Triage In The Age Of Trumplandia

by Shelton Bumgarner

The dark forces of the Trump Administration and its allies are attacking the American Republic from any number of different angles. In fact, they are so many things going on, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what’s important, what’s pressing and what can be put on the back burner. While not a comprehensive list, here is my humble attempt at some sort of triage on the pressing issues of the day. We’re going to go from the most urgent, to the less urgent.

Most Urgent
Ending Stephen Miller’s Border Policy
This is so urgent for a number of reasons. One, it’s a policy not a law. Two, it’s so inhumane, so obscene that if we let this one continue without taking concrete steps to end it, everything else will be for naught. I say this because of the human factor. Once you establish that this is a cruel policy not a law, and as such could be easily change by Trump, then it makes a lot of sense to focus on this immediately. So, if I was going to exert limited resources on how to combat MAGA, I would, for the moment at least, direct any outrage and attention-bringing ability I might have to bear on this specific issue.

If we turn up the pressure as far as it can go, then it’s possible that maybe Trump will sense that while it’s popular with the base, in the long run it will rile up everyone else enough that they might actually head to the polls in November. And we can’t have that, now can we?

Protecting The Mueller Investigation
This is urgent, but as of right now, not as on the front burner as it might otherwise be for no other reason than Trump knows if he messes with the Muller probe he is messing with an existential threat to his regime. A lot of people who otherwise tacitly give Trump a pass for all the other batshit insane things he does, would sit up and take notice if he fired Mueller or otherwise conspicuously hampered it in any meaningful manner.

Less Urgent, But Still Important
The 2018 Mid-Terms
I am not one to believe that we’re automatically in for a “Blue Wave.” In fact, I believe a more reasonable outcome is a few surprises here and there, but overall the Republicans keep both houses of Congress and Trump not only survives, but prospers. And what we really have to worry about long-term is who replaces him in 2024 and what his “legacy” will be. But if we could somehow actually flip Congress — especially the Senate — then we could stymie some of the more long-term consequences of the Trump clusterfuck. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up. As I mentioned, more likely is the Republicans’ majority in the House will be reduced dramatically, but not enough to end their majority altogether. Meanwhile, in the Senate, it will literally take a political miracle for that to flip.

Long Term Damage To Keep An Eye On
The Damage To The Liberal Order
What Trump is doing to the political order world-wide is something we really, really need to keep an eye on. The damage he’s inflicting on the established liberal order that has kept the world at relative peace for the last 75 years is enormous and wide-ranging. And, really, there’s little we can do about it in the near term. If we could flip one or both of the houses of Congress maybe, then, we could begin to address that. But again, as I said, that, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be happening, at least this time around.

So, if I was figuring out where to use my resources in the seemingly never-ending war against Trumplandia, I would strike repeatedly at the most pressing issue of the moment, the cruel and unusual border policy. That is, at least in my opinion, something of a weak spot in the near term.

The Republic Is In A Crisis, Act Like It #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

If we as a nation have reached the point where we’re so divided, so suspicious of anyone who disagrees with us that when I describe to you the cruel and obscene Trump policy tearing families apart on the border you’re first reaction is to rhetorically bob and weave and deflect, then we’re in a crisis.

We’re at a crossroads. The pot is now, at last, finally boiling. If 44% of the electorate so frames political events relative to how they might affect the MAGA agenda and not how them might harm children of all things, then we’re lost as a nation. There is no excuse for bobbing and weaving, for political shadowboxing when the lives of children are at stake. But that seems to be where we are.

It’s chilling. It’s chilling that we’ve finally reached the type of historical turning point that one has only read about in the history books. Either we as a nation take a collective stand at this point and say no more, or it’s over. This is the darkest timeline and the bad guys have won.

The only thing I can propose is learn as much as you can about this issue and scream at the top of your lungs at anyone who will listen and when they shadowbox you, press them on cold hard facts. This is a Trump Administration policy, not a “Democratic law.” This could easily be changed by Trump if you had any empathy for anyone other than himself and his immediate family.

