States Are Now The Laboratories Of Autocracy

by Shelt Garner

It used to be, the famous quip about the states was that they were the “laboratories of democracy.” Sadly, the opposite is now true — in MAGA state after state, would-be autocrats are testing out different autocratic measures in an hope of catching the attention of the MAGA faithful.

Because of the fundimental anti-democratic nature of the modern MAGA Republican Party, by definition, if you want to make a name for yourself as a would-be Republican nominee, you have to think up new and creative ways of strangling democracy on a state level. From Texas, to South Dakota to Florida, governor after governor has made it clear that their goal is to strangle American democracy in the name of “making America great again.”

And, I think, that’s the crux of what a lot of people are missing about what’s going on in the United States right now — Trump has always been nothing more than an avatar. As such, even if we magically took Trump out of the equation there are many, many men and women chomping at the bit to finish the transition to autocracy that Trump began.

So, in a sense, we’re pretty much fucked. Totally, and completely, fucked.

In fact, I would say we’re so fucked that the other option before us, civil war, might, in a sense be the better one because even though it would be a horrific tragedy, at least there would be the possibility that we would come out on the other side with a stronger democracy.

That’s kind of dark and I don’t like to think about that, but, yikes is autocracy bearing down on us.

Watch Me Channel Lester Bangs: Undead Gawker Is Boring

by Shelt Garner

I’m day drinking rye on my way to working fleshing out the outline of the first of four novels I’m planning, so think of this as me channeling Lester Bangs while I psyche myself up to my attention to the main event.

In short, I’m drunk and writing.

Anyway, the new Gawker is boring. It has an element of spunk to it, and, yet, not one of the article headlines I glanced out just a moment ago was enough to make me sit up and take notice. Sometimes, you need to be ornery. We live in such surreal times that if you had the backing to start a new blog like the Undead Gawker, I would pull out the stops.

Find a few young obsessives — or maybe an old obsessive like me? — and tell them to rant. They would get traffic through marketing and buzz. Now, here’s what I would do if I was in charge Undead Gawker. I would very carefully study the site’s Webstats and try to glean what, specifically was catching the most people’s interest then I would attack that subject with the strangest, snarkiest hot takes I could possibly pull out of my ass.

You know what Undead Gawker reminds me of right now?

Radar Online.

Give me a blog format, a jug of rye, access to Undead Gawker’s webstats and an expectation of 10 solid posts a day and I could put that site on the map. I know what makes Twitter liberals tick. I know their internal media narrative. I can make bankshot references to cultural touchstones that every Twitter power user knows.

The point is: fucking hire me, Undead Gawker.


Anyway, this rye tastes nice and the novels I’m supposed to be working on are looking more and more attractive.

What Are Trump, Mark Meadows & Their Merry Band Of Seditious Idiots Up To?

by Shelt Garner

The core group of people who surrounded Mad King Trump fling off so much bullshit at any one moment that it’s very difficult to figure out what the fuck they’re talking about sometimes. But, just recently, former Trump COS Mark Meadows make it sound like Trump was plotting some sort of return sooner rather than later.

I struggle to figure out what’s going on.

Either it’s all bullshit meant to make Trump feel better, or they’re actively planning to take advantage of the potential instability caused by Cyber Ninjas “proving” that Trump “won” Arizona. If it’s the latter, then they’re actively stetting the stage for a national version of January 6th.

Here’s how it would go down.

Sometime soon — in August, maybe? — Cyber Ninjas comes out with a preliminary report that says Trump won Arizona. Trump spooges his pants and won’t shut the fuck up about how this PROVES he won the 2020 election, even if it’s just one state. This sets of a cascading set of events where Red State legislatures across the country decide to hold “Decertification Conventions” meant to appease the MAGA base. Of course, soon enough, because of Trump screaming at them, these conventions turn into “Nullification Conventions” and, soon enough, once they realize that you can’t really nullify the results of a presidential election — Secessionist Conventions.

Then Trump really does do the ultimate ask the elected members of his violent personality cult — are you going to join my new Trumplandia government?

