2018/08/17

Finding God

Creation of Adam

A commenter on yesterday's post writes:
I've lately felt something of a pull towards Christianity, Catholicism, in particular. (I've generally believed in the existence of a God but haven't gotten serious about it, in part due to my religious upbringing).
However, seeing things like this, as well as the general convergence of churches, while not making me hesitant to become Christian, DOES make me wonder how I can go about learning and finding my way to God and finding like-minded people.
A blog post about this, assuming you don't already have one, would be much appreciated.
Helping others clear away intellectual obstacles to faith in God and His Church is every theologian's solemn obligation. You have asked me to perform this spiritual work of mercy, and charity demand that I answer.

Defining God

The first obstacle that must be surmounted is the generally debased state of contemporary philosophy and language itself. Let's start by defining the key term God, as far as is possible for limited beings.

When Christians--and some theist philosophers like Aristotle--say God, we don't mean an old man on a mountaintop composing a global naughty/nice list when he's not conjuring boulders he can't lift. Such a being would fall into the category of a creature, albeit a powerful creature, existing within the material, temporal order.

What we mean by God is the uncreated, all-powerful, and absolute Being who transcends the created order.

Proving God's Existence

Anyone who says God's existence can't be proven is either ignorant or lying. The deception usually lies in moving the goalposts regarding what constitutes evidence. Materialists are fond of demanding physical proof of God while they themselves required no physical proof for materialism.

The claim that God's existence can't be proven contains another subtle a priori bias. It assumes that God exists in the same way that a hydrogen atom, a pencil, or an aardvark exists; that is, contingently within the order of creation. God does not have existence per se. It's more accurate to say that God is Being. The Bible sees eye to eye with Aristotle here. "I Am that I Am."

In truth, absolute, uncaused, necessary Being is self-explanatory. The physical universe is more in need of an explanation--both from its origins and at every moment--than the eternal, transcendent God.

Christians are sometimes accused of begging the question by positing a self-necessary Being from the start and declaring God's existence a fait accompli. That accusation gets the process backwards. Theologians and philosophers start from evidence gathered through observation, experience, and reason and conclude to absolute Being.

The most elegant and time-tested arguments for absolute Being are the cosmological arguments refined by St. Thomas Aquinas. Moderns and Postmoderns will glibly scoff that these arguments have long been discredited. But each attempt to refute the classical arguments from cosmology, such as David Hume's, is revealed as a straw man under scrutiny.

Here's a common cosmological argument. An apple ripens on a tree branch. That means the apple had the potential to move from unripeness to ripeness, and that potential was put into act. We can rightly ask where the impetus to actualize that potential came from. Apples aren't self-sufficient. They need water, sunlight, and a host of other conditions to grow. You can try locating the source of the apple's actualization in any or all of these contingencies, but that just kicks the can a little farther down the road since water, the sun, etc. all contain potentialities requiring external contingencies to actualize.

Positing that it's contingent beings all the way down doesn't do any good. That just gets you an infinite train of boxcars with no locomotive. Such a train would be incapable of motion. Similarly, an infinite chain of contingent causality could never move the apple from unripeness to ripeness.

We do see apples that ripen and myriad other examples of actualized potential, yet an infinite chain of contingent beings would be absurd. The only logical conclusion is that a being which is pure act with no unrealized potential is the ultimate source of all being. Since existing potentially instead of in actuality is a limitation on being, that which is pure act must be unlimited being and is therefore Being itself. And that is what Christians call God.

Finding God

Men of intellectual honesty and sound mind can conclude to God's existence through reason alone. But because God is transcendent, entering into a personal relationship with Him requires that He take the initiative. The means by which God has initiated relations with mankind is called divine revelation. There are three major revealed religions, but you expressed an attraction to Christianity, so I'll restrict myself to that subject.

Christians believe that God revealed Himself in stages, starting with His revelations to the Hebrew people and culminating in His Incarnation in the Lord Jesus Christ. No serious scholar denies that Jesus lived, and it is a matter of historical record that He founded a Church. St. Irenaeus, a student of St. Polycarp, who himself learned at the feet of the Apostle John, wrote in ca. AD 180:
Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority.
Irenaeus wrote those words within eighty years of the last Apostle's death. The same span of time separates us from Chamberlain's meeting with Hitler and Orson Wells' notorious War of the Worlds broadcast. In the life of the Church, eighty years isn't a day. It was five minutes ago.

Jesus founded a Church and clearly expressed His desire that men come to know God through its ministry. St. Irenaeus, writing too recently to have gotten confused, affirmed the succession of apostolic authority through the Church's bishops. Furthermore, he upheld the bishop of Rome's preeminent authority in the strongest terms.

In summation, God fully revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. Jesus founded a Church to bring people into personal relationship with Him. Scripture and history testify that the Church Jesus founded can be recognized by an episcopate with valid apostolic succession headed by the bishop of Rome.

Only one church existing today meets these criteria: the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. To reject her is to Reject Christ, and to reject Christ is to reject the One who sent Him.

Christian Fellowship

In all honesty, demonstrating God's existence and the doctrine of petrine primacy is easy compared to giving advice on Christian fellowship. The Church on earth is populated with human beings, and people are inevitably influenced by their environment. In the Postmodern world, our environment pressures us to be atomized, consumerist, individualists.

The Church has been affected by these destructive social trends, but she also offers the antidote. Mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote about how people need communal ritual to apply the power of myth to their daily lives. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, Christianity is a myth that happens to be true.

Many have suggested that the changes to the Mass after Vatican II have impaired the power of Catholic ritual to build and maintain the relationship between God and man and the individual and the faith community.

In my experience, seeking out parishes that offer the traditional Latin Mass is a reliable first step toward finding communities of younger Catholics who are serious about their faith. Find a Latin Mass near you here.

Don't discount the importance of online communities, either. As you've seen, this blog is frequented by a smart group of based Catholics and similarly on-the-ball separated brethren. You are welcome here. And don't forget to check out Catholic Twitter*.

*Before it's purged.

2018/08/16

To Purify the Church, Build the Wall

Wall

Another round of damning revelations has been brought to light in the perpetual gay priest child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. In sum, the State of Pennsylvania investigated 70 years of clergy sex abuse claims and found that 300 priests had abused at least 1000 minors. The height of the abuse occurred over a span of years from the 60s to the 80s. Statutes of limitations prevent criminal charges from being filed in most of these cases, so the PA Attorney General released the grand jury report.

As is always the case when insular, aloof bishops are caught covering up for perverts in the clergy, the whole media circus rolls into town. The usual troupe of performers runs the gamut from Stockholm syndrome cases who make public excuses for the pervs and their benefactors to blue checkmark hustlers taking a break from decrying the Church's condemnation of pedophilia to scold it for harboring pedophiles.

Most people, scandalized by decades of garbage-tier catechesis on the Church's part, rightly call for the perps' heads to roll and take advantage of the zeitgeist to tell ribald priest jokes. The dwindling number of American Catholics breathe weary sighs, clench our fists, and break out our pocket Catechisms in anticipation of the inevitable haranguings in store at work and school.

Solving a problem requires understanding the causes. In this case, we're dealing with an episcopate that operates as if it's still the 1950s and the American Church rivals US Steel for clout. The numbers say otherwise. Let's take a look at the data.

About Half

You'd think the guys in charge of teaching, leading, and sanctifying the Church in America would know they're presiding over a flock with a 41% attrition rate. They sure don't act like it, though--probably because they're looking at this chart:

US Catholic Population

"Wait a minute," I can hear you ask, "how can the US Catholic population be rising that fast when about half of cradle Catholics go apostate?"

Here's your answer:

Comparative Catholic Population

Hispanics make up the largest Catholic demographic in all age groups from infancy to age 39. Those atrocious apostasy rates are being concealed by mass immigration.The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is living in a dream world because they have no skin in the game.

That's not to say they don't have money in the game.

40 percent apostasy

The US Catholic bishops have accepted the government's thirty pieces of silver to betray their own flocks. It's not just the money they take for refugee resettlement, either. Every Catholic institution from schools to hospitals has its snout buried deep in the federal trough. The bishops don't heed the cries of the American faithful because legions of foreign faithful are drowning us out.

Any American Catholic prelate who speaks against immigration reform is either making a cynical appeal to keep the government money flowing or is a tool of those who wish to keep lining their pockets from the federal coffers. The Catechism clearly affirms the right of nations to define themselves and to legally limit immigration for the sake of the common good. Placing a moratorium on immigration from Latin America will definitely be to the good of US bishops rendered oblivious to the meltdown occurring on their watch.

If you want to purify the Catholic Church in America, build the Wall.

2018/08/15

Sky King

Sky King

By now many of you will have heard the strange and tragic tale of Rich Russell, the Horizon Air baggage handler who perished after taking a stolen Bombardier Q400 for a joyride on Friday. He's gone now, leaving behind a bewildered wife and family, but the internet has dubbed him the Sky King.

In this post-9/11 world, Rich's story is noteworthy in large part because the only life lost on his misadventure was his own. But Sky King's last flight has lodged itself in the public consciousness due to the manifold mysteries surrounding the case. They still haven't figured out how Rich, a ground services worker making minimum wage, managed to steal a 76-seat passenger aircraft by himself. Never mind the matter of how a man with no known pilot training pulled off a barrel roll in a commercial prop plane.


Rich credited his piloting skills to video games. Airlines could probably save on training by picking up that simulator.

Listen to the audio of Rich's conversation with air traffic control, and you get the impression of an affable, goofy guy with poor impulse control. We've seen enough hijackings to know this was not a guy with an axe to grind out to make a statement. Ideologues with martyr complexes always make sure the world knows the motive for their deadly theatrics. Rich didn't leave a manifesto. No sinister agenda has surfaced in his wake. Friends and family all agree he was the original guy next door.

Rich Russell

That's not to say there was no reason for Rich's theft and crashing of his employers' plane. We live in a universe of cause and effect, and "randomness" is just statistical shorthand for "We don't know why," not "There is no why."

This clip of Rich's chat with the control tower contains a chilling hint at, if not his motive, at least one of the forces that influenced his suicide by joyride. Listen for yourself. What stands out?


One of Rich's comments that sent up red flags with many listeners, and which is extra conspicuous due to the mainstream media's deafening silence on it, occurred during this exchange at 2:47:

Nah, I'm a white guy

Most reports are calling Rich a Millennial. However, all list his age as 29 years old, which actually places him at the tail end of Generation Y.

Rich was born at the close of the 80s. He was old enough to have had memories of the real America's last days. He would have been 12 when 9/11 happened.

It's come to light that Rich and his wife owned a bakery for three years. Someone else has since taken over the company. It's unknown why the Russells stopped running their business. All we know is that Rich had been reduced to a minimum-wage employee of a large corporation before he died.

Mourn for Rich Russell. We'll never know exactly what got into his head that fateful evening. We do know he was born in America and died in a strange country--the country the rest of us a now living in.

Some call Sky King a hero. They're wrong. Rich displayed no heroic virtues. In the end, he succumbed to rashness or despair. His final act is not to be praised or imitated.

Sky King does have wisdom to teach us. He may have felt the truth at his fingertips but was unable to grasp it. If an otherwise normal twentysomething American, aware that modern society has failed in its duty to provide the setting wherein he might flourish, can go full GTA on a commercial plane, imagine what the rest of us could do if moved by charity and a thirst for justice instead of despair.

2018/08/14

#GamerGate Hoax?

Conspiracy Theory

A major bombshell was recently dropped on The Ralph Retort's Killstream, where YouTuber Mundane Matt was caught red-handed falsely flagging the channels of other YouTubers who'd criticized him. 

The sordid affair was duly chronicled by internet auriga Mister Metokur. His video serves as a dire warning against eCelebrity hubris.


Executive summary: A number of YouTubers complained of receiving strikes and even having their streaming privileges suspended after publishing videos critical of Matt. The affected accounts ranged from relatively obscure producers to #ComicsGate luminary Ethan Van Sciver.

Matt strongly denied accusations that he'd falsely flagged the videos for hate speech, adult content, and other offenses. He agreed to appear on the Killstream, ostensibly to prove his innocence. The stream took a strange and startling turn when co-host Zidan sent Matt a link whereby he could look up his YouTube flagging history. Matt stalled for fifteen minutes as others on the show and in the chat quickly disclosed their own flagging histories.

Special guest Keemstar, who has accused Matt of falsely blaming him for a 2016 swatting incident, finally ordered Matt to share his YouTube flagging history live on stream. The results proved that Matt had indeed flagged videos he'd denied reporting that same night, including uploads by user Dame Pesos.

#GamerGate Implications

Mundane Matt's fall is tragic enough, but as Mister Metokur has hinted, Matt's two-faced antics may merit a major revision of #GamerGate history.

For those who weren't involved in the infamous consumer revolt, the origins of #GamerGate go back almost exactly four years to a series posts by Eron Gjoni accusing his girlfriend Zoe Quinn of sleeping with five video game developers/journalists. A number of YouTubers produced videos on the scandal, which were pulled due to false DMCA claims.

Actor Adam Baldwin coined the hashtag #GamerGate after viewing a series of videos about the developing controversy by the Internet Aristocrat, AKA Mister Metokur. I.A.'s first Five Guys video opened with Mundane Matt's report that one of his videos had been falsely taken down due to having been falsely flagged by Zoe Quinn.

That incident rapidly precipitated the growth of Matt's channel, his rise to prominence in the new consumer revolt, and his friendship with Adam Baldwin. The following is speculative, yet bears consideration. Given that Matt has now been proven guilty of the same false flagging he accused Zoe Quinn of, and in light of hints arising from the Keemstar affair that Matt may have swatted himself, could the DMCA takedown incident that led I.A.'s video, which in turn inspired Adam Baldwin to create the #GamerGate hashtag, have been a hoax?

Only Mundane Matt and Zoe Quinn know the truth. But one truth that everyone in #GamerGate knows is that the ride never ends.

2018/08/13

Secrets of #AGundam4Us

Combat Frame XSeed Logo

Voice actor and author JimFear138 recently had authors Bradford Walker, Rawle Nyanzi, and myself on his show to talk about #AGundam4Us. If you're curious as to what the hashtag is all about, you get a detailed summary in this episode. In addition, all three of us lay out our plans for our own mecha novel series.

Bonus: I give an exclusive look into the world and technology of Combat Frame XSeed. I think my spiel on the potential military applications of carbyne blew Jim's mind. Get the inside scoop on my upcoming Mecha/Mil-SF series at the link!

And if you haven't backed Bradford Walker's exciting Star Knight Saga yet, the successful Indiegogo campaign has now entered the lightning round. Get on board to get in on the awesome stretch goals!

2018/08/11

Combat Frame Data: CFM-07

CFM-07 Mablung

CFM-07

Technical Data

Model number: CFM-07
Code name: Mablung
Nickname: Mab
Classification: mass production aquatic combat frame
Manufacturer: Seed Corporation
Operator: Systems Overterrestrial Coalition
First deployment: CY 1
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 17.5 meters, 18 meters with fin
Weight: dry weight 48.1 metric tons, full weight 56.0 metric tons
Armor type: carbon nanotube-infused ceramic/titanium composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 922 KW
Propulsion: x4 hydrojets: top speed 40 knots, 180° turn time 1.85 seconds; legs: top ground speed 190 kph
Sensors: Seed Corporation Halo radar/optical target acquisition and identification system mounted under grilled radome "head", supplemental sonar package
Hand armaments: 3 kg railgun, fires saboted steel darts, 20 darts per magazine; heat sword, battery-powered, stored on skirt armor rack

General Notes

Fighting effectively in earth's varying environments posed a challenge to Coalition Security Corps pilots used to the man-made, climate-controlled space colonies. Perhaps the most daunting battlefields to master were the seas that covered seventy percent of the planet's surface.

