Home / General / The many faces of economic anxiety

The many faces of economic anxiety

This is CBS/AP. Not Breitbart. Or the Onion.

Scott Michael Green.

Court documents show that Greene, an unemployed father who lived in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, was increasingly desperate for money in recent weeks.


District Judge Carla Schemmel ruled Tuesday that Greene had committed elder abuse against his 66-year-old mother, Patricia Greene, by “physically hitting and financially exploiting” her. She ordered him to move out of his mother’s home, where he had been living in a basement bedroom, before Nov. 6 and to stay away from the home for a year.


Greene was hired last month to work at Central Iowa Fencing, a small construction business in suburban Des Moines, but quit within days, a manager there said Thursday.

Greene “was pretty desperate” for a job and told the company he had a teenage daughter he needed to support, officer manager Sara Nicklin said. Greene initially contacted the company looking for work last summer but there were no openings. The company gave Greene a chance after he inquired again last month, even though he had no experience building fences, Nicklin said.

She said Greene was sent home on the morning of his third day of employment “because he was not taking directions and wasn’t working.” Nicklin said the company gave Greene the chance to come back the next day on a different crew but “he chose not to show up” and quit instead.

“He just didn’t like the work,” Nicklin said.

Until we as Americans find a way to make sure people like Greene never experience a moment of economic anxiety, we’ll just have to accept the role we play in abusing moms and getting police killed.

Also, African-Americans will be called the N-word and have violent assholes economically anxious white men wave the Confederate flag in front of them at high school sporting events.

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  • I could almost laugh at the barefaced absurdity, the absolute naked racism, that reports these white on white crimes like this. But its not funny. And it makes me want to cry. Christ on toast points I am so sick of the enormous, heavy, smog of racism that lies over everything in this country.

    • If I didn’t know about the case, the headline and the lede would have made me think it was a story about a suicide. Or maybe a convenience store robbery. The writers seem so reluctant to get to the point I’m surprised they didn’t passive voice the rest of the story. “The shots were fired from a gun that had been in the possession of Mr. Greene at the time the bullets appeared in the victims’ bodies…”

      Maybe if he hadn’t turned himself in.

      ETA: I’m thinking of a story with a similar headline I read yesterday. This one just has the headline problem.

      • I’m surprised no one has tweeted out the editorial decision tree that the follow. I am not good at these visual shortcuts but it would look something like

        Black Male White Male
        / \ / \
        victim aggressor victim aggressor
        | | |
        cover as national cover sympathetically
        terrorist emergency as human interest story

        ETA: bugger, I don’t know how to get my spaces in the right place. but you get the idea.

        • I think I see. And I was looking for some more reasons to blow off herding books back onto to the shelves. bbs

          • N__B

            You can lead a book to a shelf, but you cannot make it alphabetize.

            • You can lead a book to a shelf, but you cannot make it alphabetize.

              I find it more efficacious to take the shelved books as they are, and refit the alphabet to their order. What, you don’t think it’s right and fitting that such an admirable library should reap the benefits of a thousand-letter alphabet with hundreds of differently-placed “E”s (indistinguishable to the untrained eye) alone? O ye of little minds, cast off your hobgoblins!

              Also, under this regime, you can get your hands really, really clean.

            • Davis X. Machina

              If we had elected Romney, the books would have self-alphabetized

              • tsam

                Rmoney gots binders full of books

        • Vance Maverick

          Another use
          | |
          for the
          sarcasm font

          ETA: nope. Maybe with ‘nonbreaking spaces?’

          old   sk00l
          ASCII  art

        • joel hanes

          I don’t know how to get my spaces in the right place

          If the “code” HTML tab is doing its job, it should preserve excess whitespace. Let’s see:

          [code tag]
          foreach f ( `ls -d */build | egrep -v proto` )
          echo $f # comment
          [code tag]

          Nope; didn’t work — just switches to fixed-pitch font.

          I typed the HTML markup tags directly, instead of using the [code] format button so thoughtfully provided
          On some sites, the “pre” tag will preserve formatting.

          [pre tag]
          foreach f ( `ls -d */build | egrep -v proto` )
          echo $f # comment
          [pre tag]

          Nope, that didn’t work either.

          • los

            Bug: LGM’s blogware markup-fetish eats adjacent blank space character.
            Workaround: substitute every other blank by &ampnbsp;

            Bug:  font-family: tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;  font is horrible.
            Fix:  generally, fonts should be unspecified, thus left to browser setting by user.

            Bug:  prohibits underscore or color format… somewhat legitimately, though
            Fix:  more complex blogware could fend off potentially malicious use.

