Competitive Gaming is Cool – No Matter what Colin Cowherd Says

colin-cowherdI’m sure a great number of people are not aware that something called Competitive Gaming, or eSports, is becoming a major sporting industry.

In a recent interview an ESPN commentator named Colin Cowherd said some fairly nasty things about people who participate in eSports, and by association those who watch them.

The rise of eSports can be seen on outlets like Twitch and competitive events have prize pools in the tens of millions of dollars. The sport is played on a highly competitive level by incredibly skilled eAthletes.

What I want to talk about today is not necessarily eSports or Cowherd but simply the idea that people who share an interest can get together and enjoy what they love at a level unprecedented in human history. Because people can thus freely associate the ability to monetize their interest through capitalism becomes a reality. This is important.

Why is this so important?

The phenomenon of people of like interests freely associating across all geopolitical boundaries signals the first stages of the end of the nation state. I’m a Libertarian and I have friends who are anarchists although I’m not one myself. We share many ideas and one of them is that people should be able to associate based on their interests, not on the happenstance of their geographic and political positions.

Until recently humans were only able to associate with those in close proximity to their geographic location. With the advent of faster methods of travel people were able to travel further to associate freely although the limits of political borders placed a heavy restraint upon that travel. With the creation of the internet those borders are quickly vanishing.

I love chess and I play games almost every day with people from places like Russia, Iran, Iraq, Latvia, Armenia, Texas, England, and many more. They likely have all sorts of opposed political ideologies. They almost certainly disagree about quite a number of things but they love chess. They gather at various websites to freely associate with others who love the game. Their desire to come together has spawned websites that make money from their association either by advertisements or by membership dues. The chess players willingly pay a price in order to be able to gather with those who enjoy the same thing.

I want you to imagine a world where you can associate with people who enjoy the same things as you. That you are not bound by a nation that herds you into a pen. You are not bound by political ideology and kept from those who love what you love. What would such a world look like?

Would people with political differences be less likely to engage in war with those they associate with on other levels? I think so.

Would the nation state be able to demonize other nations when the citizens of their nation freely associate with those across the border? I don’t think so, not as easily at least.

Can the nation state withstand the onslaught of free association regardless of borders or ideology? I think, I hope, no.

When people are free to do what they love regardless of borders why would they care about arbitrary lines drawn on a map? There are no borders on the internet, would that the world would soon follow. As travel becomes easier and faster we gain the ability to go where we want, when we want, with whom we want.

The end of the nation state? A pipe dream or a fast approaching reality. You tell me.

Oh, and, Colin Cowherd, you’re an idiot. If you don’t like something then don’t do it. Lots of people don’t like football but don’t feel the need to insult you because you do. Take note.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

He Touched Me First – Trump v. Lowry

Squabbling-kidsThe editor of the prestigious National Review, Rich Lowry, is currently engaged in a nuanced and intellectual debate with the leading Republican candidate for President of the United States, Donald Trump.

I’m reminded of the discourse exhibited by the likes of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams as they discussed their differences during the formation and early years of the United States of America. They, like Lowry and Trump, were engaged in exceptionally important matters. They wrote carefully worded editorials explaining their points of view and we have a historical record to remind us of these titans who created this great country of ours through the force of their will.

Trump and Lowry show the same depth of thought as Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and the other Founding Fathers displayed at a time when they were barely removed from the breast of their mothers.

Is anyone else ashamed to be a citizen of this country? These twitter rants smack of arguments I had with my sister on a long road trip when I was five years old, I blush for the United States of America. I blush!

Leading journalists, the men and women who want to lead this country, the editors of influential journals, they are as children. Squabbling elementary school kids hurling insults at each other on the playground.

These are the choices we have? You, the voters, are responsible for this mess more even than the bickering babies who foist their idiocy upon us.

You, the voters, could choose to cast your ballots for reasoning adults who discuss their differences like adults and compromise to find solutions. But no, you prefer the quip, the one-line insult, the impossible idea, the pleasant sounding lie, the red-faced buffoon.

