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You know, both my cardiac physician and my therapist are probably not going to be thrilled with me (God knows the last time I had to do this was when they went after John Ringo and I had just had my 1st or 2nd cardiac event) but it needs to be said that “I stand with Baen Books.” No, I’m not going the cutesy route with this fight, this one is getting straight to the point.

As many of you know Baen Books has been under attack this week from what I consider to be the scum of the earth: liars and peddlers of false narratives. Everyone who knows me knows that the cardinal sin against me is to LIE to me. I can handle just about anything else, I can forgive just about anything else, but lying goes so far against my nature as to be appalling to me. I’ve lost friends before and gotten them back later because of truths that come out and feelings that mend over time. I’ve purposefully blocked out anyone who I’ve lost for lying to me. It will not be tolerated.

Now I don’t mean the white lies that almost every other human tells on a daily basis, I get that you probably don’t want to tell your spouse that the dress they bought makes their ass look big and you probably don’t want your spouse to tell you that the dinner you cooked in inedible. Those I can live with because for most people those are innate, cultural things that are generally accepted. What I cannot tolerate are the life-altering lies like a partner who cheats and hides it, or a partner who lies to you to avoid getting caught doing something they shouldn’t. In this case the liars are all of those who look at Toni Weisskopf, the myriad authors and artists at Baen Books, MY FRIENDS, and spout this BULLSHIT about them.

Honestly, bullshit is too mild a word. Unfortunately, words that would work such as “libel” and “slander” are much harder to define and defend against even when it is the whole truth of the matter. Larry Correia knows all too well how hard it is to get a case against people even when it seems like a slam dunk. How many times do you hear in the news of cases of libel and slander actually getting solved IN COURT? Sure, TV portrays it as the easiest thing every and the underdog always wins but sadly, real life is not TV (I can believe TV more than real life at times). The minute Larry posted about the hit piece from someone who can’t even write fiction well, much less the truth, he was inundated with comments from people about what Baen should do legally. Now probably 60% of those people were sincere and didn’t know that it is virtually impossible and takes years to do but c’mon, after a while people just decided not to read what came before them and kept offering a solution that isn’t a solution. I am VERY appreciative of the people on the blog post that explained, using their PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE as lawyers and the like, why it doesn’t work. Honestly, every time Larry does a blog post like this I tend to learn at least 5 new things.

Learning new things though is exactly what people like Jason Sanford and the people who support him at WorldCon, Vile…err…File 770, and the other trash heaps of the internet want to prevent. How dare you have the knowledge or be able to envision a scenario through fiction of something antithetical to their “beliefs?” I put the quotes on beliefs because it seems like their standards or thoughts change every few minutes just so that they have a new target to attack. Honestly, I had not thought about Ayn Rand much since high school (truthfully, I never really enjoyed much of her books) but one of the novellas she wrote called We The Living is ringing more and more true each day. The homogenization of thought and belief distilled down to what a small, select few people, that Orwell coined as “more equal than others” in his book Animal Farm, tell us we should be thinking. The first way that they’re accomplishing this is by what Orwell later used in 1984 when (I am paraphrasing here) he describes that the first rule is to always believe what the State says, not what your own eyes and ears tell you.

Going back to the reason for this minor tangent: what Jason Sanford is telling you to believe is exactly what HE (and now others) wants you to believe. That is that Baen Books, and by extension its EIC Toni Weisskopf, are the fomenters of the next American Revolution/Civil War through its online forum: Baen’s Bar. Sanford, who may have had a profile on the Bar as “NickWise” though it has not been confirmed yet (EDIT: 2-21-2021, 1844EST: I received word from people who could verify it and NickWise is NOT Sanford’s username on the Bar, GBM), decided to cherry pick quotes from posts going as far back and further than 2011! He took conversation between friends and tried to show racist speech when the people conversing are not only members of the Bar but friends in real-life! He gave NO context for anything he used to try to build up his talking points. Without context, I can make anyone seem as evil as Pol Pot or Chairman Mao or make someone like Charles Manson or Ted Bundy appear to be Angels on the side of God.

Now, the linchpin in this for Sanford was making sure that no one could challenge his recitation of events. The next step of this plan was to have the people who hate Baen to begin with try to deplatform the company, or “cancel” them as it has been called lately, by going to their service providers and providing this “evidence” that Baen was violating TOS but hosting content unbecoming. In order to ensure that their employees and authors working with them were protected Toni had the Bar shut down currently while they investigate the complaints that Sanford lodged. The issue is that if the Bar is offline, it becomes increasingly harder to show that Sanford’s bullshit is exactly that, bullshit.

