Vichy Republicans & The Fall Of The American Republic

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Someone said on Twitter that it felt like Trumplandia was “cratering” tonight. I would strongly say the opposite. Because of the callow, craven nature of the Vichy Republicans that have essentially given absolute control to Donald J. Trump, things are only going to get worse for the foreseeable future.

Only if something really, really telling happen, like a Jeremy Corbyn win in Great Britain would I sit back, rub my beard and mull the possibility that maybe that things have gone to far. Something like that would give me some hope that maybe the pendulum is swinging back toward some form of sanity. I say that as someone who fears if Corbyn won you’d have to que the Benny Hill music when it comes to British politics. It’d be kind of nuts, if fun, if it happened.

Sorry for the noise in the background on this one.

Regardless, domestically, at least we can only take solace in the fact that it appears as though Trump has lost Twitter. Or, maybe, the Russian hackers that manipulated Twitter aren’t getting paid anymore so they’ve moved on. It used to be that you couldn’t have an actual serious conversation about Trump without whack jobs popping out of the woodwork all but demanding you bow down before Trump as Lord Zood. But that has changed in a weird way. It’s the silence that’s really weird. Trump hasn’t lost Periscope yet, so I guess he has that to be thankful for. Periscope users are still completely nuts.

I continue to be really unhappy with where things are going with Trumplandia. The Vichy Republicans are to blame for this and nothing is going to change as long as they’re in power. So, we’re stuck with Trump for a solid 18 months, at least, and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the errant power grab on his part caused by a major crisis that may happen with, or without, his approval and goading.

The Vichy Republicans are allowing Trump to sow division both at home and abroad. They are completely complicit n all of this and I pretty much think we’re on track for the fall of the American Republic. By that, I mean, like the frog in the slowly boiling pot, we may very well wake up one day soon and some pretty basic right will be gone. I don’t know how exactly it will all happen, but it will happen.

Why am I so sure? Well, the silence on the part of the Vichy Republicans is so loud and the cancer on the American body politic that is Trumplandia seems to be metastasizing so quickly that what other inevitability could there possibly be? Not to sound too much like a Debby Downer, but I really need some hope. I need something to latch on to — like a Corbyn win — to give me some indication that there will be a happy end to this dark period.

I place all our problems at the feet of the Vichy Republicans. If they would put country over party, then the system of Constitutional checks and balances put in place by the Founding Fathers would actually, like, work and stuff. But as it stands, we have a tyrannical, would-be autocratic madman at the center of the nation’s political universe. What’s worse, he keeps alienating everyone but is base through erratic tweets, pulling out of important international agreements, and generally being a monumental dick.

But because the Vichy Republicans are addicted to power above all else, and the Republican base that elected Trump and continues to support him has absolute sway over them politically, there is nothing that might induce them to have anything resembling a backbone. It’s just not going to happen until they’re kicked out of office. I’d like to think that a Blue Wave of The Resistance might do the trick, but may be deluding myself. Given that people are dropping out of Congressional races due to death threats, that pot may be a lot closer to boiling than
I would like to admit.

Really, it seems as though if power is the only thing that the Vichy Republicans care about, then the only time they may get a backbone is about a year from now should it appear as though they are going to lose “bigly” in the 2018 mid-terms. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, they won’t say a peep. But if things take a dramatic turn for the worse between now and, say, July 2018, there might, just might, be an unprecedented series of events where by the Vichy Republicans finally grow a pair and demand some accountability from the Trump Administration.

Even more interesting, as I have mentioned before elsewhere, if the Vichy Republicans lose Congress in November 2018, there might be a battle during the lame duck session of Congress between Republicans and Democrats to see who gets to impeach Trump first. The reason being, the Republicans would want the right to approve now President Mike Pence’s replacement.

And that doesn’t even begin to address my true nightmare scenario for 2019 whereby Trump would simply pardon everyone involved in Tsar-a-Largo — including himself — and hold up on the White House with the nuclear codes and dare anyone to come after him. A shoot out between the Secret Service and FBI on the White House lawn would be, uh, unique from a historical standpoint.

I guess all of this comes back to the point that we shouldn’t assume history goes in a straight line. We could very well be at the end of the road for the American Republic as we have conceived of it for about 240 years now. This could be it. The end. We could be, from now on, a semi-autocratic quasi-religious imperial system with only the assurance of an open presidential seat every eight years being our last foot hold to our republican past.

It pains me to suggest such a thing, but we can’t delude ourselves into thinking the Vichy Republicans will ever grow a backbone. We could be stuck with Trumplandia for four or eight more years and then we really would need someone to make America great again.

All I can say is what I’ve been saying — stay engaged. Don’t rage, engage is the catch phrase I’ve come up with. It’s a pithy explanation for my personal vision for how we dig ourselves out of this hole. There are no easy answers when it comes to Trumplandia.

We just have to have hope that the American spirit is stronger than a despot who would aim to inflict a “managed democracy” on us from above. Don’t take anything for granted, folks. This party has just begun.

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

Sorry Folks, Roe V. Wade Will Be Overturned In Less Than 20 Years

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, let me state for the record that it’s not like I have reveled truth or anything. I’m not saying I can predicted the future, but it doesn’t take someone with a glowing magic orb to notice where trends are going. Having said all that, let me state for the record that I’m pro-choice and even I can see where things are going: Roe V. Wade is going to be over-turned sooner rather than later. I give it no longer than 20 years, but it’s probably closer to 10.

I am well aware that people have been predicting it demise for 30 years, but there are some cold hard facts that even its most ardent supporters can’t deny.

First and foremost is how important conservative judges are to the Republican Party. They were willing to lie prostrate in front of Trump in large part because, well, conservative judges. There simply is no equivalent counter-urge on the part of Democrats. When given the opportunity, it’s not like Democratic presidents are appointing really liberal, really young judges to the Supreme Court. But Republicans are hell bent on appointing the most conservative, youngest judges they can possibly scrap from the hysterical right wing.

Meanwhile, there’s Trump.

Trump seems to get off on destroying norms, so whenever one of the older liberal leaning SCOTUS judges finally retires or dies — and we all know it’s going to happen under Trump’s watch — it’s not like he’s going to give up the opportunity to give his base an ideological handjob. And given that the Senate detonated the “nuclear option,” there really is nothing to stop Trump from single-handedly killing Roe V. Wade through his appointments to SCOTUS.

Trump just doesn’t give a shit and your typical “Good Republican” who voted for him in the first place would applaud the opportunity to screw over tax loving libtards. And, given how broken and generally fucked up the SCOTUS nomination process is right now — it’s pretty much just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to — even if both Trump and Pence magically vanished, you’d also have to have a Democratic Congress in place at this point to save Roe V. Wade.

It’s goose is cooked. It’s gone. Poof.

This begs the question: then what?

I have often seen Roe V. Wade as something of a firebreak for reproductive rights. It’s the thing that prevents the Mike Pences of the world from openly suggesting that any form of birth control — even for married people — goes against God’s Will and is of questionable legal validity. You can argue with me all you like, but once abortion becomes a political issue in state houses, some states that have completely succumb to the echo chamber of FOX News and alt-Right Twitter will take the next logical step and start to hack away at any form of birth control.

I am not really all that against abortion being a political foot ball in state houses because it forces local politicians to stake their careers on what they believe on the issue one way or another. Probably what will happen is some states like Virginia, which are pretty moderate, will find their state politics thrown into chaos as things get sorted out. Meanwhile, residents of states like New York or Mississippi effectively won’t see much change in their access to abortion at all. In both states, things have pretty much been sorted out one way or another already and not ruling by SCOTUS will make much difference.

So, in 20 years you’ll be able to smoke all the fucking pot you want at a gay wedding, just don’t knock anyone up at the reception if you’re in a Red State, cause you’re screwed.

Trumplandia & The Curious Case Of The ‘Good Republicans’

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

From the way the mainstream press portrays it, Trumplandia is, at its core, a “basket of deporables” that lives in the darker corners of flyover states with lots of trees, lots of coal and an opioid problem that is out of control.

I call bullshit on this and I think it’s an epic cop-out by NPR types who don’t want to address the more chilling reality: the Trump supporter next door. Apparently a recent report backs me up, too. The report says something like the typical Trump supporter is — surprise! — pretty much your middle-of-the-road Republican who has helped elect Republicans since dirt.

So to put it another way, the real problem with Trumplandia maybe isn’t so much the rednecks clinging onto coal and racism as it is your bedrock Republicans who after Trump won the primaries held their nose and voted for a racist, misogynistic, bigoted demagogue.

Hence, I would lay the blame for Trump more on a broken primary system than I would Jim Bob in his wife beater drinking a cold one and thinking about the good old days when brown people knew their place. That begs the question — what’s wrong with the primary system and how do you fix it?

Just off the top of my head, I would say the primary system as it is now implemented obviously rewards the extremist. So few people vote in the primaries that only the most motivated people — the most hysterical in an already hysterical political environment — are willing to vote in the first place. And, remember, the primary system is almost like a summer blockbuster in nature: who aim to come out strong your opening weekend and worry about the rest later. So, Trump was a momentum candidate who won big and won big early. All of this, of course, doesn’t address issues of dark money.

It seems to me that it was just the Republican’s turn to win the general election as is part of the ebb and flow of history and unfortunately when their time came because of FOX News’ bullshit moutain they were surreally detached from reality. Why anyone vote for Trump in the primaries is — at least to me — a complete mystery and will probably be the subject of any number of books in the years and decades to come. If a nuclear war doesn’t come first, of course.

If I was going to fix the primary system, I might put my hands on the glowing magical orb and say we should have a national primary of some sort. The top two winners of the first national primary would go head to head in a second round two weeks later, maybe. But there are obviously problems with that, too, because that would reward the most organized of candidates, so you might endup with someone like Trump, only more organized.

And even if you did fix the primary system, you wouldn’t fix the tribal politics caused by a combination of FOX News, Twitter and some weird deep-seated hatred of Hillary Clinton that I can’t explain. Something extraordinary happened in 2016’s primaries and it leaves me gobsmacked.

But all of this doesn’t address what the fuck happened in the general election. How did your typical Republican do the mental gyrations needed to come around to voting for Trump and is there anything we can do about that now? It is pretty obvious that Hillary Clinton was a historically weak candidate for various reasons. She thought it was “her turn” to be president and that mentality was a little too close to monarchical for a lot of people. And she was the first woman to get a major party nomination, so she had a lot of people who were fed up with the first black president extremely leery of the first female president.

And that doesn’t begin to address the email hysteria stoked by Russian hackers who may have been colluding with the Trump campaign. And it definitely doesn’t address the Comey letter just a few days before the election itself.

But given that Trump was so obviously an existential threat to the Republic — as it is growing ever more obvious each day — it kind of boggles the mind that otherwise normal Republicans would turn into “Good Republicans” like the “Good Germans” of the Nazi era. That is why you can tisk-tisk Clinton for not giving enough attention to Wisconsin and Michigan and still not explain how she lost the hard fought Pennsylvania and Florida. I mean, what happen there? How did she lose those states given what was going on.

Her losing those states is pretty inexplicable, at least to me. So we’re going to have to address yet again, that we’re screwed now and we live in something tantamount to Vichy America because of the Trump supporter next door. People who are residents of Trumplandia who you would never think would vote for someone so crass, so horrible. But they did. They look at you across your well coiffed yard with the sprinkler system and ATM guard and the voted for someone who now startles us on a regular basis with tweets that are going less and less fun by the day.

The next question, of course, is now what. Will the Good Republicans ever get around to telling the Vichy Republicans in Congress to get rid of Trump, or will they sit on their hands as long as they get their agenda of lower taxes, less regulation and an end to abortion crammed through the government.

It’s all very chilling, at least from where I stand. The fact that otherwise sane Republicans probably _won’t_ demand Trump’s removal because of the very facts I mentioned above should trouble everyone. It’s all very scary. And there are no easy answers.

Pretty much all I got is “Don’t rage, engaged.” It’s the Good Republicans that are the least likely to troll you if they disagree with you. They aren’t alt-Right nutjobs. They’re God-fearing, America loving people just like you who mysteriously when push came to shove voted for a monster.

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

Hollywood, Think About A ‘Caine Mutiny’ Remake

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I found myself watching the end of The Caine Mutiny today and it was chilling. Something about how everything we assumed about the mad Captain Queeg was wrong seems eerily appropriate for this ear of Trumplandia. Or, put another way, I think if you made a remake of that movie modern audiences would get the connection between Queeg and Trump.

That’s the way art is supposed to act, at least in my opinion.

But the odd silence on the part of Hollywood when it comes to Trumplandia is enough to give me pause for thought. Maybe it will take years, if not decades before Hollywood gets its act together and helps explain the Trump situation to us in ways we can easily process. Oh well.

Talk To Me Internet: Today Has, To Say The Least, Been Surreal

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Today has been surreal and it’s not even over yet. So, maybe it will get worse, maybe it will get better. Who knows with this age of Trumplandia.

Revolution Article 5: Yo, Trump, What Is Going On, Brah?

r Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the article that is the essence of the treaty because it says an attack on one is an attack on all, was all Donald Trump’s. In fact, he didn’t tell anyone he was going to do it beforehand.

This is all very surreal.

What is going on? What would Trump do such a thing? This is an example of how the possibility of there being collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians is having very real consquences. This is, needless to say, a nightmare situation for American foreign policy because it really disrupts the very foundations of the United States’ relations with its European allies.

