Trumplandia & The Age Of ‘Covfefe’ — We Need To Stop ‘Falloning’ Trump

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Twitter is, well, atwitter with the latest screw up on Twtter on the part of Donald Trump. Since Trump’s phone apparently doesn’t have spell check, he tried — we think — to say “coverage” in a tweet and it came out “covfefe.”

This led to any number of different funny hot takes by the chattering class on Twitter. Which is all well and good — I enjoy a good crack about Trump being an idiot as much as the next guy — but there comes a point when we have to stop “falloning” and start to address the serious issues caused by Trump being, well, Trump.

To me, “to fallon” has two meanings. The first, most obvious meaning is to try to make a monster like Donald Trump warm and cuddly by making him a lovable fun character. But there is a second, more urgent meaning as well: to get so wrapped up in making fun of Trump that you lose sight of how dangerous he is.

So, there comes a point when the time between when we make fun of something stupid done by Trump and we wake up to this horror grows significantly shorter. It seems to me that the issue right now is comedy is how civil society is dealing in a most immediate manner with Trump. We’re still getting used to the end of the “No Drama Obama” era and the struggle to process that is coming out in comedy.

But I’d like to think eventually we’ll wake up and things will take a significantly more serious edge. We’ll stop laughing and start engaging. Maybe more serious forms of entertainment, like a good movie that serves as a metaphor for Trumplandia, or a great protest song will come out.

And on an even more serious note, maybe if we quit falloning, more center-Left people would run for office. Or try to cross the political divide and figure out what the fuck is wrong with people who are now comfortably in the mental country of Trumplandia. I still haven’t figured that out, and I’d like to think it’s even possible to do so. If we don’t figure out Trumplandia now, we’re all pretty much doomed.

We absolutely have to stop falloning sooner rather than later because this is all deadly serious. The entire post-WWII global liberal order is beginning to unravel before our eyes and if we don’t start to engage politically, we risk laughing ourselves into oblivion.

So, laugh while you can. I don’t know when things will begin to change. Maybe what I suggest is just too difficult right now. Maybe the changing of the guard is just to profound for our collective psyche to comprehend in any way other than comedy. But I have to have hope.

If we don’t do something soon, eight years will have elapsed and while we were laughing, Trump will have ruined the country and maybe even the world. Then we really will have to find some one to make America great again.

Don’t Rage, Engage: Trumplandia, Tribal Politics & Misogyny

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Today, I have been reminded twice there are two Americas right now and they hate each other. There is The Resistance, which is found largely on Twitter and moves at light speed when it comes to observing the latest Trump catastrophe and Trumplandia.

Trumplandia is a mythical, surreal land closed off from any rational thought and the electoral victory of Donald Trump is constantly relitigated and rehashed.

Being an ardent member of The Resistance, I sometimes find myself making some conclusions about other people that obviously I shouldn’t be making. Two events today reminded me that the United States is in deep trouble politically and things aren’t going to get any better any time soon.

For instance, I put out a call for writers on Craig’s List on a lark hoping I might find someone, somewhere who would be willing to work for free — at least for the time being — to help me build this site. My lone response so far, is this:

I will help you write about Hilary Clinton in a snarky manner.

I know Trump is an unpolished goof but I will take him to the alternative.

If you want insight into how grave things are in America, look at that quoted text. The entire post World War II global liberal order is quickly becoming a dumpster fire and the only critisim of Trump I can get out of this guy is Trump’s an “unpolished goof.” I find this staggering. This just blows my ever living fucking mind.

And, yet, I have to reflect on this mind set. I can’t just rage about it. I have to at least attempt to engage in some sort of understanding of the mindset that would cause such a comment. This bring me to the other interesting thing that happened today. I shoot out all the posts I write here to Twitter. In one of today’s headlines I asked why everyone hates liberals. Someone on Twitter saw this and wrote, “They’re losers and anti-American.”

Whoa buddy.

So, when we write the obituary of the America Republic, we’re going to have to address how it is that not only is the misogyny against Hillary Clinton such that people were totally blinded to her obvious experience, skill and ability, but also that the FOX News echo chamber made Trumplandia so apoplectic in its rage that people had reached the point where they hated liberals without any rational. They hated them because they hated them.

