The Taking Of Trump Tower

by Shelt Garner

I’m not advocating any of this. And, in all honesty, my predictive abilities have taken a big hit recently — I was absolutely sure a Hunter Biden deep fake was going to pop out on Friday and, lulz, no. (At least so far.)

But if you assume The Big Ugly is going to happen because, lulz, Republicans hate democracy, brown people and women, then, well, there’s one particular place that seems a prime spot for its beginning: Trump Tower in NYC.

If such a thing was to happen, it would likely happen in the context of a massive freakout by New Yorkers as it became obvious that their most hated native son was in the process of staging A Very American Coup. They would also likely storm the HQ of FOX News to get their point across. But what better way to put a hurting on House Trump than storm their personal version of Versaille. Now, I’m definitely not advocating this — real people would get hurt if an angry mob stormed Trump Tower.

This would be counter-productive for a number of reasons, chief among them being Trump would likely use the Insurrection Act to effectively put New York City under martial law.

The main issue is that the United States — otherwise the most stable and powerful nation in the world — is on the cusp of implosion because or politics is so absolutely fucked up that Republicans would rather destroy the country than give up power. Some of their behavior if you read about it in a history book would make you go, “Yep, that country was going to have a revolution.”

There are just so many known unknowns. All I know is you can’t have one of your major political parties acting like the Republican Party is right now without significant election-related instability.

I hope I’m wrong. I really do. It would be a pleasant surprise if we had a self-evident Biden landslide and I can go back to working on my novel.

The Big Ugly: The Conditions Exist For A Second American Civil War

by Shelt Garner

As we lurch towards Election Day, it’s becoming ever more apparent than at least on the basis of attitude of the two sides the conditions for significant political violence exists. On one hand, the Republicans are looking towards Amy Coney Barrett to be their failsafe in case the election is close enough that anything goes to SCOTUS. On the other hand, Democrats are pumped that on a political level, Biden may be on the cusp of a landslide.

Republicans are so craven — and so blinded by ideology — that they aren’t even factoring in the consequences of their anti-democratic behavior should they manage to pull it off. All they care about is a Trump victory and fuck you. So, it’s easy to imagine a situation where they get what they want: Trump wins, but that’s just the beginning of the crisis.

If Biden wins a massive landslide in the popular vote but because of the legal ratfucking of the Republican Party he doesn’t legally become president, we would be in uncharted territory.

Now, the fix to this problem is a Biden victory that is so enormous that it has some wiggle room to handle the very legal ratfucking I mentioned. We have to accept that Amy Coney Barrett is going to hand the election to Trump if that becomes an issue. The solution is for her not to be given the option.

Of course, if there is a Biden landslide, we would likely have to deal with significant political violence on the part of MAGA-Qanon who don’t see anyone but Trump as legitimate. Trump could pounce on such violence as something of a Reichstag Fire and assume the “total control” Roger Stone believes he should do, even if the violence was caused by his own supporters.

The point is — autocrats never lose. Never. I haven’t even mentioned the likelihood that the Russians are going to hack directly into our election systems to throw the election to Trump. Even if we discover this, it’s very likely the whole thing goes to SCOTUS…where Amy Coney Barrett will vote for Trump.

All in all, we’re fucked. We’re totally, completely fucked. I don’t see how we get through the next few months without some sort of massive political violence to the extent that we see an enormous amount of domestic political refugees.

The only way that doesn’t happen is a massive Biden win combined with Trump simply giving up. He will likely salt the earth on the way out, however. He’s going to fire anyone he doesn’t like and pardon anyone he feels he needs to in order to save his sorry ass — including himself!

Our Coming Very American Coup: Amy Coney Barrett Is Trump’s SCOTUS Failsafe

by Shelt Garner

The more I think about it, the more Amy Coney Barrett is crucial to Trump’s Very American Coup. She’s their failsafe. Even if Biden wins in a historic landslide, TrumpBarr will sue everything that stands in his way of staying in power. It goes to SCOTUS and Barrett is the deciding vote.

The end. Fuck you, American democracy.

Now, the issue is what happens next? American political history would suggest not a lot. There may be some isolated violence here and there, but in the end CNN and The New York Times will tell everyone to calm down, even though they admit that a coup has taken place.

Then, of course, Trump purges the media and all we have to watch is OANN. America will, on a political level, be identical to Russia and we have 40 years of House Trump until there’s some sort of popular revolt for no other reason than the Browning of America will be complete and Barron Trump’s hold on the country will become untenable.

