Top Morons Of 2012

Print2012… what a moronic year it’s been! This blog is now over two years old, and despite warnings from some that my base may be eroded by improving education and the global spread of information, worldwide moronic activity shows no sign of peaking. So attempting a comprehensive round-up of moronic events has proven to be way beyond my capabilities. Instead, here’s a selection of my favourite moments from the year. Feel free to add yours in the comments section.

A big Thank You to those of you who read this blog, follow me on Twitter or listen to my podcasts. There’s plenty more to come in 2013, including – watch this space – MoronWatch: The Book! Please subscribe to my mailing list to make sure you catch all the news.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present my moron selections for 2012! Spoiler for lazy people: my moron of the year is nominated at the end of this article.

GOP Madness: I’ve tried my best to maintain a global view, but as ever, the US has managed to punch above its weight, thanks in large part to the Republican Party. The Republicans have become MoronWatch favourites by adopting an unusual electoral strategy: represent only the interests of billionaires. This isn’t a sure-fire way to win elections, as billionaires represent somewhat less than 0.01% of the US population. To make up the difference, the Republicans have embraced a diverse selection of moronic policies to attract the votes of nut-jobs ranging from creationists to lovers of hi-tech weaponry to good old-fashioned racists, and pretty much anyone with an IQ below 70. This is a fairly unruly group to control, which meant that no electable person could be selected to run for President in this year’s elections. The result of that was that Mitt Romney was chosen, because he was the candidate that fewest Republicans hated (though few of them actually seemed to like him). And the result of that was that Barack Obama was cleanly elected to serve a second term. Special mentions must go to the crazies who failed to become Republican candidates, but provided me endless entertainment, including: Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and perhaps the greatest moron of them all, Rick Santorum. Only the absence of Sarah Palin, who in her endless search for media attention endlessly hinted that she might run, detracted from an otherwise top-rank moron line-up.

Slutgate: Right-wing moron-jock Rush Limbaugh was outraged in March that contraception advocate Sandra Fluke, could dare call for public funding to be put into making contraception more easily available. So outraged, that he labelled her a slut; and then since that clearly wasn’t extreme enough, he also called her a prostitute (reasoning that, if the public were paying for her pills, she was basically being paid to have sex).

Invisible Children: Kind-but-gullible people were convinced by Kony 2012, a viral video campaign, to donate to a non-profit organisation, Invisible Children, that was “raising awareness” about the horrendous Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. The video, however, was deeply inaccurate, was pushing for US military involvement, and didn’t make clear that the campaign’s devil-figure, Joseph Kony, had already been chased out of Uganda. Furthermore, the video presented a complex situation as a simple good-vs-evil one, failing to point out the rapes and other human rights abuses of the “good guys”, Uganda’s moron President Museveni and his army. But it worked, and raised millions for a dubious cause. Some of these millions were apparently put to good use by the group’s leader Jason Russell, who, just after the campaign peaked, was found naked in the street, masturbating and pounding his fists on the pavement. He later said his mind had “betrayed him”. I guess a few million dollars buys a lot of… “mind betrayal”.

Panicky in the UK: British fuel tanker drivers made a strike threat in Spring. Government ministers tried to win the propaganda battle against them… by warning of coming fuel shortages, and telling people to fill up their tanks, just in case. Francis Maude went even further, telling people to fill up jerrycans and keep them at home in their garages (presumably forgetting that widespread amateur storage of flammable substances may be considered a fire risk). British morons like nothing better than a good panic-buying spree, and quickly long queues developed at petrol stations around the country, with some suppliers running dry.

Tennessee Gateway Sex: It seems that runaway rates of Christian belief in Tennessee have failed to prevent runaway rates of teenage pregnancy (strange – how can you get pregnant while you’re praying?) – so the state legislature passed a bill banning the “promotion of gateway sexual activity” by teachers. The bill was strangely lacking in detail, raising the concern that teachers may be sued for allowing kids to hug or hold hands.

Carolina Warming Denial: With global CO2 emissions reaching new records, it’s looking increasingly likely that the targets set 15 years ago in Kyoto will be missed by a mile. Scientists are despondent about staying within the “safe” warming target of two degrees centigrade by 2100. It’s even increasingly likely that the unthinkable “human civilisation might collapse” target of four degrees may be breached. Brave Republican lawmakers in North Carolina, a coastal US state that may see huge costs from sea level rise, seem to have found a solution: they outlawed the use of scientific projections that predict sea-level rising due to climate change. Now, let’s just hope that the global climate respects North Carolina law.

Lock Up The Gays: Staying in North Carolina, Pastor Charles Worley thinks he’s found a sensible way to deal with the “lesbians and queers”: lock them up behind an electric fence and wait for them to die. That would work.

South Carolina Rape Victims Don’t Matter: While the Republicans fight tooth and nail to maintain tax cuts for the wealthy, Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina, vetoed $450,000 of spending to help rape and sexual assault victims, explaining that this money went only to help a small minority of people in the state. Apparently rape is only an issue when above 50% of the population have fallen victim.

Israel’s “Infiltrators”: Israel’s drift to racist nationalism gained global attention when mobs turned on African immigrants and their businesses. The politicians, including Israel’s moron leader, Netanyahu, just stoked the anger, and said that African “infiltrators” would be sent home. The irony of Nazi-style language and tactics being used in Israel was apparently lost on many Israelis.

