'How the Right Lost Its Mind': Charlie Sykes Asks Conservatives What They Truly Care About

What happened to the conservative movement?

That’s the question asked in Charlie Sykes’ new book, “How the Right Lost Its Mind,” an exploration of the conservative movement’s descent into alt-right insanity and Trumpian demagoguery. On today’s show, he and Glenn talked about the real values that conservatives should return to and the questions we should be asking.

“What is it that we care about?” Sykes asked rhetorically. “It’s freedom, limited government, constitutionalism, personal responsibility, respect for the truth. … Rather than be locked into some sort of a zombie-like dogma, you know, ask, ‘What kind of a society do we want to be?’”

Listen to the full segment (above) to hear Sykes explain why we need to break out of our “tribes” to reconnect as people.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: There's a lot going on in the news today. Robert Mueller has issued an indictment. It's not a surprise at all. It is for Paul Manafort and his -- and his business partner. Bad guy.

We've told you that for a long time. This is putting Donald Trump in a very bad position, and we'll get more on that, coming up.

We also have Charlie Sykes. Charles Sykes is the author of the book, How the Right Lost Its Mind. Up until a few years ago, he was the most powerful talk show host in Wisconsin. And he just had to walk away from it because he didn't understand the conservatives anymore.

I think now, wrongfully, he is being labeled as, you know, somebody who has just run over to the left because he's seen on NBC and he's read in the New York Times and everything else.

But that's not who he is. At least that's not who I think he is. And we welcome him now, Charlie Sykes.

Hi, Charlie, how are you?

CHARLIE: Good morning. Thank you for that, by the way, Glenn. I appreciate that.

GLENN: You're welcome.

So are we some of those right who have lost their minds?

CHARLIE: You mean you and me?

GLENN: Yeah.

CHARLIE: Well, I don't know. I think there are some -- some oasis of sanity. But I think we all need to look in the mirror and go, okay. Did we contribute to this? Did we help create this monster? And I know that you go to this introspection.

And part of what I did after I left my radio show was to sit back and just sort of sit for a little while, and go, how did that happen? What did we miss?

Were there things that were stewing out there that we didn't understand? Were our allies not exactly who they were?

You mentioned the people saying, well, you obviously have defending -- no. I'm actually saying exactly the same things I have been saying for a very, very long time.

GLENN: Yeah.

CHARLIE: And I'm watching a lot of people that I I thought I understood -- do 180 flips. And you really have to watch, what's going on sneer.

GLENN: So, Charlie, it's really difficult. Because we feel the same way, that there's a lot of people who say, we've defected. Blah, blah, blah. No, we've stood in place. We're not going over the cliff with the rest of the party and the rest of humanity.

And I'm more concerned -- Jimmy Kimmel said this weekend, which I was glad to hear him say -- I don't know if he's tying it to the right alone, but I said, under Barack Obama, you can't let this kind of stuff fester, because who is going to come into office next time? And we have an answer to that.

Now, who follows Donald Trump? Now is the time to get a hold of ourselves and our principles. Or we're in real trouble. From both sides.

CHARLIE: Oh, I completely agree. And, you know, Donald Trump -- please, don't misunderstand me when I say this, that Donald Trump doesn't shock me or bother me. Because he is what he is. You know, he's always been the same thing. He's not going to change. What's really bothering me is what's happening to the rest of us. The damage to the culture. I think that his legacy won't be measured simply in policy decisions, you know, including some that I would agree with.

It's going to be measured in the coarsening of our culture, in what we Americans have decided that we are willing to accept, look the other way.

I was actually on a show yesterday morning with somebody that I had deeply admired for more than a decade. And he was suggesting that, you know, once we get tax reform through, we will no longer have to worry about the character of the president.

And I will tell you, Glenn, I was actually shocked. Because I said, you know, I'm old enough to remember when conservatives actually thought things like character and truth and decency, honestly, all of those things actually did fundamentally matter. And maybe were even more important than politics.

