Feathered Bastard

Why Robert Robb's a fatuous fat-head, and Roger Sensing's no angel.

Tell me about the rabbits again, George...

Goofy, giraffe-necked doofus Robert Robb is easily The Arizona Republic's most fatuous scribbler. And with competition like E.J. "Puddin'Head" Montini and Laurie "I hate drunk Mexicans" Roberts, that's some accomplishment! Robb, though, is different from his colleagues in this respect: He really reckons himself to be purty durn smart, though his arguments are as thick as the rock in Russell Pearce's Cro-Magnon skull.

Check the quick shot by Robb at the head of Tuesday's editorial page -- a tidbit of inanity titled, "Protection of rights isn't a matter of negotiation, Mr. Mayor." It reads in toto:

"I suppose that it's good that Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is getting involved in the Pruitt's issue, but he still clearly doesn't get it. He wants to mediate a negotiation. Pruitt's just wants to sell sofas. It shouldn't have to negotiate for the city to protect its right to do that."

Two things I love about this. First, the photo of Robb, who looks like he should be barefoot on the banks of the Mississippi with the proverbial straw of hay sticking out of his pie-hole and his hand down his britches. Second, Huckleberry Hound's insistence that the only "rights" being violated here are those of Pruitt's owner Roger Sensing -- his property rights, I suppose.

I like them French fried potaters...

What about the rights of American citizens to protest as enshrined in the First Amendment of the goddamn U.S. Constitution?! Sorry, but protesting on the sidewalk before Pruitt's does not impede Sensing's business. Moreover, Sensing has worked his ass off to provoke and insult the protesters, to escalate the situation, and to deny these protesters the opportunity to exercise their freedom of speech.

For all the knuckle-draggin' nativists out there, save the pant-load about them all being illegal aliens in Reza's camp. That's a lie. The ACLU's Daniel Pochoda is not illegal. Alfredo Gutierrez is not illegal, and on and on. So stick that one in your tuba and go play Deutschland Uber Alles somewhere else.

But back to Pruitt's, and specifically to Sensing, who, as far as I can tell from this PDF of his temporary right-of-way permit with the city, may be misusing this permit to prevent protesters from assembling on the south side of Thomas Road, the side closest to Pruitt's. The permit runs through till 3 p.m. this Saturday the 15th, and all the times I've been there, I haven't seen any work being done that would necessitate a permit of this kind. Indeed, there are reports that former Kia-peddler and bigot Rusty Childress and his ilk have been spotted making a lame, half-assed attempt to pretend to do some landscaping on the Pruitt's side of the sidewalk.

I called Sensing to ask him about all this, BTW, but he hung up on me.

What gives Roger Sensing the "right" to impede lawful protests on public property in this manner? He may own Pruitt's, but he does not own the sidewalk. Moreover, I have seen Sensing walk straight up to Reza during protests to fuck with him verbally. The Pruitt's trucks ringing the parking lot; the fresh manure Sensing had previously spread next to where he knew protesters would be; the arrest of ACLU legal director Dan Pochoda as he walked back to his car after being in the Pruitt's parking lot for a matter of minutes; indulging Arpaio and allowing him to turn the circus into an episode of the Joe Show: These are all evidence Sensing is not walking around with a halo on his head. He bears plenty of responsibility for the situation outside the doors of his store, and the resulting loss of business.

Robb's reactionary defense of property rights above all others echoes the Repugnant's absurd and disgusting lead editorial from last week, "Gordon's knot," which decried pro-immigrant activists, alleging, "They threaten to create havoc in the streets, to shut down the Super Bowl in February."

Ohmigawd! Shut down the Super Bowl?! Just what kind of anti-American pinkos are we dealing with here? Chicken Little couldn't have chirped it better.

A boycott has been mentioned by some Hispanic activists, but whether anything of any size or effectiveness will ever materialize is another matter. Personally, I think the immigrant rights forces would be insane to ignore the potential to publicize their cause that the Super Bowl offers. I wish they could shut it down. The oppression of the undocumented in this state and this country is the number one civil rights issue facing us, and it's more important than a freakin' football game. Sadly, the issue lacks the galvanizing force of a charismatic, local leader and a united front. In other words, the traditional halftime wardrobe malfunction will likely proceed as planned.

Still, the Republic's willing to use this hollow threat of pigskin-interruptus to encourage a crackdown on illegal aliens by Phoenix police.

"If Phoenix police had immigration-enforcement authority, something they are not seeking," writes the Republic's hidden hand, "they likely could have headed-off the prolonged and damaging protests simply by asking day laborers what they were doing. The gathering would have melted away with the threat of arrest near a place of business." (Emphasis mine.)

Such a statement is a signal to those who do not value the human rights of illegal aliens. They've been given a green light by the paper of record to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of an entire community. No wonder Robb feels so free to express such an authoritarian viewpoint towards this state's undocumented population and those who support them.

Indeed, following shortly after the Repugly's bigoted essay, Robb followed up with his intellectual defense of racism, entitled, "If Arizona is lagging, immigration is the reason," wherein he, like every other extremist in the Valley, blames undocumented Mexican immigrants for all the backwardness and the social ills of this state. His statistical underpinning for this bloviating comes ready-made from the biased, anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies.

Of course, Robb admits CIS has an agenda, yet blithely offers that, "I've always found its research to be first rate." Which is sort of like saying, "Sure, Mengele was a butcher, but his studies on identical twins were tops!" CIS is the spawn of Michigan ophthalmologist John H. Tanton, the moneyed mastermind behind a network of nativist organizations, the man the Southern Poverty Law Center called in a 2002 report, "the founding father of America's modern anti-immigration movement."

The SPLC noted,

"Tanton's funding organization, U.S. Inc., also has recently given money to Barbara Coe's California Coalition for Immigration Reform and Glenn Spencer's American Patrol (also known as Voice of Citizens Together), two of the most virulently anti-Hispanic groups in Tanton's network."

Yet, Robb asserts CIS's skewed, twisted research is all hunky-dory. And anyway, all he's doing is pointing out that Arizona is handicapped by all the brown around. Those studies showing that we're dumb hicks are all wrong. It's the Mexicans' fault! You can all go back to using your school vouchers now and forget about public education.

Robb's amazing neck allows him to pick his own bananas in the wild...

Thing is, the premise of Robb's article is ludicrous on its face. There are certain local symptoms of benightedness for which illegal immigration can never be blamed. For instance, the fact that a pseudointellectual hayseed like Robb has a column in this burg to begin with...

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons