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Act I Problems / a Five Year Writing Project

Writing a novel isn’t always a team exercise, but it can be.

While I’m doing 100% of the labor and 99.99% of the decision making on this novel, there are a few trusted voices I’m listening to:

  • a writing coach I’ve retained for a few hours of consultation
  • a line editor
  • a friend and fellow writer who’s working on her first novel

Recently I’ve started to realize that Act 1 of book 1 is slow. It’s not terribly slow. I like big vast worlds and multithreaded books (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Directive 51, etc.) and these kinds of books often do start slow. It’s almost inevitable: a motorcycle can rev and be doing 60mph in a few seconds, but a 200 car freight train takes a bit longer to get up to speed.

…but that said, something to draw the reader in in the first ten pages is good, drawing him in in the first five pages is better, and capturing his attention on the very first page is best.

A few people told me that the book started well enough, but “well enough” wasn’t – well – well enough for me.

So the four of us put our heads together and came up with this.

Facts / Problems

  • the pacing problem is largely in Act 1
    • the Earth governments don’t burn the lunar satellites until 15,000 words in (60 pages)
    • the Earth governments don’t hijack a expat ship until 33,000 words in (132 pages)
  • the book is dense with long-fuse plot elements, most of which are lit in Act 1, but don’t pay off till late in book 1 / middle of book 2
  • Mike’s personality is mostly defined by his reactions to long fuse plot elements, so he becomes better defined late in book 1 and in book 2, but because there ARE no short fuse plot elements in act 1, Mike has nothing to push back against and is rudderless as a character
  • much of Mike’s drama is sitting in a boardroom writing memos and arguing with people, which (a) is not suitable for a man of action, and (b) doesn’t show the reader that he is a man of action

Action Plan

  • we need to speed things up in the first 33,000 words
  • …via need a short-fuse plot that starts, builds, and resolves in 33,000 words
  • it should involve Mike, so that
    • we see that he is the hero of the novel
    • he gets a chance to demonstrate his personality
  • the short-fuse plot should be out in Aristillus, not behind a desk
  • some hand-waving ideas on how to work in the new short-fuse plot
    • make room
      • cut up to 10% of the scenes in Act 1
      • condense the word count of the remaining Act 1 scenes between 0% and 33%
    • insert plot
      • add up to 10% new material to 5 existing scenes
      • write 5 new chapters

In addition to all of this my line editor has come up with a list of about ten other issues. She was very kind, telling me that this is the best thing that she’s edited in a long time. That’s good for the ego, but does not change the fact that I’ve been laboring over this project for 3.5 years and had hoped to have it finished before the calendar turned to 2015.

It’s now looking like that won’t happen, and the book will spill into a fifth year.


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soccer in micro-gravity

You ask:

We deliver:

{{{***x 306: MIKE, DARCY – walking through tunnels

== 2064: Conveyor Belt district, Aristillus, 2.4 million km from Earth

A ball went flying past Mike’s face. He looked up with a start and realized that he’d walked into the middle of a wild free-ranging game of street soccer. Mike grumbled at Darcy. “A guy could get hit with a ball -”

Darcy slapped him playfully on the shoulder. “Stop being a bear. This is incredible! No one has ever played soccer in a twentieth g before. We might be watching the creation of a new sport!”

Mike raised one eyebrow. “Soccer is not a sport.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “OK, Tex, whatever you say.” She pointed. “Look at that guy, see the way he’s doing a flip before he kicks. And that guy? He jumped halfway to the ceiling. Of the tunnel! It’s awesome – come on, admit it!”

Mike shrugged. “Maybe it’s a little neat.”

Darcy looked at him seriously as they continued walking down the center of the vehicle-less tunnel road. “Mike, you’ve been in a funk for a week. You perked up for a bit after coffee with Darren, but now you’re back in it. What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” He paused, then raise his head and pointed with his chin “Looks like they’ve set up another music stage at the festival since yesterday.”

“You’re not answering my question.”

Mike said nothing for a long moment, then sighed. “Morlock is gone and the pieces sold off to make good on the revolution’s debts. An in return, I’m left holding a bunch of bonds from the First Bank of Aristillus.”


“So Mark keeps pressuring me to back his plan.”

“His tax plan?”

“Yeah. He wants a one percent sales tax on every transaction to pay bank bondholders.”

