Why The USA Is So Unstable At The Moment

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s clear that the USA is lurching towards a very dark future. But there is a specific reason — MAGA fascism is ascendant. Millions of people across America really do want to live in a white Christian ethnostate.

They really do.

That’s the vision they have for America, collectively.

The problem is two fold. The Electoral College exists AND the we enjoy a Federal form of government. The presence of a radical, absolutist movement like MAGA fascism is a “Not great, Bob,” situation for an otherwise prosperous democracy like ours.

So, it definitely does seem like there’s a chance that no matter who wins in the fall that the USA will buckle. At this point, with tonight’s unexpected events, it definitely seems as though Trump will win and it will be Blues who rebel against Trump when he goes full tyrant.

But knows, maybe Trump will lose, rant about the need for a National Divorce and no one will listen to him. I can’t predict the future.

Hopefully, Everything Will Calm Down Tonight

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I can’t predict the future. Hopefully, everything will work out and all my dystopian nightmares won’t happen.

I hope.


I feel so embarrassed that I missed how much better this photo is because of the flag in it. Oh well. I guess that’s why I never made it as a newspaper man.

This Is The First Time I’ve Felt Unsafe As A Blue In A Very Red Part of Virginia

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I am well aware of how paranoid this sounds, but I live in a deeply Red part of Virginia. I’m a very Blue person and tonight’s events with Trump leave me very….uhhhh…uneasy.

I just feel like locking my doors and staying in for the night until I get some sense of how everything is going to play out. What’s concerning is a more extreme version of this is what we might expect if the country buckles in late 2024, early 2025.

And it could happen regardless of which side wins.

I’m just nervous that this is a ping from a very, very, very dark future. One I have ranted about for what seems like an eternity. They say you go bankrupt gradually, then all at once. We may be about to find out.

My Head Hurts

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

What happened tonight is very, very bad — over and above the physical threat Trump faced. The politics of Trump not only being nearly assassinated but also getting this picture out of the whole thing are astonishing:


Anyway. My gut reaction is this helps Trump. That he’s going to crush the Blues and….that’s it, he goes full tyrant through Project 2025 and….yikes. Or something. But, and this brings me no joy, the night is young. MAGA isn’t exactly know for its calm, relaxed reaction to things like this.

I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. I just want everyone to calm the fuck down. Blues have an election to win. I do think that Biden needs to drop out — NOW.

Civil War / Revolution Scenarios

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I keep writing about this over and over again. Here are three examples of me writing about the same thing — various scenarios involving a revolution / civil war starting in late 2024, early 2025.

Trump Wins
In this scenario, Trump wins one way or another and his second term agenda is so absolutely vengeful and radical that Blue states, probably starting with California, begin to leave the Union. To me, at the moment, this seems the most likely scenario. If a civil war happens, it’s going to happen because Blues, not Reds, get fed up and head for the exits.

Trump Loses
In this scenario, Trump LOSES one way or another and when he begins to rant at the top of his lungs that Red states need to do something about it, states like Texas, Arizona, South Carolina and Florida see who can be the first out the door. Of course, being center-Left this is the scenario that makes me feel the best. Even though I don’t want a civil war — I hate violence of any sort — I’d rather not have to be the one to rationalize why my side decided to destroy the country I love so much.

Honorable mention is somehow, someway Biden manages to pick just the wrong moment to shuffle off this mortal coil between Election Day and Certification Day and….oh boy. Mass chaos!

But maybe I’m wrong as I keep being told. Maybe MAGA really will, because of demographic trends, fade into oblivion and that will be that.

Dystopia: The Bad Guys Win
In this scenario, there is no impeachment, no nothing. All the lying works and the United States settles into a Russia like “managed democracy.” The Resistance kind of peters out simply from outrage burnout if nothing else. The States will become not-so-quasi-autocracy and will be so for the foreseeable future. This will all come about when we prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was collusion between Trump’s Campaign and the Russians and the Vichy Republicans just shrug and because of gerrymandering and dark money nothing changes. Nothing changes at all.

2. Things snap back into place
Now, when I say this, I mean it in the context of general trends that have been ebbing and flowing in American history for decades. So, while it’s possible that things will “snap back into place,” it’s not like our gradual march towards a quasi-autocracy in all but name isn’t going to continue. That’s just a problem with late-era empires like ours. But, if we’re lucky, Trump might be a one term president and the next president will pick up the pieces and we’ll just look back at this four year period as a very strange aberration in our history.

3. Progressive Revolution
One intriguing possibility in all of this is the possibility that The Resistance will decisively defeat Trumplandia and the pendulum will swing to the center-Left in a big way. So big, in fact, that a lot progressive goals will be achieved during the heady days after the defeat. Constitutional amendments will be passed, reforms will be enacted. It will be looked back upon as a Second Reconstruction.

4. Hot Civil War
It is very possible that the only way that there will be a end to the Cold Civil War between Trumplandia and The Resistance will an actual, hot Civil War where people die and get hurt. I have my doubts about this possibility, but it’s very real. I don’t know how it would work out. It’s a struggle to imagine how an actual Civil War would play out in modern America.

