A House Trump Death Rattle (Maybe)

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m reluctant to say we’re in any type of late-stage Watergate situation just yet. Watergate’s conclusion came about because of a very specific set of circumstances that, because of a lack of precedent, we’ve come to believe is a forgone conclusion.

As I’ve written before, this is not 1974 and Trump is not Nixon. Republicans have no shame and crave power for power’s sake. As such, even though every other metric could be against Trump, Republicans could simply deny it all and stand firm. It’s hard for a liberal democracy to have a functioning Constitution when one of its major parties believes you can only impeach a president if they gain from it politically.

I guess what I’m saying is — the entire fate of the United States rests on Trump, well, being Trump. I would go so far as to say at this point it would actually be out of character for Trump not to do something so completely indefensible, so completely and demonstrably beyond the pale of any type of normal human behavior, that Republicans will find themselves at last defending the absolutely indefensible. If we’ve gotten this far into this situation and we’re not thinking that maybe the Deep State might be the good guys, well,oh boy.

In fact, I will go so far as to say we’re looking for the wrong signs. We’re looking for a major Republican to be Barry Goldwater. Nope. The best we can maybe hope for is a surreal version of The Pence Pivot. If Trump gets the whistleblower murdered, or tweets out a dick pic or tweets the n-word to Obama, Republican leaders will simply say they REALLY voted for Pence and why are you asking the question.

Even then, they won’t even hold an impeachment trial in the Senate.

Having said all that, I would like to tell AOC and a few other people floating around that there’s a chance that things are going to get so bad, so surreal that they are going to be given a masterclass on leadership in real time. I watched on 9/11 as then President Bush simply deflated. He ran away. The nation, for a moment, was leaderless. For a few crucial hours, Rudy was our president.

All I’m saying is, if things get as absolutely surreal as they look like they may, history is watching. They say one’s character comes out best in extreme situations. A few of our elected leaders may be given the opportunity to tell us who they really are, for better or worse.

But we’re not quite there yet. Maybe Bill Barr has proof TrumpUkraine is all an evil plot on the part of the Deep State. Again, at this point, Chris Wallace might suggest the “optics” on that one might not be so great for House Trump.

Maybe the Deep State is like the Second Foundation? Maybe they’re protecting the Constitution? We’ll see.

I Don’t Believe The Senate Is Going To Hold A Trump Impeachment Trial

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let’s be honest — we’ve reached point where Republicans are a cult. In their eyes, the only legitimate way to impeach a president is if they, themselves, gain politically by it. So, really, in their view, only a Democrat president can be impeached.

That’s it. A Republican, by definition, is immune to any Constitutional punishment for their actions.

So, you can pull any kind of reason why this or that thing might help Democrats make their case going forward — Mich McConnell is simply not going to hold the trial. It’s a win-win for him. Senate Republicans don’t have to defend a vote if it’s never held. And the move gives Trump free reign to help Republicans in the 2020 election cycle by doing whatever the fuck he wants to do. Bribe Electors. Dox them. Appoint Rudy as a Special Prosecutor to look into the Bidens. Directly ask the Russians to hack the election. Whatever. It will help Republicans keep the White House. And the base will be happy so they keep the Senate.

Republicans keep power, which is all they care about. They have no shame. None. Zero. They are completely detached from any form of political reality at this point.

Why this is extremely troubling is the Senate simply not holding a trial is sort of a Constitutional singularity in that it’s the point where politics and the Constitution meet. Even if SCOTUS tells the Senate it has to do it, McConnel could simply ignore them. That would be fun.

I honestly have no way to address this. If we revolt, Trump simply abolishes Blue State governments, purges Congress of Democrats and, well, MAGA?

Republicans Are Careening Towards Only One Option In Their Defense Of Trump: Being A Cult

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m going to work with what I know as of the time I write this. Things are growing so extenstially bad for the Republican Party, I’m growing nervous that Bill Barr is Q and he’s going to jump out at some point and say “babbabooy.”

That that is growing to become the only good scenario for Republicans is very bad news. But let’s go through what I can tell of existing Republican defenses of Trump.

This Is A Deep State Attack
Their argument is none of this is valid because it’s a partisan attack on the president orchestrated by a deep state operative with a grudge against the president. It’s based on “hearsay.” Ok, this argument is bad for Republicans because it doesn’t really do what they need it to do — own the moment. Much of the complaint itself is being proven correct from other sources. And even if you could prove any sort of partisan motive does that mitigate what Trump actually did? If a Democrats sees a Republican murder someone, we don’t prosecute the Republican because the Democrat might gain a political advantage?

