‘Wars & Rumors of War’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The imagery of the “semi-mobilization” in Russia is alarming, to say the least. It definitely feels as though we’ve entered a new stage of the Russo-Ukrainian War one that might see an escalation between the two nations either now before it snows or in the spring.

Add to this that Russia has cut Europe off from its gas reserves and we really do have the winter of our discontent rushing towards us. But the question is, of course, is Russia going to remain stable going forward or is this mobilization the first step in a rapid decline in the stability of the world’s largest nuclear power?

I honestly don’t know. But history would definitely indicate that that is a real possibility. Repeatedly in Russian history major political debacles have caused massive political change.

Or, put another way, the world is a lot less stable than you might otherwise think. It’s at least possible that we’ll look back upon 2022 as a modern day 1937, where we got a shot across the bow that a world war was brewing. It seems to me very possible that what might happen is the United States for some reason withdraws from the global order — be it because of civil war, military junta or MAGA themed autocracy — and that is the thing that pushes into something akin to a new world war in 2024 – 2025.

The point is — Pax Americana is in its last days. We’re about to go through a very, very turbulent period in human history. There will be no narrative or value to any of it until it’s over and we figure out who the winners are.

Good luck.

The Conventional Wisdom About What A Second American Civil War Would Look Like Is Wrong

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I continue to see where the conventional wisdom by Respected Authors when it comes to a possible Second American Civil War is something like this — if happens, it will be rolling political violence from the MAGA Right who thinks they’re defending “real” America.

I call bullshit. This makes no sense. It seems, in a strange way, to be a certain amount of wishcasting on their part. These Respected Authors just aren’t willing to game out a scenario where the Second American Civil War looks a lot like the first. I still believe that if a 2ACW happens — which I don’t think it will — it will happen in late 2024, early 2025 when Blue States refuse to “bend a knee” to the autocratic fascism of MAGA Republicans who are in the process of stealing the 2024 election.

If it happens, it would happen spontaneously, probably starting with California, and may only be stopped with the swift and severe intervention of the U.S. Military in the guise of a military junta. There is, of course, the possibility that it will be Trump who demands that Red States leave the Union earlier than this scenario in an effort to save his sorry ass.

I guess the point of all of this is — I just don’t see any civil war happening in the way that the alleged experts say it will. It just doesn’t make any sense. They’re working on the assumption that MAGA Republicans will decide, spontaneously, to start blowing shit up.

But that just doesn’t make any sense unless Trump on a personal basis, goes transactional. MAGA Republicans are politically ascendant and, in the end, all they have to do is win ONE election and that’s all she wrote — we’re an autocracy.

If you think about who has something to lose in our current political climate, it’s not Reds, but Blues. And, as such, if we’re going to have another civil war — which I don’t think we will –but if we do, it’s going to be when Blue States decide to leave the Union as part of some sort of Certification Crisis in late 2024, early 2025.

I’m always wrong, however. So, who knows. I still think the most logical endgame is we simply become an autocracy and in about 20 years one a political basis the United States and Russia will be clones.

MAGA Vs. The ‘Woke Cancel Culture Mob’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

In my discussions with my Traditionalist relatives, one thing that is at the forefront of their minds is the idea that their lives will be ruined just because they’re conservative. Whenever I point out that that is “soft” power as opposed to the “hard” power that MAGA is rapidly accumulating, all I get is a hand wave.

In their minds, the issue is settled — the all powerful Left has all the power and it’s a struggle for oppressed MAGA people to survive without being “canceled” just because they don’t follow the media narrative. A prime example of this thinking is what has happened to J.K. Rowling over her anti-trans stance. (Out of spite, I’ve bought her latest self-indulgent book for no other reason than I want to see how she pulls off talking about herself for 1,000 pages.)

This is very alarming to me. It sets up a false equivalency that is very dangerous and corrosive. And, I think, it says more about how the United States is careening towards autocracy or civil war at some point between now and, say, spring of 2025. Something’s gotta give.

