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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The great poets steal

I remember how disappointed I was when I learned that Harry Turtledove wasn't a wonderfully imaginative writer, but was simply rewriting Byzantine history. I'm a little more relaxed about the fact that Frank Herbert found a fair amount of inspiration from a historical novel about an Islamic jihad in Russia:
Even a casual political observer will recognize the parallels between the universe of Dune and the Middle East of the late 20th century. Islamic theology, mysticism, and the history of the Arab world clearly influenced Dune, but part of Herbert’s genius lay in his willingness to reach for more idiosyncratic sources of inspiration. The Sabres of Paradise (1960) served as one of those sources, a half-forgotten masterpiece of narrative history recounting a mid-19th century Islamic holy war against Russian imperialism in the Caucasus.

Lesley Blanch, the book’s author, has a memorable biography. A British travel writer of some renown, she is perhaps best known for On the Wilder Shores of Love (1954), an account of the romantic adventures of four British women in the Middle East. She was also a seasoned traveler, a keen observer of Middle Eastern politics and culture, and a passionate Russophile. She called The Sabres of Paradise “the book I was meant to do in my life,” and the novel offers the magnificent, overstuffed account of Imam Shamyl, “The Lion of Dagestan,” and his decades-long struggle against Russian encroachment.

Anyone who has obsessed over the mythology of Dune will immediately recognize the language Herbert borrowed from Blanch’s work. Chakobsa, a Caucasian hunting language, becomes the language of a galactic diaspora in Herbert’s universe. Kanly, from a word for blood feud among the Islamic tribes of the Caucasus, signifies a vendetta between Dune’s great spacefaring dynasties. Kindjal, the personal weapon of the region’s Islamic warriors, becomes a knife favored by Herbert’s techno-aristocrats. As Blanch writes, “No Caucasian man was properly dressed without his kindjal.”
Herbert is ecumenical with his borrowing, lifting terminology and rituals from both sides of this obscure Central Asian conflict. When Paul Atreides, Dune’s youthful protagonist, is adopted by a desert tribe whose rituals and feuds bear a marked resemblance to the warrior culture of the Islamic Caucasus, he lives at the exotically named Sietch Tabr. Sietch and tabr are both words for camp borrowed from the Cossacks, the Czarist warrior caste who would become the great Christian antagonists of Shamyl’s Islamic holy warriors.

Herbert also lifted two of Dune’s most memorable lines directly from Blanch. While describing the Caucasians’ fondness for swordplay, Blanch writes, “To kill with the point lacked artistry.” In Dune, this becomes “[k]illing with the tip lacks artistry,” advice given to a young Paul Atreides by a loquacious weapons instructor. A Caucasian proverb recorded by Blanch transforms into a common desert aphorism. “Polish comes from the city, wisdom from the hills,” an apt saying for a mountain people, becomes “Polish comes from the cities, wisdom from the desert” in Dune.

Dune’s narrative, however, owes more to The Sabres of Paradise than just terminology and customs. The story of a fiercely independent, religiously inspired people resisting an outside power is certainly not unique to the Caucasus, but Blanch’s influence can be found here, too. The name of Herbert’s major villain, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, is redolent of Russian imperialism. Meanwhile, Imam Shamyl, the charismatic leader of Islamic resistance in the Caucasus, describes the Russian Czar as “Padishah” and his provincial governor as “Siridar,” titles that Herbert would later borrow for Dune’s galactic emperor and his military underlings.
This sort of thing is why I saw absolutely no point in playing superficial "hide the obvious" games and calling elves "snerks" and orcs "grablings" as so many mediocre fantasy writers do. I mean, they're not fooling anyone, are they? Sure, we'd all like to be as wonderfully and comprehensively inventive as JRR Tolkien, but few of us have the depth of knowledge or the patience required to painstakingly construct an entire world from scratch.

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A taste of the bass



While we're in the process of acquiring the required equipment, the Voxiversity team has been experimenting with some of the different concepts we are planning to apply to the videos we will be producing. Here is a brief sample of one such experiment, entitled Know Thyself, which utilizes the audio from my debate with Greg Johnson.

We will obviously be utilizing higher quality audio than the mic of my gaming headset, and I think we will also bring in some new fonts, preferably some of those regularly used by Castalia House on its covers for some cross-media unity of style. But this should give you some idea of the sort of thing we'll be doing to bring the concepts to life and make them memorable beyond my simple articulation of them.

If you'd like to assist these efforts and support Voxiversity, you can do so at Freestartr.

And I would be remiss if I failed to note that, somewhat to my surprise, the backers have overwhelmingly selected Immigration & War as the first Voxiversity video.

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Various and sundries

First, if you are an investor in Gab but would like to retroactively de-invest for whatever reason, there is a good chance you can still do so. StartEngine has not charged most credit cards, but the cancel button will not work if it has been more than 48 hours. However, if you contact StartEngine support, it is still possible to manually cancel the investment.

Second, the Production Editor of Castalia House is looking for up to four volunteers to help him produce print and ebook editions more rapidly. His list of requirements are as follows:
Basic requirements:
  • Command line experience in Linux or Mac OS X or a BSD, etc.
  • Experience with DVCS. We use Git.
  • Attention to detail. Much of the work involves correcting curly quotes facing the wrong direction, or italics that accidentally include punctuation, etc.
  • Concern for the way text looks, whether in print or in ebook.
For ebooks:
  • Markdown
  • Basic HTML and CSS
For print:
  • LaTeX (for marking up manuscripts, not writing new commands or environments).
  • Familiarity with basic typesetting concepts is preferred.
To help with tool development:
  • Experience writing LaTeX macros and environments
  • Python
  • Advanced Pandoc tricks (filters, custom writers)
  • Lua
  • Docker
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro (we'd like to customize some preflight profiles)
Please only volunteer if you really like doing this stuff and have at least a few hours every week to devote to it. We have a lot to do, we move fast, and our smooth operation relies heavily upon everyone doing what they do without requiring a great deal of communication or cheerleading.

Third, a member of the Dread Ilk is looking to fill some job openings in Alabama. If you want to send your resume to them, email it to me with JOB-AL in the subject and I will forward it to the correct party.
  • Engineer, Analyst, and Programming Positions in Huntsville, AL (JOB-AL)

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Catalonia: the litmus test

Is the globalist's neo-liberal world order actually rooted in democracy or not? What happens in Catalonia over the next three months has the potential to completely unmask the neo-liberals' dubious claims to democratic legitimacy:
One of those crises that no one saw coming is about to rear its head in a very unlikely locale: Catalonia, Spain’s richest province, where the local government has scheduled an independence referendum on October 1.  Of course, some observers – e,g, Julian Assange – did see it coming, but the current trend to find “fascists” under every bed in America may have obscured our ability to detect them where they really live – in Madrid, where the federal authorities are threatening to arrest Catalonian politicians who advocate independence.

Madrid has mobilized 4,000 police to stop the referendum. They are seizing election materials, shutting down web sites, and invading the offices of newspapers: they have threatened 700 pro-independence mayors with arrest and prosecution.

The Spanish position – upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court – is that only the federal authorities can call a referendum, and that in any case all Spanish voters, not just those resident in Catalonia, must be allowed to vote on the question of Catalonian independence. So much for the right of self-determination.... Catalonia’s bid for self-determination is an ideological litmus test, one that tells us everything we need to know about the main forces contending for power in the world. The reason is because the crisis is taking place on the terrain of Europe, in the very midst of the “free” West. Since forever and a day we have been told that the “democratic” West doesn’t commit acts of mass repression against their own people: that the right of “self-determination” is universal, and that that liberal democracy is not about to mimic the methods of, say, Slobodan Milosevic, and put down a popular uprising by force. These methods – they claim — are the exclusive province of “illiberal” regimes, like those in Russia, Belarus, and now Hungary, which has been moved into the “illiberal” camp by its refusal to allow an invasion by Middle Eastern migrants.

Except that the threats and repressive measures of “democratic” Spain have exposed this conceit as nonsense. As October 1 approaches, and Madrid prepares to crush the Catalonian revolution with brute force, the myth of the “democratic” West is being shaken to its foundations – with the growing prospect that violent repression will bring the whole dilapidated edifice down on the heads of the people, both Spaniards and Catalonians alike.
There are no shortage of good reasons to question the sensibilities and the wisdom of the Catalonian secessionists. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical that Catalonians will be better off under self-rule than Spanish rule. But all of that is irrelevant with regards to the question of whether the neo-liberal world order stands, as it claims, on a foundation of democratic legitimacy, or if that is merely a false mask for the Divine Right of Moneylenders.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

EXCERPT: Tithe to Tartarus

This is an excerpt from Moth & Cobweb Book 6, Tithe to Tartarus, now the #1 New Release in Children's Supernatural Books. The entire Moth & Cobweb series, beginning with Swan Knight's Son, is now available via Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Yumiko was unwilling to step onto the catwalk because she could not see why a winged man would use one to reach a door four stories in the air. Instead, she swung gracefully in and used her glider wings to break her speed just enough that she could drive two knives, one in each hand, into the plywood boards covering the windows. Weighing less than a pound, she could hang from one hand or flip herself up and balance on her boot toes on the knife hilts. The dizzying drop to the empty factory floor was below her. The railing was next to her, as was the odd, archaic door.