To help Coalition personnel meet the challenge of conducting maritime warfare, Seed Corporation developed a marine combat frame based on the popular Grenzmark platform. Their ultimate result, the CFM-07 Mablung, was in actuality an aquatic variant of the highly adaptable Grenzmark II, distinguished by its blue paint scheme and fin-shaped crest.

Much more than a cosmetic modification, the Mab traded the Grento's rocket thrusters for hydrojets and expanded its sensor suite with a state-of-the-art sonar system. The Mab's structural integrity was enhanced to endure deep water operation, but its added durability gave the marine CF a marked combat advantage.

In terms of offensive capability, the Mablung was equipped with an entirely new weapons loadout. An advanced railgun capable of firing 3 kg steel darts at hypersonic speeds replaced the Grento machine gun and made up for the missile launcher hardpoints sacrificed for leg-mounted hydrojets. A heat sword representing the final refinement of heat weapon technology rounded out the Mab's standard hand armaments.

Mablungs were deployed in limited numbers in the Great Lakes, off the Pacifica and USNA coasts, and in the Mediterranean and Red seas. Some were even deployed on land to reinforce Grenzmark teams, and the Mabs soon gained a reputation for superior combat performance. Most Mablung pilots were drawn from the ranks of elite Grento squads.

In early tests and at least one documented battle, Mablungs proved capable of holding their own against the Coalition's next generation Ein Dolph combat frames. But the march of progress would not be forestalled, and CSC Director Sanzen officially cancelled Mablung production in the summer of CY 1.


Can't wait for Combat Frame XSeedCheck out my award-winning Soul Cycle!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

2018/08/10

Gab Is Next

We knew that Infowars wouldn't be the last dissident operation to run afoul of the big tech censors. Mere days after Facebook, Apple, Google, and Soundcloud banned Alex Jones, Microsoft has threatened to shut down free speech absolutist network Gab.

Here's the announcement from Gab co-founder Andrew Torba.

Torba Breaking

Building our own platforms is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition to bypass the SJW gatekeepers in big tech and the mainstream media. As Gab and a litany of other independent dissenting platforms show, if the tech cartel wants you gone, they'll just exile you from the internet.

The President is well advised to break up the big tech monopolies, or he can wave goodbye to the alternative media that let him make an end run around the Fake News in 2016. It couldn't hurt to contact the White House and your Congressional representatives about busting the trusts.

Meanwhile, at least Gab is making the most of the situation.

Get bent.


Thankfully, Amazon remains the lone island of market-facing sanity in the big tech Sargasso. Support independent creators while you still can. Pick up my Dragon Award-recognized Soul Cycle books.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

2018/08/09

A Detailed Road Map

Road Map

A reader writes:
Say Mr. Niemeier, when you write a multi-book saga like say the Soul Cycle, do you just write it out book by book or do you have a detailed kind of road-map before you put pen to paper?
I answer:

I outline extensively. For the Soul Cycle and XSeed series I filled four spiral notebooks each and gamed out the rough outlines with friends. I do not recommend you do this.

Soul Cycle Outlines

What you want to do is write to market. Think of the book you'd read as a guilty pleasure on a Saturday night alone with a bottle of Scotch and a cigar. What genre is that book in? What similar books which you enjoy are also in that genre?

Head to Amazon. Look up the top 100 selling Kindle books in that genre. Those are the books gobbled up by genre binge readers. Read as many of them as you can. You're reading to find out what your target market likes.

Come up with a story of your own that you'd be excited to tell using the tropes and archetypes which appeal to fans of that genre. If you're an outliner, put together an outline. If you're a discovery writer, hammer out a first draft; then go back and outline to impose order on the chaos. Rewrite. Get beta reader feedback. Rewrite again. Hire an editor. Write the final draft based on his suggestions.

Authors have been trying to take advantage of market trends forever. The glacial pace of legacy publishing made joining the party before the cooler was empty impossible. If you started writing a vampire romance series at the height of Twilight's popularity, readers would have moved on to steampunk before your publisher got it to market. By the time your Victorian air pirate saga debuted, Lit-RPG was the new hotness.

With indie pub, authors' release schedules are limited only by the speed of their own writing, their cover artists' drawing, and their editors' editing. Not only is it possible to take a book from concept to publication in two months, these days it's essential.

Now, the above example is mostly for argument's sake. Though it's possible to chase trends, the better bet is finding large tribes of dedicated binge readers in a genre you love and writing to their tastes.

This is the feat I'll be attempting with Combat Frame XSeed, my upcoming mecha/Mil-SF action series. Indie pub isn't without its trade offs, and two big challenges indie authors face are covering production costs and making do without advances.

That's why indies rely on fostering the reader-author relationship more than ever. Awesome readers like you have shown you're willing to step up and put your hard-earned on the line to back the kinds of stories tradpub refuses to print. Reader-pleasing indie creators have already run successful crowdfunding campaigns to make their visions reality. Soon I'll be calling on my cherished readers to help me bring you books you'll love and can't get anywhere else.

The nihilistic, pessimistic future that tradpub and post-90s anime pushed on us is over. Soon we forge our own vision. #AGundam4Us.