The Bidens Are Corrupt
While House Trump is great at branding, their ability to use their usual mind fucks on us is beginning to unravel a little bit. What they want to do is recreate the conditions of 2016 with 2020. But things are moving fast with TrumpUkraine. We’re pretty much in a political war and that particular type of messaging only works in political peacetime. If every time you get asked about TrumpUkraine you pivot to a non-existent scandal involving the Bidens, you got a problem. The sheer astonishing scope of the TrumpUkraine criminality overshadows anything the Bidens might be accused of doing. Again, if you commit a bigger crime to look into someone else’s crime, you still committed a crime.

Fuck You, The Base Loves Trump
If we get down to this argument, then the next step is The Pence Pivot. This argument removes any pretence of working within the bounds of a liberal democracy with a social contract and civil society. This is when the wheels fly off and we go from a pitched battle to all out political civil war. In a sense, this is something that the average person doesn’t realize. Something about Obama’s second term drove the Republican Party completely insane. It has no shame and it craves power for power’s sake. As such, if they run out of arguments, they simply deny that there are any arguments that they will listen to. The only reason why this might not work is if things have gotten this bad, Trump will be at the point in his cognitive decline where he’s tweeting out dick picks and tweeting out the n-word to Obama.

After that, it’s The Pence Pivot. They stop talking about Trump altogether and simply say they really voted for Pence. Though, in a sense, Trump will have lost the mandate of heaven even with Republicans, they will still support Trump staying in office. They just will talk about Pence whenever he comes up.

Republicans Face Two Impeachment Pyrrhic Victories

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

A pyrrhic victory is a victory that costs you so much that it’s not really all that much of a victory in the long term. Republicans because they have no shame and crave power for power’s sake are careening towards two major pyrrhic victories. What is so astonishing about the pyrrhic victories is they’re not even tactical in nature. If they occurred they would likely be existential pyrrhic victories.

The first one of these is political.

Democrats, feelling they have Trump red handed, rush through the impeachment inquiry. Support for impeachment runs high, but access journalists wring their hands that it’s going too fast. They say Democrats should hold weeks of televised hearings to control the narrative. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell takes a read of the nation and strikes. The day the House votes for impeachment, he says two things: one, House Democrats haven’t proven anything near an impeachable offense. Two, for the sake of the nation he believes that the “people should decide” in Nov. 2020 because were within a year of the election.

Such brazen, self-serving interpretations of the Constitution have worked before with Supreme Court justices. So, McConnell has every reason to believe he can pull it off again. He lets Republican Senators off the hook, there’s not trial and Trump can go back to meddling in the 2020 election. Since he’s made it clear that Trump has North Korean-levels of absolute devotion to Trump the very idea of ever holding him accountable is negated. Trump grows so emboldened that he bribes individal Electors in broad daylight should Russia’s efforts to directly hack the election prove unsuccessful.

There’s a problem with this seemingly airtight solution for McConnell. While he doesn’t care what his place in the history books will be — lulz! — there’s a real chance such behavior would be a thunderclap in American political history. It’s such a simple thing to explain to the average person — even if Democrats aren’t in control of the narrative — that there’s no telling what the long-term consequences to this might be. If McConnell finally is explicit that he is so craven, so absolute in his lack of shame and desire for power for power’s sake that he wouldn’t even let Senators hear the case against Trump that’s a massive crime against the Constitution and the people of the United States.

I won’t go so far as to say there might be civil unrest — Trump would just use it as excuse to dissolve Blue State governments, anyway– but the political consequences to the Republican Party might be far, far more damaging than they could possibly imagine.

The second pyrrhic victory is criminal.

Trump is notorious for “joking” about how people should be murdered for opposing him. Now, Trump’s already cueing this up to happen. It’s extremely brazen and reckless for him to even bring a hint up this concept up. I say this especially given how deranged most of MAGA is. Would it really help the MAGA cause to murder the whistleblower? Does that make any sense? While if it happened, Republicans would say Trump was “joking” and just “free styling” his frustration with the situation, and he, himself, did not commit the crime.

If things have gotten so bad in American politics that enough people this that Trump isn’t held accountable, I don’t know if I want to live in this country anymore. Again, it’s pretty likely that Trump creating an environment where crazy people want to kill his political opponents might not be a good political situation for Republicans going forward.

Anyway. Stay tuned.

Honest Question: Why Is Bill Barr Still A Free Man?