She had seen such a door in the magic shop where Winged Vengeance left his tuxedo. It was similar in shape, but it was not the same wood, the same size, or clasped with the same ornate hinges. The knob was sapphire, not ruby. But it was clearly a brother to that other door.

She looked down. The brown mat had letters on it. They spelled out GO AWAY.

Yumiko put on boot on the catwalk handrail and reached out with her hand.

The glass doorknob turned. The door was unlocked.

A thrill of suspicion trickled up her spine to her neck. What sort of vigilante left the secret door to his hidden sanctum unlocked?

Warily, Yumiko drove another knife into the plywood further away and perched on it. With her back to the plywood, she expanded her bowstaff, extended to twice its normal length, and used the far tip to prod the door open.

She waited warily for an explosion or an attack by poisonous asps. Neither came.

Closer she crept again, clinging weightlessly to the plywood, and peered around the doorjamb.
At that moment, the flare was exhausted. The light fluttered and failed.

Darkness closed in. Yumiko drew her flashlight. In its beam she saw the eight-sided chamber beyond the strange door, paneled in dark wood, dark beneath a high, octagonal dome.

Weightlessly, she swooped into the chamber, landing in a crouch with no more noise than a falling cherry blossom petal. Here on a table in the middle of the carpet was the same phone on the same table she had seen before.

She waited, wondering whether it would ring.

Read more »

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In defense of Gab

Now the self-appointed Defenders of Gab are appealing to Google in order to get back at me for Gab's failure to moderate content to the satisfaction of its registrar. I'm less than entirely confident that Google is going to be particularly inclined to leap to the assistance of the self-appointed Defenders of Gab, since Gab is, as you may recall, currently suing Google.
Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
@VoxDay's blog is on blogspot in case anyone's asking. I don't advocate anything. I just provide PSA. How to register a complaint with Google about inappropriate content on blogs using blogspot.com.

Jason American · @jamerica
Vox admitting he played a part in Gab losing their domain registrar. @a @e @u

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
This is so easy to do! Just pick a topic & paste in the blogger's URL and submit. The satisfaction of knowing you just did something good in helping to preserve freedom of speech is incredible. I don't advocate anything of course. Just a PSA.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
@VoxDay's blog is on blogspot in case anyone's asking. I don't advocate anything. I just provide PSA. How to register a complaint with Google about inappropriate content on blogs using blogspot.com.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Interesting. He seems to use his blog as his primary means of communicating with his followers. How would they communicate without it? Can high IQ folks do telepathy?

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
It would make for an interesting experience if the ppl on Gab, who are trying to destroy Gab by reporting it to the Domain Registrar, were to be outed on other social media sites for inappropriate content and then reported to Twitter's Domain Registrar or other registrars

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Could that information be tethered to Twitter asking why he would say such inappropriate things?

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Could posts from his blog be tethered to Twitter asking why he would have such inappropriate content?

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Is there anyone searching through @VoxDay and @SpaceBunny Twitter accounts for inappropriate posts that should be reported to the FBI and Twitter's Domain Registrar? Asking for a nosy neighbor.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Is there anyone reporting this to Twitter's Domain Registrar and to the FBI? How many ppl on Gab who are still on Twitter too can be reporting it? What type of effect would that have on Twitter?

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
If anyone has a Spacebunny Day face png with a clear background (ready to use) plz post. Thank you in advance ;-)

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
It is laughable that some ppl think they can fight the Deep State or whoever to keep Gab up & running when they don't even have the balls to stand up to some has-been space cadets who are trying to destroy Gab.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
The rats are already deserting Gab and going back to the Twitter Ghetto. You never were with us. So, good riddance.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Calling all 4chan /pol/ autists You know what to do.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
Interesting that this all occurred - after - @VoxDay said he deleted all of the posts that @MicroChip found offensive.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
There's no time for negativity my friend. It's time to go for the jugular. This time, there will be no peace brokered by one gabber.

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
All you Dear @VoxDay and @SpaceBunny supporters get off my TL. Now!

Larry L Sharp PRO · @LarryLSharp
@VoxDay's blog is on blogspot in case anyone's asking. I don't advocate anything. I just provide PSA. How to register a complaint with Google about inappropriate content on blogs using blogspot.com.
I also tend to suspect this gentleman doesn't understand how Google - or really, Blogger - handles complaints. First, they review the post. Second, they put it into draft mode. Third, they tell you to modify it to remove something specific or they tell you to delete the post. If Blogger tells me to delete something, I will do so. It is, after all, their house. And this would not be the first time that has happened, although it would be the first time in a long while, because, unlike Gab, I abide by their specified standards, and have done so for 14 years.

The amusing thing is that these are the very people who are attempting to lecture everyone on the importance of not punching right. But it is clear that they don't respect their own professed principle, so why do they expect anyone else to do so?

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Tweet of the Day

Martin Vanderhof‏ @wethinkwerefree
I found all of the people Vox has helped by his insistence on adhering to his truths.


(nods) I approve this tweet. Now, VFM, go collect the skulls and start heating up the silver.

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TITHE TO TARTARUS

Inflicted with amnesia, Yumiko Ume Moth has managed to discover the identity of the lost love she cannot remember. She has also learned the bitter truth of her mother's murder. And the party responsible for the absence of the one and the death of the other is the same: the Supreme Council of Anarchists.

Now Yumiko hopes to rescue the brilliant young man who may or may not be her fiance while seeking vengeance for the Grail Queen, her mother. But her only allies are a scatter-brained fairy and the Last Crusade, which despite its grand name consists of a young knight and his dog. Nevertheless, the Foxmaiden will not turn from her path, though all the dark forces of Tartarus stand in her way.

TITHE TO TARTARUS: The Dark Avenger's Sidekick book three is the 6th volume of Moth & Cobweb.

John C. Wright is one of the living grandmasters of science fiction and the author of THE GOLDEN AGE, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND, and IRON CHAMBER OF MEMORY, to name just three of his exceptional books. He has been nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and his novel SOMEWHITHER won the 2016 Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction Novel at Dragoncon. The first book in the Moth & Cobweb series, SWAN KNIGHT'S SON, was a finalist for the 2017 Dragon Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

Those of you who have Amazon Prime may be interested to know that all six books of the Moth & Cobweb series are now available on Kindle Unlimited.


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Leadership

This is how you do it. The first step is to understand that your success is not all about you and it never will be.
Lynch did everything right all day, starting with bringing his much less famous backup backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington out on his flanks when he got the loudest ovation in years during pregame introductions. That decision was pure Lynch. When he told Richard and Washington he wanted them to take the field on either side of him, Richard said: “I was like, ‘They cool with this?’ Lynch said, ‘It doesn’t matter what they say. You boys are coming out with me.’ That just got me pumped from the get-go.”

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Gab kicked off registrar

Gab‏Verified@getongab
BREAKING: Gab's domain registrar has given us 5 days to transfer our domain or they will seize it. The free and open web is in danger.

The free and open web is not in danger. Literally NOTHING has changed except that Gab has received a legal wakeup call from reality. It's more than a little remarkable that they didn't anticipate this. Remember, I warned Andrew Torba that they ABSOLUTELY HAD to moderate their content, and I did so back in November, long before anyone had "said mean words" or "hurt my feelings" there. I did so again on September 7th, both when I emailed Utsav after our conversation and in my conversation with him.

What I believe inevitably doomed Gab with Asia Registry was not merely the complaints that were being made to the registry in lieu of Gab providing its users with any other option besides the recommended court order, but Gab's public stance on its refusal to moderate defamation as laid out in its Google filing. There are three sections that are relevant in this regard:
81. Even if it were possible for a social media platform to censor "defamatory and mean-spirited content" generated by 250,000 users, a level of content censorship that extended to "defamatory" and "mean-spirited" content would place at risk that service's status as a protected Internet Service Provider, as opposed to a publisher or speaker, under 47 U.S. Code 230, also known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act ("CDA")

82. Unlike an Internet Service Provider, a publisher or speaker is not granted the "safe harbor" benefits of Section 230, and may be held liable for defamation or other torts or other liability arising from content published on a platform it owns or manages.

251. Compliance with Google's demand that moderate content posted by its users on a viewpoint-discrimination basis would place at risk Gab's critical "safe harbor" protection against claims arising from such content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act by turning Gab into an unprotected editor or publisher, whereas it is presently protected as an Internet Service Provider.
This is bad lawyering for four reasons.
  1. Some forms of defamation are criminal in Australia. Gab openly stated, in a public filing, that it cannot, and will not, remain in compliance with Australian law. 
  2. Gab is not an Internet Service Provider. An Internet Service Provider, or ISP, is the company you pay a fee to access to the internet, not an internet site that lets you comment on it.
  3. Section 230 of the CDA doesn't only protect ISPs, but also protects both the users and the providers of interactive computer service and says neither "shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
  4. As a Texas entity - which Gab still is despite its establishment of a second office to be able to file its lawsuit against Google in Philadelphia County - Gab was additionally protected by the Defamation Mitigation Act, or Retraction Statute of 2013, which protects the publisher by giving him the option of correcting the mistake by publishing a retraction or deleting the defamatory content.
In other words, on the basis of an entirely groundless fear of being sued for what they like to describe as "mean words", Gab elected to state on the public record that they would not moderate for "defamatory" content, in open violation of the laws of the country in which they selected their registrar.

Not ready for prime time doesn't even begin to describe the level of strategic and legal incompetence demonstrated here.

This really isn't that difficult. As I have repeatedly said, as I have repeatedly told Andrew Torba, moderation is a must. It is implicitely required by law, and for those who want access to the Play Store and the App Store, it is explicitly required by Google and Apple. More importantly, if you refuse to offer your users a reasonable form of redress they can easily afford when they are targeted for harassment, don't pretend to be surprised or upset when they pursue alternate means to achieve their objectives just because those means happen to be more damaging to you.

I am the only one who pursued the course of action recommended by Gab. Considering the expense and the additional harassment that entailed, is it really surprising that everyone else opted for the free and anonymous course of action? In any event, Gab will find another registrar. I hope they will also find the common sense required to install some reasonable moderation policies, or they're just going to find themselves right back in the same position in a matter of weeks.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

EXCERPT: Daughter of Danger

This is from Daughter of Danger: The Dark Avenger's Sidekick, Book One. It is the fourth in John C. Wright's wonderful Moth & Cobweb dodecology.

The Three Intruders

A strange, painful sensation of hope came across her then. It was like a sick, hot feeling boiling in the pit of her stomach. Maybe nothing was wrong. Maybe those who sought her life were not nigh. What if this were merely the night nurse, walking softly so as not to wake a sick patient?

She lowered her eye to the gap between the curtain hem and the floor. Her cheek touched the floor tile, and she realized it was linoleum. It was good for footing: resilient, and splinter free. And if she were horribly wounded, there would be no delay to getting her to a hospital, would there be?

That stray thought produced a second: where was the hospital staff? Who had brought her here? Why hadn’t he stayed to look after her?

The sight of the figure bent over the bed drove all other thoughts away. He wore a red cap with a white owl’s feather atop his shaggy head, and a long green coat over his broad back, but beneath the lower hem of the green coat were not sterile and comfy shoes favored by doctors. He wore knickerbockers buckled at the knee and was barefoot.

His seemed to have a skin condition: his feet were covered with clumps of hair, and strands were even growing up between his toes. His feet were too long and thin. She wondered if a bone disease in his feet had disfigured them. His toenails were an inch long, half an inch thick, and yellow as horn.

Not a nurse. Not a normal person with healthy feet.

He lowered his head toward the empty bed. She heard a soft noise. A snort. A snuffle.

He was sniffing. The stranger with the bad feet was sniffing her bedsheets!

She was waiting for him to be far enough into the room that she might have a chance to slip out behind him and race out the door.

That hope was quashed when she heard the rustle of two other people entering the room. She heard the creak of the door being eased shut, and heard a slither of steel and then the click of a padlock shutting.

She was locked in the room with three of them.

Read more »

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NFL Week 2

No Sam Bradford for the Vikings. Not good.

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An educational juxstaposition

GAB: to two different people, neither of whom was me.

1. "If our registrar requires us to remove something again we will publish it here and let everyone know that you whined to them because someone hurt your feelings with mean words on the internet."

2. "We just don't "moderate" to the whining crybaby standards of your husband."

Gab has also permitted the posting of home addresses, in direct contradiction to its Terms of Service,.
I've now counted and screen-capped FOUR address postings on Gab, by various Gab users, in direct violation of Texas SEC. 33.07. ONLINE HARASSMENT. The offense is a Class B misdemeanor.


TWITTER: to me, in response to three different reports of tweets which varied in their degree of abusiveness.

1. Thank you for contacting us about this issue. We’ve investigated and suspended the account you reported as it was found to be participating in abusive behavior. If these problems persist for you on Twitter, please let us know.

Thanks,
Twitter


2. Thank you for contacting us about this issue. We have reviewed the account you reported and have locked it because we found it to be in violation of the Twitter Rules. If the account owner complies with our requested actions and stated policies, the account will be unlocked. Please continue to report any future violations of the Twitter Rules to us. We appreciate your help making Twitter better for everyone.

Thank you,
Twitter


3. Thank you for reporting this issue to us. Our goal is to create a safe environment for everyone on Twitter to express themselves freely.  We reviewed your report carefully and found that there was no violation of Twitter’s Rules regarding abusive behavior.

Thank you again for reporting this issue to us.
Twitter


Now, I'm not exactly what one would call a fan of Twitter. Their moderation is inconsistent and often applied unfairly. They partially block direct access to this blog on rather dubious grounds, and its Trust & Safety Council once suspended my account for a week for posting a picture of a cartoon fish, of all things. It also forced me to delete two of my 35,800 tweets about a year ago when I had responded to an SJW attacking me. Nevertheless, there is absolutely no question that their user experience, their moderation policies, and their reporting tools, are vastly better than Gab's.

I recommended Gab to many of you on the basis of it being an alternative to Twitter. With the benefit of hindsight, it is now apparent that doing so was a mistake. I had no idea that Gab would somehow manage to create a less professional, less viable, and even less useful alternative to Twitter. While Gab had a fair amount of potential, it simply doesn't have a management team in place that is capable of realizing that potential.

Which is why I have canceled my Pro account and returned to Twitter for the time being.

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The replacement chronicles

This is an interesting paper chronicling the ethnic cleansing of Miami, as seen from the perspective of the black-run Miami Times from 1960 to 1985, as a million immigrants poured into Miami-Dade County, which in 1960 had a population of 935,047. As the author notes:
Four themes developed through the Times's editorials. The first was governmental favoritism towards Hispanics. The second was alarm because of the sudden and seemingly endless growth in population, with its attendant problems. The third was acknowledgment of the Cubans' growing economic and political power and the need to reckon with it. The fourth referred to underlying common interests tempered by local political rivalry.
Hispanics now make up 65 percent of the population of the county, with more than half of them being Cuban. 52% of the county residents were born outside the United States, while 72% of the population speaks a language other than English as their primary language.

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That's not encouraging

Sebastien Gorka tries to tell the anti-immigration Right to settle down about DACA, but in doing so, illustrates that neither he nor the President truly grasp its position.
Gorka: “Take a deep breath, and wait a day.” Sure enough, less than a day, nine hours later, we have the counterpoint from the press secretary and from the President himself. Look, having worked for the man, let me tell you that it’s neither of the options that you, or scenarios that you have painted. He knows, he knows why he is the president. He knows that the first policy issue that catapulted him into preeminence as a presidential candidate was the border, was immigration. He knows that when Jeff Sessions put on that hat, Jeff Sessions was bringing his stance on illegal immigration to his campaign to set him apart from the 16 other hackneyed establishment candidates the GOP had arrayed against him. The president’s not gonna go back.

The other scenario is also fallacious. I love reading how we have these uber-Trumpsters… Look, I’m here to support the president inside the White House or outside the White House. If I read another article on how the president is doing 48-dimensional chess…

Buskirk: Right.

Gorka: It’s just, no, he doesn’t do that. He’s not some kind of uber-Machiavellian operator. He is an instinctual actor, a masterful … But he’s not plotting a … Steve Bannon is the fifth dimensional Vulcan, OK? That’s how Steve Bannon operates. He is the super strategist. The president, and that’s why Steve and the president work so well together, the president, as we’ve discussed, is this present, natural, instinctual actor. He goes into these meetings in ways that the swamp doesn’t. Of course, they tweeted the second they got out of the Oval, because they’re politicians and they want to get reelected. The president doesn’t think like that. He’s thinking about the American interest, and at the end of the day, he is not going to sell us up the river, I tell you that.

