Karen Tumulty, May I Suggest You Remember Mstislav Rostropovich?

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

A real problem with Twitter is you have a very short space to articulate what can be very complex issues. I consider myself a journalist — I was at least trained to be one — and I love the trade and the people who make it up. But we’re in a crisis — the worst political crisis since late 1860 — and the manner in which the Press is covering it is, frankly, embarrassing.

Today I got into a minor Twitter-spat with Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post. She put me on blast to poo-poo my suggestion that them doing yet ANOTHER story about Hunter Biden’s vaguely unethical business dealings from half a decade ago might not be the best use of the paper’s resources right now.

I’m so jaded at this point that her putting me on blast to “put me in my place” evokes nothing more than a lulz from me. Ok, you got me. You have a huge Twitter following and I’m just a rando you feel you can use as a rhetorical foil. The point I was trying to make, however, is valid. Rather than aiding and abetting the destruction of the Republic in the name of “objectivity,” might I suggest she — and the rest of the press — remember Mstislav Rostropovich.

There’s an iconic picture , which, for the life of me I can’t find, of him holding a Kalashnikov during the segue of the Russian White House about 20 years ago. Rostropovich wasn’t a solider — he was a well known orchestra conductor — but in a moment of crisis he took up a weapon and decided to attempt to defend liberty in the nation he loved.

So, I would suggest to Ms. Tumulty she think of Rostropovich when she crows about how I should subscribe to the paper to get the “full context” of their reporting. Trump wants to turn the United States into an autocratic “managed democracy” hell bent on putting Ms. Tumulty herself into jail for during her job.

If that isn’t enough to give her pause before crowing about discovering “important” information about Hunter Biden’s unethical behavior five years ago, I don’t know what will.

Republicans Now Have A Cogent Messaging Strategy … But Trump’s Still President

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

After letting a number of precious days slip past them, the Republican Party now has something akin to an overarching messaging strategy. Remember, the whole thing is based on an arbitrary Big Lie. It’s not as though facts are important or that anything they’re doing is thought up in good faith. They have one goal and one goal only — keep Trump in power.

With that it in mind, it seems as though Republicans have finally established their bullshit conditions for them to alledgly take impeachment seriously.

Quid Pro Quo Has To Be Established.
This is complete bullshit because Trump and his cronies keep giving up the game on this one. But this is a key talking point right now. Even though we have all we need to prove an impeachable offense in rough transcript — quid pro quo or not — Republicans have set an impossible standard that they can then hammer home whenever asked. They’re messaging to the base that only if Trump actually uses the actual words quid pro quo does the House investigation into this situation come close to not being a “witch hunt.” This is total bullshit on their part because they honestly don’t give a shit about anything but keeping power and grifting. So Trump himself could do exactly this one thing they absolutely demand and they would simply pivot to the next talking point. They just don’t care. They don’t care about liberal democracy anymore. Fuck you, see if you can convict Trump in the Senate is their real agenda.

After this main talking point, they seem to have a hodge-podge of other, less important ones they reference as needed to “own the moment.” They rant about Schiff “lying.” They think it’s all a Deep State con job – entrapment. Everything they say is complete bullshit because we have Trump dead to rights and now it’s simply a matter of waging a pitched political war for the next few weeks. Republicans will destroy the Constitution, the Republic and whenever the fuck else they have to do keep Trump in power, even if he finally goes completely fucking insane.

As I’ve said before, I always though Trump would lose his mind in private and then a secret Regency would be set up. Now I realize Trump could very well snap and we’ll have a madman as president until the wheels of government finally grind towards some sort of endgame. Trump is obviously bonkers now, but he’s a least reasonably cogent and reasonably in control of his absolute worst instincts.

It definitely seems that Republicans are also doing their best to egg the base on into some sort of violence. They really, really, REALLY want MAGA people all over the country to start killing members of the media or Democratic member of Congress. They, of course, will say these people are mentally ill and it’s not their fault. But they will also use the death and destruction as a cover for telling us we have to end impeachment and “let the people decide” in 2020. This is fucking bullshit not only because Trump will simply bribe Electors or directly conspire with the Russians, or the Saudis or the fucking North Koreans to hack into the voting booth, but there’s a good chance that even if Trump loses fair and square, that they want violence then, too, so they can keep power.

The sooner we realize that the entire Republican Party is now a criminal fascist organization, the sooner we can be honest with ourselves about the stakes we face and what really is actually likely to happen.

And, really, the entire fate of the United States as we know it now rests on Trump losing his mind in some manner that is so completely fucking spectator that somehow 20 Republican Senators miraculously decide maybe Pence wouldn’t be such a bad president after all. That’s it. That’s all the hope I got right now.

