James O’Keefe has a new video out purporting to show that Welfare Recipients of Color are selling their “Obamaphones” to buy drugs. And the usual gullible twits who believe everything they see on Drudge are breathlessly passing this along. The Dumbest Man on the Internet thinks they are buying Louis Vuittons also.
It seems O’Keefe’s video doesn’t actually show anyone selling his phone to buy drugs, just some actor-recipients saying that’s what they’ll do, and a sales clerk saying, in effect, he doesn’t give a bleep what they do with the phones. Obviously the sales clerk is taking direction directly from the Oval Office. (/sarcasm)
But we’re not talking iPhones or Androids here. These appear to be bare-bones cell phones that just make phone calls and which come with less than $10 a month in calling time. No doubt they are locked to particular phone providers and accounts, so someone not registered to the account probably couldn’t use them without unlocking them. And the buyer would have to know how to do that, because the service providers aren’t doing it any more, I don’t think.
So the phones are hardly worth the price of a Louis Vuitton. They may not be worth the price of a luggage tag.
And the free cell phone program began during the Bush Administration, so logically they ought to be called “Dubya phones.” But neither Dubya nor the current POTUS was actually involved with setting up the program, which is not subsidized with tax dollars but by phone companies, which are also making money from this somehow. The video explains:
[Apologies; video has disappeared.]
See also Annenberg Fact Check and Gawker. People are paying a surcharge on their phone bills to help pay for the program, but the same surcharge also helps to subsidize phone service in rural areas. So some of the yahoos who might be complaining about the surcharge also are benefiting from it.
The bigger wonder, though, is how so many on the Right are so completely void of critical thinking skills that they don’t question how a cheapie phone would be worth enough money to buy drugs. They quote a clerk on the video saying to take the phone to a pawn shop to see what they are worth, but you don’t see O’Keefe actually doing that. My bet is that pawnbrokers won’t take them.