175 Comments

Hi Charlie. GREAT interview with Jennifer Senior. TWO points from a non-American. First, understandably, all of the excellent conversations of the Bulwark team - and your listeners - treat the threat to democracy as an American problem. It is NOT. What is happening in America threatens the world, most especially Canada. A thriving, democratic Canada in the face of a Donald Trump Jr. as President is not conceivable. Too and related, almost all democracies are fractured as you are, though perhaps yet not to the same degree, as our Trucker Convoy showed. The second point is that, as with the very, very dangerous Bannon, there is a running current in your programming of a purposeful, planned effort on the part of the right to essentially seize governance from those they see as the 'other'. I agree, there is, except that it is systemic and global. So what are we doing about it? I appreciate that your warnings are to your listeners - voters - and influencers/legislators, who of course need to take heed and take action. But is that all that we can do - continue to rely on the people and institutions that got use here? The threat to democracy is global and systemic. It needs to be addressed that way. Whoever prevails will decide how we deal with all of the other pressing issues of the day, from climate change and racial inequity to the economy. I argue it's time for a Plan B for humanity. Would love your - or anybody's - thoughts.

https://bobwestrope.substack.com/p/do-you-think-the-world-needs-a-plan

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Ward, there’s something wrong with the Beaver

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If you want a good laugh, click on the link to the Ann Coulter article and go to the comments.

My gawd Americans are a stupid bunch.

No wonder the owners of MLM schemes and founders of Scientology can print money. This one clown typed with a straight face "how is it possible that I went to sleep and Trump is up by 800K votes, but when I wake up he was behind?" This dude actually believes that people in other states are going to stop counting votes because he wasn't awake to see it happen. Note that this same dude does believe that the CIA has pedo-rape rooms under DC because ......... well just because.

PT Barnum said it best - "No one ever went broke overestimating the ignorance of the American people".

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Awww, Pete… So sorry.

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God bless Pete😢😢

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Charlie, I am so very sorry over your loss of Pete. So desperately hard to make that last visit to the vet. Pete won the doggo lottery when he came to live with you and your family. He knew every minute of his life that he was loved.

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Bannon is an Underpants Gnome from South Park: underpants + ? = profit

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Bannon... just another angry white rich guy bitching for the sake of it. If only the shadowy dark state was real he would be taken away and never seen again. If only...

Wisconsin dumpster fire, par for the course. Can we please end this chapter which is a stain on our state?

Pete sure seemed like a good boy and steady companion. May he Rest In Peace and may his memory come to bring you a smile and not a tear, soon.

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Jun 16, 2022·edited Jun 16, 2022

On Bannon and what could perhaps be called "Bannonism":

I got to thinking & researching a bit the other day about what takes people into a Leninist "burn it all down" way of thinking, and the best I can come up with is this:

Vertical inequality--which is to say that those with merit attain heightened status--can eventually translate to *horizontal* inequality--but not by race, by *economic class*. If the folks who make it to the top are then able to effectively pull the economic ladder up from under them by corrupting the "meritocracy" into ensuring that even if their kids are mediocre at best, they still inherit the best schools, the best universities, the best jobs, the most financially-successful marriages, and then wash, rinse, and repeat on the next generation with their grandkids, then the system starts to look pretty rigged for anyone not upper middle class or better by marriage (there are often two post-college incomes under a single upper-middle class household or higher today). If the economy is rigged, and the school system is rigged, and the universities are rigged, and the job market is rigged, then OF COURSE people excluded from that system-rigging are going to then say that the election is rigged when their candidate loses. Everything else in the country is rigged, so why *wouldn't* the elections be rigged?

Bannon is a man who has seen the system rigged from the inside (Goldman, Navy officer corps, Hollywood, government), and has mostly benefitted from his position in that system, but he is empathetic to the (mostly non-college men) who are excluded from that rigged system and that is who he is speaking to. He sees the immorality in the economy and across national institutes, he sees the post-college liberal class being at the heart of that institutional corruption, and he sees them not doing anything to change the economic situation--in fact, they'll bitch about billionaires concentrating wealth while they're doing the same damned thing in the upper middle class tier of the economy--and as a result, he has encouraged his audience to burn down the system since those who are benefiting from it the most seem to be decadently indifferent to the people they are locking out economically. If there is no economic fairness in society, it becomes a system of exploitation, and on a long enough timeline, the people on the exploited end are going to find that all their peaceful options for changing those corrupted institutes are coming up short, and that's when they move to the more violent ones.

I'm reminded of two quotes here, one by JFK and the other by Teddy Roosevelt:

"When you make peaceful change impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable."

"Wars are often better than certain kinds of peace."

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I think you're giving Bannon way, way too much credit. After all, the man scammed millions of dollars from people. He doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself. Care to make odds on how much he's got stashed in a Swiss bank account? He's got his and, like Trump, convinced gullibles that he cares about them.

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Jun 17, 2022·edited Jun 17, 2022

"Bannon is a man who has seen the system rigged from the inside (Goldman, Navy officer corps, Hollywood, government), and has mostly benefitted from his position in that system"

Seeing a corrupt system and seeing everyone in on it getting rich makes it feel like running scams on others is fair play. If scams are legal, why not get in on the scams if you already know how it works? This is how the nihilism spreads from the decadent elite to the hedge fund managers who handle their money. They say "fuck it, I'm robbing people to make this guy richer, why not just rob people myself and take much more of the profit if the shit is going to go down either way?" This is kind of like when the Zetas branched off from the Mexican military because they realized that the government they were fighting for was already corrupted by the cartels, so why not get in on the cartel business themselves with their knowledge? It's what happens when certain elements of the scribe class or the praetorian class get tired of the decadent shit that the elites they are working for refuse to stop, and so they turn on them and get in on the same action themselves.

