V-Log: ‘The Picture’ — I’m Furious About Trump’s Dumb Attack On Time Magazine

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I know no one ever watched v-logs, but this one is worth your time. It’s not even really a v-log, more of a live stream rant.

It Has Happened Here: MAGA As America’s Fascism #KeepFamiliesTogether #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Fascism has come to America. There was a novel in the 1930s entitled, “It Can’t Happen Here.” It was about the rise of a fascist state in the America. Given the Right’s to the recent “Prosecution Initiative” it is clear that MAGA has is, in fact, America’s version of fascism.

As I understand it, fascism is, as a concept, rather nebulous. Each state where it takes hold puts it’s own spin on the concept while there are some general overlapping beliefs associated with them. But talking to people who are MAGAists or sympathetic to it’s aims has left me shaken.

These people are completely devoid of simple, basic human empathy. They are devoid of that deep, visceral kick in the gut you get when you hear a baby’s cries for its parents. When I talk to them about changing Trump’s policy, they are either so busy scoring political points or talking about the need to for immigration reform, that they completely refuse to simply say, “This is enough. Change the policy back to what it was before April 2018.”

They simply can’t, or won’t, do it.

In all honesty, there’s no difference between that and being in Germany in 1939 debating with a Good German the need to finally solve the “Jewish Problem.” The difference — at least for now — is only a matter of degree. With the recent reports that Trump wants to place as many as 20,000 unattended minors on American M=military bases across the country. One you establish a system that can do that, it’s extremely difficult not to assume that such a system of mass detainment couldn’t be used for other “undesirables.”

MAGAist collaborators I’ve spoken to tell me I’m “grasping at straws” to suggest such a thing. But am I? Once you make the cognitive leap to ignore the cries of a child simply because of their lack of documentation or skin tone and lack of documentation, the pot is officially boiling. We’ve officially reached the point where we’re in a fascist state. As I keep sayings, what’s to stop MAGAists at the behest of Der Fuhrer to demand the mentally ill join undocumented people in the camps in an effort to address the gun issue once and for all. I’m not saying it’s going to happen over night and I’m not saying it won’t be difficult to implement.

But it’s officially within the realm of possibility, if nothing else. It’s not off the table.

The American Constitutional system has rotted to such an extent that literally the only thing standing between America and a Russian-style “managed democracy” is the pure, unadulterated rage of people who do, in fact, have common human compassion and empathy. People who don’t care about the finer points of immigration reform, or who quibble about the details of what’s going on at the border.

I mean, there are roughly 2,000 children missing within the system who we may never be able to be reunited with their families. But because the images aren’t there to help engage the American populace to rage against their plight, it appears as though this will fall into the typical partisan debate and nothing, really, will happen.

MAGAists simply lack basic human empathy and compassion. They are completely devoid of it. They just don’t care. And so, that, if noting else, is why MAGAists are modern day fascists. That’s what we’re up against. They completely control the government at this point for various reasons and there honestly isn’t anything we can do.

Things are going to get worse, much worse, before they get better and the only thing that may save us — and I hate to mention this at all — is simple civil disobedience. The pot is officially boiling and if we don’t hop out, if we don’t take a stand now, then the frog is cooked. I have suggested in the past that maybe someone might design an app to facilitate mass protests across the country.

Only through massive, regular protests across the country will there be anything close to an end to this. The electoral system is so completely broken that I just don’t see there being a “Blue Wave.” We have to see this as a marathon, not a sprint and we have to do some serious triage of the enormous number of problems the Trump Administration is throwing at us. I want to have hope, I really do. If I have hope, then I stay angry.

But honestly, I don’t have hope anymore. It’s just a matter of degree now. Either MAGAists push this as far as they can, or we come to some sort of stalemate. The decision, I guess, is ours at this point.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

What About the 2,000 Children Lost In The System? #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The cruelty of the Trump Administration’s April change in immigration policy and subsequent tactical retreat through an Executive Order seems now to be quickly fading in the minds of the populace. Unfortunately, at last count there are about 2,000 children still in the system who have been torn from their families.

A real chance exists that the complete clusterfuck that is the Trump Administration, the fate of these children will be overtaken by events and they will, simply, fade away. Now that Congressional Republicans feel significantly more at ease. They now can go back to being complicit at best and collaborators at worse.

The stain on our nation’s honor caused by the roughly 2,000 children left in limbo and out of the arms of their families will be just another blotch on America’s good name and the Trump Administrator will grind on. There doesn’t seem to be anything that is going to change this. This is, to say the least, troubling.