GLENN: Policies. Yeah. It was. To me, it still is. Character -- if you don't have character, you don't have anything. You don't have a chance at survival without character.

So, Charlie, how do you -- how do you repair this?

CHARLIE: I don't honestly know. That's a really, really good question. I think it is going back to these first principles. And, you know, the -- there was a time where you realized, okay. We're going to be in the wilderness for a while.

It turns out, that the wilderness is a little bit -- there are fewer of us in the wilderness than I was perhaps expecting, but the wilderness is a good place to begin rethinking these things. What is really important? What is really valuable?

I've lived a life, like a lot of conservative talk show hosts, where you go from one election to another. And every single election is the apocalypse. Every single election, everything is at stake. And maybe you need to step back and you realize, okay. Elections are important. There's no question about that.

But there are some things that are more important. So let's go back. What is it that we -- that we care about? Is it -- it's freedom. Limited government. Constitutionalism. Personal responsibility.

Respect for the truth. All of those things. And also, understand that maybe we ought to look around to our fellow Americans. And rather than be locked into some sort of zombie-like dogma. You know, ask, what kind of a society do we want to be? What makes for the good life? Are we actually treating one another the way that we ought to be treating one another?

Now, in order to get back to it, I think we kind of have to break out of the chrysalis of our tribe, which may be mixing the metaphor. And maybe if you look around and go, "Okay. We've been engaging in these tribal politics. But look at where it led us. Look at what it's done to us. And is this really who we want to be?

GLENN: So, Charlie, you are somebody who -- I mean, I have been out to Silicon Valley and Hollywood. I have not gone to Washington and New York.

And I find at the upper echelon of both of those, I find people who are Democrats and who are now saying, I'm just afraid of my side as your side. There's something bad happening. And we have to solve this. And they fight -- I think like all people do, they fight against this feeling of ugh, you know, the other side is getting away with X, Y, and Z. But they have realized, this is what has caused the problem, is just looking at the -- at the splinter in someone else's eye. They've missed the beam in their own side. However, when I do talk to people in the media -- and you're probably closer to people in the media than I am, I don't see that from them. I don't -- I don't see a willingness to look at the -- the beam in their own eye.

Do you?

CHARLIE: No. But let me -- let me get to a point that you made before. You know, one of the great shocks for me, has been this -- this adoption of -- this moral relativism, across -- across the lines of American politics. That winning is so important, that, you know, if they did it, we can do it as well.

And to see conservatives adopt that, that sort of relativistic approach has been really appalling. But your point on the media is right on. One of the things that have happened -- and I talk about it in my book. Is, I've been a long-time media critic, talking about the bias, the double standards. I think at some point, we have perhaps succeeded at delegitimizing the media in the eyes of a lot of folks, which broke down our immunity to fake information and propaganda. But having said that, I do think that everybody in American politics and the media does need to step back and have this moment of introspection. You know, the -- I do have a lot of context in the media. And I don't sense that kind of introspection, that I think is necessary. Do you understand why so many people believe that you are biased, that you do have the double standards?

Do you understand how you manage to blow all of that credibility? You created the space for, you know, the demagogues. You know, the folks like Breitbart. And Infowars. And all of those folks.

But I don't sense that there is that sort of looking in the mirror and going on.

GLENN: Do you have time to stay with us for a little longer?

CHARLIE: Sure. Absolutely.

GLENN: Okay. Charlie Sykes. The author of How the Right Lost Its Mind. And I think -- I can count them -- I can count them on three fingers, I think. I think I can count them on three fingers, the people who actually stood. And Charlie was one of them. In fact, Charlie -- Charlie kind of just disappeared for a while and said, "I can't do this anymore."

And I have profound respect for him. And I have -- I have not read the book cover to cover, but I have read enough of the book to tell you that he's right about how we -- how we went awry and how we each of us have to look, on both sides of the aisle, at our own role and say, "What did I propagate?" But also, what did I accept in my own life?