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I gotta learn how substack works at some point lol

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Flying at 40,000 feet, this liberal is trying to figure out the difference between Charlie Sykes, Judge Luttig, Judge Gableman and Steve Bannon. Of course I spend the time to figure that out, but to most on the left, it's all a blur. It's the price we pay for never trying to cultivate a educated citizenry as Jefferson and other founders envisioned AND to moral compromises many good people made over the years to put up with very disturbing rhetoric and behavior (going back to Jesse Helms and Lee Atwater in my day) that typified GOP messaging for the last generation.

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The Gableman incident has not gotten nearly as much coverage here in Wisconsin as is warranted, considering what a profound impact on the state he had as a Supreme Court justice in helping to install and legitimize the ham-handed, divisive GOP agenda. It is a useful reminder of what stands to happen if they regain the governor's office in November and/or are reelected with a supermajority in the legislature that can override a Democratic governor's veto. Scott Walker 2.0 is on the horizon, and it is hungry for revenge against anyone and anything that stood or stands in its way.

Sadly, the lack of coverage seems to reflect the general perspective of the citizens, who don't appear to give a damn who is in charge, and what they do, as long as our gas prices go down, our investment portfolio bounces back up, and tax cuts are on the agenda. Divide-and-conquer policies, Act 10, hyperpartisan redistricting, Foxconn, now the taxpayer-funded Gableman sham of an investigation ... the list goes on and on of willful and toxic GOP malfeasance since 2010 that stands to have no consequences for the individuals directly involved. Rinse and repeat elsewhere.

We learn from the past only if people choose to pay attention to it. How ironic it may be that a full GOP takeover will happen less because of a positive, productive agenda on their part -- owning the Libs and making them suffer is not to be confused with actual public policy -- and more because of voter indifference to the one source of power they actually have -- the ballot box -- in what looks to be a low turnout year on the left. Is the GOP really seizing power? Or are we letting them take it because not enough of us are interested enough to get involved and make our voice heard against their self-serving grievance agenda? One is bad. The other is worse. In the end we get what we settle for, as choices beget consequences. As someone once said: "Don't boo. Vote." Vote as if your life depends on it. For some that may well be the case.

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Really important and well spoken points. Walker 2.0 is right and what a dope he was. This will be worse and it’s as good as done.

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Thank you for Bulwark+

I am horrified by the demagoguery. I am also frightened. Why would people listen to such a person who appears bent on destroying our system?

I know we there many problems- current and historical- but since when have American people followed the way of destruction over creativity and resourcefulness?

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Charlie, a couple of things:

1.) I too am sorry to hear about Pete's passing. Losing a person as meaningful to you as your best friend is one of the hardest things anybody can experience; whether they be two-legged or four.

2.) Love you and this newsletter, but please STOP saying that people like Bannon have "no coherent agenda beyond destruction". I constantly hear people say that Bannon and others in the GOP apparatus (Tucker, Hawley, and Cruz, etc.) "believe in nothing" or are all simple nihilists. That is very, VERY much untrue. Yes, they do not believe in "the rules of the road" such as honesty, dignity, and fair play. It is true that they do not believe in the fundamental goals and values of our liberal, democratic republic. Yes, they deploy nihilistic means for power and influence. But they absolutely have goals and values which they hold dear to their core.

They believe with everything in them that their christianity, straightness, and/or whiteness make them superior to other people. They believe that these qualities entitle them and their brothers and sisters-in-arms to a near monopoly on the powers of state and cultural mores. They believe that their values must be upheld above those of others and therefore critical rules, ethics, and norms for which democracy requires in its citizenry - especially its leaders - are optional at best and menaces at worst. It would be far less dangerous if all they cared about was power or fame or wealth in a more generalized form. If that were the case MSNBC could just offer Bannon twice his current salary and he'd be willing to put on a pussy hat and say "birthing people". But he would not do that; none of them would do that, not for all the money in the world.

Why? Because they are true believers with agendas that could not be built on anything less than absolute faith. They may not yet have figured out all the nuances and mechanics of what this new version of government and society look like, but they know that it must be carried out by white men with crosses on their lapels. And above all, it must not contain a single hosting of Drag Queen Story Hour anywhere in this land.

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The vocabulary sparsed throughout your Bannon screed was superb!

You’ve outdone yourself, Charlie, with the pics of Pete on your mantel. A great tribute to him. Looked like some were actually paintings and couldn’t help but wonder if any were gifts to honor his passing. Your love for him is heart warming.

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Charlie, I am very sorry to hear about your Pete. :(

Sounds like you are a great dog dad. Pete was just as lucky to have you and Mrs. Sykes in his life as you both were to have him in your lives.

Hey, maybe this will make you feel a little better today:

There's a story going around that Lauren Boebert was allegedly using a site called something like SugarDaddyMeetup dot com to provide escorting services . . . and maybe one Rafael Theodore Cruz was one of her clients . . . and her time on job there may have caused her to get not one, but two abortions.

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The Daily Beast (left leaning, MAGA hating) totally debunked this story yesterday, I'm sad to report. Still, she's a contemptible human.

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Well, it was fun while it lasted.

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Yes it was. I think it speaks well of our side in that we don't roll with fake stories, no matter how delicious they are.

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Bannon is an Underpants Gnome. Step 1: burn it all down. Step 2: ??? Step 3: the new perfect society, with him in charge.

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