018. I think Trump will attack the DPRK or do something equally nefarious and not only survive, but prosper for a full eight years.

The real question, of course, is what happens after Trump. Do things snap back into place, or are we fucked for good? Because of the coming of the Singularity and other long-term issues, I am more inclined to think we’re fucked. The question, of course, is, exactly how fucked are we?

The Possible Iran-Contra Endgame For #TrumpRussia

by Shelton Bumgarner

For all the liberal fever dreams about how Trump will eventually be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, we have to accept that by the time Robert Mueller finally presents his conclusions to the Congress, things could be so completely muddled that it will be a moot point.

Add to that the cold, hard fact that Trump’s poll numbers are creeping up and Trump could very well pull an epic wag the dog by starting a preemptive war against the DPRK and you have a recipe for a Iran-Contra type endgame for #TrumpRussia.

It’s a classic instance of history maybe not repeating, but definitely rhyming. Iran-Contra was a huge Constitutional clusterfuck for several different reasons and the president at the time, Ronald Reagan managed to escape relatively unscathed. So, it’s very possible that if the economy continues to do well along with a strategic and timely war with the DPRK (and maybe some painful, uncharacteristic groveling) Trump could not only escape serious political harm, he could manage to prosper enough to have a second term.

The only reason why I suggest Trump might do the required public self-flagellation needed for the Iran-Contra endgame to come to be is what he did as part of the Access Hollywood tape scandal. He said he was sorry and he was able to go about his business. And, if Trump does, in fact, find himself at risk of being impeached, I have a feeling he’ll bend his knee to the public to save his job.

Though, I have to note, presidential second terms are not known for being all that great. The usually are pretty shitty compared to energetic first term. Usually, by the middle of the second term, Americans begin to grow unhappy with an president and weird things begin to happen. Trump, himself, is a manifestation of this. So, should Trump slouch towards a second term, some seriously fucked up shit might happen.

My biggest fear is that America’s already broken democracy is finally shatter altogether and there’s no going back. We will finally enter an era of fully “managed democracy” like they have in Russia. I used to think that could never happen, that America has too much spunk. But I’m afraid I’m beginning to lose hope. I’m beginning to fear that we’re fucked. I’m beginning to fear that there will never be a free and fair election in the United States in my lifetime. Or, if a Democrat wins it will be because of a really bizarre fluke.

It’s all very unfortunate, very sad and tragic. The major problem is we’re in an extended Civil Cold War with no end in sight. In fact, I might suggest that only a real civil war might end this turmoil. But the greater tragedy may be that when push come to shove there won’t be a war at all. The states will split peacefully for no other reason that they have, at last, nothing in common.

Kirstjen Nielsen And Tom Cotton Are Liars

by Shelton Bumgarner

I can’t get over that both Kirstjen Nielsen and Tom Cotton, otherwise presumably honorable people, are willing to lie to protect our shithead, scummy racist president. And no one seems to care. No one. I blows my mind. It’s mind boggling that this is the case.

The worse part of all of this is that “normal” people are slouching towards his slimy shitty level for white-knuckled political reasons. It’s really nuts. It’s completely bonkers. All this insane stuff is happening and political gravity continues to be suspended.

Donald Trump is a racist, and people like Kirstjen Nielsen and Tom Cotton are protecting him and it blows my mind. It is an outrage. But there doesn’t seem to be any consequence to it. Is America so fucked up that someone as slimy and ignorant as Donald Trump can cause hopefully honorable people are willing to cover for him.

It’s crazy. Insane. And there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it.

TrumpRussia, Iran-Contra And How We’re All Doomed

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s growing ever more obvious that we’re doomed. The rabid efforts on the part of the Republicans to discredit the investigation of Robert Mueller into TrumpRussia are largely successful and there’s nothing we can do about it. Even if the “Blue Wave” happens in 2018, things will be so muddled that in real terms it won’t matter. Trump will evade impeachment and or impeachment and conviction and we’re stuck with him until at least 2021, if not longer.

I say longer because there’s a real chance that for various quirky reasons Trump will win re-election and will serve out a full eight years. The question, of course, is what kind of nation will he leave behind him once he finally leaves office.

But having said all that, the closest historical analogy I can find to what I think will happen with TrumpRussia is Iran-Contra. The only reason why I suggest that to dramatically different scandals may endup the same is that in the end, well, nothing really happened. Though Reagan got out of his jam by saying he was sorry, Trump will get out of his jam by muddying the waters to such an extent that even if he’s caught red handed there won’t be any national consensus as to what to do. But the end result of the two scandals will be the same: nothing. Even though Reagan should have been forced out of office, he wasn’t. And, too, Trump should been forced out of office, but he won’t.

We’re doomed. We’re completely doomed and Trump and his MAGA people will ruin the country once and for all. Add to this the implacable dumb beat for a Constitutional Convention and it really does seem that all is lost. I hope this isn’t the case, but as of right now, that seems to be exactly where we are.

That’s why someone like Oprah is such an appealing candidate for me. She inspires hope. She is everything Trump isn’t and yet shares many of his skillset. History is very strange — especially in this era — and maybe, just maybe some sort of hopeful event might pop up when I least expect it.