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Mar 29, 2018 64 tweets 16 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
We recently learned that among the first American candidates for national office to make use of Cambridge Analytica's services was Art Robinson, running for US Representative in Oregon's 4th district. But who is Art Robinson? Let's dig into this. 1/…
Art Robinson has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California. In 1980 he moved to Oregon and founded the nonprofit Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in Cave Junction. Don't be fooled, though. This is not a prestigious organization. 2/…
Cave Junction is a small, rural town in southern Oregon with fewer than 2000 residents. It is not a center of biochemical and health research. However, Robinson's OISM claims to research a wide variety of topics, including aging, elementary science education & the environment. 3/
", among other things, a home-schooling kit for 'parents concerned about socialism in the public schools' and books on how to survive nuclear war." 4/
Robinson and his wife homeschooled their six children. After her death in 1988, Robinson continued his children's education himself, developing and promoting his own homeschool curriculum. This curriculum is profoundly ideologically right-wing... 5/
In addition to scaremongering about socialism and decrying the evils of public schools, Robinson's curriculum focuses on climate change denial. It also strongly urges children to read highly racist novels by prolific Victorian-era author G. A. Henty. 6/…
It is strongly worth reading that last article in its entirety, because it highlights both how blatantly racist the novels are, and how much Robinson loves to recommend them. There are 99 of these appalling novels, and he encourages children to read as many as possible. 7/
Robinson has been quoted as saying "The whole public school system is child abuse" and "I think the public schools should be abolished." His views are perfectly in line with those of Betsy DeVos and her efforts to dismantle public education. 8/…
Many parents who find that public schools aren't working for their children begin researching homeschooling. This, in turn, can sometimes lead them down an ideological rabbit hole. Not all homeschool programs are alike, certainly! However... 9/
In addition to racist, ideological programs like Robinson's, they are many other Christian fundamentalist homeschool programs. Homeschool conventions often host representatives from fringe movements such as Quiverful and Christian Patriarchy. 10/
I can't be certain where Robinson falls on this spectrum, but it's clear that he, Betsy DeVos, and fringe homeschool movements are all part of the same complicated web, along with his friends, the Mercers. Oh, you didn't know? Let's look at that history! 11/
"Since 2010, the Mercers have funded Art Robinson, founder of the climate science-denying Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and a former candidate for Congress who once asked voters for urine samples, to the tune of $1.6 million." 12/…
"In December 2016, Robinson joined the board of directors of the Heartland Institute, a climate science-denying think tank that has received at least $2.8 million in Mercer money since 2012." 13/
It's no coincidence that Art Robinson was one of the first American clients of Cambridge Analytica. As Christopher Wylie testified before UK parliament this week, CA was founded by Robert Mercer largely to help candidates like Robinson. 14/…
" 'You have to remember,' Wylie replied, 'part of the brilliance of Cambridge Analytica is it doesn’t need to make money because it’s Robert Mercer’s project. Robert Mercer is a billionaire. He doesn’t need to make money.' " 15/
“If you, as an investor of a company, put money into that company, that’s not classed as a political donation. You can continue to invest purposefully in a company so that it can also work for particular entities at a subsidized rate or, indeed, in some cases for free.” 16/
It's becoming absolutely clear that not only did Robert Mercer donate vast amounts of money to Art Robinson's campaigns, he has continued to help him financially however he can, using whatever legal loopholes he can find. Robinson may have been an early CA test subject. 17/
I know I stopped the thread, and I WILL get back to it. It was for a good cause, I promise: baby back ribs with a smoked salt rub, and fig walnut arugula salad with homemade raspberry dressing.