2018/08/08

A Poor Job of Being So

Wherein John Scalzi, the Pauly Shore of Tor Books, demonstrates his practiced innumeracy regarding the Tor Awards Hugo Awards.

h/t to @FuturistDog

A Poor Job of Being So

Gee, I wonder whose book the Tor finalist happens to be.

Best Novel 2018

Oh.

Scalzi is correct in one regard. Tor's fortunes have objectively declined since their pre-Puppies heyday. Between 1986 and 2016, Tor won more than twice as many Best Novel Hugos as the next most-awarded publisher. That's leaving aside the Best Editor - Long Form Award they had created just for Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

The Best Novel Hugo was the Tor Award. Now Scalzi's underperforming Asimov ripoff is offered up as the sacrificial lamb designated to lose to Jemisin.

"But wait," I hear you asking. "Are the CHORFs really so unimaginative as to give a purse puppy slinging writers' workshop prose a Best Novel threepeat?"

If the Oppression Olympics now underway before World Con even convenes are any indication, yes. Yes, they are.

In the meantime, don't forget to vote in the Dragon Awards, the readers' choice award that recognizes normal fandom's favorite works of science fiction and fantasy.

Also, don't forget to check out my Dragon Award-nominated and winning Soul Cycle books.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

Finally, if you'd like to avoid clunky constructions like "...it's doing a poor job of being so," in your books, I now have a limited window of availability to consider new editing projects.

2018/08/07

Requiem for Infowars

Alex Jones - Infowars

The hit against independent broadcaster Alex Jones' Infowars operation orchestrated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Stitcher, and Spotify is rattling quite a few cages on the dissident Right. The whole episode is giving me a mild case of the Mandela Effect, since I thought Jones had been banned since last year.

That goes to show how much attention I paid to Infowars, but that's not the point. I'm all ears now, and so are many people who never gave Jones the time of day before. That's one point among several brought to the fore by big tech's coordinated purge of a citizen journalist. Big tech's ability to purge citizen journalists is another point.

Jones' deplatforming is a big deal, and not just because his show reached millions of people. His politics are rather mild when you peel back the conspiracy fodder. The combination of civic nationalism and free market economics I've heard him promote is pretty standard BoomerCon fare.If you want to explain Infowars' ban to your parents, ask them to imagine if the big three broadcast networks had teamed up to get Rush Limbaugh kicked off the air in August of '92. The cultural and political implications are similar but with the stakes turned up to eleven.

As with most turns of the culture war, reactions to Jones' unpersoning often say more about the commenter than they say about the event. Fake News hucksters from CNN programming directors to J-school grads at Slate getting paid in exposure are tasting blood in the water and circling the wreckage. Alt-Right types are busy saying "I told you so." The Alt-Lite has declared big tech's purge of Jones an attack on free speech.

The free speech rhetoric in particular is mostly abstract sloganeering. Google, Apple, and Facebook didn't set out to destroy free speech. Not directly. Besides, you can't destroy what doesn't exist in the first place. Big tech had a concrete purpose in mind when it brought the hammer down on Infowars. Precisely what their purpose was remains the subject of speculation, but some intriguing theories are floating around.

First, and in keeping with the anti-speech angle, is the observation that silencing Alex Jones sends a clear message to those big tech considers potential threats. The citizen journalists, freelance gadflies, and dissident pranksters that haunt YouTube and Facebook are now on notice. If they can take down Infowars, they can take down anybody.

Ratcheting up the political intrigue, some are accusing the tech giants of trying to rig the upcoming midterms. Alternative media is widely credited for delivering the 2016 election to Trump, so this theory holds some water.

Deeper down the rabbit hole, we find folks who are convinced the Left are taking out some kind of ex post facto revenge against Jones for the 2016 election. This theory has merit when you consider that the Left is a death cult totally invested in immanentizing the eschaton. Big tech and the Fake News promised the Left that Obama was their messiah and a shiny utopia was just over the horizon. Hillary was supposed to have cemented the strides made during the Obama years. Her loss had a similar effect on the American Left as getting nuked and hearing the emperor renounce his divinity had on the Japanese, minus the high IQs and strong sense of national confidence. Trump appeared on Infowars during the campaign, so what we're seeing might be the Left's equivalent of burning a witch at the stake.

I don't discount that the first three explanations probably influenced big tech's decision to take out Jones. I happened upon another possible factor the other day. The news cycle moves fast, so people are already forgetting about Trump's tweet calling Twitter out for shadowbanning conservatives. In a video from July 26, the same day Trump sent his tweet, Jones claimed that he and his staff prepared a comprehensive report on social media censorship against conservatives. The report was allegedly given to Congressman Matt Gaetz, who Jones accused of misrepresented its findings. However, he also claimed the report made its way to the President himself.


Google and Facebook have already gotten themselves in hot water over their shady business practices. The President promising an investigation into another social media giant is the last thing they need.

Consider the fact that Twitter is playing the role of the dog that didn't bark. Twitter and Amazon are the only two big tech players that haven't banned Jones. Occam's Razor explains Amazon's avoidance of the whole mess. They're still primarily interested in turning a profit, so banning Jones' books wouldn't benefit them. As for Twitter, the matter of why the ban-happiest social network on earth, which employs a cadre of purple-haired cat ladies to select conservatives for random suspensions, didn't jump on the bandwagon is a curious question, indeed.