That is kind of the absolute, absolute worst case scenario.

More likely, all of this bullshit would be used to as part of a greater media narrative for the 2022 mid-terms. They might tell the MAGA base to vote so Trump the “real” president could become Speaker and, as such, be put into the line of secession to cause who knows mischief.

The point is — the moment Cyber Ninjas comes out with their preliminary report, all hell might break loose. Or not. Everything is very much up in the air at this point.

Pretty much anything might happen. The key issue is, could Trump unto himself, be catalyst enough to force a secession crisis if he isn’t “re-instated.”

Struggling To Parse Out The MAGA Narrative Of The Jan. 6th Capitol Insurrection

by Shelt Garner

MAGA hates it when something makes them look bad, despite their “Fuck your feelings” rhetoric. Also, remember, Trump lives in his own surreal Upside Down and demands otherwise sane people to tow the line, so they end up tying themselves into rhetorical knots to explain his erratic statements.

But, here goes.

Apparently, the parts MAGA doesn’t like — the violent attempt to murder people with Blue Lives Matter Flags and Old Glory part — was actually a combination of Antifa, the FBI and BLM. Meanwhile, once the blood sport portion of the event ended, the people who went into the Capitol itself, THOSE people were just tourists who wanted to peacefully look around without an appointment. Though, given all the agitation that Trump et al were directly responsible for the idea that these, perfectly peaceful people’s agenda was just to hang out and talk to their Congress member is…dubious?

That doesn’t even begin to address the “Welcome To The New Right” part of all of this in the sense that there may come a point when the never-ending drift towards fascism on the part of the Republican Party will force all conservatives to embrace and extend what happened. You see some of this already in how they’re trying to turn Ashli Babbitt into some sort of MAGA martyr. This is another aspect of this rhetorical clusterfuck that is difficult to understand.

So, the violent part of what happened was a False Flag operation. And Ms. Babbitt is a martyr who was just minding her own business — EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE FOOTAGE OF EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS DOING THAT CAUSED HER DEATH. Had she not been shot, there’s a good chance that that “the False Flag operation” that was going on all around her would have ended in the death of a number of elected officials. UGH.

I suppose the point of all this bullshit is to simply address the outrage of normal, non-MAGA people in an a la carte manner. If MAGA’s defenses for what happened are contradictory and make no sense, so what. Libs. Owned.

And the thing we need right now — for the January 6th Insurrection to pry traditional conservatives away from MAGA just isn’t going to happen. That’s why Mitch McConnell et al are acting the way they are now. Trump is still very popular within conservative circles. The base is drifting closer and closer to totally embracing fascism and white nationalism. So, lulz, so what.

I don’t have any easy answers for you. It’s not like I write for VOX or anything.

Negative Polarization Based On Abstract Fears Is A Hell Of A Drug

by Shelt Garner

It is now impossible to talk about politics with my far more conservative relatives. This is disheartening for a number of reasons, chief among them being — oh boy — when the autocracy comes I’m beginning to think they’re going to be Good Germans and let me meet my fate alone when ICE comes knocking.

The thing I struggle with is — why are things like this?

There’s something warping the American political system to its breaking point. In short, the politics of our 240 year old liberal democracy have frozen up in a way not seen since before the Civil War. Outside of the fringe NeverTrump movement on Twitter, to be an American conservative is to be MAGA, even if you don’t perceive yourself as MAGA.

The vast majority of all American conservatives are now effectively anti-democratic MAGA people to the point that they will welcome the autocracy with open arms when it arrives. Or, worst yet, they won’t even see it as an autocracy when it happens. People like me and Norm Ornstein will hysterically scream autocracy, while my conservative relatives simply won’t notice or care.

Or, even worse, if a civil war breaks out, I won’t be able to turn to them for succor. I’m going to be on my own. Oh boy.