            Bug:  need two blank lines?
            Fix:  use only &ampnbsp; in one line.

          • los

            ^errors     Ignore.

          • los

            Bug: LGM’s blogware markup-fetish eats adjacent blank space character.
            Workaround: substitute every other blank by  

            Bug:  font-family: tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;  font is horrible.
            Fix:  generally, fonts should be unspecified, thus left to browser setting by user.

            Bug:  prohibits underscore or color format… somewhat legitimately, though
            Fix:  more complex blogware could fend off potentially malicious use.

            Bug:  need two blank lines?
            Fix:  use only   in one line.

        • los

          Maybe outline form is easier. A try, slightly further editorialized:

            Black Male          White Male
            ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯          ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
             /     \             /       \
          victim aggressor    victim   aggressor
             |       |           |          |
          cover on   cover as   cover as   cover sympathetically
          page 79    national     NEED.    as human interest story -
                    terrorist    MOAR.    'anxiety' - quiet &
                    emergency    GUNS.    tended his KKK library
                                          & CSA memorabilia shrine

    • Gator90

      I’ve lately been called a “self-hating Jew” in certain quarters due to my Jewish identity and my opposition to Zionism. And that’s not an accurate description of me. I am, however, increasingly becoming a self-hating white man. White men just suck. There are many individual exceptions, of course, but by and large, we suck. We are mean, stupid racists. Full stop.

      • Nobdy

        I don’t think this is fair at all (though I am, admittedly, another white man.) White men aren’t any worse than other men. Just look at the corrupt governments in other parts of the world. Power and social structures create bad people, not skin color.

        In America most powerful people are white men, so white men tend to do most of the crappy stuff that powerful people do (though they don’t disproportionately do other crappy stuff; white men aren’t disproportionately violent criminals for example) but once again it’s about the structure, not the skin color or even, with notable exceptions, the individuals.

        Now whether men as a whole are worse than women is another question entirely. Men are certainly more violent and destructive. Is that socially determined or a result of biological differences (like the fact that men have a lot more testosterone)?

        I’d say a little of column A and a little of column B. Women are better suited, in some ways, to the large, plural, societies we live in now where most of the threats are self-induced rather than external. But that’s socially determined to a large part too. Little boys are praised for competition and little girls for getting along and ‘being nice.’ That sort of thing.

        The truth is that while there has been a lot of focus on raising girls more like we raise boys (with sports and focuses on achievement and such) we need to do the reverse too (raising boys to be emotionally intelligent and socially conscious.)

        • los

          Power and social structures create bad people, not skin color.

          is also my consistent general impression. And many individual apparent members of abusive “group” choose to resist… #NotMyLockerRoom

          Men are certainly more violent and destructive

          crime data, apparently… though I haven’t hunted[1] for “other explanations”.

          …like the fact that men have a lot more testosterone

          declining with aging after adulthood. but is declining crime rate partly due to attrition of the worst criminals, by societal culling[2] of the worst?

          1. Hunted! Why do I feel this urge to stalk and kill innocent data?
          2. whether crudely or deftly…

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        I’ve lately been called a “self-hating Jew” … that’s not an accurate description of me. I am, however, increasingly becoming a self-hating white man.

        Why not both? Personally, I go for the trifecta – I hate my whiteness, my Jewishness, and my toxic masculinity.

        • rhino

          Personally I know as many horrible women as men, they just have less power to do the horrible things than men do.

          A lot of people, white, black, brown, male, female, trans are just horrible. The difference lies in how much power they have to do horrible things, and the relative weakness of their victims.

          White Cis Males with Money have the most power, so they seem the worst because they can accomplish more evil. But I am not persuaded that if we were somehow governed by Poor Trans Brown Women that life would be any better. The only thing would change would be the direction of the misery.

          The more I see of life these days, the more I think Misanthropy is the only sensible way to live.

      • Linnaeus

        The thing to keep in mind, though, is that your self-hatred doesn’t actually help anything.

        • rhino

          Especially since he probably isn’t actually bad, relatively speaking.

          Don’t take the blame for the actions of assholes. Nothing wrong with making efforts both to counter their actions, and of course to make sure you’re not an asshole yourself, but do not allow assholes to tar you with their brush.

          • los

            Especially since he probably isn’t actually bad, relatively speaking.

            Of course you would think that because you haven’t seen
            BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial’s aircraft hangars[1] full of GasGasSoakedSoakedGiganticGiganticWoodenWoodenCrossesCrossesAndAndDonaldTrumpDonaldTrumpBobbleheadsBobbleheads

            1. you hear (((echoes))) because hangars are so much bigger than binders

          • los

            make sure you’re not an asshole yourself, but do not allow assholes to tar you with their brush

            “That’s being unconscionably unsociable! We have traditions to maintain! Why are you deviate liberals so intolerant?”