If you like whining, egocentric, hold their breath until they get their way babies in charge of this country, well, don’t be surprised when your nation functions like an unsupervised kindergarten class in a room filled with paint and brushes.

We get what we vote for in this country. Good or bad.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

There is No Gotcha Question – Just Bad Answers

GotchaIt seems to be a trend among modern politicians to blame journalists for asking “Gotcha” questions. I’ve got news for you politicians. If you don’t know the answer to a question the answer is … I don’t know.

There is no such thing as a “Gotcha Question”. You can have an opinion on the subject. You can know the answer to the question. You can think you know the answer to the question. You can not know the answer to the question. Those are your options.

If, in retrospect, you don’t like the answer you gave to the question, the correct reaction isn’t to blame the question or the questioner, the answer is to own up to your awful answer. At least that’s the choice of someone who believes in personal responsibility. But I guess that leaves out just about every politician. They can’t seem to find a limit to the number of people to blame for their own shortcomings.

Have I said stupid things? You bet.

Have I said wrong things? Absolutely.

The reality is that in the modern political climate people are going to ask you difficult questions and they are going to ask you unfair questions.

The classic example is: How often do you beat your spouse?

The answer is simple enough. Never. There is no such thing as a question that can’t be answered as long as you don’t restrain yourself to the questioners paradigm.

The premise of the Gotcha question is that there is no good answer. A tough political question about an obscure leader of a terrorist group. Your answer is, I don’t know. It’s not an answer that politicians want to give but it has the advantage of being the honest reply.

When it turns out the answer you gave to a question doesn’t meet with public approval, tough. Give a better answer next time or stick by your guns if you gave an honest answer.

Anyone who claims the Gotcha excuse, I have no time for you. Good day, sir.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn


Jagr and the Model Misleading Headline

Jagr-extortion-misleading-headlineA news organization called The Complex had their first entry in my Misleading Headline of the week just this past week but they’ve already topped it with a story this week!

Model Tries to Extort $2,000 From Jaromir Jagr With Post-Sex Selfie, Fails Because He DGAF blares the headline.

I’m very old and I had to think a while on what DGAF meant but eventually I figure it out, Don’t Give a Fuck.

The story involves an 18 year czech model who slept with 43 year old hockey player Jaromir Jagr. The story goes on to detail that she utterly failed in her blackmail attempt because Jagr isn’t married and doesn’t have a girlfriend so he doesn’t care. That she, in fact, has a boyfriend and was the one hurt by her attempt to blackmail him.

The problem is that she had nothing to do with the blackmail attempt. Someone else saw the picture and attempted the blackmail.

I’m willing to believe that The Complex just got the story completely wrong and wasn’t really trying to mislead the readers but the reason they got it wrong is because they didn’t bother to do a little research and that’s why they win my award for a second straight week.

The real problem is that their false story is now being picked up all over the place and the girl is being called all sorts of vile names. That’s just wrong and I want it to stop immediately!

I absolutely think that if an attractive 18 year old girl wants to sleep with a 43 year old hockey player, or, say, a 51 year old writer, more power to her! You go girl!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Dog Stoned for Days – Headline and Comments

I’m happy to report that my Misleading Headline of the Week and Stupid Comment of the Week come from the same story! That certainly makes my job easier.

Colorado Dog Gets Stoned for Days After Ingesting Marijuana blares the headline from a newcomer to my stupid and misleading headline category, Complex.

The article then goes on to describe symptoms that pretty much exactly match those exhibited by dogs who ingest chocolate.

Most of the comments on the article were fairly spot on in suggesting that chocolate was the cause of the dog’s problems, not the supposed marijuana.

However, an apparent animal lover posted a rant that is fairly difficult to follow because it’s largely incoherent. The gist of it seems to be that the media shouldn’t report incidents of animals being abused by their owners because that encourages people to abuse animals so they can read their stories in the news. Uh … no.

