Will Joe Biden Go by Jill or Hillary? ( Sunday Guardian)

Choosing Kamala Harris as VP candidate would show that Biden believes in a multi-racial society as much as Obama did.

Donald J. Trump got elected as US President because millions of voters believed that he was the candidate best able to ensure prosperity for a country that had seen both an absolute as well as a relative decline in the incomes of the poor and much of the middle class. Rather than emotion, it was hard-nosed calculation which motivated most Trump voters to mark their choices during the 8 November 2016 ballot. If Trump could make billions of dollars for himself and his family, surely he could at the least make several thousand extra dollars for the average US citizen. Even the 45th President’s appointing of other wealthy citizens to key Cabinet posts did not raise the eyebrows of the less fortunate. They had, after all, made all the money they would ever need. Now the focus could be on the rest of society. The reality—that much of this money had been made on Wall Street and in corporate offices at the expense of the rest of society—did not figure very much in the public consciousness. During the 2016 polls, had there been a stark choice between Trump and Bernie Sanders, enough voters may have tilted towards the latter to get him elected as the first self-declared socialist ever to hold the world’s most high-profile leader (and still  the most consequential, although that attribute may  migrate to the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party). However, the Democratic Party, whose upper layers have been tended and lubricated by the wealthy behind a smokescreen of anti-millionaire rhetoric, closed ranks at the top to ensure through foul means more than fair that the always reliable (for mega donors) Hillary Clinton prevailed over Sanders, who quickly folded up and genuflected before the formidable Clinton machine. This time around as well, those with a genuine patina of fighters against mega privilege such as Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris were eclipsed in the Democratic Party presidential primaries, including by well-camouflaged backers of privilege such as the engaging Beto O-Rourke. In each primary, the party machine, still significantly under the influence of Bill and Hillary as a consequence of the subservience of Barack Obama to the Clintons once he secured the party nomination in the 2008 Presidential primaries, ensured that the votes of Bernie Sanders were suppressed in the mysterious and invisible manner of certain views being systematically weakened in number of hits by social media giants largely peopled by individuals playing at revolution through computer keyboards. Joe Biden, who had early on been identified by this columnist as a Clinton surrogate, seems to have locked in the nomination, denying it to Bernie Sanders or to either Warren or Harris. Should Biden get religion at 78, he would choose Warren or Harris as his running mate, but given the grip that the Clintons have long exercised on him, what is more likely is that a “safe” (for Wall Street and for corporate donors) albeit feisty in verbal jousts candidate will be chosen by the prospective Democratic Party candidate against Donald Trump, thereby making easier a second term for an individual ready to do almost anything so that the 3 November election ensures that he remain in the White House rather than go to jail, which is where Hillary Clinton would like to send him to repay Trump’s effective pardon of her influence-peddling activities over the years. There is not the faintest whiff of Prithviraj Chauhan and his fatal (to himself and to his people) generosity about the steely Hillary Clinton, who would have put both Indira Gandhi as well as Margaret Thatcher in the shade for ruthlessness, had she been elected about four years ago rather than Trump. The lady is formidable, brilliant and deadly in a way that Trump can never in practice be, for all his bluster.

Should Joe Biden, even before clinching the nomination some months later, choose Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris as his running mate, his chances of becoming the 46th President of the US would soar. He is known to be a person of integrity, as is his spouse and was son Beau. Son Hunter has a taste for the good life, and is somewhat careless about the ways in which he ensures such an outcome, being a “Goodwill Ambassador” for hire to companies in the Ukraine, China and elsewhere. Fortunately for him, much of the media in the US dislikes Trump so much that they are determined to publish whatever it takes to get Biden elected. Or not do, in the case of easily obtainable facts concerning the activities of Hunter Biden, who has been given almost a blank cheque by his father after the death of elder brother Beau as a consequence of illness. While the Trump team may unearth bucketfuls of dirt about Hunter, such topsoil is not missing in the case of some members of the extended family of Donald Trump, who have ignored the fact that only their businesses visibly doing badly during the term (or terms) of Trump will ensure both his political success as well as the avoidance of multiple enquiries into their own business dealings, especially if these be profitable. The success or failure of Joe Biden on 3 November will hinge to a considerable extent on the distance he is able to maintain between the “requests” of the Clinton machine and his actions, including on the selection of the Vice-Presidential candidate. This columnist believes that choosing Kamala Harris would show that Biden does not just talk about a multi-racial society but believes in it as much as Barack Obama did. Given his record in supporting several of the Clinton initiatives which sent hundreds of thousands of hapless African Americans to prison and brutalized them, or which ensured that greed prevailed over reason in the financial markets, Biden will need more than soothing speeches to make many believe that he means what he says. The problem the prospective nominee faces is that both Harris as well as Warren are toxic to Hillary Clinton and to the interests she has so ably (if not always openly) championed throughout much of her political career. Barack Obama was fortunate in 2008 in having Mitt Romney as his opponent in the 2012 elections. Neither the Christian right nor Middle America took to the somewhat aloof candidate, who was no match for Obama. But for Covid-19 and the aftershocks created by the panic measures taken to stop its spread, Trump would have been certain to get a second term. He is still a formidable candidate, despite a gaffe a day. Which is why Biden needs another feisty politician—of principle and not just rhetoric—to take on Trump and Mike Pence, who has shown a capacity for quiet leadership that would make him the inevitable Republican nominee in the 2024 elections. Joe Biden has the advantage of an idealistic wife who, in a very understated way, is as steely as Hillary. The question which may decide the fate of the 2020 polls will be whether he listens to Jill Biden or once again goes by the habits of decades and trots along obediently behind the Clinton bandwagon. Should that happen, Donald J. Trump will occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW for four more years.

https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/will-joe-biden-go-jill-hillary

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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