The Paw of Oberon 5/4

aka The Puppy In God’s Eye

The Geiger counter pours out a relentless beat as the fallout rains down. The glow in today’s roundup comes from Kameron Hurley, Jo Lindsay Walton, Martin Wisse, Mark Nelson, The Weasel King, Joe Sherry, George R.R. Martin, Vox Day, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Lou Antonelli, T. C. McCarthy, Michael Johnston, Alexandra Erin, John Scalzi, Myke Cole, Brad Torgersen, Dave Freer, William Reichard, Michael Z. Williamson and less easily identified others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Steve Moss and Laura Resnick.)


Kameron Hurley on Motherboard

“It’s About Ethics in Revolution” – May 4

Sorva took her seat on the other side of the table and waited. Both men could pass for Caucasian, as if that even bore mentioning, and sat in stuffed leather chairs. They wore extravagant codpieces that matched their suits, their members so cartoonishly large she could see the tips peeking up from the edge of the table. They both wore backwards caps.

It was the Director of Business Development, Marken, a lanky man with a sincere, pudgy face, who spoke first.

“Do you understand that when we choose the very best forward-looking brand messages each year for the Business Development Award ballot we open to our corporate writers, it must adhere to certain standards?”


Jo Lindsay Walton

“Quick Hugo thought”  – May 4

Some folk out there seem to be prevaricating between (a) No-Awarding the Puppies selections or (b) No-Awarding every Puppy-dominated category, since it would be totally unfair to give “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” a Hugo by default, and pretty unfair to give e.g. The Goblin Emperor a Hugo with reduced competition.

I’m prevaricating too, and I know exactly what would let me make up my mind: releasing the full nomination data. That way you could see who else could have been on the ballot. Then the procedure’s simple: you construct a virtual ballot from a Puppy-free world (the kind of Stalinist disappearing we SJWs lurve) and make your choice. If your selection from the virtual ballot is on the real ballot as well, you vote for them above No Award; otherwise you No Award the whole category.

But we don’t have the full nomination data, right?


Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“No Award All The Things” – May 4

No Award All the Things!

Sorry Thomas Olde Heuvelt, you may actually get your Hugo this year, but since you’re the only candidate there on merit I felt uneasy voting for you by default. Better luck next year.


Mark Nelson on Heroines of Fantasy

“An Ever Changing Landscape” – May 4

Who pays when the real world intrudes on our imaginary landscape? If we start turning against each other and fall to squabbling over increasingly empty honors, how does that make us look? The truth is SFF needs to grow up.  At times I have felt that our genre heading allowed us to adopt a mock superior tone; mostly as a response to being ignored by “real literature” and those who write criticism.  We reveled in being aberrant. We rallied around our awards and celebrated our words in spite of the roaring silence from the wider world. We were a club with giants as members. We were privy to secret knowledge with informed, inclusionary eye-winks. We were the wandering Jews relegated to pulp fiction status, respected by none other than those lucky, lucky few who accepted the words and understood the latent power of the language of ideas. I wonder if the worst thing to ever happen to the genre was its popular success.  The bigger “it” got, the more insistently came the calls for “it” to be taken seriously.  And when film tech caught up with story tech, a marriage of commercial explosion formed. “Money, money changes everything…”  And at present the affect has not been altogether positive. We were once the progressives. Now we look like idiots fighting over cheesecake while the Titanic’s deck begins to tilt. Wow. We have all but rendered the Hugo award useless. WorldCon cannot avoid the taint of controversy. The folks putting on the con deserve better.


The Weasel King

“” – May 4

The Locus Awards: A collection of skiffy fic untainted by ballot-stuffing assholes. Maybe not all to your taste, but reliably “dickface asslimousines did not shit on this ballot and then demand that you to eat it with a smile” Bonus sick burn: Connie Willis, awesome author[1] and perennial Hugo presenter, told the Hugos to fuck off because of the penisnose MRA anuscacti who hijacked their nomination process, and she’s presenting the Locus Awards.


Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Books Read: April 2015” – May 4

Discovery of the Month: If not for all of the fracas over the Hugo Awards, I may never have read Eric Flint’s 1632, which was a fairly enjoyable romp taking a group of twentieth century Americans back into seventeenth century Europe. I already have the next book, Ring of Fire, coming in from the library.


