V-Log — Developing & #Writing An ‘Apocalypse Now’ For The Trump Era

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

In these two rambling videos, I talk about both the novel I’m writing and how fucked we are when it comes to Trumplandia. May God have mercy on our collective souls.


‘The Night Of Mar-A-Largo’

It’s MAGA’s World, We Just Die In It.

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

For about four years now, I have been telling anyone who will listen that I think Donald Trump is an existential threat to the Republic. The last few days have pretty much proven my case. It’s rare that I look out in the blue winter sky and wonder if I’m going to see a DPRK ICBM in the sky, heading to nearby-ish DC.

I have even begun to pace out how I would know it had happened. The EMP burst would zap all electronics in the general area of the nuclear blast and so, well, nothing would work. I have thought about how many sites the DPRK would target and the likelihood they would actually be able to blow them up. I love Koreans, but they have no “medium” switch on a cultural level. So if president crazypants managed to get them to the point where they wanted to take us down with them, then, then they would probably shoot as many as five ICBMs towards us. They have a pretty nice H-bomb arsenal at this point and the means to deliver them across the entire United States.

But they haven’t really had a chance to test the whole system, so there’s a good chance what would really happen is we would all collectively shit our pants at how fucking close we came to 10+ million dead (at least) in the United States alone. We aren’t really prepared on a psychological or emotional level to deal with THAT many dead in the context of civilization continue to exist. But that would be a real possibility — as long as the Chinese and Russians sat on their hands, any nuclear war between the DPRK and US would be on the low end of a “limited exchange.” Given how fucking bonkers Trump is, of course, he would probably nuke the North Koreans out of existence using not just tactical nukes but h-bombs. You could probably turn most of North Korea into an unlivable radioactive hellscape with as few as 5 h-bombs. Think about that. That’s pretty deep.

The point is, however, that we’re definitely lurching towards what I’ve suggested all along — things are going to get so extreme and so surreal pretty soon that we’re going to learn a lot not just ourselves as a people but something pretty basic about our nation as a whole. If there’s nothing Trump can do that will lesson his support for any reason, what happens if he get’s so bad on a mental level that we all start to think maybe we’re entering The Dead Zone. Maybe the reason there’s no intelligent life in the universe is inevitably an ET Donald Trump pops up and blows the planet to bits? Is it possible that Trump’s not just an existential threat to the Republic, he’s an existential threat to the species?

I suspect that we’re just fucked. MAGA just needs Trump cognizant enough to make it into his second term. That’s it. By that point his new Veep — The Kooch, Kris Kobach, Tom Cotton, Tucker Carlson or Don Jr? — will be in place to pick up the slack. So I fully expect one of the scenarios we face is Trump uses any war in the Middle East to win re-election and the he promptly turns into a psychological puddle and we get the American Hitler we’ve all been expecting in Trump.

I just can’t see ANYTHING that will force Trump out of office for any reason other than a peaceful death sometime in the next 10 years. He’s just one tweet away from demanding a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment.” He will get it, they will go rouge and pass Enabling Acts on a Constitutional level and I die in an ICE camp sometime in the next two to three years. Lulz!

Another, far darker scenario is Trump doesn’t make that far. He manages to crater on a psychological level not when MAGA needs him to (any point after Jan 20, 2021) but, say, sometime in the January-October time frame. If things get as mindblowingly surreal as fear, Republicans will have three lines of defense, 1) Let the people decide 2) If only we back off and give him some space, he’ll make America Great Again 3) The Pence Piviot.

The last one is one of the more clever moves they might use. If things get so absolutely extreme that the Republican Lizard People finally face the unthinkable of having to admit that, well, maybe Trump really WAS a worse choice than Hillary Clinton, they will simply say that Trump needs his rest and Pence is making sure Trump’s vision of America (ugh) becomes a reality. We’re safe because of Pence, in other words.