And, yet, I continue to wonder what, specifically, is causing this weird warping of the American political system. What, specifically is causing otherwise normal, educated conservatives to defend the “cruelty is the point” element of MAGA? There simply is nothing that MAGA believes or wants that the conservatives I know believe is too much. They were upset about the insurrection but I know damn well that because of negative polarization they’ll vote for Trump in 2024 because of the extensive permission structure they’ll have at their disposal.

All I got when it comes to the addictive nature of negative polarization is a number of macro trends all came to a head around 2016. Republicans lost the culture wars. It became clear that demographic trends were NOT in white America’s favor. College became so expensive that it was not a part of the American Dream of upward mobility for the salt of the earth.

Add to this the Fox News bullshit echo chamber and you have the makings of people who know something isn’t right in America anymore, but they just don’t quite know what it is. They have a general feeling that liberals have something to do it. (Even though, of course, most of the excesses that conservatives hate so much come from Leftists, not liberals.)

So, as I mentioned before, the thing that really bothers me is my conservative relatives — not matter what happens — will never make common cause with me in opposing the rise of fascism in the United States. Never. I’m on my own. It’s a real struggle for me because I know on a personal level fascism isn’t something they agree with.

And, yet, their abstract fears over Cancel Culture, “safe spaces,” “microaggressions,” and Critical Race Theory are soooooooooooo fucking absolute that they effectively support Trump and MAGA’s worse excesses.

So, lulz, now what.

Undead Gawker Leaves Me Very Frustrated

by Shelt Garner

Ugh. Seeing undead Gawker is beginning to eat away at me because I know I could really help them out, given the opportunity. What I feel like doing is obsessively writing about the site until they take notice and let me write for them in some capacity.

I would love to cover the Civil War Or Autocracy Beat.

And, yet, I don’t know. I do have four novels to develop and write. It seems like a huge waste of time. If I were to go the “Leave Britany alone” route, it would be just because my frustration got the best of me.

The point is — now that we’re (maybe?) coming out of the Rona era, there may be a first mover advantage for a blog to cover this new era we are entering. I’m the perfect person to start it, but only in the context of having a business partner. Given I’m apparently the most ghostable person on the planet, I need to just buckle down with the novels.

The thing I want — to either work for Gawker or found my own Gawker-like site, just isn’t going to happen. Or, it will only happen if something rather spectacular happens, like I win the lottery or something.

So, lulz, I need to focus on the four novels I’m developing and writing.

It’s So Nice To Have No One To Tell Me ‘No’ When It Comes To Writing These 4 Novels

by Shelt Garner

I really have a very unique situation going on in my life. The key thing about it is –I have no one to tell me “no” when it comes to my creative life. If I want to go from one, to two to four novels, I can and I don’t have a wife or girlfriend to wince and say, “Honey, maybe you should get a short story published first?”

Fuck that.

As such, I’ve spend several years improving my writing and storytelling ability. The learning curve for writing a novel was far more severe than I could ever possibly imagined. But things have finally clicked for me.

I still have a shit tone of reading to do to flesh out my characters, but this first book in the series should go (hopefully) pretty quick now. I feel a lot of pressure because I have three more books to write as soon as possible.

This is a good thing, however, because snap, snap, I’m mortal and Stieg Larsson dropped dead within days of selling three — not four — novels. I feel like I’m tempting the writing fates at this point. Is the same thing going to happen to me if I get what I want (which is sell these four novels via the traditional publishing method.)

Anyway, I’m really enjoying myself. I do wish I could speed the process up some. To that, however, would require me not to be so hard on myself. But I have very, VERY high expectations for myself and, as such, the outline I keep working on collapses on almost a daily basis.

Wish me luck.

The New Normal: Life In The Time Of A Criminal Ex-President

by Shelt Garner

Donald Trump is a cold, hard criminal. And an idiot. And very lazy. And, tragically, a still-popular ex-president. So, what are we going to do about him?

Well, there’s a pretty wide spectrum out endgames for this particular orange ding-dong. On one end, we have him finally meeting some sort of reckoning. In its most extreme, Trump would be “locked up” and we wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore.