But there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about this particular situation. The sides have hardened to the point that there’s just no point in trying to clear up the difference between hard and soft power. White Christian (men) have their talking points and their ideology and that’s that.

The thing we don’t know is the endgame. Are white Christian (men) all talk, or will there reach a point when they’re going to follow MAGA Republicans off the cliff into political violence? It’s a forgone conclusion at this point that the United States is going to become an autocracy unless we have a civil war during the final transition.

Don’t know what to tell you. We’re on our own. The era of pining the entire fate of the United States on “hope” that things will work out is over. Time to prepare for something dramatic happening at some point between now and spring 2025.

Trump Is Such A Unique Political & Historical Figure

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m reading up on the rise of Hitler in Germany and I keep, in my mind, contrasting and comparing Hitler with Trump. The key difference between the two men is not what you might think. On paper, because form follows function, they’re almost identical. And, yet, there is one specific element about Trump that makes him different than Hitler.

I suppose what I’m thinking of is Trump’s complete absence of abstract thought on a macro political basis. Hitler, in his mind, had a very clear ideology and political vision for Germany — he even wrote a book articulating it in pretty clear terms. Trump, meanwhile, is nothing more than an avatar, a vessel for white Christian rage.

While Hitler was frequently underestimated, Trump is frequently overestimated. Given the absolute fidelity of Trump’s MAGA Republican followers and how he is politically above the law at the moment, virtually anyone else in his position would have the wherewithal to not only still be in power, but to be rapidly consolidating it.

Almost anyone else in Trump’s position between 2017 and 2021 would have fired as many people as necessary to indict either Hunter and / or Joe Biden in the spring or summer of 2020. But Trump was so ham-handed about his efforts to end Biden politically, that all he did was get himself impeached for his troubles.

For Trump to wait until the absolute very last moment to try to illegally stay in power by putting all his hopes on one person — Mike Pence — is just astonishing. I mean, even doofus me would have known better than to have done that if I was in Trump position.

So, what can we garner from Trump’s past behavior? Well, two things. One, Trump is very lazy and very stupid. And, two, to date, he has only gone transactional out of personal desperation. So, going forward, there is a greater-than-zero chance that Trump could go transactional at some point between now and 2024 if he felt there was a real chance he was going to be indicted.

And what might he do?

Well, to me, the most diabolical thing he could do would be to begin ranting in direct, transactional terms about the need for Red States to leave the Union out of protest for him finally being held criminally accountable. But Trump is so stupid and so lazy — and lacks any ability to think in the political abstract — that I suspect that’s yet another instance of me overestimating him.

While there is every reason to be very, very alarmed at what a Trump second term might look like — that, unto itself, might start a civil war — I have serious doubts that Trump has it in him to realize he could probably wiggle his way out of an indictment by directly asking Red States like Texas to begin the process of leaving the Union.

‘What Constitutes a MAGA Republican?’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

A MAGA Republican is a fascist. And what does that mean? Well, in this particular case, it means they not only have absolute fidelity to dingus Trump, but they are racist and misogynistic in the extreme. They hate the browning of America and the rise of economically liberated women.

Often they frame what they believe in the context of the “woke cancel culture mob” wanting to ruin their lives for “just for being conservative.” There is an intense sense of aggrievement on the part of MAGA Republicans, to the point that they are willfully blind to the complete lack of popular policies on the part of MAGA Republican leadership in the name of “owning the libs.”

In fact, that is the central tenant of the MAGA Republican movement — owning the libs. They will believe any lie, follow any conspiracy to its logical extreme and ridiculous conclusion as long as they feel the warm glow of there having been libs “owned.” MAGA Republicans are so consumed by the culture wars that they have no policies other than whatever Trump rants about at any particular moment. Their fidelity to Trump is as absolute as a Christian’s to Jesus.

