A Longer Reply to Phantom

In reply to my short response to the murders in Orlando, regular commenter “The Phantom” wrote at some length. People can read the full comment there but I thought it exemplified a lot of the issues that I’ve been talking about recently and which also came up tangentially in the Douglas Ernst posts (not that I’m saying he agrees with The Phantom just that I’m touching on ideas that I touched on briefly tangentially in that post).

In context, my post had commented on the range of issues that came out of the shootings in Orlando. Specifically, I had said: ‘With its multiple points of significance (an apparent “lone wolf” attack by an Islamist terrorist using easily available weapons on LGBTI target in an electorally key state) there seems to be too much to make sense of amid the actual human cost.’

Phantom took issue with that saying:

Really? Too much to make sense of? And you wonder why people like myself mock you at every turn.
It was an act of war. Like when the Germans sank the Lusitania. Or when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Or when the Yemeni terrorists blew up the USS Cole. Very easy to understand.

And really I couldn’t imagine a better or clearer or more obvious shining example of the problem haunting rightwing thinking and debate right now. The Phantom asserts that things are simple and easy to understand and more: that the notion that the events were in anyway complex or multi-faceted is a notion worthy of mockery.

What strikes me about that is that this isn’t an ideological distinction – after all somebody might be quite rightwing and find an event complex or leftwing and regard it as simple (e.g. reducing it to just gun control) – but at the same time it is a reaction that has come to typify rightwing thinking on a range of issues in recent times. It is more attitudinal than ideological – a notion that things SHOULD be simple and that nuance or complexity or suggestions thereof must be rejected.

Let’s take Phantom’s claim seriously for a moment (and Phantom you are welcome to respond but do remember that you have painted yourself into a corner already – claiming some additional nuance to your view or additional complexity is essentially rejecting your premise that the events were simple.)

Phantom claims it is an act of war like Pearl Harbour, i.e. an act of aggression that in istelf is a decleration of war by one party against another. He doesn’t say who is who in that analogy but later says about Muslims in general: “It’s a religious war. They want us dead, because religion.” Hmm. Which is odd because Phantom seems to be saying this is the first act of war based on his examples. Does this mean he rejects the previous examples of terrorists acting in support of ostensibly radical Islamic causes as also acts of war? Maybe he does but I can’t see how he does that AND REMAINS IN ANYWAY RATIONALLY CONSISTENT with his new statement. It would seem already even his simplistic claim is anything but simple.

And if this was an act of war does that make Omar Mateen a soldier? That sounds absurd to me, to elevate somebody who was clearly a murderer to the level of a soldier – worse than absurd but overtly an insult to actual soldiers. Did Phantom mean to insult actual people actually fighting in actual wars? No, probably not but did he even bother to think about what the IMPLICATIONS of what he was saying was? No, and that illustrates the point that keeps coming up again and again when considering how the right is devolving into incoherence – it is a refusal to follow the logic of ones own ideas.

Let’s go further. Was the Phantom really saying that the people murdered in Orlando were just civilian casualties in a war? That also strikes me as an idea that he might not want to own. Yet what can he say? That things are more complex? That his views are more nuanced? Sorry, but to say those things is to reject the core idea of his point: that the event was somehow simple.

And if this is simply an act of war, a war of who against whom? ISIS? Islam? He seems to have settled on Islam in general but then how does a religion with multiple sects and no central authority wage a war? Is it a special kind of war? Gosh, is it actually something very UNLIKE Germany or Japan? How does he think an actual nation state should wage war against something as vaporous and indistinct as a set of religious ideas? No head of state, no capital city (no, not even Mecca), no government, no official army. The joy of being simplistic is not ever having to follow through one idea to the next or ever justify or ever attempt to explain how the simplistic can make sense.