Darcy laughed. “Mark has been pressing for that since before the invasion. And all the Aristillus media is covering the fact that you’re not backing him. So you’re not just a hero for winning the war, but for fighting Mark. So why are you upset?”

He looked at the ground. “Never mind.”

Darcy nodded and they walked in silence for a long moment, then Mike looked over. “I’m not upset. I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I have to choose between legitimizing Mark’s government, which I won’t do, and being poor.”

Darcy let the silence stretch out. “Mike?”


“How long ago did we meet?”

“Uhh…twelve – no, thirteen – years ago.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “It was fourteen years ago. You remember how?”

“Of course. I was in DC to testify, and you -”

Darcy laughed. “It wasn’t ‘to testify’. You were under arrest, and you were defending yourself in the CEO Trials. Everything – your warehouses, your machinery, your offices – had already been seized. Your bank accounts were frozen. You were facing life in jail. Do you remember what you told the Secretary of Commerce in open court?”

Mike smiled even now, almost a decade and a half later. “Yeah. I -”

Darcy held up a hand. “No, I don’t need to hear it again. Think of my delicate ears.”

Mike smiled more broadly. “But, yeah, I remember. What’s your point?”

“The point, Mike Martin, is I believed in you when you were a penniless about-to-be-convicted-felon facing a life sentence. The fact that even when you were on that stand, you had that much fight in you – well, anyway. That was fourteen years ago. What have you accomplished since then?”

Mike said “I know what you’re saying, but Morlock is -”

Darcy shook her head then put her hand on his arm. “I’m not talking about Morlock. I never cared about your company or the money that came with it. I cared about the drive of the lunatic BEHIND it all. Here’s what you’ve done in the last fourteen years: you and Javier bribed your way out of jail during the CEO Trials, you hooked up with Ponzie, outfitted the first ship, begged and borrowed your way to owning a TBM-”

“Yeah, but -”

“Let me finish. You established Aristillus. You helped John’s Team rescue the Dogs from genocide. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, you saw the Revolution coming and you laid the groundwork to win it.” She gave him a hard stare. “And because of all that, you’ve rescued nearly a million people from tyranny and are leading them to build a new world. That hokey phrase ‘with freedom for all’? You’ve done it. THAT, Michael Martin, is what you’ve accomplished in the last fourteen years.”

Mike grinned a bit. Raised his eyebrows “You know, when you put it that way, maybe I have done a thing or two.”

Darcy smiled at his understatement, but then grew serious. “You’ve done the impossible. I don’t care if you’re penniless.”

“Well, I wasn’t really worried that YOU were worried -”

“I know. I’m saying that YOU shouldn’t care if you’re penniless.”

“Don’t give me that hippie crap that money doesn’t matter-”

“Money doesn’t matter – accomplishment does. But even if you insist that money does matter, I have no doubt that you’ll be rich and powerful again, if you want to.”

“You’re saying you’d be OK with me playing chess in the park and writing my memoirs for the rest of my life?”

“Absolutely.” Darcy smiled. “But I bet that if you tried it you’d be bored inside of a week.”

Mike shrugged. “Maybe.” The two of them walked down the middle of the street in companionable silence. Suddenly Darcy, with out warning, started skipping – literally skipping – along, bouncing high in the air on each hop.

He shook his head. What a goofball. She saw him looking. “What?”

He smiled. “You.”

“Hey, you won your revolution. Why SHOULDN’T I dance?”. She laughed at her own joke and skipped ahead.


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stats 2014 update

I’m 53 days and 43 percent of the way in to draft 5.

It’s going a bit slower than I had hoped when I started this draft, but I’m still doing 3-4 hours per day, 7 days per week, and getting more done per day than on any previous draft (partially because the input material is more finished than in any other draft, and partially just because I’m cranking out more hours per day).

draft start finish duration words/day size
1 1 Jan ’11 24 Aug ’11 235 720 169,000
2 1 Jan ’12 3 Aug ’12 215 976 210,000
3 04 Aug ’12 20 Dec ’12 139 1,975 275,000
4 17 Mar ’13 30 Oct ’13 227 1,462 332,049
5 23 Apr ’14 23 Aug ’14
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The vast majority of competition in Aristillus was friendly – or, at the very least, civil

In the novel I have this bit:

The vast majority of competition in Aristillus was friendly – or, at the very least, civil. It wasn’t like back home, where bribing government procurement offices and putting moles inside other firms competing for the same winner-take-all contracts was the norm.

