Sen. Rand Paul’s Craven Desire To Out The Whistleblower Is Growing Surreal

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

What the fuck is wrong with Sen. Rand Paul? Leaving aside why an avowed libertarian would be such a fucking suckup to Trump, what does he honestly expect will happen if we get the Whistleblower’s name? (We will get it sooner rather than later, but, still.)

All I got is on the face of it, he thinks on a political level it significantly helps Trump’s case because the name not only gives Republicans built-in talking points, but they can pivot to the Whistleblower’s connections to Joe Biden and Susan Rice whenever the issue of Trump’s many impeach-and-convict crimes come up in conversations with reporters. If you’re exclusively messaging the fucking racist, misogynistic dipshit MAGA people who love fascism and liberal tears, then you can, at least in your own Republican Senator mind, excuse Trump’s crimes against the Constitution because, well, the person who reported them is not a MAGA person. On a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very stupid level — like date your sister stupid level — I guess if you’re a MAGA person you can spooge your pants now that the vast Deep State Conspiracy has been exposed….for simply pointing out that Trump’s “perfect phone call” actually showed a massive, historic abuse of power.

But, lulz. If you’re MAGA you hate black people and women. You hate America and democracy. All you care about power and money and sucking Trump’s political cock. So you can delude yourself into thinking everyone else will fall for this political messaging that helps you get to sleep at night.

I guess it’s at least possible this might happen. I guess.

There’s a real danger, however, that things may careen out of control. There may be violence direct against the Whistleblower on the part of MAGA. What political objectives this might accomplish are something of a mystery to me. But I guess having blood on your hands will somehow…prove to Godless pinko liberals that MAGA has the best interests of America at heart?

I don’t know. Just be careful what you wish for, MAGA. Americans don’t abide by political violence. What may seem like a great idea at first may not work out quite the way you expect it.

The Grift That Is MAGA

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The thing about MAGA is it’s based on a lie. The whole thing is bullshit. Really, at its core, MAGA is identity politics for white people. Throw in some base misogyny and nativism and amosexualism and Christian persecution porn and you have yourself a very powerful political movement.

What’s so astonishing to me is how easy is it to grift MAGA. Sometimes, the bigger the grift, the more popular you are. That, I think, explains MAGA. Trump is the biggest grifter of all. His grift has become so successful that it’s the basis of a cult of personality.

I have, on more than one occasion, thought about trying the grift myself. It would be very easy to abruptly change political views a la Dennis Miller. Within six months, I’d likely be having lunch with Trump himself. The need for grift is that powerful within the MAGA movement.

The whole thing has become so ridiculous — and is so based on hair-trigger hypocrisy — that wild things happen over and over again. The most recent example of this is the surreal attack on Debra Messing. She committed — as I understand it — a minor infraction on Twitter and the MAGA echo chamber is out for blood. But it seems pretty obvious that the whole thing is not being done in good faith and it’s being used as excuse to own a lib that Trump has attacked recently.

This is a prime example of how Trump is simply an avatar for a deeper, darker, problem in American society. We’ve reached the point where MAGA will do anything to get and keep power to such an extent that the “Resistance” simply can’t keep up. When your political opponent is an ideological zombie and you’re trying to reason with them using “norms” you’re setting yourself up for failure.

What might happen is sometime in the middle of Trump’s second term, the center-Left might realize it has to adopt the “new rules” of MAGA to defend itself. Unfortunately, while it has to be done for simple political survival, long term it’s the setup for nothing less than a civil war — or a military junta. There may come a time, I’m afraid, when Blue States begin to believe that the only way to keep any semblance of freedom is to leave the Union altogether. That definitely would put the Red States absolute desire to “own the libs” to the test, now wouldn’t it.

It’s kind of sad when the best case scenario you can think of to keep yoru nation together long-term is a military junta. But that’s some time down the road. For the time being the MAGA grift will continue. The center-Left is, sadly, a bunch of wussies in my opinion. I’ve mulled the need for, on an ideological level, a form of Radical Resistance. But in hindsight I realize I was extremely naive. MAGA is a cancer that is going to kill the patient and I can’t see that there is anything to do about it.

Impeaching Trump Won’t Fix The Deeper Existential Problem In America

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While I would be overjoyed if House Democrats finally pull their thumbs out of their asses and impeached Trump, my elation would come with some qualifications. The issue is, Trump is an avatar for an existential problem in America that is not going away anytime soon. In fact, I would propose it won’t fade until about 20 years from now when the youngest of the Baby Boomers die off just around the time we reach a tipping point with the browning of America.