      • RPorrofatto

        I like being a man, being white, and having a Christian heritage. Mainly because all three confer an unearned privileged status on me in our society, so my life has been relatively easy in that regard. I hate racist white men and women, bigoted religionists of any stripe, and bankers, not necessarily in that order. Some skinhead nazi (or banker) might describe me as self-hating, but that’s their problem.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        Don’t worry. The Trump supporters have informed me Jews aren’t white.

        • los

          Trump supporters have informed me Jews aren’t white.

          after ranting that mideast christians are being wiped out?
          (“at least President Trump won’t send troops into wars all over the world[1].”)

          1. “except to take their oil. That’s OK.”

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    “not taking directions and wasn’t working”

    just another white guy thinking he was born to be management

    • Nobdy

      They’re an intrinsically lazy people, you know. They can’t help it. It comes from their environment. Unlike in Africa where you have to hunt for your supper, or at least dig long irrigation ditches to coax crops out of the dry sandy soil, in England you can just spread seeds on the ground and wait for water to fall from the sky. This bred laziness and entitlement into the very character of the white man, and since genetics is destiny there just isn’t any way to get it out.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Made me LOL.

        • sonamib

          Me too.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        have we met?

      • PeteW

        Thank you Nobdy, I was wondering why I was so lazy. Good thing I was smart enough to be born into and upper middle class white family.

        • los

          those poor orphans could learn something, if only they would listen, then get back to work in the coal mines after their service on the eastern front

      • Ken

        That argument was actually made by the English about 170 years ago, except the targets were the Irish. Potatoes were, it was said, a lazy man’s crop requiring little more than to plant, to wait, and to eat. Wheat was much better for character-building.

        (I don’t suppose I have to explain the rest of the background on this blog…)

      • los

        Malaria and drought and starving, versus freezing and short seasons and starving.
        “If its not one thing its the same thing.”

    • brendalu

      He wouldn’t work or take direction so the fix is to let him come back on another team. Makes me wonder about the, uh, complexion of the original team lead he wouldn’t listen to

      • Excellent point. But I think it could also just be that they were afraid to fire him outright because they sensed he was dangerous. People can be very scared, and people like him can be very scary.

        • postmodulator

          Or they didn’t want to fire him because firing people sucks. In this country, firing someone seriously damages his or her life, and everyone knows it. Either you only fire someone because you really have to, or you’re a sociopath.

          I had to fire a guy with kids two weeks before Christmas once. And I mean had to — it was a customer service job, and he would get upset and start screaming obscenities at the customers. Repeatedly. It still sucked.

          • Either you only fire someone because you really have to, or you’re a sociopath.

            I don’t know, Mitt Romney said he liked being able to fire people, and he wasn’t… OK, maybe that’s a bad example.

            I know, Donald Trump was a reality TV star where his catchphrase was “you’re fired” and certainly he’s no…

            • Yes, I don’t think there is any evidence that people don’t like to fire other people–but I do think there is a lot of evidence that the people who have to fire other people worry about a backlash and prefer to simply discourage people from coming back by offering choices (work with the other crew) that aren’t really choices.

              • Derelict

                I can only speak for myself, but firing someone (or even laying them off) is a horrible experience for everyone involved. If you’re the person in management delivering the news, you know damn well that you’re really fucking up someone’s day, week, month–maybe life. And even when the shitcanning was well and truly earned (I had a handyman/groundskeeper at the radio station who was a hopeless alcoholic and who was belligerent with the guests coming in to be interviewed–including a sitting US congressman), you still don’t want to do it because you know what it means for that person in real life.
                And when that person is mentally unstable so that there is some real danger to yourself, well, you really don’t want to do it. But you do for the sake of everyone else in the workplace.

                • BigHank53

                  I once worked for someone who took great delight in not offering me a job when the company changed hands. I wasn’t exactly surprised (I had told him that he had been trying to sell an unmanufacturable product) and it also meant I got three months of severance pay. Back during the first tech boom he’d refused a multi-million dollar offer for his first company without consulting his board of directors. He knew he could do better, you see. It turned out he couldn’t, and there are people in this town who aren’t millionaires because of his ego. They haven’t forgiven him yet, and why should they?

              • rhino

                Decent people hat to fire people, because they know the damage, and because usually the person doing the firing feels they could have been a better manager and fixed the problems.

