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Jul 26 2012

If only we could get the English to vote in our elections

Mitt Romney is off touring England like a boss, and he’s already pissing everyone off. And then this quote from one of his books has just emerged.

England [sic] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.

This is great! I hope he visits more strange little foreign countries before the election!

142 comments

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  1. 1
    pentatomid

    Strange little foreign countries… Maybe he should come to Belgium. He’s probably one of those people who think Belgium is the capital of Brussels, so that should be fun.

  2. 2
    stevebowen

    He can come and ask for a pint in my little English pub if he likes… I keep a speil barrel for people like him.

  3. 3
    stevebowen

    Special, ffs. ( hate the iPad, hate the iPad)

  4. 4
    roland72

    One day people from the US will learn that “England”, “Britain” and “UK” are not interchangeable terms. PZ, you are in danger of falling into this trap too. I think you just about avoided it here in that it does in fact seem to be true that Romney’s only visiting England, but I think the Scots and Welsh and Northern Irish might be rather aggrieved that you’re not interested in their votes.

  5. 5
    PZ Myers

    When Romney pisses off the little Scots and Welsh and Northern Irish, I’ll be sure to note it. Do you think they’d like to vote in our elections, too? It would probably help.

    Also, no one’s noting the historical inaccuracy? I don’t think Hitler had a chance of invading England, even if we’d stayed out of it, and the UK was doing a pretty good job of holding the Axis off. They might not have been able to invade mainland Europe without the additional American manpower, but I don’t think they were at risk of falling.

  6. 6
    Sili

    Well, as long as he’s not in the US. Republan voters don’t pay attention to furrin news anyway, so this’ll help lower his profile.

    He should visit Denmark. Now that’s a small country that doesn’t produce much of anything.

    And we’re the second biggest consumer of coffee per capita in the world.

  7. 7
    James

    Which is why some commentators to various articles have already bestowed Romney with his sobriquet – Mitt the Prick.

    It even rhymes if, like him, you can’t be arsed to get the name right…

    (Mick the Prick for anybody wondering)

  8. 8
    michaelbusch

    @PZ:

    Romney does appear to have failed social studies, but note the caveat in the quote “if it hadn’t been separated from the continent”.

    I don’t know what would have happened if there was no English Channel (because then the butterfly effect would mean that there was no Hitler, and no WWII, and no England as we know it), but it’s a big enough ‘what if’ that the statement isn’t necessarily false. That doesn’t make it true, of course.

  9. 9
    Amphiox

    re PZ @5;

    Not so much historical inaccuracy, I think, but more fantasy alternate history wanking. Romney seems to be hypothesizing about a scenario with no English channel, as if WWII was fought during the last ice age glaciation and England was part of mainland Europe.

    Of course, without the Channel there likely never have even been an England at all, as it would probably have ended up being merged, one way or another, into a larger European entity way back in the Middle Ages if not sooner.

  10. 10
    Lynna, OM

    Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, too a whack at Mitt Romney. Video at the link.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19006480

    Ex-mormons have been discussing Romney’s poor showing in Britain. Example:

    His mormon provincialism is definitely showing. This is worse than garmies hanging out below shorts…

    The ex-mo’s also noted Romney’s use of massive government funds to rescue the Olympics, and that a lot of those funds were poorly used.

    It also made a lot of rich Mormons richer. Earl Holding, owner of Sun Valley, Snow Basin, Sinclair, Great America, and the other half of downtown Salt Lake that the cult doesn’t own, comes to mind. I was in a Super G race at Snow Basin when he flew in the Olympic selection committee, that they were bribing, to see his resort. They arrived in three helicopters including the Salt Lake County Sherriff’s “official use only” copter. Holding got a sweet land swap, infrastructure and roads to his resort and at least six million from the SLOC to have six races at Snow Basin. He couldn’t volunteer his resort like the little people had to volunteer their time….Earl still has his land swap and roads.

    Barely legal sweetheart financial deals between mormons. Big surprise. Not.

  11. 11
    davidrichardson

    Romney probably thinks the US armies were the ones which defeated Hitler too.

    Just wait till he gets to the staunchly Catholic Poles – they can barely tolerate Protestants, let alone Mormons – and there plenty of toes to trample on over there, since the borders of Poland have changed so much in the last hundred years.

  12. 12
    Dick the Damned

    I’m counting off the weeks before leaving England for good. One daughter & a grandson are going with me.

    There is one thing i’ll say for the place: there’s not too much religious nonsense, compared to the States. Although the right-wing leader is trying to promote superstitious nonsense by indoctrinating kids.

  13. 13
    grumpypathdoc

    According to some historians, we gave the Brits a little boost before we entered WW II, not that they were not tough enough.

    Mitt’s a twit though.

    Check out the twitter feed:

    https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23romneyshambles

    Even the Tories are giving him the finger!

  14. 14
    keithb

    You missed the big “what-if”, PZ. If the Channel had not been there *and Great Britain would have been the same*, I doubt that Hitler would have had much problem taking it over.

    Of course, if there was no English Channel, I suspect that the Brits would have had a few more tanks and other things to protect against a land invasion.

  15. 15
    James

    @michaelbusch

    Actually, the whole “No English Channel” thing raises some interesting questions.

    For instance – Would the Spanish Armada have been a fleet of caravans?

    I’m going to be wondering about that all night now…

  16. 16
    roland72

    But that’s the point. He’s pissed off the British. Calling Britain “England” will annoy everyone in Britain. Not that it’s a huge world-changing issue or anything, but it really isn’t difficult to get this right.

  17. 17
    steve oberski

    It’s like he’s channeling Sarah Palin.

  18. 18
    charlessoto

    This won’t hurt him. Dittoheads 1) don’t know geography and 2) think Merika is eggseptionalist!

    Also, the Olympics aren’t just in jolly ole England. The football stadium is in Glasgow.

  19. 19
    'Tis Himself

    Now we get to watch the Limeys argue about Great Britain vs. Little England.

  20. 20
    Lynna, OM

    I think Romney also refused a cup of tea at one of his “grip and grin” meetings.

  21. 21
    Moggie

    Sili:

    He should visit Denmark. Now that’s a small country that doesn’t produce much of anything.

    TV. Brit viewers love them some Forbrydelsen.

    As for pissing us off: folks, you do realise that “pissed off” is our permanent state of mind? Even before the olympics?

  22. 22
    Ben P

    I don’t know what would have happened if there was no English Channel (because then the butterfly effect would mean that there was no Hitler, and no WWII, and no England as we know it), but it’s a big enough ‘what if’ that the statement isn’t necessarily false. That doesn’t make it true, of course.

    Oh, if there wasn’t an English Channel there’s little doubt in my mind that the UK would have fallen to the Blitzkrieg not long after France. The near collapse at Dunkirk should be all the evidence needed there. (due to the Halt Order the british were able to evacuate 330,000 troops, but 40,000 remaining french got captured and the British left behind 10 divisions worth of materiel)

    However, I’d speculate that England and Scotland would have been even less easily occupied than France, and the English likely would have just established a government in exile in Canada and marshaled their forces there.