Have a great week!

See you next time with Stupid and Misleading Headlines and Stupid Comment of the Week!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Prisoners Charged for Incarceration

Everyone-is-a-prisonerI just became aware of the growing practice in the United States of charging prisoners a fee for each day they stay in prison. The fees are not just for room and board but extend to visitors who are charged for visits. Medical care is billed to the prisoner. Increasingly aggressive bill collection agencies are being used to force prisoners and their families to pay these bills.

Apparently this has been going on for some time now but in recent years the fees have gone up quite a bit. The story describes a man who was attacked in prison and lost an eye. When he sued, the prison hit him with a lawsuit asking for his three year accumulation of fees, $55,000.

There are so many problems with this practice that it simply boggles my brain.

The first thing that immediately comes to mind is that as we continue to make prison a profit center we incentive putting people in prison. It’s clear this is working because you can go to prison in the United States for just about anything these days. Police forces and local governments fund themselves through seizures.  Private prison companies make millions by cutting as many corners as possible and often brutalizing prisoners.

The next thought is if we actually want to release prisoners back into society where they can become productive citizens, having them owe an impossible debt will clearly drive them straight back into crime. It means we don’t really want to release them at all. It’s essentially a Ponzi Scheme. We need more and more prisoners to fund the prison system, eventually, of course, we run out of people to imprison and who is left holding all the debt? The usual suspect, taxpayers. Meanwhile everyone else absconds with all the money. Do they go to jail? Hardly.

Then of course is the simple question of how is a prisoner supposed to earn money to pay for incarceration, while incarcerated? It’s nonsensical.

The only possibility is that the loved ones of the prisoner, who have committed no crime, are going to have to pay. We have now criminalized being related to or friends with a criminal! Take that in for a moment. Think about it.

The larger point here is that we are destroying our nation from the inside. We don’t need terrorists and foreign invaders. Almost 3% of people in this country are under correctional supervision. One in thirty-five*!

CORRECTION: Originally I put 1 in 3 instead of 3%.

At the rate we are going it will soon be more normal to be a criminal than to not be so. It’s already that way for segments of our society.

This must end. In a system that so brutalizes people, often for minor or drug offenses, who is truly the criminal?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

What’s in a Word – a Constitutional Debate

ConstitutionI’m a member of a Libertarian website where they host regular web based shows and I was watching one of these, led by a man named Sheldon Richman, which discussed a Supreme Court case that caused a great deal of debate among Libertarians when it was adjudicated. I do not wish to discuss the case but an assertion made by Mr. Richman during his show.

It involves the nature of the meaning of words and the nature of interpreting the Constitution of the United States. In this case the debate came about over what is called the Taking Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The key phrase being … nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Mr. Richman interpreted the last two words to mean whatever the seller demands. Legal scholars disagree. They have said repeatedly in law that it means the value lost by the current owner of what was taken.

In this blog I do not even mean to debate the meaning of those two words. Where I absolutely disagree with Mr. Richman is his assertion that we must use a textual, or possibly even strict constructionist interpretation of that document. That is that we must go by the words they used and not read meaning into them.

He argues that those who wrote the Fifth Amendment could have easily written … without fair market value compensation. That because they did not use those words they didn’t mean that.

Here is where I disagree with Mr. Richman. They could have just as easily used the words … meeting the owner’s set price.

They didn’t. They used the words they used. That is what we have. No more. No less.

I think Mr. Richman’s interpretation is far more fanciful than the currently accepted legal interpretation of those words. What I find maddening is Mr. Richman’s seeming insistence that he wasn’t interpreting. That he was taking the common meaning of the words while the legal precedent was somehow interpreting.

In this case the Taking party and that who is Taken from are clearly going to be in disagreement, otherwise the Taking would never happen. If the Taker had met the price asked there would be no need for Taking. I’m certain Mr. Richman is wrong and I would guess that he is certain I am mistaken.