But as of right now, that seems to be the fate of these hapless children. Under anything akin to normal circumstances, there would be hearings and even, perhaps, a non-partisan commission establish to fix this problem as quickly as possible. But I don’t have much hope. It seems as though outside of the usual center-Left suspects, there is such systemic rot that in the existing American Constitutional system that effectively nothing will be done by the greater body politic.

It’s very disturbing and unsettling that the fate of basically 2,000 children will effectively fade so much from the public conscious that they will fall into an Orwellian memory hole. Is this who we are now? Is this the United States of America? Have we been so thrown out of sorts by the constant gaslighting on the part of the Trump Administration that we’ll simply move on from all of this in a few days and assume it’s been fixed?

As of this moment I’m afraid that is, in fact, the case. It doesn’t seem as though what should happen — that the fate of these children be seen as an imminent threat to the moral leadership of the United States is going to occur. We’re just going to forget about these kids, re-elect the Vichy Republicans in Congress and eight years from now President James Woods will be talking about the need to expand our Trump branded gulag archipelago.

I hope I’m wrong. I really do.

Trump’s ‘Prosecution Initiative’ Crisis Update For June 19th, 2018

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

For no other reason than to simply establish where thing are in my own mind, here is an overview of where things stand in this entirely self-concocted immigrant family separation policy crisis on the part of Donald J. Trump. I hope this gets wrapped up pretty quick and I don’t have to a lot of these, but as of right now, things aren’t looking good.

A little background. This crisis began when, at the behest of tin-pot Hitler Stephen Miller, Trump through Attorney General Jeff Sessions enacted a “zero tolerance” policy when it came to people coming across the American Southwest border illegally. Remember, this is a “policy” not a law and Trump, if he had an ounce of human decency, could fix this problem quite quickly. The memo that established this policy is below.

This set off a chain of events that we are now dealing with. As a result of this zero tolerance policy, hundreds, if not thousands of children have been ripped from their families, some of them, allegedly, out of their mother’s arms after having been told they would be given a bath.

Anyway, the news has been coming hard and fast today when it comes to this story. The president tweeted this morning that immigrants were going to “infest” the nation.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of news whipping the nation’s attention this way and that. It was difficult to grasp what was gong on at times the news popped up so quickly. Some 600 members of the United Methodist Church condemned member Jeff Sessons’ involvement in this clusterfuck. This joined a whole host of religious leaders and groups who echoed a similar sentiment over the course of the last few days.

Things continued to get crazier and crazier as celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti of all people has jumped into the fray, representing about 20 immigrants who have been torn from their families.

It was was one of those news days that didn’t seem like it was going to end, with news breaking left and right during the course of it. A growing chorus of politicians jumped into the mess all demanding one thing — either a law be passed that fixed this issue, or that Trump would show some compassion and fix the damn thing himself. Ted Cruz came up with some bait and switch legislation that purports to fix the problem at hand, but in reality actually makes matters worse. A group of 12 Republican Senators sent a letter to their former colleague Sessions to put a pause on the “prosecution initiative” policy until Congress could pull its head out of its ass long enough to fix the problem. The letter is below.

There was, in general, a flurry of pretty meaningless jabber by an array of Congressmen and Senators angling to appease an angry electorate. But the simple fact remains that this “prosecution imitative” continues to be in place and there doesn’t seem to be any fix for it in the near future. Trump refuses to accept what he’s done is wrong and Congress is so divided and slow moving that it could be a week or more before anything finally gets done about it.

So, we wait. I hope this gets wrapped up in the next day or so, but it’s not looking good. God only knows how bad things are going to get if Trump sticks to his guns.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer livings in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Power To The People: The Case For Radicalization To Defeat Stephen Miller’s Nazi Agenda

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Given that it seems Trump has chosen the issue of immigration as his political hill to die on — at least until he can come up with a bigger distraction — it may be time for The Resistance to advocate a lurch towards radicalization. What I mean by that is on an ideological level, The Resistance’s goals have been rather nebulous and it’s leadership lacking vision.

Maybe it’s time to change that.

The thing this draconian policy enacted by Jeff Sessions proves is Trump a modern day Emperor and his actions lay bare the rot at the center of the American Constitution. Growing numbers of people from a wide spectrum of political thought are protesting the obscene policy of ripping children away from their families, and, yet, Trump — who could with the wave of his hand could end it — is, instead, holding his ground.

It takes time for protests to be organized, I know, but this could be the final tipping point needed to get people in the streets in a big way. To get rid of Trump in any meaningful way, we would need regular, massive protests in cities across the country. The only way I can think of to facilitate that would some sort of app. An app that got like-minded people together and facilitated in a meaningful way organization that would lead to regular massive protests.