  23. 23
    roland72

    I think if there had been no English Channel the whole history of Europe would have been so different that it’s hard to speculate. Which makes Romney’s remark really rather stupid, actually. Rather like saying what would the result of the American civil war have been if the southern states were actually a huge island?

  24. 24
    feralboy12

    The English Channel would not have offered so much protection had not the British controlled the seas with their historically powerful navy.
    Germany had no chance to invade without control of the skies, and they tried and failed to achieve that in the Battle of Britain. Also, the Luftwaffe was never quite so fearsome after that. As rough as D-Day was, it would have been worse if Germany had controlled the air.
    Ignorant jerk.

  25. 25
    pinkboi

    With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.

    So I take it Romney has no awareness of music or pop culture in general?

  26. 26
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Republican Foreign Policy (Sekrit!)

    Name of country:
    England/Britain/UK/Merrie Olde Englande/Hertfordshire
    Position:
    Somewhere near Europe
    Currency:
    Dunno. Beans? Tea bags? Umbrellas?
    Policy (Check only one):
    [X] They have money. Sell them bombs
    [ ] They have oil. Bomb them with bombs
    [ ] They have nothing. Give them free bombs then send aid
    [ ] They have bombs. Suck up to them

  27. 27
    Grumps

    @charlessoto

    The football is being played in grounds all over Britain. The women’s first match was in Cardiff, Wales yesterday. As I type GB (men) are beating Senegal in Manchester, England.

  28. 28
    robro

    If I’m not badly mistaken, England…just the country…is quite a bit large than Massachusetts. The island of Great Britain is larger still, the ninth largest in the world. In fact, just slightly smaller than Texas.

    And what exactly does Massachusetts make that the rest of the world wants to buy? MBAs? Lawyers? Engineers? Noam Chomsky essays? Beans? Stupid politicians? Nah…

    Once again Republicans have shown their true color by selecting a nominee who can’t keep his silver foot out of his mouth, is ignorant of the world, insults people, and is a racist to boot.

  29. 29
    David Hart

    Slightly drifting off-topic, but if anyone cares about when to say ‘England’, ‘UK’ or ‘Great Britain’, CGP Grey has a handy little video setting it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10&feature=channel&list=UL

  30. 30
    Lynna, OM

    Coverage on The Maddow Blog — excerpt below.

    How badly is Mitt Romney’s trip to the UK going? After this morning’s difficulties, which were bad enough, the Republican presidential hopeful caused more trouble by acknowledging a discussion he had about Syria with MI6 — which he really wasn’t supposed to talk about.

    Actually, let me ask that initial question again: how badly is Mitt Romney’s trip to the UK going? This tweet comes by way of James Chapman, the political editor of the UK’s Daily Mail:

    Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. “Worse than Sarah Palin.” “Total car crash.” Two of the kinder verdicts.

    Chapman soon after quoted another British source that said, after meeting Romney, that he’s “devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity.”

    How badly is Mitt Romney’s trip to the UK going? London Mayor Boris Johnson, a conservative, openly mocked Romney today at a rally in Hyde Park in front of 60,000 people. The same paper ran a report calling the start of Romney’s trip “humiliating.”…

    There’s a reasonable case to be made that this apparent debacle won’t move a single American vote. Indeed, for many on the right, this might very well be a badge of honor — if Romney is being mocked in the UK, they assume, he’s probably doing something right.

    But there’s just one angle to this that’s nagging me: I’ve long perceived Romney as a hapless minor leaguer who pretends to be ready for the big show, and a successful international trip is supposed to be one of the ways in which he can prove someone like me wrong. Ostensibly, Romney can travel abroad — taking advantage of his Anglo Saxon roots? — and prove to Americans that he commands respect. He can be an effective leader of the free world, the argument goes, because international audiences will take him seriously….

  31. 31
    Forrest

    I still get confused over what is what when it comes to the British Isles so I watch this as a refresher: “The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained” http://youtu.be/rNu8XDBSn10

  32. 32
    Forrest

    I see @boselecta beat me to it…

  33. 33
    charlessoto

    @robro

    Chowdah! And not that disgusting tomato based stuff, either.

    @Grumps

    Didn’t know about Wales. What exactly does one cheer at a GB vs. Senegal match? I’d feel lost without a vuvuzela.

  34. 34
    Trebuchet

    If there’d been no English Channel, Romney would be visiting France. Hitler just ran into the same stumbling block as Napoleon.

  35. 35
    Grumps

    Well as Senegal have just scored and drawn level not much cheering going on at all.

  36. 36
    michaelbusch

    @James @15:

    I refer you to my friends at alternatehistory.com . Just don’t ask them to design a timeline where the Unmentionable Sea Mammal could happen (Operation Sealion is apparently the alternate history equivalent of The Scottish Play).

  37. 37
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Boris Johnson [took] a whack at Mitt Romney.

    So did the PM:

    Romney [...] told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games.

    David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking [him ...] On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

    Zing!

  38. 38
    Lynna, OM

    I predict Fox News stories that elaborate on the straight-talking American he-man, Romney, being disrespected by those effete European/British socialists.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Lynna, OM

    Well, it’s official. Team Romney is not worried about headlines that originate outside of the USA.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/romney-olympics-london-bobby-jindal-bob-mcdonnell.php

  41. 41
    Crimbly

    Hang on… Mitt Romney is in the UK? What in the imaginary hells induced you to release him to the world, America?

    Also, I’m going to relax and have a beer in Scotland, where I can be bisexual without worrying about it. Heck… soon I’ll even be able to marry (I hope I give Mitt a haemorrhage).

  42. 42
    Lynna, OM

    Romney will follow up his string of gaffes with a fundraiser that features some of the criminal caught in the LIBOR scandal. ‘Tis Himself may have to explain this one to us.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/mitt-romney-london-libor-barclays.php

    With his London visit mired in controversy, Mitt Romney is also facing criticism for taking money from individuals implicated in an ongoing banking scandal.

    Barclays executives have donated over $1 million to Romney’s campaign…

    Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond bowed out as host of Romney’s fundraiser after resigning in the wake of a scandal in which major banks colluded to artificially lower the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR)…

    Last week, 11 members of the British Parliament signed a letter citing the upcoming fundraiser and called on Barclays executives to “cease fundraising for political candidates immediately and to concentrate entirely on repairing confidence and trust in the banking system instead.”

    Headlines in the last few days have drawn the connection between Romney, his financial industry-focused fundraiser and the LIBOR scandal….

  43. 43
    davidmc

    BBC news at 10
    “…a chat with Cameron and Romney was rowing back faster than Sir Steve Redgrave.”

  44. 44
    Lynna, OM

    I liked this comment about Romney, “He’s like the Kevin Bacon of financial abuse.”

  45. 45
    zmidponk

    Let’s take this from the top, shall we?

    England [sic] is just a small island.

    No, England is actually one country of the four in the UK that are spread over two relatively small islands, and many even smaller islands.

    Its roads and houses are small.

    Yes, and? Why would we have massive motorways and buildings everywhere if they’re not needed? Over here, we don’t do things big just for the sake of doing things big, we only make things as big as they need to be.

