‘Trump Train’ To ‘Crazy Train’ — The State Of Republican Impeachment Messaging

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let’s go through how Republicans are messaging impeachment right now, shall we? As you read this, remember that Republicans have one goal and one goal only — keep Trump in power so he can rig the election in 2020. That’s it. That’s their only goal. That’s all they need to have happened for it to be a win. They are completely devoid of any shame and crave power for power’s sake. The no longer believe in liberal democracy and everything is wrapped up in the cult of personality wrapped around Trump.

It seems as though the current Big Lie is that Schiff somehow was in cahoots Orange Crush. This is demonstrably inaccurate, at least from what I can tell right now. This is also mixed in with the suggestion that Orange Crush has some sort of nefarious “agenda.” While this is likely to be extremely effective with the mouth breathing MAGA base, it works solely to “own the moment” on Twitter and deflect from the fact that White House, itself, released documentation confirming what was in the complaint.

Also, not one, but TWO major presidential scandals were caused by people who weren’t exactly without an agenda. Mark Felt was Deep Throat because he was mad he got passed over to head the FBI. Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg literally conspired with Matt Drudge to setup Bill Clinton and he still got impeached.

Next, we have the “don’t fuck with us” strategy of Republican messaging. This involves throwing around the type of bonkers Trump rhetoric in an effort to raise the stakes so high that it grows to be so dangerous that nothing happens. The only problem with this is there’s at least a chance that one, someone gets murdered, too, it only causes the other side to grow more radicalized. Instead of intimidating Democrats into backing down, you cause the creation of a Radical Resistance.

Throw into this the very serious possibility that the Trump Train is now the Crazy Train and Republicans have a problem. As of this moment, if you accept that all they have to do is keep Trump in power through Nov. 2020 to win, then, in a sense, they have a 50/50 shot. But if you throw in the “known unknown” of how completely bonkers Trump may grow over the coming days, then those chances don’t really go down, but the risks definitely increase significantly in ways that are not easy to calculate.

‘These are the times that try men’s souls.’ #RadicalResistance

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

When the only thing standing between your nation and tyranny is the gates of insanity, you got a problem. The reason why I just don’t see any practical way out of this situation is the systemic issues that caused Trump’s rise in the first place aren’t going anywhere. And the ideological rot at the core of the Republican Party is so extensive that the two sides are now playing entirely two different games.

Democrats think they’re playing chess. Republicans just plopped an AR-15 on the table. So, in a sense, there are literally only two things preventing Trump from finally doing away with any pretense of caring about the Constitution –he’s rapidly cracking under the strain of looming impeachment and I just don’t see the U.S. Military following any order on his part to arrest the Democratic members of Congress. That may still happen, but not in a way that I can easily predict.

In a sense, in the short term, we have only one scenario whereby we’re given a limited repreve from a Putin style “managed democracy” — a President Pelosi. But that would be a very short term solution to an existential problem. The Republican Party no longer believes in anything other than power for power’s sake. You notice this the most at the edges. I mean, come on Brit Hume, what’s going on? Hume is actively working on messaging for MAGA under the cloak of some sort of pretend objectivity.

Really, the true tragedy is we’re careening towards a situation where only a massive, horrific event that can be directly pinned on Trump in a clear, unambiguous manner would give us any sort of national absolution. I definitely don’t want that, so we’re much more likely to have either a Trump “win” or such a muddled resolution to this crisis that Trump’s legacy wins, if not Trump himself.

When half a dozen people around the president are all acting like G. Gordon Liddy, then, well, obviously the Democrats have to respond accordingly. I have repeatedly suggested a political radicalization of the so-called “resistance.” Only some sort of Radical Resistance might, just might, confront MAGA on its own terms.

But Democrats now represent such a broad spectrum of people, the necessary political radicalization is unlikely to happen in time. And, sadly, if it does, it will happen in the darkness. The Resistance will be less an effete liberal talking point and more a literal French Resistance type of thing. That the military is likely to sit this one out, no matter what goes both ways. Should Trump not be convicted in the Senate, then, well, he simply conspires to throw the election again — on any number of levels — and flips the switch on weaponizing the ICE camp infrastructure.

