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Barack Obama: Spiritual Leader of the British

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It’s odd. I know there are conservative people in Britain. But they’re like God: I need faith that they actually exist because, aside from my wife, I have never met anyone who came even remotely close to scoring 0.001 percent on the conservative scale.

I’ve certainly never worked with any. A good example came last week when the Daily Express arrived to the scanning room where a younger co-worker and I were stationed. The headline announced “40 Percent Rise in Ethnic Numbers.” My immediate thought upon reading the headline was, “This is not good for social cohesion.” My colleague, however, gruffly stated, “Let’s leave this paper with its racist headline till last.”

Its racist headline? Score another point for the rose-colored glasses wearing, blue-sky thinking crowd, because that kid is clearly part of it. Who cares if foreign influx into the country is so high that we quickly find ourselves possessing no common language, cultural references or shared values with each other? We should care. After all, don’t the British complain incessantly about the Americanization of their culture? Alas, I suppose it’s far easier and more fashionable to complain about American words infiltrating Brit-speak (which are actually English words that Americans preserved) than how closely British immigration policy, or the lack of it, resembles that of the U.S.

Why exactly do I bring this up? Sky News reported that President Obama signed the Westminster Abbey guestbook but dated his comment “May 24, 2008.” A harmless gaffe, but do you know what the reaction to the story would have been had George W. Bush done that? It would have been proclaimed the dumbest mistake in the history of mankind. Reader comments would have declared: “Further proof the president’s an idiot,” “The American people deserve this man,” “George Bush, worst president evah,” and peppered throughout by the occasional but obligatory “George Bush, war criminal.”

It should come as no surprise that the reaction to the Obama story was all peace, love and what’s the big deal?

Give up nit picking [sic], so what he made a mistake with the date [sic], I think the president is a great guy and doing a grand job. It was lovely to see him and his wife at Buckingham Palace with the Queen.

What is it, fashionable to hate on Obama now?

Which only goes to show he is also human and open to the same effects of media exposure and jet lag!! Good for him.

you all are hatters. [sic] why don’t you get a life. [sic] We all make mistakes. who haven’t? [sic] put your hands up. leave the poor man alone people [sic].

And on, and on, and on the Obama bum-kissing goes, for over 1,000 mind-numbing, grammatically appalling comments. Suddenly it’s fashionable in Britain to stick up for the American president. And golly gee, aren’t those Yanks nice, cuddly people for electing him too? The world’s such a snuggly-wuggly place!

The world’s not coming to an end just because Barack Obama signed the wrong year to his guestbook entry. I get that. It’s to be expected, I suppose. The man has never stopped campaigning, after all. That’s why he’s hardly ever in the office he got elected to. He’s living in a perpetual 2008. One of these days, he’s going to say that’s when he had Osama bin Laden executed.

But doesn’t it speak volumes about a man who pronounced corpsman as corpseman, said he visited 57 U.S. states, and thinks Austrian is spoken in Austria? Are we going to have a book on Obama-isms to join the volumes of tomes dedicated to Bushisms?

How about Mr. Obama completely screwing up while delivering a toast to the Queen? The band is instructed to play when they hear “the Queen.” That’s their cue. Obama and his defenders will try to blame the orchestra, when the truth is, Obama never should have spoken those words until the end of his speech.

I ask again, if Dubya had done this, what would the reaction have been? Of course, Bush never would have fouled up like that, for he would have pulled all the stops to get it right before speaking. He would have bothered to study the protocol. Beautiful people like Barack Obama, however, have no need for that because their brilliance is beyond the reach of normal people. Or so we’re told, time and time again by the fawning media, both American and international.

What really throws me is the completely fake bonhomie that Obama is presenting to the Queen, David Cameron and the British people themselves. Obama is a notorious Brit-hater. Nile Gardiner spelled it all out in his commentary in The Daily Mail, “Does Obama Have it in for Britain?”:

Obama seems strangely oblivious to the dangerous path he has embarked on, becoming the first U.S. President in modern times to place no importance on the historic relationship between the U.S. and Britain.

We cannot say, however, that we weren’t warned.

This, after all, is a man who, within days of being sworn in as President, ordered that a bust of Winston Churchill — a gift from the British people to the U.S. in the dark days that followed 9/11 — be removed from the Oval Office.

… When the U.S. marches in, it’s only ever the British who can be depended on to march alongside them.

And yet all that proud history, all that noble sacrifice, seems to count for nothing in Obama’s eyes. He seems oblivious to the debt of gratitude he, and the American people, owes this country.

Despite that, Obama is enormously popular in this country. The British talk a good game about being different from Europeans, but the president’s popularity numbers continue to hover between the 75 to 80 percent mark, as with France and Germany. Obama might very well declare in the House of Commons, “Screw it, I’m not pretending to like you anymore. You’re all evil and you should consider yourselves lucky if I don’t nuke you all to hell where you belong.” Sky News would report it, and you’d still have Brits commenting, “Come on, take it easy on the president. He’s a wonderful man, the most brilliant in all of history. He wants to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,” only without the punctuation or capital letters.

I learned years ago that a strong, confident America is not what the world, including Britain, wants; and everyone can relax because that’s certainly not something the world is going to witness under the present administration. But this is ridiculous. I’d have an easier time finding a unicorn or gryphon walking the streets of Britain than I would someone who isn’t an Obamabot, to use Ted Rall’s appropriate term. I prefer the phrase “Obama rumpswab,” but that would be politically incorrect, now wouldn’t it?

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About Nightdragon

  • Glenn Contrarian

    You know, Mark, does Obama’s occasional goof compare with George H.W. Bush upchucking on the lap of the Japanese prime minister? Or George W. Bush’s uninvited neck rub of German prime minister Pat Schroeder? I don’t think so.

    You can’t ping Obama for ignorance – witness George W. Bush’s assumption that the difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims wasn’t anything to worry about.

    You CAN ping him for being human and making the occasional embarrassing goof…for instance, I don’t know ANYONE who hasn’t written the wrong year – my wife just joked with me over the phone a few days ago how she wrote 1991 for the year when she wrote the date on something.

    On the ‘fifty-seven’ states quote – he was probably thinking about the fifty-seven states AND territories/districts we have, for this includes Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Marianas Islands, ‘Minor outlying islands’, and Washington D.C.

    Okay? A highly-educated man might make the occasional goofs – and his are very occasional as compared to Dubya – but the man is still very highly educated. Don’t get me wrong – there’s several things he’s done (or failed to do) that I really don’t like, but in the big picture (with an eye on history) he’s been great so far.