                Of course, there are fewer decent people the further you go up in the corporate tree, because empathy and morals get in the way of corporate profits…

            • los

              Mitt Romney said he liked being able to fire people

              (Though that could still be true) Mitt poorly phrased. As I recall, Romney meant that he liked being able to “fire” (switch) insurers.

              but the “47%”‘ recording caught Mitt and his audience’s inner souls.

      • acmcnamara

        There’s no need to jump to that conclusion. The reason you give a guy like this a second chance is not, typically, because you like the guy and think he “deserves” a chance. You do it because if you give him a second chance, he might show up the next day and work. If you fire him outright, he definitely won’t. And you switch him to a different crew to get his attention, but also because you need to be sure the first one isn’t shorthanded two days in a row.

        People hate firing people because they hate hiring people. Hiring people is a pain in the ass, and the work falls behind while you’re doing it. It’s always much easier and more efficient to just get the people you already have to do the damn work, if possible.

  • DrDick

    Just another troubled white loner, who just happens to be an entitled* racist conservative, acting out.

    * I worked for a fence company in my youth and it really is not bad work or all that hard.

    • Nobdy

      It truly is bizarre to call him “desperate” for money when he wouldn’t even work a normal job to try and get it.

      I’ve never worked for a fence company and am probably ill suited for it, but I’d sure as hell give it my best effort if I was “desperate” for money.

      And, obviously, no amount of desperation for money would make me hit my mom. That’s just not an option on the “desperate for money” continuum.

      • He’d been elder abusing his mother–he was desperate for other people’s money.

        • DrDick

          He was desperate for money for nothing.

          • PeteW

            And chicks for free.

      • Yankee

        “Patricia Greene had applied for the restraining order Oct. 19, two days after she was arrested and charged with striking her son in the face during an altercation that he had recorded with his cellphone”

        Just the fax, m’am

        • “Patricia Greene had applied for the restraining order Oct. 19, two days after she was arrested and charged with striking her son in the face during an altercation that he had recorded with his cellphone”

          If he didn’t make megabucks by posting that recording to youtube and having it go viral, he’s too damned lazy.

    • rhino

      It gets a lot harder when you aren’t ‘in your youth’, Doc.

      Take it from me as a 50 year old construction worker in great physical shape. Any labour job stops being easy at about 30.

  • He learned it from black people–Rod Douthat, Mona Charen, Bell Curve guy, basically every right wing pundit ever.

    • DocAmazing

      Rod Douthat

      At first I thought this was a typo, but now I realize what a brilliant contraction this is.

      • Yes, its a portmanteau of portly, whiny, evil.

  • Woodrowfan

    wait, I thought if you were unemployed you could sit on your butt, watch your flatscreen TV while eating the lobster you got free with food stamps.

    • Nobdy

      Everyone knows that Obama only gives the good welfare to blacks and Mexicans, stupid.

      • Domino

        Never forget that Mitt Romney claimed exactly that in the 47% tape.

        • Nobdy

          It is easy to forget what a horrible person Romney was in light of the human dumpster fire known as Donald Trump.

          Romney gets to retire in history looking like the last “sane” Republican candidate before the orange racist clown, but in fact he was just a less crass version in a nicer suit with, admittedly, fabulous hair.

          • Domino

            Oh man, that thing is a treasure trove that is worth going back to. Like this quote from someone who paid to be there:

            The debates are gonna be coming, and I hope at the right moment you can turn to President Obama, look at the American people, and say, “If you vote to reelect President Obama, you’re voting to bankrupt the United States.”

            Oh yeah, and the solution is tax cuts for everyone who paid to attend that adds trillions to the debt!

            It’s all hackery. That’s why he refused to ever state publicly one government program he would cut.

            • Nobdy

              I love Paul Krugman for his quixotic crusade to point out that all the predictions Republicans made about what would happen if Obama were re-elected failed to materialize and in fact the country has done reasonably well under Obama DESPITE congress refusing to do…anything for the last 6 years.

              The rest of the media just shrugs it all off and is like “Well there probably is a wolf this time, right? I mean the boy said it. What are the chances the boy would be wrong 8 times in a row?”

              • Domino

                Paul took a few cheap shots at Bernie, but 99% of what he has done has been trying to hold people accountable for their words. Cole had a funny paragraph a few weeks ago pointing out that if there was a house on fire, Paul would be the only one of the people they retain for op-eds who would shoulder all the work (Charles Blow would help out too) and then collapse from exhaustion.

            • JKTH

              Even better was:

              And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we’re issuing—which they’ve been doing, the Fed’s buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that’s over, he said we’re going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up.

              The Fed stopped buying debt two years ago and since then interest rates have gone…down.