Boy Band Jihadis: top British boy band One Direction ruffled the feathers of right-wing moron blogger Debbie Schlussel when Muslim band member Zayn Malik tweeted about Ramadan. One Direction, she decided, are an insidious plot to “pimp Islam” to gullible teenage American girls.

Economics For Morons: George W Bush, the President who inherited a budget surplus and left office leaving a huge debt and a burst housing bubble that stalled the global economy (but richer billionaires), launched a book on Economics. No, really.

World’s Most Moronic Sheriff: In 2011, Barack Obama neatly handed Donald Trump his ass by publishing his long-form birth certificate just as Trump was getting into full-blown birther mode. Realising that birther morons are still looking for a hero, Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio took up the baton this year, announcing that his investigators had proven Obama’s birth certificate to be a forgery. Such conspiracies are largely met with a yawn these days, but apparently not to Arpaio’s devoted supporters.

Homophobic Fried Chicken: Dan Cathy, CEO of US “Christian fast food chain” Chick-Fil-A (yes, apparently even junk food is religious in America) decided to speak out against gay marriage. It would be nice to be able to say this hurt Chick-Fil-A’s profits, but Republicans such as Mike Huckabee stepped in to support the deep-fried morons, declaring a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day”, which saw morons lining up to eat gay-hating poultry.

Jobbik Jew: Nationalism is Europe’s nasty little secret, and it’s back with a vengeance – no more so than in Hungary, where the far-right Jobbik party is rising in popularity. So it was with great amusement that we watched outspoken anti-Semite Jobbik MP Csanad Szegedi get unmasked as a Jew, whose grandmother had been in Auschwitz. Reportedly, this hasn’t done wonders for his political career.

Legitimate Rape: Tea Party-backed Senate Candidate Todd Akin made global headlines when, during an interview about abortion, he claimed that pregnancy from rape was rare, because women’s bodies have the magical ability to prevent conception in the case of rape. This even upset some in the Republican Party – presumably because it implied that God carries out abortions on behalf of rape victims. Thankfully, the people of Missouri decided that Akin wasn’t for them, and he lost his election bid on November 6, along with a number of other Tea Party morons.

The Joy Of Slavery: Yet more crazy Republicans… Jon Hubbard of Arkansas published a book in which he claimed that “slavery was a blessing” because it gave Africans the chance to live in “the greatest nation ever established”. He apparently didn’t notice that Europeans and Asians were given the same chance – but without being raped, forced to work, beaten, killed and separated from their loved ones.

BNP Fail: Conscious that his far-right British National Party (BNP) is losing support, Nick Griffin decided to play the homophobia card, apparently not realising that British attitudes had changed. When a gay couple won their court case against a hotel owner who refused to let them stay, Griffin tweeted their address, with the threat that a “British justice team” would be visiting them. The BNP then followed up with a poll on their web site, asking: “Would you leave a gay couple to babysit your child? Vote now!” – the result? 98% voted yes, which probably wasn’t the answer the fascists were expecting.

Moronissimi! Europe’s most conservative country showed its disdain for science when seven Italian scientists were convicted of manslaughter for saying that an earthquake was unlikely in Aquila, shortly before the quake in 2009 that killed 300 people. The undoubted effect will be to push scientists out of Italy, and frighten many of the remainder into silence. Meanwhile, a Rome-based fraudster who claims to be God’s representative on Earth, but also failed to predict the quake, was not charged with any offence.

Kentucky Lends God a Hand: God, apparently, isn’t powerful enough to speak for himself – luckily, he has the Kentucky state legislature on his side, which passed a law mandating the state Homeland Security building to post a plaque outside recognising the “power of almighty God”. Never mind that this law blatantly breaches the first amendment to the US Constitution – anyone breaching it faces 12 months in jail.

O Canada… WTF!? Remember when Canada were the good guys? The sensible ones who had the misfortune of having all those nut-jobs located south of their border? Not any more: all that tar-sands oil seems to have gone to their heads. Flush with all the new cash, Canadians elected a hideously right-wing government in 2011. This year, the UN General Assembly held a historic vote to finally recognise the battered and bruised state of Palestine, which was passed resoundingly. Only nine states of 193 voted against, including (predictably) Israel and the US. The other seven included world giants like Palau and Micronesia. And Canada. Not only did the Canadians feel comfortable belonging to such a bizarre little club, but their moron Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird then threatened to retaliate – presumably by cutting off Palestinian aid.

Israel’s Moronic Expansion: Israel then decided to “retaliate” against the vote for Palestinian statehood by announcing a huge expansion of illegal home building in East Jerusalem (which doesn’t actually belong to Israel) – this new development is hugely significant because it cuts Palestinian East Jerusalem off from the Palestinian West Bank, effectively annexing all of Jerusalem for a future invasion and occupation by Israel. Middle East watchers will have noticed a pattern here: Israel “retaliates” against almost anything, from Palestinian rocket fire to the sun rising, by building new homes in Palestinian territory. Palestinians know that new home building is an inevitability, regardless of what does or doesn’t happen. The only thing that could stop this endless theft of land is for the international community to show some guts in backing international law – but the US (and its poodles) won’t allow that to happen.