Even if for a second one was to believe that the crap he spewed is true, that doesn’t change the fact that Sanford is using means that are only quasi-legal to try to stop people from conversing. Again, Baen and Toni have an obligation (one that she takes VERY seriously) to ensure that their employees and authors get paid. The fact that there is nothing that can be done legally in a short time period to prevent someone such as Amazon or Google from pulling down a site or refusing to sell their books (injunctions, another well used TV legal trope are NOT 100% effective and unless you can prove time is of the essence aren’t instantaneous) means that Toni and Baen were between a rock and a hard place. There are plenty of keyboard free-speechers and absolutists on both sides lambasting the decision to bring the Bar offline for now. If for one second, they could remediate their recto-cranial inversion they should realize that losing one “battle” can be a strategic way to win a greater war.

Going back to Toni Weisskopf (whom I have known for YEARS), she was also scheduled to be the GOH at WorldCon this year. Check the previous sentence in case you missed it, I used the past tense there. The WorldCon has rescinded its invitation to her because of this fabrication by Jason Sanford even though NOTHING has been proven as of yet. Unfortunately, as you can see from past events such as the Sad Puppies campaign several years ago, these people operate on the side of “Guilty until never proven innocent because you might have considered thinking something inappropriate 20 years ago.” Rather than stand up to the people who are basically calling for a wholesale silencing of a multi-decade serving editor and publisher whose Jewish family escaped from the Soviets, and whom employs authors and artists of every political/sexual/lifestyle identification out there so long as they write engaging stories or tell amazing tales via art! You are LITERALLY kicking the crap out of someone who should be your poster child for demonstrating that discrimination is evil, everyone deserves to have a voice, and those that can entertain can be anyone out there.

Of course, given that, I am not surprised to see that WorldCon (and by association the Hugos) is losing all relevance in the world today. Thankfully we have AMAZING conventions like LibertyCon, Mysticon, and DragonCon and now DragonCon even has its own awards that are open for voting by EVERYONE and not just the grognards. For those that didn’t know, in order to vote for the Hugo Awards you had to buy a membership to WorldCon (which aren’t cheap) which then allowed you to place a vote in the categories presented. DragonCon allows you to vote on their categories as long as you can get onto their website and do a free registration (last I recall). I believe that the best analogy is that WorldCon is an aristocracy/theocracy governed by those that can afford to do so and DragonCon is more of a direct democracy where all you have to do is be a fan.

So, for the Jason Sanfords and others like him who want to try to destroy people’s livelihoods simply for the crime of disagreeing with them, you would do well to remember that the tools you create to use on your enemies today will end up being used against you in the future. I may not be able to lie but in this case, I do not need to as the truth is bad enough as it stands. I am NOT talking about committing any violent actions (that is a fight they would lose badly regardless), I am going to use a historical analog to explain what I mean.

In the French Revolution a cycle was born that as many know died with the lives of many, many Parisians. Thankfully many outside of the capital were spared but inside of Paris the revolutionaries, drunk off of the power they received by the dispatching of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette and thus ending the royalist “fad,” were busy plotting the removal of the people that lay in their way of creating the perfect country. Not too long after, when it appeared that Loyalist factions allied with the surviving members of the Crown, emergency declarations were made that suspended the brand-new Constitution (the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”) and instituted the Committee of Public Safety lead by one Maximilien Robespierre. Their goal? Remove any obstacles to the implementation of the new Constitution and democratic government. I won’t belabor the point since there are plenty of books, documentaries, etc on the Revolution but to say that it was cannibalistic to the point that Robespierre himself was dispatched by it is an understatement. No one can ever be “pure” enough to meet the ever-changing criteria created by the Committee and with no ability to have disagreements or even a slightly divisive theory on a doctrine, you eventually end up back where I started this discussion.

In Ayn Rand’s We The Living society lived out the logical conclusion to what would have happened had the Committee not fallen in France: a society were there were no individuals, everything was decided by Orwell’s “more equal than others,” and all forms of progress were halted and indeed reversed since any new thinking was outlawed (see also David Weber’s Safehold series).

So, I ask: is this what you all fight for? Is this what you want, why you would go to lengths to lie, cheat, and steal a bright future from others simply because you cannot see the good in it for you? Do you enjoy attempting to destroy the love that someone like Toni Weisskopf has for fandom (which she maintains even with all the responsibilities of being Baen’s EIC, raising a special needs daughter, and being a widower) simply because she won’t bow to you?

If your answer is “Yes” then you ARE the enemy. YOU are the one who is the anthesis everything good and right in the world. There is a phrase that I keep having come to mind: “One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.” YOU are the exception to that, you fight against freedom and the ability to think independently and YOU are the terrorist.

We do not negotiate with terrorists.

Links to other articles (they open in a new tab):

Screenshots of the Original Post by Jason Sanford taken by me:

Mr. CEO and Mr. CTO,

I hope this email finds you all well! My name is Gerald (Gerry) Martin and I am the co-owner of NecroTechs, LLC in Bedford, VA. We are a contract IT service for our local veterinary office whom we adore. Today we had the unfortunate experience of having to call your IT Support for AVIMark and we are, as the custom has been, appalled at the treatment of both our time, our client’s time and money, and your employees potential interactions with each other.

