04.16.15

Hated in WhiteManistan, inspiration to target the working poor

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 3:06 pm by George Smith

In 2013, Fox News and the American lunatic right put a world-class hating on southern California surfer and foodstamp recipient Jason Greenslate. And through 2014 they made him the poster boy inspiration for a subset of Republican Party cruelty laws targeting the working poor.

Jason Greenslate’s sins? Two, both fairly minor. First, being foolish enough to let Fox News into his life. (He wanted publicity for his heavy metal band). And, second, using the occasion to buy lobster and sushi with his EBT card. Which probably took a decent-sized hit in one buy for that month.

During the years of Barack Obama red state legislatures have moved relentlessly to craft allegedly legal attacks on those they despise. This includes the poor, non-whites, Muslims, gays, Hispanics and, generally speaking, everyone not-deemed to be wealthy white purity Christian Republican. It’s a tribe of nihilistic obsessions and hatreds.

The psychology is the need to rain punishments down on the impure and sinful, the execution of petty revenges, usually rationalized as being for the purposes of building character, the preservation of the cash of hard-working Americans who resent parasites, or something a white American Jesus would prescribe.

This has resulted in, among many other things, a rolling progression of red state laws, often in direct contravention to federal administrative rules, to oversee what the working poor can and cannot buy with foodstamps.

I mentioned the inspirational power of Fox News, which turned southern California surfer Jason Greenslate into a demon, when he was merely a goof.

Today I went back to the current news food to see citations for Jason Greenslate.

The GOP’s drive in Missouri to curb alleged posh buying of steak and lobster is currently stalled but the potential reasoning behind it is explained by one person.

And the reasoning is Jason Greenslate and Fox:

Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin (R) introduced HB 813 in February with zero co-sponsors. The bill has not been referred to a committee, no hearing has been scheduled and there are no plans to take it up before the Missouri House of Representatives adjourns for the year in May.

And yet HB 813 is one of the most notorious pieces of legislation in America right now …

Brattin’s one-page bill would prohibit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients from using their benefits to buy “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood, or steak.”

“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards,” Brattin told The Washington Post, referring to the electronic benefit transfer cards used to distribute SNAP benefit …


There’s at least one big obstacle to Brattin’s bill, aside from its apparent lack of support in the Missouri legislature. Try as they might, states aren’t allowed by federal law to make up new restrictions on who can get SNAP benefits or what they can buy. If Missouri tried to implement Brattin’s legislation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would probably threaten to take away the administrative funding the state uses to run the program. That’s what happened last year in Georgia, where lawmakers almost incorporated a drug test into the state’s SNAP requirements before Gov. Nathan Deal (R) backed down.


“Maybe it’s because there’s been so much attention to that surfer dude and other things like that on the Web,” [the representative of a Missouri anti-poverty advocacy group] said, referring to Jason Greenslate, a lobster-loving food stamp recipient from San Diego whom Fox News profiled in 2013.

From Media Matters:

Fox News’ campaign of misinformation surrounding food assistance programs may be continuing to influence GOP legislation, as lawmakers in both Missouri and Kansas consider measures addressing “fake problems” within their state’s benefit programs.

Republican lawmakers in Kansas recently introduced legislation restricting where recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as “welfare”) can spend their money and what they can buy. The bill would limit the daily spending allowance to $25 and ban recipients from using benefits at psychics and tattoo parlors…

Fox News has spent years denigrating food assistance programs and recipients, with its campaign coming to a head in August 2013 when the network aired a misleading special titled, “The Great Food Stamp Binge.” Their shoddy report focused on Jason Greenslate, “a blissfully jobless California surfer” …


In an April 7 article for the Daily Beast, Eleanor Clift wrote that the only evidence to back up claims of fraud used to justify food stamp and welfare restrictions in Kansas and Missouri is the “widely broadcast Fox News interview two years ago when a brash young food stamp recipient boasted about buying lobster and sushi with his government assistance.”

In 2015 you can’t find anything about what Jason Greenslate has been up to since Fox News assassinated his character. Every search on his name is dominated by the hate campaign Fox brought down on him.

By using this search term, Jason Greenslate -Fox, you can uncover his band’s website and his Twitter account. Both went dead in 2013, turned to virtual stone by the Gorgon stare of Fox and the American right in social media.

Greenslate was run off the web by the success of Fox News’ and the America right wing’s campaign to portray him as a leeching monster before a significant portion of the electorate. Before Greenslate disappeared from the record, he gamely said he thought he shouldn’t be used as an example to discredit the system and punish others getting the benefit.