As I’ve written before, we need to get mad and stay mad on this one. We need to be prepared to take some heat. The entire American political system is so fucked up at this point that the MAGA people know on a guttural level that they have a decent expectation that they can, in fact, decide to die on this hill and actually survive. This policy plays well with the MAGA base who are scared of brown people and they see this in terms of an excellent deterrence, not the personal and moral gotterdammerung that people like me see it as.

MAGA people are quite fat and sassy at this point in the game. They’re getting everything they want policy-wise, including this, and they know that for various systemic reasons there’s a reasonable expectation that there won’t be any “Blue Wave” in November. And, really, I would so far as to suggest that if there is any hope of a Blue Wave in November, The Resistance will have to attack MAGA on this draconian border policy like a rabid dog. We have to hone in on the fact that the United States, regardless of its need to have viable borders, is also a nation of compassion.

We have to appeal to people’s basic sense of compassion. MAGA wants to frame the issue on ideological and general geopolitical terms, not simple humanity. They don’t want us to see these immigrants, many of them fleeing horrible violence in their homeland, as human beings. They’re to be seen as a statistic, a “problem” to be dealt with in general terms, the plight of the individual be damned.

America is better than this. I want to believe America is, in fact, different, and when the dark forces that have aligned against the nation from within and abroad finally believe they’ve mortally wounded us, we’ll fight back — and win. But remember, this is not Nazi Germany. Who’s going to overthrow the MAGA regime? The Dutch? The Canadians?

We have only ourselves at this point to save ourselves from ourselves. I want to believe we have it within us to do so. I really do. But things could go either way at this point. They really could.

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

Get Mad And Stay Mad About Stephen Miller’s Nazi Border Policy #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am not going to be so sanguine as to suggest the Stephen Miller policy on the border in regard to immigrants will, in real terms, do anything to slice the festering boil that is the Trump Administration. The country is too divided and negative polarization on the Right is way, way, way too potent a force for that to happen. I will note, however, that Trump and his fellow would-be Nazis have kind of painted themselves into a corner.

This is because the more you know the fact of what’s going on, the more difficult it is to wave your hand and tell people like me to “enjoy the humming economy” and “get laid.” There’s a real humanitarian and ethical crisis taking place on the border and the question is, are we willing to do something about it in real terms, or is this just another frightening example of how the United States is lurching towards a not-so-quasi authoritarian state.

There is, at least, as small possibility that we’re headed for an enormous confrontation about the future of our nation on a historic scale. Now Trump is extremely fickle and given how easy it is for him to relieve any pressure on his administration by simply revoking the policy this could be a non-issue. And Trump is so completely devoid of shame that he could very easily wake up one morning, watch Morning Joe, and tweet out some bizarre rationale for ending the policy that blames the Democrats with maximum pandering to his base.

And, yet, there is also a chance that this policy plays so well to the base and Trump is so completely devoid of empathy that he’ll dig in for the long haul. He’ll pick this, of all things, as his hill to die on. If that happens, one of two things will happen. Either his typical, “Look! A squirrel!” approach to governance will succeed, or it won’t. If it does work, then the pot is officially boiling and we’re fucked. If it doesn’t, however, Trump is playing with fire. The fact that some religious leaders have begun to speak out about this policy — despite how Trump, personally, is ensuring the Rapture happens sooner rather than later — indicates there is a least a small possibility the Trump Administration, may, for once, get burned.

Unfortunately, it will take time for the burning to happen. We may be in a political siege of sorts as the two sides wage a slow-motion war as we simply hunker down and wait for the 2018 mid-term elections to roll around. I am very doubtful at this point that there will be a “Blue Wave.” I think while the Republicans may take surprising losses, they will maintain both houses of Congress and Trump will not only survive, but prosper. The economy is doing too well and The Resistance, at least right now, too nebulous and lacking leadership for anything of any substance to happen. And, yet, if we get mad and stay mad about this most basic of issues — the right of parents to stay with their children, regardless of the reason, we might have a small chance.

