Thursday, June 17, 2010

"This is purely speculative on my part and not based on any fact"

I don't know why I continued to read beyond that statement.  And yet I couldn't look away from the complete inanity of Republican congressional candidate Bill Randall, who is suggesting that President Obama and BP conspired to intentionally spill oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

In fact, even before that direct quote, the article reads:
Randall, who has aligned himself with the tea party movement, readily acknowledges that he has no evidence that what he says is true. But that is not stopping him from making the claim as he campaigns in the June 22 GOP runoff to face incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Miller on the November ballot.
Then we get to hear it from Randall himself:  "Now, I'm not necessarily a conspiracy person," Oh, I beg to differ, Mr. Randall.  He continues:  "but I don't think enough investigation has been done on this."

How exactly do you investigate a claim that isn't based on a single fact?  I imagine someone convincing Mr. Randall that there is a tiny elephant living under the couch in his living room, but it disappears if you lift up the couch to look.  Then I picture Randall trying lift up his couch really fast to see the tiny elephant, over and over again.  He gets his flashlight and looks under the couch without lifting it up to see if he can find it.  Maybe he searches his house for miniature elephant droppings.  And without find any evidence, he believes the story anyway.

He also says:

Is there a cover up going on? I'm not saying there necessarily is. But I think there's enough facts on the table for people that (they) really need to do some investigative research and find out what went on with that and get a subpoena of records and everything else

What facts?  You haven't presented a single one!  In fact you explicitly told us earlier that your speculation is not based on any.  Does Mr. Randall have some sort of short-term memory disorder?  I would say that Mr. Randall is slandering the president, except that slander requires you to present a falsehood as truth, and Randall can't even manage to act as if he's telling the truth, or that anyone has good reason to take anything he says seriously.

What's most disheartening about this, is that I can already predict that plenty of people from his party will agree with him, and with any luck this will become another rallying cry for the tea party.  When did it become OK in this country to make accusations against another person, while explicitly telling everyone you have absolutely no evidence on which to based your accusations?  I thought some of these hard-core conservatives were afraid of America becoming a "police state," and yet many people are accept guilt without any evidence.

I can at least understand where a distrust in science may come from, because for many people science can be intimidating, and often leads to unintuitive truths about the way the world is.  But to go all out and reject basic reasoning boggles my mind.  Even those who may be religious still rely on evidence throughout their day to day existence.  You don't believe in a tiny elephant under your couch, because there's no evidence for it.  Why would you believe this yahoo, when he's telling you straight out that there's no reason to believe him.

I originally planned to make a joke at the end here, accusing Mr. Randall of something and then telling you all have zero evidence to back it up.  But I can't bring myself to actually do it, because I don't find this story funny at all.  In fact the more I read it, the angrier I get.  Perhaps I'll be proven wrong, and this accusation will be properly ignored, but I'd be very surprised.
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