Trump Defenses #WhistleblowerGate

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Coming soon to a TV — and maybe Senate well — near you!

The Bullshit Defense
Fuck you, you libtard. Doesn’t matter if he did it. You kill babies. MAGA! MAGA! MAGA!

The Biden Is A Criminal Defense
Fuck you. Investigate Biden and Obama’s Netflix Deal! Lock her up! Benghazi!

The Deep State Defense
George Soros paid Obama to pay the Deep State to listen into on Trump. It doesn’t matter what he did, the REAL crime is that the Deep State is trying to bring Our President, The Chosen One, down. And…by the way..fuck you.

The Disgruntled Partisan Defense
Doesn’t matter what Trump did, this is obviously some disgruntled holdover from the Obama administration. Fuck you.

The Obama Did The Same Thing Defense
This is one I could see Emmet Flood using. We get to watch Obama say, “I’ll have more flexibility after the election” on a hot mic for 11 hours. This is bullshit because what he wasn’t illegal and it was simply traditional diplomacy. But that doesn’t matter. Flood will simply want to give political cover to Republican Senators to acquit.

The “He Was Joking” Defense
Oh, you know Trump, what a kidder!

The Master Negotiator Defense
Trump’s a master negotiator. He was just freestyling, like very stable geniuses do.

The Doofus Defense
He didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.

Imagining The Impossible

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

There are two absolutes in American politics right now.

One is Trump will never resign. The other is the Senate will never convict Trump.

So, really, any talk of impeaching Trump is moot. It would be little more than a slap on the wrist. Trump will see his inevitable aquittle as an exoneration and use it as the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

Given that populist autocrats never lose, we are safe in assuming that Trump will “win” re-election somehow. He will use his second term to consolidate power. The United States will no-so-gradually (or quietly) drift into a Russian-style authoritarian “managed democracy” and that will be that.

But, for the sake of entertainment, let’s suppose somehow the impossible happens. Let’s suppose somehow miraculously Trump leaves office between now, and, say, the Feb-March timeframe.

We’re going to assume that Pence becomes president. Any talk that Pence is also involved in the current imbriglio, while likely true, simply at this point is too insane to speculate on.

The first issue is a pardon. Most likely, President Pence would made inane, general statements on this issue for the duration of the campaign. But, of course, he would pardon Trump at some point early in his first full term. His hope would be it would help “united” and “heal” the nation. But his real goal would be do to it so early that by the time he ran for re-election in 2024, it would be a long time ago and wouldn’t matter.

Another issue is the 2020 race. Pence is a much more conventional politician than Trump. Is only discernible weakness is he’s so fucking conservative that he is unlikely to get a lot of moderate swing voters. But he, much like Trump, wouldn’t really care about that. He just needs to tip the right swing states just enough to win their electoral votes. (Sorry California.)

One enormous issue that I can’t figure out is if our democratic norms would snap back into place or if things have been so fucked up that there’s no going back. Probably it would be some sort of muddled in between. That is until, of course, Tom Cotton becomes president with the same agenda as Trump only in a much more focus manner.

The Democratic 2020 field is not prepared to run against a President Pence. It would totally throw the entire thing for a loop. The absolute worst case scenario — and thus the most likely — is just about the time Democrats pick a challenger to Trump, Trump somehow leaves office.

Anyway, this is never going to happen. Never. NEVER. Trump is an elected dictator and the only question at this point is if he will ever leave office willingly, Constitution be damned.

Populist Autocrats Never Lose

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

The United States has been in a chronic political crisis since Trump was elected. And what’s going on right now seems like more of the same. There’s just no indication that this recent scandal isn’t going to play itself out like all the rest.

The political clock is ticking. We’re well past the moment in time when its feasible to impeach Trump, much less convict him. That The Mueller Report came out four months ago and we’re exactly where we were then when it comes to impeachment tells you all you need to know. Trump is successfully running down the clock.

All he needs to do is punt this problem into 2020 and he wins. Once he punts it to 2020, he can punt it to his second term. He gets at least a two year pardon once he’s re-elected. He will have more than enough time to considolate power by that point. His biggest decision in 2022 will be picking between Don Jr. and Ivanka as his successor.

Nothing gives me any hope that anything we learn about this whistle blower will matter. And, really, given what I’ve seen about the matter, it’s more likely Bill Barr will arrest the guy for treason and that will be that. Nancy Pelosi will stamp her feet and talk about “self-impeachment.”

I like to do scenarios and there no scenario where the bad guys don’t win. If we’ve gotten this far in the process, that’s it. The House Democratic leadership has made its decision. They don’t want to impeach Trump. They’re going to hang all their political hopes on him losing in 2020. He is most definitely NOT going to lose in 2020.

