I am not very sanguine about the ultimate endgame of impeachment because if things are as bad as they appear, it’s unlikely there’s going to be any Watergate-level definitive conclusion. Far more likely is the whole system collapses, in a sense, and the United States becomes a Russian-style “managed democracy.”
I say this for several reasons. One, no one is resigning out of any sense of shame. That they’re not resigning gives the public the sense that what they’re accused of doing isn’t really all that bad, so, lulz. What’s more, once Barr releases his “Anti-Mueller Report” in an effort to lay the groundwork for a Manafort pardon, that will give the bad guys control of the narrative again.
We need to pause for a moment as to what Barr has been up to. Barr is running around the globe pressuring our allies to prove that the basis of the Mueller investigation was illegitimate and, as such, Trump has a free political reign — at least in his own mind — to both pardon people and consolidate power as we rush towards the 2020 election. If the country finally cracks in two and MAGA is spooging over Barr’s report while everyone else is in shock at how it was investigated, then it’s something of a draw and Trump wins. He barely has a trail in the Senate and he has free reign to ensure that the 2020 election is anything but free and fair.
This situation grows even more grave when you realize that the conditions that produced Trump aren’t going anywhere even if we somehow manage to find the political will to get rid of him. About half a dozen passionate young racists are chomping at the bit to succeed Trump. So, lulz?
So, really, our only way of “winning” this particular political war is a not only a clear victory but addressing what’s systemically wrong with the United States. That’s just not going to happen. Get your affairs in order. It may not be immediately, but sooner rather than later the ICE camp infrastructure is likely to be weaponized and people will begin to be “disappeared.”
You probably need to read Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America.” The scenario layed out in that novel may be our future.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I hate to break it to you, folks, but if impeachment really does reach a tipping point we’ve entered the darkest timeline. It won’t be impeachment, it will be Trump’s reaction to it that we’ll be talking about.
Trump has long had some sort of chronic mental problem. The stress of simply an impeachment investigation — which would likely take months — would, in it self, potentially cause him to decompensate. It’s would make a lot of sense if Trump found himself in something of a logic trap. He would absolutely feel as though he would survive an Senate vote. But he would also absolutely feel paranoid that he might not.
So he goes bonkers.
I therefore propose that in the end, it won’t even be impeachment that is Trump’s downfall — it will be his reaction to it. If Trump finally goes off the deep end, some astonishing surreal thing will happen. The first will be MAGA Stalwarts will find themselves defending ever-more demonstrably indefensible things on Trump’s part. First they will simply say he was “joking.” But there will come a point when they take the final plunge into their own destruction. Trump will tweet out a dick pic. Trump will begin to tweet out the N-word to Obama. And they will defend it, thinking that Trump, like always, will stay in control of the narrative.
And so, in the end, Trump’s tendency to self-own will get so absolutely bad that there might be an intervention, of sorts. They might propose to Trump that he gets to choose Pence’s replacement as veep. And maybe a promise of a full pardon after Pence wins re-election in 2020. Trump accepting such an offer would be the best case scenario for Republicans.
The worse case scenario is he won’t accept it. And in the end, Trump so far gone mentally that the Senate finally does, in fact, convict him not so much because of any particular crime, but for the complete failure of the 25th Amendment to work.
And then, I’m afraid, we have a once-in-generation event. Young people won’t reference 9/11, they’ll reference Trump’s downfall. It will probably play out a lot like the OJ’s slow motion police chase in a white Bronco. It will last days, even weeks. The entire country will grind to a halt as we attempt to lure Trump out of The White House.
It will be a dark day in our history.
Here is how it may play out. I wrote this some time ago, but the premise is the same.
9/10ths a story fragment of a possible near future by Shelton Bumgarner
The eyes of the world were on the White House.
Just moments before, President Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, had been convicted by 67 members of the Senate for a whole list of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump had for weeks now been ranting on Gab about his case in the Senate, bouncing back and forth between threats to start a war with Iran or the DPRK and not-so-subtle hints that he might take his own life should he be convicted by the Senate.
And, now, at last, the moment of truth had arrived.
Trump legally, at least, was no longer president, but he had been oddly silent since the verdict had been announced with great fanfare from the well of the Senate. Trump’s conviction had come after months of investigations on the part of the now Democratic Congress. The length and breath of Trump’s malfeasance discovered by these hearings had rocked the nation to its very core. On more than one occasion, MAGA talking heads on cable news had been interrupted by astonishing breaking news that left them, for once, unable or unwilling to defend the president.