Too many MAGA people have too much invested in its continued success to even give a little ground on humanitarian grounds to the libtards they are so determined to “own.” In my own dealings with MAGA people on this subject, they either deflect or rhetorically bob and weave to such an extent that conversation with them is pointless. There are also some MAGA sympathizers who take a macro approach and say the United States needs better control over its borders and let the chips fall where they may. That neither one of these groups can’t show some compassion on the face of it once you describe to them what’s going on with this policy is pretty frightening.

What’s so disturbing to me is how MAGA people conflate the issue. They talk about how we need to enforce laws and how this happened under Obama and then they walk off and enjoy the humming economy, go to church and raise their kids. But as I mentioned, this isn’t a law, this is a policy enacted at the behest of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s demented mind. It’s a matter of policy, not law that this is happening and if we hone in on this point and use it as a rhetorical bludgeon on anyone who will listen, then maybe, just maybe something of note will happen.

The Big Lie only works so much. If every time a Trump supporter regurgitates a Big Lie talking point you flatly and politely tell them the facts of the matter and point out how devoid of compassion they are on a personal level, there’s a chance eventually they’ll feel the heat enough that Trump may feel obliged to do the right thing for a change and revoke the policy.

But Trump wants his “big beautiful wall” so bad and the base loves this concept as a form of deterrence so much that we’re in for a historic game of political chicken. It all will come down to the mid-terms. That’s it. The fate of the Republic could hinge on flipping Congress and finally putting a check on Trumplandia. I’m very doubtful this will happen, however. I just think there’s too much dark money being throw at the problem by the Right, not to mention the very real possibility of new, improved interference on the part of the Russians.

So, if you love America, if you love that idea of it being a “city on the hill,” our best hope is that you get angry and stay angry about what’s going on at the border. Take a stand. Be willing to lose Facebook friends over it. Hell, be willing to lose REAL friends over it. If Trump wants to play chicken, let’s play chicken. Just be prepared to hit their car if they don’t blink and swerve away.

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

Of Elliot Broidy, Influence Peddling, Shera Bechard & A Possible Proxy Payoff

by Shelton Bumgarner

I only write this because Elliot Broidy is back in the news. I used to think there was a decent shot that it was Donald Trump and not Elliot Broidy who had an affair with Shera Bechard, but I learned a little bit of information that seemed to make it less likely.

And then THIS popped up.

From BusinessInsider:
Elliott Broidy a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, and George Nader, Broidy’s business partner, pitched themselves and pushed the interests of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the White House.
Broidy and Nader tried to persuade the US government to sanction Qatar and move a key military base from Qatar to another location in the Gulf.

I still don’t think it was Trump, but damn if the logic for Broidy taking the fall for Trump when it comes to an affair with Shera Bechard isn’t even stronger. Doesn’t it make sense that it would be worth $1.6 million to Broidy to get access to Trump in exchange for cleaning up Trump’s pretty enormous screw up of getting Shera Bechard pregnant and then paying her $1.6 to be quiet and (maybe) have an abortion as well. We know she had an abortion, but we don’t know her state of mind at the time of it. We are lead to believe she was like, “Oh noes, I’m pregnant, gotta have an abortion.” When in fact all evidence points to her being pretty copacetic about being pregnant and being pregnant long enough to show.

So even though the known facts don’t support Trump as the baby daddy, the logic is getting stronger all the time. We still have no photographic evidence that Broidy even knows Bechard. There’s a whole lot we don’t know about what happened between Broidy and Bechard and yet I don’t get the sense that anyone really cares in the MSM.

But if you could prove that Trump got Shera Bechard pregnant and then pressured her through Michael Cohen to have an abortion in exchange for $1.6 million…that would be a oof moment if nothing else. I don’t think it would bring down Trump’s Administration because, well, nothing can do that it seems, but it definitely would be more than just a blip.

Here’s what we know for the time being about all of this:

Continue reading “Of Elliot Broidy, Influence Peddling, Shera Bechard & A Possible Proxy Payoff”

Of The Mad King: We’re In A Constitutional Crisis

by Shelton Bumgarner

Stupid Watergate has finally reached a level of seriousness where we have to stop making fun of it and sit up and take notice at the gravity of the situation. For some time now, there has been talk of this or that dumb thing Trump has done causing us to be in a Constitutional Crisis.

