Barack Obama

John McCain’s supporters roll on into fantasy land

The US elections are like a big, scary soap opera. They’d be more entertaining if they weren’t so important. So far all the best stories have come from, or been generated by, the Republicans.

The polling figures are so poor, and John McCain’s campaign so dire, that the right wing bloggers and commenters have descended to grabbing any fantasy solution that comes near them and holding on tight. Over the weekend I saw reports that Barack Obama was about to be arrested as part of someone else’s corruption scandal, that he had an affair (the details of that one look a lot like one of the plots from the first season of 24, they have a hard time with original thought on the right it would seem) and that he was somehow knee deep in an invented voter registration scandal involving a group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

I’ve done a little research into the ACORN “scandal” and it looks like a smear. The organisation is accused of voter registration fraud (cut down to voter fraud as part of the smear so that it can sound like an attempt to steal the election) because they turned in dubious or duplicate registration forms. ACORN hands over every registration form its workers generate, as they are required to, so if an individual gives them something fraudulent they’d be breaking the law if they discarded it. In fact, ACORN points out that they separate suspicious registrations out and flag them for the electoral commissions to investigate.

Meanwhile, Republican organisations are trying to remove people from the electoral roll. Specifically the sort of people who would be more likely to vote for Obama- the poor, blacks, people who have lost their homes as part of the mortgage meltdown. It’s a familiar story, basically the same methods they’ve used to steal the last two elections.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin- whose husband was a member of a political party that wanted Alaska to break away from the United States- is accusing Obama of wanting to destroy the country because he worked with a reformed- if unrepentant- former member of the Weather Underground. This has struck such a chord with certain McCain/Palin supporters who prefer not to think that they’ve started parroting “terrorist”, “traitor” etc. at rallies. It’s got so bad that the people who started the name calling are now asking them to shut up and getting booed for it.

Whichever way the election goes it looks more and more like the USA wants to be two countries.

This post was inspired by an article on the Daily Mail website. It’s an expansion upon the comment I left there, which I expect, based upon past experience, won’t be published.

Man shot for wearing Barack Obama T-shirt

The scary thing is, this happened in London. A man wearing a Barack Obama t-shirt was harassed whilst shopping by a man who later came back with an airgun and shot him. The attacker was obviously an unhinged racist looking for a reason to attack someone, but the Obama-hate is the sort of thing I expect to see more of from the right wing nuts in the US. All the morons currently going all Godwin and equating him to Hitler will go into full on armed uprising fantasies if (when? please make it when) he wins the election.

Why does the US election matter so much to a Brit?

British servicemen dead in Iraq.

British servicemen dead in Afghanistan. Whilst I’ll concede that there was a point to invading Afghanistan as part of a campaign to destroy a particular band of terrorists, any chance of success was removed when Bush decided that Iraq was more important.

Violence in Iraq. It’s quite damning that there are no official figures for civilian deaths in Iraq. Even if the true figure is close to the 80,000+ minimum it’s far too high.

The United States is the one country that refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, setting back any progress we could hope to make.

A McCain presidency would see a continuation of Bush’s dumb and dangerous policies, on top of which, McCain has said he wants to bomb Iran. Which is obviously going to solve so many problems.

And if McCain were to win, this person would be one unhealthy old man away from the most powerful position in the world-

Vote Obama. That’s all I’m saying.

Barack Obama = Adolf Hitler? 2

What’s the internet law about every discussion eventually citing Hitler?

I just read a pathetic whine from some right wing US blogger about how terrible it is that Obama is so popular and looks set to win the election. Irony free he blathered on about the terrible damage that will be done to America if McCain loses before likening himself to a citizen of Weimar Germany watching the rise of Adolf Hitler.

McCain Wreck- Don’t make fun of the Republicans, they’re sensitive souls

So Russell Brand presented an MTV awards ceremony and did a little bit about Bush and Palin-

His delivery, as usual, is piss poor, so it’s not as funny as it could have been. But a few people were horribly, deeply offended by it, including the commenters at the thread I dropped into here, who want foreigners to go away and stop messing in the affairs of other countries. There’s a comment about Americans and irony in there, I just can’t quite remember how it goes……..

