Archive for June 2006

Jim Baen (October 22, 1943 – June 28, 2006)

Jim Baen has died. David Drake has written a tribute.

I’ve written about Jim’s work before. David Drake is my favorite author, and you can’t talk about Drake without talking about Baen. With Acidman dying a few days ago, I’ve got two more people to remember as Damned Fine Americans this 4th of July.

When Jim called me on June 11, he told me he was dying. I thought he was simply having a bad interaction among prescription drugs. Though the stroke that killed him occurred the next day in hospital, Jim was right and I was wrong–again.

After that opening, Jim said, “I’m just going to say it: we’ve known each other all these years and you seem to like me. Why?”

That’s a hell of a thing to be hit with out of the blue. Jim had always known that he was socially awkward and that he not infrequently rubbed people the wrong way, but it wasn’t something we discussed. (And it’s obviously not a subject on which I could be of much help.)

If I’d been a different person, I’d have started out by listing the things he did right: for example, that I’d never met a more loving father than Jim was to his two children (Jessica Baen, 29, Jim’s daughter with Madeline Gleich, and Katherine Baen, 14, Jim’s daughter with Toni Weisskopf). Being me, I instead answered the question a number of us ask ourselves: “How can you like a person who’s behaved the way you know I have?” I said that his flaws were childish ones, tantrums and sulking; not, never in my experience, studied cruelty. He agreed with that.

And then I thought further and said that when I was sure my career was tanking–

“You thought that? When was that?”

In the mid ’90s, I explained, when Military SF was going down the tubes with the downsizing of the military. But when I was at my lowest point, which was very low, I thought, “I can write two books a year. And Jim will pay me $20K apiece for them–“

“I’d have paid a lot more than that!”

And I explained that this wasn’t about reality: this was me in the irrational depths of real depression. And even when I was most depressed and most irrational, I knew in my heart that Jim Baen would pay me enough to keep me alive, because he was that sort of person. He’d done that for Keith Laumer whom he disliked, because Laumer had been an author Jim looked for when he was starting to read SF.

I could not get so crazy and depressed that I didn’t trust Jim Baen to stand by me if I needed him. I don’t know a better statement than that to sum up what was important about Jim, as a man and as a friend.

A good writing by Jim himself is here.

Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy

Daily Kos: How to Win War on Terror

PaulSiegel at Daily Kos has witten on How to Win War on Terror. I am going to try to make this non-combative, because we need as many people as possible trying to win this thing as we can get, and I think that I can bring him around to our side. He’s on the right track, but his information is a little off.

1. ATTACK TERRORISTS – We did this when we went to Afghanistan. But then Bush took his eye off the ball and transferred troops to Iraq. Big mistake. We need to return to Afghanistan to finish the job. We must also attack the terrorists wherever they rear their heads

We never left Afghanistan. We have over 26,000 troops in Afghanistan as of this writing. The media has largely stopped reporting it because the situation is pretty much in hand. The war in Afghanistan has been won, and the goal now is to train and equip the Afghanistan government to handle the remaining terrorists. In addition, Saddam’s harboring of terrorists is impossible to deny at this point.

2. COUNTER JIHADIST PROPAGANDA – The number one source of jihadist propaganda is Saudi Arabia, where many, many jihadists come from. Saudi Arabia establishes in Pakistan and other Muslim countries madrassas that nurture jihadists. We must counteract this. So far we are doing nothing.

The number one source of jihadist propoganda is the western media. By focusing on bombings, insurgent disinformation, wildly speculative eyewitnesses, and outright fabriacations, the western media gives voice to the terrorists while ignoring American successes in an attempt to appear “unbiased”. What are the major victories in Jihadist propoganda? The Koran in the toilet: a newsweek lie. The Haidtha coverup that wasn’t. The American plan to kill the Italian journalist that wasn’t. The jihadists do not have an effective propoganda machine of thier own. We provide them one.

3. KEEP WMD FROM JIHADISTS – Old Soviet scientists, who are unemployed, are susceptible to making deals with jihadists about nuclear weapons. We can stop this. Pakistan has secretly proliferated nuclear weapons among Iran, North Korea and who knows where else. And we call Pakistan an ally! Let’s put this sort of thing to an end

We are keeping the old Soviet Scientists employed. We did stop Pakistan from continuing to propogate weapons by taking Khan off the market. Pakistan is an ally to the extent that they handed Khan over to us. On the other hand, we have people complaing that we did too much to keep WMD out of the hands of terrorists when we invaded Iraq, using the same credible intelligence that Bush 41 and Clinton relied on.

4. EXCHANGE TERROR INFORMATION WITH FRIENDLY NATIONS – Our enemy is global. Our response must be global. We must have a good way of exchanging timely information about terrorists, their plans, their actions and the consequences of their actions. We need to work together with our friends in Europe, Asia, Africa and with our friends in the Middle East. To start with, let’s make more friends

The problem here is defining friendly nations. We don’t hold what little intel that remains secret from our allies because we are stingy. We hold it back because it is very difficult to protect the method that the intel was gained by. We have enough trouble finding the moles and leaks in our own organization. We can’t always rely on allies to do the same. When something is gather by a mole in an organization, revealing to the enemy that we have the information exposes the mole. If we gain it through technical inteligence, revealing to the enemy what we have tells them how to hide that intelligence the next time.

We aren’t secretive because we have some sort of fetish about it, or because we like being mean to other countries, or something like that. We are secretive because we have to be (and they are equally secretive with thier intel.)

5. DISSEMINATE DEMOCRATIC IDEALS WORLDWIDE – Not democracy; this is something that develops within a given society. I’m talking about ideals that may influence people to shoot for a democratic form of government. Start at the UN by getting it to define terrorism, and then outlaw suicide bombing. It’s a tragedy that America is not on the Human Rights group. Let’s get on it and lead the world in defining human rights and let’s organize a democratic caucus in the UN to prevent the spread of bigotry and racism and to spread democratic ideals. Instead of denigrating the UN, let’s make it a platform for discussing freedom, harmony and peace

We do this by removing the enemies of democratic ideals from power where we can. In places that can be influenced non-violently, like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, we do that. In places where non-violent influence is impossible, like Saddam’s Iraq, we use the military. And as far as the Human Rights group goes, the real tragedy would be America lending credibility through its presence to a committee including China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.

6. EXERCISE GOODWILL TO THE POOR AND UNFORTUNATE – We do some of this already. We donate for tsunamis and AIDS eradication. We also offer foreign aid and humanitarian aid. But we must do more. We, in association with other democracies, must do what we can to aid countries in distress. Instead of wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, we can accomplish miracles in the lives of the extremely poor. Who would become a jihadist after such compassionate treatment?

There could have been no country more in distress in 2002 than Iraq. Sanctions were killing thousands while Saddam lined the pockets of Kofi Annan and the top of the UN with Oil for Palaces money. Our hundreds of billions in Iraq were not wasted — they were used to create miracles in the lives of the extremely poor.

7. EXEMPLIFY GOOD DEMOCRACY – Bush tells us that we must sacrifice some liberties for security. This is wrong. We must do the opposite. Let’s increase our liberties. Let’s reduce further tensions among races and religions. Let’s stamp out secrecy and torture. Let’s reduce the polarizing divisiveness and seek unity. Let’s show the world how well all people in a great democracy live together in harmony. The best way to convince the world of the superiority of democracy is by example. Let’s be that example

Unity is not democracy. People are going to disagree. The only way to avoid it is to stamp out dissent, which is an anathema to democracy. Both sides are guilty of hurting democratic principles in America. McCain-Feingold, a serious blow to free speech, was bipartisan. While both sides were feeding from the Abramoff trough, Jefferson was stuffing cash in his freezer. The problems in this country reside at the Capitol, not the White House. All of the “bad intelligence” the president got was supposed to be vetted by the Senate Intelligence Committee (which Kerry served on.) War was declared on Iraq not by Bush, but by the very Congressmen who are now lamenting about what a terrible mistake it was to free millions of Iraqis.