And we'll continue our conversation. And talk a little bit about Mueller and what's going to happen next, with Charlie Sykes.

GLENN: At that point in time get Paul Manafort for here with Charlie Sykes in just a second.

STU: Charlie, Glenn and I have been talking about this for a while. And I'm sure you've been doing a lot of thinking of this, writing the book. I think a lot of the people in the talk radio audience want that perfect world, they want a world where there is about principles, they want a world where this is about real foundations.

But they see, with the media landscape, that if they don't push back against every single thing and fight super hard, nobody is going to do it for them. And they're just going to get rolled over. Do you think that's where the audience is, and why sometimes they might embrace some of the way the media is run now?

CHARLIE: Oh, yes, I do. In fact, that was me. I felt, okay. I'm on the rampart. And my job is to push back on this. If I don't push back on this, who will? And I do think that that contributed to it. And I think over the years, it ramped up. It ramped up in intensity, to the point where you look around you, like, okay. How did I get here? How did I come all the way this far?

GLENN: So, Charlie, I've never shared this on the air, but you would have the brain that could get your arms around this one, to see if you think this is valid. I think what Rush Limbaugh did was absolutely valid and accurate for 1990. What he did was say a point of view that nobody heard. And nobody had articulated. And he taught us how to articulate an argument. But then a couple of things happened.

Our friends stopped listening, as soon as they said, where did you get that? Rush Limbaugh? Well, yeah. So they stopped listening. But Rush kept giving us the argument for our friends. The friends over time disappeared. And then people like us populated radio. And we did the Rush Limbaugh model. And we weren't saying how to talk to your friends. We were saying, this is what is right. This is where you go. And we just grew further and further apart, into our own echo chambers. And we didn't listen to one another. We were no longer trying to make the argument to our friends, who we thought were rational, because we were really being told that our friends aren't rational. And they became irrational, as we became irrational.

CHARLIE: I certainly was think that you followed that trajectory. And then I started in the early 1990s on radio as well. When -- you know, there was a time when actually we had to formulate these arguments. When, in fact, our job was to persuade.

But I think you're absolutely right, that as time went on. We really did separate ourselves into what I began calling the alternative reality silos, where, you know, really, we didn't wall ourselves off.

GLENN: Wait. Wait. Wait. I don't think we did. I mean, I think in some ways we did because we didn't recognize it.

CHARLIE: Right.

GLENN: But we were walled off. The left did its number on us to wall us off. Yeah.

CHARLIE: They stopped. Oh, no, no. This goes both ways. There's no question about it. Somebody has got to write multiple volumes of how the left lost its mind. By the way, your story about the George Washington plaque would be chapter one on that. That's somebody else's --

GLENN: Yeah.

CHARLIE: But we were walled off. And part of the problem that I think folks in the left and the media ought to recognize is to realize they have no idea what conservatives were thinking for many, many years. They simply -- they didn't read conservative books. They didn't listen to conservative talk radio. They had a caricature out there. And as a result, they did not understand how they looked and how they sounded to conservatives. And they certainly do not understand what happened over the last several years.

GLENN: So let me go to Paul Manafort. What is this going to do?

CHARLIE: Well, it's going to put a heck of a lot of pressure on the White House. I see already that there are some people trying to spin this as, this is a nothing burger because it does not relate directly to the Trump campaign and collusion.

GLENN: This is huge.

CHARLIE: But, look, let's just take a step back here. This investigation is very much the real deal. This is just the beginning. It's a rolling investigation. And I think the Paul Manafort -- the whole Paul Manafort story for me sort of represents the worst people in the world phenomenon, which is that whatever Donald Trump's personal flaws are, he also at various points in his campaign and administration empowered, the people have called, the worst people in the world. Drowned himself with some really skeezy folks, whether it's Roger Stone or Paul Manafort.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

CHARLIE: Here's my other point for conservatives: Look, it is one thing to agree with the administration, support them on issues where you share their values. The right to life. Conservative judges. Small government. Regulatory reform.