But let’s say that doesn’t work. Then what. What if what I’ve mulled before happens. I mean, what if Trump really finally flips his lid — and in the middle of a major regional war in the Middle East, no less! Then what. Poor old Hugh Hewitt’s brain may break. If you’re such a cockholster for The Dear Leader and finally reality comes crashing into the situation in a way that even you can’t spin or deny, then, well, things are going to get fucking lit. A lot of smart, educated grown-ass men have debased themselves absolutely for the sake of Trump and every day Trump gets worse and more dangerous for not just America but the FUCKING WORLD.

The single most surreal event of my life will be if Dennis Prager+Hugh Hewitt+Matt Schlapp get on TV and have a complete, total mental and emotional breakdown when, like The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy, they realize they hitched their “lives and scared honors” to the wrong guy. This is unlikely to happen, but thinking about it happening is kind of chilling. That level of bonkers behavior on the part of a “public intellectual” would be rather disturbing.

Only if, say, a few million people died and everyone blamed Trump for it could I see that happening. In real terms, those guys have gotten what they wanted from Trump — a tax cut and young, hack MAGA judges. They have no shame and our media ecosystem is so broken that the moment Trump is no longer politically viable, they’ll change their tune in mid-conversation and act as if nothing happened. Fuck those liars.

Anyway, I generally don’t think any that extreme is going to happen. Far more likely is Trump will always be just on the cusp of losing his mind and yet never quite get so bad that Nancy Pelosi strikes by sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate so they can be used essentially as the 25th Amendment. He will drift into his second term and The Kooch (or whomever) will be the person who puts me in a camp and is indirectly responsible for my death in American Killing Fields. (In upstate New York maybe?)

Good night and good luck!

Mulling The Potential Impact Of The Durham Investigation

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

So MAGA is waiting with baited breath for the Durham Investigation to save Der Fuhrer from being impeached. This is very possible. The impeachment is supposed to wrap up on Dec. 9th as I understand it. It could drop a big turd in the impeachment process and Trump will yet again survive to tyrant another day.

If you are looking forward to this, please eat shit. Fuck you. Rot in hell. I say this only because Trump is such a racist misogynist tyrant that if you support him you’re a piece of shit.

But the question is, of course, will the Durham Report do what MAGA expects it to do? Given how Trump was able to escape justice after the Mueller Report — only to turn around and do the same thing 24 hours after the “poor optics” of Mueller’s testimony to Congressional pardoned him — I’m inclined to think that our criminally incompetent “president” is likely to escape even being formally impeached.

It’s all very tragic. The only thing keeping us from going full autocratic plutocratic theocracy is, well, Trump’s a piss-poor president. I’m not saying he won’t somehow manage to pull this off in his second term, I’m just saying it may be The Kooch, or Kris Kobach or Tom Cotton that history ultimately decides finished the job.

As such, I’m patiently waiting for an ICE agent to track me down at some point in Trump’s second — or third — administration put me in a camp and murder me after torturing me for some time. I’m a man of peace, words and ideas, so all I can do is just work on my novel and brood. I feel a little like the Man in a High Castle in that respect. Whenever I get mad about how fucking insane Trump is on a criminal level, I use that as motivation to keep plugging along on the political thriller I’m writing.

There are a number of different possibilities. One is that the plot works. Another is it all just gets muddled and yet Trump is still at least impeached. And, lastly, it’s possible that 60% of the population realizes the whole thing is bullshit and it doesn’t work.

Only time will tell.

Fuck Trump. Fuck MAGA.

Republican MAGA Radicalization & Trump’s Ultimate Political Fate

YikeS!
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The key issue before us is the Republican Party has finally, officially come detached from any connection to liberal democracy. On an institutional level, it’s the Trump Party now. The Republican Party is so completely consumed by Trump’s ideology — or lack thereof — that they simply don’t care about anything other than defending Trump em masse. They have a short term goal, and that’s it: successfully get Trump acquitted in the Senate by any means necessary, even if it means destroying civil society in the process.