My line editor asked me what my justification for this was.

One of the things that’s pulled me away from hard-core CULTURAL ancapism (not that I was ever really there, given the inherent tension between Catholicism (or any theism ) and the whiff of Randism at the core of much ancap thinking) is my growing acknowledgement that the market (in the fullest sense of the word, not in the denegerate ‘two guys haggling in the souq’ sense) depends – not on government as Lefties suggest – but on a broader Enlightenment culture.

Government, even horrible 1984 style government, will never be able to prosecute more than 0.00001% of frauds, borderline frauds, and excessive sharp dealing in the marketplace. In the end it comes down to self government, cultural norms, and a sense of fairness (either from a Judeo-Christian background, Voltarian ideals (growing out of Judeo-Christian culture), etc.).

A bunch of Harvard physicists at a shared cabin for a fishing weekend will organize themselves somewhere on the ancap – Ken Macleodian communist spectrum. A bunch of Afghanis or Nigerians with a copy of the US Constitution and voting booths will, on the other hand, divide things up according to tribal loyalty, not because they are ‘subverting democracy’ but because according to their lights that is the proper way to do things.

Aristillus is presented in my novels not as the perfect way for all people to live, but as the perfect way for people who want to live in Aristillus to live. The folks there aren’t WEIRD but they are WEIR.

And, of course, game theory is all about the defection problem, and how there can be multiple equilibria. In the novel businessman Leroy Fournier defects from the cultural norm and cheats in business…and it works for him.

That exposes a troubling zero day flaw in the Aristillus culture and Fournier has the exploit.

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Economics Two Point Oh

On twitter there was a thread where Accelerando and my novels collided:

I thought I might as well share one of the chapters where Strossian economics are referenced (and mocked)

ch 184: Poly kids (2/5)

== 2064: Atlanta Hackerspace, Atlanta, GA, Earth

Maynard leaned over the bench as he tightened the pillow block over stator. There. That was it. He put the wrench down. Once he put the cover plate on the drive would be finished. Now he just had to –

“So, anyway, I was saying that with Economics Two Point Oh we wouldn’t have to be scrounging these supplies, and, you know, buying the ones we can’t scrounge.”

Maynard nodded to Vince, then picked up the cover plate and lowered it into position over the drive core.

Vince sat on one of the workbenches, and leaned back against a tool chest, arms crossed over his chest. “I’m serious, Maynard. The powers that be, here, they’re too locked into their current mindset. They’re like fish who can’t even imagine living on dry land.”

The cover plate fit perfectly. He wasn’t surprised – it’d been machined from the expat CAD file, and all of the pieces had come out decently. Maynard grabbed the screwdriver and reached for the magnetic bowl that held the screws. “Uh huh.”

Vince hopped off the bench and walked to where Maynard was working. “M, man – you’re not listening to me.”

Maynard looked up and met Vince’s eyes. “Yes, I am, but I’m also -”

Vince gave him that cocky grin. “Good.” He hopped up onto the bench Maynard was using and pushed the slate, the multimeter and the magnetic bowl of small parts away as he shimmied back onto the table. “Economics two point oh is something most people are blinded to – they get so wrapped up in the old tit-for-tat property model. They don’t understand the post-scarcity gift economy.”

Maynard sighed and reached around Vince for the magnetic bowl. “Uh huh.” He slide the bowl closer, pulled one screw out and started to affix the cover plate.

“Even the expats don’t get Two Point Oh thinking – they’re still mired in One Point Oh.”

Maynard looked up at Vince and furrowed his brow. “Wait a second. If you support this new economics -”

“Two Point Oh” Vince corrected him.

“Two Point Oh. If you’re so eager for that, then how is going to Aristillus, where you say the people are too dumb to get that model, going to help you?”

Vince grinned. “Good question, M, good question. I never said these expats aren’t dumb. If they were, there’d be no point in going there – we might as well stay home, right? No, the problem isn’t the wetware – it’s the program running on it. They’re just unenlightened. Ideas are like programs – they treat backwards thinking and route around it. Two Point Oh stands on its own. Put it up against One Point Oh, and it will outcompete it. Make it its bitch.”

