Hollywood, Take Note: Isaac Asimov’s ‘Mule’ Is An Allegory For Donald Trump

By Shelton Bumgarner

I keep talking about and feel like I’m shouting out into the void, but here I go again. The reason why I keep talking about how Isaac Asimov’s character in The Foundation Saga, The Mule, is Donald Trump is because Trump isn’t funny anymore.

For nearly two years, we’ve spent a lot of time joking about Trump and it’s time we stopped falloning Trump and started to take him as the tragic, Shakespearean character that he is. Trump is doing real damage to America both at home and abroad and it makes a lot of sense for Hollywood to stop lashing out randomly at Trump and start to weld its cultural power in a much more constructive manner.

Hence, a movie that dealt with just the portion of The Foundation Saga that deals with The Mule would be pretty cool and culturally powerful because for much of the novel, The Mule is something of a comic character. It’s only later, when his true identity is reveled that he becomes dark and sinister.

I feel like we’ve reached the point in the Trump saga when if you made a reasonably faithful adaption of The Foundation Saga that you might have a pretty big hit on your hands, on a par with A Game Of Thrones. Of course, given how much Star Wars copped from Foundation, you would have to be pretty creative to to make the universe seem fresh.

But if you simply made a movie about the specific part of The Foundation Saga that deals with The Mule, I think you could pull it off.

The Madness Of King Trump, Redux: How Will History Judge This Era?

by Shelton Bumgarner

Maybe we’re all missing the point. Maybe the only way to save the Republic was, at least for a short time, to burn it to the ground. What I mean by this is maybe if Hilary Clinton had won things would have been even worse than they are now — that even seems possible.

My only hope is maybe all of this will burn itself out. Maybe only by proving the point — that Trump was and is completely unqualified to be president — that is the only way we can dig ourselves out of this whole. If Trump was out of power at this point, he’d be spouting off and riling people up without the consquences of being in power.

With him in power eventually, inevitably, there has to be, just has to be some political consquences to pay. He can continue to live in his own lala land forever. At some point — it may take a lot longer than I’d like — we collectively as a nation will reject Trumplandia and everything will go back to normal and we can forget about this horrible, surreal turn of events.

That, of course, is the most hopeful spin one can put on this disaster. I guess you could have made the same case about Hitler in 1933. But this is the United States, not Germany, so I’d like to think our civil society is stronger than theirs was during the rise of Hitler.

So, I guess what I’m saying is this could either be just a hiccup in our nations journey, or it be that this is when the final dystopian reality descends on the United States for good. I guess, really, it all depends on us as individuals which one it is.

But I’d like to think our civil society is stronger than the madness of one leader. But maybe I’m deluding myself. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe power has been concentrated in the hands of the executive to such an extent that there’s no going back. And given how the Vichy Republicans are completely complicit in all of this, it seems as though this is a wilderness we’re not going to get out of easily.

It goes without saying, I think, that there are many, many books to be written about Trumplandia in the years and decades ahead. I would like to think this is just a blip. That Trumplandia will, in fact, burn itself out. I have to have that hope, otherwise I get depressed and don’t engage.

A Jeremy Corbyn Victory In Great Britain Would Be A Political Thunderclap

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am just a clueless American when it comes to British politics. I know just enough to get myself in trouble, but let me prepare you: if Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn wins this week, be prepared for the instant political experts to pop out of the woodwork on Twitter, saying this is a huge win for The Resistance and may indicate that a “Blue Wave” may yet reach American shores.

I know enough about British politics that it is often seen as foreshadowing political trends in the States. So, in a way, it’s kind of like the Virginia governorship race. Since it’s the first big race after the presidential race, it’s come to be seen as a de facto referendum on whomever is in power.

In the late 1970s, Margret Thatcher in Britain was, in fact, an indication that the center-Right across the globe was ascendant and that the United States was ready for the Reagan Revolution of 1980. Given how much it seems the political establishment in Great Britain hates Corbyn, even a near-victory at this point would be enough to leave
experience political watchers in daze for a few days.

A lot of people in Washington and beyond would look at each other mouths agape at what had just happened. In real terms, it wouldn’t mean squat for Trump’s political fortunes. And it’s not like your typical Republican Trump supporter is going to be phased at any event beyond their parking lot.