So all the tut-tuting of Republican logic by Blue Check Liberals on Twitter is wasted time. This is not about logic or facts, this is about white knuckled political tribalism — identity politics for angry white male Baby Boomers, if you will. Throw in plutocrats, the Religious Right and gun rights advocates and well, here we are.

All of their talk about “letting the people decide” is a bad faith argument to its core. Given what Trump’s accused of — bribery, extortion and political cheating on a strategic level in the upcoming 2020 election — they know the moment Trump’s acquitted he will pretty much go full Putin. He will pardon everyone he needs to pardon and he will instruct Barr to indict (criminal referrals) whomever needs to be indicted. He will, at last, be the authoritarian autocrat he’s always wanted to be. The only things stopping him will be his growing mental instability and his general criminal incompetency. That’s it. That’s why I think their next immediate goal will be to replace Pence with someone like Kris Kobach, or Tom Cotton or The Kooch. Someone who can take over for Trump in his second term should he turn into a mental puddle.

All signs are pointing to the bad guys winning. ICE will be weaponized and I will die in an ICE camp or maybe an American Killing Fields somewhere like upstate New York. So if you see this worst case scenario as your BEST case scenario, you can really just fuck off you piece of shit.

Having said all that, there are at least some known unknowns at this point. Republicans are so completely invested in Trump’s fate on an existential level that they have one of two high-risk endgames before them. Either they “win” and we become a Putin-style “managed democracy,” or they lose and the crisis grows even worse for everyone involved (in a sense.) A major political party can’t grow this radicalized so suddenly without a bolt popping of somewhere. But before we get to that point, let’s see what might stop Republicans from finally destroying the Republic.

Trump Loses His Mind

This is a real wildcard. It’s a big deal because it’s a lingering issue that may pop up at any moment in a fashion that would throw the country into an unprecedented crisis. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be July 2020 (if he’s still in office.) In real terms, it’s the most likely thing that would force him out of office politically anytime soon.

Major Anti-Impeachment Violence On The Part of MAGA
I used to think this might happen. Now, not so much. But if it did happen, that would be one of those impossible-to-spin-but-they’ll-try-anyway things that would really ramp up the political pressure to end Trump’s presidency sooner rather than later.

His Taxes
This is one of those things that is so important and yet may only happen after he’s acquitted so it’s a lulz.

Unexpected Testimony
Don McGahn or John Bolton or one of the Russians involved in Rudy’s “drug deal” unexpectedly testifying in a timely fashion would definitely put a different spin on things going forward.

But the thing is — a growing number of people not in the Republican criminal cult are flabbergasted at their complete refusal to see what’s going on with Trump. Americans are not Russians. While as of right the moment I think Republicans have a 110% chance of burning the whole fucking country down and successfully protecting Der Fuhrer — and indirectly leading to my death in an ICE camp sometime no later than maybe 2023 — there is also a greater-than-zero-sum chance that some pretty shocking things might happen in the near term to at least make that now near-inevitability a bit more complicated.

What those “shocking things” may be, I simply have no idea. But the conditions are there for political events the likes of which we’ve only seen rarely in American history. I’m talking 9/11-levels of shock to our political system. And maybe more than one! The sad truth is no matter what happens in the next few months, the nation is in a new political era. It’s up to us if it’s a good or bad one.

Shelton Bumgarner is writing his first novel. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

The End Of The American Republic

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It’s over. We lost. The bad guys won. Gradually, over the next few years, the political system of the United States and Russian will become identical. While Republicans may keep the House as something of a political pressure valve, even that may make them uncomfortable.

ICE will be weaponized and I’ll end up dead in a ditch. Once Trump is acquitted by the Senate, he will be a dictator. He will again be unbounded and he will destroy any chance of a free and fair election in 2020. It will happen in fits and starts, but it will happen.

