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February 07, 2023


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Given the predictable nature of speeches delivered at this venue, I am only surprised by the continued coarsening of our political discourse. Louts and boors with no manners or respect whatsoever shouting and heckling is what we've come to. The real challenge for me is trying to understand how disenfranchised enough people must feel to vote for such imbecilic representation.

Doggie, that's been my quandary ever since Trump stepped onto the political stage — What is going on in the heads of people who voted for those people?

Nothing. Nothing is the answer to what's going on in the heads of these people.

I'm not sure whether that's very, very funny or very, very sad. Or a little of both.

But any party that consistently gives you people like Greene, Gaetz, Boebert, Biggs, Gosar, Schweikert, Cruz, Paul, Washburn, McCarthy, and the ultimate Republican, Santos, to name just a few, isn't worthy of any sentient person's vote.

While I too am appalled at the uncouth and sometimes downright traitorous antics of the far right in this country, I continue to maintain that it's a huge mistake to dismiss as mere idiots and racists all Americans who have been conned into supporting certain right-wing politicians and sentiments.

It may feel good, but it ignores reality: that many not-so-affluent Americans increasingly see themselves priced out of the real estate market, losing buying power and opportunity as skilled blue collar jobs vanish and fuel and grocery prices seem to constantly rise, are fearful of a plague of deadly illegal drugs and pop culture that too often venerates gangstas and thugs while mocking traditional American values and traditions, and who understand that they're openly regarded in some quarters as ignorant hicks not worth giving a shit about.

And we'd be dishonest if we didn't consider rapidly changing demographics and the not entirely unreasonable apprehension that often ensues.

Is some, or even much, of that apprehension due to good old-fashioned American racism? You betcha.

It's easy to denounce that and feel superior. It's harder to admit that such rapid and pervasive changes would lead to apprehensions anywhere in the world, and to far harsher reactions in many places.

And it's pretty easy to be disenchanted with big-money liberals and the insanely destructive and self-absorbed woke brigade and its corrosive and cynical identity politics.

So go ahead and hate Americans who look around and don't see the country they grew up in or hear much English at the store, school, church, or jail.

Just don't kid yourself that they're all nothing but idiots.

James Fallows' Substack is a joy to read after a presidential speech like Biden's SOTU last night. Fallows is a longtime journalist, and he was a presidential speechwriter. Probably in the Carter administration.

He's both an excellent critic and and explainer, going into detail of the mechanics of a great speech.


Note: He put the play-by-play part of the SOTU behind the paywall. But even the free part above the fold is worth a read.

When congress is disfunctional and unable to fulfill its duties, it enboldens the president to act dictatorial. Said president enjoys being a dictator and expands the powers of the office. The tipping point is when an Emperor arrives on the scene.

When state legislatures are disfunctional and unable to fulfill its duties, it emboldens the governor to act dictatorial. Said governor enjoys being a dictator and expands the powers of the office. The tipping point is when an Emperor arrives on the scene.

In Florida, an Emperor has arrived. DeSantis thinks he's an Emperor and acts accordingly.

Probably not a good idea to let this cold-blooded Emperor of Florida become the Emperor of the country.

We barely escaped the orange wanabe emperor due to his low brain wattage.

This Florida version is a deadly threat to our democracy. He's more robot than human.

AND the only thing standing between our country and the demise of democracy is......
Merrick Garland. The Washington Weenie is standing watch over you. That'll cost you some restful sleep.

Well said, reality, but as I said, I still struggle to understand how disenfranchised you have to be to vote for the demise of manners, civility, social order and democracy itself. The above list of clowns have no interest in governing and are basically bomb-throwing anarchists.

I think it all started back about 25 years ago, when Rupert convinced the FCC that 24-7 grievance tv would be good for America; of course, he didn't exactly pitch it that way. Anyway, we now have 70 million angry people who were so much less harmful when they were focused on pro wrestling, bowling, NASCAR and bass tournaments.

B. Franklin and pat just answered your question.

The time period is correct,

The replacement of mind numbing sports being replaced by Fox News is correct.

What’s going on in their minds, “nothing” is correct.

d, do you spend time with these people? It’s scary.

They’re nice people. Friendly, caring people. Educated, but I’m convinced educational growth ended at high school or college. In my mind, education is a life long process. Not these folks. They chose to purposely stop learning when it was no longer required.


That’s these folks. It’s their conscious choice for a lifetime. These folks don’t read. 100% of their information comes from Fox News.

Remember those friendly caring folks? They operate by trigger words. You say the right trigger word, they turn rabid right before your eyes.

Example: this Christmas at a neighborhood block party, everything was love and joy and brotherhood. As a test, which got me in trouble with the wife, I brought up Kari Lake. The appropriate suspects went ballistic.

