This morning’s news was abuzz with liberals attempting to further obfuscate the firing of former FBI Director James Comey:
“Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told lawmakers Thursday there has been “no effort to impede” the Russia investigation…” ”
This strongly supports the fact that Trump did NOT fire Comey to impede any sort of investigation.
“…and said former FBI Director James Comey continues to have “broad support” in the agency even after the White House claimed he lost the trust of his employees.”
I hear that Comey was well-liked, that he was a good leader of men.
That doesn’t for one second negate the Department of Justice’s claims that both his decisions and actions routinely violated both FBI and Department of Justice policy, and in ways which undermined the trust of the American people — from BOTH political parties — over the last year.
Ok, liberals, I’m going to stretch your brains a bit. Hopefully, most of you can handle it. This goes for conservatives, too, as most of you haven’t read Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s recommendations on Comey, either. This memorandum was sent to AG Sessions, who in turn recommended Comey’s dismissal to President Trump, who considered the matter, concurred, and sent Director Comey a termination letter.
This letter details precisely WHY Comey was fired:
May 9, 2017
MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
FROM: ROD J. ROSENSTEIN
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
SUBJECT: RESTORING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE FBI
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.
The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.
The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution.
It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.
Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.
In response to skeptical question at a congressional hearing, the Director defended his remarks by saying that his “goal was to say what is true. What did we do, what did we find, what do we think about it.” But the goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference. The goal is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a federal criminal prosecution, then allow a federal prosecutor who exercises authority delegated by the Attorney General to make a prosecutorial decision, and then – if prosecution is warranted – let the judge and jury determine the facts. We sometimes release information about closed investigations in appropriate ways, but the FBI does not do it sua sponte.
Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would “speak” about the decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or “conceal” it. “Conceal” is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.
My perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties. Judge Laurence Silberman, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Ford, wrote that “it is not the bureau’s responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted.” Silberman believes that the Director’s “Performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that [he] doubt[s] the bureau will ever completely recover.” Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, joined with Larry Thompson, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, to opine that the Director had “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, departing from the department’s traditions.” They concluded that the Director violated his obligation to “preserve, protect and defend” the traditions of the Department and the FBI.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush, observed the Director “stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion” because the FBI director “doesn’t make that decision.”
Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorney General under President George W. Bush, called the decision “an error in judgement.” Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton and Attorney General under President Obama, said the Director’s decision”was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.” Holder concluded that the Director “broke with these fundamental principles” and “negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI.”
Former Deputy Attorneys General Gorelick and Thompson described the unusual events as”real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation,” that is “antithetical to the interests of justice.”
Donald Ayer, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President H.W. Bush, along with former Justice Department officials, was”astonished and perplexed” by the decision to “break with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.” Ayer’s letter noted, “Perhaps most troubling… is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.”
We should reject the departure and return to the traditions.
Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.
You can also read photocopies of all three letters, at The New York Times article entitled, “White House Announces Firing of James Comey.”
So, STRIKE ONE.
Intermission: The Comey Chronology:
But this isn’t all. There’s another reason Comey may also have been fired.
20 years ago James Comey was an attorney on the Senate Whitewater Investigation looking into the conduct of President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton. The investigation was to determine whether Bill Clinton used his political position as governor of Arkansas (in the 1980s) to push through an illegal loan to benefit Bill and Hillary’s business partner in Whitewater.
Several people involved in Whitewater went to jail, but no criminal prosecution was in the cards for Bill and Hillary. Remember James Comey was the Deputy Special Counsel for the Whitewater investigation.
In Christopher Anderson’s book, “American Evita: Hillary Clinton’s Rise to Power”, Anderson gives details of the New Square offenders pardon by Bill Clinton (they had been convicted of bilking the government of $30 million dollars). Christopher Anderson relates that at Hillary’s urging Bill gave clemency to 16 Puerto Rican terrorists who took the lives of 16 Americans and wounded many others.