George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“LOCUS Nominations Announced” – May 4

While this year, admittedly, may be different due to the influence of the slate campaigns, over most of the past couple of decades the Locus Poll has traditionally had significantly more participants than the Hugo nomination process. Looking over the Locus list, one cannot help but think that this is probably what the Hugo ballot would have looked like, if the Puppies had not decided to game the system this year. Is it a better list or a worse one? Opinions may differ. The proof is in the reading.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Three centuries strong” – May 4

As Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil, we are pleased to declare that Malwyn, Whore-Mistress of the Spiked Six-Whip, has reported that she has completed the initial Branding of the Minions. She has now gone to take a well-deserved vacation in one of the more secluded lava pits in our Realm of Deepest Shadow, where she will no doubt be nursing her aching wrists and filing for overtime as well as worker’s compensation….

“How many of us are there?”

335 as of this morning.



Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Arthur Chu sucks at everything but Jeopardy” – May 4

Many regulars may remember Social Justice Warrior and Salon author Arthur Chu as the dipshit who declared Brad Torgersen’s 20 year interracial marriage and his biracial children as “shields” to hide Brad’s racism. He is one of the morons who blamed the Sad Puppies’ success on GamerGate.

Well, after a day of futile harassment, his team of idiots couldn’t even call in a bomb threat correctly.


T. C. McCarthy on YouTube

“Local 16, Bizarre Tweets, and Bomb Threats: #GamerGate an #SadPuppies Supporters Meet in DC #GGinDC” – May 4


Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas

Reach out and insult somebody – May 4

The official announcement of the nominations for the 2015 Hugo awards was made on April 4, so its been a month since then, Gee, time flies when you’re having fun.

One thing I’ve learned in the past month is that, thanks to the wonders of the latest technology and the internet, someone you don’t know and have never met, who may live thousands of miles away, can call you an “asshole” in public.


Michael Johnston in a comment on Whatever – May 4

Rachel Swirsky said: “Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

It’s vicious and horrible. The puppies and how they’ve acted toward me and others sucks. But good lord, let’s keep threats of violence, however unserious, out of it. Please.”

This, in particular, illustrates the difference between the puppies and their perceived enemies. In every “liberal” space I’m following, any threats or overly abusive rhetoric is met with calls for civility. In the SP/RP spaces, the rhetoric is largely about how we deserve horrible things done to us, which are often described in detail–and the moderators not only allow it, but indulge in it themselves.


Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“What! Your Sad Puppies Are Evolving” – May 4

This is a significant shift from Day for two reasons.

The first is that it signals what he thinks is most likely to happen. He rode high on the sweeping fantasy vision of himself as a Roman general leading a slavering horde of berserkers across the frozen river to assault the well-fortified position of his enemies (note to self: suggest history lessons for Vox), but he has just enough self-awareness to know that his strategy of lying and repeating the lie could come back and bite him if he tried to claim a sweeping victory where none existed, so he’s starting the spin now.

The second is that—as mentioned before—the endgame he now endorses is something the Sad Puppies have claimed to have wanted as their ultimate endgame.


Season of the Red Wolf

“A Pox on both their Houses: Sad Puppies, Vox Day, Social Justice Warriors, the Hugos circus and the irrelevancy of a dying genre” – May 4

As with Torgersen, Correia can’t be bothered with addressing what Vox Day actually writes about blacks (the problem there – in the linked blog entry – is not the silly and ridiculous debate itself that Vox Day quotes from, it’s Vox Day’s own commentary on African-Americans in response to that debate that is eyebrow raising) and women alone. Of course as soon as one does acknowledged what Vox Day actually writes about blacks and women (never mind gays), then the only way to defend those indefensible prejudices, is by sinking into prejudice itself. Correia, like Torgersen, thus avoids that trap (defending the actual indefensible remarks/comments of Vox Day’s) by not ever quoting Vox Day’s most egregious commentary in this regard, and getting to grips with what he actually says. Correia, as with Torgersen, just doesn’t go anywhere near what Vox Day actually writes about blacks, women and gays for that matter. The easier to whitewash why Vox Day is considered persona non grata, namely for very good reasons. Yes it’s all so hypocritical, given the genre Left’s multiple prejudices (including of course their anti-Semitism that doesn’t bother anybody really, least of all genre Jewry) but this also misses the point.


John Scalzi on Whatever

“I’d Rather Like Men Than To Be a Sad Puppy” – May 4


Myke Cole

“An open letter to Chief Warrant Officer Brad R. Torgersen” – May 4

Chief War­rant Officer Torgersen,

As you are no doubt aware, The Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Repeal Act of 2010 removed bar­riers to homo­sexual mem­bers in the armed ser­vices, who may now serve openly and as equals.