So when The Phantom characterises this as a war, apparently between Islam and the West, does he envisage the West at war with ALL muslims? Does he envisage a war against all Muslim nations, despite the fact that many (indeed most) such countries are allies or trading partners? Is he not aware that troops from many Western nations are currently in a number of predominately Western countries and are rely on active cooperation with the authorities and citizens of those countries for their safety and well being? It is hard to imagine that he doesn’t know but perhaps he doesn’t care or just didn’t care when he asserted the simplistic.

And how does he imagine such a war could be fought? Is he actually committed to waging war against a religion and the kind of actions that would nessecistate? I doubt because he does not strike me as an evil person who would commit themselves to trying to wipe out an idea. Or has he suddenly coverted to cheerleading the only thing that does tend to erase religion – the slow pressure of secularism and social progress? Yeah, I doubt that too and I doubt that he meant “war” in some kind of vague metaphorical sense either. Leastways, if he did then he has once again thrown his main point out of the window. No, I doubt The Phantom actually wants extermination camps or for the US to unilaterally declare war on Malayasia for no good reason – nor do I think he has suddenly converted to the gospel of Richard Dawkins and is set to fight a humanist “war” or anti-religious persuasion. He *meant* literal war but he just didn’t *think* about what that entails.

Or perhaps he meant a more conventional war in Middle-Eastern nations (I’m guessing he might not even have considered South-East Asian nations)? Perhaps he has wiped his memory of how disasterous the Iraq war was and how protracted US intervention has been in Afghanistan and how neither case has managed to make the threat of domestic terrorism go away. Actually I doubt that The Phantom is a neo-conservative either and I know many on the alt-right (which The Phantom may not be part of) reject neo-conservatism. They want a magically interventionist/isolationist policy that…well nobody knows how it would work, least of all its proponents because the modern right does not have to engage with any practical considerations of how to impliment an aggresive military policy that resolutely never attacks anywhere. They avoid the contradictions in their thinking by the literal act of will of JUST NOT THINKING ABOUT THINGS.

Acts of war and the actors in a war have military objectives – actually even terrorism can have objectives. What does The Phantom think the objective was in this case? I doubt any of us will ever know what was in the murderer’s mind anymore than we will know what was going on in the minds of any of the other of the mass shooters in recent American history (presumably each of whom was declaring ‘war’ or perhaps The Phantom can psychically discern which mass murders are war and which aren’t – gosh could things be once again in some way a bit more complex than Phantom claims?). I think if we take Phantom seriously we can rule out many kinds of military objective. Unlike Pearl harbour this was not an attack on a military base, nor, unlike the sinking of the Lusitania was it attempt at strategic control (i.e. of sea lanes), indeed only an unthinker would see this as an LGBTI nightclub as somekind of military target (oh, what’s that Phantom? You didn’t *mean* that – sorry but things are supposed to be simple).

Of course that doesn’t mean ISIS et al don’t have objectives when they encourage murderous acts. They clearly DO have objectives. Nor is the objective even a secret: they want to forment a religious war between the West and Islam in general. They know they are a tiny minority and they want to provoke a backlash against moderate Muslims to help radicalise and destabilise. They want to forment instability in relatively stable Muslim nations and the heated rhetoric in the aftermath of terror attacks helps that objective. They fear the secularisation of muslims in the West and the kind of unthinking backlash we see from people like Donald Trump helps marginalise such communities. They hate people fleeing to the Western nations (just as oppresive regimes always do) and the useful idiots on the alt-right volunteer to build a Berlin wall for ISIS.

But then, if this *IS* a war and the objective of the “enemy” in the war is to forment a reactionary backlash against ordinary muslims and the alt-right and Donald Trump and The Phantom are HELPING them do that, what does that make them? What do you call people in a “war” (as Phantom says it is) who help an enemy achieve their objective?  I’m sure there must be a name for them.

Sorry Phantom, feel free to ‘mock’ people who think that thinking about issues is important and who recognise that events can be complex and may require complex responses at multiple levels. To be mocked by those who spout such absurdities as yours is akin to being praised.





