Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fiction Becomes Reality: Donald Trump Is A Modern Day 
'Lonesome Rhodes'

Like The Fictional Rhodes, Trump Is Becoming Drunk On His Power Over His Followers 

The growth of Donald Trump's personality cult has now reached the malignant stage.  We know this because recently Trump openly bragged he could shoot somebody in public & suffer no backlash from his supporters at all.
A candidate for President has now openly boasted before the world about how blindly his personality cult will follow him. 

If you trust the media polls, Trump's boast looks accurate. This was just another example of a long line of outrageous things he's said during this campaign that likely would have derailed another candidate.

Some commentators have claimed what Trump meant here was that he thinks anything he does is right, he can't do something wrong. That's not my sense of what he means.  He knows shooting someone on Fifth Avenue would be wrong.  The point he's making here isn't about his moral sensibilities, it's about the blind devotion of his followers, which has grown to a point that perhaps even he himself is starting to be amazed by it.

What Trump's 'I could shoot someone!' boast gets at is that he sees himself as being unstoppable because of the blind commitment his followers have made to him.  Trump truly believes his personality cult has grown so large, his winning this race is a foregone conclusion. And there's nothing he could ever do that would cause him to start losing his devoted fans.

Trump is a mass media creation who had a direct hand in fashioning the image of himself he is now selling to the public.  In the public eye since the 1970's, Trump has carefully crafted a public persona of himself as always right, always in charge, always successful and always very, very rich.

Much commentary has been spent this election cycle looking at how the media covers Trump and how Trump reacts to media coverage, especially any criticism he receives from it.  He demands uninterrupted adulation at all times, and woe to any reporter or media person who dares to offend him.

Trump spent the run up to the Iowa primary loudly complaining that Fox News had dared to defy him by not removing Megyn Kelly from their debate.  Even more recently, after weeks of Trump attacking & insulting fellow candidate Ted Cruz, Cruz responded with his first negative ad against Trump - and this led to Trump loudly threatening both a lawsuit and again bringing up the possibility he will run as a 3rd party candidate.

As many in the media stare aghast at this monster they helped create, let's take a look back at a perceptive film from the 1950's that presciently explored many of the mass media themes that have arisen from Trump's presidential campaign.

The rise of mass media & it's use of personality cults to drive popular opinion was explored in director Elia Kazan's 1957 film 'A Face In The Crowd'.
The film depicts the rise and fall of Larry 'Lonesome' Rhodes, an Arkansas grifter plucked from obscurity to become a radio & TV personality who sells products like mattresses and energy supplements.

If all you know of Andy Griffith is his wholesome portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry RFD, here in his first big role he turns in an Oscar worthy performance as a man who's about to gain the whole world while losing his soul.

With his folksy charm, country singing and down home humor, Rhodes becomes an instant hit who's popularity grows to such an extent he quickly becomes a national celebrity.

Rich, famous, and now with millions of people hanging on his every word waiting to see what he'll say next, at first Rhodes can scarcely believe what's happening to him. Then human nature takes it's course and Rhodes begins taking advantage of his newfound power over others.

As the story unfolds, we watch as all this goes straight to Rhodes' head. Drunk on the power he now holds over his fans, he becomes contemptuous of them and the people who are sponsoring him. He realizes he's the public face of a huge con game.  He knows in his heart he's still just a grifter running a con, and it eats at him.

Rhodes is exposed when the network executive [Patricia Neal]  who helped create him can no longer bear the sight of what he's become.  As Rhodes is in the studio bragging about how stupid and blind his audience is, she turns on the microphones and gives America a look at the true face of the man they've become enthralled with.

As a stunned America watches, Rhodes boasts to his fellow cast members:
“Sell that stuff about a man among men to those morons out there? Shucks,” says Lonesome, “I sell them chicken fertilizer as caviar. I can make them eat dog food and think it’s steak.
Sure, I’ve got them like this. You know what the public’s like? A cage full of guinea pigs. Goodnight, you stupid idiots. Goodnight, you miserable slobs. They’re a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they’ll flap their flippers.”
The scene in which Rhodes' contempt for his followers is exposed and his downfall begins can be seen in this Youtube clip:
The development of the personality cult has come a long way in just the last few years, however.  

While Rhodes was exposed when it was revealed he held his audience in abject contempt, Trump can openly boast his followers are so enthralled by his awesomeness they will instantly ignore any wrong done, any blasphemy uttered. 