Guns Don’t Kill People, X-Boxes Do: The year ended with yet another school shooting in the United States: 20 children were gunned down by yet another crazy with easy access to automatic weaponry. The US then went into its carefully prepared response to such events: a debate – incomprehensible to international observers – on whether the problem in America is caused by too many weapons or too few. I’m one of those who agrees that these kinds of events aren’t driven by gun availability alone – there are deeper problems. But a recent event in China proved the point: a madman attacked 22 schoolchildren with a weapon; none died. His weapon? A knife; the parents of those children can at least be thankful that a gun wasn’t available. Moronic gun lobby group the NRA were silent for a few days after the massacre, and then broke their silence with a press conference hosted by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. A low-key, compromising stance had been expected; but LaPierre failed to deliver this, instead delivering a speech described by the New York Times as a “mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant“. He blamed pretty much everything and everyone – except the guns. He called for armed police in every school (funded by the taxpayer, not the gun industry, of course). In a fair world, LaPierre would have been gunned down by a crazy during his speech – but alas, he lives to spew bile another day. Wayne LaPierre, well done: you are our Moron of the Year, 2012!

Moron Media Ignores Iran War Build-Up

New York Times Iraq War
Where Is The Free Press?

It was pretty clear, except perhaps to morons, that Bush and Blair were building up for their attack on Iraq long before war was declared in March 2003. Most people will still remember the huge global day of protest in February 2003. Most populations, with the notable exceptions of Israel and the US, were strongly against the war, and most people were well aware that the Iraqi “threat” had been concocted. People were also unconvinced that Saddam’s “evilness” constituted a reason for war, especially since he had been armed and supported by the US for years before he was identified as a “bad guy”.

London’s march on 15 February 2003 was the largest protest in British history: over a million people demonstrated against the war. However, that protest was not the first; 400,000 Londoners marched against an attack on Iraq in October 2002 – itself one of the largest marches ever seen in the UK. Already in October, most intelligent observers knew that the decision had been made, despite the Bush/Blair lie machine claiming that our leaders were still “hoping for a peaceful resolution”. Years later, we discovered we’d been right: Blair had already given his backing to the neo-con war plans in March 2002, a full year before the war began.

We weren’t fortune-tellers or mind-readers; we simply knew some history, and could see that the public was being softened up with scare stories about Saddam Hussein. Likewise, we already knew in 2002 that the neo-cons planned to attack Iran. On a successful “liberation” of Baghdad, they would continue on to Tehran. Fortunately, the Iraq war was incompetently handled, and the US became bogged down, preventing a new front from being opened. But the war on Iran wasn’t cancelled, just postponed.

As I’ve observed repeatedly over recent years, the only reason Iran hasn’t been attacked is that, with wars underway in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US doesn’t have enough military capacity. It’s no coincidence that, alongside the recent US troop withdrawal from Iraq, America has also opened dialogue with the Taliban (yes, those same evil-doers that they were going to wipe out in 2001, remember?) The US now has plenty of capacity for a new war – and when in recent history has it ever failed to take advantage of such a position?

The excuses for attacking Iran are as patchy as those for attacking Iraq. They may be developing WMD (in the form of nukes)… but the US has been saying that for years, and there’s still no firm evidence. Even if they are, there is nothing in international law to prevent Iran from owning nukes – Pakistan and Israel both developed the bomb in secret, resulting in relatively little fuss. There are simple lies aimed at the most gullible morons: Iran says it wants to wipe Israel from the map? False. Iran denies the Holocaust? Also false. Then there are truthful claims about Iran’s human rights record; yet Iran is no worse than many US allies: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Uzbekistan to name a few. The US never – repeat Never – goes to war in order to defend human rights (in any case, wars can only make the situation worse for the people of Iran, and make it impossible for them to rise up against the regime).

You’d hope that enough Americans would have learned the hard way, from Iraq, or Vietnam before it. But most Americans rely on the US mass media for facts, and (as we saw in Iraq) the US mass media is incapable of holding the military-industrial complex to account. The New York Times famously apologised for its Iraq coverage; most US newspapers and TV channels were even worse, but failed to apologise.

Now, here we go again. We can see there is a war coming, because US troops are being deployed, rapidly and in large numbers, to the region. This is hardly a secret. Russia Today reported on January 5th that thousands of US troops were being deployed to Israel. The latest edition of The Economist confirms that 9,000 troops are in Israel, and a further 15,000 on their way to Kuwait. Western-backed terrorists – probably Mossad or the CIA – have already been carrying out attacks against Iranian military facilities, and have murdered at least four scientists.

The case against an Iran war is even simpler than the one against Iraq. Unlike Iraq, Iran has never attacked its people or neighbours with WMD. Indeed, it was Iraq that attacked Iran with chemical weapons in the 1980s; weapons that were supplied by the Reagan administration. Yet morons seem to never learn; and the moron media in the United States seems no more willing to tell the truth about this coming war than they were in 2002/03. Iran’s huge reserves of high quality oil hardly need mentioning.

The UK government is making supportive noises of the coming American war; Cameron will undoubtedly follow, but without the support of the population, just as Blair did. This time, much of the EU is also on board. The Obama administration may be no less warlike than the Bush regime, but it’s clearly more skilled at diplomacy.

When Blair took us to war, MI5 told him we would likely experience terror as a result. on 7 July 2005, 52 Londoners were killed on public transport, and hundreds injured. If we attack Iran, we expose ourselves to new terror – which in turn will create new justifications to continue this eternal American war. The next war is coming soon; our leaders are terrorists, and are inviting terrorism upon us; mass-murder will, yet again, be done in our name. And we have no choice but to resist.