The only thing that mitigates this clusterfuck for the time being is Trump is criminally incompetent. So, really, he just has to make it into his second term and Kris Kobach, or Tom Cotten, or whomever he picks to make sure American Carnage becomes the law of the land. He can turn into a mental puddle any time after Nov 2020 and, well, that’s that. The end. Fascism, darkness, descends upon America.

I don’t know what to tell you. I guess if you’re center-Left, leave the country if you can. If you don’t, you may be taking your own life in your hands.

Republicans Have No Shame & Crave Power For Power’s Sake

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m not feeling so great about the chances that Trump will be convicted in the Senate. I say this because Republican defenses for Trump right now are pretty much just, “You don’t like our politics, fuck you.” So, all the Twitter liberals you attempt to use any fact-based logic with fucking fucktwit Republicans are wasting their time. Republicans are such cult that the moment a Democrat ever happens to be president again, they will impeach him or her the moment they have the power to do so. They will want to prove the point and also take some of the sigma away from being impeached so Trump doesn’t look so bad.

Not that I think there will ever be another Democrat president the way things are going. The dystopia is here. The bad guys have won. For the autocrat, all that matters is remaining in power. Everything else is a lulz. So we could have Trump dead-to-rights (which we do) and he will be acquitted and turn around and do the exact same thing. He will grow even more brazen to such an extent that election 2020 will be American Brexit. The whole thing will be such a massive clusterfuck — that Trump will win in the end — that it will be pretty self-evident our democracy, our Republic, is dead.

Trump will push for a Constitutional Convention at some point in his second term and I will promptly be “vanished” by a weaponized ICE.

Now, having said all that, there are still a few issues that I simply don’t know how they will play out. Trump’s mental state is getting worse and Republicans are so bloodthirsty on a rhetorical level that some pretty tragic things may happen when someone takes them both seriously and literally. Those two issues might be the things that bring down Trump at some point.

And, really, if you are MAGA reading this because my worst case scenario is your best case scenario — you’re a piece of shit.

But I think while it is exciting and interesting to see the impeachment process take place, we have to prepare ourselves for the absolute worst. MAGA will start murdering people in cold blood soon enough. Those of us lucky to be able to leave the country when that starts to happen will do so.

Impeachment’s Endgame Will Be Messy

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I just don’t see any clear-cut end to the impeachment process. Now, I’m not saying this doesn’t mean Trump won’t be impeached. And I’m not saying there isn’t at least a growing chance he won’t be convicted (somehow.)

But what I am saying is the macro trend in the United States is towards authoritarianism, fascism, plutocracy and theocracy. So, first, let’s look at it from the Republican side.

We’re reached a point where Republicans will have gotten their strategic goals for the near term, no matter what happens. They’ve gotten their plutocrat tax cuts and they’ve gotten their young hack MAGA judges. Thus, even if Trump is somehow miraculously removed from office, it will, in real terms, be only a symbolic victory for the center-Left. We still have a solid 20 years before the youngest of the Baby Boomers begin to drop dead and the Browning of America really begins to have a demographic — and political — impact.

Remember, if Pence becomes president, there’s a non-zero chance that while he’s a more traditional pol, he won’t get rid of Barr and he won’t get rid of Pompeo. Though the latter is likely to quit simply to run for Senator. Lulz! Pence will simple sugarcoat the fascism of Trump with a thin veneer of norm-respecting and theology. He’ll wait until just after he wins the presidency in his own right and then pardon Trump. Pence will assume that voters will have calmed down by the time he runs again in 2024.

But let’s look at it another way –what happens if the center-Left gets its best case scenario and, say, Nancy Pelosi becomes president? Republicans will use their plutocrat tax cut to demand we gut the social safety net at a minimum and may even use it as a bludgeon to get a Constitutional Convention to “to pass a balanced budget amendment.” So, in real terms, we would probably have just at about a year before Republicans win not only the presidency, but the House. Then we’re right back where we started from.