              • los

                Romney and Trump[2] et al are interested in econ facts only for the purpose of extracting income[1] from whatever the economic conditions.
                1. narrow knowledge that doesn’t benefit an electorate
                2. and Trump apparently does poorly at even that, instead relying on sales scammery

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              Oh man, that thing is a treasure trove that is worth going back to.

              Brad Delong just spent several days going through that transcript and thoroughly annotating it.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          No doubt Romney was just reporting the experience of his many friends who were on welfare.

          • Keaaukane

            Romney doesn’t believe in government welfare. The poors should just sell off part of their stock portfolio, like he did when he was boot strapping up.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I noted before that if this had been a black man with the same mental profile he’d have been page 1 news for days. While this wingnut was seeped in extremist white nationalist propaganda his black counterpart would probably have a history of at least once having visited a Muslim web site that promoted violence and that would be all the MSM would need.

    Not just speculation. When the news first broke this WAS the top story on all of the cable networks and news sites. When the photo of the killer was released the news story was demoted to regional and then local within an hour.

    • Ask Me Gently

      if this had been a black man

      They’d have looked for reactions from BLM leaders and reported on a tense mood among beleaguered beat cops nationwide.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        They’d have looked for reactions from BLM leaders

        More like they’d have demanded reactions, and unless the BLM leaders agreed that this was all their fault, the media would be attacking BLM. (Of course it wouldn’t happen because this wasn’t the fault of BLM, but if they had agreed it was then the media would call for BLM to be disbanded and its leaders jailed for starting an uprising.)

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      Right, they’d be trying to find some other motivation. In this case the news media don’t seem to be putting in much effort to inform us if, among other things, he was church goer, an NRA member or supporter, or any political or other activities. If they really believe the motivation for becoming a cop killer was economic insecurity, then they better start pushing to put all police in tanks because there’s ~50 million more voters out there supporting a proto-fascist on the supposed basis of economic insecurity.

      • Ask Me Gently

        or any political or other activities

        Daily Mail headline
        : “Iowa cop killer Scott Michael Greene is a proud Trump supporter and boasts a sign endorsing the Donald posted on his front yard”

        I guess that would be his Mom’s front yard.

        • los

          Bozeman and Malkin “discover” that the latest shooter was a registered[1] Democrat

          1. (when 19, then never reregistered after moving at 23 – shush, don’t tell)

          • CrunchyFrog

            Without even bothering to look it up I’m going to guess that either a) he did so to vote in the Dem primary in say, 2004, when there was no point in voting in the GOP primary, or b) they mixed up the wrong person.

            Remember when the wingnut media decided that the Planned Parenthood shooter was a Democrat because he’d been registered to vote as a female? Very little digging turned up that this was a data entry error and it upset him to no end so he jumped through all kinds of hoops to get it corrected. However, most wingnuts still believe the PP shooter wingnuts was a Dem.

  • Ask Me Gently

    Three hots and a cot should cure his economic anxiety.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Is there an equivalent to “wing nut welfare” for this type of P.C. language to protect the precious white nationalists’ feefees?

    • Nobdy

      It would be better if this were just for white nationalists but it’s actually for the white community as a whole.

      Just because a lot of racism has gotten very loud doesn’t mean that the quieter parts of society aren’t also very very racist.

    • los

      a mug of white hot chocolate and a white snuggie?

    • blackbox

      Yes, “economic anxiety.” It’s perfectly prototypical of the trend you describe.

  • CrunchyFrog

    By the way, the guy was clearly nuts so motivation is hard to pin down, but have wondered if he was trying for a false flag play here.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    So the record number of cops being killed the past few years is proof of widespread economic anxiety!

    Oh, wait …


    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      No, the police are more under attack because that’s what many people (ie, conservative white people, whose opinions are the only ones which matter) believe. And what these people believe is the important thing, the facts are irrelevant.

      These are the same people who will insist that the stock market has gone down under Obama, that unemployment is worse, and a million other things that which if they’re shown to be factually incorrect IT LITERALLY MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO CONSERVATIVES.

      • BigHank53

        Don’t you know that cops have the most dangerous job in the country?

        Actually #15. Which is up there…but only a bit more dangerous than being an electrician.

        • Careless plumbers* get wet. Careless electricians get dead. Careless cops get someone else dead, but they could care less.

          *Gas plumbers excepted.

    • (((Hogan)))

      That’s not what the cops are experiencing feeling. Why does the WP hate cops?

      • science_goy

        Blue Feelings Matter!

        • addicted44

          Blue feefees > Black Lives

  • Owlbear1

    Greene was secured with the handcuffs that had belonged to the patrolmen who were killed.

    Gosh, the burning and itching that must be causing…

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