  1. iamzenu

    To give the devil his due, there is a group in a country that is in large degree an authority in that country and that is promoting violence against others. To that extent, there is a process but one should understand the complexity. I could see a declaration of war against Syria where we invade and occupy with help of allies. But that is serious stuff and not to be taken lightly. It would last decades and could well broaden into a wider war. However….

    The war against Muslims is just dumb.


    • Cora

      Why would you declare war on Syria about a terrorist attack carried out by an American of Afghan origin? No Syrian had anything to do with the Orlando attacks. Not that the Syrian mess doesn’t desperately need a solution, but I don’t think invading the country is going to help and certainly not over something Syria had nothing to do with..


  2. greghullender

    It’s starting to look like the shooter was a self-hating homosexual. I can blame his religion for making him that way, but Islam in America is actually a bit more accepting than fundamentalist Christianity, so I don’t see a reason to treat it as uniquely evil.


    • thephantom182

      “Islam in America is actually a bit more accepting than fundamentalist Christianity…”

      Wow, so there’s fundy church groups in America throwing acid in people’s faces, hanging guys from pickup truck utility cranes on street corners, and throwing them off buildings? News to me, Greg baby.

      Islam in America, and Canada for that matter, openly calls for the deaths of homosexuals and lesbians. Oh, and Jews too. In the ME they don’t bother talking about it, they get busy and get it done. They also keep slaves and stone women to death. They’d be doing it here, except they’re afraid of the terrifying white people. We stomp on them when they try that shit here, after all. Look up Aqusa Parvez, ferinstance. That’s one of my favorite Muslim morality plays.

      You are like a caricature of an SJW Greg, you know that? The stuff you say, it’s self-mocking. I don’t have to do anything.


      • camestrosfelapton

        Christianity (extremist sections of it) in America demonises gays – heck John C Wright doyen of last years suggested beating gay men to death with tire irons. Vox Day celebrates child murderers as heroes and defended throwing acid in young women’s faces. Far right US Christian collaborated with governments in some African countries to enact laws to make homosexuality punishable by death. In the US and UK we’ve had far right terror acts against gays (and yes the modern far right tends to badge itself as “Christian” – as falsely as ISIS us “Muslim”)
        Meanwhile *YOU* push the same line as ISIS and European neo – nazis are pushing: the f_cked up notion of an Islam/Christian “war”.
        Seriously Phantom, if you hate ISIS so much, how come you keep pushing their propaganda?

        Reality is we’ve got two brands of jerks pushing the same reactionary, middle-ages loving, anti-gay, misogynistic perversion of major world religion and demanding that the millions of the rest of us pick sides because YOU claim the other brand of bigots are worse than the domestic brand of thugs.

        Sorry; no. Not playing that game. You can dance to the tune ISIS wants you too but anybody who gives a shit about freedom will point out that you are aiding their objectives with this reactionary BS.


      • thephantom182

        “Seriously Phantom, if you hate ISIS so much, how come you keep pushing their propaganda?”

        It takes two to tango, but it only takes one to start a fight. I’m not pushing their propaganda, I’m just taking them at their word. They say they’re at war, and they’re certainly killing people like they’re at war, that’s good enough for me.

        Wars are different than the depredations of the odd Lone Wolf nutcase. The tactics for dealing with them are different as well. Imagine if Roosevelt’s response to Pearl Harbor was to pass a law banning civilian ownership of guns. The ISIS Pearl Harbor was in 2001 dude, you’re still trying to pretend nothing is happening.

        I have a question for you, my friend. How many repetitions of Orlando and 9/11 will it take for you to admit there’s something going on?

        “Reality is we’ve got two brands of jerks pushing the same reactionary, middle-ages loving, anti-gay, misogynistic perversion of major world religion and demanding that the millions of the rest of us pick sides because YOU claim the other brand of bigots are worse than the domestic brand of thugs.”

        Well, no. The reality is that one side of this shit numbers in the millions and they’re killing people in job lots every fucking day. The ones you are all worried about, the Xtians!!, number in the dozens at best and hand out crappy leaflets on street corners in Georgia. And while they may mutter into their beards about how the gays gotta die, what they actually do is nothing.