Another important element of the MAGA Republican movement is they no longer believe in democracy. In fact, they go out of the way to make it clear that the United States is NOT a democracy at all, but rather a constitutional republic. They say this because they know the more people vote, the less likely it is they win elections. MAGA Republicans also believe that, by definition, any election they lose is rigged against them.

MAGA Republicans want to establish an autocratic, white Christian ethno state in the United States. They are growing to see violence as means to a political end. And, ultimately, should Trump either go transactional or his second term’s radical policies be too much for Blue States — there could be a civil war.

And, typically, pick the most extreme Right wing hot take on any subject and that’s what MAGA Republicans believe. MAGA Republicans also believe that their Dear Leader Donald Trump is, by definition, above the law and even if the authorities have him dead-to-rights with it comes to {name a law} then it’s all a Deep State conspiracy to get him out of the picture. They believe this to the point that there is a good chance that Trump could be cooling his heels in prison and he would STILL win the 2024 presidential election.

The endgame of all of this is still very much up in the air. On one hand, the United States could stagger into some form of autocracy. This works on the assumption, however, that Trump will somehow get out of the way so a more palatable political figure, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, can be America’s first autocrat.

But, as history has shown, Trump is a fighter and, as such, he is a political monster who refuses to get out of the way, long after he has served his historical and political purpose.

So, it’s at least possible that Trump, unto himself, could cause a civil war and destroy the most powerful democracy the world has ever known. Good luck.

Is The United States A ‘Constitutional Republic’ or A Democracy?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s becoming MAGA Republican orthodoxy to dress up their autocratic desires — and to own the libs — by being very adamant that the United States isn’t a democracy, but rather a “Constitutional Republic.” That Republicans quibble over nomenclature like this is a tell — they have very unpopular policies (such as there are) and rather than change them to win elections in a liberal democracy, they would rather destroy America’s democratic birthright.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

One of the signs to me, at least, that the United States is probably going to slip into autocracy is my Traditionalist relatives, who should know better, parrot this MAGA talking point. What they’re really saying is not so much that they believe that the United States is a Constitutional Republic, but rather they don’t believe in traditional liberal democracy anymore.

They hate it when people vote because they know that the more people vote, the less they win and the more pressure they feel to maybe, I don’t know, change with the times? What they want is to be able to play the more obscure, undemocratic elements of the Constitutional to ensure that they, at a minimum, establish an “illiberal democracy” like there exists in Hungary, in the United States.

And my Traditionalist relatives are all-in on this canard. They talk about how democracy is “mob rule” and how Alexander de Tocqueville warned about the dangers of democracy. (Which, I think is a disingenuous or even downright wrong interpretation of what he wrote about the United States.) And, what’s more they even say shit like the Founding Fathers didn’t want democracy and you’re not doubting their wisdom, are you?

This is all bullshit. The reason is, while, yes, we are a Constitutional Republic also, at least until recently, a very stable Western democracy. There were democratic norms and, in general, the general movement of American pollical life was towards more democracy and a broader definition of who could vote. So being a Constitutional Republic is not mutually exclusive with being a democracy.

All of this, of course, is a cover for how desperate white angry Christian (men) are to establish a white, autocratic Christian ethno state in the United States for various reasons. They are afraid of the browning of America, the rise of economically liberated women and a growing secularity in the country. They point to things like the “woke cancel culture mob” because that is lot easier to sell on a political basis than, “I want to take your democratic birth right.”

The rise of Republicans believing that the United States is a Constitutional Republic is a clear sign that we’ve lost Traditionalists and, as such, we are careening towards an autocratic state the moment — any — Republican becomes POTUS. That’s all she wrote. If someone like DeSantis becomes president, then we’re going to have A Very American Autocracy and we’re going to wake up in 20 years and wonder why he’s still POTUS.

Millions of wealthy liberals will leave the country to the point that the “liberal brain drain” will replace “scary brown people at the border” as a boogie man for the American MAGA Right. On paper, all things considered, that seems to be a foregone conclusion.