In any case, both are interpretations. You might favor Mr. Richman’s or you might, like me, prefer the agreed upon legal interpretation. But you cannot pretend that one is an interpretation and one is not.

You must agree that words have no inherent meaning. They are merely sounds or squiggly shapes. We give the squiggles and sound meaning. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. It’s not a question of interpreting or not. We are never not interpreting.

Richman interprets. I interpret. You interpret. We disagree, certainly, but we all interpret.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Marshawn Lynch’s Mother and Play Calling

Marshawn-Lynch-MomI’m a Rams fan and last Sunday we played yet another fantastically entertaining game with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks seem to bring out the best in the Rams and I can only hope they treat every game hereafter as if it’s the Seahawks.

My post today is about comments made by Marshawn Lynch’s mother about the last play in the game. She was upset with the final call in which her son was asked to gain a yard on fourth down into the heart of the Rams defense. She suspects it was called because in a similar, although far more important, situation in the Super Bowl, Marshawn was not asked to run but a pass play was used with disastrous results.

I do not begrudge Mrs. Lynch the right to criticize any decision made on the field by a coach or player. I’ve done plenty of that on my own in the past. It’s part and parcel of being a sports fan to second guess on-field decisions. That being said I think her criticism analogous to an ideology that is hurting the United States these days.

It seems to me that people eagerly look for a scapegoat rather than trying to find real solutions. In this case Mrs. Lynch blames the offensive coordinator of the Seahawks for the issues.

It’s my opinion that in both cases she cites, there really isn’t a scapegoat but instead a hero. In the Super Bowl Malcom Butler made an exceptionally good play and stopped what would likely have been a touchdown most of the time. In the Rams game Michael Brockers drove the offensive lineman into the backfield forcing Lynch to adjust his path and allowing Aaron Donald to stop Lynch short of the first down. Again, in my opinion, the play call was quite reasonable and would have resulted in success a fairly high percentage of the time.

I find Mrs. Lynch’s search for a scapegoat to be a microcosm of attitudes in the United States. There is a much higher emphasis on finding someone to be at fault rather than admitting that some things are quite difficult. Forces arise that thwart even the best laid plans. It largely seems as if finding blame is much more important than finding solutions.

If we are nation that spends its energies trying to find blame rather than solution; a nation that elects politicians who are successful at blaming someone else without offering realistic solutions, what is our future?

If we instantly want to punish the perceived wrongdoer rather than find a way to prevent the wrong are we not doomed to endless wrongs?

I find the self-righteousness of what appears to me to be the average citizen of the United States nauseating. As if we are not humans who make mistakes. Just because you make a plan doesn’t mean it will work. I’ve failed. I’ve miscalculated. I’ve simply been defeated by the better person. It happens.

Do I think my shortcomings will suddenly be solved if I punish someone else? No. I try to do better next time. I learn from the mistake. I accept that someone else just beat me. The end result of that is that I become a better, stronger person. Would that we could become a better, stronger nation. Right now I see us becoming weaker and worse.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Evian Championship Stupid Comment

Results-Evian-Stupid-CommentIn the second installment of my Stupid Comment of the week our winner is TXH1138 (reference to the 1971 George Lucas film) who complains that AFP is to blame for him or her seeing the results of the 2015 Evian Championship.

The event is a major on the women’s golf tour and was won by a young New Zealand professional named Lydia Ko.

Apparently it is the job of AFP and Yahoo, who redistributed the story, to wait for good old TXH1138 to make it known that he or she has seen the results of the event before publishing their articles.

Good luck with that.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn


Why do we Need the State to Give Us a Marriage License Anyway?

Marriage-CertificateI’ve followed the Kim Davis story with moderate interest and most people seem to think there are two sides to the issue. I disagree. I think there is a third point of view that makes the first two irrelevant.

Why do we need the government to issue a license for two willing, legally competent, adults to sign a contract? Why? I ask a third time because it is the most important question in all of this. Why?