I am not a huge Hillary Clinton fan. I thought she was a weak candidate and probably should have been indicted because no person is above the law. But she wasn’t and when given the opportunity between what I saw as the potential of her steady hand and that of, um, a “unpolished goof” I had no qualms about voting for her. But she lost. And now we have to deal with the consquences.

But the weird thing about Trumplandia is they totally don’t realize they won. They don’t realize that when you’re in power anything that goes wrong is your fault. It all kind of blows my mind. What is the origin of their hatred for modern norms? How is it that they would see the person I see as a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue as simply an “unpolished goof.” How can the residents of Trumplandia be seeing what I see and come up with such dramatically different conclusions?

That is the crux of the crisis we’re currently in. And it’s not going anywhere.

If The Resistance is going to make any headway in the coming years, we’re going to have to understand exactly why Hillary Clinton lost. The process of doing that will probably rip the Democratic Party in two for at least one major election cycle as the progressives and the business friendly Wall Street liberals duke it out to see if Bernie or Hillary’s vision of the Democratic Party will be implemented. It is very likely that the Democratic Party will see the loss of Hillary Clinton as a sign that it should nominate a progressive like Sen. Al Franken in 2020.

Yet, at least in my opinion, a large part of Clinton’s defeat can be laid at the feat of misogyny. I think America choked. We had had the first African American president and the center-Right is still racist as fuck and they turned around and saw the prospect of a woman president and they just couldn’t handle it. That doesn’t even begin to address the general hatred of the Clinton family that, in itself, was a large factor in how passionate the Republican base was in 2016.

Meanwhile, much of that surreal world view comes from a general hatred of liberals. That one, too, kind of eludes me. It is obvious that eight years of “No Drama Obama” along with the rise of bubble inducing things like FOX News and Twitter caused the liberals to think there was some sort of assumption of slow, steady progress when in fact there far from that in some quarters.

This is what the Russians were able to so skillfully take advantage of during the 2016 election. The Republican Party had become so full of rage against the liberal mindset that they would rather vote for a quisling than vote for someone who was of the opposing party. And that doesn’t even begin to address what exactly the hold Trump had over primary voters was. That one still leaves me puzzled.

So where does this all leave us?

As I keep saying, if you’re not a member of Trumplandia, if you still care about America in the traditional sense, you’re going to have to put your outrage aside and engage instead. This is really tough. I don’t mean you have to give up what you believe. Far from it. But instead of just randomly being angry all the time, see this as an opportunity to engaged, to be excited and energized

See it as a chance to use your rights as a citizen in an effective manner. Trumplandia in all its delusional, surreal love of Donald Trump can take a lot away from us through gross malfeasance and gradual attacks on our liberties, but they can’t take the American spirit away from us.

Americans aren’t Russians. We’ve got spunk. We can do this. At least, that’s my hope. That’s all I got right now, is hope.

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

Today In Trumplandia: Darryl Issa On A Roof!

al about that.

Issa apparently, at least according to Think Progress, didn’t want to talk to his constituents, so he took pictures of them from a roof instead.

It’s all rather absurd and creepy and very much the world we live in today. What’s even more surreal is Issa eventually did come down to talk to the crowd and gave an entirely different spin on things.

According to Think Progress:

But the congressman portrayed the encounter as far more amicable, tweeting that he “spent the morning talking to constituents.”

From Think Progress

Engage, Don’t Rage: Kathy Griffin, UR Doin It Wrong

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Oh boy. Kathy Griffin what were you thinking. I have made it clear that I believe that the time for raging against Donald Trump is over. We need to dry our tears and get down to business. If you have a talent, use it, don’t just be outraged and thrash around in anger.

So, what does Kathy Griffin do? Does she tear into Donald Trump with a great comedy special? Write a great movie or TV show for the Trumplandia Age? No. What does she do? She takes a picture of herself with what appears to be a decapitated Donald Trump.

Not cool, lady.
serves to confirm the worse assumptions of Right wing nutjobs when it comes to evil liberals and it doesn’t do anything to improve engagement between The Resistance and Trumplandia.

So, I don’t know. It will be interesting to see what happens to her career after this. Either she goes down in a ball of flames, or not even this can get her out of the murky z-list celebrity zone she seems to reside in. I just hope we can put this behind us.

Tsar-A-Largo: Trump Is A Quisling

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

When people are openly talking about the leader of the free world maybe being a Russian agent, we got a problem. But that’s pretty much what one of my favorite writers, Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine, is suggesting this piece at the magazine’s website.

What Chait can’t quite figure out, though, is if Trump is a willful participant in treason, or if he’s just so stupid and easily influenced by flattery that it just seems that way.

The latest huge amount of smoke in this growing scandal, which I refer to as Tsar-a-Largo, is the weird backchannel that Trump’s ever-silent son-in-law Jared Kushner wants to setup with the Russians during the transition. It’s all very weird.

The whole thing is murky and there are no easy answers. It is chilling, however, that Trump is pretty much doing exactly what you would think a quisling would do in this situation: he’s trying to destroy the post WWII liberal order that has kept us from all dying in WWIII.

But now we’re having to brace ourselves for some extraordinary times. Some pretty weird things are going to happen in the coming days and there are no easy answers, in large part because the Vichy Republicans simply refuse to do their Constitutional duty and be a check and balance on the presidency.

It’s just not going to happen anytime soon. We’re all very screwed, it seems.

Trumplandia Has Caused A Global Leadership Vacuum

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is self-evident that Donald Trump has caused an enormous leadership vacuum globally. For about 70 years, the world has relied upon the United States for moral leadership.

No longer.

Now, there is a mad scramble to find out who is going to fill the void caused by Trump being not only obviously unhinged, but a Russophile and an ardent admirer of autocrats across the planet. The chilling thing is, this has happened in the absence of a major international crisis.

God only knows what might happen should Putin make a major landgrab in Ukraine or the DPRK attack South Korea. And should both things happen at the same time, we’re going to be faced with the very real possibility of something at least marketed at World War III happening.

To put another way, the unprecedented nature of the Trump Administration is now beginning to be not just a domestic crisis, but an international one as well. The election of Trump in conjunction with Brexit means the global liberal order that we’ve come to expect is now unraveling before our very eyes. All of this doesn’t happen in a vacuum, there could be some very real consquences to Trump being completely temperamentally unqualified to be the leader of the free world.

It doesn’t seem possible that Putin would let the opportunity poised by Trump to go unexploited. I feel like we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop. Trump is simply unable, on a personal level, to engage in the fine art of diplomacy. He is simply too crass to understand theh nuance that is at the core of international diplomacy. It takes a moral core to be able to stand up to a thug like Putin and Trump has made it painfully clear that he would rather slob Putin’s knob on a geopolitical level, rather than stand up to him.

So, it seems almost inevitable that Putin will either attack Ukraine or attack a Baltic nation. It will be a tragedy of the highest order should this happen because the United States has lost its moral compass. And, yet, unless something drastic happens, something is going to happen. Something big.

With the international order in flux, different great powers are jostling to see how things will fall out. Russia is trying to draw smaller nations away from the herd, while nationals like France and Germany are trying to pick up the banner of the liberal order that the United States has so unfortunately dropped as a part of Trumplandia.

So my only conclusion can be that something that we will in hindsight call World War Three, something that is marketed as such by the American press, at least, is now almost inevitable. You can’t have this much instability in the world order without someone, somewhere — probably Russia in Europe and the DPRK in Asia making a major miscalculation.

Or it could go down something like this — Trump’s Administration, in a spasm of self defense attacks the DPRK just as Russia attacks Ukraine. It just makes too much sense that something like that might happen. I really can’t see any other outcome in the near term with things so much up in the air.

And it’s only going to get worse as long as Trump is in charge in the United States. So when a major American city is vaporized by a DPRK nuclear weapon, you can say a little prayer to yourself and whisper, “But her emails…”

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

Don’t Rage, Engage: How To Save The American Republic

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

What I’m about to articulate is, at least to me, very important. The fate of the American experiment in republican self-rule depends on it. Donald Trump’s power comes from how divisive he is. He also has the ability to evoke unprecedented rage on the part of huge swaths of the America electorate, while at the same time prompting a devoting among other groups not seen since Hitler.