And yet, there is a wildcard — Trump.

Trump is such a fucking malignant chaos agent that he could, personally, start a civil war in a variety of ways between now and, say, spring 2025. I’m not saying he will, but there is definitely a greater-than-zero-sum chance that it will happen.

Anyway, I just don’t think we’re prepared for how bumpy the next few years will be. MAGA Republicans have all the political momentum — despite their snowflake bellyaching — and either they get what they want, which is an illiberal democracy, or we have a civil war of some sort.

Figure out what you believe in the real world and what you’re willing to suffer for. Or just leave the country, if you can.

‘What Will Happen To Our Democracy?’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

First, to directly answer the question in the subject — I don’t know. But what I can tell you is there are two pretty obvious endgames to the American democratic birthright. One thing to make clear is, according to political scientists, after January 6th, the United States isn’t even a democracy anymore — it’s an “anocracy.”

This is when a country is either transitioning to autocracy or transitioning towards democracy. And its in this state of transition that a country is most likely to have a civil war.

As such, while I don’t know what’s going to happen to our democracy, I can give you two possible outcomes — they are civil war or autocracy.

All things being equal, the most obvious answer is we’re going to slide into autocracy when someone like Ron DeSantis becomes president. To be a Republican is to not believe in democracy in the first place and to want autocracy, so any Republican who becomes president will end what’s left of our struggling democracy. We’ll become an autocracy without putting up any struggle at all and 20 years from now we’ll all wonder why DeSantis — or whichever Republican gets the job — is still POTUS.

We may all be Antifa soon.

That on paper, is what the most logical endgame to what’s going on. We can’t simply “hope” that a Republican won’t become POTUS anytime soon so there is time for them to have a come-to-Jesus moment about democracy. That simply is not going to happen. We in an asymmetrical war against autocracy at the moment — Republicans just have to win once to end American democracy.

In a sense, it definitely feels like we’ve collectively just given up.

Then there is Trump.

Trump, unto himself, could start a civil war in a variety of ways. He could start one sooner by telling Red States to leave the Union NOW in an effort to protect himself personally. He could start one later by, say, having such a radical second term that Blue States begin to leave the Union as early as just after Election Day 2024 to as late as spring 2025.

I would suggest you keep an eye on wealthy liberals. If they begin to leave the country en mass then you know Something Big is just about to happen. I estimate as many as 1 million wealthy liberals will flee the country whenever we either start to have a civil war or begin the final transition into autocracy.

All I can say is — figure out what you believe in, what you’re willing to risk life and limb for in the real world. Having such clarity is something you’re really going to need, no matter what happens.

American Politics Is A Catastrophic Shit Show Right Now

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Trump is a political monster who is not only personally warping American politics and law, but heightening a sense among many that we’re living in an era of lawlessness. And, yet, because the MAGA base is completely indifferent to anything Trump does or says, there’s not a lot we can do about it.

But one thing is clear — the era of “hoping things work out” is over and the era of preparation has begun. If you’re a wealthy liberal, I suppose you’ve already gotten your second passport by this point. Meanwhile, we Poors have to console ourselves with a bugout bag or something.

The looming question, of course, is what the endgame to dumpster fire shit show will ultimately be. How’s it going to end? I honestly don’t know. Logically, of course, what will happen is someone like Ron DeSantis wins the 2024 election and the United States gradually lurches towards being a political clone of somewhere like Hungary (if we’re lucky) or Russia (if we’re not lucky.)

Then, of course, there is wildcard of Donald Trump. He’s such a unique historical and political figure. It’s totally bizarre that of all the people who could single-handedly destroy the most powerful nation the world has ever seen, the hand of fate would pick such a malignant dingus like Trump.