Rhodes was mouthing words given to him by others to sell products & political candidates.  Trump is different because he's writing his own script.  And with this campaign for President of the United States, at last Trump can now try to close the deal in which he's selling the object closest and dearest to his heart:  himself. 

By the way, I'm far from the first to make the connection between Donald Trump & 'Lonesome' Rhodes. This appeared in the New Mexico Political Journal in October of last year

The post isn't signed, but whoever wrote it was prescient. 

It's been incredible watching some of the same people who spent 8 years marveling at the personality cult that sprang up around Barack Obama actively help to create one around Donald Trump.  

You can't spend all this time decrying Obama's over reaches & expansion of Presidential powers at the expense of the other two Constitutional branches...and then turn around and throw your support behind Donald Trump, who has literally promised to be Obama-On-Steroids.  

If you listen to what Trump says, he doesn't talk about working with Congress or respecting court rulings.  Asked how he'll accomplish he agenda, he deliberately avoids specifics for generalized answers like "I'll fix it, it'll be awesome."  If you get the impression he thinks he's going to make stuff happen by sheer willpower, you're not alone.  
A few years ago, Ann Coulter wrote a book called 'Demonic' in which she laid out in great detail how Democrats use mobs and personality cults to drive a progressive agenda forward.  She now apparently believes naked populism is the only way to win an election and has ditched Conservatism to adopt the tactics of the mob because it will 'work' and this election is too important to lose. 

Not a single vote has been cast in a single primary at this point and the present election cycle has served a useful purpose:  it's separated those who really believe in and stand on Conservative principles and those who don't.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Iran Just Told The World 
The United States Is 
Now A Paper Tiger

And Iran is Right

The real point of what happened with Iran seizing our sailors & making propaganda out of it is to understand what they want the world to see

US & Western presence on the international trade lanes has kept criminal regimes like Iran's in check for decades.

Without the presence of US & British navies in the region, Iran would keep enlarging their boundaries, choking the shipping lanes and shaking down smaller, weaker countries for the right to pass through 'their' ocean. It'd be the Barbary pirate days all over again, with feral navies prowling the waters looking for shipping they can seize and hold hostage.

While the world largely doesn't pay attention to this until something dramatic happens, there's been a 'cold war' underway between Iran & the US on the seas as Iran continually claims international waters as actually being inside their territory. Periodically Iran 'tests the doorknob' with a direct provocation to see what the Western response will be, such as when they grabbed 15 Royal Navy sailors in 2007
We pay attention when Iran decides to directly challenge the naval powers enforcing international boundaries. But there's all kinds of shenanigans the Iranians are engaged in on the seas that don't get wide attention.  Such as their grabbing foreign ships and demanding they pay 'fines' for passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran lays claim to all of the Strait of Hormuz but 'recognizes' the international water lanes, and insists any shipping that strays into their section of it is violating their territorial waters and must pay a fine, as a Marshall Islands-flagged ship had to do in May of 2015.

Note how the Iranian Navy dealt with this cargo ship. They didn't demand it leave their waters at once; no instead they claimed they were seizing the ship and demanded that it follow them deeper into Iranian waters. And the cargo ship was fired on when it didn't immediately comply.  This was a shakedown from the start. 

How valuable is the Strait of Hormuz? The New York Times explained:
The Strait of Hormuz, the slender waterway that connects the Persian Gulf to the rest of the world and is a critical conduit in the global oil supply chain...
And Iran claims 'historically' this Strait is in their 'sphere of influence' and so any shipping that uses it only does so at their forbearance.

Of course, this has been nothing but propaganda for decades, since the presence of US, British, and other allied navies has guaranteed the safe passage of shipping through the Strait without their having to pay fines or tribute to Iran to do so. If they could, the Iranians would be exacting tribute from every ship passing through the Strait of Hormuz.  

 The international water boundaries were set, and the ships of all nationalities may pass through them unhindered.

As long as their security is guaranteed by the patrolling allied navies.

And here comes the problem.

Iran suspected - correctly, as it so happened - that if they directly challenged the US Navy by seizing some of it's ships & personnel, nothing would happen.  They can't shake us down for a fine or tribute they way the can shake down the Maersk company, but they're not after money here. The Iranians were provided with a perfect opportunity to demonstrate something else to the world. They were given propaganda. And they took full advantage of it.

