My friend Milo and I did a pretty great emergency podcast on recent developments between Trump and the Russians. It’s kind of long, but it’s well worth your time. It’s really informative and interesting.
In this wide-ranging video I talk a lot — A LOT! — about the fact that we’ve entered a new era in American history equal to the French intelligentsia’s refutation of Communism after the Russians squashed the Prague Spring. In essence, I suggest that while Trump may never be impeached because of white knuckled political reasons, he has, in fact, lost the American Intelligentsia and now thinking people are beginning to memorialize publicly their opposition to Trump & MAGA.
I ramble about other interesting things as well, but this video is actually worth your time.
Given that it seems Trump has chosen the issue of immigration as his political hill to die on — at least until he can come up with a bigger distraction — it may be time for The Resistance to advocate a lurch towards radicalization. What I mean by that is on an ideological level, The Resistance’s goals have been rather nebulous and it’s leadership lacking vision.
Maybe it’s time to change that.
The thing this draconian policy enacted by Jeff Sessions proves is Trump a modern day Emperor and his actions lay bare the rot at the center of the American Constitution. Growing numbers of people from a wide spectrum of political thought are protesting the obscene policy of ripping children away from their families, and, yet, Trump — who could with the wave of his hand could end it — is, instead, holding his ground.
It takes time for protests to be organized, I know, but this could be the final tipping point needed to get people in the streets in a big way. To get rid of Trump in any meaningful way, we would need regular, massive protests in cities across the country. The only way I can think of to facilitate that would some sort of app. An app that got like-minded people together and facilitated in a meaningful way organization that would lead to regular massive protests.
Now, of course, you could say you could easily do that using Twitter and Facebook. It’s been done before in other countries. But if you designed an app that from the moment you logged on directed you to other liked-minded people and help you use whatever skillset you might have for the cause, I think it would be effective. You could even throw in advertising and the Patron payment function into the app if need be.
Take me, for instance. I’m kind of broke right now, but I’m willing to protests immediately if given the opportunity. Using the app I suggest being invented, the moment I logged on, I would be able to find not only local protest organizers contact information, but ride-share information. The app might, as a value added function, give people easy directions as to how to register to vote.
It is apparent that at this point only a massive show of People Power is going to end this nightmare. If Trump wants a fight, maybe we should give it to him.
I have no idea what it was like in the early days of Nazi Germany. I’ve read William L. Shirer’s seminal work The Rise & Fall Of The Third Reich and so I feel as I have some sense of how things began to change in Germany first slowly then eventually quickly. But from my conversations with MAGA people who remain my Facebook friends (for some strange reason) I’m growing ever more unnerved.
Their arguments defending Stephen Miller’s obscene, draconian border policy that tears children away from their families for no other reason than as a brutal form of deterrence are chilling, to say the least. They are, at least in my mind, indistinguishable from what a Good German may have said in the early days of the Third Reich as the Nazis were solidifying their grasp on power. The most chilling Trump supporter, at least for me, is not the conspicuous “deporable” who obviously is an ignorant numbnuts. It’s the smart ones, the educated ones who either shadowbox their defense of the indefensible or they even worse, they actually have some twisted internal logic to justify it all.
That shit is fucked up.
Add to this that the systemic Constitutional rot the United States is experiencing, with Congress no long acting as a check on the executive branch out of a callow, Vichy mentality and you have makes of a horrifying moment in my nation’s history. If we allow this separation policy to remain unchallenged, if we allow it to just become another aspect of white noise, then the jig it ups. The pot has officially begun to boil and the frog — us — is dead.
I say this because once you allow MAGA to shrug off tearing immigrant families apart because of their immigration status, the same logic can be used for anything. If you consider yourself a Christian, or at least a family oriented American and you don’t step up to the plate and challenge MAGA people on this policy, who’s to say you would really get all that upset if Trump in a few years proposed his own version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts.
This is our tipping point. This is it. If you have any doubts that Trump wants to establish a surreal, Americanized equivalent of a Fourth Reich (I call it Trumplandia, but still) they should be eliminated by what’s going on with children on the border. This is a power grab of unprecedented proportions that because of all the other fucked up shit that Trump has pulled over the last year or so, we don’t really have the proper context to judge.