Anderson tells us that Hillary admired the Marxist Carl Oglesby and Saul Alinsky. It is from her admiration for Saul Alinsky that she formed her belief that “the only way to make a real difference is to acquire power.”
The pardon of billionaire Marc Rich (who traded illegally with America’s enemies including Iran) by President Bill Clinton was something that everyone knew reeked of impropriety after learning that Rich’s wife donated $450,000 to the Clinton Library.
Again, James Comey oversaw investigations of the pardon matters as well. Unbelievably, James Comey did not recommend charging the Clintons in any of these matters. Wouldn’t it be fair and balanced to give news coverage to these facts?
The Clintons controlled Comey for DECADES.
So, STRIKE TWO
But even that’s not the end of it! No…
Trena Jarnagin-Blackburn Here’s the real reason COMEY got fired.
BOMBSHELL: Young Congresswoman Gets Comey Fired, Here’s What He Was Hiding
Re: Former FBI Director James Comey and Rep. Elise Stefanik
The firing of James Comey comes as a relief to most patriotic Americans who lost trust in his leadership over his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, but most people don’t know all the events that led up to President Donald Trump actually firing him. It involves a young congresswoman, who uncovered Comey’s explosive secrets, and that’s all Trump needed to get rid of the disgraced FBI Director.
This will blow your mind.
Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY) is the youngest member of congress at 32 years old, and on March 20, she singlehandedly finished Comey’s career. Not many people were paying attention to a junior congresswoman questioning the FBI Director, but what she uncovered is pure gold. Remember, at this time, Trump had accused Obama of wiretapping him and the Democrats were accusing Trump of colluding with Russia.
During questioning, Rep. Stefanik lured Comey into a trap. She got Comey to admit that a counter-intel investigation into the Russia-Trump connection started way back in July 2016. Think about that; this is so fishy because Trump had just been nominated by the GOP, and immediately, the Obama White House starts a bogus investigation trying to link Russia to Trump. That’s called a political witch hunt.
But, that’s not all.
The damning admission leads to questions about wiretapping private citizens like Trump and his staff. Then, Comey tripped up and couldn’t recover. Rep. Stefanik knew Comey was required to alert congress about this investigation into Russia and Trump, but he couldn’t do that, could he? If Comey followed the rules set out by the Department of Justice, he had to inform congress, but if he did, the GOP would have blown up and exposed this as an obvious political witch hunt to destroy their presidential candidate.
“On March 20th the mask fully came off. Comey was a solid Black Hat. The March 20th appearance before congress was the final straw in showcasing just how politically corrupt James Comey was,” The Conservative Treehouse reports.
Rep. Stefanik cornered Comey on the timeline and got him to stumble and squirm.
She asked, “When did you notify the White House, the DNI, and congressional leadership [of the bogus investigation]?” Comey immediately started sweating after admitting that it’s protocol to inform congress quarterly and the investigation started in July 2016. Then, came the kicker. Comey didn’t inform congress until March 2017, only after he had no other choice as these hearings were set to begin.
Watch as Rep. Stefanik outsmarted Comey and lured him into admitting he was in essence spying on GOP candidate Trump for former President Barack Obama. One other point of note, James Comey outright lies by claiming there was no active DNI (Department of National Intelligence), which is entirely false since James Clapper was Obama’s DNI.
The Conservative Treehouse weighed in, explaining, “Former FBI Director James Comey intentionally kept congress in the dark on his investigative activity. Our system of checks and balances are specifically set up to stop this from happening, and to keep a watch on the ‘watchers.’ Director Comey subverted the oversight for his own political purposes.”
There is no defense for the former FBI director acting alone and not notifying congress of what he is doing through the established protocols. It doesn’t matter who the FBI director is. Comey should have been fired on March 20th after he told congress he was intentionally not allowing them oversight over his conduct.