Rewind: My Predictions for 2011 Reviewed

Moron 2011
2011: A Moronic Year

Anyone who says they can reliably predict anything complex is either deluded or a liar. Nevertheless, “pundits” are well paid by media outlets to do exactly that, and the start and end of the year is a particularly busy time for this type of quackery. These modern-day soothsayers will of course focus heavily on their successes and ignore their failings, thus “demonstrating” that they’re qualified for the job of telling us what the coming year will hold, or where we should invest our money.

Not to be left out, I made my own predictions at the start of the year, and it’s only fair, given my strict adherence to scientific principles, that I review my success. I made seven predictions. Let’s see how I did.

Prediction 1: Winter will be colder than summer

OK, this was a pretty easy one. This was actually a prediction that morons would greet the cold weather with cries of “What happened to global warming?” I was right on that count too. And you watch, the moment a cold snap hits anywhere, especially in the US, they’ll say it again this year. I think this is what morons think of as humour.

Score: 10/10

Prediction 2: The Tea Party Will Become Increasingly Confused

Given how confused the average Teapartier already was this was a brave prediction. Did it come true? Well, the “grass-roots” phase of the Tea Party seems to have fizzled out. Though designed to look like a movement of the people, it was a well-funded campaign by far-right interests to win seats in Congress, and it succeeded. The initial phase involving marches of angry, misinformed morons has ended, and the morons have gone home, perhaps wondering how they were so easily fooled into marching for billionaires’ interests (but probably not).

The rise of Occupy, a genuinely spontaneous (and unlike the Tea Party, global) movement eclipsed the Tea Party from September onwards. Teapartiers were left to gloat on Twitter that police didn’t assault and arrest Tea Party marchers like they did Occupiers. Well yeah, that’s because the Tea Party was fighting for the right of the powerful to remain powerful – Occupy on the other hand was a genuine challenge to authority.

Was I right? Kind-of – I don’t really know how to measure this accurately. The Teapartiers were confused, are confused and will continue to be confused.

Score: 5/10

Prediction 3: Islamophobia to Rise in Europe/Israel, peak in UK/US

This is a big prediction, and hard to measure over such a short time-frame.The Islamophobes march onward. Breaking it down:

  • Mainland Europe: the drumbeat of fascism pounds ever louder, and Muslims are bearing the brunt. As the hate becomes established “fact” in the mind of morons, inevitably crazies take action – most noticeably in Norway in July, when Anders Breivik attacked and killed 77 people associated with the Labour Party. He was partly driven by hate for Muslims, and inspired by the English Defence League (EDL) and the Muslim-hating American Pamela Geller. For sure, things haven’t improved in Europe during 2011.
  • Israel: fascism is rising, and is taking an increased stranglehold over government. Israel, once a largely secular country, is increasingly religious, and the religious right is establishing itself in government and the military. Islamophobia isn’t at the heart of Israeli fascism, but it plays an increasing role. Israel continues to head rightwards into fascist territory.
  • UK: the main far-right party, the British National Party (BNP), seems to have undergone a partial collapse through the year. The EDL, a fascist street movement, also doesn’t seem to have made gains in support, though it recently announced an electoral pact with a tiny far-right group, the British Freedom Party. Overall, the far-right looks weaker than it did a year ago – whether that involves wishful thinking on my part though, I’m unsure.
  • US: I’ve detected less Islamophobic screaming on Twitter, as the right turns more to immigration as its primary cause. But recently, a non-controversial TV show called All American Muslim showed that Muslim-hate is not only strong among ordinary morons, but that corporations could be swung as well.

Score: 6/10… probably

Prediction 4: US Economy Will Gain Strength as UK Weakens

The US was pushing ahead with a government-funded stimulus; a fairly weak one, but a stimulus nonetheless. Meanwhile, the British government began heavy spending cuts in 2010. This provided the perfect comparison: stimulus or austerity? Which would win?

Stimulus won convincingly. The US economy is showing increasing (but still weak) growth and unemployment is starting to fall. Meanwhile, growth has completely stalled in the UK, and we may have already entered another recession. UK unemployment is rising fast. The bad news is that moronic Western governments are now all determined to use austerity before the economy is strong enough to take it, despite the lessons of the US/UK experiment (which proved yet again that Keynes was right).

Score: 10/10

Prediction 5: Oil price rises, morons draw wrong conclusions

As demand for oil rises globally, the price can only go up. As I predicted, the price rose strongly until April. At that point, new fears emerged over the US and European economies, and the price started to slide. It then rose again, and finished the year higher than it had begun. This prediction wasn’t difficult – energy prices are going to keep rising fast until huge investment is made in non-fossil fuels. And (as I pointed out), the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives won’t let that happen; neither will the oil-industry-loving Conservatives in the UK. We continue to wait for Germany and China to deliver mass, low-cost alternatives.

As for morons drawing the wrong conclusions: that was an even easier prediction. US morons blamed President Obama and demanded more domestic drilling (which is happening anyway). UK car-driving morons screamed that the government takes too much tax (missing the point that it’s only high taxes on fuel that have stopped us becoming even more addicted to oil than we already are).

Score: 10/10

Predictions 6 and 7: Jesus won’t return and the world won’t end

A fair number of morons believed the crazy predictions of preacher Harold Camping that Jesus would return on May 21st, and Judgement Day would come on Oct 21st. I bravely predicted this wouldn’t happen. And it didn’t. Yay!

Score 10/10

So I think I did pretty well. OK, I didn’t mention the Arab uprisings, the ongoing meltdown of Europe, the Japanese quake and tsunami, the rise of Occupy, or the laughable mess of the Republican Party’s race to find an opponent for Obama (I should at least have predicted the last one).

What do you think will happen in 2012? I reserve the right to “borrow” the best predictions and make them my own.

Twenty Reasons To Attack Iran

Ahmadinejad
Look At Those Evil Eyes

Morons were naturally excited when news leaked of an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the US a little over a week ago. The rest of us were a little more suspicious, given America’s long history of interference in Iran. Iran’s last democratic government was overthrown in a CIA-backed plot in 1953; the murderous Shah, America’s puppet leader, was overthrown in the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the US has been quite openly trying to destabilise the government ever since. They encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran, even providing him with chemical weapons (yes, those WMDs), resulting in a long and bloody war during the 1980s.

American sabre-rattling has long helped Iran’s moronic leader Ahmadinejad stay in power by cultivating a climate of fear within the country. And the US has been desperately trying, and failing, to find hard evidence of a nuclear weapons programme for several years now. America’s two great Middle Eastern allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, both resent Iran’s influence in the region; and of course, the Iranians have vast oil reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. In short, America would do anything to find an excuse to attack Iran.

So an apparent assassination plot on US soil would seem like the ideal opportunity – and America’s moron leaders leapt into action with both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden immediately trying to pin blame on the Iranian leadership. Unfortunately for the war-and-oil brigade, the plot was laughably amateurish, and experts quickly poured cold water on the allegations. The day the story broke, Channel 4 News in the UK diplomatically but effectively dismissed the US/Saudi allegations as fantasy.

Having watched this charade for a long time, I’ve started to feel sorry for US leaders; rather than convince the world of an Iranian plot, they’ve just made themselves look inept. So here’s my gift to the Obama administration: below are a number of very convincing reasons to attack Iran (at least, more convincing than the pathetic efforts to date). Feel free to use one or all of them. A small fee of $1,000,000 would be appreciated, payable on usage.

Reasons to attack Iran:

  1. We’re done in Libya now.
  2. They dissed Obama’s mother.
  3. They were responsible for 9/11.
  4. They were responsible for Pearl Harbour.
  5. They don’t allow abortion or gay marriage. (Editor’s note – that’s not gonna work)
  6. They have WMDs.
  7. Ahmadinejad created the sub-prime mortgage fiasco.
  8. Ahmadinejad has scary eyes.
  9. They have plenty of oil. (Editor’s note: too honest)
  10. Jesus wants us to.
  11. Because we can.
  12. It’s full of Muslims.
  13. Because we already run most other Middle Eastern countries, so we’d might as well grab the whole set.
  14. It’ll win Obama the moron vote.
  15. Because Israel said so.
  16. We spent $trillions on weaponry, and if we don’t use it the taxpayer might wonder why.
  17. Avoid unleashing thousands of mentally-scarred soldiers on America’s cities.
  18. It’s the latest hub of global jihad.
  19. They don’t even speak proper Arabic. They speak Iranianish or something.
  20. Oh come on, they’re brown and evil – what other reason do you need?

Morons, War and Oil Reserves

Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which countries the US is at war with, or to guess who might be next. Without understanding the global picture, morons often believe the justification for each war individually: Afghanistan was because of 9/11; Iraq was about WMD; Libya was about protecting civilians… and so on.

Last week’s Economist magazine (a great read if you haven’t tried it) included a handy little table showing known oil reserves by country. Surprisingly (for morons anyway), the table correlates tightly with US foreign policy. As well as the bar showing the absolute number of barrels, the number on the right shows how much longer the oil will last, based on current rates of extraction.

A key statistic here is the size of the US reserves: only 11.3 years of home-produced oil left. Given that the US is hopelessly addicted to oil, and is by far the world’s largest consumer, it becomes easily understandable why America spends so many dollars (and military lives) on securing those territories that have most of the remaining oil.

Let’s run through the top ten countries in the list:

  1. Saudi Arabia: the US maintains a conservative Islamic dictatorship with a terrible human rights record. The presence of 5,000 US troops in Saudi Arabia led to the 9/11 attacks (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi).
  2. Venezuela: as every moron knows, Hugo Chavez is an evil dictator. Except in reality he’s been elected repeatedly in free and fair elections. In 2002, the Bush Administration attempted (and failed) to have Chavez removed in a military coup. America can’t tolerate a democratic regime outside its control sitting on 200bn barrels of oil – watch this space.
  3. Iran: they’re trying to make nuclear weapons! And the free world can’t have that, can we? Iran’s last democratic government was toppled by a CIA-backed coup in 1953. Sorry Iran, we simply can’t afford to let you have democracy.
  4. Iraq: over 100,000 civilians and 4,780 US troops have been killed to secure these 100bn barrel reserves.
  5. Kuwait: a US “ally” like Saudi Arabia (meaning a dictatorship backed by US military). Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 triggered the first US Gulf War).
  6. United Arab Emirates: another US “ally” (two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE).
  7. Russia: these reserves are probably beyond US military reach. Sorry America!
  8. Libya: we’re only bombing to defend the poor civilians, honest! (On the other hand, civilians in Syria, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Bahrain and elsewhere will just have to look after themselves).
  9. Kazakhstan: borders both Russia and China. Perhaps this reserve partly explains the long-term US presence in nearby Afghanistan.
  10. Nigeria: a country corrupted almost beyond repair by its large oil reserves. Other West African countries such as Ghana are also finding large amounts of oil. Watch out Africa, China and the US like the look of your oil!

