The Great Obama Gaffe

Obama spent a second day here in London yesterday; not that Londoners seemed to notice – our citizens are way too “cool” to acknowledge being interested in anything, even the US Prez. There was a police presence around the Regents Park mosque when I cycled past in the morning and again in the evening and I wondered if that was related; perhaps he planned to pray there? (Ha! Not really… Just tossing a morsel to the morons who still think Obama’s a Muslim).

I got home and watched the 7pm TV news on Channel 4. The 55-minute bulletin was dominated by coverage of Obama’s speech to both houses of parliament, and also covered the barbeque hosted by Obama and Camoron, along with several minutes devoted to Michelle Obama’s meeting with working class teenagers at Oxford University. The overall feeling: the UK is still in love with the Obamas.

Channel 4 had commissioned a poll via YouGov, comparing British public attitudes to Obama with a similar poll about Bush conducted in 2003. Some of the results:

  • Those who have confidence in the US President: Bush: 22%, Obama 72%
  • Is the President a danger to world peace? Bush: 60%, Obama 6%
  • Do you welcome the President? Bush 21%, Obama 60%
  • Do you think the President is highly intelligent? Bush 17%, Obama 81%
  • Is he a good advertisement for America? Bush 20%, Obama 78%

Pretty conclusive… full results here (PDF).

Then I checked Twitter, and found a tweet from serial-moron @mdino90: Obama once again embarrassed country in front of Queen – How did he do this I wondered? The answer, I was told, is that Obama continued a toast to the Queen during the national anthem. Apparently he also wrote the date as 2008 when he signed a guest book the previous day.

Let me explain something about the British: we’re not a patriotic country. We don’t fly flags from our houses (except perhaps on the important occasions, like the football World Cup). We rarely hear the national anthem, and most people don’t know the words. Although we tend to enjoy a bit of ceremony around state events, we don’t really worry too much about tradition. If Black Rod forgot to bring his stick to the opening of Parliament, few would either notice or care.

So even if the British people were aware of Obama’s “gaffe” yesterday (and as far as I can tell, the UK media barely noticed), nobody gave a damn. Notably, if you search for “Obama gaffe” this morning on the Google UK News service, most of the links that appear are American, with Fox (of course) featuring near the top. The only prominent link on the subject I could see was from Sky News – which (coincidentally, I’m sure) is owned by Rupert Murdoch, as Fox is.

I’m sorry Obama-haters, but this seems to be a story that’s been 99% concocted by the US media. The British people couldn’t give a damn about a glass raised during our (very dull) anthem. We rate Obama far more highly than Bush (click the poll link above if you don’t believe me), regardless of any misgivings we may have over his continuation of many aspects of Bush’s foreign policy.

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.

Ten Completely Made Up “Facts”

Sometimes I wonder why I (and many others) spend so much time trying to argue against completely fact-free “facts”. I research, find high-quality sources and provide links, only to be told that the New York Times is dangerous left-wing propaganda, or that Wikipedia is all made up. So if we can’t beat them, let’s join them. Counter moronic made-up facts with your own. Learn from the morons – here’s how they do it:

  • Make something up (if you can’t, then repeat something you heard from another moron).
  • Write a blog article about it. Make sure you link to “sources” – in other words, blogs carrying the same myth.
  • Tweet the crap out of it. If you’re really lucky, some crazy Fox pundit will pick up your fairy-tale and it’ll go global.

Here are ten completely made-up facts to get you started (just link to this post as a “credible source” if you decide to blog them).

  1. Glenn Beck is not American-born. He’s actually a mid-ranking SS Captain from Nazi Germany who was cryogenically frozen as part of a CIA experiment.
  2. George W Bush and Dick Cheney conducted a passionate gay relationship throughout the Iraq War, and so failed to focus on its aftermath.
  3. The far-right English Defence League (EDL) refuses membership to anybody who can spell.
  4. Sarah Palin is trying to suppress a doggy-sex movie she made at college.
  5. The Tea Party is a front for militant homosexuals who want smaller government so there’s nobody to stop them from turning all American children gay.
  6. Extreme Zionist settlers in the West Bank don’t have penises. They believe that when the last Palestinian is killed, God will return their genitals.
  7. Rupert Murdoch’s TV and newspaper interests are part of an extremist right-wing plot to reduce the world’s average IQ by 20 points (actually, this one might be true).
  8. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is Osama bin Laden.
  9. Koch Industries’ oil is actually made from aborted fetuses.
  10. Ronald Reagan and Pol Pot were best friends.

Over to you – feel free to post your own ideas below.