So, when the liberal loons accuse President Donald Trump of firing James Comey to stop an investigation into Russia, that’s a pile of crap. They have investigated it ad infinitum, and they can’t prove a damn thing because it is something the Obama White House and former Director Comey invented way back in July 2016.
So, STRIKE THREE.
When then FBI Director James Comey attested to Hillary’s criminal wrongdoing just a couple of weeks before the election, I was elated, as the truth was being confirmed by a credible source, the principle investigative agency of the U.S. Federal Government. Sadly, it was a great litany, but it ended in… NOTHING. That’s
I found this on the web a couple of days ago. It’s taken me that long to review it against the text of the AHCA. It seems to hit the nail on the head. At least I couldn’t find any discrepancies between this synopsis (summary) of the American Health Care Act and the act itself. Disclaimer: You should probably read the Act yourself.
And Remember: If you want to obtain or switch insurers, you have less than two months to sign up before you run the risk of being put into a high risk pool. Most states have such pools. Some do not! Better to act now!
Here’s the text:
Let me begin this post by saying I am a licensed Independent health insurance broker with 10 years of experience mostly in the Medicare, Group & Individual insurance markets. I represent my CLIENTS and myself, not one particular company or lobbying organization. My goal is to have happy customers and to be able to make a living with products that are valuable and affordable to people so they will want them.
The House GOP congress recently passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare this past week. It is called the AHCA or “American Health Care Act”. Partisan politics has once again reared its ugly head and the Democrats are using scare tactics and outright lies (much like they did to pass Obamacare) to try and dissuade people from supporting this bill. Much has been made about “Pre-Existing Conditions” and how this bill would supposedly not protect those consumers. This is an outright LIE. I will explain what Pre
Existing condition really means, who it applies to and what options are available pre Obamacare, during Obamacare and if this bill passes the senate, post Obamacare under this new bill.
What are “Pre Existing Conditions” and who does this apply to?
The Democrats with their overtly theatrical rhetoric would have you think that Pre Existing Conditions applies to everyone with a hangnail and that those mean Republicans will have every person in the country re-evaluated for hangnails and thrown off their current insurance plan if a hangnail is found.
This is of course NOT TRUE.
First of all, Pre-Existing conditions don’t even apply to about 85% of consumers. If you are one of the following, then the new law will NOT affect you AT ALL:
•If you have Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan
•If you have VA Benefits or Tri-Care
•If you have health insurance through your Employer
•If you have Medicaid and are below the Federal Poverty Level
•If you currently have individual or group health insurance and do not allow a 63 day gap in coverage from your current plan to your next plan.
Thats the majority of people in the country. So the majority of people in the country will NOT be affected by the Repeal & Replace of Obamacare’s Pre Existing Conditions law.
So that begs the question. Who will be affected by these changes and how?
The people that will be affected by these changes are people who:
•People who do NOT have insurance through Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Va benefits, Tri Care,or Medicaid below poverty level (ie they are not on any government program) and allow their current insurance to expire and do not secure new coverage within 63 days.
This would be people who are under 65, not veterans and not disabled and they allow their current insurance to expire and then do not get new coverage within 63 days.
What happens to these people if they allow their insurance to expire and don’t new coverage in 63 days?
So whats next for these people? Do they get sent to Mars? Do we let them die in the streets? Of course not.
These people will be eligible for High Risk Pool Insurance through their state, backed the federal government. If they wait more than 63 days to get coverage and are denied new coverage due to a Pre existing condition they will get a letter telling them how to apply for the high risk pool plan to get guaranteed insurance.
So alas, they will NOT be left out in the cold to die like the Democrats would like you to believe.
Will they pay more for this coverage had they not waited?
They might, depending on their states rules. Some states have subsidies based upon income to help people afford the high risk pool plan premiums. They might also have broader access to doctors and hospitals then if they were stuck in their old HMO so there could be a silver lining there as well. High risk pool plans were largely successful Pre Obamacare. The problem was there were only 33 states that offered them so 17 states did not have this option before. All 50 states will have this option under the Republican plan.