As I’ve said before, in a sense, our best case scenario might be either Nikki Haley or even Ivanka Trump becoming president because their far more likely to at least allow a free-and-fair election in 2020. And, if the economy goes south, they will get the blame, not the Democrats. But, remember, if a Democrat becomes president in 2020, they will likely have just about two years before the Republicans take the House and turn around and impeachment for simply not being MAGA.

The point of all of this is manage people’s expectations. We’re in for a bumpy few months, no matter what. And there’s a really good chance Trump will escape political justice AGAIN and he’ll go full Hitler if he somehow manages not to go insane.

Republicans Are Wading Into Possible Defeat Friday With Marie Yovanovitch’s Congressional Testimony

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

If there’s any justice in this world, at some point very soon Marie Yovanovitch will be named Secretary of State. Given all the misogynistic criminal bullshit she’s had to go through, it would be a great way for her to cap off her long years of public service. But generally the world sucks and the badguys win, so I don’t see that happening.

But tomorrow (Friday) she’s supposed to testify in the impeachment proceedings. Apparently her closed-door testimony was rather emotional at times. As such, there’s a chance that NBC News will get the theatrics it feels are necessary for anyone to care. If the woman breaks down into tears a few times and Republicans are completely oblivious to it the optics of that will be less than optimal for House Trump. It will only get far, far worse for them when they rant on FOX News that we can’t take her as a credible witness because she was too emotional. THAT will go over well with white women in the exurbs of Philadelphia ages 35 to 42.

Yet, I think tomorrow may be something of a battle royale in more ways than one. Republicans probably want a few political wins going into the Sunday morning political shows and as such may pull of some stunts to explode the hearings. Nothing is off the table. They may finally get their craven wish to out the whistleblower. Anything is possible.

I keep saying I can’t predict the future and this is no different.

A Darkness At Noon

We are so fucked.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I just don’t know how the political fever that has gripped the nation is going to break. Either Trump escapes AGAIN, or we careen into something tragic and messy that at least heralds a new era.

A little background. I’m a political child of Watergate. Well into my teens, I felt the political echo of Watergate all around me. I watched a lot of mid-80s TV and there were an array of characters from Watergate who were all over the place on my screen. I did not know the context until much, much later. But now that I do, I realize that even under the absolute best of circumstance for the Republic a lot of very profitable political careers have already been made as part of the Trumplandia clusterfuck. Really, the only issue is context

Anyway, the point is, we’ve now reached the stage in the impeachment process where it might have suddenly dawned on House Trump that this is, in fact, an existential threat. They are going to bend every rule, break every law, say every lie they have to extricate themselves from a potential political death spiral. It’s at least possible they will win. In a sense, I would much rather we fight to win then lose than simply meekly allow the criminal fascists in the Republican Party to burn the Republic the ground in the name of “civility.”

My chief concern right now is the Russia investigation report about to be released by the Justice Department. Even the lengths they are going to spring this thing on us out of the blue without any leaks, it’s likely to be a very authoritarian document. It will be such a bullshit turd that its findings give Republicans something to rant about whenever the subject of impeachment comes up. The real unnerving part is what happens if that DOESN’T work. What if they win a news cycle or two but in the end the impeachment inquiry keeps on moving. It’s when what the two sides are talking about are so dramatically different that the entire political system is disconnected that there’s a real danger of something unprecedented in American political life since at least the end of Reconstruction– political violence.

That it hasn’t happened yet is really quite heartening. Republicans are so wrapped up in messaging the base, they have become completely unhinged. Some pretty mainstream figures are now laying the groundwork for some MAGA nutjob to hurt a lot of people. Republicans will — without missing a beat — pivot to how this is proof we have to stop the impeachment process because “people are getting hurt” and what Trump did wasn’t really that bad afterall, especially given what the Justice Department’s report on the Russia investigation said.