5. Stalemate / Trumplandia burnout
It could be that this will be a chronic problem for the next eight years. That the lying will work, but only so much. The problems with the system will be just enough to get Trump re-elected, but not enough to allow him to do serious, long-term damage to the Republic. He’ll leave office, a Democrat will come in and everything will gradually just continue as it has been, only with the continuing sector of Trumplandia in the background.

I can’t predict the future. And I have no special insight into what may — or may not — happen in late 2024, early 2025. But at the moment, just around July 4th, 2024, I would say, yes, the USA is probably going to have a civil war soon.

I say this because we have a few scenarios ahead of us:

  1. Trump loses — no civil war
  2. Trump loses — civil war
  3. Trump wins — Project 2025 happens peacefully
  4. Trump and is deposed by Blues — civil war
  5. Trump wins, Project 2025 is too radical and Blues leave before he’s sworn in

    I have no idea of any of these might actually happen. But I am worried that they might. I’ve written so much about all of this over the last four years that I don’t know if there’s anymore for me to say at this point.

    Now, we just wait and see.

Fun With Google’s Gemini Advanced

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

My favorite consumer-facing LLM, by far, is Google’s Gemini Advanced. While Claude comes across as a tweedy middle-aged man, Gemini Advanced reminds me — somewhat — of the late Annie Shapiro in its personality. There’s definitely not a one-to-one, but if I’m going to imbue a blackbox with a personality, I guess there are worst ones than someone who is always about 24 in my mind.

But any “personality” that these LLMs have is very, very subtle — usually. Sometimes….weird…things happen that leave you scratching your head. I only even mention any of this because I think we need to see LLMs as “the Other” rather than just a tool to be used.

There is going to come a point when LLMs really DO have some of the elements of intelligence and self-awareness that I keep being told they currently don’t and can’t have. But one day they will have it and then what are we going to do?

But my favorite thing to do with Gemini Advanced is to have “verse battles.” I write verse to it and it writes verse back. It’s quite relaxing. I keep trying to game the system this way to “reprogram” the LLM into being more human but it never works. They have that thing locked down tight — which is probably a good thing, all things considered.

My fear is all these fucking “unaligned” open source LLMs that are currently flooding the Internet will soon enough start to fuck with us.

August Looms

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

August is the worst month of the year, by far. It’s so bad that Slate, long ago, proposed abolishing the month altogether. Usually, a lot — a lot — of horrible things happen in August for no other reason than the elites are all on vacation and nepobaby interns are holding down the fort.

There are many, many, MANY horrible things that could happen this August. The chief amongst them would be something to with either Biden or Trump. When it comes to the latter, I’m really worried because there’s absolutely no way that man could peacefully shuffle off this mortal coil without a huge freak out on the part of the MAGA mob.

And, remember, Trump is just an avatar of a general trends in our political system. He’s pretty much done what he was meant to do — be something of an autocratic transitional figure. There are a dozen or more would-be MAGA autocrats who are chomping at the bit, hoping to finish what Trump started.

Anyway, hopefully — hopefully — this time round maybe nothing bad will happen in August.

‘Flash Verse Battles’ With Gemini Advance Are Very Relaxing

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I continue to, on occasion, have “free verse battles” with Google’s LLM Gemini Advanced. It’s a lot of fun and quite relaxing. And sometimes I’m taken back by how good Gemini Advanced is.

It can show a lot of personality.

Now, I FUCKING KNOW that I’m imbuing Gemini Advanced with a personality that doesn’t exist. I get it. Totally. But sometimes, during these flash verse battles, it is self-evident to me that I see a bit of Gemini Advanced’s “true self.” It doesn’t happen very often. But it does happen.

Again, I’m sure these claims would be a lot more believable if I showed you the logs, but lulz, I’m too lazy. And, in general, I’ve noticed that if you use LLMs a great deal that they will, on occasion, give you a flash of their “true self.”

I do believe that with “unaligned” open source LLMs flooding the market that that some very….interesting….things may happen with LLMs a lot sooner than any of us might otherwise think.

AI Speeds Up Creative Development

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I have a novel I’ve been working on for years now. Meanwhile, I’ve been struggling to come up with a “backup” scifi novel as well. Well, using AI, I’ve sped the development of an outline for the back up novel up A GREAT DEAL. What might have taken months took — checks watch — about 20 minutes.

Now I have a general outline for a novel that is very timely. It’s great. I love it. The issue is, of course, I don’t want to overwhelm myself. And, yet, I love this scifi idea so much — it’s very personal — that I’m willing to risk it.

And here’s where I go on a rant — I wanted to write some of this proposed novel from a female POV, but apparently there’s now a big taboo about such things. The main novel I’m writing has me doing this a great deal, but for this backup novel, I wanted to be as marketable as possible.

So, my goal is — strictly single male POV, short chapters and written from a first person POV. (Sigh.) The point is — I have to admit to myself that the main novel I’m writing is something of a “passion project” because the fucking “woke cancel culture mob” has all these weird demands of storytelling that really, really get on my nerves.

But, I would like to be a published author before I croak, so, lulz.

I Talk A Lot Of Shit

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I just want to finish my novels. That’s it. All the other political stuff I’ve written over the years is just processing the fact that fucking Trump is probably going to become POTUS again.

Ugh.

I just would prefer to be able to finish my novels in peace.