    That, and I think you’ll find that part of the reason why the Brits – and most of the rest of the world – love the guy is because they really believe that he wants the best for everybody. Whether that is indeed the case will of course be debated…but that’s what the majority of people believe.

    In other words, he’s found (as I did a long time ago) that sincerity, good will, and humility go a long way towards earning forgiveness of mistakes made. BC conservatives will surely jump on that last statement with the assumption that he’s neither sincere nor humble, and doesn’t have an ounce of good will in him…but then – as we’ve found – it doesn’t matter how well Obama performs his office, how much good he does for America, the Right will never, ever give him credit for doing anything right.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Glen, we gave this boob a ton of credit for making the call on bin Laden, despite the fact that he had to sleep on it and it was probably Hilary that actually made the call. And we also — I certainly did — congratulated him for extending the Bush tax cuts last December. Even if he did leave Bill Clinton in charge of explaining it.

    Obama is about as far from humble as you can get. It’s all about the limelight for him. That’s why he’s never at the White House. This narcissist is still on his upteenth vacation since “taking” office. He’s had more trips in two-and-a-half years than most working Americans have in a lifetime. And he’s always throwing extremely lavish soirees when he is at the White House while telling the rest of us to watch how we live.

    He’s so humble that he appallingly treats an ally — the very definition of humble, if you’re looking for it — Binjamin Netanyahu, like garbage due to the anti-Semitic filth he was converted to after spending 22 years in the racist Trinity Church in Chicago.

    Obama wants what’s best for himself and will stop at nothing to promote HIS beliefs, not what’s good or representative of the average American.

    But since the world loves an apologetic American, he will always be adored. Even in Britain, which he loathes. I don’t know what it says about the British themselves, but it sure isn’t good.

  • zingzing

    “That’s why he’s never at the White House. This narcissist is still on his upteenth vacation since “taking” office.”

    really? do you think he’s on vacation right now? and how many vacations do you think he’s had at this point? what are you counting as vacation… you must have a pretty lax definition of it.

    “Even in Britain, which he loathes.”

    why do you say that?

    you seem to know a lot about this president that no one else knows. please, reveal your sources, oh master.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Zing: Did you even READ Nile Gardiner’s article that I linked to? Obama loathes Britain because he can’t stand their colonial past, and he mocks the country every chance he gets. And the British public doesn’t care because, well, he’s just so damn nice and has such a good understanding of fair play and he supports the underdog and, ooh, cor blimey, mate, I can’t even finish me tea, I’ve got a tingle up me leg, guv’nah. (Yeah, I’m mocking the British now, but I’m just having some fun. Obama is serious about it though.)

    Telegraph Associated Content Telegraph 2 BBC

    I think the “special relationship” is overblown myself, but Obama takes it to extremes.

    Obama is constantly jetting off to Europe, to Brazil, to Hawaii, and all across the country, but always makes sure there’s a golf course available first. I don’t begrudge the man some R&R, he’s as entitled to it as any other President. But Obama is always flying off somewhere on very dubious claims of importance. 65 days off over an 18-month time span. That makes even European worker vacation entitlement seem stingy.

    Want some more links. Here you go: Gather OC Register Bluegrass Pundit

    One place he really needs to be right now? Joplin, Missouri. When’s he going to be there? Sunday. A week after the city was wiped off the map. Because having a sleepover with the Queen — who he disrespected by not SHUTTING UP once the band took their mistimed cue — at Buckingham Palace is too important.

    Do me a favor and actually do some reading this time, Zing, before you predictably tell me I don’t know what I’m writing about.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mark –

    65 days off over an 18-month time span

    Ah. Compare that to George W. Bush, who spent almost exactly ONE-THIRD of his presidency – almost three YEARS – on vacation at Camp David or at his ranch. This does not count the times he flew overseas or played golf in D.C.

    But I get it – Obama’s really the bad one here. I know that because You Say So.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So basically that amounts to about 12 percent of Obama’s presidency. Uh oh, call in the feds!

    And those “dubious” events that he goes to, like the Queen’s sleepover for instance, are all part and parcel with the business of diplomacy. Stupid, but still part of the job description.

    Remember, this cat no-showed the Olympics and sent Biden instead. Even our guy was there!

  • Jordan Richardson

    And let’s make no mistake about it: Bush played up his dumbass nature. If he didn’t have that, he wouldn’t have enjoyed ANY popularity as president. Part of his stupidity really was stupidity, but a big part of it was an act to appeal to his idea of the “common man.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jordan –

    Remember, the conservatives don’t like the ‘d-word’ – diplomacy. That’s all stuff-and-nonsense to them…unless it’s their guy doing it, of course.

  • zingzing

    those links are nitpicking, mem-mew, but they are pretty slight. do you really think he hates england? in the end, why should he be bothered, chuff, chuff? why would anyone?

  • Cannonshop

    #4 Wrong, Mark-the LAST place ANY President should be, is in a disaster zone where the work is, well…still relevant. Ever seen the three ring circus that arrives with a Presidential visit? The blocked off roads, the halted work, the overflow of hangers-on and Entourage (not even including the security detail and other people who have a LEGITIMATE reason to be surrounding the President), not to mention the crowds, and then the crowd control, and all the rest of it?

    Sunday’s about the earliest the president can actually visit a site in the condition of Joplin, and NOT (by vice of BEING a presidential visit) interrupt critical operations in a way that hurts the people who’re already hurting.

    If anything, it shows a remarkable amount of restraint for the current Narcissist in Chief NOT to rush down there and try to make political capital on the backs of people who’re still injured, shell-shocked, and grieving. They’ll still be grieving on Sunday, and they’ll a lot of them still be hurt (injured), and a whole lot of folks down there don’t have homes right now-and won’t by Sunday, either-but at least they’re not as likely to suffer MORE wounds just to give POTUS some teevee time in the middle of a REAL disaster.

  • Mr Manning: I believe you have been around Blogcritics long enough to be aware that our standard for providing links requires them to be active, not raw URLs. If not and if you also have not yet learned this most basic of techniques, please take on board this lesson in how to format a link.


    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Holy Christ Glenn! Bush has been out of office for 2 fucking years now!

    Bush did this and bush did that! Who give a rats ass what bush did and what the fuck does it have to do with ANYTHING current?!??!

  • Clavos

    One thing about Glenn’s incessant comparisons to GWB, in which the implication is always that Bush did same bad thing Obama’s doing, but to a much greater degree; they, of course, ignore the old adage that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Andy and Clavos –

    Why is it that every time y’all complain about Obama doing something wrong, that when I point out something that YOUR guy did significantly worse, y’all trip the fright rantastic?