Now, of course, you could say you could easily do that using Twitter and Facebook. It’s been done before in other countries. But if you designed an app that from the moment you logged on directed you to other liked-minded people and help you use whatever skillset you might have for the cause, I think it would be effective. You could even throw in advertising and the Patron payment function into the app if need be.

Take me, for instance. I’m kind of broke right now, but I’m willing to protests immediately if given the opportunity. Using the app I suggest being invented, the moment I logged on, I would be able to find not only local protest organizers contact information, but ride-share information. The app might, as a value added function, give people easy directions as to how to register to vote.

It is apparent that at this point only a massive show of People Power is going to end this nightmare. If Trump wants a fight, maybe we should give it to him.

I Need Hope To Be Angry At This Point #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I need hope. It appears, at least right this second, that Trump and his fascist cronies have decided to wage a pitched battle on the issue of immigrant children being torn from their families on the American border. The system is such a rotting clusterfuck at this point that they feel their can stir up the base and ride that sentiment to electoral victory in the fall.

Now, we are fast approaching a tipping point in all of this where the battle lines will be clearly drawn and there’s no going back. We may, in fact, have already reached that moment. That the Trump Administration believes that they can leverage all of this to their advantage kind of drains me of any hope.

In a sense, you have to have hope to be angry and right now I have no hope. It definitely appears as though they’re going to win this one. That after a week or so of fury, they’ll concoct the latest outrage and we’ll move on to the next thing. By the time November rolls around, 30,000 children will be living on in tent cities across the country and we just won’t care.

If something happens to give me hope, I’ll go back to being furious about this. I guess what really has drained me the most of my hope and therefore anger is the reaction of the MAGA people I know on Facebook. They listen to the same ProPublica audio that I did where children are screaming for their parents and instead of being as reviled as I am, they simply shrug and say we need to “secure our borders.”

So I have no hope. I can’t be angry without hope. I need something dramatic to happen pretty quick to make this seem different than any of the other clusterfucks the Trump Administration has managed to cause only to survive. I just don’t understand how other human beings can honestly listen to children screaming for their parents and be completely devoid of common human compassion.

Scream About Trump’s Fourth Reich’s ‘Prosecution Initiative’ At The Top Of Your Lungs

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We live in surreal, obscene times when the U.S. government feels obliged to treat the children of asylum seekers as more than animals under a policy known as the “Prosecution Initiative.” I do not feel that the name of this policy is well known enough. It’s all we should be talking about on social media.

The “Prosecution Initiative” should become something so loaded in the nation’s collective conscience that it’s mention nearly brings a conversation to a standstill. We need to use it as a rhetorical bludgeon at every opportunity. To my ears, it sounds so ominous to begin with that it wouldn’t take too much effort to attain that goal.

We’re in a crisis and we need to use everything we can find to end this policy as quickly as possible. If we repeat the term “Prosecution Initiative” over and over and over again at every turn, that would help make it clear that this is not a law, but rather a policy, or an initiative.

This is a marathon now, not a sprint, so this is part of a pitched political battle that will take significantly longer than it otherwise should. The Trump Administration is trying to defend the indefensible. We have to remind them of this at every opportunity and putting a stigma on the term “Prosecution Initiative” would further that goal.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: Little Fingers & The Tears Of Heaven #KeepFamiliesTogether

This is another attempt to explain to a child what’s going on with the children being torn away from their families on American border. I don’t know how well I did, but it’s nice to vent in a somewhat wholesome manner.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales
Little Fingers & The Tears Of Heaven

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Midnight the cat hopped on Uncle Shelton’s lap one day and began to purr. She said she had heard a new world on TV and wanted to know what it meant. “What does ‘evil’ mean?” she said. Uncle Shelton sighed deeply and patted Midnight on the head softly.

Uncle Shelton sighed and said, “Let me tell you a story…”

Once a upon a time, there lived an evil orange troll named Little Fingers. Through a trick that he pulled with help of the bear, Little Fingers had been elected lord of the forest. He used his magic powers to tell the birds to tweet his commands down to the forest creatures and otherwise did nothing but sit under his bridge and count his gold.

But one day Little Fingers learned that large numbers of rabbits from another forest were making their way to his forest because of evil problems in their forest. The wicked orange troll was unhappy with this and decreed that any rabbit family who came to his forest demanding a safer life would be torn apart.

“I want to make sure the bunnies know who’s in charge,” Little Fingers said. “I have absolute power over this land and nothing will change that.”

