The Grift That Keeps On Grifting

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s darkly surreal how oblivious Democrats are to what’s going on with Trump and MAGA. The whole point of MAGA is ending traditional liberal democracy in the United States. Everything else is either a fig leaf or a lie. They want us to be an autocratic managed democracy like Russia. We already kinda are — the pot is boiling if you will — but it’s going to take a little bit longer (and maybe a war?) for the final pieces to fall into place.

Nothing matters to MAGA but power. Power, money, racism, misogyny and turning America into a theocratic state are such absolute endgames to MAGA that if they don’t get it now, they’ll get it later. They have no shame. The most disturbing part of it all is Trump is merely a political avatar. If something happens to him politically, there half a dozen clones ready to take his place.

That’s why I find all the bitching and moaning on Twitter by the so-called “Resistance” rather comical. It doesn’t take much to write a tweet. It makes you wonder what people will do when ICE starts rounding people up en mass and putting them in the camps currently used for undocumented immigrants. I suspect most people will simply shrug and go along. They have families to love and mortgages to pay, after all.

What’s worse, because of the absolute division between Red States and Blue States, even if Blue States tried to do something about this dystopia, all Trump — or a successor — has to do is abolish Blue State governments for insurrection and establish military districts. Congress would be purged of its Democratic members and that would be that for the duration.

I’m a man of peace and a man of ideas. So, really, I’m simply going to work on my novel and hope for the best. The novel gives me some sense of agency in an otherwise hopeless situation. I hate guns with all my heart. If you still think I’m some sort of deranged lunatic after writing that, then I guess the dystopia really is here. ‘

The great irony is, of course, that given that grift is at the center of MAGA, it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to pretend to be MAGA. I could probably become quite successful. I’d have lots of friends in real life and generally my life would be much, much better in a lot of ways. But fuck that. I’m not going to deny who I am or the truth.

I just wish people would take the real MAGA endgame vision a bit more seriously.

Trump Storm Rising

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Tom Clancy was rather prescient when it came to 9/11. Though what happened in his book Debt Of Honor was a Japanese guy crashed a plane into the Capitol during the State of The Union address. Anyway, one of my favorite books growing up with Red Storm Rising. The inciting incident of that book is WWIII starts because a major oil refinery in the Soviet Union is blown up and the Russians — desperate for oil — invade the Middle East.

Anyhoo — the recent attack on the Saudi oil refining is pretty much the same thing. Or, put another way, you could definitely start a WWIII novel with it. It’s sort of the stuff of fiction. Or nightmares.

The whole situation right now is a clusterfuck. Trump needs a war to shore up his re-election chances. But Iran is not Iraq. It’s got a bigger population and military and it hates Israel so much that it’s not above using its connection to Hamas to inflict as much damage there as possible. Israel, meanwhile, is a no-so-DL nuclear power and if they felt an existential threat they would nuke the hell out of Iran without blinking an eye. Add to this that Iran is something of a Russian client state and you have the makings of some very unsettling developments.

Also, Trump is completely insane. Trump as a War President would likely be a sight to behold. Nothing is off the table. Trump is so deranged, he would likely figure out some way to finally weaponize ICE. It might not be just brown people and homeless people who find themselves in camps.

But what do I know. Just thought I’d make the observation.

V-Log: Trump’s Impeachment Strategy

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

‘The End’

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

The America I grew up in is dead. The dystopia is here. I don’t know how long it will last, but if we’re lucky somewhere around 40 years. But it could be I’ll never know if and when it ends because I’ll be dead.

It’s over because no matter what happens with Trump, the forces in America society that caused Trump remain. And if it’s not Trump, it’ll be Don Jr., or Tom Cotton or someone equally authoritarian and nefarious. The chief reason why the dystopia is here is Democratic leadership did not take the rise if MAGA seriously. Though, in their defence, if Trump had not won in 2016, a MAGA-type person would have won in 2020 or 2024. It was simply a matter of time.

When one of a nation’s major political parties loses its mind, it’s inevitable that they will gain power at some point. And when they take power, they will never leave because they follow “new rules” that value power over everything else. Or, put another way, the intersection of power politics, absolute greed and Evangelical Christian obsession with bringing about the Second Coming produced a force of politics that only cared about obtaining — and keeping — power forever. Democrats are so busy worrying about their precious “agenda” and keeping moderates in their caucus happy that they’ll simply are not prepared to do what is necessary to defend American democratic traditions alive the 20 or 30 years necessary for the Browning of America to kick in.

So, really, the question is how quickly things go from simply norm destruction to actual changes in government. My guess is Trump is going to make a massive power grab at some point in the 2020 election cycle. If it goes wrong, there will be something of a revolt on the part of Blue States. He uses that as an excuse to abolish Blue State governments indefinitely. America will become a prison. The issue will become where all the creatives and information workers escape to.

Do they go to Canada or Europe? It won’t be thousands who flee, either. It could be millions. Until, of course, The Thousand Year Trump freaks over the brain drain and makes it impossible for the very people they hate so much to leave the country. Given human nature, of course, that won’t stop the United States from descending into something resembling modern day Venezuela. This will only hasen our collapse into authoritarianism. The camps for immigrants will simply become cames for anyone who crosses House Trump or its successor ruling family.

I used to think there was the possibility of some sort of happy endgame. I no longer do. At this point, I simply wonder if I die in a House Trump re-education came sooner or later. Will it be sometime in Trump’s second term or will it be closer to 20 years from now? Regardless, if Blue States try to leave the Union, House Trump will abolish their state governments. All those young hack parison judges that The Federalist Society has recommended to Trump will close ranks.

There’s a chance that freedom of speech will linger. But freedom of assembly definitely is done for at some point during Trump’s second term. There will be something akin to the failed coup in Turkey that Trump will use to purge the last vestiges of the “deep state.” Tyranny will descend upon the United States and we will be no different than the managed democracy of Russia. Remember, Putinism was originally a popular movement caused by divisions in Russian society. And to some extent is still is. The same with MAGA. MAGA doesn’t care about anything about absolute power. When a small — but wealthy and powerful — minority of your electorate no longer believes in the benefits of democracy, then there’s nothing you can do.

I knew the America I loved was over when I realized we have to fight so hard on a daily basis to simply have a functioning civil society. Darkness has fallen on the land. Democrats have failed us.

All I can do to vent my frustration over all of this is write a novel. That’s all I got. It distracts me from the political hellscape engulfing the country I love.

The end.

Why American Democracy Is Dead

Shelton Bumgarner

By Shelton Bumgarner

The issue is, if you don’t have the balls to impeach Trump now for wide range of criminal behavior, you give him a green light to do his worst as part of the 2020 Election.

I mean, really, if the House is so fucking reluctant to impeach Trump for a whole slew of criminal behavior, what’s to stop Trump from brazenly attacking individual Electors post-election 2020 should he lose. Remember, there are actual human beings who have to vote for president. Human beings are by definition flawed and subject to the whims of personality.

If Trump loses the popular vote and the Electoral College, what’s to stop him from sicking MAGA on individual Electors by doxxing them via Twitter? Or, really, what to stop some MAGA plutocrats from bribing Electors before the vote. Trump could simply pardon them and hunker down. It’s not like the Senate will impeach him for even that.

Once that’s been established, then one of two things happen. Either people give up voting altogether and we sink into a Russian-style managed democracy or there’s a revolt in Blue States. Of course, Trump would simply use such a revolt to abolish Blue State governments and turn them into military districts.

Then Trump names himself president for life. House Trump gets its thousand year Trump. A lot of creative people leave the States for various parts of the globe. America sinks into a MAGA dystopia. Colleges are either shut down or purged of anyone who doesn’t agree with the Dear Leader.

It’s over guys. We had a good run. I guess I’ll die in a Trump branded re-education camp at some point in the next 20 years.

The Moral Cowardice That Is ‘Self-Impeachment’

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I will give Democrats credit, they are about as bad at doing what should be done — impeaching Trump — as I am playing pool (which is very bad.)

So, it seems this is the “strategy” of the House Democratic leadership. They do just enough on the impeachment front that they can credibly tell the progressive base that they’re actually doing something on that front. But they’re moving so slow and in such a half-hearted fashion that they can also crediably assure the moderates that give them their majority that they’re actually going to let Trump “self impeach.” Which, of course, means they expect Trump not to win re-election.

The similarities between the political clusterfuck Americans find themselves in with that of the British are pretty startling. In both instances systemic, existential problems — largely based on lies and racism — and destroying what were otherwise previously pretty stable democracies.

In fact, I believe the 2020 election is going to be America’s Brexit. And, sad to say, it will be even more self-inflicted than Brexit itself. In other words, Trump isn’t going anywhere. So the thought that he will “self-impeach” is bullshit on the face of it.

While I struggle to figure out why House Democrats are so reluctant to impeach Trump, I think it boils down to two things. One, they know that no matter what they prove, Trump will never be convicted in the Senate. Second, they’re afraid that a sizable portion of their caucus will be put in jeopardy by impeaching Trump in the first place. These are the moderate members of the Democratic House caucus who in previous years would have been represented by Republicans. But that, of course, was before the Republicans were eaten by MAGA and given a huge amount of power through gerrymandering.

