Why TrumpRussia Is Worse Than Watergate, But May Not End The Same

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

For decades now, Republicans have screamed at the top of their lungs that any transgression that Democrats may, or may not, have committed is “worse than Watergate.” This has become such a common theme among the center-Right in this era of hyper-polarization that it’s something of a cliche.

And, yet, now that we’ve reached the 45 anniversary of the Watergate break in while we’re in the middle of yet another epic Washington scandal, it’s pretty obvious that TrumpRussia really IS worse than Watergate for any number of reasons.

The one that comes to the top of my mind is the foreign power quality of it. Say what you will about Watergate, at least it was Americans who broke into the Democratic HQ, not Russians who did so with the knowledge and collusion of quisling Americans.

That’s just the tip of the ice burg. There is a huge amount of smoke coming off of this scandal and once we finally wade through the smoke and get to the bottom of it, we could be pretty astonished at what we find. We will then be further astonished that nothing happens, at least until the mythical “Blue Wave” rips through Congress. (That’s very unlikely to happen, sadly, because of gerrymandering, but oh well.)

Regardless, the fact that we could reach a point in the near future where we have the single worst scandal in post-Civil War America…and nothing happen…could cause a few bolts to pop off of our civil society. Vichy Republicans are so…Vichy…that we’re stuck with Trump for at least roughly 18 more months. That’s being optimistic.

So, we are quickly lurching towards a very dark, very uncertain future. There is no easy way out and there won’t be any sense of closure unless something really dramatic happens politically and that’s just not going to happen given current conditions.

I’m pretty pessimistic about all of this. Trump isn’t going anywhere unless there really are tapes. And even then, well, he is something of a Dear Leader to the faithful. So we’re stuck with Trump. We’re stuck with Trump in ways that we never imagined we would be.

TrumpRussia is worse than Watergate, and the ending will be tragic, but not in the way we expect. It will likely be tragic because it won’t be the end of All The President’s Men, but something closer to Deliverance. We will have gone through all this horrible mess and…nothing. Nothing, really, will change.

Newt Gingrich, PLEASE SHUT UP

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am not going to suggest I’m any kind of expert of the statements of Newt Gingrich, but some of the rhetorical flourishes that Gingrich has managed to utter the last few weeks have been rather astonishing. He said, apparently, that the president can’t obstruct justice, which is exactly what he impeached President Bill Clinton for.

It’s all very surreal. It is because of the agitation of people like Newt Gingrich that we’re hurdling towards a national era of cognitive dissidence of such epic proportions that some pretty bizarre things are going to happen. American civil society could very well reach a tipping point, a breaking point by the time the 2018 election happens that we’ve not seen in the modern era.

I say this because I have heard through osmosis that apparently the bullshit mountain echo chamber of FOX News believes that the independent council is an unelected “fourth branch” of government that should just go away. They weren’t saying that 20 years ago when Ken Star, as special prosecutor, was rummaging around Whitewater and beyond.

It is because of the statements of Newt Gingrich and others that there is a very real chance that Donald Trump will fire Bob Mueller. If that happens, we’re going to lurch into a painful, surreal moment in our nation’s history that may — or may not — be resolved by Congress flipping in 2018.

But that hasn’t happened yet. And it may never. But the fact that we’re talking about that possibly openly does not bode well.

So, you can talk about how the base is “fleeing” Trump and the Vichy Republicans all you want, we haven’t reached the end of the beginning yet. We have at least 18 months before anything is going to change. Let that sink in for a moment.

The Resistance Has To Accept That Trump May Not Just Survive, But Prosper

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Watching the Watergate special, I realize that without tapes, Donald Trump is probably going to not just survive but prosper. Because, remember, it was the tapes that brought Nixon down. And it’s just really impossible without such definitive proof for a president to be removed. And, really, there was pretty much definitive proof that Bill Clinton lied and that wasn’t enough to get rid of him.

So, really, if you consider yourself a member of The Resistance like I do, you need to slow your roll when it comes to impeachment talk. At least for now. There’s a real chance that a year or two years, or six years from now, we’ll still be talking about how Trump should be impeached.