Then Obama made a remark in a speech where he repeated the message about the phoniness of the McCain/Palin “change” rhetoric, whilst using a common phase to mock Palin’s asinine description of herself.

And the McCain camp start crying about how he’s being so insulting. If the prospective president and vice president can’t handle it when the other guy has a better way with words, how can they possibly hope to survive in international pollitics?

Watching the McCain Wreck a bit more closely

Because I’m a masochist, and I don’t have enough ways to waste time already, I’ve subscribed to a few US political blogs. At least until November.

Daily Kos– premier liberal blog.

Michelle Malkin– right wing loon.

Talking Points Memo– liberal blog with occasional investigative stuff.

Little Green Footballs– last time I visited this place it was full of racist idiots. Maybe it’s better now. But I doubt it.

Think Progress

That should do it, but I’ll probably dip into one or two more. It should be fairly obvious to you which way I’m biased here. The last thing the world needs, let alone the USA, is another four years of essentially the same idiots trying to destroy the planet so they can bring about the Rapture, or whatever their secret plan is. If you are an American who has happened across Spinneyhead and only take one thing away from my humble blog please let it be that you really need to vote for Obama.

The McCain Wreck is secretly funding Obama

This is interesting- when Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin got up and aimed a few bad attacks at Barack Obama, donations to the Democratic campaign rocketed up.

Digs by John McCain’s running mate – who calls herself ‘a pitbull in lipstick’ – had the unintended effect of prompting an outpouring of money to the Obama campaign from more than 130,000 donors.

‘We’re up over the previous record and the number is still climbing the more Palin’s attacks are covered on cable and network news,’ an Obama spokesman said.

Watching the McCain wreck from a not safe enough distance

Yes, it’s the US elections again. And, just like last time, I’m getting sucked in. Why is a Brit so interested in another country’s elections? Because of the damage the current idiot has inflicted and the danger that his replacement could be as bad or even worse. It’s also a lot like that old cliche about slowing down to stare at a car crash or, as it rhymes with McCain and sounds more like an Americanism, a train wreck.

Even whilst bored of the protracted Democrat primaries I could see that this was going to be a messy and nasty election. I couldn’t have predicted that the first victim of a smear was going to be a Republican.

John McCain announced his running mate at the end of last week- Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska- and almost immediately all the factors that make her an awful choice were forgotten amid speculation about her family. Conflating some absurd- and some say dangerous and irresponsible- behaviour around the birth of her 5th child earlier this year and what turned out to be the current illegitimate pregnancy of her eldest daughter people started inventing a cover up. Palin, it was alleged, had faked her own pregnancy and claimed her bastard grandson as her own.

It certainly has the melodramatic air of the fifties hypocrisy the candidate would like to see return, but the convenient timing of her real bastard grandchild pretty much kills it. Palin, unfortunately, is an advocate of abstinence only sex education, which has worked wonders with her own family. Wonder if she’ll mention it at all in the campaign?

Ignoring Palin’s family issues it’s obvious she’s a cynical pick to try and appeal to Hilary Clinton supporters and religious fundamentalists at the same time. The Republicans are going to cry about sexism every time her ability and ideology are questioned, despite the fact that she stands against pretty much every advance for women of the last fifty years or so. She has a son who’s off to serve in Iraq, something none of the warmongers in Bush’s gang could claim last time I checked. And she’s one of those frightening “holier than thou” politicians the right wing loves, with membership of a church with links to an armageddon cult.

I’m a little scared. But, if anyone wanted to put me up for a while either side of the election, I’d be all for flying over there with a laptop and writing about it as it happened.

No links in this post, because I could lose the rest of the afternoon digging them out. I promise that next time I rant about the US elections (and I will) I’ll try to include a few links.

Barack Obama answers 14 questions about science issues affecting the USA

A large collective of American scientists have got together and, through a process of arbitration and editing, generated 14 questions they want to as the two main candidates for President. So far Barack Obama has answered them, though John McCain says he will get around to it.

A sample answer-

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on the following measures that have been proposed to address global climate change—a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, increased fuel-economy standards, or research? Are there other policies you would support?

There can no longer be any doubt that human activities are influencing the global climate and we must react quickly and effectively. First, the U.S. must get off the sidelines and take long-overdue action here at home to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. We must also take a leadership role in designing technologies that allow us to enjoy a growing, prosperous economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. With the right incentives, I’m convinced that American ingenuity can do this, and in the process make American businesses more productive, create jobs, and make America’s buildings and vehicles safer and more attractive. This is a global problem. U.S. leadership is essential but solutions will require contributions from all parts of the world—particularly the rest of the world’s major emitters: China, Europe, and India.

Specifically, I will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. I will start reducing emissions immediately by establishing strong annual reduction targets with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A cap- and-trade program draws on the power of the marketplace to reduce emissions in a cost- effective and flexible way. I will require all pollution credits to be auctioned.

I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community. We will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate change problem. In addition I will create a Global Energy Forum—based on the G8+5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa—comprising the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. This forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues. I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

I’m not so sure about clean coal as a technology, but otherwise a positive and sensible answer. It’s particularly good that the economic benefits of creating a renewable energy industry are mentioned.

I look forward to reading McCain’s response. That is, if he thinks it’s important to reach out to sensible, intelligent people and can take a break from courting the fundamentalist vote.

A rambling post about…… stuff

I’ve been doing some thinking about a change of direction for Spinneyhead. Some connections fired whilst I pondered this last week and I headed off to the new home of Monitor Duty, a comics blog I posted on for a while a few years ago.

It came as little surprise that I’d been retconned(*) out of MD history, given that I called out the site’s owner on his prejudices and left when it became obvious he was using circular logic to support them. (All Muslims are evil terrorists. Any Muslim shown to not be an evil terrorist doesn’t count because they’re obviously not a True Muslim. Because all Muslims are evil terrorists.) It’s not as big a deal as Violet Blue being unpersonned by BoingBoing and I have no problems not being associated with the site except on the Wayback Machine. [For transparency I ought to admit that I have removed posts about a particular person from Spinneyhead’s archives. If you’ve known me long enough you’ll know who and why. If you haven’t, sorry, I’m not going to elaborate.]

Anyway, scanning the front page I came across a post about the assumed politics of writers. This isn’t so much a response as thoughts arising, but I’d always assume that a good writer is more likely to be “liberal” than conservative. Good fiction is about change, and conservatives aren’t about change- it’s right there in their name. Partly because of this, and a need to make political points, conservative writers lack depth in characterisation- most often trying to compensate with a detailed biography- and an inability to flesh out the antagonists. I’m thinking, chiefly, of Tom Clancy and his technothriller brethren. In particular I remember one of Clancy’s books where a character whos only action was to cut down a tree got a page and a half of biography, almost as much as the chief villain.

Authors of all political shades are capable of coming out with polemics, of course. I just think that those of us to the left of centre, and the occasional libertarian, do it so much better.

This is a response to the last bit of the post-

“We” are not winning in Iraq. There is no winning in Iraq, there is merely sacrificing fewer people to a criminally stupid decision and trying to leave the country less fucked than it is at present. We are sacrificing fewer people, thankfully, but hundreds of thousands have died because of an illegal invasion and an incompetent occupation. You can’t win with that many corpses.

I’d love to see an attempt to justify the “Obama’s more ignorant than George W. Bush ever was”, which will probably be based upon some ignorant, unchecked opinion piece from a professional liar like Ann Coulter.

The Antarctic Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve holds about enough oil for a month of use by the US. Why spoil something for so little. Get a smaller car, turn down the air conditioning, fit solar panels and learn to walk!

Yes, McCain is a lousy candidate. All the Republicans were. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t vote for him.

Fear of an Arab planet

It seems that Arab is the new code word for Black amongst the US’s closet racists. This is so they can claim to be making comments on Barack Obama’s name rather than what they’re really doing, which is jumping up and down and shouting “Don’t vote for the nigger!”

It’s going to be an interesting, and probably very depressing, election over there.