The Republicans hate democracy so much that they will fight dirty, they will lie, they will cheat, they will burn everything to the ground simply to keep power. They are only interested in democracy as a transactional event. They want to abuse it to regain power if they lose it.

I don’t know, folks. Now what.

President Nancy Pelosi Must Be Our Endgame Now

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bum
garls

Let me be clear — I’m no big fan of Nancy Pelosi. Even for me, she’s a bit too “woke” for modern American retail politics. But she is a leader and she does have what it takes to be a caretaker president simply so we can have a free-and-fair election in 2020.

If this was a normal Watergate-level scandal, then I would be content with President Pence. He’s conservative as hell, but for the sake of the country, simply pushing Trump out politically would be enough to right the ship of state at last. But, given that this is the biggest existential threat to the Republic since states started leaving the Union after Lincoln’s election, President Pence won’t cut it.

He’s too wrapped up in the criminal fascist conspiracy that is the current Trump Administration. Pence needs the old heave-ho too. I have no idea how this could possibly happen given that Pence has no shame, but sometimes it’s good to dream big politically. We need to set our sights on getting Pelosi into the White House as soon as possible using the framework that exists within the Constitution. In fact, I only even suggest this because it’s the only acceptable outcome if you take this clusterfuck seriously.

It’s too easy to imagine that Pence becomes president and lulz, Barr and Pompeo remain in office and we simply slide into a theocracy. I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those “secularist” Barr and Pompeo bemoan and I don’t particularly feel like finding myself in a weaponized ICE camp in some sort of surreal mixture of The Plot Against America and The Handmaid’s Tale. Pence’s vision of America is based on hypocrisy and the enslavement of women. If that’s not enough to actively work to politically shank him, I don’t know what is.

But, to be honest, the only way we get a President Pelosi is a Radical Resistance. We throw down the gauntlet. Pelosi takes up the moral mantle of the show president by pounding away at the entire corrupt, fascist Trump Administration on a daily basis. We’re in enough of a crisis that she needs to scare the shit out of people. Use inherent contempt to arrest Rudy. Lobby Obama to speak out. Maybe even get Jon Stewart to go on an impassioned rant on The Late Show.

Or, put another way, Pelosi needs to set the national agenda everyday. Trump and Pence are like characters from the movie Scream. They are attempting to tag-team the destruction of our Republic into some surreal dystopia.

I have my doubts, however, that Pelosi is up to it. She’s too conservative on a Constitutional level. Too reluctant to be political aggressive in any way beyond her status as a Constitutional officer. We’ll see, I guess. Stranger things have happened. Maybe she’ll at last rise to the occasion in the manner the nation needs her to.

Idle, Incoherent Rambling About #Writing A #Novel & #Impeaching #Trump #RadicalResistance

Shelton Bumgarner

Some thoughts.

Let’s Rock — House Democrats Need To Adopt ‘Radical Resistance’ … NOW

Let’s rock.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

For me the notion of “Radical Resistance” is simply an update of the Radical Republicans of Reconstruction. House Democrats need to knock some heads. They need to do whatever they have to do put the fear of God (or the Constitution) into the heart of House Trump.

I would not do this willy-nilly, however. I would be methodical. I would have Nancy Pelosi on TV on a regular basis laying out the case for why Radical Resistance was an absolute must. I don’t know if she would want to adopt the moniker — Americans are spooked by “radicalism” — but the end result would be the same.

Whenever the case is made for a vote on a formal impeachment inquiry, the same day I would ram through a change of the rules so the House could deputize its Sergeant at Arms to start arresting people. I would start with Rudy and go from there. House Trump is no longer moored to any form of democratic norms, so fuck’em. Let’s rock.

House Democrats would simply have to be prepared for Trump to finally be transational in his bloodlust. If they use inherent contempt, he might very well tell his MAGA cult to take up arms against House Democrats and, well, kill them. Or, he would “joke” that something bad should happen to the “traitors” involved in an “unconstitutional coup.” The Right has already adopted his messaging, probably because they not-so-secretly hope that if people start to die the momentum for impeachment will come to a grinding halt. (I have my doubts.)

But I just don’t think House Democrats have it in them. Or, if they do, it will be too late. They need to radicalize…NOW. Like, TODAY. This is a political war and the sooner they start to see it as such, the better. The only thing keeping the Constitution in effect right now is Trump’s criminal incompetence at being a lawless tyrant. If we were dealing with President Kobach or President Cotton, we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place. There would be no window of opportunity.

I have no ready answer to any of this. I just know Nancy Pelosi should throw down the gauntlet. Congressional Democrats should shut down the government until Congressional Republicans stop with the pretence of caring about liberal democracy in the first place.