The hearings had ground on for months to such an extent that Trump’s approval had slowly drifted to the 20s and stayed there consistently. Trump’s support was now made up of the very rich and the very poor. Oddly, despite Trump’s near constant demands on Twitter for violence on the part of his supporters, little, if any was reported. Trump had grown so frustrated that he had all but abandoned Twitter at one point for the more receptive Gab social media platform. Though on more than one occasion Rudy Giuliani had made it very clear it was within the rights of the president to declare martial law if he deemed it in the best interests of the nation. More than one delegation of Senate Republicans had gone to the White House to explain to Trump that he was going to be convicted, no avail. Trump made it clear to them, in not so many words that his simply living in the White House made him president, a sentiment best expressed by the legal saw that, “Possession is 9/10ths of the law.”
Finally, a post to Gab came out: “My so-called ‘conviction’ is the work of the Deep State and as such illegitimate. I remain president.”
This set off a chain of events, the likes of which Americans had never seen. Suddenly, everyone on Twitter became a Constitutional scholar as everyone studied the exact wording of the Constitution as to what happens if the president is removed from office by the Senate. The wording is quite clear: he or she is no longer president and that’s it.
Nowhere in the Constitution did it explain what to do if the president simply decided to ignore the Senate. What’s more, nowhere in the Constitution did it state what to do with the nuclear launch codes should a president be removed from office and he refuse to accept the decision of the Senate.
The next few hours were chilling as they were surreal for millions of people not just in the United States but around the globe. The issue of Trump’s physical access to America’s nuclear launch codes was suddenly at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Though it was finally announced that while the nuclear football remained in Trump’s possession, Sec. of Defense Mattis had ordered the American armed forces to stand down for the duration of the crisis.
Trump, on Twitter, was as defiant and unhinged as usual.He threatened to kill himself. He threatened to start a nuclear war. He vowed to declare martial law.
The usual suspects on cable news did their best to spin all of this for Trump. As an anxious nation waited for the now former president to leave the White House, a cavalcade of former Republican Senators and Trump White House staffers attempted to make the former president’s case. Their final argument was that for the good of the country, Trump should be allowed to remain president, despite his lawful conviction by the Senate.
Things began to move rapidly at this point.
Vice President Pence was sworn in but Chief Justice Roberts in a dark, somber event in the Old Executive Building. Meanwhile, it was learned Trump had quietly replaced his Secret Service detail with a private security force that made it clear it was prepared to defend Trump until the bloody end.
At this point, two things happened. A final bipartisan delegation of Congressional leaders came to the White House grounds under the flag of truce. During the course of an hour-long meeting, Trump screamed at them that they had never supported him and the world would be better off if it just ended instead of allowed the forces of the Deep State to ruin America. He made it absolutely clear that he would never leave the Oval Office willingly.
With that, they left.
Next, a surreal, bizarre event, the FBI slowly began to surround the White House. There was much debate online and on TV about how long the nation should wait for Trump to leave the White House. CNN went so far as to do a deep dive into the exact amount of food the White House grounds might have available at any one moment.
Finally, shots rang out from the White House as the battle was joined. It took several hours but in the end, the FBI was finally able to secure the facility. Nearly a dozen personnel on both sides died during the course of the Battle of The White House.
In what would become ionic footage, Trump was quietly escorted from the White House grounds. He spent the remainder of his days ranting on Twitter and Gab that he was the rightful president.
Yeah. About that BuzzFeed story. I predicted earlier today that there was a 50/50 chance it would be debunked by nightfall…and it was debunked just after nightfall.
I should get some cool points.
I say this as someone who absolutely loathes the Trump Administration with a white hot rage. The story was simply too on-the-nose from a liberal fever dream point of view. It was, in short, too good to be true.
And it turns out it was.
The below video is kind of a downer — if thought provoking — in more ways than one.
As of late March 2018, here’s my hot take on the endgame to #TrumpRussia.
It seems to me that what is going to happen is it will be a combination of Iran-Contra and the Monica Lewinsky scandals. Trump could very well be impeached, but he won’t be convicted and ultimately he not only survives but prospers as he grows more accustomed to the office of president.
What’s more, I still predict a major war against the DPRK (and maybe Iran) between now and August 2018. I say this for two reasons. One, Trump needs a Wag The Dog situation to get people talking about something else. Meanwhile, he wants to squash any chance of a Blue Wave happening this fall.
I am not that old, but I am old enough to remember with the Republican Party was the party not only of Lincoln, but of Ronald Reagan. I came of political adulthood in the mid-80s, the height of Ronald Reagan as a near demi-god in Republican circles. I’m no conservative Republican, but I do remember some of the basic tenants of Reagan Republicanism.
