Of The Cohen Tapes: We May Be In For A Bonkers August

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, for some time I thought Donald Trump got Shera Bechard pregnant and using Elliot Broidy as a fall guy, paid her $1.6 million to get an abortion. I now 100% don’t believe that happened.

But the surreal thing is that there could be dozens of women where something similar to that did, in fact, happen, but without the fall guy — Trump simply got Michael Cohen to make the problem “go away.” And by problem, of course, I mean the woman had an abortion.

August is a pretty bad month, so it’s very possible that while we’ll get final, absolute confirmation that Elliot Broidy got Shera Bechard pregnant, not Trump, there’s a good chance we’re in for some pretty shocking tapes. I only say this because the elites go on vacation in August and inevitable big things happen then because, well, God hates them. 🙂

I have no inside information, so this may all be bullshit. But that’s my current theory.

Pondering What’s In Those ‘Hundreds’ Of Cohen Tapes

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It pretty obvious at this point, at least to me, that while we may be in for something of a bumpy few weeks, it’s likely that nothing too astonishing is going to come out from any attention Cohen Tapes. I say this because, well, Team Trump would have fought a whole heap of a lot harder to prevent prosecutors from getting them if there was anything all that damaging in them.

One thing I disagree with my “partner in crime” about is what happens if there’s a tape of Michael Cohen conspiring with Keith Davidson against Shera Bechard. He says it’s a big meh because, well, Elliot Broidy was the father and so fuck it. But I disagree for us, personally. I believe *anything* found in those tapes will be rolling thunder in the public consciousness for about 24 hours, no matter what’s in them.

Hence, even though he and I have settled that Trump isn’t the daddy — even though logically he should be — he and I are bound to get a least a little bit of attention for no other reason than I (by in extension HIM) have been involved in at least trying to figure out what the fuck happened. I say this knowing full well that it will be New York Magazine’s Paul Campos who will get the bulk of the attention, no matter who the Shera Bechard babydaddy is.

But, whatever. I have very low expectations. No tape may exist and even if it does, we may never hear it. So if nothing else it’s existence or lack thereof has given me something to write about.

Podcast: Talk To Me Internet’s Trumplandia: Trump As A Quisling

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

My friend Milo and I did a pretty great emergency podcast on recent developments between Trump and the Russians. It’s kind of long, but it’s well worth your time. It’s really informative and interesting.

Why Yes, Trump Is A Quisling

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have been saying for about a year now that Trump is a traitor, or more specifically, a “quisling.” Quisling was the leader of Norway who switched sides in WWII, allowing the Germans to march right in unopposed.

I propose that Trump is a modern day equivalent of him.

So, if you really want to pound away at the traitor angle when it comes to Trump, you need to call him a quisling, because that’s what he is. It’s easy to remember, pithy and rolls off the tongue quite easily. I’ve been calling Trump a quisling on this site for a long time now on this site, as this link shows.

I would suggest we really try to connect Trump with the term quisling as much as possible. Maybe, eventually, Trump’s name will go down in the proper infamy if we try hard enough. Trump is a traitor, a big old traitor. And that he would be a traitor in the guise of the type that Quisling was is pretty self-evident at this point.

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

A Personal Appeal To Michael Avenatti NOT To Use The Slogan ‘Make America America Again’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Please Michael Avenatti, if you really want to run against Trump and win the presidency, please don’t use the dumb slogan Make America America Again. It’s dumb, it’s derivative and it’s redundant. Meanwhile, may I propose two other options in its stead.

I suggest either:

Take Back America
or
Take America Back

Both of these are much better and I would suggest you do a poll to see which one is better. Take Back America is a looking sharper rhetorically while Take America Back has the nice abbreviation of TAB. Either one of these potential slogans gets across the idea that America has been taken by forces outside its national boundaries. Both are pithier and roll of the tongue a lot better than your dumb suggestion.

But no one listens to me.

A July 4th Manifesto: In Praise Of Liberal Rage

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

A sentiment I see an enormous amount of on Twitter is people tusk-tusking liberals who are these days in a near-constant state of panic mixed which what can only be described as rage. Conservatives — even many of them of who purport to be NeverTrumpers — tell me to focus on policy and to get over my Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Well, in all honesty, in the spirit of the 4th of July and the Founding Fathers — fuck those guys.

People who clutch their pearls over the liberal rage generated by Trump and his policies believe that only by meekly accepting Trump’s insane behavior and focusing on policy will we win elections. We’re supposed to let Trump lie. We’re supposed to let Trump run roughshod over Constitutional norms. We’re, in fact, supposed to let Trump do whatever the fuck he wants as long as it helps us with about 2% of the electorate who are swing voters and who are still somehow magically undecided about the dark turn the nation has abruptly taken.