Could Twitter's conspicuous absence from the Infowars dogpile be tacit confirmation that Jones' report is at least partly responsible for Trump turning up the heat on Twitter? Even Jack Dorsey has to realize that banning Jones under those circumstances would throw his company from the frying pan and into the fire. What if Jack decided to get even by proxy and called in some favors with the other tech outfits?

However we got here, where we're currently at is a place where rootless megacorps run by autistic sociopaths can band together on a whim to ruin law-abiding private citizens. The ball is now in Trump's court, and that means antitrust and RICO charges.

It had better, because the Left's endgame is making all news the sole domain of the legacy media once again. If big tech have their way, we'll all be getting our news exclusively from network anchors and a handful of newspapers propped up by said tech oligarchs and Mexican billionaires. In short, big tech wants to turn us all into Boomers when it comes to the news, but in the Millennials' case, without the condos and 401(k)s.

2018/08/06

Combat Frame Data: CCF-09V

CCF-09V Veillantif

CCF-90V Veillantif

Technical Data

Model number: CCF-09V
Code name: N/A
Nickname: Veillantif
Classification: custom close combat high mobility combat frame
Manufacturer: Zeklov Corporation
Operator: Nouvelle France
First deployment: CY -2
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: Head height 18 meters, height with wings: 19 meters
Weight: 60 metric tons
Armor type: palladium glass microalloy/carbon ceramic composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 1842 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 2x 73,543 kg, 4x 18,391 kg thrust each, top speed 2700 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 17, 180° turn time 0.85 seconds; legs: top ground speed 205 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, sonar, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head
Fixed Armaments: x2 heat wing, mounted on back
Hand armaments: heat rapier, battery-powered, hand-carried in use; shield, attaches to left forearm, mounts retractable heat whip, powered by main generator

General Notes

The people of earth fought a series of long and bloody conflicts to restore their ancestral nation-states after the Collapse. Their hard-won gains were soon threatened by returning space colonists who brought powerful combat frames to earth.

To oppose the bid for global hegemony launched by the Systems Overterrestrial Coalition, some among the leaders of earth's new nations sought to acquire their own combat frames. The largest combat frame provider to earth's native rulers was Zeklov Corporation, an arms manufacturing company based somewhere in the wilds of Holy Russia.

Zeklov quickly gained a reputation for producing high-end customized combat frames to their discerning clients' specifications. Additional services included luxury aircraft, armored cars, and even personal arms for VIPs' bodyguards. Unlike the rival Seed Corporation, Zeklov strove to add a touch of style to each and every one of their products.

This high quality craftsmanship and attention to detail attracted the royal family of Nouvelle France, House du Lione. The dueling combat frame Veillantif was commissioned for crown prince Jean Claude Baptiste when the Dauphin attained majority at age sixteen. Branded by the Coalition as warlords illegally presiding over a rogue state, Jean-Claude's parents were killed resisting SOC occupation before they could present their final gift. Zeklov delivered Veillantif to the exiled prince with his sincere sympathies. Jean-Claude bided his time, awaiting the day when he would return astride Veillantif to reclaim his people's homeland.

Veillantif was designed for dueling instead of conventional warfare. As per Jean-Claude's personal preferences, it carried no ranged weapons, relying instead on a heat rapier and a small shield mounting a retractable heat whip. The whip was composed of numerous metal segments topped with razor sharp hooked barbs ideal for trapping and disarming foes. Its entire length could be superheated with energy from Veillantif's reactor, enabling it to slice through heavy armor.

Perhaps Veillantif's most noteworthy feature was the pair of serrated wings mounted on its back. Those who mistook the wings for mere ornaments did so to their peril. Not only did the wings help stabilize Veillantif in flight, their outer edges were lined with saw-toothed chains made of the same barbed segments as the combat frame's heat whip. Likewise superheated by the CF's reactor, the wings' cutting edges circulated at extremely high speeds, further enhancing their cutting power.

Though it lacked ranged weapons, Veillantif made up for this design choice with a powerful array of drive and maneuvering thrusters fed by one of the most powerful CF generators yet produced on earth. This combination made Veillantif one of the fastest and most agile combat frames fielded during the conflict of CY 1. It remained the second fastest CF in service, surpassed only by Zane Dellister's Dead Drop, until the advent of the XSeed.


Combat Frame XSeed is coming soon! In the meantime, pick up the Dragon Award-worthy Soul Cycle!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

2018/08/04

No Quartering Given

The Quartering attacked

Jeremy Hambly, the popular host of YouTube nerd culture channel The Quartering, was assaulted in the wee hours of Thursday morning at an Indianapolis bar while in town attending Gen Con. According to Hambly, a man in a sleeveless rainbow tee shirt approached him, asked his name, and proceeded to repeatedly punch him in the face when given confirmation.

Amateur investigators have identified Matt Loter, a game store owner and fan of Gen Con guest/con artist Anita Sarkeesian, as Hambly's attacker. Archived tweets from Loter's now locked Twitter account appear to confirm that he was spoiling for a fight.

Prettiest Matt
Not so easy to find now that he's wanted for assault.
In a move that should have surprised no one, Gen Con responded to calls that Loter be removed under a policy that lists committing crimes as a bannable offense by censoring users on its Twitch stream. Con staff have ignored attendee requests to turn Loter over to police or at least ejected from the premises. As of this writing, he's still on the loose.