Today’s insane tweet on the part of Trump “demanding” an investigation into what may or may not have happened during the 2016 presidential campaign is the final straw. We’re in a Constitutional Crisis now. The logic of Trump’s legal team is so completely twisted and bonkers that it gives me a headache.

The point is not to determine the facts of the case, the point is to give the Trump base talking points they can use to “own” liberals. This, even though they’ve finally veered off any connection to the facts and now are dealing almost exclusively in lies and misinterpretations.

If the Deep State was so eager to hurt the Trump campaign, why would they keep things quiet via the use of an informant when it came to Trump while they released the second Comey letter just days before the November election. Why is this so difficult to understand.

It’s so difficult to understand for some — if not all — Trump supporters because they are comfortable with Trump’s policies, the economy is humming and in real terms they’re more concerned about their kid’s soccer scores than they are as something as complex as a Constitutional Crisis. They just don’t care. And not until they have a personal interest in all of this will they have an opinion on way or another.

So, I have a bad feeling about this. I suspect Trump is going to do serious damage to Constitutional norms, or democracy and our country. This all goes back to who is going to be Trump’s successor and how he or she addresses all this damage. Are they going to go back to what we expect in all these things, or are they going to use the damage Trump has done has an excuse to redefine what is acceptable behavior on the part of our leaders?

Jon Stewart Would Be An Ideal Presidential Candidate At This Point

by Shelton Bumgarner

This is just an idle daydream, but it seems to me that the ideal person to run against Donald Trump in 2020, should last that long, would be Jon Stewart. I say this because Stewart is everything Trump isn’t — funny, smart and self-aware.

Of course, Stewart, at least at this point, has zero political experience outside of his interest in 9/11 first responder rights and a little bit about veterans affairs. And, of course, there is the obvious issue that he appears to have zero interest in actually doing anything beyond running his petting zoo.

But the match up between Trump and Stewart would be one for the ages. And regardless, I think we would need someone like Stewart to take down Trump. Yet I honestly don’t know. The nation is so divided at this point that there’s no perfect person to do the job.

Trump is so powerful with 40% of the electorate and the economy is doing so well that it will be a difficult fight no matter what. Add to this the continuing struggle that The Resistance has with trying to find some sort of messaging beyond simply being against Trump and you have the makings of a pretty bad situation.

This doesn’t begin to address the issue of what happens if Trump wags the dog using Iran or the DPRk.

We’re going to have to just wait and see, I guess.

My Current Take On The #TrumpRussia Endgame

by Shelton Bumgarner

As of late March 2018, here’s my hot take on the endgame to #TrumpRussia.

It seems to me that what is going to happen is it will be a combination of Iran-Contra and the Monica Lewinsky scandals. Trump could very well be impeached, but he won’t be convicted and ultimately he not only survives but prospers as he grows more accustomed to the office of president.

What’s more, I still predict a major war against the DPRK (and maybe Iran) between now and August 2018. I say this for two reasons. One, Trump needs a Wag The Dog situation to get people talking about something else. Meanwhile, he wants to squash any chance of a Blue Wave happening this fall.

‘Spank My Booty’ — Idle Thoughts On The Current State Of The Stormy Daniels Affair

by Shelton Bumgarner

The sad thing is that even if we see Trump’s junk, he may very well not only survive but prosper. Whatever dark part of the American psyche Trump has tapped into is so strong, do powerful that we simply may not be able to get rid of him until he absolutely has to leave office unless he changes the Constitution.

Add to this the very real — and growing — danger that Trump will start a war with the DPRK and things as of this moment are not looking so great. It’s very possible that once Trump essentially starts WWIII, that Stormy Daniels will go down the memory hole and we’ll wake up in 8 years to a president even more conservative and bonkers than Trump.