Wargaming House Democrats Using ‘Inherent Contempt’

I don’t know.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We’re in a political war right now and I suggest we start to act like it. The sooner House Democrats take things to the next level by using their inherent contempt powers, the better. There are obviously some risks associated with doing this. Let’s look into them.

The biggest fear is Trump will flip out and drop an H-Bomb like weaponizing his Twitter feed even more than he already has. He might dox the whistleblower and “joke” that he should be “taught a lesson in 2nd Amendment Rights.” Lulz, right? That seems to be the biggest fear right now. And that is a very real possibility. But with any use of extreme force, there would likely be unexpected blowback. If you start ranting to your MAGA base about killing people, someone, somewhere might notice. Trump to date has cloaked his bloodlust in the guise of calling people “traitors.” But if Rudy is hold up in a jail somewhere, there’s a chance the man may finally snap and be far more direct.

Another fear is that this would shock the public and turn them off to impeachment altogether. That’s why I wouldn’t do something so drastic without prepping the way. I would have Nancy Pelosi get on TV and give a very solemn address explaining that things are so dire that a Congressional power not used in 100 years is an absolute necessity. I would also suggest you have some sort of uniform messaging on the part of the 2020 Democratic candidates. If Democrats can’t get their act together that much, then don’t bother.

But if they did manage to do this, I think seeing the surreal imagine of Rudy being tracked down and arrested by the House Sargent At Arms would be such amazing, memorable TV that it would likely lurch public opinion even more towards not only impeachment, but conviction. Of course, it would also harden the tribal divide we find ourselves in, but this is an existential crisis. You have to make decisions not based on fear, but on principle.

Anyway, I have my doubts. I continue to be reluctant that Trump will come anywhere near being convicted in the Senate. And, yet, there is the issue of Mad King Trump. It’s difficult for House Trump to found The Thousand Year Trump when its putative founder is bonkers. Trump’s very likely going to finally snap before the impeachment process is over and then the question becomes how much of the rest of the government — and maybe even world — he intends to take with them.

Downfall, Maybe: The Constitution As Trump’s ‘Operation Barbarossa’

Best case scenario?
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Comparing Trump to Hitler is something I have done a lot of in the past, but let’s look not at his policies, but Trump the tactician. It’s eerie how well one could overlay the progress of Hitler’s career in Europe over that of Trump’s political career to date.

Hitler believed in the “leadership principle.” He thought as leader he had a near God-like ability to lead the Fatherland to his dystopian vision of Europe free of Jews, Bolsheviks and Slavs. The Arans would turn Pols and the French into little more than slave labor. Most of Russia west of the Urals would be repopulated with the Master Race.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit. Hitler was not insane. He was a very evil person, but he was not insane — which makes him worse. He was very lucky, too. His biggest mistakes were not really strategy, but bending the needs of the war effort to those of his own ideological desires. It was his invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, that was his downfall. He could have gone south east through Turkey into the oil fields of the Middle East and into India. But his kooky ideas about the Jewish-Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union forced his hand in a pretty astonishing fashion.

Now, let’s look at Trump. The interesting thing is Trump is a moron. He’s simply a symptom of some fundimental rot in the American political system. So, you could say that his victory in 2016 was almost like Hitler’s surprise victory over the French in 1940. So, for the last few years, Trump has dominated America much like Hitler did Europe after the fall of the French Third Republic.

This grows even more interesting when you realize that while Hitler had his craven desire to murder people for ideological reasons as an existential flaw, with Trump it’s cheating to win. Combine his stupidity and cluelessness with a deranged 2-year-old’s need to win at any cost and, well, you have him calling up the president of Ukraine 24 hours after Chris Wallace gave him a political pardon after the “bad optics” of Mueller’s testimony.

So, while it’s definitely an extended metaphor, you could argue that the Constitution itself may be Trump’s Russia. It’s not kids in cages. It’s not the 12,000 lies. It’s not the harsh and cruel policies that Trump loves, loves, loves. It’s Trump himself. It’s Trump’s complete inability to uphold his oath of office. His complete, criminal inability to “grow into the office” that might, just might, be his downfall.

And with that, we reach the final question of this gratuitously extended metaphor — what will be Trump’s Stalingrad? What will be the final thing to break his iron hold on the cult that was formerly known as the Republican Party?

Well, as of right now, it doesn’t look like that is ever going to happen. Moscow Mitch will have a 20 minute trial, the Republican line will hold in the Senate and I find myself in a re-education camp just about the time I had hoped to try to sell my spec novel.

