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

By Shelton Bumgarner

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

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

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 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 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.

Trumplandia Has Scrambled American Civil Society ‘Bigly’

by Shelton Bumgarner

It goes without saying that we live in surreal times. As Trumplandia makes it seemingly inexorable march through the American political landscape, some pretty surreal things have happened. Chief amongst them being the center-Right’s Never Trump movement has almost completely joined forces with the center-Left’s Resistance.

So, for the duration, at least on Twitter, you have a lot of people who would otherwise disagree with each other, agreeing one one thing: Donald Trump is a menace to the Republic that both sides hold dear. It’s a very surreal moment in our nation’s history and a testament to not only to not only the weird nature of Trumplandia but to the power of America’s civil society.

Trump is 70 years old, and simply isn’t going to change. In other words, you can put ice cream on crap, but in the end you still got crap at the bottom of the ice cream cone. So, the warping of our political debate is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, I have found myself listening to a lot of podcasts and while I listen to some you would expect of someone like me, namely the pods of liberal leaning Crooked Media, I also find the pods associated with the Lawfare blog really insightful and addictive. I sometimes have no idea what they’re talking about, but often I can glean a little bit of insight into how dangerous Trump is to the Republic from a legal standpoint.

None of this is going to change as long as Trump is president. It’s only going to get more and more surreal. It will be interesting to see how long the weird alliance between Never Trump people and The Resistance will continue once Trump is no longer president. Given that that maybe be significantly longer than any of us may hope, the political ramifications of that alliance may be potentially more powerful than we imagine right now.

Resistance Real Talk

by Shelton Bumgarner

Here are some things to think about if you consider yourself a member of The Resistance and you think any type of saving event may be around the corner.

1. We’re in the wilderness
We need to accept that there’s no Blue Wave that’s going to save us anytime soon. Even though Donald Trump is at 36% approval right now, that is the base and it has absolute power over the Vichy Republican party. So, we have at least, at the very minimum, two years before anything will happen to Trump in real terms. Trump could literally, and I’m not joking, strangle someone live on 5th Avenue on FOX News and the Republicans in Congress would say the victim had it coming.

So, save your outrage.

2. Don’t Rage, Engage
This is probably the most important thing. I keep saying this because I believe it. If we don’t engage with people who we disagree with, then tribal politics will win the day and Trump will only grow more powerful. It’s tough to this, of course. It’s too easy to just get mad, stay mad and not really do anything to do the very basics of democracy and civil society: talk to people you disagree with.

I have to admit that I’ve not really gotten to this point myself. I’m still too angry. But it’s something to strive for. That’s my goal down the road. Hopefully in a few months I won’t be as angry anymore and I’ll be able to do as I keep telling everyone else to do.

3. A dystopia may be around the corner
Another reason to engage, not rage, is that there is dark, dystopian future ahead of us should there be one major terrorist attack on American soil while Trump is president. This is a very real possibility. We may find ourselves in a truly fascist state a lot sooner than we realize. People are already commenting that Trump seems to almost baiting terrorists to attack the States. Probably because he is. He wants it. He really does.

4. Stop re-ligating the past
Lastly, we need to stop talking about the past and how things were different under Obama. That era is over. Those days are over. We’re now out of power and what’s worse, things are so extreme that we have to call ourselves The Resistance.

All of this boils down to a tough, narrow road ahead for The Resistance. History does not go in a straight line and we’re going to suffer a lot of setbacks before anything tangible happens that we can hang our hope on actually happens.

America Is 1 Major Terrorist Attack On US Soil From A Dystopian Nightmare

by Shelton Bumgarner

Given the surreal nature of Donald Trump’s tweet’s this morning about the terrorist attacks in London, it is pretty obvious that we’re all one major terrorist attack on US soil from a dystopian nightmare. I’m being serious.

It’s almost as if Trump is itching for the worst to happen so he can tap into the fear and anger such an event would evoke to really fuck things up. It’s almost beyond our worst nightmares that such a thing might happen. But’s very obvious that it could, in fact, occur.

Trump has always been more of an opportunist than a populist and he would quickly use a 9/11 scale attack to do a mind-boggling amount of damage to American civil society. Things that we only read about in dystopian novels, may, in fact, become a reality.

I guess the whole point is I don’t have much hope right now. I need something I can point to, something actionable and real that shows there even is a Resistance at all. But the sooner the Resistance realizes it’s in the wilderness for the long-term, the sooner we’ll stop being outraged by every horrible thing Trump does and start to think about how we can engage people who we disagree with in a substantive manner.

Only by engaging people from Trumplandia will The Resistance eventually be victorious. It’s not an easy path. It’s a narrow, difficult one because it forces us to come out of our “safe spaces” and to stop worrying about being triggered. We have to figure out how someone could vote for a racist, bigoted, misogynist in good faith. Because if we don’t they will do it again in 2018, again in 2020 and yet again every other opportunity they get.

I have no easy answers. I don’t know what the answer is. But we have to realize that should there be a major terrorist attack on US soil over the next four to eight years, there may be no looking back. We may enter an era unlike any other we’ve experienced as a nation to date.

The Trump’s Position On The Paris Accord Is A National Embarrassment

by Shelton Bumgarner

I tried to watch some of Nikki Haley’s opinion on the Paris Accord on Face The Nation and I got too angry. Instead of being the leader of the free world, the Trump Administration more concerned about a few thousand coal jobs in West Virginia.

So, as the world grows hotter and hotter and the weather more fucked up, Trump and his evil cohort Steve Bannon try to figure out how squeeze as many votes out of coal minders in 2020. It’s all very sad. When the history of this era is written, it would be sad if historians mark the Trump Administration as when we were all fucked beyond hope.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal if there were some sane center-Right people willing stand up to Trump. But no one will. They’re all so co-opted, all so Vichy and complicit, that there’s simply no one to turn to. And it’s not going to change anytime soon.

Trump isn’t going anywhere. He could literally kill someone on FOX News in a ritual sacrifice the talking heads of FOX News would say the victim had it coming.

So, we need to start being realistic. There will be no “Blue Wave” in 2018. The entire system is so corrupt and works against change that the only hope we have is 2024 and that’s just because they’re an open seat. But, really, there’s nothing we can do. Nothing at all. We just have to engage. We have to figure out on an individual level how to keep the American spirit alive.

North American Scum: Please Trump, For The Love Of God, Don’t Go To London

by Shelton Bumgarner

Apparently, there is some talk on the part of White House staff that Donald Trump might make a trip to London in solidarity with the city after the recent terrorist attack on London Bridge. THIS IS A BAD IDEA.

This is such an horrific idea on any number of different levels. First, and foremost, there are likely to be huge — enormous — protests in London should Trump show up. And, given that Trump went on a manic tweet storm this morning attacking the Mayor of London, he did not exactly help his case.

Then there is the fact that Trump would be grossly politicizing something he has no business politicizing. He just needs to let London and Great Britain grieve. He should just shut up and, if nothing else, lead the free world like he was elected to do.

But who am I kidding. Trump is tone deaf that he will barge not only into the grief of London, but a national general election campaign taking place in Great Britain right now. He just shouldn’t do it. Please, for all that is holy, Trump, stay away from London and Great Britain right now.


Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Illegal & Un-American

by Shelton Bumgarner

I understand why some people are scared of Muslims as a whole. I get it. It makes sense. But if you scratch the surface just a tiny bit, the argument for a Muslim travel ban falls apart, especially on a Constitutional level. Trump can’t seem to make up his mind if it’s a ban or not.

He tweets about it being a ban, then his lawyers and White House spokesman says it’s not. It’s all very surreal. But the whole thing is un-American because America isn’t supposed to discriminate against you because of your religion and the Constitution as as much itself.

But that doesn’t seem to phase Trumplandia. That doesn’t seem to phase Trump’s supporters. I don’t really understand how people can so willfully go down this dark and scary path that Trump is leading them down. Trump’s vision of “American carnage” is so completely bonkers that I struggle to understand how anyone could possibly support it.

And, yet, people do.

This is all a part of how much of a clusterfuck, a dumpster fire Trump’s administration is to date. I keep struggling for an answer and I find none. I keep trying to figure out what it all means, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that makes any sense.

But we have to try to engage. We have to keep the faith. We have to have hope.