    With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.

    Well, assuming Romney’s ignorance is such that he said ‘England’ when he meant ‘the UK’, we’re the 10th largest exporter in the world, with about one third the exports of the US (who are 2nd, behind China) by dollar value. Considering we’ve only got about one fifth the population, I think that’s pretty good, myself.

    And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions.

    And if the UK had recognised the danger of Hitler back in the early 30s, we could have taken steps to deal with him before any real danger came about. To go the opposite route, before the outbreak of war, Hitler actually admired the British, and some within the British society, at the time, admired him right back, so it is theoretically possible he might have been able to broker at least a non-aggression pact, if not an outright alliance, whilst he fought the Russians. You can come up with all sorts of completely wacky scenarios if you start playing ‘what if’ with history, all of which are essentially meaningless.

    Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.

    Yes, and, at one time, what became the US was nothing more than part of that empire. Would you have preferred we kept it that way?

  46. 46
    Synfandel

    If only you could get Americans to vote in their own elections. The voter turnout for the 2008 presidential election was 57.37%, up from an even more pathetic 49.00% in 1996.

  47. 47
    Menyambal

    With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.

    And what does the USA make that the people in the rest of the world want to buy?

    Movies?

    Weapons?

    Airplanes?

    None of those are exclusive to the USA anymore.

    Wheat?

    Are we still selling wheat, and does the world realize how much more we’d have if we weren’t growing corn for our cows and our cars?

    As for England, I’d like a punt, a pint and a pie, a basket of fish and chips, a stack of books and a collection of British humor videos. Please. Oh, God, please.

  48. 48
    Menyambal

    I’d also like to not bork the blockquote.

  49. 49
    birgerjohansson

    The British -and particularly the English- have a strong tradition of satire and taunting the powerful.
    A Brit PM is never the subject of the obsequiness (?uncertain of the spelling) that surrounds a `Merkun (or French) president.
    .
    If Bush had tried a political career in Britain he would have been torn to pieces.
    .
    Another difference: Brit conservatives will dump their leader the moment he/she has become a liability for their chances at re-election. Republicans will let him lead them over the edge of a cliff.

  50. 50
    revjimbob

    “When Romney pisses off the little Scots and Welsh and Northern Irish, I’ll be sure to note it.”
    I am Scottish, and he pisses me off, chubby.

  51. 51
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Hitler just ran into the same stumbling block as Napoleon.

    What, Russia? ;-)

    As far as Europe’s concerned, the Red Army won (most of) it for the Allies. (IIRC, 90% of Nazi troop losses were on the Eastern front.) The Allied liberation was, to some extent, a race to establish a new border somewhere between Paris and Moscow.

  52. 52
    steve oberski

    @roland72

    it’s hard to speculate

    From personal experience I can say that it’s surprisingly easy to speculate.

  53. 53
    Grumps

    Speculation: easy and fun. My second favourite hobby.

  54. 54
    madscientist

    You say ‘touring’, I say ‘trolling’. That quote from Romney’s weird – does he have ambitions to conquer the globe? Romney’s also such an idiot – of course the English and other nations of Great Britain create products that the rest of the world wants. If Romney has a mobile phone, it’s probably got British technology in it.

  55. 55
    kreativekaos

    steve oberski @ 17:

    Love the your observation of Mittens Romney ‘channeling’ (English ‘Channel’ing??) Sarah Palin.

  56. 56
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    @birgerjohansson: “obsequiness”

    Obsequiousness. (Ob-see-kwee-uss-ness.)

    I suspect you’ll like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pluto

    Apparently, they were drilling for oil in Nottingham Forest.

    Robin Hood should have been hoovering up the exploration rights!

  57. 57
    Randomfactor

    What in the imaginary hells induced you to release him to the world, America?

    We had to. One of this tax writeoffs is competing in the horse ballet.

  58. 58
    robinjohnson

    I’ve always found it a bit unfair that I don’t get a vote in American presidential elections, especially when the phrase “leader of the free world” is being tossed around.

    Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.

    Is Romney getting nostalgic about old-school imperialism? ‘Cause it didn’t work out so well in the end.

  59. 59
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    I sure love that one of our *shudder* presidential candidates is out there *gag* making diplomacy easier. I just love being hated by the citizens of other nations because the dipshit in office is to damn stupid to understand international politics.

  60. 60
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    to/too

  61. 61
    Nogbert

    Is the bastard still here? I’ve got a bag of tomatoes rotting nicely, thanks to the recent heat.

  62. 62
    Gregory Greenwood

    PZ @ 5;

    Also, no one’s noting the historical inaccuracy? I don’t think Hitler had a chance of invading England, even if we’d stayed out of it, and the UK was doing a pretty good job of holding the Axis off. They might not have been able to invade mainland Europe without the additional American manpower, but I don’t think they were at risk of falling.

    Haven’t you heard, PZ? In the official, Republican-approved book of revisionist history, the United Kingdom – along with the rest of the planet – could do no more than throw spuds ineffectually at the Nazi warmachine, and complain bitterly that this whole war business just wasn’t cricket. Mere seconds before the UK capitulated and turned all its industry over to mass producing tea and crumpets for the jackbooted hordes, three All American Supermen* – two of whom were members of Mitt Romney’s own clan** – arrived, not by ship, but by foot – having parted the Atlantic Ocean Moses-style because they were in good with the sky fairy, and having jogged the 5,000 miles between the countries in twenty minutes as a bit of light warm-up exercise.

    They then proceeded to win the Battle of Britain by incinerating the entirety of the Luftwaffe with a contemptuous gaze, before defeating the whole nazi warmachine, but not by using firearms and explosives, oh no – being Real Manly Men(TM), the thought that this would hardly be a fair fight, when all they were facing were a few hundred thousand effete Europeans with machine guns, heavy armoured units and artillery. So instead they set their jaws, balled their fists, and had at the foe.

    Half an hour later, having liberated the whole of Europe, smacked Mussolini around a bit, smashed the Afrika Korp, and duffed over the Imperial Japanese forces for good measure – as well as delivering both nukes in person before shrugging off the resulting nuclear blast as ‘just a flesh wound’ – they killed Hitler and a thousand of his finest SS soldiers by sneezing at them.

    After that, they impregnated the entire female populations of Britain, France, Canada and Australia***, installed proper, American-style True Democracy(TM) across all those nations****, rebuilt Germany with more True Democracy(TM)*****, and were then taken back home in Yahweh’s own flying pick-up truck to a rapturous welcome in the land of the free and the home of the brave. There, they wrote the constitution, built the White House with their own hands in a single lazy afternoon, and guarenteed American freedom by putting a gun in the hand of every True American Patriot…

    Trufax.

    —————————————————————

    * Err, actually, bad choice of words – lest just call them All American Heroes.

    ** Yes, Mittens is decended from the blood of heroes, dontcha know. Just ask him, he’ll tell you all about it. At length.

    *** Because the feeble local blokes obviously weren’t up to the job and as for consent well – you can’t expect the pink fuzzy lady brains to make important decisions like that, can you?