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

What the fuck is going on with Attorney General Bill Barr? He’s in the middle of a criminal conspiracy disguised as a the Executive Branch and…nothing. No one seems to be calling for his resignation. It’s like since Rudy is the lightning rod, Barr is free to go about his business being the demonstrably deeply criminal leader of the Justice Department.

There’s one specific issue I would like to be looked in — what was the exact sequence of events that led Bob Mueller to end his investigation into the firing of James Comey? Something about that particular event doesn’t smell right. One thing about Mueller is he became an avatar for a lot of liberal rag against the Trump Administration. We imbued him with a lot of qualies that he may — or may not — actually possess. He’s a lifelong Republican and Bill Barr’s friend.

Given the sheer depth of criminal behavior that Barr has presided over at the Justice Department, that makes me wonder that maybe he might have suggested Mueller wrap things up in time for Trump to start is 2020 re-election campaign. It’s pretty conspicuous how Mueller fell on his sword for Trump in any number of different ways. A lot of avenues of investigation simply were not looked into.

People who seemed bound to get indicted never were. I mean, Don Jr. is just as conspicuous in his conspicuous need to commit crimes as his father. I have no idea what happened, but it seems like now that it’s clear that Trump’s running the Executive Branch like a mafia don that maybe someone should look into that.

Barr has already done enough to warrant him being in jail for contempt of Congress. If I was going to use the House’s inherent contempt powers, Barr is the guy I would use it on. That guy needs to suffer politically somehow. He needs to experience some sort of consequences for his behavior.

The Executive Branch Of The United States Is A Criminal Enterprise

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

We’ve always suspected Trump Org was essentially a criminal syndicate, but the recent whistleblower revelations make it clear that as my mom would say — you take yourself wherever you go. The sheer breath of the criminal activity that’s taking place in the Executive Branch right now is astonishing. And just think how bad it will get if we aren’t able to remove Trump from office.

What’s more, that House Trump is so detached from the regular methods of governance that they would release what they did the last few days is pretty telling — and astonishing. They are completely devoid of any sense of public service. The entire Executive Branch is full of craven criminals who don’t even realize how criminal they are.

Again, as I’ve said, there are some pretty big existential issues at stake. If we can’t remove Trump, there are no assurances that there will be a free and fair election in 2020. In other words, a fish rots from its head. We have to slice the boil of this systemic criminality by removing Trump as quickly as possible.

Really, in a sense, we have our fate in our owns hands. We need to do some triage. The conditions that caused Trump’s rise will remain. But we can address those issues when we are forced to get them again.

The Existential Case For Removing Trump Immediately

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

The reason why removing Trump immediately is so absolutely important — existential, even — is one very troubling fact; Trump called the president of Ukraine the day after he was given a political pardon by the “poor optics” of Bob Mueller’s testimony to Congress.

That act, in itself, requires we remove Trump from office within days, not months. In fact, if I was in charge of messaging for Congressional Democrats that’s the one point I would never shut up about. If you talked to a Democrat in Congress, you would here that mentioned at some point during the interview.

The reason why that particular point is so absolutely important is it’s a simple way to explain, in political terms, the gravity of what’s going on. If Trump was some sort of political genius, the last thing he would do it wait about 24 hours to actively commit the very crime that consumed the first two years of his presidency. It’s a very relatable insight into the dark recesses of who Trump is as a person. It’s this specific datapoint that elevates a partisan political issue into a human existential one.

Trump, the bonkers self-own artist

I mean, if you had a buddy who pull such a stunt, you would likely able him as toxic and lowly ease him out of your life. To have someone with such a mentality as the leader of the free world is absolutely, existentially unacceptable.

It proves that if you don’t remove Trump, then, well, there is pretty much no opportunity to have a free and fair election in 2020. Within 24 hours of being acquitted in the Senate, Trump is likely be even more brazen and emboldened. As such, it’s a lot like the Losers in IT and the silver bullets they hand-made. They believed they would work and then they missed.

In fact, another avenue of messaging for Democrats is to never shut up about the existential nature of what’s going on. Impeachment is a painfully slow process in the era of social media and as such messaging is absolutely, deathly critical. You have to keep reminding the populist hoards on Twitter what the stakes are. You throw everything you have at this particular aspect of the situation.

The reason is, House Trump wants this to be strictly political issue. If it’s a political issue, they win. No question. If it’s framed as a matter of politics, there’s no question Trump is acquitted so he can continue to running the Executive just like TrumpOrg — like a criminal enterprise.