The propaganda from Iran that is now rocketing it's way around the Middle East is this: that the biggest navy tasked with ensuring the security of international boundaries for shipping through the Strait of Hormuz is now a paper tiger.

"Look," Iran said it's smaller neighbors in the region, "you think the Americans guarantee the safety of your ships? Watch THIS and learn something! They can't even keep us from seizing their own boats & sailors if we want to!  You think YOUR shipping is going to be safe from us any longer?  You had better just pay up!"

Incredibly, yesterday the State Department said Iran using our captured soldiers as propaganda didn't violate the Geneva Convention.  

Due to Obama & Kerry's incredibly weak response to this incident, you can fully expect to see Iran's Navy begin to flex it's muscles in the Strait of Hormuz more than ever.

Determined to do whatever it takes to 'save' his nuclear deal, which is non-binding & which Iran didn't even sign - Obama will forbear any Iranian provocation.  The Iranian leadership know this, and has just graphically demonstrated this to the rest of the world.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Nikki Haley Rule

Ever since South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley used her State of the Union response to attack a certain loudmouth blowhard who also just happens to be the current GOP front runner, if you believe the polls, I've been repeatedly told this was a horrible, rotten, terrible, no good thing for her to do.


'The GOP Front runner is untouchable! Didn't everybody already know this?!"

Apparently, there's some rule I've never heard of in 35 years of following politics that says candidates for a party's nomination can't ever attack or criticize the current front runner.

I'm willing to admit for the record, I am not omniscient. It could very well be there is such a rule and I just wasn't paying attention and missed it.

This was the look on my face the 1st time I ever heard the 'Nikki Haley Rule'
I call this my 'WTF??!! Face'

Or it COULD be that the Entertainment Talk Radio/TV/Web Clicks Wing invented this rule out of thin air to try to cover the ass of the deeply flawed candidate they are relentlessly shilling for and are now invested deeply in.
We've had over six months of Trump relentlessly running his mouth off in attacks on everyone, fellow candidates, politicians, journalists, anyone who gets in his way even momentarily. And every single time someone dares to fire back at Trump instead of meekly rolling over & showing their belly, the same pundits shriek in high holy horror.

This new 'rule' we've been hearing about nonstop from the Entertainment Wing for the past two days is bullshit. When Trump suddenly ceases to be the front runner, you think he'll suddenly zip his lip and not attack relentlessly whoever replaces him? And if he doesn't the Entertainment wing will call him out for it?

The moment Trump isn't the front runner, watch what happens to this supposed rule that says nobody can criticize the GOP front runner. It'll disappear into the ether, never to be heard from again. 

Goodbye, Nikki Haley Rule! We hardly knew ye!

If Trump isn't in the lead any longer, you think he's gonna zip his lip criticizing whoever replaces him at the top? Oh PLEASE.

Watch these same people not say a word when Trump loses the top spot once the primaries are being held, & he goes after Cruz with gusto.

This is nothing more than a double standard they made up to protect Trump from any criticism.

The hysterically funny thing is, many of these entertainment wing pundits are the same people who've spent over 8 years decrying the personality cult that worshipped Obama. Now here they are using the same personality cult tactics to ensure their new God can't ever be attacked. Well, as long as he's in front of the pack. Supposedly.

"Personality cults are a bad thing. *Unless* it's one I'm helping to build myself. To save America!"

And when Cruz or whoever is suddenly leading and Trump isn't, we'll have to remind the Entertainment wing:  "Hey, remember the Nikki Haley rule? Didn't you guys just spend all that time pontificating to the rest of us how the front runner can't be attacked?  Why are you now silent as Trump goes after Cruz? What's up with that?" 

This is when the double standard is going to be laid bare. Trump can't be attacked. Ever. Front runner or not.  He is a deeply flawed candidate and they know it.  That's why they shriek so loudly whenever anyone starts talking back to Trump.  It can't be allowed. Whoever starts to talk back to Trump must be instantly shouted down. 

Trump can attack whoever he wants at will and anybody who fires back at him is 'destroying the GOP' or something. What bullshit.  And it's time to call it what it is: bullshit.  

So from now on, as long as these Entertainment Wing Pundits are going to engage in this Personality Cult nonsense & invoke this Nikki Haley Rule they just pulled out of their asses, here's your response. 

When they tell you that you MUST NOT criticize or talk back to Donald Trump because he's the awesome untouchable front runner or something, you say: