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

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Possible Iran-Contra Endgame For #TrumpRussia

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kirstjen Nielsen And Tom Cotton Are Liars

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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

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

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

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

‘Vortex’ — #Lyrics To A Woke Pop Song

I love the word “Vortex” as a pop song title, so I keep coming back to it. I’ve written the lyrics to several songs using this concept, but given how totally insane the Trump Administration has come to be, it seems as though it’s appropriate to revisit this concept AGAIN. I am going to attempt, just off the top of my head, write a song that gives a breezy — and fastly sung — description of the shitstorm that Trump has brought about.

Vortex
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

it started with a bang
forcing immigrants to pack their bags
fast as they can
people went to the airport
to show their support
and that was just the first few days!

Trump is a vortex
a vortex of political storms
what are going to do
what are we going to do

it’s been a vortex
a vortex of crazy
please don’t call me lazy
if the facts of this vortex are hazy

what has happened since it began
leaves us with hat in hand
Bannon came and went
Trump has left us spent!
take a break for a few hours
come back and the world is in flames
Trump is back at it again!

Trump is a vortex
a vortex of political storms
what are going to do
what are we going to do

it’s been a vortex
a vortex of crazy
please don’t call me lazy
if the facts of this vortex are hazy

[bridge]
we’re going to have to confront
that the president’s nuts
unhinged as he can be
where, exactly, are we going to flee?

the president calls Africa a shithole (shithouse?)
just a few days ago
we were going down the hole of his sanity
now we’re completely ignoring
his hush money to a porn star
what the hell is happening!

Trump is a vortex
a vortex of political storms
what are going to do
what are we going to do

it’s been a vortex
a vortex of crazy
please don’t call me lazy
if the facts of this vortex are hazy

‘Waiting’ — #Lyrics To A Woke Pop Song

This would be a catchy pop song in the spirit of Katy Perry’s more popular recent stuff. But it would be more overtly “woke” than what she’s sung. Let me stress that this is just written really fast off the top of my head, but it is relaxing. This is about Hawaii residents having to wait 38 minutes before they found out that a ICBM wasn’t on its way to kill them. And I like to tell stories in verse, so you get this.

Waiting
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform
a missile is on its way

to end us all
so here we are
waiting, waiting, waiting

waiting for the end
wondering what comes next
should we be worried
should we fear life after death

38 minutes until we knew the truth
long enough to reflect on our lives
time enough to hope we’ve lived a good life
38 minutes of waiting, waiting, waiting

now what is what we said
looking around with fresh eyes
so this is how it all ends
with us waiting, waiting, waiting

38 minutes until we knew the truth
long enough to reflect on our lives
time enough to hope we’ve lived a good life
38 minutes of waiting, waiting, waiting

[bridge]
this is not how we expected it
we’re going to meet our maker
live a hell on heaven’s islands

38 minutes until we knew the truth\
long enough to reflect on our lives
time enough to hope we’ve lived a good life
38 minutes of waiting, waiting, waiting

waiting, waiting, waiting
waiting, waiting, waiting
waiting, waiting, waiting

‘Dicky Durbin’ — #Lyrics To A Woke Punk Rock Song

It continues to amaze me that it’s not bigger news that the President of the United States is not only demonstrably unhinged, but has the mentality of a middle-school bully. So, this song is about Trump’s latest nickname, Dicky Durbin and how it’s so bad, so childish that it is flabbergasting. Anyway, this is a punk song. At least the music to it would be punk.

Dicky Durbin
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

things don’t seem like they could get worse
make me want to hiss
when I see you on my screen
you come up with stupid names
for respectable people
at least from what I can glean
your latest is Dicky Durbin

Dicky Durbin
is that all you got, bruh
Dicky Durbin
is that all you got, bruh
you’re losing your touch
losing your touch

what is going to happen
I just don’t know
I just don’t know
what’s going to happen
boy, do I care

the president slings his shit
at senators and their ilk
what are we going to do
with this shithead
in the Oval Office?

Dicky Durbin
is that all you got, bruh
Dicky Durbin
is that all you got, bruh
you’re losing your touch
losing your touch

[bridge]
we’ve got to fight
the good fight
if Trump is going to sling the mud
we’ve got to sling the love

I believe we’re going to win
just got to vote when we get our chance
that chance will come soon enough
we’re going to win
we’re going to win
we’re going to win

Idle Mulling ‘The Mule’ Portion of ‘Foundation’ As A Movie Allegory About Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’ve talked about this before and, as usual, no one paid me any attention. But I write this more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. There is a movie to be made about Trump in the most unlikely of places: the long forgotten Foundation saga of books by Isaac Asimov. The books heavily influenced Star Wars, so such an extent that adapting them might be nearly impossible. People would take one look at any such movie and scoff, saying it was a “rip off” of Star Wars when, in fact, the opposite is the truth.

And as far as I know, Foundation is in “development hell” somewhere in the bowels of HBO.

Having said all that, it is interesting that if you look at The Mule portion of the saga, you could probably produce a pretty epic movie. Like, under the right stewardship, you could not only produce a biting allegory of the Trump era, but use it as a jump start of a movie adaptation of the entire great Foundation Universe. It would be really, really cool. A huge amount of money is to be made if someone would just get their head out of their butt and do something with it.

I say all of this because of what happens with The Mule. In the series, The Mule is described as this annoying, comical character who everyone assumes is a fool until the very end when we discover he’s been slowly taking over the galaxy using his super special mental abilities. He’s call The Mule, because, duh, he can’t have children. But there are some pretty great scenes I can imagine in my head.

The whole thing would be amazingly great. You see, as I recall, you have four people zooming around the galaxy looking for information on The Mule, or somesuch. You have an older professor type, two young people and this weird annoying guy (who of course we learn is The Mule.) So, in my fevered imagination, you get a really great director with a very unique world view, an auteur, if you will, to create this universe. I suggest this only because if you get just a generic hack to make this movie, they’re probably just going to copy Star Wars and the whole thing will be moot.

But if you got a well known auteur, like Ridley Scott or even, say, Wes Anderson or Spike Jonze or Quentin Tarantino, to direct this movie something magical could happen. For the professor, who I just remember for saying “Great Galaxies!” a lot, I would get a well known older actor. Maybe Gary Oldman? For the two young people, I would suggest Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown. Casting The Mule is tougher. You need someone who could be the comic relief for most of the film, only to turn on a dime to a dark, sinister character who would become iconic.

There are a few people I could think of. Jack Black, maybe? Someone like him. Even Dave Chappelle might do the trick. But with the right writer and director, the character of The Mule could be quite meaty. Character defining. Add to this what a devastating indictment of Trump this movie could be, it would be one of the best movies of the decade if you did it right.

It seems obvious that the key to making a successful Foundation movie is it has to be different than Star Wars. It needs to be more adult. It wouldn’t be about selling toys to little kids, it would be about making adults think about the world they live in. Anyway, all of this is just me mulling an interesting concept. It’s not like I have a script of even the rights to the Foundation series. I guess this has to do more with my frustration with this storytelling goldmine just sitting there in plain sight and no one doing anything with it.

What is amusing is there are plenty of people who grew up reading the Foundation books who would love to see a Foundation movie. You’d tap into an unexpected fan base, I guess is what I’m saying. But no one listens to me. But it is definitely fun to write about.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va.

‘Shithole’ Nation: Sen. Cotton, Have You No Sense Of Shame?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am completely embarrassed by not only Sen. Cotton, but the entire Republican Party. The Republicans are willing to sell their souls to Donald J. Trump because, what? They don’t want to admit that Trump is a racist piece of shit?

This whole controversy over Trump’s “shithole country” statement is mindboggling. We are now debating words and intentions in a way not seen since we were talking about what the meaning of “is is.” There is one answer and one answer only that makes sense: Trump is a racist. He said what people in the room first said he said and people like Sen. Tom Cotton are full of shit.

In an earlier day, someone would beat the shit out of someone on the floor of the Senate at some point given what’s going on. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point, yet. I guess this makes me so angry because this is the first time when the Republicans have broken the rules of public debate. They’re not playing fair anymore. They are not just complicit, they’re willfully lying to protect Trump.

This is not cool.

This makes me very angry. It means we’ve lurched towards a dangerous new stage in Trumplandia. We can’t agree on the facts because one side is so insanely partisan that they’re out-and-out lying to protect a corrupt, racist president.

I don’t know where this ends. It doesn’t end well. We’re in sort of a slow-motion Civil Cold War. The only question is, will it ever turn hot and why? I think the next dangerous moment will be whenever Robert Mueller gives his report to Congress. Things could be so muddled by that point that the Republicans may simply ignore whatever his conclusion are and try to get us to move on to the next shiny object.

Only time will tell, I guess.

The Specifics Of Integrating IRC & Usenet Concepts In A New Social Media Service

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, I am well aware that social media now has zero buzz in Silicon Valley. All this writing I’m doing about this subject is pointless and no one is listening. But for me, personally, it’s relaxing and I enjoy exploring the topic for myself if no one else.

So, how exactly would you integrate two really addictive 20 year concepts — IRC and Usenet — in a seamless manner that would not only keep people coming back, but make a lot of money?

Well, I have given it a lot of thought and I think the best way to do it is like this: you’d have an IRC channel devoted to a Group and an IRC channel devoted to a thread. This is how you do it — on the quarter or so of your screen would be an IRC like channel devoted to the Group’s topic, while once the owner of the group — a verified account holder — started a thread, on about a quarter of the right of the screen would be a live stream of text devoted to that particular thread.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that a thread could only be started by a verified account holder. That fixes a lot of problems when it comes to newbies and morons posting stupid shit to a group. It would be a way to manage who posts what to a group in a somewhat subtle manner. There might be some bitching about this at first, but I think people would get used to it.

I really like the concept, if nothing else.

Of course, there is the issue of how these two IRC-like channels would be displayed across the service. That is an interesting problem that I doubt is too difficult to overcome. It’s stuff like that which is fun to mull over when you’re a boring job for a few hours.

‘The Ballad Of Old Man Cotton’ — #Lyrics To An Angry Pop-Rock-Folk Song

Sen. Tom Cotton has proven himself to be a liar and I can’t stand it. It’s outrageous that he is willing to sell his soul and honor to protect our piece of shit president. Hence, this song.

The Ballad Of Old Man Cotton
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

old man Cotton
you are a national shame
we will vote you out
given a chance

old man Cotton

I see you on TV
you lie so fast
you are not a man of honor
you should just shut up
we know what happened
when will you tell the truth, truth, truth

old man Cotton
you are a national shame
we will vote you out
given a chance

old man Cotton

you don’t know the truth
even if it was a stick to the head
you’re going to feel the power of fact
one day, one day, one day
the voting booth still exists

old man Cotton
you are a national shame
we will vote you out
given a chance

old man Cotton