I'm back! Time to continue this thread. Let's talk about WHY Art Robinson is so dangerous, the history of his campaigns over the last few years, and what we can expect from him, and his dark money machine, in the 2018 campaign. 18/
"In April 1998, Art Robinson and his organization OISM, along with the Exxon-backed George C. Marshall Institute, co-published the infamous “Oregon Petition” claiming to have collected 17,000 signatories to a document arguing against the realities of global warming." 19/
The petition went to great lengths to disguise itself as a reputable document endorsed by scientists and scholars, but its signatories included the names of Spice Girls and characters from the TV show M*A*S*H. 20/
Having established a reputation from his homeschool curriculum and his climate science petition (despite the fact that he is a biochemist, not a climate scientist), Robinson attempted to ride the red wave of the Tea Party in 2010 and ran for Congress. 21/
Rachel Maddow picked up on Robinson's campaign and was curious about the unusually large amounts of dark money it was amassing, so she invited Robinson on her show. This page has a partial transcript of what might generously be called an interview. 22/…
"The segment was initially set-up by Maddow with concerns that Robinson is benefiting from an anonymous campaign donor who has provided $150,000 to help his campaign." Given the latest reporting, I think we can be pretty sure now that the donor in question was Robert Mercer. 23/
When Rachel did her research on Robinson, there was a lot of nuttiness waiting. It only got weirder when the combative candidate kept interrupting her and refused to answer her questions, or even let her finish asking more than one or two of them. 24/…
I can't get the video to work on the previous links, so here's a link directly to the 11 minute interview. You'll want to sit down for this one. 25/
I love how she just starts chuckling in disbelief at his complete refusal to answer her questions OR let her speak. His behavior spoke for itself at that point. So finally she gave up on the money issue and started asking about his beliefs on climate change. 26/
Note how he calls himself a "physical scientist" to bolster his claims. Again, he's a biochemist, not a climate scientist.
Oh, here we go, she's asking about hormesis! This one gets REALLY nutty, so buckle up. 27/
Rachel quotes from Robinson's newsletter, and he calls that mudslinging. What is all this about hormesis that she's quoting, though? 28/…
According to @MerriamWebster , hormesis is “a theoretical phenomenon of dose-response relationships in which something (as a heavy metal or ionizing radiation) that produces harmful biological effects at moderate to high doses may produce beneficial effects at low doses.” 29/
Does this sound like homeopathy to anyone else? (Which is, I might add, also quack science. Side note: check out @OhNoPodcast for a great episode on homeopathy. I love you Ross and Carrie!) 30/…
Anyway, Robinson's belief in hormesis leads him to suggest that we should SPRINKLE RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN OUR OCEANS and even STUFF IT INTO THE INSULATION IN OUR HOUSES. I just... WHAT. 31/
This one is so bizarre that it comes with a huge "citation needed," so here you go. Art Robinson's own words, from him own newsletter, in 1997. This was published April 1 of that year, but sadly, I don't think he was joking. 32/…
"All we need do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean - or even over America after hormesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases." 33/
"It is unfortunate that this water under San Onofre is being wasted. If we could use it to enhance our own drinking water here in Oregon where background radiation is low, it would hormetically enhance our resistance to degenerative diseases." 34/
As detailed in previous links in this thread, Robinson also dabbled in the theory that AIDS was a government conspiracy. He has a rich history of nutty claims and beliefs that are good entertainment if you have a few hours to kill and Google at the ready. 35/
Fortunately, Art Robinson did not win the 2010 election; Peter DeFazio, who has represented Oregon's 4th district since 1987, defeated Robinson 54% - 43% that year. He was determined to remain in the public eye, however, and has run in every election since then. 36/
More drama from March 2011: "Art Robinson...has launched a public campaign against Oregon State University, alleging that the school is conspiring to expel his three children - all graduate students there - as political payback for his activism." 37/…
Robinson wasn't done using his children as political props. He filed to run against DeFazio again in 2012, but this time he recruited his 24-year-old son Matthew to register as a Democrat and run against DeFazio in the primary. Whether this was a sincere attempt to win... 38/
...or simply an attempt to drain some money from DeFazio's general election campaign, DeFazio easily defeated the younger Robinson 90% - 10%. He went on to defeat Art again in the general, this time by a full 20 points, 59% - 39%. 39/…