    **** Because the European system was clearly as milquetoast as all those European men – how else did Hitler get into power? And the Canadian and Australian systems weren’t American True Democracy(TM), and thus obviously weren’t up to scratch either.

    ***** But left a goodly chunk of Europe in the hands of the Red Army because, while they were a bunch of pinko commies, they sure did make some damn fine Vodka.

  63. 63
    r3a50n

    This is great! I hope he visits more strange little foreign countries before the election!

    Careful what you wish for, he’s on his way to Israel where his tone-deaf insults could start an international incident.

    Being insulting is Rmoney’s schtick; he can’t help but to be insulting when he speaks candidly. He’s also a pathological liar so it’s probably not too far from the mark to say that if he isn’t insulting you, he probably lying.

  64. 64
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Ugh, my #56 should have gone:

    And, apparently, at the time, they were also …

    [note to self: post slower]

  65. 65
    thetalkingstove

    If we weren’t seperated from mainland Europe by water…er, ok. So if Britain were an entirely different place, with a different economy, culture…yeah Mitt, then we might have lost to the Germans. What an insightful point.

    While we’re playing Fantasy Earth, if America had been a tasty fish on Hitler’s dinner plate, then he would have eaten it right up! How’d you like that, Mitt?

  66. 66
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Gregory: I’ve added history to my sociology class for that reason. There’s a joke I like to open up history discussions with: I don’t know about anyone else, but from the history books, I assumed George Washington had super powers, and that the Revolutionary War was won by five serious dudes in a boat.

    r3a50n: You know, the more I study international politics, the more worried I am about presidential candidate gaffes and straight up ignorance.

  67. 67
    steve oberski

    kreativekaos @#55

    Honesty compels me to admit that I hadn’t considered the pun on the English Channel.

  68. 68
    Maureen Brian

    Oh, look! The Daily Telegraph doesn’t think much of him either.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/mitt-romney/9428764/Commentary-if-Mitt-Romney-doesnt-like-us-we-shouldnt-care.html

    And he’s doing this – whatever he may think he’s doing – with top people from 204 countries in town. That must be the definition of an idiot.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    Gregory Greenwood

    mouthyb @ 66;

    I don’t know about anyone else, but from the history books, I assumed George Washington had super powers

    Abraham Lincoln has that beat – he hunted vampires. With a wood axe, no less.

    Hollywood says it, so it must be true, amiright…?

    ;-P

    —————————————————————-

    On a side note – the first comment under the video just has to be a homophobic reference to Twilight’s (admittedly really annoying) sparkly vampires.

    I hate Youtube commenters. I really do.

  71. 71
    shouldbeworking

    I hope no one shows Miit a map of NORTH America. he just might start making republican stupid comments about the War of 1812.

  72. 72
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Greenwood: I can’t wait to be talking a little about history this next semester and have to answer questions about Lincoln.

    Yep. Can’t wait.

  73. 73
    Lynna, OM

    Gregory Greenwood @62

    ** Yes, Mittens is decended from the blood of heroes, dontcha know. Just ask him, he’ll tell you all about it. At length.

    All mormons are taught the history of Mitt’s famous great-great grandfather, Parley Pratt. There are just a few problems associated with the mormon version. They leave out Parley’s hankering after female flesh being so strong that he took another man’s wife (in addition to the other Pratt wives.) IIRC, Parley Pratt even arranged for the woman’s real husband to be sent on a mission so that he would have unfettered access.

    Ex-mormon “NormaRae” recently posted about Mitt’s Heritage.

    Your father is from Mexico. And WHY was he born in Mexico? Because your “heritage” is chalk full of people who had total disregard for the laws of this country? Did your forefathers teach you those values? Does that make you someone who should be respected on the international stage?

    Your great grandfather fled this country (well, the Utah Territory) with his 5 wives for the express purpose of escaping its laws. You know, that law about one man/one woman that you claim has been the tradition for 2,000 years.

    And what about your g-g-grandfather, the beloved mormon icon, Parly P. Pratt? Oh yes, I learned in Sunday School how he died a martyr. He died after being shot for his beliefs. Isn’t that what a martyr does? Only my SS teacher left out a little part. You know that part about his speshul beliefs that he died for being that a man should be able to take another man’s wife and his kids because he wants her for his 12th “spiritual wife.”

    Yup, and when “spiritual wife’s” real husband finally tracked that man [Parley] down, after that man [Parley} had gone to Louisiana and helped kidnap her kids, move them to Utah and hide them, hubby shot him in the back. Martyr my ass. He died because he had total disregard for the laws of this country. What a great heritage you have Mitt. Let’s make heritage an issue in this race.

    Oh, and then let’s not forget that most historians, who are looking at facts, not just the whitewashed Mormon version of history, believe that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was perpetrated as revenge for the fact that the state of Arkansas did nothing to your g-g-granddaddy’s murderer (the husband of one of his 13 concubines). So as revenge, the Mormons attacked a wagon train from Arkansas, killing 120 men, WOMEN and CHILDREN. Yup, that’s all part of your heritage. Let’s make sure the British have the whole picture.

    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,578980

  74. 74
    lizdamnit

    Let Mittens keep going, please. With any luck, he’ll put his foot in his mouth so far, he’ll swallow himself whole and go away.

  75. 75
    Jeebus

    Let Mittens keep going, please. With any luck, he’ll put his foot in his mouth so far, he’ll swallow himself whole and go away.

    If that happens, the Republicans would just trot out someone worse.

  76. 76
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Not content with upsetting his British hosts, Mr Romney has now also managed to enrage the travelling American press corps, who pay tens of thousands of dollars to follow him around the globe. After his meeting with Ed Miliband, the Republican presidential challenger apparently took questions only from British reporters.

    The gaffe-prone Mr Romney is so rarely made available to these media “embeds” on the trail that his campaign has been nicknamed the “Mittness Protection Programme”. So his decision to ignore them during one such “avail” went down predictably badly.

    The NBC News First Read blog says: “Those of us that have travelled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions”.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/mitt-romney/9428295/Mitt-Romney-in-London-as-it-happened.html

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/26/12968214-first-thoughts-london-calling?lite

  77. 77
    Michael

    On a more ironic note, China may soon overtake the United States as the world’s top economic power. This means that in a few decades you could take Romney’s quote and replace ‘England’ with ‘United States’, and ‘island’ with ‘country’.

  78. 78
    magistramarla

    The best British export ever is Dr. Who!
    Just sayin…..

  79. 79
    allencdexter

    “Also, no one’s noting the historical inaccuracy? I don’t think Hitler had a chance of invading England, even if we’d stayed out of it, and the UK was doing a pretty good job of holding the Axis off. They might not have been able to invade mainland Europe without the additional American manpower, but I don’t think they were at risk of falling.”

    Sorry, PZ, you’re way afield here. Without her Commonwealth, our lend lease and our entry, they would have been doomed eventually. As it was, we triumphed in the nick of time. The Germans were developing wonder weapons, including atomic bombs, that would have completely changed everything if they had had a little more time. Their jet aircraft were a real menace before the end of hostilities but they couldn’t produce enough of them quickly enough because the might of the United States air campaign halted or slowed down production too much.