You have long held the posi­tion that homo­sex­u­ality is immoral behavior, and most recently made den­i­grating jokes regarding the ori­en­ta­tion aimed at Mr. John Scalzi.

Your moral posi­tions are your own, and I will not ques­tion them. How­ever, I will remind you that you are a mil­i­tary officer and charged with the lead­er­ship of men and women of *all* walks of life, reli­gions, creeds, sexual ori­en­ta­tions, socio-cultural back­grounds and eth­nic­i­ties. Every single one of these people has the right to believe that you will faith­fully dis­charge your duties as an officer, not spend their lives care­lessly, not make them endure unnec­es­sary hard­ship, that you will care for them with com­pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion. On or off duty, you are *always* an officer.

Your repeated state­ments of your thoughts on homo­sex­u­ality in public forums create the very rea­son­able appre­hen­sion among homo­sexual mem­bers of the ser­vice that you hold them in con­tempt and will not lead them to the utmost of your ability, will not look to their needs and con­cerns, and may place them at undue risk. That this is surely not your inten­tion is irrelevant.

Fur­ther, your pub­li­cally den­i­grating state­ments regarding Mr. Scalzi are base, undig­ni­fied and show ques­tion­able judg­ment. You, Chief War­rant Officer Torg­ersen, are an officer, but no gen­tleman. Your posi­tions are incon­sis­tent with the values of the United States mil­i­tary, and its com­mit­ment to being a ser­vice that belongs to ALL Americans.

Our nation deserves better.


Myke Cole


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Never retreat, never apologize” – May 4

Does no one listen or learn? Never, EVER apologize to SJWs! Case in point: “The apology was worse than the ini­tial attempted slur — it rein­forced the fact that Torg­ersen thinks calling someone gay is a slur.” I repeat. NEVER APOLOGIZE TO SJWs. They will see it as fear, take the apology, and use it as a club with which to beat you. Never back down to them, never retreat, never apologize.Notice that this was all posted AFTER Torgersen apologized to Scalzi.


Brad R. Torgersen

“Keyboard rage” – May 4

Today, I am told Myke Cole is on about me. Since Myke doesn’t really know me from Adam, I have to shrug and take whatever he said with a grain of salt. But then, most people who’ve been on about me lately — because of Sad Puppies 3 — don’t know me, either. I may take it personally if a friend, a family member, or a respected senior I admire, has hard words for me. But total strangers spewing hard words?

Well, total strangers may have an opportunity to reconsider at a later point. Especially if they meet me face-to-face.



“Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer Category” – May 4

So, in this post, I will try to define what “Fan Writer” means and use it to justify my support of Jeffro Johnson in this year’s Best Fan Writer category.

On the face of it, a Fan Writer is just that. A fan who writes. They are a fan of something in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, and they write about fantasy and science fiction from the perspective of someone who is a fan to an audience of fellow or potential fans. A good fanwriter is like an evangelical minister of fantasy and science fiction; they give sermons to the believers to help them better understand the texts they know and love and they take the good word to those who have not heard it. You’ve been missing something in your life, and you don’t quite know what it is, but I think I can help you; here’s this story by Lord Dunsany!


Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Research, Hard-SF, stats and passing small elephants” – May 4

John Scalzi kindly provided us via his friend Jason Sanford a near text-book perfect example of GIGO. “Recently author John Ringo (in a Facebook post previously available to the public but since made private) asserted that every science fiction house has seen a continuous drop in sales since the 1970s — with the exception of Baen (his publisher), which has only seen an increase across the board. This argument was refuted by author Jason Sanford, who mined through the last couple of years of bestseller lists (Locus lists specifically, which generate data by polling SF/F specialty bookstores) and noted that out of 25 available bestselling slots across several formats in every monthly edition of Locus magazine, Baen captures either one or none of the slots every month — therefore the argument that Baen is at the top of the sales heap is not borne out by the actual, verifiable bestseller data.” As I said: first you need to understand what you’re sampling. For example, if you set up a pollster at a Democratic convention, at 10 pm, in a site just between the bar and the entry to the Men’s urinals… even if he asks every person passing him on the way in, you’re not going to get a very good analysis of what Americans think of a subject. Or what women think of the subject. What you will get is middling bad sample of what mildly pissed male Democratic Party conference attendees think. Middling bad, because many of the passers will be hurry to go and pass some water first. It’s vital to understand what you’re sampling – or what you’re not. Let’s just deconstruct the one above. In theory Sanford was attempting to statistically prove John Ringo’s assertion wrong. What he proved was nothing of the kind (Ringo may be right or wrong, but Sanford failed completely). What he proved was that on the Locus bestseller list, (the equivalent of the Democratic Party convention and the route between the bar and the gentleman’s convenience) that Baen was not popular. That is verifiable. The rest is wishful thinking, which may be true or false. Firstly ‘Bestseller’ does not equal sales numbers. A long tail – which Baen does demonstrably have, can outsell ‘bestseller’ and five solid sellers outsell one bestseller and four duds. Secondly, independent bookstores who self-select by accepting polling, selected by a pollster (Locus) with a well-established bias are not remotely representative of book sales in general, or representative of the choices book buyers have. Thirdly, it is perfectly possible to ‘capture’ no bestseller slots at all, even in a worthwhile sample (which Locus polling isn’t) and STILL be the one house that is actually growing. It depends what you’re growing from – which of course this does not measure and cannot.

