This video is particularly pervasive and there is a LOT of Bullshit to unpack in it. So strap in…
In the vast landscape of Bullshit, there are many species frolicking about, drinking from toxic streams, feeding on the rich fields of manure, and even sometimes preying upon each-other. It is easy to discern the different creatures by their putrid plumage, majestic mythologies, and pseudo-intellectual swiftness.
But there are creatures that are far more cunning and conceal their intent to deceive underneath a warm fuzzy exterior. These are the more insidious, invasive, and ultimately pernicious denizens of Bullshit Mountain which, while appearing to be anathematic to the Bullshit, are actually persuasive venal vectors of Bullshit themselves.
I recently encountered such a specimen in my explorations. At first, it seemed kind, warm, and genuine. It approached me with respect and even a bit of trepidation. So I began my examination. Then, like a warm furry-purry kitty getting a belly rub, it suddenly produced lots of sharp pointing things.
“And that’s why mommy can’t tie your shoes anymore.”
This new specimen is a video by a Facebooker who calls himself “An0maly”. In the video he has long hair, facial hair, and presumably hair in places that might otherwise interfere with most physiological processes. To further the impression of an enlightened quasi-hippy, he sports a smart periwinkle blouse and even a small Buddha statue in quiet contemplation on his immediate right.
But then this is the main pic for his site:
“No no no… hospitable takeover”
Then a perusal of his site clearly reveals a hard-right, anti gun-control agenda.
He then goes forward in the very beginning of the video to assure his audience of his liberal, Democratic, leftist bona-fides. Here ya’ go (be sure to compare the apparel conflict between the above image and the one in the video):
It may sound cruel, but it’s nonetheless necessary to declaw this particularly pernicious feline.
In the first ten seconds, we are assured that he’s just a guy who wants to take an ‘honest look’ at the “facts” regarding the media’s response to the most recent school shooting. ‘Honest discovery’ is the theme he continues to assert throughout the video. But then the dishonesty begins:
“In response to the media outrage, President Trump tweeted: “Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!”
Well gosh. If that doesn’t sound like an earnest young man trying to parse the complexities of a confusing world in search of true understanding, then cats could never knock things off tables after looking you in the face.
“A filibuster-proof majority is a precious thing. Republicans have never had one, ever, but Democrats enjoyed one less than a decade ago.”
So he asks, “Is it true?”, and then paraphrasing the above quote, makes it seem obviously so to his audience:
“During some of the years of the Obama administration, they had control of the house and the senate and a filibuster-proof government, but they didn’t pass these gun control laws they are screaming about. Why?”
Wow. This seems like a fairly innocuous, innocent, and even honest commentary on the apparent opportunity congress had to pass sweeping legislation that might have prevented future tragedies… and obviously Democrats deliberately tossed that opportunity into a waste bin out of their utter callousness for human suffering. But did you hear that phrase “During SOME of the YEARS…”? We’ll get to that in a minute.
Did he tell the truth? Well, yes. Did he tell the whole truth? No. Did he tell a piece of truth in just such a way to paint the above picture and support the (frequently recurring) lie in his video? Splendidly.
What a clever lad.
“Have you met my sister?”
Saying that congress had the power to pass any legislation they wanted to while they held a super- majority is roughly the equivalent of saying that since a firefighter can put out fires, his house could never burn down. That’s just not how things work, and it’s naïve to think that anything complex, especially our government, can work in such a straightforward way.
The first thing we need to look at to get to the bottom of this is just what the circumstances of the Democratic super-majority back in 09′-10′ were. A quick synopsis: In the 2008 elections, Democrats won 8 seats in the Senate and 21 seats in the House. This gave Democrats a 257/435 or 59% majority caucus in the House and a 57/98 or 58% majority caucus in the Senate.
Wait, what? Aren’t there 100 Senators?
Actually, 2009 was a disaster. In the spirit of still desperately trying to keep this all succinct, it went like this: Al Franken was facing election challenges and wasn’t sworn in until July 7th, 2009, Ted Kennedy was unable to vote for pretty much the whole year until he died in August, and Robert Byrd spent most of the year hospitalized.
It wasn’t until Paul Kirk was sworn in on September 24th, 2009 that Democrats had a functional 60 vote majority in the Senate. They held that majority for 11 weeks until winter recess, and then 3 more weeks until Scott Brown was sworn in to fill Kennedy’s seat. That period spanned late 2009 thru early 2010, which is what makes An0maly’s statement: “During some of the years of the Obama administration, they had control of the house and the senate…”, a very clever way of telling a ‘truth’ while actually lying to make it sound like there were perhaps multiple ‘years’ when Democrats had control of Congress. In reality it was just 14 weeks that horseshoed around the end of one year to the beginning of the next. “Some years” is therefore ‘Some bullshit’.
But then, when did Democrats actually have a 60% filibuster-proof majority in the House?
In November of 2009, the Democratic majority caucus in the house hit a high of 258/435, or 59.3% majority. I guess we could round up?