I would like to note something — The Atlantic has proposed that MAGA’s strategy is to make impeachment carry such enormous costs that it doesn’t happen in some way. Well, I find such a position unnecessarily defeatist. It’s similar to the slogan, “Wayward sisters, part in peace,” the days between Lincoln’s election and the firing on Fort Sumter. It’s inherently cowardly. Either someone, somewhere is politically brave enough to stand up to Trump and the fascist MAGA hordes, to take a risk for once by showing some courage, or we are no better than the Weimar Republic.

Maybe it’s too late. Maybe the center-Left simply doesn’t have it in it to save the Republic. But, as I keep saying, Trump’s a galactic brain self-own artist, so he’s likely to do something — yet again — that is not exactly in his “political genius” best interest.

Only time will tell. Only time will tell.

Impeachment State Of Play For Oct. 2nd, 2019 — Don’t Panic!

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I would suggest that we’ve reached the second gravest political moment in our nation’s history since its founding. The other political moment was the days after the election of Abraham Lincoln. All of the other major existential threats involved war of some sort.

What’s even more trouble about this is things are moving so fast that not everyone realizes what’s going on. Even Donald Trump hasn’t really freaked out the way he will once it sinks in he may, in fact, lose the presidency. And what’s more, there’s always a chance somehow this is all a setup for a purge of the government in a rather spectacular fashion. The only reason why I struggle to think this is us being historically punked is Orange Crush’s complaint has been backed up by the Trump Administration itself.

But there are some very serious political things going on as we speak. One is the Trump Administration is not acting like any of this is bad. They are lulzing all of this to such an extent that I can honestly say the only reason why I doubt they will effect a traditional coup is they are both extremely incompetent and the military simply would not follow an illegal order. Now, I could see Trump riling up the MAGA base to such an extent that whatever civil disorder THEY do is used as excuse to turn Blue State governments into military districts and purge Congress of Democrats. More likely Trump surviving impeachment would, in itself, be the setup to turning the United States into a Putin-style “managed democracy.”

The embarrassing thing about all of this at its heart is it all happened in public and over the course of several years. Trump’s corruption of the American political system is systemic and existential.

Removing Trump from off would only be a stopgap solution to our political problems. But it must be done. What happens after that is up to us to decide.

V-Log: Idle, Incoherent Rambling About #Writing A #Novel & Impeachment #RadicalResistance

Some thoughts.

‘None Dare Call It Treason’ #RadicalResistance

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Now, let me be clear for the record again, I’m in no way suggesting violence. But I am suggesting the opposition to the MAGA peril to our democracy be more passionate, cogent and, dare I say radical on an ideological level.

The reason why I say this is, we were so busy worrying about the MAGA base, we never thought about that Trump’s cult of personality would infect people we believed would be “the adults in the room.” A prime example of this on a practical level is some Very Smart Conservatives are lulzing at Rudy, Barr and Pompeo (and Gorka!) literally racing around the globe openly pressuring foreign powers to give Trump the cover to pardon Manafort (and maybe Flynn).

This is when things get really, really dark. Not only do All The President’s Men not really feel that they’re doing anything wrong, they are prepared to pull “evidence” that Manafort was “framed” out of their butt to change the narrative as we lurch forward with impeachment. What they want is to give the Infowars comment section red meat. Throw in a possible bot attack on the part of the Russians and there’s a decent chance Chris Wallace will declare impeachment “dead” because of the “bad optics” of the attorney general releasing a report that says the entire Mueller investigation was a deep state plot to make the president look bad.


I feel sick to my stomach pacing out this scenario. I feel this way because outlets like The New York Times are so busy paying Maggie Haberman and “The Vogel” to play the Trump Whisperer — not to mention doxing Orange Crush! — that they are completely flat footed on the gravity of this fast-moving crisis. If the entire Executive Branch is not only run like Trump Org (that is a criminal enterprise) AND nobody is acting in good faith because they don’t believe in liberal democracy in the first place, then, well, we’re fuck if we don’t radicalize on a political level.