“But how exactly will Two -”

Vince sighed, good-naturedly. “Selfishness is evolutionarily a dead end. Whether we’re talking copyright, property rights, relationships-”

Maynard put down his screw driver. “Relationships?”

Vince nodded his head while picking up the multimeter and flicking it on. “Absolutely. The scarcity economy made sense when things were actually scarce, but in the digital age, a lot of things AREN’T scarce. So we create artificial scarcity, in all areas of life.” He put the multimeter down. “But you already know that, man – you and Carrie-Ann are poly, right?”

Maynard picked up the multimeter that Vince had been playing with and set it back to DC voltage then turned it off. “Well, yeah, of course. I mean we’re not fundamentalists, or anything -”

“Exactly. So you see how it is. Anyway, my point is that the expats are already part way to the new thinking. They get open source, they get decentralization. It’s about up-from-the-people, not down-from-the-central-authorities, right? But the expats are afraid to follow that to the logical conclusion. They claim they’re against centralization, but what do they replace it with? Corporations. Which is just a petit bourgeoisie version of the police state. Or think of it as the economic version of an exclusive sexual relationship. It all connects- you see that, right?”

Maynard pursed his lips and exhaled. He didn’t like Vince harping on the relationship – especially sexual relationships. Especially after the way he’d been flirting with Carrie-Ann recently. Yes, they were technically poly. TECHNICALLY. Anyway, time to change the topic. “Hey, Vince, I’m almost done with the anti gravity drive. How are the maneuvering rockets coming?”

“Getting there, getting there. I’ve to print out the pumps and supply lines.”

“So the rocket bells themselves are done?”

“Don’t worry about it- it’ll all work out.”

Maynard secured the last screw in the AG drive cover plate. “Vince, there’s not a ton of time in the schedule. We’ve got two weeks until -”

Vince grinned. “I know. It’s under control.”

“I’m working late tonight on the AG drive’s calibration. If you’re going to be here we could order some Thai, and -”

“Would love to, man, but I’ve got to be somewhere.” Vince hopped off the bench. “Catch you tomorrow.” Maynard sighed and reached for his slate. The ebook said that the calibration routines took hours to run. The sooner he got started the sooner he could leave and go to bed.

Behind him he heard Vince shut the door to the hackerspace.

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stats 2014

draft start finish duration words/day size
1 1 Jan ’11 24 Aug ’11 235 720 169,000
2 1 Jan ’12 3 Aug ’12 215 976 210,000
3 04 Aug ’12 20 Dec ’12 139 1,975 275,000
4 17 Mar ’13 30 Oct ’13 ) 227 1,462 332,049
5 23 Apr ’14 31 July ’14
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I’ve started draft 5

Almost exactly six months ago I finished draft 4.

And then I put the novel on a shelf.

On the one hand, boo!

On the other hand, I’ve got an excuse: those six months were sort of busy.

During that half year I:

  • worked with a half dozen different contractors to prepare my Massachusetts house for sale
  • juggled three different offers (one of which fell through)
  • sold the house
  • bought a 56 acre farm in New Hampshire
  • packed up everything I owned, including a 450 ft^2 workshop
  • loaded one large PODS and helped movers load TWO large moving trucks
  • unpacked it all into a new house
  • bought a tractor and used it to clear my 200 yard dirt road of four feet of snow
  • learned to operate a log splitter
  • chainsawed almost 7 cords of firewood
  • purchased goats
  • installed electric fencing,
  • made new friends,
  • sent my draft 4 off to Famous Novelist for paid coaching feedback
  • got comments back from Famous Novelist

…and most recently:

I started draft five.

That was 13 days ago.

So far progress is good. I’m averaging just over 3,000 words revised per day. At this rate the entire task will take 100 days, and I’m already 13 days in – just 87 more days to go!

As one might hope, the successive drafts have been focusing on successively finer grained aspects. First draft was about getting the story down. Second draft was about fixing massive plot problems. Third draft filled in holes and gave characters actuall…character. And so on.

And now fifth draft is polishing the prose, tightening up the paragraphs, making the sentences – if not shine, exactly – at least have a bit of economy and less flabbiness.

I boiled down Famouse Novelist’s feedback to a few key points, a quick document that I can read and re-read before each and every mornings’ session of revision.