So no, there was never a functional ‘filibuster-proof majority’ except on magical paper. But there’s more to passing legislation than the possession of a mere super-majority. In fact, when the ‘filibuster-proof’ Congress tried to pass an actual piece of gun legislation, it was sent to its respective committees where it died.
“…but they didn’t pass these gun control laws they are screaming about. Why?”
Because An0maly seems to have an understanding of the legislative process rivaled only by that of a marginally clever sea cucumber… and then everyone else who has a clue.
“Mr. President, I yield back the balance of my time.”
Or he’s just plain full of shit. If you’re starting to think An0maly is a fraud, read on.
Thankfully, the rest of this particular cluster of prevarication slides downhill very quickly. By the numbers:
At 1:32 in the video, An0maly attempts to demonstrate Senator Chuck Schumer’s apparent hypocrisy on Trump’s travel ban by juxtaposing two clips of Schumer talking about illegal immigration and the need to secure borders. Naturally, Schumer says nothing about illegal immigrants when he describes the travel ban as “Mean spirited and un-American”, because the travel ban has nothing to do with “illegal immigration”. Schumer spoke of tightening visa requirements, which is quite reasonable. An actual travel ban, singling out people from countries that haven’t sent us anyone dangerous in several decades, is an entirely different thing from anything Schumer had previously suggested.
It’s kind of like a school saying “We should screen students for lice” and then just expelling all the students and locking the doors.
This particular piece of intellectual dishonesty by false comparison absolutely pales in contrast to where our propagandist goes next:
At 2:22; An0maly asks; “Is it any surprise that Jimmy Kimmel gets political consulting from Schumer? Maybe fake crying is one of their con-man tactics to guilt the public into voting in more phonies.”
Yeah, he went there. At this point it’s no longer a question of whether An0maly is a hard-right troll. Calling displays of emotion over a tragedy ‘fake’ is a tactic the gun industry, its lobbying arm, the NRA, their bought and paid for lawmakers, and their obsequious pundits have been developing since Sandy Hook. This is a form of insulation from responsibility. It’s something that comes quite naturally to sociopaths as well as quite a few conservatives.
If for one second they believed that people’s grief after a tragedy, especially a tragedy that betrays a fault in their worldview, were genuine; they might feel some remorse or responsibility to actually help find solutions. But since the industry literally can’t afford empathy or compassion, they brainwash their faithful to dehumanize their adversaries. There is a particular irony that is lost on conservatives in this position; they’re actually dehumanizing themselves.
“He knew what he signed up for, kid.”
At 2:54, he presents a clip of Obama talking tough on illegal immigration, and in a moment of honesty, he admits that Obama was indeed tough on illegal immigrants. But then he awkwardly segues into emotions, ‘fake outrage’, and reiterates that Democrats have a ‘fake agenda to push’, but then it’s back to reinforcing his outright lie:
“When they had the chance to push the gun control legislation that they’re screaming and freaking out about now, they didn’t do it.”
As explained above, they didn’t actually have much of a chance to ‘push’ anything, and what they actually tried to do when they supposedly had the chance to cure cancer, solve the Grand Unified Theory, and give everyone a gold-plated pony, it was shot down… by the legislators in the gun lobby’s pocket. For those that don’t already know: this isn’t about left or right, it’s about industry profits and the lawmakers they’re willing to buy to keep making those profits.
He goes on:
“When they had the chance to talk and act out against illegal immigration and travel security, they did the same exact things that Trump said.”
I don’t know why anyone would want to ‘act out against travel security’, but I also don’t recall the Democrats ever enacting a travel ban or building a wall all along the border. Nor did they ever suggest that Muslims should be registered in a national database. So no, they never ‘did the exact same things Trump said’.
“Now that the president did a 180 on DACA and he wants to keep the DACA immigrants, all of the sudden the Democrats are filibustering their own bill, screaming, freaking out, and unwilling to compromise.”
No, Trump didn’t do a ‘180’ on DACA. A judge ordered him to keep the essential purpose for the program in place and Trump’s justice department fought the judge’s decision. Where did An0maly get this? It looks for all the world like he just mouthed whatever words might have originated in his colon knowing that most of the people watching his video are political neophytes who are susceptible to propaganda packaged as a ‘thoughtful and honest inquiry’.
Saying that the Democrats ‘filibustered their own bill’ either indicates a deep ignorance of how our system works, or it’s just another piece of dishonesty. See, it’s not ‘the Democrats’ own bill’ because it could not have reached the floor without being approved by the Republican majority. That means that it’s essentially the Republicans’ bill. Also, the Democrats have been pretty consistent in their demands for an immigration reform package.
At 4:11; “I just don’t think they care about these illegal immigrants.”
That would be one more dead giveaway that An0maly is a right wing propagandist. He didn’t say ‘Dreamers’, he didn’t say ‘undocumented citizens’, he said ‘illegal immigrants’.