The only vague feeling of hope I have about all of this is presidential second terms tend to be far worse than second terms. That’s it. That’s all I got. Not until there’s a demostrable event that is different than past such incidents will I think anything will come of this.

And, really, given that Trump is simply an avatar for some pretty fucked up things going on in America, even if we were to miraculously get rid of him in the short term, a lot of very smart, young and passionate would-be tyrants have learned all they need to know from Trump.

Crisis Datapoints (Updating)

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s not really a crisis yet, but just in case things grow dramatic, I’m going to make note of what’s going on with the recent revelation that Trump promised a foreign power something.

This may come to nothing. I am going to do this in reverse order, so newer things are at the top.

11:28 a.m. Thursday, Sept 19th, 2019
Yeah, this is playing out as expected. We’re at an impasse. The law is being broken and Democrats can’t muster the political will to do anything about it. I said this wouldn’t last a 24-hour news cycle and I was right. The person the House talked to apparently bobbed and weaved when asked about the complaint. That’s it. It’s over.

11:22 a.m. Thursday, Sept 19th, 2019
As of right now, things are going like they would otherwise. Trump’s finally tweeted his usual bullshit. It gives the MAGA base comfort that all is well. Really, the only datapoint that might indicate anything out of the ordinary is House members are beginning to leave the meeting with the point person on this matter and they’re saying. “No comment.” That could mean anything. Probably means this is going the way of Trump’s taxes. A problem that is always in the background. The DNI is supposed to testify publicly in a week, but that gives Trump plenty of time to claim Executive Privilege, tell the guy not to do it or to sue whomever necessary to prevent it from happening. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet.

10:12 a.m. Thursday, Sept 19th, 2019
It’s just after 10 a.m. and Trump still hasn’t tweeted today. This is still no reason to think there’s a crisis of any sort going on. I will note, however, there is a little bit of a quiet-before-the-storm vibe to the day. But that is most likely just my imagination. There’s still no sense that anything will come of this.

8:56 a.m. Thursday, Sept 19th, 2019
Trump has not tweeted yet. This is not really that big a deal. But in the context of what’s rolling around Twitter, it kind of is. Trump usually responds to stuff like this in knee jerk fashion. So far today, he’s not ranted about the deep state or fake news. Also, a Republican Congressmen on C-Span referenced Kavanaugh missteps by the press. This indicates Republicans aren’t all that concerned with the allegation. That, or the talking points haven’t been written yet.

Democrats Are Useless & A Historical Embarrassment

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

We’ve come to the point where we have to admit what is obvious: Trump is never going to get impeached because Democrats don’t want to impeach him.

The reasons for this are extremely complex. So complex that I fear my writing is good not enough to convey the situation properly. But, in general, it boils down to a crisis of leadership and playing six dimensional chest in the middle of a gun fight.

First, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has framed the debate such that Democrats have a vested interest in Trump not being impeached and rather pinning the fate of the nation on Trump losing. This is the so-called “self impeachment” she keeps talking about. This has led to such foot dragging that we’re well past the point where we can impeach Trump in his first term. The 2020 election cycle has begun. Neither the time nor the political will exists to do something that is little more that a super censure at this point. In the eyes of House Democratic Leadership, it’s bad politics to send articles of impeachment to the Senate where they will promptly die.

Second, there’s the issue of the Democrats thinking we’re still in a normal liberal democracy. They are completely oblivious to the fact that MAGA is a cult. It’s logic is recursive. MAGA’s whole point is destroying liberal democracy in the United States and installing a Russian-style autocratic “managed Democracy” here. So, when Democrats somehow come to believe that their best case scenario is they don’t impeach Trump and he loses, well, Huston, we have a problem. This makes some massive political assumptions that simply aren’t true. House Democrats believe that if they impeach Trump and he loses he will become a political martyr that will hurt them politically long-term.

This completely ignores that MAGA is a lost cause. In the unlikely event that Trump loses — impeached or not — they are going to pull something, anything out of their ass to explain it away. Trump is an avatar for systemic, existential problems in the American political system. And, in a sense, Trump is more proof that the water is boiling and the frog is dead than he is anything else. If one of your major parties doesn’t believe in democracy anymore, then it’s inevitable that they will make sure there’s no more democracy at every turn.

If you accept that MAGA is a lost cause, then impeachment is your only course of action. But it’s too late. If it happens at all, it will happen at some point in Trump’s second term. Or, more realistically, it will happen against a Democratic president after Trump leaves office (hopefully) in early 2025. Then dipshit Democrats will be shown — AGAIN — that Republicans have no shame and they are not dealing in good faith.