If you come to the conclusion that the answer is simply, “We don’t.” You have solved the entire problem.

Those who believe, like Davis, that it’s immoral won’t have to sign such a license because it won’t exist. Those who believe that state employees must carry out their duties without regards to their religion won’t have to worry about it because one of those jobs won’t be issuing marriage licenses.

Why is the state involved in marriage at all? The argument boils down largely to social engineering. It is to the benefit of the state to encourage marriage because society is stronger when it has more stable family units. That may or may not be true but it’s not within the realm of power of the state to encourage or discourage a private contract of this nature.

If two people want to get married, if three people are in a group relationship and want to get married, if two men want to get married, if a brother and sister want to get married; I see no justification for the state needing to issue a license. I know people won’t like that last example and I’m willing to begrudgingly agree that the state can make certain marriages illegal, but even then, if the state has agreed to make it legal, why do they need to issue a license?

If two or more legally competent people sign a contract stating they are married, that’s that. No more problem. No more Kim Davis. No more Constitutional debate. If it turns out later the contract is invalidated by law, say one contractor was underage, then the marriage is invalid. What benefit is there in having the state “license” a marriage?

You tell me.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn


Dick Cheney is not the Most Vile and Disgusting Human to have ever lived

Dick-CheneyFormer Vice President Dick Cheney is talking again. Joy.

This is the man who sent 4,000 of our best to die in Iraq for nothing, based on a lie. Who is largely responsible for tens of thousands of our soldiers who suffered horrible wounds in a useless war. Who caused the deaths of arguably hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.

This is the man who watched as 3,000 citizens died in the World Trade Center attack and responded by attacking the wrong country, thus pissing on their graves.

This is the man whose friends pocketed millions (perhaps billions) of dollars through no-bid contracts while our soldiers were dying for nothing.

This is the man who, every time he opens his mouth, spits in the face of our service members who trusted him.

The man who presided on the committee to look into President Reagan selling anti-aircraft missiles to Iraq to raise money for the Contras of Iran and thought the committee was overreaching.

There was Hitler. There was Pol Pot.

I’m comfortable saying Cheney is not the worst, most vile and disgusting human being to ever set foot on this planet. I won’t go any further than that.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

John Jay High Football Referee Blindsided

Ref BlindsidedThere’s a pretty interesting story in the news about a pair of football players from John Jay High School in San Antonio who slammed into a referee during the course of a game.

The video is brutal and the comment sections were filled with hate, as one might expect. Many wanted the two boys to be put in jail for the rest of their lives and things of this nature. Some even advocated the death penalty. I wrote a comment about the incident in which I expressed the idea that the two boys were likely frustrated by a referee that was either plain awful or was actively cheating. That while I thought expulsion from the team and some community service time along with a fine for the school was in order, I didn’t think it needed to go further than that.

My opinion was not popular.

More information is coming in about the incident. The boys unit coach told them: “this guy needs to pay for cheating us” for his calls in the game. At this point it is admitted that the referee ejected the wrong player from John Jay earlier in the game and there are multiple reports he used racial slurs against the players. The assistant has been suspended.

Just as I suggested restraint on punishing the boys I also suggest holding off vilifying the referee and coach until more facts are available.

I can tell you from my own experience in playing sports that referees do cheat. They don’t like certain teams and certain coaches. The first time it happened to me was in little league baseball when an umpire called me out on a third strike that was, literally, over my head. I had looked back at him when he called the second strike on a ball that was pretty low. He didn’t like that and he sure showed me. He showed me that refs cheat.

I wrote an entire post about this subject a while back. It’s a subject that I’m passionate about. Cheating anyone is a perversion of the system. It prevents the person or team who is best prepared and plays better from winning. That undermines capitalism, it undermines truth, it undermines society. When you work so hard to achieve something and have it taken from you by someone you think is cheating, the rage you feel is difficult to express.