So, really, at least in the United States, a Corbyn victory won’t mean much. It will definitely rattle around in our political system some, but Trump will still be president and we’re still going to be fucked. Yet it is an example of how the people who supported Trump thinking something would happen to him and Mike Pence would become president and usher in a new era of love and peace might have gotten more than they bargained for. At least, I really hope that’s the case. Those people really piss me off. They were really to be enormous hypocrites for no other reason that they wanted power, they wanted just the possibility that Mike Pence might be in line to be president.

Meanwhile, Rome burns.

Regardless, I hope Corbyn wins. As a moderate American liberal, the shock of a Corbyn win would be an actual cold hard political fact that I could cling on to while the good ship USS America continued to sink and its mad captain continued to rant at the helm.

But maybe Corbyn won’t win. I don’t know. I’m no expert, but Trump sure is doing everything in his power to piss the people of Great Britain off so they vote for Corbyn in defiance.

The Deafening Silence From Hollywood Regarding Trumplandia Is Perplexing

By Shelton Bumgarner

I have repeatedly questioned why instead of pretending to cut Donald Trump’s head off, why Hollywood doesn’t collectively turn its guns on Trumplandia. I am well aware that it takes time to conceive of, develop, write and produce a scripted drama of any sort. It just takes time. I get that.

But you’d think the little media bubble that I live in would be at least occasionally punctured by buzz that this or that anti-Trump movie or TV was being produced. And, yet, to date, I have heard of nothing. It’s all very odd.
I just don’t get it. Is it that Hollywood is too shook or is it that the executives that would be the ones to greenlight such things are complicit in Trumplandia and they simply won’t risk losing money on an obvious anti-Trump metaphor while events are actually happening. It’s just too soon for them to think about alienating that core 30% of the population that supports Trump no matter what?

And, remember, the last time that Hollywood actually went to war was, well, a war — World War II. And it could be that Hollywood executives with some institutional memory know that during Watergate people kind of tuned out of politics in pop culture. The only relatively contemporaneous piece of art to come out of Watergate was All The President’s Men.

But having said all that, here are my suggestions for movies to be remade in this age of Trumplandia. Given that Hollywood apparently has completely run out of ideas, Hollywood might be more receptive to remakes than original content.

Or something.

This movie is so obvious in the age of Trumplandia that it seems like it would be greenlit the moment someone suggested it seriously. The book itself is apparently doing gangbusters again and it seems that there would be both a market and an audience for another remake.

The Caine Mutiny
The final scene of this movie might cut a little too close to home. The whole movie, with its mad captain might be something people would really get into. And it’s great source material it would be so obvious a metaphor for the Era of Trump that it probably would do quiet well.

Being There
This movie would require a deft touch. The reason is it would be too easy to re-interpret the source material as an angry diatribe against Donald Trump’s presidency. The movie is, in its own way, already a metaphor for Trumplandia, if albeit in a much more innocent manner than we are currently suffering. But if you updated it technologically, it would be really funny and tragic and scary. Kind of like our real world is right now.

This is such a perfect movie — especially in the context of Trumplandia — that the only reason to remake and update it is we live in desperate times and simply re-issuing it wouldn’t be as culturally significant. We really need this movie remade as soon as possible. But I would suggest doing something with it other than a shot-for-shot remake. That would just be dumb and unproductive.

Seven Days In May
It is temping to simply use the name and not do much with the source material. Events this May really were shocking enough that you could give them a narrative arc and go from there. But, really, you could simply do somewhere where by there’s a coup attempt against a mad president or some such.

Mr. Roberts
This movie is about honor and the responsibilities of power and if you remade it, it could be a sly commentary on Donald Trump’s presidency. At least it makes a lot of sense to me.

Anyway, having said all that, let’s talk about some original concepts one might look into.

A Movie About The Mule</strong>
This one seems so obvious that it’s sad that generally no one listens to me and thus nothing will happen. It would be different if I had the rights to The Foundation Saga and, like, was a screenwriter of any note. I would just write a screenplay myself and pitch it. But HBO is supposed to have the rights right now, so you’d actually have to have some money to make that a reality.

A sequel to Idiotocry
This is pretty obvious. Just update that movie to today’s insane reality and run with it.

A movie about the Fall of France in 1940
The Fall of France was a lot like Election Night 2016, and I think people would really see the comparison being made if someone produced a movie about it.

Regardless, Hollywood needs to get its act together. It needs to address this really important subject as quickly as possible. If the gears are put in motion now, maybe a really cool movie will pop out about Election Day 2018. That’s all we can hope for at this point.

Vichy Republicans & The Fall Of The American Republic

By Shelton Bumgarner

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

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

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

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

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.