Buskirk: Okay, so look, that’s extremely helpful. That’s why I really wanted to talk to you. You know the president as well as anybody, way better than most. What’s your understanding of what happened? What do you think is the right way to think about it?

Gorka: Okay, so two things are important. The way I explain what’s happened in the last seven days is the following. Number one, the original response to DACA from the president is quintessential Donald Trump. He said, “Look, this is un-American because it’s unconstitutional.” President Obama behaved like an emperor when he created DACA. He has no right to legislate from the Oval Office, and that’s why he told to the attorney general, “End it now.” That’s why AG Sessions said, “DACA is over.”

However, Donald Trump, if you’ve read anything about him, to get his own books, read the real books not the tag jobs, the real books about him. He is one of the most charitable, kind-hearted men you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve, he’s very quiet about it, but he is a very warm-hearted individual. He is not prepared to see young men and women who have not committed any crime of their own doing, be deported from this nation. He said to Congress, “Guys, let’s work this out.” Criminals, we get rid of them, and he’s absolutely adamant. You’re a member of MS-13, you’re a Dreamer who’s killed somebody, as has happened, you are going to be imprisoned or be deported. End of story. For those people who have not committed any crime beyond being brought here as a child by their parents, we’ve got to find a solution that comports with our Judeo-Christian charitable basis. Those are the things we have to understand about what the president is doing.
This is why philosophical coherence, and intellectual precision, are so important. Because when you don't have the guidance offered by those tools, you will have a tendency to make decisions based on your emotions. First, there is no "Judeo-Christian charitable basis", so the entire premise is false. There is no need to find a solution that comports with something that does not exist; the Good Samaritan did not adopt and take into his house the children of the man he found beaten by the roadside.

Second, if Donald Trump is not prepared to see young men and women who have not committed any crime of their own doing be deported, he is not psychogically suited to be President. The law is clear, the principle is settled, the American people have been burned by such amnesties before and they are not going to accept another one, no matter how many sob stories about "Dreamers" are waved like red flags before the public.

However, if there is one thing that is clear about Donald Trump, it is that he is capable of learning from his mistakes. His base needs to be very clear about the fact that failing to keep his word on DACA is not acceptable.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Darkstream: the Great Gab Meltdown

I didn't really need to talk. Andrew - or someone in control of the @getongab account who talked as if he was Andrew - showed up and demonstrated most of my points rather effectively.

Seriously, this is easily as crazy as anything the show Silicon Valley ever produced. What do they drink out there anyhow and is the effect permanent?

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Gab wants war

And now Andrew Torba has publicly endorsed people attempting to doxx and report hate speech by his users despite the way in which doing so would clearly violate's Gab's Terms of Service. At this point, given the unprofessionalism and obvious lack of self-control being demonstrated by Andrew, I think it is safe to conclude that Gab is dead. It simply hasn't stopped moving yet.
Microchip · @Microchip
Link me @voxday's dox when/if you have it. Don't be shy, it's public record somewhere and it's time to ensure the safety of our allies.

Spacebunny Day · @Spacebunny
@a thinks this is okay - not against ToS or anything. Gab is doomed.

Microchip · @Microchip
Why wouldn't be okay? If it's public info, it's public info, if you allowed your info to be posted somewhere online, not Gab's problem, that's your problem.

Pepe Memes · @Pepe_Memes
Die of breast cancer, you fucking cunt

Spacebunny Day · @Spacebunny
@a @e @u - brilliant work you're doing. Truly.

Microchip · @Microchip
Don't be bad at this, Space lady, I'm not asking for anyone to do anything illegal here, I'm asking for @voxday's info so I can send the police to his home and have him arrested for hate crimes.

Spacebunny Day · @Spacebunny
I said against ToS, dear. Gab claims to moderate, they demonstrably don't. Not only do they not have a chance against Google, they won't last, period. It's disappointing. You, however, are boring.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Lol. Yes, we do. We just don't "moderate" to the whining crybaby standards of your husband. He's not the boss here. Period.

Todd Kincannon @ToddKincannon
I am open to persuasion, but that has not been my experience. Also, the ToS expressly disclaim a duty to moderate, while reserving a right to moderate. Don't you agree with that? cc: @a @u @voxday

Spacebunny Day · @Spacebunny
He never claimed to be, dear. You shouldn't have bragged about not moderating and not just to Vox.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Cry more sweetie. Whine more.

Spacebunny Day · @Spacebunny
Not crying, dear. Just observing.

Justin Bailey · @Botany_Bay16309
So are you going to remove the post trying to dox Vox Day, or are you just a bald faced liar?

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
No dox occurred. If info is public it is public. Not our problem. Public info is public domain. Deal with it.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Wow if I lived in a country that had "hate speech" laws I'd be pretty worried about what has been published on my "blog." Someone might "report" it or something.
The actual Terms of Service cited:

Considering that, unlike Gab, my blog doesn't even violate Google's rules concerning hate speech, I can't say I'm terribly worried about being found at fault for violating any European hate crime statutes. And if I was, I would simply do as directed and remove them to resolve the situation.

As usual, Americans have absolutely no idea how Europeans do things.

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The loss of moral confidence

This is what it looks like in action:
A high school in California has warned students against chanting 'USA' at sporting events in case it offends students of 'different ethnicities'.  Lori Emmington, the principal of Vista del Lago in Folsom, California, sent an email to parents and made the announcement over the PA system on Thursday.

She suggested that it was appropriate for students to chant 'USA' after singing the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance but that if used at athletic events in any other way, it could risk sending an 'unintended message'. 'During an athletic event, when Vista fans are in a competitive environment and cheering their school pride, chanting USA might be confusing. What is the intent, and is it open to misinterpretation? What would be the purpose at a sporting event?' the email read.
When women like this are removed from their positions for acts of such pernicious defeatism, we'll know that confidence has been restored. If that ever happens.

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Jerry Pournelle Week VI

25 years after the end of the Cold War and the publication of the ninth volume of THERE WILL BE WAR, Dr. Pournelle revived his classic science fiction series with Castalia House. THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X continued the tradition of combining top-notch military science fiction with first-rate real-world analysis by military experts. The Cold War may have ended, but as recent events everywhere from Paris to Syria have demonstrated, war has not. 

THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X is edited by Jerry Pournelle and features 18 stories, articles, and poems. Of particular note are “Battle Station” by Ben Bova, “Flashpoint: Titan” by Cheah Kai Wai, "What Price Humanity?" by David VanDyke, and the eerily prescient "The Man Who Wasn't There” by Gregory Benford. Volume X also includes timely essays on "War and Migration" by Martin van Creveld, "The 4GW Counterforce" by William S. Lind and LtCol Gregory A. Thiele, USMC, and "The Deadly Future of Littoral Sea Control" by CDR Phillip E. Pournelle, USN, which was awarded the 2015 Literary Award by the Surface Navy Association for "the best professional article in any publication addressing Surface Navy or surface warfare issues."

THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X is free today. The following is an excerpt from "Flashpoint: Titan", the Hugo-nominated novelette by Cheah Kai Wai, the author of No Gods, Only Daimons.

Editor’s Introduction to:
FLASHPOINT: TITAN
by Cheah Kai Wai

Arthur C. Clarke said that if the human race is to survive, for most of its history the word ship will mean space ship. I will add to that the obvious implication that Navy will soon mean Space Navy. The Space Navy will certainly keep many of the traditions and practices of the wet navies, for the same reasons that they developed in the first place.

Navy stories are as old as going to sea in ships. The heroines of those stories are often ships as well as their crews. Here a story of a heroic ship and her crew.

Read more »

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Ethnic cleansing in Chicago

Chicago is going the way of Compton:
New census statistics show the Hispanic population grew by 17,000 in a one-year period. For the first time, Hispanics are the second-largest racial group in the city. Meanwhile, the African-American population is shrinking, with 42,000 moving out.

In Little Village, it’s not hard to spot the influence and heritage. At Dulcelandia, a candy store, sales and the number of customers have increased since the business opened in 1995. This would seem to reflect new U.S. Census data showing the Hispanic population in Chicago jumping from 786,000 to 803,000 between 2015 and 2016.

This means about 30 percent of the Windy City’s population is now of Hispanic or Latino descent.
In another decade, Chicago will be majority Hispanic/Latino. Americans can posture and preen about racial and ethnic equality all they like. But identity politics are rapidly replacing ideology politics, just as new ethnicities are rapidly replacing America's blacks and whites alike. The pattern is pretty straightforward: blacks chase whites in order to live in white-dominated societies. Then the more ruthless Hispanics and Asians move in to the white-abandoned locations to chase the blacks out. It's all fun and games until the whites run out of places to retreat.