Now, Trump’s version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts might come from an unexpected direction — a Constitutional Convention. We just the approval of a few state legislatures away from such an occurrence and do you really haven any doubt that Trump in his second term might not latch on to that idea as the ultimate way to make and keep America great? Trump is already doing everything in his power to undermine the foundations of the American Republic. Why not take it to the next level and remake the Constitution in his own image? He’s already cramming in as many young, insanely conservative judges as he can onto the Federal bench, so that would be the next logical step.
So, what I’m saying is it’s now or never. Either we stand and fight on this immigration policy or we have failed ourselves and the generations to come. Remember, Hitler was popular in Germany well into 1943. It wasn’t, really, until the Battle of Stalingrad that he began to suffer significant resentment in the fatherland. It’s not hard to imagine Trump in 2024 picking, say, actor James Woods to be his successor. Woods, as you may know, makes Trump look like a liberal and actually has something of a ideology.
Therefore, while we’re all making these comparisons between Trump and Hitler, because of Trump’s age and complete lack of an ideology, Trump may not be who we think he is. Trump could be simply the catalyst, the primordial ooze from whence the real danger is born. It could be that our American Hitler will be elected in 2024 and the rest, as they say, will be history.
But if you don’t want such a dark scenario to happen, then fight with all your might to stop Trump now while we can. Stop him when he’s still relatively weak. If enough people took a stand on this barbaric immigration policy now, then maybe we can, like the 300 of yore, at least buy some time for the democratic forces that we so love.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
The dark forces of the Trump Administration and its allies are attacking the American Republic from any number of different angles. In fact, they are so many things going on, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what’s important, what’s pressing and what can be put on the back burner. While not a comprehensive list, here is my humble attempt at some sort of triage on the pressing issues of the day. We’re going to go from the most urgent, to the less urgent.
Ending Stephen Miller’s Border Policy
This is so urgent for a number of reasons. One, it’s a policy not a law. Two, it’s so inhumane, so obscene that if we let this one continue without taking concrete steps to end it, everything else will be for naught. I say this because of the human factor. Once you establish that this is a cruel policy not a law, and as such could be easily change by Trump, then it makes a lot of sense to focus on this immediately. So, if I was going to exert limited resources on how to combat MAGA, I would, for the moment at least, direct any outrage and attention-bringing ability I might have to bear on this specific issue.
If we turn up the pressure as far as it can go, then it’s possible that maybe Trump will sense that while it’s popular with the base, in the long run it will rile up everyone else enough that they might actually head to the polls in November. And we can’t have that, now can we?
Protecting The Mueller Investigation
This is urgent, but as of right now, not as on the front burner as it might otherwise be for no other reason than Trump knows if he messes with the Muller probe he is messing with an existential threat to his regime. A lot of people who otherwise tacitly give Trump a pass for all the other batshit insane things he does, would sit up and take notice if he fired Mueller or otherwise conspicuously hampered it in any meaningful manner.
Less Urgent, But Still Important
The 2018 Mid-Terms
I am not one to believe that we’re automatically in for a “Blue Wave.” In fact, I believe a more reasonable outcome is a few surprises here and there, but overall the Republicans keep both houses of Congress and Trump not only survives, but prospers. And what we really have to worry about long-term is who replaces him in 2024 and what his “legacy” will be. But if we could somehow actually flip Congress — especially the Senate — then we could stymie some of the more long-term consequences of the Trump clusterfuck. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up. As I mentioned, more likely is the Republicans’ majority in the House will be reduced dramatically, but not enough to end their majority altogether. Meanwhile, in the Senate, it will literally take a political miracle for that to flip.
Long Term Damage To Keep An Eye On
The Damage To The Liberal Order
What Trump is doing to the political order world-wide is something we really, really need to keep an eye on. The damage he’s inflicting on the established liberal order that has kept the world at relative peace for the last 75 years is enormous and wide-ranging. And, really, there’s little we can do about it in the near term. If we could flip one or both of the houses of Congress maybe, then, we could begin to address that. But again, as I said, that, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be happening, at least this time around.
So, if I was figuring out where to use my resources in the seemingly never-ending war against Trumplandia, I would strike repeatedly at the most pressing issue of the moment, the cruel and unusual border policy. That is, at least in my opinion, something of a weak spot in the near term.