        Oh and by the way, how many churches in Orlando do you think mobilized all their help-other shit to give aid and comfort to the horrid gay people? My bet is -all- of ’em.

        So really, I think it’s time for you to examine your hatred and see how attached it is to the real world. My estimate is ‘tenuous.’


      • camestrosfelapton

        You are basically repeating their view that Islam and the West are at war. Short of waving a black ISIS flag at the same time you really couldnt be more blatantly pushing their propagana. Wittingly or not you are doing their work for them. You say this is war and ypu are auding and abetying the enemy?
        This is what I mean when I say YOU DONT THINK THIS SHIT THROUGH.

        Also are the MAJORITY of christians not ibnoxious bigots? Yes. Are there a whole bunch of bigots who claim to be Christians? Yes. So cut OUT that bs you are now trying to pull by pretending that I said all Christians were bigits. Seriously Phantom, have you not got anything better than BS and ISIS propaganda?


      • camestrosfelapton

        I suspect Phantom is immune ro thinks like facts. He is insisting that we treat all religions as monoliths – so if we critocise one Christuan or one branch sub-sub-branch of Christianity he will pretend that we’ve said the same about all Christians.


      • KR

        I hesitate to wade in here because of the ample research that shows that correcting errors actually has the opposite effect of entrenching people in their positions. I am under no illusion that Phantom is able to see the logic and evidentiary gaps in his claims. In my business we often say “assertion is not evidence” and I think that’s a fair charge to level here.

        Phantom, you assert so many things that are patently false. On another post you claimed it was impossible to fire anyone in the US these days without lawyers and long processes, but that is absolutely and undisputedly not the case. “Right to work” laws passed over the last 30 years means that in most occupations now anyone can be fired at any time for any cause and with no recourse. It’s much easier to fire someone in the US than most advanced economies. In this post/thread you claim there are no murderous Christian armies, but Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army were/are out there. There are far more Christian militiamen in the US than the “dozens at most” that you assert (just check the SPLC website, they track it). There is plenty of human trafficking in North America and Europe, a lot of it related to sex slavery; some of those polygamous communities in BC and the PNW might conceivably fall into that category. I mention none of these to assert situational equivalency or to make a lame “look, look, they do it too” sort of point, rather just to counter your very gross and gut-feel generalizations with facts and nuance.

        If you are equating 9-11 with Orlando, you are deluded. That is a claim that lacks balance and perspective on many levels. And, though I would not dare to speak for CF, I would imagine he (like I) is not unaware that “something is going on” as you assert — clearly there is something going on — it’s just that I (and he?) just differ from you in the assessment and identification of what that thing is. I do not believe there is a apocalyptic religious war going on. I think that it is very possible to make regional insurgencies worse by attributing more power and significance than they merit. Given enough time, things can (and usually do) take on a different perspective. For example, the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s and 1960s, or the Japanese internments of WWII, or the witch hunts of the 17thc century — in time, and with greater perspective and more facts coming into the public domain, these so-called internal threats proved to be grossly exaggerated (though they make sense as responses to other social, economic, ethnic, political and personal/charismatic situations in their particular historical context).

        You are wrong — it actually does take two to fight. Anyone from boxers to international military strategists to marriage therapists can tell you. If one side does not show up to the fight, or just points and laughs and walks away, the fight doesn’t happen. Do you really and truly think that our way of life is threatened by ISIL? Materially or ideologically? Do you have so little faith in the strength of the Western democratic capitalist reality that you think these reactionary extremist bands based far away are going to be able to topple it? It’s not going to happen. That’s not to say that I don’t recognize that something is “going on” but it’s just not a scenario that is realistically likely to succeed. You need to step back and get some perspective.

        I see you have asserted that things are rather very clear and simple and ahve rejected nuance as being unhelpful so that means I’m pretty much not your guy. It’s the opposite of the way I approach the world. I await your rejection of all my comments above (and have placed a bet with myself to which/if sentences you are going to cherry-pick to respond to if you do decide to respond).