This isn't going to end well. Sooner or later, the 100-year retreat is going to end. The only question is whether it will end in a manner more akin to South Africa and Rhodesia or Yugoslavia. I tend to suspect the latter, but I could be wrong. White Americans aren't showing any more fight than the white South Africans did. The South Africans had guns and nukes too, but what they lacked was the moral confidence to use them.

And moral confidence is one thing that White America does not possess today.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Gab belatedly files suit

It would appear the additional discussions that delayed yesterday's expected filing were not fruitful.
Free speech social media site Gab AI, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Google for violations of the Clayton Act and Sherman Act. The lawsuit stems from Google removing Gab from its Google Play Android app store on spurious grounds of “hate speech” arising from posts by users.

Google did not accuse Gab of hate speech, but used third party content as a pretext to justify its own business ends. Gab, a startup, aims to bring “folks together of all races, religions, and creeds who share in the common ideals of Western values, individual liberty and the free exchange and flow of information.”

According to Gab’s attorney, Marc Randazza, Google’s conduct is a straightforward violation of the antitrust laws “Google Play and Android have monopoly power in the app store market, and Google’s apps YouTube and Google+ compete directly against Gab. Google’s intimate partnership with Twitter, which also competes against Gab, makes Google’s control of all Android apps available through the Play Store a serious restraint of trade issue.”

Randazza noted, “regardless of Google’s pretextual justification for removing Gab, the effect is that they used their monopoly power in the app store to block an upstart competitor it in the social media app market, to the detriment of millions of consumers who value free speech.”
The monopoly issue may work for Gab. But I don't like their chances for two reasons. First, Google's resources. Second, the Gab team really seems to be flying blind on the moderation issue. Now, I obviously disagree with their position, which is why I have filed a petition against them. And considering that I had to do so due to their complete refusal to moderate their posts, I don't see that they have any ability to claim they are abiding by Google's terms of service. Which, of course, means they have handed Google a perfect excuse to stonewall them.

Oh, the irony.... This is mildly amusing.


Well, we've collected a whole lot of examples of defamation and defamation per se, but I don't think Andrew is going to find them very useful to his case. The point is not that the other social networks don't moderate effectively, the point is that Gab openly refuses to moderate at all. It is not up to Gab, or even the court, to define what Google considers to be "a sufficient level of moderation" when all Google has to do is demonstrate that Gab does not provide ANY moderation, even upon request.

UPDATE: Andrew Torba claims that Gab does moderate posts. That is likely true, to a very limited extent. The question is, is whatever level of moderation they presently provide sufficient when Gab's management openly brags that they do not moderate for defamation or defamation per se as defined by their registrar, or by Texas law and the Texas courts, and that they will harass users who pursue legal means of redress.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
If our registrar requires us to remove something again we will publish it here and let everyone know that you whined to them because someone hurt your feelings with mean words on the internet.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Note that these are recorded. Keep going. Please this will be fun. I am more alpha than you will ever be. Try me.

Andrew TorbaPRO · @a
Vox I'll publish every email you ever sent us and phone calls which have been recorded, Please try me. You can destroy your personal brand all you want, but you're not going to drag down Gab with it. Mark my words.

It seems to me that he's doing an efficient job of dragging down Gab without any help from me. Here is a partial list of the posts being sent to Asia Registry for review by the LLoE. It demonstrates, rather conclusively, that Gab simply does not moderate to the standard set by Facebook and Twitter, and, more importantly, Google.
  • https://gab.ai/tdawg911/posts/12090691
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12065490
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12065748
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12107799
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12125780
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12126457
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12127469
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12127738
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12128833
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12129102
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12130342
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12128833
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12129450
  • https://gab.ai/FreeinTX/posts/12186103
  • https://gab.ai/Fashdaddey/posts/11862161
  • https://gab.ai/Fashdaddey/posts/11839913
  • https://gab.ai/roonyroo/posts/12180125
  • https://gab.ai/Valaranumenoriano/posts/12160268
  • https://gab.ai/Deacon_Jim/posts/12156043
  • https://gab.ai/GTKRWN/posts/12147100
  • https://gab.ai/gaystapo/posts/12112801
  • https://gab.ai/WilhelmL/posts/12090962
  • https://gab.ai/Ungern/posts/12086315
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12077259
  • https://gab.ai/MorbiousStone/posts/12076537
  • https://gab.ai/Whiteknight007/posts/12071038
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12067941
  • https://gab.ai/GTKRWN/posts/12067637
  • https://gab.ai/h4rdm0us/posts/12063396
  • https://gab.ai/h4rdm0us/posts/12062548
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12061817
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12060233
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12046728
  • https://gab.ai/Pepe_Memes/posts/12041396
Regardless, to quote John Derbyshire's recent column, fiat justitia ruat cælum.

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Defiance will be answered

The Trump administration cancels visas from countries attempting to nullify deportation of their nationals:
The Trump administration announced Wednesday it has ordered the State Department to limit certain visas for Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone because those countries have refused to accept the return of its nationals who are deported from the United States.

"International law obligates each country to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States," Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said in a statement. "Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have failed in that responsibility. The United States itself routinely cooperates with foreign governments in documenting and accepting its citizens when asked, as do the majority of countries in the world. However, these countries have failed to do so, and that one-way street ends with these sanctions."

"American citizens have been harmed because foreign governments refuse to take back their citizens. These sanctions will ensure that the problem these countries pose will get no worse as ICE continues its work to remove dangerous criminals from the United States," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan.
And if that's not enough, up the ante and start taxing their corporations active in the USA. That is the one thing that terrifies every country; being blocked from access to the US market. This is smart. No foreign country should be permitted a veto over US domestic policy.

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Justice's casino

This is why it is a fool's game to assume that any legal case is a certainty of any kind, no matter what the law says, and no matter how much legal precedent you can cite.
Recently retired federal appeals court Judge Richard Posner said he rarely looked to legal rules when deciding cases and often sought to skirt Supreme Court precedent.

"I pay very little attention to legal rules, statutes, constitutional provisions," Posner told the New York Times in an interview published Monday. "A case is just a dispute. The first thing you do is ask yourself — forget about the law — what is a sensible resolution of this dispute?"

When confronting a case with some form of legal obstacle in the way, the former 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge said he would look to circumvent whatever prevented him from reaching his desired result.
Any good lawyer will tell you that the law is whatever the presiding judge tells you it is. I was once the only witness in a civil case in which the documentary evidence precisely supported my testimony. It was as black-and-white, as open-and-shut, as a case could be. There was simply no way around the obvious conclusion. None at all.

But instead of simply deciding for the plaintiff, the judge offered a settlement of a coin toss. Heads and the plaintiff won the total amount sought. Tails and he only won half. Knowing that he had no case, the defendant's attorney accepted the settlement and won the coin toss. The plaintiff received only half of what he was rightfully owed.

And that is why I have never had one single iota of confidence in the U.S. legal system ever since. Nothing that I have seen happen in it ever since has surprised me. Literally anything can happen; justice has nothing to do with it. The Italians call the legal system "un casino" and I think they are entirely right to do so.

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Jerry Pournelle Week V

25 years after the end of the Cold War and the publication of the ninth volume, Dr. Pournelle has revived his classic science fiction series with Castalia House. THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X continues the tradition of combining top-notch military science fiction with first-rate real-world analysis by military experts. The Cold War may have ended, but as recent events everywhere from Paris to Syria have demonstrated, war has not.
THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X is edited by Jerry Pournelle and features 18 stories, articles, and poems. Of particular note are “Battle Station” by Ben Bova, “Flashpoint: Titan” by Cheah Kai Wai, "What Price Humanity?" by David VanDyke, and the eerily prescient "The Man Who Wasn't There” by Gregory Benford. Volume X also includes timely essays on "War and Migration" by Martin van Creveld, "The 4GW Counterforce" by William S. Lind and LtCol Gregory A. Thiele, USMC, and "The Deadly Future of Littoral Sea Control" by CDR Phillip E. Pournelle, USN, which was awarded the 2015 Literary Award by the Surface Navy Association for "the best professional article in any publication addressing Surface Navy or surface warfare issues."

THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X is free today and tomorrow. The following is an excerpt from "The Deadly Future of Littoral Sea Control" by CDR Phillip Pournelle. The introduction was written by his father, Jerry Pournelle.

Editor’s Introduction to:

THE DEADLY FUTURE OF LITTORAL SEA CONTROL

by Commander Phillip E. Pournelle, U.S. Navy

The United States has always been a maritime power, and freedom of the seas has been our policy since the founding of the Republic. We have known since President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay tribute to the Barbary Coast pirates that blockade might not be enough. Sometime you must control the coastal areas and send the Marines to the shores of Tripoli.