If we as a nation have reached the point where we’re so divided, so suspicious of anyone who disagrees with us that when I describe to you the cruel and obscene Trump policy tearing families apart on the border you’re first reaction is to rhetorically bob and weave and deflect, then we’re in a crisis.
We’re at a crossroads. The pot is now, at last, finally boiling. If 44% of the electorate so frames political events relative to how they might affect the MAGA agenda and not how them might harm children of all things, then we’re lost as a nation. There is no excuse for bobbing and weaving, for political shadowboxing when the lives of children are at stake. But that seems to be where we are.
It’s chilling. It’s chilling that we’ve finally reached the type of historical turning point that one has only read about in the history books. Either we as a nation take a collective stand at this point and say no more, or it’s over. This is the darkest timeline and the bad guys have won.
The only thing I can propose is learn as much as you can about this issue and scream at the top of your lungs at anyone who will listen and when they shadowbox you, press them on cold hard facts. This is a Trump Administration policy, not a “Democratic law.” This could easily be changed by Trump if you had any empathy for anyone other than himself and his immediate family.
As I’ve written before, we need to get mad and stay mad on this one. We need to be prepared to take some heat. The entire American political system is so fucked up at this point that the MAGA people know on a guttural level that they have a decent expectation that they can, in fact, decide to die on this hill and actually survive. This policy plays well with the MAGA base who are scared of brown people and they see this in terms of an excellent deterrence, not the personal and moral gotterdammerung that people like me see it as.
MAGA people are quite fat and sassy at this point in the game. They’re getting everything they want policy-wise, including this, and they know that for various systemic reasons there’s a reasonable expectation that there won’t be any “Blue Wave” in November. And, really, I would so far as to suggest that if there is any hope of a Blue Wave in November, The Resistance will have to attack MAGA on this draconian border policy like a rabid dog. We have to hone in on the fact that the United States, regardless of its need to have viable borders, is also a nation of compassion.
We have to appeal to people’s basic sense of compassion. MAGA wants to frame the issue on ideological and general geopolitical terms, not simple humanity. They don’t want us to see these immigrants, many of them fleeing horrible violence in their homeland, as human beings. They’re to be seen as a statistic, a “problem” to be dealt with in general terms, the plight of the individual be damned.
America is better than this. I want to believe America is, in fact, different, and when the dark forces that have aligned against the nation from within and abroad finally believe they’ve mortally wounded us, we’ll fight back — and win. But remember, this is not Nazi Germany. Who’s going to overthrow the MAGA regime? The Dutch? The Canadians?
We have only ourselves at this point to save ourselves from ourselves. I want to believe we have it within us to do so. I really do. But things could go either way at this point. They really could.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
I am not going to be so sanguine as to suggest the Stephen Miller policy on the border in regard to immigrants will, in real terms, do anything to slice the festering boil that is the Trump Administration. The country is too divided and negative polarization on the Right is way, way, way too potent a force for that to happen. I will note, however, that Trump and his fellow would-be Nazis have kind of painted themselves into a corner.
This is because the more you know the fact of what’s going on, the more difficult it is to wave your hand and tell people like me to “enjoy the humming economy” and “get laid.” There’s a real humanitarian and ethical crisis taking place on the border and the question is, are we willing to do something about it in real terms, or is this just another frightening example of how the United States is lurching towards a not-so-quasi authoritarian state.
There is, at least, as small possibility that we’re headed for an enormous confrontation about the future of our nation on a historic scale. Now Trump is extremely fickle and given how easy it is for him to relieve any pressure on his administration by simply revoking the policy this could be a non-issue. And Trump is so completely devoid of shame that he could very easily wake up one morning, watch Morning Joe, and tweet out some bizarre rationale for ending the policy that blames the Democrats with maximum pandering to his base.
And, yet, there is also a chance that this policy plays so well to the base and Trump is so completely devoid of empathy that he’ll dig in for the long haul. He’ll pick this, of all things, as his hill to die on. If that happens, one of two things will happen. Either his typical, “Look! A squirrel!” approach to governance will succeed, or it won’t. If it does work, then the pot is officially boiling and we’re fucked. If it doesn’t, however, Trump is playing with fire. The fact that some religious leaders have begun to speak out about this policy — despite how Trump, personally, is ensuring the Rapture happens sooner rather than later — indicates there is a least a small possibility the Trump Administration, may, for once, get burned.