My eight biggest problems (and the tools I use to fix them):

1) bookish diction tool: read for things that sound nerdy / literary; remove

2) buried plot critical scenes – big emotional impact needs a large number of words; I often don’t use enough words tools:
1) describe at greater length
2) change details as needed: “it takes longer to beat a guy to death with a shovel than to shoot him”
3) spend time on the reaction shot
4) do the after effects first, place action in a flashback

3) favorite words tool: cut down on use of burst out (for “exclaimed” or “blurted”), drift, float, grab, grin, grunt, narrow (down or eyes), nod, roar, scream, shake

4) curtain lines are a weird mix, and don’t show any deliberation tool: 1) read curtain lines, think about what you’re trying to accomplish

5) high detail density: tools:
1) cut details back
2) redundancy of action
break things into steps, interleave actions, reminiscences, thoughts
– show descriptive detail as a basis for decisions rather just observed details
– concentrate on getting action scenes “clear continuous place and time”; rest falls out
3) move some detail to nearby expository paragraphs

6) Unnecessary auxiliary verbs of starting e.g.
“Mike began to run” –> “Mike ran”
“The stars began to go out” –> “The stars went out”

7) Unnecessary prepositions with verbs e.g. “lifted up” –> “lifted”
“climbed to” –> “climbed”

8) Very long expositions of fairly simple human interactions
tools: pretend you’re writing a screenplay: show the actions, the reader can figure out the internal motivations

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short stories, sales funnel, miscellaneous life updates


The Aristillus books are off to a writing coach who will be reviewing them (or, rather, Act 1 of book 1) over the holidays. I hope to have actionable feedback to guide me in the fifth and final draft within a few weeks. I’m still aiming for a mid 2014 release.

For a year or so now, @mr_archenemy has been suggesting that I should write short stories set in the Aristillus universe, not just to flesh it out as a work of art, but to hook readers.

I agreed, but wasn’t super eager to do so – mostly from exhaustion with the universe. Recall, in two weeks I will have been working on these two novels for three years, and will have written almost exactly one million words.

Recently, though, I read Write. Publish. Repeat. which is a how-to-build-your-writing-career book by a trio of e-book writers. The interesting thing is that all three of these folks have their background in SEO, e-commerce, and ad-copy writing. Which means that they think in terms of experiments and metrics.

Lots of writers give you advice. These guys give advice based on stuff they’ve tried and gathered stats on.

That’s something.

And the point they make dovetails with what a lot of the indy folks say (and some pros like Kristine Kathryn Rusch say): that modern writing is a volume game. Your sales are a function of something like the square of your sellable titles, because of “discoverability”: if you have ten different baited hooks out there, you have ten times the chances to acquire new reader X…and once you get him or her, there’s a good chance that he or she will buy a lot of your stuff.

This advice has rankled me, to some degree, because I feel like the modern e-book writers prioritize volume over craft. They publish their first drafts. They publish their first books – the ones that should stay in locked drawers forever and ever. I read the “write, and write a lot” advice as saying “write, and write a lot of crap“. This goes against my nature: I have high – sometimes very high – standards for myself. I go to farmers markets and crafts fairs and I see people selling hand turned wooden bowls for $40 that are not as good as the stuff that I create and then throw on the firewood pile. I suppose, at some level, my motivation is that I don’t want to embarrass myself. A crappy bowl can fool someone who has no developed aesthetic sense or appreciation for form. And a crappy novel can fool someone who likes low-tier Baen “I shot the bug twelve times with a my laser rifle then cracked open a cold beer” extruded soy-sausage.

…but there’s a name for people who see what works and refuse to do it. Several names, actually. None of them flattering.

So: if I want to have any sort of success, I need to do what works. There is, perhaps, a trade off between my desire to write high quality stuff and a profit-maximizing story-of-the-week-pablum strategy (some anarcho-capitalist libertarian I am, huh?).

Thus: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. I will write more. I will write more short stories. I will end each short story with a “call to action” asking people to sign up for alerts, the opportunity to get free stories, links to for-sale novels, etc….but I will not lower my standards too much.


I wrote a short story recently, “Firefly Season Two”.

No, it’s not fanfic; the reference is actually a MacGuffin of sorts.