The control of littoral areas generates different fleet requirements than controlling the high seas. Commander Phillip Pournelle has been involved with the future of naval requirements, including fleet structure, for years. This article was recently published by the United States Naval Institute and is reprinted here by permission of the institute. The opinions in the article are, of course, his own.

There is a lively debate about the future of the Navy, and how the Fleet should be structured, in Naval circles. Those interested in it should consult the Naval Institute Proceedings, where the various features of the force, including submarines, carriers, surface vessels, information warfare, and the Marines, are discussed. This essay concentrates on an important part of the debate.

When I was in the aerospace industry, I used to say that “the opinions expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the Aerospace Corporation or the United States Air Force, and I think that’s a damn shame.” The opinions expressed here are those of Commander Pournelle, and not necessarily those of the United States Navy.

And I think that’s a damn shame.

Read more »

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Stop encouraging young writers!

A heartfelt plea from a woman writer over 40 to stop recognizing people who are not her:
A few years ago I wrote an article for the Guardian on ageism in the literary world, about the predilection of publications like Granta, the New Yorker and Buzzfeed for authors under the age of 40. The problem hasn’t gone away and on Tuesday I wrote an open letter to the Royal Society of Literature, after it called for nominations for 40 new fellows under 40.

Encouraging young writers is laudable. After all, it’s increasingly difficult to get started. Publishers’ advances are low and getting lower; arts degrees are more expensive than Stem subjects; social security is fiercely tested. Which must mean that those most able to pay for a writing course, or those most able to take time off work to write while still young, are those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence. There’s a correlation between setting an age bar and encouraging the already privileged.

All writers were young once, and many start writing young, but not all begin their careers as published authors at that point. Leaving aside the fact that some only decide to start writing later in life, many factors affect one’s ability to commit to writing seriously. Besides income issues, age bars can lead an organisation into worrying territory. Authors from outside the perceived cultural mainstream who do not already see their voices represented – LGBTQ writers, writers of colour – are sometimes slow to recognise the contribution they can make, or to feel like their voices will be valued.

Age is a feminist issue. Carers, delayed by years looking after children or other dependents, are mostly women; residencies that offer no childcare or require long stays are an easy way to sift female candidates out of contention. Older women are already told every day, in ways ranging from the subtle to the blatant, that they are irrelevant and should shut up. Multiply this by, say, race or gender, and the courage required to put work out is even greater. Or the potential writer might not be the carer, but the cared-for. Writers who live with a disability or ill-health may not start out until they have found a way to write with their condition – which may take longer than this 40-years-old rule allows for.

Since writing to the RSL, I’ve been sent heartrending accounts from well-published writers, several of whom specified that it wasn’t until their late 30s that they were finally able to take the time to write, making age bar of 40 not only arbitrary, but a particularly cruel irony.
Wow just wow! First, I am, of course, appalled by the writer's unpersoning and excision from the social justice movement of so many sexualities. It's fine to defend Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer writers, but what about those who are Genderqueer, Demisexual, Transsexual, Twospirit, Intersex, Questioning, Asexual, Allies, Pansexual, and Polyamorous? If she doesn't support LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP in its entirety, she is clearly a bigot, a hater, and she should never be published by any socially responsible publisher.

Second, what, exactly, is the point of her article? Should we not recognize young writers at all and attempt to identify the most promising? Actually, that's not a bad idea, since the convergence of most writing awards and institutions means that they're only promoting callow SJW droppings anyhow.

But I suspect that she wants to make elderly female and diversity writers eligible for young author awards, never mind the fact that first-time novelists of any age are honored by awards such as the  John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. What we have here is merely a literary spin on Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism: The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

Or, as in this case, an award-winning writer.

I have to admit it, I'm going to be genuinely sorry when The Guardian finally finishes burning through its once-massive endowment and goes out of business. It's genuinely funnier than The Onion.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jerry Pournelle Week IV

This is an excellent article on wargame design, "Simulating the Art of War", that Jerry Pournelle originally published in The General, and which he graciously permitted us to reprint four decades later in Riding the Red Horse. It is perhaps worth noting that Castalia House will be publishing the book mentioned below, The Strategy of Technology, in a new hardcover edition this winter.

SIMULATING THE ART OF WAR
by Jerry Pournelle

The title of this article is a misnomer. Although I have had some experience simulating the art of war, nothing would be duller for a game; so far as I can tell, the closer the simulation, the less playable the result. The best simulation of land warfare I have ever seen takes place at Research Analysis Corporation (RAC). an Army-related think tank in Virginia. At RAC, they have three enormous war-rooms, each equipped with a wargames table some twenty feet square, each table having elaborate terrain features at a scale of about one inch to the kilometer. ln the Blue room, only Blue units and the Red units located by reconaissance are shown; in the Red room, the opposite, while the only complete record of all units in the game is in the Control room.

Each team consists of an array of talent including logistics and supply officers. intelligence officers, subordinate unit commanders, etc. Orders are given to a computer, which then sends the orders to the actual units, while members of the Control team move them rather than the players Both teams send in orders simultaneously, so that the computer is needed to find which units actually get to move and which are interfered with. The last time I was involved with a RAC game, as a consultant to feed in data about how to simulate strategic and tactical air strikes, it took six months playing time to finish a forty-eight hour simulation—and that was with about ten players on each side, a staff of twenty referees, and a large computer to help. The game, incidentally was one which eventually resulted in the US Army's evolving the Air Assault Divisions, now known as Air Cav.

The point is that although an accurate simulation—it had to be. since procurement and real-world organization decisions were based in part on the results—the “war game” at RAC was unplayable, and, one suspects, even the most fanatical wargames buff would have found it dull after working at it full time for months.

Yet. What makes a wargame different from some other form of combat game like chess? What is there about the wargame that can generate such enthusiasm? Obviously, it is the similarity to war; the element of simulation which is lacking from other games. Consequently, the game designer must know something about simulation. and must make realism his second goal in design.

There are two ways of making a wargame realistic. The first, which by and large has been exploited well, is “face-realism”. That is, the game designer attempts to employ terrain features similar to a real world battle or war; designates units that either really were in a battle, or might have been; calls the playing pieces “armor” and “infantry”, or “CCA”, or “42nd Infantry Regiment” and the like. He tries, in other words, to give the appearance of reality. He may also, as is often done, make the rules complex, usually by adding optional rules to bring in such factors as “air power” or “supply”, or “weather”

The second way of making a wargame realistic is much more difficult, and has seldom been tried. This method is as follows: the designer abstracts the principles of war as we know them, and designs a game in which only the correct application of those principles brings success. There are, as I said, few of those games. I am tempted to say none, but this would be incorrect; many Avalon Hill games partially meet this goal.

The second kind of simulation is admittedly far more difficult. To some extent it may even interfere with the “realism” of the first kind, in that some rather unusual moves may be required. In this and succeeding articles I shall attempt to analyze the principles of war which should be simulated, and the rules which may introduce “functional simulation” to the art of wargaming.
Read more »

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Demographics is destiny

Adam Carolla is right. LA is now Mexico.

Attendance:

Los Angeles Chargers: 21,054
Los Angeles Galaxy: 25,667

It's all about the demographics. Even so, an MLS team outdrawing an NFL team at home? The NFL has no idea how much trouble lies ahead thanks to the diversity it has supported over the years. It's not an accident that every major league sport was invented by white Americans... or white Canadians. Other peoples simply aren't as interested in them.

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Catalonia's case for independence

A summary of the conclusion of European legal experts on Catalonia's case for independence:
As   a   result   of   their   research   and reflections,   the   authors   come   to   the  following conclusions and recommendations on the Right to Decide and the Catalan Government’s call for an independence referendum in October the 1st:

1. The   evolution   of   the   negotiating   process   between   the   Catalan   and   Spanish governments since the re-establishment of democracy in 1977 through time has allowed us to   identify   key   moments   of   a   deteriorating   political   relationship   where   the Spanish government has  gradually  renounced  the  accommodation  of  Catalan  territorial  demands. The evolution of this relationship sheds a new light on the tortuous path towards the legally binding referendum on political independence to be held on the 1st October 2017.

2. The upsurge  in territorial  demands  towards  political independencewas  put on the political  agenda  by  organized  Catalan  civil  society  immediately after  the  passing  of  the Constitutional  Tribunal  ruling  in  2010. Additionally,  there  has  been  a  clear  shift  in  popularterritorial  preferences, moving  from  preferences  asking  for  the  maintenance  of  the  current “status quo” to demands of “political independence,” irrespective of people’s age.

3. Catalan popular demand for a referendum on political independence has been largely justified by the democratic “Right  to  Decide”, which has evolved from the more traditional and  long-standing legal framework to the “national right to self-determination”. In other words, demands   for   political   independence   have   been   legitimized   by   a   democratic principle invested in the Catalan people, reinforced by the repeated denial to accommodate Catalonia’s demands by the Spanish government.