What is a Pre Existing Condition?
So what is a Pre Existing condition anyways?
Its definitely not a hang nail. Its not even high cholesterol. The only Pre existing conditions underwriters take into account when deciding the issue coverage or not are conditions like Diabetes or Cancer for example. Some companies will insure conditions like Epilepsy, others won’t. Some companies will issue a policy covering everything except the Pre existing condition or some companies may have a waiting period for the Pre existing condition to be covered.
In any case, there will always be the high risk pool plan options if people get denied.
Nobody will ever be left in the cold.
Also its important to remember that people with Diabetes and Cancer and other serious conditions cannot be denied coverage if they already have insurance. They cannot be kicked off their current plans and they cannot be denied by an insurance company if they do not allow their current plan to lapse more than 63 days without a new plan.
Also remember this NEVER applies to folks on Medicare, Medicaid or Tri Care or with VA benefits or anyone obtaining insurance through their employer. Pre Existing conditions never apply to those people.
What other changes are in this law? Will it help or hurt anyone?
Now that we have covered Pre Existing Conditions, what else is in this bill and how will it affect people?
•Insurance Companies can offer more types of plans. With the elimination of mandated benefit packages, you will have more choices to choose the type of plan you want, what you want it to cover and how high or low you want your deductibles.
•Abortions are no longer mandated coverage.
•Medicare & Medicare Advantage funding will increase and has been restored to pre Obamacare levels. Originally Obamacare had stolen about $700 billion from Medicare to pay for subsidies for non disabled adults to get their premiums subsidized. This will help the folks on Medicare & Medicare Advantage.
•Medicaid will only be for people below the poverty line. The Medicaid expansion under Obamacare had people making over poverty level getting Medicaid benefits. This will cease.
•There will no longer be a government mandated IRS fine/penalty for not buying insurance.
•If you wait more than 63 days to buy new insurance from your old insurance a company can elect to charge you 30% more on your premium. Its best to be a responsible adult and keep your insurance if you can.
•With people with Pre existing conditions now in high risk pools, the regular insurance market for those without Pre existing conditions just got alot cheaper.
In conclusion this bill stops robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is much more fair in its pricing laws and it ensures every American has access to health insurance without a heavy emphasis on redistributing wealth and rewarding bad behavior. This bill rewards responsible behavior while still protecting our most vulnerable.
If you feel this DETAILED review of the new federal healthcare legislation is helpful, and counters all the crap we’ve been seeing from mudstream news, please share it.
There are dozens of websites out there offering absolutely objective oversight given the fact that they apparently hate everyone. Again, you’re going to have to sift through the chaff and the wheat, but at least with these websites, you HAVE chaff through which you can sift, unlike through mudstream media’s usual “slant the hell out of it” news stream.
Many parents think games like Minecraft are a complete waste of time. As a retired Air Force officer and aviator, and having been an engineer, an accountant, a salesman, a systems analyst, a database developer, and now well into my (hopefully) final career as an author (novelist), I can see both the downsides as well as the benefits of letting your kids loose on Minecraft.
You see, even at age 53, I’m a Minecraft player, too. 🙂
It all began six years ago, when my son, who was 11, said he wanted a laptop. He had crafted a few good reasons why, but the moment he said, “Mom’s computer is too slow,” I knew right then that he was going to use it to play games. I have no absolute objection to playing games. After all, I played computer games, beginning with Pong. Before that, we had pinball and literally hundreds of other mechanical arcade games. Looking back through history, it seems like humans have long developed a knack for keeping both their bodies and their brains occupied when they weren’t either gathering food, crafting various items used for survival and enjoyment, or waging war. As for me, I grew up riding bicycles, playing kick the can, hide and seek, soccer, swimming, football, chess, and reading lots and lots of magazines and books. And Batman. Even though I knew it was corny way back then, I still watched Batman, along with Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, and Emergency.