Short of actual book sales numbers, and data on advances – which we’ll never see, staffing is probably the best clue. I know several authors at other houses whose editors have left, and quite a lot of other staff at publishers who’ve been let go. Over the last few years, the number of signatures on my Baen Christmas card have gone up year on year.


William Reichard

“Silent Punning (aka ‘The Hijacker’s Guide to the Galaxy’”) – May 4

Having run through quite a few sci-fi themed puns regarding the Hugo Award debacle, the community is apparently moving on to Westerns (e.g., “A Fistful of Puppies“).

I have to say, this is my favorite part of online warfare–when the rest of the community acknowledges the madness of it all and just starts having fun again. Because there should be some kind of silver lining in this.


Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand

Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand

syberious _ny on “Ebay: Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand”

Here’s the scoop…I designed this holster (and its companion holster in Left Hand configuration) because of the whole Sad Puppy / Hugo Award kerfuffle. My original thought was to perhaps raffle them off to raise money for a veterans organization. But, online raffles in the state of Tennessee (where I live and have my business) are tightly regulated, and it would have cost more to run a raffle than what the raffle could potentially bring in.

So, I’m listing these here on FleaBay, with the proceeds going directly to help a friend who is a veteran, who has run into some heavy financial problems with squatters in her rental home. On her GoFundMe page, she’s committed to only using the cash that she needs, and anything extra will be donated to a veterans organization of her choosing.

679 thoughts on “The Paw of Oberon 5/4

  1. ‘when people keep going back to irrational as morally wrong.’

    Your generalising from a response to a particular instance. You think that because I refuse to recognise the shooting as a 14 year old girl as a rational act I must think al irrational acts are immoral. But since you have made a further comment that recognises that you are talking about what appears rational to the perpetrator, which is not my idea of rationality and hopefully not yours, we are not in fact disagreeing. You’re just an incredibly imprecise writer and a sloppy thinker.

  2. ‘Either way, the employment of the YeahBut tactic (“Yeah, but your side has a person who does x, y and z”) will boomerang so very fast that you will depart this thread in haste.’


    ‘Pro tip – you can’t win this one. Best to let it lie.’

    Knock yourself out. Hugo winning authors from the last 5-10 years aren’t on my ‘side.’ Or anyone else’s. It would be interesting to see if you could top an author openly calling someone ‘whore,’ ‘slut’ and ‘donkey-show star,’ amongst other things, though. Let rip.

  3. “It would be interesting to see if you could top an author openly calling someone ‘whore,’ ‘slut’ and ‘donkey-show star,’ amongst other things, though. Let rip.”

    First, find a blog willing to host that exhibition.

  4. As for “if it works in war it’s rational”:
    – Invading Iraq under the guise of “destroying WMDs” may have worked – to (temporarily) make GW think he had a bigger package to show off than his daddy. It certainly wasn’t rational in that the outcome has been to increase both funding and recruitment for extremist groups, and to provide more of a legitimacy to these same extremist groups to otherwise non-committal Muslims.
    – deliberately targeting bomb runs, during the Allied offensive in WW II to destroy more of the residential areas surrounding truly strategic military targets was successful in ensuring successful destruction of peripheral areas of the military targets. It was not rational in that it both increased the cost of the eventual (and inevitable) reconstruction and diminished the perception of the Allied powers legitimacy and honesty when the information came out.
    – denying the existence, on the part of the various Allied governments, of the death camps constructed by the German government certainly worked to prevent public pressure from being brought to bear to aggressively fight to liberate those camps. It was not rational that it had the effect of alienating both the citizenry, and the military forces, when it was revealed that not only did the governments not work aggressively towards those liberations, but they lied by denying the knowledge of the existence of those camps.
    – It “worked” at the sack of Béziers to kill indiscriminately, in that all the Cathars, Waldesinians and Jews were killed. It was not rational, in that so many “innocent faithful’ were slain as well

    Do we require further examples, or should these be dismissed as “edge cases?”

