Novel Notes For March 24th, 2019

— Things keep getting better.

— I’m really actually, for once, beginning to get into the first half of the second act.

— There’s a reason why they tell you not to show your first draft to anyone. This first draft is going to be pretty chaotic.

— I’m a little nervous at the 200,000 word length, but the book I’m modeling the story after structure-wise, The Girl Who Play With Fire, is that length, so there you go. That’s what I’m shooting for. I really want that length, but we’ll see what happens once the beta readers get to it.

— It’s going to be interesting to see how long it takes me to finish the first draft. I know the major beats I want to hit, but how I actually manage to get there will likely be a pretty wild ride.

Several Mueller Report Scenarios

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Here are several potential outcomes to today’s (?) release of The Mueller Report to Congress and, in turn, us.

One: It’s strangely a whitewash
In this scenario, we’re all left with the sense that something stinks to high heaven, be it that AG Barr is really hiding something big from us, or that the fix was in on the whole thing the moment AG Barr officially took control over the investigation. This seems like the most likely outcome for various reasons. In this instance, Trump uses his “exoneration” as a sweeping political bludgeon against ANY investigation of he or his administration and we get a very Iran-contra ending to all of this in the long-run.

Two: “Extensive But Inconclusive”
In this case, we learn a huge amount of the details as to what happened between the 2016 Trump Campaign and the Russians but in the end, again, there’s no knockout punch and Trump uses this vague ending to this affair to consolidate power long-term and we’re all very, very fucked. Like, within 20 years we’re a Russian-style “managed democracy” fucked.

Three: The Report is Big. Really Big. But it takes forever for us to learn it.
There’s a really good chance that the bigger the conclusion of the report, the less likely we’ll see it’s full implications for a long, long time. It could be 2021 before we learn the extent to which Trump worked in concert with the Russians to throw the election. By that point, any number of things could have happened. The House could have flipped again, Trump could have finally seized complete control of the government or what have you. It’s all moot and America turns into a fascist dictatorship in all but name.

Four: “Ok, Well Convict Me.”
In this instance, all hell breaks loose. The Report, while declining to suggest anyone big get indicted makes it clear the Trump is in very, very, very big trouble. In this case, Trump’s strategy is to say, “Look, if you can’t convict me in the Senate, shut up.” This would be the ultimate payoff of his base-oriented focus. He easily beats the rap in the Senate and he can marrily go about his business destroying the country. This is a little risky, of course, because, well, Trump is a criminal.

The Mueller Investigation Ends & I Smell A Rat

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I smell a rat.

Unless some datapoint pops up between now and when we see some cleaned up version of The Mueller Report, I’m going to have some suspicions as to why it was wrapped up when it was.

Existing Datapoints:

— Bill Barr and Bob Mueller are close friends (apparently).
— Trump is now in a position to handily win re-election
— Don Jr. is now in a position to handily become president.
— The report comes out just as the 2020 election cycle heats up

So, all I’m saying is someone — AOC maybe? — needs to ask Bob Mueller and Bill Barr some very, very pointed questions.

Maybe the report itself will clear this all up and put to bed my concern.

Or not.

‘Ok, Well Convict Me’ — Trump’s Potential ‘Hail Mary’ Mueller Report Re-Election Strategy

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

There’s a real possibility that Trump knows his base so well that he’s willing to put all his political chips on the table, knowing he’s going to win.

In other words, he might let The Mueller Report come out, knowing that no matter what, he won’t be convicted in the Senate. As I’ve long said about all of this, the last argument of MAGA will be:

“Fuck you, convict him. If you can’t convict him, shut up.”

And, in a sense, I think that’s what Trump’s strategic thinking is.

He probably knows his poll number well enough to know there is absolutely no way 67 Senators will vote to convict him in the Senate, so, in a sense, the sooner he gets impeachment out of the way, the sooner he can do his “Carnage Again In America” campaign for 2020.

Of course, the best laid plans…so if No Deal Brexit happens and the global economy suddenly and abruptly slows down…well, let the games begin!

Novel Notes For March 22st, 2019

— Things continue to go well so far.

— Nervous about losing momentum if I don’t keep working on the scene summary.

— I have so much work to do.

— I’m doing everything wrong.

— It’s a lot of fun.

Perfect Storm: No Deal Brexit & The Ides Of Mueller (Redux)

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We may — maybe — be careening towards a perfect storm. It’s possible that within days of each other, The Mueller Report will drop in the States and No Deal Brexit will occur in the UK.

