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.

Rosenstein’s Weird Statement Makes Me Wonder: What’s Out There?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So, like, the Depty Attorney General released a statement last night that said something like, “don’t trust leaks from foreign powers and, besides, leaks are bad.”

Wait, what?

Something weird is going on.

But what exactly is going on? Rumors are flying left and right and one of them is the now-but-could-change scurrilous accusation that the Australians, of all people, may have something worse than the pee-pee tape on Donald Trump. I won’t say what I’ve heard this maybe be, but it’s bad. Really bad.

Weird. Weird. Weird.

This raises the issue of what the reaction would be if this happened to be the case. If nothing was proven, then it would go off like a firebomb but quickly subside. But there is any evidence that it’s real comes out…whoa buddy.

I guess we just have to wait. It will be interesting to see how long we have to wait. Will something break today, or weeks from now? Who knows.

Cold Civil War: We Are Hurdling Toward A Dark Future

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We risk the very real possibility that we are zooming towards a dark future where the democratic process is hampered by actual, real violence on a regular basis. I don’t quite know how it would happen in real terms, but if both sides see violence and physical intimidation as the only way to get what they want, then I honestly don’t know what will happen.

It could be that we will slink towards a quasi-civil war in that there will be regular politically-related bloodshed that actually influences elections. One issue is that rhetoric has consquences. What’s so scary about all of this is there’s no easy way out.

Usually, if history is any guide, something truly tragic has to happen before historical events like this work themselves out. I really hope nothing like that happens, but we are in really scary times and anything seems possible.

There is so much that I don’t understand about what is going on and why. I don’t understand why all of this is happening now. But it is happening and there is no easy way out. We’re in a long term period of turmoil and as I’ve said before repeatedly, we’re in a “Cold Civil War.”

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Ronald McDonald will be the Hero of the Next American Civil War

 

Let there be no mistake. The recent gun attack by a crazed liberal against a GOP baseball game in Virginia is an absolute tragedy. There should be no Democrat who legitimately cares for this country and its citizens who is not sending prayers to Steven Scalise and his family during this difficult time. To anyone not able to take a moment to reflect on how toxic the political atmosphere has gotten where people think nothing of taking lives of those who differ in political belief, you are as complicit as Trump. When given the option, you willingly chose the low road. No one forced you to hold yourself to a lower standard.

If anything, a dignified and respectful response by Dem supporters would have been tactful and showed a sign to all that this kind of violent behavior is truly limited to fringe supporters. But upon reading tweets and comments of the lemmings, the overall tone is ‘well, they had it coming’. Really? The prospect of mass death?

Ok, I get it. These people support an unpopular president and are trying to pass ineffective health care out of spite for the past administration, among other things. But have they forced you out of your home, coerced your employer to fire you, contacted your bank to tank your credit rating and close off bank accounts and held your child hostage at gunpoint while demanding money they feel you owe them? Because if not, why in sweet hell are you wishing for their literal death?

The fact that the ‘civilized’ left can’t take a break for 24 hours to reflect on the Americans and their families who have been shaken from this violent act reveals something much more darker. And it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

Although everyone lives in day-to-day compartments of their lives thanks to the immediacy of social media, few people lift their heads up to look out to the horizon to see where things are headed. It doesn’t take an MIT graduate to conclude that things are not going to end well for Trump at some point. In fact, it’s very feasible to consider that not only Trump, but the GOP itself will be deeply wounded for years to come.

I’m not just talking about the 2018 midterm elections. But if we were, consider that sentiment in even deeply red states has turned against the GOP to where Republican strongholds have shifted to right-leaning or even toss-up. Look at Virginia. Look at how close special elections were in Kansas and Montana which should have been absolute blowouts by any standard in past elections. Almost every district in the country has shifted left by some margin. We’re not just talking about the Dems protecting their seats in 2018 and picking up a few toss-ups. We’re literally talking about any districts previously won by the GOP at margins of +15 or less moving to toss-up or left-leaning.

What this means would be the Dems taking back both chambers of Congress in 2018, all congressional committees being run by Dem chairmen to push the Trump investigations to the fullest of speed and even setting themselves up for a supermajority in 2020. And if it is true that Ryan and McConnell were complicit in supporting the flow of laundered Russian funding into GOP coffers, then we’re also talking about the top brass of the GOP being taken out. Lasting harm to the GOP brand. In fact, the GOP itself would either fracture into 2-3 parties or would have to completely rebrand itself and try to position itself to slightly right of center, in order to win independents back. This is all very real. In fact, rather likely.

But social media lemmings can’t see that far ahead and prefer to live in the fog of present-day. And this is why things are becoming further toxic. On both sides.

And that brewing toxic atmosphere is beginning to see the words ‘civil war’ being whispered out of the lips of pundits or the tweets of those unable to see the forest from the trees.

One thing that is worrisome is when considering Trump’s childish behavior. Look back at last fall when it was apparent that Trump was not only going to lose, but possibly badly. And Trump invoked the notion of violent protests in the event of a ‘fixed election’. Now look ahead and imagine the climactic end to his current administration. Even if it’s not impeachment. Even if it’s just him getting beaten handily by a Dem candidate in 2020. He will not go quietly. That writing was already on the wall in 2016. But it’s different now. Because he’s up to his neck in the prestige of the office. But if you factor in the prospect of him and his family being prosecuted? If he was invoking violent protests from the idea of losing the 2016 election, imagine what he will be invoking to his base if/when it appears that he may have to go to jail for the rest of his life. Don’t think for a second that he won’t be calling for his base to pick up arms.

