Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Rush Limbaugh(And Every Other Pundit) Is Wrong On Colorado. Here's Why.

I have been following this bit the closest of any part of the election, because I feel that it is a perfect microcosm of the entire system and why Trump has such support.

Rush published "Ted Cruz Isn't Cheating, He's Winning" and "Prescription Trumps Reality in GOP Race" over the last few days and, like pretty much everyone else, I think he's missing the real point here.

The confusion comes from a vocabulary and articulation issue. The majority of  people who are just now becoming aware of this whole thing lack the vocabulary to properly describe what they understand.

The problem comes as a natural consequence of immersion, and happens in every field. As an example, doctors have an entire language built around their profession to give them a way to accurately describe and talk about things that pertain to their profession. Doctors, therefore,  know what a hematoma is, but it is a mistake to think the lay person doesn't. They just call it a bruise instead. A doctor that thinks a client is less educated for calling it a bruise is, however, an asshole.

Politics is no different. Politics has an entire language built around it as well. For the sake of the flow of this discussion, we shall call this language 'Bullshit'. The reason for this will be apparent shortly.

Now, what happened in Colorado, and why the pundits are all defending it, is simple enough. The lay man, the American who speaks English, understands the political process as go, vote, and best man wins. This is what they are taught in school, this is what the news reports, we have big election parties to watch the results being tallied, and so on. We, the laity, have jobs and lives and do useful things that keep the economy rolling, and generally give politics a small portion of our time since it contributes little to the cause of economy on a normal day.

Pundits and insiders, however, are under no such foolish obligations such as employment, economic contribution, or labor. For them, keeping up with Washington culture, and the Washington people's doings, is their job. The have learned the language of Bullshit, spoken by the Washington people, and have largely adopted it's culture and internalized it. Even the ones that are ostensibly the farthest removed ideologically, such as Conservative reporters, fall into the trap. One cannot live in a culture without absorbing some of it.

And so the issue with Colorado is. The Americans assumed, not having been informed differently in any way meaningful to Americans who speak English, that poll voting was still how things worked in their country. Up till now, they assumed all the chicanery had to do with redrawing districts to divide votes in ways favorable to the current power (the benign-sounding gerrymandering in Bullshit) or similar tricks, but it always came down to getting the popular vote in a single open election, because that's where the power was.

(And because I know someone will call out me out for something that should be understood, the argument that Coloradoans should know their own state's rules is irrelevant, because I am speaking of the entire nation and it's understanding, not the people of a given state and their specific flavor of that understanding. Cruz' recent drop in polls to near Kasich levels in some places demonstrates that far more than Colorado citizens are appalled by this.)

This is the key point to understand. To the Pundit people, who speak Bullshit and live under Washington cultural laws in the Washington ideological enclaves within America, it was reasonable and simple. However, for Americans living in American culture (go to work, don't be a burden, don't misuse power or violence to tell other people what to do, etc), this is as unfathomable a position to take as Sharia.

But, the American people don't  have words for this kind of insanity. What the Pundit people call "Party rule changes", and cry about being misunderstood on in Bullshit, Americans call cheating. We are, in fact, talking about the same thing. Stoning a woman for being raped is legal, and fair, and reasonable in Sharia, and I imagine it has it's own word to describe it in Arabic. We call it evil and a crime nonetheless.

This is the point that every single Pundit seems to miss entirely. We are not misunderstanding, we are making a moral judgment. Legal or not, it is cheating, because it goes against the principles openly espoused by the organization and runs contrary to the purpose of the American system. Specifically, the idea of the will of the people expressed through voting.

It does not matter that it was still possible to vote if you know the handshake and  that 912 is the REAL emergency help line now. I work for a living, I'm just picking the guy who's in charge of making sure the cartels, suicide bombers and other unsavory characters don't come in and mess up the place. That the establishment cares more about getting it's guy in than actually doing that job is a huge, systemic problem, and I do not care how you justify making the process of doing that more difficult.

The point is, Trump is correct. The fact that this kind of chicanery is part of the legal landscape itself is absolute and damning proof that he is in fact correct, and the system is so broken it considers these games a legitimate method of choosing leaders. He should not have to play ball with the establishment and know all the arcane secrets of each state, because the purpose of the parties is to collectively express the will of their constituents.

Furthermore, it is not Conservative to change rules that often, or to change rules to make it harder for people to be heard.