Exemplification of good democracy must come from us, the People. We have to stop using our votes to toe a party line and win an election for the election’s sake, and put candidates in office who have the best interest of the country in mind. I haven’t seen a lot of that from the Kos realm, and the only consolation I have is that Markos hasn’t actually managed to win an election with any of his candidates. It isn’t a consolation because I would rather have a Republican in the office; it is consolation because he supported the candidates on the basis of simply winning the election, rather than a coherent philosophy.

Paul has outlined a good list. Fortunately for us, the Bush Administration has been following this plan from the start.

(Via Dean’s World)

Our Two Missing Men

Via Clarity & Resolve: A terrorist group claims to have our two men. Get this shit:

“The American military has launched a campaign of raids using armor and equipment, in the region around the incident, but the army of ‘the strongest nation in the world’ retreated in defeat and disgrace,” the statement said.

Let me see if I can remember the score over just the last few weeks:

Yeah, you guys really have us on the ropes. Putz.

Teh Power of Teh Hoff

Rae is not true to the Hasselhoff.

Everyone knows this is the true Power of the Hasselhoff. Even Mark Cuban himself knows its power — it made the game for the Mavs last night. He had it running all day on is computer. Say it with him, HMT… uga chucka, uga chucka…

Fear the ‘Stache

This is typical of what is being reported on the whole Bolton-Brown thing. Brown, a left-winger with strong connections to George Soros, disses Middle America and complains that the US just wants to use the UN as a diplomatic tool and not crack down on Americans complaining about it. Well, last time I checked, the UN was just a diplomatic tool and Americans had a fundamental right to complain about the UN, the US, U2, and anydamned thing else we don’t like at that very moment.

So Bolton says, “you know you done fucked up, don’t you? You know it, don’t you? You know you done fucked up.” Especially since they are going to run out of money again. It takes a lot of money to keep that many embezzlers in Mercedes Benzs. And they get about a quarter of thier budget from Uncle Sam (not counting all the NYC real estate they suck up, all the parking tickets they don’t pay, and all the NYC resources wasted dealing with thier various shenanigans.) And now they cry about the cash, but they don’t want to take back what they said. “No, it was true — now gimme the money, it’s miiiiiiiiine!

“Ambassador Bolton is jeopardizing a 60-year relationship with the UN that delivers results,” said Scott Paul of Citizens for Global Solutions, a Washington, DC-based independent group that promotes multilateral solutions to problems of global conflict, freedom, and human rights. “We can’t afford the shut down of the UN.”

What’s this “we” shit, white man? The UN “delivers results”? Really? Name three. I can name all sorts of undelivered results. 14 Iraq resolutions. Iran. North Korea. Human rights in Libya. Saudi Arabia. Somalia. Darfur. Ivory Coast. Hell, the UN can’t even keep things the same, they have to move in and create underage brothels in the countrys that the move troops into.

The U.S. move to link the payment of dues with management reforms, which aims to bypass the 191-member General Assembly, apparently stems from the rationale that those who pay more should have extra influence over the governance of the institution.

Yes. This is Diplomacy 101. The countries with the money have something the countries without want. The countries without have no military means of taking it, so they must find a cooperative way of getting it. That means giving the countries with money what they want, which is influence. “Uh, hey, here’s an idea, uh, how about you give 10 times as much money as me even though you don’t have to, but we both have the same say. Deal?” Sorry, Charlie.

“It is not like they own Class ‘A’ and we own common stock,” said South Africa’s ambassador recently, commenting on the United States and other rich countries’ intentions to undermine the role of the developing nations that constitute a visible majority in the General Assembly.

“The UN is not a private corporation,” he added. “This is not a Fortune 500 company.”

That’s right. Fortune 500 companies are accountable for what they do. The UN seems to think that it is both entitled and unaccountable. Hopefully, the ‘Stache is about to prove them wrong.

National Emo Kid Beatdown Day

Beatdown an EmoPatton would have wanted you to.

I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!

No excuses.  Find an emo, and beat his ass with a sock full of shit.