        Sorry for the wall o’ text here CF. I guess I had things to say.


      • KR

        TBH, CF, I kinda think I’ve given up on words these days — despite my tendency to use a lot of them — instead, I think we all could use a lot more kissing, hugging, dancing, walking talking, humanizing, sitting around the campfire and actively working to recognize ourselves in others. As the good Dr Tingle implies, we should show (not just say) that love is real.


      • thephantom182

        KR said: “(and have placed a bet with myself to which/if sentences you are going to cherry-pick to respond to if you do decide to respond)”

        Well, did you win?


    • iamzenu

      I am not a SFF fan. Not like you guys. I am just a reader that reads a bit of SFF. But I read lots of other stuff. What I am reading now is “The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience” by Kent A. Kiehl PhD. Dr Kiehl has spent a lifetime studying Psychopaths and using MRI imaging to study their brains. He is the real deal.

      I would have assumed the shooter was a Psychopath but Kiehl says that most of the spree killers are not. A Psychopath has a long history of events that profile him. Single actions by definition cannot. He says spree killers generally suffer from psychosis and if we could get to them early we could usually stop their disease from culminating in mass murder. He says the spree killers generally suffer from some form of delusion that allows and maybe compels the act. He doesn’t say religion can be an influence but I can’t help but think that the various religions could play a part in the psychosis. I have not finished the book. Maybe he will get to that.

      I have seen some rather odd things in the name of religion.


      • camestrosfelapton

        Haven’t read it but I have read The Psycopath test that covers similar territory.
        Yes, spree killers would not likely be psychopaths. Nor are they likely to be obviously mentally ill.


    • Lurkertype

      He may have been a Muslim, but culturally he was also an American down South, and thus was exposed to plenty of homophobia. And the relative openness of a religion isn’t true of all sects of Christianity in the US, so I’m sure it isn’t true of all sects of Islam in the US. His father is apparently a real Koran-thumper, very anti-gay. So he might have been influenced by the Muslim equivalent of the evangelical/Phelpsite strain. With that background, being gay would have been very difficult for him. And he, like too many, might have bought into the “if I can just RELIGION HARDER, I won’t be gay” mindset.

      Give a guy like that access to high-test weaponry, and here it is.


  3. thephantom182

    “It is more attitudinal than ideological – a notion that things SHOULD be simple and that nuance or complexity or suggestions thereof must be rejected.”

    Resorting to putting words in my mouth Camestros? I’m not saying it should be simple, I’m saying it -is- simple. You have a religious sect (fundy Wahabism specifically, as opposed to all of Islam) who have declared war on the West. They are an extra-national movement that has been having great success killing their enemies in the middle east, who are… other Muslims!

    They’ve had no luck killing the Jews at all, because the Jews are used to this shit and view ISIS no differently than the previous management of Syria, or Egypt for that matter.

    In the USA they’re not particularly organized, but they have been taking advantage of Leftist multiculturalism to infiltrate agents and radicalize locals like our Orland shooter guy. They’ve been saying that’s what they’re doing to anyone who will listen. they’re all over Facebook and Twitter saying it, they never shut up about it.

    That’s what makes this a pretty simple situation. Like the Rosenbergs, back in the 1950’s. They were spies, they got executed, the American Left to this day continues to hold them up as innocents, even though we have all the KGB documents proving they were spies.

    Nuance in this case is a vehicle for shifting blame. You want it to be the fault of straight white males because that’s politically useful. Admitting that there’s a war on against a religious nut-cult from Saudi Arabia, that doesn’t help float your boat.



    • camestrosfelapton

      I.e you push the same line as ISIS and are reacting the way ISIS want you too and are therefore assiting the enemy in what you say is wartime. If I took your argument seriously, you’d be calling yourself a traitor. You aren’t, you are just somebody who thinks being simplistic is a virtue.