Because the forest Little Fingers ruled was so divided and scared, it looked as though his cruel decree would never be changed. But it began to rain suddenly. It began to rain and rain and rain until it seemed as though the earth could hold no more water. The owls, who were very wise, came to Little Fingers and told him something had to change.

“The heavens are crying because of your rabbit policy,” an owl told Little Fingers. “If you don’t change the policy soon, we’re all going to drown!”

Little Fingers at first refused. He was a cruel, evil orange troll and would not brook any opposition, even from the heavens itself. But the forest creatures eventually grew tired of the rain and of the injustice and will the help of the powerful honey badger stormed the troll’s bridge and forced him to change his policy.

And to this day the forest is a at peace and the eagles again soar over its skies.

The End.

In Trump’s Fourth Reich, Silence Now Equals Collaboration #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now that the pot is boiling, now that we’re confronted with the decision of if we are willing to tolerate immigrant children being torn from their families, we have to face the cold hard fact that silence on MAGA no longer equals complicit approval, it equal active collaboration.

I say this only because as few notable people who have otherwise been complacent about MAGA abuses have begun to speak up about this latest outrage, that core 44% of the electorate continues to adore Trump often times is just silent when confronted. They simply refuse to answer any question, express any opinion.

To me, that goes beyond being simply complicit, that’s collaboration. You are actively doing something — you are actively saying that you refuse to go on the record with any opinion. Your desire to follow Trump with a cult-like fervor is equal to your unwillingness to agree that on this specific issue, at least, Trump is wrong. You are actively — through your silence — giving aid and comfort to a monster.

If that doesn’t make YOU a monster, I don’t what does. To say you “don’t really follow politics anymore” and then turn around and blindly vote for MAGA politicians is an answer if ever there was one. If you had a soul, if you had a conscience you wouldn’t see children torn away from their families as some sort of weird political pawn to get your damn wall. You’d see them for what they are: scared children.

Given how fickle Trump is, he could very well read the tea leaves and tweet out a change in policy today or this week. Or he could see that as a no win for him relative to his base. He might see this as a perfect opportunity to stand his ground and hope for this all to blow over. In real terms, he has until November to make a decision. As long as he changes the decision by, say, mid-October the political costs of changing a policy so popular with the base are simply too high.

Therefore, it’s very possible we’re in for a pitched battle. One one side, there will be Trump and MAGA using the Big Lie while throwing out any number of other distractions and on the other side, you have everyone else who either get mad and stay mad or finally capitulate.

All I can suggest is if someone you know and love who is a known Trump/MAGA person, when they give you silence, keep at it. Don’t accept their silence this time. Press them on what their opinion is. Get them on the record one way or another. This could very well be pretty painful for all involved.

But the greater good is involved here. If enough people make Trump/MAGA people have to not only defend their position but think carefully about why they believe what believe. I’m not saying it will make that much of a different to you personally, but on a macro level there’s a chance we might whittle down that 44% of the electorate a little bit.

This is serious. This is really serious. We need to start acting like it.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. You may reach him at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Release The Kraken Of Popular Outrage. We’ll Need It #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Very rarely is the Kraken of American civil outrage unleased. In general, it just doesn’t happen. Americans temperament is pretty even-keel and we generally are too busy raising our kids, drinking beer and watching sports to care about politics. In fact, in real terms even Vietnam wasn’t the Kraken as I imagine it. The anti-war movement was extremely divisive and was pretty much done by young men who objected to what they felt was an unnecessary and unjust war in Southeast Asia.

In fact, I would go so far as to say in modern American political history the actual Kraken has been more felt in the abstract that seen. So, what I’m saying, I guess, is we need the Kraken to pop up. We need something like what happened in South Korea where there was something akin to a “People’s Impeachment” of the president.

So, when it comes to the forced, obscene separation of immigrate children at the border seeking asylum, it’s not hyperbole to say if the United States wants to continue as it has for the last few hundred years, something extraordinary in the face of this dire situation has to happen immediately.

I say this because if you combine 44% of the population having a first reaction to all of this of evoking Romans 13 or blaming the victim with the complete Vichy nature of Congressional Republicans, you have a serious fucking problem on your hands. In effect, Trump is now a dictator by default.

If we can’t get people on the streets now, if we can’t get people calling their Senator and Representative today and every day until this cruel policy is revoked, then we lurch towards a dark and unknown future. I don’t feel I’m over reacting. There’s a real chance that Trump will batten down the hatches and go in for a pitched battle on this one. And he might very well win.

I don’t know what to tell you folks. If we can’t awaken the Kraken on this one, what’s the point of having it available at all?