I used to say when I was running ROKon Magazine in Seoul that “Every problem is just an opportunity in disguise.” Because Trump is demonstrably at risk of losing his mind — as I have written repeatedly — then there’s both peril and opportunity going forward. They’re peril because if we can’t burn House Trump to the ground, then, well, that’s it. The moment Trump escapes conviction in the Senate he calls up Putin or MBS and does it all over again. Putin directly hacks the 2020 election. And if that doesn’t work, Putin or MBS — or Peter Thiel — could simply bribe the Electoral College in masse. Trump pardons Thiel and the quislings of Fox Bullshit Mt. have Bolton riding a Roomba with glee.

The ICE camp infrastructure is weaponized, all those young hack MAGA judges on the Federal bench do what they were appointed to do — destroy liberal democracy — and America is no longer exceptional, no longer a shining city on a hill, we’re American Carnage.

If The Radical Resistance wins, meanwhile, there’s a least a chance for national renewal. To make America great again, to coin a phrase. But it would take a national outrage the likes of which we have never seen in peacetime. So, I’m dubious. In fact, at this point, I fear the entire fate of the nation rests on Trump being a criminally incompetent self-own artist. That’s how Trump is extremely dangerous to the future of the Republican Party.

But it wouldn’t be in the way you think. In Red States, the Republican Party would continue to thrive. In the rest of the country, however, the stench of tyranny would whoft off the rotting husk of the party of Lincoln. And that’s the best case scenario. We have to stick the landing. If it’s a draw, MAGA wins. They have no shame, they crave power for power’s sake and they don’t believe in liberal democracy.

I am beginning to think only the military — and Trump being bonkers — stands in the way of the MAGA cult essentially bringing the United States to its knees. They already have, in a sense, but we still have a small window of opportunity.

But when Barr releases that bullshit report of his, well, either we save ourselves or we don’t.

Darkness Has Fallen — Time For The Radical Resistance To Act

MAGA is ready, are you?
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

We have to accept that what’s going on right now is not a scandal. For it be a scandal, the characters involved would have have some sense of shame. They would have to have a soul, some sense of a shared idea of what’s patriotic. This, sadly, is not the case.

The people involved in the current shitshow have come to believe their own press. What’s going on is a uniquely American type of political war because no one has gotten murdered — yet. Though MAGA via Trump’s Twitter feed seems to believe it would be a net-win for them if that did, in fact happen. MAGA leadership is so detached from the norms of democracy or civil society that they are now brazenly running roughshod over the very Constitution they swore to protect.

This is a solely a political war, hopefully for its duration, but so was, in a sense, Reconstruction. Much of the historical legacy of Reconstruction is a gift from the Radical Republicans. The 14th Amendment is the signature of the Radical Republicans left on the Constitution itself. Now that we have a sense of what MAGA’s game plan is, the Resistance has to radicalize like the Republicans of yore. If we don’t MAGA will destroy the country as we know it. We will be nothing more than a Russian-style “managed democracy.”

In practical terms, Radical Resistance in Congress would look like this — gratuitous use of the “inherent contempt” rule. They have left us no choice. Pompeo sticking his dick out at Congress in defiance is MAGA throwing the gauntlet down. If we don’t at last throw that fucker in jail, or fine him $500,000 a day until he shows up, then all is lost. They will see it as a sign of weakness and take charge of the narrative going forward.

One thing any Radical Resistance has to face is MAGA’s media messaging is now that of a feral rat — or maybe an alien xenomorph. They are prepared to burn everything — everything — to the ground to save The Dear Leader. This is their gotterdammerung. They would rather destroy our entire system of government than give an inch.

As such, political radicalization on the part of the to-date milquetoast “Resistance” is the only answer. I don’t want anyone to get hurt. I hate violence and that’s not my character. But MAGA is ampting up the stakes to a dangerous level. Newt did a tweet today that used the word “fake” in it seven times. And I’ve seen similar surreal uses of fascist agitprop elsewhere on Twitter.