But that doesn't mean that you need to defend every single aspect, including if, in fact, the Russians did interfere in our elections, tried to hack our democracy. This is not something that we should rationalize or look the other way.

GLENN: Charlie, thank you very much. Author of the book: How the Right Lost Its Mind. Worth a read.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar brings white fan onstage to sing with him, but here’s the catch

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

Rapper Kendrick Lamar asked a fan to come onstage and sing with him, only to condemn her when she failed to censor all of the song's frequent mentions of the “n-word" while singing along.

RELATED: You'll Never Guess Who Wrote the Racist Message Targeting Black Air Force Cadets

“I am so sorry," she apologized when Lamar pointed out that she needed to “bleep" that word. “I'm used to singing it like you wrote it." She was booed at by the crowd of people, many screaming “f*** you" after her mistake.

On Tuesday's show, Pat and Jeffy watched the clip and talked about some of the Twitter reactions.

“This is ridiculous," Pat said. “The situation with this word has become so ludicrous."

What happened?

MSNBC's Katy Tur didn't bother to hide her pro-gun control bias in an interview with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the wake of the Santa Fe High School killings.

RELATED: Media Are Pushing Inflated '18 School Shootings' Statistic. Here Are the Facts.

What did she ask?

As Pat pointed out while sitting in for Glenn on today's show, Tur tried to “badger" Paxton into vowing that he would push for a magical fix that will make schools “100 percent safe." She found it “just wild" that the Texas attorney general couldn't promise that schools will ever be completely, totally safe.

“Can you promise kids in Texas today that they're safe to go to school?" Tur pressured Paxton.

“I don't think there's any way to say that we're ever 100 percent safe," the attorney general responded.

What solutions did the AG offer?

“We've got a long way to go," Paxton said. He listed potential solutions to improve school safety, including installing security officers and training administrators and teachers to carry a gun.

Pat's take:

“Unbelievable," Pat said on today's show. “Nobody can promise [100 percent safety]."

Every president from George Washington to Donald Trump has issued at least one executive order (with the exception of William Harrison who died just 31 days into his presidency) and yet the U.S. Constitution doesn't even mention executive orders. So how did the use of this legislative loophole become such an accepted part of the job? Well, we can thank Franklin Roosevelt for that.

Back at the chalkboard, Glenn Beck broke down the progression of the executive order over the years and discussed which US Presidents have been the “worst offenders."

RELATED: POWER GRAB: Here's how US presidents use 'moments of crisis' to override Constitutional law

“It's hard to judge our worst presidential overreachers on sheer numbers alone," said Glenn. “However, it's not a shock that FDR issued by far the most of any president."

Our first 15 presidents issued a combined total of 143. By comparison, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3721, more than twice the next runner up, Woodrow Wilson, at 1803.

“Next to FDR, no other president in our history attempted to reshape so much of American life by decree, until we get to this guy: President Obama," Glenn explained. “He didn't issue 3000, or even 1800; he did 276 executive orders, but it was the power of those orders. He instituted 560 major regulations classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having 'significant economic or social impacts.' That's 50 percent more regulations than George W. Bush's presidency — and remember, everybody thought he was a fascist."

President Obama blamed an obstructionist Congress for forcing him to bypass the legislative process. By executive order, President Obama decreed the U.S. join the Paris Climate Accord, DACA, the Clean Power Plan and transgender restrooms. He also authorized spying in US citizens through section 702 of FISA, used the IRS to target political opponents and ordered military action in Libya without Congressional permission.

All of these changes were accepted by the very people who now condemn President Trump for his use of executive orders — many of which were issued to annul President Obama's executive orders, just as President Obama annulled President Bush's executive orders when he took office … and therein lies the rub with executive orders.

“That's not the way it's supposed to work, nor would we ever want it to be," said Glenn. “We have to have the Constitution and laws need to originate in Congress."

Watch the video above to find out more.