    • ligne

      “[ISIS have] been saying that’s what they’re doing to anyone who will listen. they’re all over Facebook and Twitter saying it, they never shut up about it.”

      why are you putting any credence in ISIS propaganda?

      they want to drive a wedge between “Islam” and “the West”. they want a steady supply of disaffected and brutalised young people to fight for them. they want us to fear and attack the Muslims in our communities. and they’ve realised they can make us do their dirty work for them.


      • ligne

        a couple of further comments:

        * the Orlando shooter’s links to ISIS seem to be tenuous in the extreme. at various points he appears to have claimed allegience to ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah (there’s a huge WTF moment right there, and suggests that his understanding went no deeper than “they’re Muslim and have guns”).

        * they thankfully seem to have calmed down a bit, but for a long while our media just couldn’t repost ISIS propaganda materials fast enough. all these images of extreme brutality and domination, young men dressed up in black holding guns, long convoys of technicals going into battle. they even went through a phase of literally comparing a brutal murderer to a rock-star, plastering his image all over the front pages. when he was eventually killed, they immediately tried to create a replacement.


  4. KR

    I’ve been thinking about your posts on conservatism and alt-right for awhile now. It’s a topic that really interests me, and my circle here is not at all keen to talk about it. So, thanks for being a vehicle for interchanges (real-time convos are better, obvs). I’m really quite alarmed by several elements of this alt-right phenomenon, including: a complete imperviousness to facts (as if it were a badge of honor), doubling-down on opinions even when discredited, rapid descent into name-calling, and a zero-sum view of the world that leads to a generalized unwillingness to compromise. And life is all about the compromise.

    The fun-house mirror distortions of well-established terms in history and political science are genuinely alarming (viz: VD’s site’s community’s recent claim that Nazi Germany was not totalitarian and that things were pretty good under Franco and Salazar, that no one really noticed the dictatorship was jaw-dropping in its fractal wrongness). And to think that we have reached a point in public discourse where mainstream politicians are openly racist, and accept endorsements from the KKK? Well, let’s just say I’d never have thought the Reagan and Thatcher years would be looked back on as times of moderation. This current phenomenon is anger, fear, paranoia, triumphalism, and petulant childishness all rolled into one malodorous ball.

    Me being me, I think it all ultimately stems back to the unequitable division of wealth and the intensification of class conflict; the stuff in the news is just a very ugly puppet show distraction from the real source of anger and hatred and desire to protect one’s own self and “kind”, namely economic insecurity and the precarity of 21st century life.

    Phantom is right about one thing though. People seek safety, security and predictability by belonging to a “side.” Simple answers appeal. It’s just that they are almost always wrong as explanations for complex human social behaviour.


    • KR

      Top post of Man name of Chuck’s twitter feed is hard with syncronicity tonight: “the people’s butthole”.
      Pounded in the Butt by The Dialectic, indeed.


    • camestrosfelapton

      In the UK the deprivations from Tory austerity measures now express themselves in terms of a cloud of dissatisfaction that then lands on immigration as a handy scapegoat. The mainstream right broke the social contract or the armistice between left & right of keeping the more rampant aspects of capitalism in check. The results are niw consuming the right from the inside out.


      • KR

        The Blairs and Clintons on the supposed left can own some of that blame too. Hucksters all. Austerity is bogus and a con job. I laughed out loud when I saw Boris Johnson on Timothy’s fanzine cover though. You are really funny (and your anger in this thread was a bracing tonic too).


  5. JJ

    iamzenu: I would have assumed the shooter was a Psychopath but Kiehl says that most of the spree killers are not. A Psychopath has a long history of events that profile him.

    Apparently, Mateen has a history of huge red flags. But he was raised the privileged and favored child of a father with the same misogynistic, homophobic views and unjustified sense of entitlement, and his bullying and poor treatment of others was never curbed — never mind him actually being treated for what were clearly psychological problems.