While all of that sounds rather hysterical, as we grow closer to election day, I just don’t see how Trump doesn’t successfully pull of A Very American Coup. Even if the Russians mysteriously allow Biden to actually win in a landside, TrumpBarr — knowing Barrett is at SCOTUS — will plow full speed ahead towards their plans for a coup.

Americans just don’t have it in them to do what is necessary to save American Democracy. Good luck.

Miley Cyrus & Her Quest For ‘The New Sound’

by Shelt Garner

One thing I never thought I would say is, “Miley Cyrus is making the best music out there right now.”

But here I am.

Now, let me qualify that statement. She keeps doing all these Rock and New Wave covers as if she’s trying to figure out what the New Sound should be. Several of her latest songs, “Midnight Sky” and her cover of “Zombie” are really, really good. The latter is great because it’s an angry song that she can scream at the top of her longs and not sound ridiculous. She screams “Heart of Glass” and it falls flat. If you listen to the Blondie version of the song, it’s sung in a much more subdued manner.

I mean, if she really wants to scream a cover, might I suggest Sinead O’Connor’s “Troy?” Now, that’s a song that’s meant to be screamed. As is the Eurythmics, “Would I Lie To You.” Or, she might cover The Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.”

But the point is, it’s obvious that Cyrus wants to strike out on her own, and start a New Sound for the 20s. She claims she’s doing an album of all-Metallica covers for some reason, but that seems misguided to me. Find a pop-rock producer like Butch Vig or Timbaland and drop her own interpretation of what she’s obviously interested in doing — bringing back pop-rock as a viable commercial art form.

I feel like I’m speaking into the void. No one listens to me. It seem so obvious to me that we’re in something of a musical vacuum right now.

A Tale of Two Franchises: The Real Reason Why ‘James Bond’ Succeeds While ‘Star Wars’ is a Dumpster Fire

by Shelt Garner

You hear a lot of bullshit among the Joe Rogan types about how Kathleen Kennedy has “ruined” Star Wars for this or that reason. They think up a lot of thinly veiled misogynistic rhetoric that boils down to a MAGA circle jerk. And, yet, another franchise run by a woman that men love — James Bond — continues to do well on both a commercial and artistic level.

I would suggest that it’s not a matter of Ms. Kennedy being too woke for her own good. I would suggest that the difference between Ms. Kennedy of Disney and Barbara Broccoli of Eon is one of fandom. Given the steaming pile of dreck that Ms. Kennedy has managed to churn out from the Star Wars universe compared to what Ms. Broccoli has produced it definitely seems as though Ms. Broccoli is a Bond fan while Ms. Kennedy is not a Star Wars fan.

I have no idea if I’m right or not, but just as an audience member — an aspiring novelist obsessed with story — the most recent Star Wars movies suck so bad because they’re not seen as movies so much as vehicles to sell toys and a “message.” The Bond movies, meanwhile, are, on their merits, good movies. Ms. Broccoli “gets” Bond in a way that Ms. Kennedy does not “get” Star Wars.

Now, I’m pleased that Eon is working to update Bond by bringing in someone like Phoebe Waller-Bridge to spice up the script. That’s really cool and makes a lot of sense. But it’s still being done within the context of understanding what the audience goes to see a James Bond movie for — girls, guns and gadgets.

Meanwhile, Star Wars movies are all over the place. They totally misunderstand the origin of the passion associated with franchise. The whole thing is so top heavy with identity politics, “slaying the patriarchy” and, most of all making that sweet, sweet cash from selling toys that the thing that brings people to the movies — a swashbuckling space opera — is totally muddled into oblivian.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. The Star Wars universe is massive. There are soooooooo many secondary characters that are beloved. There’s a whole canon to be referenced and riffted upon in a way that would bring tears of joy to millions of fans. But they have totally squandered all of that in an effort to get little kids woke and to get them to buy toys along the way.

Part of the problem Star Wars faces is it each movie is such a cultural event — and it’s so associated with little kids — that’s its difficult for them to pair back the edifice and get back to the fundamentals of good storytelling. Just by using the Star Wars brand, you can’t really have any type of sex and your violence has to be comic in nature.

In an ideal world, you would have an “adult” Star Wars franchise and a “kiddy” Star Wars franchise. For adults, you would have The Empire Strikes Back with sex and violence. For the kids, you have the more campy aspects of A New Hope. As it stands, you have a Star Wars movie with a 30 minute subplot designed specifically to get kids to buy toys. What’s more, you have a very contrived and painful to watch plot point that creates a massive hole in the entire Star Wars canon simply to bludgeon audiences with the idea of “trust women.”