Pat, I speak as a professional wrestling fan and at least one redeeming quality wrestling fans over the viewers of the Fox primetime lineup -- wrestling fans know what they are watching is a work.

Also, understanding kayfabe helps to make sense of politics.

These "Americans who look around and don't see the country they grew up in" should probably stop voting for the party of trickle down economics and anti-unionism, which has destroyed their middle class lifestyles.

They should also reject, once and for all, the epic bullshit of Ronald Reagan, and his "welfare mother in her Cadillac" crap.

And maybe finally acknowledge that there is just one race, with many ethnicities. And the fear and hatred they show to people who are different from them is, in the long run, a loser's game.

Change is inevitable and constant, and hoping for a return to a mythic American past set in aspic is also a loser's game.

As far as hearing another language spoken, in the past there were parts of this country where you heard more Swedish than English, or more Italian, or German or Russian. If you're going to live in the Southwest, maybe pick up a little Spanish. It couldn't hurt.

Sentient people recognize these things, and stop voting for people who traffic in lies and division. People with nothing going on in their heads will not.

@ B Franklin
I certainly agree with much of your underlying sentiment.
But you seem to be epically missing the point. I won't belabor it.

Playing into the current theatrics of American politics from people yelling or booing at the president is exactly what these people want.

Trump uncovered political gold when he found out that the general population cares way more about some absurd or outrageous tweet or gaffe than much of his actual policy. The tech and media companies allowed this to happen. The world is a stage and they’re building an empire around its monetization.

It blows my mind that during any one discussion of politics, I’m more likely to hear about the theatrics of a character like Marjorie Taylor Greene or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez than any actual policy proposals that congress is working on. Each of them represent 1/435 of a vote within the house yet they act as political celebrity influencers, headline-ready partisan “loose canon” types who are going to be the saviors of each of their respective social movements, whatever they may be at the moment.

People are too distracted by the culture war noise to realize that most Americans are the same and probably just want a simple life where they can live modestly. There’s a way to achieve things like affordable healthcare or better infrastructure or benefits for new parents, and it doesn’t begin with calling conservatives brainless, morally bankrupt, intellectually stunted losers— that only pushes them further away into the reactionary mindset. If we’re ever going to convince these people to stop drinking the Murdoch kool-aid and voting down ticket in favor of what Tucker Carlson decrees, it begins with stepping back much of the “basket of deplorables” demonization that has been in orbit since 2016. But that isn’t profitable for the new media gods, and regulation doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary of these past few administrations, so I guess we’re just stuck here.

Very well said, sure.

Meanwhile, we have the following public words of presumed political wisdom from longtime Democratic Party political strategist James Carville following the SOTU:

-- “I told people, I have a Ph.D. in white trashology, and you saw real white trash on display,” Carville said during an appearance on MSNBC. He added that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R., Ga.) “dresses like white trash” and “really needs a fashion consultant.”

“I recommend George Santos. He could do a good job of dressing up where she doesn’t announce her white trashdom by her own clothes,” he said.

Carville added that Biden had a “great night,” but the “level of white trashdom in the Republican Party is just staggering.” --

So in case any trailer-dwelling people of pallor still had any doubts about how they're really regarded by Democratic Party elites, they now have their suspicions duly confirmed.

Yeah, it's great to be morally, intellectually, and politically superior to a big swathe of the US population. But they're still here, and they helped elect a sociopath to the White House in 2016 who damaged this nation in ways that could very well be permanent. And they're still strong enough to do further damage.

So perhaps a new, better, less-alienating, and more effective approach is in order.

Nah, let's just keep bashing them and feeding our egos. It's so fun! And if we don't, we might be called out by wokesters as insufficiently enlightened, and thus become targets ourselves.

In all seriousness, there's plenty of blame to go around. The trick is to get past it and find the common ground.

I guess my question is: Does publicity equal legitimacy?

If the media focuses on the players and issues of the extremists, both left and right, does that give these players and issues the illusion of being more important than they actually are?

That would at least partially explain the behavior of Taylor Green and DeSantis. Taylor Green's behavior moves her out the 1/435 category into the 1/10 category of influencers. And she knows it.

How much has the publicity surrounding Tyre Nichols moved this example of extreme police brutality into the category of common police brutality in the public's mind?

Kari Lake is also an interesting example of this phenomena.

So maybe the question is: How do we stop this from happening?

I guess my question is: Does publicity equal legitimacy? -- John

My argument is: Publicity equals legitimacy when society retreats from the project of seeking objective truths and a shared reality.

Nothing really happened to objective truth or shared reality. Postmodernism didn't kick over the table of knowledge and show to us all that truth is bullshit.

Instead, we're in the midst of a panic that sociologists understand as a time of values in open conflict and competition.

It goes beyond mere political partisan identification. Politics accelerates the sorting process. Once we've sorted into red and blue tribes, we're also sorting away from a shared set of values. And the ascendancy of Donald Trump has enabled an escape from a shared reality.