I still can’t pace out an endgame in my mind right now. It’s not obvious to me how this is going to end. A few more shoes have to drop for me to have a better sense of how likely I will meet an untimely demise in a weaponized ICE camp in Trump’s second term is. We’re definitely in the danger zone of such things for the next few weeks. One issue is that Justice Department review of the Russia probe. That will be a huge test. I generally think we’ll fail. Impeachment will be seen by Maggie Haberman and The Vogel as politically nonviable and it will peter out. Trump will crow that he was right all along and Barr will hand down bogus criminal referrals for people like John Brennan. And that, will be that.

But I can’t predict the future. A lot of things could blunt — or end — our near-term march towards authoritarianism. Trump could go nuts. Trump could go transactional with his Twitter offenses and there be a big backlash. Enough people might be enraged over what Trump did that they see through the bullshit of the Barr Report and the impeachment process zooms along.

Yet I’m very weary to be too optimistic. The press is so wrapped up in “being objective” in an era of asystematic political radicalization that they take the House Trump bait hook, line and sinker and darkness falls. At least I have a novel I’m writing. Maybe I’ll finish it before ICE drags me out of my bed in the middle of the night, never to be seen again.

Sen. Lindsey Graham Is Desperate To ‘Kavanaugh’ The Trump Whistleblower

Shelton Bumgarner

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The darkly comical thing about Republicans is they are so craven that they give the plot away in what they accuse their opposition of doing. One can often get a lot of insight into the Republican fascist mind in the crazy things they accuse Democrats of doing. If they have this or that bonkers thing at the forefront of their minds, then you get the sense that THEY are they ones who want to do that. It’s almost a dog whistle to the base. In a sense, they’re saying, “Don’t worry, fam, we got you.”

Anyway, it’s interesting how completely fucking obsessed Sen. Lindsey Graham is with outing the whistleblower long after much — if not all — of what was in the original complaint has been confirmed. Given that Republicans like Graham are so deeply bad faith in anything they say or do, every argument they are giving for why they so desperately want the whistleblower’s name to be common knowledge is total and complete bullshit.

The reason — they crave the opportunity to “kavanaugh” the whistleblower as one of several last-ditch efforts to prevent Trump from even being impeached. They want the entire country to look at everything the guy has done in his entire life instead of all the very public criming that Trump has done over last 40 odd years. They were impressed with how effective the character-based argument were against Kavanaugh and they want the opportunity to do it to the whisleblower to prove a political point. In their instance, they want to switch out their own losing fact argument for simply making everyone talk about the whistleblower’s equivalent of Squee, “boofing” and Beach Week.

That Republicans like Graham are essentially hanging all of their hopes on this strategy is rather bonkers, surreal and tragic. I’m not saying it won’t work. There’s a good chance it will. But there’s also a good chance that if they go all-in on destroying the whistleblower for daring to sound the alarm over the Dear Leader’s criminal activity, things may get out of control and, well, dun dun dun.

Graham and the rest of the Republican Trump sycophants won’t miss a beat, of course. Within 24 hours of the whatever Very Bad Thing happens because of their own overheated and overwrought political rhetoric they will have talking points written up for the MAGA sheep to graze on. They will include:

Democrats have to stop the impeachment process immediately, people are getting hurt.

House Democrats are at fault for starting the impeachment process and some of them should be charged for “involvement” in the incident.

Blah, blah, blah, let the people decide, blah, blah, blah

There might even be even more slinging of civil war talk at this point as, well.

The Dear Leader

The point is, Republicans are so absolutely devoted not to their party, but to Donald Trump on a personal level and Trump is nothing more than a deranged version of Being There’s Chauncey Gardner, they setting themselves up for having to defend the absolutely indefensible. They will gleefully do it because, lulz, democracy and human decency are for low-T betas, amiright?

How confident am I that this absolute worst case scenario may happen? Not very. But there is a greater-than-zero sum chance something along these lines may happen as Graham continues to bang the drum to out the whistleblower.