I guess what I’m saying is we have to take seriously the notion that Trump is going to eliminate Ms. Daniels as a threat by willfully killing about 1 million people in Korea and beyond. I fear that we’ve not really processed that yet. This is really serious. The addition of John Bolton to the White House staff means Trump is at least lurching in that direction.

Additionally Sec. of Defense James Mattis allegedly has said he may not be able to work with Bolton. So, there is the off chance that Mattis — the only “adult” left in the Trump Administration may bolt and we’re totally, completely fucked.

This is personal for me because I used to live in South Korea. If I see Seoul razed on TV, it’s going to be pretty deep. It’s going to be one of the worst moments of my life to date. But there’s little any of us can do at this point. So, it’s possible that Stormy Daniels may have significantly more power in her hands than any of could possibly imagine.

It’s really weird, though, the power Trump has over his supporters. What, exactly, do they at this point love so much about him? Why does it seem that the typical rules of politics don’t apply to Trump? How did we get here and how do we make our way out?

It seems as though maybe the United States suffers from structural Constitutional rot and we may very well be careening towards an actual civil war. Or, put another way, the United States as some have quipped, is going through a slow motion Civil Cold War. It could be that at this point the only thing stopping us from having an actual real civil war is, well, Donald Trump. Or that we’re just too generally meh about politics on an existential level that it’s just not going to happen any time soon.

All I can say is, hurry up Stormy Daniels. We really need to see whatever “proof” you may have. The fate of the world may be at stake.

Cynthia Nixon, Chelsea Handler & The Right’s Hypocrisy About Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner

The Right has made an epic, enormous, historic deal with the devil when it comes to Trump. They simply don’t care that Karen McDougal was on TV for an hour talking about how much she banged Donald Trump while he was married. They just don’t care as long as gun rights are protected and the march towards making abortion illegal continues to be inevitable.

But trouble is brewing for the Right.

It comes in the guise of any number of women celebrities who might run for higher office at some point in the future. It will be difficult — but not impossible — for the very people who are completely silent about Trump being, essentially, a whore monger, to get upset if a female celebrity who has at some point in her career done nude scenes runs for office. I mean, hell, Chelsea Handler has a revenge-porn sex tape out that I’ve seen and I’d still rather vote for her than Donald Trump.

I guess what I’m saying is while the Right is completely shameless in their hypocrisy, them sucking up to Trump is at least going to make it a little bit more difficult for them to do it in the future. Maybe. A little bit. Should Cynthia Nixon become a viable presidential candidate, they’re going to attack her on her morals and on whatever she’s done on Sex & The City.

So people like me are going to go, “What the what?” I mean, it’s difficult for one to flip flop on morals within the span of a generation…twice! So it will be interesting. The damage that Trump has done to the moral standing of the Right is so devastating, so wide ranging that it is within the realm of possibility that the United States could go from a Right-wing nutjob (be it Trump or Pence) to a progressive bisexual woman all within the span of less than a decade.

But there are an enormous number of caveats to this scenario. The Russians could meddle again, Trump could start a war with either or both Iran and the DPRK. And history is pretty weird sometimes. It goes off in strange directions that you can’t possibly predict.

And, yet, like I said, the Republican Party is setting itself up for a pretty astonishing flip-flop on morals. Hell, even if it’s just Pence, the Republicans are in for a lulu of a moral compass change. Trump is such an historical aberration that no matter what happens, we’re in for head spinning change once he’s gone.

The question is, of course, will thing snap back into place, or have the changed forever? Only time will tell on that question.

Do We Have What It Takes To Save Ourselves From Trump’s Autocracy?

by Shelton Bumgarner

We may have finally reached the tipping point of all of this clusterfuck. Or if we haven’t we’re getting a lot closer than we were. I still think we’re going to war with the DPRK by August, but we live in surreal times. There are no easy answers. I wish there were.

The issue is we’re going to have to save ourselves if that is even possible. It’s not like the Dutch are going to march in and save the day. We, as Americans, are going to have to fix this problem. But it’s very possible that Trump has successfully muddied the waters to such an extent that we’ll never pin him down.

But I still have hope.

The below video is pretty interesting.