Today In History: US Withdraws Troops from Saudi Arabia

Eight years ago today, the US withdrew its military presence (at least the non-secret part) from its ally, and the world’s top oil producer, Saudi Arabia. “Big deal”, you may say. But this event is a crucial one in the global war that America has been pursuing since (at least) 9/11.

The facts behind 9/11 and the ensuing “war on terror” have been lost in the fog of US propaganda in the past few years. Perhaps the most important fact-they-want-you-to-forget is this: Al Qaida’s attack on 9/11 was in protest at the presence of US troops on Saudi soil. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, the US was occupying Saudi Arabia with between 5,000 to 10,000 troops. Osama bin Laden’s strike was aimed at ending the US occupation as a step to overthrowing the Saudi dictatorship.

This was never made clear to the American people, who were instead told by Liar-In-Chief Donald Rumsfeld that Al Qaida was a huge, global organisation that wanted to destroy America’s way of life (this was true only to the extent that America’s “way of life” included the forcible creation of an Empire including the oil-producing Arab lands).

In the days before “war on terror” propaganda had been fully absorbed by the media, the BBC’s report on the Saudi withdrawal was remarkably honest;

But our correspondent says the US troops have become a potent symbol of Washington’s role in the region, and many Saudis see them as proof of the country’s subservience to America.

Saudi Arabia is home to some of Islam’s holiest sites and the deployment of US forces there was seen as a historic betrayal by many Islamists, notably Osama Bin Laden.

It is one of the main reasons given by the Saudi-born dissident – blamed by Washington for the 11 September attacks – to justify violence against the United States and its allies.

This anniversary is a reminder of important facts:

  • 9/11, however murderous and unjustified, wasn’t an unprovoked attack, but a response to long-standing US aggression against Arabs, and Saudis in particular.
  • The “war on terror” was of America’s choosing; Rumsfeld and the neocons deliberately confused the issues in order to create a new, never-ending version of the Cold War.
  • America’s perpetual war will run until America ends it – and while it runs, the risk of terrorist attacks on the West climbs ever higher.
  • The US has chosen to roll the war out to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and now Libya. This is never in response to aggression and always in pursuit of expanding the empire.

The war isn’t being conducted by “Al Qaida”, “Terrorists”, “The Arabs”, “The Muslims” or “Islam” – it’s America’s war and will end when America chooses. You’re wondering why the US withdrew? Because a month earlier, it had invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a large, stable and permanent military presence there – the after-effects of which we’re still feeling worldwide.

The British Government’s Moronic Oil Love

Last week’s budget by Chancellor George Osborne was unlikely to contain much good news, given the ongoing cuts; but right-wing newspapers did their best to find some anyway. The headline-grabber was an action to “help the motorist”, possibly not the constituency most in need of help, but certainly the moaniest. “TAX ON OIL FIRMS TO HELP DRIVERS” screamed the loyally Conservative London Evening Standard (full, grovelling story here), perhaps the publication most desperate to prop up Tory support, given the proximity of next year’s mayoral elections, and the apparently precarious position of London’s right-wing (and car-loving) Mayor, Boris Johnson.

The story was a gushing tribute to Osborne’s “massive tax raid” on oil companies (actually, the £2 billion is roughly one month’s profit for BP alone). But the key point is missed entirely – given that this money will be used to reduce petrol costs at the pump, it ends up being taken from the oil companies… and in large part fed straight back to them by subsidising their own product. Oh! The pain!

Hence a government subsidy to maintain the British addiction to oil is spun by the Conservatives (and more importantly their media friends) as a victory for the little man over the beastly oil giants. And yet the oil industry will have been cracking open vintage bubbly on the announcement: not only have train and bus fares continued to rise above inflation, bolstering car usage, but the government has proved itself hostile to oil alternatives such as solar, as I wrote here last month. Rocketing crude oil prices have pushed oil profits to record levels. And on top of all this, a 2p-per-litre government subsidy to petrol. This is a great time for the UK oil industry.

The rest of us should be more worried: peak oil warnings become ever louder (though apparently the cries haven’t yet reached the ears of George Osborne) and our military seems exclusively and expensively to be used for the protection of British energy supplies. The next great depression will dawn when oil production can no longer keep track of global demand, and those nations that have made a concerted investment in weaning themselves off the stuff have a chance of emerging as the next world leaders. The US is apparently intent on hitting the wall at full speed – and it seems, so is our own moron government.

Obama and Blair: Fallen Heroes

When Labour came to power in the UK in 1997, the left/centre majority heaved a sigh of relief after 18 years of Conservative rule. Britain had become a far more progressive place in those years, and the feeling that our leaders were finally in tune with us was elating. Anti-gay laws were repealed, police were subject to more control over their street behaviour, pay of teachers and nurses rose and massive investment was pumped into the crumbling education and health services. “Cool Britannia” was announced, and top music stars were seen rubbing shoulders with government ministers.

It was all so much fun that we chose to ignore the parts we didn’t want to see. Labour wasn’t going to re-nationalise any privatised industries, however messy or unwise the privatisations had been; most of the new schools and hospitals were built under a “Public-Private Partnership” regime that would work out more expensive in the long run; Blair and his top ministers seemed to love the company of Bankers and CEOs, and the rich-poor divide was allowed to widen even further.