  5. Oh, God. Sorry, Mike. I retract the invitation, deeply regret the quotes from comments you’ve deleted and apologise for bringing it all back up again.

    I still can’t bloody believe he said it.

  6. @Kratman

    “Oh, I dunno if it was a train wreck; I was, after all, “way up on points.””

    I think you were getting your scoring from the East German judge then. Rather I recall you being unable to defend your use of the SS beyond “I had to, because I had to”, and then refusing to engage further on the grounds that you’d already answered. Declaring unilateral victory and taking your ball home isn’t actually a win.

    And then, of course, there was the sequel thread in which you returned to defend Caliphate and ground to a halt when faced with an actual historian who could play the cite vs cite game with you. Admittedly that thread ended with your banning, so it’s unclear if you’d have been declaring victory there as well.

    Incidentally, back in those threads you rather clearly voiced your opposition to what you termed the Muslim “subjugation of women, the legalistic murder of homosexuals, restrictions on free speech, child marriages, forced female circumcision, etc.” Tell me, Tom, isn’t that rather SJW of you? You certainly appeared to “give a shit how they treat their women” back then. What changed?

  7. @nigel Ugh. I hope what I wrote above wouldn’t indicate that I think it’s OK to argue that way. I wanted to try to understand him (I still do) but things like that make it harder for sure. We’re not at war here, after all. Or I thought we weren’t.

  8. ‘We’re not at war here, after all. ‘

    It’s not war, it’s just… unpleasant.

  9. @Tom – “No, that wouldn’t be it, Max”

    If you are talking about the bit about economics, you are correct- that’s why it was so funny. The process you were describing wasn’t even slightly related to trickle-down theory- it was textbook Keynesian stimulus spending.

    This is what happens when someone lets ideology get in the way of understanding what happens in the real world.

  10. @nigel This alas is one of the ways my hope to use Star Trek as a model breaks down when I try to do it…I think they cheated a bit by centering the show on settings where people were duty-bound to be basically polite to each other. So the question of how they do all that messy interpersonal stuff kind of happens off screen most of the time (it got a face with Troi but still not much detail and some exploration with Worf, but he’s also from a society that values military order). Today I was thinking, the point may more be the hope that we can get there eventually. And that’s no small thing either. Anyhow, hopefully I didn’t make it any more unpleasant. Cheers.

  11. @Kratman – “You know who won in Vietnam, right?”

    Don’t go there. There are too many names I know too well on that Wall.

  12. Morris, I have not insulted people for disagreeing, but only for insulting me. No, in fact I don’t care about the Hugo at all, except for a mild but lingering desire to see the award burned to the ground.

  13. You know an amazing number of things, Anna., that are not so.

    Tell you what: Go ahead and believe that Afghanistan is Ulster or even enough like Ulster for the analogy to hold. Ignore their culture and their history. Pretend that someone is actually going to do something effective against them because of the Taliban’s occasional exercises in domestic terror and that the terror will not work on their actual targets. If all of that, and any other illusions you may need to hold to to maintain the illusion that this was irrational from the Taliban’s point of view, go on.

  14. Mike, I’d like to go ahead and apologize for my actions in this thread. You previously talked about your desire not to have such things on your site, and I knew that, but I couldn’t resist poking at the bear. It was the wrong course of action, and I apologize.

    Tom, I apologize for saying what I did about your mother. My intention was to provoke, and it was entirely disrespectful of me to say.

  15. Craig, if you read thoroughly you would note (if they haven’t disappeared, and they shouldn’t have) that there is a time scale to right and wrong (hence, in this case, rational) and different levels of what is rational in war.

    1) I wrote a column on the accidentally brilliant but in the end deliberately stupid Invasion of Iraq. The upshot, for our purposes here, was that, just because something turned out badly doesn’t mean it had inevitably to turn out badly.

    2) Wishful thinking nonsense. Sorry, but that’s all it is.

    3) I have nevcer perceived this as happening except perhaps among a small fringe. Perhaps it is your fringe, and so looms larger in your mind that it does in life. Or perhaps I am wrong. But I have still never seen it in any large and important sense.

    4) The Beziers reference suggests that you are, still, equating morality with reason. But the last time I met a Cathar was never, so from the point of view of extirpating them it was rational to kill all the populace. It may have been morally wrong (I think it was, actually) but there was no downside to it such as would make it irrational.

  16. “And everyone’s a father or a husband or a son…” Yes, I know the song, too. But denying it doesn’t refute that their use of deliberate, specific and genocidal terror* worked for them in Vietnam, though, no, Craig?

    *As opposed to the random terror we engaged in, which rarely works.

  17. But where, Max, because it is not clear to me that a) I said what you think I did or b) that you understood the context. I really can’t discus it without knowing what you’re talking about.

  18. Mark, so you cannot tell the difference between crapping on someone who is tacitly defending all that, because of his hypocrisy and stupidity, and condemning it oneself? Oh, well; I am unsurprised.

  19. The apology is nice, Alex, but my mother is still dead, you have still insulted her memory, and you are still incredibly low and vile in my book. Ask her for forgiveness; it will not be forthcoming from me.

    By the way, just FYI, while I know and knew what a GOMAR is, the term when I was in, for most of that time, was GOLAR. The way you used it – “GOMARed out” suggested but did not prove that you didn’t really understand it, since a GOMAR or GOLAR doesn’t actually get one removed, directly or even necessarily (some, you see, are not for record). So, just out of curiosity, when were you in, what was your MOS and rank, which positions did you hold, in which units, where?

  20. @ Tom – It was in one of the most recent of the Carerra books. Maybe Come and Take Them? Can’t give you a page number, I got it from the library. Somewhere in the middle. It was in one of the talking about politics parts, rather than one of the story parts.

    Don’t sweat it, though, we can’t be experts on everything. Your area of expertise is the military, and that’s what I read your books for. This wasn’t even an important part of the book, it just struck me to see you using an example that contradicted the assertion about what Bush called voodoo economics.

  21. That doesn’t help much, Max. I wonder, though, did you miss that Carrera’s model isn’t Keynes, but Switzerland, where the banking industry sprang up to deal with the wages garnered by Swiss mercenaries? He spent ten years or so making a bloody fortune the same way, which he mostly didn’t keep, but plowed into the local economy.

    Aha, found it, I think:

    “There followed what was probably the greatest surge in the Balboan economy since the FSC had gone home after their invasion and the government had been able to sell off abandoned real estate to insiders. With massive investment in the economy made possible by the Cristobal Free Zone Tax, drug lords’ tribute, various sources of foreign aid, some of it somewhat reluctantly given, unemployment nationwide dropped to the lowest level in Latin Columbia. Among veterans and volunteers, some ten percent of the population, unemployment was almost precisely nothing. The exceptions were the very few; rich members of the legions, and there were some, and the rather larger number going to school full time. And those last weren’t precisely unemployed. Carrera’s enterprises were also able to increase Balboa’s exports to a healthy degree; lumber, scrap steel, canned food, clothing, footwear, minor electronics, weapons, ammunition, and other goods flowed from Balboa as far north as La Plata and as far south as Secordia. Some also went to Uhuru, Taurania, and the island country of Wellington.

    Although ‘trickle down economics’ garnered much scorn in most of the planet’s progressive circles, it seemed to work well enough in Balboa. In part this was because most of the money spent by Carrera and the Legion went into common people’s pockets where it was reasonably sure to be spent, almost always on something that would help another Balboan stay employed. The rest was because the average resident of Balboa expected, and received, so little of his or her government in the way of social benefits that the policy caused no reduction in government income and no loss to already non-existent income redistribution programs. The government had little in direct tax revenues to redistribute in any event.”

    Now, if you are an economist, what is wrong with that?

  22. Tom: The second sentence in the second paragraph in essence says “trickle down economics works because the wealth trickled down”, without giving any realistic or even hypothetical mechanism by which that happens. Its pretty much much the “a wizard did it” of justifications

    Mike – having taken a break, apologies for metaphorically making a mess on your foyer. In future I will limit myself to watching the train wreck instead of actively participating.

  23. @Tom – Ah, I didn’t describe it correctly, cheers for finding it.

    The argument isn’t wrong, calling it trickle-down economics is the problem. In your passage, they are taking all of that money from tribute, etc. and investing it in industry and arms, which logically reduced unemployment and raises general prosperity. So far, so good (and Keynesian). This is what classical economics would expect.

    But that isn’t trickle down theory- the idea of trickle down theory is that the government reduces taxes on the rich and industry and that this reduction will spur economic growth. In effect, more money for rich people will mean that prosperity will ‘trickle down’ into the poor. Now, everyone agrees that *some* of it does, but almost every economist will tell you that it is a much smaller amount than one would expect, and certainly not as efficient as following the program you describe above.