Trump, unto himself, could cause a Second American Civil War. All he has to do is go transactional, say, by telling Red States to secede from the Union and the rest would take care of itself. The thing about this possibility is it sounds hysterical and bonkers, and, yet, this is Trump we’re dealing with. If he personally felt the risk of going to prison, it might focus his mind enough to the point that he could think up and implement something as diabolical and causing a secessionist crisis.

I say this because I just don’t see Trump causing rolling political violence. Yes, plenty of MAGA Republicans want to murder people like me in cold blood, but that’s more about how they want to be able to do so with the rules of war not law being applicable.

Their desire for a civil war says more about they wanting to murder people like me without going to prison than any desire to actually start a civil war. At least, that’s what I think is going on at the moment.

The point is — something’s gotta give. I find it difficult to believe that we’re going to simply stay on edge until some point in late 2024, early 2025 when Blues either leave the Union on the state level or shrug and bend a knee to fascism.

‘Dark Brandon’ Rises

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Nowhere is it more obvious that we face the existential choice of autocracy or civil war at some point between now and January 2025 than when it comes to Biden, during the 2020 campaign, promising to be a “uniter.” I have traditionalist relatives and they often get really mad that he said this, given that he hasn’t done what they feel would “unite” the country.

Dark Brandon

This is a very murky issue because there is a lot to unpack.

First, if you say that Biden lied when he said that, then you have to address the fact that Trump said 30,000 lies while in office. Then, of course, your MAGA interlocutor will throw up their hands and say this is “bogus” because the “fake news” Washington Post is who collected that figure. Or, they’ll say most of those lies weren’t all that big and, besides, Biden lied when he said he would be a “uniter” and, as such, he needs to be impeached. Or some similar bullshit.

Another element to all of this is probably what was going on when Biden said he would be a “uniter” is he was trying to convey to those 100,000 independent swing voters in 5 purple states that are crucial to winning a presidential election that he would be a more traditional president, one who would governor everyone equally, not demand a quid pro quo for any and every action.

But that’s difficult for MAGA people to process because they’re so consumed with grievance and a fear that of losing status in the context of the browning of America that they’re too blinded with rage to be willing to process any sort of nuance like that.

The key thing to remember, though, is — but for Trump, I would say we’re going to lose our American democratic birthright in plain sight and there won’t be much struggle. If Trump would just get out of the way, after having served his political and historical purpose, then Ron DeSantis could become president and turn us into A Very American Autocracy.

Trump is a political monster, however, and he won’t retire. And because he’s such a fucking chaos agent there is a good chance that he, unto himself, could start a civil war in the United States. It’s not a big chance, but it does exist.

  1. An Effort to Stop Criminal Accountability
    This is the one scenario whereby the MAGA New Right people who keep coming to this Website looking for a sooner-rather-than-later timetable for being able to murder people like me without criminal recourse might happen. If Trump really felt he might, at last, face some criminal accountability, he could very well begin to rant that Red States need to leave the Union because of how unjust it all is. I suppose he might, in general, demand in his usual dog whistle kind of way general political violence, but I doubt it. When you have an entire party — the Republican Party –with a cult-like devotion to you, why go for general violence when you can get entire states to leave the Union at your behest?
  2. A Ploy to Convict Biden / Harris in the Senate
    In this scenario, it’s 2023 and Republicans have gone nuts. They have impeached both Biden and Harris out of spite. Now, for Trump to actively be trying to destroy the country, he would, of course, need to have some personal investment in it. So, this one only really works if he is the Speaker of the House and he thinks he can become POTUS again early. So, in a bid to scare the living shit out of the Senate, he, as Speaker, begins to demand Red States leave the Union in order to get what he wants. He says this just as a rhetorical flourish, but MAGA legislatures take him seriously and states, probably beginning with Texas, begin to convene Secessionist Conventions. An away we go.
  3. A 2024 Clusterfuck — MAGA Counter Revolution
    This endgame was two parts to it. It could be that at some point in late 2024, after Election Day, it will be obvious to Blue States that the election was stolen and they have no recourse but to begin the process of leaving the Union. By the time Certification Day 2025 rolls around, we are in a full fledged Secession Crisis. The other possibility is that Trump wins outright — even though he’ll cheat no matter what — and by late January it becomes clear that Trump’s second term agenda is so fascist and radical that Blue States begin to leave the Union.