To all of this, I say: Don’t rage, engage.

What I mean by this is, don’t assume that anyone who disagrees with you is trying to troll you. Or, put another way, even if they are trying to troll you don’t feed the troll. Calmly and politely explain why you disagree with them.

Now, let me admit, that I, personally, still haven’t gotten to this point yet. I used to say I had gone from center of the sun hot to center of the earth hot in my personal rage against Trumplandia. Now, I have cool down even farther to a just a blinding fury that only pops up every once in a while when it seems like I’ve entered some surreal fantasy land where words have no meaning and actions have on consquences.

But you can take the “Don’t rage, engage” motto in other ways, as well. You can take it as a call to political action. We need to realize the stakes before us and we need to become politically engaged in a way we’ve not seen sine at least the Civil Rights movement.

If you think you have it in you to run for office, run for office. Vote, especially in special elections. Maybe start a reading group, or hell, even a Committee of Correspondence if you think things are dire enough. Anything, something to help defend the American Republic from the seemingly ever-expanding cancer that is Trumplandia.

Trumplandia wants us to grow burnt out. It wants us to grow so burnt out in our outrage that we eventually succumb to to the forces of Trumplandia that want us to live in a “managed democracy” whereby we no longer live in a liberal democracy, but rather an illiberal one.

Or put even another way, we have to keep the faith. We have to have hope. We have to act on an individual level. American ideals are at stake and if we don’t collectively do something and do something now some very basic America ideals will wither away.

As an aside, it kind of blows my mind that Trumplandia gets so work up over leaks. You know they totally during Watergate would have been more concerned with who Deep Throat was than what he was leaking.

Regardless, use whatever rage Trumplandia evokes in you to stay energized, to stay engaged and, after enough time has elapsed, maybe even cross the political divide and try to understand what makes Trumplandia tick. It will be tough, I know, but it’s something we have to do.

The fate of the nation rests on it.

What Do The Russians Have On Trump?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Well, well, well, this is interesting. CNN is reporting that U.S. intelligence agencies overheard the Russians saying they had “derogatory” information on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Time to pull out this age old favorite:

The CNN report says, specifically:

One source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussion centered on whether the Russians had leverage over Trump’s inner circle. The source said the intercepted communications suggested to US intelligence that Russians believed “they had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information.”

But the sources, privy to the descriptions of the communications written by US intelligence, cautioned the Russian claims to one another “could have been exaggerated or even made up” as part of a disinformation campaign that the Russians did during the election.

This is yet another instance of where they’re smoke there’s fire. There comes a point when you have to believe that there may be, in fact, something to all of this Russia stuff. The true sad aspect of it all is that candidate Trump did not even try to hide his Russophila. He was quiet clear that he had a thing for Russia and yet the residents of Trumplandia still voted for him.

That, if nothing else, says that the waters of Trumplandia run deep in the American psyche and it is going to take a lot more than any of us possibly imagine to get rid of Trump. He’s just not going anywhere, potentially for eight years.

We’re going to have to start figuring out ways to mitigate the damage Trump can inflict personally on the Republic. Really, the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is, again: Don’t rage, engage. In other words, don’t just get mad.

There is going to come a point when we’re going to have to stop thinking every time someone disagrees with you that they’re trying to troll you. If we can’t get past that fallacy, we’re all completely fucked.

Axios Of Boring: The Big Meh

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have given myself something of a challenge: find something to write about using the Axios webpage as a writing prompt. I have to say, I find myself stumped.

It’s difficult for me to come up with a point of view at all about anything Axios has to say because it’s so dry and there’s just no there, there. At least with the late Gawker.com, there was an occasionally a juice nugget worth writing about.

Reading Axios, I definitely get the sense they’re so willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt that they’re almost complicit. My vision for this site is to be the exact opposite of Axios, but Axios is so dry and I would never read it otherwise to such an extent that it’s difficult to use it even as a whipping dog for fun.

I guess my biggest problem with Axios is they don’t generate any content I couldn’t find somewhere else. They may have scoops generated by “access journalism” on a occasion, but the actual content is kind of white noise in my book.

None of the headlines pop out as all that interesting and they don’t seem all that interested in doing anything weird like talking to interesting people with stories to tell. It comes across as really corporate and, well, meh.

