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Last updated: August 8, 2012
First published: August 8, 2012
Article researched written by David M. White
About and Hoax-Slayer
(NOTE: The creator of Hoax-Slayer is an Australian and is not directly impacted by the mudslinging of US politics. And while this page strives to maintain political impartiality, it also believes that a hoax is a hoax regardless of its party stripes. The following is in no way intended to voice support for any particular candidate. In the interest of full disclosure, the US based author of this article is in fact a registered Republican… he just prefers his arguments against Obama to actually have substance behind them.)
On August 5, 2012, a video was uploaded to Youtube making a number of claims against current US President Barrack Obama. In attempting to debunk the plethora of claims made in the video, it seems simplest to just take them on in order of appearance:
Which to start with would be spelling the name correctly. The popular sobriquet the Birthers have for Obama is not Sataro. It’s Soetoro. Lolo Soetoro was the Indonesian student Obama’s mother met at the University of Hawaii and married 3 years after divorcing Obama’s father when Obama was 4 years old.
The Obama’s are Satanist: The video opens and closes with similar claims specifically calling attention to hand signs made by Barrack and Michelle Obama. The video also references the red clothing worn in some of the photos used as being the color of Satan. The latter is too ridiculous to even merit further comment, but the hand sign is a popular target especially due to its popularity among heavy metal enthusiasts. In attempting to make the claim that it is a satanic symbol, adherents to this theory claim that even the ‘hook ‘em horns’ sign at the University of Texas is satanic, and goes even further to claim that Helen Keller was a devil worshiper and incorporated the symbol into American Sign Language not as a ‘short-hand’ (no pun intended) for “I Love You”, but as a sly means of getting deaf people to sign “I love the devil.” The latter claim is easily debunked as Helen Keller had nothing to do with the invention of American Sign Language. (It was adapted from French sign language by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet following his studies at the Royal Institution for the Deaf in Paris and like any other language has a number of variations among different deaf populations). (Aside from that, the position of the fingers is different as it is a combining of the signs of I, L and Y with the thumb extended.)
The popularity of what is referred to as the sign of the devil was cemented by American Rocker Ronnie James Dio, who actually learned it from his Italian grandmother. To him, it was a sign to ward off evil… to his fans, and millions of rock music fans thereafter, it became the sign for ‘Rock On.’ Regardless, the sign exists in a number of countries, many of which have very specific meanings for the sign – and most of which have nothing to do with religion of any sort.
Obama is Gay: The only presumable source for this bit of misinformation would likely be the cover of the May 21, 2012 issue of Newsweek which proclaimed Obama as the country’s first gay president. The headline was, of course, not literally stating he was gay, no more than Toni Morrison literally meant Bill Clinton was an African-American when in a New Yorker article she dubbed Clinton as “America’s First Black President.” It was simply a way of acknowledging his coming out in support of gay marriage after 4 years of waffling on the issue.
GMO: The video periodically references Genetically Modified Organisms (typically referring to genetically modified crops). Another politically hot topic, Obama had made a number of campaign trail promises on labeling of GMOs, but as President it has apparently not been high on the list of priorities. Considering the usual target for criticism on this topic is agricultural giants such as Monsanto, it likely wouldn’t matter who was in office – they would be blamed for not getting labeling laws passed.
Civilian Youth Army: While initially one might think this was related to the ‘private army’ claims made regarding the health care bill, this one actually refers to the establishment of the National Civilian Community Corps. Far from being some modern day version of the Hitler Youth, it is actually a part of AmeriCorp and is based on the Great Depression Era Civilian Conservation Corp.
50,000 Armed Drones: The number is actually reported to be closer to 30,000 – which might still seem to be an alarming development. Certainly anyone with a healthy amount of skepticism would wonder why we’d need armed UAV’s flying about. However this is not a military operation. It’s largely under the control of NASA, and is initially being done at a limited number of military bases. Aside from the obvious benefit of providing added security at those bases, the actual intent is to develop the systems to fully integrate UAV’s into the nation’s airspace – where currently they are not allowed. Potential benefits outlined include everything from crop dusting, fighting forest fires, selling houses, shooting movies and assisting local police in chasing suspects.
Don’t do as I do: The image of Obama eyeing a display case full of sweets, given no other reference, is presumably referencing new guidelines from the USDA regarding the nutritional content of school lunches. Doubtful that school systems are actually terribly concerned about these new guidelines, as a 2007 audit by the USDA determined just 20% of schools were actually following the guidelines in effect then regarding fat content.
U.N Troops in America: A popular conspiracy among a number of groups, invasion rumors have persisted for decades, but for the past 25 years have largely been re-circulations of a series of rumors that started in 1994 when a group of hunters claimed to have come across a UN training camp near Tallulah Falls, Georgia. If they’ve been here since 1994, it clearly predates any involvement by Obama. And they are apparently taking their sweet time about doing anything while they’ve been here.
Cops trained to bully: Ironically, the officer shown in the photo was recently removed from the UC Davis police force. Other instances of officers being terminated – and even prosecuted – for actions exceeding their authority also belie the implication of this claim. Police departments anywhere are susceptible to hiring individuals with character flaws that make them unsuitable for the uniform, but painting the entire profession with that brush is not realistic.
Obama holds UN Seat: The US representative to the UN holds a cabinet level position, but is not the President. Currently, the US Ambassador to the UN is Susan E. Rice. Opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act relied heavily on misinterpretation (intentional or just misreading) of several specific sections of an act that has to be reauthorized every year by every President.
Executive Order: Following the claim that Obama signed the ‘fascist NDAA law’, the video inexplicable starts scrolling Executive Order 13563, PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL REGULATORY COOPERATION. Under the executive order, the federal government will search for “best practices for international regulatory cooperation,” which could include exchanging information and comparing other “regulatory tools.” Legitimate criticism of this executive order has focused on the new policy as a “smokescreen for deregulation” of public interest and pro-consumer protections. As one of the tenets of fascism is the eradication of perceived foreign influences, it certainly would appear the video’s creator is simply using a word intended to discredit Obama without actually having any working knowledge of the word’s meaning.
US Concentration Camps: Another popular conspiracy theory that followed on the heels of Obama’s election and the initiation of the attempts to pass a national health care bill, the FEMA Concentration Camps were pushed vigorously using a video allegedly showing evidence of these camps. This was thoroughly debunked in 2009.
Obama signing executive orders: As has every President for the last few decades. Reagan was especially fond of them.
Obama teaching Communist propaganda: The creator of the video may have heard the name Saul Alinsky, but apparently has not bothered to find out anything more about him. Alinsky had as much disdain for communism as he did for capitalism. The Tea Party organizing group FreedomWorks even gives Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals” to teach them how to effectively organize their constituents.
Obama’s Social Security Number: Another more recent, and quickly debunked, rumor.
The remainder of the video is just a regurgitation of the usual personal attacks.
As with any individual who has ever carried the title of Mr. President, there are always plenty of legitimate reasons for detractors to actively campaign against reelection. Baseless and wildly conspiratorial propaganda does as much to discredit the accuser as it does to harm the accused. One wonders why it shouldn’t be more effective to positively promote the candidate of their choice.
All else failing, the video linked here may prove to be a better alternative for all concerned.