I stand by my original assessment of what should happen the players. I think suspending the coach for making the revenge statement is appropriate. If what the referee is accused of doing is supported then that person should be removed and never allowed to referee again.

The people who know the truth about this situation are the fellow referees. They know all about it. In this situation what we see all too often is the people with integrity refusing to turn over the person among them who doesn’t have it. Their rational is that if people knew about the cheating, it tarnishes all referees. I disagree. What tarnishes any referee is cheating. When those who are aware of it don’t report the cheating, that’s what destroys their credibility. When they allow cheaters to operate openly they only encourage more cheating and further disrespect by coaches, players, and fans.

I’m certainly not saying the boys and the coach don’t deserve punishment. I am saying that if the referee was cheating and using racial slurs, if his fellow referees were aware of it and said nothing; then it’s only a matter of time until someone gets frustrated and enraged enough to do what the boys did.

Believe me, I’ve been there. I never punched a referee but I wasn’t far away from doing it on a number of occasions.


The Joneses – Libertarian Movie Review

The-JonesesOnce again thanks to Hulu for providing me with movie entertainment at a cost that’s just right for me (watching ads).

Today I’m going to look at the movie The Joneses from a Libertarian perspective. It’s a challenging movie to review from that angle because it contains elements that Libertarians will hate but also parts I think they will find very relatable and enjoyable.

The Joneses tells the story of Steve, Kate, Jenn, and Mick Jones played by David Duchnovy, Demi Moore, Amber Heard, and Ben Hollingsworth. They are a fake family planted into a wealthy neighborhood in order to drive sales of various products. By giving off the appearance of being sublimely happy and very good looking, other people are attracted to the products they use in the hopes of gaining such happiness for themselves.

Steve is a newcomer to this form of advertising while Kate, Jenn, and Mick are veterans with Kate being the team leader.

In some ways this is an anti-Libertarian movie in that it vilifies consumerism and the job the Joneses are doing. The Joneses do their job well and that, sadly, has tragic consequences for their neighbor Larry, played by the always effective Gary Cole. Steve eventually rejects this fake lifestyle and moves on hoping to take Kate from it as well, as he has fallen in love with her.

However, it also espouses Libertarian ideas because the family is living a complete lie and this has obvious consequences on their own sense of self. They are lying to their new friends in the neighborhood in order to manipulate them into buying things. In an interesting moment of the movie, Mick is having second thoughts about this web of deceit and Steve tells him to think of it as connecting people with the products they want. That they are actually helping the people rather than harming them.

That’s why I find myself ambivalent about The Joneses. I loved the negative consequences of their false lifestyle. Living a lie is a bad thing. However, doing a job well is a great thing and the family did their job exceptionally well. They earned the large salary and the many luxuries they got from the various companies that were paying for their services. Consumerism is not bad in itself. Having nice things that we enjoy is good. Buying things we don’t need in order to find the happiness that is missing from our lives is, on the other hand, bad.

The company that pays the Joneses is portrayed as the bad guy which is, again, anti-Libertarian. If a company comes up with an effective way to advertise for which manufacturers are willing to pay, then it’s not the company’s fault. If people drive themselves into bankruptcy trying to keep up with the Joneses, the fault lies with those who spent more than they earned. Not the advertisers.

It’s definitely a well-acted, well-written, beautifully filmed movie. Glenne Headly does a fantastic job as the neighbor’s wife trying to sell for a Multi-Level Marketing company. This plot line is incredibly effective in displaying the power of the marketing strategy employed by the Joneses. From a man-perspective, Moore and Heard are exceptionally easy on the eyes.

In the end I will give this movie $$$ (on a 5$ scale). It just had too many anti-Libertarian qualities for me to highly recommend it despite the excellent production qualities.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Gravity Changed – Stupid Comment

Earth-Gravity-IdiocyI read a lot of news articles every week and generally sample the comment section to see what people are thinking. While doing so I run across a lot of trolling, racism, and sheer stupidity.