Republicans care about power. To them, power is the endgame. And, so, as such, within 20 years (less) something really big is going to happen. Either a civil war, or Republicans dissolve Blue State governments and replace them with military districts.

So while Nancy Pelosi is studying the tactical aspects of getting a few stray MAGA votes in swing districts, MAGA is burning the entire Republic to the ground. It’s not much of a fair fight. I used to have some hope that something would happen to Trump. That he might face some sort of political consequences. But no longer.

Republican Talking Points About Trump Being A Traitor

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Before you get too excited about tonight’s news, folks, the Republican talking points are being written as we speak. Trump probably promised eastern Ukraine to Russia but, lulz! Tax cuts! This is what Republicans will be spouting on CNN and FOX News tomorrow.

The Deep State has always been gunning for Trump — Trump was right!
Trump gave you young hack MAGA judges on the Federal bench, remember?
This is a Deep State lie. Fake News.
Any evidence this happened is a lie or a Deep Fake.
Trump was joking.
It’s only one person. He did it illegally. Dox him until his family is threatened.
Those tax cuts sure were nice.
Lock her up!
Hillary Clinton did worse.
Obama was caught on a live mic saying he would “have a free hand” after the election.
The economy is doing well, fuck you.
Build The Wall!
American Carnage
If we do anything about this, the economy will tank and there will be a civil war. Fuck you.

‘The End’

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

The America I grew up in is dead. The dystopia is here. I don’t know how long it will last, but if we’re lucky somewhere around 40 years. But it could be I’ll never know if and when it ends because I’ll be dead.

It’s over because no matter what happens with Trump, the forces in America society that caused Trump remain. And if it’s not Trump, it’ll be Don Jr., or Tom Cotton or someone equally authoritarian and nefarious. The chief reason why the dystopia is here is Democratic leadership did not take the rise if MAGA seriously. Though, in their defence, if Trump had not won in 2016, a MAGA-type person would have won in 2020 or 2024. It was simply a matter of time.

When one of a nation’s major political parties loses its mind, it’s inevitable that they will gain power at some point. And when they take power, they will never leave because they follow “new rules” that value power over everything else. Or, put another way, the intersection of power politics, absolute greed and Evangelical Christian obsession with bringing about the Second Coming produced a force of politics that only cared about obtaining — and keeping — power forever. Democrats are so busy worrying about their precious “agenda” and keeping moderates in their caucus happy that they’ll simply are not prepared to do what is necessary to defend American democratic traditions alive the 20 or 30 years necessary for the Browning of America to kick in.

So, really, the question is how quickly things go from simply norm destruction to actual changes in government. My guess is Trump is going to make a massive power grab at some point in the 2020 election cycle. If it goes wrong, there will be something of a revolt on the part of Blue States. He uses that as an excuse to abolish Blue State governments indefinitely. America will become a prison. The issue will become where all the creatives and information workers escape to.

Do they go to Canada or Europe? It won’t be thousands who flee, either. It could be millions. Until, of course, The Thousand Year Trump freaks over the brain drain and makes it impossible for the very people they hate so much to leave the country. Given human nature, of course, that won’t stop the United States from descending into something resembling modern day Venezuela. This will only hasen our collapse into authoritarianism. The camps for immigrants will simply become cames for anyone who crosses House Trump or its successor ruling family.

I used to think there was the possibility of some sort of happy endgame. I no longer do. At this point, I simply wonder if I die in a House Trump re-education came sooner or later. Will it be sometime in Trump’s second term or will it be closer to 20 years from now? Regardless, if Blue States try to leave the Union, House Trump will abolish their state governments. All those young hack parison judges that The Federalist Society has recommended to Trump will close ranks.

There’s a chance that freedom of speech will linger. But freedom of assembly definitely is done for at some point during Trump’s second term. There will be something akin to the failed coup in Turkey that Trump will use to purge the last vestiges of the “deep state.” Tyranny will descend upon the United States and we will be no different than the managed democracy of Russia. Remember, Putinism was originally a popular movement caused by divisions in Russian society. And to some extent is still is. The same with MAGA. MAGA doesn’t care about anything about absolute power. When a small — but wealthy and powerful — minority of your electorate no longer believes in the benefits of democracy, then there’s nothing you can do.

I knew the America I loved was over when I realized we have to fight so hard on a daily basis to simply have a functioning civil society. Darkness has fallen on the land. Democrats have failed us.

All I can do to vent my frustration over all of this is write a novel. That’s all I got. It distracts me from the political hellscape engulfing the country I love.