Though impeaching Trump makes a lot of sense on an abstract level, actually doing it is problematic. Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it — we should. I’m just pointing out that doing it — even successfully — won’t be the panacea too many people on Twitter seem to think it would be. First and foremost, it is likely to fail. So Trump could run as having been “vindicated” the moment he’s acquitted by the Senate. What’s worse, even if impeaching Trump was somewho, miraculously successful, that would mean Pence would have not one, but two opportunities to run for president as an incumbent.

But this raises another issue — Trump is such a horrible person and president the issue of impeachment may eventually be out of all of our hands. I could see more than one scenario where Trump’s mental state grows so dangerous — like 9/11 crisis dangerous — that things fall apart for Trump not in months or weeks but days. In fact, in a sense, that’s the only way impeachment makes any sense to me at this point — to fix a specific crisis. Trump has such a lock on the minds of about 35% of the electorate that while we should impeach him, we should also manage our expectations as to what it will accomplish.

And, yet, really, long term we have to accept that given that Trump is no more than an avatar for a deep existential problem with the United States that there is, in fact, no bottom as to how far things are likely to go. If Federal elections don’t become perfunctory, then there will be active hacking by the Russians. If that doesn’t work, then MAGA will intimidate and bribe individual electors. ICE will be weaponized and the existing camps will be filled not with asylum seekers, but with anyone who has the temerity to challenge the the will of The Leader. I wish this was being hysterical, but it’s not. This is a real possibility. We could go full Russian manage democracy in brief few years. Like, less than five.

I wish I could tell you there was some solution. There’s none. Short term, I would suggest that the Left adopt the “new rules” that the Right is so fond of. We go eyeball-to-eyeball with them every political chance we can get. If that means the government grinds to down to a Singularity, so be it. And, really, at this point there are no good endgames. Here are some possibilities.

Junta
It’s possible that the only thing that will keep America together is the military. This is so alien to the American tradition that things would really, really have to get bad. But the military is the lone institution that commands the respect of the general populace, so it may be the only thing that keeps the country together long term.

“Wayward Sisters, Part In Peace”
In this scenario, there is a peaceful division of the country alone political lines on a state level. At best, we have some sort of economic union. At worse, the two sides will hate each other at this point that not even that will happen. The real fight will be over which country gets the US “brand.” Otherwise, the Red States will descend into a third world status while the Blue States will continue to grow and prosper.

The Apocalyptic Rock Fight
In this scenario, the division of the country gets out of hand. The two sides begin to drop a-bombs on each other until the entire country in ruin. Eventually one side will graduate to h-bombs and things will really get interesting. I only even suggest this possibility because MAGA is a manifestation of a cancer on the American psyche that is so dark, so depraved that is may swerve into such a bloodlust that, well, there’s no turning back.

Apartheid Era South Africa Meets Modern Venezuela Meets Reconstruction America
In this scenario, we have sort of a dystopian middle ground. Even though the brown of America has happened, white America clings to economic and political power with a death grip. Meanwhile, because of gross corruption, America is finally a third world country with nukes. We’re alone and scared on the world stage. Large swaths of the populace feel completely disenfranchised. Only the poor pay taxes and the rights of women and minorities are harshly repressed. What’s more Blue States are now little more than military districts without any formal representation in Congress.

And, so, that’s it. Those all the endgames I can think of. None of them make me feel good, none of them I want. But the more I think about it, the more it seems there are a few fundimental flaws in the Constitution. Among them the Electoral College and the Senate. But the Senate is so fundamental to the American system that I think that, in itself, means America will soon be a failed state in all but name. In a sense it already is and we’re just deluding ourselves.

In real terms, I guess all we can do is stay aware of what’s happen and try to, on an individual level, make or corner of America a better place. America is over. The end.

How To Defeat MAGA, If Not Trump

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, I fear it’s too late to defeat Trump himself. Not only is he too much of an avatar for white identity politics, both plutocrats and Russians have a vested interest in him winning a second term. So, he’s going to win and we just have to accept the consequences.

Having said that, this is how we in the long-term defeat MAGA. I give MAGA a pass this election cycle because there’s a key aspect to my plan that we simply don’t have time to implement.

That key feature is getting someone like Jon Stewart run for high office such as Senator or Governor. We need someone like Stewart in 2024 because the only way to defeat a bully is through humor. Stewart is the perfect embodiment of Leftist rage and he can make people laugh. After the dystopia of Trump, people want to laugh again. And Stewart is the only viable person I can think of who could do it in 2024.

But one other piece of advice. If you’re dealing with someone who loves drama like Trump, you need to keep your eyes on the prize. You need to focus on your agenda without being distracted. Pick a few goals and try to pin them down on them.