Reagan was pro-democracy around the world, no matter what the costs. He saw the Soviet Union (Russia) as our chief geo-political foe and he had, first and foremost, principles he was willing to stand and die for in an ideological, rhetorical way. Or put another way, Reagan had an actual ideology, a vision, of America as “a city on the hill” that was a beacon to people around the world no matter what type of “shithole” they came from.
Even the most ardent Trump supporter, I suspect, would have difficulty telling me what Trump’s ideology is other than “make America great again” and building that fucking wall. The idea of American exceptionalism, that we are a city on the hill that not only defends freedom around the world but is a place open to people from any “shithole” around the world seems to have been cast aside like so much unwanted trash by Trump people.
It all kind of boggles my mind. The whole thing is bizarre. If you have any the tiniest bit of historical perspective on things, Trump’s rise is such an aberration relative to the previous path of the modern Republican Party that it’s enough to leave you a bit stunned. Republicans as recently as 20 years ago, were a party that had, like, principals and stuff. The were the comfy home of “values” voters who supported a witch hunt against Bill Clinton because, well, they hated his guts on a personal level because they felt “character” counted enough to warrant looking for something, anything to impeach him for. They got their wish, of course, be he managed to escape conviction.
Now, I don’t know what the fuck is going on. Everything is turned upside down. Things are surreal. Republicans are soft on Russia. They scoff at the notion that America not only would defend freedom but that our doors would be open to outsiders who are the lifeblood of our continued prosperity. It’s all very surreal for someone like me who actually has enough personal memory to remember the Cold War.
The question, of course, is what the hell happened?
The only answer I can think of is, maybe, Trump is an example of the “Great Man” theory of history at work. I struggle to imagine this clusterfuck happening without someone like Trump being the unique vessel of the resentment of the common man against the evil liberal elites. But Trump is so unhinged, so erratic and so devoid of any type of specific ideology that even though I fear he will be a two-term president, there is a chance he may be the historical equivalent of a Chinese food. Soon enough, we’ll struggle to remember exactly what all the fuss was about.
That’s not to say that, in a way, Trump is already America’s political-historical herpes. All those insane, young judges he’s appointing aren’t going anywhere. They are going to do real harm to the American body politic for decades to come and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. I am still unconvinced that there will be a “Blue Wave” in 2018. I think Trump will attack the DPRK or do something equally nefarious and not only survive, but prosper for a full eight years.
The real question, of course, is what happens after Trump. Do things snap back into place, or are we fucked for good? Because of the coming of the Singularity and other long-term issues, I am more inclined to think we’re fucked. The question, of course, is, exactly how fucked are we?
For all the liberal fever dreams about how Trump will eventually be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, we have to accept that by the time Robert Mueller finally presents his conclusions to the Congress, things could be so completely muddled that it will be a moot point.
Add to that the cold, hard fact that Trump’s poll numbers are creeping up and Trump could very well pull an epic wag the dog by starting a preemptive war against the DPRK and you have a recipe for a Iran-Contra type endgame for #TrumpRussia.
It’s a classic instance of history maybe not repeating, but definitely rhyming. Iran-Contra was a huge Constitutional clusterfuck for several different reasons and the president at the time, Ronald Reagan managed to escape relatively unscathed. So, it’s very possible that if the economy continues to do well along with a strategic and timely war with the DPRK (and maybe some painful, uncharacteristic groveling) Trump could not only escape serious political harm, he could manage to prosper enough to have a second term.
The only reason why I suggest Trump might do the required public self-flagellation needed for the Iran-Contra endgame to come to be is what he did as part of the Access Hollywood tape scandal. He said he was sorry and he was able to go about his business. And, if Trump does, in fact, find himself at risk of being impeached, I have a feeling he’ll bend his knee to the public to save his job.
Though, I have to note, presidential second terms are not known for being all that great. The usually are pretty shitty compared to energetic first term. Usually, by the middle of the second term, Americans begin to grow unhappy with an president and weird things begin to happen. Trump, himself, is a manifestation of this. So, should Trump slouch towards a second term, some seriously fucked up shit might happen.
My biggest fear is that America’s already broken democracy is finally shatter altogether and there’s no going back. We will finally enter an era of fully “managed democracy” like they have in Russia. I used to think that could never happen, that America has too much spunk. But I’m afraid I’m beginning to lose hope. I’m beginning to fear that we’re fucked. I’m beginning to fear that there will never be a free and fair election in the United States in my lifetime. Or, if a Democrat wins it will be because of a really bizarre fluke.
It’s all very unfortunate, very sad and tragic. The major problem is we’re in an extended Civil Cold War with no end in sight. In fact, I might suggest that only a real civil war might end this turmoil. But the greater tragedy may be that when push come to shove there won’t be a war at all. The states will split peacefully for no other reason that they have, at last, nothing in common.