    As long as you two keep complaining about what he does wrong, I’m going to keep pointing out what YOUR guy – or at least one that YOUR people elected (twice!) – did that was far worse.

    Like an invasion started on false pretenses that has cost us thousands of lives and trillions(!) of dollars – when I see YOUR side call for Bush’s head on a pike for HIS war crimes, for what he did to America and the world, then and ONLY then will any of you have ANY moral standing to criticize what Obama does on foreign or military policy!

  • So Glenn, in other words, you have a shit argument and that’s the best you can do.

    Got it!

    Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend!

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Christopher, I hereby solemnly apologize for failing to follow the appropriate rules regarding active links in the comments section, and will endeavor in future to apply these most basic of techniques to any future sources that I may wish to supply to the best of my apparently limited capabilities and despite my lack of beautiful person credentials. Thank you.

  • Mark Edward Manning


    Don’t you know that it’s all George Bush’s fault and it always will be for the rest of mankind’s history on Earth? It doesn’t matter that it’s been more than two years since he left office. He was such an extraordinarily dangerous man that 2,000 years from now, there will still be a palpable link to George W. Bush as the source for every woe to affect the dignity and spirit of all nations that still exist.

  • Clavos

    As long as you two keep complaining about what he does wrong, I’m going to keep pointing out what YOUR guy – or at least one that YOUR people elected (twice!) – did that was far worse.

    You remind me of a kid who, when caught doing something wrong, responds with, “But Johnny (or everybody) does it.”

    Juvenile and irrelevant.

  • zingzing

    to be fair, clavos, when a guy who works every damn weekend has taken 60 or 70 days of vacation in the last two and a half years, and mark wants to complain about it, it’s also a bit juvenile and irrelevant. it’s obviously just pathetic partisan nitpicking. don’t forget the source.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Is it wise to have the same guys who drove our economy into the ditch in the first place to be the ones to get it out of the ditch? Especially when they have ZERO new ideas on how to fix the economy other than what they were already implementing or trying to implement when they were in charge? You know what I mean – rampant deregulation, ignore the national infrastructure, and tax cuts uber alles?

    You know that popular definition of insanity, Clavos – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Your guys want to do the SAME things they did when they drove our economy into a ditch…but they’re really really sure that THIS time it’ll work!

    No thanks – I’ll take the side of those who want to do something OTHER than what ruined our economy in the first place.

  • zingzing

    “Is it wise to have the same guys who drove our economy into the ditch in the first place to be the ones to get it out of the ditch?”

    well, at least they can figure out how they put us in the ditch to begin with. unless they were drunk at the wheel and have no recollection.

    cue archie.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Juvenile … Don’t forget the source …

    I give credit to liberals when they make sense. When was the last time you gave any credit, however small, to a conservative, Zing? For anything? I’m guessing …well, never. Because to be a scintilla less than totally partisan, for even one day, would mean compromising your sense of fair play.

    And the definition of fair play, as we all know, is to only ever acknowledge the contributions of people who willingly drank the Kool-Aid, allowed themselves to be brainwashed and have never stopped believing anything the mainstream media has told them.

    I think for myself, Zing. If you think I’m a 110%, straight-down-the-pike conservative, then you don’t know me as well as you think you do. But I’m not surprised by the arrogant assumption that you do.

    So keep using me as a tool to amuse yourself if that’s what floats your boat. Have fun.

  • zingzing

    “When was the last time you gave any credit, however small, to a conservative, Zing? For anything? I’m guessing …well, never.”

    that’s not true. socially, there’s very little that i agree with conservatives on when it comes to politically divisive stuff. but politically divisive stuff is not the totality of what happens in this life. conservatives have stuck up for many things that i would consider obvious, and i guess they did as well. i’m with them on some of the tsa stuff (as are many liberals), and i’m with them on some of the patriot act stuff (not that they weren’t for it before they were against it, but whatever, people can change).

    “But I’m not surprised by the arrogant assumption that you do.”

    who ever said i did? i’ve only ever responded to your words. i don’t think what you write here makes the totality of you. i wouldn’t begin to assume that.

    “So keep using me as a tool to amuse yourself if that’s what floats your boat. Have fun.”

    you are my little butt plug.

  • zingzing

    “Because to be a scintilla less than totally partisan, for even one day, would mean compromising your sense of fair play.”

    do you only read my words on your articles? or do you have any real idea what you’re talking about? yes, i am to the left. most certainly. i’m to the left of obama (or at least his performance), if you can believe that. but my reactions to you does not illustrate how i think on everything. if it did, that would be sad. wouldn’t it?

    i dunno how you become so arrogant as to assume that you are the only tool in my life. i have many pleasure tools. i can’t even fit them in my hands or mouth, there’s so many. i have a box i keep under my bed filled with them, and i collect more every day.

    alright, that’s enough.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Zingzing: Alright, that’s enough.

    Yes, quite. But, again, if you had fun, that’s all that matters.

    I’m to the left of Obama, if you can believe that.

    No worries. I believe it.

  • zingzing


  • Mark Edward Manning

    Glenn Contrarian: “I’ll take the side of those who want to do something OTHER than what ruined our economy in the first place.”

    Like going to war in Libya, for instance?

    “[W]hen I see YOUR side call for Bush’s head on a pike for HIS war crimes, for what he did to America and the world, then and ONLY then will any of you have ANY moral standing to criticize what Obama does on foreign or military policy!”

    OK, let us compare this to what has transpired under the Obama administration:

    Guantanamo still open and active? Check.
    The continued denial of habeus corpus to its prisoners? Check.
    The detention of American citizens without charge? Check.
    A continued reliance on Bush-era foreign policy techniques? Check.
    A massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan? Check.
    The considerably less-than-immediate withdrawal from Iraq? Check.
    The use of Predator drones in Pakistan (which apparently is considered humorous?)
    An unauthorized declaration of war in Libya that we were told would be a days-long humanitarian intervention, but has mission-crept into a conflict with no end in sight? Check.
    The signing of a four-year extension of the Patriot Act? Check.

    Not that I have a problem myself with anything in that list—save for our involvement in the mess that is Libya—and I especially applaud Obama—hear that, moonbats? I said I’m applauding him!— for extending the Patriot Act.

    Now I put the ball back in your court, Glenn. How does Obama get credit for healing the world through the use of Bush-era policies? How does this make him a better man? Why don’t you want HIS head on a pike.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mark –

    1 – comparing Libya to Iraq is like comparing a flea to a whole doggone elephant. We’re not even the ones running that war anymore, are we?

    2 – You assume that I love everything Obama has or has not done…and you’re dead wrong. There’s a lot that I don’t like and some I have very mixed feelings about – but there’s also a lot he has done that I DO like.

