Waiting For The Movie Industry To Strike Against Trumplandia

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It takes time for movies to gestate. From conception to release, it is usual about 18 months as best I can understand. So, the fact that there haven’t been any major movies produced that are meant to serve as metaphors for Trumplandia should not be surprising.

As I have mentioned before, that doesn’t mean there isn’t material out there for some great movies. I’m thinking specifically of The Mule portion of The Foundation Saga. It is just too timely for someone not to do something with it. I can think of at least one scene in the novel that would make audiences gasp with how relevant it is in the age of Trumplandia.

And, yet, maybe I’m expecting too much. The Watergate scandal generated pretty much one movie at the time and that was All The President’s Men. I guess I see Trumplandia as even more serious than Watergate. I see it more existential than Watergate. I see it more along the lines of Prohibition or the Vietnam War. That’s why I keep expecting someone to pull out all the stops and do an epic metaphor for Trumplandia like a modern day Apocalypse Now.

But maybe I am expecting too much. Maybe the eerie silence within much of pop culture when it comes to Trumplandia has more to do with economics than any decline and fall of the Republic. From the perspective of the market, you don’t want to offend have the marketplace by taking a stand against Trumplandia.

So, the Tsar-A-Largo scandal will grind on and we’ll having nothing to show for it other than lasting damage to the American body politic and a few hundred thousand jokes. That’s one possibility. And, yet, because of how strong America’s civil society is, I’d like to think the Kraken will eventually be released.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say we’re in a pretty big existential crisis right now in American history and if things got so bad that movie producers felt comfortable churning out movies that were obviously a wink-and-a-nod to our dire political straights, then maybe that might be the type of thing to subtly influence people to hit the streets.

And, yet, things are really up in the air right now. I think the most likely scenario is a particularly “woke” sleeper movie will be produced and it will be a huge success and that will cause other, similar movies to be produced. At least, that’s typically how things have happened in the past.

But we’ll see. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. It could go either way, I guess.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He is a writer and photographer in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

What Hath Trumplandia Wrought: The Seth Ritch Tragedy

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While generally I think Olivia Nuzzi, at least on Twitter, is one of the more annoying scribes out there, she does deliver a powerful piece on New York Magazine’s website about the tragic attack on the memory of Seth Rich by the forces of Trumplandia.

It continues to blow my mind that anyone with an IQ above room temperature would give the Seth Rich conspiracy theory any credence. It makes my skin crawl even thinking that otherwise “respected” media and political figures would give the Seth Rich conspiracy any respectability.

As Nuzzi writes:

To Trump supporters, Rich came to represent their belief that the president was innocent and the Russia narrative was a creation of the media-deep state industrial complex. Adding fuel to this bewildering fire were claims that Rich had been a secret, devout Bernie Sanders supporter — this, based on curious edits made to Reddit posts from an account belonging to Rich made after he died, and the existence of another Reddit account called “pandas4bernie” (recall the panda suit) that became inactive around the time he died. The people behind “pandas4bernie,” who are also behind a similar Bernie-themed Twitter account, denied Rich was connected to their Reddit, and a coworker of Rich’s told me that although he’d never openly expressed a preference for Sanders, he thought it would be unlikely that Rich was a fan, since the Sanders campaign feuded so publicly with the DNC, something that aggravated everyone there. What’s more, when Rich died, he was planning to move to Brooklyn to work for the Clinton campaign.

If anything gives you insight into the mentality of the typical citizen of that nation of the mind known as Trumplandia, it is the Seth Rich conspiracy. I have spoken to more than one Trumplandia person and they are quick to jump on any conspiracy. One person Trump supporter I’ve spoken to was absolutely sure that the Access Hollywood tape was an elaborate conspiracy on the part of evil liberals to end the Trump campaign.

And, given that Donald Trump himself loves nothing more than a good conspiracy, such bizarre thinking is at the core of the Trumplandia mythos. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest you can’t understand Trumplandia without understanding the psychological underpinnings of the appeal of conspiracy theories. I am no shrink, but obviously Trump has tapped into something by being so ready to believe random conspiracy theories. It obviously helped him politically. Got him the presidency, if nothing else.

One of the interesting takeaways from the article is that Rich wasn’t even all that technologically proficient. As the New York Magazine article puts it:

And for some coworkers, an irony of the entire conspiracy – which hinges on Rich being the one who leaked the DNC documents to Assange’s organization — is that Rich wasn’t much of a tech whiz. “One of the hilarious things about this whole thing was the idea that he was somehow the master hacker behind Wikileaks, is that he was fundamentally, like, not that great of a programmer,” a coworker told me. “He’s like a very smart guy, but he was not — that wasn’t his thing. He wasn’t a computer person first and foremost, he was really interested in politics and solving problems but he came to the computer part as a tool.” Another friend noted on a memorial page that her funny memory of Rich was having to explain to him that his Twitter account, which he used often to complain to companies, was private—which is why those companies never responded to his gripes

But the greatest tragedy of Seth Rich is people like Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich trying to use it as leverage to defend Trump on charges of collusion — or worse collaboration — with the Russians during their meddling in the 2016 election cycle.

I wonder, perhaps, that when it comes to Hannity, this is all an effort to get fired from FOX News so he becomes a martyr for Trumplandia and ends up as Communications Director at the White House, or an anchor for InfoWars. Something like that. Anything, at this point, seems possible.

What I fear is two things. One, I fear that as the Tsar-A-Largo scandal grinds on over the next few months and years, that we will pretty much hear about poor Seth Rich on a constant level until Trump’s fate is decided one way or another.

Additionally, I fear for the safety of John Podesta. I really worry that Trump will pick up on the Seth Rich conspiracy theory and some nutjob will come after Podesta in a physical manner. I really hope I’m being spooked for no reason, but it is something to worry about, given that a crackpot went to Rocket Pizza looking for proof of a conspiracy there.

Anyway, this is not over by a long shot. The stakes are too high and Trumplandia is too deluded for them not to cling on to the Seth Rich conspiracy with all their might, hoping to score as many points and gain as may votes as possible.

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

Keeping Receipts In The Age Of Trumplandia

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

In a sense, we may mark the beginning of the Age of Trump, or Trumplandia as I call it, with the firing of FBI Director James Comey. That marked the moment when Donald Trump used his executive power in a manner we had feared and been warned about.

It was the worse case scenario become reality.

Soon enough, however, we learned that Comey had “kept receipts” of his interactions with Trump and, in a sense, had proof of what Trump had actually done. As Trumplandia continues to morph and expand its reach across the American experience, it’s possible that the notion of “keeping receipts” will grow to have heavy historical import.

What else can you say in this situation, given that we have a president who seems completely disconnected from reality. People who are actually good at their job are now forced to prove that they’re telling the truth, and the only way to do that is to keep receipts.

As an aside, it is interesting the difference between where Twitter is and where the mainstream media is when it comes to Trumplandia. Twitter is like a mob with pitchforks, while most mainstream media outlets take a significantly more measured approach.

If I wanted to get all nerdy and wonky on you, I might suggest that we’ve reached a creeping Singularity of sorts, with the more measured mainstream media simply unable to cope with the speed at which news is breaking. Or maybe I’m overthinking things, it’s something to ponder.

But to go back to the subject at hand, 2017 could eventually be seen as the Year of Receipts. Things have gotten so bad that we now can’t trust anyone in power. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s the world we live in.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He welcomes your comments at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Oh, Come On: Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Is Bullshitting Us

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said today on one of the morning talk shows that some of the leaks coming out of the White House could be considered, “darn close to treason.”

I call bullshit on that.

I do so because while yes some of the leaks have caused damage, most of them were the result of people deep inside the government so completely freaked out by the bad behavior of high level Trump officials — I’m looking at you Jared Kushner — that they were willing to risk it.

If that doesn’t send shivers down your spine, I don’t know what will.

It will be interesting to see if there are any consquences to all these leaks, in the sense of if any of the people doing them will be found and prosecuted. But we’re all looking at each other and worried that maybe there are traitors working in the White House, I think some pointed leaks are worth it.

These are desperate times, and we may look back at this era of Trumplandia with no little amount of regret if you don’t do something and something quick.

Jared Kushner & The Russian Backchannel: A Personal Theory

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have a personal theory about the backchanel that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner tried to set up with the Russians. Since he wanted to use their super-secret communications equipment, it may have been that Donald Trump at that point was really paranoid about the U.S. government tapping his communications just in general and so he told Kushner to do it.

That seems to make the most sense to me.

This, of course, does not explain what, exactly, they wanted to talk about in the first place. It also does not explain the continue fascination with the Russians that Donald Trump continues to display. It just makes no sense. I don’t get it. I don’t understand what is going on.

There is all this smoke, it makes you wonder what the fire is. I am troubled that even if it does come out that Trump and his associates were actually doing something treasonous, that because of America’s tribal politics, the alt-Right and their ilk won’t blink an eye at it.

That is the truly troubling thing about all of this.

The War For Trumplandia: Can This Administration Be Saved?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The Washington Post is reporting that the Trump White House is going to set up a war room like the Clinton White House did 20 years ago during all of its troubles.

In a sprawling article, the publication goes through the wide-range of things that the Trump Administration is considering doing. Besides the War Room, Trumplandia is also considering bringing back some old names like Corey Lewandowski.

But the problem for Trumplandia is a fish rots from the head and not much is going to change the totally batshit insane nature of Trump himself. They can change everything they like, but Trump is still going to be Trump. Really, the question is: how dire are things for Trump?

There is always a lag time between when Something Bad happens to an administration and when the consquences are full realized. The fact that Jared Kushner allegedly did something as bonkers as try to set up a backchannel with the Russians using their own equipment is so bad and potentially politically devastating to the Trump Administration that one has to wonder if they fully comprehend what they’re up against. It seems to me that they’re playing with fire.

They are going to need to do more than just setup a War Room. They need to talk to Trump himself about changing his behavior, but even then that’s a lossed cause. The man is 70 years old, he’s not going to change. Trump is a national embarrassment of the highest order and you simply can’t put ice cream on shit and not have shit at the bottom of the cone.

Probably what is going to happen is things are going to grind along for weeks, and months — if not years — and really won’t change until Congress is flipped. The Republicans simply are too Vichy. They simply can’t find the wherewithal to stand up against Trump. They don’t want to alienate the base and so they’re willing to take their brand — and the nation’s international standing — down as far as it will go.

One interesting thing I noted in the Post article is they are considering using Facebook Live instead of formal press conferences. That would be interesting to say the least. Say what you will about Trump, he’s actually an amazing politician in some respects. He taps into some dark part of the American psyche and maybe if he leans into online video it will resonate with people even more than tweeting. He’s sure to get a lot more of an earful, though.

I idly wonder if maybe he might look into using Instagram video instead of Facebook Live. That might be one way for him to connect with people even more so than he usually does. I don’t. Like I keep saying, the head of the Trump Administration is the problem. That problem isn’t going anywhere.

Donald Trump isn’t Ronald Reagan, remember that.

I just don’t see any way this isn’t just a long-term disaster for everyone involved. As I said so many times during the campaign — you break it you buy it. The Republicans broke it by nominating Trump and then having him win, now everyone else has to pick up the pieces.

Tsar-A-Largo: Trumplandia, The Russians & Ukraine

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

One thing that Donald Trump made clear from the beginning of his campaign is he loves the Russians. Now, there have been various explanations for this, from his general love of strongmen to a “pee tape.” But I suspect the actual reason is much more prosaic.

It’s money.

My guess is Trump has so many dirty deals involving the Russians that he has many fiduciary reasons to be nice to the Russians. You hear reports about this or that oil deal that will go through should sanctions be lifted by the American government, but that, at least not yet, has not happened.

But let’s talk about that for a moment.

Trump is supposed to meet Russian President Putin in July as part of a broader summit and the question that lingers is, will the Trump Administration lift the sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama Administration as some sort of nefarious quid-pro-quo. Though I have my doubts, I still am not ready to say this won’t happen. It’s still possible. It might happen. Maybe.

Given that Trump had no problem firing FBI Director James Comey and then admitting he had Russia on the brain when he did so, it is not too much of a stretch to believe Trump might lift sanctions on Russia after a personal meeting with Putin.

The reaction on the party of Trumplandia probably would be muted. There would be the usual rationalizations on the part of the center-Right and the usual insane outrage on the part of the center-Left. But in the end, things would settle down.

I am much more concerned about what might happen with Ukraine. The Ukraine front has been really quiet the last few years and it is difficult to believe that President Putin would give up a historic opportunity to invade Ukraine in a general way given that it’s likely Trump wouldn’t say anything about it.

That’s something that we really haven’t seen yet — an outside crisis not of Trump’s making. Most of the damage to Trump’s administration since Jan. 20th has been self-inflicted. If the Russians would to invade Ukraine abruptly as part of a huge land-grab that might be a crisis that Trump simply would not be prepared for. His Russian sympathies would be put to the test in an epic manner and I think ultimately he would show he has zero backbone when it comes to the Russians.

But, as I noted, I doubt that would really matter much to the stalwarts of Trumplandia. They won’t care. All they care about is abortion and tax cuts. The bullshit of FOX News has hardened to a smell diamond and there is little we can do it about for the time being.

It is kind of sad that we are going to have to wait until for months, if not years, before the Special Counsel’s investigation into Trump comes to any kind of conclusion. Trump can do a huge amount of damage between now and then and it’s sad that we have to wait that long.

Our only real hope is the 2018 mid-terms. But even then, my expectations are muted. We’re no longer a Republic, so it’s possible we’r screwed for good.

It’s A Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild World: Jared Kushner & The Russians

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It’s beginning to look, well, a little suspicious for the Donald Trump Administration when it comes to its ties with the Russians. Though it has to be noted, it’s not like Trump did not go out of his way to tell everyone what we were getting into.

But the latest revelation, that Trump’s son-in-law Jared “Bedroom Eyes” Kushner wanted to setup a secret channel — using the Sovet’s Russians own equipment! — it kind of zany even for Trump’s band of folks who can’t shoot straight. It’s all very weird and yet in Trumplandia it still hasn’t yet begun to get any traction. The citizens of Trumplandia still love the Dear Leader with all their hearts and they seem determined to bring down the nation along with themselves.

I guess what shocks me the most about all of this is how in the open all of this is. Trump has never hidden his love of all things Russian and for me, a child of the Cold War, it is rather disturbing that Republicans still given Trump full-throated support despite their history of being strong on national defense. It’s almost as if the Cult of Ronald Reagan has finally be excised from the GOP spirit. It’s all very strange and there is no easy answer to it all. I just don’t get it. I just don’t understand.

You can’t have a cover-up if you don’t cover it up. Photo from New York Magazine.

The crux of the issue is, why the Russian fascination on the part of the Trump campaign and administration? What is the fire to all this smoke. Many different people have come up with many different possibilities. While a lot of people suspect it is the “pee tape” that is the source of all this odd behavior, I lean more on the side of it being fiduciary in nature.

Trump is a shady businessman and over 30 years he probably has gotten involved in a lot of shading dealings in Russia and now all that is coming home to roost. He did not expect to win and now that the FBI is getting involved, all kinds of criminality and malfeasance is being dug up.

Will that be enough to bring own Trump? I doubt it. I suspect we’re stuck with Trump for at least a solid two years, if not more. A lot depends on flipping the House and Senate in 2018. Given how stupid the American electorate has proven itself by electing Trump to begin with, it’s very possible that we’re just doomed. It’s very possible we’re all very doomed and we could be stuck with Trump for four, even eight years.

Then we really will have to make America great again.