There’s a real chance that things are going to get really surreal. There’s a real chance that the difference between what the populace knows to be true and what Congress is willing to act upon will become so great that things will grow really extremely surreal.

When that surreal era happens, that may be when pop culture collective freaks out about Trump. Pop culture may be the only outlet for the people to feel like what they believe is true is being listened to. Remember, we’re not even at the end of the beginning yet. The inciting incident of this tragedy happened with the firing of Jim Comey. It could be that, say, the firing of Bob Mueller will be the moment we enter the second act. Or not. That may not happen. But the fact that people are openly talking about that possibility says something about what the conventional wisdom about Donald Trump’s mentality is.

Here is some historical perspective on all of this. Nixon’s resignation in 1974 could be seen as either the catharsis of the Watergate tragedy, or that for the period of time in our nation’s history that began in 1963 with the death of JFK. So, that makes you wonder how all of this will end. The human mind all but demands some sort of resolution to over-arching events like what’s going on now, and I just don’t see Trump either resigning or being impeached and convicted. I really can’t map out the future, not even my usual back-of-the-envelope daydreaming that I love to do.

Maybe Trump will make it through eight years and then, on his late day in office, pardon everyone. Maybe we’ll in a few years all know the facts of TrumpRussia, but nothing will happen for various reasons and we’ll just be in a really weird situation for a long time and the only ending, the only catharsis will come gradually as we all forget about it.

So, the thing that The Resistance wants so bad — Trump’s impeachment and conviction — just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. It’s just not. It is going to be years before we get anywhere near that happening and that works on the assumption that there won’t be a major crisis, terrorist attack or wag the dog incident that makes us think about something else.

It is interesting how fast all of this is going. In a way, I would suggest that Trump’s rise is the result of a slow moving technological Singularity. We may have reached the event horizon for a Singularity that will happen in 20 to 30 years Trump’s rise may be the tipping point, the point at which there’s no going back from previous ways of doing business. We live in the age of Twitter and I can only imagine it will get worse, not better in the age of AR/VR. How a racist, misogynist, bigoted demagogue might use AR/VR to promote their hateful agenda we can only begin to imagine.

Regardless, the whole point of this is we’re stuck with Trump. We now have a new normal, the Trumplandia Era. Our only hope is to try to make the best of it.

I’m Getting Nervous That Trump Is Going To Fire Bob Mueller

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

All signs are pointing to Donald Trump in a fit of pique firing Bob Mueller sometime, sometime soon. If that happens, we go from a chronic Constitutional Crisis that flairs up occasionally into full OH MY GOD mode. It would take all of this to the next level. And yet still the Vichy Republicans wouldn’t do anything.

So, the question of the moment is, would Trump actually do such a thing? What do you think? Of course he would do something like that. But I just don’t know. I just can’t seem to grasp Trump’s thinking right now. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. If he has nothing to hide, why signal, why prepare us for the possibility that he will, in fact, fire Mueller?

It’s all pretty bizarre.

But, like I said, the Vichy Republicans would do nothing and we would have to slog through 18 more months of this until the Republicans finally get around to the epic “Pence Pivot” whereby they dramatically change the subject and say they wanted Veep Mike Pence to be president all along.

We’re going to have to go through a long, winding horrible political clusterfuck that could have been avoided if only the votes of 3 million people had mattered on a Constitutional level. It’s going to be a horrible experience just like Watergate and it will leave lasting damage to American civil society just like Watergate.

But it seems as though it’s something we have to go through. It seems as though this is now our fate, our destiny. I am preparing myself for Trump to fire Mueller, but he might not do it.

Or he might.

I just don’t know at this point.

Coming Soon To A Talking Point Near You: The Pence Pivot

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Ok, maybe it won’t be all that soon, but it does seem inevitable that at the very moment people like me get to gloat that everything we’ve been saying about Trump from the beginning is true, the GOP will pivot to Vice President Mike Pence and say Donald Trump was worth it because Pence will now be president.

Whoa buddy.

Like I said, we got a ways to go before that happens. It could be years, in fact, before the Vichy Republicans finally, finally get a backbone and start to think about getting rid of Trump in any meaningful manner. That doesn’t begin to address any number of twists and turns that could happen between now and then. A wag the dog major regional war in Iran or North Korea. Or any number of other distractions that will draw out and prolong this tragic episode in American history.