What happens if, say, Russian invades Ukraine in a general ground war. What do you say to Poland, which might grow understandably nervous at all of this. Or, God forbid, what happens to a Baltic state should Russia invade it. There is now no assurance that the States will swoop in to save the day.

These are scary times and there are no easy answers, especially since the party you would think would be the mos upset about all of this, the Republican Party, is now Vichy, callow and prostrate at the feet of the quisling Donald J. Trump. It’s a tragedy and there is no easy way out. None at all.

Only by removing Trump from office might this nightmare be over and things might snap back into place. But that is a fanciful daydream at this point. We’ve got a solid 18 months of Trumplandia to deal with, if not significantly longer.

I wish there was something I could say that would make sense of all of this, but I am at a loss for words. A lot can happen in 18 months and we’re one major incident either domestic or foreign between ourselves and a major catastrophe.

Jesus, Hollywood, Wake Up: Donald Trump Is ‘The Mule’


By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

As anyone with some knowledge about The Foundation Saga will tell you: Donald Trump is The Mule.

Let’s review exactly why this is the case. According to Wikipedia:

The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.[1] One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause. Not direct mind-control per se, it is a subtle influence of the subconscious; individuals under the Mule’s influence behave otherwise normally – logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt Seldon’s plan by invalidating Seldon’s assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.

In the Foundation universe, there is the notion that Hari Sheldon came up with something called The Sheldon Plan that predicted a way through which what would otherwise have been 10,000 years of darkness after the fall of the Galactic Empire could be reduced to 1,000 through the use of two Foundations.

Now, as told in The Foundation Saga, The Mule is a comic character who has the ability to subtly influence people’s minds. He is a threat to the Foundation and the Shelton Plan because he disrupts the Sheldon Plan’s basic notion that no one person can disrupt history significantly.

In my reading of all of this, the American Constitution is analogous to The Sheldon Plan. One of the interesting plot points of the novel’s universe is that a hologram of Sheldon pops out at crucial junctures in the plan’s progression to reaffirm its success. So, in my imagination, it’s kind of like if James Madison was to pop out steampunk style ever four years and tell us, in general terms, who had just won the presidential election and why.

There’s a scene where Sheldon does this and everything is out of whack because of The Mule. It seems as though if you know anything about The Foundation Saga that the similarity between Donald Trump and The Mule is painfully obvious. In the context of fictional Foundation history and real American history, the two characters are almost completely identical.

If someone in Hollywood doesn’t have the wherewithal to do something with this obvious comparison, I give up on the whole industry. A great screenwriter and director could do something really, really powerful with The Mule in the context of Trumplandia. I struggle to understand why no one in Hollywood has yet to notice this and begin production on a movie or even a TV series that addresses this point. I know that HBO, was, at some point in the recent past supposed to be working on something like what I suggest, but I haven’t heard anymore about it.

I, personally, can’t do anything about it because I don’t have the rights to the book and even if I did, I know my limits and I’m struggling to write a novel about the zany nature of Trump’s era. A screenplay would definitely, at this point, be a bridge too far.

But we’ll see, I guess. It still find myself waiting for all the great art to come out of the Trumplandia era. It will happen, eventually, of course. I just worry it may be too late.

The Madness Of King Trump

even though for various unfortunate reasons he grew completely daft in his old age.

Alas, that is not the case with our own mad king.

When the Madness Of King Trump is written in the history books at some point in the future, tweet storms like the one below will be used as exhibit A in how civil society struggled to understand what the hell was going on.

Take a look at these tweets with as clear a mind as possible and try to explain to me how the should be treated. Are these the president just shouting out into the void? Are these the rantings of a potentially unhinged global leader or what? How serious are we supposed to take these and how are we supposed to process them.

The point is, it’s all very surreal. There is no honest way for American civil society to comprehend what is going on. The president’s tweeting is unprecedented in the annals of American presidential politics and it will take decades for us to process it all. I mean, just the fact that there will be entire books written on just one or two of Trump’s tweets at some point in the future is enough to give you pause.

But people apparently wanted excitement in their politics and they’ve gotten their wish. It all kind of blows my mind. At least with Richard Nixon you had to wait for the National Archives to transcribe the Nixon Tapes. Now, we get the tapes — and worse — in real time every morning when we wake up. Sheesh. It’s enough to leave you scratching your hand as to what will happen next.

I just hope there is a next. I hope we’re not all doomed. For real for real, folks. For real for real.