Buying my first computer in 1986 opened up the world of PC gaming, including flight simulators, hacked versions of old Atari arcade video games, card games, a DOS-based version of Monopoly (very cool), and… coding. You might not think of programming as a “game,” but to me, it was indeed a game.
In fact, I learned how to get my computer, a Wyse PC+, to sit up and beg.
The computer came with two 360k floppy drives. After a frustrating month of swapping floppies in and out every time my two-floppy word processor wanted to save data to my data floppy, I replace one of the floppies with a Seagate 30 MB hard drive that used RLL technology.
“Specifically, RLL bounds the length of stretches (runs) of repeated bits during which the signal does not change. If the runs are too long, clock recovery is difficult; if they are too short, the high frequencies might be attenuated by the communications channel. By modulating the data, RLL reduces the timing uncertainty in decoding the stored data, which would lead to the possible erroneous insertion or removal of bits when reading the data back. Run-length-limited codes were widely used in hard disk drives until the mid-1980s and are still used in digital optical discs such as CD, DVD, MD, Hi-MD and Blu-ray. This mechanism ensures that the boundaries between bits can always be accurately found (preventing bit slip), while efficiently using the media to reliably store the maximal amount of data in a given space.” (Source)
I observed that the initial interleave was set to 5 in order for the hard drive to reliably work in the original IBM PC, with its Intel 8088 processor running at 4.77 Mhz. My computer, however, had an Intel 8088 processor that ran at 9.54 Mhz, twice that of the original IBM PC, even then it was less than half as thick. In fact, it fit very nicely into my suitcase, surrounded by soft, cushioning clothes. All I needed at my destination was a monitor…
By changing my computer’s clock rate just a few percent, I was able to re-interleave the hard drive using Spinrite, originally written as a hard drive interleave tool, from 5 to 4, resulting in a noticeable 25% performance improvement. With some tweaking, I managed to push the clock rate just enough to achieve a interleave factor of 3, resulting in a theoretical 67% performance improvement, although testing revealed about a 30% miss rate, resulting in an effective interleave factor of 3 for 70% of the time and 4 for 30% of the time. The net effective performance improvement was 54%, as both calculated and measured.
That’s a win. 🙂
I also tinkered with pretty much all other aspects of my computer, including the graphics card, the fan, I/O devices, installing first a used 300 baud modem, then later, a new 2400 baud modem, and eBBS software, which annoyed my roommates to no end before I bought a second phone line I really couldn’t afford. But the eBBS software brought me into the world of programming, even though I’d taken a mainframe Fortran course (WATFIV) two years earlier. I learned a PC version of Fortran, pretty much mastered GWBasic, and tinkered with Pascal. I also learned all — and I do mean ALL — of the commands of DOS so thoroughly that I rarely needed anything more than my rapidly growing collection of batch programs to tackle any problem with either my own or my friends’ computers. That, a vacuum cleaner, some electrical contact cleaner and Q-Tips, and my copy of Spinrite would fix 90% of people’s PC problems.
So, to be honest, all this actually began about 31 years ago.
But I digress…
In buying my son a laptop, I was hoping he would follow suite, first learning to tweak his own system, then learning some programming so that he could modify his own IT world.
He found a better way — well, a different way — to occupy his time and train his mind.
In reality, aside from changing a few of Windows’ invasive privacy settings while avoiding malware like the plague, there’s not a lot of tweaking one can do these days. Instead, a little more than a year after getting his laptop, he called me up because he wanted to show me his cool new game, “Minecraft.” The problem was, he was in California with his Mom whereas I lived in Colorado.
No problem. Whoever had lead him to Minecraft had also shown him how to use LogMeIn Hamachi so that we could establish a virtual LAN through the Internet. One that was established, I simply watched him play Minecraft through a remote access window on my own computer while listening to him describe it.