I recognize the problem, but I will concede that I am very much a product of this environment and not better than it just because I can identify and name it.

I offer explanations, not answers.

I guess my question is: Does publicity equal legitimacy? -- John

My argument is: Publicity equals legitimacy when society retreats from the project of seeking objective truths and a shared reality.

Nothing really happened to objective truth or shared reality. Postmodernism didn't kick over the table of knowledge and show to us all that truth is bullshit.

Instead, we're in the midst of a panic that sociologists understand as a time of values in open conflict and competition.

It goes beyond mere political partisan identification. Politics accelerates the sorting process. Once we've sorted into red and blue tribes, we're also sorting away from a shared set of values. And the ascendancy of Donald Trump has enabled an escape from a shared reality.

I recognize the problem, but I will concede that I am very much a product of this environment and not better than it just because I can identify and name it.

I offer explanations, not answers.

I’m not sure that there is a way to stop this from happening when the entirety of media consumption is now predicated on how much time a user spends engaging with content. As long as journalism’s existence is tied to ad space on our screens, the winners are going to be those who squeeze out the most outrage bait as possible, firing off endorphins in our brain as we read about some bullshit tweet war that AOC got into with Elon Musk and keep coming back for more.

I can’t say that it’s all bad. More people than ever are now politically engaged. With all the hype surrounding 2016, many began to realize that not voting can have consequences, bigger than a four year term. Let’s hope that this inspires positive change before the supreme court fucks us some more.

"More people than ever are now politically engaged."

What do you get when you get a low information, misinformed person in front of a camera.....you get Gilbert Ortega Jr.

You say you are "not sure" then you sign as "sure".

Are you or are you not the famous "Not Sure" of Idiocracy fame??

A balloon and two UFO's shot down in ONE WEEK???

Them sneaky devils at the MIC are up to some shenanigans.

The martians are coming!

They were here fIRST.

Ack! Ack! Ack!

Well, I suppose I've "missed" a lot of points in my life, epically and otherwise.

But one point I haven't missed is that there are millions of people in this country who do not want to be educated. They do not want to learn anything new. They do not want to change in any way.

They want their guns and they want their book of religious myths and they want their white washed history and they want their pile of prejudices. Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-science, anti-anything that doesn't jibe with their preconceptions--these things give them comfort.

For any that are willing to join the rest of us in the 21st Century, the door is always open.

But for the rest of them, at this point, "reaching out, and trying to understand them" is as pointless as reaching out to a rattlesnake.

Oh, and regarding UFO's, any life form that has the necessary technical capability for traveling across the cosmos to visit us probably has the technical capability for avoiding any of our defenses. Unless, of course, they were unarmed scouting vehicles. In which case I sure hope we haven't pissed anyone or anything off.

War of the Worlds

OK, the nation is riddled with dumbshits. They're allowed to vote.

If they're alienated, angry, pandered to, and motivated, some of them will do so. It can have devastating consequences.

Constantly and excessively denigrating them and attacking their beliefs tends to alienate, anger, and motivate them, which opportunists have clearly realized and pandered to. Yet some folks continue to constantly and excessively denigrate them and attack their beliefs in ways that motivate them to react and support those who opportunistically pander to them.

So who are the real dumbshits?

I’m no conspiracy theorist but the objects being shot down does seem like a convenient story to get eyes off of the Ohio derailment disaster.

We’re looking at one of the most severe environmental catastrophes in decades and we’ve heard nothing from DC about it. I thought Biden cared about us environmentalists? Or is he too busy appeasing the shareholders of the railroad companies?

So who are the real dumbshits?

If you have to ask ...


Klaatu barada nikto

So, who are the real dumb shits?

Kari Lake comes to mind.

AzReb, you are only one-third correct.

Kari Lake is not dumb.

Rhetorical question. A question asked in order to make a point rather than to elicit an answer, especially when the answer is obvious to most persons of reasonable intelligence, unless they’ve trapped themselves in a closet of illusion and smug pseudo-intellectual self-satisfaction.

Reality Street, you don't have to explain to me what a rhetorical question is. I do, however, have to explain this to you.


If you have some self-awareness of your sincerity, you'd be great in comedy.

If your sincerity is authentic sincerity, you'd be great in tragedy.

Get over yourself, Duggy.

Deport Nikki Haley.
President got to be a man and full blood American.

Get over yourself, Duggy.

So you can be under me? This is going to be one interesting Valentine's Day. ;)

Geronimo for president?

@Cal, I don't think we're at the point where we have the "Futurama" technology to reanimate heads in jars. Until then, Geronimo can't be president. :)

(One of the storylines of "Futurama" was that Richard Nixon's head in a jar was able to become president of Earth in the year 3000. The vice president was the headless body of Spiro Agnew.

The original run and its brief revival ended before 2016, but figuring prominently in both was a Donald Trump-like character named Zapp Brannigan. He's one of the funniest characters in the series, a mashup of Trump's narcissistic personality and William Shatner's haughty Captain Kirk.)

Thanks Bobson
but I no watch tv.

Wonder what the definitions are for
"full blood American"

@Cal, "full blood" and "pure blood" are White supremacist code terms for all-White heritage, and by some usages pure blood is all-White and unvaccinated.

Ah heck.
Rules out Geronimo.
How about Kyrsten becomes a man and runs for president?

Sitting here over coffee, looking at the snow and the thermometer showing 9 degrees, I happened to think that maybe these denier deniers are on to something.

(keeping in mind that I don't know if denier deniers are the way that they are naturally or if they really never learned anything.)

Anyway, as a denier denier, once you deny that any of the revolutions took place. No world wars, no colonial take over of countries including the US of A. No 9/11. No slavery of any race by any race. No diseases of concern.

You get the point.

Viewing the world through that kind of a lense, you are left with the opinion that we are a wonderful species.

Like the ad in the Super Bowl leads us to believe, JESUS GETS US.COM.

Why wouldn't he? We're wonderful.

US Intelligence gathering activities: Budget -Classified-(copies are available only at Trump, Biden, Pence residences) Estimate -$100B to $500B annually.

Chinese Intelligence gathering activities and budget.
One used weather balloon
3 cans helium - local party store
one used Buick chassis
two dozen antenna looking metal doodads.

total - $3,500

Intelligence gathered:

One unannounced balloon, with the assistance of the US cable news industry can turn the US population into an out of control mob of rat like sheep who will hide, kill themselves, turn on neighbors, loot, surrender to invisible aliens and in general lose their minds.

Conclusion: buy more balloons.

Soon a Trojan horse balloon

Reality Street,

How would you go about convincing Kari Lake that the election is over and she needs to move on?

Dearest Helen, Why would you wanado that?
What would you do for your entertainment in Boringville?
Breakfast at the Casino with ole white guys?
Lunch at the Dairy Queen?

Helen, there's no point in trying to convince Lake of anything. She knows she lost. Most demagogues fully understand that they're telling people whatever it's surmised they want to hear, or that will galvanize and excite them. Trump does the same thing.

I've tried to make the point that it's important to communicate effectively with people who might otherwise be swayed by demagogues, or to at least stop constantly telling them how stupid they are if they don't totally agree with unsettling societal changes or another point of view. Unfortunately, some folks desperately need to feed their egos and demonstrate how enlightened they are, play up to their own audience to seek its approval or avoid its wrath, or disassociate themselves from the people they loathe or fear, and so tend to push those people toward demagogues who claim to understand them and have their interests at heart. Lake's a good example of why self-righteous polarization is foolish, but it's more important for some folks to feel like they're always the smartest prick in the room or at least so much better than "those people."

This stuff's not new. Same old circus. Just different clowns.

I hear Gatsbys
back in town?

Think globally, act locally.

At this point, that's all we can do.

Look after your friends and neighbors. Act in a way that is helpful, not detrimental to the environment.

The Empire is on a course of its own.

We're just passengers at this point. Your captain is 80 years old and the co-pilot is a fruitcake from Califruitland.

Have a safe trip.

Welcome aboard Southwest Airlines.

Thanks Reality.

Both the left and the right have legitimate positions. No one side is completely correct. The left can have its version of Archie Bunker just like the right. And we see that in the comments right here on Rogue.

It's much more interesting to listen to the two extremes try to find common ground than it is to listen to them "dig in" and just argue their opinion.

If you can open your mind and change your perspective and see the arguments in these terms, I think you will rewarded.


Left, right. Right, left.

I started expressing my concern about the Defense budget in 1970. It was $83 billion.

Now it's $830 billion. In reality, in excess of $1 trillion.

Left, right. Right, left.

Harry the conquer
will save us
as soon as
he knocks off
PA and Willy

The $83 billion in 1970 is $657 billion in today's money. Below is a useful calculator:


Yes, I'm aware of that RC. The warmongers in DC also like to use the % of GDP to downplay the growth of the defense budget.

Bottom line, we're in a planetary war/kill/destroy business. My 401k greatly benefits from our business of destruction, so who am I to complain. What an ungrateful SOB I am.


Specifically in red states, Biden is burning chicken farms, closing food plants, derailing trains because..........a study has shown that egg yokes kill the covid virus.

So...............chicken - egg - yoke - covid means adios republicans.

Already heard this from half a dozen "believers".

They got no argument from me. I was speechless.

I could have mentioned the worldwide outbreak of avian bird flu causing the chicken issues in the US, but heck, why spoil their fun.

Bumper sticker:


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