One last note — courage involves taking a risk. If it didn’t then everyone would be courageous. We’ve reached the point where silence is consent. I vacillate widely between resignation and wanting to fight politically until the very end.

Things are dark now. But if we’re willing to defend the Constitution the way it has defended us, maybe dawn will break sooner rather than later.

Wargaming Impeachment

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

When I was in college, there was an urban legend where people were sitting around drinking and having fun when someone mentioned that they stole someone’s vanity license tag. In Virginia, such tags are no big deal, but in the North, they’re often very expensive. The story goes that the person who learns this is from the North and they grow enraged. That’s what’s going on in America right now — House Trump stole America’s vanity license tag (our liberty) and we’re in shock. House Trump, meanwhile, is lulzing it all off.

What, you stole my license plate?

It’s easy to despair when thinking about impeachment because the stakes are existential. Let’s go through some datapoints to illuminate why this is the case.

Bill Barr has apparently been preparing an “Anti-Mueller Report” designed to debunk the entire thing. That not only would he run around the globe in search of dirt to debunk a report that Trump screams at the top of his lungs exonerated him, but most of the Right’s inteligensia is totally cool with the whole thing is extremely disturbing. This is the setup to Barr very, very soon holding a press conference “proving” that Trump was “set up” by the Deep State.

What’s so troubling about this in the extreme is how brazen Barr and Pompeo have been in all of this. They have broken so many laws in the process trying to debunk the Mueller Report at the behest of the president that the whole thing is surreal and existential. The kicker is, it doesn’t matter what Barr even finds — he’s setting up a battle royale of historic proportions.

The MAGA base will latch on to whatever he found to such an extent that they will completely ignore the biggest political scandal in American history. This will give the messaging cover that Republican lawmakers need going forward with impeachment and Trump is acquitted in the Senate after a super-fast trial of maybe a hour total. Since the Republican Party is a cult that has no shame and only wants power for power’s sake, this is a win for them no matter what. Trump is free go full Putin between now and the Nov. 2020 election and darkness falls. They weaponize the ICE infrastructure and the American spirit is squashed.

And, yet, while all things being equal that seems the most likely outcome, there are some serious, serious problems for House Trump. One is there is serious momentum behind impeachment. Also, every day Republicans have no cogent answer as to why Barr and Pompeo (and Gorka!) (and Rudy!) were racing roughshod around the globe in an effort to pull a conspiracy theory out of their butts is a day the Good Guys grow in power. If they can’t release their bullshit within a matter of days, not weeks, even if they manage to come up with a Grand Unified Theory Of The Deep State Plot Against Trump they will have lost everyone but the 35% MAGA base of the electorate.

Also, House Trump is now so unmoored from any connection to liberal democracy that they are their own worst enemy. They no longer even pretend to care about facts, or law or ethics. They are willing to destroy everything in defense of House Trump. There’s a real chance that even if they manage to convince the MAGA base that the Dear Leader is, in fact, infallible, that the rest of the country will look at them in amazement that they are oblivious to what they’ve done.

Really, I guess what I’m trying to convey is the stakes are so high that if it’s a draw, Trump wins. He is free to do exactly what he’s wanted to do all a long — become America’s Putin. We don’t have free and fair elections, the ICE infrastructure is weaponized and people — like ME! — are simply “disappeared.”

If we can’t not only remove Trump but put him on trial and ultimately send him to prison for the reason of his life, all is lost. He’ll just keep doing what he’s been doing, only for Ivanka and Don Jr. And given that there are half a dozen would-be Trumps in the pipeline who know how to use the path that Trump has paved, things grow even more problematic. I honestly don’t know how this doesn’t end in a dystopia.

I wish I was overreacting, but I’m not. Again, as I have repeatedly stated, the only reason at this point that maybe we might have a possibility of victory is Trump is a galactic-brain self-own artist. And he’s going to crack under the pressure of impeachment, no matter what. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Otherwise darkness falls.

