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

by Shelton Bumgarner

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) 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

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.

Trumplandia: Life During A ‘Cold Civil War’

by Shelton Bumgarner

Someone on Twitter mentioned that the United States is in the middle of a “Cold Civil War,” and I am apt to agree. I say this because I have been mulling how similar what is going on right now resembles a civil war in all but name and blood.

We have heroes, we have factions, we have shifting alliances. It’s weird how at this point there is little to distinguish the center-Right NeverTrump movement from the center-Left Resistance movement. Those two concepts now have common cause against Trump and the broader Trumplandia concept.

This works well with my personal belief that we really need to adjust to the new normal of Trumplandia. This is going to be a long, hard political fight and it may last about the same amount of time of a World War — four to six years. Let that sink in.

It is pretty obvious that the Vichy Republicans see Trump as a political gravy train and they’re not going to stop supporting him until long, long, long, long after we reach a devastatingly surreal moment in our nation’s political history. We’ve already reached that, but we’ve barely gotten to the end of the beginning of this political crisis.

It makes a lot of sense to see this as a Cold Civil War, at least in political terms. A war is easy to start and difficult to finish. And so, really, not until the base of the Democrat Party is as hysterical as the base of the Republican Party was in 2016 will anything change. We haven’t gotten there yet, I’m afraid. It’s going to take time. Probably four to six years. Let that sink in.

Remember, the only reason why Nixon was forced out of office was that there literally were tapes of him obstructing justice. Even if the pee-pee tape was real and we all saw it on FOX News, Trump would not be removed from office. And that doesn’t even begin to address the likelihood that The Resistance will be politically divided in 2020 and Trump will be re-elected.

There is just too much that could go wrong at this point when it comes to efforts to get rid of Trump through impeachment. In short, he’s not going anywhere for years. This really is a Cold Civil War and there are no assurances that the Good Guys will win.

All we can do is continue to fight the good fight.

Don’t Rage, Engage: The Time For Constant Outrage Is Over

by Shelton Bumgarner

So Jeff Sessions may testify in closed session this week after originally agreeing to do so in public. It has really hit home the last few days that none of the outrage that I feel or anyone else feels at this point is going to make any difference.

We really, really need to channel our urge to be outraged at the latest insane thing on the part of the Trump Administration in a more productive fashion. We need to realize that as long as the Vichy Republicans are in control, Trump’s not getting impeached.

So that means a solid two years, at least, before we can get down to the business of holding Trumplandia accountable. That’s a really, really long time given that the news cycle these days seems to be about 10 seconds. Hence, we really need to engage, not rage. We need to do our individual part to cross the political divide on a regular, daily basis.

We just can’t exhaust ourselves with outrage. It’s not productive and in the long run only helps the forces of Trumplandia. We really need to engage politically. Call your Congressperson. Talk to someone you think might be trolling you instead of blocking them right away. Read some. Pick up a book on leadership.

Something, anything, other than just getting mad and lashing this way and that over things we really have no control over at this point. In the fall of 2018, then we can be outraged. When the time comes to vote, vote. But stop just getting mad and then sulking.

It’s Up To Silicon Valley To Fix The Trump Mess

by Shelton Bumgarner

Donald Trump used his strangely adept ability at using Twitter to become, of all things, President of the United States. So, while I’ve suggested in the past that maybe a Constitutional Amendment might fix this issue, that is fanciful and a much more realistic fix would come from Silicon Valley.

It’s highly unlikely they will do anything because, well, they’re too interested in VR and AR at this point to be bothered with saving the American Republic with a new social media platform. But if you did manage to get them to be interested in doing just that, what might we suggest?

I have talked at great length about what a new social media platform might have in it and if you really want to understand the concept, I suggest you go to my Instagram account. But in general, it seems as though if there was a “Twitter killer” that fixed some of the major problems of that service that managed to produce Trump in the first place, then maybe we won’t have to endure another loony celebrity becoming president.

It seems as though if you were fixing Twitter with a new service you would make Verified Accounts have not only more power but more responsibility in some way. Make them feel like stakeholders in some way. Additionally, I feel giving people not just 140 characters but essentially a whole webpage to make their case might improve the situation dramatically.

Lastly, if you were to hook all this up to threaded discussions like you once had with Usenet, then something pretty cool would happen.

But I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn, so this is just me doing a little venting out into the void. Meh.

The Fire Next Time: How To Prevent The Russians From Hacking The Next Election

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have already proposed some fanciful Constitutional fixes when it comes to how to prevent a foreign power, namely the Russians, from hacking into our election system. But is there any more practical manner to do that? One issue is that our system is so open that it’s difficult to come up with any fix that wouldn’t cause more harm than good.

In other words, just like building a wall is applying a sledge hammer to a social issue unnecessarily, so, too, the most obvious way to fix the issue of the Russians hacking into our election system: significant increase in regulation of the Internet would too easily be abused or other purposes. And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of how it probably wouldn’t stand up to Constitutional scrutiny.

So, it seems like we’re fucked.

In desperation, if there was real political willpower to fix this problem, we might get the government to work in tandem with Twitter to lightly regulate bots and trolls from, say, six months out from election day. Something whereby we at least made it more difficult for Russian bots to fuck with people’s minds. But given that the Republicans are so completely Vichy when it comes to Donald Trump and the Russians, there simply is no willpower to do anything at all.

I honestly can’t think of any scenario where the issue of how to prevent Russians from hacking into our election cycle will be fixed anytime soon for any reason. It’s only going to get worse. It seems as though for the foreseeable future something we take for granted — free and fair elections — are, in fact, in danger and for once the problem isn’t even self-inflicted.

It’s all deep. It’s all very deep.

While We’re All Distracted By Comey, Rome Is Burning

by Shelton Bumgarner

While we’re all eating our popcorn at the flaming dumpster fire that is the Trump Administration, the traditional social safety net that we’ve come to enjoy is being attacked in unprecedented ways. The issue for me is, regardless of whatever else is going on with Trump, his mere continued political presence is doing real harm to the American Republic.

An there is no reprieve in sight.

I say this because really, Trump is not going anywhere. The Vichy Republicans are so prostrate, so callow, so complicit in their support of someone — Donald J. Trump — who could be, in fact, effectively a foreign asset, that they are using whatever they can get to destroy important aspects of our government.

Or, put another way, it was inevitable that Republicans would again, at some point, be in power again by winning a presidential election and because of technology and the bullshit mountain known as FOX News, so the victory of Trump only, in a sense, sped the process up.

There is a more fundamental issue at work. That issue is because of tribal politics, we are, for the foreseeable future, going to swing back and forth in extremes. This all goes back to the question of, what exactly is the source of this. Why is the right so hysterical? Does it only have to do with the changing demographics of the United States?

The rise of Trumplandia is truly a nightmare scenario. That a major liberal democracy would fall under the sway of someone like Trump, for whatever reason, is pretty mind boggling. I am trying my best to avoid invoking Hitler’s name, but I can’t get around it. There is nothing else I can think of to compare it to.

Or put another way, the only thing that’s stopping Trump from being an American Hitler is he’s so completely incompetent that he can’t effectively impliment is more fascist, autocratic desires. That’s it, folk. That’s all that stands between America and fascism — Trump isn’t up to the job.

So, really, we are just going to have to wait until the mythical “Blue Wave” flips Congress before the pendulum swing back to sanity. It is to be seen how much damage Trumplandia will be able to wreak on the Republic. Probably significantly more than we ever imaged.

But I still have hope that once we finally do flip Congress that things will sort themselves out. But we have a long, long, long time to wait. We really need to just keep our powder dry and try to stay engaged. Don’t allow yourself to get burnt out from all the drama. That’s what Trumplandia wants. They want us to succumb to a “managed democracy.”

America has the strongest civil society in the world, so the cancer, the infection that is Trumplandia is being fought off as hard as possible by its antibodies. But there is only so much those antibodies can do. We’re just screwed.

At least in the near term, we’re screwed. Just try to stay engaged with people who disagree with you. That’s pretty much all we can do at this point. Trump’s sway over the nation is complete giving how Vichy the Republicans are and so for the time being he effectively has no check, no balance.

So try to keep focused on the real issues at hand. Keep an eye on what the Vichy Republicans are doing when it comes to Dodd-Frank and Obamacare. Once Trumplandia is finally vanquished, we’re going to have a lot of work to do to make America great like it was before Trump became president.

A Hot Take On James Comey’s Testimony

by Shelton Bumgarer

While in some ways today lived up to the hype, in other, more fundamental ways I found it rather underwhelming. I found it underwhelming because the thing I had hoped for — some sort of iconic statement that would prove the final death knell of the Trumplandia experience simply did not happen.

And, alas, it seems as though it just isn’t going to happen.

What is really beginning to sink in — yet again — is how difficult it is to get rid of an American president once he’s in office. So, as long as there are no tapes — be they of a pee nature or otherwise — I have a growing fear that Trumplandia will be a fixture of the American political landscape for at least two years, if not much, much longer.

It seems to me that we’re in for a chronic case of Constitutional Crisis that will flair up every once in a while for the forseeable future. We’ve entered the age of tribal politics and the Republicans are so Vichy, so callow, so complicit in the rise of Trumplandia that they simply won’t do anything to ameliorate the situation until they are absolutely forced. It will nearly take the hand of God himself for Vichy Republicans to look past the base and put country over party.

It’s a sad fact, but given how it seems as though the GOP is hellbent on dragging James Comey’s reputation through the mud that that is exactly what is going to happen. There just aren’t any easy answers to how to fix the problems associated with Trumplandia. We’re stuck with it.

So, while the Comey hearing was dramatic and riveting, it did not really give me the political release that I was looking for. I didn’t get that perfect moment that could be used to end the cancer that is the Trump Administration.

If anything, it reminded me that we’re barely at the end of the beginning when it comes to this scandal. And, remember, to date, most of the damage inflicted on the Trump Administration has been self-inflicted. So, even though a fish rots from its head, it is almost inevitable that Trump will eventually untangle this clusterfuck of a presidency enough to survive, if not prosper.

Really, all we need is a war with the DPRK or Iran and suddenly everything will have worked itself out and the Tsar-a-Largo problem will be put on the backburner to such an extent that we won’t even remember it. And, remember, if a hayseed rube like me out in the sticks and see that possible out, then definitely Steve Bannon sitting in the White House can see it.

Thus anyone who is getting all excited about the prospect of getting Trump anytime soon should chill out. It’s just not going to happen for at least two years. That is the bare minimum. He could be around a lot longer than that. Much longer.

Therefore, all I can say is if you really want to end the Trumplandia Era, you need to engage, not rage against people who disagree with you politically. That’s it. That’s the only way it’s going to happen. It will be tough and you’ll be called a cuck and much worse by members of Trumplandia, but in the end it will be worth it. I swear.

Testimony or Trump Speech? That Is The Question

By Christian Howard

I like many other Americans are facing quite the predicament in my schedule on Thursday. For weeks I had been anticipating James Comey’s testimony, but it seems our dear president will be delivering a speech at the Faith and Freedom event. Isn’t that rather coincidental?

Comey will begin testifying at 10:30 A.M. and Trump’s speech should commence at 12:30 P.M. Now I’m going to put a rather bold prediction out that Comey will still be testifying against Trump in court long after Trump’s little speech. It can’t be too long that Trump rattles on before running out of words. Hey, maybe I’ll even be able to tune into both.

In all seriousness however, I’m anxious to hear what the former FBI director has to say. Scattered comments and stories have come out across the news from Comey, but now he will speak on a direct platform in a court of law. Did Trump really attempt to obstruct justice? Probably. But the real question is if Trump will face the consequences for his actions. This election and administration has drained my optimism and I doubt Trump will be charged despite any amount of evidence.

Besides what actually happens if Trump is charged, more evidence is uncovered, and an impeachment hearing proceeds? If Trump does face impeachment the national will gain a much more competent president and one that can effectively push their destructive agenda. Our president is currently making a mockery of democracy, defacing our ties with other countries, and has ultimately made us an international embarrassment, but without really achieving anything he set out too.

The wall isn’t constructed, the travel ban is locked up in legality, and ISIS is still running wild after his ingenious 30 day plan. Really the area he has been most effective in is simply just blocking and negating progress. As seen from his refusal to sign the Paris Accord, work with other leaders, and a possible NAFTA withdrawal. I guess I have to give Trump credit where it’s due and also declare him a Twitter master.

Speaking of Twitter, if you aren’t able to make Donnie’s speech because of the Comey hearing, he may have set up a nice, interactive activity for the viewers. Insiders from the White House have informed the press that Donald is planning to be live tweeting during the Comey testimony. I’m assuming this is just in case Comey attempts to spread any fake news and old Donald has to set him straight.

Trump’s lawyers are urging him not to take to Twitter, though he seems pretty adamant on doing just that. I for one hope Trump rightfully defends himself on social media and is able to expose the truth behind the investigation. Honestly though, I just can’t wait for the goldmine that is Trump’s Twitter tomorrow if he does follow through with this and seeing if Trump can actually get himself into trouble while actively trying to avoid it.

America has finally fully embraced its celebrity and reality television culture to the whole to the point where Donald Trump is my president. Well now I guess I sit back and watch and see what spicy drama stirs up after tomorrow. I urge all to watch Comey’s testimony and have a look for themselves at what our president is hiding.

Fanciful Constitutional Fixes To A Hacked Election

by Shelton Bumgarner

We have no idea right now, for sure, if the Russians successfully hacked the American election through the Internet. We just don’t know. And we probably never will. But, for the sake of argument, what would be the proper reaction to this revelation.

Well, first of all, you can talk about how there should be reforms until you’re blue in the face, but the Vichy Republicans, because both control the government and benefited from the hacking, it’s not like they have any reason to effectively fix the problem.

But let’s suppose something happened and they finally cracked, they finally were absolutely forced to do something, what could they — and we — do? Because we’re dealing with some really serious stuff — Constitutional stuff — fixing the problem would be doubly difficult.

Really, the fixes I can think of are Constitutional in nature.

The one big fix I could see maybe being done is passing a Constitutional amendment making the process of electing a president a Federal issue. This will never happen, of course, but it’s something to think about. But only by removing the electing of the president from 50 individual states can we make it less likely that someone could attack the weaknesses of the weakest one.

But, like I said, this will never happen. There just isn’t the political will for such a huge change to the way we elect presidents. If I had the power, though, I would also get rid of the Electoral College as well. It’s a horrible method of electing a president in modern times and it needs to go. But that, too, will never happen.

One thing people really need to chill out about is the notion of “nullifying” the 2016 election. To call such a proposal a delusional daydream is giving it too much credit. We just have to wait until 2018 to have an effective “do over.” That’s the way the system works and it’s just too bad that the Vichy Republicans are so callow and prostrate before King Trump that the system isn’t working right now.

The whole thing is enough to make one a little sad.