It wasn’t until more than a year later, however, during one of his summer visits, that I actually broke down and spent the $26.95 to buy a copy of Minecraft for my own machine. He was enjoying it so much, kept showing me the worlds he was building, and kept asking me to get a copy so that we could play together over my LAN. He pointed out that we would also be able to play together over the Internet, using LogMeIn.
Well, that settled it. Ever since his mom left when he was only five, I’ve busted down every door and barrier that arose in order to spend time with my son. Long gone are the days when fathers weren’t an integral part of the development of their children. These days, fathers change diapers, co-sleep, bottle-feed, play with, nurture, comfort, encourage, guide, teach, and otherwise spend a great deal of time with their 0-23 month-olds, helping answer their question of, “Can I trust the world?” with a resounding, “YES — with caution.” I was the one who helped my son learn how to navigate a jungle gym without slipping and hurting himself, beginning at just four months. He was an early crawler. I was the one who put the double papasan cushion on the floor and let him crawl all over me, catching him when he fell off — but only until he could catch himself, or learned how to take a tumble. I was the one who helped him learn that playing with spiders was a no-no, particularly the black ones with the red hourglass on their bellies. I was the one who… You get my drift. The idea that only “Mother” should be the only one considered in the “Significant Relationship” block of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development is steeped in 18th century stoicism. In fact, it’s rarely been the case either throughout history or throughout the world, and certainly isn’t the normative case today. We Dads love our kids. 🙂
Which is why I agreed to join my son on this journey known as Minecraft. That and the fact that I was laid up following ankle surgery with nothing to do but recover for the next three weeks while my son stayed with me finishing up his summer visitation.
It took me a few seconds to learn the basic controls, a few minutes to get to the point where I could go where I wanted, and a few hours to learn there were realistic dangers like gravity and a bunch of partially realistic dangers known as “mobs.” A few days later I was more helpful than not, and after a couple of weeks, I was working alongside my son digging for ores, processing them, chopping down trees, hunting for food, farming, and building strange, wonderful, and fun structures.
I didn’t start taking screenshots until after he left for the summer and I had another three weeks convalescing. I really didn’t want to spend any time time mindlessly watching TV, but just writing seemed a bit boring. So, I spent my time in Minecraft. A LOT of time.
Here’s one of my earlier creations, in the distance, finished by the end of the summer in 2013. It’s a house designed to look like an Imperial walker. It comes complete with a helipad, fireplace, and interior pool. It’s also connected to the horse barn through an underground passageway beset with traps for the unwary, heh-heh… In the foreground you see the 2014 beginnings of some rather large castle grounds.
In the next screenshot, you’ll see my Skycastle, created on one of my favorite servers set to hard mode. It was difficult enough to merely survive in this environment, much less build. I built this during the winter of 2013-2014. Up there are complete quarters, lookouts in all directions, flowing stream, full ore processing stations, an anvil, a potions stand, and enough wheat, carrots, and potatoes to keep me fed forever.
Well, the Minecraft “me,” anyway.
During this time, my son didn’t lose sight of his friends, parents, or schooling. His mom limited his time on his computer, made sure he focused on his studies, and sent him outside to play with his friends on a regular basis.
As for me, between the Fall of 2013, when I began my first masters, and the Spring of 2016, when I finished my second masters, I continued to play Minecraft as a way of constructive relaxation. During that 2-1/2 years, I doubled up on classes, managing not only to complete two masters degrees, but two concentrations, as well, while maintaining top GPAs so that I graduated at the top of my class. Between all of the honors, veteran, and other cords, stole, tassel and pins on and around my graduation gown during graduation in Denver, one of my professors jokingly remarked, “Good God! Overachieve, much?” I sponded by saying, “What, this stuff? I got this while playing Minecraft,” which left him somewhat perplexed.