That’s why, on a personal level, I at least want to try to stop being so angry at MAGA. Should the occasion arise where I talk to them about politics, I am going to calmly and methodically ask them a series of questions. I will only do this after I’ve given the opportunity to get whatever ranting they need to get out of their system, out. Of course, the flaw in this is if I do one-up a MAGA person, they’re more likely than not just going to get mad and tell me to fuck off in a huff.

But anyway, I don’t know how well I articulated that vision. You get the general idea, I guess.

Why Haven’t We At Least Impeached The Fucker Yet?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The question of why we haven’t begun impeachment proceedings against Donald J. Trump, 45 president of the United States, is something I struggle with on a daily basis.

The short answer is, of course, that even though his high crimes against the Constitution are legion at this point, there simply isn’t the political willpower to do anything about it.

This comes in no little part from the basic paradox of Democrats impeaching a Republican President — they won’t do it unless they feel they have some bi-partisan support. Republicans, meanwhile, are always locked and loaded to impeach a Democratic president, damn the consequences because they’re shithead dipshits. As such, Democrats simply won’t do anything until either a Mueller Report comes out that would give them some sort of cover, the economy collapses or some sort of enormous bombshell drops independent of Mueller’s investigation. The only place I can think of that this might happen is from the SDNY.

Remember, it was SDNY, not Mueller, who gave Cohen an investigative root around about as deep as you can get without seeing sunshine on the other end. To date, of course, they, too, haven’t really come up with anything that would be the tipping point.

What really, really bothers me is we have Trump dead-to-rights about several things and because the economy is doing well and MAGA people are cult members, nothing is happening. Any other president would be at least impeached for the Stormy Daniels crimes, but as it stands…nothing.

I don’t really expect this to change anytime soon, either. Trump has a bloodlock on about 37% of the electorate, enough to defeat any attempt to convict him in the Senate. So, in a sense, Trump is a king right now. An elected dictator who is, for all intents and purposes, above the law.

And this isn’t going to change.

What I fear is it won’t change in time for it to really matter, even if Mueller drops a bombshell. If Mueller doesn’t drop a bombshell within the next six months, then the people who would otherwise think about impeaching Trump will kick that particular problem down the road into 2020 and say, “Let the people decide.”

The problem with that, of course, is the “people” won’t really decide, but rather a bunch of craven plutocrats who are rather content with the traitorous, felonious nature of the Trump Administration.

This whole thing of waiting for Mueller to “save” us is such a huge cop-out. It’s a national tragedy. For me, there’s no excuse at this point not to immediately at least impeach Trump. We have him dead-to-rights on massive violation of campaign finance law…and yet the Democrats are being fucking wussies on this one.

Our only recourse may be to start to be Radical Resisters and to primary anyone in the Democratic Party who doesn’t make it part of their basic policy to do everything in their power to impeach and convict Trump ASAP.

Because Trump is going to be re-elected, no doubt about it. What damage Russian fuckery doesn’t inflict, asshole American plutocrats will happily take up the slack.

Like I said, if we don’t get Trump by August 2019, we’re going to have to wait until August of 2021. And, really, it’s very possible that because Trump is an avatar for the rotting of the American civil society, it’s very possible that all of my personal gnashing of teeth over the lack of impeachment of Trump will simply bleed into my personal gnashing of teeth over Trump hurding someone like Sen. Tom Cotton to the presidency in an effort to protect his “legacy.”

Fuck MAGA.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com. He’s working on his first novel.

V-Log: Those Damn MAGA Punks

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Some thoughts.

Trump As An American Nazi & What To Do About It #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I don’t use the term “American Nazi” lightly in regards to Trump for a number of reasons. As I have mentioned elsewhere, there are three major reasons why it’s difficult for Trump to literally be an American Nazi. Those three reasons are his age, his general incompetence and his lack of an overall ideology.

Let’s go through these reasons one by one and talk about them.

His Age
Trump, at 72, is old. He’s so old that even if he made a run for it by getting his own version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts by way of an Mercer-funded Constitutional Convention that might give him God-only-knows what powers, he would, in real terms, be too old to fully use those powers. At this point, I’m more worried about him hobbling the Judiciary by cramming it with young, loony ultra-conservatives than I am him going full dictator and ignoring the Constitution. He could still try to pull it off one way or another, but he would face the other two issues.