  6. KR

    So, i learned today that Phantom’s phrase “something’s going on” turns out to be a paranoid dog whistle about Obama being a secret muslim and fears of fifth columnism emanating from the Trump camp. Colbert explains:

    This storify was making the rounds today too

    Still laughing about BoJo and TtTC. On yer bike! (yer Boris bike)!


    • thephantom182

      KR said: “Phantom, you assert so many things that are patently false.”

      Well no wonder, if the Colbert Report is considered news. And this is -after- you boys mocked my link to Breitbart.

      Let me fix this for you. “Phantom’s phrase “something’s going on” turns out to be a paranoid dog whistle about…” …gun sales hitting a new record every month for the last 13 months straight, DHS buying ammunition in unprecedented quantity the last few years, the head of DHS coming out and saying that Homeland Security is going to be pushing gun control now, and in other news border security along Mexico and at ports of entry is at an all time low. Except the Canadian border, they’re beefing up security to keep those dangerous Canadians the hell out.

      Taken all together, if Barry really was the Manchurian Candidate, what would he be doing differently?

      However reducing all this to the actions of one man would be idiotic. One guy doesn’t have the power to do this kind of thing, even as president. H1B visas give us a hint about the real reasons. Money. Businesses all want to replace expensive Americans with cheap Mexicans. The government is busy doing that, and they really don’t give a shit how many gay bars get shot up by the odd religious killer. They’ll keep bringing those “refugees” in, and if some of them act up or spread TB, tough shit America. Yeah, TB cases are on the rise. I predicted it, and it is happening. Fun stuff, right?

      What they’re -really- afraid of is “right wing extremists,” who to date have killed… well, nobody really. But there’s those record gun sales every month to consider, and the effort to deplete the ammunition supply by closing all the lead mines and buying billions of rounds has largely failed. The price is way up, but foreign imports are filling the holes.

      The other thing they’re really afraid of is the food stamp crowd. Nobody but Breitbart says anything about it, but every time there’s a glitch in the food stamp system a Walmart gets trashed. Imagine if the cards all stopped working at once?

      That’s why every podunk town in the country got an MRAP mine resistant armored car the last eight years.

      But hey, no worries right? A few hugs and kisses, it’ll all be good. In the mean time, look forward to the Summer of gays getting iced by random assholes because religion. Quicker than TB, and cheaper for the healthcare system.


  7. KR

    Phantom, it’s evident that you are a very literal and linear thinker, which is a positive trait in many contexts (you’d make a great engineer, for example). Conversely, picking up on context and nuance, along with a sense of humour, is not your stong suit. Obviously Colbert is a comedian (though his clips used news actual news footage in this segment). It was not referenced as a news item — as you did with the lying, ideological garbage pile that is Breitbart — but as a usage of the phrase to indicate its origin and because I thought CF would get a laugh from it too. If you want to criticize news sources, you’d have been on stronger ground poking at me for linking to Mother Jones (even though it is credibly researched, it leans progressive and left in its choice of targets) .

    The ironic thing is that in your defensiveness and quickness to anger, you have overlooked that I (and I’m guessing CF) identify many of the same social ills that you do: militarization of the state, evisceration of the working and middle classes, rising costs of living, depressed wages, etc. We even agree that the root causes are economic greed. Where we differ, however, is in the interpretation of the origin and progress of these ills. You are conflating all sorts of things in your undifferentiated anger. Government and business is not the same thing. Small businesses and international corporations are not the same thing. Refugees and immigrants are not all scammers and infiltrators.

    And, once again, you are just flat0out wrong that “no one but Breitbart” is talking about the anger of the “food stamp crowd” — the neo-liberal destruction of the middle and working classes has been a major and regularly-covered story for more than 10 years, accelerating since the 2008 recession. Literally every mainstream news magazine, plus documentaries, TV coverage and extensive internet journalism has covered it. That’s what Occupy Wall Street, US Uncut, UK Uncut, ThinkProgress, MoveOn, the organizations working for $15 minimum wage was all about.

    The difference is that you are blaming the brown people, and I am blaming the corporations and the politicians they bought off.