    Let’s go down your list:

    Gitmo – that still ticks me off…but I also bear in mind that when two men who are polar opposites agree on something, it might well be for a good reason, and we don’t have to know that reason.

    Habeus corpus – You actually have no problem with the suspension of habeus corpus? You should!

    Detention of American citizens w/o charge – I have mixed feelings about this one, because while it is very wrong, the threats we face are not insignificant.

    Bush-era foreign policy techniques? You’ve got to be kidding! His foreign policy techniques are vastly different (and much better) than Bush’s. Why? Because he understands the need for real diplomacy. That does NOT mean that he should have a different approach to every other nation than Bush had…because Bush was not always wrong. Nobody’s always wrong, just like nobody this side of Heaven is always right.

    Escalation of the war in Afghanistan – at the time it was necessary, because our forces were in an increasingly bad situation. Hopefully, he’ll bring the troops home a lot sooner now that OBL’s dead.

    ‘less-than-immediate’ withdrawal from Iraq – Mark, I know enough about history to know that the worst thing to do when ending an occupation (illegal or not) is to just pull everyone out right away. It leaves a sudden power vacuum which would almost ensure the wrong kind of people would take over.

    Predator drones in Pakistan – did you know that most of our supplies are NOT flown in, but are driven in on road routes through Pakistan? The drone strikes – as bad as they are – are sometimes a military necessity to keep our troops supplied. As soon as we get our troops out of there, we can stop the strikes.

    ‘Unauthorized war in Libya’ – you mean the supporting role we’ve taken, with NATO in charge? Again, you cannot compare this to Iraq in any way, shape or form.

    ‘Intervention’ – I assume you’re talking about Libya again? Did you hear him say, no ground troops? That’s precisely what he said. That’s why he’s allowing NATO to take the lead – if ground troops are needed, they won’t come from us. You’re blowing this one way out of proportion.

    Patriot Act – I have mixed feelings about this one, too…but what really bothers me about it is the Republicans have a history of having an ‘enemies list’, not only of politicians, but also of entertainers and political activists. They’re sure we have one, too, but I’ve seen no evidence of it at all. If the Republicans get back in charge and the Patriot Act is still in effect, that’s not good.


    Mark, again, I don’t like everything Obama’s done or not done…but he HAS accomplished much that is good despite having to work with the most obstructive Congress in American history. He is leaps and bounds better than his predecessor, and leaps and bounds better than any of the major Republican candidates.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    You’re right, Glenn. Obama does leap and bound spectacularly — straight into the stratosphere where his supporters’ minds can be found.

  • Glenn, to your comment in 28, you sure do seem to be making a lot of excuses for your boy Barry. You sound like a republican defending Bush. You even use a lot of the same excuses!!!

  • Mark, you don’t write for BC nearly often enough. Your articles can be relied on to raise hackles, and the ensuing custard pie fight in the comments is always fun.

    A good jumping-off point is your quaint trademark of citing the Daily Mail, which as far as reliable sources go is almost as bad as citing Wikipedia. It leads you to conclude, in this current example, that Obama hates Britain; whereas really, the worst an objective reader could reasonably infer from that screed is that he’s indifferent to the place.

    Meh. He’s probably indifferent to North Dakota as well.

    And don’t worry: Obamaisms are already as assiduously and affectionately collected as Bushisms were. The difference, alas, is that Obama doesn’t have the endearing aw-shucks-I-goofed-again facial expression that enabled his predecessor to pull them off with such aplomb.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Dr. D:

    True, I don’t write enough here, but that’s by design. A good slugfest is an every-now-and-then thing for me.

    And you’re right: North Dakota very likely doesn’t rate high on Obama’s priority list. Not enough of his constituents there, if you know what I mean. Besides, he probably thinks they speak Dakotan there.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Also, Dr. D, what Mr. Gardiner wrote about the Churchill bust is correct. Why did he give it back? That was a gift from your compatriots to mine after 9/11. Do you not find it even the least bit insulting that he didn’t care about that? I certainly would and it would give me cause to think twice about him being such a swell guy and wanting to kiss every square inch of pavement he walked on while he was here.

    If he had no use for a bust of Churchill in his White House, that’s one thing — but he could have bothered to find out why it was there if he didn’t already know.

    It just smacks of ingratitude. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you know the question I’m about to ask, don’t you? (If Bush had done that …?)

    The British can talk about American arrogance, but when the greatest diplomat in the history of mankind (according to them) displays that very behavior in spades, it’s ignored. So forgive me for thinking the Brits are a bit odd.

  • You think we’re a bit odd, Mark? Mission accomplished! 🙂

    If I spent a lot of time fretting about those sorts of things, then yes, I might have found the bust business a little insulting. The DVD set given to Brown (of movies readily available at the former PM’s nearest Blockbuster, and playable, as it turned out, only in Region 1) was also more than a little bizarre. I’m not privy to Obama’s thought process on the matter of the bust: perhaps, as you suggest, he simply didn’t bother to find out the story behind the gift. Indifference, as I suggested before, rather than outright hostility. Perhaps, alternatively, he might have perceived it as having been a gift to Bush, rather than to the American people.

    The behavior I found truly insulting was Blair’s fixation on determining how cosy a fit his tongue was to GW’s sphincter, as opposed to pursuing a distinctive UK foreign policy.

  • zingzing

    my roommate was in london for a layover, and he picked up one of the tabloid-style papers. can’t quite remember which one. probably the daily mail. not the one with the page 3 girl (unfortunately).

    anyway, they have a column called “ask obama,” in which someone, writing as obama, answers questions with his advice. it’s pretty damn funny, and done in such a straight-forward way that it’s clear someone in britain likes the guy.

    to be fair, the bust was placed where obama wanted a bust of lincoln, and it was only on loan, although the british said he could keep it for another 4 years if he wanted.

    but if you want to know why he sent it back, here it is from the telegraph: “It was during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather.”

    does it make a bit more sense now, mark? you could have bothered to find out why he sent it back if you didn’t already know, if i may use your own words against you.

  • Mark Edward Manning, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. (You probably don’t know who the heck I am, but we had a chuckle over “savory siblings” after one of your other articles.)

    *shhhhhhh. Don’t say my real name.

  • I happen to know that your real name is Mrs R. P. Doorhanger.


  • Quite alright, Dr. Dreadful. She and I are R.P.Doorhanging BBF’s…

    ….coming soon to a neighborhood near YOU!

  • “That was a gift from your compatriots to mine after 9/11.”

    And here I thought the anti-Obama crowd couldn’t sink any lower in their pettiness.