I once asked a rabidly anti-immigrant Trumpster who said, “All illegals are criminals!”, a simple question:
“So just because someone is undocumented, how does that make them a criminal?”
“Because they broke the law when they came here!”
“So, a two-year old carried over the border by their parents ‘broke the law’? How?”
See, the bill is about ‘Dreamers’, not ‘illegal immigrants’. These are people with a special status due to the involuntary circumstances of their residence in the US. Calling them ‘illegal’ is a cheap contextual manipulation to make An0maly’s audience continue to think that this is about criminals. He goes on to continue the manipulation by saying, “I just don’t think they care about these illegal immigrants, I just don’t think they care about safety and security.”, as though DACA is somehow about ‘dangerous illegals’.
If by this time you haven’t figured out that “An0maly is a fraud”, we’re almost done, so you might as well finish.
The ‘dangerous illegals’ line is a direct echo of Trump’s campaign to demonize ALL immigrants, especially the undocumented, even though immigrants, even undocumented, have a much lower rate of criminal behavior than natural born US citizens. Yet Trump successfully resorts to anecdotal evidence and cherry-picked stories of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to take advantage of people’s general ignorance for the purpose of spreading irrational fears.
At 4:16 he repeats the lie about ‘Democrats doing nothing when they could have’.
But then, for his big finish, he says this:
“I truly do care about safety and security. I really want these mass tragedies and horrible incidents to stop happening, not only in the United States, but all over the world. I just don’t have an authentic connection with politicians, the media, or the celebrity elite class anymore. It’s just one big pile of BS after another. I would love for them to get more honest and better, so I could consider voting about them or watching their television stations. But they have no regards for accuracy or self-accountability anymore and it’s honestly just getting creepy.”
Doesn’t he just sound like he’s honestly trying to navigate the ‘big confusing world’ of deception? Of course all of that ‘deception’ is coming from ‘fake’ celebrities’ and news outlets. Speaking of which:
“Every single top trusted news company has had to retract this year some of the most embarrassing and fake stories dispersed to millions of Americans.”
And then he puts up this graphic:
Notice anything funny about this particular graphic? Specifically what’s NOT there? Funny how nearly every news source rated as ‘reliable and trustworthy’ is represented here, he even snuck MSNBC in there by default (they’re an NBC affiliate). But where is the well-established purveyor of actual ‘fake news’ Fox News? Where are the notoriously partisan Breitbart, National Review, or the EIB network?
One would think that a truly genuine and concerned young man would be questioning ALL media. But in this graphic, it would seem, every single right-leaning source has been left out. Why are they not included?
Well, to include them would defeat the purpose of the propaganda here: To sow doubt about news sources that have demonstrated a modicum of integrity and to favor news sources that support his narrative is the point. Exactly how many horribly misleading stories did these news outlets ‘retract’? Well, he said they did… and for his intended audience, that may be all they need to hear.
So, is he a right-wing propagandist?
Bash Democrats: Yes.
Bash celebrities: Yepperoo.
Bash people’s grief as ‘fake’: Woo-Wee Yes.
Bash all but the right-wing media: Hellz Yah.
Insinuate illegal aliens are ‘dangerous criminals’: Jesus tap-dancing Christ YES.
Praising Trump, however off-handedly: FFS, Yes.
This is the right-wing laundry list of rhetoric.
He ends with this call to confusion:
“So if you really want to impress me and millions of others, spare us from this fake outrage every single week, do something productive, and let’s work together to get to the root of these issues we all care about. Not just scream and fake-cry like little babies on the surface….” *Blah blah blah*… “Much love.”
It sounds good, but what is he really saying? ‘Ignore the outrage, ignore the cries of grief, because it’s just fake.’ This is a fairly impressive attempt to de-legitimize not only the very real pain and suffering we experience as a nation after each shooting, but it is also designed to suggest that any action we take from that place of suffering is also illegitimate.
He dresses, sounds, and acts in a way to connect to today’s confused, well-meaning, but uninformed youth. He has constructed a deliberate campaign to target those who are most likely to rise to action in the next few years and make a difference. His message to them is ‘don’t listen’ to the most potent motivations we have for making a difference; suffering, understanding, and the call to make it right.
He pays some small lip service to ‘solutions’, but notice that he doesn’t suggest a single solution of any kind. Not a single call to a congressman, not a single petition, not a single letter. Nothing. Because that’s what this is: an entreaty for disgruntled youth to REMAIN politically inactive and DO NOTHING… because it’s ‘all fake’.
Admit it, by the time you got done watching the video, YOU felt like there was just too much bullshit to even bother trying to do anything. Right?
This video was designed as a call to inaction. Its message is clear; ‘There’s too much bullshit to wade through, so just ignore everything until it fixes itself.”.
The fact that he impugns those who display emotion and anyone that is making an actual call to action in order to find solutions makes this video particularly poisonous. Indeed, the idea that we shouldn’t trust our own emotions, reliable news sources, anyone who calls for actual solutions, and even the sorrow we feel as a nation is truly outrageous.