293 Comments

Principles my Ass! A coward by any other name is a john bolton.

Expand full comment

The Ambassador has always been a contrarian. I do not agree with him on much but his positions remain consistent across the board. He has a philosophy and /or principles which he applies uniformly to a set of facts. You know where you stand with him.

Likewise, he's very smart; he has mastered the skill of debate which is vital in the political and international arenas. I thought you asked him honest questions of a kind all of us would pose to him about his time working for Trump. He was defensive and yet his answers contained a certain logic that made sense at least from his point of view. In defending his many contrarian positions John Bolton provided a take you do not hear elsewhere.

Expand full comment

These MAGA voters are clueless about Trump's stupidity and corruption. They are also clueless about the so-called "Socialist" Democrats without whom they would not have affordable healthcare, Social Security, clean air and water and a living wage.

Expand full comment

The Republicans have a tame judge in Amarillo who will use national injunctions to block some things Biden wants to do. The Democrats had a tame judge in Hawaii who used national injunctions to block some things Trump wanted to do. It would be better if the congress would make what administrations can and cannot do clearer. But since that probably will not happen, I think the national injunction trick can be good one to check executive power. Of course the tame judges can go too far and block actions that are within a president’s legal authority, but presidents can appeal.

As to Trump and his call for retribution, it is a reminder that somebody has to stop this man. It can be Garland, DeSantis, a jury in Georgia, or a prosecution somewhere else, but it has to be done. Garland probably is going to be first at bat, and I hope he does his duty.

Expand full comment

absolutely!

Expand full comment

Long-time reader/listener, first-time commenter. As a native New Yorker who grew up knowing about Trump and his dubious character, I literally LOL’d when I saw Charlie’s most recent TBP episode title. Poor John Bolton, you summer child.

Expand full comment

Once again,Charlie can’t find any conservative that is critical enough of Trump which of course reflects more on Charlie’s bias than Bolton’s failings. Bravado shown by those not ever really in th e fight is always humorous.

Expand full comment

That’s fantastic about the podcast ranking! Congratulations and job well done. (Reporting from Mastodon. Wish you were here.)

Expand full comment

WRT Brent Orrell's AI article:

Here is my hot take on this--things could go better (or even worse) so this is kind of the middle ground take. The rollout of AI is going to be like the rollout of social media--which means it is going to be a blazing hot mess that is largely injurious to the existing social/political order and have enormous economic impact.

In the rush to monetize it, a lot of things will be "overlooked" or simply ignored (as too expensive or as slowing things down too much). Mistakes will be made. Huge mistakes. Very expensive mistakes (and usually expensive for the government or private citizens, not the corps pushing the stuff). It is too important to let this stuff fail or let the corps take their punishment for being stupid with it!!!! Gotta win this race.

Subsidies and big government contracts.

The only actual and time critical race here is the leveraging of AI for military applications (especially in aerospace--like replacing human pilots with AI, freeing aircraft from the limitations of having to carry a human with all the inherent limitations--and that will go slow because the air force is run by a bunch of people who are or were pilots, who don't want pilots replaced).

We are going to have AI bots running rampant in the media and being utilized to create ever more intricate and convincing fake news and opinion (not that humans need a lot of help with that). AI manipulation of the financial markets. That should be a doozy.

Basically so corporations can automate more stuff and cut staffing even more... and then kind of fall on their faces "supervising" it with actual human experts (who will be increasingly overworked dealing with the volume of AI garbage generated).

The Federal government will be a day late and a dollar short in trying to deal with it or regulate it because, if they weren't, then they would be getting in the way of monetizing the stuff--and we can't have that! There will be lots of important committee meetings though with lots of sound bites.

Another chapter of human beings rushing headlong into stuff they don't actually understand and without a lot of thought about how it will play out--or much effort to try and ameliorate things until long after the fact. Totally unsurprising.

Expand full comment

From Brent Orell's article on AI:

"In 2019, the GAO created a Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) team to replace capacity lost when the congressional Office of Technological Assessment was eliminated."

Twenty four years. That's how long it took after Republicans killed the OTA in order for a decent replacement to be stood up. It wasn't until 2008, the first time after 1995 that Democrats had complete control of government, that Congress established technology assessment as a permanent function within the GAO, and it apparently took another 11 years to centralize disparate TA capabilities into a single, public facing entity (to what extent this was simply a formal rather than functional restructuring is hard to say).

But it's important to understand what a key role this had in the molding of the Republican alternate reality that has now run amok over our institutions. Newt Gingrich, an alleged "science nut", wanted elected representatives to be proactive in "educating themselves" regarding important S&T matters. What could go wrong?

There was, of course, perfunctory blather about government waste and reproduction of work done elsewhere — a risible justification for an office with a low seven-figure annual budget. But the real point of it all was to silence those credentialed eggheads and their inconvenient conclusions so that the party of Creationists, climate change deniers, and other assorted right-wing reality distortion field generators could, as we say today, "do their research". Thus enabling people like, for example, Jim Inhofe, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, to cherry pick contrarian scientists to support his theory that man was incapable of despoiling the fruit God's providence, otherwise known as "climate change is a hoax".

According to at least one Congressperson at the time, abolishing the OTA was like Congress "giving itself a lobotomy". The same can be said for much of the American right since then.

Expand full comment

#2 Podcast....and rising! Yay, Bulwark!

Expand full comment

So basically, when Trump is the nominee (as he will be) the Democrats will win everything. I can live with that. Thank you, John Bolton

Expand full comment

John Bolton as POTUS is the answer to a question literally no one is asking.

Expand full comment

Just listened to the podcast with Bolton. You really are masterful and quite restrained with that mustachioed menace. My big question is: do we Bulwarkians need to chip in and buy you new waders for your next foray into the mucky waters of BS to interview guys like this? I’m pretty sure your current waders were filled with slime by the time you were done with that interview.

Expand full comment
Mar 6, 2023·edited Mar 6, 2023

I've been withholding judgement based on the promise that all would become clear, and it has, but not in the way that Charlie apparently meant. So here it is straight:

There's no justification for inviting John Bolton, especially as a headliner but in any capacity whatever, to a conference billed as "Principles First".

No conference is entitled to be called "Principles First" if John Bolton is on the guest list.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Charlie, and so should everybody else associated with this farce. I hope that everybody enjoyed feeling relevant: for that day at least, the headliner was the role model.

Expand full comment

You know what gets me with all the Jew Haters who believe Jews control - well everything - and they should all die? If they believe Jews control most everything, why haven't the Jews eliminated every one of them already?

Expand full comment

Along those lines are all those worried about the mind control in the vaccines. If I was them, I'd be much more worried about the next pandemic that all the sheeple who are easily led are pre-vaccinated for.

Expand full comment