Framing what’s happening as existential to the average American also keeps people entertained. If you manged to convince them this is The Stand of American history, then you keep interest and momentum. If it’s seen as a political matter, given how long it will take, then Mich McConnell won’t even actually hold the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.

Now, there’s one element to all of this that absolutely has to be at the forefront of your mind going forward. Trump is nothing more than malevolent version of Being There’s Chauncey Gardner. What’s more, he’s not only the master of the self-own, he’s likely to grow more and more erratic as the pressure of the House impeachment inquiry moves forward. So, really, that’s a part of this that simply can’t be predicted.

It’s very possible that just as McConnell is about to dismiss the whole thing in a wave of his partisan hand, Trump will tweet out a dick pic. I’m not kidding it really is possible at this point. The man is not well and the entire journalist ecosystem is complicit in hiding it.

Anyway, I am very ambivalent about Trump’s fate right now. It’s just going to take too long. Trump will be able to control the narrative and that will be that. But, like I said, he’s not only got some sort of degenerative mental issues going on, he’s the master of the self-own.

Impeachment State Of Play For The Morning Of Sept. 26, 2019

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

While it’s reasonable to assume that Trump will life to fight another day, there are at least a few warning signs that might trouble the administration. What House Trump believes, apparently, is once they get all the information out that this scandal will go the way of Storm Daniels and all the others. People will process it, see it through the lens of partisan politics and that will be that.

To be honest, that’s a bet I would be willing to take. All they have to do is slow walk this and they win. Once they win, they can do exactly what they had planned to do in the first place — win dirty, but win — and we wake up in a Russian style “managed democracy.”

Really, the only reason why there’s a hint the strategy might not work is Trump himself. It’s difficult to “own the moment” when your arguments are so demonstrably completely disconnected to self-evident reality that people begin to notice.

It is at least possible that Republicans might find themselves beginning to do a modicum of self-reflection. This would be the first stage of The Pence Pivot. That Pence is beginning to be implicated in this scandal is not of immediate concern. Republicans got their smash and grab plutocrat tax cut and they got an enormous amount of young hack judges on the Federal bench. They would know that while Pence has no shame just like Trump, he is at least stable and a more traditional politician. As such, in the unlikely event that Trump goes so beyond the pale that they see their own political fortunes in jeopardy, they will simply do The Pence Pivot and move on. They’ll start talking about the need to cut entitlements because of the ballooning budget deficit. That they were directly responsible for that budget deficit is of no concern.

What people on Twitter too often are oblivious to is there’s a reason why Trump has such cult-like hold on the Republicans — he’s extremely popular among angry white men. Trump has so played to the base — pretty sees them as his only audience — that what he says can come off as pretty bonkers. But if you see him as always talking to the base, all the bizzare things he says and does make total sense.

Therefore, really, relative to House Trump, talking to a foreign power to get dirt on his opponent shouldn’t be a big deal for him politically. The dynamic of the Stormy Daniels scandal is identical, the only difference being the severity of the crime. Two things make this crime different. It’s existential and its simple to understand.

Add to this how fast the story is moving and the tried and true Stormy Daniels mindfucks don’t work. What’s even more interesting is Trump is obviously not taking this story seriously. I think he’s bought into the idea presented by political pundits that this will be a net win for him. When begins to believe it isn’t then things go to the next level.

Trump would then start a war. Or begin to directly tell the MAGA faithful to take active measures to defend him. That he hasn’t done this yet is curious. Either it’s a sign he’s really out of it mentally or he simply believes he can ride this out on the power of the Trump cult of personality. A cornered Trump will have no compunction about burning the country to the ground to save himself.

What happens next, I don’t know. Whatever happens, we’re in a new era, for better or worse.

House Trump’s Impeachment Response Strategies & How To Address Them

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Before I begin, I have to note that a fish rots from its head. A lot very power, very intelligent and very well educated people are playing defense for an extremely reckless doofus. So, the thing to take into consideration is I’m trying to imagine how House Trump will respond to the upcoming impeachment battle. But there’s an existential weakness, no matter what — Trump himself. There may come a point when just like how I see a fence at the border and everyone else sees a wall, there may be a pretty big difference between what many of can actually see with our senses and what Republicans tell us we see.

