ROJO on Greenland (sunspots!) and organizing a labor boycott

Ron Johnson, the not-self-made-man who somehow became the anointed Republican U.S. Senate candidate, has really gone out on the global warming denial limb. Once again overlooking the facts that Russia is burning, that one-fifth of land-locked Pakistan is underwater, and that we had two 100-year-floods within two days of each other back in 2008 and the 700-year-flood we had two weeks ago… Johnson is saying global warming is bogus by saying (drum roll, please):

“There’s a reason Greenland was called Greenland,” he said. “It was actually green at one point in time. And it’s been, since, it’s a whole lot whiter now.” [WKOW, 8/20/10]


Has Mr. Johnson studied world history? Apparently not. Greenland was given that name to attract settlers. The Saga of Erik the Red, which was translated to English in the year 1880, says that the man who is accredited with discovering the island called Greenland because “men will desire much the more to go there if the land has a good name.”

A clever marketing ploy if there ever was one.

So, again, Mr. Johnson’s claims fall flat. First was his claim that global warming was caused by solar activity, specifically sunspots. I’ve heard this ultra-conservative talking point before. Fact is, solar activity has been decreasing, and there have been very few sunspots on the surface of the Sun in recent years. Even if sunspots do or do not cause more energy to be released form the sun, their correspondence to temperatures on the surface of the Earth falls apart. There isn’t one. Solar activity has been dropping for the past decade, but the atmospheric temperatures here on Earth has been rising all the while.

His latest bit of brilliance is that construction workers should boycott the building of the Cordoba House, the proposed Muslim community center in New York City. I didn’t think that Mr. Johnson would have supported the right of workers to organize, making this is an impressive flip-flop turnaround.

It’s also notable that he’s suggesting that available work be turned down in a time when we are still recovering from the recent economic meltdown. I have to wonder why Johnson is saying workers should have the right to organize. It’s a classic anti-labor talking point that giving workers more rights would cause the economy to seize up. However, deregulation was a big cause of this recent meltdown. There was certainly no liberalization of labor laws behind it.

Giving credit where credit is due, I praise Mr. Johnson for his distinguished ability to latch onto the latest populist stirring of the day. That would doubtlessly serve him well in the deliberative body that is the U.S. Senate.


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.