And while the prospects of that are scary. Let’s keep in mind a few things. If you look beyond the big, angry words being uttered online by supporters, we still have the fact that 65 million people voted for Clinton and just one lunatic from all those voters went far enough to shoot at people. Ok, maybe rioters at some protests, as well. How many is that? 200? Ok, for sake of argument, let’s say 1 million Dem supporters have done something remotely violent when expressing their political sentiment. That’s still 1 out of 65 Dems. You can also make a similar case of those on the right who hung effigies of Obama. We’re talking fringe actors here. Even fringe of the fringe, if you really look at it statistically.

But have a little faith in the average diet of Americans in red states that contributes to their lethargy.

And, yes, it’s important to note that when Trump’s back is truly against the wall, he’ll call out to the base for support. And try to use their potential rage as political leverage to get the courts to rule in his favor. But we’re talking about people sitting on sofas with a smartphone in hand. With some angry thumbs typing away with a snarly look on their faces. And in red states where obesity levels are at the nation’s highest. And fast food restaurants per capita are also predominately red. It’s a lot to ask for to get people headstrong enough to get off the couch, hop in the truck and head off to a rally without pulling over upon catching a whiff of the KFC they are passing by. And then there’s the reality of: Do I want to risk losing my job over this? (munch, munch) Do I want to risk going to jail over this? (slurp, slurp) Do I want to risk not being able to play with my kids anymore? Or worse, not use my smartphone?????

People get cut off in Walmart checkout lines, blow a gasket and forget about it one hour later. The rage over Trump in the rearview mirror would last a week at best. And the strongest reaction will be from the fringe of the fringe of the fringe. And whose resolve gets tested when they pass by a buffet and join back into the herd lifestyle and they see all the other non-fringe lemmings gleefully chowing down on ribs and grits. That’s the resolve. An absolute avalanche of lethargic routine to contend with.

Don’t call that the base for civil war. That’s hardly enough to warrant a domestic dispute.

Mad King Trump: Mulling Ivanka Trump as Trumplandia ‘Regent’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It has been floated in at least one major publication article the notion that maybe the Trump family could appoint a “regent” for Mad King Trump. It is not without at least a limited amount of precedent. Woodrow Wilson’s wife essentially served as regent after he had a stroke.

So, I guess the idea is without invoking the 25th Amendment, Vichy Republicans could, instead of impeaching and convicting Trump — which would never happen — might suggest that Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka run the country on a day-to-day basis given that, well, the Vichy Republicans have no spine and would never otherwise do anything about Trump even though he’s nuts.

I don’t know how, exactly, this would play out. It would be extra-Constitutional, to say the least do such a thing formally, but maybe a year from now the Republicans in desperation, might announce that effectively a regency has been announced and Trump will get to play with this tinkertoys and tweet all he wants but without any real power behind it.

It would be pretty insane in some respects because it would acknowledge that we’re no longer a Republic, but we’ve finally lurched into something like a quasi-imperial system. Since about 2000 we’ve had this situation, but announcing a Regency, even informally, would pretty much be the end of the traditional American system of government.

And, yet, it would have its advantages. A Regency would be a ready fix to Trump. It’s something that would, at least for the amount of time it took to figure out how to finally get rid of Trump, placate both sides and maybe begin the healing process. Maybe.

The Constitutional purists would scream bloody murder, but if everyone else agreed to let this happen de facto, then maybe we might be able to put this tragic era of Trumplandia behind us sooner.

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.

Blaming The Media For The Scalise Incident In Alexandria Is Bonkers

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Bonkers.

Just Bonkers.

Donald Trump specifically and the extreme Right in general has been rhetorically using violence-lace rhetoric for years now and they have the gaul to blame liberals and the media for what happened today in Alexandria to Rep. Scalise.

I don’t want to be outraged. I really don’t. I want to engage. I want to address the people who think like this, I want to engage them. But it’s difficult. It is so very difficult. They are so ardent, so completely bonkers in their surreal determination to have it both ways that it’s nearly impossible to have normal political discussion with them.

The people on the Right who believe the root of all evil comes from liberals and the media are so tightly wound, so quick to believe any insane conspiracy theory that it’s really is nearly impossible to have a rational discussion with them. They are the political equivalent of a cornered cat you’re trying to give a bath to.

It just isn’t going to work out for anyone involved.

The raises the question: is there anything we can do at all? Are we all just doomed?

That is a good and painfully timely question. If we can’t figure out to get passed all the bullshit and address the gaping divide between the two sides then Trump and Trumplandia will not only survive but prosper. We you love America, you’re going to have to face the cold hard fact that those insane Right wing people who won’t listen to you are eventually going to have to be dealt with in a constructive fashion beyond simply blocking them on Twitter.

The two sides can only hold up in their individual “safe spaces” for so long before everything falls apart and we either have an actual civil war or something dystopian and sinister happens, something far worse than what we have right now.

But it’s tough. I understand that. I know it’s tough for me. I don’t really want to do as I suggest. I just want to get mad and rage against every stupid thing the extreme Right says. I wish I could give you some ready answers, but I can’t.

The closest I can give you is some suggestions as to where all this came from. I think three factors, each of which feed on each other, are at work. One, Baby Boomers are turning into old codgers. Two, technology is allowing us to have “safe spaces” so our political skins are really thin. Third, Donald Trump has tapped into a dark, scary aspect of the American psyche that I don’t fully understand.

That’s a beginning. The solution to our problems will be found once we figure out how to address those issues. We can’t get rid of old codger Baby Boomers, but maybe we can do something with technology to address the problems Twitter has introduced.

And then there’s Trump.

His mercurial personality is so difficult to get a hold of, that I just don’t know what to say. He’s really difficult to understand for no other reason than he seems able to hold to contradictory political beliefs in his head quite easily without addressing the underlining hypocrisy and paradox.

Anyway. I guess only time will tell, folks. Just remember to try, at least to engage, not rage.

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