I voted Labour in 1997 and again in 2001. And then came 9/11, and Blair’s fangs appeared. His religious mania started to be slowly unveiled (religion is a vote-loser rather than a winner in UK politics, and his spin-doctors played it down as best they could). Days after 9/11, it became obvious, to those who watched, that Iraq was in the cross-hairs of the neocons, and by mid-2002 there was no doubt that an attack on Iraq was in the planning stages (we later learned that Blair had already committed in early-2002). A large anti-war march was held in London in October 2002 (while Blair was still pretending that all options were on the table) and a huge march was held in February 2003, a month before the war. But Blair ignored the marchers, ignored the facts, ignored the majority within his own party, and took Britain to join one of the least justified, most brutal wars in modern history.

From that moment, he was widely hated by the British people, and the hatred steadily increased. When, in July 2005, terrorists killed 52 in London, and injured 700 more, most people held Blair’s Iraq adventure partly to blame, and his popularity fell further. It wasn’t just that he had carried out an unforgiveable act – it was that he had come to power as a progressive, and our eyes had finally been opened to reality. When Blair left power, exposed his deep Catholic fundamentalism, and began to profit from oil and other companies who had benefited from the Iraq war, the transformation was complete.

In the UK, we were as elated as American progressives by Obama’s election in 2008 – Bush had been hated here and worldwide for his moronic foreign policy, long before the majority of Americans turned against him. We knew, though we didn’t want to acknowledge it, that America is more than the President, and that Obama’s main reforms would be on domestic ground. Sure enough, America’s murderous behaviour towards Afghanistan and Pakistan was little changed – some things (such as drone attacks on civilians) became even worse. But we tried to ignore these, and enjoy the knowledge that Obama was more intelligent, more progressive than Bush could ever be.

So now we have a bombardment of Libya. We want to cling on to the idea that this is being done to protect civilians, but even as the bombing started, civilians were being shot dead in the streets of Yemen, Syria and Bahrain with barely a word of condemnation. It becomes increasingly clear that far from boosting the Arab revolutions, this attack on Libya will deliberately undermine them.

American progressives are going to increasingly feel about Obama the way we felt about Blair in 2003. It was easy to hate Bush – he gave us plenty of reason to, and he’d been elected by morons anyway, but Blair and Obama were ours. We can try to justify Obama’s capitulation – we already knew that America’s democracy is no longer strong enough to represent the will of the people over the interests of corporations and the military. But whichever way you look at it, betrayal hurts.

Fuel Price Morons

Every day now, my timeline is filled with howls of rage from both sides of the Atlantic about the high cost of gas/petrol. There are some local differences: US screams tend to be louder, reflecting their greater exposure to crude oil prices, and they tend to blame Obama for the global price rises, believing (incorrectly) that more drilling at home will fix the problem (search for the #DrillHereDrillNow Twitter hashtag to see some real-time stupidity). British morons are generally more aware of the global nature of oil pricing, so instead they turn their rage on government-imposed fuel duties. Both sides miss the key points: that rising global oil prices are outside the control of any individual or nation; that more US-based drilling will at best slow down the rise while wrecking the environment; that addiction to oil won’t be cured by further addiction; and that Europe has actually avoided the worst of oil addiction by imposing high fuel duty (although our price-per-gallon is much higher, our overall spend on fuel isn’t because we use less).

I used to love driving; I loved my car, and drove it as stupidly as a typical 19 year old wannabe racing driver could do. Then, I found a great job – the only downside being that I had a minimum 80 miles per day commute (much more if I had meetings outside the office). The cost wasn’t an issue for me; my employment package included a company car and fully-expensed fuel; but my minimum of 2.5 hours a day in the car soon started eating away at my enjoyment of driving. Despite the fact that most of my commute was on motorways with a speed limit of 70mph, my average speed was around 25mph, and lower if there had been a serious accident.

Day after day, I sat on the M25 (London’s massive ring road, often referred to as “The World’s Biggest Car Park” and subject of the Chris Rea song, Road To Hell), and pondered the wisdom of Britain’s long-term shift from rail to road. I was surrounded by thousands of other people, mostly sitting alone in their own metal boxes, all facing in the same direction, all burning fuel in their own personal engines, and moving very, very slowly.

It slowly became obvious to me that this wasn’t sustainable, either for me personally or for the country. However many lanes were added to the M25, the traffic never sped up significantly – more cars simply arrived to fill the new space. Car ownership and mileage were growing constantly. People were abandoning urban life for the suburban dream. It was clearly impossible to fit cars into a human-sized town or city; the space has to expand to cater for all the cars, whether moving or parked. Car addicts were being offered American-style shopping malls in the middle of nowhere, and town centres were beginning to wither and die as commercial places. And this was long before I first heard about Peak Oil – the (in hindsight) obvious idea that if we keep using more fuel, one day we won’t be able to get it out of the ground quickly enough to serve demand.

My long hours spent behind the wheel took their toll, and I developed back problems and asthma. I grew to hate the car, and became jealous of people who didn’t have to drive to work. Changing to a job where I had to buy my own car made the problem worse. Eventually I moved to a London-based job, sold my car, bought a new bicycle and moved home close to good public transport. On a conservative estimate, I saved £5,000 ($8,000 at today’s rate) a year, my weight fell, my health improved and so did my quality of life.