4. From   an   international   law   perspective,   it   appears   clearly that   there   is   no international legal prohibition barring a sub-state entity from deciding its political destiny by assessing the will of its people. Both case law and state practice support this conclusion. State  practice  demonstrates  that  numerous  geographically  diverse  sub-state  entities  have expressed  the  will  of  their  people  regarding  independence.  The  practice  occurs  both  with and  without  the  consent  of  the  national  state.  Many  sub-state  entities  have  achieved independence  after  assessing  the  political  will  of  their  people. EU  member  states  have recognized  many  former  sub-state entities that assessed their people’s political will and decided to pursue independence.

5. As  regards European  Law,  in  the  absence of  specific  Treaty provision  on the right  of Self-determination for a European people without a Statein the territory of the EU, EU law does  not  forbid  the  exercise  of  its  Right  to  Decide  for  a  European  people  within  the  EU. There  are  even  numerous  Treaty  provisions  that  indicate  that  if  such  Right  were  to  be exercised,  EU  and  its  member  States  would  react  positively  to  a  new  European  State candidacy  to  join  the  EU.  Recent  and  consistent  practice  clearly  points  that  way.  Further, both  as  a  collectively  exercised  human  right  and  as  a  fundamental  norm  of  international Law, EU recognizes the Right to Decide.

6. As  regard  the  constitutionality  of  the  claim  for  the  Right  to  Decide, it  is  necessaryfrom  an  empirical  viewpoint,  and  fruitful  from  a  normative  one, togive  up  the  quest  for  a supreme  constitutional  interpreter. What  is  crucialin  a  constitutional  state that  is  faithful to the ambitions of constitutionalism isthe ongoing dialogue about, and engagement with, constitutional values and principles. Only this will make the constitution a living document, infused by the competing interpretations of values and principles that, by their very nature, admit various readings and conceptions. The quest for the final word is useless, illusory and possibly lethal from the political viewpoint of a healthy deliberative community.

7. In  that  respect,  the  debate  is  much  more open  than  what  one  might  think  at  first sight   by   examining   too   rapidly   the   basic   features   of   contemporary   constitutionalism, especially as it is illustrated by the Spanish constitutional system. Far from being disruptive of  the  constitutional  project  that was  adopted  in  1978,  the  Catalan  claim  to  the  Right  to Decide  on  its  political  future  precisely  testifies  to  a  genuine  commitment  to  the  ongoing constitutional dialogue that is legitimate in an open society.That is why simply dismissing this claim as “unconstitutional” cannot be an attitude that lives up to the high standard of political morality that is imposed by the ideal of constitutionalism.

8. Democratic  legitimacy  at  Catalan  and  Spanish  levels  may  both  be  legitimate,  even though  the  principle  of  external  preference  limits  the  capacity  of  Spain  to  permanently oppose the democratic choice of Catalonia. However, when conflicting political legitimacies compete,  there  is  a  duty  for  democratic  authorities  to  negotiate.  This  is  confirmed  by  the observation  ofinternational  practice  that  in  almost  all  instances,  the  sub-state  entity  and national state negotiate the contours of the assessment of political will.

9. Further,  in  a  genuine  liberal  democracy,  rule  of  law  may  not  trump  democratic legitimacy, nor the other way around; therefore, in a modern democratic State, rule of law and  democratic  legitimacy  need  to  be  reconciled and  cannot  in  the  long  term  remain opposed.  In  the  context  of  a  vote  of  self-determination,  as  is  the  case,  the  national framework  will  inevitably  be  inappropriate  because  the  existing  democratic  processes  to address the issue did not allow for a solution or a process to emerge. A change of scale thus appears necessary by justifying either locally or internationally(or both)the organization of a  referendum. If  Spanish  national  Authorities  deny  the  right  to  Catalonia  to  negotiate  its Right  to  Decide  within  the  Spanish  political  framework,  then  the  only  path  left  for Catalonia’s Authorities is the call for a self-determination referendum.

10.Thus, whatever the conflicting claims of legitimacy put forward by the political actors, international   practice   and   transconstitutional   jurisprudence   show   that   successful   self-determination  processes  always  rely  at  some  point  on  a  negotiation  procedure.  In  that perspective, the experts recommend the exploration of an earned sovereignty negotiating process  within  the  framework  of  the  EU.  This  would  imply  involvement  by  EU  institutions; we consider it possible in the perspective of a negotiation within the EU, fully implying Spain in seeking for Catalonia a constrained sovereignty solution, as a full member of the EU.
It's a strong point to say that a democratic State cannot simultaneously declare its legitimacy is based on democracy while attempting to deny democratic self-determination to a secession-minded part of its populace. Post-Brexit, the EU is much more likely to support this political fragmentation on the part of its member-states, since smaller microstates are far less likely to believe they can survive without being subject to the EU.

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Black privilege

Black privilege is when you can say things that would get white people fired and your employer doesn't even bother to slap your wrist.
ESPN host Jemele Hill has apologized for painting the sports network in an 'unfair light' with her controversial remarks about President Donald Trump. She said in a statement that comments in which she called Trump a 'white supremacist' and 'bigot' were her 'personal beliefs', and apologized for bringing ESPN into the issue.

'My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,' she said in a statement she posted on Twitter on Wednesday. 'My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.'

On Wednesday, during a White House briefing on hurricane relief, Sanders said she thought Hill's 'outrageous' remarks should be a 'fireable offense'.

Hill had tweeted on Monday that Trump is a 'bigot' and a 'white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/other white supremacists.' She also called him 'unqualified and unfit to be president' and said that 'if he were not white, he would never have been elected'.
This is just the Third Law of Social Justice in action. Hill is projecting. She knows that if she wasn't a black woman, she would never have gotten a job at ESPN.

But it's good to know that the next time a white Christian man says something that offends someone, he has only to apologize for bringing his employer into the issue and point out that he was merely expressing his personal beliefs in order to settle the matter.

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Voxiversity video 001

This weekend, the Voxiversity backers will be selecting the very first Video of the Month, which will also be the first video we will release. The three subjects that are being considered are as follows:
  • The SJW Attack Sequence
  • Religion Does Not Cause War
  • Immigration = War
We will normally have at least five options, but we want to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible for this first video. If you're interested in having a say in the matter, or if you're interested in helping us produce these videos, consider joining the 136 146 current Voxiversitans supporting Voxiversity.

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Good morning, said Gab

Gab@getongab
Good morning to everyone except Google.

If you're not sure what this means, perhaps today's DailyMemeWars might help you understand.


Now, obviously, I don't agree with Gab's position on moderation. I don't agree with it in theory and I don't agree with it in practice. But that doesn't mean that I think it is either right or fair for Gab to be locked out of the App Store and the Play Store. As to whether it is legal for them to be blackballed in this way, I have no idea. I simply don't know what most of the relevant laws are, or how they apply to the situation. Unlike most of the critics of my current petition, I try to avoid opining in ignorance.

It is a daunting task to take on a tech giant with the resources that Google has at its disposal. It's certainly a courageous move. As to whether it is a clever move or a completely crazy one, we shall have to wait and see what comes of it. But, as we know, giants can be slain.

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The black art of the deal

As always, I caution restraint before leaping to any conclusions. But I will readily admit, these initial reports of a deal on DACA look almost spectacularly stupid on the part of the President:
The top House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect thousands of younger immigrants from deportation and fund some border security enhancements — not including Trump’s long-sought border wall.

The agreement, the latest instance of Trump ditching his own party to make common cause with the opposition, was announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi following a White House dinner that Republican lawmakers weren’t invited to attend. It would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which provided temporary work permits and shielded recipients from deportation.

Trump ended the program earlier this month and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the statuses of the so-called “Dreamers” begin to expire.

“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders partially disputed their characterization, saying over Twitter that “excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”

Either way, it was the second time in two weeks that Trump cut out Republicans to reach a deal with Pelosi and Schumer. A person briefed on the meeting, who demanded anonymity to discuss it, said the deal specifies bipartisan legislation called the DREAM Act that provides eventual citizenship for the young immigrants.

House Republicans would normally rebel over such an approach, which many view as amnesty for law-breakers. It remains to be seen how conservatives’ loyalty to Trump will affect their response to a policy they would have opposed under other circumstances.

The House’s foremost immigration hardliner, GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa, made clear that he, for one, was not happy. Addressing Trump over Twitter, King wrote that if the reports were true, “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”
Remember, the usual Trump method is one step back, two steps forward. If this pattern prevails, the next two steps forward should be magnificent. Don't count the man out until he is actually out. That's not mindless optimism talking, but rather, the voice of an experience recalling how this game has played out before.