Things Are Growing Dark — We Are So Fucked

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have long proposed that in the end, it will be Trump himself who brings his administration to its knees. He’s a galactic brain self-own artist and mentally unstable to boot.

That House Trump would lulz the active participation of both Bill Barr and Pompeo running around the world in a frantic effort to undermine the foundations of the Mueller Report — in broad daylight, no less — indicates that the rot within the executive branch is far deeper than anyone of could possibly imagine. Republicans are already poo-pooing all of this and going so far as to conflate it with what the whistleblower accused the House Trump of.

So, it seems to me that there’s a real chance that we’ve just about reached an endgame. And that endgame is 40% of the electorate — the MAGA base — is so detached from any notion of law or democracy that Trump through mindfucking, spin and messaging can stop the drive to impeachment in its tracks and that will be that. The bad guys will have won.

And, really, there’s only one reason and one reason only why this might not work — Donald Trump. Trump is now a tyrant the likes of which America hasn’t seen since its foundation. He’s the mad king. He’s our King George III. And about 40% of the electorate doesn’t care. In fact, they love it. They love the whole thing. They want more of it, not less.

So, I predict that Pompeo will return to the United States within a few days House Trump will lay out how they’ve “proved” that the Mueller Report was a deep state hack job and that will be that. They will own the narrative, at least with the base and Chris Wallace will say the “bad optics” exonerate Trump yet again. Everything that’s happened in the last week will be forgotten and they weaponize the ICE infrastructure at some point over the course of Trump’s second term (if not sooner.)

But, like I said before — Trump’s a self-own artist and bonkers. So, that’s our only chance of escaping a Russian-style “managed democracy.” The “anti-Mueller Report” will give the MAGA talking heads something to crow about and America dies.

A Republic, if you can keep it.

Holy Shit, Bill Barr!

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

For some time now, the Right has been atwitter with the suggestion that Bill Barr was about to wrap up an investigation into the “true” origins of the Mueller Report. Ok, now, at the time, I assumed he was doing an internal review of the US government in search of the super secret “Deep State.” Silly me, he wasn’t doing that, he was actively running around the GLOBE using his power as a government official to undermine the basis of the Mueller Report.

And guess who all this goes back to — Paul Motherfucking Manafort. And who is Manafort tight with — The Russians. And who else is wrapped up in all that bullshit?

Mike Flynn.

This next part you need to kinda let sink in — things had gotten so bad that House Trump thought it was totally cool and legal to do this essentially in broad daylight. In fact, things had gotten so bad that they didn’t even realize that maybe releasing the whistleblower complaint and rough transcript might not be the brightest move on their part.

This is jaw dropping once you let it roll around in your mind a little bit. It’s staggering. Astonishing.

Now what.

Bill Barr Is Not Q — He Is In A Lot Of Trouble, However

I dunno.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have finally gotten a hang of what’s at if not the center of this growing clusterfuck, least at it’s soul: Bill Barr at the behest of Donald Trump was running around the world in a methodical effort to undermine the basis of the Mueller Report.

This is bad on its face, but it gets worse when it appears as though Trump was using his power as president to strong arm governments around the world to find the magical mystery pixie dust beans that would give him the cover to pardon ( both ) Manafort (and probably Flynn).

That Trump was so far gone in his disregard for any semblance of shame that he thought he could use the mindfucks assocaited with the Stormy Daniels playbook is rather staggering.

And, really, it’s difficult to see this as anything but a belly flop for Republicans because Trump is not a political genius. If he was, he would keep quiet, play golf and essentially say, “Ok, fucking convict me.” He wouldn’t be convicted, he would be free screw with the 2020 election and he could sail off into the sunset with Rudy.

But, no, Trump is slowly losing his mind. So he’s actively not only aggravating the electorate on a retail politics level, he’s making it nearly impossible for Republicans to come up with any form of messaging as we head into an impeachment battle.

We still aren’t in a traditional crisis because, well Republicans have no shame and the the base is loyal at 68%. But we are inching towards things being dark and surreal for some time to come.

I dunno what happens next.