It’s the political right at the state level and its closed media at its worst. It crucified one foolish man and makes use of the distortions that arose from act to forge legislation attacking the working poor.

What happened to Greenslate? We know what’s being done to foodstamp recipients in red states. But you’d have to dig to find out the former, or maybe ask Jon Ronson.


If you search current news for examples of foodstamp fraud, the information that is returned has nothing to do with poor people buying food the GOP thinks ought to be off limits.

Instead, the fraud is usually centered around schemes in which a variety of businessmen/criminals rip off the foodstamp benefit for hard cash in their establishments by preying upon the poor.

4 Comments

  1. anon said,

    April 17, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    If he’s still in a band, Greenslate may want to do a cover of a song.
    It starts a little like this.

    “Efficiency and progress
    Are ours once more
    Now that we have the neutron bomb
    It’s nice
    and quick
    and clean
    and gets things done…”

    And, for those of you who follow this site and see my occasional posts, you might know that I sometimes look at the unintended consequences.

    What happens when the government forces poor people on SNAP to eat healthy and “non-luxury” foods?

    Why, we get super healthy poor people who continue to terrorize the “decent folks,” roaming the streets with their poor person lean muscle mass, their low body fat percentages, and their ability to break “decent folks” in half like so many celery and carrot sticks…

    Stay tuned to Fox News for their exclusive coverage!

  2. George Smith said,

    April 19, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Reminds me of a Fox News special a few years ago, libertarian John Stossel and some woman from the Manhattan Institute, devoting a show to opine on how US beggars and those on food stamps where the most well fed in the world. They got so much money from begging, why, they could afford to spend the surplus on drugs and booze.

    My experience, from seeing the people who are regularly gleaning the dumpster at my apartment complex, is that almost all of them look rather poorly. Plus there’s a man with an aluminum lower leg who stands with a cardboard sign near one of the overpass lights.

    And just anecdotally, the working class I see in line with Cal-Fresh EBT cards tend to buy as healthy as they can on the limited budget, often because they have children.

  3. Racer X said,

    April 24, 2015 at 5:33 am

    If idea behind this bill and the one in Kansas plus the restrictions already on the books is to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used for purchases in liquor stores, casinos, tattoos, adult entertainment businesses etc. then I’d like to see the same restrictions applied to the lawmakers that are paid by those very same tax dollars.

  4. George Smith said,

    April 24, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Problem is you can’t spend the EBT benefit on alcohol. But the right and a lot of other people keep peddling the idea that you can publicly. This leads to tv “news” on Fox that when you give any money to the disadvantaged, it’s used to buy booze. (Part of the lyric to “Rich Man’s Burden,” too! ;) Therefore, it’s lousy to give money to help people because they misuse because they are of bad character and the only way to improve their character is to not give them anything, or to scourge them.

    Generally speaking, there aren’t any studies or surveys that support the idea that the poor misuse what meager benefits they get. It’s because they can’t. They have to spend money on the essentials and they get pretty good at it.

    Now you can find white working poor people in places like West Virginia who sell their EBT cards at a discount for cases of soda. (There have been extensive news pieces on this.) This is so they can resell the soda for cash. And, in most cases, that immediate cash is used for other necessities that cannot be paid for by the food stamp benefit.

    In terms of boozing as a form of licentiousness and indication of bad character, why it seems there was just a comprehensive scientific study released yesterday on how heavy and binge-drinking has increased in the United States since 2010.

    And, naturally, a lot of this is in poor areas, but also in some allegedly middle class counties.

    For instance, one of the US counties that appears in the TOP TEN for binge and heavy-drinking increases is an odd place on Michigan’s peninsula, Ontonagon Country. Why are they drinking so much?

    It’s 94 percent white but with only 6000 people, an aged population, and near zero opportunity for the young.

    Tarrant County, in Texas, saw a sudden jump in heavy and binge drinking in women after 2010. It’s 71 percent white with over a million people. What bad stuff happened in Tarrant? The economy, I would bet.

    And one can see similar patterns all over the US. Are all these people of bad character? Who among them deserves punishments?

    As to your suggestion that the same restrictions ought to be applied to lawmakers?

    That’s a great one. It would be amusing to see who would get the cold turkey shakes and go missing first.

    Update: Ha-ha. This is by McFadden, who works for the NYT. They still refuse to call it the Wrestling with the Problems of WhiteManistan beat.

    http://images.dailykos.com/images/139495/lightbox/4-19-strip-KOS.png?1429636754