Robinson made news again in 2014 for OISM's strange solicitation of urine samples from members of the public. (Say what?) Robinson claimed it was part of a study promoting early detection of disease - a worthy goal, yes, but I'm highly skeptical. 40/…
This article provides more information, but I am even less convinced than before that this idea has any scientific merit whatsoever. Additionally, it seems that OISM consists solely of Robinson and his "colleagues" - that is to say, his children. 41/…
DeFazio defeated Robinson yet again in 2014 by his biggest margin yet, 59% to 38%. Then 2016 happened, and DeFazio's margin of victory dropped significantly, from a 21 point spread to 15. (55% - 40%.) Still a big margin, but it raises a lot of question marks for me. 42/
Then, for a while last March, there was even talk that Trump might name Art Robinson as his national science advisor. 43/…
We haven't talked about Robert Mercer in a few tweets. Turns out he's been donating not just to Art Robinson's campaigns, but also his science "institute" and his bizarre urine collection studies. (What is it with Republicans and pee??) 44/…
Now we're learning more about Cambridge Analytica's connection to all this. Apparently they started helping Robinson out during the 2014 campaign. 45/…
"The plan...was to focus on rehabilitating Dr. Robinson’s image with voters by presenting him as a sympathetic family man and serious scientist rather than the extremely right-wing, unstable ‘mad scientist’ caricature created by the opposition over the previous 2 campaigns." 46/
“'Cambridge was very helpful,' [Robinson] said, noting that the company and his team 'melded and worked side by side.'” 47/
Art Robinson has filed to run again in 2018. He has four primary challengers this time, but I have no reason to believe at this point that he won't win the nomination again, on sheer name recognition alone. My concern is the general. election. 48/
As stated previously, Robinson's margin of defeat increased with every subsequent campaign - until 2016. I find that suspicious. And although most signs point to a blue wave in November, it's very important NOT to get complacent. 49/
Recently released in the news was Cambridge Analytica's post-election memo on the Art Robinson campaign in 2014. Remember, this was after Robinson's biggest loss against DeFazio, so keep that in mind when reading the following quotes from the memo. 50/
"In the opinion of CA-SCL, Western Oregon should be considered an essentially risky proposition for funders of Republican/conservative candidates." 51/…
"The Oregon Republican Party is severely lacking in human, financial and infrastructural resources and riven by factional infighting. There was little coordination between campaigns, open animosity between staff on the Wehby and Richardson campaigns..." 52/
"...and between both of these and Dr Robinson’s supporters." Oh yes, Dennis Richardson. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014, with Cambridge Analytica's help. 53/
"Secretary of State Dennis Richardson" - in 2016 he succeeded in becoming our secretary of state and only Republican in statewide office - "used the controversial data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica during his unsuccessful 2014 campaign for governor." 54/…
Back to that CA memo on Robinson in 2014: "The infighting and backstabbing in the Oregon Republican Party prevented us from being able to recruit many young Republican volunteers. Several volunteers were ‘poached’ by candidates for statewide office." 55/…
"In the opinion of CA-SCL, Western Oregon should be considered an essentially risky proposition for funders of Republican/conservative candidates. Evidence from all sources including voters’ party registrations, past electoral results..." 56/
"...and modelled partisanship and issue scores indicate that the prospects for future Republican victories in the Western third of Oregon (including CD1, CD3, CD4 and CD5) are dim." 57/
Remember, these conclusions from the memo were from 2014, before Cambridge Analytica's wild success in influencing the 2016 campaign. Were they behind Robinson's larger percentage of the vote in 2016? Could the Mercers be emboldened by their 2016 successes? 58/
I've been focusing on Art Robinson's bizarre political and scientific beliefs, and his connection to dark money and the Mercers. I haven't talked at all about Peter DeFazio, who is a great representative, responsive to his constituents and a great resource for Democrats. 59/
But despite the fact that DeFazio is popular and Robinson hasn't come close to defeating him in the last four elections, we've seen with Trump that supposedly ridiculous candidates CAN win. Art Robinson is dangerous. We shouldn't take him lightly. 60/END.
PS - This is my longest thread to date, and with all of the research and sourcing, I think it's fair to say that I was inspired by @SethAbramson to write this. I have a new appreciation for the effort he puts into his own threads!

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Sep 6, 2018
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