It needs another draft or two, but I like it. It’s sort of the opposite of the Aristillus series: one plot line, minimal number of characters, close to zero back-story. It’s “cute”.

I’d like to give it another draft ASAP and then maybe upload it to Amazon (and sell it for free). The goal in doing so would be to start seine fishing for readers, by putting up some free content and putting a CTA (“call to action”) at the end where people can submit their email addresses to get alerted to new stories.

I’ve shown “Firefly Season Two” to a few people and some of the feedback I’ve gotten is “I’d read more in this universe!”…which is good, because it’s a fun little comic-book-colored universe where it should be fun and easy to write further stories.

Untitled Post Apocalyptic Series

There’s a second universe I’ve got in mind that I’d like to write a few short stories in: it’s set about two years after an apocalypse. Specifically, it’s in a world where a nanotech plague has destroyed all the oil, as in John Varley’s Slow Apocalypse or John Barnes’ Daybreak series (see also S M Stirling’s Dies The Fire series). I posit that the breakdown in transportation networks, electricity, and heat in the middle of a particularly cold and rainy winter leads to a 75% population die off. Within a year the surviving population manages to get some of the lights on and some of the trains running again using nuclear and coal, but the damage has been severe, and the political response has been even more severe. During the worst of the starvation, those with guns – federal agencies, state police, etc. – grabbed the food in warehouses, ostensibly to “prevent looting”. In fact, “they and theirs” survived, and others starved. Now, two or three years after the great die off the corn imports from Iowa are good, but not enough. Major American cities have authoritarian regimes, all pretending to tug a forelock at Washington and pretending to be legitimate governments, but in fact serving as nothing but protection rackets that feed themselves and their vassals.

Country dwellers – and those suburbanites who fled the burning cities and managed to get jobs as field hands out in the country – have been thrown back into the 19th century – or the 16th. They’re plowing their fields, hoping for good rains, cursing hail storms, and fearing the day near harvest when the “tax assessors” arrive: the state police, in their MRAP vehicles burning producer gas.

It’s a weird feudal world…where short wave radio (and digital packet switched radio!) still works. Where the internet is still up…and parts of the NSA are still functioning and spying. Where people use their Kindles to read old books on how to forge horseshoes.

And then, one day – in New Hampshire, ‘natch – one man gets pushed too far when the authorities confiscate the grain he needs to keep his family alive through the winter… and he puts his finger on a rifle trigger.

I don’t yet have a name for this universe. Suggestions? After The Peak? Live Free or Die? Droit du Joint Terrorism Task Force? (That last one is a joke. I think.)

Other Life Events

I’ve sold my Massachusetts home of the last 18 years.

I’ve bought a 50 acre farm in New Hampshire.

We move in 41 days.


(I note that this will probably derail writing for a few weeks…as my current bout of pneumonia (no, really) has already done.)

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Battle Hymn of the Republic

Sarah Hoyt has a great blog and I always love reading it, but a recent post of hers included this video:

I left my response as a comment there. It reads:


We’ve had one or two good wars, a bunch of stupid and/or evil ones, and several “good” ones that should have been avoided.

The older I get, the more I love the values of America’s Founding Fathers, and the less I love our history of militarism.

This isn’t to take anything away from the bravery and sacrifice of our heroes, but

  • Spanish American War – pure aggression
  • Civil War – fought to establish the principle that no one can ever opt out of American government ever again. Yes, slavery was evil…yet slavery disappeared everywhere in the Western World within 20 years. Why did millions need to die?
  • World War I – a Progressive crusade of no value to Americans, helped to create and cement the Imperial American State
  • World War II – the worst enemies we have ever fought, and we did insanely huge amounts of good work by fighting them … but why, exactly, did we step in to a fight between two left wing dictatorships in Europe? To save England, to some degree. And why did Churchill stick his nose in? In an alternate universe Hitler exiled the Jews to Madagascar, Hitler and Stalin bled each other white, and the US never created the modern military industrial system.
  • Korea and Vietnam – would not have happened at all if FDR hadn’t propped up his good friend “Uncle Joe”, then handed the Soviets all of Eastern Europe.
  • Gulf War I and II – accomplished what, exactly?

Bravery and sacrifice in defense of freedom and homeland is deeply American.

Sacrifice in pointless overseas empire-building wars is not.

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