    I know nothing soothes the loss of 3000 innocent deaths to terrorists and countless others sent off to war like a glorified paperweight, but according to an article I read in the Guardian, the bust was on loan from the British Government Art Collection not given as a gift.

    If you don’t know the difference, please loan me some money

  • S.T..M

    Churchill smoked 10 cigars a day – on a slow day. The prez is reportedly still trying to quit smoking for good.

    Maybe he didn’t want Winston’s gruff and curmudgeonly visage right there in his office reminding him that there’s always a good reason to light up, no matter how good shit’s going.

    I reckon he might fire up a bit of the green stuff every now and then, too. “Hey man, check out those weird, swirling colours on the great seal of the United States”.

    Cool and trendy Prez Bill, the Rhodes scholar who took the wrong road, admitted to smoking a college spliff (“I never inhaled” – yeah, sure you didn’t, Bill, same as you never had sexual relations with that woman) …

    Anything’s possible.

    And ultimately, does it really matter that Obama gave the Poms back a bust of Winston?

  • S.T..M

    Gift, schmift.

    The best gift the Poms gave Americans after 9/11 was to have the stars and stripes flying and the Guards playing the Star Spangled Banner while still-shocked American tourists and expats looked on during the changing of the guard at Buck house in London on September 12 … on the Queen’s orders, too.

    As a gesture of solidarity, that speaks volumes.

    The bust is meaningless in the context of 9/11. For it to have had any value, it would have to have been there from 1945 … and the Poms, rightly, would have to have had a bust of FDR at 10 Downing Street. They simply couldn’t have kept fighting the war against Germany and Japan without the US.

    Perhaps that is why they have been so quick to support the US, no matter how dodgy the mission.

  • This author is skilled at snark and insults. Unfortunately, the world is already overflowing with snark and insult, especially from the conservative side. What an ugly-spirited tirade.

    Mr. Manning’s inclusion of the reprehensible, utterly debunked D’Souza book on ‘Obama’s rage’ as a cute illustration for the article tells us more than we need to know. Zing uncharacteristically feeds into the conspiracy theory about Mau Maus by quoting the ‘reason’ for the removal of the bust cited by…conspiracists in the tabloid article.

  • zingzing

    handy, i’ll admit that i’m none too familiar with the mau mau uprising, and i’m also not too sure you could call the telegraph a “tabloid,” although that might be what it is. it’s no sun, i’ll tell you that.

    anyway, apparently, the telegraph isn’t the only one that thinks the thing about the mau maus isn’t a “conspiracy theory.” this article from the bbc may be more to your liking. the “conspiracy theory” made it up to the high court, and although i don’t know if the case has been decided, it has prompted the release of warehoused documents that will hopefully either put an end to the “conspiracy” and exonerate the british or show that it was all true.

    that said, why do you think it’s a “conspiracy theory.” i know next to nothing about it, so i’m guessing there’s plenty i could learn. but everything i’ve read makes it look like the torture claims aren’t impossible.

    and i dunno if that’s why obama sent it back or not. it would seem like a good reason to me. or, it could be, as i alternately state, that he wanted lincoln there.

  • zingzing

    also, i used the telegraph because it’s a noted conservative paper. mark, being a conservative, might possibly read and agree with the telegraph’s political stance on a lot of things. i dunno. (also, i’m thinking you mean “tabloid” with all its negative connotations… not just the physical layout, right?)

  • I admit to leaping to conclusions based on D’Souza d’umb article/book, which was later picked up by Newt Gingrich.

    [D’Souza d’lightful premise is that Obama’s “rage” [what rage?] has its roots in mid-1960s, Marxist-inspired, Kenyan anti-colonialism. This is after D’Souza’s two earlier d’oozies: The End of Racism, which included the line “the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well”; and The Enemy at Home, which blamed 9/11 on, who else, The Left.]

    In other words, D’Souza is a well-known pseudo-intellectual d’ingbat.

    If Obama is “raging” about the Mau Maus, why is this an unspoken rage known only to the people on the right, who just happen to enjoy associating a black president with foreign scariness whenever possible? Does anyone know that there is a connection between the Churchill bust and Mau Maus? No, I thought not.

  • No, the Telegraph is not a tabloid. Along with the Times and the Financial Times it’s one of the three right-wing “respectable” national dailies. Their counterparts on the left are the Guardian and the Independent. (The latter is, as its name suggests, fairly middle-of-the-road politically, but has distinct liberal tendencies and generally breaks left at election time.)

    The tabloids are the Sun, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Star (all right-wing) and the Daily Mirror (left-wing).

    There’s also the Morning Star, the Communist Party newspaper, which comes in tabloid format but is actually a serious paper. It does, however, have a far smaller circulation than the others.

    Here ends your primer on the British news print media.

  • And Mark, as I mentioned earlier, seems to get most of his news from the Daily Mail.

  • zingzing

    “Does anyone know that there is a connection between the Churchill bust and Mau Maus? No, I thought not.”

    of course not. but these accusations are not new (the court case has been going on for at least 5 years now, and i’m sure the accusations go back to the 50s), and i’m sure obama was aware of them, being of kenyan descent. it’s not a totally bizarre conclusion. but, it is only conjecture, as you point out.

    were you saying the connection between the bust and the mau maus is a “conspiracy theory,” or were you saying the possible torture of the mau maus under british colonial rule is a “conspiracy theory?”

    there are a lot of reasons why obama might have sent it back. he hasn’t said (has he?). i’m sure he wouldn’t come out and say it if he thought british national hero winston churchill was a torturing goon. that would be pretty bad. but send it back he did. if he didn’t have a strong reason for doing so, he’d have put it somewhere else in the white house. i’m struggling to come up with another reason why he’d risk looking ungrateful, but if you think the bronzed head of a man staring at you might have been responsible for the torture of your grandfather, you might not care.

  • S.T..M

    I get suick of the black-armband view of history that paints all white colonial settlers as bad and all colonised people as freedom fighters, no matter their atrocities.

    The Mau Mau were a pack of complete bastards. Like the IRA in Ireland in the 1980s, the Mau Mau didn’t represent the wishes of the majority of Kenyans at the time the British were putting Kenyan independence on the table from about 1951 onwards. The conflict continued into the early 60s and the Mau Mau’s tactics came to be hated by the vast majority of their own people, who opposed the standard tactics of mutilation and cold-blooded killings of men, woman and children.

    There were two branches among the Kikuyu in their battle for control. The true radicals among the Mau Mau weren’t freedom fighters; they were given to torture and murder in quite horrific ways, with entire families of farmers and AFRICAN villages wiped out, so if Churchill was cracking down on them – and he wouldn’t have been the only British leader to do so – good on him.