But there will be people the moment it is obvious that Trump is doomed — probably whenever The Resistance happens to flip Congress enough to do the deed itself — who won’t blink an eye in going from defending Trump to singing the praises of Pence.

While there are some advantages to Pence like he’s sane and he actually has a traditional conservative ideology that he follows, there are some serious downsides that will probably lead to trouble down the road. He is so extreme in his conservative ideology that nothing good will come of it. The divisions that Trump has stoked and benefited from will still be there under a Pence administration. I mean, it’s not like all the people who have been alienated because of politics are suddenly going to hold hands around a campfire the moment Pence becomes president.

And, remember, should Pence become president, it will be after a long, drawn out and devastating scorched earth political war on the part of Trump and his ilk. I just don’t see Pence being up to the challenge of healing the wounds that Trump has caused.

Apparently, Pence’s favorite president is Andrew Johnson and it would be truly ironic if, by the time Trump finally is impeached and convicted that The Resistance is so riled up that they come after Pence for no other reason than, well, they’re pissed off. This would bring up the bizarre situation — should the Senate be so polarized that they can’t approve his replacement — that we might have effectively a legal, Constitutional Coup whereby the Congress gets rid of Pence for political reasons and Nancy Pelosi becomes president.

This is a huge longshot. It’s very, very unlikely to happen. As is, in real terms, the likelihood that Trump will be impeached and convicted in the first place. But it is, at least possible. Though I side on the possibly that the Vichy Republicans would be more likely to impeach and convict Trump between election day and the new Congress being sworn in late 2018 just so they would have the opportunity to seat the new veep.

Though there is the huge, huge longshot that maybe, just maybe, the Vichy Republicans in late 2018 out of sheer desperation might convince Trump to step down in exchange for Pence naming Ivanka Trump as Veep. That would be really bad, but if things got desperate there’s a small chance it might happen.

But the whole point is — there isn’t likely to be any healing over Trumplandia because there will never be a point when Trump supporters admit that this whole experiment was an abject, avoidable quirk. This has got to be the worst mistake by the American electorate since Prohibition and there will never be that moment in time when both The Resistance and Trumplandia agree that Trump was a tragic mistake.

What will happen, instead is, The Resistance will be celebrating the end of Trumplandia at the very moment Trumplandia will morph into Pence-istan. Or something. A new, just as divisive concept will rise from the ashes of Trumplandia as all the Bible-thumpers run around like a chicken with its head cut off praising Jesus that a New Age has arrived where all there home school children can finally be forced into gay conversion therapy should they come out.

So we will go through all this rigmarole politically, probably for years and we will never have that moment of bi-partisan clarity when we realize, together, as a nation, that Trump was a fluke, a horrible mistake that we now have to somehow fix the damage that was caused by it.

Instead, we’ll go to our individual corners, lick our wounds and go back at it. It will probably, at least on Twitter, take a few seconds for that to happen. Probably the duration of time between when the Senate finally convicts Trump and when Pence is sworn in.

Let that sink in.

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

Um, POTUS Is Under Active Personal Investigation For Obstruction….Now What?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Happy birthday, Mr. President, you’re under investigation for obstruction of justice!

I’m not really outrage over all of this, I’m more bemused by the odd silence on the part of right wing nutjobs who told me it would be end times if Hillary Clinton became president because she would inevitably be under personal investigation.

Well, guess what!

This is an example of how Trump and all his insane rhetoric is tearing civil society apart. It’s not like all the people who I’ve alienated because of my absolute desire to defeat Trump in 2016 are going to, like, start being my friend again.

The damage is done. There’s no going back, at least for the time being.

So, I can talk about engaging people all I want, but in real terms nothing is going to happen. Nothing of any substance is going to change. Even if Trump is impeached and convicted, the people who were conned by him won’t come back and try to break bread with me.

That ship sailed a long, long time ago.

We’re just going to have to deal with the consquences.

In This Cold Civil War, The Firing Of Bob Mueller Would Be Fort Sumter

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While I think a lot of the talk about the potential firing of Bob Mueller is simply white noise to distract us from the numerous ways that Donald Trump is facilitating some pretty horrible things happening to the Republic, it’s pretty clear that it could happen.

If it did happen, it would take my personal engagement in all of this to the next level. I would go back to the white hot rage that I felt on Nov. 9th. In practical terms, that means I would figure out some way to use what few talents I have to do my part to help The Resistance. I might even actually protest instead of just take pictures of people protesting.

The significance of Trump firing Mueller would be it would be the moment that this Cold Civil War lurched into the battle royale of a full fledged Cold Civil War. It would be the end of the beginning, if you will. I compare it to the firing on Fort Sumter by Confederate Forces. Or maybe The Battle of Britain. It would be the moment when everyone stood up and took notice that the two sides weren’t playing games anymore.

If anything, the fact that we’re talking about this at all is a sign everyone realizes we’ve entered a new, dangerous phase of this chronic, slow moving Constitutional Crisis. We just don’t honestly know one way or another if Trump would fire Mueller and that’s exactly what he wants. He wants to keep us on edge and in an state of uncertainty to such an extent that we can’t land a punch.

But remember, the Vichy Republicans won’t do anything if Trump fires Mueller. And that’s what this is all about. Trump is sounding out the Vichy Republicans to see if they’ll object and….I just don’t know. I just don’t know what will happen.

I have my doubts that Trump will fire Mueller. I really do. I think it’s possible, but unlikely. But we’ll see I guess. In hindsight it might seem obvious that he would and the battle will, at last, be enjoined.

Cold Civil War: If Trump Fires Mueller…Holy Shit!

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am just a lowly hayseed rube in a flyover state and even I would be aghast if Trump somehow managed to rationalize the firing of Independent Council Robert Mueller. That would truly be a shot across the bow of, well, pretty much everything.

But apparently — a least according to my Twitter feed — there is growing movement in conservative media for Trump to do just that. The only way to fix such an horrible act would be for Congress to pass a new Special Prosecutor law and given that the GOP controls Congress, that is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Yet this could very well happen and it would be yet another battle in the on going, slow moving Cold Civil War that the United States is engaged in. It would delay justice, of course, but I’d like to think that eventually, when it still matters, justice will be served.

I guess the game plan of the Right is to push the issue so far into the future that Trump wins re-election and it all gets sorted out just about the time he leaves office and so it’s moot and the damage will be done. Trump is nominating insanely young and conservative Federal judges at an alarming rate, so they just want to be sure to hold on to power for at east years, if not four, six or eight.

We can’t give up hope. But it’s tough. It’s tough not to get tired of it all and feel sad. But we’ve got to keep going. We’ve got to keep fighting the good fight. We have to. We just have to.

Cold Civil War:The Demise Of Blogging, & The Rise Of Trump In The Twitter Era

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

That a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue such as Donald Trump would become president in the wake of traditional blogging’s demise is an interesting and telling occurence. It raises some powerful questions for no other reason than we’re now in something of a Cold Civil War as America’s civil society struggles to understand what the fuck is going on.

For instance, when the president tweets, what is it? Is it “just social media” or is it an official statement from the President of the United States that should be treated as such. I lean hard on the latter. If the president writes it and it’s meant to be seen in public, then it’s an official statement.

But what’s interesting is Trump and his vile ideology prospers in a very narrow subset of social media. Twitter is kind of an interactive discussion between people’s bumper stickers. What’s even more interesting is you can, if you wish, block someone’s messages to you on Twitter.

The result of this is powerful. We come to expect that if we don’t like what someone is communicating to us, that we can eliminate that communication for good. That leads to a warping of the traditional communication cycle because people suddenly feel entitled to “safe spaces” because they’re afraid they’re going to get “triggered.” If they didn’t have the option of eliminating communication they didn’t like, maybe they would develop tougher skin and we wouldn’t be in half of the trouble we’re in currently.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s face pace and pithy style of communication has led to a Darwinian struggle of ideas. Instead of a marketplace of ideas, we have a jungle. Now only the strongest, more virulent strains of memes manage to grow in the Twitter jungle. There is a reason why we say a meme has gone “viral.”

So what does all of this mean in the context of Trump’s rise and the demise of blogging. Well, I am suggesting that if we still were talking about the once-powerful “blogsophere” that Donald Trump would not be president right now. Way back only a few years ago, before the rise of Twitter, you had the option of long, well thought out blogs that forced not only the reader but the writer to engage in something more than a bumper sticker’s wroth of communication. Instead of 140 characters, you had to wade through 500 or more words to fully process what was going on.

Is there any solution to all of this? Well, in my opinion, yes. I feel as though if Silicon Valley stopped being so obsessed with AR and VR long enough to revisit the issue of social media, maybe we might be able to dig ourselves out of this Cold Civil War. Silicon Valley made this problem, I feel it’s at least partially their responsibility to solve it.

I have gone into great depth on my Instagram account about how I, personally, would fix this problem but because I have no money, can’t code and don’t won’t to learn, I’m really just shouting out into the void. But let me briefly recap my concept. It’s very timely now, to say the least.

It seems to me that if you gave Verified Account holders a sense of stakeholdership in platform, then maybe they would generate better content and it would be less likely that celebrity trolls like Donald Trump would rise to prominence. So, I would give them the ability to create “Groups” in a service. The “Groups” would be given names devoted to any subject that a Verified account holder might feel their followers might find interesting. These “Groups” would be sub-divided into “Discussions.” These “Discussions” would be thread discussions made up of full pages posts about the topic of the “Group.” So, in a sense, you would kind of update the Usenet concept of 20 years ago. There are any number of concepts from that era that we’ve lost weirdly enough over the last few decades.

All of this would be even cooler if you had a newspaper chain like, say, Tronc, fund such a startup in the first place in an effort to self-disrupt the newspaper business. It’s a really intriguing concept to say the least.

The point of all of this would be that not only would it encourage better content, but given that the medium is the message, maybe if you had a full webpage to discuss a subject in the context of a threaded discussion, maybe it would be less likely that stupid, hateful, and loaded concepts like “Make America Great Again” would go viral and infect the body politic.

But, of course, none of this would happen in a vacuum. You’d have to design such a service from the ground up as something of a “Twitter Killer.” And it’s possible that Twitter isn’t going anywhere and all of this is pointless. Yet it is, at least, interesting to talk about.

I guess what I hope is if we somehow killed Twitter, provided a better, similar product that forced us to write in more than 140 characters, then then next adept politician who was adept at using social media might be a little less crazy. Of course, maybe I’m missing the bigger picture. It could be that we’re just going to have to wait until VR and AR get to the proper penetration in society before we have another shot at fixing the problems caused by existing social media. Or maybe social media video like Facebook Live or Periscope might be what we’re all talking about in four years during the next election cycle.

If we can’t kill Twitter, then it seems as though Twitter as a company has a responsibility to better handle its abuse by Russian-paid trolls and bots in four years. The Russians learned a valuable lesson in 2016, and they’re only going to come back worse and more determined in four years.

I just hope there’s something left in four years. There are no assurances that the Good Guys will win the Cold Civil War and it may still be raging yet in four or six or eight years.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com. He is always looking for people to write for him, though he can’t, at this point, pay.

Talk To Me Internet: We Don’t Need No (Cold) Civil War

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It’s telling how we’ve reached this period of a long, drawn out scandal with no end in sight. Someone one Twitter called it a “Cold Civil War” and I totally agree. That’s exactly what it is. This is going to go on for a long, long, long time — like four, or six or even eight years. If The Resistance is split in 2020 and the economy is doing ok, then Trump could very well win re-election.

In other words, we really need to stop being outraged over every little thing Trump does that is, well, outrageous. We need to hunker down for a really long war of politics that we may, or may not win. At the end of all of this, Trump may end a complete eight year administration and position Pence to be his replacement.

In that case, it could be that the only thing that ends this hell we’re is people simply grow so weary of all the exciting news — and Republicans in general — that they eventually vote for The Resistance for no other reason than the same one that got us into this problem in the first place: it will just be the Democrats’ time to be in office again.

Of course, given how callow the Vichy Republicans are, the Russians could hack our election again or they could wag the dog and we’re just going to be fucked. This could be a new epoch in our history. We could be in a long-term dystpian nightmare with no way out at least as long as I’m alive.