Nel's New Day

September 14, 2013

Oregon’s Own Wacko, Art Robinson

Most states have memorable politicians who “entertain” both the media and its readers/listeners. New York’s Anthony Weiner comes to mind as does Iowa’s Steve King, famous for comparing the thighs of undocumented people to cantaloupes as he accuses them of smuggling marijuana.

In another embarrassing event for people in the United States, King was joined last week by Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minnesota’s embarrassment) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas’ problem) in an impromptu trip to Egypt. In a horrifyingly condescending manner, they praised the military and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of bombing the World Trade Center 12 years ago. As icing on the cake, Gohmert compared Egyptian General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi to President George Washington. The trio looked as if they were doing a Saturday Night Live skit while they ignored the U.S. position that the U.S. suspend aid to Egypt after the military’s ousting of the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi for president. Watch the video!

After state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered the Texas chamber for 11 hours to stop its draconian anti-abortion bill, her fame went viral across the nation, so much so that there were calls for the Democrat to run for governor. Texas did pass the same law in a second session, and Dave Carney, aide to gubernatorial candidate and AG Gregg Abbott, dismissed Davis as “too stupid to be governor.”

Last week, however, Davis won her case against Texas’ gerrymandering district maps to disenfranchise minority voters. In addition, the court ruled that the state must pay her court costs. Davis is now even more famous and looks even smarter. In contrast, Texas’ current governor, Rick Perry, couldn’t remember which three federal agencies he would get rid of when he was debating other GOP presidential candidates last year. And Sen. Ted Cruz wants the federal Senate to be composed of 100 racist members just like former Sen. Jesse Holmes.

Arizona, of course, has had Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a long time. After decades of racially profiling Latinos, he may end up with a court-appointed monitor to check on his activities. In May, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office singled out Latinos for unreasonably prolonged detentions. In the case, Arpaio’s office also objected to the requirement that deputies have a reason to pull over a vehicle and approach the driver. Recently Arpaio threatened to put “30 rounds into” self-proclaimed vigilantes searching for drug smugglers on the desert after one of them pointed a rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy. Just another one of those responsible people with a gun.

Another well-known figure in Arizona is Sen. John McCain who has never seen a country in the Middle East that he didn’t want to destroy—except Israel. After spending years as a POW in Vietnam, he should be more aware of the negative aspects of starting wars.

Virginia has a governor and a gubernatorial candidate who both take illegal donations from constituents and then claim that they cannot afford to pay them back. The list could go on and on.

As an Oregonian, I’m proud that our state finally has its resident wacko. Made infamous in the national media thanks to his appearance on a 2010 Rachel Maddow Show, Art Robinson ran against Democrat incumbent Rep. Peter DeFazio that year and two years later. Maddow claimed that he’s the only person on her show who made her bang her head on the desk. Since he complained that Oregon State University discriminated against three of his six children, there hasn’t been much publicity about Robinson—until the GOP elected him the chair of the state Republican party.

Robinson’s latest publicity came from a request for donations—for urine. His mailing to every household in Josephine County stated that they need only return the enclosed coupon to receive a sample container and box for the urine that should be mailed back to Robinson. He plans to do research on detecting diseases before any symptoms appear. To be honest, some people in the field such as David Wishart, a professor in the departments of Computer Science and Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, think his idea might have merit.

Robinson’s other ideas, however, totally lack credibility:

  • Nuclear Waste: Because Robinson believes in “radiation hormesis,” beneficial properties of radiation, he says that it should be diluted and “sprinkle[d] over the ocean,” added to the drinking water, and stored in building foundations.
  • Public Education: Robinson called for the abolition of public education, describing it as “the most widespread and devastating form of child abuse and racism in the United States.”
  • Homeschooling: Robinson’s personal curriculum asks students to read “all 99” G.A. Henty books, which are notable for their “undisguised racism.” In one book, the main character states that the “intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old.” Robinson also wants parents to teach children from books “written in the 1950’s and earlier” to avoid the “overt racism” of “multiculturalism,” supporting his stance with anecdote that starts with him being frightened into “survival” mode by a “tough-looking character whose dark skin perfectly matched his leather jacket”–who turned out to be a professor.
  • Climate Change: Robinson supports the Global Warming Petition Project that claims it has signatures from 31,487 American scientists opposing the position that humans are the root cause of global warming. He defines “scientist” as anyone who claims to have a bachelor’s degree in fields such computer science, statistics, and metallurgy. Robinson is a chemist with no background in climate change and acknowledges that fake names such as the Spice Girl’s Geri Halliwell are the list.
  • Carbon and Climate: Robinson told the conspiracy website WND.com in 2002 that “[t]here is absolutely not a shred of evidence that humans are causing any change in the climate by generating CO2.”
  • AIDS: Robinson questioned whether HIV is the cause of AIDS and alleged that the epidemic was exaggerated to create a “crisis.”
  • Financial Reform: Financial reform is nothing more than an excuse for the government to grow itself and greatly increase its power.
  • Social Security: Social security is a Ponzi scheme.
  • Evolution: Robinson signed an anti-Darwinism statement “skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life,” contrary to peer-reviewed studies repeatedly supporting evolution.
  • Diversity: Robinson claimed that his alma mater, Cal Tech, had a vast majority of white males because “its applicants are weighted toward those who seek severe, difficult, total-immersion training in science—an experience few women and blacks desire.”
  • Abortion: Robinson believes in banning all abortions even in cases of rape.