    They deserved being cracked down on.

    Other Kenyans who were vocal about independence, including and who moved to achieve it through legal and peaceful means – a process already in train – weren’t arrested or jailed.

    There’s a big difference between agitating for political change according to rule of law, even in attacking what might arguably be seen as lgitimate military targets in a worst-case scenario, and committing murder, rape and torture of innocent people as a means to that end. As Americans well know, because that is exactly what al-Qaeda did to them on 9/11, and their reasoning would be identical … that America is dominating them and robbing from them. Not true, as we know, even if in both situations – British colonial rule and American corporate colonialism – there might be a grain of truth in it.

    For many years after independence, Kenyans enjoyed a decent standard of living, good education, free health care, etc, and had one of the best-functioning economies in Africa.

    That it achieved this had nothing to do with the Mau Mau, which was bent on destruction of its fellow Kenyans, black and white, and especially of those who adhered to the idea of peaceful and achievable change.

  • zingzing

    well, torture is never quite the answer, is it stm? yeah, the mau maus may have been brutal, but is that any excuse?

    “[E]lectric shock was widely used, as well as cigarettes and fire. Bottles (often broken), gun barrels, knives, snakes, vermin, and hot eggs were thrust up men’s rectums and women’s vaginas. The screening teams whipped, shot, burned and mutilated Mau Mau suspects, ostensibly to gather intelligence for military operations and as court evidence.” –Carolina Elkins, “Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya.”

    elkins does, from what i can gather, take a rather dim view of britain in that book. and how she came across that info is rather unclear.

    anyway, the british gov’t sure has been reluctant to open the files on the uprising. kenya has asked for them multiple times as far back as 1967. a freedom of information act request failed to turn them up 5 years ago, and only now have they been “discovered.”

    so far, a quick peak into the docs has revealed that elkins may have been correct. the times reports that “Sir Evelyn Baring, the Governor of Kenya, in a telegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, reported allegations of extreme brutality made against eight European district officers. They included “assault by beating up and burning of two Africans during screening [interrogation]” and one officer accused of “murder by beating up and roasting alive of one African”. No action was taken against the accused.”

    other reports say that the british gov’t knew full well what was happening: “Senior members of the Commonwealth Office in London did know what was happening; senior legal officials in London did, to some extent, sanction the use of coercive force; and also, at Cabinet level, the Secretary of State for the Colonies certainly knew of the excesses that were taking place.”

    from what i’ve read (and i must admit that i’m kinda just familiarizing myself with this…), there were camps that systematically tortured thousands of kenyans, mau mau and kikuyu alike, and hung over 1,000 individuals.

    crazy shit. no one’s innocent when shit gets that nasty.

  • Conspiracy theory was maybe the wrong phrase. Right-wing propaganda nonsense about Obama being enraged on behalf of the Mau Mau, is what I meant, all based on on D’Souza’s bullshit garbage. All intended to get Obama and Mau Mau in the same sentence as many times as possible. Which I have just unwillingly done myself.

  • zingzing

    heh. well it’s not anti-american to be against british colonialism, is it? (it’s weird how logic gets twisted by politics sometimes.)

    although i’m very far removed from the goings on in this incident, i’m a bit upset by it as well. it’s certainly reflective of the more nasty elements of the british empire.

    if obama doesn’t like his grandpa getting tortured by the british gov’t (or at least the british gov’t of kenya), that’s his prerogative. maybe he has no lingering anger over what happened to his grandpa. it was over 60 years ago, according to whatever relative it was that said it happened.

    still, he had no use for a bust of churchill.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    There might be another reason why Obama let the bust of Churchill go. There was recently an accusation – with quite a bit of evidence to back it up – that Churchill refused to let bring grain to India to help with a famine that cost over 1M lives in and around 1943.

    But that’s not the whole story. The WinstonChurchill.org site – which, reasonably enough, is about Winston Churchill and protecting his legacy, points out that while Churchill was certainly racist by today’s standards – he was accused by his fellow Conservative MP, Leo Amery, who was also Secretary of State for India, of being “no different from Hitler” – Churchills (and England’s) situation at the time should first be understood before accusations of genocide are levied.

    First, look at the threat that India faced (taken from the second reference above):

    In mid-October 1942 a devastating cyclone ripped through the coastal regions of east Bengal (today lower Bangladesh), killing thousands and decimating the autumn rice crop up to forty miles inland. Rice that should have been planted that winter was instead consumed. When hot weather arrived in May 1943, the rice crop was a fraction of normal for Bengal’s peasantry, who had spent centuries living on the edge of starvation.

    Turning bad news into disaster were the Japanese, who had just overrun Burma, the main source of India’s rice imports. Within a month, the entire southeastern portion of the subcontinent faced starvation. The governments in New Delhi and Bengal were unprepared, and as the heat intensified, people began to die. It was the greatest humanitarian crisis the British Raj had faced in more than half a century.

    But in all honesty, as bad as things were in India, Churchill was far more concerned with England; indeed, he would have been criminally remiss in his duties to England if he had given India the help that they so desperately needed. In his mind – and rightly so – was that all available seaborne traffic needed to be used to save England from Nazi Germany…because in 1943 the Battle of the Atlantic (and England’s survival as a nation) had not yet been secured. Churchill’s position had to be “England first”.

    So is Churchill’s racism the reason why Obama let the bust go? Probably not…but he’s quite well-read and just might know about the accusation of genocide against Churchill and wanted to get rid of it to avoid a political row with India. Probably no one outside the White House knows the real reason.

    Everyone here knows my hatred of racism…but I still hold Churchill to be the greatest statesman and perhaps the greatest leader of the twentieth century.

  • According to MediaMatters, Glenn Beck is responsible for much of the rumor-mongering regarding the Churchill bust. The bust was always intended to be a temporary loan to Pres. Bush. It has now been returned to the ambassador’s residence.

    Here’s the MM article:
    Obama’s grandfather + Churchill bust = Wacky Beck conspiracy

    It is unseemly for us lefties to be doing the dirty work of the least savory voices of the right by accepting their ridiculous premises as reasonable or trying to find ‘another explanation.’ Back to earth, please, gentlemen.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Handy – well said.

  • zingzing

    well, handy… just because glenn beck said it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily 100% wrong. stopped clock, etc. beck certainly goes far too far if he equates handing the bust back as a symbol of obama’s hatred for the entire uk. i don’t like beck, but it doesn’t mean i hate america because i don’t agree with one of its loudmouths. and of course, equating the return of a loaned object as loathing of what that object represents is taking it all too far as well.

    all that said, what do you think obama thinks of churchill? he probably has conflicting feelings, much like glenn up there. i’d bet obama simply wanted busts of people he felt better fit those he would wish to emulate (lincoln and king, as it is). although lincoln had his own bouts of racism and king was (supposedly) a philanderer. every man has his fault, especially those with power.

    at least i learned about something today (and just as new info is coming to light, yay), and i will name my next cat mau mau. it will be a black cat, and it will be willing to destroy its own home in order to gain freedom from those who would oppress and wuv on it.

  • Fine, but I will take the president’s word on his motivations [and accept his silence, since the bust is hardly that big a damn deal anyhow] over the drama-queen hysteria-laden speculations of Beck.

    In early 2009, the economy was hurtling into oblivion a mile a minute. I doubt he gave this piece of statuary a tenth as much thought as we have today alone.

  • Well, let’s be honest, Churchill (the younger Churchill, at least) certainly wasn’t above an occasional bit of excessive violence. His handling of the Sidney Street siege, his advocating the use of gas to put down a Kurdish rebellion (what is it with rebellious Kurds and gas?), and his reported suggestion that striking miners be machine-gunned were among the things that led to him becoming a political pariah for a couple of decades. By the outset of World War II he had a well-earned reputation as something of a loose cannon, and there were those who viewed his accession to the premiership with horror.

    With that in mind, it’s all the more extraordinary that he turned out to be exactly the right person for the job.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I’ve long said that sometimes the best man for the job is a real asshole (please pardon my Latin).

    That said, it sounds to me like he grew up in his years in the political wilderness. Besides, most men do really dumb (and truly dangerous) things when they’re young, and then when they’re older they view with trepidation the likelihood that their children will do some of the same dumb and dangerous things.

    So, yeah – I think Churchill grew up and learned that extremist views such as those you listed (I didn’t know about the Kurds) should not be found in those who would govern well.

  • zingzing

    “I doubt he gave this piece of statuary a tenth as much thought as we have today alone.”

    true. and by all rights, he shouldn’t have to think about such things. but this is america during the obama admin, and the conservatives will bite his ass for taking a shit.

    i have no idea what that was about, but i’m okay with it.

  • I know where it came from, though.

  • Glenn Contrarian


    What!?!?!? Obama took a crap? How DARE he take a crap on American soil! He’s crapping on America, and no real red-blooded Fox-educated American should stand for it!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I notice that I’ve made twice as many comments as anyone else. I wonder if that has anything to do with my wife being on the other side of the planet and unable to give me that look whenever I sit down at the computer….

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Irene: Thank you. I’m afraid I don’t remember anything we talked about, or of me encountering you before, but I thank you for the kind words.

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Dr. D: “And Mark, as I mentioned earlier, seems to get most of his news from the Daily Mail.”

    Wrong, Dr. D. Wrong. I get my news from a wide array of sources. I work with newspapers, so I can’t help but read a range of stuff from all papers. But I don’t immediately discount something just because the dreaded Daily Mail published or editorialized on it.

    Besides, even if I did, I believe it’s more in touch with reality than the pinko, “you’re all gonna die because of the Tories” Chicken Little bullshit that the Daily Mirror generates — and which everybody over here seems totally brainwashed by.

  • Excellent.

  • Ruvy, S.T..M.,you, Dr. D and I were laughing…oh…nevermind. It was a very long time ago, and I suppose I’m glad people have forgotten about it.

  • zingzing

    “I know where it came from, though.”

    if that kid had taken a shit, i wouldn’t have strangled him. talk about inappropriate. poor kid.

  • There was nothing about either of those things in that youtube. That’s a jingle a lot of people sang as little kids. Guess not everybody, though. Oh well, I guess I’m going to turn in.

  • @ # 65:

    FWIW, Mark, I consider the Mirror to be even worse, on a par with the Sun and Star for sheer bottom-feeding moronic-ness. The fact that the Mirror looks down on the other two because they feature pictures of pneumatic young ladies with their tops off and it doesn’t is laughable.

    The Mirror‘s one redeeming feature used to be that it had The Perishers in it. Sadly, that strip and its genius creators are long since departed.

  • zingzing

    “That’s a jingle a lot of people sang as little kids.”

    that’s odd. anyway, i was hoping most people would see that i’m saying the gop is full of shit when it comes to criticizing obama over meaningless crap. that’s all. that little jingle is pretty annoying as well though. if i taught my tyke to say that back to me, i sure wouldn’t film it.

  • zingzing

    doc, the page 3 girl is the only good part about those awful “newspapers.”

    that said, i have become quite enamored with the new york post, which is a rag i would only wipe my butt with if it wouldn’t leave stains, as it’s fucking entertaining and infuriating. i hate the fucking thing, but i love it all the same. my roommate buys it, not because he agrees, but the fucking times is $2.00 a pop these days. if you want a dose of what’s going on in nyc these days, you take it at 75c and a load of irony.

    i get most of my local news from a murdoch-owned pile of shit. and. i. love. it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mark –

    Do we give credit to conservatives? I’m a liberal, make no mistake – but I count Reagan as one of the top five presidents we’ve ever had and I’ve defended that viewpoint against my fellow liberals.

    Furthermore, who was it that enabled the economic boom of the Clinton years? Was it Clinton? No. It was a man who’d shown his courage before – George H. W. Bush. He enabled the boom by actually raising taxes after he said, “Read my lips, no new taxes”. THAT, sir, was political courage. He saw what was necessary and cared more about what America needed than about what his party wanted.

    THAT is courage…and such was sorely lacking in the Bush Jr. administration…and is lacking in the GOP of today.

  • S.T..M

    Gassing the Kurds.

    Britain was engaged in a similar war in Iraq in the 1920s to that faced by the Coalition this decade.

    The RAF (the brand-new service created in WWI, now fighting to prove its worth to Westminster and therefore out to grab a bigger share of the meagre-post-war defence pie) told Whitehall that they really needn’t send in the troops, old chap, apart from a couple of regular Scottish regiments composed mainly of hard-drinking, brawling nutters in kilts who only had a good day if they got their bayonets out and slit a few bellies (“Here Jummy, git thaat stutched then”) – because the RAF could do it all with them new-fangled aeroplanes and bombs!!

    The Kurds were revolting. I mean that in the revolutionary sense.

    Churchill heard that the RAF was dropping bombs on villages, although like the good Brits they were, they sought to cut collateral damage by dropping leaflets warning the inhabitants that their villages were going to be bombed and they’d best get out while they could. If they didn’t mind.