This is not brain surgery. You could very well get an actual Star Wars fan like Kevin Smith to write and direct a really good Star Wars movie that would bring back the magic of A New Hope and The Empires Strikes Back. But I would suggest trying to be a least a little bit original by thinking up an entirely new clan to follow the exploits of. You have an entire galaxy to play with — why do we have to keep getting Skywalkers to blow up bigger and bigger Death Stars? It’s becoming quite ridiculous.

The James Bond franchise, meanwhile, has a winning formula and runs with it. What’s more, they’ve managed to turn the campy Roger Moore James Bond that I grew up with into a very serious, dark Daniel Craig James Bond that really takes the whole franchise to the next level.

It’s wild how out of all the franchises that exist in Hollywood today, Bond is the only one that hasn’t either run out of steam (MCU) or that hasn’t been strip mined into irrelevance (Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Terminator.)

But no one listens to me. And maybe they shouldn’t. But it’s a tragedy to me that Star Wars has all this unlocked value and its producers are such non-fans that they don’t understand what to do with it.

The Dead Hand Of History Suggests Either Trump ‘Doesn’t Lose’ Or The Country Implodes After The Election

by Shelt Garner

The weird thing about the modern era, is I’ve read enough history books to know some sense of how they would describe what’s going on around us — our Republic is becoming an empire. It definitely seems as though one scenario would the United States becomes a semi-monarchial autocratic state with a House Trump that rules the country (poorly) until the Browning of America makes their rule untenable.

It definitely seems as though This Is It. Trump, with the help of the Russians hacking directly into our election systems, will “not lose.” He strangles any semblance of liberal democracy in the United States and whatever’s left is allowed to exist because it’s not a threat. In fits and starts over the next two year or so, Trump accelerates our drive towards autocracy and that’s that. That definitely seems to be the path we’re on right now.

What’s worse, if the Russians somehow allow Biden to win, then we face a different problem — MAGA-Qanon could very well begin to blow shit up and actually start killing people (like me!) out of spite in support of The Dear Leader. They try to sucker punch the center-Left, deliver a knock-out blow. Given that they will have the full authority of the Trump regime on their side, it definitely seems as though they will get away with it.

Of course, Trump is such an incompetent moron, that there’s at least a small chance that even with the legal might of Interior Secretary Bill Barr at his disposal, he’s so ham-handed and brazen in his Very American Coup that the country implodes for no other reason than Trump finally jiggles American self-perception enough that conservatives-who-aren’t-MAGA finally get woke. That really seems like a liberal fever dream at this point, but who knows.

The 2020 election definitely has a 1860 vibe to it, is all I gotta say. It feels as though the nation is at a crossroads and because MAGA is so insane, if they don’t get what they want, it seems reasonable to assume they’re going to start killing people (like me!) The question, of course, is what our reaction to such behavior will be.

I honestly don’t know.

Of ROKon Magazine & The #Novel I’m Developing & #Writing

by Shelt Garner

The thing about ROKon Magazine in Seoul, the aspect of that changed my life forever, is we pulled it off. It was doomed to fail from the beginning but for two months out of its eight month existence, our rag-tag group of kooks managed to put out a reasonably good magazine. Of course, all it’s flaws were my flaws so when it all came crashing down it took me with it.

But I learned that I had it in me to do something that knocked people’s socks off. The difference between ROKon Magazine and this novel is it really is all me. I have no “tribe” to keep safe by making sure the magazine gets published each month.

And, yet, I do have a massive amount of work to do to produce the the type of novel I want to write. I have to read so much. I really have to get outside my comfort zone. I’ve had to re-imagine this novel several times for no other reason than I realized I came up with a very complex and convoluted concept that required me to think outside the box to make my rolling out of it as simple and intuitive as possible.

I do, however, feel like there’s a deadline. I have to produce something sooner rather than later for no other reason than I simply refuse to be one of those guys who works on a novel for 10 years and never actually finishes anything.

The New Normal

by Shelt Garner

Our absolute best case scenario at this point is Trump will be a one term president who has a political legacy equal to the Reagan Revolution. There will be a new normal where the Trump Deep State actively attempts to destroy the administration of any Democrat that doesn’t toe the MAGA line.

That’s the best case scenario.