Minecraft has an amazing effect on the human brain. In Minecraft, one is tasked with finding food and shelter while besieged with hunger, mobs, and natural dangers like falling from cliffs, drowning, being crushed while mining, and stumbling into pits of lava. All of these things can kill you, which on most servers will send you back to your original spawn point, unless you’ve reset that by building and sleeping in a bed, at which point dying will send you to your bed. That and dying drops all of your stuff, which you must quickly retrieve lest others get it, before the stuff disappears altogether.
But that’s just surviving, the first milestone of Minecraft. The second milestone is thriving. Players thrive when they’ve managed to successfully hunt, build self-sustaining farms, process ores into tools, armor, and fun stuff like clocks and maps, all while building some really cool digs (homes) that are good at keeping mobs and the weather out while actually being enjoyable places in which to “live.”
Throughout the game people team up, not only because two hands are better than one, but for companionship and to exchange ideas. Two people on an adventure of exploration are much more likely to survive, as well. If one person runs out of food, the other will share. One person can build a quick shelter against mobs while the other one hunts for food before the sun sets. Some players are content to gather wood, coal, and various ores while other players have mastered the crafting arts — turning those ores into useful items like tools, armor, and potions.
Some players excel at engineering ingenious traps while others excel at designed various automated structures both for convenience as well as protection. And some players simply excel at designing really neat structures! I like to think of these people as the future architects and designers of our world (the real one).
Minecraft both exercises and trains the brain. In addition to building excellent eye-hand coordination, kids and adults alike learn to prioritize activities. Faced with real-world hurdles like hunger, shelter, finding supplies, crafting tools, hunting, farming, and storing up harvests for times of plenty, everyone who plays with others online also learns to cooperate with others, coordinating their actions, even collaborating to secure wins in various competitions between sets of players.
Finally, there’s the huge aspect of creativity and innovation.
Minecraft is a relatively clean slate, with realistic boundaries. Whether a player wants to just have fun sight-seeing, they’re a griefer (destroys the creations of others), they want to build a house, run a farm, or just create fantastic structures and contraptions, they all have the fairly wide-open freedom to create. One can build simple things, or one can build fantastic structures and contraptions. People have built everything from replications of their city halls to the Taj Mahal. This collection shows full-scale recreations like a full-scale Minecraft version of the U.S.S. Missouri (BB-63), to Hogwart’s Quidditch grounds, to a Babylon 5 White Star class advanced warship, to Japan’s Royal Palace to a massive Rube Goldberg machine, to, well, this:
As you can see, literally, the sky is the limit when it comes to Minecraft and creativity.
And if you’re wondering, no, neither Minecraft nor Microsoft paid me a thin red dime to write this article. I merely wanted to share my lengthy, yet very fun experiences with Minecraft, beginning with a lot of horsing around with my son on various servers, but also including a lot of time I spent honing my Minecraft skills creating various structures and contraptions until…
I really didn’t have much drive to continue.
That’s right: These days, I rarely play Minecraft. Like most human endeavors, most Minecraft players reach certain limits of autonomy, mastery, and recognition beyond which it no longer holds much interest. We’ve moved on to new endeavors. For me, that’s writing my second novel. For my son, it was on to more challenging games, but also onto school work in high school, where he’s doing quite well.
So, should we have skipped Minecraft altogether? Heck no! By playing Minecraft, I have trained all sorts of areas of my brain in many different ways that a non-Minecraft player has never experienced. I found it helped me in my two masters programs and both concentrations, primarily by helping me prioritize various elements of team assignments, and think about the ways various elements fit together in three-dimensional representations. This ability to understand how various elements of a complex situation relate to one another is someone rare, particularly for a 53-year-old. 🙂
Nope. I wouldn’t trade any of my Minecraft time. Alas, it’s time for me to take what I’ve learned and move on. After all, I have a novel to finish, possibly two, and then there’s the matter of finding gainful employment for at least a decade.
Even so, I might pop into one of the old servers from time to time, just to say hello. 🙂