    Churchill, a big fan of gassing the gas-loving Germans in retaliatory attacks during WWI, wondered whether the RAF could put gas in bombs and use it to subdue those naughty, revolting villagers.

    Wiser counsel thankfully prevailed, and the young(ish) Churchill was once again sidelined and dismissed, as Doc says, as a loose cannon. Very loose, was the prevailing opinion.

    He was still a nutter in 1940. But the free world needed a bit of a nutter to stand up to a complete and utter nutter.

    And the British do actually do an excellent “free-world nutter”.

    The US has come close, on occasion, but there are your common-or-garden “free-world nutters” in charge, and then there are your hard-core free-world nutters. (Nixon was another hard-core free-world nutter).

    Churchill was a hard-core nutter with a thin veneer of respectability, which Nixon didn’t have. Looking like a used-car salesman will do that to you.

    Churchill’s view of the Germans: “They’re either atv your throat or your feet.”

    Churchill preferred them prostate and immobile. Dead, if possible.

    And no matter how wrong he was on almost every other occasion, in 1940 … he was right. And history, as we all know, is written by the winners.

    In 500 years’ time, his foibles will be all but forgotten. He’ll be remembered as the saviour of the free world, the first man to stand up to the Hun hordes, and not as the would-be gasser of kurds.

    He’ll also be a more important historical figure for that reason than FDR, who was a sly and cunning bugger but not really in Churchill’s league.

    History will say it was Churchill who talked America into going to war … like the good British colony he thought it really was.

  • S.T..M

    “Mark …. gets most of his news from the Daily Mail”.

    Well, I don’t blame him. They do a fantastic line in “Dirty vicar elopes with schoolgirl” type stories.

    It’s fascinating watching the train wrecks happen after they’ve – The Mail, that is – cooked them up with that very idea in mind.

    I’ve heard it described as the newspaper favoured by the kind of people, those in every neighbourhood, who like to peek out of their net curtains to see what’s going on across, up and down the street.

    I suspect the elderly lady living in the house opposite me, who actually IS English, is a former reader of The Daily Mail.

    She’s nice, but she knows every bloody thing going on in the street, even when I put my garbage bin (sorry, “trash can”) on her side of the street after I’d missed the collection one morning.

    When the garbos emptied it, she even brought it back across the road.

    Nothing wrong with a Mail reader!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ah, Stan!

    The Kurds were revolting. I mean that in the revolutionary sense.

    Someday I gotta invite you over for a brew – cold or hot, doesn’t matter. Your #74 gave me my first belly laugh of the day…and you’re spot on!

  • “i have no idea what that was about, but i’m okay with it.”

    So now you’re NOT okay with it, now that you realize–though you don’t really want to face it–“what that was about.” A song you heard or repeated innocently as a child popped out in another context, and now you are embarrassed and trying to push the embarrassment onto somebody else. It’s not really all that big a deal, and I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • I don’t know how the residents of certain parts of Eastern Europe (Latvia, Estonia, etc…) felt after they were turned over to the Soviets at the Yalta Conference. Did they blame Churchill right away, or even make the connection between what was happening to them and Churchill, and the others at Yalta who knew what kind of a person Stalin was?

  • zingzing

    “So now you’re NOT okay with it, now that you realize–though you don’t really want to face it–“what that was about.””

    no. i can stand by poop jokes, but not child porn. shameful stuff.

  • He’d never forgiven mom for pushing him into being in that Mr. Bubble’s commercial.

  • S.T..M

    Irene, Churchill fought very hard for parts of Eastern Europe NOT to be turned over to the Soviets. It was the US that insisted on towing the Soviet line. Churchill initially wanted to charge for Berlin after the D-Day landings to stop Stalin getting his hands on the German capital, and thus give the western allies a greater stake in the carve-up of post-war Europe. Eisenhower sensibly didn’t want to waste allied lives in what he must have known would be a futile effort and held back the British/Canadian and US armies at the Elbe.

    Churchill, who realised that the British really no longer had any clout in the tripartite alliance, was rather dismayed by the entire thing, especially the turning over of Poland to the Soviets after their promise that the government in exile in London would be allowed to return. It was obvious that the US and the Soviets had usurped Britain’s pre-emninent position as a dominant world power even by the end of 1943, so it’s unlikely he would have wielded much influence at Yalta in view of the American position (remember too that the US had been supplying the British with weapons almost from the outset of the war in 1939). FDR’s “arsenal of democracy” in fact was a eupehemism for supplying Britain with arms to continue the fight against Nazi Germany, which they did until America’s entry into the war in late 1941. The British paid a heavy price in lives, cold, hard, cash … and world influence.

    I don’t know why Churchill believed it was possible that Poland would become a free and fair democracy given its location, but he might have felt that Stalin somehow owed him for going to war with the Germans over their attack on Poland in the first place.

    How wrong he was.

    Just sayin’

  • S.T..M It seems you’re right about Roosevelt being more accommodating than Churchill was at Yalta. (It was just that the bust under discussion belonged to Churchill, not Roosevelt.) I just read someone opining that Roosevelt actually saw UK’s colonialism, more than the USSR’s communism, as being more of a threat to the US’ super-power status.

    I was wondering how long it was after the Yalta Conference that the atmosphere had begun to turn Cold War-ish. It looks like that started to happen only a few months later at the Potsdam Conference, where Truman (much more suspicious of Stalin than his predecessor had been) had replaced Roosevelt.

  • S.T..M

    Yes, FDR did see Britain as more of a threat to its status. The great irony, of course, is that in holding that line he opened the way for the US to become a quasi-colonial power, indeed one of the largest empires in history.

    In the modern world, the British and American empires weren’t that different … both have essentially been about trade boosting their free-market economies.

    In the 19th century, the British planted the Union Jack all over the globe and set up public colonial administrations to facilitate that trade.

    The US took it a step further and did it with private enterprise and corporate HQs across all corners of the globe. What better way for Americans to carry the flag to the corners of their quasi empire.

    And you have to be nice to the Americans, or they’ll bring you democracy 🙂

  • S.T..M

    And Glenn, thanks mate! I’d love to catch up with you one day; maybe if I’m up in The Philippines again and you’re there we can.


  • Mark Edward Manning

    Irene, I do indeed remember some great crackin’ conversations between me, Dr. D and Stan. Sorry I don’t remember you; as you say, it was obviously quite some time ago.

    Dr. D: Don’t get me wrong: although I like the Sun‘s editorial p.o.v., I’m not into their whole simple-minded tabloid technique. I’m not a bald-headed, gold-earringed, overweight lug whose main conversational phrase is “oo-gah!,” so I have no use for tabloids. Glad you agree about how puerile the Mirror is.