His Incompetence
The famous quip by Benjamin Wittes is that Trumpism is malevolence mitigated only by incompetence. Besides his weird ability to be an avatar for the surreal Right-wing of the Republican Party, Trump is actually really, really bad at his job. He’s horrible. He has no center, no morals and he’s easily swayed by flattery. He’s no Pat Buchanan, that’s for sure, for more than one reason. Trump was really lucky and the fate of the entire American Republic may rest on how completely incompetent Trump is, in real terms, when it comes to welding the reigns of power. But he’s getting better at it, so we find ourselves with the last thing that prevents Trump from going full Nazi.

His Lack Of Ideology
Trump is no Pat Buchanan. If Trump had an ideology outside of being an asshole and having a complete lack of empathy, he would have a real chance at destroying the American Constitutional System and turning the United States into a “managed democracy” like they have in Russia and Turkey. If Trump had some sort of core belief system he was willing to fight for, he would truly be a danger to the Republic. The really surreal aspect of all of this is had Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio won the nomination and won the election, the only thing that would have prevented them from doing the same damn things Trump is doing — outside of the weird fixation on immigration and a wall — is they would have abided by existing democratic norms. Trump is a outlier for lots of reasons and he’s stress testing the entire system because he’s just self-aware enough to be more than just your usual demagogue. But the fact that all he wants to do is win the moment, to “own the libs” at any one moment during any specific debate means he doesn’t have a political center to speak of. It’s difficult to go full-blown American Nazi if you don’t have an ideology beyond whatever you might have tweeted that morning.

Put those three things together and you come to several different conclusions. One, while Trump has all the makings of an American Nazi — and effectively is — in real terms, what he might be is a ominous precursor to the real thing. Trump is rattling the cage, destroying norms, using the Overton Window to fuck things up big time, but more likely than not, he’s the guy who will make the actual American Nazi president possible. Sad to say, the entire American Constitutional System is rotting away as we speak. The Founding Fathers could never have predicted that not only would the Legislative Branch completely put party over country, but in addition to that — in fact, because of it — the Judiciary would be eaten away by the cancer that had infected the Executive.

But I stand by my opinion that Trump is, in fact, an American Nazi. He is the closest approximation to one that the existing power structure is willing to permit. He is pushing the American political ship of state in to unprecedented waters and the consequences in the real term will be difficult for many — if not most — of us to process as they happen. In other words, Trump is a Nazi in spirit, if not literal ability to be one, and the whole Ivanka-is-Jewish thing is really just white noise. Trump is unlikely to attack Jewish directly for the time being — that would be a little bit too much on the nose — but he will go after the next best thing for domestic political expediency — immigrants. Once the infrastructure for Concentration Camps is in place on military bases across the country, God only knows who the Trump Administration will throw in there with immigrants who are a little too brown for its liking. My guess is the mentally ill because, they too, are a weak link in society that requires some compassion and empathy, two things Magaist lack completely.

I still can’t get over the fact that Magaists — some of them mothers and fathers! — have had little or no compassion for the children torn from their parents at the border. If that’s not an ominous sign that America’s very own fascist blight is now upon us, I don’t know what is. The complete dehumanization and lack of basic human empathy is the first step towards some pretty horrible things, at least in the past. I’m reluctant to suggest Trump would have the audacity to attempt to implement a “Final Solution” to the immigrant “problem” stranger things, as they say, have happened.

Having said all that, the next issue is what to do about it.

All I can say is — get mad and stay mad. I would cop-out and say meekly that all you can do is vote. But if anything has been learned from the on-going crisis associated with immigrant children being torn from their families at the border, it’s that really, the only thing the American Republic has going for it now is moral outrage. It’s easy to say that the immigrant children situation was unique in a lot of ways, but it did prove an unexpected point: Trump will actually back down if public opinion is aligned against him enough.

So, don’t just vote. Get enraged. Stay politically active. Use whatever personal political power you might have at your disposal to effect change. What happened with the children at the border has given me a little bit of hope. A tiny little bit of hope that maybe the American spirit is a little bit stronger than I had feared. It’s maybe possible that through sheer force of collective will, American citizens might save the nation through there own actions.

Having said that, I might suggest that we need an app of some sort to organize protests. Something that would facilitate regular massive protests across the country to allow people to take a stand, to hold the line. The next few years are going to be bumpy, no matter what happens, and an app is desperately needed to help The Resistance.

But honestly, I don’t know what happens next. We’re just going to have to keep the faith, if nothing else.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

How To Address Trump’s Political Mindfucking (Hint: Focus On The Children)

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

When I was in South Korea, I knew a young lady named Annie Shapiro who, on a personal level, used many of the same methods of mind fucking that Trump uses in a political way on the United States today.

Here’s what I learned from that experience.