After 9/11, Osama bin Laden was very clear about his strategy to undermine American power in the Middle East: provoke US revenge attacks, create instability and drive oil prices up to $200 a barrel, thus destroying America’s oil-addicted economy. The 2000 Bush election win had been an effective coup for the oil industry; in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush and the neocons did what bin Laden had invited them to do, and the seeds were sown for a disastrous end-game of rising demand and unstable supply.

The oil industry is doing what it needs to do: convince us to keep using its product. It does so by lying about the risks of our continued addiction, by denying that peak oil is near, by overstating oil reserves, and by continually lobbying against any new energy source or form of transport that may threaten sales. In 2000, it even installed its own oil-friendly regime in the White House in order to preserve its revenues for another eight years. A Saudi oil minister, aware of the threat to his nation’s future if the world turned its back on oil, is quoted as saying: “The Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.”

Smart individuals can act in their own interests – primarily by abandoning car-based, suburban living. We need to appreciate that destroying more nature for a little more oil won’t change anything; and Europeans should understand that high fuel duty is what has saved us from an even worse disaster to come as oil prices keep rising. We’re driving ourselves fast towards a cliff. We need to stop moaning and start steering.

Nationally and internationally, change is much harder to execute; America in particular is so far down the route of de-urbanisation that it would take decades of concerted leadership to move society back to a high-density, low-energy style of living. And while the oil industry retains its political power, and pumps its anti-peak-oil, anti-climate-change propaganda via outlets like Fox News, this can’t even begin to happen.

Those morons who continue to ignore the obvious deserve their looming fate: suburbia and exurbia will become the new ghettos and ghost towns as their oil-based lifelines to civilisation shrivel away. They can tweet their hatred of Obama forever, but it’s the oil industry, its conservative friends, and our blind acceptance of their lies, that got us to this point.

The Moron Guide to Uprisings

Morons love a world of simple black-and-white facts. So when the world does unpredictable things, this can cause great trauma and distress. For example: when you’ve been brought up believing that the US or Britain are the defenders – no! the creators – of democracy, then actual events in the real world may seem somewhat confusing.

So here is a short guide advising morons as to where they should stand on the various uprisings taking place in the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran

We’ll start with an easy one. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979 overthrew the Western-backed murderer known as the Shah, Iran has created a theocratic system that’s hostile to Israel and Western interests in the Middle East, as well as suppressing and brutalising its own people.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 10, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 10, Hostile to US/UK: 10, Crazy leader: 10, Exporting terror: 3

Summary: you can totally support this uprising.

Iraq

Much trickier. Having overthrown a genuinely brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, the US established a colonial authority in Iraq, and gradually hand-built a puppet “democracy” that the old British Empire would have been proud of, while allowing the country’s infrastructure to gradually collapse. The Iraqis are now protesting against the corruption, nepotism and brutality of their new regime! Yes, the one that cost the US taxpayer almost $1tn! Ungrateful wretches!

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 5, Islamist: 3, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 3, Hostile to US/UK: 4, Crazy leader: 2, Exporting terror: 1

Summary: although the people of Iraq may think they deserve a real democracy, they don’t. We paid for it, so it’s ours now.

Egypt

The overthrow of Mubarak greatly confused morons. On the one hand, yes he did rob, torture and kill his own people. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood sounds really scary.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 9, Islamist: 1, Oil reserves: 0, Hostile to Israel: 1, Hostile to US/UK: 1, Crazy leader: 9, Exporting terror: 1

Summary: Besides him being a complete bastard, there seems no other good reason to support the overthrow of Mubarak. However, it’s already happened, so best pretend you support democracy in Egypt (while warning that the Brotherhood will eat Christians’ babies).

Tunisia

See Egypt.

Libya

Very tricky – on the one hand, we’ve been told that Gaddafi is a crazy, evil Muslim dictator for decades, and he seems to have had a hand in the Lockerbie bomb/plane crash. On the other hand, Tony Blair suddenly decided that we like him after all, which had nothing (I repeat, nothing) to do with BP wanting to get their grubby hands on Libyan oil.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 3, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 8, Hostile to US/UK: 7, Crazy leader: 10, Exporting terror: 10

Summary: There’s no good reason not to support this uprising. However I’m sure our leaders will suddenly discover an Islamist threat lurking behind the scenes (in other words, they want the oil, and Gaddafi will give it to them).

Bahrain

Nasty, oppressive regime that took the first possible opportunity to shoot protesters, even while sleeping. Sounds easy right? Wrong – the US Navy has a huge base there.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 9, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 5, Hostile to US/UK: 3, Crazy leader: 7, Exporting terror: 1

Summary: although this seems easy, this is a major oil state and host to the US Empire. You need to sit on the fence, and just pretend you support whatever happens next.

Saudi Arabia

There is no sane reason to support the Saudi regime. It seems to represent everything that freedom-lovers everywhere should despise. It is the birthplace of extremist Wahhabi Islam, which has led to the creation of Al Qaida and to the events of 9/11. There are few human rights, and women’s rights are non-existent. So this should be easy…

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 10, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 6, Hostile to US/UK: 6, Crazy leader: 8, Exporting terror: 10

Summary: Despite everything, maintaining the vile, terrorist regime in Saudi Arabia is highly important to the US Empire in the Middle East and elsewhere. The fall of the Saudi regime may be as critical to America as the loss of India was to the British. Do NOT support this uprising. If anyone asks you why, call them a Commie asshole.