Lulz. Then, on the OTHER end of the spectrum is reality — civil war or autocracy.

Now what.

Despite his best efforts, Trump was not able to destroy the United States. But as long as he’s got breath in his lungs and greed in his heart, he’s going to keep trying. So, I just don’t see anything ever happening to Trump, no matter what we learn about him.

We could have absolute proof that he coordinated the January 6th Insurrection with Congressional Republican leadership. We could have proof that he literally was using American foreign policy as a cash cow. The fucking list goes on. Once Mueller chocked at the behest of Barr and gave Trump a political pardon, that was it. Trump is now politically above the law. We just don’t have the political will to do anything about the fucking asshole.

America has reached a singularity of derp when it comes to dipshit Trump. The Republican Party is now a fascist, violent personality cult and there’s no going back. Because of a combination of racism, misogyny, and macro historical trends that are severely warping our politics, Trump is now something of the God King of Dune of American politics. We just don’t have any political will when it comes to him.

Look at it this way — in my personal experience, my relatives who are far more conservative than I am hate, in an abstract manner, liberal progressives so fucking much that they are prepared to let me be throw into a Trump branded ICE camp rather than form a united front with me and people like me to defeat Trumpism — even though they don’t like Trump!

The inability to get conservatives-who-aren’t-MAGA to put aside abstract negative polarization long enough to destroy the cancer that is MAGA is very depressing on a political basis. It’s because of this that we continue to careen towards civil war or autocracy.

Those are our choices by no later than January 2025: autocracy or civil war.

MAGA has gone septic. Our political system is warped. The country is far more unstable than Twitter liberals are willing to admit

What’s the endgame? I dunno.

You tell me.

American Politics Is Dead

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying, American Twitter Liberals are oblivious to how dire things are on a practical level political in the United States. Traditional politics have collapsed.

Politically, I’m the only center-Left person in my immediate family and it’s now officially impossible for me to talk politics with my far more conservative siblings. They either freak out on me or they are so consumed with recursive thinking brought on by negative polarization that it’s a moot point.

This is not great!

The fact that America is now so divided by partisan politics that you can’t have just a casual conversation about politics with people you disagree with means we’re a lot further down the road to the existential choice of civil war or autocracy than Twitter liberals would have us believe.

People are beginning to make fun of me for how much I talk about this, but I don’t know what I can do — all the metrics definitely indicate to me that that existential choice is hurtling towards us at an alarming rate. If it doesn’t happen it will be because of something that no one — not even I — can predict.

I think some of all of this stems from some people simply can’t process the concept that the United States is either going to transition into a Russian style autocracy or have a civil war. They’re so busy living their lives and raising their kids that the idea that something so dramatic would happen is just not something they can process.

It’s Comical How Easy I Could Start A Successful Blog If Someone With Some Business Sense Would Help Me

by Shelt Garner

I can already feel my interest in this particular idea fading. I’m obsessed with developing and writing four novels and this is just another summer daydream. But maybe I should just get this out of my system by writing a bit about it before turning to the scenes I need to develop before I go on a personal writer’s retreat this weekend.

Ok, here’s why someone with some business sense should be my partner in a new politics – and culture blog.

  1. You wouldn’t have to pay me at first
    Because of a very specific set of circumstances, just to get things off the ground in the first few days of any new professional blog, if you were a business type, you could “pay” me in access to the site’s Webstats. Just being able to see the site grow from zero would be enough pay at first. Once the site began to make money I would obviously want some pay, though, duh.
  2. I’m obsessed with this subject
    If you look at this Website, you can tell I have VERY STRONG opinions about the specific issue of civil war or autocracy coming to America by 2025. I’m a turnkey solution.
  3. I’m good at thinking up weird post ideas.
    If you look over this blog, you can see proof that I’m pretty good at coming up with strange, interesting post ideas that if they had some proper marketing probably would have a chance of going viral.

    Anyway. Lulz. No one listens to me. Unless someone approaches me about this, this summer daydream is going to burn out very, very soon.