Robinson’s ideas are extreme and destructive. Yet they are representative of many other GOP leaders in the country. These are the people who prevent the United States from achieving the exceptionalism that liberals know that the nation can be.

August 10, 2012

U.S. Still Not ‘Post-Racial’

Previous elections have had one-day stories—here for a few hours and then gone. This year is different. Stories stick around. One example is Mitt Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns. Perhaps this might have been because people now are getting more news from the Internet that keeps the issues at the forefront. For whatever reason, the stories that pervade the Internet these days frequently depict the prevalence of racism.

The election of Barack Obama to the office of president created the myth that the United States had entered a post-racial era. Instead, racism has become more and more widespread. For example, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), commonly known as the deadbeat dad because he owed more than $100,000 in child support, is calling on the Tea Party to pat the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, on the head and call him “son.” (Walsh is also known for attacking the service of his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, for her value as a veteran; Duckworth is well known as a helicopter who lost both legs and damaged an arm when her UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.)

Andrew McCarthy renewed another story that won’t go away when he gave a speech at the National Press Club supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) horrific charges that Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He went further than Bachmann, saying that she “actually understated the case” because “Ms. Abedin had a very lengthy affiliation with an institute founded by a top figure at the nexus between Saudi terror funding, Brotherhood ideology, and al-Qaeda’s jihad against the United States.”

McCarthy claimed that one connection came from Abedin’s exerting influence over Clinton by having her appear at a college that Abedin’s mother had founded in Egypt, the same school where George W. Bush’s adviser Karen Hughes spoke. Mother Jones reporter Adam Serwer asked McCarthy how the president supported sharia law when he also support marriage equality. And what about his position that the president killed Osama bin Laden because

“the Islamists [Obama] wants to engage have decided al-Qaeda is expendable” and counter to their peaceful takeover of American institutions.

McCarthy responded, “I’m a whack job, I guess.” But he keeps promoting whack ideas so that other whack jobs can follow him.

And Bachmann isn’t alone in her whack job attitude: her letters calling for an investigation about the Muslim Brotherhood’s “deep penetration” in the U.S. government were also signed by Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).

Even anti-President Obama religious leaders condemned these far-fetched claims. One of 42 organizations signing a letter of protest to these letters is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which has opposed many of the president’s policies.

Gohmert called his critics “numb nuts.” One of the “numb nuts” is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who has seemingly returned to sanity after his campaigns for president (2008) and senator (2010). On the floor of the Senate, he said, “These allegations about Huma Abedin, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant.”

Wes Harris, the founder and chairman of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party, ranted against McCain and promised a recall. Harris’ blog piece against the senator ended with what sounded like a threat: “Go to hell, Senator, it’s time for you to take your final dirt nap.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) demanded “credible, substantial evidence” from Bachmann to back up her accusations. In response, he received a letter he described as “16 pages worth of repeated false allegations. Just regurgitated nonsense.” In the letter, Bachmann did omit one of prime sources, Frank Gaffney, so far right that even the far-right organizations have refused to allow him to attend their meetings. He is the source for Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) claim that the House is sheltering 80 communists among the Democrats. On Gaffney’s radio show, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) endorsed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) paranoia. Bachmann is a member of this committee.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) defended Bachmann in her Islamophobic quest. In a CBS interview with Charlie Rose, Cantor stated that her accusations came from her “concern about the security of the country.” Romney’s campaign advisor John Bolton joined Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in saying that there was nothing wrong with Bachmann’s investigation.

Bachmann’s website has posted this statement: “The letters my colleagues and I sent on June 13 to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State – and the follow up letter I wrote to Rep. Ellison on July 13 – are unfortunately being distorted.”

One serious effect of Bachmann’s stupidity was the protesting against Secretary of State Clinton in Alexandria last month. Bachmann’s lies  led Egyptians to believe that the country’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was pushed on them through a U.S. plot. One of them explained to journalists “that the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda.” A Egyptian blogger used information from Gaffney’s radio show as evidence that the U.S. has a strong connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

After Japan won the 2011 Women’s Soccer World Cup by defeating the United States, U.S. fans flooded social media sites with racist comments about “Japs” and “Pearl Harbor.” The situation was no better this year when the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1 when U.S. fans  gloated about payback, comparing the defeat to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs (MS) refused to marry church members Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson because they are black. No black wedding is permitted at the church. The Southern Baptist Convention still supports slavery.

The killing of six Sikhs in Wisconsin last week is the culmination of over 1000 cases of random violence, killings, vandalism, bullying, beatings and intimidation against the Sikh community since 9/11.

The current Republican presidential nominee told the world in a speech that people in Israel are better off because the Palestinians are a “different” (aka lower) culture than the Israelites, in the same way that people in the United States are more productive than the people in Mexico because of U.S. “culture.”

Google “U.S. racism,” and you get almost 5,000,000 hits—from just the last month. This country is nowhere near “post-racial”!

Everyone in the country should heed McCain’s statement about Bachmann’s actions: “When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

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