    When the real history is understood, we came frighteningly close to losing that war. If Hitler had held off a couple more years, we probably would have and the world would be a far different place today.

  80. 80
    eddyline

    I worry that we’ll (Americans) end up looking more like fools than ever, because the rape apologists Romney apologists Republicans will double down on how being ignorant is something to be proud of, as they have for pretty much every election in the past thirty years.

  81. 81
    eddyline

    …aaand they’ll end up winning, though how, I can’t figure out yet. If the American people vote him in, we’re in for a horrible future.

  82. 82
    robro

    Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.

    Another subtlety that Mitt is incapable of comprehending: The UK managed to transform it’s colonial empire into the Commonwealth. While England doesn’t control the members, it did establish a large, global economic union. And, I believe the Queen of England is the titular head of more countries than any other person.

  83. 83
    DLC

    Seriously, Mitt has a Dancing Horse, and it’s in the . . . Horse Ballet. .? WTF kind of athletics is that ?

    zmidponk @45 :

    Yes, and, at one time, what became the US was nothing more than part of that empire. Would you have preferred we kept it that way?

    Well, actually, now that you mention it, yes, I do.
    National Health Service, Beer that isn’t watery, Um.. the food though… we’ll talk. But you folks drive on the wrong side of the road!

  84. 84
    Randomfactor

    Abraham Lincoln has that beat – he hunted vampires.

    http://www.historum.com/lounge/44118-george-washington-zombie-killer.html

  85. 85
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    As it was, we triumphed in the nick of time. The Germans were developing wonder weapons, including atomic bombs, that would have completely changed everything if they had had a little more time. Their jet aircraft were a real menace before the end of hostilities but they couldn’t produce enough of them quickly enough because the might of the United States air campaign halted or slowed down production too much.

    Citation, please! (Actually, two: one for the Nazi atomic programme, and one for the superiority of Me-262s over Spitfires and Hurricanes.)

    Take your time …

  86. 86
    Paul

    Citation, please! (Actually, two: one for the Nazi atomic programme, and one for the superiority of Me-262s over Spitfires and Hurricanes.)

    Take your time …

    If you’re taking your time, make sure to account for the likeliness that Hitler lost as soon as he attacked Russia. It was just a matter of time. If the Americans hadn’t intervened, England might have been overrun eventually — but it wouldn’t have been by the Germans, who were already fighting a losing war.

  87. 87
    conway

    Countries and nations aside, does the island itself have a name? Seriously, I’m wondering.

  88. 88
    Amphiox

    The Germans were developing wonder weapons, including atomic bombs, that would have completely changed everything if they had had a little more time.

    Actually, their wonder weapon programs probably shortened the war, as they wasted resources trying to perfect untested and as yet unreliable systems, instead of focusing of mass producing the reliable stuff that worked.

    Their atomic bomb program had hit a conceptual snag in the engineering of a critical-mass chain reaction and was actually stuck at the time the war ended. There’s no telling how long it would have taken them to work that out, even if they had the time, but seeing as the Luftwaffe had been swept out of the sky, their sources of heavy water cut off by the allied advance, and their V2 launch sites overrun, even if they had managed to make a detonable atomic weapon, they would have had no way of delivering it anywhere except to the front line, on top of their own troops’ heads (which at this point was the suburbs of Berlin).

    Their jet aircraft were a real menace before the end of hostilities

    The Me262′s outperformed allied prop-engined planes, IF they managed to take off and reach combat altitude. By the end of the war, the allies had figured this out and very few did.

    And IF the Me262s had been produced in sufficient quantities to slow down the allied bombing campaigns, all that would have done is delayed things a few months, until the US switched over its B-29 fleets from the Pacific to the European theatre, the B-29′s being capable of flying and bombing from altitudes above the Me262′s effective operational ceiling.

  89. 89
    feralboy12

    The Germans were developing wonder weapons, including atomic bombs, that would have completely changed everything if they had had a little more time.

    Overstated. The Germans were never very close to developing the atomic bomb, particularly after the raid on their heavy water plant in Norway in 1942. Also, Hitler reportedly had a dream that the bomb wouldn’t work.
    The jets were potentially a fearsome development, but it was too little, too late (as you indicated). Also, manpower, including trained pilots, was an issue by that point.
    Many historians question whether Hitler was really serious about invading England; mostly he wanted to be left alone to pursue his Lebenstraum in the east, which is why he attacked the Soviets. Really, given England’s naval power and Germany’s failure to take control of the air in the Battle of Britain put an end to that idea.
    The war might have been potentially winnable for Hitler, but his propensity for mistakes (attacking the Soviets while England was still in the war, not allowing the Sixth Army to attempt to break out of their siege at Stalingrad, etc.) made it very unlikely by 1943.
    Taking down Nazi Germany permanently did require the United States to get involved, mostly by opening a second front that Germany was never in its history able to deal with, but let’s give the Brits some credit, and let’s not act like the war came down to a last-second field goal.

  90. 90
    Pierce R. Butler

    eddyline @ 80: The Germans were developing wonder weapons, including atomic bombs…

    Most historians agree that neither the Germans nor the Japanese had atomic weapons programs worth worrying about by 1945. The Germans in particular had handicapped themselves by ejecting Jewish and liberal scientists and rejecting “Jewish physics”: had Hitler followed the Kaiser’s lead and enlisted the aid of all German citizens without racial barriers, that would have been even more strategically significant than the Isthmus of Calais.

  91. 91
    Rip Steakface

    Eddyline seems to believe that if the Panzer VIII Maus, Landkreuzer (both variants), and Nazi occult research worked, they would have won.

    Now, let me tell you about the time I took out a Maus in World of Tanks with a T-50-2…

  92. 92
  93. 93
    robro

    allencdexter

    Sorry, PZ, you’re way afield here. Without her Commonwealth, our lend lease and our entry, they would have been doomed eventually.

    I know a fair amount of history and I don’t find PZ’s comment far afield.

    Certainly the UK depended on Commonwealth troops, and other allies, to hold the fort. And certainly, US “lend lease” helped Britain, as well as the Soviet Union. But it’s not at all clear that the Germans could have successfully invaded Britain.

    For one thing, it’s not clear that Hitler was interested in invading Britain. He demanded that the Luftwaffe control the skies but they were unable to gain air superiority thanks to the tenacity of the RAF. Due to the British “mistake” of bombing Berlin, the Germans switched their air campaign from military and strategic targets to terror bombing which did not serve military ends effectively. Also, the German navy didn’t have the transports needed to move and supply a large army across the channel.

    It was truly Operation Barbarosa that ended the German threat to Britain and, as pointed out, ultimately defeated Germany. It seems Hitler was always more interested in Russia than Britain. The Eastern Front exhausted the German army, demoralized its officer corps, sapped its industrial strength, and undermined support for the war in Germany and among its allies.

    Germany’s advanced weapons program could have been a threat, but clearly wasn’t. It’s debatable whether they were seriously exploring nuclear weapons. The first jet fighters weren’t operational until April 1944 and were only a marginal nuisance to allied bombers. The only seriously threatening new weapons were cruise missiles (V1 buzz bombs) and rockets (V2s), which were used against England in numbers but their real impact was minimal much like the terror bombings.