Trump can probably survive caving on DACA if he actually gets the Big Beautiful Wall built. But if he thinks he can play the conventional Republican game of "hey, we got a bipartisan deal" in lieu of delivering on his primary campaign promises, he is going to be surprised at how fast his support melts away.

UPDATE: Then again, this does not bode well, and tends to suggest that the God-Emperor simply does not grasp the thinness of the ice on which he is skating. Of course, he may only be chumming the social media waters. It's impossible to say at this point.
Donald J. Trump‏Verified@realDonaldTrump
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....

Supreme Dark Lord‏ @voxday
Yes. Yes, we do. Now throw them out and BUILD THE WALL!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jerry Pournelle Week III

Steve Sailer, who went to high school with Alex Pournelle, remembers his fellow Californian Jerry Pournelle:
Jerry once told me that if in early 1951 General MacArthur had said, “Boys, it’s time to clear out the nest of traitors in the White House. Who is going with me?” he would have been on the first flight to Washington with his hero.

After Korea, Pournelle went to West Point for a while, was a Communist briefly, and earned numerous advanced degrees in a variety of hard and soft subjects. He became an aerospace engineer at Boeing and several other companies and spent 1964 writing a Dr. Strangelove-style study for the Air Force on how a nuclear war would be fought in 1975.

He pored over satellite photos of the Soviet Union, counting the ratio of trucks to horse-drawn carts, eventually concluding that rather than the wave of the economic future, the U.S.S.R. represented “Bulgaria with nuclear missiles.” With his mentor, Viennese spymaster Stefan Possony of the Hoover Institution, Jerry wrote The Strategy of Technology, arguing that the way to win the Cold War was to turn it into a high-tech competition over who could innovate faster....

Besides being an engineer and a college professor, Jerry ran political campaigns. When I was a seventh grader, I used to write lengthy letters haranguing my new congressman, Barry Goldwater Jr., and getting dutiful replies in return. I only learned recently that the poor scion of the 1964 Republican nominee had never much wanted to go into politics. Goldwater Jr. had been perfectly happy as a stockbroker dating Warner Brothers starlets until Jerry had enlisted his famous name to run for the House.

Jerry also managed Los Angeles mayor Sam Yorty’s epic 1969 reelection victory over the moderate black challenger Tom Bradley.

Jerry’s breakthrough into science fiction came when he teamed up with an established author, Larry Niven (Ringworld), to write the 1974 hard sci-fi novel The Mote in God’s Eye, an immigration-policy allegory of astounding intellectual depth.
Just a reminder that THERE WILL BE WAR Vol. II is still free today. An excerpt from my second favorite story of the collection, "On the Shadow of a Phosphor Screen" by William Wu.

The silent hall was cold. From behind walnut walls, the air conditioner hummed quietly. A stately crowd of spectators radiated bristling energy from the rigid square rows of seats. They sat against the walls, their attention fixed on the dramatic events at the center of the room. Giant video screens high on each wall gave them the elegant details.

The heavy brown drapes and plush burgundy carpet absorbed the excess vitality from the atmosphere. They imparted a dignified solemnity to the ritualistic proceedings and infused the imperatives of business with a sense of duty. Two huge cables hung from the ceiling, suspending old-fashioned horizontal fans with broad, lazy blades and globular white lights at their hubs.

Beneath the sleepy fans, Wendell Chong Wei repressed the surge of elation that threatened to rock his relentless control. He studied the video screen right before him, and his fingers danced on the console to maintain the non-stop pace. Victory should be certain now, but only if he remained clear of mistakes. He drew sharply on the depths of insecurity for a renewal of killer instinct.

On the other side of the complex, out of sight, his opponent sat before her own screen, drawing back her cavalry, hoping that Wendell would allow his own cavalry charges to overextend themselves. No chance.

“Remember, in reality the Seljuks actually circled, and took the baggage and non-combatants. Leave St. Gilles there, even now. Curthose continues to rally well; Tancred’s charges will carry the day. That’s right—restraint. We’re outnumbered; keep together.”

Richard nodded in the back of Wendell’s mind and stopped talking. The smell of blood and dust and lathered horses arose to envelop Wendell’s sensibility as he regrouped the members of the First Crusade, now victorious at Doryleum on the road to Antioch. Frustrated, the Seljuk Turks remained on the horizon, taunting the Crusaders to break ranks.

Wendell refused. In the center of the screen, a digital clock appeared over the words “Victory Conditions, First Crusade. End game.” The screen blanked.

St. Gilles was dead once more. Bohemund was dead again. The Saracens and Crusaders had returned yet another time to their desiccated graves in the sand.

Wendell swallowed, and rose on weak knees to scattered clapping. His opponent, also looking infirm at the moment, stood and offered her hand without comment, and they shook perfunctorily. Wendell eased himself away from the chair, shaking, suddenly reeling in the sweat and nervousness that he always forgot in the heat of gaming itself. His twenty-nine years seemed far too few to account for this.

An attendant rushed over to escort him away

“Nice work,” said Richard.

“Same to you,” Wendell thought back. He wiped his palms on the sides of his chocolate-brown suit jacket. “But, uh, how did you know Robert Curthose could hold fast? In the middle of that retreat? His record’s not so good, back in Normandy.”

The attendant showed Wendell to a comfortable reception room with loungers and plenty of refreshments. When he had gone, Richard said, “He really did that, you know.”

“No, I didn’t. But I learned to listen to you a long time ago.”

“More than that, though, it was deep in his psychological makeup. That’s how I could count on it. If he—”

The door opened, and Richard stopped. Wendell collapsed into a lounger. He despised receptions. People scared him. They scared Richard even worse. The ones entering now were the contractors for the two recent opponents, and his erstwhile opponent herself. The contractors were all bustling with talk and laughter. Wendell was too exhausted to tell them apart, and couldn’t remember all their names anyway. His latent bitterness with the whole business kept him from caring.

Read the rest in THERE WILL BE WAR Vol. II.

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Tomorrow

Andrew Torba promises a lawsuit:
GAB.AI, INC.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

-----------

While I hate to disappoint those who are hoping that Gab will strike back at me, I'm afraid you're going to have to... think different.

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Building a new culture

Conservatives love to talk about the need to build an alternative culture.
The culture leans sharply left, and in our current, highly-polarized political climate that means conservatives in the arts tend to be treated as outsiders at best and pariahs at worst. Listen to the personal experiences of conservatives in Hollywood, for example, whether “above the line” (the stars, producers and directors) or below it (the rest of the crew), and you will understand why most keep their politics in the closet to avoid bad vibes, ostracism, and/or outright hostility. The left, of course, dismisses complaints of blacklisting and bias as paranoid whining, but they are very real indeed.

The publishing world is not exempt from this state of affairs. When conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s new book The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left appeared at Number seven on The New York Times bestseller list, despite actually having outsold all fourteen of its competitors on the list, D’Souza called out the Times on Twitter: “In what alternative universe do Jeff Flake’s 7,383 book sales for this week (BookScan data) top mine at 11,651? Thanks @nytimes fake list!”

This was far from the first time conservative authors had called foul about their books’ rankings on the Times’ all-important bestseller list. Cortney O’Brien at Townhall pointed to another noteworthy recent example: Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, by co-author couple Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. A horrifying exposé of the dark(er) side of the abortion industry, the top-selling Amazon release was perceived by some as an attack on the left’s sacred cow of abortion rights. The New York Times did have the book at Number 13 on its “Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction” list, but did not place Gosnell at its deserved Number four slot among bestselling nonfiction titles.

“It’s not only an insult to the people who have bought this book,” McElhinney said “but an insult to the readers of the New York Times who buy the newspaper and think they are getting the truth about book sales across America but instead get false facts disguised as a neutral list.”

A Times spokesman insisted that the “political views of authors have no bearing on our rankings, and the notion that we would manipulate the lists to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous.”

Ludicrous? The Times says its list is based on “surveys” of “a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context of their sales each week. These standards are applied consistently, across the board in order to provide Times readers our best assessment of what books are the most broadly popular at that time.”

Confidential context? Best assessment? Broadly popular? This sounds suspiciously unscientific and non-transparent, and does not address the evidence of the sales figures themselves.
Guess how many times a conservative media organ has reviewed, or even mentioned, a Castalia House book? Zero.

The conservative media talks a lot about "the culture", and complain about the Left's behavior in relation to it, but as is so often the case, they do absolutely nothing proactive about it. Conservative billionnaires don't invest in culture, because they're frightened of what they consider to be a "hits-driven business". They'd rather blow millions on politics and television ads, even though, as Instapundit noted, all the money spent on political ads in the last presidential campaign would have been better spent buying up all the women's magazines.

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