Indie comics luminary and fellow YouTuber Ethan Van Sciver started a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a civil suit against Loter on Hambly's behalf. The legal fund met its goal on the first day.

Loter's pummeling of Hambly is the kind of incident that shocks normies but that folks on the dissident Right have been warning about for a couple of years now. Centrists who still embrace the label exhibit a strange form of amnesia regarding political violence. Show them the latest public assault on someone to the right of Mao perpetrated by a deranged Lefty, explain why such incidents will occur again with greater frequency, and they gravely nod, only to be completely blindsided by the next attack. It's looking more and more like being a centrist is caused by some kind of learning disability.

There's an irony to centrist amnesia that bears directly on the topic at hand. Mere days before his encounter with a frenzied SJW's fist, The Quartering posted a video opposing the firing of child rape joke aficionado and ex-Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.


For those who are just tuning in, Hambly gained notoriety for sounding the alarm on Wizards of the Coast's failure to screen out registered sex offenders from the volunteer rolls at their Magic: The Gathering tournaments. Wizards responded by punting Hambly to the curb.

Hambly intimated in his James Gunn video that he wants to go back to a world where web trawlers don't dig through their ideological enemies' social media histories in search of compromising dirt. A valid counterpoint is that the damned want ice water. I'd like to live in a world where guys like Hambly can discuss their differences with guys like Loter without getting socked in the jaw. Sadly, the Left brought violence into play and thereby changed the game.

It doesn't take a strategic genius to understand what happens to guys who cling to the old rule book while people who want them disemployed or dead play by new rules. If Hambly's unfortunate beating teaches us anything, it's that playing fair with the other side gets you precisely nowhere. Making excuses for James Gunn earned The Quartering no sympathy from the Lefties who've rushed to Gunn's defense.

There is one way back to a world where your politics and decade-old tweets won't get you fired or punched. Getting there requires beating the Left at their own game. Punching back twice as hard, Chicago rules, whatever it takes to make them a ridiculed minority with no remaining trace of social influence or political power.

Update from the comments:
Wizards banned Hambly over his trolling of an MtG cosplayer. Which they should not have done -- it was a standard SJW "how dare you say something mean about a poor defenseless woman, you horrible patriarchal white guy!" -- but that was the reason.
He dug up the info on sex-offenders afterward.

Perhaps Hambly does understand the necessity of reprisals after all.

2018/08/03

Star Knight on the Killstream

OG #GamerGater Ethan Ralph was gracious enough to have Star Knight author Bradford Walker on his Killstream show last night. Bradford explained his lofty and worthy goals for his upcoming space opera-mecha series, and he even gave a shout out to yours truly.

Bradford's segment begins at 02:34:05 and runs till roughly 02:42:00. As always when listening to shitlords like Ralph and his panelists, beware of NSFW language.


The Star Knight Saga sounds like just what we need to rehabilitate the flagging space opera genre. Thanks to your generous support, the first book, Reavers of the Void is already 80% funded. Haven't supported Star Knight yet? Become a backer so Mr. Walker can unlock those secret stretch goals he's been tantalizing us with!

2018/08/02

Sunsoft, Famicom, and the NES

Sunsoft Batman

@Thundersteel81 passes along this AMA by a former VP of Product Development at legendary third party NES game developer Sunsoft.
My name is David Siller and I was for four years VP of Product Development for Sun Denshi in the US also known as SUNSOFT. 
I will try to answer any questions as well as tell accounts of what Sunsoft was doing back in the Famicom/NES era. I will tell as accurate an account as I can, keeping in mind that I am still under "non-disclosure" and still in communication with them. I will must also say that of all the video game companies that I worked for, Sunsoft was the best. I enjoyed my time there and was sad to see a new President channel away their resources into a golf course that never happened! There may be some interviews on the Internet with other people that do not necessarily tell a true account of what was going on there at that time.
With the introductions out of the way, we dig into the real dirt.
The reason that Gimmick and Ufouria, among others were not released is a problem that is as old as the Game Industry. 
I believed in both of these games, especially Gimmick, but management often does NOT listen to those who know what the true market wants. Rather, management listen to their "sales" staff who in turn are influenced by the "reps" who talk directly to the store "buyers". The store buyers are often people who know very little (or nothing) about the product and they study the sales reports that tell them what is selling (last week) and they then arrogantly tell the reps what they want, which is often the "new" stuff. They seem to forget that an installed base of millions is better to support when new hardware comes out, but they still want the early hardware adopters dollars, believing that to be a safe bet. Later, or late in the Christmas selling season they suddenly want the "old" stuff because that what the shoppers are buying and they don't have enough stock! They forget that as of that point, there are zero consoles of the new one yet in the hands of consumers and leave for dead the millions that are supporting the older console yet. It is a vicious cycle that is repeated every time a new hardware comes to the market. The blind leading the blind. The end result is that newer projects on the old console are cancelled and they now want shovelware to sell to the unsuspecting consumers. Usually the new console software is not that effectively made.
The irony is that by that point, we developers have found new and more clever ways of extracting great software from the older console but those games will never be made...! In the case of NES/famicom, developers have invented newer chips to add to the original specifications and therefore produce better games (that will never be seen or played).
It's not a Sunsoft game, but Metal Storm is the perfect example of the impressive performance smart programmers could squeeze out of the NES at the end of its life cycle.