I have my Misleading Headline of the Week but I’m considering adding a weekly Stupid Comment of the Week to the my regular posts. If I continue this trend I will try not to post Trolls but legitimate comments made by people who just didn’t think it all the way through.

We’re all guilty of that on occasion, so don’t get too high and mighty because your comment might be the next one I do!

Anyway, here’s the first and maybe last

The original article describes how researchers recently discovered the remnants of a large Henge built not far from Stonehenge. All that’s left is a few underground pieces of rock but it’s an impressive find.

The person who commented apparently thinks that the site was built at the time the Earth was still forming and had a much smaller gravity. The lack of basic knowledge about gravity, the geologic timeline of the earth, the nature of a man-made structure, and a number of other factors makes this comment my inaugural entry.

So, what do you think? Is this a feature I should continue?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn


Corporal Punishment and Black America

baltimore-mom-slaps-rioting-sonI’ve been thinking about the many troubles black people have had successfully integrating with society in the United States. It occurs to me that perhaps one of the primary causes for this problem is the rampant use of corporal punishment by black parents.

I am certainly aware that there are other issues. The legacy of slavery. Racism still exists. Driving while Black. This is not a one issue problem nor do I claim that I offer a comprehensive solution.

I wrote a blog a while back about how the corporal punishment of children turns them into violent adults. The more punishment that is mete out, the less chance the child has of integrating peacefully into society. The less chance they have of becoming educated. The less chance they have of getting a good job. The less chance they have of maintaining stable relationships. Those who suffer severe and repeated corporal punishment have a much greater chance of struggling with society. They will more likely lash out violently against authority figures or just about anyone.

Does any of that sound like the story of black people in the United States?

There have been a number of cases in the news about using a switch or other implements to punish a child but the one that has been percolating in my mind for quite a while is the image of a woman repeatedly hitting her son as he joined protests in the street during the recent Baltimore riots. She was largely applauded for her efforts to raise her son right although more than a few people pointed out that she was merely teaching violence to violent rioters in order for them to be less violent. Yeah, not going to work.

When young black men are stopped and questioned by the police the argument is that they shouldn’t react violently because that just escalates the situation. Those who read my blog should be well aware that I have no sympathy for violent law enforcement officers who target young black men and escalate the violence. I certainly do not deny that police often profile young black men. Driving while black is no myth. The criminal justice system treats black inherently unfairly as can be seen in any study of punishment dolled out for similar offenses to whites and black. As can be seen in any study of the racial predominance of pullovers which are based on minor traffic infringements.

That being said, there is absolute truth to the argument that if you are polite to an officer who is doing his or her job the odds of it escalating into something terrible decrease dramatically. The majority of officers are out there doing a difficult job as best they can and should be treated with respect. Unfortunately, those raised in a violent home all too quickly resort to violence themselves.

So I say to all parents, stop hitting your kids but I say it especially to black parents. It’s my opinion this sort of violence is one of the major contributors to the difficulties black have faced in successfully integrating with society.

A new generation of young black men and women who learned to resolve conflict without violence will go a long way to establishing the fully integrated society that most of us strongly desire. I myself am a Libertarian and am convinced the merit of a person is in their actions; not the color of their skin, their race, their sexual identity, their religion, or any of the other ways people are pigeonholed.

What do you think?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Cardinals “Allow” Pirates to Gain Headline

Cards Allow Pirates HeadlineI just read a headline that I think qualifies for my Misleading Headline of the Week although it’s not so much misleading as it is stupid.

Cards allow Pirates to gain in race with loss reads the headline.

A little background about the story. The St. Louis Cardinals are having an outstanding season. They have the best record in baseball. They are looking fairly certain to return to the playoffs although there are still a few games to play. The team immediately behind them in the National League Central Division is the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I was at the game last night. The Pirates handed it to us 9 – 3. J. A. Happ pitched brilliantly keeping the team off balance all night. Those darn lefties! The Pirates have some excellent players including Andrew McCutchen who might well be the best player in the game. While the Pirates are second to the Cardinals in the division race they also happen to have the third best record in all of baseball and the second best in the National League.

