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

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

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
@bumgarls

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
@bumgarls

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
@bumgarls

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.

Let’s Play Pretend: What If The Russians Really Did Hack The Election?

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am not one of those who thinks the Russians managed to actually hack into our election booths and throw the election, and, yet, it is kind of weird that Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania and Florida. Spooky weird.

So, let’s play pretend.

What could we do, after the fact, if we proved 100% that Russian hackers had managed to hack into our election systems and throw the election for Donald Trump. Then what?

Well, the short answer is: WE ARE COMPLETELY FUCKED.

There simply is no effective method to nullify a presidential election. It’s not like we can recall the Electoral College and tell them to vote for someone else. That ship, as they say, has sailed. It is not a bug, but a feature of our system that it’s so difficult to get rid of a president once he or she is in office. It’s that stability that has helped us weather any number of catastrophes over the centuries.

I mean, even if we got rid of Trump, we still have Pence who is not as bad as Trump in some ways because he’s at least sane, but worse in others because he has an ideology that he adheres to when it comes to his absolute world view. And there is zero possibility that the Vichy Republicans would impeach BOTH Trump and Pence, and even if they did, we have Paul Ryan to deal with, who is a gutless stooge to Trump if ever there was one.

So, really, there’s nothing we can do. The revelation that the Russians had successful hacked out election would probably cause a epic, if momentary, Constitutional Crisis, but the thing that people like me want — a center-Left president who does what Hillary Clinton would have done had she become president simply is completely, totally impossible. It simply is not going to happen.

We’re stuck with Republicans for a sold two year and they can do all sorts of damage to the traditional welfare state between now and 2019, which would be the earliest we could start to fix this problem and that only works on the assumption that a Blue Wave might flip the Congress Democratic.

And, really, the only scenario that comes anywhere near being a reality is in 2019 the Democratic Congress manages to impeach both Trump and Pence, blocks Pence from naming a successor and then we endup with President Nancy Palosi. That’s pretty much an impossible scenario for various reasons, in large part because the hysterical 30% of the population who hates Hillary Clinton would hate Nancy Palosi just as much. America has some serious fucking problems in its political system and they ain’t going no where anytime soon. Let that sink in, folks.

So, dry your tears. Pull yourself up. We’re fucked. Really, the only thing we can do is, as I keep suggesting, engage people who disagree with us. Try to overcome tribal politics as best we can and try to heal the bizarre wounds that risk tearing the nation asunder.

Vichy Republicans & The Fall Of The American Republic

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Someone said on Twitter that it felt like Trumplandia was “cratering” tonight. I would strongly say the opposite. Because of the callow, craven nature of the Vichy Republicans that have essentially given absolute control to Donald J. Trump, things are only going to get worse for the foreseeable future.

Only if something really, really telling happen, like a Jeremy Corbyn win in Great Britain would I sit back, rub my beard and mull the possibility that maybe that things have gone to far. Something like that would give me some hope that maybe the pendulum is swinging back toward some form of sanity. I say that as someone who fears if Corbyn won you’d have to que the Benny Hill music when it comes to British politics. It’d be kind of nuts, if fun, if it happened.

Sorry for the noise in the background on this one.

Regardless, domestically, at least we can only take solace in the fact that it appears as though Trump has lost Twitter. Or, maybe, the Russian hackers that manipulated Twitter aren’t getting paid anymore so they’ve moved on. It used to be that you couldn’t have an actual serious conversation about Trump without whack jobs popping out of the woodwork all but demanding you bow down before Trump as Lord Zood. But that has changed in a weird way. It’s the silence that’s really weird. Trump hasn’t lost Periscope yet, so I guess he has that to be thankful for. Periscope users are still completely nuts.

I continue to be really unhappy with where things are going with Trumplandia. The Vichy Republicans are to blame for this and nothing is going to change as long as they’re in power. So, we’re stuck with Trump for a solid 18 months, at least, and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the errant power grab on his part caused by a major crisis that may happen with, or without, his approval and goading.

The Vichy Republicans are allowing Trump to sow division both at home and abroad. They are completely complicit n all of this and I pretty much think we’re on track for the fall of the American Republic. By that, I mean, like the frog in the slowly boiling pot, we may very well wake up one day soon and some pretty basic right will be gone. I don’t know how exactly it will all happen, but it will happen.

Why am I so sure? Well, the silence on the part of the Vichy Republicans is so loud and the cancer on the American body politic that is Trumplandia seems to be metastasizing so quickly that what other inevitability could there possibly be? Not to sound too much like a Debby Downer, but I really need some hope. I need something to latch on to — like a Corbyn win — to give me some indication that there will be a happy end to this dark period.

I place all our problems at the feet of the Vichy Republicans. If they would put country over party, then the system of Constitutional checks and balances put in place by the Founding Fathers would actually, like, work and stuff. But as it stands, we have a tyrannical, would-be autocratic madman at the center of the nation’s political universe. What’s worse, he keeps alienating everyone but is base through erratic tweets, pulling out of important international agreements, and generally being a monumental dick.

But because the Vichy Republicans are addicted to power above all else, and the Republican base that elected Trump and continues to support him has absolute sway over them politically, there is nothing that might induce them to have anything resembling a backbone. It’s just not going to happen until they’re kicked out of office. I’d like to think that a Blue Wave of The Resistance might do the trick, but may be deluding myself. Given that people are dropping out of Congressional races due to death threats, that pot may be a lot closer to boiling than
I would like to admit.

Really, it seems as though if power is the only thing that the Vichy Republicans care about, then the only time they may get a backbone is about a year from now should it appear as though they are going to lose “bigly” in the 2018 mid-terms. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, they won’t say a peep. But if things take a dramatic turn for the worse between now and, say, July 2018, there might, just might, be an unprecedented series of events where by the Vichy Republicans finally grow a pair and demand some accountability from the Trump Administration.

Even more interesting, as I have mentioned before elsewhere, if the Vichy Republicans lose Congress in November 2018, there might be a battle during the lame duck session of Congress between Republicans and Democrats to see who gets to impeach Trump first. The reason being, the Republicans would want the right to approve now President Mike Pence’s replacement.

And that doesn’t even begin to address my true nightmare scenario for 2019 whereby Trump would simply pardon everyone involved in Tsar-a-Largo — including himself — and hold up on the White House with the nuclear codes and dare anyone to come after him. A shoot out between the Secret Service and FBI on the White House lawn would be, uh, unique from a historical standpoint.

I guess all of this comes back to the point that we shouldn’t assume history goes in a straight line. We could very well be at the end of the road for the American Republic as we have conceived of it for about 240 years now. This could be it. The end. We could be, from now on, a semi-autocratic quasi-religious imperial system with only the assurance of an open presidential seat every eight years being our last foot hold to our republican past.

It pains me to suggest such a thing, but we can’t delude ourselves into thinking the Vichy Republicans will ever grow a backbone. We could be stuck with Trumplandia for four or eight more years and then we really would need someone to make America great again.

All I can say is what I’ve been saying — stay engaged. Don’t rage, engage is the catch phrase I’ve come up with. It’s a pithy explanation for my personal vision for how we dig ourselves out of this hole. There are no easy answers when it comes to Trumplandia.

We just have to have hope that the American spirit is stronger than a despot who would aim to inflict a “managed democracy” on us from above. Don’t take anything for granted, folks. This party has just begun.

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

Revolution Article 5: Yo, Trump, What Is Going On, Brah?

r Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the article that is the essence of the treaty because it says an attack on one is an attack on all, was all Donald Trump’s. In fact, he didn’t tell anyone he was going to do it beforehand.

This is all very surreal.

What is going on? What would Trump do such a thing? This is an example of how the possibility of there being collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians is having very real consquences. This is, needless to say, a nightmare situation for American foreign policy because it really disrupts the very foundations of the United States’ relations with its European allies.

What happens if, say, Russian invades Ukraine in a general ground war. What do you say to Poland, which might grow understandably nervous at all of this. Or, God forbid, what happens to a Baltic state should Russia invade it. There is now no assurance that the States will swoop in to save the day.

These are scary times and there are no easy answers, especially since the party you would think would be the mos upset about all of this, the Republican Party, is now Vichy, callow and prostrate at the feet of the quisling Donald J. Trump. It’s a tragedy and there is no easy way out. None at all.

Only by removing Trump from office might this nightmare be over and things might snap back into place. But that is a fanciful daydream at this point. We’ve got a solid 18 months of Trumplandia to deal with, if not significantly longer.

I wish there was something I could say that would make sense of all of this, but I am at a loss for words. A lot can happen in 18 months and we’re one major incident either domestic or foreign between ourselves and a major catastrophe.

The Big Sigh: If We Prove Trump Colluded With The Russians, It Won’t Matter

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

If the rise of Trumplandia has proven anything, it’s that a fool and his nation’s self-respect and autonomy are soon departed. That core 30% of the electorate who is Donald Trump’s base simply won’t care if we prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his 2016 campaign colluded — hell, even co-ordinated — with the Russians. It’s just not important to them as they sit back in their recliner threatening to smack their wife and drinking a cold one as they think about the job at the coal mine.

The Tsar-a-Largo scandal that is rattling its way through Washington is pretty much a Washington issue. And there is a real risk that even if Trump is impeached and convicted that instead of going the fuck away,he, like Richard Nixon before him, will become some sort of warped martyr for the those people who are so extreme in their conservative world view that down is up and hot is cold.

And that wouldn’t even begin to address the fundamental crisis that the American Republic current is suffering. Trump, a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue managed to make his way through the system and not only survive but prosper. Something is not right with this picture.

Additionally, there is no sign that the Vichy Republicans have in any way grown a backbone. They are still callow, complicit and prostrate before King Trump I, Autocrat of All The American States. It seems as though history is moving at light speed these days and we simply don’t have time to catch up.

It is very possible that we’ve entered a new, dangerous dystopian epoch in our nation’s history and it could be a very long time before we can look back and have some frame of reference to figure out how fucked up things are. There are some basic questions that I simply don’t have the answer to. Will the Vichy Republicans ever care about the nation and its Constitutional order? What will be the ultimate outcome of this chronic Constitutional crisis that seems to flare up every few weeks?

I just don’t know the answer to these and other questions. And, just like Watergate, people could still be puzzling over how it all happened and why decades after the fact. Given how elaborate and epic this imbroglio is, it is probably very likely that many, many, many books will be written about Tsar-a-Largo, regardless of the outcome.

Just the idea that the Republican Party, the party not only of Lincoln but of Ike, Nixon and Reagan would kowtow to a foreign power so willingly — especially Russia! — simply for the sake of obtaining and maintaining power boggles this child of the Cold War’s mind. This is seriously fucked up, is all I gotta say.

It’s a modern historic tragedy, on a par with Vichy France, and because it’s happening to us right now, we can’t make sense of it all. We live in extraordinary times and my only suggestion is that perhaps this is a knee jerk reaction against eight years of “No Drama Obama.”

But, regardless, as I’ve said before, American civil society continues to reel from the growth and power of Trumplandia and we just have to have hope. We have to stop raging at the insane things that happen as a part of Trumplandia and we need to start engaging with its citizens to try to figure out what makes them tick.

Only then, maybe we can bridge the gap between us and figure how to get them to take Tsar-a-Largo as the serious threat to the Republic that 70% of the electorate thinks it is.

Trump 2019: A Nightmare Scenario

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

As I have repeatedly said that I am not really that hopefully that there will be a Blue Wave in 2018. Donald Trump is just too oddly adept at appeasing the base of Trumplandia for it to happen. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that The Resistance wins big in 2018.

This is where things might get interesting.

What might happen is there could be a titanic struggle between the suddenly woke Vichy Republicans and The Resistance Democrats to see who will impeach Trump. I suggest this because, well, if the Republicans push through an impeachment during a lame duck session after the November election, then they would have the ability to pick who Mike Pence’s replacement might be. So if things get really, really bad politically for Trump, you might have the Republicans finally finding their backbone while Democrats would be against impeachment simply because they wanted to wait a few months so they could do it themselves.

But the much more ominous scenario is the Democrats impeach and convict Donald Trump in early 2019, but Trump turns around and pardons everyone — including himself — as part of the process, and claims the whole thing is thus illegitimate and won’t acknowledge it.

You want a Constitutional crisis, now that would be a Constitutional crisis.

I don’t even know what could possibly happen then. Would the FBI and the Secret Service have a shoot out on the White House grounds to evict Trump? How would we wrestle the nuclear codes from Trump if he was hold up in Trump Tower like a madman, tweeting his every thought with abandon?

That, of course, is a nightmare scenario and highly unlikely to happen. But it would be a fitting in to the Trumplandia Era.