But Stalingrad did, in fact, happen. So there’s … hope? All I can think of is Trump again owns himself. But this time he loses his mind. He finally snaps. He goes completely bonkers to such an extent that the normal laws of American politics begin to finally, finally snap back into place. Or maybe after weeks of enormous revelations as part of the House’s impeachment proceedings the sheer absolute pressure of the rage of 60+% of the electorate is enough to wipe the perpetual smug grin off Moscow Mitch’s face.

I just don’t know. I’m not prepared to predict the endgame, either way. All I can say is, though, if we can’t convict Trump in the Senate then that’s all she wrote. Start making contingency plans for hiding in people’s attics if you aren’t MAGA.

Would be pretty funny, though, if both Hitler and Trump were brought down because of shenanigans in the general Ukraine area.

The Misunderstood Legacy Of Watergate

Now what you think.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Watergate gave us a false sense of how easy it might be to shame a president out of office. In a way, we can blame this on Sen. Barry Goldwater. It was he who organized a trip to the White House in August 1974 to tell Nixon it was time to go — he didn’t have the votes.

But, really, the now expected endgame of Watergate in all likelihood was not an example of “the system working” as was often said in post-Watergate America. In fact, it’s the opposite — Nixon resigning short-circuited the Constitutional process. We would have been better off decades later if Nixon had allowed the process of trial to take place. We would have a far more better understanding of how the impeachment process could successfully work.

And now here we are in 2019. Everything is different than 1974. Fox News exists. This is happening as a presidential cycle is reving up, not as midterms approach. Apologists for Trumplandia simply want to run out the clock in the name of “fairness.” They don’t give a shit about fairness, all they care about is getting us so far into 2020 that Trump survives to win re-election corruptly.

Bill Barr hasn’t even done a criminal referral for a sweeping list of notable anti-Trump names. What better way to end an impeachment process than to indict Hillary Clinton for “secretly” being behind the claim that Russians colluded with the Trump campaign. That’s a real possibility at this point. Let that sink in.

As I keep ranting about to anyone who will listen — not only is Trump not some sort of political genius, he’s also his own worst enemy. He has an entire support apparatus at his beck and call and he still may not get impeached but convicted. That’s a pretty astonishing — if cold hard — fact.

But he may still survive.

Of course, purging Trump is just the first step. All the dangers associated with MAGA are still going to be there. Kris Kobach and Tom Cotton have be watching and taking notes about what worked with Trump and what didn’t. So, keep your political powder dry, folks.

Radical Resistance, Beware Conservatives Bringing ‘Gifts’

It’s come to this.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have a lot of respect for some of the more notable “#NeverTrump” Republicans on Twitter. And to a large extent, the following is not about them. This is more about the weird amalgam of “objective” commentators who think if only House Democrats would do this or that thing then everything would work out.

First, let’s get some stuff out of the way — there are a shit ton of people who do not want Trump impeached and or convicted. And, to be honest, there is simply no way they will ever change their minds. They have a vested interest in the MAGA grift on a personal level and, well, fuck you.

So, when they passionately articulate for thousands of words this or that bullshit reason that Democrats are doing it all wrong, I suggest you take it with a grain of salt. They wrap up their strategic goal — keeping Trump in office for a full eight years — in what seem to be logical tactical moves to impeach and convict Trump.

A big talking point among these assholes is Democrats need to “slow down.” This is taking a playbook from the gun lobby. What they really want is there to be no momentum. By that point it will be mid-2020 and, lulz, let the people decide sucker! They also get really bent out of shape about the impeachment drive coming off as “political.” This is a lulz given that the entire process is meant to be a political punishment.

And, really, the key thing is — they want to give Republicans, who are already asymmetrically radicalized — an absolute veto over any decision to impeach and convict Trump. They simply don’t see any successful political effort to end the cancerous Trump Administration early as a win for anyone but Democrats. That it might be a win for the nation doesn’t even enter their minds.

A key issue is that the clock is ticking. And, to date, House Democrats have actually done the things they should be doing. I think they should lean into “inherent contempt” now, but that’s just me. That is kind of a nuclear option that would likely have fucktwit MAGA people reaching for their AR-15s.

What happens next? I dunno. But I might gently suggest that some of the hack political talking head on cable news stop bickering about the 2020 race and start to prepare the nation for what was unthinkable just a few weeks ago — Trump could actually be convicted in the Senate. What’s more, we’re just at the beginning of this clusterfuck. There might be a cascading effect whereby Pence, too, leaves office pretty abruptly.

I worry that at the end of all of this we wake up to a President Ivanka, but that’s more me simply always assuming the absolute worst than anything else.

I hope.

V-Log: We Are All So Fucked If Trump Isn’t Convicted In The Senate

Well, we are.