I mean, Sen. John McCain attacked Jared Kushner. So what.

Give me personality profiles. Give me great, interesting headlines that draw you in and make you think. Meh. Just meh.

I will keep monitoring Axios just because it gives me something to write about, but otherwise, meh.

So, Why Does Everybody Hate Liberals?

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The idea of the liberal first entered my personal consciousness when I was a young boy in the 1980s. President Ronald Reagan seemed hell bent on ending the reign of “tax and spend,” “big government” liberals who were ruining America and preventing it from enjoy its potential through over regulation.

In rural Virginia in the 1980s, this was quite a popular set of rhetoric. Of course, I was curious why everyone hated liberals and promptly became one, almost out of spite.

Since the 80s, things have grown significantly worst for liberals. Liberals now get it from both sides, with Right wing nut jobs calling for our heads on one side and progressives telling us to get out the way on the other. But before I go into, let’s at least attempt to try to figure out what a liberal is in the first place.

A liberal, at least in my view, is something believes the government has a place in people’s lives, that it can improve the lot of the common man by giving them a hand up when they need it. Liberals, unlike radicals on the extreme Left believe in gradual change in the context of a mixed economy. That’s not a text book definition by any means, but that’s the general one I have in my head when I think of myself as a “liberal.”

The apparent universal hatred for liberals wasn’t always the case. From about 1933 to 1953 America ran on liberal ideas. That was pretty much the center of the action when it came to the American body politic. Liberals would continue to be a powerful force in the post-WWII era for generations to come.

But, gradually, large segments of the population grew disenchanted with the liberal agenda. Just from what I have experience in my personal life of observing politics, it seems a lot of the hatred of liberals was the result of wedge issues like abortion and gay rights. The people those topics did not alienate, liberal being at the forefront of the the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements did.

So, by the time of the Reagan Revolution in 1980, liberals were now the go-to whipping boy for Reagan Conservatives who — unlike Donald Trump — actually had an ideology that they could go to when need-be. Reagan Conservatives wanted small government, lower taxes and “traditional values.” Unlike the mental citizens of today’s Trumplandia, they seemed to have some sense of what, exactly, all that meant in a cogent way they could defend without fear of it all being upended with an early morning tweet.

The interesting thing is that some people really took Reagan’s rhetoric against liberals to heart. And hence, we have the ideological underpinnings of the dire straights we find ourselves in now. A lot of people who don’t even understand what a liberal is, just know they hate them and that they hide under their bed, feasting on the bodies of dead children.

So, now what.

It seems to me that we have kind of come to a dead end. The hatred of liberals among those on the far Right has reached such surreal extremes that really the only way it could get worst is if people started to get physically harmed. Which, of course, we know they already are.

I would idly note that a lot of what Right wing nutjob hate so much and call “liberal” really is more the ideological successor to the “New Left” that was birthed as a result of the Vietnam War. So, all the talk of “safe spaces” an “trigger warnings” is more, at least in my book, more Neo-New Left than it is liberal.

And, I have to note, don’t even consider myself all that liberal in real terms. The Bill Clinton agenda of about 1996 is where I stand politically to this day and that definitely isn’t very liberal.

Now we find ourselves in the era of Trumplandia, where it seems we are all about to OD on “liberal outrage” over this or that obscene thing that Donald Trump has done to the Constitution. As I keep saying, if liberals are going to do anything about this, we’re going to have to stop being enraged and become engaged instead.

That’s the solution to the problem at hand. We have to use our anger constructively. As Baby Boomers grow older, the work of liberals will grow much, much more difficult. If we do manage to survive this Era of Trumplandia, it could be 20 or 30 years before enough Baby Boomers have died off that a new generation of liberals can come forth and clean up the damage.

Or it could go a different way. Either progressives will pick up the baton and do what liberals used to do, or if I may strike a darker, more dystopian tone, this may be it. We may no longer be living in a Republic at all and we’re fucked. We may be now in a “managed democracy” like they have in Russia and the liberal agenda will be squashed for here on out.

But I have hope. I have hope that the American spirit is stronger than that and maybe, just maybe, thing will work out for the best for everyone involved…eventually.

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