    As for the US entry into the war, it’s one of those “what if’s”. As noted, the US was already in the war on 12/7/41, but what if it had turned it’s attention to Japan then? Perhaps that’s what Hitler hoped. But, the US and Britain settled on a “Europe First” policy. It was in many respects already a clean up operation. The eventual opening of the Western Front (late per the Russians) was largely to make sure that the new western border of the Soviet Union would be as far East as possible…Germany’s defeat having already been decided on the streets of Stalingrad and the steppes of Russia.

  94. 94
    Menyambal

    Conway, the big island is Britain or Great Britain.

    The competitive horse prancing is called Dressage. It involves moving about precisely, not jumping or running, and it’s done to music.

  95. 95
    rwgate

    By 1943 the main threat to British and US shipping had been swept from the seas. Long range planes were filling the gap where convoys were vulnerable to German U-Boats. In the meantime, British and American forces were moving through Sicily, then Italy, threatening the Reich from the South. Mussolini was dead and Italy ceased to be a threat. The Balkans were being cleansed of German troops. Germany was stalled in the East, where the Russians were building up and winter was coming on. A good friend of mine was a decorated German tank commander who fought with Rommel in Africa, took part in the siege of Stalingrad, and was finally captured by the Americans at the Battle of the Bulge. He faced the same problems that German pilots faced; they fought until they died or were captured. What the German pilots didn’t do was send their flying heroes home to train more pilots.

    By the end of 1943 the Germans, fighting against Russia and the Allies in Southern Europe, were feeling the effects of lack of resources (the same thing that plagued the Japanese in the Pacific). With Russia advancing, with the loss of the Southern Theater, Germany was getting desperate and Hitler was becoming irrational. Even his generals tried to assassinate him. The German army was the only real fighting force left, and after the invasion on D-Day, it was only a matter of time.

  96. 96
    AshPlant

    conway @87:

    does the island itself have a name?

    Actually, no. Huh. I’d never thought about that before. The only group names (“Great Britain” or “United Kingdom”) are cross – islandary, and include some (but not all) of that other island next to us. It would be so much easier if we’d never tried to assimilate Norn Airlen. Then we could have Scotland, England and Wales, and the island could be Britain. Or Albion, if we’re delving into alt-history; who’s to say it wouldn’t have ended up called that? I always liked Albion.

  97. 97
    postmodernslavepoet

    A letter in the current edition of Private Eye, (a fortnightly satirical magazine for those who don’t know it), from Rod Burden notes that Mitt Romney is an anagram of “My I’m rotten”.

  98. 98
    earwig

    Conway, as Menyambal says, the island is called Great Britain and the archipelago is the British Isles. However, these names give great offence to non-English residents of these islands (sc. Scots, Irish, Welsh) so the tactful way of referring to them while you’re here is “this island” or “these islands”. I haven’t a clue what the correct terminology is when you’re the other side of the pond, though I have heard them referred to, together with the island of Ireland, as the West European Archipelago.

  99. 99
    earwig

    And if the English Channel hadn’t existed, who knows how different European history would have been. Brits would have been better linguists, for a start. Mr Romney really is a piece of work.

  100. 100
    alkaloid

    @Roland72

    But that’s the point. He’s pissed off the British. Calling Britain “England” will annoy everyone in Britain. Not that it’s a huge world-changing issue or anything, but it really isn’t difficult to get this right.

    I’m asking this because I genuinely don’t know this and not because I’m trying to be offensive, but why is this annoying?

  101. 101
    eddyline

    Re: #90 & 91:

    You must have me confused with someone else. I’m worried about Romney now, not Hitler then.

  102. 102
    eddyline

    Although I do remember reading somewhere, maybe 20 years ago, that the ME262 was a glutton for ersatz Benzin…

  103. 103
    earwig

    I’m asking this because I genuinely don’t know this and not because I’m trying to be offensive, but why is this annoying?

    Roland’s probably au lit right now, so I’ll take a pot at that. (I’m guessing your blockquote got borked.) The English were the tribe who went out conquering and subjugating everyone else on these islands, so it’s not greatly appreciated by the Irish, Scots or Welsh to be mistaken for English.

  104. 104
    carlie

    They leave out Parley’s hankering after female flesh being so strong that he took another man’s wife (in addition to the other Pratt wives.) IIRC, Parley Pratt even arranged for the woman’s real husband to be sent on a mission so that he would have unfettered access.

    Damn, and that exact story was explicitly condemned in the Bible as bad. David and Bathsheba, anyone?

  105. 105
    earwig

    Carlie, I thought the exact same thing. Is Romney really bringing up his pedigree? This would be off-limits unless he is.

  106. 106
    Pierce R. Butler

    rwgate @ # 95: By 1943 … Mussolini was dead …

    Then who was it who got deposed in ’44, rescued by Skorzeny, set up as a minor Alpine satrap, and hanged by the Resistance in ’45?

  107. 107
    suzysalaksartok

    Maybe he can be a guest on Top Gear, have his chauffeur drive his lap for Star in a Reasonably Priced car…then put Mittens in an Ariel Atom and see how fast he can drive through a pyramid of bottles of HP sauce and Heinz baked beans.

  108. 108
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    I’m asking this because I genuinely don’t know this and not because I’m trying to be offensive, but why is this annoying?

    While the United Kingdom exists as an entity politically speaking, the individual countries making it up still retain their borders and national identities.

    An analogy, if you called someone from Michigan a Texan they might get annoyed. Sure they’re both part of the USA, but Texas is not the USA. Similarly England is not the UK, it is part of it, and OK it’s where some of the government is (though Scotland at least has its own legal system among other things) but it is not equivalent.

    Plus due to long historical things there’s always been a bit of an animosity certainly between the Scots and the English (Similarly to the Canadians and Americans abroad, if you go to France and are perceived as English you will often get a cold reception, but if you are perceived as Scottish then a warm welcome).

  109. 109
    alkaloid

    @Ariaflame, earwig:

    Thank you for explaining. I understand now.

  110. 110
    Crissa

    That Mitt quote sounds like what I’ve heard British economists say.

    ‘Course, those Brits are pretty wry.

  111. 111
    ibyea

    @alkaloid
    For me personally, it is as if someone said all of East Asia is China.

  112. 112
    ismenia

    Actually a lot of British people do wish we could vote in your elections since so much of our foreign policy is determined by the USA.

    I cannot begin to describe the relief that people over here felt when Obama won the last election. There was a lot of resentment at the way our government went along with the Bush administration’s policies.

  113. 113
    petrander

    He should visit Denmark. Now that’s a small country that doesn’t produce much of anything.

    Like….

    Lego?

    Bang & Olufsen?

    Carlsberg beer?

    Lurpak butter?

  114. 114
    roland72

    I was au lit but Ariaflame got it right @ 108. Several commenters are still getting it wrong here – I’m not really sure how Hitler could have invaded England without also invading Scotland and Wales, for example; it makes much more sense to say he would have been invading, or at least attempting to invade, Britain.

    I understand that “Great Britain” is uncontroversially the name for the largest island, but the term “British Isles” (which includes Ireland, mostly not “British”) is offensive to some. Anyway that’s all I will say on this subject here.

    @Pierce R Butler @ 90 I think that’s a weakness of authoritarian ideologies; because they depend on people believing things which aren’t true, it means in the long term they aren’t successful. One example: the Germans wouldn’t make use of “Jewish” science. Another example would be the Germans believing their codes were unbreakable.

    The thing being that if the Germans didn’t have the authoritarian ideology – so had not discriminated against Jews, and had not had a culture which said they were superior etc etc – then there probably wouldn’t have been a war. So the things which made the Germans start the war were also the things which made them lose it. In the end the good side will eventually win (how long it will take is another matter entirely) because false ideologies are not stable. Note this is not an argument for “I won the fight therefore I must be right”.

  115. 115
    neilweightman

    Romney is one of the few people who can make our (UK) prime minister look like a man of the people.

  116. 116
    kangxi

    feralboy12 @ 89
    “Lebenstraum”? Heh. I have visions of Germans demanding Lebensraum in order to force the untermensch living there to listen at gunpoint to some gentle Liszt (Liebesträume)…
    … while the music of Liszt’s son-in-law lurks darkly in the wings.

  117. 117
    Menyambal

    A troupe of American reporters followed him over there (at their own expense) and at a press conference he ignored them entirely.

  118. 118
    Anri

    Now, let me tell you about the time I took out a Maus in World of Tanks with a T-50-2…

    *mutter mutter* …bloody dragster tanks… JUST YOU WAIT ‘TILL ACTIVE PHYSICS MAKES ALLA YOU LIL SPEED DEMONS DRIVE OFF CLIFFS AND FLIP AND AND AND BAD STUFF!

    What?

    Ahem, sorry, just sniper-tank venting… pay me no heed…. imma shut up now.

  119. 119
    cartomancer

    Actually “Great Britain” is a term for the island group itself (not including Eire and its nearby satellite islands). It’s “Great” Britain meaning the big Britain, as opposed to “lesser” Britain which is Brittany in France. The terms derive from the Romans, whose interests were naturally Mediterranean rather than north-European.

    The main and dominant island doesn’t actually have its own special name, because it is so dominant and central that “Great Britain” has pretty much always sufficed. If we need to differentiate it from the Shetlands, Orkneys, Hebrides, Channel Islands, Anglesey, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Bardney and the thousands of tiny rocks in the sea off the coast, we just call it “the mainland”.

    Of course, we English being who we are, and monumental jingoistic arrogance being something we’ve only recently learned to tame, we call the stretch of water to the south “The English Channel”. The French find this insufferable presumption on our part (and they’re right, it is), and merely call it “La manche” – the channel. There is a famous, though I fear apocryphal, newspaper headline that sums up our traditional attitudes: “Fog over the channel – Continent cut off”.

  120. 120
    sc_b75f5a6009fbec1ac6ee45ce1b5bad2b

    @66, @70, etc.

    A number of people have mentioned that Abraham Lincoln was a Vampire Slayer, but people keep forgetting that George Washington was a werewolf.

    Don’t you people pay attention in history class?

  121. 121
    pipenta

    magistramarla
    26 July 2012 at 6:05 pm
    The best British export ever is Dr. Who!
    Just sayin…..

    Hun, You’re only saying that because you aren’t a Marmite addict.

    Now where did I put that rye bread? Ah yes!

    Mitchie Mitt, the richest boy in the world, is a serious contender if there is a big enough chunk of the voting population thinks that facts don’t matter, that diplomacy doesn’t matter. If you view the rest of the world through a dog’s eyes** (Can I eat this*? Can I f#@k it? Can I fight it?) then Romney is the candidate for you!

    *Take their resources and exploit their population.
    * Allies with whom you might just have to share a piece of the pie, until you can figure out how to screw them anyway.
    * Folks who won’t let you take their resources and exploit their population and/or those who want too big a piece of the pie and/or those who want to “eat” you.

    ** You know, as the cold wet world zooms by from the inside of a car top carrier.

  122. 122
    carbonbasedlifeform

    Its roads and houses are small.

    He should go to, say, Perugia, he would find even smaller roads. The streets in Perguia were laid out by the Etruscans, who were thinking of something wide enough for a single horse and cart. When I lived in Rome, my flat was on a street barely wide enough for one car. (And not far from that was a stretch of what had been the Via Appia, which apparently was last repaired under the Empire.)

  123. 123
    Paul

    Romney is one of the few people who can make our (UK) prime minister look like a man of the people.

    I…couldn’t resist making an image macro.

  124. 124
    Pierce R. Butler

    roland72 @ # 114: … if the Germans didn’t have the authoritarian ideology – so had not discriminated against Jews, and had not had a culture which said they were superior etc etc – then there probably wouldn’t have been a war.

    Much as I regret disagreeing with someone who just agreed with me…

    Numerous observers at the time of the Versailles Treaty predicted it would lead to war in another generation, well before anti-Semitism became a giant factor in German politics. And if you can’t call Kaiser Bill’s 2nd Reich an “authoritarian ideology”, you probably can’t use the term at all.

    In the end the good side will eventually win …

    Tell it to the Native Americans, the pacifist factions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Pakistan, the Thebans, the Tibetans…

  125. 125
    catwhisperer

    Let’s put him in a room with Prince Phillip and just watch them say apalling things. Should be fun.

  126. 126
    roland72

    @ Pierce – I think there’s a lot in what you say. The key word is really “eventually”; I guess what I’m saying is that over the very long term history is progressive.

    Re Germany – the seeds of the Nazi ideology were sown a long time before the 1930s it’s true (I even did a course at university about it! Not that I can remember much); so a lot of things would have had to be different for it not to arise. What I was saying though is that such regimes are not stable in the long term. Thinking about it I’m not sure I should be so optimistic though – some autocratic regimes seem pretty long-lasting (China, N Korea) but then we would have said the same thing about the Soviet Union in 1988…

  127. 127
    RFW

    @ #11 davidrichardson says:

    the borders of Poland have changed so much in the last hundred years.

    Make that “last several centuries.”

    Wikipedia is well furnished with articles on matters and topics Polish, and it’s well worth reading them. Did you know, for example, that at one time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest state in Europe, stretching from the Baltic nearly to the Black Sea? That one reason there were so many Jews in Poland for the Nazis to torture was that the P-L Commonwealth had religious toleration, so Jews flocked there as a way to escape official persecution.

    Most tragic, the three partitions of Poland that divvied it up between Germany, Austria, and Russia.

    I don’t laugh at Polish jokes anymore.

  128. 128
    RFW

    Things made in the UK worth buying:

    wine gums
    Weetabix
    Marmite
    Cadbury’s chocolate
    Bird’s custard powder
    HP Sauce (try the “Fruity” variety)
    rich tea biscuits

    And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

  129. 129
    Ava, Oporornis maledetta

    Robro, #28: Well, we do make . . . uh . . . we make . . . whatever the MIT whiz kids are cooking up. We used to make candy. Lots of it. And shoes. And furniture. And cloth. And Baker’s baking chocolate. And we still make . . . NECCO WAFERS! And craft beer.