Let The People Decide
At some point we will get close enough to the 2020 election cycle that the Republican talking heads will say given that what Trump did isn’t really a big deal, what’s the point in going through the impeachment process in the first place. The critical flaw to this argument — and the one they don’t want us to think too much about because, well, lulz, they have no shame and lust after power for power’s sake — is that Trump demonstrably is so shifty and corrupt that there are no assurances that there will be a free and fair election in the first place. And that, in itself, is the more existential aspect of this clusterfuck. Our entire 200 or so years of republican rule rests on Trump doing something so catastrophically bad that he loses enough Senate Republicans that they vote to convict.

I say this because if Trump is so a craven doofus as to call the president of Ukraine 24 hours after being given a political pardon by the “bad optics” of Bob Mueller’s Congressional testimony, you damn well the moment he’s acquitted by the Senate he’s going to be emboldened AGAIN. If this wrapped ups around, say Feb. 2020, that gives him a pretty long time to use the levers of Federal power to fuck with the election. That’s his thing. He’s so obsessed with winning at any cost that he’s willing to pretty much destroy the entire country and it’s tradition of free and fair elections to do it. Nothing will be off the table. He will be completely above the law. Trump will grow so absolutely brazen that he can bribe Electors or dox them or whatever. He is going to win. There will be no stopping. What are Democrats going to do, impeach him AGAIN just a few days before the election? Or between when he loses the election and when he uses corrupt means to secure an Electoral College victory? Have you been paying attention? So it’s reasonable to assume that if Trump somehow magically lost the election that he would simply use post-Election Day corrupt means to win. And there simply would not be the political will to do anything about it. So, Republicans with no shame and a craven lust for power “win.” This is not a hysterical scenario. This is a scenario using the metrics that have been established in broad daylight about Trump’s personality and motives.

Abject Denial Of Reality
There is a chance that, like I said, Trump will self-own again. There will come a point where is behavior is so surreal and erratic that it is literally impossible not to notice. But Republicans, knowing that Trump has the love of the base and people generally aren’t interested in politics (lulz) will simply not just be party over country, they’ll be party over reality. The way to combat this is, well, make their life hell. A Republican pressure point is cramming through young hack MAGA Federal judges. If Republicans simply deny reality altogether — or refuse to talk about the dick pic Trump tweeted out — you shut down the Senate using parliamentary warfare. I don’t know the finer points of the Senate, but I’m under the impression that if you really wanted to be a dick, you could slow it so much that it essentially ground to a halt.

“Managed Democracy”
The most chilling aspect of the problems Trump is experiencing right now is they are in large part the result of Trump finally figuring out how to use the levers of power. So, it makes sense that if Trump managed to stay cogent enough to realize he may be facing an existential crisis, will simply break the entire liberal democracy that we currently enjoy. He pardons a dozen powerful people. He appoints a Special Prosecutor to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. He leans into how the Judiciary is now but an extension of the GOP. He will figure that most people really won’t care (lulz) about some pretty basic rights as long as they economy is doing well. The only response I can think of this is, on an ideological level, radicalism. Radical Resistance would manifest its in the use of enlisting “civilians” into the fight against fascism. One of the few times House Trump has backed down — the whole kids n cages situation — the bolts popped off civil society for a few days as pretty much everyone on TV looking into the camera and said the policy was horrific. In this case, it wouldn’t be a day, it would be weeks. There would come a point, maybe, when a few Republicans might realize they had gotten all the massive plutocrat tax cut they wanted and Pence would give them the young hack MAGA judges on the Federal bench too. They might not abandoned Trump, but they might lesson his political power.

Again, let me stress something to all the powerful Republicans who still believe Trump is going to establish The Thousand Year Trump — Trump is not just an evil version of Being There’s Chauncey Gardner, he’s also a criminally incompetent self-own artist. If you thought today was bad, there’s a non-zero chance you’re going to be on TV defending a presidential junk pic. Or the president tweeting in the N-word to Obama. Or the president “joking” on Twitter that MAGA should kill the Whistleblower. I know Republicans have no shame and are craven in their lust for power for power’s sake. But maybe I’d like to end this on an up note and speculate maybe, just maybe a Republican with power might at least do The Pence Pivot. They won’t, of course. We’re fucked.

Trump, Putin, Ukraine & The Absolute Darkest Timeline

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I would just like to note that there is a minor amount of chatter on Twitter about Russian forces moving around near the Ukrainian border. It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that Putin might, just might, see his Trump investment about to go belly up.

As such, he might strike Ukraine while he has the chance. I doubt it would be a general war because Russia has the economy of something like Spain. But Putin has bragged that he could take Kiev in two weeks.

It’s something to keep in the back of your mind.