But back to the issue at hand — impeachment. I have come to believe there’s only one of two ways Trump ever gets impeached. Either the sheer magnitude of Trump’s impeachable offenses makes it impossible for the House not to do it sooner rather than later or we wait until well into Trump’s second term when he is so brazen that something, at last, has to be done.

Of course, a side possibility is Trump’s mental instability finally reaches such a critical mass that we have something along the lines of a political 9/11 on our hands and the investigation into Trump’s criminality can be counted in days, not weeks or months.

And, yet, really, as I keep saying, populist autocracy never loses. There’s really nothing to be done. Maybe the economy slows down in a few months to such an extent that Trump’s popularity reaches the teens. But by that point it will all be moot and Trump will win reelection through doxing individual Electors or whatever.

At this point, I think Trump could nuke us all to hell and there would be a subterranean MAGA death cult that would prosper long after all of us are vaporized.

Impeachment & Its Discontents — Two Scenarios

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

The House Democratic leadership is an embarrassment. They are so busy thinking about saving their majority that they are failing the needs of the country. Of course the Senate will acquit Trump if the House impeaches him, but so what. It sure would be nice to see Trump’s many crimes articulated on the floor of the Senate by year’s end.

But, of course, this is not going to happen. By the time we get anywhere near impeaching Trump, it’ll be 2020. The 2020 political cycle will be in full force and that, as they say, will be that. Even though there is precedent for impeaching a president during an election year — see also Andrew Johnson — it’s not really all that realistic in the modern age.

Having said all that, there are two scenarios whereby Trump could still manage to be impeached.

The first possibility — and by far the least likely — is despite the best efforts of Democratic House leaders, events kind of get out of their control in the next few weeks. This could happen any number of different ways. I have long thought that the sheer magnitude of Trump’s crimes against the Constitution would make it extremely difficult for the House not to impeach him. There could come a point when the crimes are so extreme that the House impeaches Trump despite itself in a pretty spectacular fashion.

This could happen because of explosive testimony. This could happen because Trump’s mental state finally reaches a point where even the most jaded observer begins to worry.

If nothing like that happens, however, Trump’s safe. He’ll coast through the 2020 election cycle. And no matter what happens, he will win the general election in some fashion because, well, he’s a populist autocrat and they never, never, NEVER lose. It doesn’t matter how he wins, he will win.

Now, once Trump wins — however he does it — there will be a long lull while we process what has just happened. Trump will consolidate power in a broad, deep fashion. He’ll act like King Lear as Don Jr. and Ivanka fight for the inheritance. He’s likely to name them both to very important roles in the administration so they both have equal footing. There’s still a good chance he will name Ivanka his veep in 2020.

But if there’s one concrete rule about Trump, is he’s criminally incompetent in the role of president. So while in effect winning re-election will pardon him for everything he’s done up til then, he’s bound to screw up in some major, existential fashion during the early part of his second term. He’ll screw up so bad that there will again be talk of impeaching him. (Note, of course, that if Republicans regain the House in 2020 that there will be little difference between the United States and Russia at that point.)

And remember, Nixon won a huge landslide in 1972. Historic. Epic. And he was still out of office by August 1974.

A different political calculus will exist in a second term as well. Trump will have topped off the Federal bench with young MAGA hacks more interested in owning the libs than doing their jobs. And it sure would be nice for Republicans to have an incumbent in place who could run in 2024 and 2028. As such, the case could be made that Trump might name Ivanka (or Don Jr. ) his veep during the 2020 campaign. What Trump might initially do simply because he’s trying to name a family successor for 2024 might actually lead to the likelihood of him being convicted in the Senate at some point during his second term.

While I wish the whole Thousand Year Trump idea was bullshit, sadly, it’s not. America is no longer a democracy. House Trump is an avatar for the existential failings of our republic. They are probably rule the country for at least 20 years until the youngest of the Baby Boomers die off and the browning of America beings to kick in.

If the United States hasn’t had a civil war with WMD involved by that point, we’ll be a mixture of Apartheid South Africa and modern day Venezuela. We’ll be a failed state with a-bombs.

There is no hope. It’s over. The end.

The Rise (& Possible Fall?) Of House Trump

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

If you look closely at how, exactly, the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire, the parallels with modern America are striking. The thing about the early Roman Empire, as I understand it, is that many of the traditions of the the Republic lingered for generations.

That’s what’s happening with America now. Trump in his own corrupt, incompetent manner, is serving as something of an American Caesar. He’s pushing us from a republic into a de facto empire with ruling families and no democracy.

So apparently Ivanka and Don Jr. are fighting out behind the scenes as to who will succeed their father. The solution to their fighting would be, of course, for Don Jr. to be run for president and to pick Ivanka as his veep. Or vise-versa. And that would be how House Trump would rule the country for the next 20-odd years until the youngest of the Baby Boomers croke and the browning of America reaches a tipping point. (Or Blue States get fed up and leave the Union altogether. Or there’s a military junta installed with someone like Gen. Mattis as Lord Protector.)