Therefore, if the Republican base calls it cheating, it is cheating, because the party is supposed to be a collective expression of the will of the base. The Pundit people dictating what is and is not legitimate to Americans rather than reporting on the facts of the discussion is not only immoral, it is a usurpation of it's role.

Or is that no longer the case?

For the record, given a choice between Cruz or Hillary, clearly Hillary is not an option because I am an adult. Nor am I claiming the rule change was to benefit Cruz specifically; the shift was toward the establishment as a whole, not a specific candidate at the time.

My own state went Cruz, but legitimately, and I am fine with that. If a state were to change it's rules to benefit someone like Trump to the exclusion of others, I would be saying the same thing as I do about Colorado.

It is not the job of  the party leadership to decide for me what is good and bad, they are to be a force multiplier on the will of the base. If we get Gandhi, or if we get Hitler, is none of the party leadership's business.

Cruz is approaching Kasich levels of approval rating in some states after Colorado. Americans understand that just because something is in the rules doesn't make it acceptable. Even the Constitution makes it clear that a law that runs contrary to it (and therefore it's purpose) is not a valid law, and need not be obeyed.

That isn't anarchy, that is Rule of Law. Pundits claiming otherwise, that the fact that it was legal legitimizes it, would do well to re-evaluate whose side they are actually on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Conflating Legal and Moral

I am amazed at how many people either can not or will not distinguish between legal and moral. For the Democrats this is a non-issue, but the Republican Party stands on moral supremacy. The foundational claim of the primarily Christian party is that law should follow morals, not the other way around.

So, it is quite disturbing to see how many Cruz supporters are defending Colorado on the grounds that it was legal. Fundamentally change the way the election process works just ahead of a presidential election? Publish the changes to a media almost nobody still uses regularly? Then when people complain, simply shrug and say "But Mr Dent, the plans were on display" as though that excuses any wrongdoing.

Every tinpot dictator around the world has the law behind him. Does that make the actions of said dictator legitimate and moral and correct?

My own state went Cruz in a fair and open primary. While I think the people voting Cruz are foolish and misguided, the win was legitimate and democratic. The goalposts weren't shifted to favor career politicians who play these games every day in Congress.

The fact that such a complaint, that it's inappropriate to change the rules mid-game to favor a particular group or candidate or remove agency from the  people, is dismissed with a mere 'but it was legal' places those people firmly in the Democrat camp. They are no more moral or righteous than Bernie supporters who believe wealth redistribution by government fiat is moral.

Yes, the plans were on display. In the basement, with no lights, in a locked cabinet in an unused lavatory with a sign on the door that reads 'Beware of the leopard'.

Just because something is legal, it is not automatically moral. Legal does not mean it's not rigged. If this is what passes for conservatism, I'll stay over here on the actual Right.

Edit: Found the clip. Even more appropriate than I remembered.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Beamdog's Assassination Of A Franchise

I am a longtime fan of the Baldur's Gate series. This franchise, along with Final Fantasy 6 (hereafter referred to as 'The Good One'), was a large part of my early 20's. Even to this day, my D&D group makes references to it at the table. So, when we heard an enhanced version with multiplayer was coming out, we all got copies on Steam.

After crossing the return threshold, we found out about the developer, Beamdog, and what they had done.

Now I am not usually one to dissociate based on the leanings of a developer. I enjoyed Undertale despite the clear biases of the author, but here's the key difference.

Unlike Undertale, Baldur's Gate was not the creation of the converged Beamdog, and in no way whatsoever is the new material subtle.

I have seen the video of the token transgender character, and the nonsensical tripe they spout for no discernible reason, I  have read quite a bit of the discussion about the new characters, the adventure, dialogue, and all of that might have been forgiven, or at least set aside, if not for one thing.

Minsc and Jaheira demonstrate that they neither like nor understand  the source material, and everything they have said and done has been a lie to justify converging the franchise into yet another assault on intellectual freedom.

If all they got from Jaheira was nagging wife, and Minsc was just pop culture references, they had no business touching this franchise. These SJWs have no love of anything, no appreciation for the color and messiness of life. Everything is viewed through this insane lens where women can have no flaws, minorities are always justified in horrific behavior, and whites/males can't be shown in a good light  unless encouraging one of the former two points  or white knighting. Being a wimp is laudable, being strong is oppression (unless grrrl power), up is down, etc etc. Like Marxism, it's a checklist of all the things that work and are good for civilization inverted.

For my part, I think the time has long since passed when we should have made a purposeful effort to abandon traditional publishers and follow in the footsteps of many Japanese developers to create spiritual successors to these franchises.