I say that because the dead hand of history would suggest that Trump isn’t going anywhere for any reason. Trump is actively working to turn the United States into an autocrat state and it would make absolutely no sense for him to allow himself to “lose” for any reason.

Add to this how the Russians are very likely to hack directly into our election systems as part of a quid pro quo for Trump removing 1/3 of our troops from German and it will be the biggest shock of my adult life if Trump ever leaves office for any reason.

Even if the Russians for some reason allow a Biden landslide, the damage Trump has done to the administration of government is so horrific that I find it difficult to imagine that things are going to just snap back to “normal.” Trump is our political herpes.

Or, put another way, the only upside to Trump’s tyranny is a lot of macro pressure on our political system has been eased because craven Republicans go two things they lusted after — young hack MAGA judges and a gratuitous tax cut for plutocrats that punishes Blue States. Republicans still hate democracy because they hate the Browning of America and the rise of women as a cultural and economic force, but if the Russians don’t do what I expect and Trump loses, at least they got there two big goals.

As their base grows smaller and more angry, they will use their control of the Judiciary and Trump’s new Deep State to create the conditions for them to get back power as quickly as possible. Every time they get power, it will grow a quantum leap more difficult to get them out of power. In the end, it will become completely impossible and at some point the country implodes and it’s every man for himself.

That implosion may happen in 2020, or it may happen between now, and, say, 2028. But it is going to happen for no other reason than Republicans have learned a lot from Trump and they will re-calibrate according to his weaknesses. If the implosion doesn’t happen, it will be because the next time they get to put an autocrat in power, he will be far more focused and organized.

But I still think everything is moot. Trump is never leaving office. Most Americans aren’t willing to risk their “lives and scared honor” in the real world to do anything about it.

So, soon enough, the United States will leave NATO, form some sort of new alliance with a number of autocratic states across the world and begin snatching people off the street and pushing them out of windows. This is going to happen, it’s just a matter of how long it takes.

If it doesn’t happen, it will be because people get woke and there’s a national implosion. I’m not advocating that. I don’t want that. But the macro trends indicate that if we don’t get woke on a mass level that Republicans are hell bent on turning us into an autocratic, American version of apartheid South Africa.

Keep An Eye On North Korea A We Approach Election Day

by Shelt Garner

Obviously, my predictive abilities are shit given how I — so far — I’ve blown my belief that a Hunter Biden deep fake will pop out, but I do think the North Koreans have a vested interest in Trump winning re-election. As such, they could very well test an ICBM — or an H-bomb — at some point between now and the election.

Or, they could very well do some serious saber rattling post-election should TrumpBarr attempt some sort of Very American Coup. What better way to pull a fast one on the American people than to have them believe we’re on the cusp of a major regional war involving nuclear weapons?

I’m often very wrong. But this is something to keep an eye on, at least. And, as I remember, Kim Jung Un has already told us that he may give us some sort of “surprise package” on or about Election Day.

The Only Way To Save The Republic Is A Biden Landslide

by Shelt Garner

There’s a very good chance that mysteriously Trump will win the electoral college in exactly the same way he did in 2016. We will all be in shock. We will write it off to all the boat parades or the “shy Trump voter” or whatever. At some point — maybe never — we will learn, however, that the Russians fucked with our election systems and threw election to Trump.

The darkest scenario, of course, is we will learn this happened before the Electors Vote, TrumpBarr lulz it and fight the issue in the courts and Trump STILL “wins” the election because of a 6-3 (5-4?) vote at SCOTUS. In fact, that definitely seems to be the failsafe for Republicans at this point. This are so rabid in their desire to win the election that they are completely oblivious to the political consequences of such behavior that it’s definitely the setup for The Big Ugly of civil war or revolution.

But, even without Russian help, if the election is anywhere close, we’re going to have not a Brooks Brothers Riot, but a Brooks Brothers War. There could be real, unprecedented political violence across the country as it becomes clear that TrumpBarr intends A Very American Coup. They already are suing everything that moves before the election, you can only assume that if they believe they have any — ANY — shot of stealing the election through extra-political means, they will pull that particular trigger.

So, really, the only way we keep the Republic is if somehow the Russians don’t do what I assume they’re going to do and Biden wins in such a massive landslide that it at least grows more difficult for TrumpBarr to pull of A Very American Coup — even though, obviously, they will try anyway.

I just don’t see how the post-election period isn’t one of unprecedented instability and even violence if Biden doesn’t win in a massive landslide. The Republican party simply doesn’t see democracy as valid if it isn’t helping them obtain or maintain power, so, lulz.