"Blaster Master" was a HIT in the US more so than in Japan because at that time US players wanted a newer or better action game experience. Japanese players were still into the "me too" syndrome or games that were similar to popular games but a little different. Also RPG's started to dominate in Japan as early action games were too tough for the mass appeal audience. Regarding "Blaster Master" it wasn't the marketing in the US that succeed, as that only helps make customers aware of what is out there. The proof was in playing a game with some depth and unique features that other games didn't have. 
In Japan, the earlier Sunsoft games were popular because the themes were more to the liking of that culture, farmers - fantasy heroes, etc... They were simpler to play and understand for children playing in a dark bedroom while kneeing in front of their small TV's. Most companies outside of Namco and Konami would always "short" the market to insure sell through. Japan companies do not like to have any left stock, not even one!
It is always that games are not treasured when they come out, only years later when they are better understood. Then, because there is only a short stock they become rare and more valuable. The Industry retail market in Japan was also a tough sell and they didn't automatically accept or distribute every new game product. That was due to so many games being released and they could not afford big stocks of all of them until they were somewhat proven. Even then, it was time to move on to the next one and although some games were popular and out of stock, it would take months before more were available. This was due to the large lead times of mask ROM's.
Sunsoft of America US management did not even support "Hebereke/Ufouria" or "Gimmick" although I believed that both could find an audience. The characters were deemed too strange or quirky compared to the Disney/Warner Bros. world of cartoons. I believed that they would fly because consumers really don't know what they want until you present it to them. That is the mother of invention!
Lastly, in later eras staff would depart for more money somewhere else and more rookie development teams would take over. That is why quality could not be maintained as the Industry evolved.
Quick aside: The Japanese proclivity for risk-aversion leading to endless slight variations on familiar themes is exactly the kind of artistic stagnation #AGundam4Us was founded to counteract.
Every company decides what to do and where to sell their "licensed" stuff and some would sell anywhere they could so they could recoup the development costs to cover the license fees. Not all were successful even when offered in Japan.
I can't say why Sunsoft bought the "Addams Family" license as that happened at least two years before my time there, but a Director at Sunsoft, Rita Zimmerer, was hell bent to license everything she could and spent the money to do it. That is why she was fired when they could no longer tolerate that agenda.
That story could have been ripped from today's headlines, but it's from the early 90s. The more things change...
Rita Zimmerer got fired because she was over zealous about spending or committing Sunsoft dollars for worthless licenses! 
She fancied herself as one of the most powerful women in the Industry and she was out-of-control, so the enviable happened. She thought that everything good that happened at Sunsoft was because of her. After Sunsoft she claimed that she was the "development" guru that created "Aero the Acrobat" and everything else. She got several jobs in development but soon lost them because she could not do what she said she had done. Caused me a lot of grief. In the beginning she was tolerable, but it all went to her head and she did a lot of things that pissed everyone at Sunsoft off. 
Some lessons have a steeper learning curve than others.



Nethereal - Brian Niemeier

2018/08/01

Building Institutions

The following is my response to a reader who raised a number of thought-provoking questions prompted by yesterday's post. I thought it merited a post of its own.


Building institutions is what the Right does. The Left is incapable of building anything. That's why they only ever parasitize existing institutions. Most of the individualists and free market fanatics espousing the "Every man for himself" attitude are in fact Conservatives, whose ideological roots can be traced directly back to the Left.

What's gone unsaid in the current discussion is that an institution isn't necessarily a big building downtown with the company name in shiny letters over the door. The family is an institution. Christmas is an institution. Your D&D game that's been running weekly for ten years is an institution.

Institutions exist to serve people. If enough people believe a particular institution is of benefit to them, they'll give their time, treasure, and talent for it. Marvel, DC, and tradpub failed as institutions because they stopped providing value and thereby stopped justifying their existence.

Now, I just gave people with blind faith in the free market a hard time. But there's a difference between worshiping the market like an Aztec god and recognizing market forces as phenomena that emerge from the daily operations of human nature. Pursuing individual success in comics or SFF publishing and building something lasting aren't mutually exclusive. Marvel and DC were founded by entrepreneurs whose products attracted enough customers to make an enduring cultural impact.

Creating a lasting institution is a black swan event. Only God knows how to do it on purpose, and anyone else who tries finds himself in a situation akin to meticulously planning a party to recreate the fun and camaraderie of a bash that happened spontaneously the week before. You can't catch lightning in a bottle. You can only try to create favorable conditions and hope for the best.

That said, a quick look around the cultural landscape shows that new institutions are, in fact, emerging. #GamerGate looks to have the necessary staying power as it keeps dying and rising again. The Dragon Awards have already overtaken the Hugos. Galaxy's Edge is bringing on new writers to continue the story. The guys in #ComicsGate are seriously discussing forming their own publisher. God's mill grinds slow but fine.

As for people still believing the Left's propaganda, that problem is busily sorting itself out. Tradpub isn't in the storytelling business. They're in the lumber business. Their business model relies on their paper distribution monopoly, of which Barnes & Noble is the last vestige. B&N has had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel since they fired most of their receiving managers. When B&N dies, it will take most of tradpub with it, and no one's beliefs to the contrary will matter.


Take part in helping to build and sustain the new publishing industry. Support The Star Knight Saga: Reavers of the Void by author Bradford Walker today!