So as to my point in all of this?

We didn’t “allow” the Pirates to gain on us. They hammered us because they are a good team. That happens.

The Cardinals came back today and beat the Pirates 4 – 1 behind stellar pitching from Jaime Garcia. Those darn lefties!!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

What’s in an Oath? A Trump Tale

Donald-Trump-pledges-allegience-to-GOPPresidential candidate Donald Trump made a pledge today affirming that he will support whatever Republican candidate wins the primary election.

Blah. I’m no fan of pledges and oaths. It seems to me anyone who asks you to swear an oath is basically doing one thing:

Trying to get you to do what they want you to do. You can’t play with us until you swear your oath.

It generally involves an organization that wants you to be loyal to them. The oath has no binding influence on your decision to remain loyal to that organization. They are merely words to that effect. There are certainly no legal remedies should the pledge be broken.

Here’s what I find quite interesting about oaths. They are taken extremely seriously by the honorable and used to gain advantages by the dishonorable.

The person who swears an oath with all honesty and integrity is not going to break that oath easily, but they would never do something against their principles in any case. The honorable swear an oath to something they believe in. They are going to keep that oath regardless of whether they swore it or not. The words merely reinforce their own beliefs. The honorable person who swears to defend their country, or to protect and serve, or whatever else, wants to fulfill that pledge. The words have meaning to that person but not beyond what is in their own heart.

A dishonorable person who swears an oath is simply doing it to give the illusion they are something which they actually are not. They make the pledge with no intention of keeping it should circumstances warrant them breaking it. They are taking advantage of honorable people who assume the words have meaning. To the dishonorable such promises have no meaning.

I have little sympathy for an organization that wants me to swear an oath. I don’t Pledge Allegiance to the Flag, not because I’m planning on being a traitor to my nation, but because I’m confident in my patriotism, I do not need to put it on display for anyone else, nor do I need to prove my loyalty to myself. Nor is my loyalty unconditional.

I have respect for those who make pledges and oaths fully intending to keep them. These are the honorable among us. I say to you, don’t worry about the oath. Know your mind. Remain loyal to that which you believe. Your actions make all oaths unnecessary.

To those who make pledges with no intention of keeping them. You don’t have me fooled.

As to this ridiculous pledge Republicans are making to support any members of their party regardless of any other circumstance. Well, I’d never vote for a person who swears to support an as yet unknown candidate. It’s closing your eyes and signing a blank check. It’s a foolish decision and I, for one, don’t want a president willing to do such.

I do not see Libertarians pledging to support a phantom nor is anyone asking them to do so. Most Libertarians I know support Rand Paul. Certainly not because he has made the misguided decision to run as a Republican, but simply for the policies he espouses and has enacted in his time in office. We Libertarians like to make decisions on the facts before us, not the ghostly phantoms of possibility.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn


Sidney Blumenthal’s Private Emails to Hillary Clinton

sidney_blumenthal_private_emailsI just read a story that churns my stomach.

I’m sure everyone knows that there is an investigation into a private server Hillary Clinton used to send government emails on. After much wrangling, the information on that server was turned over to a committee. The story I just read contained multiple quotes from a fellow named Sidney Blumenthal in emails to Clinton that are private communications between two people not involving anything remotely classified.

This means that whoever has access to those emails is releasing them to embarrass people. I don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican. You should be horrified by this abuse of power. I don’t have to question if my libertarian friends are horrified, I know they are.

This is vile beyond my ability to express. This is government abuse of private information on a level that sickens me.

Whomever released this information should be fired at the least and possibly prosecuted for criminal violation of privacy rights. I’m no lawyer and I can’t say if a law has been broken but this most certainly disgusts me.

I really don’t have anything to add. Vile. Disgusting. Morally bankrupt. Evil.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn