John McCain

A Writer’s Life 8 – I tried to warn you about Trump

Well, I tried to warn you about Palin, really. This week, I’ve taken a break from talking about my current work to say a little about Sounds of Soldiers.

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Trump

Just bumping the content of a couple of posts from earlier this year, and pointing you all at Sounds of Soldiers again. Sounds of Soldiers is currently an incredible bargain at $0.99/£0.99/local equivalent. But, if you want an even better bargain, pick up Britain Looks To The Future (also just $0.99/£0.99/local equivalent), which includes it and eight other great tales by independent British authors.

I did this interview for The Daily Rundown last month in May, and only just worked out where to find it. It’s a little segment on the inspiration for Sounds of Soldiers, and why it’s still relevant- maybe even more relevant- in the age of Trump.

SoundsofSoldiers-cover_thumbI started work on Sounds of Soldiers in November 2008.

Luckily, the premise genuinely was fiction within a few days of starting the project, as Obama was elected US President, rather than McCain. Thus the (implied but not stated outright) backstory for the book- that Sarah Palin rose to commander-in-chief and started a stupid war with Europe- genuinely was fiction. For the next eight years, anyway.

Now, the USA is, once again, teasing us with the potential has delivered the setup for thousands of dystopian novels, in the shape of Donald Trump. Trump’s far scarier than Palin ever was. She’s stupid and incompetent, but he takes those two traits and piles bullying, vindictive, (more) racist, and thin skinned into the mix. If anyone had written President Trump (or even potential-presidential-candidate Trump) before this year, people would have said the character wasn’t believable.

If anything, Sounds of Soldiers is an optimistic read in a world where “The Donald” could be leader of the free world. A Trump inspired future would look a hell of a lot more like Mad Max.

The subliminal mind fuck America

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new mania
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

American Idiot – Green Day

It comes as no surprise that racists were planning an attempt on BArack Obama’s life. There are probably a few dozen people at any time plotting to kill the US President or anyone likely to become the President. No doubt that number will rocket up if Obama gets the number one job.

Just over a week to go and the crazy keeps on coming.

A McCain volunteer claimed to have been attacked by a 6’4″ black man who scratched a backwards B on her cheek. The attack was revealed to be a figment of her imagination and the wound self inflicted, but not before the McCain campaign and various followers were all over it.

Sarah Palin’s had a huge amount spent on her wardrobe. Only now she can’t wear it because of the fuss. And she has claimed that the clothes are all only on loan to her anyway. So the next time the Republicans go looking for a female candidate for anything she’d best have the same measurements as Palin or they won’t be able to use the clothes they bought for the last one.

There’s more- there will always be more- but it’s a little late for me to go rooting around for links.

Barack Obama’s naked mama, and other stupid stuff from America’s right 2

The US right wing blogs I’m reading are getting desparate as they realise how pathetically their candidate is doing. One post from today is so moronic it’s funny. Stop The ACLU (still not getting a link, even if they didn’t delete my last comment there) got an email from some perv who’d been checking out vintage porn and swore he’d found a naked picture of Obama’s mother. He immediately went searching (it must have been hell for him to stare at all that pulchritude) and dug up some more, on which he used his finely tuned forensic skills to determine who Barack’s secret father is.

They are taken before Christmas by the decorations and unopened presents. Also a stereo and records that an expert could confirm as jazz records are in view.There is a distinctive grain to the wood floors. I do research including genealogical and had downloaded everything I could find. Not much. So when I saw the picture, I locked on the the ear lobes, chin, eyebrows. It is she. A nude photo,not distasteful, but posed, I believe, by a mature man who knows what he likes, including jazz and now we know young girls. One could ascertain the location of where the photos were taken.

And the shoes..not indigenous to Hawaii,but maybe not unsual for Helen Canfield Chicago socialite and Marshall’s second wife. The photos are important in the sense that they explain the going to Chicago and the immediate acceptance by the hard left, if his father is Frank Marshall Davis, not just his mentor

It’s Christmas- see, the man’s a genius- and there are records “that an expert could confirm as jazz records”- because only black men listened to jazz records at the time- and a distinctive grain to the wooden flooring. There, it’s conclusive. Apart from the shoes….. Oh, the shoes.

On November 5th this guy’s going to be sitting in his basement, wanking over his supposed pictures of Obama’s mother and crying because the rest of the world just can’t see what he sees.

Elsewhere, one supremely homophobic homeschooling mother is no doubt seeing a jump in visits to her blog after several people (me too now) have linked to her post fantasising about blowing up faggots. You could ask her to replace her various epithets with Christian and ask if she’d like to read the passage that results, but she’ll just ignore it, because she’ll only pay attention to answers with “Scripture instead of another meaningless cliche”.

The right wing isn’t going on about the ACORN voter registration scandal they invented as much. This is probably because the only person so far arrested for voter registration fraud is a Republican and cases against ACORN are being dropped all over because they’re baseless.

But it’s not all bad for McCain. One key group has come out in support of him- Al-Quaeda sympathisers.

Note I’d like to point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at images of naked women or men, vintage or otherwise, I was merely calling him a perv for satirical purposes.

Indeed, if he’s looking for a particularly good source of gorgeous naked women I’d highly recommend Domai (affiliate link). Many of the beauties there are from former Soviet republics, so he can have the added fantasy of only being able to see them because Ronald Reagan defeated Communism. Or, if he’s closeted- like I suspect so many of these guys are, he could try (also an affiliate link).

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.

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.

My prediction for the October Surprise- RIP Track Palin

I mentioned this in the pub last night and said I wouldn’t put it on the blog. Well, like so much else about the McCain campaign for an opportunity to finish wrecking the USA, that turned out to be a lie.

The October Surprise is a US election cliche. From the wikipedia page on the October Surprise

An October surprise is American political jargon describing a news event with the potential to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the presidency. It is so called because the presidential elections are held in early November, and therefore events that take place in October have greater potential to swing votes. “Historically, news outlets avoid investigative pieces critical of candidates within days of an election to avoid appearing partisan.” Particularly since the 1980 election, the term has been pre-emptively used to discredit late-campaign news by one side or the other.

The term usually applies to the acts of a sitting president, especially in military or foreign policy matters. But it can also apply to news stories unfavorable to the incumbent administration.

The McCain Wreck is looking worse every day. His popularity is dropping and the Palin bump is going down as more and more people realise how dangerous it would be to give her any sort of responsibility. But a really cynical and evil campaign manager could still use Palin to get a last minute boost.

Palin’s son Track went off to serve in Iraq earlier this month. I can just see someone in the McCain Wreck team wondering how much of a sympathy vote Governor Sarah would get if her eldest son were to be killed in a firefight with “al-Quaida”, and just how they could go about making it happen. “That’ll get the mothers’ vote” they’ll be thinking, “And the warmongers’ vote too!”

I hope that I’m just a bad person for thinking up scenarios like this, but I bet that some in the Republican party are waiting for the martyring of Track Palin because they think it will win them the White House.

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.

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.