Six months ago, I alerted readers to the very attractive benefits that the TreasuryDirect program offers to investors who are defensively sitting on cash right now.

Since then, those benefits have continued to improve. Substantially.

Back in November, by holding extremely conservative short-term (i.e., 6-months or less) Treasury bills, TreasuryDirect participants were receiving over 16x more in interest payments vs keeping their cash in a standard bank savings account.

Today, they're now receiving over 30 times more. Without having to worry about the risk of a bank "bail-in" or failure.

So if you're holding cash right now and NOT participating in the TreasuryDirect program, do yourself a favor and read on. If you're going to pass on this opportunity, at least make it an 'eyes-wide-open' decision.

Holding Cash (In Treasurys) Now Beats The Market

There are many prudent reasons to hold cash in today's dangerously overvalued financial markets, as we've frequently touted here at PeakProsperity.com.

Well, there's now one more good reason to add to the list: holding cash in short-term Treasurys is now meeting/beating the dividend returns offered by the stock market:

"Cash Is King" Again - 3-Month Bills Yield More Than Stocks (Zero Hedge)
'Reaching for yield' just got a lot easier...
For the first time since February 2008, three-month Treasury bills now have a yield advantage over the S&P; 500 dividend yield (and dramatically lower risk).
Investors can earn a guaranteed 1.90% by holding the 3-month bills or a risky 1.89% holding the S&P; 500...

The longest period of financial repression in history is coming to an end...

And it would appear TINA is dead as there is now an alternative.

And when you look at the total return (dividends + appreciation) of the market since the start of 2018, stocks have returned only marginally better than 3-month Treasurys. Plus, those scant few extra S&P; points have come with a LOT more risk.

Why take it under such dangerously overvalued conditions?

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

In my June report Less Than Zero: How The Fed Killed Saving, I explained how the Federal Reserve's policy of holding interest rates at record lows has decimated savers. Those who simply want to park money somewhere "safe" can't do so without losing money in real terms.

To drive this point home: back in November, the average interest rate being offered in a US bank savings account was an insutling 0.06%. Six months later, nothing has changed:

(Source

That's virtually the same as getting paid 0%. But it's actually worse than that, because once you take inflation into account, the real return on your savings is markedly negative.

And to really get your blood boiling, note that the Federal Reserve has rasied the federal funds rate it pays banks from 1.16% in November to 1.69% in April. Banks are now making nearly 50% more money on the excess reserves they park at the Fed -- but are they passing any of that free profit along to their depositors? No....

This is why knowing about the TreasuryDirect program is so important. It's a way for individual investors savvy enough to understand the game being played to bend some of its rules to their favor and limit the damage they suffer.

Below is an updated version (using today's rates) of my recap of TreasuryDirect, which enables you to get over 30x more interest on your cash savings than your bank will pay you, with lower risk.

TreasuryDirect

For those not already familiar with it, TreasuryDirect is a service offered by the United States Department of the Treasury that allows individual investors to purchase Treasury securities such as T-Bills, notes and bonds directly from the U.S. government.

You purchase these Treasury securities by linking a TreasuryDirect account to your personal bank account. Once linked, you use your cash savings to purchase T-bills, etc from the US Treasury. When the Treasury securities you've purchased mature or are sold, the proceeds are deposited back into your bank account.

So why buy Treasuries rather than keep your cash savings in a bank? Two main reasons:

  • Much higher return: T-Bills are currently offering an annualized return rate between 1.66-2.04%. Notes and bonds, depending on their duration, are currently offering between 2.6% - 3.1%
  • Extremely low risk: Your bank can change the interest rate on your savings account at any time -- with Treasury bills, your rate of return is locked in at purchase. Funds in a bank are subject to risks such as a bank bail-in or the insolvency of the FDIC depositor protection program -- while at TreasuryDirect, your funds are being held with the US Treasury, the institution with the lowest default risk in the country for reasons I'll explain more in a moment.