Now, I honestly don’t see anything stopping this scenario from happening. If it’s not craven plutocrats, it’s Russians, if it’s not ammosexuals, it’s Evangelicals. There are simply way too many powerful groups with a vested interest in House Trump ruling the country for as long as they can absolutely do so.

I honestly don’t have any hope. House Trump is an avatar for the demise of the American Republic. Or put another way, Trump has served his purpose. He’s ended the America I grew up with. It will be Don. Jr or Ivanka who simply build on what he’s created. There is no hope. It’s over.

But having said that, just to entertain myself, let’s think of what might go wrong for House Trump. First and foremost, they’re growing arrogant. They have grown accustomed to getting whatever they want. So they’re beginning to talk pretty openly about the existence of House Trump. They think that they’re safe. They see it as FUD. They want to browbeat what little opposition they have into accepting their rise to the imperial throne. Much like the Romans of 2,000 years ago, however, Americans aren’t too fond of royalty. So there is at least a small possibility — maybe 1% at this point — that there is pride before the fall.

But I would say it’s far more likely that the country simply splits in two, with House Trump getting Red States and the American Republic continuing in Blue States. In a way, it would be similar to the Western and Eastern Roman Empires.

The more I think about the country splitting up, the more I struggle with how, exactly, it would take place. It’s difficult to see Blue Washington D.C. staying in the Red Rump USA. That fact alone assures there would be bloodshed. Maybe a lot more than we could possible imagine. And I really, really don’t want that. Or House Trump will simply abolish Blue State governments and rule them as military districts. They’ll weaponize ICE and the camps and throw anyone who opposes them into them. Lulz!

One thing is for sure — the American experiment in republican rule is over. The problems are too existential to be fixed. It may take a few decades, but we’ll be just like Russia and it’s “manage democracy” soon enough. I would say things will accelerate in Trump’s second term.

Once Don Jr. or Ivana becomes president, it’s all a moot point.

I wish there was something I could think up that might prevent this slide into dystopia, but I can’t.

Struggling To Imagine A Post-Trump America

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s such a struggle for me to imagine a post-Trump America because, well, I don’t see there end to any of this. If it’s not Trump, it’s Don Jr. or Ivanka or some other dipshit in that malignant family. America as we knew it is over.

But, just for fun, let’s mull what America after Trump might look like.

I think the key thing we have to understand is that House Trump isn’t going anywhere. As long as Trump is alive, he’s going to dominate the news and do everything in his power to ruin everything. So, in a sense, he’s now just a modern problem we have to deal with.

Also, whenever Trump should finally leave office, he’s probably going to pardon 50 people as soon as it’s obvious he might actually obey the law for once. Another thing — the dregs of Republican politics who have been running the country the last few years aren’t going anywhere. Trump has made a lot of careers and the connections they’ve made because of their connection to him aren’t going anywhere. They will continue to leech off the American people one way or another as long as their alive.

And the moment Trump somehow is magically not in office, Don Jr or Ivanka will start to run for president. They’re like herpes. The whole clan is going to be a chronic medical issue in American politics that simply will never, ever go away. In fact, the only way they will ever leave is if there’s a civil war and the Blue States successfully leave the Union. Then they’ll feast off the rotting carcass of the rump United States, whatever it may look like.

I’m feeling kind of sad for my country right now. But this is a macro issue. Usually the only way to solve a problem this bad in a nation’s politics is for there to be a war. But hopefully that won’t happen. I do see the bad guys winning for the next few decades until the browning of America finally reaching a tipping point.

Of course, much like Apartheid South Africa, MAGA and House Trump are likely to simply govern as minority for decades after they should leave.

The Thing MAGA Will Never Understand About Trump

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

For me, the issue that MAGA completely misses about Trump is his ability to self-own on a staggering level. The source of all this self-owning is that he is not only criminally incompetent at his job, but he’s slowly losing his mind.

So, yes, buying Greenland kinda, sorta makes sense. But to go about it in the erratic manner Trump did is shameful in the extreme. If you’re going to do something like buy Greenland, you need to prep the public first. You need to lay the groundwork for it.

The same thing with meeting with the Taliban. There was a way for him to do it and get honest praise for it. But it would have taken as much as a year’s worth of prep work to get to that point. But Trump’s criminally lazy, too, and no one worth anything will work for him. So we get him blurting out having them come to Camp David the week of the annual 9/11 memorial services.

At the core of this, of course, is Trump has degenerative brain rot. We’re not in a crisis — yet. I’m feeling a bit pessimistic about the Trump endgame, too. There is no bottom.