Let me suggest, however, that things are so dire that we need to embrace the dark side, as it were, and let our liberal rage envelop us. The 2018 mid-terms will be about getting out the vote, about mobilizing the base. So while Conservatives are gleefully smacking their political lips at what they feel is our impeding doom caused by our outrage, I see this as an opportunity to finally fight back in a constructive manner.

I can not express properly in real terms how misguided, patronizing and condescending the Right’s constant critique of the Left’s outrage over Trump feels to me. The very thing that could really drive The Resistance into electorate success — the sheer power of the liberal base being apoplectic over Trump’s policies, the Right sees as a flaw that has to be fixed as quickly as possible.

But I feel that only by embracing our rage against Trump and using it as an engine to power activism on the part of the Left can anything change. I’m not saying there won’t be problems caused by this. Plenty of moderates might be turned off by some of the ideological froth this might cause, but at the same time plenty of people who might simply shrug at Trump’s policies might see the light if we can funnel our rage into something constructive.

The Left attacking Trump with clear eyed counter-policies, while making making members of the Right’s intelligentsia happy, would make the base of The Resistance feel disenfranchised. Trump is currently a weird mixture of an American Caligula mixed with a would-be tinpot Hitler and he thrives on the confusion his constant barrage of Twitter mindfucking generates. To say I should focus solely on dry policy matters in the midst of this enormous Constitutional crisis is rather intellectually dishonest in my opinion.

I propose we focus on curating the rage of the base. It’s not like it’s going anywhere, no matter how many NeverTrumpers tell me it should be forced to abate. If we tell people who are astonished at the sheer insanity and outrageous behavior on the part of the Trump Administration that it’s ok to be filled with political rage, then that’s the first step towards regaining power at the polls. It’s not like the Right’s base, which has been hysterical for decades now, is going to let up their rapacious attacks on the Left simply because we decide to play nice.

No, I say instead of rolling over and letting the Right continue to drive the United States into a ditch, that we wrestle the wheel away from them with all our might. I’m not in any way advocating violence. Far from it. But I am advocating the center-Left quit even trying to put up the facade that it would be in the best interests of the cause if everyone would just cool it and worry about dry policy matters.

All Trump does is stir up his base. Literally, that’s all he does. He braces the worst instincts of his base to a surreal extent, which, in turn, riles up the base of the center-Left because we look at each other in amazement that the MSM is so busy trying to be fair an objective that they are unable or unwilling to call out Trump’s lies.

So, let your freak flag fly. Embrace your inner Howard Beal. If you are mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, then do something about it. Becomes engaged in the political process on a personal level. Stop trying to convince your MAGA Facebook friends of the error of their ways. Fuck those guys.

It’s not like the American Founding Fathers were cool with the abuses of King George III. If they finally had enough and decided to do something about it, maybe the center-Left should too. We need to scare the living bejeebus out of the Establishment in Washington and the only way we can do that is at the polls. If we’ve learned anything from the recent events involving immigrant children being torn from their families, the only guard rails the Trump Administration currently is willing to acknowledge is popular outrage.

That’s all we got. Thus, instead of calming down, let’s rock.

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

Mulling 2020 Democratic Possibilities: Cynthia Nixon, Michael Avenetti….& Jon Stewart?

by Shelton Bumganer
@bumgarls

It is way, way, way too early to even begin to speculate on who will be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, but I’m going to do it anyway. There are any number of insane things that could happen between now and 2020, so much so that this idle speculation on my part is almost entirely moot.

But here goes.

Cynthia Nixon
When it comes to Ms. Nixon, it all rides on her ability to win the New York governorship. If she wins, she’s pretty abruptly at the front of the line for presidential candidate. She’s young, smart, an actress and a passionate advocate for progressive goals. But she has to get over the hump of winning the race immediately before her. She wins it, she’s golden. She’s pretty much at the sweet spot of what The Resistance wants right now, at least in my view.

Michael Avenetti
The thing about Avenetti is I don’t know anything — in real terms — about his politics. We run the risk of imbuing him with whatever policy we want him to have, much like Republicans did with Trump. But he’s got the personality, street smarts and social media skills to at least give Trump a run for his money.

….and, lastly, the wildcard,

Jon Stewart
I only put Stewart in this one because as I keep saying, the only person in middle-school who can successfully confront the school bully is the class clown. So, Stewart would be ideal to defeat Trump in 2020. I thought Stewart might run for governor of New Jersey, but he let me down. So, unless Trump wins re-election in 2020 and Stewart runs for New Jersey governor next time around, it’s far less likely that he will run for office at all. Which is too bad. He’d make a great candidate.

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.