Let's look at a quick example. If you parked $100,000 in the average bank savings account for a full year, you would earn $60 in interest. Let's compare this to the current lowest-yielding TreasuryDirect option: continuously rolling that same $100,000 into 4-week T-Bills for a year:

  1. Day 1: Funds are transferred from your bank account to TreasuryDirect to purchase $100,000 face value of 4-week T-Bills at auction yielding 1.68%
  2. Day 28: the T-Bills mature and the Treasury holds the full $100,000 proceeds in your TreasuryDirect account. Since you've set up the auto-reinvestment option, TreasuryDirect then purchases another $100,000 face value of 4-week T-Bills at the next auction.
  3. Days 29-364: the process repeats every 4 weeks
  4. Day 365: assuming the average yield for T-Bills remained at 1.68%, you will have received $1,680 in interest in total throughout the year from the US Treasury.

$1,680 vs $60. That's a 27x difference in return.

And the comparison only improves if you decide to purchase longer duration (13-week or 26-week) bills instead of the 4-week ones:

Repeating the above example for a year using 13-week bills would yield $1,925. Using 26-week bills would yield $2,085. A lot better (34x better!) than $60.

Opportunity Cost & Default Risk

So what are the downsides to using TreasuryDirect? There aren't many.

The biggest one is opportunity cost. While your money is being held in a T-Bill, it's tied up at the US Treasury. If you suddenly need access to those funds, you have to wait until the bill matures.

But T-Bill durations are short. 4 weeks is not a lot of time to have to wait. (If you think the probability is high you may to need to pull money out of savings sooner than that, you shouldn't be considering the TreasuryDirect program.)

Other than that, TreasuryDirect offers an appealing reduction in risk.

If your bank suddenly closes due to a failure, any funds invested in TreasuryDirect are not in your bank account, so are not subject to being confiscated in a bail-in.

Instead, your money is held as a T-Bill, note or bond, which is essentially an obligation of the US Treasury to pay you in full for the face amount. The US Treasury is the single last entity in the country (and quite possibly, the world) that will ever default on its obligations. Why? Because Treasurys are the mechanism by which money is created in the US. Chapter 8 from The Crash Course explains:

As a result, to preserve its ability to print the money it needs to function, the US government will bring its full force and backing to bear in order to ensure confidence in the market for Treasurys.

Meaning: the US government won't squelch on paying you back the money you lent it. If required, it will just print the money it needs to repay you.

So, How To Get Started?

Usage of TreasuryDirect is quite low among investors today. Many are unaware of the program. Others simply haven't tried it out.

And let's be real: it's crazy that we live in a world where a 1.68-2.09% return now qualifies as an exceptionally high yield on savings. A lot of folks just can't get motivated to take action by rates that low. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't -- money left on the table is money forfeited.

So, if you're interested in learning more about the TreasuryDirect program, start by visiting their website. Like everything operated by the government, it's pretty 'no frills'; but their FAQ page addresses investors' most common questions.

Before you decide whether or not to fund an account there, be sure to discuss the decision with your professional financial advisor to make sure it fits well with your personal financial situation and goals. (If you're having difficulty finding a good one, consider scheduling a free discussion with PeakProsperity.com's endorsed financial advisor -- who has considerable experience managing TreasuryDirect purchases for many of its clients).

In Part 2: A Primer On How To Use TreasuryDirect, we lay out the step-by-step process for opening, funding and transacting within a TreasuryDirect account. We've created it to be a helpful resource for those self-directed individuals potentially interested in increasing their return on their cash savings in this manner.

Yes, we savers are getting completely abused by our government's policies. So there's some poetic justice in using the government's own financing instruments to slightly lessen the sting of the whip.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

NOTE: PeakProsperity.com does not have any business relationship with the TreasuryDirect program. Nor is anything in the article above to be taken as an offer of personal financial advice. As mentioned, discuss any decision to participate in TreasuryDirect with your professional financial advisor before taking action.