This would have us on track (should we actually ever learn what’s in The Mueller Report) for one of the most eventful Aprils in our nation’s history in the sense that no only will there be growing calls for impeachment of POTUS, but the global economy will come to a screeching halt.

But there’s a lot we don’t know at this point.

Trump could lock away The Mueller Report with his taxes.
No Deal Brexit might not happen or might be significantly delayed.

We just don’t know.

There is, however, a greater than zero-sum chance that Trump will, in April, face an unprecedented political existential threat to his administration. There’s also the chance, of course, that America is so divided that not even if Trump’s electorate base melts down to anti-vaxxers and flat earthers will he be removed from office.

Because of demographic, economic and social trends, it may be that Trump will simply be the beginning of a political dynasty that lasts until either the country finally tears itself asunder or the youngest of the Baby Boomers finally begin to die off just as the browning of America begins to have real political impact.

We just don’t know.

Novel Notes For March 21st, 2019

— In the “second part” (last 30 scenes of Act 1).

— May stay up all night tonight writing.

— Have to show that my heroine has the skill-set necessary to be a kickass superwoman.

— Need a sympathetic conservative character.

— Need to keep developing the rest of the novel as I write to keep momentum.

— Nervous if the novel is a success, people will want a quick sequel.

— Hoping this novel will be something of a mixture of The Girl With… series and The Fast & The Furious.

My Personal Vision For The Plot Of A Star Wars Movie To Save The Franchise

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

First Act

We open to learn that not only is Bubba Fett alive and well, but he has Ray trapped in carbonite. He looks at her frozen body, trapped in eternal agony and adjusts a few dials on her artificial frozen tumb.

Bubba Fett contacts a mysterious new villain whom we only hear the voice of in garbled form. We quickly learn that the First Order is gone now and there’s a new very powerful new super-Jedi like person who is quickly taking over the Galaxy. (LucasArts buys a big chunk of the rights to the Foundation Series from the Isaac Asimov Estate, so the following can happen.)

We learn that someone calling himself The Mule is at the center of this new empire and that he has many of the same abilities of a Jedi, only more so. He mysteriously can change someone’s mind subtly without them even knowing about it.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is when Bubba Fett’s ship experiences an unexpected malfunction going through hyperspace and when it comes out, Ray is gone. Ray has vanished somewhere out in the galaxy.

For the rest of the act, we see where the main characters of the new Star Wars films now find themselves as well are introduced to a new cast of cute little characters. I would also introduce a new Luke Skywalker-type dude who would be Ray’s heteronormative boyfriend because….let’s go back to basics folks.

So Neo-Luke wakes up to Ray’s frozen body out in the boonies of the galaxy and that’s the setup of not only a new Star Wars adventure, but long-term love interest for Ray. Maybe our Neo-Luke for some reason was raised by the cute little new characters for some reason. You’re smart, you figure it out.

Anyway, if you’ve finally stolen all the best bits of Foundation legally, you introduce to Star Wars the notion that the Elder Scrolls tell of a plan to bring peace and harmony to the galaxy under the watch of the Force. Or something. Maybe there’s a secret Second Jedi Council or something that watches from the shadows to ensure this plan works. The point of all this is at the end of the first act, the newly re-assembled main characters of the new Star Wars canon go to this site expecting to learn one thing, only to have the evil forces of The Mule capture them. Along the way they meet a goofy Jack McBrayer-type dude who plays a really cool instrument and runs around looking like a hippie. Before they’re attacked by the forces of The Mule, the New Canon Star Wars people learn about the home planet of The Mule and how it might help them defeat him. Meanwhile, our Neo-Luke has fallen in love with the frozen Ray. He makes up all these romantic stories about her and for this dude at the end of the first act, the evil forces of The Mule kill his family (the Star Wars fans go nuts) and his Hero’s journey begins when he barely escapes with the frozen body of Ray in one of those cool Black Imperial X-Wings.

Second Act

This act deals with two seperate things — one one hand the old people of New Star Wars Canon run around looking for The Mule’s home planet, not knowing Ray is still alive. Their goofy new friend cracks jokes and kind of lurks in the background as occasional comic relief. Our Neo-Luke struggles to find not only clues about Ray but the equipment to unfreeze her.

Midpoint

At the midpoint, you figure out a way so these two story lines meet.

The rest of the story is a continued search for the home of The Mule and finally we find it, only to find that Kylo Ren is there waiting for them. Ren is now a student of The Mule and here is where we get the be revel — the goofy Jack McBrayer character is The Mule!

Oh no, all is lost!