  24. It seems to me, Snow, that that does describe a mechanism, except that the mechanism is more or less naturally following after “Event A,” rather than forced or tightly managed. The mechanism is that he used the money to create industries and hence jobs. How much more mechanism do you need?

  25. “The way you used it – “GOMARed out” suggested but did not prove that you didn’t really understand it, since a GOMAR or GOLAR doesn’t actually get one removed, directly or even necessarily (some, you see, are not for record)”

    You’re right that it doesn’t get you moved directly, but in the military of today, where the drawdown continues, the sequestration happened, and they’re early separating people from their contracts, a GOMAR is pretty much an officer’s death knell, because even with exemplary OERs and the GOMAR moved to the restricted section of your OMPF, the promotion board can still see it.

    ” So, just out of curiosity, when were you in, what was your MOS and rank, which positions did you hold, in which units, where?”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That’s not happening. Service isn’t a cudgel to beat people over the head with, a tool to win arguments on the internet, or a vehicle for getting brownie points.

  26. Ah, I wondered if that’s what you meant., Max. However, I invite your attention to the latter sections, in which it is explained that the government already doesn’t do what trickle down theory says it should not do. So is that in opposition to trickle down theory, or is it illustration of how it is supposed to work after said tax rates on the rich are cut?

  27. Which is, of course, why you attacked mine, Alex?

    Though why it should not be a tool, other than that you would prefer that it not be…or at least that it not be if _you_ might be on the brunt of it…

  28. @snowcrash, @Tom – No, no, it’s that this isn’t trickle down economics – the description he gives is entirely sensible. That might be why he feels that the criticism is unjust, because except for the name, it really does make perfect sense.

    I just found a quote that shows it perfectly, he addresses a complaint that people have on real trickle down economics, that the money goes to the rich and to large corporations, who are less likely to spend it. His stimulus spending program is the opposite:

    “In part this was because most of the money spent by Carrera and the Legion went into common people’s pockets where it was reasonably sure to be spent, almost always on something that would help another Balboan stay employed.”

    Thats exactly what you want to do to kick the economy into gear- poor or working class people are more likely to spend any extra money, and less likely to spend it on luxuries. But again, that’s the exact opposite of trickle-down. This would be more along the ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ end of things.

  29. @Tom- I think my comment at 7:46 answers your question at 7:44, but since neither of us had seen them while typing, let me know if you want more of an answer or you think I used the question.

  30. Tom, I respect your service, and I sure as Hell haven’t attacked you for serving. I don’t respect that you try and use it like it gives you a moral high ground. I also am very glad that I never had to serve under you.

    As for why I don’t consider it a tool, I find service to be a thing of honor, and using it to win internet arguments seems a way to sully something I value highly. You obviously don’t feel the same.

  31. Steven Schwartz @ 11:46 am- I would rather have Tom Kratman’s style of patriotism over yours any day of the week.

    Mark @ 1:26 pm- From my perspective, Tom Kratman is way up on points.

  32. I think it doesn’t answer it, actually. The original charge is that I can write a so so battle scene, but have no understanding of economics. In light of the fact, as demonstrated, that the illustration is of trickle down theory _after_ it is implemented, because there never was a before for this time and place, do you still hold that I don’t understand economics at all?

    Note, however, that the core of the thing is really not trickle down theory as it applies to the industrialized world, but in a very peculiar case of someone who doesn’t care about money for himself, but does care about building a better society that is capable of self government and self defense in a very rough world and universe. Personally, I think Carrera’s choice, which is also his choice for his family, is entirely rational, because money, in the absence of security, is nothing.

  33. By the way, I had a lot of fun manipulating and perverting words and memes in the Carrera-verse. Trivia question: who are the revolutionaries, in the mold of Lenin, Mao, and Ho, in the Carreraverse, and who are the old fashioned, privileged conservatives, in a very Toryesque sense? Who overthrows corrupt oligarchies of the moneyed and decadent? Who are the moneyed and decadent? Who sets up a (limited, to be sure) socialist workers paradise but doesn’t call it that, and who claims to social democracy, but uses it only as a cover for nepotistic corruption?

  34. But you know what, Alex? I know three commanders that the troops cried over when they left command. I was one of those. I also know of a case where the wives cried, a case where the troops spontaneously got up a petition to keep their CO in command as his tour was coming to a close, and a case where committees got together to go to higher to request that their old CO be pulled from his current command and given back to them.