  130. 130
    Ava, Oporornis maledetta

    RFW, #128: Clash records. And the Who.

  131. 131
    christopherphillips

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18983558

    Just don’t take it too seriously. The fact that Mitt the twit hasn’t a brain cell is not news, we saw GW Bush didn’t have one either.

  132. 132
    gravityisjustatheory

    Of course, we English being who we are, and monumental jingoistic arrogance being something we’ve only recently learned to tame, we call the stretch of water to the south “The English Channel”.

    Is that any more arrogant and jingoistic than the Irish Sea, or the Arabian Sea, or the Indian Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico, or any of the numerous other bodies of water named after one of the adjacent countries or landmasses?

  133. 133
    conway

    RFW, you left off Britain’s greatest export: Comedy.

    And thanks to all for the geographic information.

  134. 134
    johnlee

    “Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population”.
    He makes it sound like barging into other people’s counties and pushing them around is something to feel proud of.

  135. 135
    betakappa

    johnlee Actually for some people it is a nice talking point that they like to mention.

    “The most impressive takeaway after reading this work is the enormity of the imperial undertaking and the efficiency with which it was run. India, with more than 300 million souls, was occupied and managed by a mere 100,000 Britons. By comparison, California pays over 206,000 full-time bureaucrats to mismanage 37 million residents of the Golden State. It took pints upon pints of personal sacrifice and a stiff upper lip to rule so much territory and most of the seas for so long. As Mr. Crocker summarizes, “Young men, straight out of school, could find themselves in distant lands acting as lawgivers to primitive tribes and dangerous brigands; they were men of conservative sentiments, liberal ideals and boyish pluck.”

    That is from an Amazon review of the book. http://www.amazon.com/review/R3LUIO9QDCKF18/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1596986298&nodeID=283155&store=books it seems many seem to admire the times when men ruled others with a fist.

  136. 136
    conway

    “He makes it sound like barging into other people’s counties and pushing them around is something to feel proud of.”

    Well of course it is! The Bible says so. It makes you the chosen people. You can even take the virgins as war brides. And thousands of years later, the most powerful nation on earth will bow down to you, despite the turmoil and destruction it will cause, because you are just so special.

  137. 137
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    When I was at the aerospace museum in Seattle, I got to see a video on how the great US Air Force fought off the Luftwaffe which outnumbered it 20 to 1 in the Battle of Britain…

    Oh, wait. That was the RAF, not the USAF. The US hadn’t even entered the war yet, they wouldn’t for another goddamn year and when they did their air force would have its hands kept full by the Japanese anyway.

    Romney fails at WWII forever. In fact, he fails at his own country — how does he not know Pearl Harbor was in 1941 and the Battle of Britain in 1940?

  138. 138
    Maureen Brian

    Setar,

    The USAF fighting the Japanese in the Pacific had a fair proportion of people like my cousin Brian, died 2010 – people who had qualified to be fighter pilots but were no longer needed in the European theatre so were lent to the US and then fought with distinction in the final stages of the war.

  139. 139
    coryat

    Well if there was no channel, there may be no Anglo-Saxon heritage for Mittens’ advisor to mistakenly bang on about, another gaffe and a racist dog-whistle to boot (damn Angles!)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/07/27/romney-adviser-tries-to-otherize-obama

    England may well have previously fallen to Napoleon. Hey, if things had been different they would have been different!

    Also, I think quite a few commentators here are overlooking Russia and its military contribution to WW2. Along with Spain it was the graveyard of Napoleon as well.

  140. 140
    Sili

    “He makes it sound like barging into other people’s counties and pushing them around is something to feel proud of.”

    First rule of Missionary Club.

  141. 141
    christopherphillips

    All this WWII rubbish makes me vomit. The profound ignorance of a culture educated by Hollywood and wallowing in a doctrine of amercian exceptionalism is an in insult to the remainder of humanity. I had this brought home to me recently when I visited the Bletchley Park Museum and found the pages of outrage caused by the Hollywood epic claiming the winning of the war by the capture of a U-Boat enigma machine. No recognition of the vast contribution of the Poles, the French, Norwegans or the British academics, or the sailors from HMS Bulldog who actually died in the process of this recovery. The rewriting of history and the nauseating sickly sweet christianity overlay is truely sickening.
    Whilst I love the USA to visit, I am so grateful I was born in England, with a family tree deeply rooted in western Europe, and enjoying a freedom that Americans think that they alone have.

  142. 142
    Nick Gotts

    The Allied liberation was, to some extent, a race to establish a new border somewhere between Paris and Moscow. – cm’s changeable moniker

    Is that why Stalin was demanding a “second front” all the way from the start of Barbarossa in 1941, to D-Day? Seriously, both Churchill and Roosevelt were focused pretty exclusively on winning the war, and were particularly keen to keep Stalin from making a separate peace with Hitler (they probably over-estimated the plausibility of such a development).

    Also, no one’s noting the historical inaccuracy? I don’t think Hitler had a chance of invading England, even if we’d stayed out of it, and the UK was doing a pretty good job of holding the Axis off. They might not have been able to invade mainland Europe without the additional American manpower, but I don’t think they were at risk of falling. – PZ

    Certainly, Germany lacked the equipment to establish either naval or air superiority, both of which would have been needed for a successful invasion. But the expectation of American material and financial aid, and eventual intervention, were a key factor in the British decision to fight on when it became clear France had lost (the decision came before Dunkirk, at a time when the British government expected most of the British troops in France to be killed or captured), and the reality of that aid was important in enabling it to do so. Conversely, Hitler avoided the all-out submarine warfare that could have cut off essential supplies until after Pearl Harbor, to prevent or at least delay American entry into the war.

    As for whether the war was a close-run thing or not, none of the German “wonder weapons” made much difference, or could have done unless the war had continued considerably longer. Whatever his reasons, Hitler was right not to pursue atomic weapons – even with much greater resources, the USA only produced them when they made no difference at all to the outcome. Even the V1 and V2 probably diverted resources that would have been better used elsewhere. If the Soviet Union had collapsed, however, it’s very hard to see how the Nazis could have been defeated, and they could plausibly have built up sufficient forces to invade Britain, although they would still have had no way to attack the USA. Not only Hitler, but almost everyone outside the USSR, grossly underestimated the latter’s ability to resist, but if Stalin had fled Moscow, as he nearly did in the second week of October 1941, that resistance might have disintegrated. British-supplied tanks, aircraft (some of the latter US-built) and other equipment made a significant contribution to the defense of Moscow – most notably 30-40% of the medium/heavy tanks used there according to David Edgerton’s Britain’s War Machine. Edgerton thinks Britain and the USSR might have been able to defeat Germany and Italy if both Japan and the USA had stayed out of the war. Once both were in, the balance of forces was overwhelmingly in favour of the Allies, although the outcome was only obvious after May 1943, when mounting losses forced the withdrawal of German submarines from the Atlantic.

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