Third Act

The Mule is kind enough to unfreeze Ray and Ray uses her super-dooper Jedi powers against The Mule, barely allowing the New Star Wars Canon characters to leave. Maybe she loses and arm along the way.

We see her, in an homage to the end of Empire, getting a new arm, romantically cuddling with Neo-Luke along the way.

The End…for now!

A Deep Dive Into MAGA’s Origins & Trump’s Potential Ultimate Political Fate

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Trump is an avatar for some extraordinary systemic issues in the American political system. In other words, someone like Trump was going to pop up at this point in American history demographic and economic issues. All that was up in the air was the exact nature of it all.

So, the case could be made that Trump’s rise has more to do with the conditions that existed in 2008 than whatever specifically may have existed in 2016. Though, of course, there were at least two — two! — criminal active criminal conspiracies that helped push Trump across the victory line in 2016.

But even if Trump had lost, things were going to suck.

And had Trump not won, the only difference between what we have no and supposed counter-factual is the Republican who won would probably have not been, well, insane and a norm breaker like Trump. But the sudden, abrupt shift to the insane conservatism of the modern Republican party was bound to happen for no other reason than, well, Obama turned them all into insane racists hell bent on overturning his legacy.

White people can suck so bad sometimes. (I say this and I’m white.)

I say all of the above because all the people who seem to think The Mueller Report is going to magically bring Obama back from his extended trip to grab a pack of smokes at the corner store are deluding themselves. MAGA is a long-term, chronic issue that will always be on the cusp of going septic until, well, it does.

Maybe not a civil war, but a situation whereby the one thing America has had for about 200 years — even through a civil war! — will be lost: regular elections and civilian control of the military.

If you have to debate with a MAGA person if the United States is a democracy or a republic, well, you have your answer right there. There’s going to come a point when the United States is run by a military junta for no reason than both sides will grow so polarized that the the entire system freezes up and because the American military won’t follow an illegal order, either they step in to cool down the situation or there’s enough unrest that we might have a situation like Reconstruction where some states are run as military districts (probably the Blue States the way things are going.)

It’s so difficult to address why we’re going to have to wait until the 2021-2023 era to “get” Trump politically because there’s so much going on on a macro level. The point is, Trump is going to win re-election in 2020 and either he starts to tout someone as his “successor” who will protect his “legacy” in 2024….or we do, in fact, finally “get him.”

By “get him” I mean he’s removed from office because the preponderance of evidence against him is so staggering — and the time before he leaves off is long enough — that even though he will say he’s been “vindicated” there’s a real chance that the economy will finally tank and then he’ll be down to about 20% of the electorate who will continue to support him.

And, yet, I have to address the most fucked up scenario again.

That scenario, which I just don’t see happening, but still, is this: The Mueller Report finally comes out and somehow, someway we learn (after a few months of court battles) that “obstruction is collusion / conspiracy” and impeachment hearings began in the middle of an extended 2020 campaign.

It would be the most completely fucked up political event in modern American political history because the cold hard facts of how we’re now two America’s will be laid bare.

One one hand, Trump’s many, many, many crimes will be investigated in the House and just about 50% of the electorate will think he should be convicted in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the other 50% of the electorate will be busy RE-NOMINATING Trump for 2020.

Talk about a crazy split screen.

While highly unlikely — I think Trump will easily win re-election for various reasons, there is a non-zero chance it could happen. Probably the exact timing of No Deal Brexit will play a large part in all.

But what do I know.

The Liberal Case For An American Internet PIN

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I consider myself an independent moderate liberal and generally I wouldn’t even think of supporting something as draconian as a PIN for individual use of the Internet, and yet it seems as though the time has come to have that debate.

The reason is simple –the Russians are fucking with us.

A case could be made that you could appease both the Left and the Right in the United States by establishing a nationwide Internet PIN system. It would be like a driver’s license for the Information Superhighway, to date myself with a metaphor.

It would be very basic — you simply would have to establish that you were a real fucking American citizen to use the American Internet. That’s it.

Now, I’m the first to say doing something like this is ripe for abuse on any number of different levels. And, yet, given how important the Internet is in our political system (see also Donald J. Trump) maybe the only way to throw things back into whack is to do something really incredibly draconian and crazy.

The Right would be able to crow about how terrorists who used the Internet for nefarious reasons could be tracked down and the Left could sigh a huge sigh of relief that fucking Russian trolls weren’t throwing the fucking presidential election and electing incompetnent Right Wing celebrity Twitter trolls.

And, yet, such a PIN system would likely be instantly abused so badly as to make it something we would regret the moment existed.

But I’m desperate. Really desperate.

I want my country back.