The thing about mindfucking is it plays on the basic human inability to manage an enormous amount of information being thrown at you at any one time. Mindfuckers like Trump do the following: They do something crazy then use the confusion to get away with bloody murder somewhere else.

So, while you’re thinking about the revelation that they’re putting kids in “Tender Age” facilities, they do any number of almost as abhorrent things while you’re struggling to comprehend what you’ve just learned. It’s sad, but true, but if because of all of this, you have to pick one thing and fight for it.

For me, it’s the kids. Plenty of those really horrible things are taking place as part of the Trump Administration, but its the kids who have been separated from their families I would suggest we focus on that absolutely. That’s a simple — yet major — issue we can focus on that maybe we can fix.

If we don’t do that, then Trump not only wins, but about 2,000 children will float down the memory hole, never to be seen again. That’s really too much for me at this point.

It’s Self-Evident That Trump Is An American Nazi & Those Who Are Silent Are Collaborators

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, let me be clear about all of this. Trump and Magaism are completely devoid of any ideology beyond an absolute need to “win the moment” by “owning the libs.” They will say anything during the course of an argument to win the moment. Magaists are so beholden to their Fuhrer that it doesn’t matter of what they say is contradictory or strategically makes no sense, as long as they win the moment they’re happy.

Also, just like Hitler, Trump has a personal control over the deplorables to such an extent that the only thing that prevents him from going full dictator and getting his own version of Hitler’s Enabling Acts is our still robust media and an natural disinclination to obey the president absolutely by roughly 60% of the population.

Because they’re no ideology, Trump can — for political expediency — seemingly be an absolute supporter of Israel while at the same fucking time saying there are good people “on both sides” of whole Nazi versus everyone else debate. It can leave one scratching their heads to make sense of it all, to say the least.

To me, however, that’s really all just white noise. To any objective observer, Trump has all the makings of a white nationalist to such an extent that he’s an American Nazi in all but name. It may take him a few more years, but he’s going to either get the handle on how to use the levers of power or he’s going to be given the “gift” of an enormous crisis not — for once — of his own making. He’ll get his Reichstag Fire and when he does, he’ll go full Nazi on us with a particularly American, Maga twist to it.

So, it may not literally be the Nazism of yore finally come to America, but some thoroughly unexpected things. Things will happen between now and whenever Trump happens to agree to leave office — which seems up to debate at this point — that are going to shock us. There will be concentration camps and a growing number of people are going to be throw into them and the question at some point will be if there is going to be a Final Solution or not. I know that sounds rather nightmarish and hysterical at this point, but if we as Americans don’t take a stand now, Trump or his successor is going to finally break the Constitutional system beyond repair.

The thing that really frightens me is the idea that it isn’t even Trump that we have to worry about. It could be someone younger and more ideologically centered that we’re going to have to really worry about. Trump is just laying the groundwork for someone who actually, like, knows what the fuck he’s doing.

Thus, in a sense, Trump could be just the bile, the primordial ooze from whence a political creature that is significantly closer to an actual American Hitler than Trump. If that isn’t enough to give you the heebeejeebees I don’t know what will. I don’t know who it will be, but the it would be someone with the ideology of James Woods combined with Trump’s weird populist charisma. Someone who could actually get enough people to agree with him that he could finally bend the Constitution to the point that is breaks.

I’m not saying that Trump won’t try, to, say, amend the Constitution through a Constitutional Convention or simply ignore elections, but someone younger and more with-it might have a better chance of being successful. So, really, it seems the only thing standing between the United States and actual, real-life fascism is Trump’s age, lack of an ideology and general incompetence.

The American Constitutional system is weak and getting weaker. The systemic weakness of the Legislative Branch, combined with the cramming of the Judiciary with young, loonie MAGA judges means by the time Trump’s eight years is up, he could very well feel emboldened to simply ignore large swaths of the Constitution altogether.

I have no hope that there will be a Blue Wave. The economy is doing too well, there’s too much dark money, Trump’s too powerful and the Russians will hack the vote again. So, we’re in for a long haul of troubling events. This is the darkest timeline. There’s honestly no hope at this moment that anything is going to get us out of this situation anytime soon.

Once I thought maybe if this was World War II, we were in, say, 1942 and as we eased in to 1943, maybe there would be some hope. But now I’m thinking we’re more like Eastern Europe after WWII. Hope was slowly extinguished and ultimately died. It took about two generations for hope to come back and it came back in a wholly unexpected way. I have a feeling I’ll be an elderly man in a nursing home — or on the streets — before some ensemble of the America I knew as a child will return.

Make America great again, indeed.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gamil (dot) com.