The end.

The Grift That Is MAGA

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

The thing about MAGA is it’s based on a lie. The whole thing is bullshit. Really, at its core, MAGA is identity politics for white people. Throw in some base misogyny and nativism and amosexualism and Christian persecution porn and you have yourself a very powerful political movement.

What’s so astonishing to me is how easy is it to grift MAGA. Sometimes, the bigger the grift, the more popular you are. That, I think, explains MAGA. Trump is the biggest grifter of all. His grift has become so successful that it’s the basis of a cult of personality.

I have, on more than one occasion, thought about trying the grift myself. It would be very easy to abruptly change political views a la Dennis Miller. Within six months, I’d likely be having lunch with Trump himself. The need for grift is that powerful within the MAGA movement.

The whole thing has become so ridiculous — and is so based on hair-trigger hypocrisy — that wild things happen over and over again. The most recent example of this is the surreal attack on Debra Messing. She committed — as I understand it — a minor infraction on Twitter and the MAGA echo chamber is out for blood. But it seems pretty obvious that the whole thing is not being done in good faith and it’s being used as excuse to own a lib that Trump has attacked recently.

This is a prime example of how Trump is simply an avatar for a deeper, darker, problem in American society. We’ve reached the point where MAGA will do anything to get and keep power to such an extent that the “Resistance” simply can’t keep up. When your political opponent is an ideological zombie and you’re trying to reason with them using “norms” you’re setting yourself up for failure.

What might happen is sometime in the middle of Trump’s second term, the center-Left might realize it has to adopt the “new rules” of MAGA to defend itself. Unfortunately, while it has to be done for simple political survival, long term it’s the setup for nothing less than a civil war — or a military junta. There may come a time, I’m afraid, when Blue States begin to believe that the only way to keep any semblance of freedom is to leave the Union altogether. That definitely would put the Red States absolute desire to “own the libs” to the test, now wouldn’t it.

It’s kind of sad when the best case scenario you can think of to keep yoru nation together long-term is a military junta. But that’s some time down the road. For the time being the MAGA grift will continue. The center-Left is, sadly, a bunch of wussies in my opinion. I’ve mulled the need for, on an ideological level, a form of Radical Resistance. But in hindsight I realize I was extremely naive. MAGA is a cancer that is going to kill the patient and I can’t see that there is anything to do about it.

Populist Autocrats Never Lose

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I believe with 200% certainty that Donald Trump will have a second term. Whatever you think the worst case scenario with Trump might be, we’re going to see that and worse. At this point, it’s really just a matter of decree. Will Trump declare himself president for life? Will he abolish the House? Will he actively work to degrade norms and laws to such an extent that any president who isn’t MAGA at some point in the future is not seen as legitimate and is completely neutered?

Or put another way — it’s growing pretty apparent that America is hurdling towards some mish-mash of Apartheid South Africa and modern day Venezuela. America is going to a third world country with an obscene amount of WMD. Or, put another way, the 1% will prosper and everyone else will sink into poverty, sickness and ignorance.

I say all this because Trump is an avatar for systemic, existential problems in American society and governing. Eliminate Trump as political force and someone else will pop up to fill the need. A series of groups who follow the “new rules” system of politics will do everything in their power to make sure Trump gets a second term. They will break laws, they will lie with abandon, they will hack the election, you name is. Whatever they have to do see a second term, they will do.

And the so-called “Resistance” is so busy with identity politics that they’re going to let it happen from sheer incompetence, if nothing else. The worse part of all of this is it couldn’t be avoided. People might bitch and moan about how if only Hillary Clinton had won in 2016 all of this might have been avoided, but they’re deluding themselves. The racism of the Obama Era would have become the misogyny of the Hillary Clinton Era. Trump or someone like him would have run in 2020 and won.

I honestly don’t know what can be done at this point. When one of the two major parties fundamentally is not operating in good faith and is wilful in its refusal to accept any fact that hurts them, then, well, that’s it. It’s over.

What’s worse is, ultimately, I think, either the Blue States bolt from the Union at some point in the next 20 years or some successor to Trump will abolish them altogether. Blue States will be run by MAGA appointed governments. In fact, the best case scenario is the military will step in and rule via a junta. That’s the best case scenario.

People who get too wrapped up in Trump miss the point — Trump just fills a function. It could be anybody like Trump. In fact, if you wanted make yourself feel better, you could say in a way Trump’s criminal incompetence has actually slowed the inevitable progression into tyranny. In his second term, Trump’s mental deterioration will only increase. So it might be a little bit more difficult for him to full-fill is despotic dreams.

But at some point after, say, 2025, someone younger and more focused will do what Trump could not do. I would say it will probably be some sort of wide-spread civil disturbance in Blue States that will be the excuse. Or a major terrorist attack. Only Red States will be allowed to have any form of functioning democracy and even then it will be strictly monitored and controlled.

There’s no turning back. Nothing we can do other than vote. I’d like to think freedom of speech might linger long enough for me to die before it’s completely extinguished, but I’m probably fooling myself.

I don’t see any happy endgame.

Impeaching Trump Won’t Fix The Deeper Existential Problem In America

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

While I would be overjoyed if House Democrats finally pull their thumbs out of their asses and impeached Trump, my elation would come with some qualifications. The issue is, Trump is an avatar for an existential problem in America that is not going away anytime soon. In fact, I would propose it won’t fade until about 20 years from now when the youngest of the Baby Boomers die off just around the time we reach a tipping point with the browning of America.

Though impeaching Trump makes a lot of sense on an abstract level, actually doing it is problematic. Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it — we should. I’m just pointing out that doing it — even successfully — won’t be the panacea too many people on Twitter seem to think it would be. First and foremost, it is likely to fail. So Trump could run as having been “vindicated” the moment he’s acquitted by the Senate. What’s worse, even if impeaching Trump was somewho, miraculously successful, that would mean Pence would have not one, but two opportunities to run for president as an incumbent.

But this raises another issue — Trump is such a horrible person and president the issue of impeachment may eventually be out of all of our hands. I could see more than one scenario where Trump’s mental state grows so dangerous — like 9/11 crisis dangerous — that things fall apart for Trump not in months or weeks but days. In fact, in a sense, that’s the only way impeachment makes any sense to me at this point — to fix a specific crisis. Trump has such a lock on the minds of about 35% of the electorate that while we should impeach him, we should also manage our expectations as to what it will accomplish.

And, yet, really, long term we have to accept that given that Trump is no more than an avatar for a deep existential problem with the United States that there is, in fact, no bottom as to how far things are likely to go. If Federal elections don’t become perfunctory, then there will be active hacking by the Russians. If that doesn’t work, then MAGA will intimidate and bribe individual electors. ICE will be weaponized and the existing camps will be filled not with asylum seekers, but with anyone who has the temerity to challenge the the will of The Leader. I wish this was being hysterical, but it’s not. This is a real possibility. We could go full Russian manage democracy in brief few years. Like, less than five.

I wish I could tell you there was some solution. There’s none. Short term, I would suggest that the Left adopt the “new rules” that the Right is so fond of. We go eyeball-to-eyeball with them every political chance we can get. If that means the government grinds to down to a Singularity, so be it. And, really, at this point there are no good endgames. Here are some possibilities.

It’s possible that the only thing that will keep America together is the military. This is so alien to the American tradition that things would really, really have to get bad. But the military is the lone institution that commands the respect of the general populace, so it may be the only thing that keeps the country together long term.

“Wayward Sisters, Part In Peace”
In this scenario, there is a peaceful division of the country alone political lines on a state level. At best, we have some sort of economic union. At worse, the two sides will hate each other at this point that not even that will happen. The real fight will be over which country gets the US “brand.” Otherwise, the Red States will descend into a third world status while the Blue States will continue to grow and prosper.

The Apocalyptic Rock Fight
In this scenario, the division of the country gets out of hand. The two sides begin to drop a-bombs on each other until the entire country in ruin. Eventually one side will graduate to h-bombs and things will really get interesting. I only even suggest this possibility because MAGA is a manifestation of a cancer on the American psyche that is so dark, so depraved that is may swerve into such a bloodlust that, well, there’s no turning back.

Apartheid Era South Africa Meets Modern Venezuela Meets Reconstruction America
In this scenario, we have sort of a dystopian middle ground. Even though the brown of America has happened, white America clings to economic and political power with a death grip. Meanwhile, because of gross corruption, America is finally a third world country with nukes. We’re alone and scared on the world stage. Large swaths of the populace feel completely disenfranchised. Only the poor pay taxes and the rights of women and minorities are harshly repressed. What’s more Blue States are now little more than military districts without any formal representation in Congress.

And, so, that’s it. Those all the endgames I can think of. None of them make me feel good, none of them I want. But the more I think about it, the more it seems there are a few fundimental flaws in the Constitution. Among them the Electoral College and the Senate. But the Senate is so fundamental to the American system that I think that, in itself, means America will soon be a failed state in all but name. In a sense it already is and we’re just deluding ourselves.

In real terms, I guess all we can do is stay aware of what’s happen and try to, on an individual level, make or corner of America a better place. America is over. The end.