    I was all three of the latter, so what is your opinion worth to me?

  35. Oh no. Some random asshole doesn’t believe me and wants me to prove to him that I served! Whatever shall I do?!

    Night, Tom.

  36. “Steven Schwartz @ 11:46 am- I would rather have Tom Kratman’s style of patriotism over yours any day of the week.”

    You’re welcome to it, given the sorts of results his kind of thinking has brought, and threatens to bring, this country.

    @alexvdl Thank you for your service.

  37. No, Alex, this – “Tom, I respect your service” – is the part I don’t believe. As for you, you may or may not have served; the evidence is mixed.

  38. @Tom – Well, I don’t think I said ‘so-so’, I was going more for ‘knows what he is talking about’ and ‘[his] area of expertise’.

    And I’ve tried to be clear that your description of economics is correct, except for calling it ‘trickle down’. Admittedly, that was only after you asked for support of my statement, my apologies.

    The problem, is that trickle-down theory isn’t from economics, it’s from politics. What you are describing is exactly what classical economics would expect to happen, down to the criticism you gave for real trickle down economics. In your passage, money isn’t going primarily to rich people because of tax cuts and then magically trickling down, it is being used to invest in and expand industry and start new businesses. This is the type of activity where most of the money goes to employees, not owners. This is the exact opposite of trickling down.

    Seriously, I am not being sarcastic when I say that what you describe is exactly what economists say is expected to happen – the same economists who think that concentrating wealth at the top is not good for the economy.

    Now, if you had written something where there was no massive influx of government spending, where the government lowered taxes on rich people, and you then wrote an explanation of how those people have more money made everyone else more prosperous… That would be trickle down economics working as intended. This isn’t.

  39. Oh, and I might be a “random asshole,” Alex, as charged, but I don’t insult people’s dead mothers. What word would you use to describe yourself, after that, Alex? It ought to be a real stinker.

  40. So as an end state it doesn’t resemble what trickle down theory says it should resemble? I think we have a semantic problem. It _may_ be _my_ semantic problem.

  41. Max@7.46

    Is “Carrera” in this case a government or a private entity? If it’s a government, that the excerpt describes more of a welfare/ public works programme (depending on what the expectation of returns are). If it’s a private entity, then maybe the whole trickle down thing may still be applicable.

    Based on the excerpt, it seems more of the former, as Carrerra appears to be an entity with government levels of power, but I don’t have enough to tell.

  42. In any case, do you still think that this:

    “When he tries to get into economics, the books get hilarious- In one of the more recent ones he spends a few paragraphs explaining how a government spending program for arms helped stimulate the economy, just as Keynes would have expected… Then he claims that this is proof that trickle-down economics is real!”

    is accurate?

  43. @ Tom – I re-read your post and realized that a quote from you makes my point more eloquently than I:

    “Note, however, that the core of the thing is really not trickle down theory as it applies to the industrialized world”

    Yes! That’s what I meant. I don’t have any problem with Carerra’s reasoning, (or yours) in this bit, I’m just saying that what you call ‘trickle-down economics’ is not what the rest of the world means when we use that phrase.

    Am I correct in thinking that you mean the money is trickling down from Carerra to the general economy?

    If so, then A) he is acting more in the part of a government than a rich private individual, and B) even if that wasn’t true, I think we can all agree that Carerra is a very unusual man.

  44. He doesn’t clearly fit either category, Snow, having feet in both sectors. You might say he is eventually part of the government, since he serves a government largely of his own creation. But he listens as much as he wants to and nobody can make him do anything else, because he, personally, has a near monopoly on the means of violence. He is also somewhat a privatus, for some time, since he is making a fortune renting his auxilliaries out, but has to put the profits into something for safekeeping.

    One of the pecuiarites is that his nation building is dependent on self selection. He does not generally believe there is much mutability in man, via anything, nature or nurture, and so uses his legions to identify those upon whom a job and training for it is less likely to be a waste. He spends investment money on his discharged troops or, if they’re dead or disabled, their families, and very little else. From those economic enterprises what one might call stimulus flows outward.

  45. @Tom- In any case, do you still think that this: (snip) is accurate?

    Hmmm. Semi- accurate, but more unkind and without offering any benefit of the doubt? (Re-reads) Hmm, no, less accurate than I thought:

    Please allow me to retract most of that statement, the economics are sound, where economics blur into politics (trickle-down) is the only part where I remember disagreeing with any of the books. I shouldn’t have claimed that all of it was in error over one sentence. Please accept my apology.

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