I have worked in IT since the mid-2000s while having experience further back. I have worked in small business, enterprise, and academic support. If I had ever treated my clients the way your Support people have treated us, I would have been out of a job.

We called on Saturday around 2:30 PM EST to start the transfer process of AVIMark to a new server that we set up for the office. Upon being told that it would have to wait as it was now a 2 hour process with a pre-flight checklist to be done before that (please note: nowhere on your site or in an email could we find where that had been changed) we graciously scheduled for Monday at noon EST for the pre-flight. We were also told at the time that the ONLY system needed was the NEW server, not the currently running and in use AVIMark machine. 

No call ever came on Monday.

Now on Tuesday at 12:15 PM EST we were called back (my partner called at 10:09 AM EST and was told we’d get a call back around then) only to find out it hadn’t been given to the person with whom we were speaking until 4:00 PM CST on Monday. This resulted in case number XXXX with XXXX. We were quite unhappy but unsurprised to find out that XXXX did indeed need the OLD system for her checks, not the NEW server. Once again, interrupting the work of the Vet’s Office with no warning, your Support performed the pre-flight and again, assured us it would be a 2 hour procedure. We questioned it at the time as while watching I noticed she was only checking cursory file locations and no sizes. After expressing displeasure at the fact that not only did we not get the scheduled call back on Monday and the obviously errant information about the systems needed, she let us know that it would be done the next day.

Today your Support actually called us on time and we did have to call them back about 10 minutes later as we were waiting for someone at the office to arrive so I do appreciate the punctuality there. After that followed a 4 hour mess with infrequent updates and several reassurances that we would meet the 1pm deadline with no issues. This was after the already far exceeded 2 hour process we had been assured of so many times.

The Vet, obviously needing their equipment, requested to have AVIMark running at 1pm since that was what we had passed on to them from your Support. Finally my partner placed me on a 3-way call at 12:54 PM EST so I could inquire about what the issues with completion under the multiple deadlines were. XXXX (Case #: XXXX) attempted to pass it off as taking only a few more minutes (which the same message had been told to us many times already at that point). While curt, and short but using no profanities (as that is unacceptable in any interaction from a user to support) I asked her about the entire job from start to finish and confirmed what we had been told. She explained to me that she did not have any notes or comments from prior to the ticket today but (as I was looking up the case number to put for her conversation) the case number is the same (I may have added an extra 8 on XXXX’s reading of them to me) so I find this odd. Was she able to see notes and confirm what I said or did she not have any notes and then proceeded to just try to placate me (and lie in the process) about the case?

I invited her to please share the recording with you all of the conversation. During the conversation she indicated that the AVIMark software could still be run on the old server while it was transferring to the new server. After questioning this and explaining that it couldn’t be possible as files that are in use in a copy prior to opening by the software CANNOT be opened by the software and conversely, files in use by the software CANNOT be copied by the system. After explaining that to her, she broke off to confirm with an actual IT Tech (her words, not mine) that it was indeed the case. So if we did not have a tech, as we were told we would be on Saturday, who were we working with?

She returned and informed me that I was correct. At that point, every deadline and option that you all presented were expired. I finally confirmed that all that was needed was for us to transfer the files overnight OURSELVES (since that is something we are MORE THAN CAPABLE of doing) and then have you all set up AVIMark Guardian tomorrow morning. Frankly, I would also do the AVIMark Guardian piece but since the Vet’s office is paying you a support contract, I fully intend to have you all complete the job you were supposed to have completed already. 

As I explained to XXXX, everything above went far past unacceptable once EOB Monday was reached. Everything past that has me concerned for any future attempts at getting support for an AVIMark issue for the Vet’s office with any guarantee of completion on time and repaired correctly. These are people who are depending on the software that they have purchased and support they have contracted from you in order to maintain their livelihoods. Being unable to properly access patient records, process images, schedule appointments, be able to contact their clients, and to know when you schedule Vet Techs and other employees in order to for them to have a paycheck, is unacceptable when the company is guaranteeing that they will have the appropriate uptime and have repeatedly proven to be unable to do so.

I hope that you all will take this email quite seriously. I am guessing that the reports you receive from your employees further down do not indicate any issues of this type or that there is much customer dissatisfaction. I may be wrong, this may be an aberration, but this has been the problem nearly EVERY time the Vet’s office has called. Today was just the last straw since we were there and were the ones engaging with AVIMark support and had another poor experience the last time we had to do a transfer about a month ago when their primary system crashed.

I would love to hear back from you all about these concerns. My contact information is within my signature and I am available at nearly any time to discuss this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Gerald (Gerry) Martin
Owner, NecroTechs, LLC

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