Unfortunately, it will take time for the burning to happen. We may be in a political siege of sorts as the two sides wage a slow-motion war as we simply hunker down and wait for the 2018 mid-term elections to roll around. I am very doubtful at this point that there will be a “Blue Wave.” I think while the Republicans may take surprising losses, they will maintain both houses of Congress and Trump will not only survive, but prosper. The economy is doing too well and The Resistance, at least right now, too nebulous and lacking leadership for anything of any substance to happen. And, yet, if we get mad and stay mad about this most basic of issues — the right of parents to stay with their children, regardless of the reason, we might have a small chance.
Too many MAGA people have too much invested in its continued success to even give a little ground on humanitarian grounds to the libtards they are so determined to “own.” In my own dealings with MAGA people on this subject, they either deflect or rhetorically bob and weave to such an extent that conversation with them is pointless. There are also some MAGA sympathizers who take a macro approach and say the United States needs better control over its borders and let the chips fall where they may. That neither one of these groups can’t show some compassion on the face of it once you describe to them what’s going on with this policy is pretty frightening.
What’s so disturbing to me is how MAGA people conflate the issue. They talk about how we need to enforce laws and how this happened under Obama and then they walk off and enjoy the humming economy, go to church and raise their kids. But as I mentioned, this isn’t a law, this is a policy enacted at the behest of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s demented mind. It’s a matter of policy, not law that this is happening and if we hone in on this point and use it as a rhetorical bludgeon on anyone who will listen, then maybe, just maybe something of note will happen.
The Big Lie only works so much. If every time a Trump supporter regurgitates a Big Lie talking point you flatly and politely tell them the facts of the matter and point out how devoid of compassion they are on a personal level, there’s a chance eventually they’ll feel the heat enough that Trump may feel obliged to do the right thing for a change and revoke the policy.
But Trump wants his “big beautiful wall” so bad and the base loves this concept as a form of deterrence so much that we’re in for a historic game of political chicken. It all will come down to the mid-terms. That’s it. The fate of the Republic could hinge on flipping Congress and finally putting a check on Trumplandia. I’m very doubtful this will happen, however. I just think there’s too much dark money being throw at the problem by the Right, not to mention the very real possibility of new, improved interference on the part of the Russians.
So, if you love America, if you love that idea of it being a “city on the hill,” our best hope is that you get angry and stay angry about what’s going on at the border. Take a stand. Be willing to lose Facebook friends over it. Hell, be willing to lose REAL friends over it. If Trump wants to play chicken, let’s play chicken. Just be prepared to hit their car if they don’t blink and swerve away.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. he may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
I think it’s pretty obvious that the Trump pee-pee tape is real. It’s got to be. How else do you explain Trumps surreal softness on the Russians? The huge question, of course, is he willful in his traitorous behavior or is he just an idiot? That’s a question we may never know.
Another question is, will we ever get to see the pee-pee tape. I doubt it. It would make no sense for the Russians to release it when they can simply uses its release against Trump as long as he’s in office. Anyway, the below videos are really interesting and I suggest you watch them. They go into a lot of detail about all of this and its implications.
This is just an idle daydream, but it seems to me that the ideal person to run against Donald Trump in 2020, should last that long, would be Jon Stewart. I say this because Stewart is everything Trump isn’t — funny, smart and self-aware.
Of course, Stewart, at least at this point, has zero political experience outside of his interest in 9/11 first responder rights and a little bit about veterans affairs. And, of course, there is the obvious issue that he appears to have zero interest in actually doing anything beyond running his petting zoo.
But the match up between Trump and Stewart would be one for the ages. And regardless, I think we would need someone like Stewart to take down Trump. Yet I honestly don’t know. The nation is so divided at this point that there’s no perfect person to do the job.
Trump is so powerful with 40% of the electorate and the economy is doing so well that it will be a difficult fight no matter what. Add to this the continuing struggle that The Resistance has with trying to find some sort of messaging beyond simply being against Trump and you have the makings of a pretty bad situation.
This doesn’t begin to address the issue of what happens if Trump wags the dog using Iran or the DPRk.
We’re going to have to just wait and see, I guess.