The Big Sigh: If We Prove Trump Colluded With The Russians, It Won’t Matter

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

If the rise of Trumplandia has proven anything, it’s that a fool and his nation’s self-respect and autonomy are soon departed. That core 30% of the electorate who is Donald Trump’s base simply won’t care if we prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his 2016 campaign colluded — hell, even co-ordinated — with the Russians. It’s just not important to them as they sit back in their recliner threatening to smack their wife and drinking a cold one as they think about the job at the coal mine.

The Tsar-a-Largo scandal that is rattling its way through Washington is pretty much a Washington issue. And there is a real risk that even if Trump is impeached and convicted that instead of going the fuck away,he, like Richard Nixon before him, will become some sort of warped martyr for the those people who are so extreme in their conservative world view that down is up and hot is cold.

And that wouldn’t even begin to address the fundamental crisis that the American Republic current is suffering. Trump, a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue managed to make his way through the system and not only survive but prosper. Something is not right with this picture.

Additionally, there is no sign that the Vichy Republicans have in any way grown a backbone. They are still callow, complicit and prostrate before King Trump I, Autocrat of All The American States. It seems as though history is moving at light speed these days and we simply don’t have time to catch up.

It is very possible that we’ve entered a new, dangerous dystopian epoch in our nation’s history and it could be a very long time before we can look back and have some frame of reference to figure out how fucked up things are. There are some basic questions that I simply don’t have the answer to. Will the Vichy Republicans ever care about the nation and its Constitutional order? What will be the ultimate outcome of this chronic Constitutional crisis that seems to flare up every few weeks?

I just don’t know the answer to these and other questions. And, just like Watergate, people could still be puzzling over how it all happened and why decades after the fact. Given how elaborate and epic this imbroglio is, it is probably very likely that many, many, many books will be written about Tsar-a-Largo, regardless of the outcome.

Just the idea that the Republican Party, the party not only of Lincoln but of Ike, Nixon and Reagan would kowtow to a foreign power so willingly — especially Russia! — simply for the sake of obtaining and maintaining power boggles this child of the Cold War’s mind. This is seriously fucked up, is all I gotta say.

It’s a modern historic tragedy, on a par with Vichy France, and because it’s happening to us right now, we can’t make sense of it all. We live in extraordinary times and my only suggestion is that perhaps this is a knee jerk reaction against eight years of “No Drama Obama.”

But, regardless, as I’ve said before, American civil society continues to reel from the growth and power of Trumplandia and we just have to have hope. We have to stop raging at the insane things that happen as a part of Trumplandia and we need to start engaging with its citizens to try to figure out what makes them tick.

Only then, maybe we can bridge the gap between us and figure how to get them to take Tsar-a-Largo as the serious threat to the Republic that 70% of the electorate thinks it is.

Playboy Needs To Get Woke Like Teen Vogue

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Teen Vogue has won itself all kinds of accolades and buzz for becoming “woke” in the face of Trumplandia. People have given what could otherwise be sort of a teeny-bopper version of the adult Vogue some real respect for its willingness to get political in an unexpected manner.

I have suggested on more than on occasion that Playboy Magazine should follow a similar path. Now, I know Playboy is doing something akin to what I suggest already. It’s always had progressive leanings. And it’s different for a traditional men’s magazine to bask in the buzz of being woke than it is a young women’s fashion magazine.

But I guess why I keep talking about this is it seems of all the legacy publications with legacy brands that could benefit from being woke, Playboy seems the most in dire need of it. Yet it wouldn’t be easy. It would really have to shake things up for my proposal to be effective. They would need to poach the best writers from, say, Jezebel to really get the buzz machine going.

The only reason why I even mention any of this is that now that Gawker.com no longer exists, I really don’t have a brand that I have a personal affinity for other than Playboy. I really like how cool Playboy once was, way back in the 50s and 60s before it lost its way in later years. So, I want Playboy to thrive and prosper and it seems as though it being exceptionally woke would do the trick.

If Playboy.com became the personal one-stop-shop for woke news on the Trumplandia experience, then it would be serving both an audience and a marketplace that is woefully under served right now. People like me are so desperate for what I’m talking about, that we feel forced to do it ourselves with blog sites like this one.

Regardless, it’s fun to think about. I doubt seriously that Playboy will ever know of my suggestions, but it would be so cool if I woke up and the media world was buzzing about a new, woke vision for Playboy. If Playboy was able to start to be relevant again, I think it would reap some great rewards and it wouldn’t risk simply drifting off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

All of this, of course would depend on how much power and vision young Cooper Hefner has. Cooper Hefner apparently has gotten more power of late and he seems like just the young, brash fellow who might follow the vision I have articulated. But anyway. No one is listening to me and all of this is little more than mental masturbation at this point.