Citizen Trump As Chaos Agent

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’ve been reading a political biography of Hitler in an effort to better understand Trump and I continue to be startled by how different the two men are. While Hitler was definitely a right place, right time kind of guy, he had the wherewithal to bend history to his will. He actually had something that Trump obviously doesn’t have — the ability to think in the abstract.

Trump’s political instincts are that of a grunt. He knows what plays to be base — he IS the base — and that’s about it. There are some very dark forces at work in the collective psych of the American population and they are so dark and powerful that all Trump does is coast off of the energy generated by whatever the fuck that is going on.

In a sense, Trump has served his political and historical purpose. He’s weakened America’s political norms to the point that ANY Republican — be it Ron DeSantis or Glenn Youngkin — will be America’s first autocrat. All the conditions are there for us to slip peacefully into autocracy and 20 years from now someone going back and forth between the United States and Russia won’t be able to tell any difference on a political basis.

But there’s a problem — Trump is such a fighter that as long as he has air in his lungs, he’s going to do whatever he can to save his own hide. He really wants to be POTUS again, setting up a situation where Trump is the Republican primary and it’s not POTUS, but veep, that is the position that everyone wants so bad. Trump is such an old, fat tub of lard that whomever he picks to be his veep will have a good chance of being America’s Putin.

Of course, there is another issue — Trump could cause a civil war in a variety of ways.

  1. An Effort to Stop Criminal Accountability
    This is the one scenario whereby the MAGA New Right people who keep coming to this Website looking for a sooner-rather-than-later timetable for being able to murder people like me without criminal recourse might happen. If Trump really felt he might, at last, face some criminal accountability, he could very well begin to rant that Red States need to leave the Union because of how unjust it all is. I suppose he might, in general, demand in his usual dog whistle kind of way general political violence, but I doubt it. When you have an entire party — the Republican Party –with a cult-like devotion to you, why go for general violence when you can get entire states to leave the Union at your behest?
  2. A Ploy to Convict Biden / Harris in the Senate
    In this scenario, it’s 2023 and Republicans have gone nuts. They have impeached both Biden and Harris out of spite. Now, for Trump to actively be trying to destroy the country, he would, of course, need to have some personal investment in it. So, this one only really works if he is the Speaker of the House and he thinks he can become POTUS again early. So, in a bid to scare the living shit out of the Senate, he, as Speaker, begins to demand Red States leave the Union in order to get what he wants. He says this just as a rhetorical flourish, but MAGA legislatures take him seriously and states, probably beginning with Texas, begin to convene Secessionist Conventions. An away we go.
  3. A 2024 Clusterfuck — MAGA Counter Revolution
    This endgame was two parts to it. It could be that at some point in late 2024, after Election Day, it will be obvious to Blue States that the election was stolen and they have no recourse but to begin the process of leaving the Union. By the time Certification Day 2025 rolls around, we are in a full fledged Secession Crisis. The other possibility is that Trump wins outright — even though he’ll cheat no matter what — and by late January it becomes clear that Trump’s second term agenda is so fascist and radical that Blue States begin to leave the Union.

    But there is a problem with such thinking — Trump, unlike Hitler, really isn’t smart enough to do anything as diabolical as do the simple act of telling Red states to leave the Union in an effort to protect him. If he did it, it would be out of extreme desperation caused by his mind being focused by the prospect of going to prison.

    The point is — America’s political culture is going to be very bumpy between now and January 205. Something’s gotta give. We can’t keep this up forever. We’re going to fish or cut bait on the fate of our democracy at some point.